We’re back home now after almost a month on the road. The first trip was to visit our daughter in California. Then, after a few days at home – just enough time to unpack, do laundry, repack, and celebrate the 4th of July – we headed back out again to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids in Minnesota.

It goes without saying that we had a wonderful time visiting with family, and I could write a dozen posts just on that. But there were also a lot of interesting observations and discoveries we made along the way.

We spent a fun day in Roswell, New Mexico, taking pictures of “alien” statues and paintings in stores and businesses along Main Street, and learning more about what’s now known as “The Roswell Incident,” at the UFO Museum. In California, we were awestruck by the intricate rock formations and odd-looking trees and other vegetation in Joshua Tree National Park.

Our travels really drove home – no pun intended – the diversity of the land and landmarks in our country. The stark and majestic mountains of the West and Southwest, the soft, rolling hills of northern Georgia and Tennessee, and the still, sacred silence of the Mojave Desert. Crowded, six-lane highways in and around major cities, and empty, open roads in Texas and New Mexico, where speed limits are 75 and 80 miles per hour.

Although we usually book and confirm hotels ahead of time when we travel, we decided on these trips that we would just drive until we felt like stopping, and then find a hotel. This doesn’t exactly put us in the same category as Indiana Jones, but it made us feel – in a small sense – like adventurers and explorers. And it’s how we came to spend a night in places like Meridian, Mississippi; Abilene, Texas; and Paducah, Kentucky.

We crossed the mighty Mississippi at several different times and places, saw the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and drove past the world’s largest pistachio, in Alamogordo, New Mexico. We saw wind turbines in more places than I would have expected. I’m always mesmerized by them as I watch the slow, rhythmic rotation of the blades that look like dancers doing a hypnotic routine to entertain the travelers driving by.

We probably won’t be taking another road trip for a while – at least until gas prices come down, or we go to visit family and friends over the holidays. But I’m already thinking about other places we can go and things we might want to do and see.

It’s nice to be reminded every once in a while of what a big, beautiful country we live in. And to have the opportunity to see it for ourselves.

July 17, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

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