Category Archives: West Coast Adventure: Redux

Yellowstone


After a disastrous journey to the world’s first national park on our last journey around the country, we decided that this year, we absolutely needed to find a way to make a it reality. The thirty five hundred square mile park nestled in the Tetons is a draw for over four million people every year, from all across the world, and for good reason. The diversity of the terrain alone is enough to peak the curiosity of anyone who has ever seen a photo of this magnificent landscape, but the park has so much more to offer than just a pretty backdrop. Home to an amazing array of wildlife, bacteria pools, hot springs, geysers, and lakes, Yellowstone is one place you literally have to visit if you have even an inkling of love for the outdoors. 
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Day 4 Travel Updates: 4PM Mountain


It’s 8 o’clock and we’re headed to Yellowstone, looking for redemption. For those of you who don’t know the story, in short, last year we had a massive day planned in Yellowstone, it was one of the highlights of the trip to be sure, or rather it would have been. Having read that the camping was mostly first come first serve, we decided not to look for reservations and instead just get up early and go. A mistake. About an hour away we discovered that almost every site was full, and as a last ditch resort we called ahead and managed to book literally the LAST spot at a campground between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Right after making the call we lost service entirely, but didn’t think anything of it and headed into the park. After about an hour, we made it into old faithful and for a single second I had just enough service to receive a single voicemail. It was the camp site, they double booked the site by accident and we were now screwed out of a place to stay. Frantic, we spent the remaining 5 hours searching all through the park for a spot, to no avail. Defeated, we left the park as the sun went down, having seen only the campgrounds. But not this year. This year we’re going to do it right, and with the first glimpses of the Tetons pulling into view, it will only be a few short hours until we rectify the mistakes of our past. More updates to come. 
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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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The first National Park of this year’s adventure, we started off strong with Theodore Roosevelt. Founded in 1978, this seventy thousand square acre section of the North Dakota badlands was named of course for President “Teddy” Roosevelt; who traveled here in the 1880’s to hunt bison. After he caught his bison, he became hopelessly enamored with the rugged terrain and matching lifestyle found throughout the badlands. He invested heavily in the area, eventually building a home for himself out in the canyon which can still be seen out in the southern section. Today, the park draws thousands of visitors every year, and captures the hearts and minds of all of them in the same way it captured that of our 26th president. One of the lesser known and certainly less visited parks in the country, drawing only about five hundred thousand a year, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the very epitome of underrated. Perhaps one of the most amazing places I have ever visited in my entire life, the park is spectacular at face value, but can be life changing to those who are willing to employ just a little bit of patience.

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Day 3 Travel Updates: 4PM Mountain

7AM Central:

We’re on the road once more, and after our bust at Minneapolis, we’re glad to be headed for consistent attractions from here on out. What little hills there were have flattened out and now the grass seems to stretch for miles… Because it does. Little islands of trees crop up in the distance, framed against fields of gradient green and patchy clusters of greying clouds, slowly returning to white after an evening of heavy rain. They lie like a blanket across the sky leading out of Fargo, the hazy blue horizon casting a stark contrast ahead of us. It heralds the arrival of the trip proper, and as we pass out from beneath the sheet it seems to reach out in desperation. It’s not done with us quite yet, which is too bad because we’re certainly done with it. I can see the sun up ahead, and with only a few hours before we pass into Mountain time and reach Theodore Roosevelt National Park, it’s looking like it’s gonna be a good day. More updates to come.

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Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, Minnesota, the second largest industrial hub in the midwest (when coupled with its sister city, St. Paul, also the capitol of Minnesota) and also the largest city in the state, both in terms of size and population. Known as the “Twin Cities”, Minneapolis and St. Paul are bisected by the Mississippi River, and as such form a major commercial center given their position on such a prolific body of water. The entire Twin Cities metro area houses over three million people, though only about 500,000 live in Minneapolis proper. A city of bridges, parks, and pop-up concerts, Minneapolis makes its mark on the midwest as one of the most culturally diverse and ethnically significant hubs to be found anywhere in the north.

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Day 2 Travel Updates: 4PM Central

8AM Central:


We’ve left the hotel and headed back into the city, which is completely and utterly devoid of life. The only people on the street are a multitude of surprisingly flashily dressed bums, and in an effort to avoid this we decided on taking the skyways; a maze of raised tunnels connecting the matrix of skyscrapers throughout the downtown area, mostly to avoid the bitter cold that winter in Minnesota brings. Despite it being the 4th of July, no festivities seem to be taking place, in fact nothing seems to be happening at all. Just as well for us, the city has become a veritable playground of potential photos. More updates to come.

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Day 1 Travel Updates: 6PM Central

7AM Eastern:

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As we work our way steadily westward, we are greeted by empty roads and overcast skies. So far the only signs of life we’ve encountered have been the few unfortunate souls who have become the first catches of the day for the local variety of police. Fourth of July weekend is starting out strong for the journey, we’ve already made up plenty of time and should arrive in Minneapolis just shy of 4:00PM Central, hopefully without incident.

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Travel Updates

Welcome everyone, it’s finally upon us, the West Coast Adventure: Redux. As we set out towards Minneapolis I’d like to take a minute to explain our new feature: Travel Updates. Last year one of our primary features was road updates, however this year we will have many days without actual road travel, and therefore had to come up with a new system. Introducing, the Travel Update. Sounds fancy I know, but really it’s jut your all inclusive ticket to semi-live updates across the entire trip. Be it road, rail, or foot, you can expect consistent time stamped updates under this new monicker. Keep checking the updates throughout the day, as each post will be edited to include the latest update, rather than each getting a new post. This way clutter is reduced and each day has a single travel update page, the title of which will reflect the latest post. That’s all for now, but expect a veritable torrent of content in the hours, days, and weeks to come. See you all very soon.

Introduction to West Coast Redux

The world. It’s our home, our backyard, our playground, and our benefactor, all rolled into one. Some people live their lives taking it at face value, walking through life without much regard for the mysteries and majesty our planet holds, cradled in it’s many countries and provinces. A mistake if there ever was one. There’s more to see out there than could ever be accomplished in a single lifetime, but that certainly isn’t going to stop us from trying. 

Last year, the two of us traveled from Michigan to New Orleans, from there to Las Vegas, from Vegas to Los Angeles, and then to Seattle and all the way back across the northern United States, home to Ann Arbor. We called a 2009 Ford Focus our home over the course of 25 days. We saw 14 total National Parks, Monuments, and forests, and stayed in some of the biggest and brightest cities the U.S. had to offer, as well as visiting a plethora of other amazing sites and scenes. This year, we’re doing it again, but even bigger.  Continue reading Introduction to West Coast Redux