Lost Miles

After almost 18 months of solid family time, our travel plans should have sent us in four different directions. But instead, our little fam packed up, and headed out on a minivan adventure for 3,300 miles and 11 states of diverse landscape, lifestyle and thought. Staying put just isn’t our style, and we want our boys to feel at home in their country, not just their state. The major spots we wanted to hit were The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone and Mount St. Helens. Our trip proved that simply visiting each other might help us set out on a road back from national division and misconception. We don’t have to agree, but just being a fish out of water for a few days achieves a valuable level of empathy and attempt at understanding.

Full disclosure, we cheated a bit. We flew to Detroit first. I had a goal of finally hitting all 50 states, so with just MI, WI and ND to go, that goal was proudly reached as we rolled into Fargo, ND – tired but celebratory late one night. There’s actually an official club for us nerds – and I will be asking for my All 50 Club shirt for Christmas.

We survived and thrived with not too much iPad time, only one fast food stop, and a longing for home – which has been elusive for awhile.

Ten memorable moments:

1. Stupidly luxurious dinner in Chicago to prelude the nine days of road food ahead.

2. Triple cream goat cheese at Fromagination in Madison, WI.

3. Hurrying to Fargo Target before closing for emergency toothpaste, and noticing Target is annoying exactly the same. Everywhere.

4. Realizing the Crazy Horse Memorial in SD will likely not be finished in our lifetimes.

5. Playing cards by lantern and full moon light in Wyoming.

6. Leaving Idaho.

7. Driving along the Columbia River Gorge. The miles just fly by with that scenery.

8. Breakfast at Broder Øst in Hood River, OR.

9. Dust devils on Mount St. Helens.

10. Pre-red eye flight hike to Discovery Park on the Puget Sound.

First overnight stop: Joe’s beloved Chicago.
I don’t know which is better – deep dish, or this Will Ferrell tribute shirt.
Our approach to photography in a nutshell. Well, on a wall actually.
A hot & smoky Midwest. There was occasional public child toplessness.
A special treat – a visit to the very pampered turf at Soldier Field. Brier boy heaven.
So long, Chicago!
The smoke from Canada and the Northwest stuck with us most of the way.
Not much to do in North Dakota except go along with your parents when they make you take a dumb family photo on the side of the road.
The newest member of the All 50 Club 🙂
Welcome to South Dakota! Here is just one friendly, fearless, and peanut-motivated member of the Badlands welcome squad.
Not a bad spot to wait out the sunset.
Welcome to Deadwood!
Gold Mining at Broken Boot.
Early morning with the fellas.
My fave picture by my talented hubs.
Crazy Horse Memorial in the distance. Started in 1948! Still so much work to do.
The teepee! Possibly the best night’s sleep of the trip.
Smoke does spectacular things to the sun and moon.
BUGS! (No, the camera sensor isn’t dirty.) But we were pleasantly surprised that Wyoming bugs couldn’t care less about feasting on humans.
Go ‘Cuse 🙂
Too cool for pools.
Idaho sky. And we thought the Midwest was smoky!
Columbia River Gorge. Charlie heading for a well-intentioned dip in the White Salmon River …
… Which was too frigid and violent for us! But our toes got to swim.
Creek next to our WONDERFUL tiny house. If I wasn’t married to a tall man, I’d live in a tiny house.
Porridge at Broder Øst.
Everything in its place at Mount St. Helens. Eerie to see hundreds of trees falling uphill.
We settled for this picture from outside the original Starbucks. Longest line in Seattle.
Future street performer?
Thankfully, we almost stepped on a dead crab.
Last stop.


Love these pics, especially the one of Katye in the forest. Great use of light and shadow. She looks amazing!

Great story and pics. Reminder of what counts.

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