....for the Annual Smith Family Summer Road Trip To Minnesota And Back To Get The Girls From Camp(ASFSRTTMABTGTGFC), we'll just call it the Summer Road Trip (SRT?).
This is the fourth summer in a row that Leslie and I have shipped the girls off to Camp Birchwood on the shores of Steamboat Lake in the beautiful woods of northernish-central Minnesota; and the third summer in a row that we hop into the Honda Odyssey for our own odyssey. Our first SRT (is it working?) we managed to cover over two thousands miles from Long Beach to Camp in two nights, with stops outside of Salt Lake City and outside of Gothenburg, Nebraska. Actually, there is no "outside" Gothenburg as "inside" consists of one McDonald's, two hotels used mostly by bird hunters in season, one stop light and a couple of stop signs.
Our route home for SRT I was via Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, across the Tetons, through Zion National Park and home. Kids handled the trip so easily we knew we had a summer classic and more road trips in the future.
Last year, SRT II, was a more leisurely pace eastward at the request of our Cruise Director Leslie with stops in Bishop, Reno to see friends Mike and Shelle, Pendleton, Oregon, up the Clearwater River in Idaho and across the Bitterroot Mountains to Missoula, Montana, to the High Line and Havre, Mt across the great northern plains to Minot, North Dakota and into Camp Birchwood. A beautiful journey that had us traipsing along historic routes.
Our trip home had us paralleling the Mississippi south from Camp Birchwood (it originates about thirty miles west of the camp) to West Des Moinse, Iowa through Kansas City (and Arthur Bryant's Barbecue for lunch) to my birthplace of Tulsa, Oklahoma for a few nights. Then across the Great State of Oklahoma, across the Texas panhandle to Albuquerque for some green chili dinner and breakfast, onto Williams, Arizona on Route 66 and a train ride up to the Grand Canyon and back before pulling into Long Beach. Our journey covered 14 states (the girls hit eight of them) and 4,998 miles.
This year's journey has Leslie and I going at a pace between SRT I and II with four days of driving and three stops (Midvale, Utah, Billings, Montana and Bismark, North Dakota) through seven states (inclusive of about fifty miles through the very northwest corner of Arizona). Google maps has our outbound trip at 2084 miles.
After two nights at Camp we leave Sunday morning August 4th bright and early heading very much west as we pass through Grand Forks, North Dakota and head up the High Line we traversed last year heading East. Our trip home will be seven nights (Williston, North Dakota, Shelby, Montana, Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, Seattle for two nights, Medford, Oregon, Novato, California to see Aunt Sharon and Uncle Bob then home) and cover seven states--the girls will get to knock Montana, Washington and Oregon off their list. Google puts the return at 2810 miles. For those who are not math whizzes the estimated round trip is 4894 miles. Last year I took some guff from some who felt I should have driven around the block to get the odometer to hit 5,000 miles, this year if our side trips amount to a mere six miles more than Google estimates we will surpass the big mark.
Our plan is to leave very early so we can get into Midvale (691 miles per Google) before dark and enjoy the happening scene there. So tomorrow we are off, I will be trying to update this blog daily with our sights, tastes and sounds of the trip. I hope to be able to have readers join us vicariously as we see this incredible country we are blessed to live in.
Here is the map of our trip: