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Old 08-11-2007, 06:49 PM   #1
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Cool Westward Ho! A month-long adventure! ***Updated 8/13/07

Howdy folks! I am currently on my Westward Ho Adventure, and the more I took pictures, the more I wanted to share this part of the world with y'all. I haven't seen a TR on the neat places out here. Therefore, let me begin.

Weary Travelers:
Laura, me (36)
Victoria, DD (12)
Michael, DH (34) - who will join me on August 15th.

Why Did We Make This Trip?
Good question. My DD participated in the Missoula Children's Theatre (MCT) camp last summer in our hometown. She was nominated to audition for MCT's 2007 two-week long drama camp which is held in Missoula, Montana. She sent in her audition tape in April, and she got in!! Woo hoo! We were very proud of her. But, being in Virginia, we started weighing our options on getting her to MT. We finally decided to drive! Thus, a grand, month-long adventure that I am now two weeks in to.

Our Itinerary:
July 30 - Leave VA at 4 a.m. Camp out at Pokogan State Park in Indiana.
July 31 - Leave IN at 6 a.m. Go to my best friend's house in Minneapolis.
August 1 & 2 - Stay at DF's house.
August 3 - Leave MN at 4 a.m. Camp out at Ft. Custer, MT.
August 4 - Drive to Missoula, MT and chill out!
August 5 - Drop Victoria off at camp and I solo to Glendive, MT.
August 6 - Drive back to DF's house.
August 7 - 14 - Chill with my DF and her family.
August 15 - DH flys in.
August 16 - DH & I leave for Medora, ND to camp there.
August 17 - Reach Missoula, MT.
August 18 - Watch DD perform in her show TWICE!
August 19 - Leave Missoula as a family and head to Yellowstone to camp.
August 20 - Camp at Mt. Rushmore.
August 21 - Camp on the Banks of Plum Creek, MN.
August 22 - Hotel in Kalamazoo, Michagan
August 23 - Head to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
August 24 - Camp at Niagara Falls, NY
August 25 - Head home!!!

That's it. I will begin posting pictures. I need to resize, and I'll be back. We have had a great time so far. I hope my pics reflect that.

That's all for now!!
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I've completed this TR: The Surviving Deployment TR

Read about our unexpected trip. We met my DH in Orlando for his R&R from Iraq! The Holi-Canoli Whirlwind Trip That Wasn't Supposed to Be!

Our new and improved family! William (17), Victoria (20), Jamie (18), Michael and me in Songtan, South Korea!
My Previous TripsWDW 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, September 14 - 22, 2009, October 25 - November 8, 2009 DLR 2006

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Old 08-11-2007, 06:53 PM   #2
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Great start. I'll be watching for more.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:24 PM   #3
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Great plans! Do you have any stops at sites along the way such as Meijer Gardens in MI?
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:41 PM   #4
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Sounds like a wonderful adventure!! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:42 AM   #5
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Great start!! Sounds like a wonderful trip!! DH & I have been tossing the idea of me & DS going down the east coast next summer to check out college and ultimately end up in WDW, where DH will meet us. Can't wait to hear about dealing with the drive so I can pick up some tips!!
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:09 AM   #6
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It sounds like an amazing trip and I can't wait to hear all about it.
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:10 AM   #7
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Great start Laura Can't wait to see the pictures
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:16 PM   #8
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Westward Ho! DAY 1

Weary Travelers from Virginia:
Laura, me (36)
Victoria, DD (12)
Michael, DH (34) - who will join me on August 15th.

DAY 1: July 30, 2007

Victoria and I woke up at 3:40 a.m., got dressed (well, she slept in her clothes), said goodbye to Michael, Grace (our cockatiel) and Pumpkin (our kitty) and headed out the door. It was bittersweet leaving Michael behind. But, we knew we’d see him in a couple of weeks.

We left so early so we could get through DC without any problems. If you've never driven through DC at rush hour, it can be an absolute nightmare. Even at 5:15 in the morning, it was congested! Victoria kept saying, “I had no idea so many people would be out this early in the morning.” I really feel sorry for all those commuters who have to leave so doggone early just to get to work in time.

Anyway, we grabbed Hardee’s once we got past DC. I wanted to try to take pics of all of the state signs as we drove through. So, our first sign was Pennsylvania.



We are keeping track of new states we go to. I printed out a map of the United States for all three of us, and we colored in the states we had been to. Victoria has been to 14, and PA was nothing new. I have been to 27. So, we are excited about adding more states during this trip.

PA was uneventful, and our next state was OH which was Victoria’s first new state.



OH was uneventful, too, as I would like it to be. No sticky situations for me, that’s for sure!

We were both very excited when we hit Indiana.



Indiana meant we were close to our final destination of the day. I had reserved us a camping site at Pokogan State Park. We pulled in to the park around 2:00 p.m. We had made GREAT time!

Pokogan is BEAUTIFUL! And it is huge! Plus, I had no idea there was an inn on the property. It is the Potawatomi Inn, and it is lovely. Had I known about this place before, we would have vacationed here a lot sooner. AND, the prices on the Inn are very reasonable.

Anyhoo, the first thing we did was set up camp.



Then we toured the park. We were told about Lake James, one of the largest lakes in Indiana. It was beautiful!



We stuck our feet in, and I thought for sure I had to go swimming in this beautiful, warm lake.



Victoria had only brought one swimsuit for camp, so we headed to Wal Mart to get her another one. We found a really cute one, then headed to Subway for dinner before heading back to Pokogan. While eating at Subway, the day’s drive hit me like a ton of bricks, and I started losing energy QUICK! I told her I was so sorry and that swimming would have to wait until the hotel the next day. She understood, so we headed back to our tent to read and relax. We went to bed at 9 a.m.! That is unheard of for me, but I knew we were getting up at 5:30 in the morning, and I needed a good night’s rest.

MILES I DROVE TODAY: 663.2
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Laura


I've completed this TR: The Surviving Deployment TR

Read about our unexpected trip. We met my DH in Orlando for his R&R from Iraq! The Holi-Canoli Whirlwind Trip That Wasn't Supposed to Be!

Our new and improved family! William (17), Victoria (20), Jamie (18), Michael and me in Songtan, South Korea!
My Previous TripsWDW 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, September 14 - 22, 2009, October 25 - November 8, 2009 DLR 2006

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Old 08-13-2007, 03:18 PM   #9
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Wow, that's a lot of miles in one day! Sounds like you're visiting a lot of great places along the way.
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:24 PM   #10
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Great pictures I'd be exhausted too driving all those miles More please
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:08 PM   #11
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Great update and photos!! I Victoria's new haircut!!! A big change from your trip to DL!! Can't wait to hear what happens next!!! More please
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DyanKJ130 View Post
Great update and photos!! I Victoria's new haircut!!! A big change from your trip to DL!!
Thank you! Once ballet ended this year, she chopped it off for Locks of Love. I did the same, but my hair was always up at DL. Hee hee!
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I've completed this TR: The Surviving Deployment TR

Read about our unexpected trip. We met my DH in Orlando for his R&R from Iraq! The Holi-Canoli Whirlwind Trip That Wasn't Supposed to Be!

Our new and improved family! William (17), Victoria (20), Jamie (18), Michael and me in Songtan, South Korea!
My Previous TripsWDW 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, September 14 - 22, 2009, October 25 - November 8, 2009 DLR 2006
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:23 AM   #13
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Laura! I will be in Niagara Falls the same day as you! It's on our way home from driving our daughter Hayley to college in Ohio. Let me know if you have the time to meet and say hello. We will get there the afternoon of the 24th, and we will be heading home early on the 25th.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:46 AM   #14
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DAY 2

Weary Travelers from Virginia:
Laura, me (36)
Victoria, DD (12)
Michael, DH (34) - who will join me on August 15th.

DAY 2: July 31, 2007

Victoria and I had a very peaceful sleep and woke up well-rested at 5:00 a.m.!! We got deflated the air mattress, packed up the blankets and took down the tent in 20 minutes. We were in the car and on our way by 5:27 a.m. I knew that I didn’t want to get stuck in Chicago traffic and whatever that might hold.

Around 6:30 a.m., we got breakfast at McDonald’s, not my favorite, but it beats nothing. We crossed IN without a hitch and were soon crossing into IL. There was no welcome sign into IL. I guess it is because we were crossing over into Chicago. We saw a huge bridge we were to go over and learned afterwards that it is called the Chicago Skyway. I grabbed this shot out of the window as I was driving. Yes, scary driver alert!!!



Once we crossed, I got this pic.



I have flown into Chicago before, but never driven. So, I was pretty excited to get to see a little more of it. Traffic into Chicago was fabulous! Since driving in LA, DC, Atlanta, Philly, San Diego and now Chicago, I have now decided, there is no worse traffic than Atlanta and DC. They are the WORST I have ever driven in. Chicago was a breeze. Everyone seemed very polite on the roads and stayed in their own lanes. AND, I was there at 8 a.m…rush hour! Victoria was able to snap some shots out of the windows.


The Chicago skyline is actually quite beautiful!


Victoria liked the little row of houses in Chicago.

And I grabbed this one of the White Sox stadium.


I thought it was very neat how the subway system was in between the lanes of traffic going in and out of the city. I had never seen that before.

Once we made it through Chicago (there was actually more traffic heading out of the city than in. Weird.), we were off to Wisconsin. The sign was tough to stop and get a pic of, but we stopped at the welcome center where there was a beautiful sign!



I knew Victoria was really tired of doing nothing but drive, so I had planned a fun stop for us in Wisconsin. I took her to the Jelly Belly Warehouse, and we took the FREE Jelly Belly tour. Too cute!






You board the Jelly Belly express train and are taken by a guide throughout the factory.



There are many screens to watch and learn how Jelly Bellys are made. On the tour (no photos allowed ) we learned that it takes 7 – 10 days to make a Jelly Belly jelly bean and only 2 seconds to eat it. Wow! A lot of work goes into perfecting their delectable beans. It was really fascinating to see. I made sure to get a pic of our wonderful tour guide.



Along the tour, there were a ton of famous people’s portraits made solely out of Jelly Bellys. Here is one I was able to get a picture of. It is the Statue of Liberty made of Jelly Bellys. Neat, huh?



Afterwards, we got a free sample of Jelly Bellys. It was actually a nice sized bag of beans. After the tour, you are dropped off in the gift shop. Victoria bought some beans for her best friend, and I made sure to buy some Belly Flops (disfigured beans that taste great!) for our family and for our friends in Brazil who love them. We spent an hour at Jelly Belly, and it was really a nice break from riding. We headed out and got this cute pic of a Jelly Belly Beetle. I it!



We stopped in some town for lunch. I didn’t write it down. But, I do know where we ate. We ate at a neat Mexican restaurant called Qdoba’s. I had never heard of it. Victoria got a cheese quesadilla that she wasn’t too fond of. But, I loved my chicken burrito. It had lime rice, black beans, cheese, chicken all wrapped in a flour tortilla. It was wonderful. At first, I was a little confused by it because I have never had a burrito like that. But it was actually very good.



There was a Cold Stone Creamery next door, and we had never been to one, so we stopped in. That is the neatest place. They plop your ice cream on a cold stone (go figure) and mix in anything you want to go in the ice cream.





It was wonderful. We took our ice creams to go and headed back to the car.

I thought Wisconsin was just beautiful! I have never seen so many silos in my life. I enjoyed the scenery, and Victoria enjoyed sleeping in the back seat.





I was really thrilled, though, when we made it to Minnesota!! There wasn’t a good sign for MN either, so I missed it. We were headed to my friend’s house. Yippee!! We found our way around St. Paul and to Eden Prairie where my best friend since 7th grade lives. We were greeted with warm hugs. Yay! So happy to be here! We arrived around 4 p.m. We now have two days of rest before heading to Montana.

MILES I DROVE TODAY: 595.4
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Laura


I've completed this TR: The Surviving Deployment TR

Read about our unexpected trip. We met my DH in Orlando for his R&R from Iraq! The Holi-Canoli Whirlwind Trip That Wasn't Supposed to Be!

Our new and improved family! William (17), Victoria (20), Jamie (18), Michael and me in Songtan, South Korea!
My Previous TripsWDW 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, September 14 - 22, 2009, October 25 - November 8, 2009 DLR 2006
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:07 PM   #15
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That Jelly Belly tour sounds like it was a lot of fun! And one day I'm going to have to hunt down and try this Cold Stone Creamery that I hear so much about on these boards!

So, you did 600 miles in 10.5 hours? Did you stay on interstates? Would you say it was easy to drive that; could you have done another hundred miles or so that day? I'm pretty interested in your take on such a long roadtrip, since we'll be doing our own version of a long road trip in a couple of weeks.
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