Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Great Adventure

I went off the radar (and pretty much off the grid) the last two weeks of July for what The Beloved Spouse and I hope is the first of many not dissimilar vacations. I highly recommend the trip we took, so I’m taking a break from writing and related subjects to give a capsule description of how we spent what TBS described as our Great Adventure.

Saturday, July 15
States Traversed: MD, WV, PA, WV (again), OH, IN, IL
Major Routes Taken: I-70, I-68, I-80, I-294, I-88
Highlights: Saw signs for the Triple XXX Family Restaurant. Place used to be an adult bookstore and the new owners didn’t have the cash to completely replace the sign.
Pendleton IN, former home of Les Edgerton.
Dinner: Portillo’s in Lombard IL. Best Italian beefs in the world, though Lou Malnati’s gets the most pub. (Not that Lou’s aren’t worthy.)
End Point: Lombard IL

Sunday, July 16
States Traversed: IL, WI, MN, SD
Major Routes Taken: I-290, I-90
Highlights: Crossed the Mississippi River.
Terrain changing by the mile.
Dinner: Anchor Grille.
End Point: Chamberlain SD, a block from the Missouri River

Monday, July 17
States Traversed: SD
Major Routes Taken: I-90, US-16
Highlights: Badlands, where we saw three Bighorn sheep.
Custer State Park, where we saw at least a hundred buffalo (they blocked the road and a pair damn near blundered into the side of the car), and fed donkeys from our hands.
Mount Rushmore. Once inside the Visitors’ Center it rained so hard we couldn’t see the top of the mountain.
Dinner: Slate Creek Grille. Good, reasonably priced food and excellent service in a not-touristy Western atmosphere.
End Point: The Iron Horse Cottage at the Whispering Winds Lodge, Hill City SD

Tuesday, July 18
States Traversed: SD, WY
Major Routes Taken: US-85, I-90, US-14
Highlights: Deadwood. (A bit of a disappointment. The history is name only; it’s now a biker casino town.)
Crossed the Bighorn Mountains. (Elevation 9600 feet.) Saw a moose.
Dinner: Bubba’s Barbecue. Outstanding pulled pork. Laid-back Western atmosphere.
End Point: Cody Cowboy Village, Cody WY. (Log cabins)

Wednesday, July 19
States Traversed: WY, MT
Major Routes Taken: US-14
Highlights: Yellowstone Park, including at least a thousand buffalo. (Honest to God.) I could list all the great things we saw, but it’s a waste of time. Go.
TBS was disappointed she didn’t get to see an elk until we pulled into the hotel and saw one grazing in front of the office.
Dinner: Two-Bit Saloon. Under new management and not as I remembered it. Still good, but not like it was.
End Point: Gardiner MT

Thursday, July 20
States Traversed: MT, WY, CO
Major Routes Taken: US-26, US-287, I-80, I-25
Highlights: A second pass through Yellowstone. Saw two more elk and TBS spotted a wolf. Roaring Mountain had one small steam vent yesterday when we stopped. Today it had at least fifty. Quite a sight.
Grant Tetons National Park and a spectacular view of the Tetons.
Forest fire in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Dinner: Skipped
End Point: Lakewood CO

Friday, July 21 – Sunday, July 23
States Traversed: None
Major Routes Taken: None
Highlights: Relaxing weekend with my brother’s family. Salt of the earth people. No way not to have fun with them.
Took my now legal nieces out for a drink.
Dinner: Friday: Great Frontier Brewing Company. Excellent beer and good food truck.
Saturday: Cookout
Sunday: The 49th. Alaskan restaurant. The beef/elk burger was outstanding.
End Point: Lakewood CO

Monday, July 24
States Traversed: CO, KS
Major Routes Taken: I-70, KS-23, US-400
Highlights: Boot Hill Museum. Up close look of a replica of the old Main Street. Extremely well laid out.
Dinner: Central Station. Another non-touristy winner. Always ask the locals where to eat when traveling.
End Point: Dodge City KS

Tuesday, July 25
States Traversed: KS
Major Routes Taken: US-400, I-35
Highlights: Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita KS. Boot Hill was just the main street with more detailed exhibits. This was the whole town. The two combined gave a good feel for what things much have been like then.
Dinner: Applebee’s. We tend to stay away from chains for dinner when on the road but we were exhausted and it was right next door. They treated us right.
End Point: Ottawa KS

Wednesday, July 26
States Traversed: KS, MO, IL, IN, KY
Major Routes Taken: I-70, I-64
Highlights: Discovered I’d left my credit card at Applebee’s. (They were more than cooperative and helpful in getting it returned.)
Dinner: A&W. Long day, worn out, and it was across the street.
End Point: Lexington KY

Thursday, July 27
States Traversed: None
Major Routes Taken: None
Highlights: Rained too hard to go to the Kentucky Horse Park; saw Ghostbuster. Liked it a lot.
Dinner: The Pasta Garage. Outstanding.
End Point: Lexington. Same hotel two nights in a row was a treat.

Friday, July 28
States Traversed: KY, WV, VA, MD
Major Routes Taken: I-64, I-81, I-66, I-495, I-95
Highlights: Getting home.
Dinner: Chick Fil-A
End Point: Our own bed.

Total States Traversed: 16
Total Miles Travelled: 5,010

Sure, it was good to be home, but we could have happily stayed out another week.

Next week, back to writing topics.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, you really could have come to Detroit!

Dana King said...

We considered detours for a number of people. (The Beloved Spouse has family in Flint, for example.) Since I only had two weeks off, that first day was 800 miles of driving.

We hope to be a little more social when we travel once I retire and we can spread things out a little.

Mike Dennis said...

Key West wouldn't've been too far out of your way!

Dana King said...

Damn. And there we were in Lexington KY, barely a stone's throw away.