Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Follow Your Donut

I realized that this past Saturday marked the 1 year anniversary of my moving back to my hometown of Aberdeen, Washington... though technically, when I arrived, I didn't necessarily plan on staying for long.

My college friend and bestie, Lisa, and I embarked on an adventure last year beginning in September. For six weeks, we cruised around the country, visiting 33 states, hearing a lot of "you've gotta try the donuts here, they're the best" and diving deep into the old CD collection for such hit makers as NSYNC and the Coyote Ugly soundtrack for entertainment while driving through some dark and empty parts of the country. I figure, today I will present you with some previously un-published iPhone photos from this trip.

On Day 1, we loaded up and headed out. Driving away from our homeland of the Pacific Ocean - not to be seen for months to come.

Montana - This about sums it up. (JK JK MT, I heart you.)

Colorful Colorado! How lucky were we to get to stay a few days up in the mountains near Aspen! I was awestruck by the rocky cliffs and rushing rivers, but I spent most of my time there with my eyes peeled for b-list celebrities and wildly ravenous bears looking for a soggy northwesterner to eat.

I got my first taste of mid-west chocolate milk, straight from the farm. And it only took us an hour of driving up and down the SAME ROAD in Missouri to find the place. Then an hour of us standing awkwardly in their shop area while they gave samples out to a parade of girl scouts - meanwhile kind of ignoring us onlookers/creepers. We eventually got what we came for.

In Chicago, I came as close as I'll likely ever be to a marathon. We admired the runners as they crossed the finish line while lounging on the grass drinking beer.

IHOP in... Cleveland... maybe? Pro tip: Don't eat at IHOP even if you are hung over and McDonald's stopped serving breakfast already.

Niagara Falls! This is a really creepy place. Another Pro Tip: bring your passport and cross the bridge into Canada. Our brains were not fully functioning on this day and we didn't even think about doing this. Let me break it down for you. Niagara Falls, Canada = Las Vegas while Niagara Falls, US = Reno... or more like a boarded up Casino in the mid-west.

Vermont! We ate cheese! We sampled maple syrup! We screamed with delight every time we saw an old person walking down the little streets or another old building or a white picket fence or a cow or a colorful tree or...

Though it wasn't on our original tour plan, we drove over to Portland, Maine just so I could say that I went from Portland to Portland. Get the lobstah roll. You'll love it.

Though we were truly blessed with beautiful warm and sunny weather for 99% of our trip, our time spent in New York City was very very very wet. Also, I wore sandals the entire time. Have you seen how dirty a New York City puddle is? Thankfully our friend Steve took us on his "Free Tour of NYC" which included an elevator ride in a Times Square hotel. Surely, our fellow passengers thought we were clinically insane. Had they never seen three soaking wet 20-somethings giggling while facing backwards in a glass elevator so they can watch as the floor rushes to meet them?

I died and went to heaven in Philly. Playing jenga in an indoor/outdoor German style beer garden, just after our visit to Barcade, a bar full of video games and nerds (yay) and just before our visit to the 700 Club - basically an old upstairs apartment turned super nerdy dance club.

Me and Lincoln.

The car started to become unrecognizable as such... started to look more like a giant rolling suitcase.

I may or may not have placed stickers of my face all over New Orleans/this country. I'm watching you AMERICA!

When in Austin, do as the Austiners do... eat Queso and see a show at Stubb's.

Hollywood. Your bright lights drew me in, but your $9 cans of Rainier left a bad taste in my mouth.

Lucky to be in San Francisco! Even luckier there was only one small earthquake while we were there and I was the only one who didn't feel it - yet I also seemed to be the only one who maintained a high level of anxiety about this for our entire three days there.

After an afternoon of wine tasting and "walking it off" in Napa, we were back in the PNW! Got out of the car at the California/Oregon border to touch some snow. It was very dark and very cold and the mountains there are insanely huge and menacing looking at night.

After a day in Oregon, we trecked it back in the dark to my old hometown of Aberdeen. Filled with my new knowledge of "America: The Backroads" and more time spent in a car than I ever cared to experience again, I gladly unpacked my bags. Somewhere along the road, I realized that all of these places are unique yet the same. East coasters don't know what an Americano or a pumpkin patch is. West coast people don't know how to pay tolls. Midwesterners love frozen custard. But I'm here to say that we are all united by... donuts. Everyone thinks their town has the best donut (or whatever you happen to call those fried pieces of dough covered in sugar).

With this realization, I decided to stay in my hometown, because obviously our donuts are the best.

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