Oh the wonder of love and forever friendships! What I thought was going to be a short stopover in Lake Geneva became 2 beautiful days of reconnection and surprises. I went back to Sybil Lane where my family had their cottage near the lake and discovered friends who still lived there and that we hadn’t seen in more than 20 years! Cheri and Fred Moloznik took us out on their boat, introduced us to dinner at the Boat House, and had wonderful memories to share about my grandmother and grandfather up at the lake. We spent last night visiting with Ernie’s brother Dan and his niece, Ashley Hunter, and her family in their extraordinary and beautiful new home they have been building themselves for 5 years. Between caring for my mama and Covid, we haven’t seen any of them for 6 years; and to be able to hug, laugh together, and reconnect was beautiful on every level. Love, Love, and more Love. My heart is overflowing tonight!
THANK YOU TO ALL MY BELOVEDS FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY LOVE AND BEAUTIFUL WISHES ALL DAY LONG! What a wonderful day! It was our last day in Madison and I got to see my friend (and gifted producer/writer/actor/visionary) Jan Levine Thal, had lunch with the family, then was surprised with a birthday concert by the amazing StarrGrass Band, Lucas, Lucy, and Laura who perform all around Madison and happen to be Ernie’s great nephew and nieces (thank you Seth and Amy Jacobus). Tonight, we are spending the night at a place that I spent every summer as a child, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. My grandparents had a cottage at the lake and I’d spend my summer months with my mama, grandparents, sister and sometimes brother, aunt and uncle. There are so many memories here, and our campground is close to the lake… seemed like the perfect place to finish out this birthday.
I decided this time last year that I was going to retire from doing anything I no longer wanted to do, and this birthday I’ve decided to give up numbers and limiting beliefs around aging. My mama would never tell us how old she was. She’d always say “the day I can’t out-do both of you girls, then you can ask me how old I am, but in the meantime, I don’t want any numbers or labels put on my life”. I love that. Thank you, Mama! Thank you, God! Thank you, everyone! Thank you, life! I love you all!
Wonderful! Wonderful! A beautiful day with family that we haven’t seen in 6 long years. We arrived in Madison, WI last night (after a slight mishap when the edge of the camper hit a road sign that was lying on it’s side in the middle of the highway yesterday …Ernie taped it up, picked up the pipe that fell from the generator and kept going.) Today Ernie’s sweet sister, Connie, and his niece, Rachel, hosted a delicious outdoor picnic with his nephew, Aaron Jacobus and family. Such a joy to see some of our cousins, nieces, and nephews again. Love abounding!
The Most Beautiful Sunset
and a few other “surprises” on our last day in South Dakota.
Ernie awakened to a very wet pillow this morning after it rained all night. It seems our beloved old camper now has a leak…(Surprise! ) Ernie patched up the leaky place with sealant, and we set off to visit his high school guidance counselor and dear friend who first encouraged him to go into the theater. So much love there. We then drove to see the Black Hills Playhouse where Ernie spent 2 summers acting almost 40 years ago. Their season had ended and there was nobody there, but he told us wonderful stories about his adventures at the playhouse while our dogs ran and played, and Skylar rolled in a new doggie perfume left by the bison who roam the area, when nobody was looking. (Surprise! ) After rinsing her in the creek, we went to see the Crazy Horse monument still in progress and drove the wildlife loop seeing deer, prairie dogs, wild turkeys, wild burros, and a huge bison herd. As the day came to an end we were completely awestruck with the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen. It spanned the entire sky. (SURPRISE! )
And yes, Skylar got a full bath in our camper’s tiny shower tonight (thank you Tatiana).
Power and Patriotism…
Today we saw 2 beautiful national monuments. Early in the day we walked around Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We marveled at the unusual rock tower that rose to the sky, smelled vanilla in the bark of the trees, and held our breath as we watched a few brave climbers scale the rock wall toward the top. This evening we went to a truly beautiful ceremony at Mount Rushmore that talked about the hardships suffered and personal sacrifices made by each of those 4 presidents to promote the ideals of freedom, equality, beauty, and a government run by its people. They then played a beautiful short film, ending in the lighting of Mount Rushmore at night and asked that all the veterans in the audience come down onto the stage to help lower and fold the flag for the night. Everyone cheered for and acknowledged those on the stage. I find I am sometimes cautious watching these events, given the volatile nature of our country’s politics these days and my fear of anyone feeling excluded or attacked. Tonight there was a sense of awe, beauty, connectedness, and true appreciation for those values that bring us together in the name of good and something bigger.
Goodbye South Dakota! We had a beautiful picnic lunch in Rapid City with Dave and Joanne, made a stop at the famous Wall Drug which is CRAZY wonderful, and then drove through the plains of South Dakota until late last night. We had an amazing conversation about the things we’ve learned on this trip, how we’ve changed for the better, what we want to do differently when we get home. More to come…
A Beautiful Blur
The last 3 days have been a beautiful blur. With no wifi or cell reception, I had to wait to share our extraordinary experience in Yellowstone. We camped in the national forest just outside Yellowstone’s northeast gate with no electric, water, sewer, or connection to the outside world. Each rustic campsite had a bear box that we had to lock all our food and even sweet smelling cosmetics in for the night. We got up at 5:30 AM and drove to the Lamar Valley to watch the sunrise, and were blessed to connect with incredibly generous animal lovers with telescopes who let us see up close the grizzly bears, a wolf pack, mountain goats, and more in the early morning light. I cried at the beauty of it all. We then drove to Cody, Wyoming where we saw the Cody rodeo, visited the Old Trail Town (that I posted yesterday on Facebook), and ate at Cassie’s Dinner Club circa 1922 that started as a brothel in the old west until prostitution became illegal in Wyoming and Cassie cleverly changed it to a saloon and dinner club. Today we drove to just outside Devil’s Tower national monument, and tomorrow we’ll see the monument and head on to Ernie’s old stomping grounds in the Black Hills. Even this day of driving straight through was beautiful as we went through the Big Horn mountains and Elijah opened my eyes to something he has been trying to get us to understand for the longest time. Taking the time to see, breathe, discover, talk, share, love, and laugh together is changing us all for the better.
A Gunfight at the Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming today!
After camping in the woods and driving through Yellowstone with no wifi or cell reception for 2 days, we landed in Cody, Wyoming and these 2 grizzly gunslingers, sporting their cowboy tennis shoes and invisible sharp shooters, duked it out on main street. The Old Trail Town is an authentic western town with the actual cabins and artifacts recovered from that era which includes the
cabin that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid hid out in. Such stories I have to tell about the last 2 days!
Move over Butch and Sundance, there are some new bad boys in town!
How can we describe Yellowstone National Park? Tatiana says it is like an alien planet and a different world. Elijah says it is the best of the North American wilderness all put into one park. 2 million acres of vastly different landscapes with boiling mud pots, sulphuric steam coming out of the rocks, and eruptions of steaming water next to icy cold mountain springs, waterfalls, open fields of grass, towering pine forests, and gorgeous blue lakes. We spent the day looking for wildlife hoping to see a moose, grizzly bear, or perhaps a wolf, but they were all taking the day off today. Toward the end of the day we did see a massive herd of bison, a gorgeous mule deer, and a giant elk crying out for his mate, and that was wonderful. For years Old Faithful has been erupting with an explosion of hot water and steam that shoots high into the air every hour and 15 minutes. How can that be? This land is a strange, diverse, and wonderful land indeed. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to see all of this with my Beloveds at this particular time in my life.
We Made It To Yellowstone!
It was a beautiful drive through sun and rain today. We were blessed with 3 rainbows, the rain washed the smoke from the fires away, and our campground is gorgeous and located right on the Yellowstone River. We drove into the park to see hot springs, bubbling geysers, incredible rock formations, elk and mule deer; and tomorrow we visit Old Faithful. This place is mysterious, and gorgeous, and filled with majesty. More tomorrow.