Road-trippin’ from Chicago to California

8 states, 4000 miles, 9 epic days!

A few weeks back Tripnary team began a cross-country road trip from Chicago to the Bay Area. We charted an exciting route covering Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, and California. We made a fun daily schedule that worked out very well for balancing work and play — worked till late afternoon every day and then started driving in the evening when the sun is not that strong and we could catch beautiful sunsets across the country.

Expect a followup post about the trip with more insights into how we used Tripnary app and what we learnt along the way.

Until then enjoy some highlights from our trip…

Wisconsin: The highlight was the Wisconsin Great River Road. It’s a scenic byway that parallels the Mississippi River for 250 miles and goes through 33 towns. We also stopped at FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard in Sparta which sounds more morbid than what it is. This eerie collection of sharks, slides, elephants and the like is the final resting place for statues you see on highways inviting you to take the exit for a bite or a fun detour.

Minnesota: There were some good photo ops of the unending corn fields as far as the eye could see every which way, but soon it became monotonous and slightly boring. Sorry for the ding Minnesota! I am sure you are cooler than that 😉

South Dakota: The trip starts to get exciting here. The roads are winding and pass through Badlands National Park. We stayed up till 2am to do some night sky photography here (though it was close to full moon so there was too much light in the sky for clear views of the stars but it was still beautiful). We also woke up for an early morning hike and sunrise from the Badlands. We were glued to our camera till the magic hour lasted!

Art Alley in Rapid City, SD was great to stroll through. Bright colors and free-form graffiti intermingles with pop art in the the heart of downtown. We were completely drawn into a whole block filled with different forms of expression.

And finally checked off the most touristy part of the trip — Mount Rushmore 😉

Wyoming: Since we were in the wild west, it was fitting to check out a rodeo at Cody, Wyoming. I will never understand why anyone would enjoy playing or watching this sport!

Wyoming: This was our favorite part of the trip. For the July 4th weekend we spent time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. You don’t have to try too hard to get good pictures here…it’s just beautiful. We came within a few feet of black bear and instead of running in the opposite direction, we reached for our cameras. It was difficult to pull my finger away from the shutter release.

Idaho: I was surprised that Idaho was so picturesque. We passed the Perrine Memorial Bridge in Jerome, ID that gives a phenomenal view of the Snake River beneath it and the surrounding valley. Finally getting Starbucks again after few days was the biggest treat for us 😉

Nevada: Driving through Nevada at 100mph gives you the real sense of a road trip. We hit it in middle of thunderstorms that made the drive even more gorgeous. On the horizon, we could see four different areas being slammed with rain and lightning and we Periscoped it live. After days of living off a sleeping bag and camping we got a sweet hotel deal at Reno which was much needed by the end of our trip!

Finally we arrive in California. We were tempted to stop at Lake Tahoe but we will hopefully plan it when we have we have recuperated from this trip.

In the valley for next few months. Feel free to share recommendations for any places to check out here.

Originally published at on July 14, 2015.

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