Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back on the road

Friends in New Jersey who are familiar with both our car and life with small children were dubious that we had successfully packed ourselves into our Hyundai hatchback. I confess that I really, really wanted a minivan before this trip but it did not work out. I opted to get super-excited about getting 35+ mpg for much of our trip and feeling like a logistics rock star with this packing job.

Our situation is definitely complicated by the fact that the wheelchair uses up quite a bit of our trunk space. It doesn't really disassemble very easily so we have to pack around it in a way that allows us to get it out at rest stops without emptying the trunk completely. My strategy is basically to use lots of soft bags so that things can be squished. When we are stopping successively for one night at a time I pack one bag of stuff we use every night and an additional bag for each day's clothes which is then used for dirty laundry. It works even if we do feel a bit funny about carting our unconventional luggage through hotel lobbies. We did opt to leave cloth diapers behind this trip but we also have an entire bag just full of books.

Lest you think the trunk won't really close over all that ;)
We are also fortunate that the kids don't really need leg room. Below Margie's seat is a huge bag of snacks, a bag of drinks, and two small bags of books and activities for the kids. Below Joseph's seat is a portable high chair.

Today's drive was probably the most beautiful and interesting of the whole trip. We started off with a couple hours of driving north with the Rockies to our left. Pike's Peak is beautiful but I was glad to see the greater concentration of high peaks around Denver.

Today was my first time in Wyoming. The combination of rolling hills, high mountains in the distance, and the random spots of sandy desolation were definitely interesting. We saw a real cowboy in action on his horse and saw emptiness to rival Western Kansas.

I'd also never been to South Dakota before today. Our whole year in Minnesota we hoped to make a trip out to the Black Hills and never did. We just loved everything we saw about South Dakota and it was the first time Eric said, "I'd love to have a cabin out here," and I immediately agreed.

We passed the still-incomplete Crazy Horse Memorial. I do not know much of the Native American history of this area though I am well aware that there is plenty of tragedy to go around. This sculpture has been in progress for over sixty years and is quite controversial but I will say that the carving of the face is quite striking.

We saw Crazy Horse on our way to Mt. Rushmore--another controversial mountain carving. The drive up to the sculpture was itself worth the short detour. The rock formations were just amazing. Partway up the hill there was a pull off and we wondered what everyone was staring at until we turned around and caught the above profile of Washington. Further up the mountain were the views of all four presidents.

I remember in fourth grade asking my teacher if we could be assigned a research paper on "any topic we wanted" just so I could write about Mt. Rushmore. I am sad to report that I have retained nothing from my fascination at the time but it was fun to finally see the monument.


Robyn said...

I've walked through Crazy Horse's armpit!


yup. one of my many, many claims to fame.

LOVING all the blogging!!!

Joseph was an ADORABLE ring bearer...that kid cleans up nice. And Margaret...so, so pretty! Steal my heart with that story!

ginger said...

love those mountains!