Day 1: Complete!

Welp, we made it to Seattle! We left Milwaukee not so bright and early (which was quite nice for a change) and after a leisurely two hour layover in Minneapolis, we boarded our flight to Seattle!



All in all it was a smooth travel day, though I was bummed not to have a window seat on the fight out. I did manage to catch a glimpse of Mt. Rainier from across the aisle as we neared the SeaTac airport…

Mt. Rainier at a nearly equal level

The first thing I noticed on our descent is how unmistakably GREEN the landscape is around here! I noticed Washington State license plates boasting “The Evergreen State,” and they’re not kidding. They’re everywhere, and it’s gorgeous!! The air here seems so crisp and clean. And the mountains? They speak for themselves.

Seattle Landscape on the light rail into the city from the airport

Rides on the light rail and monorail brought us to our hotel just a few blocks away from the Seattle Center! We were greeted by a towering Space Needle immediately upon arriving… a warm welcome to say the least. :) We took a few moments to gather our thoughts and bask in just being here at our hotel before heading back to the Seattle Center for Bumbershoot!

It’s been something of a headache to try and figure Bumbershoot out. I originally bought tickets before they released the full lineup schedule, which meant when the schedule came out I found out we weren’t going to be able to see two acts that were the reason I bought the tickets because they played before we landed. Fred Armisen, of Portlandia and SNL, was going to be doing stand up at 4:30. We didn’t leave the hotel until 4:45, and upon arriving we found out that, of course, the show was full. But we were there, and didn’t want to waste the tickets, so we got to wandering.

Leave it to my boyfriend to find the video game exhibit out of all things. Here he’s playing the original Tetris on a Super Gameboy. I got to play Mario Kart on an N64 they had, too!

I imagined Bumbershoot would be something like Summerfest, which it was. It was a fairly large outdoor festival with different stages, food vendors, and plenty of people watching. But it’s more than just music – there’s comedy, arts, theater, the whole gamut of performing arts. Also beer. Lots of beer gardens everywhere!

We listened to a great band called The Heavy for a little while, found a Video Game Exhibit and Rock Poster exhibition, and ate gyros (beef – their only option. Strange!) at a food cart on-site. The weather was truly perfect and while I’m bummed we missed two musicians I was really excited to see AND Fred Armisen, it was fun to amble around.

What else can I say? So far, everyone we’ve encountered has been helpful, friendly and lighthearted, starting from the flight attendant coming into Seattle, to the police officers at the light rail station, to the man at the front desk, to just people walking around at Bumbershoot and around the street. That’s been a really great first impression! I’m excited to get more of a feel for the city today. Soon, we’ll head down to Pike Place Market (aka coffee mecca, as Kevin just quipped!) and start exploring downtown! We have an ambitious list that I’m excited to conquer. Talk to you all later tonight or tomorrow! :)

Le Space Needle

Listening to The Heavy at Bumbershoot

A great shot Kevin got of a live statue inside Bumbershoot

ADORABLE kid playing violin, leaving the Seattle Center area. He was so good!

Le Space Needle from the base


Our “final destination”

Current location: Gatlinburg, TN
Distance traveled today: 220 miles/~3.5 hours

Well it’s official: we made it to the Smoky Mountains! This was considered our “final” destination, even though we’ve seen plenty more along the way that I’m just as happy with. We’ve been here for a few hours (and lost an hour due to that darn Eastern time zone line running right through the middle of the state) and already did a little hiking. Everything here is just as green as the rest of Tennessee and Kentucky, and even more beautiful thanks to the mountains and streams. Today started out being a beautiful day, and we stopped at a visitor’s center in the park before making our way up to see Laurel Falls. It’s crazy how fast beautiful weather can turn into thunderstorms, and it did just that as we made our way up the hike. Just figures! I still enjoyed it though, being the weather nerd I am :) I felt at one with nature to say the least! I’ll make a comprehensive post about everything we see and do here tomorrow but I just wanted to let you all know that we made it! Take care!

Adventures in Music City!

Current location: Nashville, TN
Distance traveled today: 200 miles/~4 hours

Well this is our second night in Nashville, and so far it’s been a good stay! We arrived yesterday afternoon, and even though we haven’t had time to see any of the sights we’ve had plenty more good food and fun.

The city of Nashville, as seen from our car on the freeway!

Last night we ate at a place called Puckett’s, where we had large portions of tasty ribs, pulled pork and AMAZING sweet potato fries! I forgot to take a picture but believe me, those fries definitely hit the spot. And, as we were leaving, we caught a few songs of a live band that was playing that evening. We wanted to head downtown more otherwise we would have stayed, but the classic rock cover band sounded really good!

The Bicho Brothers at Puckett's

Walking down Broadway street in downtown Nashville

After dinner my parents and I went to one bar further downtown because we had gotten a buy one, get one free coupon from a concierge guy at our hotel. We sat and listened to another cover band do Elvis and random assortment of twangy country… not really our style but… when in Rome, right? Later on I was able to meet up with one of my roommates when I interned in DC last summer! I haven’t seen her since last year and it was great to catch up with her and meet her friends. We stayed at the same place the whole night, again listening to a country cover band. I only knew a small handful of songs all night but I still had fun dancing and talking with them!

From left to right: Kayla, Jordan and I. Jordan was my DC roomie and Kayla is her good friend!

One of the singers of the band we listened and danced to. They weren't bad... for being country ;)

Today was all about whiskey distillery tours! More

Mammoth Caves!

Current Location: Nashville, TN
Distance traveled today: 130 miles/~2.5 hours

We left our hotel in Bowling Green due north for Mammoth Caves this morning. Even though we didn’t see the area with stalactites and stalagmites, we walked 2 miles through huge rooms of shale and sandstone and limestone and it was incredible. I’m going to try to let the pictures do the talking and update you on Nashville tomorrow evening or Sunday, since we’re staying here tomorrow night as well! Take care everyone!

Entering the cave

The first large rooms we stopped in. You can see the rest of our group there (albeit blurry) for comparison!

The first large room we stopped in

More pictures this way!


Down Home Cookin’

Current Location: Bowling Green, KY
Distance Traveled Today: 518 miles/ ~9.5 hours

Okay, seriously. Whose idea was it to take this road trip again? Who decided that it would be a good idea to spend 10 hours in the car whilst stuffing our faces with delicious Southern comfort food? This trip will either be the best idea or the worst idea ever, but as I sit here in my gluttonous food coma, I seem to be pretty content at the moment. Please take note of my dinner (yes, I totallly WAS that out-of-tonwer) and tell me you wouldn’t feel the same! Top this delicious meal off with homemade rolls with cinnamon butter (yes, I said cinnamon butter, and yes it’s as good as it sounds!), coffee cake muffins that we were able to snag 6 more of despite confused looks from our sweet waitress, and a fruity and fun Mai Tai that hit the spot just right after a long day of travel, and I reckon it’s easy to see why my stomach is so happy right now!


Tonight's Dinner! A crabcake on a pretzel bun with brown sugar bacon so sweet it could have been dessert, and mashed potatoes with gravy so thick it looks like hot fudge. So tasty!

Today’s travels went fairly well! We left home around 6 a.m., which means we ended up in the heart of Chicago around… 8:15 a.m. Maybe not the brightest idea we’ve had, but the rush hour traffic actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. We were out of the city and into sprawling Indiana by 9:00 easily. We made it to Indianapolis for lunch by noon (Applebees, yum!) and to the Kentucky border a few hours later. Along the way, we noticed everything becoming substantially greener… I’m not sure things are this green back home, but it also hasn’t been that warm yet. Here, it seems like the trees can’t even contain all its green and like the color just explodes off the leaves and radiates into the air. This is a green I can taste just driving by; a lush, hearty and ripe green so vivid it makes even the fullest forests seem dull. I’ll try to take better pictures as our trip goes on, but for now this picture I snapped from the passenger seat will have to suffice.

Lush Kentucky Green

We also realized somewhere between Indianapolis and Lousiville that we had crossed into the Eastern time zone. (For the record, we were well into the Eastern time zone by the time we got to Indianapolis… whoops. Let’s just say we were too enthralled in the fascinating Indiana scenery to notice… yeah, that’s it.) But then, less than an hour later, we saw a sign alerting us that we had returned back into the Central time zone. Talk about confusing for us simple Midwestern folk! Apparently the Eastern time zone splits Kentucky and Tennessee basically in half. Bowling Green, where we are for the night, and Nashville are in the Central time zone; Knoxville (Smoky Mountains), Lexington, Louisville and Indianapolis are all in the Eastern time zone. Can you imagine living in one time zone and working in another? Or just living on the border like this? It would definitiely take some getting used to, and it’s something we’ll have to keep in mind for the rest of the trip.

Changing time zones hasn’t just messed with our minds but with our plans. In a fashion not like the Rehrauer clan, we changed our destination barely 24 hours ago and set out somewhat blindly. We didn’t think about the time difference, or things we’d want to see along the way to the Smoky Mountains. After we passed Louisville, we stopped at a Kentucky welcome center to switch drivers, stretch our legs and grab some brochures. My mom enjoys horce races so we picked up some information on Lexington, and I want to visit Mammoth Caves tomorrow so we picked up brochures with info on that tour. But we also found a few more brochures than we bargained for. Two words: Bourbon Trail! Now that I’m of-age and can (mostly) appreciate Bourbon, I was excited to visit a distillery and see how it’s made. Unfortunately, the time change and us spending a little too long at the rest stop caused us to miss our opportunity to do so. The Jim Beam distillery was less than 5 miles from the rest stop we were at, but unfortunately we arrived 5 minutes after close. Major bummer! We walked up to see if we could try to convince someone to at least let us in the gift shop pretty please? But all we found is someone asking if we wanted our passports stamped. Um, what? I know we’re from the north and that we sound like it, but really, OUR PASSPORTS?! Get out. That gave me a good laugh. At least we got a few pictures outside the distillery and can at least say we tried.

The Parentals at the Jim Beam Distillery!

As for tomorrow’s plans, we’ll backtrack a little to hit Mammoth Cave, which we missed by a few hours today (seems to be the common trend, eh?). Then we’ll head down to Nashville, perhaps stay the night, and then continue east towards the Smoky Mountains. I’ll update tomorrow hopefully! Wish us luck!

And now for something completely different…

Welp, we were looking at the weather forecast for Niagara Falls and Toronto for this weekend…. not looking so wonderful. So we’re back to our original itinerary: the Smoky Mountains! We leave bright and early tomorrow morning and I’ll try to post as often as I can, whenever I get wifi. Any suggestions on places to go/stay or things to do/see anywhere along our route would be much appreciated :) Au revoir for now!

The one where they took a road trip

Just wanted to inform you all that my parents and I are leaving for a road trip this week, and that I’m hoping to keep a record of it here! The last time my parents and I took a road trip from home, we went out to Yellowstone when I was ~5. I still remember bits and pieces of this trip, and apparently I enjoyed myself fairly well. Hopefully this one goes just as smoothly. :) Here’s the basic route we’re going to take; modifications may be made, of course. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

Edit: Looks like we’ll be heading through Michigan to Toronto first, then down to Niagara Falls and back through Pennsylvania and Ohio. We leave tomorrow. Wish us luck!

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