November 28, 2020

HHS grads complete cross-country road trip

The Road Trip 2016 foursome at Rocky Mountain National Park (L-R): Jaime Conlan, Brian Hill, Riley Curbow, and Hannah Rogers.

The Road Trip 2016 foursome at Rocky Mountain National Park (L-R): Jaime Conlan, Brian Hill, Riley Curbow, and Hannah Rogers.

(Franklin, GA) — Some Heard County High School Class of 2016 honor graduates celebrated their achievements by embarking on a 7,000 mile plus cross-country road trip soon after they completed commencement exercises on May 20.

Valedictorian Hannah Rogers, Salutatorian Jaime Conlan, and fellow honor grads Brian Hill and Riley Curbow had been planning the journey for about a year.

Jaime originally came up with the idea for “The Great American Road Trip” because she wanted to do something more venturesome than the typical post-graduation beach trip.

The foursome, close friends since they were freshman at HHS, traveled for about two weeks covering over 7,000 miles in Jaime’s 2011 Hyundai Sonata enjoying numerous adventures along the way. They traveled from Georgia through the Midwest and all the way to California before returning back through Arizona and New Mexico.

Even though they traveled alone parents and other family members did offer some assistance from time to time during the trip. Each of the teens also documented the trip in real time via social media.

Despite a mostly successful journey, the teens did experience their fair share of pitfalls.

One of the most significant problems they ran into was something unforeseen in Arkansas. The group had traveled for most of the day but were unable to secure a hotel room in Arkansas because of rules that forbid anyone under the age of 21 to book a hotel room. Fortunately, one of Hannah’s parents was able to eventually book a room over the phone for them to save the day.

Another downer part of the experience came when Brian got very sick for a couple of days and was unable to join his friends or have much fun. During that time, Brian spent most of his time sleeping in the car but after a couple of days was able to recover.

Despite all four being of legal driving age, Jaime chose to drive the entire trip.

“I chose to do all the driving for a number of reason but primarily because my dad lives in metro Atlanta and I was the most comfortable and experienced driving on the interstates and other major highways,” said Jaime.

She also got the very first ticket of her life in Oklahoma that cost her a whopping $250. Jaime paid the ticket herself but was very appreciative that the group at least offered to share.

The team mentality applied for most of the trip except for a couple of occasions where the tight quarters in the small car made for some tense moments. Thankfully, the group always seemed to work through disagreements rather quickly. One of the funnier moments of the trip came when the teens discovered the source of a “mystery smell” was Hannah’s foot because she had stepped in “poop.”

The smart group of teens passed the long hours of driving by listening to music and audio books. Some of the favorites included the Harry Potter audio book series and music by Fergie including the official Road Trip 2016 song “Fergalicious.” Jaime actually worked for several months on a playlist for the trip, often asking her travel companions for suggestions.

The foursome avoided large cities to try to make the trip more economical and their expenses actually ended up being a lot less than they anticipated. The group shared gas and hotel expenses and bought lots of souvenirs.

Nature was the focal point of the trip with some of the highlighted stops being the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite National Park.

One of the most fun and interesting day-to-day struggles on the trip was the constant competition for the shotgun seat up front with Jaime.

The group agrees that by far the worst hotel they stayed at was a Motel 6 in Santa Barbara, California. They also agree unanimously that the best hotel they stayed at was the Beau Rivage, kindly paid for by a family member. While the teens weren’t old enough to gamble they did enjoy arcade games and lots of other activities at the resort.

According to Jaime, one of the most harrowing experiences came deep in the Sequoia after their GPS devices stopped working and they were getting very low on gas. Fortunately, they picked the right direction and found fuel just in time.

The most physically grueling adventure for the team came when they took a 10-mile hike.

Curbow’s favorite sight of the trip was the Grand Canyon. “I was just so surprised how ‘not touristy’ the Grand Canyon was,” said Curbow.

The group also enjoyed several encounters with animals including sea lions in California. Brian could not pick one favorite place. “For me, the best part of the trip was just the beautiful scenery throughout the country,” said Hill. “It was just breathtaking.”

Hannah is very thankful for the support of their families to make the Road Trip dream a reality.

“It helped so much that our parents and families pitched in and helped us and we are very thankful to them,” said Rogers.

The group highly recommends that future graduates consider a Road Trip as a more adventurous, educational, and enlightening alternative to the beach.

Jaime and Hannah will be attending the University of Georgia in the fall while Riley and Brian will be attending the University of West Georgia.

The Road Trip 2016 foursome at Rocky Mountain National Park (L-R): Jaime Conlan, Brian Hill, Riley Curbow, and Hannah Rogers.

The foursome at Yosemite National Park (L-R):  Riley Curbow, Jaime Conlan, Hannah Rogers, and Brian Hill





  1. richard noles says

    So proud of these fine young people. They will never forget this experience.


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