Road Trip Recap… Part 1

Ok, I am ready to share our road trip adventure with commentary! I posted pictures on Facebook as we traveled, but I have yet to sit down and elaborated on the journey.

Sunday November 20th I met Holly and Nikki at this awesome restaurant called Grain + Verse Bottlehouse! It was such a cool place… lots of different beers, and good food! Holly and I left around 2:30 to begin our 1,500 mile journey to Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.

This drive was beautiful, as we went through amazing tunnels and into some snowy weather near Pittsburgh. Holly and I chatted a lot about the our perceptions of the universe and experiences in it, as we always do. I really enjoy taking road trips because of this very thing… communing with another being.  Getting to spend time talking about our different experiences really shows me new perspectives and helps me to grow! If I could just find people all over the world to take hour long trips with… I’d see the world in a whole new way.

One of our very first stops was at the Blue Heron Service Center! Holly saw a sign for the rest area and we knew we had to stop! If you’ve been following this journey you’ll know the significance the blue heron has played… if not, read my blog post about the lovely messages I’ve received from this sacred water bird.

After driving for a few more hours, we got to Elkhart where we stayed our first night on the road. This too was a big universal sync that we were on the right path! We made our drums out of Elk, and the drum represents the heartbeat.

Monday was a long day for us, We had plans to visit the historic dunes, however we decided we didn’t want to detour…we just wanted to get there! Though the universe put a detour in a our way anyway…we drove way around Chicago! We were rerouted by a GPS that has a mind of its own, and added about 3 hours to our trip that day.

Even though we drove for about 14 hours that day, it wasn’t a horrible because the universe was speaking to us the whole time. We saw 17 hawks and a bald eagle before the day ended! We went through a vortex of wind turbines, and saw a sundog in all its glory! The long journey was a well deserved time out now that I look back on it; in the moment though I had thoughts that changed my perspective. For instance, it took me some time to be able to let go completely to any expectations I had, allowing the trip to just flow. But when I did, beautiful things happened and presented themselves.

Like we stopped at Hamburger University and the Hyatt Lodge to use the bathroom and saw one of the largest Buckeye Trees in the nation!

After driving for hours we finally stopped in Avon Minnesota where we had dinner at El Tequila Mexican restaurant. It was the cutest and most hopping place in the town! We shared a large burrito and hot wings. Ha ha, it was a much needed break to balance out all of our intellectual conversations and universal syncs.

Not much longer after we finished dinner, we decided to stop for the night to sleep… we were completely out of steam. There was snow in Fargo that day, and when we pulled off the exit towards the hotel we saw on the sign… we started to wonder if we should drive a few more hours. Pulling into the Comfort Zone Inn was a bit like the twilight zone… a very unusual exterior for motel, compared to what we are used to back in PA. The parking lot of covered in a layer of ice, and as we parked we decided we were way too tired to keep driving. So we sucked up our fears and reservations and headed in the door.

Upon entering, there was a weird room that looked like a bicycle shop, however it was closed off with bars like a holding cell in a jail. The man who checked us in was very polite and the more we talked to him the more comfortable we got. Before we headed to our room, we saw a lovely box of stones!! That was a good confirmation that we were ok, and in a good place.

Even more confirmation was when we walked into our room… oh my, it was perfect! Decorated like a little cabin, with a wooden ceiling and cute country decor…and the best part was the vibrating bed. Wow, this bed was so soft like one huge pillow… and it vibrated! We were so giddy… coming in feeling scared and unsure and realizing whoa we totally manifested an awesome place to stay!! Why did we even question ourselves!? So we made a video to share with everyone our crazy adventure.

The next morning, we woke up around 8 and had breakfast at the little diner right next to the motel. We were again pleasantly surprised by the experience. Our breakfast was off the hook, and so was the diner coffee and rice crispy treat!  Upon leaving that little highway exit… we decide to park and run towards this giant prairie chicken sculpture before we headed off. We didn’t know there were such animals as prairie chickens! They are a pretty unique looking bird.

That afternoon we stopped in Grand Forks and had a little taste of holiday cheer from the women at the visitor center. They were busily decorating beautiful Christmas trees with themes and the whole place felt of the holiday season. Both Holly and I noticed it and even commented to each other that was the first time we felt like it was a holiday season.

Finally, we were only hours from Turtle Mountain! We jammed out to some KT Tunstall and Stevie Nicks while driving through the plains of Wisconsin and North Dakota. Stopping to enjoy the view of Devils Lake while we read about why it is called that.  Come to find out this lake has been growing every year, swallowing up parts of the town since the people of the area prayed that the lake would not dry up! It’s a beautiful sight to see this lake on the same exact plain as the road…very surreal.

Then we entered Turtle Mountain, and I felt home. I remembered where things were from my last visit as a young teen, having flashbacks of taking trips to the laundromat with my cousins. Feeling the atmosphere and realizing how different it is from where I live.. I didn’t feel that feeling as a teenager.  This is different, like having a sense of self built into my environment and being able to really see myself through a new perspective in a different environment.

When we got to my auntie’s house, she was not home so we unpacked and rested for a minute before we headed to my giwaa Debbie’s house. Giwaa is the Ojibwe word for “one who names.” She is the medicine woman who did the naming ceremony for me and my younger sister. It had been 23 years since I saw her last, but as soon as I stepped into her house I felt at home.

We sat with her for hours and hours every day, learning about traditional ceremony, listening to the legends of the Ojibwe people, and hearing about life as an traditional Ojibwe living on the reservation.  So many stories, so many emotions…so much learning about my people and myself. On top of all of that, I am learning more about my best friend Holly, and we are formed such a deep bond through this experience.

I think I am going to stop here for now… because this is only half of the trip. I still have a little more about our experience with Standing Rock on Thanksgiving to share, along with our journey home… but I will write about those another day

Migwetch and Gizaagii’n
Raining in the Dawn Woman
Turtle Mountain Chippewa

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