48 days. 22 states. Nearly 8,000 miles. 70-something friends and family members. 13 motel rooms, 3 state park cabins, one VRBO. 11 restaurants (we travel cheap!). One ACC men’s basketball tournament and 4/5 of the Big Dance (go Loyola Chicago!) 8 pies—and two cobblers—baked in other people’s kitchens (my version of a house gift).
Road Trip VIII is at an end. It’s time to play Best Of.
Best hike: our last one, in Zion National Park. Gentle grade, crystalline creek, and footing easy enough to allow for gawking at the scenery above
Runner-up: Buckskin Gulch in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
Best bike path: the Louisville Loop
Best restaurant meal: The Grange in Bernalillo, NM
Best non-restaurant meal: every dinner cooked by our friend Ben in Asheville. The man’s a marvel. Sorry, no visuals.
Best breakfast: Waffles with Ward in beautiful Celo, NC
Best basketball game: Carolina v. Duke in the ACC semifinals, watched with a roomful of Tarheel fanatics. Runner-up: Kansas v. Duke in the Sweet 16, which we listened to while driving through southern Utah. (Common theme: Beat Dook.)😏
Best animal: tie between the sleeping porcupine I saw in an Oklahoma tree, and my parents’ donkey, Stevie
Best mountains: are you kidding? They’re all best!
Not pictured: our own gorgeous Cascades. Because it was raining when we went by. Because that’s what it does here.
Best radio news story that JUST KEPT GOING: Stormy Daniels* (thanks for the miles and miles you saw us through, Stormy!) *not pictured—you’re welcome
Biggest disappointment: our camping gear remained unused for the entire trip. But given our dates and latitudes, we canNOT complain when Mother Nature sends wind and snow.
Biggest surprise: red rock on the eastern slope of the Rockies! Who knew?
Hardest-working car: Red Rover.
Back in the ferry line, waiting for the boat home, I went for a walk, thinking of the chorus of my song, “Up in Cascadia”:
Up in Cascadia, in the dark of the Douglas firs
No forest, no coastline more raggedly gorgeous than hers
Your transplanted heart, it beats on your sleeve
How can you feel nostalgia for a landscape you’ll never leave?
Wing’s World will now morph back into its usual random self, nice and cozy on beautiful Lopez Island. Thank you for traveling with me! Now stick around for whatever comes next, won’t you?