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- Here is a recap of the apps we planned to use and if and how it worked out for us. We are including our original post to help remind you of our original thoughts on the apps.
- Instagram – This is a free photo app. It allows the user to either take a photo with the app or you can pull a photo from your album on your phone. The app offers a variety of filters/effects that changes you photos from okay to bam! Awesome. Review : This app was not on our original post, but boy howdy did we use it on our trip. It was a nice and easy way to create cool pictures to share with our fans, friends, and families along the way. You can easily link your Twitter and Facebook accounts and upload right in the app. The picture above is a shot Stephanie took from our tent in La Push Washington using Instagram.
- National Geographic National Park Apps – National park guides and tips. This app allows you to download guides (your first is free and $1.99 after), see pictures and learn photo tips, as well as make an itinerary of sights you would like to see. REVIEW: We didn’t really use this app. We only used the app once. Stephanie used it to find out that Mohave Point (Grand Canyon) was the spot to go for sunrises.
- San Francisco Exploration Guide – Cool little free app. We have not played with it too much, because we are waiting to get closer to San Francisco. It has a neat map section that is going to be fun to use. REVIEW: We finally had a chance to use this app while we were in San Francisco. We found it not very helpful, so we abandoned it for other sources of information.
- United States of America – Once you pick your destinations, it will be give you information about things to do in that area, information about the area, its history, culture, and so on. It is pretty cool for a free app. REVIEW: This app did not have much useful info for us.
- Farm to Hand – Farm to Hand is a farmer’s market finder. We are hoping to use this on our trip to find cheap eats for our trip. REVIEW: We did not stay in any location long enough for this app to useful. However, Lisa has used the app to find farmer’s markets in Orlando. So, if you really enjoy going to farmer’s markets and want to find more in your area, this free app might be something you want to try.
- Urbanspoon – Finding great food all across the country. We are really going to be putting this app to the test. We both love great eats, so let see if this app is worth having. REVIEW: We had a truly horrible time with Urbanspoon on our trip!! Stephanie has used the app in the past with success. However, that was just not the case for us on this trip. Almost every place we found on Urbanspoon with good reviews was disappointing, if not awful. We were very happy to have another app (DDD) to rely on for great food on the road.
- The Weather Channel – Keeping us up to date on all our weather conditions. Nothing worse than not being prepared for flash floods or mountain snows. We have a feeling we will be experiencing a broad range of weather conditions and temperatures though out our trip. Hopefully this app will help us stay up-to-date on all the current weather conditions. REVIEW: We had trouble getting this app to consistently load while on the road and ended up using another app while traveling.
- WordPress – This app will be help us keep our blog going on the road. A little bit of tinkering around with this app before our trip does not give us much hope for the apps usefulness during our trip. However, we will give it a full three-week test before we give our final verdict. REVIEW: We barely had enough time to breath on our trip. Too many cool things to see! Not to mention the lack of reception. Boy howdy, those mountains are meanies! The few times we did blog from the road, we did it via the computer. Just seemed easier.
Twitter – We will be doing daily updates and photos from the road. The Twitter app is already a regular in our Twitter updating. REVIEW: We loved and used the heck out of Twitter during our trip!! We wrote our Twitter name on our car for our full trip and picked up loads of great followers. We even used it to try and track down the Bacon Bacon food truck in San Fransisco. Lisa was pretty disappointed about this but there is always our next trip :-)
- Facebook – This app is going to be worn out by the end of our trip. We will be using it to upload photos and give updates throughout our trip. The app recently had an update allowing better pages updates and control, so we will see how easy it is on our trip. REVIEW: We used this app quite a bit to stay in touch with our followers on the road. It proved to be a good tool to advertise about our posts and our location while on the road.
- MotionX GPS – Navigation! So we won’t get lost! We are going to download some crazy voice to give us hours of enjoyment and annoyance while driving across the country. REVIEW: We used this almost exclusively on our trip with only minor support from Apple’s Map app. The app was pretty consistent and accurate. The only issue was the delay in directions at times that lead to a few missed turns, but hey what is a trip without a few missed turns. Not very fun!
Groupon – Stephanie recommends this app for all travelers. When planning a trip make the city or cities on your route your favorites so you get a regular update of new deals. Now all cities have many “local deals”; like yoga classes, oil changes, teeth whitening, and photographers sessions, but keep in mind you can find some useful deals here. When visiting a city, look for great local eats and unique experiences. Stephanie used Groupon before her trip to New Orleans last year and scored a Cessna flight for two, at sunset, with a bottle of champagne and chocolates. By far one of her favorite experiences and not something many people think to do when visiting a city. In addition, she used Groupon to get two tickets for $20 for the Underground Cincinnati Tours. It really is worth all the boring local deals to get great visitor experiences. REVIEW: We did not get a chance to use this on our trip even though we checked it everyday. Our timing was just not right. However, if we were in locations for longer, we may have been able to use them. We simply did not have time.
- Living Social – This is another great app that you can use the same way as Groupon. One important thing about Living Social, it offers more “local” or online deals then fun experiences. This is a good stop for local food deals. They also have what they call “adventures”. These are not offered all over the country, but mostly in big cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. The adventures tab offer unique planned trips with things like, kayaking at sunset, wine tastings, whiskey tastings, shooting lessons, and cooking classes. These can be a great way to learn more about an area and meet locals. REVIEW: Like Groupon we just didn’t have any luck with the timing of good deals we could use on our trip. We still support using this app and Groupon while planning your trip. However, we would recommend not wasting time with it while on your trip. We suggest scoping out the sites regularly for a couple months (if you have it) before your trip and looking for deals on fun things to do while you are in town. Just make sure to pay close attention to expiration dates and locations where they must be used so you don’t waste your money.
- Foursquare – If you are a check in nut like Stephanie you can use Foursquare to check into to all your stops and unlock cool badges, discounts and even freebies along the way. REVIEW: We had a foursquareoff while on the trip! We tried to check into places before the other and at times helping the person driving get checked in as well, so we could get points for being together. It was a fun game we played along the way. We unlocked a lot of badges and it was fun trying to do sneak check-ins.
- Storm Shield – Storm Shield is another great weather app. This app does not offer the same type of weather information as The Weather Channel app, but rather works as a weather radio. If you are in a location with a severe weather alert the alert cuts through what your iPhone is doing and give you the emergency broadcast message. This app is $4.99, but worth it in our book too make sure we are staying safe. REVIEW: We used this app only briefly and it mainly spent a lot of time warning us of heat advisories. It is nice to have and might have been more useful if we had been in a location longer than two days. We also were pretty blessed to have some amazing weather on our trip. We even had sunshine in Seattle for 2 days!!
- Diners, Drive-ins and Dives – This app is a guide to finding and eating at the restaurants featured on Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. REVIEW: Loved it!!! Every time we used this app we got a quality product. It did not lead us astray. Totally worth the money. We ate at amazing place! From Clanton’s Cafe, just outside of Oklahoma City, Cecelia’s in Albuquerque, to Tocabe and Sam’s No. 3 in Denver. We highly recommend this app for locating good places to eat while on the road.
- Stephanie and Lisa -
It was time to leave Colorado Springs and head to Kansas City for our last night of the trip. The trip took us roughly ten hours. However, we did take a slight detour to Topeka, Kansas to visit Stephanie’s friend Joe.
We did not have a hotel set for Kansas City, so Stephanie got on Priceline and found us an awesome deal. We got our stay at the Holiday Inn Aladdin for a fraction of the cost. This site really does work!
This hotel was amazing. When we checked in we were greeted with glasses of champagne and a stack of coupons to use at local restaurants (some of our favorite things). The only bad thing about the hotel is that you either have to valet park your car or park your car across the street in the parking garage. Parking across the street is not all together bad, but it sure did suck hauling all our stuff over to the hotel.
The hotel is only a couple blocks from Kansas City’s famed Power and Light District. The district is home to dozens of restaurants, bars, The Alamo Drafthouse (a dine in movie theater), a bowling alley, the Sprint Center, and an outdoor concert venue. With so many decisions on where we could eat for the evening, we decided to look through our coupons and see if there was anywhere that sounded yummy. We decided to try Gorden Biersch. They have a lot of great food options at mid level prices. One of the best features about Gorden Biersch is that they brew many of the beer options themselves. Try a beer flight while you are there. This allows you to try multiple types of beer without getting too full or tipsy. :-)
Additionally, in the Power and Light area you can find an awesome market called Cosentino’s. Since Lisa has never been to Consentio’s, we decided to check it out. The market has all your city grocery needs, as well as access to some great local products like Christopher Elbow Chocolates (fabulous chocolates!).
After all the driving we did on our trip the trip back to Ohio felt like nothing. We did the 9 hour drive from KC in what seem no time at all. The next morning (really early, grrr) Lisa was on a plane and headed home to Orlando and she took a few days to decompress. While, Stephanie loved it so much in KC she came back 4 days later and made it her home! She literally packed up her house and headed West back to Kansas City to start a new job the following week.
We didn’t get a chance to do anything exciting in KC. We basically did a quick tour of the area around our hotel and went to bed. However, now that Stephanie lives there, keep an eye out for future events and stories from her as she settles into her new city.
– Steph Lisa -