cross-country road trip!

see jane cross america

In sixteen days, our family and house will be packed up and ready to hit the open roads! (at least, that is the plan and I’m really hoping we stay on schedule!!!) Unlike when we moved to Boston, we are going to be moving ourselves back to Utah. As a grand finale to our adventure, we are planning a cross-country road trip! No sarcasm here… I am really truly excited!!!

One member of our family – who shall remain nameless – is a little nervous, however. One of her friends was recently involved in a bad car accident while on a road trip and is currently recovering from her injuries. Everyone has told her friend that as soon as she is better she needs to speak to a car accident attorney as by the sounds of things, the accident was the fault of the other driver. As you can imagine we have done our best to put her mind at ease and I am sure everything will be okay on the day.

Our current plan is to set-off from bean town and head to buffalo, new york where I have friends from high school living that we can stop in and visit + see Niagara falls. from there we will pass through Cleveland, Ohio en route to Chicago. Stopping in both cities for the local sites. On July 4th we would like to stop somewhere in the mid-west for a traditional small-town-American celebration. Any suggestions??? After that, we will head to Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone national park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and eventually drop down into Utah. Ta-da!!! We are spacing all of the driving and stops over the course of about nine days, so there’s no rush. And, we won’t be driving very fast with a large truck pulling a car, and a car pulling a trailer. ::smiles:: After reading some hire car road trip tips we were tempted to hire a car for the trip, that way we wouldn’t rack up the mileage on our own. However, the kids wanted the familiarity of the family car and I can understand that. So, our car it is!

I love going on road trips! There is just so much to look forward to, especially getting to experience different places and meeting new people. Who doesn’t love the thought of this? I mean look at how many places we’re going to be visiting on this road trip; we are guaranteed to make a lifetime of memories on this trip. And I can’t wait to have a look at all the pictures once we’re done. To make the driving portion of the road trip just as enjoyable, we have decided to buy a car subwoofer after getting sent a list of recommendations of which one we should get. Good music and company, what could be better?

I am asking for any and all recommendations!!! Please tell me things/places to avoid, things/places to see, tell me all!

By the way, I will only be documenting this trip on instagram, if you’d like to follow along when the time comes, follow @see_jane #theRhodescrossAmerica

17 responses to “cross-country road trip!”

  1. Oh that sounds like an awesome trip! I’ve completed a very similar drive, though we went up to Montana and then down into Oregon before heading back east. However, since I was young I can’t say I have any restaurants to recommend or anything like that. I do remember enjoying the exploration of Yellowstone National Park and seeing Old Faithful. We walked through this huge area of tar pits (I think) that smelled horrible, but it was very interesting.

    Living closest to Niagara Falls over any of those other places, I can tell you it’s very busy and very tourist-y if you get there at the wrong time. You’d definitely want to get there during the week instead the weekend. The Maid of the Mist is very popular and pretty much anyone who visits the Falls takes a tour on that boat, as far as I know. However, my favourite thing about the Falls is seeing them at nighttime. They’re all lit up and the mist takes on the colours; it’s beautiful! And because it’s a tourist place, there are endless stores and attractions (like Haunted Houses and Ripley’s Believe it or Not, things like that). However, when the Haunted Houses say they’re scary, they really are! I couldn’t make it through there as a 12 year old! 😉

    Have an awesome trip!

  2. July 1st is Canada Day so if you’re in Niagara Falls make sure you go to the Canadian side and celebrate! (Plus, our side of the falls is nicer 😉

    – Kayla the Canadian 🙂

  3. Go downtown to the Elmwood Village/Allentown when you’re in Buffalo! That area of the city is absolutely stunning – a charming, bohemian village with a lot of little shops – very similar to the West Village in NYC! One of the 10 best family neighborhoods in the US!

  4. You will love Cody, Wyoming. We moved here about 2 years ago and it has a great small town 4th of July celebration! Parades, festivals, and the fireworks! Cody, Wyoming is located 45 minutes from the east gate of Yellowsone National Park. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  5. One more thing. When you are traveling to Mt. Rushmore, make sure to travel through Rapid City, SD. I was born and raised there. Lots of cute shops downtown! Be sure to check out Karma Boutique, adorable clothing!

  6. Sounds like a blast!
    You should definitely make a pass-thru/stop in Galena, IL. It is at the point where Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin all come together and the scenery in that area is to die for beautiful! Plus Galena has oodles and oodles of cute shops and great restaurants that go on for blocks!

  7. Rochester, MN (home of the Mayo clinic, and birthplace of Geoff and Rachael) usually has a pretty good fireworks display. IIRC, they also have a parade in the morning. You might also check some of the surrounding farm towns (St. Charles, Kasson, Plainview, Chatfield, Lanesboro), because they might have a more typical small-town parade.

  8. Sounds awesome! Cody, Wyoming is a great small town 4th celebration! Parade, street fair, rodeo. Lots of fun. Plus it is 45 minutes from Yellowstone. That is always our route to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. Worth thinking about!

  9. That sounds amazing! When I was 10 my parents took me and my three siblings on a 17 day round trip from Utah to New York. We only stayed in 2 hotels the whole time. We would sleep in our van and sometimes pitch a tent. Haha! We did all the church history stops and a lot of the things you have planned. I don’t have really any advice for you but I just thought I’d share my experience with you. 🙂 You guys will have so much fun! Good luck!

  10. Jane, look up Diners, Drive Ins & Dives in the locations you’re going! We do that on all road trips and find some awesome places. Have a fun and safe trip.


  11. Jackson Hole has lots of fun “touristy” things to do/see, but be sure to take the ever-popular picture in front of the elk antler arches at town square, every night at 6 they have an old west “shootout” at town square. There are lots of fun shops downtown, but I really like MADE Jackson Hole. It’s a fun, contemporary shop with lots of handmade, and repurposed items – my favorites are the bucking bronc pint glasses! Eat breakfast at The Bunnery – it’s so wonderfully delicious!! Have fun and travel safe!

  12. Hi There
    Sounds like a wonderful cross country trip! Can’t wait to follow along. If you are in MN for the 4th of July check out the festivities in Delano, Albert Lea, Walnut Grove or Mankato. Most towns have something going on. Afton, MN has a great festival but that may be too far north for you….Although I really suggest a detour to the Twin Cities: lots to do, see, and eat!

    As a Minnesotan, the South Dakota trip is not to be missed and is a wonderful trip with children. I suggest: The Lewis and Cark Interpretive Center in Chamberlain, DeSmet SD for all things Little House on the Prairie (my kids liked the cemetery), and the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Mount Rushmore is magical and the museum there is fantastic. My family also spent a great deal of time at Devils Tower. Have fun and enjoy the experience!!

  13. Love all the South Dakota props!! I am a Rapid City native who went to college in Boston and moved back home after college, but I still miss the North Shore everyday!
    In SD, Mt. Rushmore is a need-to-see just because who would ever drive all that way and not see it(!), but some other fun things to do in the Black Hills are
    1) Alpine Inn in Hill City (go for lunch, not dinner–way less crowded and they have a full authentic German food menu for lunch)
    2) Sylvan Lake very close to Hill City is a great place to stretch your legs with a small .5 mile hike around the lake, and see some beautiful scenery, too!
    3) Downtown Rapid City is pretty cute and Tally’s Silver Spoon has an incredible breakfast menu if you need a morning pick-me-up before you hit the road!

    Also–if you drive through Sioux Falls on your way into SD, you HAVE to stop at Queen City Bakery. Tiny, locally owned bakery with the most incredible pastries and the cutest husband and wife proprietors ever… if you can stop, do it!

    We will be coming back from Jackson Hole the weekend after the 4th of July so we will pass you on the road! Good luck with your move and hope you have wonderful family time along the way!

  14. What an exciting adventure! Stop in Iowa (Des Moines) for fun, Midwestern 4th of July festivities! Lots of activities to do (and surrounding small towns with great atmospheres).

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