Yakima Valley Wine Tour #1 (of many)

Saturday we decided to get out of the city (and away from the boxes) and go tour some wineries in the Yakima valley, which is two-ish hours to the east over the Cascades. Two-ish hours if you’re in a Nissan Versa – probably more like 4 in a VLYT. Wine, you say? Why yes, we DO now live in a state with more than just a few crappy wineries! Check out this site: http://www.gotastewine.com/ or  http://www.winecountrywashington.org or this one: http://www.washingtonwine.org/. We used the first site – here’s the link to the Yakima Valley map and list: http://www.gotastewine.com/yakima-valley-wineries.php. Yes, there really ARE 107 wineries on the list, and, as we discovered, the list isn’t all-inclusive!

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Great American Road Trip: Day 6 – Preview

Day 6 was a VERY long day – 13 hours and roughly 650 miles – so you get another preview until we are a bit more awake.

Today we drove from Stillwater, MN back down I-35 to I-90, all the way out to Rapid City, SD and then down to Hill City SD, which is right next to Mount Rushmore. It was a beautiful drive and we’re still talking, so it must have been a great travel day.

Mitchell Corn Palace

Porter Sculpture Park

Dinosaur in Tow

Wall Drug

South Dakota Sunset

Great American Road Trip: Day 5 – Fair Preview

We’re writing this after spending all of Day 6 on the road (that would be 13 hours and nearly 650 miles) so we’ll be brief. The pictures below are a preview from the Minnesota State Fair, which we attended with Marta, Mary, Rawson, Jenn and Willett.

Fried Cheese Curds!

Seed Art: Gnomes for Marriage Equality (gotta love it!)

Seed Art: Zombie Corn

All You Can Drink Milk!

Concert (Dawes)

Great American Road Trip: Day 4 – Life Inside the Truck

Yesterday was spent more with friends than on the road, so I thought I would tell you about our companions in the truck.

Meet Sid.

Sid came with Marlow and he tells me (Marlow not Sid) that Sid is now old enough to drink.      While we keep talking to Sid, he appears to be the strong silent type. I think he is just hoping that in Seattle he will be slightly less neglected than he was in Boston…

While Sid isn’t holding up his side of conversations, luckily this is:

A gift from one of Marlow’s co-workers, the Emergency Meow with its plaintive “meow, meow” hasn’t gotten old. Especially when you hit a big bump and it goes off all on its own. Also, I think the Emergency Meow is enjoying the truck ride more than Houdini would have.

Now for the travelogue bit: Yesterday we crossed into Minnesota, drove 90W to 35N to Minneapolis and spent the afternoon with friends. Then we drove the truck to a cornfield in Stillwater, Minnesota where it is camping out until Saturday.

Now. Get excited. Our next post will be about…wait for it…THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR.


Great American Road Trip: Day 3

Today (well, really, yesterday, but who’s counting) was much shorter as we only had to go from Elkhart, Indiana to La Crosse, Wisconsin, a journey of 325 miles or so. Of course we also had to navigate Chicago in the VLYT and our rule (ok, Marlow’s rule) about sticking to 90 took us right through the heart of the city.

The first part of our journey was through the rest of Indiana, including picturesque Gary. We didn’t take any pictures but you can find a nice, representative sample here (Google Images).

Next stop: Chi-town (sorry – had to do that).

Chicago in the distance

A little bit closer…

From the west…

The El: A simultaneous assault on all five senses

After Chicago it was lots and lots of Wisconsin road and corn punctuated by the occasional rock outcrop and some random hills. Also, corn.

Wisconsin Road

Corn. Lots and lots of corn. Yep, corn.

Random Rock Outcropping

And some sky and clouds

The best part was the pass through the Wisconsin Dells (hat tip to Rawson and Jenn for that suggestion). We didn’t get any pictures as I was driving and avoiding weaving tourists and Sargent was simply too flabbergasted to do much more than splutter and point. You can find plenty of pictures on Google Images.

We finally stopped in La Crosse, Wisconsin, just before the Minnesota border. It was nice to be off the road at 5:00 pm instead of 10:00 pm and our hotel (Best Western Plus La Crosse) was FANTASTIC – in a sorta-updated-60’s-70’s-kitschy sorta way. It had an indoor pool and water slide, a bored looking lifeguard and a set of hallways that would confuse a rabbit. Don’t be fooled by the pictures on the web site – they were obviously photoshopped!

We walked from our hotel to downtown La Crosse, which was about 3 miles away. I think we went through the WORST part of town and I was glad we didn’t have a cow with us as some miscreant would have run out of the shrubbery and tipped it over, I’m sure. Dinner was at Buzzard Billy’s Flying Carp Cafe (well worth a visit if you’re in La Crosse) and dessert was at Pearl Ice Cream Parlor (well worth a visit if you’re anywhere within about 300 miles).

Things we learned today:

  • Illinois tolls are MUCH cheaper than Indiana tolls.
  • But Illinois still has tolls on the entire stretch of I-90
  • The VLYT has a trip computer! Oh joy, of joys, now I can tell how many PTO hours are on the beast (1.5, for some reason). Oh – and I can also say that it gets a whopping 9.4mpg.
  • There is lots of corn growing in the Midwest. LOTS. OF. CORN.
  • But it is all very picturesque – at least for the first few hours.
  • Nobody speeds. I do NOT understand this: there is a lovely stretch of highway with nice, easy curves and good straight stretches and everybody is driving within 3 mph of the speed limit. I’m doing the same thing, of course, but that’s ONLY because the VLYT is limited to 70mph, really runs better around 68, and sucks down diesel at a rate of about a gallon every 9 miles.

Tomorrow we’re off to Minneapolis!