Seniors embark on cross-country road trip

Shevlin+and+Harrison+jump+off+a+rock+into+Phelps+Lake%2C+located+in+Grand+Teton+National+Park+

Courtesy of Carrie Shevlin

Shevlin and Harrison jump off a rock into Phelps Lake, located in Grand Teton National Park

COVID-19 caused the cancellation of numerous vacations the past nine months. Traveling even small distances seems like a foreign concept. However, two Grady seniors planned a trip to make up for their lost vacations. 

Benton Shevlin and Jasper Harrison are taking advantage of online school by embarking on a cross-country road trip. The two families left on Sept. 5, and plan to return on Oct. 19.

“My family was looking to try to travel to a new part of the country, and online school, due to COVID, brought the perfect opportunity,” Harrison said. 

Harrison’s family collaborated with the Shevlin family to pick a location. The Harrisons and Shevlins will spend their six weeks together traveling. 

“We decided to go to Driggs, Idaho near the popular Jackson, Wyoming but on the other side of the Tetons [Grand Teton National Park],” Shevlin said. “It’s a small town but has great views of the Tetons and was exactly what we were looking for when deciding where to go.”

On the drive to Idaho, and in their first few days in the town, both families took extra precautions. 

“I’m quarantining with just my family and the Shevlins, and we are wearing masks when we go to shops and restaurants,” Harrison said.

Shevlin adds that the two families were looking for a town with a small population. 

“Our town is pretty small, so it’s less risky that we will get COVID-19,” Shevlin said. “This lifts a little bit of anxiety off of our chests.”

Driggs has a variety of outdoor activities.. Rock climbing, skateboarding, fishing and ballooning are just a few options, although Shevlin and Harrison are excited about something a little more dangerous.

“While we are here, we’re going to focus on mountain biking,” Shevlin said. “We’re located right near a ski resort that, in the summer and early fall, turns into a mountain bike park where you can put your bike on a lift and take it up.”

Although Shevlin and Harrison will spend most of their time exploring, they allocate the appropriate time for virtual learning. Both attend class in multiple locations, so attending school from another state is not as crazy as it seems. 

“A couple of students in my fourth period have their cameras on, and they seem to be at a library, and it is completely fine,” Talyssa Hunter,  AP Calculus and geometry teacher, said. “Generally, in the higher level classes, the students have their cameras on, but most students in my geometry class don’t have their cameras on, so I can’t see where they are.”

The main downfall to the location is the time zone change. The two start school at 6:50 a.m. Mountain Time, rather than 8:50 a.m. Eastern Time like their classmates in Atlanta. 

“We do have a time change, so that means getting up pretty early,” Shevlin said. “However, we get done with school at noon, so that means plenty of time to do homework and fun things.”