Hitting the pavement with Grandma

I’ve done plenty of road trips in my travels through the US. I’ve visited every state except Alaska and every state in the lower 48 was on one of my road trip routes. I’ve driven through the night, slept in my car and had some sort of caffeine constantly in my cup holder. I’ve had car trouble in Texas, credit card problems in Canada and been teased by border patrol men. I’ve had a good time. This trip will be a little different. This trip is with Grandma.

My Grandma Lysen isn’t a stranger to travel. She’s spent her fair share on the road, whether it’s with her sons, daughter-in-laws and grandkids or just with my grandpa. When I was young, they bought an RV and we did many summer trips. She took my brother and I to Disneyland one year and stayed home with us another summer so Mom and Dad could have an kid-free holiday. She’s had her fun.

Recently, my grandpa died. She had been staying home with him the last few years and being out of earshot of a hospital, doctor, friends and family was just out of the question. Home-bound the were. They enjoyed it. Of course, it was stressful at times, but being in the car for more than an hour is just too hard on old bodies sometimes.

After the stress of arrangements calmed down, she and I decided to take off. The trip was postponed several times with my decision to not go to China and other obligations. It seemed to be just a pipe dream.


Grandma has family in Portland and California, so when I was hosting a CouchSurfer who was able to drive me to Portland, our trip was magically jumpstarted. Soon, we were leaving… in a week!

I was able to find CouchSurfing hosts in Sacramento and San Francisco. One is an American friend that hosted me in Istanbul and the other is an Italian girl who hosted me and celebrated my birthday with me in Italy. It’s like going back to visit friends!

I’m also able to visit some non-CouchSurfing friends (I know, I know, non-CS friends? Those exist?!?) in San Francisco and attend a Cinco de Mayo festival with my San Francisco host. Everything works out beautifully.

So I’m in Portland now. Tomorrow morning, Grandma will pick me up and we’ll head for sunny California. She will drop me off in San Francisco and pick me up in Sacramento a few days later. She’ll spend her time visiting family in Northern California. We’ll head north and visit my Grandma Hustoft in Southern Washington, then my aunt and uncle and whatever cousins are home near Seattle. The plan is then to split and I’ll get a lift with my brother or take Amtrak back to Bellingham.

It won’t be a 12-hour driving day like my other trips, but it is still, technically, a road trip. Not many people get to do this with their grandparents, so I’m very lucky. I’ll get to see most of my nearest relatives before I leave for Italy and get away for one last American road trip. Hopefully nothing will go wrong like in my previous trips, but if it does, I’m sure we’ll have a good laugh about it and we will have one more story to exaggerate at holidays.

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