The Trip to Yellowstone

We officially kicked off our road trip by heading north from Orlando towards Birmingham, TN. The compromise that we had come up with the night before was that we would get on the road early but then stop for breakfast sometime midmorning. We ended up stopping for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel somewhere outside Ocala. Our first official day on the road included two state border crossings, Georgia and Alabama and a time zone change. We arrived in Birmingham around 4:30 central time. After checking into the hotel, we ended up going to Dreamland BBQ for dinner, which I believe is a local Alabama chain. I mean in terms of BBQ food it was okay, not the worst but also definitely not the greatest, somewhere in the middle.

Circus Casino mural on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee
Beale Street | Memphis, TN

The next morning, we headed to Memphis which was only a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Birmingham, so in the grand scheme of things a short driving day. After passing through Mississippi and crossing into Tennessee we arrived into Memphis around 2:15 in the afternoon. With a good chunk of the afternoon left, we decided to take advantage and explore. We started out by walking down the famous Beale Street and then down to the river. After walking along the great Mississippi, my mom suggest that we go watch the Peabody Ducks. Now I have to admit that before this day I had no idea what the Peabody Ducks were. For reference the tradition of the Peabody Ducks began in the 1930s when Frank Schutt, the General Manager of The Peabody and his friend, Chip Barwick, thought that it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys, from their weekend hunting trip, in the lobby’s fountain. People responded enthusiastically to the ducks and the tradition was born. So, we headed to the Peabody Hotel to get drinks and to see the duck march. After seeing the ducks march themselves out of the fountain and into the elevator, we headed across the street to Huey’s Downtown to get dinner. If anyone finds themselves in Memphis, I highly recommend Huey’s, it’s a fun atmosphere, great burgers, good selection of local beer and the staff was friendly.

Sitting outside at a restaurant along the canal in Bricktown in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Bricktown | Oklahoma City, OK

The next morning, we left Memphis and headed to Oklahoma City. Something to note about this road trip is that the both my mom and I were trying to work at the same time. This meant that when I wasn’t driving, most of my time was spent trying to get homework done on time so I wouldn’t fall behind. It also meant that when my mom had meetings she needed to “attend” I had to drive. On this particular day it meant that I drove the majority of the way from Memphis to Oklahoma City. The thing I want to mention about Oklahoma City is what a cool city it is. We stayed in Deep Deuce and explored Bricktown before dinner. We ate dinner at Jazmoz’s Bourbon Street Café, which was right on the Bricktown Canal.

Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas
Cadillac Ranch | Amarillo, TX

From Oklahoma City we continued onto Albuquerque, which I was very excited to visit due to the fact that it was where In Plain Sight was set and filmed. If you have never seen In Plain Sight, I highly recommend the show. We got to stop at Cadillac Ranch on our way to Albuquerque. Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation/sculpture in Amarillo. It is really odd because if you didn’t know it was there, you would literally be driving down the highway and see a bunch of Cadillacs sticking out of the ground straight up in the middle of an open field. When we got to Albuquerque, we went up to the hotel’s rooftop bar to sit and figure out our plans for dinner. We ended up walking to Urban Taqueria to get burritos for dinner, also highly recommend but only if you like spicy food. We spent the next morning walking around and exploring Albuquerque’s Old Town before heading north to Denver.

passage of shops in Old Town Albuquerque, NM
Old Town | Albuquerque, NM
outdoor seating area in Albuquerque, NM with a painting of Bison grazing in the background
Old Town | Albuquerque, NM

image of the South Platte River flowing through Denver, CO
Denver, CO

We arrived in Denver we went and quickly grabbed dinner at 5280 Burger Bar, which again had a great selection of local beers, before heading to bed. The next day was our chance to get out and explore Denver, which was needed after spending so much time in a car. We started our day by getting breakfast burritos at Asada Rico on the 16th Street Mall, which has been voted Denver’s Best Breakfast Burrito. We then headed to Commons Park to sit and enjoy the nice weather, with a quick walk through Union Station on the way. After the park we continued on to the Denver Brewing Co. After leaving the brewery we stumbled upon the Denver firefighter’s chili contest, which being from out of town was really cool to see the community come together. After walking through the chili cook-off we headed to the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art and then walked through and explored the Tattered Cover Book Store. For dinner we ventured to Stout Street Social, which honestly wasn’t the best food but also wasn’t horrible. It’s the quality you would expect with it being right across the street from the convention center.

Yellowstone National Park entrance sign
Yellowstone National Park | WY

The next day we left Denver early in the morning because we had a long drive to Yellowstone. The drive from Denver to Yellowstone ended up taking us just over 12 hours. You would have thought that we time traveled and we through all four seasons on our drive. When we left Denver it was warm and sunny, but by the time we hit Wyoming it was incredibly foggy. Then sometime between Rawlings and Lander there was a hailstorm, followed by snow for about an hour and then when we finally arrived in Yellowstone it started raining. But at that point all that mattered was that we had arrived.

Follow along as I share more of my road trip adventure.

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