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Archive for July 20th, 2017

May/June Road Trip

July 20, 2017

In my latest goal check-in entry, I mentioned travel as reason for dropping balls. I’ve written about the trips Mr. K and I did in April and May—a whirlwind weekend in Portland and Seattle and a week in Orlando—but only now am I getting around to writing about the four-week solo road trip I took in May and June. I left May 22nd and got back on June 19th, hitting so many states (and one foreign country) that the automated system for entering a travel alert on my credit card couldn’t handle it.

Day 1: Home in Northern Idaho to Billings, Montana

There was still snow halfway down the ski slopes on my departure day. I left in early afternoon, just before 1 o’clock, and the temperature had warmed up to 52 F, the coolest I’d experience for the next month. Nearly 600 miles later, I stopped for the night in Billings, leaving the decision of north route or south route for the morning.

State of the mountain upon my departure


Day 2: Billings to Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The hotel I stayed at had cooked to order breakfast (some restrictions apply—can’t have hash browns and eggs and pancakes, for instance, but can have any two of those) and a duck pond and a small fountain inside the side entrance near my room; pretty fancy for a budget chain. I got rolling a bit before 11 a.m. and given the weather looked about the same on both, chose the south route, figuring it would be less busy in the pre-Memorial Day week than on my return trip (there’s more touristy stuff on the south route). That meant I passed through Wyoming, which has a nice wide pull out by their welcome sign, the better to take photos with it. I did around 750 miles to make it to Sioux Falls for the night.



Day 3: Sioux Falls to Joan’s House in Northern Illinois

The long day of driving the day before put me in fairly easy range (around 500 miles) of my first “planned further ahead than the day of” destination for the trip, Mr. K’s mom Joan’s house. I of course made a stop in Wisconsin, land of my conception, for cheese. I got to Joan’s after dinner but before bedtime and caught up with her and my sister-in-law Kathy, who’d arrived for her own visit a couple days before me.

Monkeys play tourist in Wisconsin


Days 4 through 8: Craft Conference

The morning after I arrived in Illinois, I had a nice lunch with Joan and Kathy then drove off to spend a long weekend at a craft conference, meeting up there with some friends from Michigan. I expanded my horizons, getting to see metalwork and leather crafts and even a station set up outside where a woman was carving chainsaw art in addition to the fiber arts that I myself indulge in.

Chainsaw art


Days 9 through 11: Family Business and Pleasure

I had breakfast at a pancake house with the last of my Michigan friends to depart, then traveled to my mom’s house to pick up accumulated mail before going to the county offices to pay her property taxes. That accomplished, I enjoyed the garden beds in the country government complex and also treated myself to a walk in a nearby riverside park.

The couple days after that day, I did some more hanging out with Kathy and Joan, and then just Joan after we dropped Kathy off at the airport shuttle. I also reorganized my luggage for the next phase of my trip.

County office garden


Days 12 through 15: Nail Polish Conference

I got up what passes for bright and early for me and was on the road a little after 9 a.m. for my drive to the Toronto area for the first indie nail polish expo being held there. I wrote about this portion of the trip in detail over on my nail blog, Frazzle and Aniploish. Suffice it to say here that I had a good time, even though I’m no longer used to the hustle of a big city and all that commotion nearly wore me out.

Big city bustle


Days 16 to 21: Michigan

After Toronto, I spent a handful of days in Michigan, which is rather bustle-y itself, but it was bustle I was familiar with. I spent time with some friends but not nearly as many as I wanted to and enjoyed food and atmosphere I can’t get up here in the mountains.

Iraqi Kabob


Days 22 to 26: Illinois Again

The last segment of my trip before heading home was returning to Joan’s house and using it as my base camp for another assault on cleaning out my mom’s house. My brother came down from Wisconsin and we went through some stuff and did some yard work and had an initial meeting with a real estate agent and made a plan for getting the house on the market in the fall.

More is more


Day 27: Northern Illinois to Saint Joseph, Minnesota

Finally time to head home. I got rolling from Joan’s a little after 1 p.m. in 82 F degree heat. Later in the afternoon it cooled off as rainstorms crossed my path. I stopped for the night not quite 500 miles down the road.

1291.8 miles to the next turn


Day 28: Saint Joseph to Miles City, Montana

One of the advantages of driving by myself is stopping wherever I want, including getting off the freeway to find a better vantage point to see the sunset.

It just kept being pretty, so I pulled over again


Day 29: Miles City to Home

I was determined to make it the 700-ish miles home on this day regardless of how late I’d get there, so just drove and drove. I did take the more scenic, less interstate-y option when the time came; that saves making a square corner and dealing with a bunch of stoplights after exiting the freeway at the cost of fewer traveler amenities. So yes, I had to pee in an only semi-glorified porta-potty, but I got to see so many more mountains.

Off the interstate in Montana


And now I’m all caught up with trip reports until I head off somewhere else, but I’ve no plans for that this month. Of course I took way more photos on this trip than I shared above; they’re in this set at Flickr (well, the ones I chose to post from the many more I took are there).

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