Thursday, August 16, 2007

Roadtrip 1995: My First Real Adult Vacation

Before I met the wife, my job involved quite a bit of travel. When I would get home from a business trip I never felt like going anywhere on vacation. In early 1995 I was in front of my apartment waiting for a Taxi to take me to the rental car place – I was getting ready to go on travel again – when I sat down on the grass. I felt the grass on my hands and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had touched grass. My apartment was on the second floor and had no yard and my work involved riding navy ships made of haze gray painted steel. I needed to get out of town and give myself time to consider where I was in life and what I wanted to do next. I had this hankering for change. At that point I decided that I needed to take my first real vacation of my adult life.

A few years earlier I had thought about taking a couple weeks off to take a random drive through California and the west. My plan was to look at the map, pick a place that was within driving distance, and go there the next day and explore. Each day I would drive to another random place. I even set aside two weeks and took the leave but I ended up staying home. In 1995 I made the decision to try again.

I decided that I would take a whole month off instead of two weeks. My boss was pretty cool and I was able to take leave for the entire month of September 1995. As I thought of my plan I decided that a random drive was not the way to do it. I went to AAA and got all the maps and books for the western states all the way east to the Rockies. I sat down and started planning. I soon realized that a theme was emerging - National Parks. My initial itinerary, which would change as the vacation progressed, was the following:
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP
  • Yosemite NP - Lake Tahoe
  • Crater Lake NP

  • Portland

  • Mount St. Helen / Mount Rainier NP

  • Seattle – Vancouver

  • Banff

  • Glacier NP

  • Yellowstone NP

  • Rocky Mountain NP

  • Grand Canyon NP

  • Las Vegas

  • Death Valley NP

During this trip I decided to make a clean break. I swore off all television (O.J. trial was going on – no loss there), radio (I packed a bunch of mix tapes), and newspapers. I would cut myself off from the outside world for the entire month. I did send news out - I wrote postcards to my mom.

In the coming weeks I will be posting about the different legs of this trip. I took a lot of pictures (No digital cameras then - 31 rolls of film!). I will scan some pictures to go along with the posts.

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