Wednesday, July 10, 2013


We made it back to NMH, after an amazing trip.  Thank you so much to everyone who followed us on our trip.  I'll be updating as the summer continues (as I have a few more trips around New England that might involve me dropping in on some of my favorite campuses), but be sure to check back in and email me with any questions you might have.


Helmets that immediately say: NOTRE DAME
to any College Football Fan
Even Moses seemed proud of ND
proclaiming "We're Number One" 

Notre Dame du Lac /
Notre Dame University

South Bend, Indiana

The Fighting Irish
(Embodied by the Leprechaun)

The Largest Church On Campus -

Growing up Irish Catholic, Notre Dame was one of those schools that I felt like I knew about at birth.  My two sisters attended Boston College, though, so Notre Dame eventually transformed from famous pinnacle of Catholic Higher Education, into “the rival”.  It was exciting though, to finally step foot on campus.  The first thing I was struck by was the incredible size and scale of the campus.  Notre Dame has a lake, a golf course, and all the athletic facilities right on campus, and there is a lot of physical space between buildings, a large number of grassy quads and open spaces.  Approximately 8,400 undergraduate students and 3,400 graduate students are on campus in any given year.
Notre Dame's Famed Golden Dome, which inspired the
Golden Domes on its athletes

The second thing that struck me is that every building resembled a church.  The Gothic Architecture was striking, and a yellow/gold brick is the building material of almost every building.  It was visually impressive, without seeming over the top.

Notre Dame Football was also of obvious importance on the campus.  There were banners and statues everywhere proudly displaying the devotion of the Fighting Irish to their storied football franchise. 

I was glad to see Notre Dame.  Its high quality academic product, combined with its incredible history, and its dedication to social justice were previously known elements to me.  But setting foot on campus helped me better understand the beauty and powerful visual experience of being in South Bend. 

in front of
Where next?
Another stop at Annie and Jeff's and then back to Massachusetts



Our drive continued in earnest over the course of the last few days.  We sailed through Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois with a sense of purpose, striving to make our arrival date back in Massachusetts.  

We did make one unannounced stop.  Our very good friends were headed cross country on their own trip, relocating from Groton School to the Fountain Valley School in Colorado, and we happened to be driving on the exact same route through Dunlap, Iowa, and we were spoiled to stop and have a brief but lovely reunion.
Route 80 through Iowa also is home to the single largest truckstop in the world. 

Crossing the Mississippi for the second time in a month was also a striking moment.  It is always fascinating to think what great ease we travel with in the modern era.  To cross the Mississippi during a lifetime was an adventure only a few decades ago. 

This distinction was lost on Gus.  He was mostly just annoyed that we didn't stop to swim in it this time.

 I am not even sure he noticed that we had gone by.  He was too busy eating a box of Ginger Snaps that Craig had left halfway open.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


If you are a Lyman, there is a certain self-indulgent joy of coming across entire towns that are your namesake.  Lyman, Maine has always been a favorite stop of mine, despite its meager size.  Lyman, Wyoming has just become my new favorite Lyman.
Gus and I stopped on to check out the sites in Lyman and happened across a hitchin post.

Gus got pretty riled up at the opportunity to show off, and so we took a moment to get ready...
...and then impressed the crowds by taking first place in the Buckin' Shusky competition.

Gus finished off his trip to Lyman, like any good champion of the rodeo does.  With a good ole American hot-dog or two.


University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY

The Cowboys

On our way through Wyoming, we thought we should check out the only four year institution in the state.

We were immediately struck by how green and lush the campus was.  There was an incredible Geology and Natural History museum on campus.  Gus got excited about the dinosaur statues outside, and did his own impression of his best "T-Rex."

U.Wyoming certainly is a great place for anyone with a passion for Wyoming, and an interest in the pursuit of a wide variety of academic study.

The trip wasn't all fun and games, though.  Laramie, WY is also home to one of the most notorious and saddening hate crimes of the last thirty years.  The story of the horrific abduction, torture, and murder of Matthew Shepard weighed on our minds as we followed the fence lines into the town of Laramie.  Both Craig and I were in college in 1998, when the incident took place, and remember vividly the horror we felt upon hearing the news of what took place in Laramie.  Each of us has attended "Laramie Project" events in the years since, and each of us feel a personal connection to the goal of extending human rights to all people, regardless of sexuality or perceived sexuality.  Although the progress of the last two decades in these areas may serve as the best tribute to the memory of those who have suffered injustice in the past, it felt important to honor and take a moment to reflect on the truth of what that injustice looked like.  In front of the largest academic building on campus is a bench dedicated to the memory of Matthew Shepard.  We made an added effort to seek out the Matthew Shepard bench, pause and reflect, before heading on to Cheyenne. 


We woke up on the 4th of July with a long way to drive. 

Gus has been relegated to the back of the car, but enjoys sleeping on top of all of our stuff to make sure it doesn't blow out the window.

Our destination on the Fourth was Park City, Utah, an amazing little destination outside of Salt Lake.

However, we stopped at Yuba Lake, enroute to give Gus and I an opportunity to cool down.

Yuba Lake was a popular destination on a beautiful July 4th.  Erin and Gus got to swim with a bunch of new friends, as well as a bunch of jumping fish.

Then we packed up and headed back on the road to Park City.

Park City is most famous for the Sundance Film Festival and for being home of some of the most amazing ski facilities in America.  These facilities are so amazing that Park City has been home to the Olympic Bobsled, Ski Jump and many other skiing events.  Park City is also home to one of my old roommates and NMH classmate Kristy Mitchell.

Kristy was an amazing host.  She brought us to all the sites.  She introduced Erin to this very dapper bear, who Erin was immediately drawn to.

We finished the night watching fireworks from a rooftop restaurant over Park City.

Happy Birthday America.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Over the course of the last couple of decades, Vegas has turned into the number one tourist destination in the world.  I've personally never been, and felt like a trip cross country probably needed to contain a stop.  Also, the temperatures in Vegas were at an historic high, and it felt like it would be "an experience" to hit the strip for the Fourth of July.

As an added bonus, Craig (of "Erin and Craig") was able to procure a week of summer vacation and could fly out and join me in Vegas for the remainder of the trip.  I certainly am ready to have someone help with the driving. 

The first thing that shocked me in Vegas was the heat.  It was so hot, that Gus's paw pads were burning, and I had to consistently get him out of the heat and into the air conditioning.  The second thing that hit me was the juxtaposition of families and sin city.

Vegas has made a serious "attempt" at making the strip "family friendly."  The result is this bizarre combination of loud drunken twenty and thirty somethings, giant billboards and neon signs, the traditional "sin city" gambling and dancers, and then cute families from all over the world bumping into you on the sidewalk.  It certainly is a spectacle and I am glad that I can now say, "Oh, I've been to Vegas."  Gus liked the fountains the most, making sure to play in them like the carefree frat boy that he sometimes pretends to be.

 After a morning by the pool, our reunited family unit headed back out on the road.

Next Stop
:  UNLV if we have time.  The Great Salt Lake, and Wyoming!


Deep Springs College
Big Pine, California (California/Nevada Boarder)

About 26 students a year.

I've been wanting to visit Deep Springs College for years, as its unique mission and education setting has been beyond interesting to me. Students at Deep Springs are required to farm the ranch while also engaging in an intense academic curriculum. Deep Springs is an alternative 2-year college located deep in the California and Nevada desserts. Deep Springs is free of charge for students who are admitted through the intensive application and on site interview process. Because of the limited enrollment, single sex enrollment, and the rigorous academic program, Deep Springs is one of the more selective colleges in the country. In 2011, the board of trustees voted to begin accepting female students this summer. I am excited and can even imagine a scenario where one of the first female Deep Springs grads might come from NMH.

Current Student Comments:

Grass Valley, California

What do you want to do after Deep Springs?
I'm thinking about that right now. This is a pretty intense experience, I've had alumni tell me that this is more like an 8 year program than a two-year experience. It generally takes students about 8 years to make sense of this experience. Most people will apply to transfer into 4-year colleges intermediately after their two years at Deep Springs. This is kind of a feeder into pretty selective universities. I'm not sure if I will be ready for the cultural shock of heading to a big California University or following classmates to Harvard. I'm actually thinking about carpentry. I may take a year or two to be an apprentice.

Why did you choose to attend this school:
I believe in the mission and the community. I never expected the intensity and mutual responsibility we as students have on each other, our faculty, the full time farmers, and the faculty children. I am also an "all-in" kind of person. During your two-years at Deep Springs we only have limited leaves. We are responsible for keeping the farm going, so it is rare that you are able to get off campus.

So you have to ask to leave campus?
Yeah, we have a student governance and the student body must agree that it is ok for anyone to leave at anytime. An example, I had to clear with the student body before I could go home to my sisters High School graduation. I mean it makes sense, the less people working on the ranch the more work for the rest of us.

Talking to Jon made me curious to check out the Deep Spring's Self Governance Page.  It is an amazing place!

Where next?
Vegas to meet Craig!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


When you head south from Oregon, you really only have a couple options.  One option is to sneak along the coastline on the most beautiful road in America (The 101) enjoying the redwoods, the vineyards, and popping out in one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the United States.

The other option is to head almost directly south, scramble over some rocks, and head into the desert.

Gus and I headed into the desert.

There is a certain beauty though, in the desert, and in the process of getting to the desert.  Highlights include the moments when you come across the surreal beauty of snow capped mountaintops, teasingly far away in the 110 degree heat.

Eerie moments include looking off in the distance and seeing the hills on fire smoke billowing up from the forest.   Seeing the smoldering results of wildfires within eyesight of the road is one of those experiences that is commonplace in the west, and so foreign to a New England girl.  It was particularly poignant and sad this week, in light of the tragic loss of life from this year's blazes.

Reno was everything that the show "Reno 911" mocked it for, and more.  Gus was excited that there were slot machines right in our hotel, but he still prefers a swimming hole to a casino any day.

Next stop:  Deep Springs


University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon




U. Oregon Contact:
Video Specialist for Mens Basketball

Annapolis, Maryland

What a cool job, did your college major relate? No, not at all, I was a religious studies major.  I loved my major, but I was also a manager for the basketball team and became very integrated with the basketball program. I'm so excited to be working for the university and specifically with the men’s basketball program.

Religious Studies

We were pretty spoiled to get out onto the turf field of the Ducks.
The heat has become so oppressive for a Shusky that Gus is mostly interested in moving from shade to water, and back to shade.

Liz, a student on campus directed us to the Willamette River, and we enjoyed a nice dip.

The campus itself had an oldtimey college charm, but also the incredible collection of facilities that you would expect from a major flagship research institution.

Some of the little quirks were also particularly endearing.  The Mascot is prominently featured throughout the campus. There is a clear commitment to bicycling on campus, shown in part in the Bicycle maintenance stations that are available on campus.

For an avid runner, it was incredibly exciting to be on the campus of Prefontaine   It also makes me think of famous NMH alum and Prefontaine running buddy,  Frank Shorter .

I grew up seeing clips of campus in the various movies about the Oregon Running Dynasty, as well as seen the campus utilized for some very important national running events, so it was fun to be where the legends came from.

Where next?
Deep Springs