Hop in the Backseat


This is not just “Cate and Michelle’s” trip.

This is OUR trip.

We have received so many suggestions of places to go, meals to eat and things to do—places you have been and things you wish you could do.

So, we invite you to join us. Jump in the backseat!

Know the best donut spot?
Is there a band playing we shouldn’t miss?
Have you always wanted to camp out in the Badlands?
Is your cousin living in Seattle and wants to show us the best coffee in town?
Where is the best roadside landmark for a photo op?
Know someone that needs us to housesit for them?

Please tell us what not to miss and why. We will do as much as we can along the way and let you know what we learned and what we liked.

P.s. The more the suggestions the better!

8 thoughts on “Hop in the Backseat

  1. Michelle and Cate – Jim Gossip here. Judy and I wish you guys a long, safe, interesting and insightful trip. Judy and I have traveled across the U.S. five times, four by car and one by train. We have twice followed Route 66(our personal favorite) and once on the Lincoln Highway(Route 30) which runs from Times Square to Sanfrancisco. There is nothing more intellectually stimulating than a long road trip. America and her people are just amazing. We have traveled extensively outside the U.S. but there is no place like home.

    A couple of things I would like to impart to you are keeping a detailed travel journal and matching it up with photo’s. You will always cherish it and it will be there for future generations of family and friends to enjoy. Judy and I have keep a travel journal and matching photographs for some 25/30 years. We read it often as do friends and family. If you have not read William Least Heat Moon’s book “Blue Highways” I highly recommend it. It is without question the penultimate travel book. He is a very gifted writer and details his trip where he cimcumnavigated the entire U.S. in his hippy mobile(Van) called Ghost Dancing. We also have the book on tape and listen to it on our long road trips. Blue highways are secondary roads and appeared on old road maps in blue. True “Road Warriors” stay away from the interstates as much as possible. It is difficult to see America from the Interstate Highway System.

    One more tip for now. See as much Roadside Americana as you can and eat at as many “Meat and Threes” as you can. These are the old cafe’s, Bistro’s, and other eateries where historically you would get a meat and three vegetables. A travelers rule of thumb has always been the more calendars on the wall the better the food.

    Hope these few tips help early on. We will follow your trip with great interest and post often. You are in for an amazing trip ladies. Travel safely!

    • Hi Jim!

      Thank you so much for your well wishes and your suggestions! They are amazing!
      We are beyond excited to take this journey! This is my first time really traveling and seeing the US 🙂

      Yes, we are certainly keeping a detailed travel journal and will also be updating the blog hopefully daily with photos/videos.

      Thank you again for your support – we’re excited for you to follow our journey!!

  2. Hey Girls, We enjoyed your “send-off” videos, they were so cute. We noticed your yellow ducky on the dash. We have “Cedric” the travel gnome, who travels with us everywhere. We have photos of Cedric at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, etc. He just loves to travel with us. Have a relaxing weekend. We cant wait to hear from you again. We’re having so much fun on your road trip!!! It’s wonderful how you’ve allowed us all to join you. Thanks :^) Judy and Jim Gossip

  3. Hello Ladies,

    Sounds like you “Road Warriors” are having an awesome trip. By the way, if you can tame the road for at least 6-weeks and travel to a substantial degree on secondary roads you will be Road warriors officially. Just a couple of tips as you approach Chicago. I’ve been there many times and it’s a great American city but be diligent and careful. A great stop is the Navy Pier on the shores of lake Michigan. This is a very festive venue and you can ride the tallest Ferris Wheel in the U.S. and get a great view of the Chicago Skyline. Lot’s of fun here. One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is the Architectural Tour of the city by boat cruising through the cities canals and viewing the wonderful architecture. You can get the boat at the Navy Pier.

    If you are going through Minnesota an interesting stop is the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Michelle you may find this of particular interest given your field of work. The Mall of the Americas is a great stop in Minneapolis/St. Paul but may be harmful to the travel budget.

    One of my favorite states is South Dakota. So much to do and see here. A lot of people sleep on SD but that’s a mistake. A nice stop is the Corn Palace in Mitchell. What they do with the corn is simply amazing. The Black Hills and Badlands are just phenomenal as well as beautiful. Here of course you will visit Mt. Rushmore in Keystone and the nearby Crazyhorse monument. The old western town of Deadwood is a great stop. Jakes, a restaurant owned by Kevin Costner is a very good place to dine. One of my favorite small cities in America is Rapid City. This is a “hot” city for young people and it has an active nightlife. We like to stay at the historic Albert Johnson Hotel and dine at the Firehouse which has a nice micro brewery. If you can’t stay at the Albert Johnson tour the lobby. Great Native American memorabilia. One last thing on SD. As you travel from end to end you will enjoy reading all the signs for the town of Wall and Wall Drug. It’s your proverbial tourist trap kind of like our South of the Border, but lot’s of fun. The signage is hilarious.

    I did not mean to write a dissertation but you guys are in for a real treat as you move on. Stay safe!

    Jim Gossip

  4. Hello Ladies,

    We got your pm with respect to your itinerary over the next few days. Absolutely visit Michigan’s upper peninsula. You won’t regret it. It’s a beautiful area. By the way, you will be known as a “Yooper” when you visit the upper peninsula. You will see that term used frequently up there. One of our best experiences in Michigan was visiting White Fish at the tip of Michigan on Lake Superior. We stayed in a lighthouse there and toured the fabulous Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Lots of memorabilia, much of it heartbreaking from the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. One of the most moving experiences we’ve ever had while traveling. We went down to the shoreline and many people leave flowers, markers etc. to pay homage to the sailors lost. We played Gordon Lightfoots song repeatedly while up there.

    Another of the most beautiful and interesting places we visited was Mackinac Island. We stayed in the Grand Hotel there where many movies have been filmed. Mackinac is pretty awe inspiring. We rode bikes around the whole island. The island is easily as beautiful as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

    Tahquamenon Falls(upper and lower) is also a beautiful spot. The Upper Falls is one of the largest falls east of the Mississippi. On the food front Yoopers like to eat Pasties. Basically these consist of meat and vegetables in a crust. They originated in Cornwall, England as a meal for miners and later came to Michigan.

    You will absolutely FALL IN LOVE with Leland. Don’t miss “Fish Town” right in the middle of ,town. Many traditional fishing shacks have been transformed to interesting shops without destroying the integrity of the village. A mini artists colony. Just a must visit.

    Iowa will really surprise you. We have visited a few times and really like the state. More to do than one would think. We love the small towns on the Mississippi River. We love to travel the Great River Road(GRR). We have traveled it from end to end and it’s really cool. One of our favorite towns is LeClair. Very beautiful small river town. By the way this is the home of American Pickers, the popular TV show. We have purchased a couple of things in their antique shop right in town. Stop in and see Daniel and all of her tattoos. The Amana Colonies is also a great stop as is Hebert Hoovers boyhood home and memorial in West Branch. Outside of Demoines, maybe 30 minutes away are the fabulous Bridges of Madison County. Think Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. These are a series of covered bridges made famous by the movie. Good to watch the movie prior to visiting. Very romantic stop and you can film the 1883 Roseman Bridge. The small town of Winterset is here where some of the movie was filmed. You can eat at the Northside Café where Clint and Meryl would eat between sets. John Wayne’s birthplace is also here. Nice visit. Iowa is America’s heartland at it’s best. You will see many “Prairie Cathedrals” in Iwoa as roadies call them. These are just large Silo’s. Another stop we enjoyed was “The Field of Dreams” from the movie. I hit some balls on the field there while visiting.

    I know this is a lot of information but I just wanted to share some experiences with you. Many people just don’t understand what a great place America’s Heartland is. Take your time and enjoy it. Stay safe girls!

  5. WOW, I am so blown away by all your beautiful pictures. Makes me want to go back to Michigan again, this time in the Fall. Jim and I had pasties at Mackinaw Pastie Co in Mackinaw City and they were really good. We’d never heard of them before either. I’m so happy you visited Leland. We absolutely fell in love with the charming little town. Of course I think I went into every little gift shop in Fishtown, and bought a beautiful sterling bracelet in one of the shops with Petoskey stones shaped liked bears. I wear it often and remember the adorable Leland and Fish Town. We had a fantastic dinner at The Cove and took lots of photos of the sun setting over the water, and the little green and white Tug as we ate. What a neat place. When we went we fell so in love with the town that we tried to check into that adorable little hotel across the water FALLING WATERS LODGE, but they said you have to book a room there 2 to 3 months in advance in Summer!! Next time we’ll do that. Keep up the good work girls. We’re so glad you’re having such a wonderful time. Stay safe. Judy

  6. Hello Ladies,

    Hope all is going well with respect to your trip. You gals are full blown “Road Warriors” now. Not sure exactly where you are at this juncture but as you approach California I have a few suggestions. Take the time to drive Pacific Coast Highway(PCH). It is easily one of the finest and most exciting drives you will ever experience. Drive the entire length if you can. Not only do you get an opportunity to hit the big cities(San Francisco, LA, San Diego etc.), but you also hit so many wonderful small towns like Carmel, Monterey, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo to name a few. Many of these towns have incredible missions, especially Carmel and Santa Barbara. Some other must stops are Big Sur, the Redwood Forest, Wine hopping in the Napa and Sonoma Valley’s, and if at all possible get to Yosemite National Park. It is absolutely breathtaking. Besides doing the typical things in San Fran like Alcatraz, the Presidio, Fisherman’s Wharf etc. visit Haight-Ashbury. The Hippy generation is still very much alive here. A lot of people here are literally frozen in the 60’s. Reminds me of Woodstock NY. The Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic is still open. Make sure you wear a flower in your hair. Another great thing to do is to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. It takes a while and the wind always blows hard but it is an amazing experience. When Judy and I are in San Francisco we like to stay at the San Remo which is kind of like a European Pension Hotel. It’s close to Fisherman’s Wharf in the middle of everything. Very affordable as well. There is always an old “Woody” sitting out front. As you will note there are quite a few Hostel’s in California. This really helps the travel budget. San Francisco also has a great China Town. Not quite up to New York’s but very nice none the less. When you get to the Santa Monica pier you will be at the western terminus of Route 66. I’ll talk to you about that another time.

    Stay safe Ladies!

    Jim Gossip

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