Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Road trip finale: A wedding, Little Sweeden in Kansas, and one adorable little princess

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Lessons learned on this trip: The long way is actually shorter, “Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, Buffalo buffalo” is actually a grammatically and semantically correct sentence, Kansas is windy, Colorado is beautiful, four people can comfortably live 11 days in a Prius, and despite what they say, no matter how long you stay away, you really can go home again.


Beautiful Colorado

When my mom was a girl, one of her family’s favorite road trip destinations was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. They would stay in cabins for weeks at a time and go on challenging day hikes and ranger-led nature programs. In one famous story, a ranger showing them Lake Haiyaha kidded the group that “If any of you aren’t hungry yet, you might want to take a little hike around the lake before lunch.” Mom and her family missed the sarcasm and set off for a hike that had them scrambling over boulders for the next twelve hours!

Despite such stories, the Bishops loved the mountains, and none more so than my mom’s mother, Opal. Grandma Opal, Mom says, used to say you could tell which states were the good ones just by listening to the names. “Kaaansas,” she would say with a nasal accent. “Nebraaaska.” Then she would sing out, “Col-a-rado! Col-a-rado!” And it’s true — the views out our window in Colorado were a universe away from the flat, monotonous scenery we drove through in most of the Midwest. Mom says there are beach people and there are mountain people and she is definitely a mountain person. There’s no question about it: I’m a mountain person, too.

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Aurora: The Forgotten Hometown

After leaving St. Louis, we continued west on the path of US 40/I-70 across Missouri and Kansas to Aurora, Colorado (near Denver), my first home and a place of which I have a total of zero memories. The place felt foreign to my parents as well, having grown dramatically in the 27 years since they had been there, but as they hunted down the places where they lived, the grocery stores where they shopped, the paths my Mom walked with me in a carrier as a baby, I was gradually able to attach images to the places in the oft-repeated stories and also glean background about their early life together that I had never known before. Click the photo thumbnails to come along for the tour.