So Far, So Good

Originally written 08.12.20


We are off to a good start on our epic road trip.  Despite a late start on Saturday morning, we made it to Nashville in time for dinner at a BBQ restaurant with outdoor seating.  After dinner, Rob and I took a quick drive around Nashville to see The Gulch and Honky Tonk Row.  There was not much social distancing happening around Honky Tonk Row but most people seemed to have masks on.  We were told that the bars in the area were closed, but that did not seem to be the case based on the crowds.  Thus, we just drove by with our windows down to hear the music in the streets and that is about as much as we got out of Nashville.  Clearly, we need to go back.
The next morning, we made our way to Kansas City, Missouri which is where my dad is from. En route, we made a pit stop to visit our first National Park, Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis.  We ate a picnic in the shade of a tree, took the obligatory photos, then made our way to Kansas City which was an 8.5 hour drive from Nashville.  That was our longest driving day until we head home, so it really is all downhill from here!
We are staying in the basement apartment of my dad’s cousin’s house, they have been such gracious hosts!  Yesterday, we drove to a smaller town outside of KC to visit another of my dad’s cousins who I remember from my childhood.  We have been resting up knowing that the next few weeks will be quite busy.  It was nice to have this respite before the rest of the trip.
Tomorrow, the real adventure begins.  We make our way into South Dakota which should be interesting since we will be trying our hardest to avoid the biker crowds in Sturgis.  As soon as I send this email, I am going to start working on the logistics of how early we can arrive at Badlands National Park to buy our National Park Pass.  We plan to be there super early to avoid crowds then will head to spend the night near Mt. Rushmore.  We will wake up for sunrise at Mt. Rushmore and head to Montana as soon as our visit is over.  I am not a morning person, but at least we have the time difference on our side so waking up for sunrise won’t be as hard as usual!  The photos should be more interesting as we visit our first National Park on Friday, so hopefully you are following along @exploremorefamilytravel on Instagram and Facebook – although I will of course post some photos in next week’s email.  Until then …
Keep Dreaming,

Last week, I mentioned the unique landscapes of Turkey so I had to share this photo of Pamukkale (Cotton Palace).  This area is not made of ice or snow as it appears.  It is derived from calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins.  It is unreal and one of my favorite landscapes I have witnessed during my travels.