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.