It's about an 11 hour drive, though it took us a bit longer since we had to stop frequently for me to use the bathroom. It definitely made for a long day, but it was totally doable, and we got there with enough time to go out to dinner and relax for a bit before going to bed. My first impression of the city was just how pretty it is! When you're on the major highways that go through town, you can barely tell you're in a city at all because of all the trees lining the roads. The nearby mountains (which look to me more like big rolling hills) are simply gorgeous, and two rivers flow through the city. It is lovely. The other thing I noticed first off was how much there is to do! We passed so many restaurants and shops and theatres and saw signs for a whole host of other cool attractions. I don't think we'll ever have a hard time finding something to do!
We spent the next couple days touring apartments in the morning and exploring the city in the afternoon. We saw a lot of apartments, some of which we hated and some of which we loved. Somehow, we always seemed to like the more expensive ones better... We narrowed our list down to just a few places, and now we just have to wait and see which ones will have availability in August. We're so used to living in places where leases run on the school year, but since we avoided apartments targeted to students, the residents just have to give 30 or 60 day notices before they move out, meaning that we won't know til June or July which ones will have openings. Most people we talked to seemed pretty confident there would be open apartments, though, so that's good.
Since this was our last "vacation" before we become parents, we tried to squeeze in as many fun activities as we could. We went swimming, went to a movie, went mini-golfing, toured campus, explored World's Fair park and the downtown area, checked out some really yummy local restaurants, and basically just had a great time. It was really nice to be able to relax and have fun after a stressful semester. It is weird to think that we'll actually be living there in just a few short months--and with a baby, no less. And for the first time since I was five, I won't be starting a new school year... EVERYTHING will be different. I'm really excited, though!
Thomas at World's Fair Park