The freedom of an open road

Illustration of an RV, through a following car's dashboard window.
Emily Bi/File

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My small Honda Accord stood parked on my driveway in the early morning hours of August, when the sun was just peeking up from the horizon, painting the sky shades of pink, yellow and orange. It stood alone, packed to the brim with suitcases, snacks and pillows, as it roared to life and filled the early morning silence. For the next two days, I spent my time trading places from the passenger to driver’s seat, running on iced coffee and consuming an embarrassing amount of Hot Cheetos, while on a journey from my hot, dry town in Central California, to the cool, rainy greenery of Bellingham, Washington. 

I have a lot to say about this journey and could go on for hours about how the endless fields of the Central Valley grew into the tall trees of Northern California. I could write about how the green, rolling hills of Oregon seemed to go on forever, connected by bridges sculpted by steel that, in themselves, were works of art. I could write about the cliffs of Washington, how the crystal ocean waves clashed against the black cliffsides in a white and blue haze. But, above all else, I want to talk about the freedom of the open road, of driving with no plans as to where you will stop next. 

There is nothing quite like the freedom of an open road trip. Driving down Interstate 5 with the windows down, watching the sun crawl up the horizon or down into the mountains, held a contentment that I had never felt before. We drove for hours, singing old Disney songs, and stopping for lunch anywhere we saw fit. The road seemed to stretch on forever, weaving through mountains and above rivers, grounding itself in the roots of scenery that seemed too perfect to touch. I remember driving through the winding roads of the Washington mountains and Oregon hills, the smell of oak and cedar trees filling my senses and a giddiness in my stomach, a relief. A relief only brought by the freedom of the open road.

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected].