Yesterday, after arriving back home from St. Louis, MO, I switched mental gears. Instead of thinking about church, I started thinking about the epic road trip that my dad and I were about to take. We are scheduled to travel the entire state in one week, and find cool things to do in general. However, the three littles decided that they wanted to tag along as well, so we loaded them up as well.
Before I finish this story, I do want to thank Toyota and Drive Shop for loaning us the wonderfully smooth riding Toyota Avalon Touring. It was a comfortable car, and I don’t think we spent more than $300 traveling from Chicago to North Dakota and back to Chicago. The navigation system led us to places that my GPS on the phone couldn’t get to because I lost a signal. My dad was very impressed, and this is a person that enjoys larger cars. It’s also smooth enough to make you think that you’re driving slower than you are, given that I left a $75 donation to the state of North Dakota and the lull of their 75 mph speed limit.
I’ve taken TONS of road trips with my father as a child, but never had the pleasure of going on one with him as an adult. While I still would have preferred that it was just us – you know, bathroom stops and all – I think that adding another generation made this a trip that will be remembered for a long time. The initial reason we were planning the trip was to start the trek to visit all of the National Parks. We started with Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota, and it seemed to be the perfect start for us.
As soon as you enter the gates, you know that you’re surrounded by a rich history, starting with the cabin that Theodore Roosevelt resided in while hunting and exploring the western portion of North Dakota. This National Park is HUGE, but I’m sure it seems that way because this is the first National Park that I’ve been to. We saw prairie dogs, bison, elk, golden eagles, wild turkeys and wild horses.
I love that I was even able to parlay this entire visit into a full blown homeschool lesson about the colonization of North Dakota and the battles that were fought over the land in general. The park also has a Junior Rangers booklet that your children can complete for a badge, and now the challenge has been started. To collect as many badges as we can before they graduate from high school.
My kids are getting to experience a little of what I did when I was growing up, and of course, seeing a different side of their Poppy. I think that this is the most time that they have spent with him since birth. I mean, they have their usual overnights and whatnot, but a trip over 1000 miles and dinner every night with him? They’re also seeing a bit of the father portion of him, instead of just the grandfather. I’m tickled for the most part.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the memories that I will be left to hold on to when the inevitable happens, and I’m so happy that I have the fortune of being able to DO instead of wish. Stay tuned for the rest of this month to see where we went, and what we got to do, and to see more of the memories I made with my kids and my daddy. This is the first of many stamps that we’ll be getting. That’s what roadtrippers do.