states #47, 48, and 49! + colorado with dearest friends

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here’s the thing.

as of june 2015, the boy had been to forty six of our fifty, nifty united states. he had this little dream deep in his heart to have step foot in every single state before he turned thirty one. he was missing north dakota, south dakota, nebraska, and alaska.

we tried to figure out a way to get to alaska before we left for london, but it was just too much. but we figured we might as well get him to forty nine in his thirtieth year, and planned a pretty epic three-day road trip to make it happen.

we flew into denver, rented a car, drove to mount rushmore, stopped by wall drug and badlands national park, and stayed at one of ian’s former student’s family cabin in the black hills. the next day we popped back into wyoming to see devil’s tower (why not?!) and then drove north dakota basically end to end and stayed at ian’s brother’s wife’s mom’s house. the following morning we headed to omaha and the mormon trail center at winter quarters, and then drove through a lot of cornfields, and stayed that night in a good old motel 6 in north platte, nebraska. we made a little detour to see chimney rock on our way back to colorado – and by that time we were pretty excited to see mountains again after all those plains! we spent a couple of hours in rocky mountain national park before heading to meet our dear friends sara and matt back in denver.

^^ some bison welcomed us to south dakota :) ^^
^^ mt. rushmore … kind of really cool, kind of pretty weird. ^^
^^ on the “presidential walk” around mt. rushmore, you can get a little closer to the faces – and look up their noses! ^^
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^^ i had been telling the boy about wall drug (and its incredible billboard advertising campaign, wild array of different shops and goods for sale and robotic life-size t-rex) ever since i drove across south dakota on a cross-country road trip a few years ago. that place is awesome. we got really yummy milkshakes there! ^^
^^ we got to badlands right at golden hour – it was perfect and gorgeous! ^^
^^ the most awesome log cabin! trent (ian’s former student) and his family were so kind to let us stay here! ^^
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^^ devil’s tower – still confused on how it sprung up like that. very random, very cool. ^^
^^ north dakota. ^^
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^^ a quick stop at the bismark temple. why not. ^^
^^ he is the best roadtripper i know. i love that he loves driving so i don’t have to! and he doesn’t even bat an eye at a twelve+ hour drive because he grew up driving all over the country with his family. ^^IMG_2183
^^ as we drove into fargo, an excellent storm drove in, too. ^^
^^ and gave us some terrific rainbows! ^^
^^ pretty amazing to take some time to reflect on the sacrifice of our mormon pioneer ancestors. we’ve heard stories about winter quarters (a temporary settlement of the saints as they showed incredible faith moving west in search of religious freedom) all our lives so it was neat to be there. ^^
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^^ a beautiful temple; a poignant monument to pioneer sacrifice and faith. ^^
^^ we popped into iowa to see the kannesville tabernacle at council bluffs. this was where brigham young was sustained as the second prophet and where the saints met during some of their time in the great plains. ^^
^^ chimney rock. almost as miraculously random as devil’s tower. ^^
^^ our view for miiiiiiiiiles… ^^
^^ occasionally broken up by sights like this… ^^
^^ and then, all of a sudden, the rockies!! ^^
^^ rocky mountain national park shows off those peeks pretty well! we loved driving through, sucking in the mountain air, hoping to get enough in our lungs to last us a while while we’re living in relatively mountain-less england! ^^
^^ it was so gorgeous. i was lazy at taking pictures. but it was soooo gorgeous. ^^

back in denver, we spent a couple of days with our really good friends sara and matt. sara and i studied abroad together in jerusalem, lived together in provo, and traveled together in thailand and india. we saw each other though some intense heartbreak, rejoiced with each other in finding true love, and are the best of the best kind of friends. i love her more than most anyone. and it just so happens that her husband matt has become one of my favourite people too, and that ian has come to love both sara and matt a lot as well. it’s a good setup. we had such a fantastic time hanging out with these guys. they are suuuuuuch good people.

^^ hiking in boulder. such great conversations and pretty good scenery too. ^^
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^^ maybe one of the best breakfasts ever at this awesome place sara and matt took us to called snooze. ^^
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^^ post church walk in the mountains. ^^

good to cover some united states of america ground before heading to live abroad!
we’ll get to state number fifty soon, i promise, husband!


  1. nebraska! love seeing my state here!

  2. YAY NORTH DAKOTA!! :) My mom sure loves you guys!

  3. What!? You didn't take a picture of the big bridge thing going over I-80 in Nebraska? Nebraska is my home state and I love seeing pictures of it. The miles of plains actually soothes my soul. Chimney rock is only about 5 miles from where my grandma lives and she just turned 103. She says she gets up every morning and looks to make sure the "Rock" is still standing!

  4. Snooze is so amazing!! Their breakfast is so good. I've been a few times when visiting my cousins in Denver. It's definitely the best breakfast restaurant, hands down. I'm glad you got to eat there! :)

  5. I love that my Wright boy loves to drive too. I get to sleep while he drives, except when kids need something (which, let's be honest, is most of the time).

  6. I love the barn picture. I served my mission in Iowa. Good memories.
    I recently found myself in dire need of a place to spend the night, after traveling through 5 states to move my daughter to college. I ended up at a Motel 6 in Butte Montana. It was the cleanest, freshest place I stayed my entire trip. I was surprised because my memories of Motel 6 from my childhood travels were not the best. I was happily surprised. Maybe it's a Montana thing-- but it was great. So awesome that Ian has been to 49 of the 50 states. What an adventurous life you two live.
    I appreciate a good breakfast place. That food looked delicious. My favorite breakfast place is in San Luis Obispo, CA-- called The Apple Farm. If you are ever in San Luis Obispo-- it is worth the stop. Maybe you have been there. :) It's been years since I've been there, but it was always wonderful. L.A. in WA

  7. So fun! Alaska is a lot like New Zealand it will blow your mind!