Summer Road Trip Series: from Chapel Hill to Los Angeles

This time last year, John and I sang together at an open mic night in Nashville.

We were on day two of our cross-country road trip, it was 96 degrees, and honky tonk music blared from just about every bar on Broadway. (I was also super paranoid that something was amiss with the holes where my wisdom teeth had been only a week and-a-half prior, but I prefer to forget all those saltwater rinses in gas station bathrooms.) Aaaaaand oversharing complete.

For round three of the Summer Road Trip Series, I’d like to introduce you to Evey Wilson, a journalist and photographer at UNC Chapel Hill.

Evey and her friend Em spent six days traveling 2,500 miles across the country from Chapel Hill, North Carolina headed west along I-40 and occasionally hitting up the famous Route 66. Along the way, they stopped in Asheville, Nashville, Oklahoma City, a couple small towns in Texas, Albuquerque, a couple places in Arizona (including the Grand Canyon), the Mojave Desert Preserve and, finally, Los Angeles.

In Evey’s own words: “I swear we danced and laughed every inch of the way.”

Evey Wilson

THE INSPIRATION

“One of my best friends, Em, got a job in L.A. for the summer, so we decided to make an adventure out of her move out there. Em and I are both photojournalists and have both been working on emotional, issue-driven pieces for the past few months so we wanted to document our adventure along Route 66 just for fun.”

Evey Wilson Evey Wilson

THE HIGHLIGHTS

We met so many incredible people! Route 66 is just a warp in the universe where so many fascinating people wind up somehow. A lot of the people we met had been traveling Route 66 and then eventually moved to live around the Route. It has that effect on you. The owner of the Midpoint Café in Adrian, Texas had been driving the route with his wife when they saw that the café was for sale and decided to buy it. We also met Bob ‘Crocodile’ Lile, a man that I swear knows every fact about the Route. He owns a gallery in Amarillo and does preservation for Route 66. I took a portrait that I just love of him and his dog, Lady.

There was a lovely woman, Judie Breidenback, with a stunningly unique ring that we met in her jewelry store in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Turns out she used the stones from her engagement ring to make her new, more modern ring. I asked her about the ring and she totally opened up. Judie told me that next week she will have been married for 59 years. Her advice? “Be willing first of all to say I’m sorry,” she says, “And even better, ‘that you were right.’ That’s really important.” She told me that she knew her marriage was going to last when they successfully made their first cross country trip, from California to New Jersey, after being married only a year.

I met so many people that had a heart for adventure. Along the way, Em and I kept bumping into this hilarious Brazilian family that was traveling the route and making a video of their trip as well. It was so much fun because we saw them a few times along the way and then we just happened to run into each other at the end of the Route 66 sign in Santa Monica. We were all celebrating together that we had finished our adventures.”

Evey Wilson

“If you have the chance, you need to stop in Oatman, Arizona. It’s this hilarious old mining town that is now overrun with donkeys. The townsmen acted out a bank robbery during lunch. It’s one of those bizarre things you can’t really imagine until you see it for yourself.

It’s a little bit out of the way so of course Em and I had neglected our gas tank. We hadn’t passed a gas station in miles and we had to drive up some pretty steep hills. We wound up coasting down those hills in neutral on an empty tank. We’re so stressed out that we’re laughing when Em rounds a curve somewhat quickly and all of a sudden there is a donkey in the middle of the road. What?? Where the heck are we? We rolled into this hilarious town with donkeys everywhere. Luckily the next gas station was downhill from town, so we got a chance to explore getting the history from a fireman, grabbing lunch at a cute bar and talking to an old man in a cowboy hat that had moved to Oatman from England. It was easily our most ridiculous stop.

Evey Wilson Evey Wilson

THE NEXT ADVENTURE

“I recently moved to North Carolina so I would love to explore my new state more. My next dream road trip would be traveling North Carolina Highway 12 along the coastline and through the islands of the Outer Banks. I would love to camp on the islands and learn about the coastal culture here.”

Evey Wilson

Follow Evey’s adventures on her blog and on Instagram 

I’m so enamored with Evey’s photos, I can’t wait to follow along on her next trip.

Keep an eye for a trip along the coast this time next week. Which coast? You’ll find out.

 

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Comments

  1. Sounds like an awesome journey 🙂 That’s a very good marital tip – it is definitely important to know when to say I’m sorry + You were right. Getting better at saying those things and not letting the ego in the way. 🙂 Hope you get to journey through the Carolinas 🙂 Have a great one ladies -Iva

  2. With each additional post in this series I crave a US road trip more and more. This one was seriously awesome, Evey’s photos are bloody fab!

  3. This is what a proper American road trip looks like; meeting people along the way and sharing the adventure. Love this post.

    Buckets & Spades

  4. This sounds absolutely EPIC! And I have to say… that first photo? Pure perfection.

  5. Wow. great photos. I wish i can take a great photos as you did. Great job

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