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My Final American Roadtrip

In May, my American adventure came to an end. I am writing this month's blog from my parents' apartment in Brisbane, Queensland, where I will stay until I head off to India for the last portion of my double degree at the end of July. 

 

The start of the month saw me hop a flight to Denver, Colorado, from Toronto. I arrived in the evening and was treated to a milkshake by my friend Zander who lives there. Then I was off again on my last multi-state road trip. The first stop was in Ranchos de Taos, where I managed to score myself a week-long housesit four minutes' away from my best friend Niall. We hadn’t seen each other since 2018 when I lived in Toronto and he in New York. This visit was particularly special because he is now a dad to a beautiful little girl named Aria. This trip saw us on hikes, at multiple hot springs, and enjoying the free food at the local Indian temple. While there, I also participated in some Native American activities. Niall’s partner is from the Lakota tribe, and I was able to participate in a sweat lodge. This is where you enter an enclosed area that becomes pitch black and very hot, while people chant and make prayers for loved ones. Absolutely terrific ceremony; I only wish I'd stayed to smoke from the shared pipe. On another day, we went to a Maypole ceremony out in the middle of nowhere. There were maybe fifty people with flower crowns and sharing food. Someone had offered up a large bowl of weed for the community. There was Native American dancing and chanting there too. I highly recommend visiting New Mexico. The buildings are all pueblo-style with accents of turquoise, and the weather is phenomenal. Blue skies and sunshine every day I was there! 



From the 7th to the 10th, I covered a few more American states. I did a cheeky stop at a historical three-state monument which meant I technically have been in Texas and Oklahoma now. Then I drove on to Kansas where I visited a replica of Dorothy's house from the Wizard of Oz and took a selfie with the largest easel in the world. Heading up through Nebraska, I stopped at the state's famous fast food restaurant, Runza, and checked out Carhenge (cars positioned like the Stonehenge). Most importantly, I traveled up through South Dakota to visit the Mount Rushmore National Monument. It is freaking fabulous. I had invited several of my friends on this road trip, hoping they would be as excited about the mountain as I was, but no one had any interest. How? It’s a large mountain with people's faces carved right into it! Incredible! Anyway, I highly recommend it. I was smiling the whole way there and back. Lastly, I drove the car down through Wyoming, stopping at the Terry Bison Ranch to see the bison and other animals, and back to Denver where I had organised a two-week housesit next to Washington Park. 



For the rest of May, my buddy Norman, an Alaskan Malamute, and I went for two walks a day and pondered how much better my American travels would have been had I just bought a car. Luckily, my friend Zander had some wheels, so we were able to visit the Red Rocks Amphitheatre together, as well as going on a road trip up to the Rocky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, when we got up there, we found out that dogs were unable to go on any of the trails. So instead, we drove around the park snapping photos of snowy landscapes, which were pretty spectacular. Also in Denver, after having rented a car for my last week, I was able to explore surrounding areas a little more. On one day, I visited Casa Bonita, the famous restaurant featured on South Park that I needed to have booked years in advance before coming to Colorado; on another, I headed to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. But perhaps the most exciting adventure I had in my last week was going to a shooting range, where I took part in an introductory pistol course and got to shoot a 22 mm semi-automatic pistol. I managed to get all 56 shots fired onto the target pad, and my classmates said I have great aim. #chuffed 

 


The last leg of my journey saw me take three flights from Denver to Chicago (3.5 hours) to Taipei (15 hours) to Brisbane (9 hours), excluding wait times and layover times. I was lucky to have scheduled things to maximise sleep times because when I arrived back in Brisbane on the 25th of May at 9 p.m, I went straight to bed.


And that’s that, folks, another adventure complete. I read 'While I Was Gone' by Sue Miller (meh), caught up on 'Love is Blind' Seasons, finally watched 'Fleabag', and consumed a large quantity of movies while in Denver and in-flight. Special mentions go to 'Renfield' (fabulous), 'The Iron Claw' (very sad), and ‘Don’t Click’ (starring me). Next month is a little more low-key; I’m getting back into work, finishing off a course for University, and attempting to catch up on my TravelBugs drawings. 


Write to you later, 

May 




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