2018 cross country trip: Seattle to Norfolk to Memphis

A summary of our route and places visited as recorded from my daily Facebook posts:

May 26, 2018

Day 1: Lunch in Portland at the Peruvian restaurant Andina, then picked up Blue Star donuts for later, fun time seeing our cousins Kati and Jonathon! Now spending the night in Ashland OR and planning to go to the Shakespeare Festival tomorrow.

May 27, 2018

Day 2: Spent the day in Ashland OR. Walked/hiked through Lithia Park, saw Henry V at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, enjoyed dinner on the patio at Standing Stone Brewing Company, and now back to the hotel in time to watch game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals!

May 28, 2018

Day 3: Scenic drive over Grant’s Pass to Hwy 101 to the coast and through the Redwoods! Drove through the amazing Avenue of Giants… felt very, very small. Now spending the night in Ukiah CA with one of Jeff’s cousins.

May 29, 2018

Day 4: Ukiah to Bakersfield with a stop in San Francisco to view the Golden Gate Bridge and walk along the wharf for lunch. Unfortunately the Bay Area traffic is no joke and our medium car day turned into a long car day.

May 30, 2018

Day 5: Bakersfield to Las Vegas. Checked into Vdara then enjoyed dinner at Lemongrass, walked along the strip, got some frozen custard for dessert (we are so gaining weight on this trip…) and joined in a Stanley Cup viewing party for the Knights right outside the arena. Now hunkering down for a few nights here before moving onto our next stop.

May 31, 2018

Day 6: Roamed around Vegas, didn’t even step foot in a car! Highlights included lunch at Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and experiencing the Blue Man Group!

June 1, 2018

Day 7: Finally saw the new Star Wars movie Solo, checked out Vegas’ Chinatown and had a memorable meal at Raku and Raku Sweets (see video of Jeff’s smancy dessert), then visited old Vegas for a stroll down Fremont Street… unbeknownst to us the first Friday of the month they have an event with extra entertainment and festivities.

June 2, 2018

Day 8: Last day in Vegas, did our token buffet (at Aria), walked over to the MGM sports book and M&M world, then saw Baz at the Palazzo which was fantastic (music compilations from Baz Luhrmann’s films, which I mostly love, and we got a free upgrade to much better seats!), then we watched the Mirage volcano eruption and Bellagio fountains on the way back to our hotel. Fun times but I think I’m about Vegased out.

June 3, 2018

Day 9: Drove from Las Vegas to Phoenix, nearing 2000 miles on the car since leaving Seattle! No fancy photos today (so I’ll make up for it in words), not the most scenic drive in the world. Today’s highlights include: Me killing a treadmill at our hotel before leaving this morning (it stopped suddenly while I was jogging, then started shorting out and smelled like burning… I discreetly switched to another). The thermostat outside reached 109 degrees on a few occasions but we couldn’t quite get over the hump to 110. We passed a rundown billboard in the middle of nowhere that literally said the word “nothing” (did someone really pay for that?). We are now staying the next couple nights in the retirement community of Pebble Creek to visit my grandma, aunts, and cousin before the next leg of our journey.

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June 4, 2018

Day 10: Spent the day in Phoenix with my Arango family. Succeeded in not melting in the heat… barely. Enjoyed looking at the saguaro cacti with funny nobbins on their tips this time of the year, and always enjoy the quail with their cute tops (apparently I just like things with accessories on their heads). Next we’re heading off to Albuquerque.

June 5, 2018

Day 11: Drove to Tijeras NM, just east of Albuquerque to stay with Jeff’s aunt and cousins. We went for a lovely walk in the evening (at 7300’ elevation), got to stargaze in their backyard, and slept in the girls’ bedroom (Jeff relished his new sleeping quarters)…

June 6, 2018

Day 12: Spent the day in Albuquerque, had breakfast at Weck’s, tried their spicy papas and compared red versus green chilies. Then walked around Historic Old Town and over to the Aquarium and Botanic Gardens, not as hot as Phoenix but still hot enough to melt us Seattleites. Had a fun time visiting family. Heading due east from here on out.

June 7, 2018

Day 13: Albuquerque to OKC, hit our eighth state so far this trip. Passed through Amarillo TX and a bunch of not much else… Enjoyed a delicious dinner at Cattleman’s Steakhouse just outside of Oklahoma City (Seattle probably does seafood and fine dining better but Oklahoma has us beat on steaks), then walked along the river during sunset. Three more driving days before we arrive at our (temporary) destination.

June 8, 2018

Day 14: Oklahoma City to Memphis, stopped for lunch in Conway, Arkansas for a nice chat with some of Jeff’s family friends. Experienced our first thunderstorm, saw the mighty Mississippi for the first time (for me anyway), and have entered the land of ma’am and y’all (seriously, everyone is sayin’ it).

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June 9, 2018

Day 15: Memphis to Bristol VA. Stopped in Nashville to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, turned out to be CMA Fest all over downtown with live music and food (and lots of people and more expensive parking). Took a mandolin lesson from a member of Alan Jackson’s band before walking around the museum and enjoying lunch from food trucks before hitting the road again.

June 10, 2018

Day 16: Bristol to Norfolk VA, we’ve made it to the Atlantic folks! Drove through Appalachia and lots of lush greenery. Was impressed by the quaint feel and cleanliness Virginia’s rest stops (well done VA, I would grade you #1 of the 11 states we travelled through in this prestigious area). We walked around Old Dominion’s campus, which our hotel is situated by, and are now looking forward to several days of no long car trips!

June 13, 2018

We’ve been hanging out in Norfolk, Virginia this week (which is nestled in a bay or inlet). This evening we made it out to see the full on Atlantic Ocean. Enjoyed a nice walk along the beach at a state park (we saw a dolphin!) and then yummy dinner at a crab shack watching fishing boats pass by.

June 15, 2018

Stepped back in history and visited Colonial Williamsburg this afternoon. Enjoyed seeing the recreations and reenactments of the former Virginia Capitol and enhance my (poor) knowledge of American history. Also, on a separate note, learned we have to stay in Norfolk for a few additional days… due to…. something Jeff could probably explain better than me. So, there’s that.

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June 18, 2018

We planned to leave for Memphis on Friday but are stuck in Norfolk until further notice (some military hold-up), so decided to do some more touristy stuff today. We played mini-golf (I got a hole-in-one putting between my legs on the last hole!) and had fun walking along and swimming at Virginia Beach.

June 20, 2018

25 days after leaving home in Mill Creek WA, over 5600 miles of driving between 11-states, we have finally reached our destination for the next year in Bartlett TN!

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