2019 IN REVIEW: CRISS-CROSSING THE CONTINENT

Where have I been these last 13 months since I last checked in on this site, my cozy corner of the interwebs? Well, taking a bold leap of faith that would challenge any intrepid journeyman – I moved to the upper midwest!

Yes my life is now sans mountains and oceans and comes with a bit more winter, but with that comes an added desire to reach further and deeper into my bucket list of exotic travel destinations to scribe ad naseum about (that is, if I actually did write as much as I wish I did).

Hey, its not all plains and grains in the land of “Minnesota nice”. My wife feels more at home, and a happy wife equates to a happier life (as they say). She’s my No. 1 partner in travel as well, and without her, the roady’s adventures would lose quite a bit of luster and intrigue. As my father-in-law likes to say, “that’s bloggable”. Since I launched this blog with her by my side, we’ve visited all 50 states together (as well as three U.S. territories and lived in D.C.) and all 10 Canadien provinces. We did almost all of that BEFORE we got hitched in the Bahamas almost three years ago.

Obviously the move did little to spark my enthusiasm for travel writing – as I’ve mostly disappeared from the internet, save for updating my travel logs on here and publishing a couple photos to my instagram (@weekendroady). While it may seem like I didn’t do much outside of moving – I actually turned my move into on big roadtrip (and that doesn’t just count the drive from Oregon to Minnesota). I’ve explored a solid chunk of the territory that surrounds me (and my range is more extreme than most weekenders). I also fit in a few flights at the end of the year – the highlight being a visit to our 10th and final province of Canada, Newfoundland. I also got to a World Series game in D.C. and while my team lost, they ultimately won the Series, gifting me and many other fans a memory they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

So on with the highlights of a very interesting year in my life:

The Montana Grizzlies won the 2019 Big Sky Men’s Basketball Tournament in Boise, Idaho. I was right on the court with them (and coach Travis DeCuire). Their stay in March Madness would be short-lived, but it was fun to watch them take the conference title at CenturyLink Arena.

In March I drove from Eugene to Boise and netted my last Oregon county (Malheur) to complete the state! I stuck around Boise for the 2019 Big Sky Men’s Basketball tournament final to watch my (former) home state Montana Grizzlies take the title.

Shaking hands with the big guy in front of the Bigfoot Museum in Willow Creek, California.

My last trip as a resident of Oregon occured in early April, finally driving the length of California 96 (the Bigfoot highway) from Willow Creek to Yreka. What a trip! This road is truly remote and almost a bit scary (i.e., you don’t want to have any car issues out there). Sadly, the bigfoot museum in Willow Creek was closed, but we still got a few photos with the famous bigfoot statue.

The Petrified Wood Park in the middle of Lemmon, South Dakota. Considering how the landscape looks in and around town, I was more than surprised with this scene in the heart of the downtown area.

I took the scenic route when moving to Minnesota – crawling up through Washington to finish visiting all the counties in that state (crossing off my final two, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties, on the same day). I also visited the Manhattan Project National Historic Park (specifically the B Reactor in Hanford) and Big Hole National Battlefield in remote Wisdom, Montana. I also checked off a Montana bucket list item: Bannack State Park (a notorious ghost town home to the first capital of Montana Territory).

I stopped in Billings to visit family for a few days before pressing onward – but visited the nearby Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and had an interesting visit to Lemmon, South Dakota before moving onward to the Twin Cities.

Looking out onto the Buffalo National RIver in Northern Arkansas. Would definitely come back again for a tube float!

For Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I drove all the way down to the Buffalo National River in Northern Arkansas which included stops at the Harry Truman site in Independence, Missouri; BBQ in Kansas City and a stay in Branson. On the way back, we visited Kansas for only the second time – our first being a quick drive across the border in 2012. We actually did something this time, visiting Fort Scott National Historic Site.

Lavender fields in Washington Island, Wisconsin

In June and July, I drove further into the Midwest, visiting the newly christened Indiana Dunes National Park. I drove north in upper Wisconsin, taking a tour of Lambeau Field (home of the Green Bay Packers) and taking the ferry to Washington Island (a community at the tip of beautiful Door County).

Nats Park was rocking and rolling for Game 4. Initially I thought I’d have a chance to see them clinch it for this game, but they lost the night before (and this night too, and the next…). Fortunately, my Nats pulled off a huge shock by winning Games 6 and 7 (in addition to 1 and 2) on the road and took home the Series.

In September, I managed to get to two different postseason baseball games in D.C., Game 3 of the NLDS (Nationals vs. Dodgers) and Game 4 of the World Series (Nationals vs. Astros). A lifelong D.C. baseball fan (dating back to my father teaching me all about the old Senators), I was customarily treated to two losses, but ultimately came out the bigger winner when the Nationals won all four games on the road to topple the Astros in a shocking October triumph.

View of St. John’s, Newfoundland from Signal Hill on a cool and overcast November day.

Here I am at Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America, just a short drive from St. John’s.

In November my wife and I took a short trip to Newfoundland (and I mean short), taking a three-day weekend to St. Johns utilizing some Aeroplan points I wasn’t planning on using anytime soon. What a wonderful time to visit the easternmost landmass of this continent, as it hadn’t quite yet got cold enough to snow and was as idyllic (and windy) as you’d expect.

One more trip in December – I escaped to Denver for the weekend and nabbed some of the surrounding areas which I had yet to visit. Golden, Colorado is a fun little town to take in during Christmastime. I actually enjoyed the lack of snow (I get enough of it now!)

My year of travel wrapped up with a quick weekend trip to meet a friend in the Denver-area. I picked up a few new surrounding counties and picked up some impressive sites in a couple whirlwind days (Red Rocks, Buffalo Bill Cody’s burial site, the town of Golden and, well, Denver proper).

Here’s to turning the page on 2019 and let’s raise our pens and keyboards to a well-documented 2020. Four epic trips have already been planned – wait ’til you see where the roady is headed next…

 

 

2 thoughts on “2019 IN REVIEW: CRISS-CROSSING THE CONTINENT

  1. Raising a pen & keyboard to more destinations and more experiences in 2020. Congrats on the move, the 3-year anniversary, and clinching Oregon’s counties. Golden, CO looks like a cozy place to spend some holiday time. Happy New Year and I look forward to the next chapter.

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