Our cross-country journey was both faster and easier, and more frustrating then we initially imagined. We anticipated taking about 3.5 to 4 days to complete the trip. We ended up doing it in 2.5.
We left on Wednesday, the 26, after spending the morning doing the last of the packing and cleaning. And giving our house one last look over.
We started off going slightly North, but quickly cut West and slightly South where we hopped onto I-70, where we would remind for the majority of our trip (approx 1710 of the 1729 miles!)!
Our route took us across much of Pennsylvania, where we stopped for lunch near the Blue Mountain area, before cutting through the northern section of West Virginia. I have to say, WV was beautiful. Mountainous and wonderfully wooded.
After that we headed into very southern Ohio.
We spend the whole afternoon traveling across the state before stopping for some dinner at a pizza joint off the highway.
I have to say that the drive in the evenings, after our dinner stop, were some of my favorite parts. This country of ours is gorgeous when viewed by sunset...
We got into Indiana that evening, then found a place to stop.
The hotel that night was... well, frankly a bit gross. We waited too long to search for hotels, and there weren't a ton of pet friendly ones right by the highway, so we ended up in a motel that where we slept on top of the covers. Eep.
Day two (the 27th):
We got an early start (no need to hang out in the motel too long!), and headed out.
We passed by some pretty farmlands, and quickly found ourselves in our 5th state, Illinois:
Here is where we made our first "just for fun" stop... we weren't in West Virginia long enough to really make a stop, and we've both spent considerable time in Ohio, so we didn't stop there. But how could we pass up the World's Largest Wind Chime... :-)
And across the street, still under construction...
After that it was back on the road, and off to Missouri. This was my second new state (W.V. being the first).
My one disappointment about this trip, was not stopping to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis... but it was lunchtime on a weekday and the arch is right downtown.
After that we stopped for lunch, where we got the word from our movers that our "week to 10 days, possibly 14 days" window was now... 4 days. Great, except... that was the day before we thought we'd arrive!
So our giant wind chime was the last of our just for fun stops. ::sigh::
We still enjoyed the views greatly as we went along. Though I did wish we got to see more.
That said, I will note that up until we hit Kansas (my 3rd new state!), I did find the drive to be rather similar to Pennsylvania. Beautiful for sure! Little differences here and there, but just very similar.
That changed when we hit Kansas.
I had been warned by a few people that Kansas was long, and frankly, boring. Maybe it was my desire for something new, or the place we entered Kansas (the Flint Hills), but I found Kansas to be lovely!
The hills were lovely, the plains everything I hoped the middle of the country would be, and Gwen was absolutely enthralled with the wind farms.
Frankly, I was too. Maybe it was the fact that they were back-lit by the sunset, or that the wind farm there is so incredibly massive (link), but it was captivating.
We traveled until late again (getting to watch an amazing thunderstorm over the plains as we did), but had much more luck that evening with finding a pet-friendly hotel that we felt comfortable sleeping in the sheets. I fell asleep really enjoying Kansas and hoping that we might see signs for somewhere fun to stop just for a moment the next day.
Day 3 (the 28th):
This... for 200 miles.
Pretty, but... yeah, I got what people were talking about. I got bored. Gwen got bored. We all got bored.
[I do want to note here that Gwen did amazing. Absolutely amazing. We put a big box of toys next to her, and a box of drawing supplies with paper. In the afternoon she would watch a movie on the Kindle. Sometimes she'd request certain music. She had a few moments of antsyness, but she did absolutely phenomenally! I was so impressed.]
Gwen stole my phone for a while to take pictures (with hundreds of miles to go on the same road, my GPS was a low priority).
Finally mid-morning, we saw this very welcome sign.
We also saw more wind farms...
Much to my dismay Southeastern Colorado remained very... Kansas-like.
But slowly we started to rise, up and up and up... until we were 5860 feet above Philadelphia's level (and 4800 feet above Kansas). Suddenly the Rockies were in front of us, and we were... home.