The Art of the Road Trip

We are in Sheridan, Wyoming.  Signs are everywhere for the rodeo, as one would imagine, but who knew this town also boasts world-class polo.  Begun on the first day of summer, we are in the midst of our road trip from Seattle through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming to Hot Springs, South Dakota for my younger brother Matthew's wedding.  I grew up in South Dakota, but I haven't visited for many years and after this week I have a whole new appreciation for my wild and beautiful home state.  I have been wowed by the landscape and so moved by the love and detail that has gone into the wedding festivities.  More on the epic celebrations and ceremony to come in a few days, but I just wanted to say hello and take a moment to inventory Candy, our VW sportwagon (named for her official manufacturer color "candy white"):

1. Camping tent, sleeping bags, pillows, chairs, cook set and my beloved enamel camping mugs.

2. Cold and dry foods including wine, beer and leftover bison from the wedding.

3. Clothes for a variety of occasions:  Wedding parties, hiking, camping, hot days and cool nights. Bathing suits and towels at the ready so we can jump in any swimming hole we pass.  Best so far include Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park and Cascade Falls outside Hot Springs.

4. Cheerios, magnetic blocks and books for Xavier's enjoyment, including our favorite "Let's Go For a Drive" by the brilliant Mo Williams.  We often sing one of the lines as we go: "Drivey-drive, drivey-drive-drive-drive!"

5. Farm Animal Sound Puzzle which goes off randomly by itself.  Xavi says "mmmmm" when we ask him what a cow says.  When we ask him what any other farm animal says, be it duck, rooster, pig or horse, he roars like a lion.

6. Radio tuned to country music stations.  Best line we've heard so far is "There ain't enough bourbon in Kentucky for me to forget you."

7. Snacks at hand:  dried tart cherries, almonds, Theo dark chocolate, apples, bell peppers.  We fill up our thermos and brew jasmine tea at gas stations.

8. Assorted maps, iPad, National Parks guidebook, passport, and brochures I've gathered along the way.  Pile of novels and books on cd have not been touched and are taking up valuable space.  Two issues of American Cowboy Magazine, which are quite interesting.

9. Instead of two cell phones, now only one - I think I left mine on the top of the car in Deadwood a week ago.  Haven't missed it.

10. Three bundles of firewood.

11. Camera.

12. Binoculars.

13. Journal with running lists of a. wildlife seen so far (Black bear, pronghorns, bison, prairie dogs, Big horn sheep) and b. characters to wikipedia when we have cell service (Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickock, Sitting Bull, Black Elk, Crazy Horse, John Bozeman) and details of trip.

14. Cribbage board and deck of cards.

15. Two coyboy hats, a Junior Ranger hat and three pairs of cowboy boots.

16. Flask, at the moment filled with Knob Creek.

17. Wildflower bouquet picked in the Badlands drying on the dash.

18. Souvenirs collected so far:  Lakota Sioux Parfleche box from Crazy Horse Memorial made of bison hide (we are celebrating our third anniversary during this trip and the traditional gift is fittingly leather), Patchwork quilt from the Buffalo Gap Trading Post, Marshall South Dakota badge and derringer cap gun, beaded earrings and three porcupine quills.  It was a struggle to resist, but in the end I did not buy the stuffed porcupine as he was a bit mangy and Christian was a wee bit skeptical about taxidermy fitting in with our decor.  I also declined the cowhide rug when I realized it was shipped in from Brazil.

19. A thin layer of dust from all the dirt roads.

20.  Three very happy people.

Next stop:  Island Lake in the Bighorns and then on to Yellowstone.


  1. Such an adventure! Impressed as always with your willingness to just get out there and make it happen. When Lars and I were listening to country music one summer, driving from Fargo to the MN cabin, there was an awesome song about how this woman looked so good in her jeans that she was causing traffic accident. The song pleaded her case, that it wasn't her fault, "Lord have mercy, baby's got her blue jeans on." Wishing you safe travels home!

  2. I need some jeans like that! xo