November 13, 2009

life is a highway

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.


  1. We just drove from Orlando Florida to Lakeside Montana in June. No plan, just got in the car with a map and GPS. You are so right about the Bad Lands and Mt. Rushmore! Loved the drive.
    Great post.

  2. Can you tell me where in Montana you are?

  3. You visited Mt Rushmore at the perfect time of year - **off season**! We did the same a couple years ago and really enjoyed almost having the place to ourselves. Well, us and the goats. :o)

    What a wonderful trip to spend with your son. He's the Coast Guard son, right? His service is appreciated. Too many folks don't know what all the Coast Guard does. Thank him for me, okay?

    jAne *

  4. Wow, looks like you had a great trip. I have hardly been out of Texas. It is about an 6-8 hour drive to get to any of the borders for me!Mt. Rushmore is one place I would definitely love to visit. Your photos are beautiful.

  5. What a wonderful experience to take a trip like this with your son. Your photos are all beautiful. I have always wanted to go to Mt. Rushmore and now I want to go more than ever. I think I want to go to Mystic too after seeing your pictures.

  6. What a nice time you must have had traveling with your son. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures. You were in my neck of the woods...CT. Mystic is a lovely place...I'm about an hour from there. I'm guessing that your son is either stationed at Groton or New London. I pray that all goes well for him.


  7. How wonderful to be able to do this. Wow what great pictures! We are in S. California and don't get the luxury of seeing all the color changes like your pictures show and I love those colors! I'm so glad you get to do this! I know it will make great memories, and I too will pray that all goes well for him at his destination!

  8. Beautiful post and photos, and it's especially nice that you could spend time traveling with your son. Precious time spent together.

    Hope you have a great weekend!


  9. What gorgeous photos and memories with your son. We met the same fate of CLOSED FOR THE SEASON at Hershey PA at their amusement park....which opened a WEEK after we were there! We made up for it in CHOCOLATE! I watched for 2 weeks when my dad took me out west to see a prairie dog and never got to see one!! They are cute. Thanks for the great pics of your trip and blessings to your son at his new post.Sue

  10. Hi. I LOVE your blog. Your boys are so handsome. I have 4 beautiful boys that I can't wait to see all grown up like yours. Boys Rock. Mine are still quite little & like you I adore them. They make me laugh everyday. Great blog.

    Niki x

  11. What a gorgeous trip! It seems like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but if you ever go again, please check in with me. I just spent the last few months researching a book about farmers markets in the Heartland, and I have some lovely little towns for your trip!

  12. Beautiful photos, looks like a fun trip, even if Cedar Point was closed!