Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Heading West, Yet Again

I've probably said it a hundred times, but as long as my people are all in the west, I'm going to travel there, a lot. This trip has been especially fun because I'm sharing it not only with family, but with some of my favorite friends.

On Saturday, July 16, 2016, Jann Gartside and I packed up the little Honda Civic Eric and I bought for Sara and took off. We left early, and pushed all the way past Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin. We didn't stop or sightsee there, just found the hotel, had some dinner and got to bed. We had a long day the next day, too, so we got up early to make it all the way across Wisconsin, Minnesota and most the way across South Dakota. Almost 800 miles.

We made it though, and in perfect harmony. I love Jann so much. She's a complete kindred spirit, but wiser and more thoughtful than me, which I always appreciate in a friend. We talked and laughed so much that I got almost nothing out of the audiobook I brought to listen to, which is a very good thing.

Of course the air conditioner died, which was totally NOT awesome, but we dealt with it. It became of two minds, stopping and starting whimsically, just to keep us alert. We did stop in Rapid City for a part, but changing it out didn't make any difference. Boo. No matter though, Jann was a trooper and we just kept going.

We stopped to get cheese curds in Wisconsin, then enjoyed the beautiful prairies of southern Minnesota, found a Culver's in Sioux Falls, and made it to our hotel in Keystone just after dark. We got checked in and then went to see Mount Rushmore, which was on my bucket list. We went to the park just in time for the nightly lighting ceremony and that was completely worthwhile.

After a cozy night's sleep in the Battle Creek Lodge (which I highly recommend), we went back to Mt. Rushmore to see it in the daytime. We just stayed a little while, no hikes or anything, but it really is beautiful and impressive. I'm so glad we stopped.

The next day we had adventures across Wyoming both with and without air conditioning. It's pretty desolate there, so I was glad one of the rest stops had a paper map, since most of the way we did not have any data on our devices, so no navigation. Fortunately, there aren't that many roads, so if we figured if we just kept heading west, we'd at least get to Idaho.

The real treat of this day was wending our way past the Wind River Range, then through Bridger-Teton National Forest, then, be still my heart,  the Tetons. WOW. Can I just say it again? Wow. I had never taken this route west, and it was delightful, not just for the new vistas, but because of this gorgeous payoff on the last afternoon. The drama and beauty of this part of the Rockies was spectacular.

Finally, Monday evening, we made it to Rexburg, Idaho, home of Brigham Young University-Idaho. I dropped off Jann, then went to find my girl. And that's how you do 2222 miles in 3 days.
I-90 outside of Chicago. This is the hotel and convention
center where I go every August for STITCHES Midwest.
It was kind of surreal to blast past it on the trip. 

Eating cheese curds in Wisconsin, as one does. 

Playing around with Prisma to make a Ruby Tuesday in Madison,
WI look magical. 

The prairies of Minnesota. 

Wall Drug, the South of the Border of South Dakota. 700 signs
along the road told us to stop, so we had to stop. 

Yep, it's a stuffed bison. 

I can't remember where this was, but I do love
a tunnel carved right out of the rocks. The Black
Hills of SD are gorgeous. 

Mt. Rushmore at night. Glorious. 

And in the daytime, with my darling friend. We had such a
good time. 

What an interesting piece of public art. I liked
knowing that the choice of the presidents represents
the birth, growth, preservation and conservation
of the nation. 

In context. It's huge, but the mountains are bigger. We usually
see closeups of it, but it is kind of dwarfed by the majestic

Wyoming. All the high plains. All the time. 

Wind River Range.

Tetons. Seriously? They look pretend. 

There is nothing like the skies of the west. Big and Beautiful. 

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