EFL Traveler: Holiday Road

Penn Street resident goes Clark Griswold on epic cross country journey. EF Local goes along for the ride.


When Penn Street resident Chris McCabe told us he was going on a cross country road trip, we thought Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s classic movie “Vacation.”

We were joking, but after we saw his trip website, complete with maps and destination points marked along the way, we knew he wasn’t. We’re talking almost 6,000 miles behind the wheel covering 11 states.


This guy is serious about travel and we’re glad he shared some of his trip with us. Why the road trip? Perhaps a bit of nostalgia. According Chris:

I traveled the same route home in 1977, with my dad, mom, and four younger brothers (Paul, Gerard, Peter, and Brendan) on our last family road trip to the Banff, Jasper, and the Canadian Rockies, and I’ll have the chance to see if I can remember any of the sights from that memorable trip (where our tent in Banff NP was visited, we think, by a grizzly bear).”

No grizzly tent visits this time around (though they spotted a mama grizzly and her cub at Yellowstone — fortunately from a long way away). A few highlights from the road trip —

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One of the first stops along the route — Schmucker’s Restaurant in Toledo, Ohio.

Before arriving at our hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, we stopped in Toledo, Ohio, at Schmucker’s for some homestyle cooking and of course some delicious pie.

Like the sign says, it was good food, from the Swiss Steak (Grandmother Schmucker’s secret recipe since 1948), homemade meatloaf, and the wimpy burger (two beef patties).

And for dessert, we went with the chocolate peanut butter pie and the special of the week, tropical delight pie.

After this meal, and many more to follow, we’ll need more than a few hikes in Yellowstone to burn off the calories.

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Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (Whitefish Point, MI)

Our first stop after leaving Sault Ste. Marie this morning was the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum located in Whitefish Point, Michigan.  On the way there, we cued up my iPod to listen to Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a song from one of my “car mixes” which I created years ago to entertain Clare and Conor with some of my favorite hits and songs.

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Bob Dylan’s Home (Hibbing, MN)

We visited Dylan’s boyhood home at 2524 Seventh Avenue East (both Clare and Conor thought my obsession with the house a bit odd, remarking that, Dad, someone still lives in the house, and of course there’s not much to see other than the house which is now missing the garage door that was painted as the album cover for Blood on the Tracks), and later we stopped at the Hibbing Public Library which has a locked basement room devoted to Dylan memorabilia and artifacts. I had to ask one of the staff to allow me access for some alone time to explore the room which include a life-size papier-mache of Dylan (Clare and Conor stayed in the car). All in all, pretty cool.”

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The Beartooth Highway

After leaving Red Lodge, Montana, we drove the Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge, Montana, to Cooke City, Montana. Heralded as one of the most scenic drives in the United States (Charles Kuralt described the road as “the most beautiful drive in America”), the Beartooth Highway, a National Scenic Byways All-American Road, opened in 1936 and winds its way for 68 miles through southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming and leads into Yellowstone National Park at its Northeast Entrance.  

The drive features breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, and open high alpine plateaus dotted with countless glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. The drive was nothing short of spectacular.”

EastFallsLocal Continental Divide collage

Yellowstone Park

Spent three days in Yellowstone, seeing as many sites as we could, including the eruption of the Old Faithful geyser. Plenty of wildlife, including bison, elk, and deer. Conor saw a grizzly bear and Clare spied a lone wolf crossing the park road (I also glimpsed it in my side view mirror). 

We also stopped for photos at the Continental Divide at Craig Pass (elevation 8262 feet). Shown above is a photo of my dad and four younger brothers, also in Yellowstone at the Continental Divide at Craig Pass in 1977.

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We also drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to catch a view of the Lower Falls and the awesome Grand Canyon  of the Yellowstone. Conor and I hiked down the Red Rock Point Trail to get a better view of the Lower Falls which at 308 feet are the highest falls in Yellowstone (they are higher than Niagara Falls!).  Needless to say, the views of the Lower Falls and the Canyon were absolutely spectacular and awe-inspiring.”

Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

On Sunday, June 19, our last day in Yellowstone, we decided to make a quick detour to visit Grand Teton National Park to the south.  We were not disappointed in our decision. We drove the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway from Yellowstone to Grand Teton.

The views of the Teton Range from our first overlook were awe-inspiring.  We stopped at a visitor center for some advice, and then drove the scenic drive at Jenny Lake for even more awesome and close up views of the Teton Range.  We had lunch at a nearby picnic site and then headed back to Yellowstone for a well-deserved respite till dinner.

From there, it was time to turn around for home, with plenty of stops on the way, including Devil’s Tower, Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, The Mitchell Corn Palace, and of course no trip is complete without Denny’s. (Oh yeah and there was art and architecture in that Chicago place.)

Thanks for sharing, Chris! Check out the full trip (including, pics, maps, and video) at the McCabe family road trip blog.

Got a cool trip coming up?

Take EFL along and we’ll post your pics! Email us at editor@eastfallslocal.com

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