There is an area of this country that is like no other. I should preface that statement by saying that I have – of course – not seen every single speck of this country, but I do feel pretty safe in saying that the area in northern Arizona, southern Utah and western Colorado, is like no other. Raise your hand if you agree! That one big spot on the map offers the road warrior the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley and Arches National Park – oh and the Canyonlands and the Grand Staircase and the Canyons of the Ancients and the list goes on – and on. If you add in the northwest corner of New Mexico, well than you can experience what is known as the Grand Circle. It is by far some of the most incredible examples of Mother Nature you can ever hope to experience. We are slowly, but surely, visiting them all.
Sometimes, there just aren’t enough adjectives. Amazing, awe-inspiring, beautiful, spectacular, magnificent, they’re all good words, good describing words and yet they become tiresome when over-used. But what other words will suffice? I mean, come on, take a look at this and I dare you to find the appropriate adjective – go on… I dare you.
It’s the stuff movies are made of. The classic western hero riding his horse along the horizon, the magnificent sandstone buttes that must be seen to be believed and Yes! There he his, John Wayne, on a 5-year quest. Yep, it’s the stuff movies are made of.
I’m talking about Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, the classic film setting that gave movie-goers the painted image of the American West. The Searchers, was filmed in Monument Valley in 1956 – a particularly favorite year of mine – and although it didn’t win any major accolades, it’s become a cult classic. I don’t think the same movie could be made today, it’s about as unpolitically correct as it could be by today’s standards, but nonetheless head over to YouTube and you’ll find all kinds of clips and interviews about the movie.
There are days in this lifetime when you wonder – why did I get out of bed today and how fast can I go back to bed and pull the covers up over my head? Today, was one of those days and I’m betting each of you reading this has endured similar moments. As they say, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
Six days ago I wrote a post about my sister because it was her birthday and as I was writing – and throughout the day – I kept thinking of a dear sweet man who meant the world to me as a child, and as an adult. It was his birthday as well, the same day as my sister’s and I was a puddle of emotions because along with remembering my sister, I knew this amazing man would soon pass from this earth. He was a kind, gracious and giving man – the father of my monkey sister – who patiently put up with our antics as kids. He was someone who was probably more comfortable in a saddle than anywhere else as he was the consummate cowboy – a rancher from the day he was born.
When we mapped out our See the USA road trip we never really focused on where we would stop or what we would see, rather it was more of a let’s see where the road takes us kind of thing. As it turns out, the road led us to two fascinating moments in history that will forever be linked together; and both moments definitely still hold the fascination of many.
We drove eastbound across Texas and if you’ll recall from a previous post, it was – shall we say – less than a pleasant experience and I had to channel my inner PollyAnna to survive it. We had no plans to stay in Dallas, but we timed our day so that we could stop for a few hours to visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, also known as the JFK Museum.
Today, February 19, is my sister’s birthday. Ellen. She would have been 63-years-young had she lived. We lost her way too early to that insidious C word; she was only 51 when she left us. Each year when the calendar page turns to February 19, I remember Ellen and how precious life is and how fleeting it can be.
Around here, we use the month of February to ready ourselves – both personally and professionally – for our upcoming high tourist season. Once we get rolling in the spring it becomes time-challenging to book appointments and such. That’s not to say it can’t be done, it’s just much easier to get it out of the way, now, while we’re still moving slowly. Included in this effort was my recent visit to my doctor for an annual exam.
Don’t you just hate it when the doctor’s assistant say’s oh so sweetly, “Let’s check your weight.” Augh… I just spent 60 days eating my way across the country and you want me to step on the scale?! “Five pounds exactly to the year, Patti, what’s up with that?” Asked my doctor. Okay, in my head I’m thinking scratch 1 pound for that large Chai Latte I took down on my way to her office along with the weight of my clothes, but yeah, the other 4, well, that’s all due to eating my way across the USA. I gotta tell ya, it was worth every. single. pound. Judge for yourself.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love that it brings the world to my laptop, but I hate that it’s a constant game of wits with an unseen entity. I’ve been on the warpath of late, with Facebook, in my efforts to keep up with the consistently inconsistent changes and the fact that 95% of my blog’s Facebook page followers never see my posts. I liken it to being in a tennis match with Facebook, only I’m not allowed to have a racket. There are days in which I tell myself, “Hey! It’s their ballgame.” And you know what? It is.
But what strikes me as particularly unfair is that Facebook created the fan pages to help grow their business/network. They sucked us all in. Not just the bloggers and business owners, but all of us who follow pages. And now that everyone has been sucked in, business/blogger page owners are at their mercy. Brilliant move on the part of Facebook, I’ll give them credit for the marketing ingenuity.
So, in my current state of frustration, I remembered I wrote this little diddy just shy of 1 year ago and I think it’s time to dust it off and share it once again. Let me know what you think. Good, bad, or otherwise!
We’ve been home 7 days and I’m finally coming out of my road trip fog and accepting the fact that we are actually home and life goes on. I always have some delicious little what’s next travel plan in my head. I can’t help it, I’m always ready to go again. In the meantime though it’s time to get it in gear and get this Inn of ours ready for guests and the upcoming 2014 season. This is no small task but fortunately, Abi and I are both super organized people – some might say borderline obsessive – but it works for us and it sure makes our daily life a little less frantic when we’re in the full swing of things.
But let’s talk of other things, shall we? How about Charleston, South Carolina? Have you been? It’s one of the places I’ve kept in the forefront of my memories because I found it to be an enigma. It is a city full of charm and southern hospitality but it also has such a sordid history. Visiting Charleston left me with a basketful of mixed emotions.
Feeling a bit blue about no longer being on the road, I was searching for a quick fix of inspiration and came across this quote:
“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” ~ Tad Williams
I think I have read it about
18 23 times already, and I’m sure there are more readings to come. Read each word and take it in, it’s a lovely place to go in your head for those of us who love to wander; especially for those such as myself who never quite seem ready to settle back into “normal” life again.
We are in fact home again. We drove something like 8,000 +/- miles through 16 states, (we had to do some backtracking due to weather) stayed at 25 hotels and ate ourselves silly across this vast country. We visited numerous National Parks and we only forget 1 time that we had a lifetime pass with us. Duh! We had to have the car tires rotated and the oil changed while in Washington, D.C. and for good measure it was time to replace the brake pads as well. Hazel the Honda Hybrid did herself proud!
I stood on top of a mountain today – and if you know me at all you know the impact of that statement – and I had the most perfect moment. The surrounding silence of my majestic mountain was stunning and I thought to myself, “Everyone should have the opportunity to stand on top of a mountain at least once in their life.”