Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 6 - Yellowstone

After a long day of driving and sightseeing in South Dakota, we arrived in Billings, MT to meet our 3rd couch surfing host, Jeremy. He was not the usual host for this couch, he just so happened to be house sitting for the woman that offered the couch to us. Jeremy worked in her vet office and was house sitting for her while she was away couch surfing through Europe. Jeremy was 18 years old and was graduating from high school the next day and then joining the Air Force. We had a very pleasant but basic stay there but we met Cap'n the 3rd legged cat. Sweet cat, purred the entire time we were there. We left the next morning after some breakfast at Cracker Barrel and were off to drive through the rest of Montana (keep in mind we were at exit 450, so we had a long way to go).

All along we had made plans to make a pit stop to see Yellowstone National Park. Little did we know, the type of time commitment Yellowstone would take. Now, I knew Yellowstone was big, but didn't realize just how big it really was. It was pretty much the most breathtaking landscape I had ever seen. While the entire park had not opened just yet, we still were able to see the hot springs, some geysers, canyons, waterfalls, and even bison. This should definitely be on your bucket list of things to see in America. For the little amount of time we spent there in comparison to others, we did manage to see quite a bit of the park. I can see how people can easily spend a week there, there's so much to see, and so many beautiful trails to hike.

After leaving Yellowstone, we finished our drive through Montana and Idaho leaving us in Spokane, WA for the night. Our host, Kimberly, in Spokane had a little kitty (name TBD). Kim was a student at Spokane Community College studying Biology with an emphasis in Botany. She had spent a lot of time travelling and couch surfing through Indonesia and Australia. Kim was our final Couch Surfing host of the trip, and we can say that we have had nothing but positive experiences with Couch Surfing and we are still alive and we have met great and interesting people that we would have never met otherwise.

Day 6 marked our final day to Seattle. Read Rae's blog for her reactions on arriving to the final destination of the road trip.

Road Trip Day 3 - Chicago

After the fact, I know. The thing about not staying in Holiday Inn Express like we usually do on road trips, time and wi-fi is hard to come by to blog.

Day 3 was spent exploring the city of Chicago. Coincidentally, we knew a lot of people who either lived in the area or happened to be able to conveniently pass through the area, so we got to meet up with a lot of people throughout the course of the day. We began the day at Intellegentsia Coffee downtown near Millennium Park. There, I had the best pour over coffee of my life, I know this because I was able to drink it black.

We first met up with Carli, someone we went to JWU with that is originally from the Chicago area and was home for the summer. Carli walked around the city with us where we took the cliche photo in front of the bean in Millennium Park and walked along the Magnificent Mile with us before meeting some others for lunch at Lou Malnati's for some deep dish pizza. At Lou's we met up with our host, Jenn (Rae's brother's friend from college) and Darien (my childhood friend from OK) who's boyfriend's aunt lives in Chicago and they find any opportunity to drive up from Memphis.

Stuffed from our deep dish pizzas and Pinkberry, we headed over to the Navy Pier. Since we decided to skip the $20 for the Sears Tower, we thought the $7 Ferris Wheel ride was a bargain. Still stuffed, we decided to walk back towards the Millennium Park area and I got to meet up with Carl (my friend I met in NYC at Most Promising Minority Student that will be interning at Leo Burnett in Chicago for the summer). After tea with Carl, we had some time to kill before dinner, so of course we did some shopping.

For dinner, we met up with Matt & Joe (Darien's boyfriend and his best friend from WI that came down for the day) and Madison and her boyfriend (Madison, another childhood friend who's family moved up to WI and she goes to college there) at the Grand Luxe Cafe.

Long story short - my day in Chicago made me realize a couple of things.
1. It's a very grown up thing to do to just casually meet up with old friends when you're in that area.
2. How cool is it to have friends in all different parts of the country?!
3. Mi amigos es su amigos. Between Rae and I, we have built up quite the network. I feel like I know her friends as well as she knows mine. And I'm glad we've both been able to meet each others friends and become friends.
4. And lastly, friendships can last past high school (and college) if those friendships are important to you.

We left early the next day for Sioux Falls, SD. Check out Rae's blog for our adventures in South Dakota.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Road Trip Day 1 & 2

I'm baaack! Rae and I are back on our 3rd road trip together. This time we are going from the east coast to west coast. Rae will be interning in Seattle, so we are taking a week to travel from RI - WA and couch surfing along the way.

Yesterday we left Providence right on schedule at 8am and drove down to Philadelphia, because we had never been. After surviving CT and NYC traffic, we made it to Philly at around 3PM. Anticipating thunderstorms, according to the weather forecast on our iPhones, but instead we got to the city and it was sunny and in the high 80s! It seemed like everyone was in on this joke leaving us being unprepared for such warm weather.

Our first stop was to get cheese steaks of course. Rae got hers at Geno's, I got mine at Pat's and we tested to see which one had the better cheese steak. Pat's won.

After lunch, we headed over to Center City to check out the historic sites. We saw the Liberty Bell and walked through the beautiful green spaces spread throughout the area. Soon after we drove over to the art museum to see the famous steps and hung out for the steps for awhile enjoying the nice weather. Still with plenty of time to kill, we headed over to University City to see the college area of town. We may be college graduates, but we still feel like college students most of the time. Overall, I really enjoyed the city of brotherly love.

After our day in the city, we ventured onto our next adventure, which was staying with our first couch surfing host: Caleb and his twin brother Joel outside of the city in Norristown. I feel like we may be a bit spoiled for our remainder couch surf locations because Caleb and Joel were great! The two are twins out of 13 children in their family back in Michigan. They live a very sustainable/minimalist lifestyle by growing and making all of their food from scratch. They are great Christian men. They don't have cell phones, internet, or a television in their home. And they have the friendliest German Shepard that I have ever met named Cinnamon. We got a home-cooked meal for dinner and they sent us off with a hot breakfast as well as sandwiches for the road. There are such nice people out there in the world, how would we have ever met them without the internet?

Our entire day Thursday was spent in the car driving from Norristown to Chicago (15 hours). Nothing too exciting about NW PA, Ohio, and Indiana. Exhausted. This is a joint blog effort between Rae and I (so you don't have to read both of our same stories. Check out her blog too! Keep reading for more of our road trip adventures. 


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