Shelley Phillips

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Shelley Phillips


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Road Trippin’

    Every summer, my family and I take a road trip across the country. Over the years, we have been to forty-one states and Canada, and we have seen several major national attractions, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, Niagara Falls, and Key West.

    Typically, near the end of June, my mom, dad, and I set out in our camper with a destination in mind, and we decide on the route as we go. We pick out major landmarks and towns which we are interested in and decide how to see them all in the most time-efficient way. Because of my parents’ work schedules, we usually have only a couple of weeks to travel, so we have learned to make the most of the time available.

    Although each trip has had its own ups and downs, my favorite trip we’ve taken so far is probably our trip to Yellowstone National Park two summers ago. Yellowstone itself was truly magnificent; however, it was everything we were able to see on the journey up that really made the trip spectacular.

    Our first major stop was Chicago. Here, we got to see all that the city had to offer, including the Willis Tower and Navy Pier. After spending a day in the city, we continued to travel northwest toward South Dakota. On our way across South Dakota, we camped in the breathtaking Badlands. These vast expanses of almost unbelievable rock formations spread as far as the eye can see. We spent that evening and most of the next day driving through the national park and walking the winding trails around the various spires and canyons. As we were leaving the Badlands, we even discovered a large network of prairie dogs popping in and out of their holes and speaking to one another in high pitched squeaks. Next, we continued west to Mount Rushmore where we were able to observe the monument and explore the museum- despite the dismal summertime downpour which began upon our arrival.

    After seeing Mount Rushmore, my family and I progressed toward Yellowstone. When we finally crossed the state line into Wyoming, our first stop was Devil’s Tower on the eastern side of the state. This tall butte, which seems to appear out of nowhere, provides various hiking trails and observation points for tourists to enjoy. It just happened that we arrived at the Tower on the Fourth of July. This meant that on top of getting to enjoy the landmark up close, we were able to watch a spectacular fireworks display from our campsite with Devil’s Tower in the background. It was truly a memorable experience to be able to spend with my family.

    Finally, we made our way into Yellowstone National Park on the border of Wyoming and Montana. We spent a total of three days traveling to different areas of the park, during which we were able to see Old Faithful Geyser erupt, and we enjoyed an assortment of gorgeous wildlife and nature. Some of the wildlife came a little too close for comfort when a bison began to follow my dad around one of the trails. Overall, the most amazing part of Yellowstone was certainly the variety of landscapes. From the thick, untouched forests to the hilly expanses of grasslands to the boiling hot geysers and springs, Yellowstone seemed to have it all, and each area we explored was more beautiful than the next.

    The last stop on our trip before heading home was Idaho- mainly so that I could add it to my list of states. We came across a quaint town just in time for lunch and decided to stop at a small Mexican restaurant where they served cow tongue tacos. After lunch, we stopped by a small, old-fashioned soda shop and bought milkshakes and Idaho t-shirts. This concluded our travels to the northwest, so that afternoon, my family and I began our journey home. Throughout this trip, I was able to see many breathtaking landmarks that I didn’t even know existed and that many people never get the chance to experience. I am forever grateful for these trips that I am blessed to take with my family not only because of the opportunity to see so many new places but also for the true quality time with my mom and dad.

Please click on the arrow below to hear Shelley’s Senior Reading.