I’m Back!

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wo2crosscountry 2016 journeyExactly two weeks on the road and just under 5,000 miles put on our 2011 Kia Soul, the Garys have returned to Maryland! We drove through 16 states, slept in nine of them, and saw 43 state license plates (plus DC, Quebec, and Ontario!).

This was a lot of country to cover in only two weeks, but we saw this trip like a wine tasting; we wanted to see a lot of the country we had never seen before so we could get a feel, see variety, and better decide where we want to return and visit more in depth.

Another goal of this trip was for Emerson to see how varied this country is, and to see our privilege. We’ve discussed politics a lot with her, and it’s hard to fathom why politicians vote certain ways if you can’t see how vast and varied the United States. The topography, the culture, the language, the availability of resources, the reservations, the big cities, the small towns that are struggling to survive after businesses have left, the rural areas that have fought to keep their land from the military or government, those who have much more, and those who have much less. We spent a lot of time in the car, which may sound unappealing to many, but it gave us time to have some really amazing conversations and I think we're closer as a family from the experience.

We got a slow leak in one tire in Dodge City and finally able to get it plugged in Albuquerque. We got stoned in Durango, Colorado, literally, when a rock bounced off a truck and cracked our windshield. We gave Kia a wash in Williamsburg that was so powerful it took of some of the paint on the bumper but the grasshoppers from Kansas didn’t budge from our grill. We learned to never pass up the opportunity to get gas or use a bathroom, that the different tap waters across the country not only wreaked havoc on my hair but on Emerson and Karl’s stomachs, and there’s a major benefit to traveling with your own bed pillows and a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s.

I’ll be sharing detailed posts about each stop on our journey and on the road started writing a post about what to take on a cross-country road trip as well as a capsule wardrobe for such a journey. So stay tuned. And in between, there will be regular Wardrobe Oxygen content.

Thank you all for your suggestions on what to see, where to stay, and where to eat. We did many of them and they made our trip great. And thanks all for your comments and support while I shared our journey on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook; it was so fun to read them when we had internet while on the road. This trip really made me appreciate the community here at Wardrobe Oxygen, and all you friends from across the country and the globe!


A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. So fun to start hearing about your trip! Can’t wait to hear more. How old is Emerson now? Sounds like this was such a special time for your family!

    We love doing road trips. When my kids were growing up, we did round trips from Arizona to Minnesota regularly and we chose a different route every time. Lots of fun! Now that the kids are grown my husband and I still like to do road trips. We just did a 3200 mile route from here through New Mexico up to Edwards , CO; then through Wyoming to spend time at Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks; then home through Utah (stopping in Zion,) So fun!

  2. Nice to have you back! And thanks for posting the map… I followed your journey on Facebook but I wasn’t sure where all the places were!! (non-US resident here!)

  3. I enjoyed following your journey on Facebook and Instagram, and it reminded me of the road trips we took as a family when I was a child, and the one I took in my twenties moving from CA to NJ. There’s nothing like seeing this country by car…it’s an education and enlivening experience!

  4. We just returned from a road trip to Colorado (from Ohio) and we also kept track of the number of different state plates that we saw. I think my husband and I got more into it than our kids (age 10 and 6) were …lol ! We saw 46 plates from the states as well as Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia ! Road trips are great and I agree, never pass up an opportunity to get fuel and use the bathroom !

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