Halls Across America

Two adults, a twenty-something, two teenagers and two rabbits get into a car… and the rest is one long punchline.

Month: August, 2012

CA to MA, by the numbers

Number of Halls in our party when we left: (including bunnies)

Days on the road: 17

Number of hotels slept in: 11

Number of states visited: 13 (CA, NV, ID, WY, SD, MN, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, CT, MA)

Total miles traveled: 3,732.6

Truck’s approximate average mpg: (8 without drafting, 10 with drafting)

Approximate number of Friends episodes watched in the car: 1,000,000

Number of Halls in our party when we arrived: (including a couple of Hall progenitors we picked up in Connecticut)


Casualties of the trip

We’ve arrived in sunny Massachusetts! (Darn, I have to relearn how to confidently spell Massachusetts.) And now, a moment of silence for the things we’ve lost along the way:

  • Amanda’s iPhone’s home button functionality
  • One of Amanda’s Friends DVDs
  • Those two pieces of French toast that Ali accidentally put vinegar on thinking it was syrup
  • That baked potato Kim put tartar sauce on
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Many hours of sleep
  • Some of Ali’s ear flesh
  • Kim’s toenail

And finally,

  • The wallpaper under the sink at the Ramada Inn in Indianapolis. Apparently ugly wallpaper is like crack to rabbits.

Mythbusters: Halls Across America Edition

Myth #1: The desert is flat. Status: BUSTED. (Just try driving across it in a truck with a trailer and you’ll notice every single incline.)

Myth #2: They grow potatoes in Idaho. Status: CONFIRMED.

Myth #3: Yellowstone is beautiful. Status: CONFIRMED.

Myth #4: Monks don’t have any fun. Status: INCONCLUSIVE. They definitely go to tourist destinations, as the below image illustrates, but we have no proof that they have fun there.

Myth #5: Trucks with trailers are harder to drive than normal cars. Status: BUSTED. They’re exactly the same.* (*Unless you want to back up. Or turn. Or go up a hill. Or accelerate. Or decelerate. Or find somewhere to park. Other than that, you’re golden.)

Myth #6: A cross-country move will tear apart even the most close-knit family. Status: INCONCLUSIVE. (We’ll see.)


Help us solve a mystery

Here’s what we know about the skill crane:

-It has bright colors and lights up. (Instant fun.)

-It’s addictive. (See above.)

-It’s stuffed with misshapen rejects from overseas toy factories.

To wit: what in the name of FAO Schwartz do you think this is supposed to be?


Do the hearts make it less off-putting? We don’t think so.

And even more perplexing:

Feel free to leave us your guesses in the comments. In the mean time, we’ll be burying these deep in our suitcases so they don’t give us nightmares.

I’d rather not collect them all, actually, but thanks anyway.

Choose your own adventure!

Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? The ones where you go on a magical journey and you flip to page whatever depending on what you want to do next, and if you choose wrong you get eaten by dragons and stuff? Well, this is like that (sort of).

You’re 10 days into a cross-country trek with America’s favorite family, the Halls. The road behind you is littered with amazing sights, enlightening experiences, sweet memories, and rabbit turds hastily swept into hotel room trashcans. The road ahead? Well, that remains to be explored.

Now the caravan has pulled into the Wisconsin Dells, the hottest vacation destination in the American midwest. This water- and theme-park-filled tourist trap is the site of a fork in the road, and you have a choice to make. Decide, lest ye be mired in purgatory forever:

Option A: Stay in the Wisconsin Dells for one more night.


Option B: Drive on to Hammond, Indiana.

Click on your choice to discover your fate–and find out which Hall contingent you’ve elected to tag along with.

CYOA Option A: Stay in the Wisconsin Dells

This post is part of our “Choose your own adventure!” series. You’ll want to read the first post in the series before you read this one.

You’ve chosen to stay in the Wisconsin Dells for another day. Kim, Amanda, and Alissa, who have also decided to stick around in this sugary tourist trap, will be your companions on this quest.

When most people visit the Dells, they probably spend some time looking at the Dells.* Instead, your travel companions decide to avail themselves of the enticing Tanger Outlets, where materialistic delights abound. Flitting from Banana Republic to J. Crew to the Nike store (and then to Claire’s for a second ear piercing for Alissa), you do your part for the economy and pick up some preppy clothes to fit in with your future East coast cohorts.

Worn out from your adventure, you desperately seek a watering hole to unwind from a taxing day. You stumble into the Moose Jaw, where you join the Hall ladies in looking like a moronic tourist.

Then, on your way to the car, you get preyed upon by a moose-eating dragon.  Oops! Click here to try the other option.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the Halls are still not totally sure what a dell is. A small hill, maybe? No, it must be a body of water–they were offering boat tours of them. Not important. Anyway, we didn’t look at them.

CYOA Option B: Drive on to Hammond, Indiana

This post is part of our “Choose your own adventure!” series. You’ll want to read the first post in the series before you read this one.

Along with Bruce and Andrew, you’ve chosen to drive to Hammond, Indiana, the site of the DV8 South Shore Open. (That’s a senior PBA bowling tournament, in case you didn’t know).  You get to watch Bruce bowl as a pro in the pro-am, watch him try to qualify for the finals, and watch him get beat by PBA stars like Walter Ray Williams Jr., Tom Baker (who gives a ball to Andrew, making him an instant hero), and Hugh Miller (the eventual winner).  Bruce cashes, however, missing the finals by just 5 pins over 16 games!

Then, just as you walk out of the bowling alley, a dragon comes out of nowhere and eats you. Oops! Click here to try the other option.

If our trip was the Olympics, these would be the events

Cycling three drivers through two cars in shifts.

Sprinting across the less-than-captivating states. (We won’t name names.)

Tackling the many Hurdles involved in smuggling two live rabbits into non-pet-friendly hotels.

A sign in the lobby of the hotel from which I’m currently posting this. Whoops.

Diving headfirst into the experience with a (mostly) positive attitude.

Facial gymnastics. (Bruce is heavily favored for the gold:)

Swimming through a sea of rough-and-tumble bikers without making eye contact.

Wrestling over control of the car’s DVD player.

Lifting suitcases up flights of stairs in hotels without elevators.

Also from our current hotel.

Sailing through hour-long amusement park lines by playing cat’s cradle with Andrew’s necklace.

Deal-hunting at the J. Crew outlets.

And finally…

Bowling. No joke about this one; the Halls just feel strongly that bowling should be an Olympic event.


We’re running late–I think we need to Rushmore

(Ironically, our detour to Mt. Rushmore put us even further behind schedule, if anything.)

Since these four presidents were so instrumental in the development of our great nation and we owe them many debts of gratitude, we decided to pose normally in front of these solemn historical figures, paying their majestic likenesses due deference and respect instead of doing something silly.

BAHAHAHA just kidding, we totally made idiots of ourselves by trying to pose like them.

…And then added a photobomber, just to put the cherry on top of the sacrilege sundae.

But don’t worry, we also learned a lot. Like the fact that Jefferson was an ice cream cone, and also that a “small” ice cream cone in South Dakota is three scoops. So a lot about ice cream, mainly.

He did always strike me as kind of vanilla.

I ordered a small, hyper-patriotic mint chocolate chip. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Oh, you wanted to know what we learned about the presidents that might actually be useful? Well, it turns out neither Lincoln nor Washington had any formal education. No college for the twins! We spent $11 to get into the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and got a $200,000 piece of info. Pretty good deal, we think.

Select quotes from our visit to the SPAM Museum

Alissa: “Why are we here?”

“Well, we had to get gas, and it’s right there…”


Perky greeter: “Can I interest you in some SPAMples?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

Amanda: “…………………………………………..no thanks.”

Yeah, you’ll have to brainwash me first. Like you seem to have done to this cheery, dead-eyed lady cutout.


Kim, upon viewing the phrase “pork packers” on a wagon replica (pictured above): “Hey, you could shorten that to ‘porkers’! Hahahaha”

Amanda: “Yes, that would be quite the porkmanteau.* HAHAHAHA”

*This is a play on the word “portmanteau.” Full disclosure, I had to look up the exact definition of portmanteau to make sure I was using it right. Jokes are funniest when you have to explain them, right? Thought so.


Informational placard: “Whatever you’ve heard is in SPAM luncheon meat, isn’t! Many people have made jokes about what’s in SPAM, but the ingredients list is actually short and straightforward.” [Sure.]

…because what sober person would consent to eating SPAM?


50s housewife cutout, to her husband: “What can I do for my lord and master?”

Husband: “Cook that SPAM bake a little faster!” 

Maybe she’s being sarcastic. Or maybe the 50s were the worst.


Well, it was no potato museum, but on the bright side, we didn’t stay very long.