{Gallivant} From California to Massachusetts

Map of Cross Country Road Trip From California to Boston

          A few weeks back I had the pleasure of driving cross-country from Carmel, California to Hamilton, Massachusetts with my Godmother, Libby. Before we left, we spent a few days in Carmel and Firebaugh exploring (I had never been to California before!) and getting ready to leave. You can read about our time here and here

A lovely rose in Firebaugh, CA

A lovely rose in Firebaugh, CA

           Why drive cross-country? Well, air travel is wonderful for us humans, but not quite as convenient for our furry friends--and my Godmother has a few of those. Also, driving cross-country has always appealed to me for the adventure as well as the opportunity see parts of our country that I have never seen over the course of one big trip. From start to finish we hit thirteen different states, seven of which I had never been to before. (California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts)

Long Horn and Angus cows in Firebaugh, CA

Long Horn and Angus cows in Firebaugh, CA

Long Horn Cows in the San Joaquin Valley
Pistachio Trees | Firebaugh, California

Pistachio Trees | Firebaugh, California

The Pacific Ocean, Carmel, California.jpg

^ My very first view of the Pacific.

California Roses.jpg
My lovely Godmother

My lovely Godmother

          On the day of our departure we made sure we had everything we needed, lunch/snack were packed,  and that all of our furry friends were accounted for and ready to go. Sweet old yellow lab? Check. Funny little jack russell? Check. Hound? Check. Fluffy lion-esque chow? Check. Convention of cocker spaniels? Check, check, check, and check. 

Our first leg was from California to Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Donner Pass, California

Donner Pass, California

          We drove along through forests of redwoods and mountain passes, most notably Donner Pass. (Named after the Donner family of cannibal fame...) Despite it's gruesome history, the pass and lake below were beautiful.

Desert, American West, Nevada.jpg

          After a few hours of driving we entered Nevada and the desert, which was beautiful in an equally but very different sort of way. The colors (ochre, red, rust, sage, purple, beige, etc) are just so different from the landscape that I am used to seeing in the East. Libby insisted on doing most of the driving for this leg so that I could really take it all in without having to focus on the road. She's the best.

Daisy and Rocket, two of our road buddies. 

Daisy and Rocket, two of our road buddies. 

          After a full day of driving we made it to Salt Lake, where we posted up for the night. In the morning we headed over a mountain and into Park City where we had a yummy breakfast with some good friends who just moved to Utah this year! It was so fun to catch a glimpse of their new life and see a bit of Park City--now I can't stop dreaming of coming back with John to ski... #shred

The evening glow over the mountains in Wyoming.

The evening glow over the mountains in Wyoming.

         After breakfast, a quick doggy walk, and hugs good bye, we kept heading east on rt. 80 through Utah and into Wyoming. 

The American West- Desert 2.jpg
Mesas and Trains- The American West 2.jpg
Wyoming, Big Sky.jpg

         I visited Wyoming with my family when I was a kid and had the full ranch experience, as well as driving through Yellowstone. I have such fond memories of that trip, and have since considered Wyoming to be one of the most incredible states I had ever been to--driving through this time only reinforced those memories. We drove through plains studded with snow breaks and antelope, with rolling hills which gave way to the snow-capped Tetons in the distance. For most of the day there wasn't a human structure in sight. 

         Gas stations were few and far between, but every few hours we would see a sign for Little America, which Libby kept saying we had to stop at. Eventually we saw it a few miles down the road--a little oasis of for road-weary travelers. We turned off the exit and arrived at the nicest rest stop I have ever laid eyes on, complete with cute hotel and beautiful landscaping. After fueling up we headed inside and perused the aisles of fun Wyoming souvenirs including jig-saw puzzles, cowboy hats, and kitchy gizmos galore. We grabbed a few little presents for Johnboy, and then headed to the cafe area (like I said--nicest rest stop ever) to grab some soft-serve for the road, before getting back on Rt. 80 and driving a few more hours to our next stop: Denver. 

(If you are driving along rt. 80 through Wyoming you have to stop at Little America. I promise--you will be so pleasantly surprised.)

Colorado Mountains near Denver

Colorado Mountains near Denver

Road Buds. 

Road Buds. 

        We spent two wonderful nights in Denver at Libby's mom's house--my dear Aunt MA. It was so special to get to stop mid trip and spend time with her, as well as have some time to catch up with Lib's sister Elsie and brother John, both of whom rock and I don't get to see enough! I also hadn't been to Denver since I was a baby and loved getting a feel for the area (aka falling a little in love with it), and I can't wait to go back as I have a hunch there is tons more to see and do.  We checked out an awesome church on Sunday, had a yummy lunch, and later I got a chance to stretch my legs a bit on the Highline Canal Trail--actually one of the most scenic running routes I have ever taken. 

         Our time in Denver flew by, but was so, so sweet and full. Needless to say, we were a little sad to leave, but also excited to continue East. 

Nebraska Welcomes You 2.jpg
Omaha, somewhere in middle America
Get right to the heart of matters
it’s the heart that matters more
— Counting Crows

Could not get that song out of my head pretty much the whole time we were in Nebraska....

(fyi--smart people listen to Counting Crows

Crossing the Mississippi.

Crossing the Mississippi.

          The rest of our trip went by pretty quickly. I tried to tell someone at dinner the other night how pretty I thought Iowa was (all hills and little hamlets with streams running through them and trees turning colors here and there, with the occasional cow) and they looked at me like I was crazy... I am thinking that we may have hit the state at just the right time in the season. Thanks for turning out, IA. 

The Corn Crib --our beacon of hope in Iowa! 

The Corn Crib--our beacon of hope in Iowa! 

           We spent a night in Clive, IA, before continuing on to Buffalo, NY for another (short) night. (Trying to make a flight out of Boston + traveling with a pack of canine friends = no rest for the weary)  From Buffalo we officially entered New England in all it's Autumnal glory. Halfway through the day, due to a variety of factors and while speeding down the Mass pike, we decided to bag my flight and reschedule it for the following morning. As we pulled off rt. 128 my heart settled into the peace of ur-home,  and the rest of the evening was spent visiting with my godson and his lovely mama, hugging and regaling my parents with stories of our trip (somewhat deliriously,)  having a yummy dinner at the local watering hole (where I was surprised by one of my best friends and my other Godmother,) and cozying up in my very own bed.  Such a little gift at the end of our trip. 

Daisy Driving, English Cocker Spaniel Puppy.jpg
Lovely Fall Foliage

Lovely Fall Foliage

           Overall, it was such incredible roadtrip. The California Coast, Wild West, the Mississippi, the Rockies--it was unexpectedly moving to witness all of these landmarks which have played such big roles in American history. As we made our way across the country I felt a little more American each and every time we saw a part or place that I had never seen before. Driving through (vs. flying) helped me connect the dots and make sense of this patchwork of cultures that makes up our country. To “zoom out” in a sense and gain some perspective—see the bigger picture.

           This is why I travel, I think. As I continue to embrace the adventurous spirit created and kindled within me I have come to realize that it is fueled by a deep curiosity, a curiosity that goes beyond the desire to be an authentic patriot and world citizen. It is a curiosity to understand us—the motley “we” that makes up this world that we live in, and how we all fit together. 

            Thanks for reading and a huge thank you to my wonderful Godmother for having me along for the ride! Another huge thank you to my husband for being so gung-ho about me leaving our little home for 10 days with pretty short notice. 

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along on instagram and pinterest!



{Gallivant} New England Road Trip

The most gorgeous flowers from the wedding. Adore the blushing pink theme. 

The most gorgeous flowers from the wedding. Adore the blushing pink theme. 

Happy Cinco de Mayo Everyone! It is a seriously happy Monday for us, as we woke up this morning in Vermont--one of our most favorite places in the whole world. We will be up here for a few days staying at the Richey's ski house in Stratton doing a little hiking, vegging, visiting, and resting/recovering from having the time of our lives at the most wonderful wedding on Saturday night. Currently John is getting a leg up on me in that department, as he is still in bed and watching Game of Thrones. 

This is officially the second of four legs of our trip, spread out over 11 days. On Saturday morning we flew to Newark and rented a car to drive out to Greenwich, CT for #Campbellsondeck aka our friends Louisa and Alex's wedding. Before the wedding we met up with our brother and sister-in-law, Drake and Sarah, as well as their adorable son Draper. We were so grateful for the effort they made to come out of the city for the afternoon and see us, especially as Sarah is about to pop with their second baby. We love them so much, and always have the best time together.

The wedding itself was such a special time for a few different reasons. Firstly, Louisa and I have known each other for pretty much our entire lives, as our family's have been great friends forever. Over the years we have grown independently as believers and together as friends and sisters, and seeing her get married to her wonderful (now) husband Alex was such a treat. John has also known Louisa and her family since he was in middle school, from living near each other in CT and doing FOCUS together, which is a fun mutual connection. Another special element was that we got to tear it up on the dance floor with my mom and dad, as well as my Godmother and her husband, and spend the day together with them and the Bride's family on Sunday. 

First Cherry Blossoms we have seen all Spring!

First Cherry Blossoms we have seen all Spring!

When you marry someone who comes from a different state and went to different schools it isn't often that you are at a social function or scenario where you both have friends from your separate worlds as well as mutual friends. This wedding though, for John and I, was one of those rare occasions. It was so so much fun meeting people from John's childhood as well as some of my parents' friends, seeing old camp friends that I hadn't seen in a million years, and getting to catch up with some of our dear mutual friends as we celebrated Alex and Louisa and witnessed together and shared in their joy. They are a beautiful couple, united in their love for Christ and each other. 

The bride and groom having their first dance...

The bride and groom having their first dance...

My Mama and I lovin' on the father of the Bride on Sunday afternoon.

My Mama and I lovin' on the father of the Bride on Sunday afternoon.

It was such a treat, to be with so many loved ones and old friends and catch up on everyone's life, meet new babies, dance the night away on dance floor with the Bride and Groom, go to church all together the next day, and spend a lovely afternoon basking in the glory that is New England spring (I have missed that), while rehashing the night before. It was the most lovely 24 hours, and we were so grateful to be included in the festivities of our dear friends. Louisa and Alex-Thank you! We cannot wait to hear all about your incredible honeymoon and get a date on the calendar for you to come down from ATL and hit the beach with us in Pensacola!!

As for our big trip, we used the wedding as an excuse for John to take leave and for us to try and see as many of our special people and places in a week and a half as we could. We are, quite literally, gallivanting all over New England and the East Coast. Vermont has always been one of my favorite places, and for John it is his other home,  so we were thrilled to take a few days up here. On Wednesday we are heading to Hudson, NY to have lunch with John's cousins, and then driving down to Far Hills, New Jersey, to spend a night with my Aunt and Uncle in one of my dearest places and where my Dad grew up. From there we head to Fredericksburg for my graduation (!) and ensuing festivities with all of my best friends from college. Then, on Sunday, we head into DC for the baptism of our little God Daughter, Callie, and to spend some time with her parents, Katey and Erik, who we adore. John flies out Monday, but I am going to hang around VA for a few more days and head to the river with some friends. All in all, an epic trip with so many things to look forward to in the next few days. We feel so blessed to have been able to make it all happen, and I hope to have some updates on here along the way. 

Taken right outside the church, immediately after the service--watching the Kentucky Derby in the parking lot! That is my mom in the green shawl...avid horsewoman she is...

Taken right outside the church, immediately after the service--watching the Kentucky Derby in the parking lot! That is my mom in the green shawl...avid horsewoman she is...

As always, thank you so much for checking in and reading. I know you all have wonderfully rich and busy lives, and I so appreciate you taking the time to come hang out in the little corner of the web that is The Gallivant. 

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Happy Birthday to my littlest sister I never had, Gaylan! Love you cute girl!

P.S.S. P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on instagram and pinterest! And Twitter!