Author Topic: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020  (Read 5725 times)

Offline lakewood34

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2020, 02:26:51 PM »
Try to squeeze in sunrise at gtnp. I can vouch personally for schwabacher landing, oxbow bend and Mormon row are both supposed to be great too. (And Something fishy will have your head if you don't)....
interesting i did sunrise at schwabacher landing  3 weeks ago and myself and my entire party were very underwhelmed and i have seen alot nicer. It was a clear sky and a cloudless day so i'm not sure why it should not have been good but it was unanimus in my party that it was not worth getting up for . As an aside there were close to 50 people there and i was from the first to come so we definitely didn't miss it. The only benefit was we got to jenny lake pretty early and beat the crowds. By the time we left it was super crowded at the boat launch dock with large backups.

Offline shmelive

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2020, 12:26:46 AM »
TR Day 2

I'm tired. Let's see how much I can type before falling asleep.

First, the story of the skipped waypoints.

Cedar Point amusement park was supposed to be in the plans today. It looked cool, and it was on the way. Although I can tend to be a last minute planner, I did look this one up beforehand. They said they would be open every day until Labor Day, and then change to weekends only. Alas, when I checked their calendar yesterday, they had apparently decided to celebrate Labor Day early this year - Gut Yom Tov. They were open yesterday, but not today or the rest of this week. Nu nu. I got some extra travel in last night instead.

This morning, after I saw two clients from the comfort of my hotel room, I was planning on stopping at Indiana Dunes on my way to Chicago (at the recommendation of @Something Fishy). There was only one small problem. I had a close encounter with a q-tip last night, and I needed to see an ENT pronto. Long story short, I had to go straight to Chicago and sadly skip the Dunes. There's more to the story, but I'm tired.

It was nice being back in Chicago!


I made sure to hit up Ken's for lunch. I had a Burger Buddy.


And my buddy had a Italian something or other (Italian Beef, maybe?). I'm told I need to get that next time.


Continuing with the theme of mixing friends and food, I met up with a couple who recently moved to Chicago. We caught up at Milt's.


I truly love this place. I haven't been in a couple of years, but they still have my favorite Bloody Mary, with jalapeno-infused vodka and a garnish of beef bacon:

YUM. Another view, this time with pickles:


And this time with a cup of chili:


The chili was great as well. Very full-flavored. It had a nice kick too. I generally can't tolerate too spicy, but this was just at the edge of my tolerance zone. I know this tells you nothing at all. Spice is relative. I'm being unhelpful. Get the chili. Thank me later.

The Braised Short Rib entree. Pricey, but really really good. Falls apart in your mouth, if not first on your fork. Well, MY fork. Get your own.


Maybe it's an Illinois thing, but the wait staff insisted that we put our masks back on when staff approached the table. Understandable.


The closest you're going to get to a picture of me.

Can't stop in Chicago without some time at Lake Michigan!


And then heading West once again, on my way to the Badlands. Staying tonight in Madison, WI.

Totals: $300 out of pocket at the ENT. Blah out of network coverage. Drove 333 miles, 5-6 hours total. No stops for gas today! I'm running on Milt's BBQ sauce.

Blurry Wisconsin welcomes me!

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2020, 02:21:51 AM »
interesting i did sunrise at schwabacher landing  3 weeks ago and myself and my entire party were very underwhelmed and i have seen alot nicer. It was a clear sky and a cloudless day so i'm not sure why it should not have been good but it was unanimus in my party that it was not worth getting up for . As an aside there were close to 50 people there and i was from the first to come so we definitely didn't miss it. The only benefit was we got to jenny lake pretty early and beat the crowds. By the time we left it was super crowded at the boat launch dock with large backups.

Because you need clouds for an epic sunrise. Bald skies are terrible for sunrises and sunsets.
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2020, 11:56:26 AM »
Great TR so far. Sorry about the ENT visit and your obligatory donation to the state of OH. I had a similar incident with the commonwealth of PA a few years ago. Enjoy being back in WI (albeit just driving through). Looking forward to the rest!

Offline jose34

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2020, 12:06:31 PM »
This TR almost reminds me of a few years ago when Dan and the crew did the Antarctica cruise, new exciting update everyday!

Online Kobe Bryant

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2020, 02:03:56 PM »
I would take a bit of time to stop off in Mitchell, SD to see The World's Only Corn Palace, it's definitely unique, and only a few min. off the I-90.

Offline shmelive

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2020, 02:45:03 PM »
I would take a bit of time to stop off in Mitchell, SD to see The World's Only Corn Palace, it's definitely unique, and only a few min. off the I-90.

+1

Offline Dawie

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2020, 02:56:18 PM »
Maybe it's an Illinois thing, but the wait staff insisted that we put our masks back on when staff approached the table. Understandable.

law or becoming the law
https://nypost.com/2020/08/25/illinois-mandates-masks-at-bars-and-restaurants-when-interacting-with-staff/

Offline shmelive

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2020, 11:30:30 PM »
Ok, it is HARD to keep up the pace here, but I’m going to try. Day 3 TR, here we go.

I woke up in the Staybridge Suites Madison, Wisconsin (coincidentally also where I went to bed last night), had breakfast…



...and then I saw five clients from 9 AM to 2 PM Eastern standard Time, a.k.a. 8AM to 1 PM central time. It was exhausting! Thank G!d for hotel WiFi, though.

I feel like working is a necessary evil on this trip, and I don't think I could take the trip without doing so, but it's killing my vibe a bit. I really do like to sleep in! I was exhausted. I pushed late check out as far as I could, until about 3:30 PM, and then I headed out on the road.

But first, a stop for gas (the Milt’s barbecue sauce had run out). I had a long drive ahead of me – I was basically going to head toward Badlands national Park in South Dakota, and get as far as I could.

Gas is really cheap here! It was $1.99 a gallon. Thanks, Wisconsin!


Something else I noticed - I’ve been having a windshield bug problem. I don’t know if this area has more bugs, or I’m covering more miles, or the higher speeds lead to more bug squashing, but my windshield was becoming messy. The wipers and fluid weren’t helping as much as I would have liked. More on this later.

I headed west on the I-90, passing into Minnesota.




You can really see the bug streaks on the windshield!

To my surprise I crossed over the Mississippi River! I knew it runs north to south but I wasn't expecting it this far north. Hey. Geography.


On a gas pit stop, I saw a carwash place, and my car desperately needed one (especially the windshield). I stopped in, and - to my surprise - it was fully automated, with no attendant! I used the kiosk and pulled in. It was definitely a fun experience! Too bad there were no attendants at the end to wipe down my windshield, I could have used it.


[this is supposed to be a video, can anyone help me troubleshoot?]

I amused myself with music, phone calls, and an audiobook until I got to Blue Earth, Minnesota. I was there to see the Jolly Green Giant, he of the corn and green beans - neither of which were served at the statue. Not that I eat green beans, but that’s a story for another time.

While exiting the highway in Blue Earth, I was once again welcomed by a representative of the state, this time Minnesota. He traveled in a car with flashing lights. We had a little chat, and he thankfully did not obligate me to make a mandatory donation to the state. I was very grateful.

At the statue, I met two fine gentlemen from the East Coast, one from Albany and one from New England. I asked them to demonstrate their photography skills with my camera, with me and said Giant as the subjects. Then I reciprocated and demonstrated my photography skills with their respective terms. Surprisingly, they are also on a road trip to the West Coast, planning to visit as many national parks in the camp. We compared notes, laughed at the unpredictability of the universe, and drove away.



My (mostly) clean car and the Jolly Green Giant. If you look closely, you can see the Toyota letters that I ordered for free from Toyota by way of a tip from @Dan a bunch of years ago. Anyone remember that post? And if yes, did you order letters as well? I have named my car Fezzik, after the Princess Bride character played by Andre the Giant in the iconic movie. Fezzik, meet Jolly Green. Jolly Green, meet Fezzik. I will henceforth refer to my car by name.

Back on the I-90, I headed west once again, and stopped at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the night.

Two gas fill-ups, one car wash, one pull-over, and  437 miles of driving (6.5 hours). Long day. I’m wiped. Staying at the Candlewood Suites in Sioux Falls, SD.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2020, 11:58:05 PM »
Lol, nice! Did you make it to SD that day? The main storyline goes unanswered...

Offline shmelive

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #40 on: August 30, 2020, 12:05:11 AM »
Lol, nice! Did you make it to SD that day? The main storyline goes unanswered...

I did make it to Sioux Falls, SD that night. It's at the end of the previous post.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2020, 12:16:27 AM »
I did make it to Sioux Falls, SD that night. It's at the end of the previous post.
Oops, I missed that line. My apologies.

Offline shmelive

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #42 on: August 30, 2020, 12:29:24 AM »
Day 4. I do NOT like Candlewood Suites. They don’t have breakfast, and the layout is weird - small bathroom, no sink in bathroom. I may come again only when I need to do laundry, as they have complimentary laundry services available for guests.

COVID doesn’t seem to exist much here. No sign about masks at the hotel. Just sneeze into your elbow, please.


Short Zoom meeting with colleagues in the morning, and then headed out. Just me, Fezzik, and the I-90. Before I got on the highway, though, I stopped for gas and windshield cleaner wipes. The carwash just did not do the job. Lots of bugs were leaving their mark!

I decided to take the advice of @Kobe bryent and stop at the World’s Only Corn Palace (mostly because I’m trying to get myself to slow down and enjoy more of the sights, and maybe not stick exactly to my schedule. Also, I was starting to get really tired. More on this later).
 


It’s mostly just corn mosaics and corn gift shops! Corny jokes abound.







I wouldn’t say it was a-maize-ing, but shucks if I didn’t enjoy it just a little.

Some unhappy livestock…





And then it was a few hours to Badlands National Park. I settled in.

Some nice views…




Heading into Mountain Time!


And finally arrived at Badlands National Park a few hours before sunset. I opted for the National Park Annual Pass for $80, as opposed to a day pass for $35. I should able to use the Annual Pass a nice amount on this trip.

Badlands is otherworldly….I got out my “real” camera for much of the park, so I don’t have too much to upload just yet (don’t have an sd card reader for my new laptop). That will have to wait until I return to NYC.

Right after the NorthEast park entrance…



Near the visitor center..






I chose to drive through the park and not hike, since I was short on time and tired too. I did stop at the Fossil Viewpoint…







And Pinnacle Point for sunset…





...where I met those fine gentlemen from the Jolly Green Giant again! We had another laugh - them, me, the universe...and Fezzik.



I met a herd of big-horned deer, or something…




They stopped traffic.



And then headed out to Rapid City, SD, for the night. I was back to Holiday Inns, no more fancy Candlewood or Staybridge stuff. I need a sink in my bathroom.

Summary: 363 miles, 5.5 hours of driving, one National Park. One stop for gas.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #43 on: August 30, 2020, 12:36:21 AM »
Nice! Are you going to have time to visit the least visited state in the US: ND?

Offline JuryDuty

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Re: NYC - CA - NYC Solo National Parks Road Trip Summer 2020
« Reply #44 on: August 30, 2020, 12:37:10 AM »
Nope. He's posting these from Montana
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