Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois!

My very dear friend has now moved from WA state to Massachusetts.  She wanted to get her car there and of course, how do you do it?  Yes, you drive it all the way over I-90 to its new home.   She asked me to join her on the adventure and away we went.

My final stop along the way was going to be Chicago as she went on to meet her family in Decatur Illinois a family because she was adopted that, thanks to ancestry and DNA, she just found,  and then on to Boston she went. Decatur has come up a lot in my household lately just by coincidence, or is it?  hmmm   (Yes, a funny side note, my husbands very unstable X wife is now living in Decatur Illinois because she is friends with my husbands X girlfriend.   I guess she has run out of places to run or people to take advantage of.  Anyway, I digress. )

So we started out on a Monday morning, had things planned along the way, the only restriction was that we needed to be in Chicago by Thursday afternoon.   The driving would, in the end, be 34 hours.   We stopped along the way in hotels and we saw some great things.

Mt. Rushmore for one, Mt. Rushmore!  I had never seen it before and was very excited about it.  It was as cool as I imagined.   It’s pretty neat driving on the road around the mountains in anticipation of where it will be.  And you do literally come around a bend and there it is.   It’s huge and so amazing.  Thinking about how long ago it was built, the trouble it took, the mapping of it, the tools they used, no safety features and how many people died carving it.  It’s pretty crazy.

RED_5047It’s only 10.00 to park your car in a secure lot, to see the mountain.  It’s a very short walk up through a new layout that has all the state flags and dates.  You can pretty much see the mountain from the second you come into this particular area.  There are small places to get ice cream and sodas, etc.  Plenty of places to get great photos.  It’s worth the trip.  And it was fun to hear families and kids talking about the Presidents and getting some real history instead of just sitting on their devices.

We also stopped and saw The Badlands in South Dakota The Badlands.  Now that is some impressive scenery.  We drove through just looking and admiring and taking photos.  This is also a must if you are on a cross country road trip.

There was so much to see along the way, the HUGE Wind Turbines in South Dakota, the constant land beauty of Montana and the rolling green hills of Wisconsin. I crossed the Mississippi River for my very first time in a car and MAN was it just beautiful.

I-90 will literally take you from Seattle to Boston.  Most of the speed limits are 80 and though there was a lot of construction along the way, we did very well and did make our destinations every evening, checked into hotels, had dinner, slept, got up early the next day to continue on our way.   I was SO excited to get to Chicago.   I had never been and its where my husband is from and most of his family still lives.

A few random photos along the way of rest stops, the land, structures, etc.  I have more on my phone to share at some point.

Then we got to Chicago around 3:00 on Thursday afternoon, exactly when we needed to be there.  I said goodbye to my friend and she was off, back into the Chicago traffic, which was as bad as we were told,  to go meet her family in Decatur, for the first time.

I checked into the Blackstone Hotel and the photo you see on the front page, that beautiful room with a full view of Soldier Field, the fountain, The navy pier, The fields museum, the Planetarium, and Lake Michigan, that was the very room I had for my three-night stay.  It was the best room in the hotel I am told. And it was really fantastic. The service was great, the hotel just beautiful and it was so convenient, right at Grant Park.

I was ready to see everything while I was there.  I walked to Grant Park that morning and the first thing I saw was Buckingham Fountain and of course lots of weddings!  Buckingham Fountain

 

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The city was a bit hard to see for both days, because of the haze and a couple of thunderstorms that came in.  It was hot, but not terrible to walk around in.   I loved all the Pride Flags on the buildings, the Pier, the Ferris Wheel.  There was going to be a Pride Parade on the Sunday that I was leaving.   And there was a huge community of LGBTQ people who lived there, who had come in for the parade etc.  I met a lot of them and it was so great to be present with such a diverse crowd of people.  Also, it was very different than Seattle.  People would literally just come up and start talking to you, sitting at your table asking where you were from, etc.   I really loved it!  I was so glad I was able to experience this entire trip.

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I got to spend time with my friend, the weather was great and I was able to drive through 5 states that I had never been to before.   So now that puts my count of states to 25 that I have seen myself.   Now just 25 more.  Pretty sure that will come with Brad’s retirement in a couple years.

Cheers, all I hope you get a chance to see some great places this summer.   Now OFF to Africa again, looking forward to those posts later this summer.