What a great trip this has been. I've thought a lot about freedom and what it means, how we must be vigilant about keeping our country free, ourselves free while protecting what needs to be protected. I thought about my occupation and what I want to be when I grow up. I thought a lot about who I am and with having so much time to spend in my head I learned a lot more about myself and my own Phaedrus. I thought a lot about my relationship with God and how messy it usually is. I thought a lot about what I want to do with the second half of my life and really didn't get anywhere with that except for making sure my children have an appreciation for the outdoors and that I get a chance to ride horses with Kate one day. I probably thought most about my family and friends.
Thank you especially to the AAFP for providing me this great time off sabbatical and to my great wife Margaret for giving me so much support, taking care of the kids and everything else while I was away and ok'ing my big allowance for this trip. And thanks to my friends and extended family for following along on this adventure. I hope you had fun, I did.
The Final Key Stats:
Total Miles: 5,571
Average MPH: 52.3
Average MPG: 42.8
Weight Lost: 10+ pounds (more weight loss is expected when the beard is shaved)
Towns Visited: unknown but probably near a hundred
Climates Experienced: various forms of prairies, canyons, ocean, forests, national parks, meadows, lakes/reservoirs, deserts, farms/fields, giant rock formations, and so many other combinations of these.
Temperature Range: low 30's to mid 90's Fahrenheit.
Animals Seen at Close Distance: several species of road kill, live deer, elk, baby elk (see Brian's pictures), a big horn sheep in the road, buffalo/bison, prairie chicken, some black and white crow-type bird, mosquitoes, cows, horses, and an elephant (ok, the last one was just a picture of an elephant).
People Met: untold, but one of my favorites was this gentle 70 year-old man who hosted the first campsite I stayed in by myself near Yellowstone. He was from Cleveland and moved out here a year ago to work for the Yellowstone forestry folks but it ended up more like slavery. So he found this opportunity to host this campsite. After I walked from my site to his to purchase some firewood, he drove me back to my site in his golf cart where I learned a little bit about this neat man.