When we returned from our 5,000 mile road trip through the Southeast, we told you that we’d be locking ourselves into our house in Nebraska so we could write all about it.

Our 5000 mile road trip

And this map doesn’t even include the driving we did at our various destinations!

And, with the exception of a seven course whole-hog Valentine’s Day dinner at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, (read about that HERE) we’ve been pretty good about staying on task. After seeing that meal, can you blame us for getting a little off course?


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surviving a road trip with your spouse


Anyway, we returned to Crete, and have since been barricaded in our home, mostly because it keeps snowing. But, after taking the snowblower for a walk every morning, we’ve been working away on stories for our blog. We can’t wait to share some of the highlights from our trip with you.

Our 5,000 mile road trip

The journey began when we left our Nebraska home and spent a few days in Oklahoma with our daughter, Meghan. A couple days after Christmas, we set out from Pawhuska (Handy’s pops in hand) and pointed the car southeast.

Because of Ann’s achy joints and our desire to stop and see some things along the way, we only drove 4-5 hours a day. With stops in places like Bentonville, Arkansas, and Greenville, Mississippi, we slowly worked our way into a warmer climate. By the time we arrived in Gulf Shores, Alabama, in time for a beautiful hosted dinner at Coast Restaurant, it was positively lovely. From there, we skirted along the Gulf Coast before turning south and driving the length of Florida. On this leg of the trip we even got to make an unexpected stop in Orlando when our car broke down. The nice folks at the dealership there were great and got us to our scheduled stop at the Downton Abbey Exhibition in West Palm Beach in plenty of time.

Next, we parked the car in Fort Lauderdale for a week while we boarded the new Celebrity Cruises Edge. We took a seven-night cruise to the Western Caribbean aboard the brand new ship and loved every minute of it. I mean, look at this rooftop garden!

After the cruise, we drove on south to visit my folks in Marathon, Florida. And because we were so close, we went on down to Mile Marker 0 in Key West. You guessed it. It was all north from there.

Heading north

We left the Keys, heading north via Orlando and a dinner at Universal CityWalk and went on to Atlanta the next day. We saw one of Ann’s former colleagues and then toured the magnificent Georgia Aquarium. Lamenting it was getting cold again, we headed back west towards Oklahoma and made some interesting stops along the way.

Quapaw Baths

By the time we got back home, we’d gone more than 5,000 miles sitting next to each other in the car. Believe it or not, we still love each other! Really love each other. We honestly enjoy being together and the time in car gave us a chance to talk, sing, and just enjoy each other. We did discover, however, that we could go an hour or more at a time without talking because after five weeks of close togetherness, there really wasn’t much more to say. And that was OK.

As you might guess, we’ve got quite a bit to tell, and we can’t wait to share. We hope you’ll find some travel inspiration and a few tips along the way. If you have not subscribed to our email list, this would be a great time so that you don’t miss anything! Just put your email in the box below.

As always, thanks for following along on our journeys and travel well!

  • The Pioneer Woman's Boarding House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is a special hotel. There are eight rooms, each beautifully decorated, and no two rooms are alike. With large bathrooms, a mini-bar, evening reception, room service, valet parking, high-speed internet, and friendly service, a night here is a real treat. Ann snapped this picture of the arrangement of fresh flowers in the Butterfly Room. The bed in the background? That's a Tempurpedic mattress with some of the softest bedding around. We can't think of a better place to spend a cozy night when you @visittheosage and Pawhuska.⁣
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@pwboardinghouse
  • While in Italy, we took a cooking class in the home of a the owner of a small vineyard. During the class, we learned to make several dishes including pasta (which we rolled and cut by hand) as well as Tiramisu. Looking at this picture, we can still taste the freshness of the pasta, the tomatoes picked that morning from vines in the yard for the sauce, and the herbs clipped from a pot on the porch. It was a magical meal, paired with wines they had produced using grapes they'd grown on their own land. Talk about a farm to table meal.
  • The Enchanted Highway near @visit_dickinson, North Dakota, is a 30 mile stretch of road that runs from I-94 to Regent. Along the way you'll find a number of huge metal sculptures that have to be seen to be believed. The size and scale of these creations is such that you'll be filled with a sense of wonder, and a desire to drive on to the next one. This particular creation is called, appropriately enough, "Grasshoppers in the Field." This road is just one more reason for you to hop on up to North Dakota. @NorthDakotaLegendary
  • One of our favorite restaurants whether on land or at sea is @celebritycruises Luminae restaurant. Every morsel of every dish has been thoughtfully considered, prepared, and presented. Take this Chocolate Palet dessert for instance. It's so rich that more than a few bites would be almost overwhelming. But that's okay, as the serving size is perfect. Paired with the scoop of gelato on a bed of chocolate crumbles? Well, it makes a perfect end to a scrumptious meal. A true masterpiece.
  • One of the things we love most about traveling is discovering new things. New destinations, new foods, new cocktails, and new people. What do you like to discover?
  • Our imaginations run wild when we find ourselves in a place so chock-full of history like Deadwood, South Dakota. As we took in the town, we closed our eyes and listened for echoes from the past when Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok lived here. If only the streets could talk. @tripscout @midwestliving⁣
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  • Standing on a hill in present-day Rome, you can look down on the Roman Forum, the center of activity in ancient Rome. We've all heard of Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Marcus Agrippa, and the Apostle Paul, and we know them as ancient historical figures who almost don't seem real. And then you see this space, the very streets where they walked and the buildings they knew. This is why Rome is the eternal city. You can still walk streets and cross bridges built thousands of years ago. Being there makes it's real, and suddenly history comes alive.
  • Is there anything more relaxing than the thought of a beautiful sandy beach? How about one with pink sand, like at Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda? We made a stop here during our visit to the island nation and loved seeing all the folks there enjoying their time splashing in the warm summer sun. ⁣
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Would you like to visit this beach?

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