Monday, August 11, 2008

15 Days - 12 Different Beds

OK, that sounds like some sort of trashy romance novel, but it's actually the trip my family took from Virginia to Utah and back to Virginia. I got to see the heartland of the country (well at least it's Interstates) and my wife and daughter got to sleep many hours.

The Purple line on the map shows the path we took (you might be able to click on the map and have it expand for you). For the fun of it I'll take you through a bed-by-bed story.

Bed 1 - Kingdom City, Missouri

Kingdom City wasn't our original stop, but since we were making excellent time, we drove on across the Mississippi River to Kingdom City. Kingdom City seemed to be a nice little town, we could only find room at the Days Inn, it wasn't the best of places to stay and only had double beds (so my wife decided to sleep with my daughter). My daughter who is really small didn't like the bathroom and I tried not to look for blood or other stains. This hotel had potential, I think it was poorly managed. Had a very good breakfast at the spot across the street though. I was surprised by the time we made on the road, but we didn't hit any traffic and the speed limits were mostly in the 70's.

Bed 2 - Aurora Colorado

Day two was grueling, the plains of Kansas and Colorado while beautiful can be grueling and monotonous, it wasn't easy to do. I kept thinking of how difficult it must have been for the pioneers to come out and be in this inland sea of grass and trees, knowing that they still had to cross mountains before they got to the Western shore of America. They were truly great people. During this leg we saw our first wind farm, this almost made me cry, the thought that people were creating relatively green energy.

At a gas station in Kansas I asked a young woman what they did for fun, she said "hike in farmer's fields and around the lake", it was interesting to hear. When we got to Aurora Colorado I was exhausted, we stayed at a Comfort Inn by the airport. I was told that the room I was staying in would cost an extra $300 a night during the presidential convention.

Bed 3 - Moab Utah

This was the best place of all, a little place called "The Rustic Inn", from the outside you'd think it was rented hourly, but on the inside it was spectacular, nice beds, big room, nice shower, fridge, kitchen, the works, all for $79 a night (which my big brother Paul picked up for me, thanks Paul). In Moab we went hunting for dinosaur fossils, met a dinosaur hunter and got to see Dead Horse Point and Arches National Park (we didn't hit Canyon Lands). Both were spectacular and a must see. I was kidding that I wanted to see Delicate Arch again before it collapsed, when we got home to Virginia I read that a different, but also popular arch in arches did collapse, possibly when we were there.

Bed 4 - Provo Utah

After Moab we spent two days in my brothers downstairs bedroom, he had redone it and did a fabulous job with it. It was good to spend a couple of days in the same place, I was getting very tired. We had only planned one day in Provo, but due to a virus at my brother's house in Logan we decided to stay in Provo for an extra day. While in Provo I got to have my favorite burger, it's a Golden Burger from Burger Supreme. It's pastrami on a burger and grilled sour dough bread. When I walked into the place I told them I had driving over 2000 miles for a Golden Burger :).

Bed 5 - Logan Utah

Couple of days spent in Logan, mainly trying not to work on my brother's deck. I was mostly successful at that. I did manage to set up his MAC and PC with VNC so he could work on his MAC remotely. Seems the latest version of OSX has VNC built in (way to go MAC people).

Bed 6 - Salt Lake City

A couple of days spent in Salt Lake, this was the main reason we went across the country, to see my niece get married. All of my nieces are so beautiful and it was great to see them going up and getting married. While in Salt Lake I took my daughter to see "This is the Place" and "Temple Square" both are a must see while in SLC. In Salt Lake we stayed at the Marriott, the Marriott was definitely nice, but it didn't have free Wi-Fi, how lame is that. All of the small hotels we stayed at had free Wi-Fi, but the Marriott is all about making tons of money.

Bed 7 - Provo

This time in Provo we couldn't stay with my Brother. My Tia Vera (Tia == Aunt) was in town for the wedding and using the spare room, so we stayed at a Super-8 in Provo (right across from BYU on Canyon Road). It wasn't a great place, but they had free cookies. It was great to see my Tia Vera, she looks so much like my mother, I cried when I saw Vera, even her touch reminded me of my mother. I wish my Portuguese was stronger so I could have spoken with her.

Bed 8 - Provo

For our last day in Provo we went back to Paul's house, this time staying in the upstairs bedroom. Also used this day to go visit mom, she's not much of a conversationalist these days, but it was still good to visit with her. Also got to visit with one of my best friends in Lehi Utah. Seems the Valley's of Utah were on fire that week. We say 4 fires in just a few days. Is Zion burning?

Bed 9 - Livingston Montana

I had never been to Montana, we had gone to see Yellowstone, which was great. In Montana we stayed at another Super 8, which was just fine. In Yellowstone we saw old Faithful do her thing, and saw from the distance a 45,000 acre fire that was burning in the park, but what was really exciting was the Winnebago fire we ran across. This delayed us for over an hour, but we got to talk with some pretty cool park employees and get to see the rest at work. Now the people who are running the concessions at Old Faithful are not the brightest or best, it was obvious that the people responding to this fire were fantastic and great to see at work. Luckily all the people in the Winnebago got out without a scratch.

Bed 10 - Rapid City, South Dakota

I've always wanted to go to South Dakota and it didn't disappoint me. Before we got to Rapid City we stopped by Devil's Tower Wyoming, while in Devil's Tower we hooked up with about 2000 motorcycle riders in the area for Sturgis. It was fantastic. We also got to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, all were fantastic, this whole segment of the United States is very under represented. I could easily move to and be happy in South Dakota. Here we stayed at a Econo Lodge that was very nice, I'd have to put it at better than the Marriott, and it had free Wi-Fi (go figure).

Beds 11 & 12 - Worthington, MN and Richmond IN

Both of these were just places to rest our heads. We were tired and were now putting on serious miles. This meant that both my wife and daughter were catching serious Z's and I was driving.

Overall the trip was fantastic. We had unexpected surprises, no rain and no disasters. I found out after I pulled my car into the garage that I had zero tread left on my rear tires. I'm working on that now. Someone, either the dealer or the tire company will be replacing them. If you want to see more of my pics please feel free to.

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