From Chicago to Portland

I would say the journey really started in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and ended in Portland, Oregon. In just one week I drove from one coast (dipped my toes in the Atlantic Ocean) to the other.

My family and I left New Jersey on a Saturday and drove 14ish hours back home to Chicago. I then had Sunday through Wednesday to pack up everything. What didn’t fit in my car I either donated or tossed. I was also busy finishing up my last two days at work and then saying goodbye to friends and colleagues. It was a hectic 4 days.

When Thursday morning rolled around my Dad and I were ready for the 2,070 mile drive!

All ready to go!

We set out at 5AM and had beautiful weather all day. The trip rolled along smoothly, after leaving Illinois we passed through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and drove through South Dakota the majority of the day. South Dakota was beautiful with what looked like endless prairies. You could see for miles and miles.

South Dakota driving


I packed healthy snacks for the whole trip! Gotta come prepared!
I packed healthy snacks for the whole trip! Gotta come prepared!

We just had to stop at Wall Drug. A fake western looking town originally established to lure in travelers heading to Mount Rushmore, known for their free ice water and 10 cent coffees. I wish we would have counted the signs for this tourist trap (there were many).

wall drug, south dakota
Wall Drug, South Dakota
How creepy is this!?
I ain’t no gold digger!

The 12/13 hour drive passed quickly. I was surprised by how easy it seemed. My Dad and I switched back and forth driving every 4 hours or so, which worked out perfectly.


Beautiful sky on Day 1

We stopped in Rapid City, South Dakota for the night. Once we were all checked in to our hotel, we found a sushi place near by and grabbed dinner before it got too late.

I had an avocado roll and a cucumber, avocado, seaweed roll with a side of edemame. It hit the spot!

Yum yum in my tum tum ;)
Yum yum in my tum tum ;)

After getting a good night’s sleep we were up early and ready to tackle day two. We first made a detour to Mount Rushmore. Both of us have never been and it only tacked on an hour to our trip. When we arrived we were one of the first ones there, the grounds opened at 5AM, but the visitor center and all that opened at 8. I highly recommend going at this time because you pretty much have the place to yourself. No big crowds, great pictures, and free parking.

mount rushmore yoga

mount rushmore

About that parking…when we entered we were not sure if we had to pay. The parking was a big parking garage that loops around and we were all consumed with just getting in and parking the car. My Dad abruptly told me to “go in there.” As soon as I entered I hear this loud crackling noise. My initial thought were that my tires blew, but then it hit me. I forgot about the bike on my roof…

My Dad exits the car and is freaking out. I couldn’t move. I put my head in my lap and coudn’t help but say, “Shit.” I’m thinking my bike is in pieces. I get out and my brand new roof rack and rails are in pieces. (There goes $500). My bike is in one piece, but a big crack on the top frame with scraps all along one side. And then the top of my rear lift gate on my car has a big dent. It was the worst feeling in the world. I’m still not fully recovered from it all. I replayed this moment over and over. The sound was the worst.

Look closely at the top of my rear lift gate.
Look closely at the top of my rear lift gate.


Our next concern was how to get the bike in the car. My car was already packed, that’s why we bought the roof rack. My Dad dismantles the bike and somehow slides it in the top.

We do eventually see Mount Rushmore and carry on with our journey, but day 2 of driving was longgggg. We had all day to think about what happened. Oh, and a rock hits my windshield and cracks it later in the day. I was done by that point.

We drove out of South Dakota through Wyoming and through Montana, which was so pretty. We ended out day pretty late in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. After checking in to the hotel we grabbed thai food and brought it back to the room. The food was great and I scarfed it down before going to bed.




The next morning I was feeling a little better about the whole situation, but not much. Before we started our drive we went downtown to the waterfront and walked around. The Coeur d’Alene Ironman is this weekend and there were already signs posted!

coeur d'alene waterfront
Still smiling
Beautiful lake
Beautiful lake

For everyone that is racing there this weekend, good luck! It is a beautiful city, but it is supposed to be hot! Hydrate, hydrate!!

We had breakfast at The Coeur d’Alene Resort Dockside Restaurant. It was a restaurant in the hotel, which was super fancy. We had a view of the lake and the food was great. A much better start to our day!

Feeling better after a big bowl of oatmeal and coffee
Feeling better after a big bowl of oatmeal and coffee

Feeling good, we continued on for our last 6 hours of the journey. We soon exited Idaho and drove through Washington and then finally entered Oregon! We followed the Colombia River Gorge all the way to Portland. It was beautiful! I would have loved to stop and hiked, but we were pretty anxious to get to the house.

We arrived at my new home around 1:30PM and after fueling up with Chipotle we got to unpacking. It didn’t take too long since it was just the stuff in my car!


The rest of the day was spent running errands, washing my car (you wouldn’t believe how many bugs were stuck to it), and then grabbing dinner at Blackbird Pizza.

Vegan pizza for the win!
Vegan pizza for the win!

The next day, Sunday, was Father’s Day, and I had to say goodbye to mine. Without him I would be a mess. He has always been there for me, through everything. He drove across the country for me! He is seriously the best. And before I get too mushy and start crying (I’m tearing up right now), I just want to say I love him.

Before I dropped him off at the airport, we walked to Starbucks for coffee and I made him oatmeal (his favorite) for breakfast. We then went to a Farmer’s Market in town where I bought way to many berries.

farmer's market berries

It was then to Ikea to get furniture for my room. I came with absolutely no furniture, so I bought the essentials. A bed, dresser, and night stand. I bought bedding as well, not that it is all put together because I still don’t have my mattress! But I won’t get into that. This post is getting long so we will end it here.

ikea furniture shopping
Theres my main man!

I’m still dealing with all the damage to my car and bike, but things will get straightened out. Beside that bump in the road, the journey was smooth and enjoyable. I am still settling in to Portland and it seems like it will take a while to get used to being away from home. I have been feeling homesick this week, but that’s normal right?

Well, the annual Portland Naked bike ride is tonight so I might go spectate that! Haha I hope you have/are having an enjoyable weekend!


Any one else run their bike into a parking garage? Or know someone that did?

Have you made a big move? How was it?

5 thoughts on “From Chicago to Portland

  1. I haven’t driven my bike into the garage, but a friend of ours drove into his garage with his bike on top and did LOTS of damage to his bike, garage and car. I am so envious of you for following dreams and moving out west so far away from family. I’ve always wanted to do a drastic move, but haven’t had the guts to do so…KUDOS to you :)

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