So I am moving to North Carolina in August, right? And the plan is to pack my car as full as possible, and then drive there with my dad. This prospect is almost as exciting as the whole north carolina idea.
Here's why: I have always always wanted to take a roadtrip just with my dad. I loved roadtripping with him when I was little, but there is something about driving long distances with just one person, and dad, dad is a good roadtripper. He has spent time in most states in the continental U.S., and he has this amazing ability to know exactly where he is going in any location, and he knows all the cool spots to see.
He also likes to look at maps. So once upon a time when I was eight years old, dad was trying to teach me how to use maps, and we had been looking at an atlas that day. And we were having family home evening that night, and dad decided to teach us about the importance of setting goals. So he tells us it is our job to all write down a goal and put it on our wall and tell people about it so we would be accountable and stuff, right? I told Dad my goal was that someday when I was grown up and I had a car and it was my road trip and not me tagging along on his roadtrip, that I was going to take him to Schenectady, New York, just the two of us.
So Dad says: "Now, I'm being serious."
Not to be outdone, I replied "So am I. It is gonna happen."
I was a very determined eight year old.
Backstory: My whole life I didn't think dad really believed me, but I never forgot that I was taking dad on a roadtrip to that place I randomly, arbitrarily picked off a map because I thought the name was cool. I would periodically remind him of my goal, and it has become a sort of joke over the years. You all know my dad travels every other week for work, right? (that is why he has been to so many places) And he brings back really cool souvenirs, which you know if you read this thing regularly, because of this potential TMI post. So this one time, I came home on a Friday night. Dad goes over to his suitcase and tells me he has something for me. I am expecting this great, thoughtful thing that I will love and hang on my wall like usual, but he pulls out his camera. I was kind of confused until he showed me a picture he took of a sign announcing that he is entering Schenectady, NY. It was perhaps an irrational moment of pure joy, but it was real nonetheless.
Anyway. When I told my parents that I was probably going to move across the country, they were really nice and supportive and helped me plan the whole thing. The conversation went something like this:
"Dad, will my car make it to North Carolina, or should I fly and buy a new car when I get there?"
"It will be fine. I think I'll take some time off work and go with you.."
"For reals? You're going to roadtrip with me? Snap!"
"Well, I'm not letting you drive across the country by yourself."
The next conversation went something like this:
" So if we are driving across the country, just the two of us, and I am paying for it and you are tagging along, does that mean I should cross Schenectady off my bucket list and call it good? Or is that a cop out?"
"Oh, I'd say that counts."
And he told me it counts, but I was still worried that replacing Schenectady with North Carolina was a shameful cop-out, especially because the destination was utilitarian as opposed to for the heck of it, you know? And my dear dad who loves me decided that might be a cop out too.
So I showed up at HQ on Friday, and dad asks me if I have ideas about how I want to get there and what I want to see on the way to NC. And I sit down at the map and start spouting about going through Denver cause I love Denver and going to St. Louis because I always thought that I would puke if I went to the top of the arch and I want to see if I can do it without puking. (Cause I actually plan my life around these types of thought processes. judge as you will) And Dad says "Can I show you my plan?" Of course. He is the master of all wisdom. So dad is showing me that he wants to go see Council Bluffs and take this toll road cause it is pretty and hit Chicago and show me places from his mission and I am getting pretty excited, and then he starts tracing up along the great lakes and says we will go see Niagara Falls. And this is where I get really excited cause I have never been there, but I am also thinking that we are getting a little off course, right? And this is when dad traces his finger up near Albany and then:
" I thought we would land here", and stops his finger on none other than....
That's right, folks. I gasped and shrieked with joy. I am going to Schenectady, New York, with my father.
According to dad, it is the same distance to Schenectady as it is to Hillsborough, so we might as well take one extra day and go cross that thing off the bucket list before we drive down the east coast and hit the real destination.
So this roadtripping thing is really happening. You know how lucky I am? I get to adventure across the country, and I have two really great supportive parents who are nice about their youngest child moving twenty five hundred miles away. I have a mom who asks me what is on the "roadtripping music list of joy" that is underway, and a dad who will be concerned about my tendency to get so carsick that I wish for death. He also plans things like what books we will read for two thousand miles and places he wants to show me from when he lived in Illinois thirty something years ago, and remembers the one random thing I wanted to do with him and makes a plan so that we can do it together even when I thought it wasn't really an option on this trip.
Snap, my parents are awesome. Schenectady is happening.