Posts Tagged With: Road Trip

Going Home

Road Trip

On the last day of July, 2014 we awoke in Seattle for the last time. We spent the night at Matt and Deb’s, since all our belongings were now on a truck headed for Michigan. Our last official duty was to meet the realtor at the house for a final “inspection” and then we hit the road! Since it was just after rush hour and we were heading east out of town, the traffic was relatively light. However, I breathed a sigh of relief when we crossed over Snoqualmie pass and drove out of the Seattle congestion for the last time.

We hadn’t gone but an hour when a bald eagle swooped down not 50 feet in front of the truck and grabbed some fresh road kill from the middle of the highway. That bird looked as big as a private aircraft as it flashed across the windshield!

Two hours later as we approached the eastern state line of Washington State, a car 100 feet ahead of us lost control and began cartwheeling down the highway at 70 miles per hour. The dust cloud that suddenly enveloped us was a bit disconcerting, as we didn’t know where the out of control card came to rest. We pulled over and checked the highway mile marker so that Claire could call 911 while I ran back along the shoulder to assist the occupants of the car. It had come to rest upside down on the left hand shoulder. I arrived at the car along with two other passersby. The passenger’s door was sprung open and the driver (the only occupant of the vehicle) was lying on the ceiling of the car. The older, heavyset woman was conscious but dazed.   Luckily and off duty EMT technician was one of the other people who stopped and he took control of the situation. We made sure there was nothing else we could do, and then continued our journey.

The trek across the northern United States took us through eight states. We intentionally chose a route so that we could make stops at Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, Sturgis (it was bike rally week,) and the Bad Lands. Other than a massive rainstorm in Wisconsin that washed a big rock off a train trestle into our windshield, we had no more drama on the trip. The weather was great, the sights were amazing, and when we crossed the Mackinac Bridge into the lower peninsula of Michigan we knew we were finally home.


Ever since I saw the movie Close Encounters, I have wanted to get an up close look at the Devil’s Tower …


Since it was the beginning of the bike rally in Sturgis, a lot of fellow travelers on their Harleys were also checking out the local sights.




Objects in my camera lens are larger than they appear …


Driving through Sturgis during the bike rally was pretty cool, but I was jonesing for my Harley.


For the record, Claire took this picture… Also, this was pretty tame for Sturgis…


I have seen so sights around the world, but never got a chance to see Mount Rushmore. It was worth the wait!


Claire Bancino for President!


We know where we are heading!


Wall Drug is the best marketed tourist trap in America. Not my first time there, but Claire wanted to see it. I warned her …


The Bad Lands were pretty cool. I want to go back on the Harley!


Bad Lands panorama …


Almost home as we enter the upper peninsula of Michigan!


Crossing the mighty Mackinac Bridge into the lower peninsula!


View of the bridge from Mackinaw City.


Nothing like Michigan beaches!


It is good to be home.

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Road Trip! Day #1

Since we have lived in the Seattle area, we have only once driven out to the coast. People who visit Seattle often mistakenly believe that the Puget Sound is the ocean when in reality Seattle is over 50 miles from the coast. Over two years ago we rode the Harley out to the beach town of Westport.  The beach was a bit of a disappointment, but then again coming from Michigan most of the places were the water meets the sea are lacking in comparison.

But numerous people have told us that the coastal drive from Seattle down to Northern California is spectacular.  It just so happens that Alex’s PhD graduation ceremony is scheduled at CalTech for next weekend, so it provided the perfect opportunity to take a road trip!

Day #1 we headed south to Portland, and then cut to the southwest to pickup highway 101.  The bumper-to-bumper traffic getting out of Portland was a pain, but eventually we broke free from the crowds. We stopped at a little dive called Maxwell’s at the Coast in Lincoln City.  From there we followed the winding road along the coast.  There is literally a scenic stop every quarter mile!

We stopped often and shot pictures.  The wind was howling.  The views were spectacular.  It’s a bit of a challenge to drive 101 along the coast because the views demand our attention while the slithering road along the top of the cliff also demands you keep your eyes on the road.

By dinnertime we made it to Bandon, Oregon.  Claire found us a cool little place to stay right on the beach called Sunset Motel.  After we settled in we walked across the street to Lord Bennett’s for dinner.  The restaurant was clearly built to take advantage of the views.  Food was good, not great, but it was a fine way to end the day on the Oregon coast.  Next stop: The Redwoods of Northern California!

The view from our deck

One of our many stops along Highway 101

Mine … mine …. mine …

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