JC and I have just come back from driving around North America for around 7 weeks, and I’m full of feelings of gratitude and awe at having such a wonderful opportunity this summer, and trying to take stock of all the incredible things and places and people we’ve had the privilege to visit.
When we started planning our trip, I titled our shared Google doc – “Oh the Places You’ll Go, ” and 19,000 km later, we sure did. I feel a little more aware of the diverse and unique beauty and history that’s all over our continent and the parts of it we’ve been able to see so far. I’m looking forward to seeing more in the future, but what we’ve seen so far, has been pretty wonderful.
So we’ve travelled from Toronto, to Chicago, then north through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, across through the colourful Canadian prairies, including a stop at Riding Mountain National Park, east west across Canada to Alberta, through the yellow, green, and tan fields stretching through Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
We went south through an International Peace Park (a collaboration of Glacier National Park in USA and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada), and kept going through Montana and Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park), barely a stop in Idaho (I didn’t even buy any potatoes), delicious food and huge temples in Utah, a hacker convention in Nevada, blending together our love of natural beauty, history, delicious vegan food, and ridiculous/awesome random delightful nerdery along the way.
We explored several beautiful mountain ranges and a wide variety of elevations, saw unique flora and fauna throughout. Cacti in the south, Birches in the north, tall slender trunks growing tall, low to the ground succulents conserving their energy and water, plants defying the odds and surviving deserts or high elevations.
We’ve seen a variety of architectural styles, touched 300 year old walls, wandered through urban areas like Chicago with sky reaching buildings and the low footprint red clay adobe buildings of New Mexico (Which as of the moment I’ve fallen in love with), the ghost towns displaced by changing interstates and routes and dwindling natural resources, the economically distressed, the opulent, the beautiful and the sad. The glitz and dust of the Las Vegas strip, to the random hillside geodesic homes we saw passing through Idaho and Utah.
We’ve seen natural wonders like the Rocky Mountain ranges in Southwestern Alberta, Bonneville salt flats, the dry red rocks and hoodoo’s in Canada’s Badlands, the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming, driven through powerful storms, fog, surreal natural wonders like the fountain paint pots, mud pots, and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, the meteorite formed Meteor Crater in Arizona, rivers, creeks, streams, and stopped at countless roadside scenic overlooks.
We’ve sleep under the stars, and have seen more visible stars than I’ve ever seen in my life, where I had the opportunity to pull astronomical star charts from a dusty cabinet in my brain, and try to identify planets, satellites, and stars and constellations. I’ve seen bears, bison, assorted fish, elk, deer, cows, eagles, falcons, crows (oh so many crows), and so much more.
We have visited incredible grand human feats like the Hoover Dam, roads transecting or wrapped tightly around mountains, with sharp edges and soft shoulders (or no shoulders), we visited the Canadian Light Source/Synchrotron, The Very Large Array in the New Mexico desert, drove in the dessert near “Area 51”, and fun places like Vulcan, Alberta – dedicated to all things Star Trek.
We’ve travelled on some treacherous roads, made of gravel, concrete, dirt, and asphalt, with varying grades, we’ve had golf ball sized hail slam into us in 25 C degree weather, and into our car, we’ve been rained on, we’ve driven through fog, through flash flood warnings (with the associated flash flood), pools of water, near scary trucks losing pieces of their tires, and massive RV’s.
Oh and the food. Oh the food. I’ll be working my way through posting about all the food and state specific stuff we saw for most of VeganMoFo next month I think.
We also got to visit two animal rescues on our trip – the smaller SCAT Street Cat Rescue in Saskatoon, and the massive Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. Both were beautiful experiences for different reasons. It was great to show JC an organization I’ve been involved in since university (and an organization I’m still involved with) in Saskatoon with Street Cat Rescue.
What I’m thankful for and full of love for is the entirety of the last two months. Because it’s been incredible. And now we’re home.
Thankfully, we had some wonderful friends and family looking out for our kitties, but I missed them terribly, so while it was wonderful to travel, it is great to be back. Now I play catch up on the last two months!
What do you love this week?