Wide Open Spaces

Hello there!

I hope everyone had a delightful long weekend – we certainly did!

We set out early on Saturday morning after loading the bikes on the back on the car, courtesy of our new Thule rack (an excellent Craigslist find).

Adjusting and securing the rack required a bit of a learning curve – such as having to pull over as we went over Snoqualmie Pass because the side straps popped loose – but after a few days we’re pretty confident we’ve gotten the hang of it.

Our first stop was, as always, Missoula, MT (Psst- Jason! You made the blog!). We actually drove out to Missoula the prior weekend to surprise our friend Jason for his 40th birthday, so the drive this time seemed a lot shorter. This weekend was his wife Gita’s birthday, so we had another fun evening planned with tickets to the M. Ward show at this cool old movie theater called The Wilma.

We had such a fun evening that I think it took me 2 days to recover. Seems to happen every time we visit Missoula, but we’re not complaining ūüôā

Our favorite part of the drive out from New York was the stretch through Wyoming, and we were really looking forward to driving through it again without a 16′ moving truck. We still had to get through the rest of Montana though, and when we got to the first mountain pass it was snowing! Then we were treated to several hours of intense rain and hydroplaning. Boo. Someone should tell Montana that it’s almost June.

We decided not to torture ourselves this time by attempting to reach Boulder in one day, so we set our sights on Casper, WY for the night. Since we weren’t in a hurry, when we saw signs for the Little Bighorn Battlefield, site of Custer’s Last Stand, we decided to take a detour. That’s the beauty of this trip! We had wanted to stop last time but we were trying to make good time, and detours in a large truck aren’t as appealing.

a nice sentiment for Memorial Day

The monument was really interesting, though we got there late in the day so we didn’t have too much time to explore. We did however manage to arrive during a fortuitously rain-free period. When the droplets started back up we hit the road again.

One plus about the rain: we saw a DOUBLE RAINBOW. All the way across the sky.

We got to Casper amid some pretty intense winds, but were assured by the motel clerk that was normal for the area. Fortunately, the next day the weather was beautiful for the rest of our drive through Wyoming. The landscape is just so beautiful and expansive. As Jared said, “it makes you quiet.”

We made it to Boulder late Monday afternoon in time to have some quality time with Jared’s cousin and his wife. Then yesterday I drove Jared up to Vail and dropped him off at his retreat (hence why I am a little behind on blogging). I’ll post some pictures from that trip tomorrow!

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From East to West

Well, we made it!¬† Sorry it’s taken so long to get this posted – the prep to leave for Croatia has consumed all of our time.

We left New York on September 17th, thanks to the sexiest moving crew East of the Mississippi:

HOTNESS(not pictured, Jared’s brother and brother-in-law)

It was really sad for me to leave the apartment I’ve called home for so many years:

:(

but we set out and made it all the way to Ohio the first night.¬† After a super cla$$y stay at a Motel 6 we set out for Greencastle, Indiana to visit Jared’s college.¬† Oh yeah, and it was our first anniversary!

at our hotel, which was generously paid for by my parents

We spent it touring Jared’s frat house (it’s called ROMANCE, people!):

…and drinking ridiculously cheap beverages – thanks Indiana!

We continued the next day¬† on the Jared Howe Memorial Tour by checking out Jared’s childhood home in Rock Island, Illinois:

We spent a lovely evening with our friends Greg and Dani and headed out for a long 16-hour drive to Boulder, Colorado.¬† We did find time to make a quick stop at Jared’s childhood horse camp in Iowa:

(Jared found a truck that summed up his life philosophy)

There aren’t many good things to say about the rest of this grueling day other than to show you the gorgeous sunset that we enjoyed as we drove across NEVERENDING NEBRASKA:

note the bug smudges on the windshield – more on that later

We gave ourselves a day off in Boulder with Jared’s cousin Avi and his wife Puni.¬† Let me tell you, after that long drive staying with Puni and Avi was like a glorious oasis.¬† It kept comparing it to arriving at a rest stop on the Oregon Trail.¬† We left with our bodies and minds refreshed!

Unfortunately, we had another 17-hour day ahead of us to get to Missoula, Montana (whamp whamp).  This was a much better drive though, as it took us through beautiful Wyoming:

another bug-riddled sunset

We made it safely to another welcome oasis in Missoula, where we spent another day off from driving.¬† We stayed with Jared’s college friend Jason and his lovely family:

After several days of sitting in the truck we were dying for some fresh air and exercise.  Jason took us on a bike ride up to a nearby trailhead and on the way two small bears ran across the road in front of us!  BEARS!  Luckily they were a safe distance away.

we stopped to dip our feet in a stream

We went out that evening to a local brewery (where they had delicious gluten-free beer for Jared!) and were able to meet up with my friend Kate who also happens to live in Missoula:

Kate makes me look like a midget.

The next day we set off for the final leg of our trip Рa meager 8 hours in comparison to the previous two legs.  Jared made sure I snapped a picture as we crossed the state line into Washington:

After 7 days and 3,400 miles, we made it!¬† Our stuff is all safely stored and we’re getting ready to head out for the next phase.¬† What really sticks with us from the cross-country trip is the time spent with good friends and family – our visits turned what could have been a really tiresome trip into a series of very special memories.¬† What also stuck with us were millions of bugs (RIP)!

We leave on Monday and will update as soon as we get settled into Dubrovnik.  Until then!