Friday, 8/1 - Well, after many months of planning, the day has finally arrived! I can't believe that we're actually driving across the US! It's something I've always wanted to do. Our drive will take us from Connecticut to California and back, going through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri, then back through IL, IN, OH, PA, and NY and back home to CT.
We left the house at exactly 4:44pm and got on the road. We took I-84 West until we hit Scranton, PA about 3 hours later. We found an old fashioned diner off the highway and grabbed a bite.
Chick's Diner was packed, it smelled of smoke (it's been a while since I've eaten in a place where smoking was allowed), but we had an enjoyable meal. It took longer than we expected, but we were out of there after a quick stop for some ice cream for Sophia. Our destination was still 2 hours away and while the girls slept, I managed to drive us to Clearfield, PA for the night. In what I figured was a tiny town, it took us a litle while to find a room. Figures the county fair was tonight, hence no rooms at either the Super 8, Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn, or Holiday Inn Express. Luckily for us, Heidi asked the person at the HI who told us to try the Red Carpet Inn. Not even a Red Roof Inn, but a Red Carpet Inn. Not our first choice, but being spontaneous and having no hotel reservations came back to (temporarily) haunt us. Pulling up in the driveway, I figured there was never any famous person who ever walked this "red carpet". No sooner than 5 minutes later, a real celebrity encounter. Turns out Warrant were performing at this county fair and the lead singer and his entourage pulled up and booked a room. Oh how the mighty have fallen. From the top of the charts to the Red Carpet Inn in Clearfield, PA.
Saturday, 8/2 - After a quick continental breakfast, it was back on the road. We continued on I-80 West through PA, Ohio, Indiana (with a quick trip into Michigan to put our feet in another state) and into Chicago.
We saw some interesting things along the way. The best was a tricked-out Harley with half an old VW Bug attached to the back and made it one of the coolest looking vehicles I've ever seen.
I saw more corn in Ohio than I realized they had, and we saw license plates from 20 states. Yes, we are keeping tabs of how many different state license plates we see. By Chicago, we had 39...not bad. We didn't find a "Welcome to Illinois" sign, which we thought was strange, so we headed right into downtown Chicago. We had dinner at Geno's East for my first taste of real Chicago-style pizza. It was good, but nowhere near as good as New York City pizza in my opinion. Sophia loved drawing on the walls but was a little upset that all we had were dark magic markers and she couldn't see anything she wrote. She still had fun though.
We then drove around the city for a while, stopping at Wrigley Field for a photo opportunity and the Michigan Ave. bridge and near Sears Tower. Lollapalooza was in Grant Park, so we couldn't enjoy that area, so we left town, drove West, and eventually found a room in Naperville just off the Interstate. Tomorrow bright and early, we're off to Iowa, a quick dip into Nebraska to claim another state, then up to South Dakota and ending up near Mt. Rushmore.
States visited for the first time:
Bobby: Michigan, Illinois
Sophia: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan
License Plates Spotted:
8/1: AL, AZ, AR, CT, FL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, VT, VA
8/2: CA, CO, DE, GA, IL, IA, KY, LA, MT, NE, NM, OR, SC, TN, UT, WA, WI, WY