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Finding the Ocean – Chapter 5

Posted by on Oct 7, 2018 in Finding the Ocean, Jacob | 2 comments

Finding the Ocean – Chapter 5

After getting my oil changed, my tire patched, and purchasing two self-inflating air mattresses, I finally left Rapid City and was back on the road.
For about an hour and a half, I continued across the rolling prairie and pine-covered hills of South Dakota and finally hit the Wyoming border around noon. The smooth four-lane highway had transitioned to a bumpy two-lane road, and I was now staring at a vast landscape of flat ranch land as far as the eye could see.

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Finding the Ocean – Interrupted

Posted by on Sep 29, 2018 in Finding the Ocean, Jacob | 10 comments

Finding the Ocean – Interrupted

Before I continue my “Finding the Ocean” story, I feel the need to share a few quick thoughts about the press conference and subsequent release of the Jacob Wetterling case file that happened last Thursday, September 20th.
Mostly what I want to say is… wow. That was really hard.
I’ve been sharing this story about my random 2017 road trip because it was something good and happy that turned out to be a very healing journey for me. It brought me peace and helped me replace all those bad Labor Day memories with good, happy ones. However, last week was a jarring reminder of why I’d wanted to take off in the first place. It was hard to relive and remember. In fact, it was like ripping the Band-Aid off all over again.

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Finding the Ocean – Chapter 4

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Finding the Ocean | 6 comments

Finding the Ocean – Chapter 4

It was Day 2 of my road trip, and after receiving an alert about low pressure in my left rear tire, I also realized I was almost 2,000 miles overdue for an oil change. I exited in Rapid City, and immediately began searching for an oil change place. I found the one closest to me – Super Lube – and waited for it to open at 8 AM. I was their first customer of the day, and they took great care of me, even letting me bring Zoey into their customer waiting area while they changed my oil.
I struck up a conversation with another woman who was waiting… a fellow dog lover who wanted to know all about my crazy cross-country road trip. She told me she was also from Minnesota, but had lived in Rapid City for many years. She and her husband had raised their family there and absolutely loved it. She tried to convince me to stay and see some of the amazing sights, and though it all sounded incredibly tempting, I knew I wouldn’t have time if I wanted to fit everything in and still meet Ross in Whitefish, Montana by Thursday.

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Finding the Ocean – Chapter 3

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in Finding the Ocean | 5 comments

Finding the Ocean – Chapter 3

I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and messages as I write and share this story. I’m a little surprised at how many people, women especially, don’t find this crazy at all. Maybe the super-spontaneous decision to just hit the road is a little wacky, but this idea of taking some time for yourself and “going off the grid” for a while is something that really seems to resonate with people.
So many women have shared with me how they’ve dreamed of doing this very same thing… just getting in the car and driving off somewhere. Or heading to the airport and getting on a plane to anywhere. So, why don’t we do this more often? What’s holding us back?

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Finding the Ocean – Chapter 2

Posted by on Sep 5, 2018 in Finding the Ocean | 11 comments

Finding the Ocean – Chapter 2

It’s hard to describe the giddiness I felt as I pulled out of the driveway and began my quest to go find the ocean. I plugged my phone into the USB outlet on my dashboard, cranked the volume on my car stereo, and starting singing along to Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain.” I had put together this “Fourteener” playlist back in July 2016 in preparation for my 14,003 foot hike up Colorado’s Huron Peak to help raise money for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.
Little did I know at the time, Jacob would be found just two months later. Two months.
Now, as I sat behind the wheel belting out Zeppelin lyrics, I pulled up to the stop sign at MN Hwy 23 and then did exactly the opposite of what I had just told my husband I was going to do. Instead of “pointing my car in a general southwest direction,” I mistakenly turned left and started heading north toward I-94 out of sheer habit.

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Finding the Ocean – Chapter 1

Posted by on Sep 1, 2018 in Finding the Ocean | 3 comments

Finding the Ocean – Chapter 1

It was the Friday of Labor Day weekend.
Exactly one year earlier, on that very same Friday, I had received a call from Patty Wetterling that stopped my heart and changed my world forever. “They found him,” she told me. “They found Jacob.”
The next day, the rest of the world found out that – after 27 years – Jacob Wetterling’s remains had been found. Danny Heinrich had led authorities to the place he had killed and then buried Jacob… in a field just outside Paynesville, Minnesota… about 15 miles from my house.
In the year that followed, I grappled to make sense of all that had happened. I tried to make my world right again, to move on, but I couldn’t. I was stuck and struggling, and the truth was, I was absolutely dreading the upcoming Labor Day weekend. I didn’t want to think about that horrible day in the courtroom… the day Danny Heinrich confessed to murdering Jacob. It was September 6, 2016, the Tuesday after Labor Day, and after an entire year, I still couldn’t think about it without crying.

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