Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Manifest Destiny!

Eight days. Eight states.

In about a week's time, my intrepid cohorts and I will be venturing forth to the rugged Northwestern United States for a brief but fierce road trip. We have un-politically-correctly dubbed our little jaunt as "Manifest Destiny." We are all aware that this term packs the proverbial punch, as it was used to justify imperialism and war. However, we are re-defining the expression: from now on, when I refer to "Manifest Destiny," I'm referring to five teachers, a car, and our destination.

The Conception

Our destiny was initially made manifest in September, during my first full month of teaching at a small Catholic school in rural Nebraska. My roommates—Jill and Melissa— and I glibly chatted about taking a little trip at the end of the school year. When we first talked about it, I naturally assumed it wouldn't happen. I've made plans like that before without any follow-through; I didn't suspect that there would be any this time, either. When I first made a route on GoogleMaps, I thought I was being cute.

Originally, our trip was to be two weeks long (beginning after we were done teaching for the year and ending with the day before our own summer classes at Creighton University began) and would include stops in British Columbia, the coast, and the northern edge of California. Due to the teaching schedule of our fourth colleague, Rebecca, our trip had to be cut down: now we'll take the following route:

A rough outline of our route,
using GoogleMaps.

Omaha, NE to Red Cloud, SD
Red Cloud, SD to Rapid City, SD (where we'll pick up Rebecca)
Rapid City, NE to Yellowstone Park, MT
Yellowstone to Seattle and Tacoma, WA;
Tacoma to Portland, OR
Portland to Boise, ID
Boise to Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City, back to Rapid City
Finally, from Rapid City, we'll travel to Omaha, where we'll settle down in a dorm room for summer classes.

The Players

From right to left:
Melissa, Rebecca, me, Jill, and Krissy this last weekend in Omaha, celebrating this year's graduates from the Magis program.

We are five teachers— we're two graduates and three current students of the MEd program at Creighton University, through the Magis Catholic Teacher program. After a long year of teaching students everything from math to history to theology to spelling, we feel we've earned— perhaps erroneously— a long trip away from it all. Though the "long" part must be sacrificed, the trip goes on.

My Goals
I'm not much of a blogger; heck, I've never even kept a diary. So it is not my usual style to take the time to write down my thoughts and perceptions of daily life. I'm an English major, sure; but that doesn't necessarily mean I have the patience to eloquently and punctually chronicle my goings-ons. As such, this little blog will serve to help me develop in myself what I lack: namely, the self-discipline to write a little every day.

One thing I've been taught in my education classes— when you create your goals, make them reasonable and measurable. Alright then. Here are four reasonable and measurable goals for this blog:

1. To write a post for every day I'm on my trip, without fail*.
2. To post photographs of the sights and people of the trip
3. To listen carefully to the music in the car and post the song that most exemplifies that particular day of travelling.
4. To post a "Gastric Shout-Out" each day, since we will be visiting breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants along the way.

* I expect that while we camp, I will not be able to publish my post online. However, I still will expect myself to write the blog, and then post it at first opportunity.

This way, the sights, sounds, tastes, and my own thoughts will be somewhat available to the reading public.

Until Then...

The road trip will not technically start until May 25. Until then, I will post as needed— I will let you know our route, our general plans, and the sights we expect to see.



Overheard: "Let's just say we taught the frog English, and then say it was eaten by an anteater."
Gastric Shout-Out: Lay's Spicy Cayenne and Cheese Kettle Chips. Perfection in a bag
Listen To: "Shuffle Your Feet," Black Rebel Motorcycle Club


  1. I admire your goal to write every day. I had a stint of about a month where I did just that, but it got hella hard after a while. This trip sounds like a great way to accomplish a lot of awesome in your life. Can't wait to read all about it!

  2. I'm so jealous it hurts. I hope you remember me every day and pine for me. Pine for me hard. Okay?

  3. How excellent. I look forward to this.

  4. Tabey baby. I made a promise to UST that I would blog for them for Rome. I'm steali--adopting your goals (with minor modifications, of course. Intellectual property loopholes are a beautiful thing...suck it, plagiarism software.) I'm super excited about reading your adventures, destiny calls!

    Advice: "If you see a diner with a lot of pick-up trucks parked outside of it, chances are you'll get a pretty decent meal. If you see a diner called just 'Mom's,' most likely she's been dead and gone for years and the person running the place now had no culinary relationship with her."
    --some book I read once in middle school about a girl traveling, I only read it because her aunt's name was Aunt Addie and that name and this quote is the only things I remember about it.

    Also nice blog title picture.