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Monday, June 8, 2015

TRAVEL: It's Good for You!

We arrived back in Desert Hot Springs last Monday evening after a long, uneventful, peaceful drive from Trementon, Utah. I must say that interstate 15 wins the prize for me for being the most beautiful interstate in the US. From the grand view of the Tetons, and the rolling green hills of Idaho, through the ridges and canyons of Utah and Arizona, I was amazed by how lovely highway driving could be.
I didn't take any photos on the way home as our focus was on getting home as quickly as possible. We were thankful for the safety of our drive and the ease with which we traveled. Tanner proved himself to be good company and seemed to enjoy tagging along.

I kept some statistics of our trip so here's a little numerical summary.
We drove a total of 4897 miles. Gas prices varied quite a bit from state to state, but even so, the price of gas is silly cheap in the US. Here's a rough outline:
$3.09 Mesquite, Nevada
$2.97 Park City, Utah
$2.45 Caspar, Wyoming
$2.53 Wall, South Dakota
$2.49 Brandon, South Dakota
$2.45 Burnsville, MN
$2.49 Fargo, ND
$2.55 Mile City, MT
$2.49 Wapiti, WY
$3.09 Trementon, UT
$3.17 St. George, UT
$3.48 Yucca Valley, CA

California remains an expensive place to live with the highest priced gas on the entire trip.
We visited 10 different states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. 
On the way home I kept track of the temperature. (all temps in F) When we left MN it was 67°. When we reached Fargo, North Dakota it had dropped to 41°. It climbed back up to 54° by the time we got to New Salem, North Dakota and remained there in Wibaux, Montana. We hit 62° in Mile City, Montana, and were happy to see 74°in Wapiti, Montana. It seemed to stay in the low 70's throughout our day in Yellowstone and reached 82° in Trementon, UT. As we drove southward home the mercury started to rise, indicating the arid climate of the deserts hitting 94° in St. George, UT. It got over 100° as we traversed the Mojave Desert. It was in the 90's as we pulled into our house around 9.00 p.m. on Monday night. Hard to imagine a 50° shift in temperature in only 3 days!

Our National Parks pass served us well. Each place was unique and beautiful in its own right. We were in a few big cities but lots of small towns which reminded us that the US is diverse and vast. Many foreigners who visit the US, naturally want to see New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. And these cities are also part of what makes the US the US,'s really the small towns and the wide open spaces that lend an extra view into the life of an American. We found that people were mostly very nice, just seeking to make an honest living, understanding life from their little corner of the world. It's what makes the US hard to understand at times but beautiful all of the time. 

We were reminded that the US offers amazing opportunities for trips and adventures. After living in Europe for 17 years, and traveling to some of the most amazing places in the world, it's easy to forget that in your own backyard are wonders like Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, canyons and ridges and mountain ranges and lakes and streams that abound. The wildlife in the National Parks is so awesome. We saw prairie dogs, deer, and bison along with numerous types of birds. It was refreshing to be surrounded by these wonderful and wild open spaces. 

For me, this road trip re-confirmed what I have known now for years. TRAVEL is good for one's soul. Whether it be a drive across country or a trip across the pond, it's just good and healthy to get out and see another way of life. To experience another's place is to build understanding in your own perspective. To travel to another place is to put a human face on places. Could I live in Wibaux, MT? Probably not. It seems quite unlikely that we will be making a move to Utah or Idaho anytime soon and I don't think I'm the one to try to drive up the population of humans in Wyoming. But I am thankful that I've met folks for whom there is no other place they'd rather be. I'm thankful for the diversity of my homeland even though at times, it makes the US a very complex and complicated place.