Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Flashback: Driving Across America - Part 1

In December 2011, my mom and I drove from Virginia Beach, VA to Idaho.  It was a 6 day adventure, and I had always intended to blog about the trip but never got around to it....until now, of course!

So, shortly after Thanksgiving Day, we said goodbye to our family and dearest friends in VB and headed west across the state.

On the Boardwalk, saying goodbye to the Atlantic!
Of course, it is a beautiful, cool, sunny day when we leave Virginia.  The best kind of weather in Virginia, the kind that makes you forget all of the hot, mugginess of summer and without the typical non-stop dreary rain that we have during winter.  We didn't end up leaving until mid-morning, so we only made it partway through West Virginia before we decided to stop for the night.  For the first few days of the trip, we focused on getting a lot of miles under our feet/wheels to give us more time in the West for sightseeing and potential weather delays!

On day 2, we continued driving west through West Virginia.  It is a beautiful state with rolling mountains.  I went to law school close to the Virginia/West Virginia border, and in retrospect, I feel like I should have done more hiking while out there.  But, you know, it was law school after all and it's not that I had all that much free time!  ;)

Leaving rainy WV and heading into Kentucky
We spent night 2 in southern Wisconsin.  Wisconsin was another state that surprised me with its beauty.  We had driven through Illinois the night before, which wasn't very memorable, but Wisconsin had more character and interesting landscapes.
We circled around Minneapolis but stopped there for lunch at Panera and a trip to Target.  You can't be in Minneapolis for a second and not go to a Target!  We made a small detour to show my mom the lake where my husband grew up spending his summers.  In the summer it is bustling but in the winter it was just eerily quiet, and the only sound was the sound of the ice shifting!

Minnesota - eerily quiet in the winter and VERY different from the summer!
 We spent night 3 in Jamestown, North Dakota.  And this is where the trip really started to get exciting!  We had an early 6 am breakfast with our North Dakota relatives, and then continued driving West.  We had planned to turn South near Bismarck to visit the Badlands and our AAA Triptik included directions for us to do so.  The directions guided us off of the Interstate onto a state highway, which eventually turned into A DIRT ROAD!!  No joke.  Naturally, we had spotty cell phone connection here too.  So here we are: two Southerners, driving without snow tires, in December, on a dirt road between farms somewhere between North Dakota and Pierre, South Dakota.  Eventually, the road turned back into a regular highway and we did finally end up in Pierre and back on the Interstate without a mishap but that was one bizarre, nerve-wracking stretch of road!  Needless to say, it kept the trip exciting, and we were SO fortunate that it wasn't snowing!

Stay tuned for the remainder of the trip!

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