Monday, August 5, 2019

Summer Road Trip

Have you ever dreamed of taking a cross-country road trip across the U.S.? Well friends, the road is calling. Let's go!

Day 1: Kennesaw, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee

We pass granite cliffs and red barns, rivers snaking through green valleys, corn fields, old stone cemeteries, and billboards for churches and antique shops. We taste BBQ ribs on Broadway and give big smiles to all the people passing by.

Day 2: Nashville, Tennessee to St. Louis, Missouri

We pass through western Kentucky and southwest Illinois staring out the window at big skies and hillside farms. We stop for lunch in a small town and eat our burgers in the parking lot of a boarded-up movie theater. The Gateway Arch rising from the banks of the Mississippi takes our breath away.

Day 3: St. Louis, Missouri to Kansas City, Missouri

We leave the Arch in the fog and drive through torrential rain and flooded plains. We sigh with relief when we reach Kansas City, and relax with a stroll through the Spanish Plaza. The pork ribs and burnt-end beef we have for dinner are well worth the harrowing drive.


Day 4: Kansas City, Missouri to WaKeeney, Kansas

We take an early morning walk down by the creek at Country Club Plaza and come back to the hotel to get ready and pack our bags. The road is rough again today...really rough. We drive into the bruised clouds, trying to forget that Kansas gets hit by about 100 tornadoes a year, until a message from the National Weather Service reminds us! We thank the good Lord for getting through another severe storm and spend the night in a highway hotel munching on take-out pizza and wings.

Day 5: WaKeeney, Kansas to Boulder, Colorado

In WaKeeney, a flyer above the cash register at the Pizza Hut invited us to the community dance in back of the courthouse, with good ol' country, classic rock, and hot dogs. In Boulder, we pass eclectic shops selling loose leaf tea and used books. The air smells like coffee, wet rock, and pine. We sit on the lawn and watch the passerby (it's not for everyone).

Day 6: Boulder, Colorado to Moab, Utah

We take an early morning walk past Victorian homes and community gardens, cross a creek by jumping stones, and arrive at the head of a hiking trail leading up into the foothills. Over the Rockies and into Utah we pass shimmering lakes and cascading falls, rivers that crash and tumble into rocks, and cliffs the color of sand and red clay.

Day 7: Moab, Utah to St. George, Utah

We pass desolate, beautiful landscapes, steep, sheer red rock, and dramatic drop-offs. Making our way deeper into the canyon, strange and wonderful shapes start to appear. "Do you see the lion?" I ask. "Yes!" you answer, and stare up at the arches blinking back tiny drops of rain.

Day 8: St. George, Utah to Southern California
Passing through the San Bernadino Mountains, we feel our great journey coming to an end. The purple flowers off the highway smell sharp and weedy, and we can almost taste the salty ocean, which we'll visit tomorrow. In the meantime, friends, let's celebrate the adventure with a festive drink.

We made it back home to California, friends! Over the months I was planning this trip, I had so many people tell me about their cross-country travel dreams. If this is something you've ever considered, with all my heart, I encourage you to do it. I know there never seems to be enough money or time off work, that there can be no assurances of good health, that the weather is unpredictable and the road has the potential to be rough, but if you take that leap you will not regret it. 

Happy travels!

~ Nel   


R's Rue said...


Sylvia said...

That was a wonderful and beautiful trip. I haven't been cross country but in 2005 when my sister passed away, myself, 3 sisters and my brother and his wife rented 2 cars and drove to Minnesota for her funeral. On the way back we went up in the Arch in Missouri. It was fun. I regret not taking photo's of our trip. I live in Central Georgia so that was a long trip for me.

Debby said...

Loved this.

When I was a kid, we used to travel by car from San Francisco to "back east" to visit grandparents and cousins. Every two years. Then my dad would take side trips so we could see more states. Those memories I will never forget. I hope to do more of this when my husband retires.

Dianna said...

That is quite a drive! It looks like you found a lot to enjoy along the way. Glad you're home safely.

Pam said...

Oh Nel, I love it. I am so happy you got to visit my city, Nashville. Matter of fact while you were on Broadway, I think that is the back of me in one of your pics!! haha....kidding but I only work a few blocks from there. I really hope you enjoyed it. Your pics and the stops you made sound so amazing. I had hoped that before I get WAY to OLDER....I can drive that from Nashville to La Mesa Ca where my son lives. Maybe, maybe, maybe one day. Thanks for sharing.

Anne Hagman-Niilola said...

A wonderful trip!

Susie said...

Nel, Your baby did travel well. Smiling in so many photos. I love the family picture at the end. You did indeed see our great country the best way. Blessings to all, xoxo, Susie
p.s. love to your sweet mother.

Laurel Wood said...

Beautiful photos and such great memories for the baby one day as she looks back.

Sandi said...

Beautiful baby!

Amazing photos.

That ponytail!!!! Wow. Great hair. Cherish it, girl. NEVER cut it!

Rose said...

Wow! You guys sure done some traveling...when you were in St. Louis you were close to one of my daughters. She sees the Arch from her office window. There are too many photos to comment on all, but I want to say that I enjoyed them all.

Marilyn Miller said...

What a great road trip. I love road trips and have done parts of the highway you traveled. I once lived there in the middle of Kansas and even saw it on your map. How fun to move that way. Once upon a time my family moved from Kansas to Oregon driving a UHaul truck and 2 year old and a 6 year old. What memories~

Shirley Wright said...

Beautiful trip...the pictures made me feel I was riding along!

Chatty Crone said...

I loved that.
I live in Kennsesaw, Ga and my sister lives in LA,CA.
I would love to do this one day.
I didn't know you could get a map like that anymore.
So where is your map for day 8? lol
First let me say that your little girl is beautiful.
Did you make the plan to have short days driving and time to explore?
Did you have the hotels or motels planned?
Was it expensive?
Did you notice the difference in the flora and weather and land from east to west?
Isn't that wonderfully amazing?
Those ribs looked so good.
I am so glad you shared the trip.
Best wishes in your new home.

baili said...

thank you sooooooooooooooo much for taking along Nel :)

this was SPLENDID!

i enjoyed each bit of it .

yes it is in my tiny wish list and i believe it will happen in future late or soon :)

i thoroughly enjoyed the cute and adorable shots ,it seemed she enjoyed the most :)

images are absolutely ABSORBING, canyon is so fascinating
you captured everything magnificently

more happiness to you dear Nel!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Bravo, Nel and family! That was quite the road trip! I have to be honest; now that my husband and I are in our mid 60s, a road trip is a SCARY idea...LOL

We still however, are excited about flying over the pond to visit my beloved France again and venturing out into the English countryside. Happy August!

Louca por porcelana said...

Great travel!Thanks for sharing!Your sweetie is just adorable!Hugs!

It's me said...

What a Great Great trip nel!......💚🍀💚🍀💚🍀

Jill said...

Looks like a wonderful trip and I love all the pictures! And that is one happy baby :-) Hope you have a wonderful week!


~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a fabulous trip and your little ones was sure a good traveler! She'll probably always love to travel! You took some amazing photos. I would love to go back to Utah with my camera! And yes, we've traveled across the country a few times in years past. I hope we can do it again too! Beautiful photos! Glad the weather didn't slow you down too much! Hugs!

Carla from The River said...

A fun fun post Nel. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. We did a road trip from Wisconsin to South Carolina to Georgia and back to Wisconsin last November, it was great fun. We plan to do a road trip to Florida March 2020!

Natalia said...

Wow,the trip of my dreams!☺

Red Rose Alley said...

Nel, my favorite pics are....the town of Nashville, you and Mia touching the arch, putting your make-up on, the wild exotic flower, the welcome to Utah sign with Mia, you with the pony tail, the lion red rocks, and the fact that you are HOME. : ) ~mom

Carola Bartz said...

We always had dreamed about a cross-country trip, and in 2007, when my husband was between jobs we finally realized that dream. However, we were on the road for almost 6 weeks. From Northern California to Maine where we spent 10 days and back the southern route. It was fantastic and unforgettable.

roughterrain crane said...

This drive must be a very fun. I wish I could have driven on Route 66.

Eliane said...

que viagem maravilhosa !!
as fotos são muito boas e interessantes.
o bebê é muito lindo.
grande abraço.

Jeanie said...

I didn't see the ocean but apart from that I think you've seen every kind of landscape there is in this country! What a fabulous trip -- and I'm thinking loads of fun, given your traveling companions. I've been to a few of those places myself and know they can be a great time. Your photos are just terrific, too. Looks great fun!

Walking the Bean said...

Thanks for this. You made us feel like we were actually there. And LOVED the fact that you all used a paper map! Looks like you all had a great time.


Sherry's Pickings said...

it looks like you had a marvellous trip away. america is so large and beautiful. worth the flight:-) cheers sherry