In the weeks leading up to our departure we tried our best to plan out the first leg of our trip. We highlighted roads, circled cities and towns and made tiny notes in what little margin our new atlas provided.
We had a good idea of what we thought our favorite stops would be, which cities we would want to spend multiple days in and which parks would be our most-loved. As we reflect on the first two months of our adventure, we have to say we are pleasantly surprised by some of our discoveries.
As we spent time with family last week, we were asked a difficult question several times.
"What's your favorite thing so far?"
Our answer usually sounded something like this... "Ummmmm, uhh, ummm, everything?"
From the picturesque lighthouses in Michigan, to the phenomenal eclipse, from the countless waterfalls, wildlife and mountains, to the people we've met, it's safe to say we are speechless.
Since it's nearly impossible to pick just one, here are a few of our favorite things...
This is where it all started. It will always be special to us. Besides Indianapolis being our favorite city of all-time, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Turkey Run State Park are pretty cool too!
We've blogged about it before, but Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is simply stunning.
Madison, Wisconsin has got to be the cutest city of all time. The capital building is the center of attention but the streets surrounding it are peppered with great restaurants, bars and shops.
(It's also home to Jimmy Bobowski, great American and master chef.)
We arrived to Des Moines on a Saturday morning when their legendary Farmer's Market was taking place. We call it legendary because it was the largest one we've ever been too. There was no need to eat breakfast because we sampled cheese, meat and pastries 6 blocks long and 2 blocks wide. Maybe we have a soft spot for midwestern cities surrounded by farmland on all sides but we loved Des Moines!
Custer State Park is nestled into the stunning Black Hills. From the breathtaking views from Sylvan Lake, to the countless bison that crossed in front of us, it's easy to call this one of our favorite places.
To be completely fair, we were only in Nebraska for about an hour. In Peyton Manning's favorite city, Omaha, there is a pretty neat walking bridge where you can stand in Iowa and Nebraska at the same time!
Since we spent nearly two weeks in Wyoming it's hard to choose our favorite thing. Totality during the eclipse was a completely phenomenal event, but we also spent a lot of time in Yellowstone and the Grand Teton Mountains. If we had to choose just one, we would say that the Grand Tetons took our breath away at every turn and takes the award for most beautiful mountain range.
Before we visited Idaho we imagined farmland and potatoes, boy were we wrong. The majority of Idaho is actually national forest with stunning scenic byways that weave you through the mountains. There are several scenic byways running north/south in Idaho and each of them prove to be prettier than the last.
We didn't spend as much time in Canada as we would have liked due to the forest fire smoke lingering low. The smoke made it hard to see the beauty of the mountains and made it difficult to hike. Since we didn't get to hike as much as we would have liked, our visit to the colorful Moraine Lake is the most memorable. The stunning blue water was like nothing we've ever seen.
Rainier was refreshing! A classic American adjunct lager. Oh wait, we're supposed to be talking about the park not the beer. Well then... refreshing is still a word that can be used to describe this place. The crisp cool air was waiting for us every morning as we rolled out of bed and made plans for the day. It's the kind of place that makes you want to wake up slow and then spend the entire day exploring every possible inch. From the ever looming Rainer to the tiny plants and mosses and old growth trees it is impossible not to fall in love with this place.
Oh Portland, you're so much more than the show Portlandia had led us to believe you were. Sure, there were weird, quirky, and generally interesting people and sights around every corner but that's just part of the fun. After visiting Seattle and deciding we were never going to another city again we quickly found we couldn't help but answer the call of Portland. Clyde Drexler messaged us on Facebook and said give the city life another try. After zooming around on segways for a few hours we're glad we did!
(Behind me is the World's smallest park, congratulations Portland.)
If you've visited any of these places and feel that we left out your favorite place, don't worry! These are just a few of the highlights and it would be nearly impossible to recap everything in just one post. Feel free to leave us a comment with some of your favorite memories in these states.
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