TJWE: Final Week

We’re enjoying seeing rivers again… mostly at the expense of California.

As we drive over a dry ditch: “Oh, look, a California river!”

Over the Missouri River: “Look at all that water, just flowing wherever it wants to go! Californians wouldn’t put up with that. They don’t like wild water. They prefer domesticated water.”

On the other hand, we saw a sign in Indiana cautioning, “Next Exit 6 miles.” After coming through the Southwest and West, where exits can be forty miles apart and consists only of one lonely road stretching away into nothing, this six-mile warning made us laugh. “Uh oh. Plan accordingly! We might need another handful of pretzels!”

Long stretches of highway bring out our snarkiness, apparently.

Since we started East on Saturday, we’ve driven through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and have stopped for the night in Kentucky. The miles go pretty quick at 80 mph (speed limit through most of these states is 75-80). The fact that we’re still not home testifies to just how big our country is.

We’ve found 44 of the 50 states on license plates (plus three Canadian provinces). Montana is the AWOL Western state. The rest are all New England states. Oh, and Alaska. We weren’t really even hoping for that one. But we found two Hawaiis. Can we trade in one Hawaii, six Kentuckys, and twenty-seven Californias for an Alaska?

DJ has driven this entire trip; he’s definitely feeling it by now. As part of my job to keep him alert, I’ve made him scavenger hunts. I write it out on a notebook paper and he tapes it on his door. The page lists things like “6 blue vehicles (excluding tractor-trailers)” or “Find letters to spell: FABULOUS LIFE OF JONES.”

These scavenger hunts are an old game of ours. I made one on our honeymoon, which was also a road trip—a week’s drive from Mississippi to Virginia. One of the items on that newlywed list was, “An RV pulling a car.” We never found that item, so for fifteen years we’ve been trying to finish that hunt. We always point it out if we see one. We’ve even texted each other: “Guess what I saw on the way to town? An RV pulling a car!” On this trip, DJ has completed 2 and ¾ hunts; here’s hoping he finds that last item so we aren’t still playing it fifteen years from now.

Stops and Pictures

Back in Utah, we stopped to walk on the salt flats. Yes, the famous Bonneville Salt Flats! I mean, I assume they’re famous. Both DJ and my mom seemed to know about them. I somehow had missed the fact that they existed. But now I know. I’ve been there, and got a family selfie.


The sand is indeed salty, and it’s like walking on playdough.

My husband knows that my soul rejoices in rocks. I love beautiful rocks. So he found Vedauwoo National Park in Wyoming for a stop along the way. It’s an area with dozens of “glacial rock formations” — basically, piles of rocks left by the melting glaciers after the last ice age.

I was enchanted. I took more pictures here than anywhere else we’ve been.


This rock had a small depression that looked like a seat, but turned out to be too wide for it to be a speed racer. That’s the legend of how it became Meditation Rock.

My fledgling attempts to produce forced-perspective pictures kept getting sabotaged.

I do love rocks… but not enough to become one with them. Look closely at the V-shaped crack in this rock face; to the left are two people in the process of climbing up the blasted thing.


Two pink-and-black flecked rocks followed me home from this national park. I’d have taken them back, but they obviously wanted to come with me. So I promise I’ll take good care of them.

We stopped for ice cream in Corydon, Indiana. Emery’s Ice Cream turned out to be one of those serendipitous discoveries that make these trips so fun. Homemade ice cream in over a dozen different flavors — the owner rotated new ones in weekly — plus candy at a quarter a piece.


We covered a heck of a lot of ground between Wyoming and Kentucky, but I didn’t take many pictures. Still, I did manage to get another terrible shot of the Mississippi River as we crossed it.


The country around here is thick with trees, green grass, and rivers. It looks a lot like home–so much so, in fact, that Sparkler broke down in tears and homesickness.

Dear Virginia, we miss you, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

P.S. If anybody sees an RV pulling a car, DJ needs to know before we get home tomorrow. It’s the last item on his hunt.


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