I took a train from San Francisco to Seattle last summer. I found out later that it was a 26-turned-36 hour ride, but I jumped off before it got to that point. 

We were barely halfway to Seattle at hour 20 because of track complications. I’d been talking to this cute boy who’d just moved from LA to Seattle, and as the train crawled and stalled for the twentieth time, we decided to get off at the next stop. In Klamath Falls, Oregon, we rented a car and drove to Seattle by way of Crater Lake, a magical body of crystal clear water I’d wanted to see since I was eight when my friend Ashley Reese sent me a shiny postcard while on family vacation.

Two other strangers-turned-friends from the train joined us, both boys. I call them all boys because I was the only one old enough to rent a car. 

On the road, one of them read excerpts from Fifty Shades of Gray aloud in his native Australian accent, and then we all jumped from a rock into Crater Lake in our skivvies. That day was the spice of life.

We also beat the train to Seattle.

— B