Do you see that cloud?! That cloud is a map of the United States, Canada and part of Mexico. How awesome is that?! I saw this cloud as I was driving through Montana, the state where I born. 😀 Yes, I was just a baby when we moved but none the less I can claim to be a native!
FINALLY the time has come for me to be on VACATION!!! You know how you count down the days until your vacation starts but once it arrives it seems like some sort of dream? That’s what it totally felt like for me. It didn’t actually hit me that I was on vacation until I was driving out of Ohio. This trip is taking me through the northern part of the U.S.A. There are 2 main destinations on this trip. 1. To see one of my very best friends Shannon and 2. To finally make it up to Glacier National Park! Shannon lives in Oregon and even when I lived in California I never made it up to Oregon. Although… I did almost move there post whitewater rafting accident but decided on staying in California. Good decision?… who knows?!
People kept asking me, “Why don’t you just fly?” Great question people but the answer leaves a lot of people shaking and scratching their heads in disbelief. I actually LOVE LOVE LOVE driving across country! People then asked, “Someone is driving with you, right?” Nope! I have driven across country solo a few times before so it isn’t anything new nor is it scary to me. People say flying is so much quicker, flying is so much cheaper and my personal favorite, driving is so boring. Okay, okay… the first two are true. Flying is way quicker and much cheaper but the third is SO not true for me. Then people ask me if I get lonely out on the road. It is very seldom that I get lonely while road tripping. Would I love to have an amazing, adventurous, spontaneous and fun loving boyfriend to travel with? Um…yeah! It would be so great to share experience, the cost of everything, the driving, the set up of tents, picture taking and such but I’m sure as heck not going to wait around for Mr. Right to show up just so I can travel the way I love to travel!
Driving across this amazing land is a privilege and I am so lucky to be able live here as a free citizen and experience all the different landscapes these states have to offer! What other country in the world can you experience all the different types of climate? Between Friday and today I drove though a temperate humid climate, desert climate and temperate rain forest climate and that took less than 5 days!
So let me start this journey with you…
I woke up Friday the 30th of July and headed out of Ohio. I packed only what could fit in the hatchback of my car. I like to keep things neat and tidy when I travel! Clutter in the car equals clutter in the mind…. and me no like clutter…LOL! Heading out of Ohio was uneventful as was Indiana and Illinois (both beautiful in their own right.) Although it took me a while to get through both states due to construction. I looked at google maps ahead of time and wow…what a difference 10 years makes! 10 years ago there really wasn’t a google maps. I headed to the west coast (to live) with an actual paper map! I still love paper maps and almost prefer them because I think paper maps take a skill that is long lost on the newer generations. Skills such as cardinal directions, legends and topography interpretation. Now google maps tells ya the quickest route, traffic and construction!
About 12 years ago I drove the northern route out to the Badlands of South Dakota and then up through Wyoming and the lower part of Montana. I took the almost the same route this time because it was the quickest and I really wanted to get out to Oregon. I am going to mosey my way back through Washington and Montana once I leave Oregon. Wisconsin and Minnesota are so beautiful! Rolling farms, views that go on forever and just the simplicity of the land. Driving though those two states is very calming.
Minnesota and Wisconsin
I was SOOOOO excited to see Caribou Coffee that I literally screamed aloud when I saw the sign on the highway! My girlfriends and I always used to go to Caribou when they were open in Ohio. Caribou had such a friendly and cabin cozy atmosphere and it has yet to be rivaled by any coffee shop in the Cleveland area. Erie Island is awesome and my new favorite but definitely not as cozy or friendly as Caribou Coffee… 😦 The giant load on the truck looks like a huge wheel of cheese and since I was stuck in a little bit of traffic in the cheese state capitol of the U.S. I thought I’d snap a funny picture! lol… I also love that there is a city somewhere in Minnesota called Blue Earth! It sounds like it would be a cool place to visit!
I spent the night at a KOA in Minnesota and it was nice to wake up a take a warm shower. Props to the KOA I stayed at because the shower heads were amazing!!! I will say that this KOA was next to a highway and it was awfully loud. I ended up going into my car in the middle of the night just to dampen the noise. Ever since I started hammock camping I really dislike sleeping on the hard ground. The car didn’t offer a better nights sleep either. Oh well…that’s life on the road!
South Dakota will always be one of the most sacred and beautiful places to me. 12 years ago I traveled to The Badlands in South Dakota on a sort of spiritual pilgrimage. I was searching for a spiritual practice and started reading a book called Black Elk Speaks. This book opened my eyes and my heart and was the reason that I traveled to The Badlands. The rest of that story I will keep to myself for now….I am sure I will share later!
Dudes…when you get to western Minnesota you will see your first sign for Wall Drug. Then for the next 400 or so miles there will be a crap ton of billboards of all shapes and sizes advertising a free doughnut and a 5⊄ cup of coffee! 5⊄ cup of coffee?????? Heck YES PLEASE!!!! Well the coffee if 5 cents if you sit down in the restaurant. I bought mine to go as I have already wandered around Wall Drug before and it is very touristy and very crowded. Definitely a must see if you have never been out that way! You almost feel like a jerk if you don’t stop by because they goad you with cute and welcoming signs for 400 hundred miles! I don’t want to dampen their efforts…so I always stop by when I am in the neighborhood 😀
After I left South Dakota I cut through the upper northeast corner of Wyoming. Wyoming so much to see and I definitely recommend getting out there to visit but on this trip I took the quickest way to Oregon.
I am going to skip over my drive through Montana as I will be spending a majority of my time there and will write about it at length later. I am heading out of Oregon tomorrow morning and making my way there! I cannot wait!!!!
Next up Oregon! To be continued….
“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow