Monday, August 16, 2010

And so it begins...

Departure: Spokane, WA Saturday, August 14th 7:15 AM
Arrival: Pittsburgh, PA Monday, August 16th 8:30 PM
Total Distance: ~2300 miles.
The Mini Spaceship with TumbleWeed holding on tight
After packing up my car (many thanks to Chelsea!) Dad and I got in to my car for a journey that neither of us had ever experienced. Father had chosen to play poker until the wee hours of the night (well morning) so I got the honor of first driving shift. With the GPS plugged in and a bag of cookies (thanks Kirsten!) we got on to I-90 headed out east. We very quickly passed in to Idaho and then in to Montana. The First of many notable places we passed was Frenchtown Montana, hometown of Jamie! Shortly after F-town, we got to pass through to lovely town of Butte, the home stomping grounds of Caleb. After passing such historical landmarks, it was a long trek across the "Big Sky Country." Beautiful, but long. After Billings we took "the scenic route" through the Crow and Cheyenne reservations; passing such cities as Broadus, Ashland and Dad's favorite Lame Deer. After nightfall, and dipping in to Wyoming, we made it back on to I-90 and entered the exciting state of South Dakota, where we reached Spearfish. Here we found a hotel and passed out.

Total Mileage so far: 814
We were bright rays of sunshine.
After awaking, we realized that Spearfish is fairly close to Sturgis. So for all of you who are not bikers (which is most likely all of you), there is a yearly bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. This has pulled as many as 600,000 people in past years. When we set out the next day, we happened to roll past Sturgis the day after this ridiculous rally. So for about 300 miles we had to deal with bikers on bikes, bikers in tucks towing bikes, and bikers in RV's towing trucks towing bikes. It was a little stressful. Again I got to pull the first shift in driving. Fun. So we headed down I-90 towards Minnesota. South Dakota is not the most interesting state, really flat, and eventually lots and lots of corn and soybeans. The high light was driving pass the South Dakota Tractor Museum. I had the pleasure of visiting there with Bill driving from Kansas City. We made it to Minnesota, to find lots of wind farms and still more corn and soy. An interesting note is that they do not have the fancy irrigation that Dad and I were used to in the Northwest, they just let it grow. After a long day of driving, and crossing the Mississippi, we made it to Wisconsin, and the quaint town of La Crosse. The main attraction of La Crosse was... wait for it... ROCKY RACOCO'S! AH! It was awesome! Dad and I felt rather special for getting to visit Rocky's outside of Spokane, in its home state. They have two of them in La Crosse! It was crazy! They have them on the blue "FOOD" signs on the side of the freeway! After a great meal, that was surprisingly similar to the Rocky's in Spokane, we headed out to New Lisbon, found a hotel and passed out for the second night.

Total Mileage so far: 1,557
We entered our last day of driving rather happy. Possibly because we had leftover pizza for breakfast. From our hotel we headed south in to the great state of Illinois. Did any of you know that you have to pay for I-90 there? Yes from Illinois all the way to Pennsylvania, I-90 is a giant toll road. We quickly made it to Indiana, and passed South Bend (I took a picture of the exit to Notre Dame for Jason). We then stumbled in to Ohio, were the toll roads have "Travel Plazas" to aid weary travelers. They are these huge pull outs off to the side that you can only access via the toll road that house restaurants, bathrooms, and gift shops... weird. Another interesting note: from east South Dakota to Pittsburgh, they have awesome rest stops. Not just clean, but impressive. One we pulled in to was two stories! It was a huge difference to the one we stopped at in Montana that was a hole in the ground. At this point in our drive, Dad and myself just wanted to get there... so I don't really remember much else until Pennsylvania. The drive in to Pittsburgh was great! Sort of like in Spokane, the interstate we were on crested a hill and in between a frame of trees you could see downtown. We were able to follow the GPS directions to Larry's house where we were greeted by our first Pittsburghian. After a quick dinner at "The Map Room," we retired to bed for a very long and restful sleep.
My new city.
Total Mileage so far: 2,300 (we drove through 11 states)

Look and me having fun!
- Father-Son Bonding time
- A deLorean and a Millennium Falcon guiding our way on the GPS
- Rocky Racoco's in Wisconsin!
- Corn (the first time we saw it)
- Getting to see a rather large swath of our country.

Low Lights:
- A Fully Loaded Mini Spaceship does not handle very well
- Tumble Weed (my bike) on the back trunk
- Having to use the bathroom
- Tolls
- Any driving past the 6 hour mark
-Corn (After the 4 millionth stalk we saw)

Ohh... look! Pictures!


  1. Ugh, so I just wrote this fantastic commment for you and it decided it didn't want to work... we will see if this one does.

    Thanks for posting your adventures! I look forward to reading about them. I talked with dad earlier tonight and he also told me about the corn. Sounds like an exciting drive. :) Love you lots!

  2. Gah! And why would a city EVER want to name themselves after those obnoxious bugs?!?!?!?!!??!?!?!?!

  3. So my son does listen to me :-) Great blog... great memories... I love the stories!!! Keep 'em coming! Love, Mom

  4. hey I can see myself in the picture of your new city! TheforK