Photograph by Avery Thrasher

The Great American Road Trip

by Heather on 14 June, 2013

An American road trip is on every bucket list, right? Well, if it’s not, it should be. My first (and second) American road trip was one of the things that encouraged me to leave America. I’ve visited over forty of the fifty states.

Side note: Three states that I haven’t visited but I’m dying to see are Alaska, Hawaii, and Colorado. Maybe next year when I return to America for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year?

Photograph by Avery Thrasher

Riverside Geyser, Yellowstone National Park. Note: I found no pot of gold.

My first road trip started and ended in Maryland. A friend and I took off in his car on August 1st and returned on August 28th. It would be my first time on the west coast and my first time to see the Pacific Ocean. I was so excited!

Over the course of four weeks, we visited New Orleans, Louisiana; Austin, Texas; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; San Diego, Los Angeles, Monterey, and San Francisco, California; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Montana; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Chicago, Illinois.

Photograph by Avery Thrasher

They included me on the Walk of Fame! ;)

Hurricanes (the drinks, not the tropical storm type), piano bars, and beignets (you haven’t lived until you’ve bitten into one) in New Orleans. Cold spring swims and cliff jumping in Austin. Almost having a heart attack hiking in the Grand Canyon because I’m afraid of heights. Gambling (because you have to) and having the worst blisters ever from walking into every casino on the strip in one day (because you have to).

A visit to the San Diego Zoo and Sea World in the most perfect weather I’ve ever experienced in San Diego. Obligatory, I walked the Hollywood Walk and took a picture with the Hollywood sign in Los Angelos. Whale watching and aquarium visits were had in Monterey. As a Criminal Justice major, I had to step front into Alcatrez, as well as drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Photograph by Avery Thrasher

Pacific Ocean cherry popped.

Yellowstone, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to in America, was full of geysers and hot spots and…did I mention buffalo walking down the road?! I couldn’t pass through without seeing four of presidents’ faces carved into stone at Mount Rushmore. And then it was off to Lincoln to visit my friend’s family before biting into deep-dish Chicago pizza and trying to figure out the hype of “the bean”.

Don’t disturb the bison walking down the PAVED ROAD. Just drive past him quietly, they say.

Photograph by Avery Thrasher

Oh, “the bean”. Now I get it.

Yea. It was AMAZING!

Google Maps says that we drove 7,138 miles in 28 days. That’s about 255 miles per day. (And that doesn’t include any driving within the cities.) We took turns driving through the night to save money and time. We lived on Lunchables and Red Bulls and listened to books on CDs (because I can only listen to the same song so many times) to make it through the late nights.

Photograph by Avery Thrasher

You wouldn’t know it from the picture, but I was frightened by every step. Heights suck.

We took about 5000 pictures. And no, I’m not exaggerating – by too much.

It was one of the most exciting, yet exhausting months of my life!

Photograph by Avery Thrasher

Shall we go for a swim? It may be a bit too hot.

We were able to use my friend’s vehicle because we were starting and finishing in the same place. On a second road trip on the west coast, I choose to rent a car so we wouldn’t have to drive to and from the west coast from the east coast (about 3,000 miles each way), saving money and time on this road trip.

The trip saw me eating dinner with Ariel in California Adventure and Disneyland (DREAM COME TRUE!), returning to Monterey to drive along Route 101, spotting a black bear in Yosemite National Park, biking ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, drinking at the Portland Brewfest before eating Voodoo Donuts, and whale watching again (and still, I haven’t seen a whale in the wild).

Photograph by Chris Walker-Bush (Aussie on the Road)

Tunnel View at Yosemite National Park, California

Photograph by Chris Walker-Bush (Aussie on the Road)

I told you I biked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was another exciting two weeks of American road tripping. We took about 2500 pictures and drove about 1000 miles from Los Angeles to Seattle (excluding the distance from San Francisco to Portland, where we opted to take a short and cheap flight to save time and money). There were no late night gas station stops or driving through the night, as we weren’t driving nearly as far, but it was still a road trip.

Photograph by Chris Walker-Bush (Aussie on the Road)


Tillamook, Oregon

Tillamook, Oregon

Photograph by Chris Walker-Bush (Aussie on the Road)

“Boy look at that booty, mmm. Boy look at that booty, mmm.” Oh crap, those aren’t the lyrics! (Multnomah Falls, Oregon)

So, the great American road trip…add it to your bucket list!


What do you think?

Have you ever been on an American road trip? Where did you go? What did you do?

If not, will you add an American road trip to your bucket list? (If not, you’re just being silly.)

Chris June 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Aw! So many fond memories of our mini road trip. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year!

Heather June 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm

The time sure does fly when you’re having fun! :)

Ruth August 10, 2013 at 9:37 am

I have taken several short road trips but I still have to go on a long one. I would circle the western states starting from Los Angeles (where I live).

Heather February 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I have taken several short road trips and two long road trips, one that actually went from the east coast to the west coast and back again. I would definitely recommend Yellowstone National Park if you like being outside. I think it’s the most beautiful place in America! And it’s not too, too far away from the west coast.

Sally March 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Wow! so beautiful photographs! really most wonderful position in America and must be inspiration for travelers. these photo will help travelers to take decision for travelling there. Thanks you so much for sharing these.

Heather March 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Hi Sally,

I’m glad you enjoyed looking at some of the pictures from my cross country American road trip. It was a great trip!


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