Thursday, August 12, 2010

My new home!

I woke up this morning in Massachusetts and am officially and east coaster now!

Since I arrived last night after it was dark that first thing I wanted to do was check out the backyard.....there is a corn field in my backyard! How crazy is that?! I will definitely take a picture and post it because there are barns with corn husks in them is quite a sight to see!

I also took my first bike ride to campus and tried to get a feel for my "commute" which was fun. I live in the country....literally right around the corner from my house is a working farm that also has horses and offers horse-riding lessons. So, at least for the rest of the summer I can walk around the corner and by extremely local produce. How cool is that?!

Now Im sitting a Barnes and Noble finishing up this blog and finally getting everything updated.....Im home!

The trip was so awesome in so many ways and am so glad I had the opportunity to do it and am also really looking forward to my new adventures that await me here in Mass. We covered over 4,000 miles in 10 days and were able to see some amazing beautiful sights and see some wonderful friends of mine along the way.

Tomorrow all of my furniture gets here and i will be able to set up house which Im looking forward to. And dont worry, I will be sure to take some pictures once Im a little bit settled so you can see my new place!

Thanks for coming along for my journey and I'll see you again once Im a little more settled here in my new home of Hadley/Amherst, Mass.


Day 10-Wednesday, August 11th

The last day of our trip!!

We drove from PA to NY and managed to get into Manhattan with hardly any traffic at all! We stopped in Manhattan to have lunch with my cousin which was really fun and the location was awesome....we went to this little restaurant hidden away that’s right next to the Hudson river!

After NY we headed up to CT and stopped at one of Walker’s friend’s house to pick something up and then stopped in at my mom and Bobby’s house for a quick hello and dinner. O’Malley got to meet my favorite doggie Tillie also! :P

After that we headed up to Walker’s house and I dropped him off there, which concluded his 3 months of travel, and began my trek to my “home” is Mass.

I got there long after dark so didn’t have a chance to see the outside but unloaded everything from the car and brought it into the house and just kind of wandered around for a while....the house is really cute! I got to talk to my friend Mariko back in Cali and then went to sleep!

Day 9- Tuesday, August 10th

Because we were up so late on Monday night we definitely got a little bit of a later start than normal...but even then we were on the road my 7a! hehe

We drove to Hershey and got there at about 2:30p and the first order of business after unloading the car was a nap! After that Walker and I drove around Hershey a little bit but decided that none of the attractions were really worth it so decided to go to a restaurant and grab a drink and share a couple of appetizers.

We headed back to the hotel and after that, had some of wine, went for a swim (which was soooo nice because of how humid it was), and headed to bed. exciting, right? haha

Day 8-Monday, August 9th

We got out of Chicago this morning with minimal traffic and a couple bags of popcorn from “Garrett's” and headed to Ohio! (Garrett's is the best popcorn unbearably delicious!)

We arrived there at 4:30p or so and had just enough time to unpack the car before everyone started showing up for dinner! We stayed with Pam and Ed and they graciously invited some other people over to dinner that I wanted to see so there ended up being 9 of us over for dinner. The dinner was sooo good! (It had a little but of a California flare to it as well which was fun!) ....and we had a great time chatting through the whole meal as well.

This post unfortunately has no pictures so go along with it and from after dinner until about 2a all I did was sit and visit with people. But nonetheless, I had such a great time with each and every person that was over at the house and am so glad we were able to stop there as well.

Day 7-Sunday, Aug. 8th

Marquetta got up this morning and made us a delicious breakfast that we were able to enjoy before getting on the road this morning at about 6:30. Dan got up before we left as well to say goodbye. I love them and am so happy we got to see them on our trek across the country! ☺

It was a pretty easy drive into Chicago until we hit traffic, which was just the worst thing ever! Ok, not really....but it was still unbearably irritating!

We arrived at the Red Roof Inn here in downtown Chicago finally and I must say that this hotel is way nicer than I was anticipating! Plus, they let pets stay for free so that makes me and O’Malley happy. ☺

We met my friend Amy and her sister down at Millennium park and saw the fountains, the bean, and the concert venue that’s all down there. There is also this cool spot where you can stick your feet in the water and sit which was super refreshing! (the humidity was out with a vegence!) After being in Chicago in December, I can safely say that it looks extremely different now! ....and the weather is slightly different too ;) Here are some pics our time in Millennium park.....

first here is a picture of the river as we walked from our hotel to Millenium park

the fountains at Millenium Park (the faces blink!)

then bean! :)

us and the bean....

the bean with the city behind it

me and Walker in front of the super cool concert area!

After that we headed over to Navy Pier, rode the Ferris wheel, and basically just walked around. Oh! and had delicious churros ;) The cityscape is just so neat to look back at from the pier! In is a pic of me and Amy and her sister Grace with the city behind us.....

cool, right?!

After navy pier we said goodbye (which Amy and I were not happy about!), and Walker and I headed to the theater district and went to dinner at Peterino’s. Sooooo good! I went there back in December with my friend Craig and am so glad I went back this time as was just delicious!

Then we walked back to the hotel and got to cross over the river again....look how pretty it is!

the riverwalk at night

and now here we are....Walker is asleep as I attempt to catch up on this blog! ☺

We have just a couple of days left before I will be “home” to my new home of Mass. I’m really looking forward to getting there but definitely am planning on enjoying these last 2 ½ days or so. Tomorrow we are headed to OH, Tuesday to PA, and then Wednesday to my “home” in Ma.

And one other brief thing...O’Malley is being such a great traveler this whole time!! He has some sedatives that take the edge off which has been a great thing for all of us! So, he just chills in his crate in the car and it’s almost as if he doesn’t exist whenever we are in the car! Seriously....he is practically silent! And he’s adorable ☺ So, yay O’Malley!

next update: Beavercreek, OH

Day 6- Saturday, Aug. 7th

I can safely say that both Walker and I wished we could have stayed in the Badlands longer but we got up and were on the road by 5:15a or so on Saturday morning. We drove all the way across South Dakota, through part of Minnesota and finally arrived at our destination at 3p or so. (we also lost an hr with a time change, so it took just under 9 hrs total). I also updated my ipod the night before so I had lots of fun songs from the “Glee Soundtrack” to listen and sing along too during the drive! (I’m sure you can only imagine how thrilled Walker was...)

So, we got to Arden Hills, MN where we had the awesome opportunity to stay with some long time family friends Dan and Marquetta and had just a great time with them. We just chatted for a while about a variety of different things and sort of caught up on life a bit. Then we had dinner and headed out to the St. Croix river for a cruise on their boat. It was so fun! We got to go super fast and experience some pretty good waves and also got to see some old Mississippi river boats that were so cool looking! (they reminded me of that broadway musical “Show Boat” that my grandma took me to see when I was little). We stopped for some ice cream on the way home from Culver’s and spent the rest of the night chatting more before heading to bed. It was such a wonderful afternoon/evening together. Oh! and they have the sweetest golden retriever name Joey! O’Malley wasn’t to fond of him though.....

Here are a few pictures from our boat ride....and also Joey and O'Malley meeting for the first time

Marquetta and Dan gearing up the boat for us!

The old Mississippi River steam boat

The gorgeous St. Croix river :)

us getting ice cream at Culver's

O'Malley and Joey....not quite love at first sight ;)

next stop: Chicago!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 5-August 6th

It is so hard to keep up on all of this blogging! haha--I'm going to try my best and get caught up now that we are officially back into civilization! ;)

ok, Day 5--that was Crazy Horse, Needles Highway, and the Badlands

Crazy Horse was interesting...we got there just after 9a which made it really nice because we beat most of the crowds.

They have an orientation video that you watch first and then there is a Native American museum followed by more info about Crazy Horse and the guy behind it (sorry, I cant remember his name), a museum of his home and also the sculpting studio. Overall it was really neat, although--it's not really comparable to Mt. Rushmore. Perhaps the patriotism behind Mt. Rushmore tugs at the heart strings a little more or maybe since Crazy Horse isnt actually finished Im not as excited about it. But, it still is cool and is really amazing. The statue is just huge! It appears smaller than it actually is, but you have to remember that the statue is like a mile away. Here are a couple of pictures:

what Crazy Horse looks like today

what it looks like with a scaled sculpture in front of it

and how it's all going to fit on the rock when it's finished!

Anyways, after Crazy Horse we headed back to our little cabin, loaded up and drove Needles Highway on our way out of town. Needles Highway was definitely cool and Sylvan lake at the top was super pretty!
here is a pictures from needles highway...
there are "needles" like this one all the way up the mountain!

and here is Sylvan Lake, which is what you see
at the top of needles highway. so pretty! :)

Then we drove to the Badlands....this drive was only about 3 hours which made is really nice considering a lot of our days have been between 6 and 10 hours of driving. So, I took a nap for part of the way there and woke up just in time to go to Wall Drug!! Wall Drug is HUGE!! I imagined it to be one store, but no--it has basically turned into a version of a mall except you are in the middle of nowhere in Wall, SD.

"thumbs up" from Wall Drug in Wall, SD

After Wall Drug we headed into Badlands National Park and were immediately blown away but the was GORGEOUS. Unbelievable, in was unreal! I immediately started snapping pictures and was so so so glad we decided to make this one of our stops. (thanks Jana!) We checked into our cabin, and shortly after decided to go on a hike. So we went out on the "Notch Hike" and I once again was blown away at how beautiful it all was. Here are some pictures! (sorry if its too was just so cool looking!)
one of the views as we were driving into the pretty!

more driving into the park....

Walker at the beginning of our hike!

me and the Badlands.

the beautiful canyon at the end of our hike.....

So, after finishing up the GORGEOUS hike we headed to the restaraunt at the lodge and each had a buffalo indian taco. Its fry bread with seasoned buffalo meat and other good! Super intense though...we were barely able to finish! See the pic?! :)

indian buffalo taco!

Went back to our cabin after that and relaxed until we felt tired enough to go to sleep and hit the pillow hard after setting the alarm for stop: Arden Hills, MN!

(note: I have everything all written up through today but need to upload pictures onto my computer so hang tight for the Arden Hills and Chicago update tomorrow.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 4- August 5th (cont'd)

Well, here I am again with my posts a couple of days behind but better late than never, right? I also know that there are at least a couple of you reading this so that makes it a little more exciting for me too :)

So...Day 4- we drove to Custer, SD from Yellowstone and both Walker and I were absolutely wiped out when we got there. We both fell asleep without really realizing it and woke up just in time to freshen up and head to the evening program at Mt. Rushmore. So off we went on the backroads through Custer State Park to Mt. Rushmore! This ride was really pretty--the coolest part was this tunnel that they made going through a rock that framed Mt. Rushmore so that was all you saw in the distance as you drove through the tunnel! (didn't get a good picture...sorry!)

Anyways, we arrived at Mt. Rushmore and visited the vistor's center and did that whole thing before finding a place to sit in the ampitheater as we waited until 9p for the program to start...

here is me and Walker at the monument as we were walking up

The program was so awesome! It was just absolutely wonderful. If you ever go to Mt. Rushmore, go to the evening made me so proud to be an American. :) (i apologize for the cheesiness, but its true!)

So first we all recited the Pledge of Allegiance which was followed by a 10-15 minute "Ranger Talk." After that we got to watch a 20 minute film that talked in brief about each of the men on the mountain and what their part was in the founding of our nation and why it was significant. It also had different quotes that each of the men had said that still ring true today which was refreshing to hear.

So finally the exciting part came as the film ended and the credits started and as someone sang "America the Beautiful" the whole mountain in front of us lit up and there was Mt. Rushmore lit right in front of us at night!

After that we all stood up and sang the "Star Spangled Banner" together and immediately after that all of the veterans, both past and present, were invited up to the stage to take part in the closing of the program which was having a couple of boy-scouts take down the flag for the evening. There were way more veterans there than I anticipated and I was definitely thankful for their service as I saw them all up on the stage.

It was a very cool evening! :)

Here are some of my pictures from the night.....

here is a close-up of the guys before it got dark out

these are all of the veterans that were there...thank you guys!

and lastly, the flag almost all the way down with the mountain in the background!

yay Mt. Rushmore! it was awesome :)

(next up day 5 and day 6! i will be writing these posts on our way to chicago tomorrow and will post day 5 and 6 at our hotel!)

until then.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 4- August 5th

We got on the road this morning at about 5:30a and are still headed to Custer State park.....Im using these hours of driving to write these blog posts! ;)

It was another morning of “extreme beauty” and at this point we are about 2 hours out of the State Game Lodge which is where we will be staying tonight in Custer State park.

So—there’s not much to update really about today because thus far it has only been driving. But-not to worry!! We are planning on either hitting up Rushmore or Crazy Horse once we pull in this afternoon and we have a morning full of activities tomorrow as well so there will be plenty to update then!

Until the next update-

update: Im finally at a place with internet!! we had a great evening and morning here in Custer but we are headed out for now so I will have to give you the full update for Day 4 later!

next stop: Badlands National Park!

Day 3-August 4th

We went to Yellowstone National Park yesterday and had a fabulous time. I was so wiped by the time we got back to our room that I'm actually writing this as we are en route to South Dakota on Day 4.

But going back to was so beautiful! I couldn’t believe it and by the end of the day Walker and I concluded that the park was just full of “intense beauty”. haha

We entered from the West entrance and went south from there to Old Faithful first but stopped at some other geysers first along the way.

Old faithful was very cool to see—the water shot so high in the air!! There were two little kids sitting next to us that made us laugh because one of them called old faithful “unfaithful” because I think he was tired of waiting around for it. And then the other little kid yelled out “that’s it?!” after the eruption. Here’s my favorite picture that I got:

Then we looked at another hot spring area before heading over to Yellowstone lake which followed suit in the beauty department. We found a little turn off around the lake around lunch time and had a picnic lunch there which was so nice because a) it was beautiful and b) we were successful at avoiding crazy tourist crowds!

After lunch we continued on our drive around the park and hit Hayden Valley, which is where you are likely to see the most wildlife in the park. This also fell in the beautiful category and it really was amazing that 20 miles before that there are volcanic geysers and there it was all gorgeous plain filled with bison. After that was the grand canyon of Yellowstone which was breathtaking! I can’t imagine what the real grand canyon looks like but this was definitely very pretty!

Here is a picture of me and Walker with the lower falls behind us:

We kept heading around the park and next stopped at Tower fall to see yet another waterfall. The best part about this stop though was the cool hike we took down to the Yellowstone river which was just under a mile down. It was soooo unbearable gorgeous down there as well. And-I can now say I have stuck my feet in the freezing cold water of the Yellowstone river. Its hard to pick just one picture to post...but here is one with more definitely to come! :)

Then we headed to our last destination of the day....the Mammoth Hot Springs. There is this whole neighborhood/residential area over there with a post office and some other stuff which was super cute. The hot springs themselves were a tiny bit of a let down though just because 95% of them were already dried up. But, the areas that weren’t were really cool looking and I can imagine how cool the area would look if all the springs were running and not dried up.

We hit some traffic on the way out of the park and finally got back to our hotel just before 8p and enjoyed some cheese, crackers, and wine before finish a movie we started the night before.

So—all in all we were in the park for 11 hours and clocked just under 200 miles of driving for the day. Pretty successful, eh? Oh, and here is a picture (per request of my mom) of our little cabin: cabin #5 at the Yellowstone Inn!

off to South Dakota next!


Day 2- August 3rd

Well, we finally arrived here in West Yellowstone after a full but fun day!

Walker and I headed off to downtown Boise this morning so I could show him some of the sights....all 2 of them! :P j/k

Then while we were downtown we decided to take my car into the shop because it was making kind of a funky noise still from the day before. So we took it in and realized that there my left front tire had literally been flattened on one side and there was a gash in the tire as well.

What had happened the day before was Walker was driving just outside of Sacramento and someone randomly changed into our lane and immediately decided to slam on the brakes. So...Walker followed suit except we thought surely we were going to crash! We somehow managed to jerk out of the lane just before hitting the stupid car that cut us off. We immediately pulled off the freeway to make sure everything was ok, and it looked ok despite this noise, which ended up being the tires getting flattened!

So going back to the tire ended up that we had killed our two front tires when we had to brake so hard and then the others had worn tread. So we walked out from Commercial tire 45 minutes after we arrived with 4 brand new tires.

Next stop was a really close family that Im friends with...the Weber’s! Our visit there was very very sweet! I had a great time looking at some photo albums with mom Diane and with daughter Amanda. Got to see the “baby” of the family who is now 8 and unbearably excited about life and made sure to tell us all about his pet turtle. Got some real sweet time with dad Don as well.

After the Weber’s we headed over to the Armstrong’s for a quick hello, which also was very sweet. (starting to notice a theme?) We played the catch up game there and I got some fabulous hugs in addition to some homemade snacks that mom Mary gave us. Oh! and while we were there dad Dana showed us a shortcut from Boise to West Yellowstone that he said would be more beautiful....he was so right! It made the drive really scenic, but I will tall you more about that in a bit ;)

Then we were off to sushi lunch with an old roommate Jess. It was fun to see her again and just basically get caught up on things for an hr. It’s amazing how our lives have changed since we lived together in 2004! I love her and hope our next lunch date is sooner than this last one was.

We finally headed out of Boise onto West Yellowstone and really enjoyed the drive. Walker and I had this ongoing joke about the “historical sites” because there would be a road sign indicating a turnout for a historical site and every time it was just a sign about nothing really. But, it kept us somewhat entertained for the 6 hours!

"historical site"

Also along the way we saw Craters of the Moon National monument which was so cool! Basically, there was this mountain in the distance that used to be a volcano and on the ground there was lava beds everywhere. My camera died just in time for the really good pictures....but here is one. If you look to the right you can see some of the lava bed.

It was really cool!

We finally arrived here a little after 10p and I am so looking forward to sleep very soon and Yellowstone tomorrow!

goodnight ;)


Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 1

Well--I can now safely say that I am no longer a California resident!

Today (Monday) started horribly early in order to get everything cleaned, packed, and ready to go and we managed to be on the road with starbucks in hand and a full tank of gas by 6a.

The best part about that whole process was the starbucks that we ended up getting for free because I have become sorta friends with one of the barista's since I am somewhat of a regular. :)

We managed to dodge a few awful drivers and made it to a rest stop just outside of Winnemucca by 12p. Up until this point the trip had been really smooth but I can say the second half got very long shortly after making a wrong turn after lunch. (lame sauce!)

We finally made it to Boise by 7p (6p California time) this evening and enjoyed a delicious homecooked meal with an old friend and roommate and her family. They were all so wonderful and all of her kids are just so adorable! (8 month old twins and a 3 1/2 year old) Thanks again Jason and Annemarie!

Im now nice and snuggled up with O'Malley at my friend Jordan's house here in Boise. Tomorrow's plan is to show Walker a little bit of Boise in the morning and then go see some more old friends late morning/early afternoon before heading off to West Yellowstone, MT.

Oh, and the O'Malley update!! The long and short of it is that he is so adorable! and is doing great handling the drive....sedatives for cats on long road trips are wonderful things! ;) He is so happy to be able to roam free a little bit here and is being such a love bug tonight. Too bad he has no idea that he has 10 more days of looking forward to it though! hehe

hopefully I will have a chance to include some pictures next update if not shortly after! ;)

talk to you from MT-

Thursday, July 8, 2010

craiglist adventure!

Today I went on a quest to find a cooler to bring on our trip cross country....

The plan is to use a cooler to store food and drinks in so we dont have to buy all of our meals on the road! Economical, eh? :)

I began looking at (because amazon has everything) and found the ones I wanted to be 40+ dollars. Lame, right?!

And then there was craigslist--oh how I love thee! I ran a search and found the most perfect cooler for the most perfect price!

....and here is the obligatory first picture of the blog....



Can you believe it? Im clearly a little too excited but hey, its the little things right?

So now comes the fun part of naming it...I dont normally name inanimate objects but I was hanging with a friend tonight telling her all about my exciting cooler adventures and she said "So, you're gonna name it, right?" So now I'm naming it.... :)

Right now the front-runner name I think is Blythe so as you can see, it's not looking too good. But-with the help of my trusty readers (all 2 of you maybe?), I wonder if we can come up with anything better. Any suggestions?

(25 days and counting)


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

3 1/2 weeks and counting.....

It's hard to believe that in 3 1/2 weeks I will be moving away from California and heading to Massachusetts to go to graduate school....if you have mentioned that I would be doing this a year ago I would have thought you were crazy! But alas, here I am. :)

The main purpose of this blog is to document my 10 day journey across the United States, but with 3 1/2 weeks left before I leave Im going to try and document a few "before the move" things so that I can figure out how to work this thing. (And as you know....packing boxes is so fun and exciting that it just has to be documented! haha)

Ok, Here is what we have planned for our journey thus far:

Day 1: Boise, ID
Day 2: West Yellowstone (we will hang in Boise part of the day and then drive to West Yellowstone in the afternoon)
Day 3: Spend the day in Yellowstone
Day 4: Drive to Custer, SD (this is the Mt. Rushmore area)
Day 5: do touristy things in the morning, and then drive into the Badlands
Day 6: Drive to MN to hang with some family friends
Day 7: Drive to Chicago
Day 8: Head to Dayton OH area to spend time with more friends
Day 9: Hershey, PA
Day 10: Amherst, MA

okay, that's it for now--check back soon for more!