My bedroom door opened at the crack of dawn and my roommate pounced on me with glee in her eyes. “I have a week off! Let’s go on an adventure!” she squealed. Moments like these make me melt a little bit inside—anyone stoked on exploring a new place on a whim is my kind of human. “Where should we go?”

We wanted to leave California; we had a whole week and needed to make the most of our time. This meant being in a car for an absurd amount of hours. We both love road trips. I could be in a car staring out the window for days on end and be content as long as I have some good music, good company and scenic rest stops that involve jumping jacks and dancing to stay awake. Eventually we decided on Utah, a rock climbing mecca and all around beautiful state, where our good friend recently became a father.

We planned to drive through the state, from the south to the north, stopping at various climbing havens, national parks, hot springs and to meet our friend’s newborn. We lacked a detailed itinerary but had faith in our “go with the flow” mindset.

If I were to write a book about roadtrippin’, it would be filled with frustrating moments, uplifting stories, quotes made in delirium, “dos and don’ts” of the road, wins, losses and other goodies from our week-long road trip through the state of Utah. Here I present to you a few chapters from my hypothetical book.

Chapter 4: I Think We Should …

Going into this trip we had very little pre-planned. I don’t regret this decision—it’s actually my favorite way to travel. BUT, when doing this you must be open to change. We planned to go to Zion National Park first and head north from there. The closer we got, the thicker the clouds got and the lower our psyche got. Rain was on the horizon for the upcoming days in Zion so we bailed on the first “kinda” plan we had and took a sharp left to head up north. Five hours later we made it to the north point of Utah at the Bonneville Salt Flats and woke up to sunny skies and warm weather.

Don’t always stick to the plan.


Chapter 7: Wanna Play a Game?

Approximately every seven or so hours I would hear the question, “Wanna play a game?” Sometimes I would be psyched, other times I would be weary, but every time it ended up being filled with gut-wrenching hilarity.

Be creative. Be silly. Make up games. Play games even when all you want to do is pull over and set up camp. Games are good for the soul.


Chapter 12: This Sucks.

We got to Joe’s Valley, a world-renowned wonderland of boulders to climb on, and the weather sucked. We climbed for a day as the snow beat down on us and eventually it started raining. We were unhappy, we couldn’t climb in the rain and camping in this weather seemed miserable. “Let’s get the hell out of here.” “I agree. Where to?”

The best part about adventures is that you have complete control over what happens next. Weather sucks? Move on to somewhere more enjoyable.


Chapter 14: Hey, Grab The Floss.

Things to do to stay awake:

Floss. Try to say the alphabet backwards. Pronounce words backwards and have the person guess what the word is. Sing without taking a breath. I spy with my little eye. Ghost ride the whip. Beatboxing. Rapping. Philosophical conversations. Sweet and Sour (remember that game? You wave to someone to see if they wave back. We made a lot of people’s day playing this game).


Chapter 17: Breathe.

As we headed down a windy highway road, the sun had set, a moonless sky billowed above us, no street lamps gleamed and Priya’s headlights (my hearty Toyota Prius) were all but luminous. Suddenly little Bambi entered the middle of the road, my adventure partner slowed and avoided the sweet little creature. Just as relief set in, Mama Bambi dove right in front of Priya with no regard for the laws of the road and gently tumbled over the hood of the car. Luckily, both of the four-legged fauna bounced away, seemingly unhurt. My animal-loving road trip partner was in shock, on the verge of tears and I had to remind her to pull to the side of the road and breathe.

Whether you accidentally smashed into an innocent animal, totaled your car, spilled cereal on yourself while driving, were overcome with road rage or just hangry, remember to breathe.

    Ellen Baker

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    Rock scrambling, exploring and taking photos along the way.