I've been thinking. At 18 I'll have all the freedom I need. I won't have any legal obligations for school, my parents won't have any legal obligations for me. I'll be old enough to apply for my own credit card, and I'll probably have saved up some money by then. I haven't got my driver's license yet, so I can take the test at 18 and not have to bother with the whole "provisional license" deal. I think I'll take a road trip when I turn 18.

I'll go by myself, it'll be a "Daisy out against the world thing," as my friend once aptly put it when I mentioned the idea to him. I even know where I want to go.

I'll start by heading north. Bakersfield first so I can visit my grandmother and my older, more mature cousins. Yosemite next so because I've always loved it's silent beauty. Then San Francisco so I stop by and annoy and awe my young spoiled cousins with my freedom.

From there maybe I'll head to Oregon. Mom graduated from high school there and I've always loved family history. Then I'll absolutely have to stop in Boise, Idaho because my mom's best friend wouldn't hear of me driving by without a visit.

As much as I love the coast, I've always had a special spot in my heart for the more rugged landscape, so I'll have to stop in Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, of course. Then I'll be off to Colorado to visit more cousins and a few nearly forgotten friends.

I don't know where I'll go next, but eventually I'll have to end up in St. Louis. I know Tom would appriciate a visit. Especially since I haven't seen him in two years.

Then from there, who knows? Maybe Ohio, I've got family in Ohio even though I've never met them. I'll start heading for the east coast. I've got friends near Boston and in Virginia, and I wouldn't mind seeing New York or Providence again.

After that, I think I head home taking a southern route: Georgia, Florida, New Orleans, and then back through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona until I finally come full loop back to California.

I can just see it now. Just me, my favorite CD's, a few postcards and some stamps, and the big, wide, open road. Stuff like that can happen when you turn 18.