Minnesota to Shanghai

I traveled to Japan for the first time in July 2005. It was one of our best family vacations, and such a favorite that we always planned to return.

Hiroshima 2005

We planned our next trip for March 2011. The kids were in college then, and we were all very excited. And then the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami happened – a terrible day for Japan. Our vacation was to begin Match 14th. We went to Nice, France instead.

I just returned from 5 days in Tokyo. It was as hot and humid there as it has been in Shanghai, China.

Tokyo is a vibrant city with amazing food and lots of lovely gardens.

After only a few weeks of livng in Shanghai, I couldn’t help but make comparisons between the two cities.

Even though Shanghai has the larger population, Tokyo’s sidewalks are more crowded with people, but they…

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Yellowstone National Park

There are only a few other places on this planet that has geo-thermal activity similar to Yellowstone. And this is one of only a few “super” volcanoes, and that means that if it blows then most of the US population will be gone. I’ve been watching news reports about Yellowstone for several years. There has been hundreds of small earthquakes in the area. Does that mean it could blow soon? No one knows, but smart people are watching. And waiting.

I really went to Yellowstone to see the wildlife, and I was not disappointed.

Be bear aware – the campaign to try and keep tourists to avoid injury at the hands of the beautiful animals that live in the park. I was too close, but I was safely in my car. And momma bear didn’t seem to even notice us. It was a thrill to see them wandering up the hill.

You can’t miss Old Faithful if you drive through Yellowstone. I first saw it when I was 6. Dad assured me there were way fewer people back then.

Above picture is an elk hiding. I didn’t get a good picture because I was keeping a safe distance and wasn’t in my car.

This buffalo was a long way from the road.

Yellowstone is one of many beautiful and amazing national parks in the US. Go and see them. But remember the parks are home to wildlife and you are the guest. Be responsible and respectful. And bring binoculars and a camera with good zoom.

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Jackson Hole

I sent this photo to DH, and he thought I downloaded it from the internet. He didn’t believe I found snow in June.

We rode the tram to the “top of the world.”

It was fun to listen to my dad talk about the great ski trip he took with friends back when he was my age. I plan to return and ski here too.

I wore shorts to see the dirty snow.

I was surprised to see this guy on the top of the mountain.

And this little stream was at the bottom of the hill.

Jackson Hole is beautiful. All year round.

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Mount Rushmore

I am amazed that someone came up with the idea to carve faces in rock.

I am amazed that someone decided to carve four presidents’ faces in Mt Rushmore.

I am amazed that four huge faces were actually carved into the side of Mt Rushmore.




I am oddly bothered that the presidents don’t appear in chronological order.

It was foggy when we were there but I got some pictures before more fog rolled in.

And this is what it looks like in full fog.

Go early. There is limited parking and traffic gets really backed up.

You can read more about Mt Rushmore – history, sculptor, etc. – here:

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I have lived most of my life in Minnesota. South Dakota is my neighbor to the southwest.

Today is the second time in my life where I have traveled to SD. I was about 6 the first time.

Dad doesn’t think we drove through the Badlands on my first trip. We drove through today, in the rain, and it was spectacular!

I really hate snakes, but didn’t see any.

Saw some wildlife.

It was a beautiful drive. I recommend visiting this national park.

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Exciting News

I am leaving my job in two weeks, and will be traveling the world for the next 1 and 1/2 years.

(Translation: DH took an expat assignment in Shanghai.)

I am moving to Shanghai at the end of June, and I plan to see as much of Asia as I can while we are living there.

Before China though, I plan to see a bit of the US. I am taking a road trip with my dad from Minnesota to Montana.

We will start with Mt Rushmore, and then see Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and end up in W Glacier for a wedding. Lots of people have destination weddings on beaches, but my cousin is getting married in the mountains.

It was been 40 years since I was in this part of the country. This is me and my older brother.

After Montana I will have a last few days at home before flying to Shanghai.

I am excited to have fresh new content for this blog, but I started a new blog also. I will likely cross post, but the focus of the new blog will be the challenges of expat life in China. You can follow me here also.

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The Bund – Shanghai

The list of “must see” places in Shanghai is short.

The Bund is one of two places listed for Shanghai, China in “the book.” It might be the most photogenic place in Shanghai.

I arrived at sunset, which was lovely; but I’ve heard sunrise is even better.

It is a lovely place to walk.

I’ve seen lots of other pictures of the Bund, but what surprised me the most was the river traffic.

I live near the Mississippi River in St Paul. I’ve stayed on the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris and traveled the Danube river. I have never seen so much boat traffic on a river anywhere else. And I was shocked at how fast some of the barges were going.

I love to kayak. I asked a friend before arriving in Shanghai if I could kayak on the river. She laughed, and now I know why.

After seeing the Huangpu river night I had a funny vision in my head of kayaking “frogger-style” across the river – and losing.

I look forward to exploring both sides of the river.

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