The Wiktors got to plan not one, but two cross country adventures. Dad, Sophia, and Lucy got a jump start on the driving leaving Will and I to chart our own course. You can always count on me to piece together an action packed itinerary (and I love a good movie reference or corny joke). My one requirement for the cross country adventure was to NOT take the southern route. Having already “enjoyed” that route twice, I had no desire to repeat it. Will’s one request – baseball!
With both of these things in mind it only made sense to take a slight detour to the north cutting across Utah before turning east. We said our final farewells to our dear friends Saturday morning and left California in the rear view mirror. Our destination on day 1, Richfield, UT was merely a spot to sleep within close proximity to Arches National Park, our adventure for the next day. While Richfield, UT is not a destination in and of itself, Southern Utah is beautiful and quickly reaffirmed that the slight detour to the north was the right decision!
Day 2 we got back in the car made the short drive to Arches National Park. Usually Arches has 100+ temps in the summer, but we were lucky it was in the low 80s and overcast the day we visited. My travel companion was initially grumpy about a day of hiking (maybe too much hiking on past family adventures), but he quickly turned his frown upside down when he realized most of the hiking was really just rock scrambling and checking out all the beautiful scenery in the park. After five hours of exploring and a quick souvenir stop at the visitor center, we made a pit stop in Moab for ice cream (another thing you can always count on when traveling with me!) and then crossed into Colorado stopping in Gleenwood Springs for the night.
Day 3 we was a short driving day which allowed for a few stops en route. We stopped for a short hike near the Continental Divide and made a quick visit to the Buffalo Bill museum. We were still in Denver ahead of schedule so before our first baseball game of the trip we stopped at a brewery near the stadium and had a drink (kombucha for Will) and played Battleship. Happy in his defeat and ready to eat a hot dog and claim his first plastic ice cream sundae hat of the trip, it was off to the Rockies game! Beautiful backdrop for a game and the Rockies managed a win so Will was happy.
I warned Will that Day 4 was going to be flat and boring! He must have thought I was exaggerating because as we crossed into Kansas he asked me, “so is this really what it’s going to be like all day???” Yes, yes it is. Needless to say, no exciting stops or hiking adventures on the road from Denver to Kansas City (and Kansas City, MO isn’t much of a destination either), but we did have another baseball game to look forward to. Will was really hoping to catch a ball so we snagged some seats in the front row of left field. One foul ball to our right and a homerun to our left, but none in our section. At least Will got another ice cream sundae hat as a souvenir.
After the long boring drive across Kansas, I was happy to have a short day in the car for Day 5. Our final baseball game was only a few hours east in St. Louis. We arrived with lots of time to explore the city, however the typical summer weather had returned and 100 degrees in St. Louis is far from ideal for site seeing. We waited until late afternoon to head out and then finally walked down to the Gateway Arch. We missed out on tickets but it was still a fun thing to check off the list . Site seeing complete, Will was happy to finally make it to Busch Stadium which he decided was his favorite stadium of the trip. Loud fans, fun walk up songs, and he loved our third baseline seats even though he didn’t snag any foul balls.
Day 6 meant – off to spend a few days in Peachtree, GA with the Spurlocks! Traffic was not on our side and the 9 hour drive turned into 12, but we made it! This stop was another detour on our road trip – Peachtree is not exactly en route from St. Louis to D.C. Will quickly forgot all the baseball fun he had the last three days and declared this the best part of the trip! We spent the weekend cruising the golf cart paths, biking, eating, but mostly enjoyed the company of old friends.
Day 7 on the road was another long day but luckily, no accidents/detours/construction to slow us down – full speed ahead to Virginia! After 11 hours of driving we arrived in Alexandria where two smiling Wiktors and one dog happily greeted us. I guess were home now!