My husband & I recently moved from Walnut Creek, California back to Central Illinois! We took a 6-day road trip on the way back and saw some beautiful things along the way! Click here to see our exact (2,458 mile) route!
We had a fun, little goal to not stay in a “chain hotel” on any night and we even tried to keep the cost under $50.00 per night! Yelp is terrific.
Here is a little tid-bit about each unique (and even wacky) hotel/motel where we stayed…
ScottShady Court, Winnemucca, NV – Nate and I suspect that this property used to be some sort of military housing. It seemed to be straight from the 60’s and we loved it! $45 per night plus a fun experience!
Gas Lite Motel, Laramie, WY – This place had the most ridiculous décor! Horse/bison/bear statues, cowboy figures and paraphernalia, etc. Go ahead and check out the link to see more of the craziness… $50 per night.
Armstrong Hotel, Fort Collins, CO – This was our “splurge day” in Fort Collins. We spent an entire day (not driving) and seeing all of the breweries and fun sights we could! The Armstrong was a great recommendation from a couple we knew in California.
Big Sky Lodge, Rapid City, SD – We were one of two patrons at this lodge the night we stayed. (South Dakota’s “busy season” starts Memorial Day, and we were there just a few weeks before) The view at this place was gorgeous…South Dakota in general is gorgeous…we even saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse while we were here!!! $35 per night.
On the last night, we drove ALLLLL the way from Rapid City, SD to Eureka, IL (892 miles) to avoid a snow storm…..guess what? We drove through a snow storm….in the middle of the night….when the truck drivers weren’t even crazy enough to be out! One of the most stressful 4 hours of my life. (Yes…4 hours. I am surprised I didn’t have a heart attack)
The good news is that we made it all the way home in one piece! Our moms were thrilled!
AND NOW…COMES A PICTURE EXPLOSIONOF OUR 2,458 MILE ROAD TRIP! Enjoy and please try not to fall asleep before you get to the end of the page… 😀
(The alien-like salt flats and the beautiful Salt Lake)
↓ Salt flats….not snow! ↓
(Lots of fields, beautiful scenery & a crazy motel)
(Fort Collins – New Belgium Brewery, Bike ride around the city, beer, beer & more beer!)
(Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug)
These bizarre pictures were all taken in Wall Drug. A crazy, bizarre, cluttered, yet hilarious tourist trap…
My very attractive husband riding a jackalope…
Want to see my descriptions for some of these pictures? View them on Instagram by clicking the following link!
Please MAKE ME SO HAPPY and leave me a wonderful comment below! I will be so excited to see your feedback!
That’s right…we have decided to embark on our next life journey…and that is moving to IL!!!!
We are very excited! Although, it will definitely be very different not sharing the sidewalk with homeless people everyday….and the lack of mountains in the landscape! (Among many more glamorous things that California has to offer of course!)
Are you prepared to see the most amazingly, beautiful place in California? And a very picture-heavy blog post? Well lucky you (!) because you are about to experience both…
Earlier this year, I surprised my hubbie by taking him for a weekend to Big Sur for his birthday, and we had an amazing time! Big Sur is one of those places that feels almost like you stepped back in time; no cell reception, most restaraunts are lit by candlelight, beautiful, rustic inns and the food is out of this world! Here’s a little snippit of our weekend…
First, we drove down to Big Sur on Highway 1 and were treated to two hours of amazing, amazing views of the Pacific Ocean! Exhibit one below…
We drove over the infamous Bixby Bridge on our way down too! Honestly…we expected it to be a bit longer but considering it opened in 1932, it was pretty darn impressive for that time! Here’s a snapshot as we were driving away…
We got to Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, where we were staying for the weekend, after a two and a half hour drive. I can’t even BEGIN to explain Deetjen’s to you…you must see it for yourself someday, but I will do my best to give you an idea of this whimsical place. Here is one of the seven buildings you can stay in. Each building was built over a thirty year period, take a look at their website (linked above) it gives you a great history of the property.
Has your jaw dropped yet? Well there’s more!
Top left -One of the rooms in the building where we stayed, this one even had a small balcony! Top right – Each room had several journals for each set of guests to write a note or draw a picture and keep in the room for many years to come! Bottom left – The restaraunt/check-in area. We ate here twice and oh my word…the food was a-maz-ing! Bottom right – Another bit of the top left room, what a fun wood burning stove!
See what I mean about rustic? When we woke up the next morning, we could hear nature…which is amazing considering what we normally hear when we wake up (dumpsters slamming, honking horns, footsteps from the floor above, yelling people, sirens, etc.)
My very exciting idea for Saturday morning didn’t go as planned, but it was definitely an experience! I started the morning off by giving the hubbie this note…can you guess what we were going to do???
Whale watching of course! We drove a little north, up to the Monterey Bay, to (make an attempt) at whale watching…the problem was that the ocean was really choppy that day…I’m talking 15 foot swells…the boat rocking all sorts of directions, and I was very thankful for Dramamine! Here’s what we could have seen if the ocean would have cooperated that day…(a happy beautiful, killer whale breaching the Pacific Ocean)
But what did we see? Well…lots of sea otters, all sorts of birds and maybe a few sea lions…and lots & LOTS of choppy water!
Once we were done getting bumped and sloshed around the boat, we decided to head back to our inn. On our way, we took a detour, a road called Old Coast Road that was used back before the Bixby Bridge was used in the 1930’s. It’s a one lane, dirt road that is approximately 13 miles long. Because of the terrain, (hills, cliffs and forest) this 13 mile road took us 2 HOURS! It was ridiculous but very pretty! We saw redwood trees, cliffs, bridges, praries and beautiful views of the ocean before it took us back to Highway 1! Our good ole Subaru got us through it! Here’s a few pictures of our drive…
We went back to our inn for a short nap and then finished our night off at a great restaurant called Nepenthe. Nepenthe has great views, delicious food and amazing sparkling wine! We indulged in all three! 🙂 If you ever want to eat a delicious burger, I would recommend their Ambrosia burger! (They even have the recipe on their website!)
Sunday, we woke up and we were ambitious….possibly a bit too ambitious! We wanted to go for a hike…in the mountains…of Big Sur. It was pretty challenging but so worth it! The trail was called Timber Top Trail, the entrance was very inconspicuous…this gate and old broken down livestock herder were the only indicators a trail even existed.
Our destination….are those trees as the very top of this summit. They look like bushes in this picture, but I will show you in a little bit that they are, in fact, full-size trees!
The total hike took us about 2 and a half hours round trip. During the hike we encountered the following:
Many noises that we were convinced were moutain lions stalking us
Beautiful views of the ocean and rolling hills
Hunts for our perfect walking sticks (we succeeded as you can see in a few pictures below)
Chilly winds once we got to the top of the trail (we ended up wrapping our scarves around our faces!)
Eating trail mix at the top of the summit (best trail mix I’ve ever tasted)
Some weird bird (a California Condor we think…) was stalking us from the sky as we were going back down. I don’t know if we looked tasty or we were near its nest, but honestly I was afraid for my life. Seriously…click the link or Google them…they are terrifying!
Finally, we made it back to our car and looked back up at the group of trees and felt so accomplished that we were just up there!
Without further adieu…here are a few pictures of our hike:
Well, hopefully I’ve inspired you to take a trip to Big Sur at some point in your life…I promise you won’t regret it! I hope everyone has a great weekend filled with traveling, sparkling wine and good food! (Or just your favorite of the three!)