|Steve with Mt Rushmore in the background.|
Have you ever looked at the map and noticed the way the different sized highways are colored? The interstates are red, the two lane roads are blue, unmaintained roads are grey and the gravel ones are dotted or dashed grey. Thanks to the Air Force, we've been across the country 4 or 5 times, always on the red roads, Cheetos and sunflower seeds at the ready, getting from assignment to assignment as fast as possible.
This summer we decided to do something really different. We both had family gatherings to get to in the upper Midwest, but we had a lot of time to get there, so: we parked the boat in Virginia, rented a car for 3 months, bought a tent, dug out the sleeping bags, bought an Engle cooler, zipped Adjima in her carrier, and set off on a slow tour of the US. The goal was to make it to Minneapolis without driving a red road.
The first night we made it to West Virginia, maybe 200 miles from the start. There are no straight roads in WV. Lots of roads in WV aren't even on the map.
We meandered our way through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and finally into Minnesota. We stopped and saw friends along the way, we read the Historic Information signs. We drove in 5 days what we usually do in 1 1/2. No schedule, no hurry.
|We shared the road in the Black Hills.|
We got to see Steve's family at his mom's 80th birthday party. We hung out for four days with 70 of my favorite cousins. We watched fireworks. We stayed with Amanda and her cat.
We went south out of Douglas WY on a nice 2 lane paved road, after 25 miles it abruptly became gravel. We stopped and checked the map. Our road would finally hit a town in another 50 miles. We kept going. The road wound down and around, in and out of a forest, S-curving around huge boulders, becoming more rutted and narrow the farther we went. I was disappointed when it straightened out and got flatter. It was spectacular.
|A beaver dam off in the distance, somewhere in Wyoming.|
|Campsite in Buena Vista, CO.|
We're currently in Albuquerque, NM, a place near and dear to our hearts and stomachs. We were stationed here twice and love both the city and the food. Our daughter, Hannah, stayed here after graduating college and we plan to spend a week or so with her and her SO, Cameron.
Hannah and Cameron have a rather cozy abode, so we're staying with good friend, Bruce. I shouldn't understate this so badly: we're not just staying with Bruce, we've moved in. We first met Bruce when he and Steve were skydiving together in Alaska. They worked together in the AF over the years and he retired to ABQ. He has a spacious, beautiful home here and we have taken it over. We don't have many friends we would consider doing this to, (lucky for all of you) but Bruce is definitely the host with the most and we are very grateful.
|We're used to beaches, but this was incredible.|