Road Trip Wrap Up

Well folks, we did it! We drove all the way across the country and finally made it to Seattle, WA!

We have learned so much this past week and want to pass on some tips and tricks for traveling cross-country. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to road trip in style:

When you see a gas station, fill up your tank!

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Even if it is just a couple of gallons, it is better to be safe than sorry, who knows when you will see the next gas station (head up: it could be a long long time if you are in Wyoming)

If you are feeling tired, change up your soundtrack

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We listened to Hamilton (several times), Taylor Swift, and a whole lot of One Direction.

Pack a cooler

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Make sure you bring plenty of food! We brought a ton of apples, chips and pop corn.

If your hotel has free breakfast included, eat it! 

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By day 2 or 3 we really got our mornings down to a science. Wake up, pack the car, and then go eat our free hotel breakfast! You can count on a decent waffle most places.

Take a bunch of pictures

Or even better, blog about your travels!

Visit Some Corny Billboard Attractions

The Mid West is full of billboards advertising the same few place over and over again, seriously there is a billboard for Wall Drug over 500 miles away from the actual store. We stopped by Wall Drug and the Corn Palace (both in  South Dakota) and had a blast! These stops don’t take that long and are usually right off the highway.

Buy a few small souvenirs to give to friends and family

Don’t go crazy and buy everything in the gift shop, but purchasing a few small things can be a great way to share your travels with others!

Clean your windshield when you get a chance

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When traveling across the country, the windshield of your car will become a bug magnet, for the sake of the car window Instagram, clean it off! Or even better, go to car wash at the end of your journey and show your vehicle some love!

 

Thanks for following us on our journey across the country this summer, we had so much fun blogging along the way!

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Not Another Study Abroad Blog

I am excited to announce that I will officially be studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland this fall!

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Like many of my fellow college students,  I have decided to start this section of my blog to chronicle my travels. While I was trying to decide where to study abroad, I became obsessed with travel blogs, so naturally I have decided to create one of my own! I want to use this as a virtual scrapbook to share with my friends and family, and hopefully provide helpful travel tips and tricks.  

I cannot wait to explore all that Europe has to offer and have some amazing adventures along the way!

Feel free to follow my travels here as well:

Instagram: tforells

Bon Voyage!

Road Trip: Day 6

On day 6 of our Road Trip Adventure, we woke up in chilly Big Sky, Montana, where it was a mere 39 degrees outside. We put our warmest sweatshirts on, loaded up the car, and got back on the road again, this time heading for Spokane, Washington.

After we were reunited with our favorite road, 90 West, which we have been traveling on this entire trip, we listened to the complete Hamilton soundtrack (again)! We drove through the northern part of Idaho, and after 7 hours we arrived in Spokane, Washington!!

We checked into our hotel and then set off to Liberty Lake for our mountain zip line tour! We had been looking forward to this activity all week and were very excited (and a little nervous) to go! After we arrived at the Mica Moon Zip Line office and went over some safety stuff, we set off to the mountain. Our guide drove us up a very bumpy (but fun!) mountain road in a van, and then we got out and put our helmets and harnesses on. Our guides then loaded us into UTVs and drove us up an ever bumpier but much more fun road to the top of the mountain. Think Indiana Jones – that’s basically how we travelled 🙂

We started off on some smaller, lower zip lines, later progressing to longer and higher ones. Each zip line had a fun name and story behind it, and our guides made us do some silly actives during our zips, like singing or dancing. In fear of dropping our phones and losing them forever, we did not take any pictures on our zip line tour, but check out this video below from the Mica Moon company!

The last two zip lines were our favorites. We were around 500 feet off the ground and potentially going 50 mph. The views from the zip lines were amazing! We had so much fun zipping around the mountain and totally recommend the Mica Moon tour!

After the tour we stopped at Chipotle and got some much needed dinner. We then headed back to the hotel and prepared for the last leg of our journey to Seattle.

Stay tuned for some posts about our time in Seattle as well as a behind the scenes look at what it really takes to drive across the country!

 

Road trip:Day 5

Sorry for the late post, day 5 was just so full of adventure we feel asleep right away and didn’t have time to write. Anyways, like I said, day 5 was so much fun!

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We started the day in Cody, Wyoming and after an amazing breakfast at our hotel headed off to Yellowstone National Park.

 

We entered the park through the East entrance, and after about a 30 minute drive happened upon some park wildlife. Yes folks,  we saw a bear! It was walking around a hill on the right side of the road.

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After we took some pictures of the bear from the safety of our car we continued driving through the park until we saw a bunch of cars pulled over in front of us. There was a pack of wild bison drinking water 50 feet from us! (Ali is kinda obsessed with Bison, and Tori is kinda scared of them). We walked a safe distance toward them and snapped a couple of pics!

We continued through the park and stopped at the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Fun science fact: a geyser is a hot spring in which water intermittently boils, sending a tall column of water and steam into the air. Yellowstone is full of really awesome Geysers! Here is a video we took!

We drove over the continental divide (kinda underwhelming) and stopped at Cascade Falls to have lunch. We ate in the parking lot in fear of the bears (for Tori at least) and then started the Lone Star Geyser Hike. This was about a 5 mile roundtrip hike with a beautiful river next to it. Once we made it to the Geyser, to our dismay, it was 2 hours till the next eruptions. Another fun science fact: Geysers usually erupt on a timed schedule that can range from minutes to hours. We took some pictures of the Lone Star Geyser, but sadly decided to continue on our Yellowstone adventure rather than wait for the eruption.

Next we got ice cream while we waited for Old Faithful to erupt. Old Faithful is one of the most popular attractions at Yellowstone and had many information available for best viewing the eruptions. While we waited about 40 minutes we got ice cream and walked around the area. The wait was worth it when we finally saw the eruption! Here is a video!

After that we visited the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was a rather windy day, so the steam coming off of the springs was kind of in our face. We decided that the steam smelled like a mixture between hard-boiled eggs and ham! Anyways, the Grand Prismatic Spring was really cool because it was rainbow colored!

Our last stop in the park was the Fountain Paint Pot. This was a collection of mud and rock geysers of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a video we took of one!

We ended our day in Big Sky Montana. We got dinner near the mountain and then immediately fell asleep in our super comfortable hotel beds!

Stay tuned for the next (late) post!

 

Road Trip: Day 4

Greetings fans! We have passed the halfway point of our Westward journey. Today, we left Hill City, SD and headed to Wyoming! So many sights to take pictures of 🙂

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We drove across the SD-WY border and into the Bighorn National Forest. After spotting some buffalo (Ali’s dream come true!), we drove over some mountains (Tori was too scared, so Ali took the wheel). We stopped for lunch at Shell Falls, since we obviously wanted to keep the waterfall trend alive.

We received numerous warning signs about the “very high” fire danger, which was a bit unnerving . However, the only things on fire were our snapstories 😉

We continued to Cody, WY to find our hotel for the night. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, our planned lodgings for the night turned out to be a trailer park (hotels.com can be misleading folks!). Luckily, a nearby Best Western had an open room, and we quickly relocated.

After resolving the stressful hotel situation, we ate a delicious dinner at The Millstone Pizza Company & Brewery in Cody. Real food is amazing (we have been living off our Trader Joe’s run from last Saturday in MA).

After dinner, we made our way to the famous Cody Nite Rodeo (did you know Cody is the rodeo capitol of the world?!). This rodeo was everything we ever dreamed of. Cowboys as far as the eye can see, cowgirls in sparkly pink outfits riding around with flag-style advertisements for local establishments, bucking horses, bucking bulls, and even some clowns. Our only regret was leaving our ten-gallon hats at home – we had to settle for some classic Western braids instead.

After some pre-rodeo rituals, including some bad jokes, a stadium-wide prayer (“It’s a shame prayer has been removed from our schools and government, but they can’t take it from our hearts” – Rodeo announcer), the National Anthem, and cowgirl horseback flag-advertising, the rodeo officially started. We were in awe of the cute cowboys who managed to hang onto bucking horses and bulls with only one hand! We witnessed a few nasty falls (the child devision was a bad idea – stay in school kids!), but overall it seemed like an awesome athletic event. Apparently there is even college-level rodeo out here #America

Check out some of our epic rodeo videos:

The rodeo really tired us out – check back tomorrow to hear about our adventures in Yellowstone!

 

Road Trip: Day 3

On day 3, we woke up in Sioux Falls ready to go (changing time zones can do that for you). This day was jam-packed with awesome stops. Check out our photos!

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Okay, Ali was ready to go, but Tori was a little sleepy this morning 🙂

Once we got on the road, we made out way to the world’s only Corn Palace, after seeing numerous billboards advertising its existence. The Corn Palace is a large building completely covered in corn. Different colored corn is used to make intricate patterns and murals on the walls. Although it was kind of corny, the palace was still a-maize-ing (you know you love these puns).

Next, we made our way to the Badlands National Park. For most of the morning, we drove through the flat, grassy plains of South Dakota. However, after a short detour off I-90, the rocky hills of the Badlands rose out of the ground before us – absolutely incredible! We took a short hike, and Ali did some off-roading climbing (leaving Tori in the dust). We even saw rams, prairie dogs, and antelope!

After the Badlands, we journeyed to Wall-Drug, the business behind the most popular billboards of South Dakota (they actually started advertising for this store 400 miles ago on I-90). Wall-Drug, which advertises free ice water and 5-cent coffee, was definitely a unique experience. It is a shopping center featuring leather goods, a Jackalope (a jack-rabbit with antelope antlers), an ice cream parlor, various buffalo patterned socks, a scary T-Rex, a mini Mt. Rushmore, and SO MUCH MORE! If you ever find yourself in South Dakota, chances are you will end up at Wall-Drug, because you can’t resist stopping by after the plethora of billboards #effectivemarketing

Next, we ventured to Mt. Rushmore (where we finally learned which four presidents are featured). We originally planned on continuing to Crazy Horse Memorial, but we were so exhausted that we decided to stop at the Desperados restaurant instead for some much needed dinner. If you are ever in Hill City, be sure to check out this restaurant – it’s so good, and it has vegetarian options!

It’s not even 10 PM, but we’re going to head to bed before our journey to East Yellowstone tomorrow (stay tuned for a potential rodeo!).

Road Trip: Day 2

Day 2 of our road trip has been a great one! We started the day in Toledo, Ohio and traveled through Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, ending up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This was a very long but fun day. With plenty of car sing-along songs (seriously check out our playlist, it rocks) as well as the entire collections of Taylor Swift, One Direction, and the soundtrack of Hamilton, time flew by faster than we thought. Well, actually we drove through a time zone, so we gained an extra hour in our day!

Here are some photos of our day and a video below about our stop at Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD.

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After a 12 hour day of driving filled with many wind turbines (Ali loves renewable energy), we arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We stopped at Falls Park where we got some much needed ice cream at the Overlook Cafe and took some time to explore the area. Although it might not be as huge as Niagara Falls, it was much less touristy and more relaxing. The sunset was an added bonus!

With Day 2 behind us, we are looking forward to exploring the rest of South Dakota tomorrow! Stay tuned 🙂

Road Trip: Day 1

Day 1 of our road trip started promptly at 6:00 AM when we left Massachusetts and headed West. After a couple of bathroom breaks, driver switches, and Starbucks stops, we made it to Niagara Falls around 2:00!

Below are some photos from the first leg of our journey (keep scrolling down to see some videos!)

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Honestly, for our first time driving long distance, day 1 was very successful. We were so excited to finally make it to Niagara Falls after being in the car for over 7 hours, so we took this short video to capture the moment.

When the guide books say that Niagara Falls is big, they are telling the truth. Niagara Falls is HUGE. We had so much fun walking around and taking pictures while trying not to get wet from the spray of the water, and we just had to take another video!

After eating a picnic lunch at Niagara Falls, we continued on our adventure through New York and discovered that Pennsylvania is in fact between New York and Ohio (our destination for the night). We both enjoyed driving in Ohio mostly because there were very few cars (and cops) on the highway with us.

After 13 hours of driving, we finally made it to our hotel in Toledo, Ohio. We topped off a fun day by hanging in the hotel hot tub while watching the Olympics and resting our tired bodies. Beds have never felt so soft.

So that was Day 1, but stay posted for the rest of our journey!

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Road Trip

First off, I have had so much fun this summer! I just finished up my 10 week internship at Wayfair, and am about to start on a new summer adventure… a cross-country road trip with my sister Ali!

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For those of you who don’t know her, Ali is my older sister and my best friend! For the next couple of blog posts we will be co-writing and sharing our travel adventures with you!!

 

After weeks of planning and packing and preparing (well actually Ali did most of that stuff) we are leaving tomorrow for our road trip journey. As New England girls, we haven’t had many opportunities to travel out West, so we can’t wait to experience the classic cross-country sites! We are so excited to listen to some book-on-tapes, recreate the entire show of Hamilton, and sing along to the ultimate road trip playlist I created (listen here) while traveling through parts of the US we have never been to!

So here are the details:

Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

Hill City, South Dakota

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Day 4

Wapiti, Wyoming (East Yellowstone!!)

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7 (hopefully)

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We have planned the route so that we can try to visit 1 or 2 sites everyday. We won’t give away all the details (stay tuned for a post road trip follow up) but we promise to take lots of pictures to capture our trip!

I can’t think of any other way to end a perfect summer than to drive across the country with my sister! Wish me luck 🙂