U.S. Road Trip – 4,000 Miles In. Where Have We Been?

Cedar Pass Campground Badlands National Park

In 2017, our small sedans were serving us just fine but we knew we’d be taking a road trip soon. A BIG road trip. One bigger than our tiny 2001 Honda Civic or 2006 Scion xA could handle. So we bought a used 2004 Toyota Highlander SUV in fair condition off Craigslist with 86,000 miles and under Kelly Blue Book value. Score! 

We’re 4,000 miles into our U.S. Road Trip now. Although we’re calling it our U.S. road trip, the goal isn’t to hit ALL of the U.S. We’d need another year and a ton more cash if we wanted to do that. The goal has been to visit some of the places we know we want to TAKE TIME to see.

You’ve seen those headlines that go something like, “Americans Let X Million Vacation Days Go To Waste Last Year.” Well, those stories aren’t about us. We tend to use all the vacation days we’ve earned and try our best to maximize each trip by seeing way too much in such a short amount of time. For example, in 2017, we rented a camper van for 8 days and managed to visit Grand Canyon National Park, Horse Shoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Dixie National Forest, Zion National Park, and Las Vegas in that time. We also booked the red eye flight home Sunday night with the intent of driving straight from the airport to be at work Monday morning. It was rewarding to see so much but the entire trip was incredibly EXHAUSTING.

This U.S. Road trip, we’re still bouncing around but not EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. We’re taking advantage of having this time off to explore each place until we’re content we’ve seen enough before deciding to move on.

So, 4,000 miles and 24 nights in, we’ve visited:

1. Rochester, NY to visit my family

2. Pittsburgh, PA to visit our friends Adam and Sheri and their kids

3. Madison, WI for cheese curds and Spotted Cow

4. Badlands, SD to see really really large piles of sand

5. Custer State Park, SD because we heard great things and wanted to see some really really large statues carved into stone nearby

6. Billings, MT to do laundry, stock up on food, and make plans

7. Mammoth Springs Campground in Yellowstone to explore the northern section of the park

8. Cannon Village Campground in Yellowstone to explore the middle section of the park

9. Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone for our 1 year anniversary and to explore the southern section of the park

10. Colter Bay in Grand Tetons for the northern section of the park

11. Jenny Lake Campground in Grand Tetons for the southern section of the park

12. Salt Lake City, UT because it was the only affordable place to book so last minute Labor Day weekend

13. Park City, UT because we want to feel civilized but close to nature and have access to WiFi to plan the next steps

We don’t know EXACTLY where we’re heading next but that’s what we’ll be figuring out over the next few days in Park City, UT. 

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