And…We’re Home.

by Irvin on August 12, 2013 · 32 comments

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Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

23 States, 13 National, State & Native American Parks, 10,000+ Miles and 7 weeks. ‪#‎RoadtripUSA‬ is over. We are home. We lost two water bottles and a charger (plus cord), tore and destroyed two pairs of pants, broke a bicycle seat and a bike wheel as well as two plates that I bought at antique stores. Yet, we never had a flat tire (on the car or on AJ’s bike) and we never had anything stolen from us the entire trip. We hiked in rivers, in canyons, on canyon rims, on mountains and in valleys. We saw waterfalls and natural arches, petroglyphs and rock formations, and so many amazing cloud formations that I felt a permanent crick in my neck from staring up all the time. We climbed arches and scrambled over boulders and rock fins. And we took pictures. SO many pictures (over 16,800 – boy that’s going to take awhile to process).

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

We survived a windstorm, numerous thunder and lightning storms. We stayed in classy hotels, luxury resorts, and cheap motels (thankfully none too seedy). We camped and crashed at various friends’ houses. We ate at dives and fine dining establishments, had homemade meals by some wonderful friends and grabbed sandwiches on the road (though thankfully we never resorted to fast food).

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

I spoke at a conference in Orlando, while AJ went cycling – which led him to almost running over a peacock in his ride. I bought numerous plates, cake stands and way too many pie/cake servers (and now I need some silver polish!) and went to too many antique shops (some of which creeped me out). I learned that I actually like camping, though I’m not a fan of bugs (but then who is?). Miami is nothing like it is in Dexter (apparently there aren’t THAT many serial killers in the city). The Apple Genius playlist is both a blessing and a curse delivering songs that I didn’t know I had on my iPhone. Apparently Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited crosses ALL genres (pop, rock, folk, alternative, even dance) and will show up on all Genius playlists. Why do I even have any Alanis Morissette songs on my iPhone? I haven’t a clue.

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

In pretty much ANY National Park, there will be, at any given time, at least two people who are dead ringers for Kenny Rogers. It doesn’t matter what National Park. They are there. The game “Gay or Eurotrash” needs to be revived, as AJ and I totally had malfunctioning gaydar while in all National Parks. The French apparently love Utah in August, as we heard more French than English in the National Parks. Utah, by the way, is utterly gorgeous. I’m smitten with it.

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

I accidentally sat next to Neil Gaiman at a restaurant in Lexington but didn’t realize it until after he left and my friend Stella pointed it out to me (thanks for not telling me Stella!). AJ and I saw a little bit of one of the teaser trailers for American Horror Story: Coven (season 3) being filmed in New Orleans. We also had a chance to watch Hamlet performed outside, in the second largest canyon in the United States (Palo Duro in Texas), which was just as amazing as it sounds.

American Horror Story: Coven Teaser Trailer filming. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

I got sunburned, went to art museums, naval aviation museums, cemeteries, drank more coffee than I have in years, ate more donuts, cupcakes, and baked goods than I usually do (how can I resist a local bake shop?). I went days without showering (three is the maximum) and I once showered four times in a day (thanks New Orleans for your maximum heat and humidity). I went to Dairy Queen three times (which is probably two times too many) to get blizzards since we don’t have them in San Francisco. I went water skiing, got up close and personal to a buffalo, and smelled the rotten egg sulfur odor at Yellowstone. I even got a chance to drive through the Las Vegas strip (we didn’t stop though, other than to take a photo of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign) which means I can officially check “going to Las Vegas” off my bucket list.

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.comInstagram created videos JUST in time for my trip, I found out that I could get married to AJ while driving from Yellowstone to Grand Teton and I cried and cried and cried while hiking hand in hand with him all day long. I spent more continuous nonstop time with AJ than I think I ever have. And you know what? I think I could keep on going. Seven weeks living out of our car went by in a blink of an eye and it’s utterly surreal to be back home. But let me tell you, it feels so good to sleep in our own bed. In our own sheets. Next to the man I love. The man who I just spent pretty much 49 days together without a break. I can’t wait until #RoadTripUSA2. Let’s do it!

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

I’m lucky to have friends across the country who ate dinner with us, who spent time with us, who let us crash at their place, and in some case fed us and even gave us gifts. To each and every one of you guys, you are the absolute best. Thank you so much. I love you all. Thank you Kristen & Nick, Alic, Stephanie, AJ’s family, Henderbob, John & Jen, Deb & The ProfessorStella & John, Broderick, Tami and Mike, Leigh and David, Isabel, Lora & Fabrizio (hello chef!), Sara & Tony, Kelly and Mark and anyone else I left out. I lived a blessed life to have you guys in my life. I love you all.

Thank you all who followed me and commented or liked my posts on social media (instagram, twitter, facebook). You guys rock. Really.

And thank you AJ for putting up with me for seven weeks. I love you most of all.

Road Trip USA. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruthy @ Omeletta August 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

I loved following your trip on Instagram- and your Instavideos! This recap post made me happy. Yes times 1,000 on the DOMA ruling- it’d be hard to forget where you were on such a monumental day in any case, but the fact you guys were in one of the most beautiful parts of the country probably made it all the sweeter.

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Irvin August 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Thanks Ruthy! The Grand Tetons were amazing, but receiving the news via text made it so much more amazing. I can’t tell you how proud I was to be an American and to be in the National Park that day. American just got even more beautiful…

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The Suzzzz August 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I’m glad you got to see the beauty of my home state, Utah. When I was in college the photography department would organize camping trips in central and southern Utah to photograph petroglyphs and natural monuments. It was always my favorite part of school.
I’m also kind of geeking out that you sat next to Neil Gaiman, he’s one of my all time favorite authors. “Fragile Things” is currently on my nightstand.

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Irvin August 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I’ll totally admit that I’m now utterly smitten with Utah. It’s friggin’ gorgeous! Granted we only made it to the lower southern half, and partially at that (we missed Bryce) but I can’t wait to go back. AND to go up and visit the Northern half and experience Salt Lake City. So many friends there, I can’t believe we skipped it.

And yeah, it was probably a good thing I didn’t know that Neil Gaiman was sitting next to me. I would have gone all fanboy on him. He’s one of my all time favorite authors as well!

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Nikki @NikSnacks August 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I feel so blessed and privileged to have encountered you on #roadtripusa and I love, love this post. Orlando was amazing, in part to you and I’ve been inspired to create bigger and better photos. And even though you bypassed North Carolina this time around, I won’t hold that against you. There’s always Part 2. And you and AJ always have a place with me here (and a plate of fried chicken) with your names on it!

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Irvin August 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I was so honored that Isabel asked me to be part of the first Food & Wine Conference in Orlando. I’m so glad I had a chance to meet you (and taste your awesome dessert). I hope next time we go on the road, I make it out to North Carolina! If we do, I’m TOTALLY taking you up on a that plate of fried chicken!

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Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

We’ve been following your trip and loving it. We did a very different version (Yermo Be There on my site if you’re interested) but really relate to feeling moved, and lucky and sure you’re with the right one. When you can spend days in the car with a person and still feel that way, HANG ON.

Glad you made it home. Can’t wait to see the pies…

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Irvin August 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Your trip sounds equally awesome (though different) than mine! And yes, I’m exceedingly lucky to be with AJ. So very very lucky.

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Ralph Sciutti August 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Love the fact you bypassed actually stopping in Vegas as Linsey and I also drove on a not nearly as ambitious cross country trip. Vegas provided our only bump in the road but we won’t go there (literally or figuratively). Great pics, greater stories. As Oliver put it “may I please have some more?”

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Irvin August 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

For years (pretty much ever since I’ve lived in California) people have always looked at me in shock when I tell them that I’ve never been to Las Vegas. It just hasn’t held much appeal for me, though I do want to go just to experience the “sheer spectacle” of it I guess. That said, since we had to drive through it (we drove from Utah to Bakersfield, which meant we had to drive the I-15) I figure we might as well drive through the strip. It was exactly how I expected it. And now I can say that I went to Vegas!

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Scott_D August 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm

It was really fun following along on Instagram! So many of the places you went are on my “to visit” list.

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Irvin August 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Yay! Thanks for following along Scott! So many places that were on MY “to visit” list as well. And so many places that we didn’t get to as well! Next time. Next. Time.

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Miss Kim @ behgopa August 13, 2013 at 2:23 am

Wow..what an adventure! You should write a book about your cross-country adventure. Sounds like you had so much fun.

But I’ll bet you are somewhat glad to be back home. “There’s no place like home!!” That is what I always say after getting back from a getaway, no matter how much fun I’ve had.

How’s the sunburn healing? I recently got one too! Not fun..

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:01 am

Total adventure! I would love to write a book about it, but I’m not sure anyone would read that. It was mostly AJ and I just running around and gawking at how gorgeous the landscape was at National Parks.

It’s funny you mention it though, I love being back home, especially sleeping in our own bed. BUT I do sort of missing being on the road as well. I’m scheming on how to get back as soon as possible!

And the sunburn healed fine! With minimal peeling too! Thank goodness for the aloe vera lotion we had on us!

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Belinda @zomppa August 13, 2013 at 5:05 am

Have loved our trip and all the ups and ups…and um, a peacock? How does one almost run over a peacock…?

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:02 am

Ha! You’d have to ask AJ about that. I’m not sure. Apparently the peacock ran out in front him while he was riding? I haven’t a clue…

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Vanessa August 13, 2013 at 8:00 am

I’m so glad you could live the experience of a lifetime (#RoadTripUSA) next to the man you love. That would pretty much do it for me! You visited so many beautiful places and experienced such wonderful times. Doing a road trip around the U.S.A. has been on my bucket list for a long time and your invigorating adventure is an inspiration for me to keep pursuing that dream. It’s important to always keep the adventure going!

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:03 am

Yay! I’m so glad it was inspiring. I loved my trip, and I have to say I can’t wait for the sequel #RoadTripUSA2! Who know when that will be though….

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Deb August 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

What a joyful road trip! It was great fun to follow along via Twitter! Looking forward to seeing how the “trip of a lifetime” will inspire new desserts for us to enjoy.

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:03 am

I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and start baking again! But first I need to get a new fridge as the old one died while we were gone! Extremely sad….

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Annalise @ Completely Delicious August 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

What an amazing trip!! I’m going to miss the instagram posts. :)

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:04 am

I’m going to miss doing them! It’s so weird. I haven’t instagrammed in a few days. I totally miss it…

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Arthur in the Garden! August 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

Lovely!

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:04 am

Thank you!

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Michael C. August 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Wow. What a truly amazing and fantastic experience. It looks like you had the best time, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the photos that you and AJ posted throughout. Next time come up through New England, huh? One question… how did you tear and destroy two pairs of pants?

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Irvin August 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

We originally planned on doing New England because I’ve never been (can you believe that? Crazy!). But then I had a conference to speak at down in Orlando, so we rerouted ourselves and went to Florida and Miami instead. Next time though! I would love to do Boston then swing up to Maine. I hear it’s totally gorgeous.

As for the pants, one was AJ’s and they were worn pretty thin already. He torn them while hiking, but they were jeans and in the end he didn’t really need to wear long pants again for the rest of the trip so no loss.

I destroyed a pair of cargo shorts by climbing and scrambling on rocks and boulders in Arches National Park. Luckily it was near the end of our trip, so I made do with another pair of shorts….

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Lora @cakeduchess August 22, 2013 at 4:52 am

What a pleasure to meet you in person at the FWConf. What a joy to see you present what you are so passionate about. I wanted your presentation to keep going b/c you are a fantastic teacher. What a lucky person I am to have spent time with you and AJ after the conference. One meal wasn’t enough. Please come back again soon. We all miss you (especially L). Chef says, Hello…or rather: Ciao:) xx (hugs to AJ)PS: LOVE the instacapture of your incredible #roadtripUSA…

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Irvin August 26, 2013 at 12:06 am

It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and Chef and L! Hugs to you all. I wish we didn’t live so far away! Come visit us in SF!!!

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Family Foodie August 23, 2013 at 7:39 am

I was so honored that the Food and Wine Conference was part of this amazing trip! You have no idea how much it meant to me.
I fell in love with you when we first met in Louisville but I think I now love someone else even more… AJ is just as special as you!

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Irvin August 26, 2013 at 12:07 am

And I am absolutely honored to be part of the Food and Wine conference. It was an amazing experience. I adore you (and your husband) so much. I hope to see you much more soon…

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megan August 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

We have Dairy Queen in Bend, FYI :)

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merri October 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

that’s amazing it sounds like a super trip of a lifetime. i loved seeing some of your photos on instagram and such. those dolls above are very creepy.

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