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Ready, Set, Go!

August 2nd, 2011

Well, we promised everyone that we would be blogging throughout our cross-country trip. That obviously didn't happen. We thought we'd have a lot more time to sit down every day and write about our travels, but to be honest, I'm glad we didn't. We enjoyed every moment of our trip and didn't spare a minute over the course of our travels. Now that we are sitting in the airport in Portland, OR I'll sum up our trip, and be sure to add more later!

Our journey began on Wednesday, July 20th when we went from Virginia Beach to Gettysburg, PA. Wednesday morning was crazy because we weren't packed yet, but somehow managed to squeeze all of our belongings into the back seats and the trunk of my car. Sampson rode the whole way on our laps in the front seat, scaring us a few times by throwing the car into neutral while we were driving on the highway. We spent a night camping in Gettysburg visiting with my Granny, Aunt Pat and Uncle Sal. It was great to see family and break up the long trip to NY!

We drove to Salem, NY on Thursday and stayed with my family. We caught up on sleep, enjoyed some sunshine by the pool and were so thankful to spend Saturday with our families and friends. It was so great to catch up with everyone and get some quality time in before we left! We were, of course, still packing Sunday morning, but were able to get on the road at a decent hour. We rented a Nissan Altima Hybrid which saved us tons on gas and was a super comfy upgrade from our original compact car. (B's legs were extremely thankful.)

We broke up our trip from Salem to Chicago with a quick detour to Niagra Falls. We'd both been here before, but the falls were still impressive and it was great to get out of the car and walk around. We made it to Chicago late Sunday night and spent the day Monday with Jordan enjoying the city and catching up! It always feels like home when I visit Jord and we always have a great time. Monday night we got to see my second family, the Hoffmanns, and B met them for the first time. We wish them safe travels and all the best in their new home!!

From Chicago we headed west to Nebraska, stopping briefly at the biggest truck stop in the WORLD. I mean how can you pass that up? Although we opted out of their dental services, we did take some pretty sweet pics and got a few good laughs. Overall, Iowa and Nebraska were flat and monotonous, but it was a beautiful day for a drive. We saw tons of windmills and are eager to learn about wind powered energy, as we didn't realize how much of the country uses the resource. The windmills are absolutely massive and pretty impressive when you see them on the horizon. Since it was over 100 degrees with the heat index when we got camp set up in Ashland, NE (and the pool cost $8) we decided we could put our money to better use in an air conditioned, local microbrewery. We hung out for a while before heading back to our campground. We experienced our first mid west thunderstorm in a tent, and would rather not relive the experience! We were ready to hit the road by Wednesday morning!

On Wednesday we continued west to Colorado, where we were grateful to stay with B's friends, Sam and Kate, in Colorado Springs. We walked through the Garden of the Gods and went out to eat downtown. The change in terrain was unreal! We were up early and ready to go on Thursday morning. Driving through Wyoming was a pleasant surprise, as we weren't expecting the state to be so beautiful! We were continuously taken aback by the mountains and valleys, and the sheer, desolate, beauty that were drove through. The pictures we took just didn't do it justice!

We thought we'd seen the best of the country but were awestruck when we arrived in Utah. We camped in a state park in a canyon, surrounded by beautiful mountains. Our campsite sat right on a huge reservoir, with plenty of wildlife and natural beauty. The temperature got down into the 40's at night, even though it was in the 80's when we arrived. I was glad B was driving on the way in and out because the road were so windy and right on the edge of the mountain! We got some great pictures and the backdrop never got old. Salt Lake City was gorgeous, and is the home to Polygamy Porter (Why Have Just One?) which I thought was hilarious and we obviously had to buy some. It wasn't bad!

We got some pictures of the Great Salt Lake, but were way more impressed by the salt flats in western Utah. Our next stop was Lake Tahoe, which is now high on our list of places to go back to.

The last few days were spent in San Francisco, with some good friends from college. We got to have lunch with Maureen and B kicked another marathon's ass and we got to see a lot of the city (including the Full House house which was obviously a highlight in my book!) We took a trip up to wine country and enjoyed a day in Sonoma and Tomales Bay. And now it's time to board our flight to Anchorage!!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make this trip happen. We are having the time of our lives and can't wait to share pictures and stories. We are thinking of our families and friends every second and can't wait to see everyone again!! More to come...

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