The Official Summer 2013 Plan: There and Back Again

This photo is a sort-of hint. Any guesses?

Ok.  I’ll admit it.  I was wrong.  Again. The whole stay-somewhere-for-two-months plan that I outlined a few weeks ago isn’t going to pan out.

Why? Several reasons.

This is a HUGE sort-of hint!

First–while the whole ‘stay somewhere for a while and get to know it’ thing sounds good in theory, it’s just not the kind of trip I’m ready for at this point in my life.  I always think that ‘settling down’ sounds lovely; I’d get a puppy, buy a house in the country, and–I don’t know–knit something.  Slowly.  You can tell when I start having these thoughts; I’ll typically buy something new for my house (this time it was an area rug for the living room) and read half of an issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  But after some not-even-that-deep thought, I realized this plan just isn’t me.  Yet.  It may be some day, and that’s the summer (or year) I’ll go to live somewhere else for an extended period of time.

Second–I can’t decide where to go for my One and Only Trip of Summer 2012 if, in fact, that one and only trip is to only one location.  And by ‘I can’t decide’ I mean ‘my husband and I can’t agree’.  He is super enthusiastic about Quebec City; I want to go to Barcelona.  See–definitely two very different options.

Connected to my second reason is my third reason; as it turns out, aforementioned husband is not available for the entire two months.  He has three days of training that he absolutely must attend exactly halfway through the summer. Sadly, oh well, I’m going to Spain without you, then didn’t go over very well.  (Surprisingly.  I mean really, he’s used to this by now.  Hey honey, I’m going to Bermuda/California/New Orleans next week.  I’ve said all of those things and it wasn’t even remotely an issue.)

So instead of making this three day training thing a huge deal breaker, I decided to use it to our advantage (or, rather, to my advantage).  And thus, a perfect trip was born.  It is a trip that crosses many, many places off of our must-visit list.  It is a trip that fulfills a bucket-list item for both my husband and myself.  It is a trip that allows for budget-control.  And it is a trip that gives me what I always not-so-secretly desire–alone time.

We are driving across country.  Together.  I am driving back.  Alone.

I’ve been planning this trip for several weeks already; I have a cork board on my desk with the summer calendar drawn on it, half-covered in post it notes scribbled with driving times and destination ideas.  I already have a portion of the lodging booked, and I’ve been doing some serious online research to figure out the best routes and stopovers.

The first half of the trip–from Pennsylvania west–is pretty much planned.  We will be making a pretty straight shot to Chicago, then on to the Black Hills of South Dakota, Jackson, Wyoming and the Grand Tetons, and then on to Yellowstone for several days.  We will then drive northwest, up to Glacier National Park where we will spend another few days before continuing west to Seattle and the Olympic peninsula.

The return trip is another story entirely.  Imagine me, looking at a map of the US, knowing that I have an entire month at my disposal to make the return trip–solo.  I can go anywhere I want.  And of course I want to go everywhere.

So I’m open for suggestions–which route would you take to get home , traveling from Seattle to Pennsylvania over the course of four to five weeks?  Where would you stop?  And, more importantly for me–what would you skip?  Please share your suggestions in the comments section below. 




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