What a whirlwind the past few months have been! I left Seattle July 20, 2012 with Ajith and Snickers in my car to start over again in NC. The time I spent in WA gave me everything I needed, and for that I’m grateful for. We packed up my Subaru and East we headed!
We first stopped in Portland to visit with my brother’s family for the evening. I miss them so much because they are growing so fast! The biggest excitement was bringing my cat, Snickers, into their home. They have a dog, Leila, so as you can imagine it’s a change of pace. My niece Julia LOVED Snickers – you can see the excitement on her face!
It was wonderful spending time with them because they are just who they are!
I thought it was neat traveling through Oregon – got to see info. at rest stops about the Oregon Trail. I LOVED that computer game when I was a kid (when computers were new). I sound so old!
The landscape in Eastern Oregon was so different from the lush green in the Western part of the state.
Our first evening, we ended up in Idaho. I had to eat a REAL Idaho potato, of course!
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK:
We saw some of the hot springs (and it stunk like sulfer)…
and of course, Old Faithful!
We had to wait about an hour for it to blow again, but it was worth it. It started to pour rain just as it was starting to blow, too. It was still neat though!
As we were driving out of the park, we (slowly) went by this guy:
That evening, we found ourselves in Cody, Wyoming – the home of Buffalo Bill! We ate some good steak at Cassie’s, some neat Western theme place there across from the World’s Largest Rodeo. Fun!
The sunset that evening was pretty cool, too!
We stopped in the most random little motel around 11pm – thank goodness we did because there wasn’t anything else for hours. Snickers usually gets stir crazy when it’s dark outside because she likes to see where she is. We were pushing the limit as it was, and luckily we stopped. We had no idea what we were in store for the next day!
WINDING THROUGH WYOMING:
Ajith and I drove through the most windy, curvy roads I’ve EVER seen and let me tell you – there is NOTHING around for miles and miles! Talk about wide open spaces…
Those roads made me so nervous – you saw some cars going by but not many. Keep in mind, it was at least 100 degrees daily and sitting in the car for 1 min. was too much! I was so concerned traveling with Snickers (especially when we’d have to stop for lunch) because of the heat. One day I even left the car running while we ate so she could stay cool. Even with windows down it would’ve been risky. :-/
One thing we wish we’d stopped for but didn’t was the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. Next time I guess!
Montana (the small bit we went through) was one of the most beautiful states EVER!!!
Next we found ourselves in South Dakota where we stopped to see Mount Rushmore!
What a fantastic site this is!
We didn’t find out about it til later, but it would’ve been cool to see Crazy Horse, too.
The next day, we also wish we had realized there was a real Old Western Ghost Town in Okaton, SD too but we had already passed by the area when we realized it.
MORAL OF OUR STORY: Do some research before traveling across country! You will have so many more enriching experiences than “Aww…I wish we stopped there!”
We got through Minnesota and the most exciting things were the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN.
We ate dinner at the most random place in Albert Lea, MN called Taco King. Mmmmm it was some of the BEST Mexican we’d ever eaten! There were some Mexican mammas in the back making it all. Delish!
We couldn’t leave Albert Lea without visiting Pitchfork Pete, too.
The sunset driving through Minnesota’s countryside was a great touch to our day!
We ended our night in Wisconsin.
The next day we stopped at Carr Valley Cheese Co. in Wisconsin (on our way to Chicago) to get some real Wisconsin cheese. Mmmm was it GOOD!
We decided to stay in Chicago for a day to explore – so glad we did! We did all kinds of things! Upon arriving, we needed food so we found any place that was open late. We stumbled upon this random place near our hotel called Anthony’s Pizzeria, and let me say, BEST Italian food!!!
First off, we had to visit The Bean.
We ate some real Chicago style pizza (Ajith has the pic of that), and went to The Rookery to check out the unique architecture. We also went to the Chicago Cultural Center (FREE!) and I was absolutely blown away by its beauty! I put it up there on the top of the most beautiful things I ever saw in my life (next to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul). Just stunning, and my photos don’t remotely capture how intricate it is.
We of course went atop the Willis Tower (aka the Sears Tower). Ajith has those pics, too. We visited Millenium Park, and the park where Obama gave his acceptance speech 4 years ago. We ended our evening with an architectural river cruise highlighting the unique buildings in the city. What a BUSY day!
We continued to drive til we could drive no more, and found ourselves in VA overnight. We finished up our trip the next day and arrived in Raleigh around noon. Snickers and I got to our new home!
In all, we traveled across 14 states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina) over 7.5 days and thousands of miles to find “home” again.