The journey home was a long one… I left Pheonix at 4:30 in the morning on day 21. I was a man on a mission. The mission was simple, drive 920 miles from Pheonix, AZ to Fort Collins, CO.
The trip took me through Santa Fe. That was a bit rough. I didn’t even have time to stop in and wave. You see, I have spent a few seasons working at the opera there, and I still have a lot of friends in the area. It was my intention to make an appearance as part of this adventure. However like so many things involving me and Santa Fe, it just wasn’t meant to be. Honestly if my track record for visiting is any indicator, it’s probably for the best. Still sad to be so close to so many I hold dear, but unable to swing by, but things will be as they are meant to be.
As I traveled further north I started to smell smoke. I bet you think It was Jeff. Shame on you.
My drive took me close enough to a few of the large fires that the smoke blocked out the sun. It was surreal to see the glow in the distance, the pinks and purples peaking through the clouds, and the realization that almost everyone else was smart enough to find a route that was further away from the fires. The wimps!
Well, around 9:30pm I arrived in Fort Collins, CO and got to visit with Keenan and Sarah. Keenan is literally my oldest friend. He grew up about a half mile through the woods from me and we bonded from an early age over video games, blowing things up, and a mutual understanding that there were no other playmates within walking distance. Haha. He has been my best friend, a roommate, and on more than one occasion the recipient of a drunken freaked out phone call. Sarah is the woman who tolerates us and I honestly have no clue why…
Well these two have been engaged forever. And by forever I mean I think in the amount of time they have been engaged I got engaged, married, and divorced. Everyone has given up on them ever actually doing it.
Well I think the fires I drove through were my preview to hell freezing over. They have set a date. October something 2019… They told me the day, but until I receive that save the date etched in stone I am not going to remember it.
The other news is that they asked if I would officiate their ceremony. After some negotiations on how much input I get and weather or not I have to wear pants to the ceremony, I graciously accepted. So internet, prepare to ordain me. I wonder if I pay a little extra can get a tittle? Like Arch Bishop DeLong? Would it be weird if I insisted on making people call me “your excellency” at the wedding? Don’t worry, I’ll let them kiss my ring. Haha
But seriously Keenan and Sarah, I am honored and I promise to only embarrass myself.
Day 22 was fairly uneventful as far as travels go. I drove a half hour to I-70 and then drove East for 8.5 hours to Amanda and Jakes in Kansas City. The only notable thing is that my water bottle tasted a bit off towards the end of the day. I thought nothing of it, but… we’ll get to that later.
So I arrived at Amanda and Jakes and their dog Cooper lost his mind. I’m talking jumping, rebounding off a wall, licking my face, into a back flip kinda excited. I am his favorite human. I think Amanda is a bit jealous.
Speaking of Amanda, she is kinda preggars at the moment. So we are not going to make any jokes about anything…
But I have already started thinking of all the memes that I am going to make out of this photo…
At any rate it was a lovely evening of hanging out and watching Firefly and shooting the shit with these two. Odds are the next time I see them I will have a tiny human who will no doubt have her mothers sass demanding my attention.
Day 23 should have been an easy one. Only 6 hours of driving home, 5 of which on I-70… well you remember how my water tasted a little off. I am going to say that was the issue. Because any other explanation would mean Amanda gave me food poisoning and I am pretty sure even implying that’s a possibility would be a serious infraction.
So, about 50 miles into my drive I started to experience, shall we say gastrointestinal distress. I made it to a truck stop and the took care of business, or so I thought. 4 miles down the road, the urge returned. Pulled off on the next exit and once again took care of business. After waiting a good long while to make sure it was safe to return to driving, I hit the road again. About 10 miles down the road I suddenly felt nauseous, and then I felt more than nauseous. I cut Jeff across 3 lanes of traffic while going 85mph. I slammed on my brakes the moment I hit that shoulder. I put Jeff in park the moment he was sort of stopped, flipped on the hazard lights, and made a B-line to the guardrail on the side of the road. That is were I went all exorcist. I have done a great many things on the side of highways over the years, but this is the first time I have violently vomited. I don’t recommend it.
I traveled the next 100 miles an exit at a time. Day 23 was going to be the last day on this adventure no matter what. Once I started feeling better I started skipping a few exits, until finally I was back to being a functional human being.
At 6:49 PM I pulled into my driveway and officially ended this adventure. 7,626 miles of driving over 16 states, 11 National parks visited, 13 friends visited, $4,126 worth of repairs to Jeff, 342 gallons of gas, $255 worth of gambling profits, 1 case of serious food poisoning, 1 new tattoo, and more stories than I can even currently comprehend.
That my friends was one hell of an adventure. Road Trip 2018 is over, but my journeys are far from over. I am currently sitting in my new home, or rather the gutted shell that will soon be known as “The DeLong Home For Adults Who Can’t Even”. I am flying to FL to start a new job that is a serious step foreword career wise in a little over a week. I also am not about to start adulting full time any time soon.
So, thank you for joining me on this round, but remember, life is an adventure and only you can embrace it.
“I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different points of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
Points scored on stumble:
– 2 points for visiting with friends
– 2 point for accruing another 1000 miles twice
Total score for this trip: 42
Do you want to be emailed every time I post something new? sign up for email notifications here: