Wow Tina, you sure put me on an emotional and visual trip this week! When I read your wonderful challenge, I immediately went back to 2013 when we took a cross country trip of the United States in our 5th wheel trailer. This was my dream vacation and so Richard conceded to take me from coast to coast for our 50th wedding anniversary. Conceded, because he had a torn meniscus and long trips are not his delight.

I had also just taken up photography as a hobby and bought a Nikon D3100 (an entry level camera). I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. As I was going through my archives for this post, I had to laugh. Some of the pictures were down right bad. Some were okay. Some were good. That was the visual part for me. The emotional part came as I remembered how moved I was at some of the towns we visited.

The United States is a BIG country and in three months we couldn’t see it all. We set out with no plan except to visit relatives along the way. It’s difficult to put it all into one post, but I’ve chosen the most important to me.

Let’s begin.

One of our first stops was the Petrified Forest National Park (NP). Here logs were formed naturally into crystalized chunks.

We pushed on through parts of Nevada, New Mexico and Texas where we visited relatives. We stopped in Little Rock Arkansas near the border of Tennessee. While there we enjoyed the grand Mississippi from our campsite. I was amazed at the push boats that push barges up and down the river. Some of them pushed three and four across and many barges deep. The pilots only stop for provisions and drive the boats night and day.

We also found great baby back ribs one night, and Larry’s Pizza which was an amazing place. Waitresses walked around with whole pies, offering slices to the customers. When I asked for a pie that I didn’t see at the buffet, she had them make one and brought it to me! Now that’s service!! Yes, food is a great motivation for me. And, no, I didn’t eat the whole pie! She brought it around to other patrons.

We can’t leave Little Rock without a visit to Central High School which was integrated in 1957. Nine black children dared to integrate this school. There was such an uprising that then President Eisenhower called out the National Guard. The school is now a National Historic Site. A park ranger gave us a tour, acting out what those children went through. It was as if she were living through history again and bringing us along. This is something that I will always feel and remember. The school is still integrated and its history is its past.

Before we left Little Rock, we went into Memphis Tennessee. This is where I filled my soul with music and my tummy with cat fish. Beal Street was our destination because it was mentioned in one of my favorite Marc Cohn songs “Walking in Memphis.” I wanted to walk the streets and hear the music like he did. I was not disappointed. Hucksters were outside restaurants and music came through the open doors of the clubs. I have posted pictures of Beal Street in LAPC posts before. On our first visit, the street was close to autos for bikes.

We continued north through Tennessee to the Great Smoky Mountain NP. We didn’t realize that the campground we chose required us to go through Pigeon Forge, a vacation spot that is much like a Disney adventure. We did go there some nights. Great entertainment, but not as amazing as the NP.

We continued through Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, stopping in New Jersey to visit our cousins. Our mistake was made there. We should have parked the trailer, gone into New York and picked it up on the way back. Driving a large rig was not easy in New York. But we made it to Long Island to visit some more cousins. Richard just had to go into NYC to visit Times Square. We paid $30 to park.

Leaving New York City, our next stop was Niagara Falls. This was a must for me. I was amazed at the amount of water falling from the three falls: American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the largest and more well known, the Horseshoe Falls. We had dinner on the Canadian side to get this photo.

We then started home and stopped in Springfield Illinois where the corn is “as high as an elephant’s eye!”

Next we drove to St. Louis Missouri so Richard could get a shot in his knee. He was ready to get home!

Our last big stop was the Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado. What magnificence and altitude!

Our trip didn’t end here, but this post will. Through it all, I learned more about my country and its people, what unites us and what divides us. There is so much more to the United States then New York City, Florida, Hollywood and San Francisco. I encourage you to visit the lesser known places of your home country.

Thank you Tina for taking me back in time and reliving this trip. Please remember to link your post to Tina’s and use the Lens Artists tag. I enjoyed seeing and experiencing all your textures in response to guest host Jude’s post last week. Next week’s challenge will be hosted by hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

34 thoughts on “Lens Artists Challenge #227: Home Sweet Home

  1. Well Anne, you returned the favor with some places I’ve seen and others I haven’t Isn’t it funny how food is such a strong memory?! I think that pizza idea is the best I’ve heard in a very long time! Although I’m surprised it’s not a violation of health rules. Good for you for pressing the idea of cross-country and congrats on 50+ years!! Loved the post and it’s enlarged feel for the lesser-known places in our beautiful country

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    1. Thanks Tina! I do wish I could do it over again now that I have a better camera and know how to use it. We have such a great country. I met a woman in the Midwest who said she had been to and didn’t like California because we have mountains! I guess it’s all in what you’re used to.

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  2. What a great tour though the country hitting the countries highlights. Tis would be a great guide for someone wanting to wander through. Very Nice. I applaud your efforts for making it though NYC in your rig. Thats not just a testement to skillful driving but also patience.

    Corn really IS that tall?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taking a rig into NYC is a testament to stupidity and so is getting it out! We actually ended up on a parkway because if we went straight we would have gone into Manhattan. As we were coming down the on ramp, I saw a cop giving someone a ticket and told my husband to pull over. I got out, asked the cop if he was done and then went into a not so polite explanation after he asked me what we were doing there. We had called all the proper NYC roads and bridges and were following instruction. I’m lucky I didn’t get arrested for verbal battery on a police officer. He gave us instructions on how to get out and we did. Never again!!

      Yes, corn was that high. All through the Midwest, cornfields on one side of the road and soy beans on the other.

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  3. Wow, that sounds like a marvellous trip! I’ve loved all our US road trips and am keen to do more, maybe on a larger scale like this one 🙂 I’d like to visit Memphis (your opening shot is fantastic!) and now you’ve described your tour there, Little Rock. And I want to see more of the western states, especially Colorado and Montana!

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    1. Thanks Sarah! If you want to do it right you’ll need at least 3 months or more, depending on what you’ve already seen. If you like the blues, then definitely go to Memphis. Colorado is also a must. It’s so beautiful. I wasn’t that impressed with Montana. However you’ll like Glacier NP if you’re into hiking a bit.

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      1. It’s Glacier I really want to see. I’m not into hiking but I do enjoy short walks and scenic drives. I doubt we’d manage three months but six weeks feels doable and should show us a lot, especially as we’ve already covered quite a bit of ground in previous trips.

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        1. Than don’t book a whole lot of time for Glacier. There’s only one main road: The Going to the Sun road. It runs all the way through the park. There are hiking trails off this road. It spans the entire width of the park. We went through it a couple of times, stopping at different turnouts. Just above Glacier is the Canadian continuation of Glacier called Waterton NP. It’s worth a visit too.

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    1. Thanks Chandra! When our kids were at home, our vacations were campouts. When we were empty nesters, the trips became longer. For a trip like this, retirement is a great time for the adventure. I hope you make it.

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  4. Quite some 50th anniversary celebration! Wow for this trip! You live in a very big country, and I am always amazed at the many road adventures you have over there. I understand you had a marvelous time – congrats again and thank you for sharing a bit with us!

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    1. Thanks Ann-Christine. I’ve still not seen the entire U.S. The one thing I came away with was that each state is like an individual country. But when a crisis hits we are one big family standing together.

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  5. What a great tour of the USA, Anne. Thanks for taking us along! I love your image of the falls at night. That’s not something I’ve seen before. Your description of Central High was very moving and of course I loved your food adventure with pizza! A great post.

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    1. Thanks Patti! I had a hard time finding pizza as I remembered it in New York while I was in New York! I found it in a small place on Long Island. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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