Road tripping to college

I'm just barely returned from an epic road trip to take Maddie to college in Provo, Utah -- that's approximately 2800 miles round trip. Originally, our plan had been for Sterling and I to fly out with Maddie, get her settled, and then fly back home. But then we found out that our younger kids' first day of school was two days BEFORE Maddie could even move into her dorm. And then there was the matter of the STUFF. Airline baggage restrictions are annoying aplenty when you are going on vacation. Bringing an entire year's worth of super important belongings? It's sketchy. 

The lucky part was that my nephew was going to the same university. And my fun-loving SIL needed to move him and his ginormous computer tower to the exact same place. And thus, the road trip was born.

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Unlike trips of younger days, when my husband would convince me to drive straight through (24 hours), Debbie and I planned ahead and booked hotel rooms in Albuquerque. Yep, this was a trip planned and executed by women. We had maps (both electronic and paper), we made frequent pit stops, we stayed at a hotel, we even stopped at each and every sign indicating we were entering a new state -- FOR PICTURES. [Note: This is not to say I don't love traveling with my hubs. He's pretty famous for doing all of the driving.] But we did spend about 20 minutes in Clovis, driving up and down the main road, Internet researching a good place to eat. Who does that? Women dedicated to good road trip eats. That's who!

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In between food procurement and picture stops, we talked, and laughed, and marveled at how easy it is to travel with two 18 year-olds. (Except for that one time Maddie passed her fruit snacks to the front because she couldn't open it. And I totally teased her about who would open her fruit snacks at college. But then I couldn't open it myself. Huh.)

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Guys, the drive from Texas to Utah is breathtaking. It's 97% wide open spaces -- rolling fields and farmhouses, desert plains studded with scrubby bushes -- framed by a series of plateaus, winding canyon roads hemmed in with red rock. I can't help but wish I could live out in that lone beauty. Just a small cabin, a four-wheel drive vehicle, and Amazon Prime.

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The bonus is that I traveled the same roads, daydreamed about the same plateaus, stopped at the same diners and gas stations when I was a hopeful 18 year-old college student. It doesn't seem so long ago really. The trip has become a pilgrimage of sorts, traveling back through time in a way, sharing my experiences with my own daughter, looking forward to her adventures. 

And then there's also knowing she's only a three-hour plane ride away. That works too.