The Restart of the Blog & Memorial Day Madness

Hello world. Long time no see. So here’s the deal. I have REALLY sucked at writing on this blog. Seeing that my last blog post was halfway through my honeymoon last July, it would appear there was a bit of a lapse in my writing. I kept meaning to come back to this blog and finish writing about my trip but it never happened. Additionally, I never wrote about any of the other trips we went on last year.

Quick recap:
·      July 2015- Went to Puerto Rico for our honeymoon. It was awesome and tropical and beautiful. Go there.
·      October 2015- Fun weekend trip to Twin Falls, Idaho. It was a quiet and pretty little trip.
·      February 2016- Amazing extended weekend trip to Saint George, Utah. We fell in love with that city.
·      April 2016- Trip with the Eves family to Moab, Utah. We spent the weekend hiking at Arches and Goblin Valley.
·      May 2016- Crazy Memorial Day weekend road trip from Evanston, WY to North Dakota and back- This is the trip I am going to be writing about today, so strap in, kiddos.

In between all of those bullet points lie lots of fun adventures and day trips worth writing about, but sadly didn’t make the cut.
Truthfully, I have really sucked at writing in general as of late. One would think that an English major with an emphasis in creative writing would be writing stories all the time, right? Wrong. This English major over here got herself into a bit of a slump. I was writing multiple papers and stories each week while I was in school, but once I was off for the summer I took a writing hiatus. My plan was to take a little break, then come back hard and write new stories every week. That didn’t exactly happen. Want to know what did happen? Netflix happened, and a lot of it. For some reason, it is easier for me to find time to re-watch every episode of Once Upon a Time (yeah, you can judge me for that one), and begin binge watching Grey’s Anatomy (Season 2 of 12). Netflix became a happy little routine for me. I turned it on while I was cleaning the house, and then would continue to watch it long after I finished cleaning. I wasn’t taking time to write or play guitar or workout. May was a rough month for me. I have been doing better throughout June though.
In a couple of weeks, Jordan and I will be road tripping up to Banff National Park in Canada. We are super excited, and want to share our experiences with you all. So before we get to that point, I want to share the story of our unforgettable road trip over Memorial Day.

Our story begins May 27th. Jordan and I left our home in Salt Lake to drive down to Mapleton, Utah for the joyous celebration of Jordan’s sister’s wedding. The 27th was her wedding dinner, so we picked up the food and had a nice dinner with family and friends. Afterwards, Jordan and I stayed the night at a nearby hotel.
The next morning, we all traveled to the Payson LDS Temple for Hailey and Preston’s wedding. The ceremony was lovely, and Hailey was a beautiful bride. That night was her wedding reception. Everyone mingled, and joined in celebrating the couple’s big day. After the reception, Jordan and I drove two hours to Evanston, Wyoming, to stay with my parents. We slept for about three hours before waking up to start the road trip.
That's a good lookin' family
At 4 a.m. on May 29th, Jordan and I loaded into the backseat of my dad’s truck, and the Eves and Francis families took off for the adventure. About eight hours and 511 miles later, we arrived at Devils Tower National Monument. It was a brief pit stop, but was absolutely worth it. The scenery surrounding the area was beautiful and reminded Jordan and I of Russia. Something about the forest was familiar and reminiscent of mother Russia.
Devils Tower National Monument

The four of us loaded back into the truck, in pursuit of Mount Rushmore. We drove through Deadwood, South Dakota, and down the Black Hills to reach Mount Rushmore. The Black Hills National Forest is beautiful. The forest there is different from any I had been to before, so the two-hour drive from Devils Tower to Mount Rushmore was quite pleasant.
I had always wanted to see Mount Rushmore, but it was never a huge priority for me. Seeing the faces of those influential men carved proudly into the side of a mountain was absolutely stunning. The monument filled me with such American pride. Being there over Memorial Day made the moment even more beautiful. I didn’t want to leave. Really, I felt guilty leaving George and the gang, but we had to press on to North Dakota.
Before heading to North Dakota, we ate dinner in Keystone, South Dakota, the city just outside of the Mount Rushmore Monument. Hoping for a quick meal, we stopped into a pizza parlor called Pie for the People. It was fairly empty, so we anticipated quick service. We were very wrong. The restaurant was down to one waitress. She was working so hard to serve all of her customers, but the kitchen wasn’t bringing out food fast enough to keep up with the masses. As we waited, all four of us felt the weight of our exhaustion. The realization that we had four more hours until we reached Dickinson, North Dakota was very disheartening. All of the patriotism and joy I felt at Mount Rushmore was replaced with dread and regret. Why did we come on this trip? Once we got our food, our spirits were slightly lifted. We pulled ourselves together and hit the road. Finally, our caravan pulled into the Hampton Inn in Dickinson. Completely exhausted, we dragged ourselves into the hotel, checked in, and flung ourselves into bed around 1:30 a.m.
Trying to replicate the monument. Nailed it.

The next morning, after getting a few hours of sleep, we helped ourselves to a nice complimentary breakfast, and loaded into the car for another long day. Along the way to Williston, ND, we stopped at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There isn’t a whole lot to see there, but we drove through it for a few minutes, and then returned to our route. Williston was the reason for the trip. It’s not a pretty destination. It is the home of the oil field, or rather, it was. What once was a booming town now lies desolate and abandoned. We made the trip to North Dakota to retrieve my dad’s belongings from the oil field. Due to the push for clean energy, oil companies all across America are shutting down. My dad’s company was no exception. No matter what your opinion is in regards to the oil field, we all need to remember that hard working families across America are suffering at the moment. Thousands of men and women are jobless, and fearful for the future of their families. My family is one of the many who are uncertain about what the future holds. Okay, rant over. We picked up my dad’s things, and headed out for the next phase of this journey.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Some back-story is required now. As a favor to our car dealership family friend, we agreed to pickup a repossessed vehicle in North Dakota. Jordan and I would drive the repo car back to Evanston, no big deal. We expected it to be a little messy. What we got was a tornado of scum and grime and nastiness like I have never seen before. Honestly, it was the most disgusting vehicle I have ever seen in my life. The cup holders were filled with fluid. The steering wheel was gooey, the seats, carpets and ceiling stained beyond recovery. Coincidentally, the seatbelts were the cleanest part of the vehicle. Evidently they didn’t use them- ever. Jordan sacrificed himself, and drove the car to a carwash so we could deep clean the beast. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to emotionally handle the trauma of seeing the car at its disgusting state, and then drive 18 hours in it, everyone kept me in the safety of the clean truck, while the rest of the gang endured the scum. Three hours later, the car was at a drive-able state. It wasn’t great, but it was better than before. We went to Wal-Mart, bought cheap bed sheets and towels, and covered the insides of the car in them. Finally, we were able to drive the car.

Totally behind schedule, and utterly drained, we convoyed the two vehicles to Billings, Montana. It was late. We were originally planning on getting home that night, but there wasn’t a chance we would make it safely. With all of our remaining energy, we drove to Cody, Wyoming, and stayed the night there.
My parents left at 4 a.m. to get to Evanston in time for my mom’s art class. Jordan and I got to sleep in until 9 a.m. Rather than taking the direct route to Evanston, we opted for the scenic route through Yellowstone. Jordan had never been before, so we went that way. We didn’t get to see all of the cool geothermal features, but plan on visiting again in the future so we can see everything. We stopped around Yellowstone Lake a few times, enjoying the view, then carried on to Jackson Hole for lunch. After enjoying a delicious Bison Burger, we drove to Evanston and, dropped off the nasty car. I have never been more relieved to see our clean vehicle, and drive home to Salt Lake in it.

Saw a wolf for the first time- Still waiting to see a bear at Yellowstone

So that about sums it all up. I have to say, that trip was exhausting and crazy and spontaneous, but it sure was memorable. I am thankful to have a family that gets along and enjoys every adventure together.
I promise to be back and write on this blog more this summer. Like I said, in just a couple of weeks we are off to Canada, and want to share our adventures with you all. Be sure to follow our Instagram as well @jmftravels.
See you soon,

Madison and Jordan


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