8 more hours, three more states & one more cop encounter.

Once we got up, the first place we headed to see was the pier on Lake Michigan.

Briana stopped to get some quick advice from a shrink. 

After walking around the pier and the river ways we went to go see the famous bean shaped sculpture called Cloud Gate.

It took us for ever to find parking. Chicago is terrible when it comes to finding street parking. The last place we stopped before heading out of Illinois was the great lake, Lake Michigan, so we could put our feet in.

Then hit the road for another 8 hours && headed for Pennsylvania.

Didn't make it too far in Indiana before the cops pulled 
me over. Luckily I got away with a warning :)

Our last state before home.

eye-spy.

One last happy meal.

&& we make it home and are welcomed by some rain.

Katie brought us to Grandview Avenue to see a great view of Pittsburgh.

Our last night of our trip, Katie’s dad Gary make us a camp fire to roast marshmallows on.

It was so nice to stay inside a house since we’ve pretty much been living out of a car for the past 3 weeks. Tomorrow we head back to Philadelphia, && end our trip. 

after 16 hours we made it to Chicago.

After our final drive through the night we made it to Wisconsin. We got tired so we pulled over in Minnesota && slept in a Holiday Inn parking lot. Bri couldn’t sleep so was so scared & I slept with my BB gun in my hand. Katie slept completely sound.

&& then we finally made it Chicago after driving 16 hours & stopping to sleep for 3.

We checked in to our last hotel, which happened to be a Holiday Inn, around 15:00. After showering && resting, we went out around 19:00 to explore Chicago. We had to check out the famous deep dish pizza shop, Uno.
There was a 45 minute wait. So we waked down the block to their other store called Due.

There was no wait. But it takes 45 minutes to cook the pizza. 

After the super delicious pizza, we went and found the closest bar to have a beer && whined up getting some cider instead.

The view from the lake was absolutely beautiful.

Katie had to get her daily ice cream fix, so after the bar we hit up a local ice cream shop that conveniently stays open till 4:00am.

We headed back to the Holiday Inn for our last stay hotel stay around 3:00am and are planning to get up by 7:30 to go see some more of Chicago.

pit stop at a biker rally? sure why not.

After another night in a motel, we headed out at 11:00 to go to see Mount Rushmore. As we stopped to take our traditional picture in front of the state sign of South Dakota, we happen to run into some super nice biker dudes. We told them were on our way to see Mount Rushmore and they asked if we were stopping in Sturgis. Obviously, we had no idea what they were talking about so they proceeded to tell us its the largest biker rally in the world and its only 20 minutes away & it happens to be on the way to Mount Rushmore.

They let us sit on their bikes & they convinced us to make a pit stop

So we went to go check out what they were talking about. 

While having a beer in One-eyed Jacks Saloon, we got persuaded to take a quick job handing out flyers for $30 plus they’d let us keep the t-shirts that we had to wear. Which was perfect because that $30 was going to pay for our camping equipment for the night.

While on the clock we got to see some pretty cool looking bikes.

But far more interested than the bikes, were the people we got to see.

After that quick pitstop and crazy experience we continued on our journey to Mount Rushmore. It was only 45 minutes from Sturgis so we caught it before sunset.

First is the worst, second is the best but third is the one with the treasure chest.

After seeing the monument, we continued our drive to Chicago. We had 16 hours to drive and we were planning on camping outside under the stars with a fire to keep us warm. Well that did not work out as planned since we couldn’t just sleep on the side of the road. So we slept in the car in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn. I was sleeping in the back of the car when we passed into Minnesota, so Katie snapped this quick picture for me at 3:00am.

Tomorrow we keep driving until we make it to Chicago.

yellowstone, where animals don’t exist.

We got up early again, && were super ready to go white water river rafting. We got there at 8:20 in the morning and were ready to set sail at 9:00. Before we went out, we got our safety training and hung out until the rest of our boat got there.

&& here’s Jason!! Our newest Canadian friend.

After our 2 hour trip we stopped at the best burger joint in the USA.

&& then finally entered the park!! (note the sign)

About 5 minuets into the park we went through Wyoming. For those of you who did not know, Yellowstone National Park is technically located in three states; Montana, Idaho & Wyoming.

We explored the park for 4 1/2 hours before hitting Old Faithful. I took so many cool pictures is was really hard to pick which ones to put up. One cool/disgusting thing about the Hotsprings & Geysers is that you can smell them before you see them. They have this distinct STRONG smell of rotten eggs but worse. The steam that comes out of the ground makes the area so hot/smelly that you can 100% smell a spring before you even know its there.

Here’s a fun fact: Hotsprings and Geysers move. So the park rangers of Yellowstone are constantly updating trails and view points due to the activity of the springs.


We were so hot from driving that we took a quick dip in the river. 

&& then we saw Old Faithful.

After Old Faithful, we only had one more stop before we headed out of the park. Sad that we didn’t see any animals, Katie pretended to be a bear to make me & bri smile 🙂

&& here is the waterfall at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

As we were leaving we finally saw an animal!!!

We left the park out of the east exit. We had to drive through this part of the park and it was really sad to see. 100’s of millions of trees on several mountains were destroyed by a forest fire. It was unbelievable how much destruction there was. 😦

After leaving that part of the park we got to see another beautiful sunset.

Today was a lot of fun && we got to see so many cool things. I’d love to go rafting again in a more intense river! Tomorrow we see Mount Rushmore before heading to Chicago.

two more states & 13 hours later.

We left Seattle early in the morning since we had a long drive ahead of us. We had to drive 13 hours to make it to Yellowstone && so we left the hotel at 7:30 to try to avoiding driving at night.

By far worst state sign we’ve seen thus far.

As you can see, we’re super stoked to be driving for 13 hours in Gary, the honda civic. While in Montana, we saw some pretty hickish things. I guess it’s legal to drive with your children, unrestrained in the back of your jeep. Feeling hickish herself, Briana wanted to be daring and try the cheese burger hotdog at the gas station mart.

Then we continued our drive in the middle of nowhere. Service was absolutely non-existence.

We stopped at the local Walmart to stock up on some toys.... 

&& then we made it to Yellowstone to see the sunset.

We decided it would be a great idea to go into the park at night to go moose hunting. Me & Bri saw a moose but Katie only got a glimpse of its butt.

So we drove on this dirt road to try and find a moose for Katie. 

We were unsuccessful. So we went back to the Travelodge to sleep. Tomorrow, we explore Yellowstone and go white water river rafting!

mountains, markets & christian grey.

Another successful night in a $40 motel. We didn’t feel like sitting down and eating breakfast, so we went to target and got slurpies. After breakfast, we were on our way to go see our first volcano!

Our drive to Mount Saint Helen’s was filled with trippie looking trees like this that give you a head-ache if you look at them to long.

&& then we got our first glimpse of the ACTIVE volcano.

one day + one year before I was born, this baby blew up

Then we said goodbye to the volcano && hello Seattle.


We explored Pike Place Market as soon as we got into Seattle.
They had so many beautiful flowers & for so cheap!

Got to see the ORIGINAL Starbucks

After the market, we made our way over to see Christian Grey's house.
Then we checked into our hotel, got changed && went out for a drink to the oldest saloon in Seattle.

Katie was a little to excited that they had free popcorn.

&& then we ran around the city && bar hopped.
Katie and Briana were screaming out side the bar window for some Sea Men, && their prayers were answered when this gentleman walked up.
MORE BARS
After exploring the Seattle nightlife, we came back here to go to sleep 🙂
Tomorrow we are leaving our hotel by 7:00 in the morning. We have to drive 13 hours to Yellowstone, Wyoming && we do not want to drive at night so were getting our drive on early hoping well beat the sunset to Wyoming.

one last drive up the coast.

We checked out of the Old Town Inn around 10:30 and got breakfast at this little place across the street. It sucked. Then we drove ten minutes down the road to the Sea Lion Cave. There weren’t any sea lions in the cave, which sucked. But there were a crap ton on the edge of the water.

After the caves, was our last drive up the west coast. It was equally as beautiful as southern California, just significantly colder. We stopped to see the Devil’s Punchbowl and got to see some whales!

A whale!!

We had to head inland to get to Portland, so we had to say good-bye to the beautiful scenery and say hello to pretty Portland.

Obviously stopped to see some Christian Grey spots. 
&& then we stopped for some cupcakes

After our snack we went to the top of Portland to get a cool view.

We left Portland around 18:00. I really liked it there. A very quite but super cute little city.

After making it to Washington && checking into our motel (which for $40 was really nice) we had another stay in & eat pizza hut while falling asleep with it in bed night. Tomorrow we get to see Mount Saint Helen’s && head to Seattle.

back to a long day of driving, complete with a mountain lion.

After two days in San Francisco, we were ready to leave and head to go see Napa Valley. We caught a quick breakfast in Washington Square && had this to look at while eating.

About forty senior citizens (all of asian decent) doing aerobics to some strange music in the park.

After the show, we headed to Napa Valley to go check out a winery. We chose              V. Sattui Winery since they had great reviews on yelp & yelp has not failed us yet. 

The vineyard was really pretty and we got to taste some really good cheese. Unfortunately, I did not get to taste any wine since we had a long drive ahead of us to Oregon, but I did buy a bottle for someone special. After hanging for a bit, we got back on the road en-route to Florence.

The weather was perfect outside & the scenery was gorgeous. So of    course it was a windows down kind of cruise. 

But our relaxation ended there since we ran into a wild fire. We were stopped bumper to bumper for about 45 minutes only to start driving & find out we had to turn around completely. It was either sit on the side of the road for god knows how long, or take a 3 hour detour.

So we went swimming instead!

Saw this really strange tree. It was like plastic on one side & burnt bark on the other.

Then we got back onto the road and chose to take the 3 hour detour up the coast. 

Got to see the sunset again.

Then we made it to Oregon around midnight. WE SAW A MOUNTAIN LION on the side of the road. Obviously terrified to get out of the car, we were unable to take our traditional state sign picture, so this is all we got.

We made it to our motel around 2:30 in the morning, to find the office closed. They were nice enough to leave me a note on the door telling me where I could find my room key.. under the door matt.. Tomorrow we are going to see the sea lion caves and then head to Portland.

lets try exploring San Fran one last time.

Today, we got back into our usual routine of getting 
up early && going sight seeing.

First we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, which you couldn’t see, && headed to go see the Redwood Forest.

We pretended to be the Keebler Cookie Elves && play on the trees.


Then we played on a bridge

We wanted to experience the hills of San Francisco so we just drove around and got lost. We ended up at Twin Peeks which had the prettiest view of the city.

Stopped for some home-made hand-dipped decadent creamy treats.

After, we drove down Russian Hill, which is the most crooked road in the country.

I saw this sign when we were eating lunch on Haight && Ashbery street, and instantly loved it.

We wanted to go out for a nice dinner so we found this gem on yelp and it was so quant and perfect. The restaurant was light by candle light and we had a nice itaialn dinner, with some byob treats.

We decided to be bums again. Stay in drink some wine & watch A&E.
Tomorrow is the 1st of August, && we plan on starting off the month
in Napa Valley.

being lazy in San Francisco.

Today was our relax and be lazy day.

We didn’t get up till 10:30 and didn’t leave the hotel till around 12:30. We stayed in the Union Square district at the Hotel Metropolis.

We got breakfast at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. Bri found it on the Diner, Dives & Drive-ins app. It was pretty good and the line to get in wasn’t too long.

After breakfast, we hit up the hills of San Francisco, which absolutely sucked, but the scenery was nice. Took the cable car to Fishermen’s Wharf.

Got to see Alcatraz

&& then hung on pier 39 with some sea lions.

This is Stewart. He is sleeping.

After seeing the sea lions we were hungry so we got some snacks on the pier.

We wanted to get a cool view of the city, so we walked up the hill to Coit Tower && checked it out.

We were pretty exhausted after walking around up & down the hills, & the constant on the go activities so we went back to the room, && ordered Dominos Pizza for dinner. We had full intentions of going out that night but instead, we feel asleep like bums with pizza in our beds. Oops. Hopefully tomorrow will be better since we were fully rested for it.

highway one, paradise.

Today was our last day in Los Angeles, so Beth took us to the beach.

We went to Paradise Cove in Malibu, where Baywatch was filmed.

After a short trip to the beach we had to leave && head to San Fransisco. Obviously do excited but we thought Gary should look good for San Fran so we gave him a bath.

Then, we hit up the infamous Highway 1. When I say it was

beautiful, that’s an understatement.

Pictures truly don’t do it justice. By far, this has been my favorite thing to see.

&& of course we had to get out an go play on the rocks. 

&& then it was back to the road.

We watched the sunset on the side of the road, on this private vista we found.

So corny, I don’t care, we found this heart shaped rock that was cracked into three pieces & we obviously took it as fate and kept them.

After we watched the sunset, we got back on the road && had to finish our drive to San Francisco in the pitch dark.

At least we had a lighthouse to illuminate the way.

We had dinner at Denny’s. Clearly a perfect fit for us as you can see by the Philly tour of America menu. Bri was super excited for the meal, as you can see by the picture below.

Today was probably my favorite sight seeing day thus far. The beach and the view off highway 1 were the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  Honestly pictures don’t come close to actually experiencing it. It was the midpoint of our trip and do far my favorite day. We reached our hotel in San Francisco at 1:30 in the morning. Tomorrow we explore.