Highlights From Our Cross Country Roadtrip #2: Virginia To Washington

Six months later and we are all settled in our new home in Washington. Looking back at our cross country road trip now feels almost like a lifetime ago. With all that went on in 2020 so far this year, I am so grateful we got in all these beautiful destinations before our world changed due to Covid 19. While there are hopes things will be somewhat back to normal for travel in the coming days and years, I feel especially grateful we were able to squeeze in so much during our move.

This trip was so much easier a second time around. Our daughter was nine months old versus our son being four months when we moved from California to Virginia. Being just a little older made things a lot easier and simply being parents of a second child helped us be so much more less stressed. 

Here are a few highlights from our cross country road trip #2 from Virginia to Washington, as shared on Instagram. We headed up north this time, hitting new sights along the way and stopping at some northern east coast locations we wanted to see before heading back west.

Baltimore, Maryland // A quick stop to feed the baby and stretch our legs. Lovely to see the harbor, catch Ravens fans tailgating, and take in the beautiful brick buildings. Brent and I both just admitted to each other that we considered flying to Washington at some point this last week in the midst of the stress. But now that we are here, the leaving process over, we are grateful we stuck it through. We are definitely going to miss the history and charm of the east coast. We are continuing northeast for a couple more days and we are excited to experience a few more glimpses before we head west. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // A fun and wild afternoon in Philadelphia! Stood in line with our crazy kids at Jim's for a Philly cheesesteak. Changed a dirty diaper outside in line and had to ask a fellow parent for more wipes as we had ran out! But it was worth it! The cheesesteak was delicious! Then we literally ran a half mile, each carrying a child, to get to Independence Hall before it closed! We made it just in time! We also managed squeezing in the Liberty Bell after deciding to cut out of the tour early. A bit of a whirlwind but a beautiful and interesting city. We squeezed in everything we hoped to see and are back on the road.

New Haven, Connecticut // Having a Gilmore Girls moment. A quick stop in Connecticut to check out Yale. What a beautiful place. Go Bulldogs!


Boston, Massachusetts // A cold and rainy day in Boston. We walked most of the Freedom Trail and ate at Mike's Pastry. Plus a quick drive by of the Boston Tea Harbor. Our feet were soaking wet from the rain but we covered a lot of ground enjoying the historical and architectural sights of the city. And many of the small alley ways reminded us of Paris. It was a long and rough day for the kids - cold, wet, and stuck in the stroller. We caved and let Titus watch videos on my phone in the stroller for the first time. And during our long walk back to the car at least one child was crying at all times! A day full of exploration with exhaustion but memorable nonetheless!

Portland, Maine // Visiting Maine was a dream come true! Just as quaint and beautiful as I had hoped. Our first stop was to Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. Stunning views and plenty of room for Titus to run around. His pants were soaking wet from the rain and puddles - all signs of a good time! We then drove into Portland, passing by the loveliest homes. Once in the city we ate at The Highroller Lobster Co. for lobster rolls. My favorite was the lobster grilled cheese and Adeline was a fan of her first bite of lobster! We walked around Commercial Street lined with darling shops and restaurants. We stopped in to The Holy Donut for their famous mashed Maine potato donuts! Crunchy on the outside but melts in your mouth! They were delicious!

New Hampshire State Line // We are officially heading west! Our east coast travels have come to an end and I'll admit I got a little teary eyed. It's a weird feeling to be out and about seeing amazing things but then also feeling a bit homeless. We can't go back yet what is to come still feels unknown.

Out of nowhere Titus has asked a few times about going back to our old house. It always catches me by surprise and makes me sad. His sweet little mind can't quite grasp everything that's going on.

We chose rest last night (over more driving) and ended up at the sweetest hotel somewhere in Massachusetts. We feel a little more rested from a busy few days and have two long days of driving ahead. Cozy clothes and a rest for our legs today!

Niagara Falls, New York // We weren't planning to stop in Niagara but we were ahead of schedule so it ended up being exactly half way to our next destination. So we decided to make the quick detour to see the falls one more time! The mist seemed bigger than we remembered and we guessed it had something to do with the cold. The view of Canada was lit up with Christmas lights and there were piles of snow on the ground for Titus to play in. The hotel was super inexpensive and there was barely anyone around. We enjoyed the quiet short walk to the falls last night and this morning. And I loved overhearing people's expressions to seeing the falls for the first time. A pretty magical place.

Noteworthy Road Trip Tips:

Hotels: we book as we go which allows us more flexibility. We search for hotels along our route on google maps which shows prices. And then I search on the hotel's app to find a room/confirm price. We don't always know what city we are in so the map route helps a lot. Our first cross country trip we did a lot of Hampton Inns (Hilton chain) but this time around we have been really pleased with Comfort Inn and Suites (Choice Hotels chain). They have a wider range of nice and not so nice hotels but they seem to be cheaper while still staying at a fairly nice place. Using the app allows me to quickly see photos to confirm how nice the hotel is. Plus we always look for free breakfast!

EZ Pass: we have an EZ Pass from driving in DC and it works all over the northeast. We have yet to hit a toll where we couldn't use it. So easy and fast!

Ziploc trash bag: fill with car trash and empty every stop. Not too big and not to small and zips so stuff doesn't fall out!

Snack: We fill up a cup of cereal from breakfast at the hotel as a snack for Titus in the car or stroller. The novelty of sugary cereal goes a long way! We also fill up on plain cheerios for the baby if they have it.

Detroit, Michigan // We stopped near Detroit to see and stay with some of our dear friends from Sacramento. What a treat to reconnect, laugh over life with kids, share meals, and have our very own Michigan tour guides! Our hearts are full. After three years of being away from home it has been easy to forget the joy of being known by old friends.

We learned all about the origination of the Coney Dog and it's Michigan roots at one of the many Coney restaurants. We got a tour of their town followed up with a drive out to Detroit. We enjoyed the buzz of the city and learning about some of it's history. Gyros for dinner and watching Girl Meets World with a bunch of preteens! It's been a wonderful taste of Michigan life.

Chicago, Illinois // A fun day in the windy city! We ate Chicago style pizza at Lou Malnati's and checked out Cloud Gate/The Bean! We then walked around the city and enjoyed the holiday festivities going on. A beautiful city full of art and life.

Minneapolis, Minnesota // We had a wonderful day and a half visiting more friends from back home. Sweet baby time, delicious shared meals, and catching up with one another has been a highlight of our trip. While we have visited many amazing places, it has been the reconnecting of friendships that will leave the greatest impression on this cross country journey.

We couldn't pass through Minneapolis without a stop at The Mall of America! It was gigantic! And roller coasters in the middle of the mall! It was both amazing and overwhelming. We lucked out that it wasn't very crowded which allowed us to meander and take in the sights of just a tiny portion of this grand place. A fun little visit to the midwest!

We are finally at the more than half way point! We have a few more stops but, for the most part, sightseeing has come to an end and getting to our new home is on the horizon. It's a little sad to see "home" so far away. But if we've learned anything, it's that home is wherever each other are.

So far this trip has been so much different than the first, even with two kids! We've learned a lot since then and we are way more chill this time around.

So far our favorite stop was Philadelphia which ironically was only four hours from home! We enjoyed the mix of history and city life. And probably had the most fun with the kids (which might also have to do with it only being the first day of our trip!).

And we loved our time with friends and seeing their town through their eyes. We ended up staying with both longer than planned and the time together was such a refreshment to our long travel days.

A few more long driving days left! But we're almost home!

Keystone, South Dakota // We arrived at Mount Rushmore after the sun had gone down last night. We decided to stay the night nearby so we could catch the monument that night and then again in the morning. The touristy town close by was almost completely closed for the season but we still enjoyed seeing all the cute shops and activities they offered that we imagine is quite bustling in the summer.

We headed up the hill to Mount Rushmore where we could see it lit up from the road. It was quite magnificent and a bit magical being surrounded by snow. Titus had a blast playing in the snow while we took pictures. Next time we will just remember to take our family photo before our child becomes freezing from the snow and melts down! So we headed out to our hotel.

We stayed at the only hotel that was open that ended up being very fun with it's cabin feel and decor. And we walked next door to the only restaurant open. We enjoyed being surrounded by other tourist families in this small town feeling restaurant and bar. Kids playing pool and a silly dad keeping the jukebox running including a little Baby Shark!

The next morning we headed out early to see Mount Rushmore again. Still covered in a beautiful blanket of snow we enjoyed seeing all the detailing of the faces even more. More photos and playing in the snow then we were back on the road!

Big Sky, Montana // Big Sky was not originally on our itinerary but we decided to make it our Thanksgiving destination as the ski resort was opening and we figured that would give us some things to do to feel celebratory.

We lucked out and ended up at the nicest hotel last night. We were greeted with a blanket of snow making things extra magical. We had our best hotel breakfast yet which included the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It made my heart happy to not miss out on one of our beloved traditions. It made me a little teary eyed knowing these smallest of blessings were a gift as we made the most of this holiday on the road.

We joined in on the local 5k Turkey Trot. Our first 5k with kids...in the snow...in Montana! It was both hilarious and exhausting. We laugh that I enjoyed about the first five minutes - Titus running with us, the snow, and seeing the beautiful homes we passed by. But soon after that we were tired, cold, and with grumpy kids! But another one of our fun traditions to fill our hearts.

After playing in the snow and checking out the ski resort we headed to a local hotel for an early Thanksgiving feast. The little lodge was adorable and the food was amazing. Being the first to arrive, we got a seat by the window where we watched the snow fall. It was all quite lovely.

With full tummies, we got in the car to get back on the road. Leaving our last destination, we put our new address into the GPS. It's officially time to head home.

Cheney, Washington // We have arrived in Washington! As we approached the state line my heart was filled with nervousness and excitement! We were finally here. The kids were both asleep allowing for a quiet and reflective moment of arrival. A new chapter beginning. A new state to explore. And a heart full of hope for what is ahead.

Soon after we pulled over after hearing a weird sound to find a wheel bearing had broke. We were in the middle of nowhere but luckily were able to get off the freeway. We were able to get a tow and found a place that could fix it today. And we were reminded that we were grateful to all be safe.

A frustrating inconvenience became something to laugh about and a memory in our adventures across the country. 

So close yet so far! We will drive a few more hours tonight and then finish our drive to our new home tomorrow! Almost there!!!

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington // 13 days • 21 states • 4,303 miles // We are approaching our final destination - our new home! Which we will be seeing in person for the first time (I'm so nervous!). What an adventure - this time with two sweet little ones. And yet so much more is still to come. Our hearts are full from the time together, the beautiful places we have gotten to see, and for the perspective we gained from every joy and frustration along the way. It doesn't matter where we are, as long as we are together. A new chapter begins and I'm so grateful to be able to share it with you all. Thank you for cheering us on along the way.

Good morning from Washington! We are home. Introducing our little home in the woods. The property is gorgeous. The home quaint and could use a little love. But we trust it is right where we are supposed to be. Our first meal last night - roasted hot dogs in the fireplace!

We are still waiting to hear when our things and second car will arrive. So it's air mattresses and paper plates for awhile. But we look forward to getting more settled soon.

How about an update? Also, pictured: a pretty bloom I took a photo of at our old house that I never posted!

The rant: we are still waiting for our things to arrive. It's being delivered Friday even though we communicated we would be arriving last weekend. Brent's car and trailer is still sitting in our driveway in VIRGINIA. It was supposed to be picked up last weekend. So besides being without a second car we also were relying on having the trailer available to store things when the movers came because we don't have the room and no garage. There is also some poorly done work inside the house. I don't want to even get into it. But chipping away at things glued on the wall and have also started to paint the kitchen cabinets.

The blessings: my parents are arriving tonight! They drove 12 hours from Sacramento and left at 3am this morning! It will be so nice to have some help and company. We've already met some neighbors and they are SO NICE. Getting to the store in 5 minutes. Getting to Trader Joe's in 15 minutes! Hallelujah! Our beautiful yard and the daily exploring with the kids.

We knew it would be grey and overcast here. But throw in all the other stress and a few rooms with no lights, it has made it especially hard to adapt to no sun. We know it will get better. Feeling settled is around the corner. And there are so many blessings already. Nice neighbors is like the best thing ever. So we are holding on to hope. Praying through the daily challenges. I don't want to complain but I also don't want to feel like we are alone in this.

So that is that. Update over. Back to painting and counting down to my parent's arrival! Thanks for being here.


I took a break from unpacking to do something for myself! I went through our newest sticker haul and added them to my luggage collection.

In the midst of the stress of resettling, it has been so easy to question this move. Why did we uproot our lives again? But it is looking back at things - like another cross country adventure - that remind me of the good in the midst of the chaotic.

What a full adventurous life we have been given! I don't want to take any of it for granted. We are all a little tired and impatient from living around boxes. Today's goal is to foster the hearts of my family. Menu planning, powersheets, and spending some time with the Lord. A refocus on my priorities and then continue unboxing later.

Never would I have ever imagined! Only ten states left (including Alaska)! And all US states visited by our son as well.


What a wonderful and wild adventure to look back on! I even teared up a bit re-reading it all. We feel so lucky to have experienced so many new places around the country in these short four years. While there were many moments that were difficult for our family living so far from home and adapting to new and challenging life circumstances, I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

We really believe that who we are and what we have learned was all part of the journey. The highlights are fun but the daily serving and loving one another is what allows us to look back with gratitude. We are grateful to be on the other side of another big move. Thankful to be settled and closer to our family with a job that requires just a little less stress. 

What a journey this little life has been. We look forward to what this new chapter will bring.

See our first cross country road trip from California to Virginia here.