Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sea to Shining Sea (Transcontinental Road Trip 2014)

Several months ago we decided to take a truly epic, once-in-a-lifetime, transcontinental road trip this summer. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you have probably already seen quite a bit of our trip. We started out at the end of July and drove to Bar Harbor, Maine, then slowly started to make our way west to Washington state from there. After celebrating my grandpa's 100th birthday with him in Washington, we headed down to Utah to visit our families. Now, after living out of suitcases for the last five weeks we are home.
On our adventure we:
  1. Drove 8,200+ miles. 
  2. Visited 7 national parks: Acadia, Badlands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches and Canyonlands; 2 national monuments: Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower; 4 state parks: Walden Pond Reservation in Massachusetts, Custer State Park in South Dakota, Beacon Rock in Washington and Dead Horse Point in Utah. 

    Acadia's "Scenic Loop" just after sunrise.
    Mountain Goats, Badlands. Or should I say, "Baaaaadlands?"
    Badlands. We really liked it there.
    T -5 minutes until Old Faithful spouted off.

    Yellowstone at dusk.
    Bull elk in the velvet, settled down for the night. Yellowstone.
    Kepler Cascades at Yellowstone.
    Kepler Cascades, Yellowstone.
    Balanced Rock, Arches. Or as my kids call it "Falling Dinosaur Egg."
    Delicate Arch, Arches.
    View from the top of Shafer Trail, White Rim Road, Canyonlands.
    Mount Rushmore. It was so great to meet up with our friends The Rydens there.
    George, Tom, Teddy and Abe.
    Devil's Tower
    Okay, so he's tall, but not quite that tall.
    Walden Pond.
    Dead Horse Point, Utah.
  3. Stayed at 9 hotels, 4 houses and 2 campgrounds.
    Hotel room shenanigans.
  4. Dipped our toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans within a space of 10 days; we were among the first people in the United States to see the sun rise (at 4:49 AM) from Cadillac Mountain in Maine and less than two weeks later we were tide-pooling at Haystack Rock on the Oregon coast. 
    Sunrise selfie on Cadillac Mountain. Nate is there, David just accidentally cut his head off.
    Atlantic Ocean (Sand Beach).
    Pacific Ocean (Cannon Beach).
  5. Saw volcanoes and glaciers and hiked mountains in Maine and Oregon
    Mount Hood--Glacier and Volcano.
    Old Faithful.
    View from Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood.
    Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Trail, Maine.
    Multnomah Falls view from the top.
    Multnomah Falls view from the bottom.
  6. Visited several points of interest, including: Bar Harbor, Maine, The Freedom Trail in Boston, Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Millennium Park in Chicago, The Corn Palace in South Dakota (okay, maybe not really all that interesting, but we needed a break from driving at that point), Wall Drug (had to get our free ice water and bumper sticker), Multnomah Falls, Cannon Beach, Mount Hood and the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery in Oregon. 
    Main Street, Bar Harbor.
    Bunker Hill neighborhood.
    Paul Revere and The Old North Church.
    Family selfie at The Bean, Millennium Park Chicago.
    Cloud Gate, Millennium Park Chicago (A.K.A. The Bean).
    Outside the Corn Palace.
    Wall Drug's Backyard
    Herman, the 9' white sturgeon at Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery.
  7. Played in the water on the Snake River in Idaho and the splash park in Provo. 
    Dave trying his hand at wake surfing.
    Splash park, Provo.
  8. Toured 5 museums: The Battle of Bunker Hill Museum, The USS Constitution Museum, The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU and The Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point in Utah.
    View from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument (294 steps to the top).
    The Peabody at Yale.

    Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum.
    Grandma photo bombing at the Bean Museum.
    Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point.
  9. Ate lots of delicious food: lobster rolls, lobster that we steamed fresh at our campsite, wild Maine blueberry ice cream, cannoli from Mike's Pastry in Boston's North End, smoked salmon from some Umatilla people, smoked sturgeon, fresh cherries and apricots from a Hood River Valley farm stand, falafel from a food truck in Portland and waffles from a food truck in Utah, an amazing gourmet lunch buffet at Timberline Lodge, chocolate covered cinnamon bears from the BYU Bookstore, a Green River watermelon, "Broasted" Pizza (your guess is as good as ours) in Doc Severinsen's hometown--don't feel bad, I didn't know who he was either--and lots of fantastic home cooked meals. 
    Lobster roll from "The Lazy Lobster".
    Maine lobster shack where we picked out our live lobsters to steam back at camp. 
    In lieu of birthday cake we got pastries from Mike's Pastry in Boston.
    Hood River cherries.
    I don't know why anyone would want a scorpion sucker, but life's short so I obliged.
    Food truck falafel. Holy cow. So delicious!
    Only half of us got the memo that this was supposed to be a silly picture.
  10. Sent two boys to scout camp (Cub Scout camp up Mill Creek Canyon and Boy Scout Camp at Camp Hunt on Bear Lake) and one boy to EFY at BYU. 
    EFY at BYU is like the El Dorado of EFYs. Or something.
    Ready to row.
  11. Randomly ran into 3 of our favorite families from Auburn (all have moved elsewhere now). 
  12. Had several movie nights, family dinners and larger family gatherings with extended family, including a family reunion and a missionary farewell. 
    Dunn Family.
    Cassidy family minus a few members that had to leave early.
  13. Met up with 3 friends that we hadn't seen in a really long time--I had my hair done by our friend, Derron that we know from our Rochester days, I reconnected with my college friend Briana over lunch at Cafe Rio and we had a late night visit from Kent (along with his beautiful wife and cute boys), who served his mission in Rochester while we lived there. 
    I think Derron did an amazing job on my hair.
    It was so fun to visit with old friends.
  14. Had a blast shopping at Wall Drug, Powell's City of Books in Portland, Weller Book Works in SLC, Smith and Edwards and a thrift shop in Provo, where I scored a like-new Kate Spade handbag for $3 and my husband found a Pal Zileri Italian sports coat that fits him like a glove for $8 (among other treasures). 
    Weller Book Works=Heaven.
    He wanted this book for himself, but later ended up buying it for his brother's birthday.
    Outside of Powell's waiting for our ride in Portland. 
    Smith and Edwards. Good times.
    No I didn't buy it for him, but we'll probably end up on an NSA watchlist anyway. 
  15. Traveled by car, subway, ferry, speed boat, kayak, jet ski, zip line, four wheeler and swan boat (the same boats in Boston's Public Garden in Make Way for Ducklings!). 
    Swan boats! Yeah!
  16. Ran out of gas in Wyoming, locked the keys in the car in Oregon, had a fender bender in Utah, accidentally ran toll booths in Illinois and New Hampshire, but managed to avoid getting any speeding tickets or flat tires. Yeah! It's the little things.
  17. Listened to 2 books on CD and watched The LEGO Movie at least 5 times.
  18. Visited LDS church history sites at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Carthage and Nauvoo, Illinois. 
    Carthage Jail.
  19. Spent an evening at the Jordan River Temple with our family.
  20. Celebrated 4 birthdays: Nate's 10th, Grandpa Bob's 100th, Sammy's 28th and my mother-in-law's 60somethingth. 
    Grandpa getting ready to blow out his candles.
    My boys at Grandpa's birthday party.
    Happy 100th Grandpa!
  21. Attended 2 fun outdoor productions: "Shrek the Musical" in Herriman, Utah (you can view it on Netflix if you want, but I'm not sure I would recommend it) and the British Pageant, "Truth Will Prevail" in Nauvoo, Illinois (I would definitely recommend it: you can download the music for free HERE).
  22. Went to the rodeo. YEE HAW! 
    Bronc busting.
  23. Got to meet my two newest nieces that I had never seen in person before. Little girls are so sweet. *sigh*
    My brothers and their girls.
  24. Argued, whined, took wrong turns, couldn't find parking spots, got physically ill, drove all night, asked "are we there yet?", laughed, yelled at the kids to quit being so silly, cried, ate our weight in beef jerky and Easy Cheese, spotted John Glenn at Cracker Barrel in Ohio (maybe), drove through storms. . .
    Driving through a storm somewhere in the middle.
    stopped for boys to pee in the Colorado River when there were no rest stops in sight (don't judge), looked at the stars, fought over who was going to sit where in the car, saw rainbows, occasionally became somewhat unpleasant, but generally enjoyed the journey. 
    Rainbow over the mountains.
  25. Survived to tell the tale.
See? Epic, right? Of course there were those moments--like when we were at Walden Pond and my 13 year old said "I need a break from nature" (Heretic!),
"I need a break from nature."
or when my 10 year old asked, "Why did we have to take such a long trip?"--that I thought, was this really a good idea? Will my kids appreciate this in the future? I think so. Once the discomforts of spending days in a crowded vehicle and all those other little inconveniences shrink into the background I think they'll be left with the good memories of all the amazing things we saw and did. And if they don't, I took about 20,000 pictures, so I can remind them.


Amy said...

Wow. Totally epic! I'm very impressed! I'm sure that it won't take long for them to realize how cool their parents are for doing that. Wow!

Danielle said...

HOLY MOLY! What a freaking awesome trip...epic is EXACTLY the word for it! Can't wait to hear more about it in person! :)

Heather Oxborrow said...

Amazing, I love the recap of it all!

Tanya said...

I especially loved the dose of reality at the end...having barely survived 6 days of vacation, haha.

Amy said...

I'm sure you also have many funny stories to tell from the trip that one day you will all sit around reminiscing and laughing. I love to hear those funny stories with my dad and grandparents around. Hearing some of those memories from two people simultaneously will be some of my fondest memories. Not only did you have great experiences now, but I'm sure also in the future.