50 States Before They Graduate


50 States Before They Graduate

Wife and mother of three beautiful children. We are on a mission to see all 50 states before kids graduate from high school. It all started from a map of United States on the wall of my sons bedroom. My husband came to me and said, “How about we take them to all 50 states before they graduate?” He tells me the route and I start all the planning. It usually takes me six months to a year to plan each 16 day trip.

I am former elementary school teacher and now an author of an up and coming children's book series called Flip Side Stories. The book in the series in called Just Because. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933916907
I live in Troy,United States.
Hobbies: writing, drawing, reading, travel
Profession: Children's Book Author
Please do not judge errors in writing. I am often writing in bed after a long day in a hotel room and I don't do much editing.

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas April 21st 2019

Weather: sunny and 88 and gorgeous States: Nevada Cities: New York New York Miles: 0 miles Hours: 24/7 Restaurant: Public Us, Excalibur, Mercato Della Pescheria Hotel/Home: Fairfield Movies: Audible: Rested and ready to...Vegas Baby. At least a kid friendly version. We met up with Stone (Paul’s brother) for breakfast. He took us to Public Us restaurant. It was sooo good. Stone always has good restaurants. It was a cool little local restaurant with yummy food. I had the best homemade gluten free bread with an avocado spread, tomatoes and smoked salmon. The boys got some beautiful french toast and waffles. Elizabeth got some kind of breakfast burrito. Paul got a lovely oatmeal with fruit and nuts. He loves his oatmeal. Stone got some delicious looking egg skillet. It was all good and the atmosphere was nice. ... read more

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas April 20th 2019

Weather: sunny and 80s and 90s and gorgeous States: California, Nevada Cities: LA (Burbank), Las Vegas Miles: 269 miles Hours: 4 hrs 22 min Restaurant: Other Mama Hotel/Home: Fairfield Movies: Audible: Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly Our alarm went off at 6:45. I wanted to forget the alarm and go back to sleep but not as much as i wanted to go on the hike. Our plan was to eat a meatless breakfast for Good Friday and hike to the Hollywood sign. I researched how and where to access the trailhead for the hike but I was nervous that it wouldn’t be that easy. It actually was easy.We arrived around 8:30 AM. Blue skies and 60s increasing by the minute which is why we started early. We parked and started up the dirt trail. It was ... read more

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles April 18th 2019

Weather: sunny and 80s and gorgeous States: California Cities: LA (Burbank, Pasadena, Beverly Hills Miles: 20 miles Hours: 1hr Restaurant: Lanstra’s Bistro, In and Out Burger Hotel/Home: Springhill Suites LA/Burbank Movies: Audible What a great day! It was an all around great day. The weather was sunny and warm. We started out at Warner Brothers. What a great tour. Thank you Wendy and Kevin for telling us to do it. We really liked it. Now, we are all movie and theater people so we really enjoyed seeing where movies we love are made, costumes, sets and the hope of seeing someone famous. Which we didn’t. It is a tour on trams but we also got off and went into prop buildings and costume displays. Super cool. We saw movie and tv sets that would blow you ... read more

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Burbank April 17th 2019

Weather: sunny and 50s/60s/70s/80s States: California Cities: Santa Cruz, Monterrey, Pebble Beach, Carmel, LA Miles: 323 miles Hours: 5 hrs and 21 min Restaurant: Hotel/Home: Springhill Suites LA/Burbank Movies: Audible: So long Santa Cruz and hello highway 1. Well, it’s reputation certainly Ives up to itself. It is one of the most beautiful drives that we have ever done. It helps that we had a perfect day of blue skies,, 50s and 60s and the bluest waters you’ve ever seen We highly recommend the drive. You have every shad of blue on your right and every shade of green in the rolling hills and mountains to your left. There are some breathtaking hairpin curves where, at one second you have a lush barrier or guard rail and the next second it flattens out to a sheer ... read more
Sea Lion beach
Santa Cruz Capitola Pier

North America » United States » California April 16th 2019

Weather: sunny and 60s States: California Cities: San Francisco and Santa Cruz Miles: 70 miles Hours: 2 hrs and10 min Restaurant: Hula’s Island restaurant Hotel/Home: Movies: Audible: Escape From Alcatraz Today, we voluntarily went to prison. We walked where the infamous criminals walked. We met my sister, Heather down at Pier 33 to take a boat to the iconic Alcatraz. The skies, as blue as they could be. Weather in the 60 with a warm sun. We caught the 910 boat on the same waters of San Francisco Bay as those whose fate was sealed by their own felonious actions. It was a 20 minute boat ride to the island which is really a panoramic site to see from the Bridges to the city skyline to the island itself which was not as ominous as you’d ... read more
Dinner restaurant
San Fran
Boat to Alcatraz

Weather: Partly sunny, cloudy, sprinkles and 60s States: Nevada and California Miles: 218 Hours: 3 hrs and 26 min Restaurant: Pompei’s Grotto Hotel/Home: Courtyard Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf Movies: Audible: Escape From Alcatraz After a nice sleep, we woke early to get head start to San Fran since Reno itself is a bit of an armpit. Sorry. Where we stayed, in Sparks, is nice. It is about 10 minutes from downtown Reno. On our way out, we stopped in downtown Reno to see what it was about. Pretty much a seedy pit of druggies and down and outs. We had the kids step over a couple of syringes to get a picture of the Reno Arch. Ben says sarcastically, “Now I can tell my kids about the time I was in Reno.” Similar to the trip Paul’s ... read more

North America » United States » Nevada » Reno April 14th 2019

Instagram: @vangogh50states Weather: Sunny and 60s States: Utah and Nevada Miles: 519 Hours: 6 hrs and 56 min Capitals: Restaurant: The Olive Garden Hotel/Home: Residence Inn Reno Sparks Movies: Devil Wears Prada Audible: Escape From Alcatraz We opened the shades this morning to a panorama of beautiful snowcapped mountains surrounding Salt Lake City. We did not appreciate this beauty last night as we came in at dark unaware of them except for the declining switchback roads leading us into the city. The guide rails keep you from running into the mountain sides or off of their steep cliffs. Night makes this a little less unnerving to drive. We woke up, had breakfast and hit the road to Reno, Nevada. Our first plan was to drive through Yosemite on the way to San Francisco but the west ... read more
Salt flat

North America » United States » Utah » Salt Lake City April 14th 2019

Weather: Sunny and 40s States: Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah Miles: 935 Hours: 13 hrs and 25 min Capitals: University Campus: Restaurant: Coyote Creek Hotel/Home: Residence Inn SLC Movies: Audible: A Phone call from Heaven by Mitch Albom (finally over) We began the day with our daily Marriott breakfast bar. Pretty much what we do on our road trips. Big money saver to get a free breakfast at Fairfield’s, Springhill Suites and Residence Inns. At breakfast, we met a nice family from South Dakota. After Paul chatted and kept running into the man, Randy, they decided to exchange cards. Fate was telling them to connect. Then we hit the road. We are now headed on the long road to Salt Lake City. We have been there already and really enjoyed our stay. We swam in the Great Salt ... read more
Leftover Snow from Wes

North America » United States » Nebraska » Omaha April 12th 2019

INSTAGRAM- @vangogh50states Weather: Sunny and 30s States: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska Miles: 747 Hours: 10 hours and 22 minutes Capitals: Drove through Lansing University Campus:Creighton University Omaha Restaurant: Cottage Inn Pizza Hotel/Home: Springhill Suites Marriott Movies: Audible: A Phone call from Heaven by Mitch Albom Paul and I began the last hour before our departure with the usual scramble of gathering, shoving, remembering forgotten things, consoling shaking dogs that think we are abandoning them and cleaning up the house. Kind of like when you are moving to a new house. Except, our new (but temporary) home has four wheels, captain chairs with Sparty printed on the headrests and a 26 inch tv. We raced to grab a pizza (cheese pizza of course-Lent) on the way to pick the kids up at school. I had ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Troy April 11th 2019

This week has been a crazy one as we head into our next road trip adventure. My dad has been in and out of the hospital and is currently in. We don’t know what is wrong exactly. Ben has had his drivers test (he is an official driver now). Well, he still has to go to the Secretary of State but we don’t have time now. The other two have had drama and baseball after school. Ben has had some AP History test practices in the evenings. I am trying to wrap my mind around this trip and packing. Months ago, I booked all of our hotels being that it is spring break for many. I booked some of our activities like Alcatraz, Warner Brothers and the Pink Jeep tours. We have a house rented near ... read more
Packing the Back
The Massive Storm
Day before our trip radar

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