Hello, everyone! I hope you survived the demise of Google Reader, and imported my blog into your other reader! I switched to Feedly, and haven't noticed anything too different!
Well, now that we're in Idaho for the year, I've decided to keep this blog cooking focused, but also add in any other little anecdotes about life and the food out here (with photos!) for my friends and family who are reading and might be interested. I could start another blog, but I'd rather just have one place to keep up with! We do hope to take quite a few side trips while we're here, so others may find that interesting as well!
Our trip out here went so well, we really lucked out. Blue skies, happy toddler and dogs, no car troubles, and only one "I think I might run out of gas..." incident! We started our trips separately as my husband was in Chicago for a friend's wedding he was a part of. I left from Cincinnati, and had an 8 hour trip with Violet and the dogs, JJ's was about 4 hours from Chicago.
The beginning of the drive was familiar to Indianapolis, but once I reached Illinois, I was in new territory. We drove through nothing but blue skies, corn fields and wind turbines. It was beautiful, rolling hills of fields, I expected it to be flat and square, but it was really lovely.
Violet and I stopped about halfway for lunch at Subway, I ate more Subway in four days than I have in my entire life, I think! Not many quick vegetarian options out there, it's my go-to. She enjoyed her cheese, avocado, olive and pickle on wheat, and I had veggie chopped salads... and her sub leftovers!
We reunited with JJ that afternoon in Iowa City, IA. We went to the City Park, which was amazing! I loved Iowa City, a small college town (where University of Iowa is located) in the middle of rolling hills of corn. The park was right along the river, we saw the college's crew house, an amazing outdoor theater (Shakespearean style!) and great playgrounds and walking trails for the dogs. We had dinner at Oasis, a Falafel joint. I'll be blogging more about that later, it was phenomenal!
The next morning we were on our way to North Platte, NE. Again, nothing but cornfield and wind turbines.
After we checked into our hotel in North Platte, we headed to Cody Park, which was also huge with tons of play areas and a petting zoo. There were geese, ducks, peacocks, deer, elk and sheep. It was so bizarre, but interesting! We didn't stop to see the animals because we had the dogs with us, but we could see them as we drove by.
Our next day of travel too us to Rock Springs, Wyoming. The landscape changed completely! It was dry, desert like with rolling hills and some steep mountains (especially coming into Laramie!)
We found a great park in Laramie for Violet, right near the University of Wymong.
Luckily my sister had her priorities straight and kept me up to date with the important things going on the world. I don't think I watched the news or listened to the radio for 5 days. It was nothing but Dora the Explorer!
When we got to Rock Springs, we checked into our hotel and found a spray park in a neighborhood for Violet to play in. I walked the dogs around the neighborhood while JJ corralled her. The view was amazing, it's obvious why it's called Rock Springs! The loop around the city is right up against a giant rock cliff. My pictures really don't do it justice.
Our final day was spent driving through Ogden, UT into Idaho. We hit some major mountains in Ogden, it was pretty incredible. I tried to really focus on driving safely, but it was also so hard to not just look out and stare at the landscape!
Once we got close to Idaho, the scenery changed to flat, desert like conditions. There were giant gates on I-80 to block off the road when the dust storms are so bad that visibility is limited!
Every 10-20 miles, we'd pass an exit, and there would maybe be one gas station and a diner, but many had no services. JJ called me about 20 minutes into Idaho and told me he needed gas, badly. He had to turn his a/c off and drive 60 (the speed limit was 75!) to make it to the first gas station we could find. It was literally in the middle of nowhere.... but there was a mule and a llama outside! Violet was napping so I couldn't show her the animals, but I snapped a few photos (mountains are to the left of the llama's head!)
After that stop, we were about 2 hours from Boise, and we made it! When we arrived, this was the temperature my car was reading. Dry heat or not, that's hot!
We're now settled in for the most part, just waiting on a few more pieces of furniture we ordered, but things are going well! I cooked dinner last night, but the first two nights in a row, we went to Cafe Rio, which is amazing!
Thanks for being patient with me while we transitioned these past few months, come back tomorrow for a new recipe!
Also, if you ever have the chance to drive across the country, do it! It's truly amazing, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do so! We are already trying to decide which route we'll take back east a year from now! (We're leaning towards the north route so we can see Mt. Rushmore!)