We’ve officially made it to the West, but before we talk about the emotion of crossing the Continental Divide, we first want to share some snapshots of all we’ve seen between Nashville and Denver. We’ll get to the soul opening heart songs of last night and today soon.

We left Nashville and followed the GPS and checked for accuracy on our handy atlas to the shortest route to St.Louis, where my mom grew up. I-24 and then a blue road cut through over to I-55. The blue roads took us through the long forgotten ghost town of Cairo, IL. A town at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, a Civil War relic; according to our research, the town has been declining for over a century and now has less than 2000 residents. It was evacuated in 2011 during the flood and few returned. We drove through slow, saw only a handful of people, and were transfixed by the ruin.

St. Louis hospitality treated us well- my aunt sent us off well fed and full of road snacks and we headed off toward Kansas. Kansas was a HAUL. We were surprised at the beauty of the hills, the pastures, and the windmills. We pushed hard and made it to Hayes, Kansas for a few hours of sleep before moving onward.

The next day we were Denver bound. It was a hard push, we were all so tired, but Denver was a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. We listened to a pod cast to fill our heads with the constitutional definition of treason, sang along with Taylor Swift’s REPUTATION at the request of our daughter and Of Monsters and Men- CRYSTALS- on repeat at the demand of our one year old son.

We rolled into Denver (Denver, your traffic is a bummer) and were met by a dear old friend who shared all the ins and outs of his little neighborhood. We ate ramen, had Colorado beer, and at ice cream at Little Man. We saw my cousin over some of the most delicious coffee and breakfast sundries we’ve had in years at The Bindery and then were Boulder bound…

What we can say is this: From the little side of the road gas stations to the dog walkers at parks across the country, everyone, yes everyone, has been kind, and we have been the recipients of so much generousity from our friends, family, and strangers. This country has people who have beautiful hearts. Let’s try to listen a little more, to ask more questions, and to find the commonality in each other rather than the differences. As Max Ehrmann says:

”With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Truth, dear hearts, truth.