Great American Western Road Trip: Summer 2018

4 weeks, 3 kids, 1 van, 16 different lodgings, 5400+ miles, 12+ National or State Parks and Monuments adds up to 1 Epic Adventure.

American Southwest Family Vacation 2017

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Off We Go! A New Adventure Begins

As they say, "and a wake-up."
This is the last sunrise I'll see from the dorms before we get...
I drove down from Maxwell AFB, AL to Hurlburt Field, FL that same day. My first salute as an officer was actually from the Hurlburt gate guard.

Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Um, yeah, so this is where I finally ended up, after leaving my apartment in Boston on July 24th. That's 107 days, and over 8,300 miles! I guess that, technically, I was a nomad for nearly four months when you consider that I had no permanent address while at OTS. Imagine trying to pack everything into a 14 cu. ft. trunk and back seat that you thought you might need somewhere in the U.S. in the next 4 months.

And now for the next adventure!
Look out future, here I come.


Thursday, November 07, 2002

Third Lieutenant?

Today is the day before I am commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. All of our training requirements were completed earlier, we're technically no longer considered Officer Trainees. But without that commission, we're in a rather humorously titled status known as "Third Lieutenant." Check out the rank on the shoulder boards.
The cool kids still ride at the back of the bus.
Ah, the memories of OTS. And I get to revisit them every couple of years as I get sent back to Maxwell AFB for additional professional military education.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

USAF Officer Training School

Day 25-27: 17-19 Aug 02
Knoxville, Tennessee
Unpacked from the Road Trip, Packed for OTS, rested. Departed from Knoxville MEPS after getting orders for Maxwell AFB, AL on 19 Aug 02.

USAF Officer Training School
My Trans-American Road Trip officially ended when I reported in for Officer Training School. And one of the first things the military does is give you a haircut.


Friday, August 16, 2002

Road Trip USA - Day 24: Chicago, IL to Knoxville, TN

Date: 16 Aug 2002 Day #: 24 Miles Today: 577
Start: Chicago, IL End: Knoxville, TN
States Today: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee
Total Mileage: 7,718 Total # States Visited: 26
Points of Interest:

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Road Trip USA - Day 23: Chicago, IL

Date: 15 Aug 2002 Day #: 23 City: Chicago, IL
Points of Interest: Hancock Tower, Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium
Chicago Skyline

Another explore a city day, so I slept in until 8am after watching everyone go off to work. I looked up what to do and see in Chicago, but I guess I’ll just end up walking around town with a map. The Chicago City Pass is a pretty good deal:

 I got on the “L” at Irving Park at 9 am after having missed seeing the automatic ticket machines, which resulted in me getting step-by-step instructions from the rail worker in the booth.
I visited the Hancock observatory which stands 1,030 above the ground.
Hancock Tower, outside
Hancock Tower, view from inside
After the Hancock Tower, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago where I saw works by Seurat, Van Gogh, Degas, Manet, Monet, O’Keefe, and Hopper’s Café Singer.

Grant Wood
Warhol's Mao
Roy Lichtenstein
The Christmas ornament closet was already full

After the Art Institute, I walked down Michigan Avenue until I checked the map, and then turned west to the Sears Tower (which I hadn’t actually seen on the map previously). I couldn’t find any place that would let me charge my lunch to a credit card except for the Uno’s north of the river. I have the Chicago City Pass, and also plan on hitting the Filed Museum and the Aquarium today. It’s 2pm now, and they close at 5pm and 6pm respectively.

From Uno’s, I hopped on the red line to Roosevelt, hit the Field Museum and got stock photos of all the roadkill I’ve seen on this trip.

The Blue Angels just happened to be practicing as I walked to the Shedd Aquarium, where I watched a dolphin show.

Hover Dolphins!


Ridin' the rails
I checked an ATM nearby, and I still have only $18 left in the account. I hopped on the brown line to go back to Molly’s. Along the way, there was a 15-minute delay for some unknown reason. All told, six different people asked me about the bright orange Reese’s Peanut Butter cup t-shirt I’m wearing. Comments ranged from “Nice Shirt!” and “Where’d you get that?!?” to “Reese’s? Ahhaha, that’s great!”

I arrived back at Molly’s around 6:30pm. Her friend Dave showed up to crash for the night as well. Molly and I had pasta and then she went out to meet some old friends. I stayed in to watch TV. Three girls came back, but no Dave. Late that night, he was having trouble “getting the key to work,” and while I heard it, it didn’t register that someone might be at the door. One of the girls let him in.

Read more about my Great American Road Trip adventure.


Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Road Trip USA - Day 22: Topeka, KS to Chicago, IL

Date: 14 Aug 2002 Day #: 22 Miles Today: 613
Start: Topeka, KS End: Chicago, IL
States Today: Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois
Total Mileage: 7,141 Total # States Visited: 24
Points of Interest: Bridges of Madison County

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Road Trip USA - Day 21: Denver, CO to Topeka, KS

Date: 13 Aug 2002 Day #: 21 Miles Today: 586
Start: Denver, CO End: Topeka, KS
States Today: Colorado, Kansas
Total Mileage: 6,528 Total # States Visited: 21
Points of Interest:

Monday, August 12, 2002

Road Trip USA - Day 20: Denver, CO

Date: 12 Aug 2002 Day #: 29 City: Denver, CO
Points of Interest:

The US Capitol Building

Another lazy morning. I went with Lisa to drop her folks off at the airport, then on a windshield tour of Denver.
Denver International Airport

 After Denver, we took a trip to Boulder for a beer and hot wings. Boulder is definitely more my style than Denver.

Splash park
This just makes me smile.
After that, I met up with Alyson around 10pm because she got the late shift. We had a dinner of hashbrowns and pancakes at Tom’s Diner, a retro throwback that kind of reminded me of the diner in Pulp Fiction. During dinner, I remembered that I needed to get the oil changed, but it was far too late to get the car serviced. I’m also not feeling so well, possibly a combination of the beer, food, and altitude.

In somewhat related news, I heard back from Ted, my USAF recruiter, today. Ted just got back from vacation to find my paperwork still in Boston. So he says that I should come back to Boston on the 16th, which would be a really tight drive. Or, I can leave my car in Boston for 3 months and take a plane from Boston to Alabama on the 20th.

Read more about my Great American Road Trip adventure.


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