1,834 Miles & 8 States: From Colorado to Brigantine, New Jersey

It was pure joy for all of us when we finally arrived in Brigantine after our overnight drive!

Happy Friday, friends! The photo above was taken the morning after we arrived in Brigantine, which was around 2 in the morning. Despite that early morning entry, someone (aka Lotte) was up and at ’em on Saturday morning, ready to start her vacay! I was totally here for that, so we hopped in the car and headed to get some Brigantine Bagels for the family while we waited for everyone else to wake up and for Steph & Brian & Rosalie to arrive … but I digress.

First …. we drove across eight states to get there!

We picked the girls up from summer camp around 1 MT and hit the open road!

We really wanted the girls to get one more day of summer camp in, and for Chris to work one more day, before we left for our trip. So we decided to leave right after picking them up on Thursday, around 1 pm MT. They were so excited when we got them, and totally ready (although possibly completely unaware of what it would really entail!) for the ride! We decided to head out via Nebraska, so we could add that state to our list, and to head back the same way we came when we drove out back in 2015 when we first moved here.

Driving overnight was a conscious decision we made to get to our destination more quickly (and to save on hotels), but we knew we’d be exhausted driving home, so we planned to break the trip up into three nights on the way back. Now, having completed the trip, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Driving through the night was hard at times, but the adrenaline really kicked in (for me, at least, the Red Bull kicked in for Chris), and it wasn’t as bad as you might imagine.

The Nebraska/Colorado state line

We were super excited for the girls to tick a bunch of states off their list as well, but unfortunately most of the state line signs were directly on highways, where it wasn’t safe to stop. We did get this doozy of a photo as we entered Nebraska, though ….

Such road trip newbies, just entering Nebraska from Colorado!

We also stopped in Nebraska for an extended period, since we found an amazing park that had multiple playgrounds, wild animals, a train museum, some amusement parks and fountains and so much more. If you ever find yourself on a cross-country trip with kids that includes Nebraska, I can’t recommend Cody Park in North Platte enough!

Fun animals in Cody Park
Cute playground equipment for all ages!
Lots of room to run!
The objective was basically to tire these kids out at all costs!
This felt particularly appropriate, considering our trip was over the July Fourth holiday.
Emilia was seriously a rockstar on this trip! She definitely enjoyed the moments when she was out of her carseat, though πŸ˜‰
Always exploring.
Success!

Although it was a restless night for the older girls, they did manage to sleep most of the night (thank you, Benadryl, I have no shame in my game!), which I was forever grateful for. Emilia actually slept through the entire night for the first time ever! Maybe I should have her sleep in the car every night?

After Cody Park, it was a straight drive β€” with stops for gas β€” throughout the night, until we reached Chicago around 6 in the morning. We weren’t going to stop at first because it was raining, but we thought the girls could use a stretch, and I’m so glad we did! Visiting The Bean (Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park was one of my favorite memories from the trip. Plus, because we were so early, we were one of only a handful of people there.

Heading into Millennium Park which, by the way, doesn’t open until 8 a.m. Good to keep that in mind if you’re planning a visit!
We had to wait a couple minutes before we could get in, but this artwork installation nearby kept the girls occupied!
Such a fun place to visit with kids!
So cool, even in the drizzle!
We are all looking a bit rough after our night in the car! My little travelers, I love them so much <3
All the angles …
Pure delight … mostly at being out of the car!
.Chicago is such a beautiful city to visit, even if only for an hour!
Did I ask them to point to The Bean? Obviously πŸ˜‰ My girls have gotten very good at following photo directions.
The cutest little Chicago tourist!
Puddle jumping … why not?!
Farewell, Chicago … until we meet again!

The last time I was in Chicago β€” for Chris to run the marathon β€” I didn’t get a chance to visit Millennium Park or The Bean, so it felt super special to go back with our kids.

After Chicago we pretty much bolted to Brigantine, with a couple of stops in between for gas and to get some wiggles out. It was an epic trip, and I only would have wanted to make it with these amazing people.

A couple things I learned along the way:

  • Dramamine only works when you administer it correctly … poor Grace!
  • The Office Ladies podcast is amazing to listen to on a forever road trip.
  • Keep an extra trash bag or two around, you will definitely need it!
  • Be up for anything and game for plan changes if you do this kind of trip with kids … it’s the only way to get out alive πŸ˜‰

And that’s it, friends! I’ll be back next week with the first leg of our actual vacation … Brigantine Beach with family we’ve missed oh-so-much! Bis bald, friends!

One thought on “1,834 Miles & 8 States: From Colorado to Brigantine, New Jersey

Leave a Reply