Road Trip Across America
Who would want to leave Seattle?! Trust me. It was not an easy decision. My husband was offered a new job at a new company. It was too good to pass up. As the primary breadwinner in our house (aka the man who gets us health benefits), it was important for us that he be happy at his job. We also wanted to get closer to family, all of whom live on the east coast. This was a win, win for many reasons, but leaving Seattle was bitter sweet.
We are making our way across the United States in a smiley face shape. We wanted to avoid any chance of snow, plus see some of the amazing national and state parks across the country. Luckily enough, we had the time to spend doing a road trip right. Two weeks to get to Maryland. It will be a sweet ride.
Our main itinerary looks a bit like this. It will change along the way. We will add in stops and possibly take one or two away towards the end. The nice thing about a road trip is you don't have to be on a plane at a specific time. You just get in the car and go.
- Seattle to Portland
- Portland to Arcata, CA (home base to see Redwood National Forest)
- Arcata, CA to Sacramento
- Sacramento to Yosemite
- Yosemite to Vegas
- Vegas to Bryce/Zion
- Zion to the Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon to Albuquerque
- Albuquerque to Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma City to Nashville
- Nashville to Ashville, NC
- Ashville to Maryland
Notes from the road
Crescent City, CA
We made a quick detour in Crescent City to grab a bite to eat at Porcini, a cute little italian place near the water. The boys enjoyed running around, throwing rocks in the water and listening to the sea lions bark as the sun set behind the ocean.
Redwood State Park
The Redwoods were a magical place for us where we really began to decompress after a month of extremely stressful packing, saying goodbye to friends and basically shutting down our lives. The boys got to climb over giant Redwoods, marvel at hollowed out trunks we came across and basically run nonstop, which is something they needed after being cooped up in the car all day.
Yosemite National Park
While the Redwoods were filled with Paul Bunyan sized trees, Yosemite was the land of giant rocks. Mike loved climbing over boulders with the boys, spotting mule deer and peering up at Half Dome. I told Dek that in 10 years we were going to climb Yosemite. We had 10 years to train. His answer, "no thank you mom!" Not sure which of us will win this one. I guess I'll have to wait 10 years and see.
If you have never been to Vegas you need to pack three things: sunglasses, eye drops and moisturizer. It is hot and DRY out here. Even at night you could use your sunglasses to block all of the neon flashing at you. It is a constant party and can overwhelm your senses in no time if you don't pace yourself.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park was one of those places we wanted to hike through but we knew we would be limited by time and the kids ability. We learned not to underestimate our kids that day. We wanted to hike to at least the lower Emerald Pool. Dek had other ideas. He was going all the way to the top. He loved climbing over small rocks and a few boulders. He loved that sense of accomplishment when he got to the end of the trail. We were the only ones there. It was late in the day and the sun was going to set soon, but we savored a few minutes of this natural treasure that few get to themselves.
Bryce National Park
We had one morning to see as much as possible in Bryce. We were due at the Grand Canyon that night and had many miles (and hours) to go, but there was no way we were going to miss the canyon. The natural bridge, "panda" and other rock formations were worth the detour and added time on our journey. The boys weren't as impressed as we were. Afterall, there were no giant rocks to climb over like in Zion. Well, there were, but we weren't taking those hikes that day.
Overrated attraction or a must-see destination? That's what I was wondering as we pulled into Yavapa Lodge at the Grand Canyon after 10pm. It was dark. I had no way of knowing where we were in relation to the canyon at that point. Mike had been and said it was impressive, but I mean really. People have hyped it up so much. Would it be worth the detour? Yes. Yes it was. This canyon is grand. It's huge. It's mind blowing. The boys loved running around at El Tovar, one of the historic inns in the park. I loved being in a spot that my great grandmother once stood. She used to work at the Hopi House gift shop outside of the hotel in the early 1900s. Naturally I had to stock up on wares from inside the shop and snap a few photos.
Albuquerque and Oklahoma City
I have nothing to say about Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. We drove straight through both, only stopping for the night to get some rest before long days of driving. Both were long stretches of land with nothing but a few cows and horses to break up the scenery. Oh, but there were wind farms too. Some really cool wind farms. Even better, we saw trucks driving parts down the highway with large blades being towed behind them. More windmills were going up to make clean energy.
Our stop in Nashville was necessary at this point in our journey. It had been our little family of four in the car for almost 10 days. We were stopping to stay with friends for the night, have adult conversation, a home cooked meal and room to spread out. I love my kids, but sharing a car all day and a small hotel room at night has gotten trying. After a full-night's sleep we went to our friend's favorite brunch spot, Marche, to fuel up before our final push into Maryland. No one wanted to get in the car, but the end was so near.
We have arrived!!! I never thought we would make it (OK, that's not true. I knew we would get here, but there were times in the car that I did wonder.) It's been a transition. We have one foot in Seattle still as we sell our house and one foot in Maryland where we are settling into my brother-in-law's as we search for a house and Mike starts his new job. It is wonderful to have family close by and cousins around to play with the boys. Now we just need a house so we can get down to DC and really start exploring our new home.
Thanks for following along on our incredible journey across the country. Check out the blog for more information on a few of the hotels we stayed at and the parks we visited. If you want to try out Tackk and create your own, click the image below.