Road Trip

We began our trip in the Southeast and made our way northwest to South Dakota. The ultimate target of this leg was Mt. Rushmore, but being in a car, we were able to do so much more along the way. Our plan was to spend the night in St. Louis and see the arch,

Day 2 - St. Louis arch 8

but we also stumbled upon Metropolis, IL (home of Superman),

Day 1 - Illinois Metropolis Superman 1

Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Cafe (the two-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars),

Day 2 - St. Louis Jillys 1

the world’s only Corn Palace,

Day 3 - South Dakota Corn Palace 1

the Badlands of South Dakota,

Day 3 - South Dakota Badlands 25 scaled

and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Day 4 - South Dakota Crazy Horse monument 6

Had we simply flown to Rapid City, SD, we would have missed all these other stops that actually had more impact on us than Mt. Rushmore itself!Day 3 - South Dakota Keystone Mt. Rushmore 5

Our next major stop was San Francisco, but to get there, we crossed the desolate, wind-swept plains of Wyoming,

Day 4 - Wyoming scenery 13 snow fence scaled

visited the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City,

Day 5 - Utah SLC Temple Square 6 scaled

walked on the unworldly Bonneville Salt Flats of western Utah,

Day 5 - Utah Bonneville Salt Flats 4

and crossed the Donner Pass.

Day 6 - California Donner Pass sign 5 scaled

We hit the major sights in San Francisco, such as Fisherman’s Wharf,

Day 6 - San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf 3

the Golden Gate Bridge,

Day 6 - San Francisco Golden Gate 9


Day 6 - San Francisco Chinatown 4

and Lombard Street,

Day 6 - San Francisco Lombard Street 3 scaled

but we also sought out the Victorian row houses featured in that 80’s classic, Full House,

Day 6 - San Francisco Postcard Row 3

as well as a Chinese restaurant my husband had frequented years ago while working in San Francisco.

Day 6 - San Francisco Hunan 2 Mongolian chicken

On our way south to Hollywood, we drove along a narrow, hairpin, harrowing road to Big Basin Redwoods State Park to hike among the tall redwoods,

Day 7 - California Big Basin redwoods 11 scaled

stopped in Santa Cruz to visit the sea lions

Day 7 - Santa Cruz sea lions 1 scaled

and eat to-die-for garlic fries on the boardwalk,

Day 7 - Santa Cruz boardwalk garlic fries scaled

and took the 17-mile drive in Carmel to see the Lone Cypress Tree.

Day 7 - California Carmel 17 mile drive cypress 8

Hollywood included a sightseeing bus tour,

Day 8 - California Beverly Hills Hollywood sign 4 scaled

Madame Tussaud’s,

Day 8 - California Beverly Hills Tussaud's Spiderman M scaled

the Hollywood Walk of Fame,

Day 8 - California Beverly Hills stars 3

breakfast with old friends, and a Larry King sighting.

Day 9 - California Beverly Hills Larry King scaled

Then it was time for Las Vegas

Day 10 - Las Vegas sign 1

and miles of walking around the world, from New York to Paris to Rome,

Day 9 - Las Vegas New York 4 scaled Day 9 - Las Vegas Paris 1 Day 9 - Las Vegas Caesars Trevi 2

in high heat,

Day 9 - Las Vegas 130 degrees scaled

and ending with a visit to History Channel’s Pawn Stars pawn shop before beginning our journey back toward home.

Day 10 - Las Vegas pawn 2

From Las Vegas, we stopped at the Hoover Dam, that feat of engineering magic,

Day 10 - Hoover Dam 10 scaled

and then reached the Grand Canyon in time to see the sun set.

Day 10 - Grand Canyon 33 scaledDay 10 - Grand Canyon 39 scaled

The Petrified Forest

Day 11 - Petrified Forest 15

and the Painted Desert were our last “official” stops before reaching Memphis,

Day 11 - Painted Desert 15 scaled

but we still found fun things to do along the way, such as Old Town Albuquerque,

Day 12 - New Mexico Albuquerque Old Town 1

the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX,

Day 13 - Texas Amarillo Cadillac Ranch 4

and Bricktown in Oklahoma City (which also involved a limo ride, much to the kids’ extreme delight).

Day 13 - Oklahoma City Bricktown 2

When we reached Memphis, we knew our journey was nearing its end and that we would be home the next day. But in the meantime, we were determined to make the most of it, so we strolled down Beale Street, enjoying the live music and street performers.

Day 14 - Memphis Beale Street 17

In the morning, we stopped at the infamous Lorraine Motel where Dr. King had been assassinated,

Day 15 - Memphis Lorraine Motel 4

and then had our last hurrah at Graceland before making the final drive home.

Day 15 - Memphis Graceland 38 trophy room scaledDay 15 - Memphis Graceland 47 plots scaled

In all, we logged 6,316 miles, covered 18 unique states, and truly enjoyed our memorable journey!