United States of America · 16 Days · 41 Moments · August 2018

Samdrea’s American Hero Road Trip


19 August 2018

Smoke from forest fires in British Columbia and the Olympic Peninsula is no joke. Here is the view across the inlet at sunset with and without haze from the fires.

18 August 2018

One of the things we love most about Washington? Adorable local coffee drive thrus like this one.
Obligatory new apartment photo. 😊
Some shots of our new neighborhood. We also caught Chief loitering outside the local mini mart. 🤦🏼‍♀️
Guys, we made it to Bremerton!! We were able to get into our apartment this morning, and we’ve had a busy day of unpacking and shopping to get our house stocked. We’re in the Manette neighborhood of Bremerton, and we think we’re going to like it. Our balcony has an awesome view; we’re in walking/biking distance of tons of things; and Chief has plenty of cool stuff to see on walks. We’ll be open for visitors within a few weeks! 😉
Driving into Seattle, we saw some great cloud action around the Cascades. We also went through the Tacoma Narrows bridge!

16 August 2018

Hello, Washington! After 10 days, we finally made it to our new home state! This picture sums up our afternoon in Spokane. Naps all around!
Thanks to Jeff for telling us about Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! Today was a pretty rough day, as we are getting a bit tired of driving (it is day 10, after all). We stopped for fresh air and a walk in downtown Coeur d’Alene, but the air was really hazy from nearby wildfires so we didn’t take many pictures. It’s a super cute place though! We managed to catch Chief smelling some flowers.
We finally caved and went into a cheesy gift shop. We didn’t give in to the huckleberry craze, despite all the billboards. Also, Chief has gotten really comfortable with his car home.

15 August 2018

We did “glamping” at Glacier National Park! Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the park due to wildfires, but we still had a good time. And, we weren’t eaten by bears!
As we’ve driven through the Rockies, we’ve seen so many pretty wildflowers!
We finally made it to the Rocky Mountains! We hiked three miles in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest outside of Butte. The trail was along the old Milwaukee Railroad right-of-way and had a super cool/super creepy tunnel. Our wildlife viewing continued, as we saw lots of cute chipmunks along the route.

14 August 2018

We loved the architecture here!
We’re pretty sure that these are the architectural equivalent to the leisure suit. The sporadic mid-century modern buildings made Butte more interesting?
Butte, MT - the Detroit of the West. This was a cool stop - we explored the downtown area, which is a ghost town since the town isn’t as booming as it once was (it is an old mining town known as the Copper City). They have some gaudy parks, lots of city pride, and some gorgeous architecture (more pics to come). We liked it.
Driving through Idaho actually reminded us of the Midwest quite a bit. The farmlands were just like the backroads of Illinois, just a few more rolling hills. We were driving along and came across a Frostop drive-in. Obviously, we had to stop and get some root beer and tots.
Jackson, WY is adorable. We stayed at the Antler Motel; apparently, Jackson is known for having tons of local inns for visitors. Just north of Jackson is an elk refuge, so elks are kind of a big deal here, as evidenced by the elk arches flanking town square. We enjoyed walking around before starting the drive to Butte.

13 August 2018

We rolled through Grand Teton National Park at sunset. Definitely not intentional, but so glad it happened that way.
Yellowstone exceeded expectations. It’s hard to capture the over the top natural features, but we tried. We finally saw buffalo (so many herds!), plenty of antelope, more prairie dogs, and lots of cool water features (including geysers and springs!). We drove through Roosevelt, where the park rangers live. They have their own post office, justice building, etc. The park is so big - we definitely want to go back and experience more of it!
We finally make it to Yellowstone, and what do we find shortly after entering the gate? A fallen tree, of course! Sam joined the guys and started maneuvering its removal. Luckily, a true outdoorsman came with a chainsaw and saved the day.
We took the Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone, crossing over some massive mountains! When we reached the top of one, there was a cool path that led to the top of the mountain - only about 10,300 ft elevation. It was a good hike, consisting of wildflowers, snow, and huge rocks!

12 August 2018

Made it to Montana, where I’m pretty sure we saw those purple mountains majesty.
After Devils Tower, we stopped at Keyhole State Park for lunch; it is right in the middle of the prairie in WY! The reservoir was really pretty, and of course, we found some rocks to climb. Chief was a fan.
Starting day 6 of driving. Zoom in and you’ll see Chief peeking through. He’s been a trooper on the trip so far!
We decided to check for aliens at Devils Tower, and we were in awe, much like Richard Dreyfuss was in the 70s. It’s pretty cool how you can see it rising up from the hills as you’re driving to the park. The bonus attraction was the prairie dog town! The little guys are everywhere!

11 August 2018

Obligatory stop at the end of the day to see Mount Rushmore! We drove along the scenic Iron Mountain road (goes through the Black Hills National Forest). Most surprising thing about South Dakota? So many tourist traps! Also, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is going on, so we’ve been seeing bikers everywhere!
The park had funky picnic shelters, so we lunched on our adult lunchable pack and some delicious Indiana cantaloupe (thanks, Mom!). Chief was glad we had found some shade.
Our first National Park stop on the trip! We arrived at Badlands around noon - it was a cool 100 degrees! We did the scenic loop and were amazed with the views. We saw the yellow mounds, adorable prairie dogs, and amazing painted buttes.
On our walk back from the Falls, we stopped at Queen City Bakery. We had to sample all of the savory goods. Our favorite was an everything bagel bomb (with a delicious bacon and chive cream cheese filling). Sioux Falls has a downtown improvement district that is clearly working. The businesses were all super cute, and we loved all of the street art!
Adjacent to the Falls are the ruins of the Queen Bee flour mill.
Our hotel in Sioux Falls was a short walk from Falls Park, so we were able to explore a bit of downtown on our way to the falls. The Falls were beautiful! Sioux Quartzite deposits formed the rocks around the park, and a lot of the buildings downtown were constructed from quartzite.

10 August 2018

We finally made it to Sioux Falls! Now to enjoy some wine and WI cheese. We’re quite classy, with our hotel plastic cups (full of boxed wine) and the Leatherman cheese knife. 😆
Had to stop at a cheese shop before we got out of Wisconsin! We bought a block of local cranberry white cheddar. 😍
Davis Family Reunion in Milwaukee! It was great to get to see everybody even if it was only for little while! Pictured: Kyle and Chief posing their butts off.

9 August 2018

The parks tour continues! Found a nice meadow (how appropriate for Illinois) for Chief to run some energy out before hitting Chicago at rush hour (😖😫).
Driving through the wind farms in northern Indiana never cease to amaze. There are several more turbines than in the past; it felt like we were in a sci-fi version of Children of the Corn.
Luckily, we got to see Pat, Sarah, and Laney before they move to England today! We’re pretty sure Chief and Laney are soul mates. They just don’t know it yet. 😍

8 August 2018

When in Lawrenceville, we have to get our Bobe’s fix. Not pictured: the amazing breadsticks and cheese sauce. Yeah, we’re in the Midwest, alright.
Chief insisted on checking out the Lawrenceville City Park.

7 August 2018

Day 1 of traveling consisted of some packing Tetris at 6am, 8 hours of driving to Lexington, KY, and finding ways to make Chief happy (i.e. empty dog parks and hotel couches).

4 August 2018

Things get real, and we block half of a main roadway for five hours. Sorry, fellow James Islanders!