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there was nowhere to go but everywhere – a wonderful dissection of our trip

The United States - Road Trip 15“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?”

– Jack Kerouac

The United States - Road Trip 41I’m not going to lie. The deadline for me to discuss our entire trip, including edited photographs, less than one week after we returned home, was a very daunting one. However, as writers we have to continually push ourselves to discuss key events in our lives in great detail soon after they occur, whether we are ready to or not. That’s when the memories are the freshest. Being kept on our toes can only help us learn from and improve our passion.

I kept a travel journal during our American adventures, but translating it from diary format to a public platform will not and is not going to be easy. I will try to do my best at deciphering what is relevant versus what is not. Hopefully, you will be able to relate to at least some of the sites that we took in. If so, then please share your own experiences in the comment section!

We covered over 5000 km (3100 mi) on our trip, averaging 600 km (373 mi) each day. It was the perfect amount given that we would usually begin our day in one state, end it in another, all while stopping to see at least one major monument and explore smaller towns throughout the day. Our days were usually around 9 hours long. We survived on gas station edibles (which turns out is actually pretty convenient and more delicious than Canadian gas station food), and would order an amazing feast in the evening once we were settled in. We quickly fell into this pattern, and embraced it. It was perfect for us and our dogs.

DAY 1:

The United States - Road Trip 1 The United States - Road Trip 2After picking Geoffrey up from work, we drove through the evening and southern Saskatchewan to my hometown. It’s only a few hours north of the Canadian/American border, and we were excited to get a head start on our grand road trip. 

DAY 2:

The United States - Road Trip 3We left the hotel by 8 am. We got gas, our last good coffee (à la Tim Horton’s), and made a stop at the first house that I had ever lived in. Then we headed south to the United States.

On the way, we stopped at a little town called Val Marie, SK. It was very prairie, and really picturesque. After taking a few photographs, we continued for another 30 minutes until we hit the border. Just before crossing, I asked Geoffrey if he had signed his passport this time. Geoff received his new passport only a few weeks ago. The last time we drove to the States, he had forgotten to and the border agents almost didn’t let us through. It was unnerving, but it’s something that we still joke about. Sure enough, when I opened it this time, it wasn’t signed. It never fails. Geoffrey is incredibly forgetful. So with the border crossing clearly in our line of vision, he veers off the road, quickly signs it, and drives the remaining feet toward the towering structure. I thought that we would certainly get questioned as to our erratic driving, but thankfully, everything went off without a hitch. We’re in America!

The United States - Road Trip 4The United States - Road Trip 6The United States - Road Trip 7Our first stop was at a tiny town named Loring, MT. We let the dogs out, took a few photos, and jumped back into our vehicle. Our final destination for the day was Billings, MT.

The United States - Road Trip 8The United States - Road Trip 10The United States - Road Trip 11On the way to Billings, we stopped at what became our favourite spot on day 2; the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful. We walked around for quite awhile, and took a ton of photographs. With the steep hills, greenery, and mountains in the distance, to me, this was the epitome of Montana.

The United States - Road Trip 12The United States - Road Trip 13Roughly four hours later, we were in Billings for the night.

DAY 3:

The United States - Road Trip 14The United States - Road Trip 17The United States - Road Trip 16Our third day’s destination was Douglas, WY. That morning, we went to our hotel’s bakery, drove around downtown taking pictures of antique stores and trading posts, then to Moss Mansion. Billings is very beautiful, and seems like a great city to live in.

The United States - Road Trip 18 The United States - Road Trip 20 The United States - Road Trip 19The United States - Road Trip 22 The United States - Road Trip 23 The United States - Road Trip 24On the way to Wyoming, we had two major stops planned. The first was Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana. Although this was supposed to be a short visit to a site that I knew nothing about, it turned out to be my most cherished activity of day 3. Driving to the battlefield was quite nice, until we hit the more rundown areas along the interstate. At the last minute, we nearly changed our minds about visiting it because the turn off was so intimidating. Thank goodness we did go! Once we got out of that area and drove up to the monument, it was all worth it. From the cleanliness, to the gift shop, to the beautiful drive around the grounds (which includes scenic views and wild horses), to the importance of the site itself, Little Bighorn Battlefield is an understated must-see.

The United States - Road Trip 25 The United States - Road Trip 26The United States - Road Trip 27After finally leaving the battlefield, we drove 3.5 hours to Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY. If anyone has ever visited this monument, you may understand what I mean when I say that the drive from Moorcroft, WY to Devil’s Tower is not spectacular, by any means. It actually felt like a bit of a let down since I had high expectations for the actual site. Yet, Devil’s Tower itself was such an awe-inspiring experience. I found it quite unbelievable to be there, with the way that the tower loomed over its panoramic surroundings and commanded your attention from miles away to mere feet. It was quite stunning, and I am so glad that we went!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetFollowing the tower was our final 3 hour drive to Douglas, WY. It quickly turned to prairie, and I instantly felt at home. Tired from the day we just had, Geoffrey and I became increasingly restless and giddy. By the time we made it into Douglas, it was dark. Yet, the beauty of the city was not lost on us. What a pleasant surprise! It instantly reminded me of Colorado, and given that our hotel was top-notch, I couldn’t wait to get settled, and begin the next day. I think my husband and our dogs felt the same. So far, day 3 was our favourite, albeit the most exhausting.

DAY 4:

The United States - Road Trip 29We woke up in Wyoming completely refreshed. We began the day with a long walk together with Holly and Truman, ate, packed up our belongings, and hit the road. Day 4’s destination was Glenwood Springs, CO. Colorado has always been our favourite state, so we were peeing our little britches in anticipation. The sky was also overcast that morning (our best kind of day). 

The United States - Road Trip 30We drove past Cheyenne, WY which I love. However, after a quick discussion, we decided that we wouldn’t be stopping. The day was already going to be too long. C’est la vie! Onward and upward.

The United States - Road Trip 31IMG_4791 We ended up stopping at the visitor centre just after the state border in Fort Collins, CO. This is where we stopped four years ago, and took pictures with the painted horse. I went inside to buy souvenirs while Geoffrey walked the dogs, and was immediately asked where I was from because “I talked funny.” Thanks, USA. 

The United States - Road Trip 34 The United States - Road Trip 35Leaving the visitor centre, we then drove to our all-time favourite city, Denver, CO! We headed straight to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, given that I was in need of a Tiffany’s store. Forsaking GPS we initially relied purely on memory and maps. Then we got lost. Then we took some photos of impressive stately homes and Geoffrey was in heaven. Then we caved, turned on GPS, and made our way over to the mall. We were surprised at how much snow the city had! However, we were used to driving in it. Once we made it to the center, I got out, ran inside, went to Tiffany’s, and told them I wanted to pick out a new wedding ring for our forthcoming 5th wedding anniversary. I only had about 20 minutes. Honestly, this could easily be a blog post in itself, and I think that I will turn it into one.

The United States - Road Trip 37 The United States - Road Trip 39The United States - Road Trip 40Finding what I wanted, I ran back out of the mall, and after a few more stops, we left Denver. We were heading westward on I-70. Our first stop was, no word of a lie, a gorgeous little gas station in the picturesque town of Genesee, CO. I felt like they could’ve filmed movies there. We picked up some more souvenirs, and got more gas and some food. Then we began what should’ve been a 2.5 hour drive to Glenwood Springs, but felt much longer. Although our most stunning drive of the trip, it was also the most frightening. How do you guys do it?! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The United States - Road Trip 42We finally arrived at our destination. I didn’t want to leave, and we almost considered staying for a few extra days. In hindsight, we probably should have. Lovely, lovely, Glenwood Springs, CO.

Days 5-9:

Coming tomorrow.

<3

Emory

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9 Comments

  1. Cool trip. Great photos as always. Off to read part II…

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  2. Hey, I live in Ft. Collins! I also spent quite a few years living up in the mountains west of Boulder and Denver. It was really fun to see the areas I’m familiar with, presented in a travelogue by someone else. Thanks for the read! :)

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  3. You two are too cute! oh, and the dogs too. :-) Safe travels!!! Great Post!! Can’t wait to read more.

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  4. Thank you so much for the gorgeous tour!! And I think the person who asked where you are from could have been more polite. Americans can be overbearing sometimes. I have fond memories of living in Canada many years ago and have a soft, defensive spot for Canada.

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    • Well we Canadians are a little soft as well. I certainly didn’t take any offence to it, although being older and more attune to my surroundings, I’ve come to realize just how different Canada is from the US. With the metric system, the geography, and the way we speak, I feel closer to the UK than America. Not physically, but with everything else taken into consideration.

      In a way, visiting the state felt like a culture shock! But in a good and informative way. :-)))

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      • Indeed, Canada is more like England which I think is great. America is a great place to live, but what bothers me most these days are the policies in Washington regarding the Middle East and Israel. Obama is a nut job, thank God his term is ending fairly soon. I have far more respect for Canada and its political stance than the States. The southwest is easily the best part of this country, glad you like it down here!

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  5. So much travel envy, gorgeous photos! Definitely post about the ring!!! :)

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