Guest post by Hannah, writer at Tiny Town Stories.
This August, my family embarked on a two-week-long road trip across the country. We’ve done long road trips before, but a trip involving seven people (two of which are toddlers), one minivan, and a million markers is definitely an interesting experience.
The plan was to leave at six A. M. on Saturday, August first. Our car was already packed and loaded, so all we had to do was just get up, grab a few last-minute things, and then leave. Low and behold, my dad decided to wake us up at 4:45 A.M. Even though it was way earlier than planned, I was glad I got to see the sunrise, which was really pretty.
The sky seamlessly faded from darkness to bluish-gray, and then into light pink that slowly got brighter and brighter.
The first day consisted of barren, empty lands. (AKA eastern Montana and North Dakota.) But there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. Over the next two days, we left empty fields for the land of cities, cars, and skyscrapers. Finally, after three days of driving, we made it to our first destination: Ohio.
After spending about a week in Ohio, visiting family and friends, we left and drove a quick six-hour drive to Michigan, to visit even more family. The next day, we went to Lake Huron. My little siblings were enthralled with the sand. We ended up “illegally” jumping off of a pier into the water a few times too. (Even though jumping off the pier was technically illegal, lots of people still did it).
After a fun three days in Michigan, we drove fourteen hours through the Upper Peninsula. Even though the drive was long, the scenery was super pretty! It had the nicest fall/winter vibes with thick forests of pine trees. We made it to our last destination, Minnesota, to visit some friends. We stayed there for about three days.
While we were in Minnesota, we experienced, to quote my dad, “A real thunderstorm.” It was crazy! The lightning was like strobe lights and the thunder never stopped! And then, the next day, we got to experience a tornado warning.
Where we live, tornadoes and thunderstorms are very uncommon. (Replace them with constant wind and snowstorms.) So when this tornado warning came, we were kind of clueless as to what to do. We prepared to go into the basement, but then we didn’t end up going in because the tornado wasn’t near us. At one point, some of us were preparing things and others were carrying crying babies. My dad was outside with the umbrella giving a science lesson to the kids. The tornado-funnel-cloud-thing eventually left, and then we continued with our evening.
The next day, we left for home! I wasn’t necessarily super excited to go home, but I was also kind of relieved at the thought of going back home. Those last two days of driving snaked by even more than the fourteen-hour long drive. I observed many (hilarious) toddler fights.
And then, we were home. It was a bittersweet feeling. I was ready for fall to come, for things to calm down. But I also yearned for the adventure and fun that we had on that trip.
Quotes Without Context:
“This smells like an airport”
“My spit is like honey.”
“It is the essence of nukes.”
“One state moooorrrreeee!”
And, since this takes place in 2020, COVID-19 exists. We didn’t stop much, only for bathrooms, gas, and hotels. It was interesting to see how each state varied on their mask-wearing policies.
In the empty lands of Eastern Montana, we saw nary a soul, so we didn’t have to worry about masks. Everyone was really relaxed in North Dakota, which was like a peek into the world before all of this. From there, it just became an experiment. “We haven’t stopped in this state, right? I wonder if they’ll make us wear masks?” More often than not, a sign was posted telling us to wear masks, but no one was there to enforce it.
The main thing that I noticed about this trip was that in the midst of quarantine, I had forgotten how big and wide the world is. How much different regions differ, even though they are in the same country.
One of the writing projects I worked on during this trip was a dystopian novel heavily inspired by the pandemic. In the book, travel is frowned upon by almost everyone. And they had valid points too. Why risk getting sick, and then bringing it back to your home?
But the thing is, we can’t stop travelling. When you travel, you see how different states and regions are unique. Sure, we are all in the same country, but we have such different beliefs and lifestyles. It’s all so gloriously different, and we cannot afford to forget that.
Hannah is a crazy, pen-wielding, jack-of-all trades teenage writer. She enjoys doing many things, from sewing to skiing, from playing piano to doing puzzles, but most of all, she loves writing.
She writes and reads in a multitude of genres, her favorites being fantasy, dystopian, and historical fiction, along with a little bit of nonfiction for her blog. Her top three favorite books are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, although this list is constantly changing.
To find out more about Hannah, be sure to check out her blog and instagram account, @tinytownstoriesblog.
Feature image from @DiegoJimenez on Unsplash.