Monday, June 27, 2011


i am posting from the phone, so this will be short and sweet. for some reason it will not let me add symbols or capitilize...annoying. anyway, we decided that taking two days to drive from jackson was entirely too reasonable. instead we did it all in one day arriving at our new house just after eleven last night. ramona was super pleased. pictures and more details soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Snow After the Solstice

With Andy and Ramona taking a post-hike nap, I thought I'd take this time to blog about the last couple of days. We drove through most of Wyoming yesterday ending up in Jackson Hole. We decided to spend the weekend in our dog friendly hotel (a ski resort building built in the 1970s while mostly updated still has some amusing 70s touches like this weird fiber optic chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the lobby).
If you haven't been to Wyoming, there are two things that stand out: 1) the natural beauty and 2) the impressive lack of people. The whole state has about 500,000 people, and after driving through Gillette, we were shocked to learn that it was the 4th biggest city in Wyoming!! This wasn't our first rodeo, so we made sure to stop for lunch in Casper (the 2nd biggest city in Wyoming). We found this great little coffee shop on yelp in a bizarre little strip mall. The skies were threatening, but we decided to eat outside so that Ramona wouldn't have to wait in the car. Our food definitely exceeded expectations: my tuna melt was light and flavorful and the cold couscous sald that accompanied it was just plain delicious. Andy's ham and bean soup was not your typical cafeteria fare containing three types of beans and high quality ham. Perhaps this was more information than you needed, but I do love food!
Most of our driving was on US highways and we saw some spectacular scenery.
Driving in Wyoming
We drove through Shoshoni National Forest where Ramona encountered her first snow of the summer (but not her last...). We got spectular views of the Tetons especially as we got closer to Jackson.
For dinner, we checked out the Snake River Brewpub (no pets on the patio, so Ramona had to wait in the car). We both got beer and burgers and left incredibly full but pleased.
Andy with his beer sampler
Today, we headed into Teton National Forest for a dog-friendly hike. The plan was to end up at an alpine lake and even let Ramona swim, but snow got in our first, snow periodically appeared on the path, and then the whole path was snow covered, and when we decided to turn around, the snow was thigh deep! It was a beatiful hike with mountain views plus forest, and we were bummed not to finish, but we definitely made the right decision. We were only about halfway to the lake, and the snow was crazy deep! We were not expecting to encounter so much snow in late June.
This was near the beginning of the snow covering the trail
Deeper snow farther along
Three of us on the way down
Views of the Tetons along the hike
On the way down, we stopped and ate the box lunches we brought with us. They came from a bakery called e.leaven that oddly has locations in Jackson Hole and Chicago! The sandwiches were delicious and huge and came with yummy homemade (!) potato chips and a brownie. This place is definitely worth checking out whether you are in the Windy City or near the Tetons.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Driving Across South Dakota

***Advance Warning: I am going to bury the lead.***
We got the heck out of Mitchell without stopping for even a glance of the Corn Palace. Driving westward, we stopped for a tasty lunch at Rapid City's Bully's Blends. Afterwards, we entertained ourselves by wandering around Rapid City checking out the president statues that dot the town.
Here I am with my presidential obsession
We then checked out the touristy casino trap that is Deadwood. We were glad we stopped but have no plans of returning (unless accompanied by Sol Star, Calamity Jane, or of course Swearengen).
The Gem Saloon in Deadwood
We then headed to Spearfish to our hotel in time for Andy's phone interview. Ramona and I checked out the town while he wowed the seven-person interview team. Next, we drove to Black Hills National Forest for a 6.5 mile hike up to Mount Baldy. It was a nice (though not spectacular) hike through Ponderose Pine and Aspen trees. Much to Ramona's surprise and entertainment, we saw a number of deer and cows. We (Andy and I...not our obtuse Ramona) spotted a fawn sleeping by the trail!

Andy and Ramona along the hike

Ramona among the Aspen trees

Ramona at the summit
A teenage cow we met along the way
After the hike, Andy checked his voicemail...and it was the principal of the school offering him the job!! Amazing! What a fantastic couple of days. We are off to Jackson Hole tomorrow---we are going to spend a couple nights and hike and/or recreate all day Saturday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The First 900 Miles

Well...if I had to sum up the last two days in a word, it would have to be over-the-top!

A quick recap of the last two days:
  • We moved out of our house.
  • We drove 900+ miles.
  • Andy had a preliminary phone interview for a job and scheduled two interviews (one is a second phone interview with the same school for tomorrow)!!
  • We sold our house!!
  • We visited an old friend that we hadn't seen in 6+ years.
As you can imagine, the last two days have felt more like three or four. It's hard to believe that yesterday morning we woke up in our Indianapolis house and this evening, we are 900 miles away in Mitchell, SD and have sold that house!

Tuesday, June 21st
So, after the movers came and took away all of our stuff, we left Indy around 3 pm yesterday and decided to drive west and see where we ended up. We drove past numerous flat corn fields and blew past our initial goal of Bloomington, IL. At some point while I was driving, our realtor left us a message letting us know we had gotten an offer on our house!! So we decided to stop for the night in the college town of Iowa City, where we knew we would have internet access. We faxed our counter offer back and went to bed.

Corn field in Illinois

Wednesday, June 22nd
From Iowa City, we headed off to Des Moines to meet up with my friend Sarah [we met in college at Environmental Science Field Camp in Montana.] She suggested meeting at La Mie for coffee and yummy pastries. If you are ever in Des Moines, we highly recommend this place. We drove onto Ledges State Park, which numerous websites claimed to be the best hiking in Iowa. We didn't explore the whole park, but for Iowans sake, I really hope that this is not the best hiking that Iowa has to offer. I must say that it was really nice to stretch our legs and hike around though. While on our short jaunt, we got the call about the second counter offer, and we decided to take it! Hurray for only owning one house!!

Cool-looking barn in Iowa

Andy and Ramona enjoying Iowa's best hiking

We stopped for the night in Mitchell, SD, the home of the world's only "corn palace". Andy, Mike, Ryan, and I actually stopped at the corn palace on our drive out to Seattle the first time. Let's just say we were underwhelmed. There was surprisingly little corn and it wasn't all that palace-like.

Tomorrow, it's onto the Black Hills and some more hiking!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Here's our tentative planned route for our drive across the country. We plan to hike as much as possible along the way! I am sure it will change somewhat as we go.
Tuesday, June 21st
3 hours to Bloomington, IL (at least)
Wednesday, June 22nd
5 hours to Des Moines: Ledges State Park
(hope to visit with my friend Sarah from IU!)
3 hours to Sioux City, IA
Thursday, June 23rd
7 hours to Rapid City, SD: Black Hills National Forest
Friday, June 24th
9 hours to Jackson Hole, WY
Saturday, June 25th
Shoshone / Bridger-Teton National Forests
Sunday, June 26th
6 hours to Boise, ID
(visit with our friend Cynnie!)
Monday, June 27th
8 hours to SEATTLE!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Day in Indiana

Tomorrow is the big day---the movers come and we head northwest back to our home! We have to drop off Oliver today at Andy's mom's today. She's watching him temporarily while we drive across the country. Andy will fly back and pick him up in a few weeks.
We are going to miss our crazy orange kid
We are both really excited to be heading back to Seattle, but we are definitely very sad to be leaving our family and friends here (ahem, we demand visitors!!). A quick list of Indianpolis favorites that will be missed (hmmm....they are almost all food...):
1. Chocolate milkshakes from Traders Point Creamery
2. Goose the Market: especially the Goose sandwich and the bacon of the month club
3. frites and carbonade from the Brugge
4. The Monon trail
5. being around the block from the Broad Ripple Farmers Market (our picture is still on the front page!)
6. the Broad Ripple Brewbub (sick 'chos bro)
8. Yats
Luckily, we have these favorites to look forward to!
I'll post our planned route tomorrow and updates from the road as we go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bringing back the blog for the trip

Facebook has really ruined blogging for us, but I really enjoyed it when we moved across the country last time, so I am brining it back. For those that missed our first trip accross the country, it starts here.
We leave next Tuesday for Seattle. It's my fifth(!) time moving (and driving) across the country. It's Andy's third time moving and fourth time driving. It's also the first time I'll be doing it without my faithful Civic. I sold it last week to our friends Doug and Becky, so it will live on for hopefully another 125,000+ miles!
Andy planned our route---it's going to have numerous stops in National Forests for hiking including a couple nights in Jackson Hole.
Here's my Civic on our last drive from Indiana to Seattle