a journey from the heart

Archive for June, 2019

Chasing the Sun

Day eight of my road trip took me to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Not far from Wall, and Wall Drug, is the 240 Loop through the Badlands.

I drove in around 8pm as the light was starting to change with the setting sun. My destination was a short way down the loop, a dirt road that, twelve miles down, would provide a campground and much needed rest.

Chasing the sun, I headed down the road between canyons in one side and prairie on the other. I came upon a bison strolling down the road and slowed to admire (?) the view.

Storm clouds in the distance would bring no rain, but a spectacular lightning show after the sun set.

After forty-five minutes of bison and prairie dogs and spectacular vistas I arrived at the bend in the road announcing my near arrival to final my destination for the evening, Sage Creek Campground. A circle campground with parking along the outer edge and camping in the center, some covered and uncovered picnic tables, this proved to be a great place to pitch my tent. Watch out for prairie dog holes!

(Some of these photos are from the following morning.) It was nearly dark when I made camp and I still had to meet the neighbors before I pitched my tent.

Ah, sweet sleep. Amazing stars in the middle of night. The call of coyotes. The buzzing of mosquitos. The snoring emitted from the next tent over.


This afternoon I took a stroll down to the Dane County Farmer’s Market, the largest producer’s only farmers market in America. It wraps all the way around the capitol building and down a side street or two.

I had to go because of cheese. Yes, that’s right, cheese. I have heard so much about Wisconsin cheese from people who have lived here, visited here, have dreamt of this place, or only traveled through. And so I sampled baked cheese, cheese curds, and spicy cheese bread.

I have one word for you, “Yum!”

Let’s start with the spicy cheese bread.

Warm from the oven, soft and fluffy on the inside, lightly spiced, with cheese running through it. I had to take this picture while sitting in the grass across from the vendor because I was not going to wait until I got home to sink my teeth into the loaf. Well, I was a little more civilized and tore off a large chunk instead. Here’s what is left:

I am rather proud of myself for not eating more of it, yet.

On to the cheese curds. Truth be told they are not the prettiest of cheese. And they squeak across one’s teeth when you first bite into a curd. But, wow! So good. So I bought two bags, one garlic and herb Gouda and the other jalapeño Gouda.

The jalapeño is freshly chopped and mixed with the curds. Quite flavorful!

Finally, there was the baked cheese, of which I sampled but managed to walk away from. Think of that grilled cheese sandwich you made recently, with quality cheese and not American slices. You know that but that squishes out in the pan and fries up a little? A little crunchy, a little soft. That’s right, you know what I’m talking about. Well, that’s basically baked cheese.

Next time. In a few weeks or a month when the cheese I bought today is gone.

Who am I kidding? It’s cheese!


Everyone who knew the general route I was taking told me I needed to stop at Wall Drug. In Wall. South Dakota. So, I did.

Quaint, quirky, and fun! Had I more time I would have peruses the entire scene. Alas, the Badlands beckoned and the sun’s trajectory was heading toward the western horizon.


I have arrived in Madison and it feels good to know I don’t have to get in my car tomorrow to go anywhere. The road trip was much needed and I am grateful to have had ten days of my own company. The highlight of my day was my trip to the Pottyville Outhouse Collection in Glenwood, MN.

Each outhouse has its own theme and the interiors are decorated to match. I promise more photos soon!

For now, I am in need of sleep. In the coming days I will have much to unpack, physically and otherwise. Stay tuned for more pictures from the trip and words of wisdom, grace, and general ramblings. I leave you with this…

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

In the small community of Arlee, MT, off the beaten path and pretty much in the middle of nowhere, is the Ewan Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. Last Thursday, in pouring down rain and intermittent hail, I arrived at this serene place, donned my rain gear, and enjoyed an hour of meditative walking amongst what I am trusting is, one thousand Buddhas.

Despite the gnarly weather and my freezing cold hands, I enjoyed the Buddhas in all of their states of existence, from nearly perfect to crumbling. Because really, while we are each nearly perfect, we too are in a state of crumbling and decline.

Brief Wi-Fi Moment

Hello friends and family! My travels have been amazing and I am happy to say that I am in a spot with some service for just a few minutes. I will be heading forward into some more gorgeous country here soon and wanted to touch base and let everyone know that the journey is more than I could’ve asked for.

I got to spend the last two nights outside Devils Tower.

I am still at a loss for words… Sacred space, sacred place.

I will write more tomorrow night; for now, I continue east.

Avalanche Lake

I drove into Glacier National Park as far as the road would allow, which took me to the Avalanche Lake trailhead. The road beyond will not open before June 22.

Words really cannot describe this amazing hike and spectacular place! Awe-inspiring, to say the least. Here is a collection of photos, which really do not do the place any justice.

My recommendation to you is to make the journey yourself. I hope to go back again in the coming years and explore farther into the park, and even make my way to East Glacier. I met Jack and his Norwegian wife Barrett along the side of the road taking pictures and was told there’s a great dive of a place that serves an excellent steak!

Changes in the Weather

The start of day four is cold! I’ve been at Glacier National Park since Tuesday evening and last night brought two thunderstorms with rain and hail and wind. Exciting until this morning when I had to pack up a wet rain fly and damp tent.

However, two other great adventures were had prior to the storms. The first was my visit to Wallace, Idaho to see the Mummified Mermaid. Isn’t she beautiful?!

Wallace also claims to be the Center of the Universe. There is even a sign saying so, therefore it must be true. Got off the interstate to see the Savenac Historic Tree Nursery and stumbled across this place. Great milkshake and Rainier Cherries.

I now have a full appreciation of why Montana is called Big Sky Country. I’ve never seen a sky like it! Stayed at the Timber Wolf Resort and Campground. Great location, about nine miles out of Glacier National Park; fantastic hosts. I highly recommend this place. Not only do you miss the crowds in the park campgrounds, but you’ll have the opportunity meet some pretty nice folks.

The second great adventure was my hike to Avalanche Lake. Alas, I’ve miles to drive. Another post later in the day.


“She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis…” Tom Petty has been gracing my travels, as has some fabulous music from my cosmic doppelgänger, Lindsay. Thanks for the shared playlists!

Meet Limonita. She’s a good girl whom I have yet to introduce to Elvis.

Last night I stayed at Camp Coeur d’Alene. Nice campground along Lake Coeur d’Alene. Was awakened by red-winged blackbirds and others I could not identify at 4:15. Drifted back to sleep for a bit.

Heading east.

The Heroine’s Journey

For the early opening of the day, the closing is quite late. Tomorrow I will introduce you all to Limonita. You’ve heard of limoncello; I’ve acquired a limonauto. To be fair, she has handled like a champ and aside from a check engine light I thought was resolved by the mechanic at 7am, she has run quite smoothly. Let’s not talk about about bent wheel that also was replaced this morning. Sigh.

What is a heroine’s journey without obstacles to overcome?!

It is nearly midnight, and while Roslyn was a nice stop with a bite to eat at The Brick, a stroll past what was once Dr. Fleischman’s office, and a meander down the road to Roslyn’s cafe, the highlight of the day was the spectacular sunset that lasted for nearly two hours!

I am both pleased and sorry to say I took no photos; I was doing 70 mph. Pink and tangerine to purple and crimson. Stunning! And the full moon rising along the opposite horizon, red to orange… breathtaking!

My tent is pitched, my sleeping pad inflated, and I am grateful to have had a hot shower. Now to turn off the headlamp and fall asleep to a moon climbing over the mountains and the serenade of bull frogs.