New Adventure: We’re Here!

We have officially arrived!  After 2,502 miles and 4 carwashes later, we pulled in yesterday to Cupertino, California to our temporary housing.  We started out on Friday May 11th from Stillwater, MN with a very tearful goodbye.  I miss all of my friends and family whom I am extremely close with back in the midwest.  I’ll do a (somewhat) quick overview of our road trip highlights.

 Night 1: Bismark, ND  We ate at a quaint little diner with cheap, homestyle meals that was good and heavy.  (see photo right)  We like to use Yelp to find good local restaurants.  If you haven’t tried it, I really reccomend it for anyone who doesn’t want to eat at McDonalds and KFC while traveling.

Little Cottage Cafe, Bismark ND

Night 2: Bozeman, MT I have been to this city before to snowboard in Big Sky. It’s one of my favorite places to snowboard/ski and would really recommend it to anyone looking to learn how to board/ski. Lots of blue or green runs to learn and a great view of the mountain range.  We also ate at one of the best restaurants I have EVER dined at. Ted’s Montana Grill is worth the traveling just to see Bozeman and eat the delicious meals.   I had bison short ribs that fell off the bone and were so tender I didn’t even need a knife to cut them.  I loved their story and how they are eco-friendly.  Locally sourced veggies and meat were a definite highlight.  Brice had a bison burger with an over-easy egg, jam, peppers and cheese that was delectable.  I really enjoy trying the local fare- it usually turns out to my advantage and is sometimes surprising how much I can like foods I thought I would never try!  They also served home-made pickles instead of bread which I thought was a genius idea.  Why not cut down on our carb intake and start serving veggies instead of bread before a meal?  Their portions were also something to comment on.  After dining on “Midwest-sized” portions it was so satisfying to get a meal that left me feeling satisfied but not over-stuffed.  I really think many dining establishments need to follow this trend.  The short ribs I had were about the size of my fist (the recommended serving size) not the size of the plate like many places serve.  The serving of veggies was more then ample and they were also steamed.  What an amazing place to eat and connect with Brice over good food!

Night/Day 3:  We got up early from our hotel in Bozeman and started our drive to Yellowstone.  Both Brice and I had never been to Yellowstone and were very excited to see this legendary park.  The first thing that was noticeable immediately were the bison roaming around freely.  We came in from the north (see map) through Gardiner.  Then, we traveled east towards Tower/Roosevelt where we discovered the road was not open to complete the circle loop around and go south to Old Faithful.  So, we turned around and headed south on the west side of the upper loop.  We ended our tour of yellowstone at Old Faithful and headed south.  Since I have so many magnificent photos and stories of Yellowstone, I will write a separate post for that event.

That night we ended up in Jackson Hole, WY and stayed at a little hotel right on a creek and at at a local brewery.  It was delicious and we had great night after a very long day of travel.  I was so surprised at how tired I was after just sitting in the car most of the time and sight seeing!

2009 The Oaks

Night 4: Another ski town that I have had the pleasure of visiting before is Park City, Utah.  Such a great place for nightlife and skiing.  On our way out to Park City we drove through some great mountain valleys and stopped at a restaurant that we have eaten at twice previously.  When I went with Brice out to Utah we spent a day at Pinnacle Reservoir outside of Ogden, UT and ate at The Oaks which is right on a river.  We even ended up sitting in the same booth. 🙂

2012 The Oaks

Another fun detour was taking my Ford Escape on a small off-roading adventure on Swan Lake Trail in Utah. We took the car on the trail up the mountain until we were not able to safely go any further because of snow.  See the map below and a photo of my car with the snow capped mountains in the background.  The two pins are where I took photos along the trail.

Map of Swan Lake Road
Swan Lake Trail, UT

We arrived a little earlier to Park City since the drive from Jackson Hole was not as far.  We stayed at a hotel just down the mountain from the Olympic Village which Brice thought was pretty cool.  It closed right before we arrived, and it was disappointing that we were not able to see it.  So, the next best activity was shopping at the outlet mall just next door to our hotel!  🙂

Night 5: Carson City, NV After a very LONG drive throughout the salt flats and generally boring drive through Nevada we arrived in Carson City.  We did drive through Reno and decided against staying there.  We mostly relaxed after a long day of driving and had some great beef brisket sandwiches at the hotel.

Night 6: Lake Tahoe, CA  We crossed into California!  We made the trip to one of the largest and most clear lakes in the US.  We decided to stay in the area since we had both never been there and had heard great things about the hiking and recreational activities.  We hiked to Eagle Falls and relaxed near the lake for most of the day and enjoyed the flora and fauna.  The high season starts after Memorial Day weekend and therefore there was not much to do for kayak or ATV rentals.  I have a few photos to post from that area and will share the link later from this leg of our trip.  We ate lunch at an Irish pub and looked over a Seirra Nevada map of all of the local attractions in the area.  The map is littered with green areas that outline state parks- all areas for us to explore!  It made me really excited to see all of the different and unique camp sites and hiking trails we have yet to conquer.

Night 7: Cupertino, CA  We met with the SuiteAmerica representative and arrived in Cupertino around 3:00 May 17th.  We are in temporary housing in a great little apartment community.  It’s definitely different the streets of Ames. Although there are many amenities that Cupertino has that Ames doesn’t- I still miss the small-town atmosphere of the Iowa town.  We said “see ya real soon!” to so many dear friends and family members I can’t help but be a little homesick for the familiar.  I am sure that come fall I will miss the distant sound of Jack Trice roar and hoards of people wearing cardinal and yellow.  There is a distinct energy and ambiance of that town that I miss very much.

I have so many stories to tell about Yellowstone, but need photos to accompany them.  I will be posting soon!  And as always if any of our friends or family are out in the ‘Frisco/San Jose area please contact us.  We would love to see you!

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