Monday, August 20, 2012

Road Trip 2012

After our perfect day in Boston, Ali was packed up and ready to hit the road.

That LONG road, right there.

Here are all the stops we made on our Southern route from Boston to Utah:

We headed out on a Thursday morning,
hitting up Dunkin on our way out of the city.
We just kind of felt like it was appropriate,
seeing as how there's a Dunkin (or two) on every corner of Boston.

Don't mind my randomly bloodshot eyes. They cleared up by South Carolina.

We had fun driving through Brooklyn and getting a glimpse of the NY skyline again,
and the Statue of Liberty. Beautiful day!

We spent our first night in Baltimore, then did a half-day in DC for a few of my favorite things.
First we explored the American History Museum,
then we met my sister-in-law Katie for lunch! 
She's crazy busy in her residency there, so I was glad she had time to meet up with us.

And of course we went to Sprinkles after lunch... :)
This trip proved to be no different than any in the past: I am terrible at getting shots of
the "Welcome to [insert state that is approaching way too rapidly]" sign.

But we managed to snag a few.

We spent a day in Myrtle Beach, and it was beautiful.

Definitely my warmest Atlantic Ocean experience.
We woke up early to catch the sunrise,
totally worth it.
We walked around Broadway at the Beach that night, 
and my dad and I couldn't stop watching these crazy carp. They're nasty and huge.

We fed them like $3.00 worth of fish food from the machine there, so I hope they're grateful.
The best part was watching the ducks that walked right over the top of all the fish,
and grabbed the fish food first.

Then, we loaded up again and headed West.
For the record, only the red & tan bags are mine. I was obviously ready to get on the road.

We had a great experience at church in Columbia, South Carolina.
This man had been baptized the night before, and shared his testimony that morning.
He mentioned that he met an LDS missionary in Panama, who gave him a Book of Mormon.
Then, he named the elder, and it was one of our good friends from the summer I lived in Boston!
Our friend left Boston to go to Panama to serve his mission, and now he's at BYU -- 
it was so amazing to hear this man's story of how our friend had changed his life.

We took a picture with him and sent it to our friend, totally freaked him out :)
We headed out through the southern states, and made sure we experienced some real soul food.
Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta was so much fun -- fried green tomatoes, black-eyed peas,
fried chicken, tomato pie...we tasted it all!
And once we had digested (like six days later), we hit up Lambert's,

It's true, they throw the rolls at you. And your drinks come in big gulps.
(Don't worry, that's water).
There's also a bucket of butter on the table, and people walking around at all times
pushing fried okra and all sorts of things onto your plate.

So good, so fun...
But then we never wanted to eat again.

We saw some beautiful old mansions in Alabama, including one that survived the Civil War.
Then in Mississippi, we stopped where Elvis was born.
Are we huge fans, or was it time to switch drivers?
You decide.

In Memphis, we stopped at the hotel where Martin Luther King was assassinated,
which has been converted into a Civil Rights Museum. It was powerful.
From there we did two nights in the one and only Branson, Missouri, 
so my mom could see some shows.

We watched a comedy routine and Jim Stafford,
then we saw the Dutton family perform.
Maybe because they're really talented and entertaining,
maybe because my dad used to date their mom.
You decide.

One of our favorite (and only?) Arkansas sighting.

Once we hit Oklahoma, the land got flatter and the roads got longer.
Luckily we had a lunch break in Tulsa so I could meet up with my friend Jami!
And her adorable family. Isn't little Afton beautiful?

After a night in Amarillo, and a waffle shaped like Texas, we made it to New Mexico.
First stop: Carlsbad Caverns.

Go there.
It's amazing. Mammoth Caves are the longest in America, but this is the largest. 
It has a room inside that can fit 6 football fields. 

Do you know how long it takes a cave to make all the cool things inside?
It's pretty incredible to see.

We hung around until dusk, 
because millions of bats fly out of the opening for their nightly hunt.
I support this. They eat mosquitos.

The ranger told us there is a part of the cave that has 40 feet of guano.
Disgusting. But true.

We spent the night in Roswell...
heard of it?

We didn't see any aliens. And the most exciting thing in the museum
was accidentally walking into the men's bathroom.
Other than that, meh.
 From there, we went to my dad's hometown, Los Alamos, New Mexico!
My first time there.

He took us on the grand tour: his homes, schools, shenanigans, everything.
It was a lot of fun to see.

Then, the home stretch.

We had an Atlas-GPS battle the entire trip,
but we'd always found our way just fine.

But somewhere between Los Alamos and Farmington, NM, 
the road turned to dirt and the rain started pouring.

Then we came around the corner...
and found this.

Ultimate road block. Seriously?

It was craziness. So after some minor backtracking, we DID find our way again.

After one more night, we made it into Arizona land. We stopped at Glen Canyon Dam...

Then drove home through Zion.
It's still the prettiest place in the world. (See the goat?)

After 11 days, 23 states, and 4,000 miles...Cedar looked pretty good. Always does :)

Now, just 5 states left on the list!

It's great to be back in Indiana with Michael...
I carried some guilt through every state when I thought about him alone and in school.

He was so sweet to send me on the trip and never complain about it.

(He's probably going to complain when I make him drive to North Dakota with me though.
Gotta go someday, right?)


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