2015…55 Years Old

Gregg and I love to travel. Our bucket list included exploring the USA together. Our beautiful country is huge, so we assumed we would need to visit it in small segments. An idea never jelled and overseas destinations were always beckoning…until…

Gregg came across an article, “How to Really Drive Across the U.S. Hitting Major Landmarks.”

Wait! What? Our imaginations began to whirl and soon we were choreographing a visit to all lower 48 states in one summer. There were some specific sights we wanted to see as well as run 3 miles in each state and visit family and friends. Dividing the trip into two legs made sense – the states north and west of Florida, and the states north and east of Pennsylvania.

Memories of birthing this trip make me excited all over again.

The western circuit took six weeks to travel 9,300 miles. (see map below) We traveled Fridays through Mondays. Monday night, we would settle in somewhere so Gregg could work Tuesday through Thursday. After work on those days, we could visit the local area. By Friday morning, we’d begin four more days of travel.

Our hearts were refreshed as we reconnected with dear family and friends. We saw the town where I was born, my mother’s college, homes where my father and his extended family lived, and graves where relatives are resting.

Gregg was thrilled to run on “Pre’s Trail” in Eugene, Oregon.

We ate huckleberry ice cream every chance we got and tried new foods including poutine, lobster rolls, and Culver’s ice cream custard and cheese curds.

We saw snow, drove through deserts, legally drove 80 mph on South Dakota roads, and was astonished by the number of farms in our country … God bless the farmers!

Our favorite memories include hiking with Aunt Evelyn and Misty in South Lake Tahoe, a redwood forest where we felt like hobbits below the towering trees, the hot springs and geysers at Yellowstone National Park, and quaint Santa Fe, New Mexico with its chilis and Kakawa liquid chocolate.

Nature is our “God language;” being in nature helps us connect with God. Traveling through America by car is a nature-lover’s dream. Each day the scenery and topography changed. The incredibly beautiful and diverse views were breathtaking.

Words from “This Land is Your Land,” “America the Beautiful,” and “God Bless America” were common thoughts – from the mountains to the prairies, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream Waters, the endless highways, the golden valleys, the wheatfields waving, from sea to shining sea … God bless America, my home sweet home.

We ended this trip in Jacksonville, Florida and soon headed to Pennsylvania for the summer. Hunter went with us for the first two weeks and he loved being in the mountains. He flew home from BWI airport, so we took a quick ride through Washington, D.C.

At the end of July, we set off for ten days to visit the remaining 48 states. Gregg’s niece, Rachel, joined us. It was fun exploring and having adventures with her. Our first stop was New York City where we saw Phantom of the Opera.

I fell in love with Portland, Maine with its lighthouses, huge rocks by the ocean, poutine, and a wonderful company that employs refugees. Burlington, Vermont and surrounding area was another gem.

Rachel had never been to Canada, so we took a daytrip to Montreal. The botanical gardens are lovely and relaxing. The next day we passed Niagara Falls and drove through Canada to Detroit. We enjoyed relaxing at Belle Isle Park before heading to our Pennsylvania home through Ohio.

I am so appreciative to be an American. And I’m in awe of God’s ingenuity as he created this continent. Simply AMAZING!

Sydney Wilkerson’s high school graduation day with Mardi, Reagan, Jessica, and Kelly.
Hunter with us in PA
First portion of our summer trip.
Yellowstone National Park
At the foot of giant redwoods in Jedediah State Park.
The Pacific Ocean water is COLD!
Zion National Park
Kakawa liquid chocolate in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
My Aunt Evelyn and Misty in South Lake Tahoe, California
Huckleberry Ice Cream!
Route we took with Rachel.
New York City!
Portland (Maine) Head Light lighthouse
Rachel trying a local specialty, Lobster Roll
Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan