Man, oh man! This week has really been a whirlwind adventure! For years my family and I have been wanting to make this trip, and it hadn’t been possible until now. So Wednesday afternoon we left MD to start our roadtrip to California. Here’s my recap from last week starting Wednesday. 🙂
Wednesday morning was quite hectic. My mom was gone, to a business meeting, and my Dad was preparing to leave by cleaning the house. I still hadn’t even finished packing yet, so I was in a real hurry! My suitcase, and consequently room, looked like a complete mess! Does your suitcase ever look like this?
In the afternoon we finally were all ready to get on the road. You better believe we packed some snacks for on the road! Our typical travel snacks are: a bunch of fruit (clementines, berries, grapes, and that sort), some snack bars, some protein bars and powder (we bring our own shaker bottles and blender so we can make some smoothies), and some water.
That first day we were driving from MD to PA to OH. We didn’t make all too many stops then, but we did make a stop at a natural food store and bought some more snacks. I got myself a smoothie, and asked them to mix our protein into it. It was a pineapple, banana, almond milk, goji berry smoothie and it was so good! I also spied some of my favorite kale chips, that were on sale, so I grabbed two of them just in case! 😉
The first day overall wasn’t too bad, but I was still happy to get to the hotel and get some sleep!
Thursday morning we got up slowly, and I made sure to drink some water right away. I’m really working on some of my healthy habits and implementing more. One of the habits I’m focusing on right now is getting my water intake in. I love that hotel rooms have real glasses, so I don’t have to use the paper or plastic ones, which lead to a ton of waste. And I’m also so glad to have brought our water filter! I don’t know if I’d like drinking tap water all the time, or buying water bottles constantly.
That day we drove from OH to IN to WI. In Indiana we stopped by the Toledo Glass House, which is part of the art museum. They had such beautiful art work, and it was crazy to think how these artists created such intricate patterns in the glass! If you’ve ever tried glassblowing, you know it’s not easy! They also had some glassblowing demonstrations in the afternoon, but we unfortunately didn’t stay long enough.
We stopped by their cafe for tea and snacks. My brother had been having a serious case of the sniffles, and I was starting to feel slightly sick as well, so I’ve been making sure to grab tea as often as I can. They had a delicious smelling orange spice tea, that tasted like holiday warmth.
I had been thinking that maybe steeping this tea bag with some hot apple cider would taste delicious in the fall!
Next stop was the Indiana Dunes, which was my favorite stop by far! The building there had these beautiful tiles, which reminded me of a middle eastern palace or marketplace. It felt otherworldly!
The weather was fantastic! It was just the right temperature, and the sun was shining brilliantly. My brother and I were joking around and did an impromptu photoshoot.
Later, he ended up play-fighting my Dad in a Harry Potter wandfight.
I was busy taking pictures of the gorgeous scenery!
I love the sand and the ocean. I’ve always had a thing for marine biology, and I just find the ocean fascinating! It’s so vast and we really don’t know all the secrets the sea has to tell. While this wasn’t the ocean, it was beautiful regardless. Something about the repetitive sound of the waves and the cawing of the seagulls that makes for a wonderful relaxing walk. I ended up sitting there for a while though, just to take it all in.
There are some places you just can think clearly, and where all of your worries fall away. Nature is that place for me.
On our third day we drove through Wisconsin, to Minnesota, and ended up in South Dakota. While we were driving, we saw this humongous cow standing in front of a cheese chalet. Who am I to not eat cheese in the state known for cheese?
We bought a bunch of different types of cheeses to try. My favorite of these three was the Blueberry Cheddar Cheese.
But our ABSOLUTE favorite was the chocolate fudge cheese. Sounds crazy, right?! I was super reluctant to try it, but it was one of their customer favorites, so we decided to go for it. It was so creamy and chocolatey, and a complete dream to eat. It really did remind me of fudge (or at least what I think fudge would taste like). The best way I can describe it is if you’d mix a ton of chocolate with some cream cheese. The base was 90% havarti cheese though, which is crazy, considering it didn’t really taste like cheese! However we could totally understand why it was a customer favorite, and we ate it all in a very short time.
As we were driving, we saw a bunch of windmills, which reminded me of Amsterdam. I really miss Europe, so it was nice to have some little reminders every once in a while!
Once again we stopped at a natural health food store and stocked up on snacks. We grabbed some avocados, some chicken curry salad, trail mix, and more. I bought some bulk items (chlorella, maca powder, rose buds, etc.), and a smoothie to take with me. It was called the Green Glow and was surprisingly good! It was a mix of spinach, cucumber, apple, lemon, and more. I drank a bit after a trip to the exercise room, and left the rest for the next day.
Saturday we didn’t do as much driving. We mostly drove through the rest of South Dakota, and made a ton of stops in between. First stop was feeding some prairie dogs. This was a completely new experience, but I couldn’t have loved it more! I felt like the Snow White of prairie dogs. There was a store that offered unsalted peanuts to feed to the prairie dogs, and you just held one out and waited for them to come. It didn’t take long and soon you were surrounded by prairie dogs! They’re so incredibly cute!
One of them came up to me, and even clawed itself onto my lap, until it realized I was out of food.
We then spent the day driving through the Badlands National Park.
I didn’t know what to expect, but it was absolutely stunning.
After taking 100 or so photos though, it all seemed pretty much the same. Until the landscape changed. Suddenly the rocks were much more colorful and there was even some greenery!
I loved this park, and it’ll stay on my bucket list so I can eventually go for a day hike there! We couldn’t walk too much, since there were so many steep areas and we were worried that my brother would fall and hurt himself. I mean look at these heights? But one day I’ll return and go hiking!
Next stop and our final stop was Mount Rushmore. My mom had this on her bucket list for quite a while, so I was really happy that we could tick that off.
Unfortunately it wasn’t like anything we expected, or had seen in the movies (shocker, right?). It was pretty touristy, and you couldn’t walk much or get as close to it, as we would have liked. However we went and saw it, so successful trip! 🙂
Easter-Sunday! We had slept at a casino in a town called Deadwood. It wasn’t my favorite place to be honest, since it was literally a town of casinos. If you went along Main Street it was one casino after another in a cowboy-kind-of style. However I was really grateful to spend the day with the family. In the beginning we didn’t know if we were going to spend it together, so I’m glad it worked out!
I walked to Starbucks to grab myself another hot tea, and settled into my favorite spot in the hotel room, which was this sweet little reading nook next to the window.
My parents then gave me some beautiful earrings, that I really loved!
After a breakfast of grapes and a smoothie, we left and drove through South Dakota and to Wyoming. Before driving through Wyoming though, we drove through the Custer State Park on their Wildlife Loop, where we hoped to spot some buffalo and other wildlife.
We were lucky and found plenty of buffalo! One even came to our truck and licked it. I was silently praying that it wouldn’t eat us, but all was good!
We also had some donkeys come up to our truck, that I got to pet.
These deer/goats (?) were sooo cute!!!
I thought the scenery was stunning and took a bunch of pictures of that too. It was so serene, and all of the forests and hills once again reminded me of Europe, but Germany specifically. I think it’s time for me to travel there again, soon, so I can stop reminiscing about it. 😉
When we crossed into Wyoming it was literally like nothing. Vast landscapes, beautiful nonetheless, but it seemed like there was no soul in sight! We saw a bunch of cows and horses.
My brother and I spent the time in the car playing one of his favorite games – Mad Libs!
Besides that I read a ton, worked on some homework, and took pictures.
We stopped at a grocery store on the way to buy something for an early lunch. We ended up finding some cheese curds (which I never had eaten before), clementines, water, manchego, and other yummy snacks. My brother bought some unsalted sweet potato and beet chips, which he graciously shared (sharing is one of those things we’re working on haha).
We arrived at our hotel around 10:30 at night, and pretty much fell into bed.
Tomorrow we’re planning on driving to Nevada so we’ll see what adventures we’ll go on then!
Here are some questions for you:
- What do you typically snack on when traveling?
- Have you ever been to Mount Rushmore? Did you like it?
- Have you ever traveled in the Badlands? If so, what are some tips you have?
- How do you keep yourself entertained on long drives?
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration, or weekend!