When our son Griffin was born earlier this summer Kim and I realized that we had an opportunity to do something special, something once in a lifetime. We are both extremely fortunate to work for companies who provide parental paid time off. This meant that we would have a six week window of time where we were both off from work. This might not happen again until we retire, heck, it might never happen again. This begged the question, what would we do - the answer for us was most certainly not to sit at home.
After some discussion we agreed to go on a road trip and see America. We waited until Griffin was old enough to travel safely. We packed the car and started driving. All told we spent 40 days on the road, covered 10,714 miles, and visited 30 states.
With a trip this big we had time to experience a lot. During our drive home I thought about the best way to organize these. Four major categories came to mind that embodied the trip - Sun, Wildlife, Food, & Fun. We also made a daily video journal of our adventure. Day one is below, find the rest here.
A lot of people have asked me “what was your favorite part?”. It was the experience of the days that I got up early to watch the sunrise. It just transforms the world in a magical way.
In Chicago we found a free planetarium that let us look at the suns upper atmosphere.
Yellowstone offered some of the most dramatic sunsets. We spend the evenings watching Old Faithful with the horizon behind it.
The weather was warm and beautiful every day. But, if we got up early enough we could catch the valleys filled with thick fog that had not burned off yet.
After the sun set the park was swallowed up into absolute darkness. The stars glowed bright overhead.
Down in Texas the darkness also provided the perfect backdrop to sweeping lightning storms. I spent an hour one night sitting on the side of country road watching a storm roll across the countryside.
We started off visiting zoos, but soon found enough true wildlife surrounding us. Harrison was an especially big fan of the bison.
This bird [above] was a good story. We were driving along a high mountain pass in Yellowstone. I saw the bird and got out to take some pictures. As I was zoomed in and snapping away the coyote [below] snuck up on me. Kim saw him licking his lips and heading my way so she yelled and I noticed him coming straight at me. Lets just say I covered the 100 yards back to the car in record time.
We did get totally surrounded and trapped in our cars by bison.
We, mostly Kim, had a lot of coffee on the trip. We tried to visit the must unique and off beat shops. Dutch Bros captured our hearts with music pumping and the staff dancing.
The price of fruit and flowers along the west coast was shockingly low.
One hotel had a nightly campfire and gave out free s’mores! Harrison was a fan.
I ordered random street tacos every chance I could. They were amazing.
One late night we were looking for a place to stay. The reviews for one hotel mentioned a “breakfast picnic basket”, we had to investigate. They came through on our expectations and delivered a fresh basket of goodies to our room first thing in the morning!
We climbed The Vessel in NYC right as a storm was blowing in. Made for an exciting time on top of the sculpture.
Along our drive through Indiana we came across Purdue. What’s so striking about the experiance is that you spend a solid 24 hours just driving through corn and farmland, then suddenly there is a vibrant college town, and the second you leave the town its another fill day of corn. I never appreciate just how mich corn we grow in America.
We visited Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Seeing it in person was an experiance. Particularly the trip to get there. It is way out in the middle of nowhere. The kind of nowhere where there is no cell service. Not Verizon, Not AT&T, none. We broke out the road atlas to navigate us around.
After Devil’s Tower we made it to Yellowstone in short order.
In Yosemite we went for a swim in an alpine lake and found Smokey the bear!
Along our trip we passed more than a few abandoned towns. I would always try to just look around. I find it amazing that some of these paces look like everyone just got up and left without taking anything with them.