Dec 30, 2015

Halloween Homecoming

From Wisconsin, we began winding our way through Illinois backroads (making a big loop to avoid Chicago), over familiar midwestern terrain. We spent one last night in a Walmart parking lot. These sometimes sketchy boondocking nights (in a place we otherwise boycott) had by now become so familiar and dare-I-say a quite special and memorable part of our trip. I'll just say we know how to party after a long day of driving. And it's always pretty cool, the weird sense of comradery you have with the other over-nighters as you circle up your wagons.

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!

Park signage

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.

It's been a major adjustment this past year. Life comes and goes. We lost Sandi, and were given Juniper. The year has held the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Everything is different, and we'll never see things the same again. We miss the road and think of that big wilderness every single day. It's comforting just to know it's out there. Being. We still have ol' Hodor, and will always have plans swirling in our minds for future travels. We hope to get out on some weeks or maybe a month long trip with Juniper in 2016. The older she gets, hopefully the longer our trips and hikes can be. So excited to teach her all about the planet.

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.


  1. Oh my gosh, I loved seeing the pic of all of you:) made me smile, made me cry!

  2. thank you finishing your journey blog for us
    i too smiled and cried.
    Juniper Ann is blessed to have parents who love to explore :)