30 days in 74 photos {adventuring home 2016}

It is Friday, and I can’t believe we have been home for three weeks.  Three weeks is nearly the amount of time we were gone, time that seemed unmeasured and unaccounted for in a wonderful way.  These past three weeks have passed on the calendar in reference and contrast to things coming and going.  They have passed in minutes, hours and days, they have been counted. 

The four weeks of our trip passed only in places and the distances between them.  There was no such thing as bedtime and awake time and the time on the clock measured only how long before we were to arrive in a new experience.  This sounds ideological, but it is almost without exception true.  Four weeks could have been one or twelve, it did not matter, they existed purely in their own capsule.

Now real life has resumed and those unmeasured moments have faded into the background of my ever changed consciousness.  I think experiences are real when the nostalgia is slim.  Those uncounted moments did not pass without some stress or frustration or longing.  But for the most part those were compared only to current circumstances and therefore became acceptable as a reflection of the present moment much the opposite of how general life stress becomes much more about everything else, less present.  Perhaps my only regret is having had (pms) on the morning we went to Disneyland, an experience so long anticipated it nearly never came into the present, but I suppose I can forgive myself for that. 

I have little nostalgia, little longing, few wishes to return.  But I have powerful memories, palpable appreciation and strong desires to go back again.  I have deep appreciation for the time our family spent together, driving thousands of miles with only a few ‘melt-downs’ – graham cracker anyone? - And I have gained a reverence for nature and our natural existence that I thought I had, but that now I see and feel in full color.

I want to go back to Zion, Teton, the tiny town of Prospect, Oregon, the entire state of Utah, South Dakota, my mother’s house, my father’s house and, awe yes, Yellowstone and countless places we passed by, sign pointing just a few or a few-hundred miles in a different direction. 

I could live on the road, in the collective places, the expanse that proves all of existence if much grander than I.  I reveled in feeling like a speck in time rather than the center of a universe generated in my own mind through the ins and outs and circulation of everyday life.

And yet for now I am happy to be back, settling into my ever changed consciousness and daily life and hoping that somehow I can take it with me…forever.

Below are 74 images from our 30 days on the road, a lifetime in a nutshell, all posted at @artindiscovery along the way, captioned in real time.

I have countless thoughts and inspirations for writings to come, and hold out hope that they will emerge and continue the journey.

Day 1 : My mom read this book to me when I was a young child and for as long as I can remember I have had a yearning to visit the wonderland called Yellowstone, and now we are on our way!

Day 1 : On the road today I had one of those incredibly nerdy and incredibly exciting moments...visiting a South Dakota rest area tipi for the first time! 

Day 1 : These things were built in the late 1960s during the height of interstate construction, during an era that has taken on the nostalgia of Americana, they were built to be points of interest, representations of a culture and a history, built to tell a piece of a story and to entertain...and they are still cool!

Day 2 : At some point I came across the idea of mailing home a postcard every day as a way of documenting a trip. I love this idea. I love the thought of returning home to a collection of cards waiting to tell me again about where I have been. I love the thought of them traveling home as I am still traveling on, the process they must go through to get there; and we will meet again at the end of our respective journeys...I mailed card one today from the tiny town of Montrose, South Dakota, it was an accidental stop at the end of a gas tank, but proved a perfect little encounter with a place we otherwise never would have seen.

Day 2 : Badlands National Park

Day 3 : Mt Rushmore National Memorial 

Day 4 : The Black Hills rise abruptly from the South Dakota prairie, we entered them just after a light rainfall and while driving lowered the windows to be met by cooled air and the smell of fresh pine and tears filled my eyes.

Day 4 : Crazy Horse

Day 4 : Junior park rangers! {Jewel Cave National Monument}

Day 4 : Wyoming 

Day 5 : More Wyoming, it is incredible how quickly the landscape changes. 

Day 5 : In five days of travel we have crossed nearly 1000 miles and incredibly diverse landscapes, the one constant for me has been how humbling it is to look upon these places in progress for millions of years, it is as John Muir said...'one learns that this world though made is yet being made, this is still the morning of creation' {Big Horn National Forest}

Day 5 : Now this dude is rad! {Big Horn National Forest}

Day 6 : Yellowstone! 

Day 6 : It really is that amazing {Yellowstone National Park}

Day 7 : White Dome Geyser  {Yellowstone National Park}

Day 8 : Mammoth Hot Springs  {Yellowstone National Park}

Day 8 : Mammoth Hot Springs  {Yellowstone National Park}

Day 9 : Grand Teton...It is as if they held out their arms to us and said: come, all you wild things, come and live with me. I will take care of you. I have homes for you on my steep, rocky walls. Come, wild things, live with me...Mommy Bear, Cubby in Wonderland, Frances Joyce Farsworth, 1932

Day 9 : Chapel of the Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park, built for ranchers and tourists in 1925, this tiny chapel was my grandmother's favorite place in the Tetons.

Posted at the entrance gate:  The name "transfiguration" is taken from the event in our Lord's earthly life in which, during a time of prayer and meditation in the mountains Jesus appeared to His disciples "transfigured" They saw him no longer as a simple man, in an intense light they perceived a glory beyond his ordinary appearance. The name is apt because in the presence of this magnificence and grandeur, some small hint of that eternal majesty is conveyed to us who pause in quiet worship. Like the disciples on the mount 2000 years ago we would like to stay here. We cannot - we must return to our lives - but, like those disciples, please take away with you the vision of the power and beauty of God's presence in the world. 

Day 10 : Driving across Idaho, so far our most exciting encounter was spotting these cool modern style picnic shelters in a rest area/scenic overlook on Hwy 26, and actually that was pretty great!

Day 10 : It's growing!  {Somewhere in Idaho}

Day 11 : OREGON! And oh yeah, that's my favorite number!

Day 11 : Killer Americano!  {Bend, Oregon}

Day 11 : One more because I can't help myself!  {Deschutes National Forest}

Day 12 : Fodder in the forest!  {La Pine State Park} 

Day 12 : I haven't been able to spend very much time with my brother in the past several years...I am so glad we are getting this opportunity!  {Paulina Peak Overlook, Newberry Crater National Monument}

Day 13 : The Big Tree {La Pine State Park}

Day 13 :  Historic ranger station, built in 1933 in remote Nevada, moved to this sight in 2008 for preservation, I a delightful conversation with the volunteer attendant, a retired forest service ranger. A true treat!{The High Desert Museum, Bend Oregon}

Day 13 : Walking through a prehistoric lava tube {Lava River Cave, Newberry Crater National Monument}

Day 13 : The cutest cafe you have ever seen, and amazing pie too! {Beckies Cafe, Union Creek Resort, Siskiyou National Forest, Prospect, Oregon}

Day 14 : Home town icon...Yes I grew up in a town known for its association with cavemen...in 1922 a group of local businessmen started a booster group the "Caveman Club" to promote local tourism by associating with the Oregon Caves, since Oregon Caves National Monument. In 1972 they erected this statue to welcome visitors to town and scenic hwy 199 and the redwood empire beyond. It's hallmark has always been controversy, but that's part of the fun! {Grants Pass, Oregon}

Day 15 : Overcome with gratitude today; for the inspiring spirit of my little girl and the beautiful generosity of a perfect stranger...

Day 16 : A little dirty work!

Day 17 : Growers Market: it was a pleasure this morning getting to visit the farmers market I grew up with and an even greater pleasure meeting up with old friends! {Grants Pass, Oregon}

Day 17 : On the road again  

Day 17 : Wonder general store. My childhood home was a house my parents built when I was 5 years old across Redwood Highway and up an old dirt logging road. For a few years our only phone was the now gone pay phone in the parking lot of this store...which by the way looks exactly the same as it did 30 years ago. I will always have a soft spot for this place.  {Wonder, Oregon, Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest}

Day 17 : Big Foot? {Del Norte Redwoods State Park}

Day 18 : Another childhood favorite and Paul still talks to the crowd {Trees of Mystery, Klamath, California}

Day 18 : Yellowstone was amazing, Teton was breathtaking, but give me a redwood forest...{Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway}

Day 19 : We almost saw the Golden Gate Bridge!

Day 20 : Salt water! {Pismo State Beach, Pismo, California}

Day 21 : A living sand dollar, we tossed him back into the sea! {Pismo State Beach}

Day 22 : Sometimes it's hard to move on...

Day 23 : Proud! 

Day 24 : Tired but happy! {Disneyland}

Day 25 : 4,000 miles! And on our way home...
{Mojave Desert}

Day 25 : I thought today's desert drive would be bland, but actually I can't keep my eyes on my work...

Day 25 : Joshua Tree through the window {Somewhere in the Mojave Desert}

Day 25 : I can't help loving this desert landscape today

Day 25 : 27 amazing minutes in Arizona 

Day 26 : Zion 

Day 26 : Well we didn't end up getting to hike, but we did experience a pretty magnificent thunderstorm. {Zion National Park}

Day 27 : It's sunny today as we leave Zion on the historic park road constructed in 1927 which switches back up the canyon wall and passes through a mile long tunnel...this engineering is its own amazement.

Day 27 : I'm impressed Utah! We encountered two little rest stops on Hwy 89, both included these very cool original mid-century combination info/picnic shelters and both deserve five stars for cleanliness! 

Day 27 : We have traveled through some beautiful land in the past few weeks, but today's drive was unparalleled...I think maybe the entire state of Utah should be a national park...

Day 28 : "Open spaces are a playground for our collective soul," James M Robb. Robb was a Colorado legislator and conservation visionary who dedicated himself to the restoration and preservation of natural spaces for public use. This trip has infinitely deepened my appreciation for our country's amazing public lands and parks. We must all carry forth the visions that preserved them for us.

Day 28 : This was a cool first, free books in a rest area! {Vail Pass Rest Area, Colorado}

Day 29 : Seriously cool picnic architecture 

Day 29 : Tomorrow is Friday, so I am getting ready! 

Day 29 : Erma's Desire, sculptor John Raimondi, part of the Nebraska Bicentennial Sculpture Project an effort that placed eight sculptures in rest areas on interstate 80 in Nebraska in commemoration of America's bicentennial in 1976. It became known as Nebraska's 500 Mile Sculpture Garden. {Grand Island Rest Area, Nebraska}

Day 29 : The deep midsummer in the Midwest and it is the last camping night of our trip...

Day 30 : Iowa through the window 

Day 30 : Final cards in the mail, hopefully we will beat these home!

Day 30 : Happy Friday!

Day 30 : HOME

The Recap : 30 days, 14 states, 6033 miles, 8 National Parks / Monuments / Memorials, 3 junior rangers, countless national forests, 8 state parks, 31 postcards mailed home and Disneyland!

With {so much} gratitude,


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