Thursday, June 4, 2015

So, Where Are We Going? (part 1)

I've been asked this question a lot as we've been planning and the answer is basically "so many places" and "not nearly enough places." 

But really, I think that we're going to get in a whole lot of really great stuff, while I acknowledge that there's so much stuff that we're skipping.  Like pretty much the entirety of the South.  We tried to pick a route that got us to see the major things we wanted to see and also covered the stuff that we weren't going to make a separate trip out of.  I mean, we could make a whole vacation out of New Orleans, but Mount Rushmore?  Not so much. 

Pictured: NOT a week's vacation
 We also are so so so lucky and excited to be visiting with so many friends, and being put up by so many friends along the way.  I'm going to meet so many children of friends I have never met before, or haven't seen since they were babies.  I'm going to get to meet new partners of friends.  And the kids are hopefully going to make some new friends.  Are pen pals still a thing?  We'll revive it if not. 

So here's our itinerary and some musings on what we are hoping to do in various places.  If you have feedback (definitely don't do X - it cost $300 and we had to buy new shoes!  definitely do Y - it was practically free and the highlight of our whole trip!) I'd love to hear it.  The only thing that can't really change is the length of time we're in any given place - we've got reservations every place we're scheduled to stop, so it would create a killer domino effect.

Home ----> Seneca Falls, NY
Why Seneca Falls, you ask?  It's a little more than halfway to Niagara Falls, and I was not going to kick off the trip with an 8 hour ride with just me and the kids.  What am I, as sadist? If we feel so inclined, we'll go to the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Seneca Falls ----> Buffalo/Niagara Falls
First visit with friends!  Planning on checking out Cave of the Winds and doing some walking around Niagara Falls State Park.

Buffalo--->Ann Arbor
More friends!  Who knew everyone from BMC was going to end up in Ann Arbor?  Not too much formally planned, save some eating at Zingermans and a trip to Detroit for the Henry Ford Museum.  

 I'm super excited for some serious catching up, though.

Ann Arbor --->Chicago
Friends again!  (See how lucky I am?)  Hoping to pack a lot into this Chicago trip.  In addition to deep dish pizza, we're going to swim in Lake Michigan, visit the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and the Bean, and Maggie Daley Park (the kids are psyched about that).  We're hoping to get some great views at Skydeck Chicago too.  If we have time we might tourist it up and hit Navy Pier and the Ferris Wheel.

This.  We're going to try to see all of this.

Chicago ---->Wisconsin/St. Paul area
Last stay with friends for a stretch.  I know remarkably little about St. Paul, but I am also very confident that we will find plenty of fun to have.

St. Paul --->Sioux Falls, SD
What's in Sioux Falls, you ask?  Pete.  After 11 days just me and the kids, we'll be ready to meet up with him and kick off the "full family" part of the vacation.

Yup. This guy.
Sioux Falls --->Hot Springs
Ok, this is where the trip starts to get a little crazy.  Or a little drive heavy.  Because there's really a lot of cool stuff to see, but it's all juuuust to far apart to not have long drives between each place, but juuuuust too close together to justify staying at each place.  We do only have 6.5 weeks, after all.

So we're going to leave Sioux Falls and head to the Badlands.  That's about 4 hours away.  I figure we'll get out and explore the Badlands a bit, and then head onward to our destination, about 2 more hours away.

In Hot Springs, there are two things that seem really cool.  The first is seeing the Wild Mustangs.  

The second is Wind Cave National Park.  

Pictured: fun for other people.  Nightmare for me.
 Here's the deal, though.  I don't do caves.  (Enter the deluge of people who say "but it's so cool!"  "these caves aren't claustrophobic!"  "I promise, you'll get into this cave and be FINE.")  So I figure I'll send Pete and the children, who do like caves, off to do Wind Cave National Park and I will enjoy a couple of hours of time to myself before we hit the road again.

Hot Springs ---> Bighorn Canyon
It's in this leg of the trip that we'll see Mount Rushmore, which is about 1 hour away from Hot Springs.  By all accounts, there isn't too much to do there, but we'll make a stop and take some pictures before continuing on.

Bighorn Canyon --->Yellowstone
Of course it goes without saying that we're going to Yellowstone.  We're spending 2 days here, which I know is probably not enough time.  We're staying at Canyon Village and will do most of our exploring around that area.

Yellowstone ---> Craters of the Moon
On our way out of Yellowstone we'll drive through Grand Teton.  Depending on how up for it the kids are, we'll get out and do some exploring, or we'll just take it in from the car.

I can't believe this is something for which we might run out of time.
Craters of the Moon is supposed to be super cool and basically empty (although, with a reputation like that, it might not be so much of the latter!).  We won't have a lot of time there at all, because we'll probably get in late and need to leave early, but at least we should be able to get in a little exploring.

Craters of the Moon ---> Reno
This is a loooong drive.  One of our two longest, and with not a whole lot (i.e. nothing) to look at out the window.  I'm thinking maybe a Lord of the Rings marathon in the car for the kids.


However, the place we're staying in Reno looks great - pools, arcade, air conditioning, etc.  We're planning on eating at In and Out Burger whilst in Reno, so hopefully that makes the drive worth it too.

Pictured: my dinner.
Reno ---> San Francisco
Ta Da!  The Pacific Ocean!  So exciting!  

Also exciting is seeing some dear friends while here.  We're planning on seeing Golden Gate Park and we already have tickets for a tour of Alcatraz.  

We also plan on eating a lot of really good food.  We're only here for 2 days, and I'm worried I'm going to have to eat at least 6 meals.  

It'll be a trial, but I'll persevere.

Next up, our trip home... 


No comments:

Post a Comment