The plan right now is to take the "Denver North" route (as I've been calling it), so our itinerary is roughly:
- (done) Cherry Springs State Park, PA, camping
- (currently in) Chicago
- Iowa - Adam & Melissa's family
- St. Louis - Adam & Melissa's family
- Kansas City area - Adam's family
- Denver - potential relocation city
- Mt. Rushmore & South Dakota
- Montana - Adam's family
- Idaho to break up the drive and cross another state off
- Seattle - potential relocation city
- Portland - potential relocation city
- San Fran - friends
- LA - potential relocation city
- San Diego - potential relocation city
- (maybe) Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon
- (maybe) Southern Utah's National Parks
- (maybe) Austin, with a stop prior to break up the drive - potential relocation city
- New Orleans
- Tallahassee - friends
- (maybe) Miami
- Augusta, GA - Adam's family
- Charlotte, NC - friends
- NJ - back home
Some of this, especially in the Southwest between the Grand Canyon and Tallahassee is subject to change depending natural disasters and how we want the trip to go, but that's the basic plan. We're excited to see a lot of our own country, including major landmarks like Mount Rushmore (new to Melissa) and the Grand Canyon (new to Adam), as well as checking out the cities we're heavily considering as our new homes after this trip is over.
Along the way, we're going to try to "cross off" states to get each of our lists of states visited closer to all 50. Before the start of this trip, we stood at Adam: 31, Melissa: 24 states "visited," but of course what counts as a visit is a constant debate for us. There's some gray area, but for me, stopping and getting a meal in the state fully counts, but only driving through or having a layover there doesn't count. We personally don't count it if we only get gas, but Melissa is going to count Indiana on this trip because we spent about an hour trying to find the "state pie" and went out of our way on a pit stop to a farmer's market in search of one (no luck).
On that note, we're going to try to eat something iconic from each state and city, using this list as our guide but definitely not limited to that. If anyone knows of some classic, must try foods from an area on our list, definitely let us know!
Finally, despite evidence to the contrary we fully intend to finish up the Central American portion of this blog and start the USA segment, although possibly with less in-depth cultural analysis. To be honest, one of the biggest blockers to that right now is that I was able to acquire a Nintendo Switch and am logging a lot of time in the new Zelda game that's at least a 200 hour experience, but we'll get back on the blog and hopefully catch up now that we have lots of hours in the car and much better internet speeds to finish it up.
Thanks to all of our readers so far, and special thanks to Melissa's parents for having us for our recuperation before this leg and all of their generosity, to Melissa's old friends Susan and Conrad for welcoming us to their beautiful house in Chicago, and to everyone on the way that we end up staying with.
For now, we're about to head into one of the Chicago restaurants that's been on my personal "to visit" list for the longest, Topolobampo. It's nice to be back in a big city again and although Melissa has spent some time here as an adult, I haven't really so I feel like i'm back traveling again, exploring new areas. It's an incredible food city and our hosts are possibly into fine dining more than we are, so we're going to enjoy our stay here and are excited to start seeing more family and more of America after this.
P.S. - Special thanks to our friend and reader Debbie for giving us a huge bags of Northeast chips for the road to supplement our chips posts! We got into the Cheese Doodles camping overnight in PA already!