Sunday, August 19, 2012

2400 miles across America and a new dress!

This is slightly late, I forgot to post my draft about our road trip and my new dress. 

After visiting my parents, we all piled into Luke's car to move him to Chicago. Dad warned us to take it slow and not to drive straight trough because the car is fairly old and was sitting unused for the last year. 
Heading on the road
We planned out stops and had about six days to make it back. We left on Sunday around noon and drove through eastern Oregon, stopping at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend for the tour. 

My high quality map illustration, for your enjoyment:

It was a tad bit more informative than the Miller (propaganda) tour. We bought a growler of stout to take to Yellowstone. As we drove through Idaho, Andrew was pulled over for going 71 in a 65 construction zone; fortunately the state trooper did not give us a ticket. The first night we stopped at a truck stop in Idaho to rest the car and slept in the car for a few hours. So uncomfortable. I woke up covered in mosquitoes. 
In eastern Oregon
We got up and left after dawn, in an attempt to avoid deer. Deer are so stupid, and we didn't want to nail one, smash the car and end up stranded so we avoided dusk and dawn. From there, it was only about 2-3 hours to Yellowstone. We did the south loop and saw the hot springs and Old Faithful and people blocking traffic to take pictures of one elk. We found our campground that Luke has reserved by Lake Yellowstone. Since you reserve in advance, they tried to shaft us by giving us the most hideous, treeless site in the RV loop. Since it was drizzling rain all day, the campground wasn't full and we got a better spot with a view of Lake Yellowstone. 
Beautiful right?
Fortunately the rain cleared up and we were able to eat sandwiches, drink beer and play Cards Against Humanity around the campfire. We also got to see a buffalo up close because it came through the campground eating grass! It was awesome. We stayed a safe distance back because you aren't supposed to get too close. Some idiot pulled right up next to it in his minivan and then leaned out the window taking pictures. Sadly, it did not charge his van.
Isn't it giant?
 The next morning we continued our drive west out of the park. We neglected to bring an atlas because we can get maps on our phone. However, we are idiots and there are large chunks of the US that get no cell reception. Herr durr durr. So the google map gave us two routes that looked about equidistant, so we took the northern one. This led through the Bighorn Mountain range which was absolutely beautiful. However, it also includes a 7,000 foot climb to about 10,000 feet in just about an hour or so. I woke up from a nap to Luke saying "Hmm, the car is getting sorta hot." Then, as we go around a curve with a guardrail the car just turns off and we have to push it about 20 feet uphill to get onto the shoulder. It was really stressful. Tons of people stopped to check on us, the first of course being a nice Canadian guy. We waited a hour or two until the car cooled down and then we took it really slow.

Luke and our Canadian friend
Fortunately, we hit the top of the ridge in a few miles and then it was all downhill. We stopped for the night in Rapid City because that is the closest city to Mount Rushmore. We stayed at a delightful KOA campground that had a pool. There were thunderstorms passing through the area. We missed all the giant hail, but the tent did get soaked while we slept. Oh well. In the morning we dreid out the tent and sleeping bags, and then headed off to Mount Rushmore. 

I wore my wrap dress so I could take pictures. It was perfect for the 100 degree day. This post has the 70s pattern and a closeup of the printed linen I used. This is an absolutely great summer dress and I've worn it a lot in the last month. It's for a 34 bust, so the top was gaping a huge amount. Since the skirt has a ruffle, I just make the neckline ruffled too and that solved that. Magic.I think the length balances out the backless-ness and the no bra. 

Mount Rushmore is the kind of place that you could photoshop yourself in front of and that would be about the same as seeing it in person. We did see a wild turkey and its baby crossing the road. 

Then we headed off to the Badlands National Park. Like I mentioned, it was a 100 degree day. The car decided to over heat again, so we had to stop. It couldn't really cool much in the sun so we continued on.
Then we got stuck in an uphill section and stopped by road construction. We needed to keep driving slowly because the moving air cooled the engine, but the people in front of us stopped to ask the flagger some idiotic question like "What's going on?" and the car heated up then we had to pull over again for about 30 minutes. We grilled some cheese slices on the pavement and waited. Finally we left, made it over the blip of a hill and then coasted back to the interstate. The badlands were okay, but the car trouble kind of overshadowed our interest in the scenery. And it was super hot. From there on, the car was fine. It was nice and flat. We zipped across South Dakota and camped again at a KOA in Sioux Falls next to some very friendly bikers. The best part of KOAs is that they always have a pool and showers. Yay!

The next day we drove through Minnesota without stopping and then stopped in Lacrosse, Wisconsin for Lunch. We then stopped for a brewery break in Madison, where we saw their awesome capitol building. Then we zipped back to Chicago missing the evening traffic and made it back safely!

2400 miles, 5 days, 4 national parks, 3 car breakdowns and 7 states later we brought Luke to Chicago! It was a fun trip.


  1. Road trips are the best. I drove from San Diego to Buffalo once and it was fabulous...

  2. That was the best commentary on a road trip I have ever read, so funny and the best part was when you started a paragraph with..."I wore my wrap dress so I could take pictures"! I love the pictures and glad you camped next to friendly bikers the other kind are less desireable!!

  3. That sounds like a lot of fun, makes me want to take a road trip!

  4. That sounds like a great trip! (Even with the car troubles)

  5. Sounds like an awesome road trip, despite your car troubles. I've driven shorter distances (Nashville to New Orleans) with a car that tends to overheat & it SUCKS. Glad y'all got to Chicago with yourselves & the car still intact :)

  6. I live in Madison, so it's so funny to me that people would think of the Capitol as something cool to see; to me it's just kinda there. Sounds like it was a great trip in spite of the car troubles!

  7. Sounds like quite the adventure! Your dress is super cute, and that buffalo encounter is pretty wild. I did the cross country thing once as well, and boy are there stories to tell :)

    -Sara, Road to the Heart

  8. Glad you enjoyed your quick stop in Madison! That is where I am from, and I love it! Which brewery did you go to?


Thanks for your thoughts and feedback!