Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Head West My Friend

A Late Start

I procrastinated all of my packing until the day before our departure, which everyone was really worried about (except for me) but thankfully it turned out just fine!  Sunday May 29th was a different story though.  We encountered our first road block(s) and we hadn't even left the drive way!

(1) The turtle wouldn't work on my vehicle so it's was time to do some creative packing...
FYI: garbage bags smoosh easier than totes and suitcases!
(2) Dad took one look at my vehicle and informed me that I was in desperate need of two new tires!!! (no doubt the direct result of driving Rt 250 on a daily basis)
FYI: I had my tires rotated 2 weeks earlier in preparation for this trip, you think someone would have told me!!

Needless to say our plans of a Monday morning 7am departure turned into more like 11:30am.  A big thank you to our friend Don at Goddard's Exxon for coming in on your day off and helping us out! 

3 States in the Rearview

Welcome to Illinois, goodbye WV, OH, & IN
4 States in the Rear View

With 4 states in our rear view (WV, OH, IN, IL)  we pulled
into Wisconsin at a 9:45pm central time.
When we made the Iowa border we finally called it a
night at around 3am. 

Tuesday June 1st: On the Road Again

With one day under our belt and a crowded night's sleep (3 girls in 1 double bed)
at the Holiday Inn Express we hit the road once again.
Today's goal, Iowa, Minnesota, and finally South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore!
The Iowa 411
 Travel Light:
  Ryne's miniature briefcase serves as an excellent 
example of this travel tid-bit! 

Brush up on your history: 
Here, mom found out about the extremely tall and 
thick prairie grass that resembles ocean waves as it 
blows in the unforgiving Iowa wind.

Enjoy the beautiful scenery:
There's nothing like a beautiful day, great 
company, and the open road!
Go Green!
These gigantic windmills lined both sides of the highway as
we made it through the state, and how perfect, it was 
after all, the windiest state we had ever seen!!

Abide by all posted signs and 
placard's(and for god's sakes be careful!): 
Thank goodness we don't have to worry about this at the Dragon Mart!


Kinda resembles Iowa, doesn't it?
When the landscape proved monotonous, the four of us crammed in the back 
seat and watched season 1 of Hero's on DVD while the sound blared through the 
car speakers.  Our chofur (aka Dad) took the wheel and now suffers from 
flash backs of the opening credits as we watched episode after episode. 
'previously on Hero's, doooonnnnngggg'

 South Dakota: A Change of Scenery

The landscape stated to change subtly as we arrived in South Dakota!
 Wall Drug

After about a hundred mile stretch of billboard after billboard advertising "Wall Drug" 
our curiosity was peaked enough to make a pit stop!  What the heck is Wall Drug you ask?   
Wall Drug is a drug store purchased 78 years ago in the town of Wall, South Dakota.  
In this very poor town of 326 people business was bad for the young entrepreneur.  
Around Christmas time the owner spotted a Tin Lizzie chugging along the two-laner.  
Suitcases were strapped to the running boards.  'Someone's going home for the holidays,' he 
thought to himself.  He wished they would stop, even just for a cup of coffee, but they didn't.  
Fast forward 78 years later and you can see that he found a way to make people stop!  
You just can't resist taking the exit after looking at 100 miles of billboards!  Wall Drug is now a destination in and of itself with row after row of specialty shops, they now boast a great 
selection of Western Items, authentic native South Dakota Jackalopes,  
exquisite fine art, and a unique assortment of souvenirs. 
Wall Drug Musts:
View one of a kind Wildlife
Consort with the locals

Get your boot on

Purchase a meaningful souvenir

Visit the local watering hole

Pray for safe travels  
(especially handy after visiting the local watering hole)

 A Race Against Time

After our unexpected stop at Wall Drug we found ourselves in a hurry to 
arrive at Mt. Rushmore before night fall.

We watched the beautiful sunset, much to our dismay, saddened by the fact that 
we wouldn't get to experience Mt. Rushmore in the daylight.

A Pleasant Surprise

It was 9pm when we finally arrived at Mt. Rushmore.  The hills were rich with 
history and lit up in all their glory.  It was a spectacular sight, I don't know how it could possibly compare in the daylight!  I only wish we had more time to spend taking in all the area had to offer.

Starving and tired we left Mt Rushmore and headed back to Rapid City 
where we ordered Pappa John's and enjoyed it in the parking lot before 
heading back on the road.  At that point, exhaustion had set in, so we
didn't make it very far.  We barely made the Wyoming line before calling it a night!

Wed June 2nd: Missoula by night fall

We began our journey through Wyoming around 11am
and noticed something particularly intriguing.  Red pavement stretched for the 
first several miles into our journey.  We would have missed this unique sight had 
we driven farther into the state the night before like we had originally planned.

Our Mountain's Are Cool - Cindy Foster

As we neared the Montana border we spotted what we thought was the Rocky's,
we were half right.  Turns out these mountains are a sub-range of the Rocky's, the Absaroka Range.

The Absaroka Range is a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains in the United States. The range stretches about 150 miles across the Montana-Wyoming border, forming the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and the western side (where we were) of the Big Horn Basin.  

Photo Op! 
I'm really hoping that RMSP teaches me how to expose the mountains in the
background properly as well as the people in the foreground.  If you notice, in
this picture we appear exposed properly but the background looks washed out.

 Practice Safe Texting

During one of our rest stops Dad and Lacy demonstrated the art of safe texting.
Never text while driving, walking, or biking.  
Welcome to Montana

 The scenery in Montana was ever changing.  From the beautiful snow capped
mountains to the most intricate detail we were window watchers for the rest of the trip!

This bare trees littered the hillside.  Dad thought that maybe the hill had
been on fire at one point because all trees looks charred.

Rock formations appeared out of no where from time to time.  
Each one unique but every one beautiful!

To us it seemed strange to see trees growing on a rocky cliff, but 
that's the norm here in Western Montana.

You have arrived at your destination

602 1/2 S. 6th Street W. Missoula MT 59801
After 3 days and many memories we finally made it to my apartment!  
It may be small but it couldn't be in a better location!

Steps up to our humble abode.

Our quaint kitchen.

My room (the box fan in the lower left corner was my very first
purchase after arriving in MT -- definitely an absolute necessity! Not only
so I can sleep at night but also because we don't have AC)

The Living Room.

Kendall's Room.

When the rain stops...

If the rain would ever stop I'd take advantage of the fact that I am 
just a 15 minute walk or 7 minute bike ride away from school.  I believe that
it has rained every day except 2 since I arrived on June 2nd (today is June 10).  
Above you can see the (very high) Clark Fork River that I cross everyday. 

My $10 Bike

Mom called me on Thursday and told me to look outside and what do I see?  
My brother peddling up the street on this pink beast!  $10 Good Will find, NICE! 
After Mom and I tweaked it up a Free Cycle we took our bikes out and explored my new town!

Missoula City Scape

 Goodbye BIG Sky

After a great road trip and a fun few days in Missoula, on Sunday June 5th it was time for my
family to say goodbye to BIG sky...and to me.  Thank you guys for yet another great vacation!  Thanks for the direction assistance, to momfor biking with me, for the groceries, the gear, the bike, and above all the support, encouragement, and love!  I love you guys!!! 

Photo's Courtesy of:
Ryne Foster's iPhone photography &
Karah Sambuco



  1. Awesome !!!!
    Love you,
    Aunt Dawna

  2. Wow what a trip! Keep the pics and post coming - I'm loving it!

  3. Thanks Jami :) -- I need to pick your brain about this blogging thing sometime!

  4. Great job Josie - I think you are doing an amazing job - I am sooooo loving it!!!
    and Love you !!
    Aunt Dawna

  5. i sure wish i had another jacket with me and my butt didn't look so big

  6. pictures are awesome keep em comin

  7. I wish I could drive another 2300 miles and listen to Previously On Heroes Donnnggggggg!
    Your mountians r cool Screw you Kenny Im outa here
    Love Dad post pictures of wildlife and I dont mean at the bar

  8. just getting ready to view new pics im afraid this box will be gone and i can't comment at all my computer skills suck