by Ruby Singer
Three thousand two hundred miles, 18 days, 13 states, seven people and one RV later, here I am remembering the trip that most people only dream of. I’ve found that there’s more to this life than green forests and blue skies. There’s red sand and orange arcs that tower above you against a vast sky. There are layers of rock from when the dinosaurs were still kicking, and there are endless bodies of water with hidden caves and treasures ready to be found. It’s both crazy and scary and eye-opening. Now here’s how we went 3,200 miles in 18 days to 13 states with seven people crammed into one RV.
First we flew to Los Angeles where practically all my mom’s family lives. We were smothered by the never-ending “you’re so talls” and “so any boyfriends yets?” Only a few days later, we were off to the one and only Las Vegas. I mean, our license plate was “GTB 777” Gotta Be 7’s!
Unfortunately, we walked three miles in the wrong direction before realizing we had to walk another four to get to the Luxor pyramid, so Las Vegas was a bust. At least we saw how alive the place can be. Plus my ever-lucky grandma won over $1,200. From Vegas, we made our way to none other than the once-in-a-planet Grand Canyon. We left the RV at the park and took a lovely 2-hour train ride to the Grand Canyon. Now I’m sure you’d like me to describe ‘the moment that my gaze fell upon this natural masterpiece,’ but to be honest, I can’t. The only feeling I could sort through when ‘my gaze fell upon this natural masterpiece’ was dizziness. Literally I had to sit down. Pre-trip I always imagined it as a huge crack in the earth, but it’s more of a huge valley with hills and layers. It was like you were reading history by looking at horizontal colors. And when it rained, the colors totally popped. I think that was my first taste in what was to come as we traveled across the country.
Next was Lake Powell, probably one of my favorite parts. We went straight to the water. We collected seashells and rocks until we couldn’t carry anything else. We were all shocked at how red the sand was, like really, purely red. I was taken aback by how striking the contrast with the sky and land was. It was so different from home. Well, my home.
We then went to the Horseshoe Bend, which was previously my brother’s screensaver, so my mom made it her absolute mission to get him to see it in person. It was amazing to see such a drastic bend in a straight river. It was almost symbolic. We were soon in Utah, where everything was dry and bare, and it made me a little homesick for my beautiful alive trees. It made me realize how much the trees hid the landscape at home, and how in some ways it hid other things; but that wasn’t a bad thing, hiding isn’t always bad. We went through Colorado next, where my mom grew up and we stayed with her old middle school friends. I realized how lucky I am, too. I have friends now that I know will last a lifetime.
Then, we were off to the long part of the trip. There was a lot of driving from then on, more than I expected. We drove right through Nebraska with only corn out our window; Iowa was another blur of fields and lots of car time. As we traveled across the country, the landscape never failed to amaze me. It changes so much in such a small amount of time, more than I could have imagined. At this point I was about one-and-a-half books, eight episodes, five pencils and one third of my notebook into my entertainment supply and I was starting to panic.
In Indiana we stopped at Notre Dame College where there was a Grotto. We aren’t a religious family, but we thought that we should stop by and light some candles for our family. It was strange seeing all the different types of people praying there.
Then was Niagara Falls. We were so excited, but (of course) we got lost on the way there. We followed the river, which soon brought us to Niagara Falls. When we got closer, we found that the falls curved so you could see the other side better than the middle. There were people below in a boat being tossed around, and I think that both my stomach and I appreciated the solid sidewalk under my feet. It was strange that there could be calm, an extraordinarily fast and sudden drop, and then calm again.
We were now officially almost home! I started to recognize the streets and houses as we started to get closer to the house, I couldn’t help but smile. The moment we stopped I jumped out and ran toward our house, my siblings not far behind. My house felt familiar and warm, and full of memories. It was truly our home. But now it felt smaller and more … confined.
My home, the one I’ve lived in for as long as I can remember, was changing, or more accurately, I was changing. I guess as I’ve grown, the walls have gotten closer together and I was ready to see past them. I was given a taste and now it was taken from me; I’m left with what I had before, and it feels like I’ve lost something that was never really mine. I’m being all poetic, I know when others say things like losing something that wasn’t theirs they don’t always mean the same thing, but this is my loss, and it was one of the biggest gains I know I’ll ever have.