I’ve been trying to write this post for ages and I constantly get distracted by the smallest things. So I finally sat down to get it down and got it done I did.
On April 10 we arrived in San Francisco after two and a half weeks on the road. We covered approximately 5,200 miles on this trip so it was definitely the biggest we’ve ever done. As usual, it was not planned. We had no plans set in stone outside of a short trip to Cumberland Gap before we left Florida. I like to let each trip unfold naturally. I learned a long time ago not to make too many plans and have too many expectations for a trip because being let down and having to change plans is the worst. But also when you make too many plans and leave no room for exploration then you can sometimes miss out on the little attractions and activities that you come across along the way.
Our first stop was Savannah, Georgia. It was the one historic city in the South that I hadn’t been to yet and so I figured it was worthy of being the first stop.
We did a self guided walking tour of the city with all 22 city squares in mind. The city is so well-preserved and maintained, it’s easy to imagine people long before my time roaming the cobble stone streets and meeting in the city squares.
We didn’t spend more than a day here because we had to rush to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee to have lunch with one of my dearest friends, Ali. He’s a med student with very little spare time on his hands, and so an afternoon was all I could ask of him. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of our lunch and hike so here are some pictures from the last time we visited Ali. We did the same hike then too, to the tri-state peak.
On our way to Tennessee my friend Emma, who lives in Montana, let us know that we were welcome to come and visit if we wanted to. And since I don’t turn down offers to have adventures, we made our way North from Cumberland Gap. But not before letting my friend AC in Minnesota know we’d be stopping by for dinner on our way there.
We spent 2 nights in Chicago in between Tennessee and Minnesota to redeem my last trip to Chicago. I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful Chicago architecture and took a picture of the tiny overpriced pizza I picked up at Lou Malnati’s on our way out of the city to try and make up for it. Unbeknownst to me, I ordered the exact same pie I had last time I was in the city. When I bit into the delicious little thing I immediately had a flashback to me sitting in my bed in the amazing HI hostel downtown, sick as a dog, having just lost my voice, hungry with no appetite but I knew I needed to eat something, so a deep dish was the only way to go. Lou Malnati’s is pricey and the personal size pizza is no bigger than my hand but they are the number 1 recommended place to get a deep dish in the city and their food is delicious. I give them 👍 because they certainly get enough attention to lower their prices but don’t.
Our night in Rochester, Minnesota consisted of burgers and beers in a dimly lit little eatery downtown called The Tap House. Thanks to Google maps for being creepy and keeping track of everywhere I go because I could not remember the name of that place. I had a great blue cheese and bacon burger and ordered a flight of beer to try a few of their craft beers and 2 stouts I’d never heard of. Fun fact: I really only like stouts and I’ll try as many as there are available. I don’t really have a favourite but I know exactly when and where I’ve had the most memorable ones. Anything lighter than a stout tastes like liquid bread and I can’t name one I’ve had and liked. Because I don’t have a good camera I didn’t even try to take nighttime pictures. I just enjoyed the evening and the company of my good friend. We parted ways in the morning and I picked up some winter gear to prepare for the cold Montana weather ahead at the only store around that still had winter anything in stock, Kohl’s. Every other store was prematurely ready for summer because a few days after we left Rochester, they got hit by another winter storm.
Jax barking at me for making him pose for a picture in Billings, Montana. More often than not this precedes his perfectly posed pictures.
Driving through South Dakota was exhausting so we stopped in Billings, Montana for the night instead of going straight to Livingston where Emma and her boyfriend were. Light snow was forecasted overnight but the result in the morning was closer to that of a winter wonderland. Even the Walmart parking lot we spent the night in was beautiful. Only a few centimetres had fallen but it was magical. We did a short hike before getting on the highway to Livingston. Which was terrifying but was not as bad as I expected it to be. The constant movement from all the cars kept the lanes mostly clear and there were few stretches of roads where I had to worry about staying in my lane. Livingston on the other hand got at least a foot of snow overnight and that meant Jax was about to experience deep snow for the first time. At least deep to him. His reaction was better than expected.
He rolled in it. He bounced around in it. He shoved his face in it. He ate it. It gave him the zoomies. It was fantastic. We were laughing so hard I almost forgot to record all of this to share with everyone. Fortunately I got a few seconds of him chasing snow balls that Emma was tossing around.
After all that fun in the park we headed to a farm to meet one of Emma’s friends who was having family and friends over for dinner. It was a farm like any other. They had horses, a donkey, pigs, goats, and chickens. The first thing he did was run into the horse enclosure after they all approached the fence to greet him. The little donkey, who had a history of biting, had fallen in love with him. It was hilarious and terrifying.
After we got him out of there he met the pig. The pig hates everyone and everything but loved Jax! He came over to the fence and Jax licked his face. It was the cutest thing. The goats and chickens were curious about this dog that wasn’t barking at them but they didn’t approach the fence. All in all Jax had a full Montana experience in one short Saturday and he loved it! Emma and I hit up Chico’s hot springs, which was packed, to soak for a while and catch up. Then we had “dinner” at Taco in Bozeman. I put dinner in quotations because it wasn’t very good and everything about their menu was a disappointment. We don’t recommend it at all.
The next day we went for a hike in Big Sky that really was more of a slip and slide. The trail was so icy we did a lot of sliding down and climbing up. If there was a break in the trail that seemed good for sliding, we slipped and slid down it. Funny enough, we were the only ones doing this. Everyone we passed somehow had sure footing on the ice and calming walked and even ran along the trail. After a late lunch we said farewell to Emma and her boyfriend and headed south to Jackson Hole.
Thus ends week one of our trip.
This post is longer than I expected so I will write about week 2 in another post.