September 30, 2012

Water Fire in Providence, RI

Saturday morning we took a short 45 minute drive to Providence, the capitol of Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States. It is only 48 miles tall and 37 miles long, with a total area of 1,214 square miles (just for comparison purposes, Arkansas is 53, 179 sq. miles!). And this TINY state was the 24th state for us to visit on this trip.

September 28, 2012

Hello New England!

We've made it to New England! It seems like we were just on the West Coast, and here we are in Massachusetts. Crazy.

The state line sign in Massachusetts on Interstate 90
Hello, home!

September 24, 2012

A Family Visit in Rochester, NY

Our last stop before arriving in New England was in Rochester, New York. Rochester was just an hour and a half hour drive from the Niagara Falls, so we were able to arrive just in time for dinner that Friday afternoon. The reason we chose to make a stop in Rochester, aside from the fact that its the third largest city in New York (after NYC and Buffalo), was because Skyler's aunt and uncle live there, and we wanted to visit them. The last time Sky had met up with them was on a skiing trip before he and I started dating, so I was excited about meeting them for the first time.

September 22, 2012

Niagara Falls, NY

After Detroit we were headed for the Niagara Falls. We had two options on how to get there: through Canada or by going south of Lake Erie on the American side. Since we still had the issue of having too much liquor on hand to cross the border (as well as our pneumatic pellet gun), we decided not to risk it and went the American route. We crossed into Ohio, our 20th state on this trip, under pouring rain.

September 20, 2012

Detroit and Ann Arbor

After a relaxing few days on the Lake Michigan shoreline, we drove inland, crossed the state of Michigan and found an RV park in the Ann Arbor outskirts. We were 40 minutes outside of Detroit and that was just fine with us.

The first night we drove into Ann Arbor to visit the University of Michigan campus and to walk the city itself. Ann Arbor did not disappoint. The town of just over 110,000 people was large enough to feel metropolitan, yet small enough to feel quaint. Ann Arbor had a feeling of old wealth to it, which was not surprising after the upscale communities we'd discovered on the western side of the state.The UM campus was bustling with student life when we walked through on the Diag, a diagonal sidewalk that crosses the campus. Ann Arbor itself was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday afternoon, and we saw lots of folks enjoying after work cocktails on outdoor patios on Main street.

September 18, 2012

Southern Michigan Shore

We had not heard much about the state of Michigan, and went into it with the thought that we’d drive through quickly, poke into Detroit and then be on our merry way. We wrongfully let our expectations for the state be driven by what we’d heard about Detroit. We went in expecting to see the state polluted with industry, along the lines of what we’d seen on the Indiana shore. What we actually found in Michigan was something very akin to what we’d found on the East Coast in previous trips. We found clean beaches and lighthouses reminiscent of the ones we’d seen in New England, and a long string of upscale lakeside communities that could easily rival Cape Cod.

September 17, 2012


We opted to take public transportation into Chicago from Portage Indiana. This way we'd save ourselves the hassle of looking for parking in downtown. After calculating the cost of driving the truck the 40 miles one way, plus toll fees, plus parking fees, the $7.50 one way ticket on the train didn't sound so bad. The South Shore Line ran a pretty good schedule, with trains departing the Portage station almost every hour. We caught the 9:08 train in the morning, and after the hour and 20 minute commute, we were dropped off right in the middle of downtown at Millennium Station.

September 16, 2012

Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore

Our next destination was Portage, Indiana. Why Portage, you ask? Oh, because that’s the only place where we could find an RV park close enough to Chicago. There were several other options equally far from the city, but we picked Portage because it had easy access to the city via train, and because it was near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We drove 132 miles from Milwaukee to Portage, and managed to pay $26.20 in toll fees, $13.75 of which was paid for crossing one measly bridge. We also added two new states to our state count for this trip: Illinois and Indiana, states 17 and 18.

Favorite Photographs- New Page

Today (September 16, 2012) we have been on the road 207 days. My digital camera numbers every single picture I take and as of February 22, 2012 (the day we left) I have taken 6,329 pictures. Wow!

I enjoy photography for many reasons. One of them is to document the amazing places and things I have seen. The other is to hopefully share the photograph with someone in hopes of inspiring them to do something exciting, like visit the place in the picture or take a cool photograph themselves. It also makes me happy to think that a photograph of mine could inspire an emotion in someone. Maybe put a smile on their face.

September 11, 2012

Planning Our Trip East

Our last day in Minneapolis we sat down to plan our visit to New England. We had decided that after Chicago we would head all the way east to Maine and then drive down the coast hopefully chasing the fall leaf colors. Since New England is so heavily packed with big cities, most of which we want to visit, we decided that we would probably have to give up our cheap/free living and opt for mostly staying at RV parks. We hoped that paying the extra price would give us A) piece of mind that the dogs are OK while we're gone for extended amounts of time and B) closer location to the cities so that we could spend less time driving around and more time exploring.

September 10, 2012

Milwaukee, WI

There is only one RV park within the city limits of Milwaukee...that's right, only one. This park is located on the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds, and is pretty much a large parking lot with a little bit of grass. It's redeeming features included the fact that its only 6 miles from downtown and that a major bike path, the Hank Aaron Bike Trail, runs right through it on its way to downtown.

September 08, 2012

Madison, The Capitol Of The Cheese State

After Minneapolis we crossed into our 16th state, Wisconsin. We had planned to spend one night in Madison, the state capitol, but were so pleasantly surprised by the city that we ended up staying three nights. Madison is one of only two cities in North America that is located on an isthmus (the other is Seattle). Do you know what an isthmus is? I didn't either, so here goes: an isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, usually with water on either side. The city of Madison is banked on one side with Lake Monona and Lake Mendota on the other.

September 05, 2012

Minneapolis, MN

We spent Labor Day weekend in the city of Minneapolis. Minnesota was our 15th state to visit on this trip, and I’m happy to say that the scenery did indeed improve as soon as we crossed the border from South Dakota. We took the scenic back country road way into Minneapolis instead of the interstate and in doing so I think we caught the cuter side of the side. We passed some really picturesque farmlands with vibrant red barns. About 100 miles outside of the city the roadside views turned from farmlands to forest, and if I didn't know better, I would have said we were driving through Arkansas.