Cross-Country Adventure

Funny, one of the first things people asked me after telling them about the move was “Are you flying? Or….driving….?”.

Duh, of course we were driving. Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned road trip??

We’ve put a lot of miles on our cars over the years. Some trips of note:
1. Detroit to Key West. I think our entire trip was 5 days long. Do the math…that was a ton of driving.
2. Detroit to Bakersfield
3. Bakersfield to the Grand Canyon in a weekend. Again, a ton of driving!

This trip was a little different because we had AKA in tow. Plus all of her food, toys, diapers, pack & play and a BOB stroller. Our car is big but we somehow maxed it out with luggage, a cooler, bird cage, box of treasures/fragile knick-knacks and bikes on the rack. Oh, and I couldn’t bear to leave some of my favorite houseplants behind so they came along for the ride. Don’t laugh, the last time we moved I brought my goldfish.

We planned to leave on a Thursday, allowing plenty of time for driving, riding and sightseeing. Well, the movers couldn’t come until the weekend so the trip became very condensed. Ugh! So we left on Monday, with the goal of arriving in Detroit on Saturday for Amelia’s first birthday party.

We didn’t roll out ’till almost 1pm on Monday. We were literally busy up until the minute we pulled away from the house. The first stop of many was the big fruit/antique market in Thorp, then dinner at Frank’s Diner in Spokane (highly recommended!) and we decided to call it a night in Coeur D’Alene. The Hampton Inn there is brand new and super nice. Amelia entertained guests during breakfast and even posed for pictures with Japanese tourists. CDA is a neat town, I wonder why we never visited before.

The next day we took the “long way” to Glacier National Park. The weather sucked- cold and rainy. Pfft. So much for riding. We rolled through Sandpoint (again, why haven’t we been there before??) and some other rinky-dink hick towns before reaching the lodge. The weather got worse- sleet and snow! Good thing the lodge has a massive fireplace. Unfortunately low clouds obscured pretty much everything, so we’ll have to back again before the glaciers melt away. That night Amelia developed a high fever so none of us got any sleep. Ugh. She seemed somewhat better in the morning so we rolled out after a quick breakfast.

Next we drove from Glacier to Billings, MT.  Crummy weather and road construction made for a slow pace.  The scenery was beautiful though; I’m anxious to go back. The rain stopped a couple hours outside of Billings and our mood improved quite a bit. Billings is a really neat place- a college town with cool old buildings and an outdoorsy vibe. I could live there….in the summer, I mean. Almost every hotel was sold out. I asked someone about it and she said that people come from all over to shop and dine since it’s the only decent-sized city around.

The next day was fun. We stopped at Little Big Horn, the scene of Custer’s last stand. No need to go back! Just an empty field, cemetery and gift shops. Actually round these parts they’re called “Trading Posts” LOL. While looking at the map I noticed we would be driving right through Sheridan, WY, where my friend Sarah’s parents live. So, we stopped at their house for an hour. It was really nice to see them and I’m sure they were glad to see some familiar faces too. The highlight of the day was Devil’s Tower, a super-cool rock formation in the middle of nowhere. We drove through the Black Hills and stopped for the night just outside of Mt. Rushmore. OMG, the town of Keystone is SO tacky. I mean, I usually like tacky shit but this was awful, I hate to see junk like this around our National Parks. Tackiness aside, I would definitely like to come back and visit this part of the country someday. Seems like a great place to explore with kids.

So…keep in mind that we’re only in western South Dakota at this point. We have a lot more driving to do.

We got up the next morning, spent a couple hours at Mt. Rushmore, then decided to take the 40-mile detour through the Badlands (definitely worth it). Oh, and then we had to stop at Wall Drug. I thought Wall Drug was just a little store…um, no.  It’s more like a small town of gift shops. After a few cheeseball photos we put the pedal to the metal and stopped in Rochester, MN. Of course that was after a stop in Sioux Falls for Amelia’s antibiotics and a tour through the South Dakota Tractor Museum.

Our last day was a total drag. We stopped at our apartment to drop off some things before heading to Detroit and ran into a few issues with the resident manager. I said something to the effect of “Look dammit, we just drove 45 hours…”. Fortunately we got our keys before I ripped someone’s head off. Then we had another 4.5 hour push to Detroit.

Phew! The trip was fun but it would’ve been more enjoyable if we had an extra day or two. Amelia’s ear infection didn’t help either. Oh, and E and I really only slept the first night…Amelia slept most of the time in the car (thankfully), so guess who was wide awake at 2am??  Think bouncing on the bed, flopping around, kicking the sheets and laughing type awake. Ugh….it was funny at first but by day 3 E and I were slightly annoyed. She’s never slept with us before (ever) and it took us two weeks to get her back in the crib at night. We can’t forget about Little Bird either- he was great for a couple days then started squawking and drove us all crazy.

Needless to say we’re done with road trips for a while…





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