Day 34: Yellowstone NP

April 29th

Yellowstone National Park

7 AM — Slept without rainfly last night, due to the excellent weather. Lots of stars.

8:30 AM — Enter Yellowstone. See a herd of bison within 500 feet of entering park. This is not the last we will see. Yellowstone is a beautiful park. Lots of geothermal activity and lots of animals. We see bison, coyotes, elk, deer, sheep, birds…but no bears.



Geothermal Activity

Geothermal Activity?

11 AM — Today is officially called the “Bison Day”. Herds block us on the road, appear in endless clusters in the distance, and generally never seem to be out of sight. They are super-slow moving, and care nothing for cars or people. We saw more than a hundred.

Flesh melts right off the bone

Flesh melted right off the bone…Geof was never the same

12 PM — Old Faithful errupts before us, spewing mist and steam a hundred feet into the air. phifffffff!

every 94 minutes (give or take a few)...

It comes every 94 minutes…

Coyotes fighting over a carcass

Pack of beasts fighting over a carcass

3 PM — Start to make our way east again, leaving the bison to continue their domination of Yellowstone in our absence.

5:30 PM — We locate another KOA, this one in Miles City, MT. Arrive and received free icedcream sandwiches. Our tent site is on a lush grassy lawn. The weather is great again, low 70’s and a nice breeze.


Purty Sunset

6:00 — The Subaru’s tires have been taking a beating over the past 10,000 miles. Two definitely need to be replaced so Geof runs the car out to be serviced since there’s still lots of usable daylight.

6:45 — Two new tires!

Day 35: North “Dacotah” and the Twin Cities

April 30th


North “Dacotah” and the Twin Cities

7 AM — Woke up for a long day of driving. Minding his own business at the sink, Andrew became an audible and olfactory witness to another campers “horrific” bowel movement. Last signs of Montana...

Last bits of Montana…


10 AM — Rain started coming down when we got near the Minnesota border. It didn’t really stop all day. The scenery was of endlessly repeating plains and gentle rolling hills. The overcast made it seem quite depressing.

3 PM — Called a KOA to reserve a cabin. It seemed a cabin would be cheaper than an hotel and dryer than a tent site.


KoA cabin

Our C/Kabin at the KoA



7 PM — Some confusion due to the KOA not being a KOA at the time of our arrival. There was a change of ownership or de-franchising, but we got the cabin all the same. We followed an old man in a golf cart to our cabin site. It looks cozy but is basically a glorified wood shed. It’s got a bunk bed and a twin bed in it. Andrew delighted to have “the top bunk”. The mattresses are foam pads with vinyl cover, not the most comfortable or quiet. Theres a ceiling fan, a small heater, and a desk/bench, not much else. The door has an olden reinforced brace mechanism that slides a large block of wood into the doorframe. It would take some sort of siege weapon to breech our cabin.

Day 36: Mall of America and Michigan

April 31st

Mall of America and Michigan

9 AM — Drove to the immense Mall of America and wandered the shops and corridors. Geof got a bunch of coffee (like 4 cups) and Andrew got a bunch of peanut butter (like 4 jars). A huge majority of the stores were clothing, shoes, and otherwise uninteresting merchandise. The place was worth visiting.

Boba Fett made of Legos, Geof full of coffee

Boba Fett made from Lego, Geof made from coffee

Mama always said life is like a box of choc-o-lates

Mama always said life is like a box of choc-o-lates


11 AM — Rained for the majority of the driving day.

4 PM — Approached Lake Michigan and drove the highway along the coast, very scenic whenever the fog lifted enough.

7 PM — Arrived at Comfort Inn at Manistique, Michigan. Andrew decided to take a walk down by the lake, only to be overwhelmed by swarms of mosquitoes.

8 PM — Took a drive through town, purchased assorted alcohol products and Hardees burgers.

Day 37: Michigan to Youngstown

May 1st

Michigan to Youngstown

8 AM — Left town and drove through the rain southward.

10 AM — Mackinaw bridge, many miles in length. We drove through downtown Mackinaw in search for coffee, and to just give the place a look-see. No stores were open, and no coffee!

Extremely long Mackinaw bridge

Extremely long Mackinaw bridge

This cop had a bubblelight on his roof...straight out of the 70's!

This cop had a bubble-light on his roof…straight out of the 70’s!

12 PM — Left the interstate and checked out Frankenmouth, a touristy German-themed town. Andrew wasnt interested in stopping anywhere, so we made our way back onto the interstate with a full tank of gas and a cup of tasty Sheetz coffee.

1 PM — Lunch at a BW3 chicken wing restaurant. A dozen wings each, in a myriad of tasty flavors.

2 PM — Andrews lips are still burning from the wings…

8 PM — Arrive in Youngstown, Ohio. Navigate ourselves to Zach’s doom building. We call him and let him lead us through the labyrinthine hallways. The doom looks more like a mental institution or something…there’s no carpeting, just white-walled corridors with concrete floors. Zach’s dorm itself brings one back to a college environment. After chatting, we go out to eat at Smokey Bones. Delicious ribs and other barbecued products quickly get devoured. Zach declares Andrew “creepy” after several comments.

9 PM — Go back to Zach’s dorm and chat for a while

9:45 PM — Having already made a hotel reservation, we begin our drive towards Pittsburgh

11 PM — Arrive at a Comfort Inn. Our room is up 6 floors or so. It smells a bit like wet paint, and everything in it is new and clean. Good night’s sleep all around! This plans our last night sleeping away from home.

Day 38: Last Day

May 2nd


Last Day

9 AM — Not wanting to arrive in Morgantown too early, we take our time leaving the hotel. Geof gets another sub-continental breakfast.

10 AM — Winding through small Pennsylvania/West Virginia roads gets us stuck behind an oversized flatbed truck. It seems to take us an hour to go 10 miles…

Bus towing a car...not seen that before

Line of buses towing cars…



11 AM — Arrive in Morgantown, drop in to visit Geof’s old college buddies. Meet up with Dan and Jonas. Former crib where Geof lived in college

Former crib where Geof lived in college

Dan doesnt have an exam that day, so he join us for lunch at Black Bear Burritos, an awesome local restaurant.


1 PM — Say farewell to WVU and head east towards Virginia.


5 PM — Arrive in Fairfax. Andrew unloads all his gear, loot, and gifts. Everyone takes turn hugging his mother repeatedly


9:30 PM — Hitting rush hour traffic in both DC and Baltimore, Geof finally gets home to NJ.