We are now in the Eastern time zone in the US and have not really posted anything on this blog. I think I said I would be doing that to a few people, but it never really happened. So here's a summary post.
I picked up the car from Matson on April 26. Nothing really difficult there. I got back to Erin & Ish's house with no problems. We packed up the car and planned to leave the next morning. Erin & Ish sent us on our way with a rubber chicken.
Karen and I left early on April 27. Our goal was to make it from Seattle, WA to Butte, MT. That's right around 600 miles (966 km). The drive through Washington state was mostly uneventful. It was easy driving out to Spokane. We stopped for fuel, lunch, and misc in Spokane. Spokane is more or less on the eastern border of Washington. We got back on I-90 and headed in to Idaho. The control city on the signs became Coeur d'Alene at this point. Idaho has a very narrow portion near the top, which is what we drove through. We made no stops in Idaho and went right in to Montana. I-90 through Idaho is very mountainous and has many chain hook-up areas off to the side of the road. The Montana state line was while we were descending on I-90 and the sign was really simple. Karen got a picture and we headed on to the rest area. We made a pit stop there and then kept driving. Our next major stop in Montana was Missoula for fuel and snacks. Missoula looked larger than I was expecting. Then back on to I-90 and on to Butte. We detoured off I-90 and too US 10A/MT 1 so we could pass through Anaconda, MT. We got a number of photos and some t-shirts while in Anaconda. Finally, we headed in to Butte to call it a night. We stayed at a Best Western because it had breakfast included and a restaurant connected to the hotel for dinner.
We got up early and got breakfast at the hotel. It was during breakfast that we heard of the horrible storms that went through the southern US states. We didn't get much information while at the hotel, but friends and family were contacting me throughout the day. Our goal for this day was Cheyenne, WY. We decided that since the day 3 goal was Boulder, CO, we didn't really need to go as far as Cheyenne. We stopped in Casper, WY for the night instead. We stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Billings, MT. Around Buffalo, WY, I-90 turned east again and we continued on to I-25 to continue heading south. In Casper we stayed at a Hampton Inn which had a fantastic room. We ordered Pizza Hut for dinner and watched movies.
We awoke to a snow covered car and snow falling. We waited to see if the snow would stop before loading up the car. Had our hotel breakfast and I read the USA Today and pretended to get news. Karen made some phone calls. I used the fold up sun shield for the windshield to clear the snow off the car. Worked ok so we could load up the car and head over to get fuel. There I used the window cleaning tool to push snow off the roof and hood. We got back on the road and headed south. The snow was gone relatively soon. Made it to Boulder where we met up with Greg & Mekayla. We went to the Boulder Beer Company for beer and buffalo burgers, then went to downtown Boulder to see the square. Had to call it a night early because we were leaving the next morning at 6 AM. They gave me an assortment of license plates
Awoke around 5:00 AM. Got cleaned up and loaded the car and we were on the road. It was Saturday so there was no real traffic headed towards Denver. Once in Denver, we took I-70 headed east. We blew through the rest of the state and made it to Kansas somewhat quickly. Kansas took a little longer to clear, but that may have been because it was so flat with not much to see. From Topeka to Kansas City, the road became a turnpike. We paid $2.50 or somewhere around that amount to get to Kansas City. We exited on the Kansas City, KS side and drove through town to get to Kansas City, MO. I was curious how it was connected as border cities. Our friends live just a few blocks from State Line Rd, which is the state line (or at least near it...I saw no other official signage). In Kansas City, we got bbq from Oklahoma Joe's. We took it over to a park in the city and ate there, then walked around the park for a while. Our friends, Dennis & Janell, gave us a vehicle tour of the city before heading back to their place. They were also very helpful and let us do a load of laundry at their place.
We awoke, got ready, and had biscuits and gravy for breakfast. They also had us some bbq sauce and local microbrews to take with us to Boston. After leaving their place, I stopped at QT to get the car some breakfast and to load up the car with caffeine for the day's drive. We got on I-70 and proceeded towards St. Louis. Made some fuel and pee stops, but didn't stop for lunch until we made it to I-55 headed south from St. Louis. The drivers around St. Louis were pretty aggressive and I was ready to leave that city behind. We headed all the way down I-55 to I-155. I-55 started to show signs of flooding, plus it was horrible rainstorms all the way. Though the roads were not actually flooded, all of the surrounding land was or had been flooded. We got on I-155 east and headed towards Jackson, TN. After I-155 ended, the road usage was going all over the place. We traveled on state highways, local roads, and US highways before reaching Florence, AL. In Jackson, TN, we heard the tornado sirens. We turned on the weather radio and heard the area was under a tornado warning. We stopped at a Burger King. Karen asked what their storm plan was. They said they would take everyone in the freezer. After having no better options and not wanting to be on the road if a tornado touched down, we camped out at the Burger King until the warning was lifted. I'm glad we did because a tornado did touch down not far from us. We got back on the road and continued to Florence. We were delayed an hour, but that did not stop my grandmother from having food ready for us.
It was nice to not have to start a day driving. We had a nice breakfast and then toured Florence with my grandmother. We got local bbq for lunch. We went to the Helen Keller birthplace in Tuscumbia, AL and got some nice photos. At the end of the day, we met up with more of my extended family for dinner at Rosie's Cantina in downtown Florence. It wasn't until that night that it started storming, which was great because the weather cooperated for us while we were out and about seeing things.
Got up slightly later than previous days, had breakfast, then loaded the car and headed to Atlanta. Made two stops on the way and got in around 6:15 PM. My mother had dinner waiting, which was nice.
Got up later again, loaded wedding gifts in to the car, visited my grandmother, and after that I have been writing up this post.
In summary, a long trip, but a lot of fun. We have a lot of pictures to post, especially of the rubber chicken. We have been getting strange looks with the chicken, but it doesn't matter because he is an integral part of the trip now. Karen has been working on a book about the chicken's journey across the country.
Our target for tomorrow is Fairfax, VA. We're getting close to the end.