Heeding the Call of the Open Road
Photo Credit: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock
Last summer, at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, my son and I went on a camping trip to Bryce Canyon in Utah—the only trip we took the entire year—to meet my good friends from the East Coast, who were traveling by RV to see national parks on the West Coast. When we saw each other, masked, in the great outdoors, we hesitated for about two seconds before we went in for a quick hug.
After months in isolation, it felt so good to be with friends again, even from six feet away. We made steaks and burgers over a campfire, and sat outside and watched the stars with our kids. For two glorious days, we forgot there was a global pandemic raging just beyond the campground.
As more people get vaccinated and restrictions continue to ease, the call of the open road is getting stronger. My son is finishing up the last two weeks of a remote school year (a challenging, difficult year to say the least), and we are planning on another road trip with our friends from the East Coast in July. They are flying to Los Angeles and renting an RV and going up the Pacific Coast Highway all the way to San Francisco, before coming back down.
We will be joining them on the second week of their trip, starting at Yosemite National Park. It’s been decades since I’ve been to Yosemite, but I remember it as one of most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. During the pandemic, I watched the Academy Award-winning documentary Free Solo, about climber Alex Honnold’s incredible ascent up El Capitan. It’s quite possibly the most thrilling and nerve-racking film I’ve ever seen, and it definitely stoked my desire to visit Yosemite National Park again.
After Yosemite, we are going to Sequoia National Park, with Joshua National Park the last stop on our trip. I haven’t been to either park so I’m quite excited to check them out. I’m looking forward to the change in scenery as we drive south—from lush, green trees to the sere beauty of the desert. I can’t wait to make s’mores with the kids and sleep under the stars, and catch up with friends whom I’ve missed so terribly this year. With all of us vaccinated, I know we will feel so much more relaxed than our last camping trip.
Every mile we travel on the road will be a small step toward reclaiming a sense of normalcy after a year that brought so much heartache and uncertainty around the world. I know I will look up at the night sky and thank my lucky stars that my son and I are safe and healthy, grateful that we are in the company of friends. It will be a trip we won’t forget.
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