Monday, October 3, 2016

My Power of One National tour complete!

On September 5th Jay, Kacy and I left for our final leg of the 48 State National tour. We had only 4 states left to complete so it looked like it would be a piece of cake. We departed Mound City, Kansas on Labor Day and headed north. As we drove through Kansas City on into Iowa (which we had already visited) we decided to visit a couple of landmark sites. Jesse James farm, Amana colonies and Field of Dreams (film site) were our stops. Iowa had some of the most beautiful barns in the country. We were off to a good start.

From Iowa we drove on into Rochester, Minnesota (state #45) to spend the night. The next day we headed to Red Wing, MN to visit a friend. Heidi Bacon is an artist I've known for over a decade. We visited her place of work which was most fascinating. 

Over the bridge we go on into Wisconsin with our ultimate destination being the upper peninsula of Michigan. We stayed in IronWoods and drove the entire upper peninsula the next day from Marquette through Escanaba and on into Iron Mountain. We saw Lake Superior and Lake Michigan all in one day's drive. The North Woods of Michigan is highly recreational. And the leaves were starting to turn. 

Day four on our final leg took us to Duluth, Minnesota. It is a special place for us as our daughter was married in the Rose Garden overlooking Lake Superior and I ran my first marathon in Duluth. We also love a place in Two Harbors called Betty's Pies. 

Leaving Duluth, we drove through northern Minnesota with our ultimate destination being Fargo, North Dakota (State #46). We of course had to stop at the Visitors Center to see the 'chipper' from the movie Fargo. We saw Paul Bunyan along the way too! 

Across the state we go through Jamestown, Bismarck and into the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Even saw the World's Largest Buffalo and some amazing iron sculptures on Enchanted Highway. 

From North Dakota we entered our 2nd to last state of Montana (state #47). A most beautiful state as we drove through Billings, Great Falls, Polson, Butte, and Missoula. Not the least of which was West Yellowstone. 

Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons were all extraordinary. We'd been to them all before when our children were growing up but they never cease to amaze. 

Driving through Yellowstone takes you into Wyoming. We furthered our way through Gillette and Cody, Wyoming into our last of the 48 states, South Dakota. We had several places we wanted to see and managed to get to all of them. Sturgis, Deadwood, and Mount Rushmore right off the bat. 

Wall Drug was a a stop on my 'must see' list. Then on to the state Capitol in Pierre. 


Heading south through Nebraska we had a detour to Loveland, Colorado to do some chores at our daughter's house. We visited Denver and the State Capitol as well as Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. 

From the beautiful state of Colorado we drove east into Kansas. I'd wanted to visit Dodge City. We traveled through Garden City and Abilene as well. Upon entering Kansas the visitors center offered a Wizard of Oz experience. No place like home. 

Our final stop before arriving at the farm was Topeka, the state capitol of Kansas. Jay went to high school in Topeka so we stopped by his historic Topeka High for a quick photo too. 

Upon arriving back to our farm for a couple of nights, we rested, mowed, unpacked and slept some more. Just before we arrived however we had to stop for our favorite custard at Twisters as a celebration of our completing 48 states. 

Jay then did a 4 day trip up north while I took on a speaking engagement in Jefferson City, Missouri. The Corn Palace in South Dakota was his stop before the Ryder Cup golf tournament in Minneapolis. 

For now our 48 State National '12 Acts of Kindness' tour is complete. It feels like a whirlwind dream at this point. We traveled safely in good weather and had the experience of a lifetime. When we look over our photos for years to come the experience will be one filled with many stories, great companionship, laughs and wonderment. Our dog, Kacy turned 12 years old during the trip. She was a real trouper and though this wasn't her idea, she seemed to like being with us rather than not. 

We donated $250 at the Humane Society of the Black Hills in honor of her birthday and also because we had a generous donor. It was our act of kindness in the moment. 

48 States, 12 Acts of Kindness, National Parks, Historic sites, 30,000 miles, stops at friends and family, thousands of pictures, tourist traps, Great Lakes, great meals, and just a jolly good time. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes high adventure.