August 19, 2012

Heading East

A while back I'd mentioned that we'd almost gotten to the end of our originally planned itinerary for this trip. When we'd sat down and thought about what we wanted to see on this trip, the West Coast was the main destination, with an end point in Yellowstone Park. Today we are finally headed to Yellowstone Park, and I am happy to say that we have decided to keep traveling afterwards. We have decided to cross the country, visiting multiple national parks along the way and several large cities. Our new destination is Chicago, just 10 hours north of our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

From there we might venture further east to the East Coast, and arrive just in time for the fall colors. The plan would be to drive to Maine and then drive along the coast to Florida, stopping to visit lots of friends along the way. It's amazing how many people we know who live on the East Coast.

But first we have to get to Chicago. Do you know how many miles there are between Seattle and Chicago? With the route we have planned right now, which is not the straightest route there, but includes lots of side trips, is just over 2,400 miles. Over the next few weeks Sky will be pulling long hours on the road (ha! literally), and we will be covering lots of ground. I am super excited to see this portion of the country that we have never been to before!

On that note, two days ago we crossed the state of Washington and stayed the night in Spokane. It was amazing how much the scenery changed in Washington when we crossed the Cascade Mountains. We went from being in the middle of a deep green forest and tall mountains to being in high desert, surrounded by yellow hay fields as far as the eye could see and huge wind turbines.

Crossing the Cascade Mountains by highway in Washington
Crossing the Cascade Mountains
Views off the interstate in Washington east of the Cascade Mountains
Hay fields
Views off the interstate in Washington east of the Cascade Mountains
Creepy huge wind turbines!
We stayed the night in Spokane, and in the morning we explored the city of Spokane and saw the awesome waterfalls that are right beside the downtown. Then we crossed the state line into our 11th state on this trip, Idaho, where we took a lunch break on the shoreline of Coeur d'Alene lake. Shortly after, we crossed another state line into Montana, our 12th state, and made our way to the town of Missoula.

Downtown waterfalls in Spokane, Washington
Waterfalls in downtown Spokane
Picnic lunch on the shoreline of Couer d'Alene Lake
Lunch at the shore of Couer d'Alene Lake
We'd heard a lot about how neat Missoula was from many people we've met on this trip, so there was no way we were going to pass by without stopping. We got a great parking spot by a Couch Surfing host Alex's house. He is located near downtown so we were able to walk from this house and explore the city with no problems. Saturday we biked around, hiked to the famous M in the mountains and then picked up some yummy cucumbers at the farmer's market.

Mountain views from a street in Missoula, Montana
Epic mountains behind our Couch Surfing host's house
We hiked to the M on the hillside of Missoula, Montana
We hiked to the M on the hillside
Views of downtown from the M on the hillside of Missoula, Montana
Views of Missoula from the M
Now we are headed to Yellowstone!

Thanks for reading along about our journey!

To see more pictures of Spokane and Missoula, click on the links.

Happy driving long hours!


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