Cross-Country Trip Day 10: Chicago to New Hartford

Every road trip starts out with a sense of wonder and excitement - setting out to see the unknown, to live outside the lines. But eventually, the reality of sitting in a car for hours upon hours every day, sleeping in a different motel bed each night, and living out of a suitcase catches up with you.

That day had come and gone for us already by the morning we woke up on our second day in Chicago. It was TIME.

We got up EARLY and were the road by 6:30 am with a single goal in mind - complete the 14-hour drive to Connecticut and sleep in familiar beds at my parents' house that night.

We had thus far made a point not to eat fast food on our trip, but today we got all our food from gas stations, McDonald’s, etc. We made no stop longer than 30 minutes.

The most direct route from Chicago to Connecticut takes you from Illinois through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. We had originally planned to instead route up through Canada, then back into the US via Niagara Falls, but realizing that would add a couple hours to the day, we nixed the plan. Niagara will have to wait.

On a long day of driving like this, we tried many tactics for keeping entertained and alert in the car - podcasts, CDs, Pandora whenever we had the LTEs, word games, debating controversial topics, etc. Today we got kind of goofy.

last day of driving

Somehow, on this drive, Pennsylvania seems to take up 90% of the day - it is simply a huge state. I think it's like how people from Mass feel about driving i-95 through Connecticut.

We took i-80 to avoid the tolls and instead had to deal with tons of trucks on the road. What PA does have, though, are pretty rolling hills and lots of trees.

Pennsylvania highway

In the middle of the state, you pass through the Appalachians, and it’s quite beautiful. Unfortunately, it was getting dark, so I wasn't able to capture any good shots. Instead, here's a blurry shot of me getting cabin fever:

car cabin fever

New York flew by, and once we were in Connecticut, it was the home stretch and would have been nothing but familiar roads, except that Google Maps decided to suggest we take back roads from Danbury all the way to New Hartford. That's a solid hour and 15 minutes of backroad driving. While I'm sure this would be a lovely drive through the most scenic part of the state during the daylight, at 11:00 pm, we probably should have just opted for highways.

We finally arrived in New Hartford, CT, around 11:30 pm. It was really surreal to pull into my parents' driveway in our car and realize we had just traveled across the entire country.

Still jazzed up from the trip, we stayed up for another hour swapping road trip stories with my dad. How awesome to be home.