Monthly Archives: July 2012

Home Stretch

We’re in the home stretch of our travels now, and it feels like we could continue like this for months.  Ben is up to 13 junior ranger badges and is should get a few more before he is done (Death Valley today).  Every once in a while it hits us that we will be in China in less than two weeks.  Having a little big adventure before the big big adventure has been a really wonderful thing.  It anchors us here and also makes it easier to go away.  It also gets us used to holding together as a family, reinforcing the tight unit we already were and that we need to be for the big move.

In this last part of the trip, we have been in the Southwest, visiting both places Andy and I have been and loved before and new places, as well as seeing more family — my aunt and uncle in their beautiful self-built home high in the mountains of Colorado, my sister/friend Tanya and her family in Phoenix.  

 

 

We will leave from Berkeley, where Andy and I have lived longer than anywhere else, but Ben has not yet visited, after visiting Yosemite, a favorite place where I was taken first when I was a very little baby.

We are reminding ourselves of where we started from and where we are going with two figures who watch us from the dashboard — bobble-head Einstein, for the Institute, and Professor Fluffy, for XJTLU.

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On the road

We left our last home two weeks ago now, and have been on the road, visiting relatives and national parks and starting our family adventure.  It has been wonderful to see family and to introduce them to Ben.  Each stay is all too short, but the contact is what matters most.  Seeing so much family in a short time, some of whom I haven’t seen in ten or more years, lets me see the wonderful things they have in common, as well as how each is great in their own way.  What strikes me most is the creativity of everyone we have visited.  They make music and jewelry and photographs and paintings and more, build and fix their own houses, even rebuild computers (thank you Richard for my souped-up laptop).  They live in all kinds of wonderful places, in towns and cities, on farms, lakes, and mountains.

We love them all, and Ben has really enjoyed playing with everyone.

The beginning of our trip was mostly relatives, since they tend to congregate in the midwest, but as we travel further west we have started visiting national parks as well.  They have a Junior Ranger program which Ben loves — he has to complete a booklet of activities, learning about the park, and then, once he takes an oath, he gets a badge.

He had three before we started this trip (New Bedford Whaling, the Friendship of Salem, and Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia) and has since earned four more (Badlands, Wind Cave, Mt. Rushmore, and Fort Laramie) and will add a bunch as we keep traveling.  Our inexpensive camping gear has served us well through prairie wind and a rainstorm, and we have loved the wild spaces both above ground and below.

Of course, we have stayed in hotels and visited non-natural sites as well, including the Mall of America, Wall Drug,

and the Corn Palace.

Next stop is the Southwest, then California, and then we fly away.  There is always more to see, but it seems fitting to take the measure of the US before we leave it for a while.

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