Road Trip Part 3: Wenatchee to Florida

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nearing the end of the trip, our stay in Wenatchee was nice and Leavenworth was a really cool town. It looked like we decided to stop in Germany along the way! Stephanie got to discover her talent in cowbells in a little performance here. We just walked around, went to the shops, tried German chocolates, pretzels, and did a wine tasting.

The next day, we were off to meet the rest of her family in Tacoma, Washington. I finally got to meet her parents who are really awesome. We went to Taste of Tacoma, another festival with arts, crafts, (lots of fried) food, and music. It wasn't as big as the strawberry festival but it was still a lot of fun.

For dinner, we had a cookout at Emily, Paul's fiancé's house, and went on a bike ride to their lake. The next day, I went on another bike ride around while they got their nails and hair done. That afternoon, Stephanie and I ran around Point Defiance park while Paul and Emily got engagement pictures done. Talk about a rough run! Super hills and getting lost... Oi vey. That night, we all went to a super nice restaurant, Stanley and Seaforts, and had excellent seafood meals.

On our last day, we wanted to go to the farmers' market in Tacoma then Seattle before my flight, but wound up walking entirely too much, only to have to go back to get the car and drive to find the market... Which we found with only about 6 tents (they were just starting up at 2pm). So we went on to Seattle, ate at the Crab Pot, went to Pike's Place, saw the fish get thrown around, tried a new fruit (lychees), and went to REI, the biggest outdoor store, to find some Denmark-suitable clothes for me! Then the road trip had to come to an end and I'm back home, in bed, after traveling all night.

Of all the places we went, I'd say Boise was my favorite. Salt Lake gave us the craziest time, Chicago the biggest tease, Stillwater the best ice cream, Seattle the best seafood, Leavenworth the best wine, Madison with the Gorsky's the best bonfire time and farmers' market, and everywhere had their highlights, but Boise had the best food, atmosphere, laid back and active lifestyle, best downtown, shops, and just best feel of all the places. The people there hike, mountain bike, whitewater raft, float down rivers, go to cool bars with giant Jenga... they just do cool stuff in Boise! I think I could see myself living there.
We didn't get to camp or rough it as much as we were thinking, but in the extreme heat we were experiencing, I think we were okay with those changes. I had such a great time traveling all across the States, seeing new places, doing new things, meeting lots of awesome people, and making so many great memories. So glad I got to go on this trip.
Leavenworth, WA
Taste of Tacoma. GORGEOUS rose garden     
Pike's Place, Seattle!

Road Trip Part 2: Stillwater, MN to Wenatchee, WA

Only a couple days left of the trip now! On the rode to Wenatchee, WA to stay with Stephanie's grandma. Last night we stayed with her brother in Moscow, WA.

To start back where I left off, we stayed with her aunt and uncle, Tim and Renee in Stillwater, MN. We went out to dinner at a barbecue place, walked up really steep stairs to see the city, and got ice cream at Nelson's, where they have 48 flavors of ice cream and give you a HUGE cup that they call a "child's size." But it was a whole cup full and enough on top to put the overflow into another cup. It was insane. 

The next day we went to the Mall of America, rode the Spongebob Squarepants and Ninja Turtles rides, tried some bacon ice cream, and saw SOME of the huge mall.

From there, we went to see her Grandma Jeanne in Marshall, Minnesota and got a tour of the town she and Stephanie's mom grew up in. I felt it was necessary to grab a beer at the Wooden Nickel Saloon where they used to hangout. Even got a free cup!

That night, we stayed with her aunt and uncle, Tim and Suzy, in Pipestone. On the way there we had decided we wanted to find bikes so we could bike around wherever we went. So her aunt found two bikes for us. One of them didn't really work though, so we found a store in Rapid City with used bikes. We had originally planned on driving there, getting the bike, and camping in Keyhole, Wyoming but this quickly changed after a 9 hour drive from Minnesota to Rapid City, at 106 degrees, with no AC. At that point, we didn't wanna stay ANY longer there(well except a LITTLE longer for a much needed daiquiri and margarita) and thought we'd just mob it to Salt Lake City. So that's what we did... a large Starbucks coffee, two 5 Hour Energy drinks, a sunset and sunrise, a phone getting run over, a bike ride back tracking on the interstate to find it, some delirium, pounds of sweat and 18 hours later, we made it to Salt Lake at 7am (again, sorry Mom, but we had to get out of South Dakota!)

In our slightly zombie state on her part and delirium on mine (I drove about 17:30 of the time and was the consumer of the 5 hour energies) we checked into our motel, got our free breakfast, and were out til 2pm... (After some hallucinations of bugs being in my bed.)

First things first, we got Steph a new phone to replace her shattered one, ate some really delicious Indian food at Himalayan Kitchen, and met up with her friend, Morgane, from Alaska. After some catching up and sparkling Moscato, we headed out on the town in search of dancing...

Our first attempt was a place called The Bay which looked kinda cool, but at arriving, we found it was 18+ and nonalcoholic. Luckily, the owner of that bar, a really nice gay guy named Brian, volunteered to show us around. However, everywhere was either really dead or closed. The W had about 5 people all very strangely dancing to dubstep. We danced around with them for a little bit and were amused by some interesting fairy crab-like dance moves, but then decided to try the next place. So we hopped in a cab, and headed toward a gay club that Brian also owned, called Jam. When we were already nearing Jam, the cab driver mistakenly brushed off a bar that was popular with the unemployed snowboarders. Clearly he was unaware that unemployed was not a concern of ours, so although that struck mine and Morgane's fancy, it was too late to add that to our plans. So Jam it was, and we were unaware of the night we were about to have. (Mom, other relatives... Beware. Haha)

Arriving at Jam, it was also pretty dead but nothing like the last. Walking out to the porch, an individual we learned to be Princess Kennedy admired my dress and introduced herself and her friends. We all quickly became friends. We met some awesome people from all different walks of life. It was great getting to talk to such interesting, open, fun-loving people. 

Being Mormon country, I guess they dictate the alcohol and closing hours of the bars, so we went back to continue the party with our new friends at Princess Kennedy's house where we met some more awesome people and had a great time. After Morgane and I got a lesson from Princess Kennedy in walking in heels, we walked back to the hotel where I tried to give her a lesson in swimming... I guess they don't swim much in Alaska.

The next day, we sadly had to leave Salt Lake and make our way to Boise... We didn't get to have our Thursday with the unemployed snowboarders like we'd hoped. :( On the way out, we attempted to mountain bike in Salt Lake but couldn't make it up the first hill... It was pretty sad. I'll blame some of it on the extreme heat and our late night. So we went on to Boise and met up with her friend Gloria, also from Alaska. She took us to eat at a really cool tiki bar downtown called The Reef where I had one of the best teriyaki pineapple chicken sandwiches... Best meal on the trip so far. Then we met up with more of Gloria's friends and went out to their hangout places for a bit... Played some giant jenga and fuzball. But being exhausted from our last two days, Steph and I called it a night early.

Yesterday, Gloria took us on a hike up a mountain to a popular look out of Boise. It was a really nice and not too hot hike! We rewarded ourselves with some ice cream and shopping around their AWESOME downtown. Boise was probably our favorite city so far. Chicago might've been if we had more time there. But Boise was just a really active, fun, hip town. They bike, hike, rock climb, white water raft, float down rivers,.. Pretty cool place.

After spending too much money on awesome jewelry and gifts, we stayed with her brother one night, then caravanned to Wenatchee to her grandma's house and are about to go to Leavenworth, a little German town close by.

At the top of the stairway for a view of Stillwater 


Grabbing a beer at the Wooden Nickel Saloon
South Dakota
This is the progression of the phone incident: stopped to fix the bikes, forgot the phone on the back of the car, Steph biked back to find it, found it in all these pieces. :( 
The Corn Palace: made a pit stop here in SD. Apparently it's a big deal. The outside was all decorated with corn like this star. Disappointing corn on the cob, though, for a place called the Corn Palace. 
The bike trail in Salt Lake where we failed to get passed the first hill haha

Hiking in Boise!
Downtown Boise and their state flower from our hike... not a great picture :/ 

Gorgeous sunset on the way through Washington

Road Trip Part 1: Florida to Minnesota

So I'm a week late but I'm finally making my first entry about the road trip. Either my phone's been dead or we've been too busy to write. So about the greyhound, nothing crazy happened on the first leg of the trip... So I moved to the back of the bus (sorry Mom!) because that's apparently "where all the drama is" according to a guy that could've been Morgan Freeman. I took your "sit at the front of the bus" advice for the first round! But the back of the bus didn't have anymore excitement either. I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting... Fights? Crazy people? I dunno... But everyone was pretty normal. Made one friend with a girl that was on a lot of the ride with me. But other than that, it was all pretty tame. I went from 4:30pm on the 18th to 10:30am on the 19th! When I arrived in Bristol, I was surprisingly really well rested and would've been down to head out on the trip right away but we stayed in Bristol the first night, planned out our tentative route, ate dinner with the family Stephanie was staying with, and worked out.

So the first day of our (un air conditioned) travels, on Wednesday, we went through Knoxville and checked out a school Steph is looking at, then Nashville and walked around downtown checking out the bands, bars, and boots! Nashville was the first place to exceed my expectations. Here we stayed with Steph's friend, Kelsey, from King.

Thursday, day we drove around downtown in Louisville, then headed to Chicago where I instantly fell in love. We walked along the riverwalk which was absolutely gorgeous, went to the Navy Pier briefly, explored downtown, and got our deep dish Chicago pizza at Pizzeria Uno. Sadly, we only had three hours in Chicago due to CRAZY expensive parking and more driving to get to Madison, Wisconsin. On the drives, we saw super cool windmills through Indiana and an awesome sunset from Chicago to Madison. In Madison, we stayed with the first of Stephanie's aunts, Aunt Laurie.

The next day, we went to the Madison zoo! The orangutans were definitely our favorite. That night, we went to a little picnic her family's work had, where we had some awesome ribs and piñata entertainment. After the picnic, we had a bonfire with Sandy Gorsky, a family friend of Stephanie's that moved here from Alaska. This was a really great time and such great people.

On Saturday, we were planning on going to the farmers' market in Madison then driving to Minnesota, but changed our plans to go to the Cedarburg Strawberry Festival. We did still make It to the farmers' market which was awesome... Cool jewelry, veggies, flowers... And it was HUGE!
Then we met up with Stephanie's friend, Ashley (Sandy's daughter), at the festival and had strawberry everything (had to!): strawberries, strawberry brats, ice cream, beer... You name it. Not to mention corn and deep fried cheese curds! That night, we had another bonfire with their family, meeting Sandy's husband and son. We got to try out Steph and Sandy's fancy bonfire fishing poles they got at the festival and drank some more strawberry wine (didn't think we had our fill of strawberries yet) and apple pie moonshine! We were up until 4am, then up by 9 for breakfast and gettin on the road! It was such an awesome time seeing this family. I'm so glad we changed around our plans so we could do that. Wonderful family!

So here we are on the 7th day of our extravaganza, just leaving Stillwater, MN after visiting her aunt Karen in Northfield and staying with her Uncle Mike and family last night, who were super nice. Now we're on our way to the Mall of America and Pipestone where we'll stay with another aunt and uncle! (She's got a lot of those, conveniently for us, all across the states!) It's been really awesome so far. And one thing I've learned is that if you're too focused on getting to your destination you can miss out on awesome relationships with people. Like when we changed our Minnesota plans so we could visit with the the Gorsky's more, we got so much out of that. It was especially worth it when Sandy told us how that was the most fun and the most she's laughed in a long time.
Over and out.

Oh, and in the pictures, the story of the random one in the strawberry festival collage is a totally random girl we passed was apparently fascinated by my dress and kept hiding in it and wrapping herself in it. Haha

Windmill through Indiana/Illinois 



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