Walmarts, despite being unremarkable in their overall existence, have proven to also been an interesting gauge for local vibes. As mundane as these behemoth monuments to capitalism are...the surrounding landscapes can still be breathtaking, the sunsets stunning, and the surrounding development revealing. I've written before how state and county parks are incredible for learning the social and political climate of a state or region (Alabama begging for donations, their gift shop full of of stuff from China vs. Oregon with endless local business sponsors, and boutique-style gift shops full of locally made goods). Post offices across the country are really interesting too. Their size, age, architecture, presidential plaques, and community billboards are always telling of that specific town. (Art deco in Oklahoma under Kennedy, vs. 100 sq ft wooden storefront in smalltown Iowa)
So we were back east, heading toward home. It was strange to cross the Indiana border. Being on the back roads, we just happened to recognize that we crossed into Lake County. Very anticlimactic after being gone so far, for so long. But we had one last big camping trip to look forward to - the annual McCabe Halloween Camp at Tippecanoe River State Park. It was surreal pulling into a familiar park, having a reservation, and the biggest hugs waiting for us from Ed's mom and dad. Such a comfort, a relief, a daze. We made it back alive! No major catastrophes, every prayer answered. We had such a great week, camping with family and seeing our loved ones again after so long.
Our last campsite of the journey
Bird watching, and catching up with cousin John
Required trek up the firetower
Fascinating history - new informational signs since our last visit, yay Indiana
Camping in the trees, like God intended!
Getting re-acquainted with the locals
Halloween is taken pretty seriously around here
My mountain man - back in the midwest.
The following December, we suddenly lost Ed's mom Sandi. We are enormously thankful to have returned home, and were able to enjoy this time with her. We had all agreed it was the best Halloween camping trip yet. It's always been a very special tradition, and Sandi is the one who made it so.
She's already been on a few hiking trails
I hope to chronicle our future travels, and park geekery here on the blog, so stay tuned.