Hello family, friends, and anyone else who has stumbled across our page! Marcus and I are in Spain and getting settled in. I’ll update you all on our adventures here in another post. Today I want to give everyone a recap of our epic road trip!
As many of you know, we left California on November 26th to drive across the US. We made many stops along the way…not necessarily in the most direct way across the states…to see family and friends. We were so happy to spend time with nearly everyone we love and we cherished it very much. Here is a day-by-day outline of our travels; where we went, miles we drove, who we saw. ENJOY!
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Day One : November 26th – THE START OF OUR THREE YEAR HONEYMOON! We drove from El Dorado Hills, CA to San Diego, CA to make our first stop, a visit with my sister for Thanksgiving! Our drive was around 505 miles and about 7.5 hours. On our way down we stopped for lunch with Marcus’ cousin Mike in Venice Beach. It was so nice to sit on the boardwalk at the Venice Ale House and catch up with Mike over some delicious food and a well-deserved beer. It was definitely hard to get back into the car after that…we were ready to be done driving for the day. We (of course) hit some terrible LA traffic leaving Venice. I really don’t know how people drive through that every day! We FINALLY made it to San Diego and the warm welcome of my sister and her roommate Shari. That night we went out on the town and checked out Kettner Exchange for some tasty bites and yummy craft cocktails to start it off. My sister is always so fun to hang out with! I miss her infectious laugh and silly jokes. We decided to see where else the night would take us and went to the hot new club, Parq, in the Gaslamp District. The three of us danced the night away and had a blast.
Day Two : November 27th – THANKSGIVING! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. There are few things I love more than spending time with loved ones…and eating…and this holiday combines the two. My sister and I spent the morning cooking a couple of dishes for our feast later that day. This Thanksgiving I was lucky enough to get to spend time with not only my sister, but also with some of our extended family that I have not seen since I was a very young girl and some that I met for the first time this day! We went to dinner at Nicolee and Mark’s house. Mark is the son of my grandmother’s cousin. I think that makes us second cousins twice removed…or something like that. There were about 20 people there and it was so much fun to meet and get to know everyone. We unfortunately had to continue on our journey the next day. Although our time in San Diego was short, it was definitely sweet!
Day Three : November 28th – COLORADO OR BUST! We drove more on day three than we did on any other day of our road trip. Our goal was to drive from San Diego -> Denver, and we almost made it! We drove around 900 miles over 14 hours. We got into Rifle, CO around 1:00am and stayed the night with one of Marcus’ very best friends, Josh. It was great to get to spend some time with him and hang out for a bit. Leaving California we passed through Arizona, Nevada, Utah and into Colorado that day. Five states in one day! We tried to make a point to take a photo with each state sign.
Day Four : November 29th – FAMILY TIME! We got an early start leaving Rifle this day to get to Denver as early as possible. We arrived around noon and had such a wonderful day with Marcus’ mom (Mama), step-dad (Papa), brother (Yanek), sister (Catalina) and abuelo. We took the pups for a walk around the neighborhood and spent quality time together. Papa is from Poland and a family tradition around the holidays is to make pierogies – a handmade dumpling stuffed with a variety of fillings. I begged Papa to teach me how to make them and he was happy to oblige. They turned out amazing and I can’t wait to make them again! Marcus got to spend some time with his abuelo and ask him many questions about his career as a horse jockey and start practicing his Spanish! After a good night’s sleep it was time for us to load up once again and continue on. It was terribly hard to say goodbye, but we can’t wait for Mama & Papa to come visit us in Spain!
Day Five : November 30th – LET’S GO BRONCOS! Sunday is a day reserved for one thing…FOOTBALL! (Side note – My 2nd question when Marcus asked me what I thought about moving to Spain was, ”Can we watch football?!”) Marcus and I were so excited to get to watch a Broncos game in Denver with his dad (Dave). We had some fun around Denver during the day with Dave and his wife (Lynne) and although the Broncos didn’t have a home game, we stopped by their stadium to check it out. I am hopeful that someday we will get to experience a game there together. We decided to go downtown to watch the game and had a great time at Blake Street Tavern. After a great WIN we called it a night.
Day Six : December 1st – COLORADO SPRINGS! Once again we had to jump on the road in the morning. We headed down to Colorado Springs to spend some quality time with Marcus’ younger sister, Catalina. She moved down there from Denver to take a job at The Broadmoor. If you haven’t heard of it…look it up! The place is spectacular! We got to take a tour around the hotel grounds and it is impressive. After our tour we met up with Tyler, Catalina’s boyfriend, and had a delicious sushi dinner. We got to spend the night and the next morning with Catalina and it was much too short. She is the little sister I always wanted and I love having her in my life. I married into the best family and I count my blessings for that!
Days Seven & Eight : December 2nd & 3rd – SANTA FE! When we first started discussing our road trip and the places we HAD to visit, Santa Fe was on that list. Marcus’ paternal grandparents live there. We knew that we would get some great advice from them about living abroad; they lived in Italy and they loved it. They shared with us that they would love to take another trip to Italy and we are hoping to be able to meet them there some time next year! We were reluctant to pack up and hit the road again, but we were very excited for our next stop.
Days Nine – Thirteen : December 4th – 8th – AUSTIN! Austin was one of our most anticipated stops; for a couple of reasons. Natalie and Worth live there and they are among our favorite people in the whole world. Natalie is Marcus’ sister/best friend and Worth is her amazing husband. They have been married for 4 years and their relationship is one that we look up to. Marcus also had some business to take care of in Austin, but we can save that for another post. We were finally within our 10 days of travel window and had to get Joey & Lola’s health certificates taken care of in Austin…so we were juggling quite a few things during our time there. We were still able to squeeze in tons of fun from Top Golf to delicious meals, and even a holiday photo shoot! If you are ever in the Austin area, go to dinner at Jacoby’s. They have the most delicious mac&cheese on Earth. Everything else we had there was yummy too, but my mouth is still watering over that mac&cheese! Marcus and I both love Austin, and we hope to call it home someday. On our way out of Texas we drove through Tyler and stopped to have dinner with Worth’s family. We hadn’t seen them since Natalie’s graduation in 2013 so it was great to catch up with them. After dinner we continued on to Little Rock, AR to get a some sleep.
Days Fourteen – Sixteen : December 9th – 11th – NASHVILLE! I had been to Nashville earlier this year with my sister and I knew that I had to go back with Marcus. When we started planning the road trip it was one of those must visit places. It was the first stop on our road trip that we weren’t visiting with anyone and just had some time to have fun, just the two of us. I guess in a sense it was the actual start of our ‘Three Year Honeymoon’ and it felt like it too! We had no agenda, no set plans. We enjoyed the Broadway strip aka ‘NashVegas’, stopped by the Country Music Hall of Fame and visited Centennial Park. We also took advantage of not having any set plans and slept in! After being on the go for 2 weeks we were in need of some R&R. We definitely made the most of our short stay before we hit the road once again. On the 11th we planned to make the long haul to Virginia, our final stop. We ended up getting a little bit of a late start and made a detour in North Carolina to have an impromptu dinner with a friend. After dinner in Statesville NC we would have had to drive another 5 hours to make it to our destination – Norfolk VA. We decided to drive about halfway and get a little shuteye in Durham NC.
Days Seventeen – Nineteen : December 12th – 14th – THE FINAL DRIVE/NORFOLK! After getting a couple of hours of sleep in Durham, we hopped back in the car for the final leg of our road trip. We were in a bit of a hurry because we had to get our car to the shipment office that day. After we arrived in Norfolk we picked up our rental car, checked into our hotel and then Marcus went to start the process of shipping our car. After all that we were starving and grabbed a bite to eat. Then we made a trip to the pet store to get a kennel for Lola since she would be flying under the plane. After our busy day we had an early night and just relaxed at our hotel. Saturday we had a couple more things to take care of before we could have some fun. That night we went out and enjoyed some tasty bites and drinks at Field Guide in Norfolk. We decided to walk around a bit after that and we happened to stop by Gershwin’s, a piano bar. The bartender, Hillary, was wonderful…and so was her suggestion of the pimento cheese! There were 2 ladies sitting next to us at the bar and we started chatting with them. Judie was in town visiting her childhood friend Casey. Judie overheard us talking about Spain; she had spent some time in Barcelona a couple of years ago and was happy to share some of her experiences with us. Casey lived in the Norfolk area with her family and when she found out I was a photographer she asked me if I had time to do a holiday photo shoot of her family. As fate would have it we had some time on Sunday morning to do just that! Marcus and I went over to her home and got to spend some time with Casey, her husband Anthony and their 3 beautiful children; Vaughn, Landon and Alexa. It was so great to meet them and get to spend some time with them. Hanging with the kids really helped me too because I was missing our Landon and Kaitlyn so very much. After our photo-shoot that morning it was time to pack up our hotel room for the final time and take Joey & Lola out to get them tired before the flight. Once we got to the terminal on base it started to really hit me…we were MOVING TO SPAIN! I had so many emotions going on, but more than anything I was feeling very excited for this new adventure with my husband. I was also a little nervous, I had no idea what to expect…
Stay tuned for our adventures in Spain!