Little clears our minds better than meandering down the open, back roads or rural America. Add in Fall weather...and the perfect road trip is at hand. We packed up the van and drove home from Portland, OR to Wisconsin. The timing of our visit was perfect. The land was changing before our eyes - grasses, trees, rivers. All of it. Changing from the bright greens of summer, to the tans, reds, and sages of Fall. This time we planned to add three days to our trip so we would not rush from West to East...and back. But to slow down, take our time, and follow our instincts...who knows what we would find.

Our goal to follow roads less travelled payed off. AND with the fortune of soft, gentle rain we had National Forests and Parks virtually to ourselves... Save the permanent residents of buffalo, elk, and big horn sheep. The colors on the badlands deepened and the aromas of sage, juniper and sweetgrass intensified with the sprinkles.

We walked along rivers, over ridges, and onto endless prairies. Camping in the Dakota prairies and northern woods allowed us to slip into the rhythm of each place. Waking early, we took to walking quietly alongside rushing waters and through sage lands. The Parks are spectacular. This year marks the centennial of the US National Park Service and we could not be more grateful for the efforts to protect and ensure these places for generations to come. Fitting that we spent a couple days in Theodore Rosevelt National Park - in the remote corners of the Northern Unit - where it is said President Rosevelt was inspired to protect lands as a National Parks Service.

In the end, we found exactly what we needed...a Fall journey.