Road Trip: Indiana to Spokane

Last month (as I’m writing this) on October 17th, hubby and I began a 4,682 mile road trip from our home in northwestern Indiana to Bothell, Washington, a suburb of Seattle and back so I could attend Rubart Writing Academy. Why, you might ask, in this day of modern air travel, would you attempt such a drive?

The answer: we wanted to experience the country. This cannot be done on an airplane.

The journey took ten days, crossed 12 states (some more than once), and gave us spectacular views of plains, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, fall foliage, snow, and so much more. My husband had never been farther west than St. Louis, while I have lived in Spokane, parts of Montana, and Nebraska for various bits of my past. Following are a few of the photos we collected along the way.

While in Bothell, I attended the Rubart Writing Academy run by James and Taylor Rubart, talented father and son duo with many areas of expertise. The Academy was the catalyst for this journey, and was the central focus. I’ll talk about it in another blog post. The rest of the journey was icing on that exceptional cake. But what beautiful icing it was.

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In South Dakota we drove through the Badlands National Park stopping frequently to take photos of the unique and breathtaking landscape. I kept imagining coming upon this area while riding west and wondering what alien world I’d stumbled upon.

Badlands, SD This rock looks like elephant skin!
Badlands, SD See how widespread it is? Think horse and no GPS.
Badlands, SD – Look at these gorgeous sandstone formations!
This valley full of stalactite formations highlights the rugged beauty.

Next stop: Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore, SD

The next morning we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise near Sundance, South Dakota.

Not bad when you consider it was taken through the window of a moving car, eh?

We drove through Sheridan, Wyoming and headed north to Montana. Just before Billings, we stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The weather was chilly, but we enjoyed learning more about this important part of US history. The American Indian Memorial was a highlight of the stop, though it put a solemn cap on my thoughts. So many choices made that could have gone differently if humans weren’t so blinded by worldly passions.

Sculpture at Native Indian Monument – Little Bighorn Battlefield
Little Bighorn Battlefield Cemetery, Montana with part of the battlefield beyond

In Billings, we drove to MetraPark where I used to ride races in the late 1980s. Some of the old barns are left, but the track is completely gone. The sight left me blinking back tears. Only the infield lights of the Clubhouse Turn let me visualize where the track used to be. The livestock arena and other buildings remain. Rodeos, livestock shows and other exhibitions are still held on the grounds.

Crumbling barn left over from former racing days at MetraPark in Billings, MT. I’m pretty sure this was the barn that housed the horses of the woman who became a surrogate grandmother to my daughter.

Headed west on I-90 we got our first views of the mountains following the Yellowstone River.

Mountain backdrop from a park along the Yellowstone River in Livingston, Montana.

Next stop, Spokane, Washington with its lovely Riverfront Park and Spokane Falls.

Clock Tower in Spokane’s Riverfront Park
Hubby and I at Spokane’s Riverfront Park with the World’s Fair Pavilion in the background.

The spectacular Spokane Falls of the Spokane River.
Sunset from west of Spokane

I’ll leave you with this beautiful sunset we saw while driving west to our hotel. In two weeks, I’ll finish the journey.

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