I’ve signed up to be inspired by a Blog Post topic in a new WordPress invention: The Bloganuary.
When I first received the invitation to this inspiration I figured it just wasn’t a good time to join in the fun. I’m trying desperately to maintain a goal of writing at least 1000 words in a book I’m authoring. Business constraints and life in general get in the way, of course. And then there’s the constant dance atop the fulcrum of Motivation & Inspiration versus Grit & Discipline that can tip me far off my goal. Adding another writing project for the day simply seemed silly.
On the other hand, I have not been achieving my goal of producing blog posts which I can blame on the weather, the holidays and of course, the book I’m supposed to be writing. So, this Bloganuary challenge seemed like a good way to keep up my blog entries by simply adhering to the daily topic, which alleviates the need to determine a subject of a post (especially when I am crippled by the weather and can’t go birding for great photos at this time of year.)
TOPIC OF THE DAY: What is a road trip you would like to take?
My first thought was a quick two day jaunt to Nashville to see a musician – maybe Blake Shelton? Maybe a nice dinner. Maybe stay in a high quality, “down town” hotel with a door man and concierge service – not crazy expensive, but better than we might usually treat ourselves.
That answer was “do-able.” Nashville is about a four hour drive. It’s south of here, which at this time of year means we’d probably steer clear of bad weather. We’d hire a pet sitter for a couple of nights and be back before our next business commitment. My husband and I are dog trainers. We not only have our own assortment of pets, but we typically have a few client dogs in our home for training. Even getting away for a weekend usually seems impossible. But, it’s still the “holidays” and we don’t have any client dogs – well not until next week! Yeah, I’ll write about a trip to Nashville, I thought.
Then, I sat back in my chair, took a deep breath and realized that this is not an assignment based in reality. I don’t need to have the funds to take this road trip. I don’t need to have the time to get away. This is merely a question about what I’d like to do (regardless or despite my current circumstances) if I were to take a road trip. That sentiment changed everything. I even got a bit excited about the project.
I opened Bing maps and filled in a few key cities and let the program draw my path of travel. I didn’t care how many miles it was. But, it turned out to be over 10,000 without calculating the side trips off the main route. No problem. It’s my dream road trip. I didn’t care how many days it might take. Let’s just say a month is probably not sufficient. But, who’s counting? Cost is irrelevant, so let’s not even discuss it. One of highlight of working on this project was permitting myself to contemplate the full adventure with infinite resources.
The journey begins at my home which is in south-central IL. Below you will find the main stops along the way of this epic expedition.
I grew up in McHenry and, after decades away from the place, it would be interesting to see the high school and the house I called home as a kid, and the little house I bought as a 30-something, single woman as my first purchased real estate.
Darien, WI was my second purchased property. It was a small farm where I raised sheep, ducks and chickens and trained my Border collies to herd livestock. Living alone and traveling 72 miles (one way) to work each day, I was a bad-ass, independent, single woman. That was a pivotal time of my life, and in the later years I met Robert who later became my husband. I think we should drive by the old place to have a moment to reflect about where we began our lives together.
The Twin Cities are know to have the biggest population of Swedes and Norwegians outside of their homelands. About half my DNA comes from Scandinavia, and my father shared his love for the cuisines of those countries during my childhood. On our Road Trip I’d like to sample more of the foods and culture from my ancestry.
A trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park would get me in touch with my favorite past president because of his great love for our natural world.
As a child, beginning when I was just eight years old, I spent the summer writing “my book.” When I was eight, the story was about an eight year old girl who lived in Montana on a huge ranch. She had a horse named star (because he had one on his forehead) and she saved a baby wolf during a terrible storm, housed it in bunk house where one of the ranch hands kept her secret from her father who would have never allowed it. The wolf became her best friend and saved her from drowning in a river. When I was nine, the story was the same, but the girl was nine years old and the grammar and vocabulary was a bit better. Still, the main character lived in mountains of Montana. I’m not sure why I had that dream that i recorded in a green notebook every summer, but I’ve never been to Montana. This Road Trip would fill that gap.
Heading further north west on our journey, a stop near Calgary in order to take in the beauty of Banff seems like a good stop. I’ve never been to that part of Canada.
Denali would be the furthest destination of our Road Trip, but not nearly the termination of the adventure. Who wouldn’t want to experience Denali? It seems like one of those locations that can’t disappoint. Clearly, it would require several days to take in just a small portion of its natural splendor. The vastness of the Alaskan wilderness must be awe inspiring.
Planning a stop in Anchorage eliminates the needs to back track on the same road we would travel into Denali. And, with so much to experience in our nation’s largest State, it seems silly to double back on the same route. Anchorage also offers fresh sea food of all sorts, a chance to experience the diverse cultures that make up the city, and the opportunity to learn about and taste some of the native dishes.
On the return trip, a stop in Juneau sets up the opportunity to use the Alaska Marine Highway system – aka ferries that carry your automobile while negotiating the coastal waterways. I was surprised when I noticed that Bing Maps drew a line through the water rather than on an established land highway as it plotted the course from Juneau to Seattle. So, I did a bit of research. I had never heard of the AMH system, but in realizing it would be required, I figure it might take some deep research to finalize a travel plan. The trip requires moving through Canada, either by land or by sea. It’s possible that a ferry cruise ship from Anchorage to Seattle might be better. I saw a quick couple of sentences during my research that showed photos of very large cruise ships that were referred to as ferries. Who knew? But, hey, this trip is just in my dreams, so I’m not going to fret about the details. I will say that the trip along the coast from Juneau looks enchanting from my completely ignorant perspective.
Foodie. When I think Seattle, I think Foodie. I am a wannabee foodie. I must admit that most of my “fooding” (is that a word?) is a vicarious television experience! If this dream Road Trip ever became a reality, I would need to spend hours researching the best restaurants to visit during the stop in Seattle.
Primeval temperate rain forest. I can only imagine how spiritual an experience it would be to stand quietly in such a world. Cool, deep green, lush. Those are worlds that I might use to explain the sensation of tranquility. While in the area, I would like to venture west from the Portland area to visit Siuslaw national forest.
Wine. That’s a beverage that evokes different sort of tranquility! When I think of Nappa Valley, images akin to Tuscany in Italy. I suppose if that’s true, it might be a motivating reason to embark on a hot air balloon ride. OK. Let’s not get carried away. A nice table for two over looking a prosperous winery would be sufficient a reason to spend a night at this location.
Sourdough and seafood and seashore. Need I say more of a reason to stop by for a snack and a sight? When I was twelve years old, my family took a road trip to California. I still remember eating at Fisherman’s Wharf. I would find it interesting to see what fifty years can do to a place – oh, and of course my memory of said location.
To be honest, I can’t think of anything that would instantly draw me to LA. However, as I was manipulating Bing Map to create a good route of travel “there and back,” it helped to get to LA before heading East again in order to cut across to the Grand Canyon, which is an absolute for any road trip I might take to the western US. However, I’m certain I could find sufficient reason to spend several days in LA under the “Foodie” category, alone.
Until I traveled there (a trip that I didn’t really plan) about twelve years ago, I would have never said I wanted to go to “Sin City.” I don’t gamble. But, I do enjoy good entertainment. On our trip, we saw a Cirque du Solei show that highlighted the Beatles (I believe it was called Love.) It was spectacular, regardless of our bad seats. I would definitely include one good show, perhaps a couple, in between enjoying the vast culinary options that Vegas offers.
Once heading home from Las Vegas, it only makes sense to spend a day at the Grand Canyon. It was part of my family trip when I was twelve, and I will never forget it. Since we’re not worrying about cost on this dream Road Trip, I might be willing to fight my fear and take a helicopter ride to truly experience this one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
The state of Utah is home to five National Parks; Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Park. In order to complete this blog post without staying up all night (I just received an email with a new Bloganuary topic!) let it suffice to say that our epic Road Trip would include a few days exploring at least a couple of these national treasures!
Denver has a well established foodie community, so I can’t imagine failing to take advantage of the “micro-brewery with eats” scene as we slowly conclude our travels. I’m not saying I’d want to try the Rocky mountain oysters they serve up, but I would be excited to take a side trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park while we were in the neighborhood.
Once we reach the plans east of the Rockies, I have to say it’s slim pickins’ for entertainment on the final day before we arrive back home to Illinois. Maybe, that’s not all bad. After a day of flat, monotonous driving which concludes a few weeks of extraordinary sights, sounds and flavors, perhaps a fast food meal in a cheap hotel might seem perfect.
Whew! Just writing the bare bones of that trip has exhausted me. I wish I had the time to research and insert a few photos to add to the reader’s adventure. The next topic for this Bloganuary is “Write about the last time you left your comfort zone.” I could say writing this post took me out of my typical sense of snugness. Gosh, if I ever get the chance to take such a Road Trip, it would be an overwhelming task merely to select the best spots to visit out of the hundreds which are available on such an odyssey!