2 months on the road!

We’ve officially been intentionally homeless for 2 months now, which seems like both a very long time and a very short time. Sometimes we look back and think “wow, it’s been so long since we left ___ place”, and then we realize we were there only a week ago. We’ve passed through and/or stopped in 20 US states and 2 Canadian provinces, and we have another 15 states and 2 provinces penciled in for our return trip to California.

Here’s our list of states, in order of first appearance (just for fun): California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.

Our tentative return trip includes: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York (repeat), New Jersey (possibly just passing through from NYC), Pennsylvania (repeat), Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California.

I didn’t realize list of states was so lengthy until I wrote them all out on a piece of paper to ask Travis to mark which states he had been to before the road trip, and the list took up the entire page. Speaking of my list though, I found out of the 20 states and 2 provinces we’ve been to thus far, Travis had previously been to 10 states + 1 province, whereas I had been to 12 states + 1 province. Not a huge difference, but I win for being previously more well traveled in the US (he wins internationally though). I also win the return trip battle of state visiting, having been to 9 states on our planned return trip versus his 6. I think I have an advantage in that I lived on the east coast for 8 years and traveled frequently for ice skating competitions.

Now, as my month two round-up, I present to you one of those awesome lists that everyone loves to fill out but no one likes to read:

On places we went…
Most naturally beautiful place: Bahia Honda State Park @ Florida Keys
Best man-made structure: Notre-Dame Basilica @ Montréal, QC
Coolest man-made structure: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia
Best National Park (of Death Valley, White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, Zion National Park, Florida Everglades): Death Valley, California; White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Best big city (Lindsay definition of ‘big city’ = places you have to pay to park at your hotel, define how you want): Toronto, ON; Montréal, QC; New Orleans, LA
Coolest state capitol building (of Sacramento, Austin, Baton Rouge, Annapolis, Harrisburg, Montpelier): Harrisburg, PA (for the cool green rotunda) and Sacramento, CA (for the outdoor grounds; I’m not sure we actually saw the CA capitol from the front anyway)
Place(s) we’d most like to revisit: Key West, FL; New Orleans, LA
Place(s) we wished we spent more time: SE states (Carolinas, Georgia) for me, Page, AZ for Travis
Things we skipped that we regret: not going up the gondolas in Lake Tahoe, NV and not finding North Carolina wild beach ponies (for Lindsay); nothing for Travis
Place we’re most looking forward to visiting on the road home: Seattle, WA / Vancouver, BC (also Lexington, MA for Lindsay)
Best guided tour: Honey Island Swamp Tour @ Slidell, LA (feeding hot dogs to alligators is fun)
Best paid excursion: FURY Water Adventures + Sunset Sail @ Key West, FL (can’t beat the parasail/snorkel/jet ski/sailing)
Best free excursion: Death Valley, CA
Best value excursion: Dodgers/Astros game + hot dogs in Houston, TX ($10 for a game and dinner is still the best value excursion and meal of the trip)
Biggest waste of money: Tasting wine in Napa, CA (just the tasting, not the camping)
Biggest waste of time: Miami Beach (in general); Looking for N.C. wild ponies (says Travis — I personally wish we had looked harder)

On places we stayed…
Best hotel: IP Casino Resort and Spa @ Biloxi, Mississippi (they had a really soft bedspread and a jacuzzi tub where I took an excellent bubble bath)
Worst hotel/motel: anywhere without internet / Motel 6 @ Alamogordo, NM
Weirdest hotel: Chesterfield Hotel @ Miami Beach, FL (not our style)
Best value hotel: MONTBLEU Resort Casino & Spa @ Lake Tahoe, NV (3 days for the cost of 2, nice hotel)

On moving and living…
Place to live if money/jobs were no object: Key West, Florida
Most realistic place to live: California (even Travis says so!)
Somewhere we could live a month or two, but probably not longer: Charleston, SC for Travis; Montréal/Québec, QC for Lindsay (to relearn French)

On the road…
Coolest roadkill: Alligators (poor alligator)
Coolest live animal sighting: Herd of havalinas (wild pigs) in Arizona
State with worst speed limits: Pennsylvania
State with worst road quality: Maine
Something bad about toll roads: Florida.

Coolest animal sighting(s): Roadside sheep (for Lindsay), dolphins (for Travis)
Cutest animals: BABY DUCKS, sheep
Things Lindsay wished we kept a collection of: hotel room keys (we’d have a huge stack); or a stack of hotel coupon guides. Also wish I could buy a pin or trinket everywhere we went, but a) it’s a waste of money and b) Travis is allergic to trinkets.
Most useless thing we brought in the car: plastic container with photoshop/flash books, portable xm radio, ipod (for Lindsay), copper grilling rack (for Travis)
Something we wished we brought: HDMI cable to hook up laptop to TV (to watch Friends)
Best movie we watched on the trip (Duplicity, UP): UP

Best meals
American: Braza Lena @ Ilsamorada, FL (Brazilian steakhouse; not sure if this counts as ‘American’, but I didn’t know where else to put it)
Best wings? Buzzys Pizzaria @ Niagara Falls, NY (says Travis; whenever he gets wings I usually get pizza or calzones)
Best BBQ? BBQ Bob’s Real Pit BBQ @ Bethel, ME (we both agreed on this one, and luckily we can go there again before we leave Maine ^.^)
Best hamburger? In’n’Out ~ always and forever (can’t try to change that)
Asian: Great Castle @ Bakersfield, CA (for Travis), Genghis Grill @ Dallas, TX (for Lindsay)
Mexican: Fiesta Mexicana @ Page, AZ
Fast Food: Chick-fil-a, In’n’out
Italian/Pizza: American Flatbread @ Burlington, VT for Travis; Buzzys Pizzaria @ Niagara Falls, NY for Lindsay
Seafood: Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf @ Henderson, LA for Travis, Legends Restaurant @ Bethel, ME for Lindsay (sadly, my choice is the hotel lobby restaurant because their clam chowder is excellent; I plan to eat it everyday for the rest of the week)
Dessert: Brennan’s @ New Orleans, LA (Banana’s Foster! And something about chocolate pecan pie for Travis)

Best Overall Meal: Braza Lena @ Islamorada, FL
Worst Meal: The Froggy Dog @ Avon, NC (slow service, terrible food; after the meal we found a Subway down the road and we hit ourselves for not going there instead).
Best Value Meal(s): Astros/Dodgers baseball + hot dog @ Houston, TX ($10 for entry and hot dog/soda/chips); Golden Nugget Buffet @ Pahrump, NV (sign up for their players club and get 2 for 1 $7 buffet); Applebee’s 2 for $20 special (+happy hour).
Worst Value Meal: PFK (Poulet Fris Kentucky) @ somewhere in Québec
Most disappointing meal: Krystal @ New Orleans, LA (thought it was supposed to be like White Castle burgers but found them to be entirely underwhelming — concerned for whether or not White Castle will be good or not when we find one)
Best place we went purely because it was recommended in a tour book: Fiesta Mexicana @ Page, AZ; The GA Pig @ Brunswick, GA