Also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1 winds down the California coast from Monterey/Carmel to San Simeon. We drove about halfway down to see the Big Sur area.
It’s a fun road, with steep hills on one side, and cliffs falling to the ocean on the other.
There are plenty of pull-outs along the road to take in the views. Bixby Bridge is a popular stop.
At Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, there’s a short walk from the parking area to a pretty amazing 80ft tidefall, McWay Falls. (What’s a tidefall? It’s a waterfall that ends at the sea!)
Wait for it…
Even though the beach is off limits, a few surfers swam up through the cove while we were there.
Our last stop of the day was Garrapata State Park. Just off Highway 1 is a beautiful trail that hugs the coastline. It was a bit windy, but a great place to catch the (very cloudy) sunset.
I was looking forward to making a scenic detour on our drive to Idaho to see the so-called “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls. Turns out we visited while the Snake River was being diverted, so the water flow was low. It was a neat place to visit, with great views of the canyon, but would have been more impressive if the faucets were turned on* full blast.
*Look, Dina, I’m learning about presidents! When we visited Minnehaha we read a plaque about LBJ’s visit.
You say “tourist trap,” I say “hidden gem.” On the drive from Minneapolis to Rapid City, South Dakota, we stopped at beautiful Sioux Falls, the a-maize-ing Corn Palace, and the wild west of 1880 Town.
The land was mostly flat, and the fields were dotted with lots and lots of windmills.
A visit to the “most explosive museum in the world” seemed like a good precursor to July 4 fireworks. The Mill City Museum in downtown Minneapolis taught us about the history of flour mills in the city, and the terrible explosion in 1878 that sent debris flying across the Mississippi River. The best exhibit was the Flour Tower, a converted freight elevator that opened onto reenactments of factory life as we moved up and down eight floors.
Before going to the Red, White, and Boom festival, we went on a self-guided architecture tour of the Guthrie Theater, the new Vikings football stadium, a cool bridge over the Mississippi, and a building by Frank Gehry.
A walk across the Stone Arch Bridge gave us a great view of Saint Anthony Falls, and later on, of the fireworks. We sat next to a nice family and chatted with the dad, who gave us some good tips for our trip out west.
Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. (Like the butter, Land o’ Lakes!) A 3.2 mile walk took us all the way around Lake Calhoun.
There’s been lots to see in Minneapolis: the Walker Art Center, a Twins game, the Como Zoo and Gardens, Minnehaha Falls, and of course the Mall of America. I fed a giraffe at the zoo! There’s a short video on Instagram.