Rock has been accompanying our roll for 45 days now. We’ve been calling our epic summer RV excursion the Summer of Love 2.0. We’re driving a retro-design RV known as the Tribute, an homage to the Winnebago of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. We bought a throw rug depicting the peace symbol. We’ve been lugging around a Fifth Dimension record album, for crying out loud.

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My wife’s birthday always comes along during our summer RV excursions. So Amy has flipped the calendar in places as varied as South Dakota and Wisconsin, Grand Rapids and San Francisco. This year, it fell at—appropriately—Niagara Falls.

We simply parked our RV on the New York side—at Goat Island for $10. Then we walked over Rainbow Bridge and into another country.

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Sometimes RV excursions have a purposeful theme. You want to visit national parks or battlefields or ballparks. And sometimes that theme emerges rather organically. That’s what has happened to us this summer as we’ve passed through university towns like Hanover (New Hampshire) and Middlebury and Bennington (Vermont). So amid this Summer of Love 2.0 tour in our retro-designed Tribute from Winnebago, we’ve gone back to college.

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This week began among the rolling hills, quiet lakes, and colorful flowers of the International Peace Garden in Dunseith, North Dakota. The International Peace Garden has its own campground and we found a private spot nestled in some white birch trees. After a few small set backs last week, it was a perfect place to find our AWAY.

How we ended up at the International Peace Garden is a cool story. We were trying to decide what route to take through North Dakota. In the fall of 2012, we had taken I-94 and stayed a few days at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and were keen on experiencing the park in the summer. However a Go RVing Facebook fan suggested we see the International Peace Gardens. I was reading reviews about the gardens on Yelp and someone mentioned that the International Peace Garden was also the home of the International Music Camp.

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My father loves horseracing. He doesn’t do the actually racing, of course. That would be unfair to the horse. But he’s a big fan, so much so that he recently achieved a lifelong dream by purchasing a small percentage (4 percent, actually) of a racehorse. Although Shanghai Red has a somewhat unfortunate tendency to finish second, he won a race last April by about nine lengths, meaning that even the part that my dad owns finished first. In May, my father became part-owner of another horse. This one’s a great-great-great grandson of Secretariat. Yup, no kidding. Sure, Big Red’s grandchildren aren’t all Big Reddish. But still.

But my father had never been able to tick off one thing on his lifelong to-do list—visit Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.

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