For anyone that knows me, it’s probably not so surprising that the process of planning the upcoming road trip is almost as exciting as the road trip itself. There are few things I love more than planning. When I was a little kid, I’d actually write out itineraries for sleepovers. (I also organized my Legos by color and alphabetized all of our Nintendo games. I know what you’re thinking – I was the coolest, right?) With less than 3 weeks until the big departure date, more and more people are asking about which states we’ll be passing through, what we’re planning on seeing, and if we’ve started to map out the trip. Turns out, the trip has been mapped out for quite some time, with rough itineraries dating back to last fall. (I wasn’t exaggerating about my love for planning.) I can’t remember which of the two of us first referred to this big adventure as the Summer of Love Roadtrip, but the name immediately stuck. So, for inquiring minds who want to know, it’s my absolute pleasure to share with you details for our cross-country journey.
I’m pretty excited to be spending two weeks in the car with this guy, in part because he’s great company. He also happens to be an excellent navigator. Also, his lack of planning comes in very handy when we need to be “flexible” or “find an alternate route” or “not have a meltdown because you’ve hit a parking lot of cars on the Long Island Expressway on your way to a beach house for the weekend.” In case you’re wondering – no, we will not be wearing those helmets on the trip. Chris, however, will definitely be wearing that hat.
We’ll be covering approximately 3600 miles as we drive through 14 states in 15 days. Only 9 of those states are getting official stops, though. Apologies in advance to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and Idaho for being drive through states. Stopping points on our adventure include:
- Cleveland, OH – We’re planning to hit up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, stuff our faces at a Michael Symons restaurant, and check out Progressive Field.
- St. Louis, MO – For some quality time with Chris’s family, an obligatory stop at the Gateway to the West, Busch Stadium , and an Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour.
- Kansas City, MO (and KS, too, I guess) – Fountains! BBQ! Kauffman Stadium!
- Omaha and Ogallala, NE – To catch up with Joey, my best friend from undergrad. This will be my third trip to the great cornhusker state, but my first venture into western Nebraska. I’m already dreaming of Amigo’s and Runza….
- Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Custer State Park, SD – More obligatory sightseeing and our first camping adventure on the trip.
- Yellowstone, WY and West Yellowstone, MT – Three nights of camping, and probably the destination I’m most excited for.
- Salt Lake City, UT – Mainly because we needed to split up the 13 hours from Yellowstone to Vegas. And because I’ll need an internet connection at 5pm to draft an amazing Fantasy Football team.
- Las Vegas, NV – For obvious reasons. And some quality time with Chris’s brother.
There’s a bit more to each stop, especially in Cleveland where we got tons of great advice from my friend from work, Mike, who loves Ohio more than anyone I’ve ever met. All in all, the play by play looks like this:
I think it’s totally normal that a vacation itinerary has 5 separate worksheets in a GoogleDoc. And the longitude and latitude of camp sites where we’re staying. And the approximate sunset time at said campsites, so we can plan to make camp before dark. And two weeks’ worth of running workouts, since I’ll be training for a half marathon. So in case you need to know what I’m doing and where I am on, say, Sunday, August 12th, there you go. (I’ll be taking pictures of Mount Rushmore after a 7-mile run.)
I mentioned before that Chris is good road trip company, but just in case we get sick of each other, we’re fortunate to have one other partner in crime for our drive out west. He’s not much of a planner, but he does happen to love a good car ride.
So, that’s the plan. But there’s still (almost) three glorious weeks of planning ahead, so I want to know: What are your must have road trip songs? Where’s a good place to eat in Salt Lake City, UT (or anywhere else along the way)? What’s the best road trip you’ve ever taken?