July 31 – Aug 2   We departed Boulder, Colorado July 31 for the long 3 day road trip back to our home in Vienna, VA. We had two very long days on the road traveling through probably the worst stretch of interstate in the US, Kansas and Missouri, then a short drive day from Ohio to Virginia.

Once out of Denver, Colorado we hit straight flat road. Nothing to see but cows, clouds, and trucks. BIG TRUCKS!

Once we crossed into Kansas the landscape changed slightly from cows to corn fields (as far as the eye could see), wind farms (these things are huge), and commercial beef farms (extremely depressing seeing these with my own eyes). My mind began to wonder while driving this stretch of road. Wondering why would anyone want to be a truck driver, constantly driving this stretch of road. The pavement looked like it stretched on forever. The landscape was the same, wherever you looked and as far as you could see, kinda mind numbing. I totally understand how someone could fall asleep on this road. But with my family in the car we kept the conversation going and Briana was so fascinated by how big the wind mills are she couldn’t stop taking pictures of those and the vast corn fields. The hard part of the drive back east is how we lost one hour each day. And after being in the car for approximately 10 hours we finally made it to Kansas City, MO. We checked into our hotel (Hampton Inn & Suites – Country Club Plaza), dropped our bags and headed straight for some Kansas City barbecue. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque restaurant was a short walk from our hotel. Briana and I shared a sampler and devoured it and then later we realized we had zero greens with our dinner. All meat!!!! Absolutely delicious. Real Kansas City barbecue is off the chain. After dinner we walked around the Country Club Plaza and took some photos around the fountain.

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Girls hamming it up for the camera!

The next morning we woke up for what would turn out to be approximately a 13 hour day on the road. And boy was I not ready for it! I didn’t sleep well and to top off the morning I ate something that must’ve had nuts in it (just recently diagnosed with a nut allergy) and broke out in hives. So that made the first two hours of the drive a little nervous and Briana kept asking me “are you ok?”. Gotta love her! Out next stop took us to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO. The arch rises 630′ off the ground and this monument celebrates US western expansion with views from the top and a museum below. Now people have asked “did you go up to the top?”. Ummm hell’s NO!!! Not this guy. I might be 6’4″ and 220lbs. but I’m not climbing in a small elevator to ride up to the top of that arch. Absolutely not! Double negative. Didn’t do it, wouldn’t do it, can’t do it. So we took some great family pics, from the bottom, then jumped back in the car with Columbus, Ohio as our final destination for the evening.

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Gateway Arch.

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Love my girls!

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I sure do love her!

Now let me digress here for a minute….if I could have leap frogged one state on our adventure it would be Missouri, or as I like to call it – Misery. This was the worst part of our trip. Nothing to be seen and it felt like the road went on forever!!!!! If I had to do it all over again I would try to bypass MISERY all together (no offense to people who live there and love it).

Now we had decided that we wouldn’t be getting dinner once in Columbus, we would be going straight to bed. Briana was looking for places for a late lunch via her phone that we could stop quickly and grab something and go. I said “what about White Castle?” And if Harold and Kumar can go to White Castle, why can’t we. Sure enough, since none of us had ever been, we said sure let’s go. This made Sienna very excited because she loves their burgers that we get from Wegmans. We pull up, jump out, go in and…..not another soul in the restaurant. We placed our order, sit down and dig in! And in my mind I was saying “IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN!!!!”

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My cup for my Coke for the rest of the drive.

We get back in the car and hit some pretty heavy traffic in Indianapolis that was due to a crazy looking storm over the city. We made it through with not much problems. Then back on highway doing about 75mph. We finally arrived at our hotel, 13 hours later, to the Hampton Inn & Suites in Columbus, Ohio. This hotel was very nice (except the $25 fee for valeting our car). But we dropped our bags hit the beds and we were out!!!

The next morning we all woke up excited that this was the final stretch of our journey. Only a 6.5 hour drive and should be home before 3pm to see our Gracie dog. We said good-bye to Columbus and headed for Morgantown, WV. Then Cumberland, MD, Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD, Rockville, MD, then “Welcome To Virginia”. We pulled into our lovely hometown of Vienna, VA just before 3pm, pulled into the driveway and couldn’t wait to get inside to give our old girl Gracie the biggest hug!

So after driving through 15 states, staying in 7 hotels, 3 National Parks, and 2 friends/family homes we were finally back where we started. A total of 4,974.2 miles driven.

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WOW that’s a whole lot of miles!

Would I do it again?

ABSOLUTELY!!!!! I would strongly encourage all to get out and explore our great country. It could be hotels, cabins, camping, or even in an RV. Just get out there and explore. One thing that I hope comes out of this great adventure is that my girls remember the great times we had on this trip. Take with them what they learned about the animals they saw, our planet, and themselves. Our very own Sienna told us that she could see herself working in a park like Yellowstone in the stables or as a guide. It makes Briana and I both proud that we were able to give our girls this adventure and maybe when they have families of their own, they could tell there kids about the road trip we did out to Yellowstone. This is a trip I will never forget and will cherish the moments we had in the woods, just us with the trees, the wind, and at peace in nature. So Why Not Just Go?