We are now on day 17 of our cross country road trip. What began as a 10 day cross country move from New York to California is evolving into a game of "how many sights can we see before we hit California." After nearly 4000 miles (many of which were NOT in the western direction), I think we're ready to settle in our new home Monterey.
The trip has been an adventure, and very enjoyable for all of us...with the exception of a few sibling spats and pre nap spouts. The driving is a breeze.(Of course, my husband does all of the driving, so I can't take much of the credit.) And our destinations have all been better than we expected- great weather, serendipitous opportunities, relaxed time to catch up with family/ friends, and no snafus or injuries or breakdowns. The tricky part is at night trying to configure the sleeping arrangements and getting three little ones to quiet down and drift off to la la land in one small room...and then the time between their bed time and ours when we struggle to keep quiet or surf the Internet and in the bathroom until we're sure they're completely asleep. Even then, we can't turn on the tv. I did bring cards and Scrabble, thinking they are nice quiet games. Not happening. (SERIOUSLY, anyone have any ideas they're willing to share?????) I have managed to watch a catch up with my summer Lifetime tv shows on the computer, thanks to my handy earphones. I brought a pair for PR, but he prefers sleeping over watching Army Wives. Hmph.
Day 1: Niagara Falls, Canada
Day 2: Grosse Pt, MI
Day 3: Dayton, OH
Day 4: Indianapolis, IN
Day 5-7: Grand Rapids, MI
Day 8-9: Chicago, IL
Day 10: Sheboygan, WI
Day 11: Davenport, IL
Day 12: Omaha, NB
Day 13: en route to South Dakota
Day 14: South Dakota sights
Day 15-16: Yellowstone
Day 17: Idaho Falls, ID
Day 18: Elko, NV?
Day 19: Reno, NV?
Day 20: Sacramento & San Fran??????
Niagara Falls: Amazing, of course. The town actually had more family stuff than I remembered, I wish we had spent an entire day and evening there...we arrived too late our first day to do more than drive through the main drag. Lady of the Mist was a big hit, especially with Owen. Caroline wasn't crazy about the spraying water, but the poncho made up for that.
Indianapolis: JUST missed the Indy 500 parade by a few days, but the kids museum was the best I've seen. Huge, hands on, and for all ages- even my new walker.
Chicago:I LOVE the city. Sooooo much to do, tons of kids stuff. We definitely needed more time there. None of us were crazy for the pizza.
Jelly Belly Factory: Well, it was okay. Definitely something to do to break up the trip and get out of the car. The tour was mostly just driving a little tram and watching videos on making the jelly beans....but the kids didn't complain when the each got a bag of candy at the end of the tour!
Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Bear Mtn,& Devil's Tower: All so close you really should do them all...but I do wish we had made time to hike Devil's Tower and stay for the evening Mt. Rushmore "lighting" with the Nat'l Anthem. Bear Mtn was the kid's favorite, tons of animals and we didn't even have to leave the car!
Yellowstone: It was truly breathtaking. I wish we had been there a week- even in the cold weather. We were astounded that we saw so much wild life- a grizzly walked right past our car while we were trying to drive in the park, there were TONS of bison, we happened upon a few moose, an elk, two black bears, a baby coyote, and lots of Osprey. (Most we saw between 6:30 and 8 on our way out of the park.)Can you believe it snowed today, in mid June??!!! I'm sure I took at least 200 pictures.
Grand Tetons: Beautiful. We only drove through and stopped to take pictures.
I highly recommend "Amazing Places to Take Kids," a book filled with destinations in all of North America. We've already hit 10 or so places, and two or three that we only knew about because of the book: the Jelly Belly Factory in Ohio. the Indianapolis Children's Museum, and Wild Bill's Cultural Center in Wyoming. After all, the trip has to be fun for the kids if the adults are hoping to have fun, right?
The journey continues....