Wisconsin/Minnesota/South Dakota

The morning we left Chicago we drove to Wheaton College where J.R.R. Tolkein’s and C.S. Lewis’s desks are housed. We saw the original wardrobe that inspired The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. We also saw some of the letters they wrote to each other and the pen that Tolkein used.

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In Chicago, the brother of Collin’s friend gave us each a Frisbee golf disc with the promise that we would all play. And we have. We stopped in La Crosse, Wisconsin and played a round of Frisbee golf. The course was right on the Mississippi River.

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We then stayed the night in Whitewater State Park in Minnesota. The next day we drove to Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota. Here the Native Americans would mine out pipestone for their pipes. It was a very religious place for them. We then found another disc golf course!

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That night we drove to Fort Pierre National Grasslands and on our way there we ran into a very peculiar building.

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I still don’t quite understand what it is for. But once we got to Fort Pierre National Grasslands it was literally us and miles of grass.

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After leaving Fort Pierre we made it about 10 minutes down the freeway until someone came up beside and and was frantically pointing at our roof. We quickly realized that our cargo box must not have been shut! We pulled over and sure enough it was wide open but nothing was lost! We continued on to Badlands National Park. A extra terrestrial landscape in the middle of rolling hills.

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After the Badlands we drove to Wall Drug and had some ice cream.

We then finished our goal and made it to Deadwood where my Uncle Shawn’s mother lives and very graciously got us a hotel room and has been an amazing guide for the city. Yesterday she took us to dinner and gave us the history low down of Deadwood, Wild Bill Hikock and Calamity Jane’s old hangout.

Today we are going to Mount Rushmore and more pictures will be coming soon!

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Scranton/Cuyahoga National Park/Syracuse/Chicago

After the Fenway game in Boston we headed towards Scranton, Pennsylvania. The town The Office was based off of. We met the owner or Pennsylvania Paper. The company that owns the tower from the opening scene in The Office.

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We also went to Poor Richards. The bar from the show which is also connected to a bowling alley. We spent most of the night there and the owner let us sleep in the car because it was raining with warnings of flash flooding.

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After Scranton we furthered our trek west to Cuyahoga National Park where we were again caught in a thunderstorm. We didn’t do much here except climb some vines and play Settlers of Catan.

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Our next stop after Cuyahoga was Syracuse, Indiana where Collin’s friend from school, Whitney, lives. We had a amazing time going to the local bar, The Frog. Thank you so much Whitney for the hospitality!

The next day we drove to another of Collin’s friends from school, Will. Whitney came with us and we met up with more of Collin’s friends and walked around the city for the day.

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The Trump Tower ^^

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And of course we got some deep-dish pizza!

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Chicago stood out to us a lot in its diverse architecture, mellow speed and culture. The weather was perfect today which only added to our great experience.

Washington DC

On Friday we arrived in DC and spent the day walking around the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.

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That night we drove over to my friend Ellie’s house.

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That evening we happened to lock ourselves out of the house and while playing Settlers of Catan on the back patio the landlord showed and up trusted us enough to let us in! The next morning we got up and set out to see all of the museums and the White House.

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The security at the National Archives reminded me that I still had my camping hatchet in my backpack. I thought for sure I was going to be pulled aside but they kind of just laughed and told me to take it home. We saw the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, along with the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights. Really powerful sights to see. We then walked around the Smithsonian museums.

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The Wright Brother’s original plane.

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Natural History museum.

On Sunday we left DC and headed over to Arlington National Cemetery and watched the changing of the guard and viewed John F Kennedy’s gravesite.

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Nothing puts America’s wars into a more real perspective than Arlington. But equally eye opening was Gettysburg which we then drove to next.

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The generosity of Tennessee

We took this ambitious road trip because we know our young lives allow for it now but most likely will not in the future. Our hopes for the trip were to gain experience in handling practical situations, gain perspective about the cultures and lifestyles within America, and to see places that we may never see otherwise. Each of those expectations has already been met, and frankly the proceedings of this trip have gone much smoother than we expected them to. A major factor in that smoothness has been the way we’ve been provided for in random ways. Most of the sweet provision has come from Drew’s relatives or family friends, all of which have been mentioned in earlier posts. Those have been sweet times and such blessings along the way. But it is the four guys from Tennessee that not only hiked but also forded a river with us, and then were willing to be fellow comrades in the hitch hiking process and go so far as to pray for us and then offer monetary provision that I want to extend even greater thanks to in this post.
It is always a great opportunity when we get to interact with locals. The conversations are memorable and always insightful. Our friends from Tennessee however were more than just fellow hikers and nice people. They were used by The Lord to be a source of provision and light. These men were bold enough to pray for three strangers, and then they did what is often the missing link in the Christian witness, they showed us love and genuine care by surprising us with a free meal. I want to thank Caleb and Nathan and the guys from Tennessee for truly living their lives for Jesus and in the process living for three random strangers.
I love seeing The Lord at work.

Zion National Park

From the never sleeping Sin City to the quiet hot desert of Zion we traveled yesterday. With temperatures over 100 degrees the Chevy Cruze powered through to our destination. Upon arrival we experienced these amazing views.

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We spent the night off the road and under the stars like I’ve never seen them before. The next morning we woke up before dawn and drove to the shuttle that took us to the Angel’s Landing trailhead. The trail up was no joke. No more than a couple feet separated us from safety and a 1500 foot drop.

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Once we got to the top we were presented an amazing view of the Zion valley. This picture was taken by our friends we met on the trail, Alex and Louse.

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After Angel’s Landing we made lunch and then headed out to The Narrows. A 6 mile hike through a river with nothing but hundreds of feet of sandstone on either side.
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Tonight we sleep in Zion and tomorrow morning we head out for Bryce Canyon!

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Rough Draft Itinerary

On a trip of this scale it is almost impossible to plan out exactly where we are going to go and how long we will be there for but it almost impossible as well to set out with no guidance whatsoever. Here is our rough draft itinerary, mostly used just to see how many miles we will be driving. It is planned out for 5 weeks right now but will definitely be moved out to the full six.