Eleven states in four days. Tomorrow Mom and I will drive into the twelfth state, California. From there we’ll part ways and I’ll travel on to my thirteenth state in less than a week, Hawaii. From the same airport Mom will fly to Florida to visit the family I left just a few weeks ago.
This is starting at the end of the trip though. The beginning of the trip began bright and early last Thursday morning. Mom and I started our one week cross country road trip, to take my Kia from New York to San Diego, so I can ship it to Hawaii.
I say our trip started bright and early, but that’s something of a lie. It started with us trekking across Rochester, so I could retrieve paperwork from Dad that would allow me to ship my car. Some hour or so later than we planned, we finally started on I-90 and our cross country adventure.
One thing about Mom and I traveling together; we’re fabulous planners. We’d only been on the road (not counting the detour) when we decided it was time to decide which route was the best to take across the country. There were a few options, but we chose I-70. Although not the most efficient route, it looked like the most interesting.
There isn’t much else to say about Thursday. We wanted to spend the bulk of our time in the mountains, so Thursday was a race to get as far West as we could. Except for one brief pit stop at Wegmans in Erie, PA and an attempt at dinner in Springfield, OH we barely stopped. Another thing about Mom and I traveling together, once we start driving we don’t really stop.
Wegmans was our attempt at breakfast. We kept saying we would stop a little outside of Rochester, and three hours later we finally were hungry enough to pull into a grocery store. Bread, soft cheese and some yogurt later we were eating in the car. That sustained us all the way into Ohio.
We did attempt a real dinner in Springfield, but after an unappealing drive around the town we decided leftovers from breakfast were better than a McDonald’s dinner! We pulled the last of the bread out and kept driving.
We finally stopped at Terre Haute, IN close to 9p. We found dinner, a hotel room, and passed out for the night.
Thursday: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana.
Friday we were finally hitting middle America, flat and straight. Our real interest was Denver, so 6a we jumped back on the road. By 10a we were starving for real food (motel continental breakfast doesn’t count), and we were nearing St. Louis. I’ve never seen the arch, so I insisted we stop.
Although Mom was impatient to keep heading towards Denver, I think even she was glad for the stop. We found some great diner food, took a short walk around the city and then jumped back in the car.
Next state was Missouri. At first it just seemed like one long flat expanse of fields and cows, but then we saw our first windmill. The another, and another. We must have passed 10 miles of endless windmill farms. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.
By mid-afternoon we passed through Kansas City and then into Kansas. Our goal was to get as close to Denver as possible before 6p Eastern Time. Mom was convinced the Louisville Final Four game was Friday night and she was determined to watch. Best intentions aside, about an hour after Kansas City we hit a bit of a detour.
Word to the wise, never let your tank go less than a ¼ full on a cross country trip! You never know when you’re suddenly going to go an hour or more without seeing a gas station. That’s exactly what happened to us. We were on less than an 1/8th of a tank, when I realized the last gas I had seen was back in Kansas City. Just as I was starting to get a little worried I saw a gas sign, and pulled off, but it was to no avail. The station was long since closed.
The Kia can go along way on no gas, so I figured we were still good and started to pull back onto the thruway. That’s when we realized we weren’t the only ones faked out by the as sign. On the entrance back to the thruway a woman with a sign stood, next to her a huge truck, a dog and an empty gas can. She was broke, with no gas, no cell phone and was far enough away from the thruway still that there was no telling when the next person would come by.
We pulled to the side and after a brief conversation Mom grabbed an apple and an water from our car and handed them to the woman. We took the empty gas can with us and got back on the road. It was another twenty minutes before we found a town big enough for gas. We filled our tank and her can, then doubled back to rescue the poor woman.
After unloading the gas can and the last of our Wegmans food on the stranded woman, we started off again. We drove another few hours and then stopped in Salina, KS. Of course after we realized that the game wasn’t actually until Saturday, we both wished we had driven the last few hours to Denver, but overall I think it worked out for the best.
Friday: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas.
Saturday afternoon we finally made it to Denver. The whole trip to that point had nothing but blue skies, and Saturday was no different. We pulled off into Denver and took a nice long walk around the city.
As beautiful as Denver was, before long we were ready to get into the mountains. Mom was still determined to watch the Final Four game wanted to get settled before it started. She took the wheel and I settled in to watch the mountains rise around us at 70 mph.
We made good time up the first mountain cliff, through some of the most drastic scenery we’d seen so far. In some ways the climb was actually easier than the first downhill. The roads are narrower than New York roads, the grade steeper and the curves were very curvaceous. After watching one near accident involving two trucks trying to pass each other and a young woman tail gaiting them, as the wind pushed the trailers around, Mom and I were on the edge of our seats through the drive.
Right about when we started to relax after the harrowing start, is also right about when the Kia’s engine started to give out. Downhill, Mom had the gas pushed to the floor and it was still losing speed. We put our blinkers on and climbed the next hill, losing speed mile by mile.
We opened the windows, blasted the heat to suck some cool air into the engine and prayed we’d make it the next town!
That’s how we ended up in Frisco, CO for Saturday night, a fortunateness event to my mind! Mom found a place to watch the Final Four and I spent the next few hours wandering up and down the township. I took pictures, found our hotel room, and of course eventually wandered into gatherhouse, the glass blowing studio I wrote about Saturday night.
I’ve already shared what gatherhouse was like, but here’s some of my favorites from earlier in the day.
Although it encompassed three days, that was the first part (of three) about the Little Kia that Could.