For a lot of us, excitement for an upcoming trip comes naturally. For this last trip, I couldn't help but think, "What am I gonna do there?" Sure, I had some ideas. Go to this waterfall and maybe camp at a National Park, but we all know half of what we plan doesn't go accordingly. So I left most of our itinerary up in the air. It's difficult to feel the potential of a trip on your shoulders, especially when you don't have to.
Diving into this post was difficult because this trip was all over the place. "What's the common denominator?" I kept thinking. I had one hotel room reserved. A tentative route to North Dakota. Some cash in an envelope. Sent prayers that we would find something to do in each place. The common denominator was right in front of me.
Did you find things to do? Yeah. Did you find a place to sleep every night? Yeah. Did you eat when you were hungry? Yeah. Did you have more fun than expected? Yeah.
I'd say about every prayer was answered then. God was my common denominator. God is my common denominator. Here's what else I learned...
1. You can realign your priorities at any time.
One thing was for sure and that was we were getting tattoos. Two years ago I got my first in a little shop in Mitchell, SD. So we went back. My first tattoo was a world map and I had just decided that I wanted to "attempt" to start a travel blog. As much as I loved the world on my wrist, it ultimately stood for a career I wanted and the desire I had to travel. I was momentarily blinded by who put those passions and motivation inside my heart. I wanted something to remind myself that He is greater than any earthly career I want to pursue. A few months ago I fell onto Matthew 6:33. It was refreshing to clearly see my priorities shifting.
2. He'll provide you with something to do.
It's Sunday and we're in Mitchell. Did I take in the fact that everything might be closed? Nope. Well, there was one place open. The Corn Palace. Now, to a Nebraskan this might be just another historic museum, but to someone from Vermont, it might be the highlight of their family vacay. I've realized you won't be impressed everywhere, but He designed every inch of this pretty earth. Everything was closed but the icon of Mitchell, I don't think that was luck.
3. He will blow your expectations out of the water.
Before we set off Trey asked if we were gonna stop at Mount Rushmore. It was in the opposite direction of my tentative route but sometimes you gotta say screw the map!
Fun idea, except the fact that it was fourth of july weekend and every restaurant along the way was crammed with families and campers. I think we got off at four exits before we actually found a place that didn't have a crazy wait. At this point, it was way past lunch time and we probably would have ate anything. Although, somehow we ended up at the Sunset Grill in Kadoka, SD. It had about ten tables, the sweetest service, and phenomenal food. It was hands down the best meal of the whole trip and we weren't even looking for it.
4. I forget to trust Him when it comes to my favorite things.
I love scavenging for hotel rooms. I get such a thrill from finding one with a balance of a good star rating and a low price. Although, it was a holiday weekend and hotels near us were between 400 and 600 dollars. When I finally found a reasonably priced hotel an hour away, I lost service and the payment failed.
We were hungry, annoyed, tired, and without a place to sleep. So we pulled over, ate Perkins, and after that I was ready to see the big picture. My scavenging skills are useless without cell service. My saved hotel money wouldn't get us a room if every place was booked. It wasn't in my control from the start, so I handed God the reins. A half hour later we had a room at the Iron Horse Inn and an incredible sunset to drive into.
5. He's so much smarter than you.
We were looking for a different waterfall, but the trail we found led us to this one. It also came with a mile long hike. An hour later, when we were full of fried chicken, we decided to drive to Fargo; which was a six hour trip. Who knew we'd decide to drive across North Dakota and need a lil' physical activity beforehand. He did.
6. He will surprise you.
I read about the Enchanted Highway in a couple blog posts before I left. I was bummed because most of the structures that made up the highway were hours from where we'd be. Yet, our last minute decision to hit Mount Rushmore and drive up to Fargo from Spearfish was a game changer.
After four or five hours of driving, I saw an "Enchanted Highway" sign. I was completely unaware we were anywhere near the place! My heart was overwhelmed with joy. I was gonna see some birds made out of metal!
We also stopped at the World's Largest Sandhill Crane somewhere down the road. Trey thought I was ridiculous, but ain't she cute? :)
7. He knows the desires of your heart.
It was after visiting the World's Largest Sandhill Crane that I mistook a service road for the ramp to the interstate. It was even gravel. Why would a gravel road lead onto the interstate? I don't know but it was kinda funny. Trey said keep driving and I didn't argue lol. We had been on the road for hours and a little time on some gravel reminded me of home.
A few miles down, we were surrounded by fields of yellow canola flowers. If you love photography, then I know taking photos in a random field of wild flowers has always been a dream of yours. I pulled over and just sat there. We were in the middle of North Dakota and God brought us to a field of wild flowers without Siri. Thanks dude.
*Has God appeared in big ways on your road trips? If so, how?!
Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5
states left: 11