Reflections on my 4 Month Road Trip

  “You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you within yourself.”  Ella Maillart Dear Readers, This quote landed in my inbox this morning, and boy is it ever true! First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been traveling along with me through my blog, which I started not only because … Continue reading Reflections on my 4 Month Road Trip

Our National Park Service Employees: True American Superheros

For today’s post, I want to pause and acknowledge my deep admiration for all of the National Park Service employees who helped to make my four month trip so special. Whenever I visited one of our parks or monuments or battlefields, the information desk at the Visitor’s Center was always my first stop. I quickly learned that the three key things to let them know … Continue reading Our National Park Service Employees: True American Superheros

Mount Rushmore National Monument

The most fascinating thing about Mount Rushmore (to me) is that it’s preposterous. It’s in the middle of nowhere, carved from a mountain with  controversial ownership, and features four men with no obvious connection to the region. My longstanding fascination with monuments however, meant there was no way I could do a road trip through this part of the U.S. without stopping to see it, and it … Continue reading Mount Rushmore National Monument

Heart Mountain

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and National Historic Monument is located about a fifteen minute drive outside of Cody, Wyoming, and if I hadn’t been specifically heading to it, I probably would have driven right past without even realizing it was there. That would have been a huge miss, because this was the most intellectually and emotionally moving place I visited during my entire four … Continue reading Heart Mountain

Plains Indian Museum

The story of the native people of the American plains is epic, and still unfolding today. This museum does a great job of providing a basic overview of the complex network of tribes, with exhibits that highlight their cultures, their traditions, their spiritual perspectives and values, and provides some context of their lives today. The label of “Plains Indian” is a rather broad brush to paint … Continue reading Plains Indian Museum

Buffalo Bill Museum: Life and legend of Buffalo Bill and the West he loved.

If you are passing through Cody, Wyoming, you should definitely make time for a stop at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.  The Center is actually five exceptional museums in one, and is surrounded by impressive sculpture gardens.  I was planning to spend a day here, but after four hours of wandering through the incredibly well curated exhibits, I realized it would be a two … Continue reading Buffalo Bill Museum: Life and legend of Buffalo Bill and the West he loved.

Taos, NM

Taos was the first place I’ve visited where I could see myself moving to. It’s a small town, but cultures blend here respectfully as if it were a big city. There’s art, there’s amazing food, there are interesting people, and there is an obvious appreciation of nature everywhere. The days start with the sun coming up from behind the mountains, pushing gorgeous colors along with … Continue reading Taos, NM

Bandelier National Monument, NM

Bandelier surprised me in a good way. It was bigger and more compelling than I expected, and incredibly peaceful in the early spring. The entire area of roughy 33,000 acres is located inside the Jemez Mountain region, where massive volcanic eruptions were very active about 13 million years ago. Bandelier is situated on what is basically the side of an ancient huge volcano, the Valle … Continue reading Bandelier National Monument, NM

Santa Fe, NM

I rolled into Santa Fe ready for art, culture and food, but then got derailed a bit by weather and altitude. Luckily, I understand the number one rule for positive experiences while traveling is to be flexible, so I was still able to enjoy my time there, just not in the way I was initially expecting. The altitude issue was the biggest surprise.  I wasn’t … Continue reading Santa Fe, NM

Key West, Florida

Key West is crazy big time fun.  I was surprised how much there was to do, since my impression before going there was just fish, party, sleep, repeat. It’s definitely a fishing paradise, and from the drive down the Overseas Highway, I assume that is true in most of the Keys.  Key West does seem to be filled with people living a life of days … Continue reading Key West, Florida