Thoughts from a 24-Hour Drive

If you're going to be a destination photographer, you're going to have to drive. If you're going to drive, you might as well make the most out of it.

Thus begins, our grand adventure to Waterford, Wisconsin.

Miles to drive: 761 miles

States to visit: 6

Cities to see: 4

Days to travel: 3

Thursday morning: 10 AM: Our first stop landed us in the middle of downtown Wheeling, West Virginia.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Population: 27,790

Sarah's take: Creepy, Old, Homey

Hailey's take: Vintage, rustic, abandoned

While I found the town rustic with some points of interest, my shot-gun rider found the entire place dilapidated and gross. Needless to say, we ordered coffee, snapped a few hipster photographs, and it was back to the highway.

After a few hours, the need to stretch the legs and take in new sights filled the Kia Soul. Entering the right-hand lane, weaving through traffic, we found ourselves in the heart of Columbus Ohio. New state, new city, new sights.

Below is an accurate representation of the entire trip: one behind the camera, one never looking at the camera. We can't win.

Columbus, Ohio

Population: 835,957

Sarah's take: Familiar, beautiful, tall

Hailey's take: Picturesque, modern, shiny, and the city of Kia Souls (I counted 25)

The towering buildings loomed over us, and now and then a radiant blue sky peeked out between the rain clouds.

Soon, it became clear that Sarah was quite done with photos, and the sky wasn't going to hold back its spring showers any longer. It was back to the Kia once more.

Friday morning we awoke in Indiana. After a delicious pancake breakfast, we set out to explore Indianapolis....along with half the country. Because it was the weekend of the Indy 500. And we are naive in the ways of the Indy 500 fans.

Sean graciously showed us the beautiful sights of downtown Indianapolis. From the capital, to the river walk, to the tall, glass buildings that sparkled from the morning sun.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Population: 858,325

Sarah's take: Beautiful, Historical, Fun

Hailey's take: Tall, shiny, historical

Seriously. Look at all these historical-looking places. So serious. So important.

I have never seen someone so proud of where they lived. But that's Sean.

While the sun rose higher in the sky, and time ticked away, we took one last look at the cityscape and bid Sean goodbye.

After passing by a few thousand windmills (and having a few hundred discussions on what exactly to call the alien-like structures) we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of Chicago traffic. And there is nothing touristy-fun about Chicago traffic.

Somehow, by the grace of God, we managed to inch to our exit, navigate the tricky streets of Chicago, spend an arm and a leg on parking, and briskly walk through the heart of Chicago in search of the great, shiny bean. Sarah tells me I'm too sentimental, but how do you not go see a shiny bean?

It amazes me how many people populate the United States. Each city we visited, I felt as small as an ant running around with a few hundred ants to important destinations. It places life in perspective.

Chicago, Illinois

Population: 2.722 million

Sarah's take: Busy, Exciting, Impressive

Hailey's take: Bustling, crowded, enticing...also shiny

We came, we photographed, we did that touristy thing. But the road called us once more.

Soon we arrived to the place where the earth reflects the sky.

Waterford, Wisconsin

Population: 5,349

Sarah's take: Confusing, Hometown-esque, Wide-open

Hailey's take: Quiet, untouched, far away from Maryland

Waterford was definitely a change from the city lights, traffic, and noise. After spending time in three large cities, Waterford almost felt eerie in its stillness. Natural and quiet.

And there it was. 761 miles worth of conquered highway.

After driving over 1400 miles, it's strange to look back on all the photos and memories and question how on earth this all occurred in three days. The sights, cityscapes, rural roads, and distant lakes.

But it happened. And the pictures are left to tell the story. The story of 1,400 miles.

America, you're beautiful. Let's never stop exploring.

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