During the month of August I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out when we could make a trip to MN to visit family members who were unable to attend our wedding. As August drew to a close and September rolled in, the facility at which I had interviewed called to tell me that they would need an additional week to make a decision. While initially frustrated by the delay in learning if I had landed the job or not, I soon realized that this was the perfect opportunity to begin our road back towards the east coast vis MN. I called my grandma, alerted my other extended family members of our travel plans, plotted our road trip course, and in just a few short days we were on the road again!
We decided to make some stops along the way to break things up and see the sights.
Our first stop was Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Underneath the rolling Black Hills, this cave twists and turns its way down into the earth with over 140 miles of passages — all underneath one square mile above ground. One of the coolest things about the cave was the boxwork. I’m not going to try to explain it, but if you are at all into geology (or just fun trivia!) I recommend reading a bit about it!
After a brief stop in the Badlands, we continued on to MN. Seeing all my family was wonderful! We spent time hanging out, eating good food, and were introduced to a fun lawn game called Kubb. We also took a trip up to Taylor’s Falls/Interstate State Park to do some climbing. Unfortunately due to recent rain, a lot of the climbing was inaccessible unless you wanted to wade through a bog, but we still had fun and go to admire the river (which I swear could have been Willi Wonka’s Chocolate River!)
From MN we continued on to Monroe, WI, where preparations were underway for their biennial Cheese Days festival. According to our good friend whom we were visiting, the festival was to feature a 100-person accordion band, a sight I am sure one could find nowhere else! We unfortunately were unable to stay for the festival, but we did get some tasty cheesy treats for the road, and a peanut butter burger!
Our next stop on the journey was Chicago, IL. I spent a beautiful day out exploring the city by myself while R got some work done. The lake was gorgeous, and I enjoyed all the sight-seeing.
The MVP of the day though was definitely the crepe place, FLiP Crepes, I found towards the end of the day. I got the Roolo crepe: nutella and caramel heaven!
As we prepared to leave Chicago I still had not heard from the job, so we continued east to visit my brother-in-law and other extended family in Ithaca, NY. Along the way we stopped at Niagara Falls (first time for both of us). It was as impressive as everyone always says. I still have trouble fathoming how so much water can be constantly pouring over the edge of that cliff! The only bad part of the visit was that as we were walking back to our car the sky opened up, and since we had no umbrellas or raincoats with us we got thoroughly drenched. We had nowhere to change clothes, but fortunately had our microfiber towels easily accessible, so we spread raincoats and towels on the seats, piled in the car, and drove on. We arrived to Ithaca still a little damp, but were soon in dry clothes and enjoying the company of my brother-in-law, his fiancée, and their crazy little dogs (Nova, the black one, is definitely a fox pretending to be a dog)!
While in Ithaca we were able to catch their annual Porchfest music festival, which was fun, and even some of my extended family was playing. From there we took a quick trip to Watkins Glen State Park (which I highly recommend!), before visiting some more of R’s family nearby. We then continued on to Bridgeport, CT, to stay with my mother-in-law.
While in CT, I finally heard back from the job, no go. Fortunately I had a back-up plan which I was also excited about: Travel PT. And so began the search for a travel position. I was fortunate enough to connect with a really great recruiter, and within a week she had found several positions for me, I had a phone interview, and accept a position in Louisiana. Unfortunately the licensing process takes time, so I had 5 weeks from the date of acceptance until my start date. While I had to get lots of paperwork pulled together for my license, I still had quite a bit of time to kill, so we decided to just keep on road tripping and head up to Boston and New Hampshire to visit friends and see the New England fall foliage.
When we came back to CT two weeks later, our storage pod had been delivered and was ready for unpacking, so we rented a van and brought everything back to my mother-in-law’s basement for sorting to decide what would travel with us and what would be left behind.
This week, we completed the last leg of our mega road trip: Bridgeport, CT to Monroe, LA, with a brief stop in Potomac, MD, to visiting my sister, H.
So here I am, with one week until I start my first travel assignment, sitting on the floor of my apartment as I write this because we have no furniture yet.