This big summer trip has officially ended, and it is very bittersweet to be back home. I missed my room. I missed my bed. I missed my birds. I missed dance! However, my family and I have made so many great memories together for the past month. We saw parts of the country that we may never get to see again. I saw landmarks that I never imagined I would ever see. This was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so blessed to have experienced such beautiful places. I recall:
being on the edge of my seat at that rodeo in Cody
taking a ride through Bear Country and seeing those wild animals stand inches away from our car in Rapid City
eating the best steak I have ever had at the Big Texan in Amarillo
a giant crow smacking into our car on the interstate in New Mexico
traveling through all of the Fly Over States (love this song!)
almost getting lost as we tried to find our way to Devils Kitchen in Wyoming
driving through Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs as pea sized snow hits our car in June
We are now back to reality. We are home! Thank you all for joining me on this fun adventure, and I really hope you enjoyed this series of posts. Which place are YOU most interested in traveling to after reading?
New Mexico is unlike any other state I have ever visited. The unique architecture and culture made me feel as though I was in another country! I loved how the modern towns expanded upon the pueblos of the Native Americans and preserved the building style that initially shaped the state.
Downtown Santa Fe is very historic, and it is the home of the “oldest church structure in the U.S.A. The original adobe walls and altar were built by the Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico under the direction of Franciscan Padres ca.1610”. I am so fortunate to have been able to see The San Miguel Church still standing tall after all of these years.
I also really enjoyed walking around Old Town Albuquerque and looking at all of the beautifully hand crafted jewelry in the little shops. We spent most of the day visiting the Albuquerque Biological Park and exploring the botanical gardens and aquarium. This fun adventure ended with a peaceful sunset over the Rocky Mountains…
Standing on the top of Pikes Peak 14,115 ft in the sky was definitely an experience that I will be sharing for a long time! Unfortunately, my family and I somehow managed to reach the top in the middle of a thunder-snow storm. We decided to stand on that mountain anyway and enjoy the impressive, hazy state of Colorado below. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pinch on my foot! My family thought I was crazy at first, but it all made sense when my hair stood straight up seconds later. Guys, I experienced an electrical discharge in a thundercloud over 14,000 feet in the sky… I know that this sounds unreal, and I know you may be thinking I have lost my mind. Whether you decide to believe me or not, I definitely didn’t want to leave this bizarre lightning encounter out of this post.
In addition, the Royal Gorge was definitely a grand landmark. I can now say that I have walked across the highest suspension bridge in the entire country! The Arkansas River raged below as I peered down down through the small spaces between the wood flooring. My mother suggested that I take a photo from this viewpoint, and I actually really like how it turned out! What do YOU think? Across the horizon, the river sliced a path through the rocks and cut through the landscape, creating a powerful moment in time…
*An ocean of lush, green grassland extended farther than eyes could possibly see. The hills were rolling waves, and the grasses rippled as they swayed in the wind.
*Rock mountains towered above us as we gazed up in awe. I couldn’t help but wonder if my imagination was getting the best of me.
*Fertile farmlands blossomed with corn and wheat for miles as the endless land surrounded us from left to right…
Scenery ranged significantly in the breathtaking state of South Dakota. Experiencing Mount Rushmore outside of a history textbook is something that I will never forget. It is a massive monument that is absolutely flawless! The balance of each detail is unbelievable, and I am still astounded that the creation of the masterpiece was even possible! On that note, we also visited the Crazy Horse monument. While we were there, we went into a Native American museum and viewed the historic jewelry, dolls, chief headdresses, clothing, and pottery of the Indians that use to call the area their homeland. Not too long after, we visited a retired gold mine and learned about how the miners use to search for the precious material! It was very interesting, and I learned lots of neat facts. Our busy day ended with a walk through Rapid City and the mouth watering taste of homemade truffles from a chocolate shop. What an amazing journey through South Dakota!
In exactly one week, my family will begin the journey through 13 states in 20 days. We are going to explore some of the major national parks and landmarks across the USA including: Mount Rushmore, Cadillac Ranch, Garden of the Gods, Yellowstone, Royal Gorge, and the Badlands. It is going to be such an incredible experience that I am so thankful to have… I am so blessed to be able to spend this summer with my family and make memories that will last a lifetime. I will be sure to keep you all “posted” while I am on this adventure, and I will take lots of photos to share. I hope that you join me!
*Photo Credits: Richard Jean-Louis