Tales from the Road

_DSC0014_2On June second my daughter graduates from college, and the next day we leave on an epic mother-daughter roadtrip across the country: from sea to shining sea. (If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that she and I have been making regular trips back and forth from Maine to Pennsylvania, where she’s been attending college. You can read about those trips here and here, where my daughter explains her worries about mountain goats.)

You see, my daughter (all 21-years-old of her) landed her dream job straight out of college. I’m very proud because she’s a really smart young woman, a really hard worker, and she’s also one of the sweetest and nicest people you’d ever want to meet. But I think it’s okay to say I’m also going to miss her a lot. And so I jumped at the chance when she asked me if I wanted to drive across the country with her—as a graduation gift for her. For her?

So far the only place my daughter has specifically said she wants to go is the Grand Canyon, but I’m guessing we’ll probably go a lot of other places. A LOT of other places, three thousand miles worth to be specific, but the Grand Canyon is the only place firmly on the agenda right now. Well, that and the city she’ll be working in, in California. We’ll go there, too.

Of course she’ll be there a lot longer than I will be because after we get there, I’ll turn around and come home . . . And it’s the way home that will get a little more interesting because for one thing I’ll be missing my girl like crazy the second she’s out of my sight. (I mean, she’s been gone four years already, but she was “only” a day’s drive away. Now she’ll be 3,200 miles away. That’s a long drive, a long flight, a long way, and she’s my girl and she’s also just about my best friend.)

For another thing, I’ll be on my own, just be me and the wide open highway. Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually looking forward to all that time alone. It will give me a lot of time to think and think and think. And to listen to audio books and to say a novel out loud into a tape recorder or Dragon Dictation. (I’m not sure which way will be better, but it’s a long way, and I figure I need to have some mystery about some things—like whether I will use a tape recorder or Dragon Dictation. I’ll bring both and I’ll see what works best.)

I’m also planning to visit some friends I haven’t seen in a long (really long) time, and I’m planning to meet some new friends, some bloggers, who I’ve only ever met on the Internet or on the phone. So that will be great fun!

And what else? I’ll be blogging: every day from the road—both ways across. But more than anything? I’ll be driving . . . so, if you see me in my small white nondescript station wagon—if it’s at the Grand Canyon or anywhere else—please slow down to wave and say hey!

And come on back to the blog in a few days for my first tale from the road!

Have you ever driven across the country? And/or have you ever dictated a novel? Do tell!






  1. Hi Julia – in the UK our ‘across the country’ is a bit shorter, but I live in Cornwall in the far South West and my oldest daughter lives in Orkney in the far North-East, so I often drive the thousand or so miles through mainland Britain. I love the solitude of the open road, and the anticipation of seeing her, and the happy memories of my visit as I begin the drive home again, but I find I’m more acutely aware of the geographical distance adding up between us on my homeward journey, and I always wish it wasn’t quite so far.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Hi Jenny, Thanks so much for your comment…especially because a country apart is a country apart (no matter the exact mileage) so I know you and I are in the same frame of mind. I agree, the solitude is wonderful, I’m really looking forward to that, but I know that like you I’ll be acutely aware of the distance! Thanks again, Julia

  2. Karen Wojcik Berner says:

    Congratulations to your daughter, Julia! I’m sure it will be difficult to let her go. Sounds like you are going to have a great adventure together. If you will be passing through the Chicago area, drop me an email. I’d love to meet you in the real world! 🙂 Have fun and safe travels!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I may well be traveling through Chicago, and I’ll be in touch if time of day and time of trip allow 🙂 It would be fabulous to meet you as well!!

  3. Melissa Crytzer Fry says:

    Julia … I am so jealous! Trip of a lifetime (and what a wonderful bonding experience for you and your daughter). I am SO excited to read your daily updates and can’t wait to hear more about your insights as you trek across this beautiful country. Enjoy and savor EVERY moment!

    Love getting a glimpse of “Maggie True’s” station wagon.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Yes, that is one and the same as Maggie’s nondescript wagon 🙂 And believe me, I’ll be savoring. I hope you enjoy the journey through my posts!

  4. Julie Luek says:

    I’ll look forward to your cross-country updates. We’re doing a similar trip in reverse in June, from CO to PA to visit my mom. If you hit CO before the 10th (when we leave to go east) let me know, please. Enjoy your trip and mother-daughter time. My heart knows how precious this is!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Nice to meet another long distance traveler 🙂 We may well go through CO before the 10th, and if we come into your neck of the state, I’ll give you a call! It would be so fun!! (And yes, this trip is very precious!)

  5. Wow, I’ve always dreamed of doing this! Congratulations to your daughter on getting her dream job! How wonderful that she wants this as her gift–I love that!

    I’m so excited for you for both stretches of the trip; each will be so memorable in its own way. Have a safe trip and do let me know if you’ll be in Texas!!!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I hope you can life a little bit of your dream through my blogs, Natalia! (I’ll pass your congrats onto my daughter!) And you can count on me letting you know if I go through Texas…I probably won’t be going down that south, but now wish I were! 🙂

  6. Awesome awesome awesome! I hope you have a blast on your way there and that you get lots of wonderful productive thinking done on your way home. Safe journeys!

  7. Shary says:

    I’ve taken a lot of long road trips (not as long as yours, though) and I love listening to recorded books to keep me company. I break it up with singing along with the radio if I feel sleepy. Of course, I have to stop often to walk my road trip sidekick. 🙂 Can’t wait to read about your adventures. And if you get to SoCal, call me!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I LOVE singing with the radio! And I’m planning to take some recorded books (if I have time to pick them up, yikes, running out of that… time!). I won’t have Lola (or Abby) to walk but I will be stopping for frequent walks, perhaps I can pretend Smythe is with me! And I do believe I’ll be in SoCal so if I make it as far south as San Diego, I’ll be calling!! Can’t wait!

  8. Lori P says:

    What a wonderful adventure for you two! Enjoy!! Hubs and I went to the Grand Canyon for our first anniversary, so I’ll always be sentimental about it. =)

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I’ll be thinking of you at the Grand Canyon, Lori!! What a wonderful place to spend an anniversary! Thanks for your well wishes.

  9. I drove my second oldest son out to L.A. one year. It was a very nice trip. We took our time and saw a few things. Unlike you, I flew back and left his car there with him. We stopped at the Grand Canyon too and had a wonderful morning together visiting one of the less populated lookouts near one of the ends of the canyon. We had it to ourselves most of the time.

    Be safe and have a great time. Let me know if you are able to stop here in West Chester, north of Cincinnati.

    I’m looking forward to your posts, but won’t hold you to a post every day.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      So happy to hear about your wonderful trip — such great times in the car, aren’t they, Christine? If you happen to remember the name of the lookout, I’d love to know it! And here’s hoping a visit will work out! And thank you for not holding me to a post a day 🙂

  10. Nancy Kelley says:

    What an adventure, Julia! For both of you together, and then for each of you alone when you part ways. The Grand Canyon is almost a must-see on a cross-country trip, unless other things dictate you take a northerly route. (At which point you substitute Mount Rushmore!)

    All my travels lately have been of the trans-Atlantic variety. This year I’m spending almost 6 weeks in England, and you can bet I’ll be blogging about the things I get to see and do. I’m looking forward to reading your posts from the road… and if you go through Portland, let me know.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I would LOVE to hit both Mt. Rushmore (where I’ve been on a long-ago cross-country trip — my daughter hasn’t seen it) and the Grand Canyon (which neither of us has seen). It is indeed an adventure for us both!! I am VERY envious of your cross Atlantic travel; one of these days I’ll be back in England. I love it! Lucky you for six weeks there. And unfortunately Portland is not on the agenda for this trip — I’ve never been there and would love to, but I’m already committed to the southern route on the way home, too.

  11. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Fabulous!!! Road trips are so fun. And what could be better than with your daughter/BFF? I look forward to your ‘posts from the road’!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Glad you’re looking forward to the posts from the road — gives me incentive!! 🙂 And NOTHING could be better than making the trip with my daughter/BFF; I know you know all about that, Cynthia!

  12. Barb Riley says:

    Aw, Mama Munroe Martin… such a sweet post—like a love letter to your daughter. The way you describe your relationship with her reminds me so much of me and my daughter (although yours is 6 years older). Still, I know exactly what you mean when you say she is “just about my best friend.” Reading your words made me teary-eyed, as I can’t help but fast-forward and put myself in your shoes, thinking about saying goodbye to my own daughter, and having to drive all the way back across the country, solo. My mother-heart is connected to yours during this emotional transition, my friend. ((((hugs)))) Safe travels, too. What a wonderful adventure you are partaking in. I can’t think of a better graduation present than the gift of time.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Barb — that part made me pretty teary eyed too… thank you for your mother-heart support, boy do I need it! You’re the best. xox

  13. Hi Julia,

    This sounds like a great trip and I think it will be wonderful (even through the sadness). I have come to love those long drives with time to think and create in your mind. I have carried a tape recorder, but I never manage to pull it out at the right time. Sigh. Once in a while I’ve called someone and said, write this down for me before I forget. 😉

    Any chance you can make your way through Okoboji, IA on the way back (where I’ll be for the summer)? If not, we’ll just have to plan that meeting between up somewhere in New England.

    Safe travels!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Calling someone to ask them to write something down is actually a great idea, Lisa! I may use that as necessary in traffic 🙂 I actually MAY be going through Iowa on the way home — I’ll check the map to see how close I’ll be! That would be so fun to meet up, otherwise, New England it is!

  14. Jamie@southmainmuse says:

    It sounds wonderful. The only time I’ve seen the Grand Canyon was this March when we flew over it . . . For a long time. Ha. I love the idea of driving cross country. I’ve always wanted to do that with my family. Have a safe trip and good luck with the dictating. I wish you were swinging by this way. Maybe next time.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I wish I were swinging by your way, too! Who knows, if this is a big success, I may well plan another trip! Thank you for your well wishes, and hope you’ll get a chance to do it sometime, too!

  15. Eva Thompson says:

    For some reason I love Nebraska. Look for lingering sandhill cranes on the Platte River although they’ll mostly be gone onto their northern adventures. In fact, keep a bird and wildlife list for me!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I will definitely be keeping a list of birds I see! And if I see a sandhill crane, I’ll be over the moon. No doubt I’ll be writing at least one post about the bird/wild life I see! I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  16. Ah, adventure! And a shared adventure with your daughter will be something you’ll both remember for a lifetime. I can’t wait to read about the bits and pieces of your land voyage.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Adventure is wonderful, isn’t it? Yes, we’ll remember and talk about for a lifetime, I’m sure, Normandie! I hope you’ll enjoy the bits and pieces along the way. (p.s. I LOVE this: “land voyage”… nice!)

  17. Congrats, Mom, for getting your “little girl” to this point! And she does sound wonderful; so excited that she landed her dream job right out of college. You two are going to have a blast together, and I’m so honored that you are going to be inviting us along for the ride! xo

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Thank you, Jolina! She did all the work! No question, we’ll have a blast, and I’m so very happy to take you and any other interested readers along for the ride! Thanks for your kind words 🙂 (p.s. and hang onto that girl of yours, it goes by WAY too quickly!)

  18. I’m jealous! I drove from Chicago to California about ten years ago with my sister. Try to hit Arches Nat’l Park in Utah. And northern New Mexico is beautiful–that was a surprise. If you stop in Chicago, look me up! And have so much fun!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I had forgotten all about the Arches National Park! Thanks for the reminder! And I will definitely be going through northern New Mexico, without a doubt, and perhaps even Chicago!! 🙂 Thanks for the well wishes, Jess!

  19. Nina says:

    This is so exciting and such a fun idea (both the actual trip AND the blogging about it). Like a true writer, the first thing I thought when you mentioned the trip was “wow–so much writing material.” Sure enough, you planned to write about it. Of course! I love the idea of listening to books and dictating your next book, too.

    Can’t wait to follow along with you.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      So glad you’ll be following along, Nina! That’s so funny that you had the exact same thought as I did, and as I expected, the hardest part of the blogging is choosing among the unbelievable wealth of material I could be blogging about. Thank you for following along!


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