Okay, I am finally getting to writing about the road trip. Long blog with lots of pictures ahead.

First we had to map out our destination….

…..and buy lots of (junk) food……

The first day we drove to Sioux Falls, Iowa. That was over 700 miles in one day.

We saw a lot of this……

…..and a lot of these……

…..and smelled a lot of skunk…..ick.

We were *really* happy to lay down in comfy beds that night.

Really happy. (I think this was the hotel with the elevator that smelled like carrots.)

The next day we did all the touristy stuff. The first stop was something of an accident. We needed gas and had pulled off a couple of exits before because there was a sign for gas. Unfortunately, the gas station had two pumps and was in a ghost town. So we quickly turned around and kept driving to another exit.

While I was waiting for Shelly to come out of the bathroom, I wandered behind the gas station and found signs advertising an 1880 town with props from the movie ‘Dances with Wolves’. I went inside to find out how much it would be to go in the town. After about a minute of debate, Shelly and I decided $8 was totally worth it.

It was so cool!

We saw the wagons that Kevin Costner rode on in the movie.

And Snidely Whiplash came and tied me up on the train tracks. “Save me, Dudley Do-right!”

Shelly robbed the bank…..

…..and I did nothing to stop her…..

…..so we went to jail….. (Which I was apparently *really* happy about. “I’m too cute to die!”)

…..and then got hung……

……and then buried in the coffins. It was a full day. (Ironically I had texted my mom when we got there, because DwW is her favorite movie. I said “Guess we were are!” and she texted back “Jail?” Not yet.)

After that we drove on to Mount Rushmore. Our adventure was nothing like National Treasure 2.

Then we went to see Devil’s Tower. Shelly told me we would probably see prairie dogs. We didn’t.

That night we stayed in Billings, Montana. We drove over 800 miles that day.

The next day, it was on to Washington. That was a bit of a stressful day. Our original destination had no vacancies under $150 so we had to drive another 60 miles. Not much in the grand scheme of things but we were exhausted and crabby.

Our moods much improved when we got to the hotel. It was the first hotel that had shampoo provided. We asked where we could get food and alcohol (because I’m a budding alcoholic and was determined to bring Shelly down with me) and were directed to a cute little diner that reminded us of Luke’s from Gilmore Girls.

“Please, Luke. Please, please, please! It’s not for me! It’s for Rory!”

Needless to say, the waitress thought we were insane. Oddly, she also begged us to take her with us when we left.

We walked around the town a bit….

….and found a bar. I am quite the corrupting influence.

I had Shelly drinking and playing 21 (yes, those are Hello Kitty cards) and listening to AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’.

The next day, we made it to Seattle. Did I mention the skunks?

We found a place to park and then walked around. Shelly drug me up the Space Needle.

Here I am conquering my fear of heights…..

…..and here I am safely on the ground, as God intended.

I’m a big, strong girl!

We stopped and watched the kids playing in this water park area. There were a *ton* of people there.

We walked some more and found a beautiful little garden with a cool fountain.

Then pretended to be statues.

We met up with Kris, Shelly’s aunt, and she took us out to dinner at a bordello/bar.



Awesome! (I so wish I could’ve had that ^ sign at CFA.)

We sat outside on the deck and this dress kept trying to make a pass at me.

The next day, Kris took us to a farmer’s market.

This is the cute shop that Shelly bought a dress and I bought a hat at.

This is the random guy who saw us taking pictures, asked us to point our cameras at him, and then took our picture like that. We may have ended up in a newspaper or something.

Kris showed us around more of Seattle.

We left Kris and drove another 2 hours to Bellingham, where Shelly’s other aunt, uncle, and grandma live. We had dinner with them that night and stayed at Shelly’s grandma’s the rest of the time. (It was nice to be in the same bed for more than one night.)

The next day, Christa took us to Fairhaven and we walked around there. Another cute town.

There were stones all over commemorating different things. This was my personal favorite:

Poor Mathew.

“Home is *that* way!”

Then we went back to pick up Christa’s husband John and they took us to Larabee where we had a picnic and went exploring and rock climbing.

Yes, that’s right. For the second time that week, I faced my fear of heights.

The view was totally worth it.

Unfortunately, Shelly and I had been wearing flip flops so my poor little feet were rubbed raw. I ended up have to buy fake Crocs (which I swore up and down I would never buy because they’re hideous). So they are officially my sell-out shoes. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The price of gas wasn’t as bad as I expected. Only 10 cents more than Indiana.

That night we had dinner at John and Christa’s and even more of Shelly’s extended family showed up. By this time, I was feeling overwhelmed with constantly being around people and meeting new people and having to make small talk. So I hid upstairs for a few minutes to get my bearings back. I’m an introvert who masquerades as an extrovert.

The next day we had a totally lazy day. We got up and showered and went to IHOP. The guy at the table next to us kept trying to talk to us so we got out of there fast. Then we headed to Target, bought a movie to watch, and went back to Shelly’s grandma’s and stayed in bed the rest of the day. We watched movies and tv shows and ate junk food and played on the computer. It was lovely.

We also threw in some carrots.

That night, her grandma took us to see Prince Caspian. I said good-bye to John and Christa. The next morning I got packed, said good-bye to her grandma, then it was off to the airport.

I had a total Home Alone moment and almost got on the wrong flight. Fortunately the guy at the gate wasn’t as exhausted and stressed as me. I got on the correct flight and it wasn’t too bad. Other than the take-off, the landing, and the turbulence. The guy next to me barely moved the entire flight. I felt like a 4 year old I was fidgeting so much. I finally looked at him and said “Do you fly a lot?” He said that he used to. “Because you’re really still. You’ve barely moved.” He laughed at me. And said that I didn’t seem all that comfortable with flying. No……..

Fortunately I just barely made my second flight and it was much smoother. Joshua picked me up from the airport and I came home and collapsed.

And believe me, this is the Reader’s Digest version of the trip.