U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Week Thirteen (Chicago to Pittsburgh)

North to South U.S. road trip recap week thirteen

After our much needed road trip break in Chicago, we set our sights on exploring the Northeast. Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were all checked off this week of our road trip, as we made our way to New England. And we saw a good amount of ultra-green midwestern farmland along our route. Take a look at our journey from Chicago to Pittsburgh on week thirteen of our trip!

Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers August 2-8. 

Diana Southern and Ian Norman in Pittsburgh

unique scenery along our self-guided bike tour through Pittsburgh

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You can get an overview of our trip each week here on the blog, but we’re posting more frequent updates of our cross-country U.S. road trip on Facebook and Instagram.

Bike tour through Pittsburgh with my personal tour guide. I <3 cities with the bike rental things! #NTSroadtrip2015 #pittsburgh

A photo posted by North To South • Diana + Ian (@dianasouth) on

States Visited This Week

  • Illinois
  • Indiana*
  • Michigan
  • Ohio*
  • Pennsylvania

*just passing through

Indiana tollway, enroute to Ann Arbor, MI

Indiana tollway, enroute to Ann Arbor, MI

selfie time in Pittsburgh

selfie time in Pittsburgh

Diana Southern and Ian Norman riding bikes in Pittsburgh

We rented bikes from a kiosk to tour around Pittsburgh, Ian’s college town

States Visited in Previous Weeks

Total States Visited So Far: 23

California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania

the classic Pittsburgh sandwich comes with coleslaw on it

The “Pitts-burger” — a classic Pittsburgh sandwich, complete with coleslaw (Yuck!)

endless green grass in Ohio

endless green grass in Ohio

playing Ticket to Ride with friends in Pittsburgh

playing Ticket to Ride with friends in Pittsburgh (and WINNING!)


  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Dynamic Perception (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Ian’s alma mater)
Diana Southern and Ian Norman riding bikes in Pittsburgh

Pausing to rest on our bike ride through Pittsburgh

Indiana tollway, enroute to Ann Arbor, MI

Indiana tollway, enroute to Ann Arbor, MI


  • trying a Primanti Bros. sandwich — which comes with french fries and cole slaw ON it — in Pittsburgh
  • Ian visiting Dynamic Perception, makers of the slider we used in the making of our On Photographing the Milky Way video
  • visiting Ian’s friends from college in Pittsburgh
  • taking a self-guided bike tour through Pittsburgh
  • an introduction to the “Yinzer” accent of Pittsburgh
Ian Norman visits Dynamic Perception in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ian visits Dynamic Perception in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Notes and Insights

  • Zingerman’s Coffee Company in Ann Arbor, MI is now one of my favorite coffee places in the entire U.S.
  • Burning Man tickets are best bought in advance (not that we didn’t already know that, but we were reminded when we weren’t able to get tickets in this year’s OMG Sale).
  • Ticket to Ride is now one of our favorite board games! Especially the Nordic Countries Edition that we played. Thanks to our Pittsburgh friends for introducing it to us!
farmland views along the Ohio Turnpike

farmland views along the Ohio Turnpike

Ian Norman returns to Carnegie Mellon University

Ian returns to Carnegie Mellon University

locks on the bridge near CMU

locks on the bridge near CMU

Diana Southern and Ian Norman riding bikes in Pittsburgh

a challenging hill on our bike ride in Pittsburgh


All photos were taken by Ian and Diana with the Sony a7 II (Ian’s camera), Sony RX100 III (Diana’s camera — review here) and our smartphones.

Week 14 Preview

  • Visiting Hershey Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania (and staying with an extremely hospitable Airbnb host with the most difficult-to-understand American accent I’ve ever heard)
  • My first visit to New York City and our week-long Airbnb stay in Brooklyn
  • A visit to B&H Photo, aka photographers’ heaven in NYC
  • Exploring NYC on a budget during our week in the city

I hope you enjoyed this U.S. road trip re-cap! In case you missed them, check out our other weekly recaps from our road trip. Have you road-tripped to any of these U.S. locations? Tell us about your trips in the comments.

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About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

4 Responses

  1. Nadirah January 12, 2016 / 3:00 am

    Hi, got to your page from the Travelettes’ website. The photos on your road trip is amazing! I’ve always dreamed on going on a US Road Trip but it would probably never happen that soon, but looking at your pictures and reading about your adventures is keeping the candle burning for now 🙂 Great website & great photos! Can’t wait to see Week 14 onwards!

    • Diana Southern January 12, 2016 / 7:28 pm

      Thanks, Nadirah! I hope to get our subsequent road trip weeks posted here on the blog soon. Happy travels!

  2. ROSS January 24, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Having grown up in Indiana, and having driven the Indiana Tollway, I can honestly say that there are far more scenic views that are available…of course, it is a pretty quick way to get across the state when time is more of the essence. You’ll have to return and meander the southern part of the state..especially in the fall! Love the US Road Trip you’ve taken.

    • Diana Southern January 24, 2017 / 7:37 pm

      Cool! Noted for next time we’re in the state that has both of our names in it. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

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