Road Trip 2.0: The Final Countdown

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pittsburgh from 376
After Tennessee we high-tailed it to Pittsburgh for a night to make July 4th celebrations, then went to pick up the cat who had been [conveniently] relocated to New Jersey by my parents. The 5-day long cat road trip was not ideal in October, we didn't want to find out what a cat road trip in June would be like.

Pittsburgh from 376
Walt Whitman Bridge
Brave cat explorer Brave cat bird-watcher
Squished cat, moving
A couple nights in New Jersey, convincing the cat we weren't ghosts, and we were off yet again to our new home in New England! Final stop! YES!

On the road again!

Road Trip 2.0: Tennessee

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Approaching the Bass Pro Shops in the Pyramid
When planning a road trip, J gravitates toward the roadside attractions...which is how one ends up at the Bass Pro Shop housed in a former basketball arena shaped like a pyramid, rather than focusing on moar barbecue or the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

Giant Bass Pro Shop in former arena
Civil Rights Museum

Memphis was just a lunch stop on our way to Nashville. Honky Tonks at night, and fantastic food, the Nashville Parthenon, kayaking and distilleries during the day. We took a 2 hour kayaking trip down the Cumberland, and got absolutely poured on the last 30 minutes of our boating trip. Thankfully, kayaking means you're prepared to get wet, so we had a change of clothes before going to brunch with my brother & his wife.

Nashville Broadway Honky Tonks
Nashville Broadway Honky Tonks
Kayakking the Cumberland River
Kayakking the Cumberland River
Nashville Parthenon

We also squeezed in a tour to Nelson's Greenbriar Distillery which has quite the story about how descendants are picking up their great-great-great-whatever grandfather's business and releasing their first aged Tennessee whiskey this year.

Nelson's Greenbrier Distillery
Nelson's Greenbrier Distillery Distillery Tasting
Nashville from Afar

Road Trip 2.0: New Mexico & Texas

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Very Large Array radio observatory
We now get into the heavy driving portion of the road trip. After the last bout of National Parks we stopped by the Very Large Array, a radio telescope in New Mexico. Contact was filmed here, and so, naturally, Jodi Foster narrates the educational intro movie at the welcome center. 'Not much else to do but walk around and marvel at the sheer enormity of the radio dishes. The location was selected for its isolation from civilization's radio pollution, and the large empty space.

The Very Large Array radio observatory
The Very Large Array radio observatory
The Very Large Array radio observatory
We spent the night in Santa Rosa, NM across from The Blue Hole which was a little underwhelming. From there, we made our way through Amarillo, TX home of Cadillac Ranch and the Big Texas Steak Ranch. If you've ever wanted to eat a 72oz steak with fixins on an elevated timer, while a one-hour timer clock ticks down above your head, this is the place. Or you can just sit in a booth and eat like a normal person.

Cadillac Ranch is also a classic Rte. 66 attraction. A bunch of old Cadillacs in the middle of a corn field, that people spray paint. Lots of empty bottles all over the place.

The Blue Hole
Cadillac Ranch Cars
Cadillac Ranch Cars
Discarded Spray Paint Cans The Big Texan Steak Ranch - sign
The Big Texan Steak Ranch - indoors
Windmills
We made it to Little Rock, AK that evening and stayed in the fanciest $100/night hotel. Free omelette station for breakfast!

Road Trip 2.0: Painted Desert & Petrified Forest National Parks

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Petrified Forest National Park
Painted Desert & Petrified Forest. Wow.

The next day after Joshua Tree National Park we were in Arizona for the Painted Desert & Petrified Forest National Parks. Such beautifully colored hills! Bright reds and blues and greys. All in one place! Also still 100+ degrees (Arizona, after all), but breathtakingly beautiful. Who knew such weird stuff was in one country?

Lots of driving, stopping, hopping out for a bit to take in the views.

Painted Desert National Park
Painted Desert National Park
Painted Desert National Park - toy effect (lensbaby)
Puerco Pueblo
Petroglyphs
Petrified Forest National Park
Desert Road
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Trees
There was also some petroglyphs and the Puerco Pueblo contained within the parks. And a petrified tree that fell and formed a bridge, supported by cement in the early 1900s to prevent collapse. It's interesting how much "preservation" has changed over the decades.

Road Trip 2.0: Joshua Tree National Park

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Joshua Trees - toy effect (lensbaby)

Whereas Jim had always wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo, I have wanted to see Joshua Tree National Park for a long time now. Of course, in late June, Joshua Tree is about 107 degrees every day. The second you step out of your car, you step right into an oven. Hiking was limited, but there is a lovely scenic drive with lots of lookout points and tiny little trails to poke around.

Joshua Tree National Park would be a lovely place to spend a bit more time in when it's cooler!

Joshua Tree National Park - Sign!
Warning! Bees!
Cactus Garden - lensbaby effects
Ocatillo
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Skeleton Rock
Joshua Trees - toy effect (lensbaby)
Joshua Trees - toy effect (lensbaby)
Joshua Tree
Desert Road
Palm Springs Sign
We stayed in Palm Spring before heading to the park. It's a little dead in the summer, but still full of nice restaurants and brightly colored accommodations.

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