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Hitting the open road

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional summer series chronicling Woodbury teachers' summer activities. If you are a teacher in Woodbury and would like to share your story, please contact us at

For some teachers, summer is the time to sit back and relax. But, for Lake Middle School history teacher Prudence Lamar, it's the perfect time to pack up and hit the road.

Lamar, along with her three children, will be hitting the road Thursday for a 14-day road trip out to Yellowstone National Park.

Lamar and her family will be accompanied by one of Lamar's friends and his family of five.

"There are so many of us that are packing into the car," Lamar said.

The road trip came about after Lamar's friend, a former colleague from the U.S. Marine Corps, asked her if she wanted to accompany him and his family, who live in Chicago, to Yellowstone.

"I asked him 'Do you mind if me and kids come with you?'" she said, "And he was like, 'I guess we can all cram in the van.'"

The road trip will kick off Thursday when Lamar, her family and her friend's family head out from Lamar's Cottage Grove home.

The first stop on the road trip will be Custer State Park in South Dakota.

From there, the group will head to Seattle where the two families will split up since Lamar's friend has a family wedding to attend.

"We're going to kind of do our own thing," Lamar said.

On their own, Lamar and her children will head to Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and hopefully do some clamming.

After two days apart, the two families will reunite on June 23 where they will then pile pack into the car and drive out to Vancouver for two nights.

"I don't know what we're doing there," Lamar said. "I'm up for anything."

After Vancouver, the group will head back to Seattle to enjoy the city together where they will tour Seattle's underground city and famed fish market.

"I'm really excited about seeing the fish market just because everybody talks about it," Lamar said.

After Seattle, it's on to Yellowstone for several days.

"I really don't know a lot of what I'm going to see there," Lamar said. "I haven't been researching anything because I want to be in awe of what I see."

In total, Lamar said the group is expecting to spend 70 hours in the car from start to finish.

Lamar said her eldest daughter has already started putting together a list of road games in order to keep themselves busy in the car.

Additionally, Lamar said the road trip group will also have three iPads, two MacBooks and an in-car DVD player to keep themselves occupied.

On the return trip, Lamar said she would be interested in checking out some of the roadside attractions.

"We could definitely go off the beaten path," she said.

In terms of what food they can find on the road, Lamar said she turned to Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" for suggestions.

"I wanted to try and find places that were featured in the areas that we will be," she said. "I don't really like going out to eat, but if I'm going to go out to eat it's going to be something different that I can't get at home - authentic, home cooking: weird, different.

"I do not like to go to chains."

Lamar said the piece of the road trip that she is most looking forward to is seeing the scenery out west.

"Everyone says that it's "God's country,'" she said.

Additionally, she said she is looking forward to seeing her children's excitement.

"I like to see the awe in their eyes when they see something new," she said. "It's an amazing thing to just see your kids get excited."

Lamar said she is really looking forward to the road trip since it's something completely new to her and her family.

"I think it's going to be great," she said. "It's going to be so different because we've flown everywhere that we travel."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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