Friday, August 05, 2011

My Third Cross-Country In Less Than A Year

For anyone curious about my hiatus, I recently completed my third, 6,000-plus-mile cross-country trip in less than a year. As always, riding shotgun was my English Bulldog, Mugsy and we took the Jeep instead of the Cross Bones.

This time we went up the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, then across those narrow bands of Maryland and West Virginia and cut across the southwest corner of Pennsylvania.Early Morning - Newman Lake '11

We curled around the great lakes, up through the Wisconsin Dells, across northern Minnesota and North Dakota and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

We took a new route across Montana to Great Falls, then skirted the Bob Marshall Wilderness and up through Glacier National Park.

We continued on US 2 up through the incredible forests and lakes around Libby to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, then across to Newport, Washington before dropping down the very western edge of the Idaho panhandle to rendezvous on a lake with family including my grandsons and daughter, my Mom, younger sister and brother-in-law and my niece and nephew and his family.

There is something therapeutic about dogs and children, especially the sounds of little voices while they are swimming, fishing, rowing and canoeing or getting the first glimpse of Ospreys and Blue Herons at work feeding their families.

On the way back we continued down the panhandle then up the incredible Clearwater and over Lolo Pass back into Montana, down through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks and several valleys along the Wyoming-Idaho border.

We then crossed over and along the Wasatch Range through Utah before cutting back east across the Colorado River and up and over a band of Rockies that dissect that state before dumping back out onto the plains at Denver.

Part way through Missouri we took a new route down through Paducah, Kentucky and the northwestern part of Tennessee before heading up over the Smoky Mountains and home to Durham.

We didn’t miss all of the heat wave.  It was in the 90s and humid as I went through Bismarck, North Dakota.  But in the Northern Rockies, I woke up each morning to find it in the 50s and there were several days when the temperature barely reached 80.  On the way back it was a stifling 113 in central Missouri.

Mugs is a great travel companion.  We’ve now taken six different routes across this country and, other than those times during my now-concluded four-decade-long career in community marketing when parachuting into various cities on business trips, these cross-countries  allowed my first real exploration of 22 states and new routes through many other states through which I had previously traveled.

More later on which areas exceeded expectations or didn’t live up to the hype.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'There is something therapeutic about dogs and children, especially the sounds of little voices while they are swimming...' thanks for putting my thoughts so eloquently. we just had a family vaca with 12 adults and 13 kids. Welcome home! lenore