- Earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering
- Earn a master’s degree
- Earn my Private Pilot Certificate and take my parents flying
- Run a marathon (Portland Marathon, 2011)
- Run Hood to Coast (2011)
To be checked off:
- Earn a Ph.D.
- Build and fly my own airplane
- Become a backcountry pilot
- Travel to Alaska, Australia, and New Zealand with my husband
- Kayak the lakes and rivers of the Northwest
- Learn to play golf
My parents, Steven and Gale Badowski, my airplane, and me.
My husband, Dennis Smith, and me with our airplane.
In the summer of 2011, my family and I checked off Mount Rushmore from my life list. I didn’t know what to expect, having only seen it in books and movies and on television. Driving the long, winding road up to the entrance, I only got partial glimpses of the four presidents. Then we had to wait – to go through the parking gate, to park, to walk through the parking lot, and to buy tickets. All that time, my heart was racing.
Finally, there they were: those four majestic, beaming faces high over my head, seeming to look out over all of America and all that America was, is, and will be. I was so consumed by the enormity and beauty of it all that I didn’t even notice the array of state flags on either side of me. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the presidents. It totally took my breath away!
Later, as I slowly walked a path below the presidents, I kept gazing up at them. I was as much in awe every time I looked at them as I was my first look.
We returned later that night for the light show. Oh my! After dark, Mount Rushmore was fully lighted while wonderful patriotic music played. It was awesome!
This whole experience was one of the best in my life. I’ve always been proud to be an American, but I can say that being at Mount Rushmore, I felt even prouder.