Student Voice


May 20, 2024


Light Drizzle


Summer travel agendas call for reflection on past trips

April 14, 2010

Oh, the places you’ll go. This summer, hopefully you have some sort of awesome trip to look forward to.

This time last year, I was a mere month away from the most epic week of my life, and yes, it deserves the word “epic.”

I did a semester at California State University-Monterey Bay in spring of 2009, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to see the things that I saw. I could write a book on my four months in California, but I want to share with you the road trip back to Wisconsin I got to experience with one of my best friends.

So, my parents were convinced that if I drove from Monterey, California to Wisconsin by myself, I would die.

Fair enough, so they convinced one of my best friends to fly out and ride back with me. We could have taken the quick way home, which would have cut across the upper part of Nevada, through Salt Lake City, Wyoming, and then through God’s mistake (Nebraska and Iowa). Nay, we took the long, awesome way home.

To start things off, I had to show my buddy Tom what greatness could be seen in close proximity to Monterey Bay.

First, we did what I did on my first day in California, and that was cruise down CA-1. Truly, this is one of the most amazing things I have, and probably will ever, experience.

Basically, just try and imagine every car commercial you’ve ever seen when they’re driving down a road that winds next water, but then amplify that by 100.

I’m a little freaked by heights, but man-ed up drove the beautiful path down CA-1.

The next day, I looked at Tom and said, “Hey, San Francisco?” Yup.

Since I had only been there twice before with my roommate, I was pretty proud of what we all did in just one day. We strolled up and down Haight and Ashbury, saw the Bay Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and of course, The Golden Gate Bridge.

Notably, one thing that was especially awesome about the day, was what an elderly couple told us while overlooking The Golden Gate Bridge.

The couple told us that they had been coming to ‘this’ spot overlooking the bridge for thirty years, and they’ve never seen it as clear as it was the day we were there. Awesome.

After saying my goodbyes in Monterey, it was time to head south to LA. We only had one day, but our priority was the same, and that was to scope out and find the set of “The Office.” We were successful.

They had already wrapped up filming on the season, but we able to stand in many spots that the workers of “Dunder Mifflin” had stood before. 

We were rather excited. Oh, and um, we did plenty of other things like cruise Sunset Blvd, have a drink at Whiskey A Go Go, and see all of the ridiculous mansions of Beverly Hills.

Sadly, though, it was now time to say goodbye to California and head to our next destination.

Our next destination was something that everyone needs to see with their own eyes, The Grand Canyon.

Seriously, no picture or video will ever justify the first time you lay your eyes on this natural wonder. Tom and I drove up and down the canyon stopping at every other “lookout point” taking hundreds and hundreds of pictures. This is a place I need to go back to, and if you’ve never seen it, plan on it.

After taking in as much of the Grand Canyon as we could, it was time to do a little backtracking, and head to Vegas.

On our way, we hit up the Hoover Dam, but didn’t pay the ridiculous amount it would have cost to park and look over the edge. So we got our sweet shots on the move. About an hour after the Hoover Dam, we hit Sin City.

Our first night was truly crazy, not “The Hangover” crazy, but crazy enough for two 21 year olds who had never been there before. Between getting a free limo ride around Vegas because we look like “good guys” to getting charged at by an insane taxi driver, it was a good night.

The second night, though, we were in bed by midnight, because we did still have 30 hours of driving to do.

Lastly, we had one more stop to make that was suggested by a random gentleman at a party in California, and I’m glad we listened.

We headed to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. I won’t try and describe how wonderful it is, just Google search it. After we had taken in our last “natural wonder,” we ended up in Grand Junction, Colo. for some rest.

Tom and I then agreed that once we got past Denver, we would “pull off the Band-Aid” and make the 24-hour trek to get back home.

All I can say is, by God, what I would give to do it again. Even if you have to wait until after graduation, you need to do something along these lines, because Kevin Spacey said it right: “there is so much beauty in the world.”