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!

  • Just over two years ago, we stopped in Pawhuska to have lunch at Ree Drummond's @PWMercantile. From the person opening the door for us to the folks tending the line giving us water, we felt welcome from the moment we set foot in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.⁣
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But it turns out it wasn't just @thepioneerwoman and her husband, Ladd, who went above and beyond to welcome visitors. No, it turns out what they did was just par for the course in this town that's home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met in all our travels. ⁣
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So we bought a house there. We got it in part, so we could be a part of the community we've come to love. But we also got it so we could help welcome folks to town and let them know how glad we are they came to visit. Come and see Pawhuska. And when you do, stay awhile.
  • Fried dill pickles are a little different in North Dakota than they are in most other places we've been. Instead of just dipping some dill chips in batter, dropping them in the fryer, and then serving them in a basket with ranch, the folks there take their time and make a dish to remember.⁣
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They start with a dill pickle spear, wrap that in Havarti cheese, then put a wonton wrapper around it all. Then, they fry it, and slice it open just so before serving them alongside a spicy aioli dipping sauce. We had these at a complimentary meal at Outlaws Bar and Grill in @visitwilliston, North Dakota.⁣
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Let's be honest, these pickles are just one of many reasons we look forward to our return to @northdakotalegendary next year.
  • Have you ever had the chance to watch a cruise ship come into or leave port? These massive ships, often 1,000 feet or more long, can maneuver themselves by the dock so gently that you don't even realize you've stopped (or started) moving.⁣
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In Bermuda, we had the chance to watch the Norwegian Escape depart. We watched as she pushed away from the dock, then spun 180 degrees on a point before heading out to sea.⁣
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We've seen ships do this dozens of times. In fact, we've been on ships and have been part of this type of maneuvering dozens of times. And yet, given the sheer size of the vessels, it never ceases to impress.
  • You know you want to. Do it. Just book the ticket and go. At the end of your life, you likely won't remember most of the stuff you bought in 2019, but you will always remember the journey you took and the experiences you had. So enrich your life and go. We've never regretted spending money for a trip.
  • This just might be the sweetest, best pecan roll we've ever had. At the @PWMercantile, they bake these delicious treats daily. Covered in a luscious caramel and finely chopped pecans, these rolls are the stuff dreams are made of. Have you had one?
  • Smack in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we found the International Rose Test Garden. Set on 4.5 acres of land, the garden offers visitors a chance to see 10,000 rose bushes from about 650 different varieties. ⁣
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We spent more than an hour walking the carefully tended paths, snapping photos, and just enjoying the beautiful flowers. Our visit here made us glad that we literally scheduled time on this trip to stop and smell the roses.
  • Set in a renovated middle school in Grinnell, Iowa, Hotel Grinnell is one of our favorite boutique hotels. The owner thoughtfully designed the space and included touches from school including “Hall Pass” key card sleeves, and a bar cleverly named, “The Periodic Table.” We wrote a story on this hotel, you can read all about it on our blog. Link in bio. @hotelgrinnell #hosted @traveliowa
  • Everyone has a happy place, a spot where the world melts away and a sense of relaxation and calm settles in. For Steve, this place is on board a cruise ship, out on open water. He can spend hours sitting and watching the water, the ship's wake, and looking out for other ships. He loves soaking up the sun and fresh ocean air while cruising along on the sea. ⁣
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What's your happy place? ⁣
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