|Do you like this US State Map? This map is a part of a FREE downloadable US Geography Resource, learn more here.|
We started our trip with a visit to the Library the day before we hit the road. A friend gave me some excellent advise about keeping children occupied in the car: Books on CD. We rented many, however my Beloved's favorite was Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins (Jonathan Park Radio Drama) a Christian Creationist Adventure Story. As we road the highway on our adventure West, the children in the story were also having similar adventures, it was awesome! Although, Muslims lay in the middle of the young Earth creation theory, we could appreciate the proof of God's Creation. Jonathon Park was a nice surprise, I just picked it out without reading what it was about, another nice surprise was a book on display in front of the Library: Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America's Two-Lane Highways which became my bible for the Road trip. As Humble Dad drove most of the way there, I would fill this book up with sticky tabs of the places I wanted to visit. When I returned the book to the library, it was definitely tattered and loved. ♥
On our way out of the Library we were greeted with this beautiful rainbow that extended much of the sky, if you did believe in Omens: wouldn't this be a powerful one!
After completing our Rocks State Park - Park Quest Adventure we drove for a few hours to our resting place at the Double Tree Hotel in Washington, PA. An older hotel that has been remodeled, but with a good solid breakfast buffet.
I made summer notebooks filled with a free Roadtrip bingo, science, math, and language arts worksheets and most importantly US Geography pages. I really like the free coloring pages at: USA Printables. We hardly played the DVD, between getting out and exploring, our summer notebook, and Books on CD, we had plenty to keep us busy.
Our stop in Columbus: German Village was wonderful! It was really great for Humble Dad because he had no idea so much of his ancestry and history still was preserved in the Midwest. From the architecture to the pastries, we got a glimpse of what German life was like when they left Philadelphia to try to preserve their German culture.
|This awesome bookstore: The Book Loft hails 32 rooms of books|
|When I saw this book: Thunder Rose (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books)
by Kadir Nelson:|
author of We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball , I knew it was
a must read. The heroine reminds me of my own spunky Lil A
|The beautiful slate roofs and the red brick were throughout this German Village area.|
|Windbeutel, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, Apfelstrudel, OH MY!|
Cream Puffs, Black Forest Chocolate Cake, Apple Strudel OH MY!
|The Cream Puffs were the absolute best at Schmidt Sausage Haus since 1886|
We stopped in Indiana for one thing: food. We needed dinner and Magoos Halal Pizza joint had the best White Sauce Pizza with Halal Pepperoni.
We laid our head at the Hampton Inn in Muscatine, Iowa after a long 12 hour drive. Then woke up to a breakfast room full of baseball and softball players. The youth teams were in Muscatine for the Iowa State Tournaments that took place at a great baseball complex. The houses were not much, many looked worn and small, but the town was peaceful, many homes had small fishing boats in the driveway and the baseball park was beautiful! We had fun playing along the Mississippi river where many boats were out early trying to catch the fish before the sun sent the fish to a lower depth.
Iowa is filled with Corn fields, taking the back roads you can see them in abundance. It was an irresistable urge of Z Man to be able to run through this "Field of Dreams" not the one in the movie, that was further North. Iowains are proud of their Ethanol producing crop, bumper stickers displaying this pride were also abundance. We were just happy to get Cheap gas as low as $2.99 when the rest of the US had prices over $4.00.
The first part of Nebraska is dark, and it wasn't just due to the Thunderstorms and Tornado that afflict the Midwest. As soon as you enter Omaha, you are bombarded with Casinos. The poverty is not like the poverty in Muscatine, it is a dark poverty full of drug and gambling addicts. All the towns that we went through on this road trip that had Casinos also had a filthy stench of blood sucking poverty visible to anyone with the slightest perspicacity. However, Omaha was the worse. Omaha is the birthplace of Malcolm X and I was originally excited to visit it, but was disappointed by what I saw. Although, there was a diamond in the rough: An Ethiopian/Somalian Restaurant a welcome to hungry travelers.
Nebraska and Wyoming have many parts where you can just drive (as fast as you like with nobody to stop you) and all you see is Prairie. Little sign of life from the highway, just miles and miles of open space and beautiful skies. A Trading Post in North Platte, Nebraska reminds travelers that they are riding along the Oregon Trail. As I viewed the most beautiful sunrise here, I can only imagine how much of an inspiration the sunrise was to the immigrants who traveled this difficult trail: a wonderful inspiration from God to continue on another day. What a magnificent sight for weary eyes!
We did not stop in a hotel in Nebraska, we drove straight through most of the night and early morning on shifts. I drove most of the morning, some of the way I left I-80 for a more scenic drive on US-30, where memorabilia of Buffalo Bill Cody was present. Along this highway was an unplanned treasure, a park with old play equipment. I think it is a shame that most parks have thrown away the old Park equipment, like merry-go-rounds and seesaws. When we visit towns that still have them, we ENJOY them and savor the moment.
Cheyenne, how I love thee! "Give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play." Wyoming was such a wonderful place to be, from Cheyenne to Yellowstone, I fell in love over and over again. ♥ Cheyenne had a wonderful Botanical Garden in the middle of what some would call "nowhere" It was free! It was LEED certified! It was Child Friendly! and it was just plain WONDERFUL!
|Indian Paintbrush the State Flower that we recognized from our Free State Cards.|
|Even the Garden helped Lil A learn her ABC's with these signs all over - S is for Spruce,|
P is for Pine, J is for Juniper
|The rabbits in the garden reminded us of Peter Rabbit, as they were eating lettuce |
and other treats growing in the garden
|This tile was APROPO !|
Across the street at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Museum is this giant boot! I really love boots and you can see that throughout my blog, from cowboy boots salt & pepper shakers to me wearing my Clark's boots.
I am not sure what our Nation's hypocritical lure of the prison system stems from. But if I could guess, this may be one of the beginnings: Wyoming Territorial Prison in Larmie that held Butch Cassidy. We glorify people like Butch Cassidy and Bonnie and Clyde and the fictional Corleone family of the Godfather Trilogy, make best selling games like Grand Theft Auto, and Platinum records about gang banging, yet we live behind gated communities and have a Penitentiary system that would make Abraham, Jesus, and Muhammad weep. (Peace Be Upon Them). The architecture is beautiful, but I would rather it be a place of learning or healing.
The Highest point or Summit of the Lincoln Highway, the first paved highway to go from Time Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco
The drive up Hwy 287 to Jackson, Wyoming gateway to Yellowstone had alot of history. Fort Washakie holds the grave a Sacajawea, the famous Native American guide of Lewis and Clark.
This is the Point where we reached YELLOWSTONE, Read about our adventures in Yellowstone here.
Although, we did not make any extensive stops in Montana or Idaho the drive through along I-90 was absolutely beautiful. From the rivers to the lakes to the mountains, I would like to come back and visit this area for a longer period of time.
We finally reached the State of our original destination: Washington. In Spokane, hours away from Seattle and my son's highschool graduation. Spokane has a beautiful riverwalk and a Giant Radio Flyer wagon where you can slide down the handle.
Read the Middle:
California ~ our Home away from Home
Read the end:
Summer Road Trip ~ The Way Back