Summer 2015 – Road Trip

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150 hours in the car, just me and my 4 years old, and it’s all my fault. I can’t wait!

As I was gearing up for this summer’s adventure I was talking to my mother and she asked me, “Are you excited about this?” My first thought was – why wouldn’t someone be super excited about the summer vacation they planned? Then I thought – who in their right mind would be excited about spending 150 hours in a car with a 4 year old? I quickly realized these were the conflicting thoughts going through her head when she asked about our trip. Despite those contradictions I am absolutely excited. Part of my excitement is the sheer challenge this trip proposes. Does that make me crazy? I don’t think so, but it might be up for debate.

Let’s back up and start at the beginning. We live in Southern California, we have a family reunion in Oregon and a wedding in Washington State exactly four weeks after that; and at some point we would like to make it out the East Coast. Lastly, my better half is also going to be gone for most of the summer so me and the little one are on our own! Somewhere in the process of scouting out airlines tickets and rental cars I thought there had to be a better and maybe even cheaper way to do this. While the jury is still out on both of those, we are going to try it. We are going to hit all our destinations on a seven week road trip – for better or for worse (In the back of my head I already have our next road trip planned if this goes well, so I’m banking on this undertaking being a huge success!). And really, what could possibly go wrong? (Don’t answer that.)

The Challenge

The better title should be “The First Challenge.” I started with the calendar. How long does it take to drive cross country? Do we have time in our four week window between the family reunion and wedding? …more

Itinerary

The itinerary and budget really went hand-in-hand. This might be a good time to bring up the fact that I don’t camp … except that I do …. but not really, it was really an accident …more

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Yellowstone National Park – Far more than I ever would have guessed! – Part 1

We recently visited Yellowstone on a cross country road trip. I was excited to visit it, but honestly we visited because it was on the way. Now that I’ve been though I’m already planning our next trip and it’s going to need to be for much longer than the 3 nights and 2 days we did this time. …more

Yellowstone, Day 2 – Part 2

Another great day! The plan for day 2 was to see Old Faithful, because you can’t go to Yellowstone and not see Old Faithful. In fact until we got to Yellowstone I couldn’t have told you there was more to do beyond seeing Old Faithful. So the day before we talked to the visitor center about the best time to go. Their answer was of course, before the tour buses which I was completely on board with. The tour bus can arrive as early as 9 and it’s a hour away so I was looking for a 7:30 departure. …more

Mount Rushmore – More than a just a photo op

We depart our hotel around 9:30 headed east once again. A quick 2 ½ hours later we were at Mount Rushmore. We hit rain on the drive and the skies looked a bit scary so I opted to carry our windbreakers, just in case (and insuring that we had a completely dry visit). …more

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Badlands National Park – You find love when you least expect it!

“If mommy falls, don’t move. Stay where you are and make sure you are safe and wait for help.” Once this phrase has passed your lips there’s a good chance it’s too late. …more

Niagara Falls (and Buffalo, NY)

After a week visiting family we are on the road again; and this time with company! We headed off to Niagara Falls with myself, my 4 year Sidekick of course, and my father (in his own car). After spending almost an hour and a half with the car in park on the highway 30 minutes from our destination we made it! We made it! And just in time for a late dinner! …more

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Who knew there was a Theodore Roosevelt National Park? Well there is and it happens to be located on the western border of North Dakota, exactly where we were looking to spend a night. Perfect! …more

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Crater Lake National Park

We were originally scheduled for 1 night at Crater Lake National Park on our way to Yosemite National Park. Unfortunately, a case of the plague had been tracked down to the campground we had reservations at and it was going to be closed down for several days, including when we were supposed to be there. Making it the second national park we were going to have to miss from our trip. This time around though we were able to change our reservations and add another night camping, turning a very fast 1 night layover into a 2 night stay with a full day of exploring the park. …more

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