Coming into the New Year, I was lucky enough to be apart of a celebration for the recent engagement of two of my closest friends just after their graduation from the University of Portland. They had decided they wanted to spend the next chapter of their lives in Portland and it would also be the location of the wedding. This whole year I have been tremendously excited for the affair, and it was tremendous. But, just before my male friend was married, his groomsmen wanted to take him on a little road trip for his final week as a single man.
Our buddy who was getting married, we will call him Gerrod, had always talked about visiting Yosemite, so, for our road trip, that was our planned end destination. Gerrod just finished his last job for the wedding before leaving by hiring a Portland valet parking company for the wedding. We were now all ready to embark on our trip.
We wanted to give him the full experience of the road trip, and told him that he was riding shotgun the whole way there. The bachelor party road trip was just beginning. To start out the road trip, we wanted to make it the full bachelor experience for our good buddy Gerrod. We had a 12 hour drive ahead of us and we wanted to make the most of it. Gerrod took the week following his wedding off of work, and his final day working he was able to get off at 6 pm. We all went to sleep at around 7 pm and departed for our journey at midnight. It was a somewhat odd experience leaving for a road trip at midnight, yet we still felt refreshed from our sleep. To get te excitement rolling, we wanted to make sure that Gerrod was going to have a fun time on the trip. We brought a case of beers to bring into Yosemite.
“Gerrod, you’re riding shotgun, you have to shotgun a beer before you step in that car!” Gerrod, knowing that we were setting the guidelines for this trip, obliged. This was only the start to an exciting trip.
We pulled over to the side of the road to a lush filled ofrest right next to a river stream. Gerrod asked what we were doing? I told him, guess what’s legal now in both Oregon and California. I then popped the trunk and grabbed a beautifully rolled spliff. I was driving so I didn’t partake, but both Gerrod and our other friend enjoyed the spliff. Ats we got back in the car, it was 3 am, incredibly dark. We played some smooth tunes in the car and I could tell Gerrod was absolutely enjoying this experience so far.
As we entered California, we were still in the midst of lush forests. It was about 4:30 and the sun was just beginning to rise. A sunrise, mixed with it peeking through beautiful forests in the tip top of Northern California, while listening to silky smooth music, along with the high Gerrod was surely experiencing, I hoped this was a moment he would never forget.
We were about 7 hours away from Yosemite, and it was 6 am. We decided to pull over near Redding to grab some breakfast forthe day. This time, right before breakfast, I got to share another spliff with Gerrod right before we ate because our other friend was going to be driving. After our little sesh, which was obviously delightful in just legalized California, we entered a little diner to treat ourselves to a hearth NorCal breakfast. We only spent about 45 minutes in there before we were able to set off on our way towards driving the rest of the way to Yosemite.
As we continued our drive through Northern California, the smells and peaceful serenity mixed with the high that I was feeling brought back some tremendous memories that I felt from traveling with my father and sister in my youth. We used to take these highways on our trips to Oregon, and I always told myself that I wanted to live in Portland at some point in my life. I wasn’t sure if what brought me there was Portland itself or the drive through NorCal and southern Oregon that made me love that trip so much.
We passed through some interesting cities on the way there: Chico. Yuba City, Sacramento, Stockton. Most of these cities I did not have much of a desire to return to. It seemed they were becoming more industrialized and the actual city didn’t have that humanistic nature feel that I had grown to love as we left Oregon and NorCal.
Once we were leaving Stockton, we were on our way to Yosemite and took our trip down Highway 120. Since leaving Chico, everything seemed pretty dull and too city like for my liking. But, after traveling on highway 120, we eventually began into forest life again. It was 11 AM, and we decided it was time to pull over for one last spliff as we entered Yosemite. This final high put us over the edge, and the peaceful and grace that Yosemite was offering made us all feel that this road trip was the perfect beginning to a wonderful week for Gerrod as a bachelor before we were to return back to Portland for the wedding.