Highway 1 and Big Sur

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.

Highway 1 Big Sur

It’s a fun road, with steep hills on one side, and cliffs falling to the ocean on the other.

Highway 1, Big Sur, California

Highway 1, Big Sur, California

There are plenty of pull-outs along the road to take in the views. Bixby Bridge is a popular stop.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

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…

McWay Falls, Big Sur California

…ta-da!!!

McWay Falls, Big Sur California

Even though the beach is off limits, a few surfers swam up through the cove while we were there.

Surfers at McWay Falls, Big Sur

Surfers at McWay Falls, Big Sur

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.

Garrapata State Park, Big Sur

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Shoshone Falls

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.

Shoshone Falls, Idaho

Shoshone Falls, Idaho

Shoshone Falls, Idaho

*Look, Dina, I’m learning about presidents! When we visited Minnehaha we read a plaque about LBJ’s visit.

MN → SD

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.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Corn Palace, South Dakota

Corn Palace, South Dakota

Corn Palace, South Dakota

1880 Town, South Dakota

The land was mostly flat, and the fields were dotted with lots and lots of windmills.

 

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Red, White, and Boom

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

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.

Mill City Museum, Minneapolis

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

Mill City Museum

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.

Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis

Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater

New Vikings football stadium

Lowry Avenue Bridge, Minneapolis

Weisman Art Museum 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.

Saint Anthony Falls, Minneapolis

Great view of July 4 fireworks

 

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