November 14 2017
Technically, this is part IV of my “Homeward Bound” post but “Hello, America!” seems more fitting. We covered 12 states and the District in six days. According to iPhoto, we are making some serious progress on our Places map!
First, let’s all agree on one thing: Jet lag is real. The first few days in Seattle were a blur. We did our best but it was really hard to keep from napping during the day. Poor George had a rough time, too. He usually loves riding in the car with his face plastered to the window, watching the world go by, but he ended up passed out for most of the trip.
One of the first things we did, besides eat, was visit Petsmart. There really are no stores in Japan that compare. George was in heaven. He terrorized birds and small animals, tried on costumes and harnesses, sampled the toy selection, and enjoyed tasty snacks among his people. I wish we had something like Petsmart in Sasebo… for Cesar. He would have liked testing the bedding.
We swung by the Space Needle for a late night stroll and drove by the original Starbucks (it was already closed for the night) but spent most of our time in Seattle sleeping. We had grand plans to take George up in a seaplane for a tour of the area but you know, a nap sounded too good to pass up. Hashtag regrets.
We made it from Seattle to Butte the first day of our “Hello, America!” road trip. It was pretty but there wasn’t a whole lot out there. Mountains and snow. The second day was more exciting. We found our way to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. After getting a stamp for our National Parks Passport Book, we drove through the park stopping to read about the battle. George woke up long enough to peer at the horses hanging out near the road.
On the third day we stopped at Devil’s Tower and Mount Rushmore. This was probably the highlight of the road trip for all of us. A massive rock (with a cool name!) protruding from the prairie. A mountain-side presidential sculpture! And, let’s be truthful here, the nerd in me was really excited about getting more stamps for our NPS Passport Book.
On the fourth day, we drove straight to Madison, Wisconsin. Again, not much to see out there but it was a nice ride. On the fifth day, we made it to Pittsburgh. We planned to stop in Chicago for George (he’s never had a real Chicago hotdog) but by then we were really anxious to get to D.C. When we arrived in D.C., after six days of driving, we were exhausted and so so happy to be home.
Our old neighborhood has changed so much we almost didn’t recognize it. There are new apartment buildings, new hotels, new shops and restaurants, and lots of ongoing construction. Our old McDonald’s is now a massive hole in the ground. It sucks to lose the only nearby drive-thru but I suppose it’s good not to have the temptation. There are more cars and fewer parking spots. More dogs and less grass. But it feels like home. Busy. Noisy. Exciting. We are glad to be back.