Wow!  That was some trip!  Morgan and I made it safe and sound to Boulder, CO.  I was able to spend some time out there with her family and do a little work at University of Colorado!  So here’s my photo journal of the trip…

Our path across the US was as follows (with a map below for your reference)….

Day 1: Deerfield Beach, Fl to Gainsville, Fl to visit Morgan’s grandma and aunt.

Day 2: Gainsville, Fl through GA, TN, and into KY.  Snafoo in Kentucky.

Day 3: KY through IL, MO, KS, and finally to Boulder, CO by 3am.

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Our atlas was invaluable!

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Driving through GA

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Lunch at Sonic

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Passing through Atlanta, GA

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Me driving through GA

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TN

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Rest stop shenanigans.  I kind of look like the angel (or devil) on Morgan’s shoulder.

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KY

And then as we were approaching the border of Illinois in pitch black darkness on Interstate 70, a deer jumped out in front of the car.  I was in the passenger seat messing with my Ipod so I saw nothing.  Morgan remembered seeing a nanosecond of brown, which she thought at first was a cardboard box.  With no time to react, we plowed right into the deer and subsequently pulled over to figure out what the heck just happened!  colorado 064

Smooshed front/driver side, missing sideview mirror, hood crumpled

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Front view

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We were pretty positive it was a deer once we found deer hair and skin stuck in all the metal pieces up front.

We then moved away from the car and stood in the adjacent field until the police and AAA (thanks, Mom!!) could arrive.  I kept hearing strange noises in the distance but figured it was some livestock that I couldn’t see in the field.  The police officer later told me its a good thing we called them b/c there are a bunch of weirdos out in that area.  Nice.  Barry, the tow truck driver, then came to pick us and the car up.  We headed to the next town, Peducah, KY.  A mile down the road we saw a sign for the KY State Penitentiary.  Also, nice.

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Once we dropped the car off at the Toyota dealership in Peducah, Barry was nice enough to drop is off at the Holiday Inn Express.  As he pulled away, the lady at the counter, Charlene,  informed us that they had no rooms to spare.  Apparently tornados in Illinois (where we had planned to stay the night) had caused the residents to seek shelter in nearby hotels and there were few available rooms in the whole area.  Charlene then called around town and found us one of the remaining rooms at Candlewood Suites AND a lady named Angel from Candlewood Suites came to pick us up and take us to our hotel after her shift!  All in all we got lucky several times!!  Wheeew!

The next day we rented a car, packed all Morgan’s crap into it, and got back on the road to finish the trip.

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Illinois was full of fields with yellow wildflowers

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The arch as we approached St. Louis

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St. Louis, MO

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Kansas sky

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Kansas sunset.

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Just after sunset, we passes hundreds of giant wind turbines.  I wish we could’ve seen them in the day.  They looked so weird…like giant robots standing in the plains.  This is what I imagine they would’ve looked like.

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By the time we got to Colorado, it was dark again, but this would have been the view driving up toward the Rockies.  Snow covered continental divide in the background.

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The flatirons

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The front of Morgan’s house

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How about that view!

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Again, the view from the house.  You can see the continental divide in the background.

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Their German Shepherd, Katie

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Ground squirrels on the back porch

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A stellar jay

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The mom of the fox family whose den is next to the Smiths’ house

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Hummingbird

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Pearl Street, Boulder

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The fam!

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Pretty tulips on Pearl St.

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Screwing around at the toy store

Once day we spent some time with a researcher, Dr. Anne Hansen, at University of Colorado’s medical campus in Denver.  I brought Anne 10 stingray brains that she is going to help me work on for the last project of my dissertation.  We dissected one and dyed a small area of the brain tissue with a fluorescent dye.  In a few months I will head back there to slice the brains and look at them using a fluorescent microscope.  Hopefully we will see something like this…

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After working with Anne, the fam and I took a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Definitely top 10 favorite destinations for me! A – MAZ – ING!!!!

rmnp

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On the drive up we passed the hotel from The Shining.  Don’t I look scared?  Danny’s not here right now, Mrs. Torrence.  Creepy!

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Soon after entering the park we began to see herds of elk.

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Aspen trees

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The bark of the apsen trees has this crazy patterns because the elk gnaw on it… as I am demonstrating for you.

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Gorgeous mouontain scenery

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The snow was pretty deep!

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Who knows…

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I love this one!

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View from the overlook

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More amazing scenery!

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grouse showing his dominance

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Bear Lake.

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Posing elk

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We found a fake mustache in my purse so…. you know.

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Another day we went to a gallery that is displaying some of  Morgan’s mom’s paintings, which are absolutely awesome!  Alike so….

salliesmith painting

After a week of travels, I said goodbye to my friend and headed back to tropical, sunny Florida.  There are worse places to have to go when your vacation is over.  So now its back to teaching, working, and writing! Bleh.

Hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day weekend!

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About Tricia

I am a science geek who loves traveling and anything to do with the ocean!

3 responses »

  1. Tricia says:

    yeah, we got super lucky. of course i remember that line! scariest movie EVER!!

  2. mom says:

    redrum redrum redrum
    shining indeed, do you remember this line?

    pics are nice, car looks horrible. it is amazing you two didn’t get hurt.

    good thing ( I wouldn’t have been able to find you guys) because I STILL don’t know how to use my GPS! who cares, they say the technology will be gone by next year and we won’t be able to use them anyhow……
    love ya

  3. Mal says:

    you kind of made out with an elk

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