30 for 30 Second Ten Days - The 2nd 10 YearsMay 05, 2023
God is Good!
As we enter the second ten days of our adventure that commemorates the 2nd decade of our marriage it was off to an EVENTFUL start! In our 10th year and second decade of our marriage we experienced some heavy things... a BIG move across the country, the deaths of loved ones, the bankruptcy, two more moves and the beginning of what we now know as the Integrated Catholic Woman community!
As you read in my last post about our eventful 11th day -- you can guess that there were MANY underlying messages which Craig and I pondered and discussed - so much symbolism and meaning in what we experienced in that event which has been reflected in our marriage. The biggest message: He strips us of all the comforts and then blesses us with so much more when we surrender our will and plans to Him... turns out His plan is waaayyyy better than ours!!
The Adventure Continues!
Here's what we have been up to these past 10days:
Day 11 - If you haven't already... you can learn more about this tremendous day here
Day 12 - Jackson Hole, Wyoming & The Tetons!
We made it into Jackson Hole, WY (it was snowing) and we camped in the Whole Foods parking lot. I was able to see clients via zoom as the snow continued to fall. The snow cleared around lunchtime. After lunch we headed to the TETONS!! We had a sunny trip and the batteries charged back to 100%!
We checked in with the ranger and got the green light to go into the backcountry for the night. He went to the Atherton campground in the Bridger-Teton Forest... and contrary to the Ranger info... the site was CLOSED!! Not to worry though, we slipped into the "camp host" spot. We were the only people there... we met some folks from Holland (Isabel and Sven) who came to the site too in their camper van - they just parked near the lake, the frozen lake. Isabel and Sven were on a 1-year tour of the USA! We made a campfire, roasted some yummy all beef hot dogs we picked up at Whole Foods and enjoyed them with my homemade sauerkraut and some greens! We played cards as the sun went down and then finished the night as we typically do with a cup of Dandelion Tea and the Holy Rosary.
Day 13 - Bridger Teton National Forest & The Gros Ventre Lower Slide
The morning was lovely... nice breakfast, the weekly van tidy and HOT SHOWERS! The fact that we have HOT water and a shower wherever we go is pretty... DEEE-LUXE! When traveling in a van there are THREE essentials: Water, Food and Fuel! Water has actually been the little challenge we have experienced consistently. However, God has provided EVERY time.
We made our way from the Gros Ventre (grow-vaunt) Lower Slide Lake to the Grand Teton National Park. It was a leisurely drive as we went on the hunt for more water. None to be found so we went to the Park through Moose, WY. As it turned out one of the main roads had just been opened for bikes and pedestrians. We parked, unloaded the bikes and made our way to Jenny Lake!! What a great bike ride.. we had Jupiter in his little pack and he enjoyed the views too!
As we made our way to Jenny Lake we met another couple: Roger and Kristen Orem who were celebrating their 35th Anniversary! We chatted, snapped a pic and made our way to the Jenny Lake outlook. Words cannot describe the majestic beauty of the Tetons!
Roger and Kristen encouraged us to go to the Yellowstone West Entrance to see Old Faithful... not gonna lie, we almost didn't go to Yellowstone because we thought we wouldn't be able to see much. We took the Orem's advice and headed to Montana!
Good thing we went to Montana... we found WATER! Along the way we went back into Utah, and Idaho. We saw some more weather, more beautiful vistas... and then we saw the backside of the Tetons! By 8:30 pm we pulled into West Yellowstone, MT, parked the van and went to the Slippery Otter for a HOT meal ... Our first restaurant of the trip. The local joint was fun and the food was yummy! Buffalo Burger and French Onion soup!!
We parked just outside town for the night with a plan to get up at 4:30 am and drive 1.75 hours into Yellowstone to get to Old Faithful before my client meetings later in the morning.
Day 14 - Yellowstone!!
4:30 am we were driving back into Wyoming and Yellowstone! After clients we saw Old Faithful do its thing. Pretty wild!! We continued our drive toward the North Entrance of Yellowstone which is in Montana. As we traversed the park we saw more Hot Springs and AMAZING landscape. We arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs in time for my last client meetings and some lunch. After lunch we headed over to the hot springs... kinda stinky, but absolutely crazy! All while we were parked in this gorgeous valley the Buffalo just roamed all around us.
After we saw the springs, the wind picked up and the snow began to fall. I quickly went across the street with Jupiter so he could do his business before we hit the road again. As we crossed the street I saw HUGE Bison laying around. I snapped some pics and then I noticed a Bison pacing back and forth about 200 feet away... I picked up Jupiter went a little closer, and then it happened - the Bison gave birth!! It was INCREDIBLE! I had a moment... I got back to the van, told Craig what happened as I sobbed. God's creation is so beautiful, miraculous and incredible!
We rolled into Bozeman, MT around 4pm, the sun came out, we picked up some groceries and hunkered down for the night in town - yes, stealth camping!
Day 15 - Bozeman, Montana and Hulett, Wyoming
We got up early, went into Bozeman for an Espresso & a Matcha Latte. Then we saw the old downtown and made our way across Wyoming! We saw a Prairie Dog Town which was hilarious.. funny and cute animals (but, truth be told - they're a menace!).
We stopped at the Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument (pro tip: when planning a big road trip it is totally worth purchasing an Annual Pass). We made lunch and then explored the monument. It was sad... intense and thought provoking.
With the beautiful sunshine our batteries were charged once again! We drove the Monument roads, saw some wild turkeys, met some nice folks from Georgia, and then on we went to Black Hills! We entered the Black Hills in Wyoming.
Craig and I agree that the drive across Montana and Wyoming was just GORGEOUS! Rolling hills, prairies, grasslands, ranches, and BIG SKY!
We fueled up and got more water at the cutest service station we have seen yet in Hulett, WY. We headed into the Black Hills National Forest and found a campsite at Cooke Lake. Again, we got info it was open... and after a one hour 4x4 adventure ti the site it was closed! So, we parked in the Host site and went to bed!
Fun Fact: The Black Hills are named such because to the Native Americans they appeared "black" due to the dense pines which exist on these mountains.
Day 16 - Wyoming and South Dakota!
We slept in, had a slow morning of van tidy, toilet maintenance and hot showers! We were now on our way to Rapid City! As we made our way from the Black Hills I charted a course to go through Devils Tower National Monument and then Spearfish, SD. Devil's Tower was CRAZY!
Oh boy! Are we glad we did Spearfish Canyon! It was like driving through the Grand Canyon... but with pine trees and cool breezes!! We saw waterfalls and had a beautiful meal at the Latchstring Lodge. After dinner we saw more falls and found a quiet camp spot in the canyon. It was a slow day of pictures, beautiful nature and quiet thoughts.
One of the gifts of being married to your best friend is the fact that you can be together in a deep way without ever saying a word - another grace of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Day 17 - More Black Hills, SD and Mount Rushmore
We woke early and I wasn't feeling too great! It was touch and go for most of the early morning (probably something I ate at the restaurant). We headed into Rapid City for Holy Mass at Immaculate Conception Church. We got there an hour early... I finally started to feel a bit better. I went ahead and changed for Mass, asked God for the grace to get to Mass... and He honored my request. I think it's because He wanted me to get to Confession! Confession was VERY life-giving and Holy Mass was too! Craig and I, the night before had a bit of a rough spot so again, the grace of the Eucharist infused into our relationship gave us the strength to address the issue and move forward. We can only do these things through Him... not on our own!
After Mass we headed for Keystone, SD: Mount Rushmore. Yeah, it's touristy... but interesting! We parked the van, had some lunch and then made our way to see the monument, explore the museum and have some ice cream (we split a scoop). As we left the ice cream shop we wanted to take a photo and a nice man offered to take our photo... turned out he and his family were from Irvine, CA! Small world. They took our pic and we took theirs. We chatted and then made our way to the van to hit the road.
We got back to the van, took July out for a break and when we were going back to the van the van parked next to us said hello! We chatted with Tim & Betsy Brady from Greenville SOUTH CAROLINA!! We couldn't believe it! We chatted and shared each other's van features and then we discussed faith and marriage. Tim & Betsy will celebrate their 38th this year. We exchanged numbers, travel tips and hugs!
We drove to Wind Cave and couldn't stay there due to the poor cell signal (I needed to see clients in the morning). We continued on to Wall, SD by way of Custer, SD and Custer State Park. We saw sooo much wildlife, met more friendly folks and we couldn't believe how we were literally the ONLY ones on the highway for MOST of our drive to Wall. We pulled into the Wall Drug parking around 9:30pm and went to sleep!
Day 18 - Laundry and The BADLANDS!
We woke early, had breakfast and as I saw clients Craig checked out Wall Drug. After clients it was LAUNDRY DAY! We spent a few hours at a little local laundromat (it was sooo inexpensive!). Craig took care of some things with the van, work and made lunch. The little town of Wall was very quaint (population approx 900). After laundry and lunch we found water... filled up and made our way to the BLM spot which Tim & Betsy had told us about.
We found the little unmarked road... went along the gravel for about half of a mile and then WHOA!! The canyons!! We parked on a bluff and all we could see for miles were spires, cliffs, layers of rock and prairies! It was a sight to behold!
We set up our spot - sat outside and just stared in silence. We finished the day with a nice dinner, a walk around more of the bluffs, pictures and a nice chat with Cindy and Doug Pressy from Michigan - married 35years!
In the van we made a cup of tea, prayed the Rosary and watched the UNBELIEVABLE sunset. The moon rose and we called it a day.
Day 19 - More Badlands!
We ventured further into the park after my client meetings. The drive through was amazing... sooo much to see. When we got to Cedar Lake Lodge and the Visitor's Center Craig and I had a conference call to attend to and then we had a buffalo burger and an Indian Taco at the Lodge. We took more photos, picked up some fun stickers, patches and postcards in the Visitors Center. We took care of the toilet and then made the fun 4x4 drive to Sheep Mountain Road in the park. The drive was really neat as we went through the park to the Interior entrance (and town of Interior). During this drive we discussed just how hard it had to have been for all the homesteaders who really tried to make a go of it out here... and wondered what made them think they could when the Natives already knew it was not hospitable land.
We got to Sheep Mountain Road and when we reached the top we were amazed AGAIN... we parked, set up for the night and just marveled at the landscape as the moon came up and lit up the canyon below! We watched another beautiful sunset and enjoyed the Rosary, a cup of tea, and some cards. It was a good night's sleep!
Day 20 - Badlands - Final Day & Night...
I was up with the sunrise (beautiful and amazing AGAIN!) to meet via zoom with some gal pals for our weekly Wednesday morning Rosary (every week since August 2020!). After the Rosary we had breakfast and decided to drive more of Sheep Mountain Road... that was sketchy! We got off of the road and made our way around the Badlands via Sage Creek Road. We saw a TON of Bison, Prairie Dogs and som Pronghorn as we made our way back into the park. We decided to go back to our previous spot for our final night.
We parked at an overlook in the park for a few hours to have lunch and relax. It was so quiet and surreal. After arriving at our campsite for the night we met Jim and Val from Massachusetts - another nice couple who were traveling in a VW Van (we remember the days when we traveled in one of those!). A sweet couple.
This was the night we livestreamed with the ICW Community. Craig was my "guest" and he did a beautiful job. Craig wanted to be sure that the women of this community know how important their role is in the sanctification of the world - especially when women know and honor the God given order of the family. My favorite part was when he pointed out the differences between men and women and how it is also important for men to BE MEN!
After the livestream we had dinner and off to bed.... Here we go into the final 10 days and the next decade! We're so glad you're coming along!
Coming soon... more pics!!
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