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How I Celebrated My Graduation With a Memorable Road Trip
Back in May of 1989, I graduated from Cumberland School of Law, and a few friends of mine and I wanted to celebrate. So we planned a road trip that would take us from Birmingham, Alabama, all the way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. On the day we left, we decided to drive straight through to Fort Collins in Colorado, nonstop. We would take a few pit stops on the way and take turns driving, but we didn’t pull over for any other reason. The drive had to be around 24 hours; I can’t remember exactly how long that trip was, but what I do remember is our drive through Kansas. When you drive from the east side of Kansas to the west, you see nothing but flat wheat fields for hundreds of miles. I remember thinking that we’d never get to the other side of them. When we finally reached the west Colorado border and saw the Colorado mountains for the first time, it was a huge relief for all of us. We made it to Fort Collins and stopped there to eat and sleep. The next day we got back into the car and drove for the next 6–8 hours to Wyoming. Jackson Hole was really beautiful; even though it was late May, there was still snow on the ground. We stayed with some friends who worked there, which gave us a lot of opportunities to explore the area. While we were in Jackson Hole, we went white water rafting down the Snake River, which was pretty cool. I remember being worried that our raft would tip over, but we never did, which
to find a restaurant where we loaded up on cheeseburgers, fries, and a couple of Cokes.
is something I was very grateful for. The three of us also spent a lot of time in a bar there called the Mangy Moose, located close to the Grand Tetons. This bar gave us a great view of the mountains, and I remember they had a lot of people dressed in their cowboy or cowgirl outfits to dance in. It was a lot of fun. At some point, we also drove up to Yellowstone to camp and hike for a few days. I’m not a big camping person, but our stay in that national park was absolutely remarkable. Yellowstone was beautiful; there was snow on the ground, but, luckily, it wasn’t uncomfortably cold. One thing I remember about that camping experience was I ran out of food at one point and asked one of my buddies if I could have his can of chicken salad. He told me I could have it, but I would have to pay him first, so he made me pay $5 for the can. Part of me is still a little annoyed at that. Once our camping trip was over, though, we got back into the car
Our entire trip took about seven or eight days, but most of it was spent in the car. On our way back home, we didn’t want to go through Kansas again, so we took a different route. It took us a little further south, and as a result, the trip took a little longer, but it definitely beat going through those endless flat wheat fields again. Just recently, I managed to head back to Jackson Hole for the first time in 30 years with my youngest daughter, Allee. It was a business trip, but I took some time to show her around. We stopped by the Mangy Moose again, and I managed to get a picture with Allee standing next to the sign to show my buddies back home. We even had the chance to get up to Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful go off. That first trip with my buddies is something I’ll always remember, but I’m also very glad I got to share a similar experience with Allee. If I’m lucky, I hope I get the chance to go back again and share that same amazing experience with both my daughters.
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www.petrolawfirm.com | 1 -Mark Petro
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