rusty old blue truck in south dakota

day three: to get to montana it turns out you have to go through your thoughts along the way







(Part 1)
I wanted to start today’s post as early as possible for several reasons: 1) my laptop battery is absolutely awful and is about to die already so I wanted to get this up before it did 2) I’m falling more and more in love with the land and I’m so excited about it I had to start writing early 3) I took the most badass picture of a truck this morning that I’m pretty sure no other shots on this entire trip are going to be able to top it 4) I’m starting to develop this overwhelming sense of inner peace, and I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to take this trip. And when I’m feeling that way, my inclination is to share it.

This morning we left Murdo, South Dakota on our way to Keystone, which is only about another 50 miles or so from where we are now. I’m unbelievably excited to see Mount Rushmore, and we’ve already started to see some of the Black Hills and infamous Badlands. It’s completely awe-inspiring to see the natural formations in the land out here, and think about how different it is from everywhere else in the country. It’s truly amazing. I’ll check in later with pics from Keystone, but for now, here’s a peek at some of our interesting morning sites…love, love, LOVE me some truck!

Day Three (cont.):
We had a beautiful driving day through South Dakota on our way to Mount Rushmore- blue skies, breezy, warm but not hot by any stretch. We drove through Keystone, which is without a doubt a town that should be in a movie set- no joke, it looks fake. It’s like they plopped these little saloons, shops and bars in the midst of the mountains just to be a cliche. We drove through it, went up to Rushmore and stood in awe in front of one of the most amazing sites I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible to think about the process of immortalizing those great men in stone. After taking some great shots (thank you, zoom lens!!) and getting a bag of rocks from the gift shop (because I’m still a nine year-old at heart who likes pretty colored stones), we went back down to Keystone for lunch. We literally followed our noses to a BBQ shack, which was actually a little closet off of a gift shop, and had bbq pork sandwiches and baked beans as we sat in the sun wishing every day could be spent eating bbq in the mountains, feeling the sunshine on our faces- without having to be anywhere else in the world right then.

Continuing on our way to Montana, we passed somewhat briefly through Wyoming (ugly! so sorry, Wyoming, but it’s true…) and then we finally made it into Montana. Today we drove for almost 15 hours to get to Great Falls and we were completely exhausted (and I had the Jimmy Leg and a serious case of Travel Tummy) by the time we rolled into the Crystal Inn. I really wanted to finish this post last night but since I was more interested in climbing into the nice soft bed with the nice fluffy comforter, and finishing a warm fuzzy conversation via chat with someone “kinda awesome”, the blog had to wait. Gasp. I know, I said it, the blog had to wait.

The good news is yesterday’s trek gave me all kinds of time to think, and I did a lot of it. Unfortunately my laptop was dead so I wasn’t able to jot down all the thoughts I had while we rolled down the ribbon of highway and through the plains into the mountains, but I want to try to remember them here because it was incredibly therapeutic. And I’d like to offer a special thanks to Adele for the background music that kicked my brain into gear last night as I watched the mountains and contemplated my life.

I’ve had a bit of time to look into my heart and think about relationships, especially those that have graced my life recently. And I use the word grace with some hesitation. I have a long history of involving myself in situations that give me a lot of anxiety and grief. I have chosen to be with (or pursue) people who don’t have a whole lot to give to me in return. I know I’ve touched on this before because it’s a pretty relevant topic for me. I also have a bad history of repeating myself, doing things the wrong way. (See the “Wrong Way” sign I shot?) It’s like all my life people have been telling me, “Don’t touch the stove, Annie, it’s hot.” Touch. Ow. And I do it again. I think I just keep hoping that because it’s happened before, many times, that it’s not going to again, because whose luck is really that bad, right? But as it turns out, as Tina says, “To have different, you have to DO different.” So this is me, doing different.

I realized yesterday that I’m lucky. I’m so damn lucky…because there is someone who has graced my life lately with a presence that has gotten me thinking, and has gently pushed me toward a shift in my own thinking. (See my Yield sign above?). I realized I want to break the cycle. I want to stop guarding myself. I want to stop trusting the wrong people. I want to believe that someone can care about me and also not hurt me at the same time.

This beautiful presence in my life started out gently and quietly, but persistently, patiently, constantly, ever-in-the-background. And he has been honest and real, devoted and patient, sweet and thoughtful. He is a constant. And he has shown me what I deserve and how I should be treated and cared for. And the crazy thing is that I know he’ll do it. There’s no doubt in my mind that he means every word he breathes with every ounce of his being. And for that, I have renewed hope. And for THAT, I am forever, eternally, happily grateful. There is much love and hope in my heart today.

The journey continues, on the road and in the heart…

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