Sunday, June 14, 2015

So, Where Are We Going? (Part 3, coming home)

Pete flies home out of Grand Junction, CO, and the kids and I start our trek across the middle of the country and then northward to home, but not without stopping for some adventures along the way.

Grand Junction ---> Grand Lake, CO
Yes, Estes Park gets all the glory, but Grand Lake is on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Pete and I went there eons ago on our trip to Colorado.  It won't be a long stay, but enough time for us to do a little exploring.

Grand Lake ---> Colby, KS
As of now, the plan is to do the very first part of this trip across the Trail Ridge Road, which will take us up over the mountains across the continental divide.  It's not a long road (45 or so miles) but we'll be able to stop and explore some along the way.  

Almost as twisty, but not quite as terrifying as the Pacific Coast Highway
On the far side we'll stop for a little while in Estes Park and poke around a bit there before heading off to the Kansas prairie. 

Ok, then.
(Originally our plan had been to stay a night in Estes Park, but that left a lot of driving for the next day.  We figured better to visit Estes Park and just move along than torture ourselves).

Colby, KS doesn't have a lot, but we're staying in a hotel with a pool and the town has an "aquatic park" for swimming so we'll make the most of it.

Colby ---> Topeka, KS
Yup, we're still in Kansas.  The hotel has a pool.  Moving on.

Topeka ---> St. Louis
We're not in St. Louis for very long at all, but our plan is to see the Arch

eat some barbeque, and go to the City Museum, which is supposed to be an amazing adventure.  

Not quite your typical museum.
Lea is also excited because the hotel where we are staying might bring cookies and milk up to the room at night for the kids, and that's pretty fancy.

St. Louis ---> Nashville
Yay! Staying with other people again.  This time we're staying with family, and are super excited about it.  Depending on the weather, we'll probably visit Cheekwood Botanical Garden, which is a really cool sculpture park.  

We might also try to see the Parthenon.  I am super excited to go back and eat at the Loveless Cafe.  That is some good eating right there.

See how there are no biscuits in this picture?  It's because I ate them all already.
 Nashville ---> Whytheville, VA
Why Whytheville, you ask?  Because it's a place to stop and camp and it's near the highway.  It's pretty close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is supposed to be gorgeous.  

However, I think we'll play by ear how much gorgeousness the children want to explore, or if they just want to continue on the main highway to our next destination, which is...

Whytheville ---> Fairfax, VA
Once again, we are super excited to stay with friends.  From "home base" in Fairfax we're going to explore Washington, DC.  I know the kids want to see the Lincoln Memorial.  

We'll likely hit up the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History too.  But there are lots of other things that are on the table too - the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Air and Space Museum, etc.  I know that we'll be near the end, so I'm trying to leave a good amount of space for traveler fatigue, especially for the kids.  

Fairfax ---> NYC
On the way from DC to New York we're going to make a quick stop outside of Philadelphia, which has two bonuses.  One, we're going to get to see a friend for lunch.  Two, I'm going to have the kids see Bryn Mawr.  They've heard about it a million and a half times (at least) but Lea hasn't been since she was a baby, and Jax has never seen the campus.  While I know that they won't have interest in a lot of it, I'm hoping they'll be mildly intrigued to see my first year dorm and perhaps the cloisters. 

They may or may not be vaguely interested in stories inspired by that fountain.
Then, finally, last stop.  Here again, we're so lucky that we can stay with friends outside of the city.  I am sure that, with a little help, I'll be able to figure out the New Jersey transit system, so we can head into NYC and explore.  We'll definitely do the Met.  

I am also really hoping to take them to see Matilda on Broadway.  We're going to see some BMC friends while we're in town too.  Very last thing we're going to go to the Statue of Liberty, which Lea has been asking to do for at least 3 years.  

We'll ferry back and forth from Liberty Park in New Jersey, and, upon docking we'll go from

If I counted correctly, we'll be visiting 37 different locations (not staying at all of them, but most).  We'll be staying with 7 different very generous friends, and visiting many more.  We'll stay in campgrounds and hotels, eat at restaurants ranging from elegant to cheap.  We'll be in major cities as well as way out in the middle of nowhere.  We'll explore natural wonders, and gaze in museums.  We'll cover over 7000 miles.  It'll be a hell of an adventure.

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