For some reason my Dad and I thought we could drive from central PA and snag the Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota state high points as well as sight see along the way and POSSIBLY get Missouri … in like 4 days … yeah – this is not possible. As we were driving early in the trip and realized that Minnesota was way farther away than we thought, we had to make a decision – skip it and do more sight seeing, or skip all the sight seeing and rush to get to Minnesota and head back home.
I’m not quite sure why it has taken me so long to blog about my road trip with my dad – we had such a great time and ended up getting 8 state highpoints in like 6 days – I really doubted it was possible. This blog post is going to be an overview of the entire trip – I will write an entire post for each highpoint (eventually).
My dad and I studied the map for all the highpoints and decided to head out and get as many as we could with the time we had. It was rainy when we left and I just threw everything in the car right after work and took off to meet my dad. We had been on the road for about 2 hours when I realized I forgot all the dry food I had packed – I grabbed the cooler, but the bin w/ all the bread, cereal, etc was still on the dining room table. CRAP! Well, I figured we could just grab what we needed along the way, there was no point in going back for it.
First, let me start this post by saying I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!! I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!!! 🙂
Let me backtrack: I have been using the Summit Chicks’ blog for quite some time as a reference for my own high pointing road trips. I was so surprised and excited when they contacted me shortly after I started my blog and asked if I would want to hike a highpoint with them – ummm YES!!!! 🙂 They found me because I left a comment for another blogger who was starting out highpointing and I suggested she check out their blog. After chatting back and forth we decided Katahdin in Maine would be the peak we would go after – how exciting! The Summit Chicks (Raina and Jill) put together the whole trip – it was in the works for MONTHS because you have to snag a campsite about 4 mths ahead of time for Baxter State Park. They have a ton of crazy rules and the girls did a lot of research to figure out what would be the best option to hike Katahdin.
Kevin and I got up early to pack the final things we would need for our trip and put them in the truck. We gave Willow (my cat) her insulin shot and set out for Stowe, VT to try to hike Mt Mansfield before they closed the toll road at 5- I knew we would be cutting it close and my heart sunk when I punched the address into the GPS and saw the estimated arrival time was 3:30- that was over an hour what my phone GPS said!! “We’re not gonna make it” I said – it takes approx 20 mins to drive up the toll road – plus let’s say 2 hrs to hike and enjoy the views and then 20 mins to drive back down- the website says all cars must start driving down by 4:45 at the latest because the gate closes at 5. This did not give us enough time. Kevin said his GPS the time always goes down as he drives. We figured we would give it a try and see if we made it- I wanted to be there by 2 to be safe but knew that just wasn’t possible. On the long drive I started looking for options for plan B.
From Sioux Falls, SD it was maybe a little over an hour drive to Hawkeye Point – the highest point in Iowa. We set out early because the weather predicted storms and we were hoping to catch a tiny window before the rain. Actually we ended up driving through the rain and got ahead of the storm as we reached the highpoint.
I plugged in 5467 130th St Sibley, IA into the GPS which is the address I found on roadsideamerica.com and it took us right there. It was very easy to get to and since everything is so flat we could see the silo and flags in the distance (as well as the approaching rain) as we drove closer. For some reason my GPS took us off the main road and down some dirt roads the back way to the entrance, but either way works.
I can see for miles and miles,
I can see for miles and miles,
I can see for miles and miles and miles and…ok you get the point…I just kept hearing this song by The Who as we drove from Rapid City to Amidon, ND on the way to the high point White Butte. The drive was BEAUTIFUL – you really could see for miles in every direction as the landscape was pretty flat – and we also saw a rogue cow running down the road. Poor guy got out of his pasture somehow!
We followed these instructions from Summitpost.org:
From Amidon, ND:
– Go E on US 85 for 2.0 miles to an unmarked gravel road.
– Turn S (R) on the road and continue on for 5.0 miles to another gravel road.
– Turn W (R) and continue 1.2 miles to the VanDaele’s farmhouse.
There is actually a sign pointing towards the highpoint from 85, but I read on another blog that the road wasn’t the best so we opted to go to the next road, which follows the instructions above. It brings you right to the donation box at the start of the trail. After you place your donation (I read online $10 is the standard amount – the box has a padlock, but it’s open a bit on one side so you can slide the donation in) you can drive down the lane to the gate, but the road is really rutted out so it’s not recommended. Believe me, this would be really tricky to drive down even in an SUV, plus it only adds 2 miles round trip to an already pretty short hike, and the views are gorgeous walking down the lane – ENJOY THEM!
Here is a video I put together of the drive down the lane from the donation box to Panorama Point – the highest point in Nebraska! Enjoy!