2019 cross country trip: Memphis to Norfolk to Seattle

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

June 14, 2019

Last stop on our way out of Memphis… It’s been a great year, now ready to head back cross-country.

June 15, 2019

Move over Graceland, I’d have to say Biltmore is the most impressive private estate I’ve ever visited. Here are some pics of the ‘house’ (pics of the gardens to follow):

June 16, 2019

Pit stop in Durham, NC… may have visited Duke and snuck into Cameron Indoor Stadium 🙂

June 20, 2019

Fun times walking along and taking a dip at Virginia Beach. Cool to see the sky morph from sun to stormy, well, until… (see next post)

… until we got pummeled by sands and super high winds and had to seek shelter in the nearest building (video footage taken in said building)

June 21, 2019

Day 1: Norfolk to DC area – our official, non-direct trip back towards Seattle has begun! I’m going to do like last year and do a daily recap until we return. Traffic in VA was no fun. Also, our hotel room smells strongly of BO… But we arrived in the early evening with time to walk through Arlington National Cemetery and the US Marine Corps War Memorial. Looking forward to spending the weekend here to explore our nation’s capitol!

June 22, 2019

Day 2: DC – saw the Washington Monument, spent half the day in the new(ish) African American History and Culture Museum, walked down to the US Capitol building, went in the Smithsonian Castle, Sackler Gallery of Asian Art, and Natural History Museum – Whew, our feet are tired! Stood for nearly the whole day and walked almost 8 miles. Plan to more-or-less do it all again tomorrow… so much to see here!

June 23, 2019

Day 3: still DC – explored the American History Museum, then walked to the White House, and visited the other side of the Mall which included the Vietnam, Korean, and WWII memorials as well as MLK, Lincoln, and Jefferson monuments. Exceeded our walking distance from yesterday… actually looking forward to sitting in the car for a few hours tomorrow.

June 24, 2019

Day 4: DC to NYC – paid a bunch of tolls on the drive between these two cities, crossed though 4 new states, visited the lookout on the top of the Rockefeller, sat inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, walked over to Time Square, then decided at 7:45pm to buy tickets to an 8pm showing of a Broadway musical (which was amazing btw).

June 25, 2019

Day 5: NY – Walk through Central Park in the morning, scenic lookouts from the US side of Niagara Falls at sunset… Ok, maybe we’re not on the most direct route back to Seattle – but we’re enjoying the detours!

June 26, 2019

Day 6: Niagara Falls to Sandusky OH – finally started driving back in the right direction but not until after exploring the Falls! Rode the Maid of the Mist in the morning, walked across Rainbow Bridge and enjoyed lunch and the view from the Canadian side. Had difficulty trimming down the pics to post today because everything was so beautiful- I did at least caption them though.

June 27, 2019

Day 7: Sandusky OH – caught up on some rest. Hung out at the resort and waterpark most the day, then made a short trip into town to see Lake Erie and grab dinner. Oh, also played a 9-hole indoor mini golf course in which I got 3 hole-in-ones – one was through the legs of an elephant obstacle that ricocheted between his hind and forefeet and directly into the hole – pure skill! 

June 28, 2019

Day 8: Sandusky OH to Niles MI – we’re really hitting the big cities now… jk. But after DC and NYC it’s nice to have some time in small towns. Rode some more water slides this morning before departing to the home of some of Jeff’s family friends. Going to spend a couple days in Jeff’s old stomping grounds before moving on to our next stop.

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June 30, 2019

Days 9-10: Niles MI to Chicago IL – finished spending time with friends in Niles then made the relatively short, but heavily tolled, trip to Chicago. Had dinner at Eataly for some authentic Italian food then walked along the River Walk and over to Navy Pier.

July 1, 2019

Day 11: Chicago IL – walked around downtown, enjoyed the unique and eclectic architecture, took a Bus Tour focusing on Chicago Crime and Mobsters, topped off our stay in the city with a full sensory experience and memorable dinner at Alinea (I didn’t take a photo of everything we ate… but I might have taken a few… scroll down for the finale – the edible green apple helium balloon)

July 2, 2019

Day 12: Chicago IL to LaCrosse WI – spent half the day in the cute little tourist town of Wisconsin Dells, really demonstrated our ‘adulting’ skills by conquering the intermediate course at Wizard Quest and playing a round of Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf (we only shoved a few small children out of our way to achieve these lofty goals). Also watched USA women’s soccer team beat England and make it to the finals! Woohoo!

July 3, 2019

Day 13: LaCrosse WI to Murdo SD – crossed into a couple new states, surpassed the 30-state mark since leaving Washington last year! Stopped in Sioux Falls for a walk around the park and downtown, enjoyed their sculpture art walk (though would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t stupid hot out). Made another pit stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Saw a lot of flat, empty, green terrain out the car windows and hit our first 80mph speed sign.

July 4, 2019

Day 14: Murdo SD to Rapid City SD, with lots of meandering in between – First we drove through the Badlands National Park, then exited at Wall and checked out Wall Drug Store (had a homemade donut). Then continued to Rapid City and headed south to Custer State Park and drove the scenic Needles Highway. Exited the north end and visited Mt. Rushmore. Then returned to Rapid City for flatbread, game meat, and sage ice cream at Dakota Steakhouse (no food pictures but plenty of other scenic shots).

July 5, 2019

Day 15: Rapid City SD to Billings MT – stopped in Deadwood on our way out of town (cute little western town with quite a bit of history) then visited Devil’s Tower Monument, drove through a quick but vicious storm and then through long barren patches of I90… we’re inching our way closer to Seattle!

July 6, 2019

Day 16: Billings MT to East Glacier Park – zigzaged our way through some rural Montana highways in the a.m. then hiked around Two Medicine Lake in south east Glacier Park in the p.m. Finally feeling closer to home as the terrain is looking more and more Northwestern.

July 7, 2019

Day 17: East Glacier Park to Kalispell MT – drove over an hour up to the Many Glacier entrance into the park to be told we couldn’t enter unless we had a reservation due to crowded parking… so we parked outside the gate and made friends with people who had a reservation (yes, we basically hitchhiked) and were able to get to the trailhead and lodge area. We then spent several hours hiking up towards Grinnell Glacier (see below pics). Then ended the evening with a westward drive though the park on Going to the Sun Road (took more mental than actual pics there) – so gorgeous. Oh, and we saw a bear on our drive along that route too.

July 8, 2019

Day 18: Still Glacier National Park – drove up to Logan Pass again in the a.m. hoping to do a hike up there but ran into parking issues again, this time decided to head back down and stop at various scenic pullouts and do some shorter hikes. Today was the last real day of touristy things (so probably the last post of super scenic things) should be back home in a couple days!

July 9, 2019

Day 19: Kalispell MT to Moses Lake WA – had a lazy a.m. at the hotel then set off towards home. Enjoyed driving through western MT and Idaho, hit a couple milestones as we crossed into Pacific Time and then finally into WA State! We’re getting close!!

July 10, 2019

Day 20: Moses Lake to Mill Creek WA – finally arrived back home after a brief detour to Yakima to see my aunt and uncle, Dan and Jill Noll, who treated us to lunch and their company, thanks again! Then headed over the Pass to Western WA and were met immediately with clouds and some rain, then later with heavy traffic – awe Seattle, just as I remembered, so good to be back!

July 11, 2019

A little hard to see, but here’s a map of our XC trip out and back from Seattle:

Yellow route: summer 2018 ~5600 miles

Blue route: summer 2019 ~5300 miles

Orange lines: trips to/from Memphis

Total: 34 states, 1 CA province, District of Columbia, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, two Great Lakes visited

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