10 Days til home and we are not sure how we feel about it. 

Today was a heavy drive day. We knew we’d be in the car for about 4.5 to 5 hours, so we got in some exercise before we left Yankton. The bridge that we found the first night in Yankton had been calling our name so we decided to go check it out. Rudy hopped on his bike, we stopped into a cafe for some to-go wake-up beverages, and took off. The bridge is big, beautiful, and arcs across the Missouri River. Once you’re on the other side, you’re in Nebraska! Now, Jared and I had a hard time driving through Nebraska back in 2011, because we were driving west as the sun was setting, and Nebraska has nothing to block the sun from your eyes. . . so you’re staring at the sun for like 5 hours or something ridiculous. It had always stood out for being flat, boring, and long to drive through. This trip, however, we caught Nebraska on our drive in at the NE corner, and found it rolling, lush and beautiful. We are always happy when something can redeem itself or prove us wrong from a previous opinion. Such is the case with Nebraska; redeemed. Illinois, on the other hand . . .

So when we walked across the bridge, we greeted Nebraska cheerily. . . then promptly turned around to take the bottom bridge back to SD. It was a nice 45 min afternoon walk, and when we finally caught up with Rudy on his bike, he had met 2 dogs, several walkers, and a baby. 

All loaded up, we began our trip towards Great Falls, Montana. With home so close on the horizon, we don’t feel in such a rush to get out of here. I asked Rudy if he was excited to get back to Tacoma. “Well, yes. I mean, a little bit. I mean, but we’re going to do this again, right?” I get it. Jared and I are also looking forward to being home, but also not.  It’s hard to accurately put in words the feeling of desire for stability and permanence constantly battling the need to move and keep going. We have a lot of stuff going on in August and September, which always helps to make the transition easier, and we have a huge year coming up for CS, so those will both help soften the blow. But, it’s a place we all will really miss being in together. 

(Jared here: I always felt that this short chapter from Moby Dick touches on where we’re coming from. Might have posted it last year, but it’s worth it.)

Since we wanted to see the Badlands during the day, we made that our destination for the night so we could wake up and do it first thing in the morning. We did some crosswords, blogging, Rudy decided to nap (totally bit us in the ass later) and we got to Wall (home of Wall Drug; original home of the “ice water” for interstate travelers!) right in the middle of a several-hour-long rain and lightning storm. We set up our bed under the cover of a gas station overhang during quick moments when the rain let up, then we settled in to “sleep” with a kid who had just napped for 2+ hours. I am not gonna sugar coat it. . . things got cranky for a bit. We tried watching funny animal videos. Did not help. Dad tried reading from “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. Didn’t work. I tried giving him the iPad. Not helping. Much tossing and turning later, I think we finally slept. I’ll be honest, Jared and I weren’t really tired either. But the storm was fierce, so we couldn’t be outside, and we weren’t going to drive more, so here we stayed. Awake. I’m sure somewhere between the flailing legs, the hamster on the wheel in my head, the “mommy, did you know this?” and “mommy, can I tell you something?” ‘s, I think we all finally slept. Ugh. 

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