Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We're Back!

We got back from our road trip on Saturday, but I've been relaxing on a couch, relishing in the fact that I'm not in my car anymore and that I don't have anywhere to be, or trying to figure out how to organize my days this summer so that I can get 30-40 hours of studying in (like I'm supposed to), pack my apartment, take care of the bunnies, start running again, and knit too! :) I think I have it figured out. We'll just see how long I can keep it up...(or if I can even get started).

I guess I'll give you a brief rundown of our trip and share a short bit about my favorite part (I can't pick one, but I'll try)! Our first destination was my hometown in Idaho, where we stayed a few nights while venturing to Yellowstone and Craters of the Moon by day. Then, we headed to Seattle. In Seattle, we went to the aquarium, the Space Needle, Pike's Market, and my best friend's wedding. After the wedding, we ferried across the Sound to the Olympic Peninsula and explored Olympic National Park (I think we both agreed this is our favorite national park!). We stayed in Ocean Shores and collected sand dollars on the beach for way too long the next day, then began our trek back to the Midwest. We saw the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn, which I will flag as one of my favorite moments of the trip. The following day, we went to Devil's Tower and Mount Rushmore.  We saw the Badlands from the road, but my parents say that's not good enough, so we may have to go back!  After a stay along the flooded Missouri in South Dakota, we drove back to my Gma's to pick up the bunnies and have lunch, and then high-tailed it back home! We had a fantastic time, but it's good to be back home after two weeks away!

Little Bighorn: History is not my thing. I find it interesting (I am a Classicist, after all), but I can't retain it to save my life (except for two weeks in order to pass comps). I'm sure I learned about the Battle of Little Bighorn once or twice in my life, but all I know now is that it was Custer's last stand against a chief named Sitting Bull (right?). In any case, I know it was a big deal and when we saw a sign that it was right off the interstate, we thought, why not? It was a quarter to 9 and the sun was setting. The park ranger told us we had 15 minutes, so we could drive to the top of the hill and park in a handicap spot if we wanted. So we did. It was remarkable, breath-taking, wonderful, emotional, thought-provoking, unforgettable....

John and I debated the ethics of memorializing a battle against Native Americans (or any battle, really) and wondered whether, if we had been Natives, we would have handed over the land to save our lives or fought to save the land that was our life. I think we decided in the end that there was a certain poetic justice for the Natives that the land fought on and over would never be touched as long as it remained a national monument and cemetery. We watched a lot of Pawn Stars on the trip and also pondered a comment made by one of the shop owners (just the night before!) about Custer's decision not to take his two Gatling guns to this particular battle.  What would that memorial look like? The Gatling victory would have been far bloodier and more heart-wrenching. I suppose, in the end, it is good to remember both the actions we honor and the actions we regret. The object of history is to remind us not to repeat certain actions, though we rarely heed those reminders (I'm a Classicist, remember, those silly Romans were the definition of History repeating itself).

My pictures don't do it justice, so you'll just have to go visit! :) Expect to see a lot more, though! We got some good ones!

We went to a lot of national parks on this trip and plan to visit or revisit more. Which is your favorite?  Why?

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