We just made a 17-day trip across the U.S. to Alaska, driving from Bangor, Maine to Bellingham, Washington, then by ferry to Haines, Alaska.
It was a journey across a continent, through vast farmlands turned a lush brown by the recent passage of the tilling machines. Interstate highways.
Along the way, we visited friends and relatives and squeezed in a bit of sightseeing.
Margo and John, our sibling and in-laws, put us up for three nights in Minneapolis in their hip downtown loft.
In South Dakota, our home state, we dropped by to see Mount Rushmore and the four presidents enshrined there, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt. and Lincoln.
We climbed around in the Badlands…
…and re-visited the drama of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War at the Minuteman Missile Historic Site. (Read my post here about The Man Who Saved the World during the Cold War.)
The Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming are sacred to people of the Great Sioux Nation who were forced from their land by the U.S., then defeated after the Battle of Little Bighorn. We visited the battlefield and walked the hills where Custer’s men made their last stand…
And where Sioux Nation now celebrates what was to be their last victory.
Further north, through undulating brown hills in each direction, we crossed Montana. A three-hour traffic backup in the Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state let us know that we were approaching a major city. We spent the night at Roaring River B & B where we could hear the water flow.
One night in Seattle gave us a chance to visit with our niece, Molly and her wife, Allegra, who are converting their own vans so they can enjoy time on the road.
Our stay was marred by thieves who broke into our car and stole all of our clothes and jewelry. The thought of it still makes me ill.
Our old friends Jill and Alan helped us recover from this catastrophe with their warm hospitality in their new home in Port Townsend.
A dash to Bellingham, Washington then a long wait for a departure on the Alaska Marine Transportation ferry to Haines, Alaska.
For three days we wove through the Inner Passage, once a stronghold of Northwest Native American culture, always a lush haven for foliage and wildlife, including the white Spirit Bear.
From Haines we drove north through the spectacular heights of the Kluane Mountains, past Kluane Lake, where steam arose from below the earth’s surface. The ice is only now melting from the shores.
Finally, we descended into Alaska, our home for the next three months.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.