Category Archives: West Coast Adventure

Final day: 7:30PM Eastern


6:30AM Central

It’s the final day of the journey. 24 days ago we departed from Ann Arbor on an epic road trip around the country. Many doubted we could do it in the time allotted, even the counter girl at REI didn’t have faith. Today we prove them all wrong. The sun is doing its very best to blind us irreparably as we cruise along the interstate towards Madison Wisconsin. The light is bouncing smoothly off the Mississippi, and the tops of the trees are emitting a gentle glow. A2 is calling our name, and though it’s quite sad to be leaving the road, we’re both ready to be back at least in some capacity. More updates to come.

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Day 23 Road Updates: 11AM Central

After a night of rattling AC and torrential rain, we’re headed into Minnesota on the second to last day of the journey. The sole attraction today is the Mall of America, I’m not sure quite what to expect, though I assume it will be beyond hectic. The amount of cops posted up on the highway has increased exponentially as we head further east, as has the road work. The terrain has remained decidedly monotonous, the most interesting thing we’ve seen has been a repair man dangling from a helicopter about 70 feet up trying to repair a massive power line. And corn. More updates to come.

Day 22 Road Updates: 2PM Central

10AM Central

We’re headed out of keystone and towards the famous Wall Drug store. Not entirely sure what to expect, we’re heading in following the signs, which literally appearing every hundred feet or so. Apparently this store is the only thing keeping the town of Wall on the map. We’re almost there as I’m writing this, I’ll post an update diagraming the store in just a little bit. More updates to come.

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Black Hills National Forest 

The Black Hills, originally home to the Lakota native Americans (the name is a direct translation), got there name due to the dark appearance of the thick trees populating the area. Most notably, it houses Mt Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial, as well as a myriad of other interesting features. The area blew up in 1874, after George Custers expedition into the area revealed something hiding deep within the hills. Gold. The hills were peppered with caves and cave networks, all rich in precious metal and minerals. Still to this day, the caves remain a main attraction in the area, drawing tourists from around the world who have an enthusiasm for spelunking.

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Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower, standing almost 1000 feet tall,  this strange protrusion of rock pierces the rolling hills as if some insidious force drove it straight out of the ground. Truly alien to its surroundings, the tower looks like nothing you’ve ever seen. It began to form some 200 million years ago, though no one is really sure how. The tower is comprised of igneous rock, magma, and it is widely accepted that the tower is an igneous intrusion; meaning a giant core of magma that instead of erupting, simply pushed the land above it up and out. However the theories as to its exact origin vary from expert to expert. Some believe it was the core of a super volcano that cooled over time and turned into a plug, other believe it was the heart of a great magma chamber, and it was revealed as the earth around it eroded away, much in the same way Yosemite was exposed. Whatever the case, the rock is as strange and intriguing today as it ever has been, prompting up to 400,000 visitors annually.

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Days 18-20: Missoula, MT-Yellowstone-Devils Tower

The past three days we have spent traveling through Montana and Wyoming.

First stop was Missoula, MT, where we spent a little time at Arizona Diamondbacks Single A team, Missoula Osprey, watching them play.

Photo Jul 23, 6 56 23 PM

The next day we headed to Yellowstone National Park and although we had our plans of staying there change, it was still an enjoyable experience to see even a part of it.

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Day 20 Road Updates: 3PM Central

10AM Central

After a crushing defeat at Yellowstone (our camp site got double booked and we ended up on the road, skipping 99% of the park to go find a hotel), we’re back on I90 and headed towards Devils tower. For those who haven’t seen close encounters of the third kind, go watch it right now then come back and tell me you aren’t hyped to see the tower too. Though basic in its form, it holds almost as much significance for sci fi fans as Roswell does. The terrain so far has been, well, fairly bleak. Lots of grass and low mountains, trees here and there, and a surprising amount of bikers. Almost feel like Texas again. More updates to come.

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Day 16-17 Seattle, WA

We spent the next two days traveling from Eureka, CA (Rough 12 hour drive) to Seattle, WA. We had originally planned to stop in Portland, OR for one of the nights but the hotel we had booked was supposedly in one of the few sketchy neighborhoods in Portland so we decided to scrap it and keep on driving to Seattle. Overall, I could describe Seattle as a giant Ann Arbor. Lots of local places and the marketplace was amazing, along with the museums. (See Matt’s post on the art)

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SAM & Chihuly Gardens

The Seattle Art museum and the Chihuly Gardens at the space needle. Chihuly, a master of glass work, and is known around the world for his unique style which falls somewhere between actual glass blowing and big art. His work is exhibited across the globe, with permanent installations scattered across the U.S. and Europe, and some in east Asia and India. One of his largest installations, the Chihuly garden in Seattle wraps around the base of the space needle, and makes up the majority of the grounds. Half indoor half outdoor, it is a maze of twisted glass and neon pipes, carefully designed to compliment it’s setting.
The first half, the indoor “Glass house”, is home to the more intricate exhibits, shielded from the environment and lit up to the advantage of the dim rooms. The museum takes about 30 minutes to really appreciate, but you could easily spend much longer.

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