Tuesday, June 25, 2013

St. Louis, Trip Stats, and Home

After picking up Susan (Jen's sister) in Missouri, we ate at the Old Spaghetti Company and took a brief look at the arch.  We failed to photograph the food, but just fyi... each entree ($7.99 - $12) comes with bread, a drink, a soup or salad, AND spumoni ice-cream!  This place was great but, unfortunately, the closest one is in Nashville I think.  It is most Definitely worth another road trip to go back there!

Not the best photo of the arch, but we did see it!

To end the road trip with a BANG, we decided to head for home and drive straight through the night.  We drove 23 solid hours (with that 1-hour spaghetti stop and, of course, a few quick rest stops).

A little gas station humor helped push us through the night.  Susan also helped us stay awake while we switched off driving, she was so fresh!

We arrived in Montreat, North Carolina around 7:30am to drop Jen and Susan off with Betsy and Steve.  What a happy reunion!

And arrived in Columbia around 10:00am!  "Reunited and it feels so good"...as mom sang over and over and over.

Emilie liked her Yosemite hat.

AND FINALLY, the moment we have all been waiting for, here are the TRIP STATISTICS:

Number of States Visited:   23

Number of Miles Driven:   8,823 miles (in 20 days)

Times We Filled Up The Car With Gas:   19  

Total Gas Cost:   $922  

Total Driving Hours:   149 hours 15 minutes

Individual Driving Hours:
Fran - 96 hours 15 minutes
Rebekah - 29 hours
Jen - 24 hours

Most Miles and Hours Traveled Straight:   23 straight hours of driving, 1513 miles (the trip home)

Number of Arguments/Discrepancies/whatever you like to call them:   1 (Fran v. Rebekah *driving)

Number of Free (unwanted) Driving Lessons:
Rebekah - 19
Jen - 2
Fran - 0 (she gave the lessons)

Number of Caramel Apple Pops Consumed:   71

Number of Traffic Violations:   1 (Jen in Canada) 

Number of Times Stopped at a Dairy Queen:   6

Lastly, here are the Jobs. (In case you were wondering, we did actually work as a team and all contributed with our individual strengths.)

Fran - Driver
Jen - Cartographer / Navigator
Rebekah - Historian / Comic Relief

TADA!  (good work Jen)

Dear Blobbers,

Thanks for reading!  Our trip was quite the adventure and we enjoyed keeping you up-to-date!  Stay tuned in 2014!  Plans are in the works for Jen and Rebekah to travel to Africa to visit Susan (she's moving there), and Fran is going on an Alaskan Cruise!  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Jen, Fran, and Rebekah

Monday, June 24, 2013

Jeeping in Moab, Utah

Apparently jeeping is the thing to do in Moab, Utah, so that's just what we did!

Jen and I sat in the 'rumbler seat' in the back and mom sat up front with Jim, our driver.

Jeeping is a lot like it sounds..riding around in a big jeep... except it was nothing like we thought it would be!  We rode straight up rock formations and the front and back wheels sometimes even came off the ground!

Jim took us on Hell's Revenge!  Trails are ranked 1 - 10, 10 being the most difficult, and this trail was a 7.. it was crazy!  

We stopped here and got a great view of the Colorado River.

We loved the rumbler seat and received added bonuses to the trip: extra sun and mouths full of dirt!

We also saw dinosar tracks!  

Jeeping in Moab was super-de-duper!  It almost topped riding around Canada on mopeds...almost.

Now we are heading to pick up Jen's sister Susan, see the arch in St. Louis, Missouri, and then home!  We are currently working on trip data and statistics, so stay tuned!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons

After visiting Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, we weren't sure if Yellowstone would be able to compete.

First of all, it snowed!  We have seen every type of weather on this trip, from almost 100 degrees in the dessert to snowing in Yellowstone!  It made packing difficult.  Thank goodness mom brought 5 fleeces of various color and thickness.  At least she was warm.

We saw BISON!

...and better yet, BABY BISON!  (proper name: bison calves)

The hot springs smelled like sulfur... not so nice.

One point was named Artist's Paint Pots, you can tell why.

We hiked to the top of those Paint Pots!

Of course, we also sat with the crowds in the chilly rain and watched Old Faithful blow.

After Yellowstone we drove by the Grand Tetons, they were pretty spectacular!

Sharing the road with bison made driving tedious...talk about road rage.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


 Yesterday was a major driving day.  We were in the car for a total of 12 hours and 10 minutes!

Jen navigates from the back seat.  This was the most thrilling day of all, can't you tell!

We stopped in Bozeman, Montana for the night.

The Garage was our eating place of choice.  The menus were made out of old license plates and they had a soup bar!  It definitely topped the hotdogs we have been getting at Dairy Queen (although those hotdogs are pretty darn good).

Mom has been wanting to see a sunset out West the whole trip, so we walked up a random hill in Bozeman to see the view.

Unfortunately a cloud was in the way.  It was still nice though.

We found wildflowers!

And, of course, we stopped for some dessert at the Chocolate Moose.  Huckleberries grow only in Idaho and this part of Montana, so we had to try the huckleberry sauce.  A huckleberry is somewhere between a blueberry and a blackberry.  Yum!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Victoria, Canada

The time finally came when we felt we needed to step our road trip up to a whole new level: International Travel. We were afraid you all might be getting bored with the USA blog. With a three hour Victoria Clipper ride to British Columbia from Seattle, we couldn't say no to this opportunity!
 Equipped with tables, I was thrilled with the idea of playing cards while we rode. But... then Rebekah and I fell asleep for two hours. That was nice, too. 

Oh, Canada!

Rebekah's most quoted lined on this trip is, "That's like REALLY famous." So, she reads about something in a guide book and then proudly proclaims to all who can hear. "There's the Empress Hotel! That's really famous. Everybody knows about it." 

Victoria is full of statues. Looks like Irwin Belk has made his mark here!

The highlight of our day was renting mopeds and driving the scenic route on the island! At first we thought, "We better not... we'd probably kill ourselves." Our next thought was, "That would be hilarious." So, of course, we did it!

 Fran thought she was extra cool. Clearly, she was right. 

The customary helmet pose. All legitimate bikers know it. 

"Renting mopeds will be hilarious" took on a whole new meaning for Fran and Rebekah. As in, it's hilarious that while trying to keep up with them,  I got pulled over for not yielding to pedestrians! YIKES! I felt like the paparazzi was following me when from around the corner came two sneaky photographers laughing.  

Since the cop decided to let me off with a warning, I joined in on the chuckles. The $169 ticket he decided not to give me wouldn't have been so amusing.

 The view from the stalker around the corner. 

After an exhausting wind-blown day, we finally crashed at our B&B "Hemingway by the Sea." I always like to throw at least one bed and breakfast in on every trip. We got our money's worth by taking a three hour nap AND sleeping a nine hour night. 

It will be hard to go back to granola bars tomorrow, for sure. 

Ferrying is one of my favorite forms of transportation!

We thought it might be a good idea to head out to Mt. Rainier when we returned to the city. The cold and rain couldn't stop us!

It wasn't a good idea. 

 Especially since we got lost for two hours. It was my fault. I was hungry and got distracted by my Dairy Queen hotdog and blizzard. I decided to let the GPS do all the work. The good news is, we all know now that I am smarter than the GPS. The bad news is, we ended up in the middle of nowhere. On the way by I was back to being vigilant by combining my map skills with 21st century technology. We made it to Seattle again without a hitch. 

Steven and Miriam have been a DELIGHT to stay with, and they even tolerated our split shift nights of staying with them not in a row. If they were on Trip Advisor, we would rank them a FULL five stars! (And include extra comments about their tasty lasagna and chili!!!)