From Atlantic to Pacific, the traffic was non-existent.

I drove 3,451 miles to enjoy this sunset. It was worth every mile.

In 1976, our family set out in our classic green and white Winnebago for three weeks of a whirlwind tour across the western United States. From Texas to California to Oregon to South Dakota and back home to Louisiana, I loved that trip. I would sit in the upper bunk bed above the main drivers cabin and wave to everyone as Dad was driving. Dad was unaware and would exclaim: “Folks are so friendly out west! Everyone is waving to us!”

It was my secret.

Every family picture of our Wild West tour is me smiling. My sister? Well, it was her teen years. It was more likely to capture her in the family pics with arms folded, while Mom and Dad had a look of exhaustion from the drive.

Travel and I agree. Mom and Dad can take credit. Dad was career military, so we moved every three to five years as I was growing up. There were new places to see, new friends to make, new experiences to be had. When we were stationed in Berlin, we used that Winnebago to see all of Europe.

Everyone I have visited has asked me how my current road trip is going. My answer? It’s beyond amazing. There have been moments of smiles and absolute joy as I have driven from Atlantic to Pacific. I’ve driven across the entire United States and achieved another one of my life goals.

And yes, that eleven year old boy is still smiling inside me. There may even be a wave or two.

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