For the last seven days, I have been on a cross country road trip with my firstborn. After a two week stop at home on his way from Alaska to his new assignment on the east coast, it was time to hit the road. I decided to broaden my national horizons and tag along, so early last Saturday morning we started the voyage down Interstate 90. Six days and twelve states later we arrived. It was actually a very good trip. Our only disappointment came in the form of a Griswold family vacation moment, when we drove up to the gates of Cedar Point Amusement Park, the roller coaster capital of the world, only to find that it had closed for the season on November 1st. Fortunately, we had only decided to go to the park about five minutes before the freeway exit, so the emotional roller coaster of excitement and disappointment was extremely short lived. The look of pity from the gate attendant was the worst part. "Where you folks headed?" I'm pretty sure he thought we drove all the way from Montana for nothing.
We spent the second day of our drive in South Dakota touring Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and the Badlands National Park. Both were extremely cool. This was my second time to visit Mt. Rushmore. The first time, I wasn't prepared to be so very impressed. It is beautiful and awe inspiring to see the monument carved into the mountainside. Well worth the trip. A pair of mountain goats greeted us at the park entrance. This fella ignored the signs and was digging a hole to lay down in.
The Badlands were also a worthwhile detour, with the absolute highlight being the hilarious prairie dogs scurrying around, hopping up and down, whistling alerts and generally entertaining us for as much time as we could spare. I know they are members of the rodent family, which I generally abhor, but I make an exception for these cuties. My son claims I wouldn't think they were cute if they showed up under my sink like their relatives. I'll have to think about that one.
From the Badlands all the way to Mystic, CT is a high speed blur, as it was all about mileage until we rested for a day in one of the prettiest seaside towns I have ever visited. Street after street of beautiful, historic homes and a quaint main street made for a very charming town.
Yesterday morning we made a quick circle through a very old cemetery in Mystic that was full of beautiful statues and headstones.
Some memories from the trip (the freeway perspective)....
Minnesota and Wisconsin - barns and silos. I wish I had time to find some back roads to tour.
Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana - toll roads.
Pennsylvania - trees and rolling hills. I kept thinking that if we were a couple weeks earlier the fall color probably would have been out of this world.
New York - kamikaze driving skills required.
America in general - beautiful.