After our last road trip, I spent a long time trying to understand the disparities between myself and my fellow Americans living only a few hundred miles away. Our differences ranged from political ideologies to lexicons to the social normalities people often take for granted in their hometowns. Today, I was once again reminded of that pressing question: how could we have so much yet so little in common? Our day was spent at the Creation Museum, a behemoth of an institution with 75,000 square feet, over a hundred exhibits, […]
You know those phone company advertisements with the maps of the United States colored in to show where they provide coverage? We’re currently venturing into the blank spaces in-between, where Verizon has left us to our own, wifi-less devices. My mom and I were driving through rural Indiana yesterday afternoon, past verdant corn fields and land so flat you could see miles ahead, on the way to our first official destination: the World’s Largest Ball of Paint. One sign caught my eye as we sped by: “High Speed Rural Internet” […]
Yellowstone happened a week And a half ago, as in we visited quite a while back. However, due to increasingly difficult wifi conditions (much to my teenage dismay) I couldn’t upload the media required to justly depict the wonder of Yellowstone National Park. Thus, here’s my Yellowstone post. Soon to follow will be further updates encompassing our more recent travels. Here we have some classic American wildlife: the seldom elusive bison. These guys showed up everywhere, and they look cute but are actually quite deadly. According to signage, they often gore people. Hence, this photo was taken from the safety of a car. Along the roadways are frequent sites where one can stop and view scenic overlooks or even descend paths, such as the brief walkway my dad and I took to this river. Panoramas somewhat distort the perspective, so it’s hard to tell that this scenic overlook was along the curve of a meander. What looked like fog from afar was actually steam rising from geothermal features along the road. It looks like a spa, but it’s actually quite deadly. In fact, it became very clear very quickly that most of the beauty in Yellowstone was also more than capable of inflicting death. Warnings, while multilingual, were quite daunting. Caution is imperative when braving Yellowstone. The elk really enjoy the grass by the buildings in Yellowstone more than the naturally occurring grass elsewhere. Many elk were […]
Thursday was our longest driving day of the summer. 10 hours in the back seat isn’t too bad, but I imagine driving it was rather difficult. So as to alleviate the discomfort that goes hand in hand with such expansive drives, we made a few very important pit stops, specifically in Idaho and Utah. Among these was the National Oregon California Trail Center. Seeing as the animals at Yellowstone (I’ll post about that later – too many pictures/notions, too few bars of cell service) were too reclusive and/or deadly to take any selfies, these startlingly lifelike REAL animals sufficed. Here we have a bison, a bear, an elk, and some other identifiable western landmarks: the wagon and the teepee.
In 8th grade art class, I was given an opportunity to make a clay bust of a popular, influential figure. This was supposed to take a few months, yet I somehow dragged in on for a full year and then never got around to glazing and painting it. To this day the small statue I made (of Lady Gaga, because who else?) stands unfinished on a table in my house. Considering the effort, focus, and time this took, I can only imagine how the creators of Mt Rushmore felt. It took 14 years to carve this momentous monument, and the artistry, finesse, and dedication that it took is a lasting testament to the American Dream. Rushmore was beyond stunning, and though no picture can do it justice, there are several below. We also had the opportunity to view a museum describing the tools and toils of the sculptors and workers, which shed new light on the creation of this monument and all that was required for it to reach fruition.
The last time I went horseback riding, witnessed anything vaguely western, or donned a festive western hat was approximately 5 years ago at East Hill Farm in New Hampshire. Actually, I witnessed Western charm in its epic proportions during history class in 8th grade, and I probably have worn some vaguely cowboy-styled hats recently, but as a cohesive whole, I haven’t been immersed in Western culture for quite some time. Thus, attending a rodeo where all I recognized was the Carrie Underwood song playing (the only country music I truly enjoy), going horseback riding, wearing a positively fantastic and surprisingly practical hat, and taking selfies with a bull was quite the culture shock. Chronologically, it’s best to start with the rodeo. We arrived at our friends Bruce and Maryanne’s house Wednesday and, after settling in and trying, to no avail (aVAIL because it’s right by the ski resort Vail, where no one else likes my puns either), to take in the idyllic views surrounding us, went to a rodeo. The arena at which the rodeo took place was called No Fear Arena. Need I say more? (That’s rhetorical – of course I’ll say more; that’s the entire point). First was the slack, where they fit in team roping before the events officially start. If you’re like me 36 hours ago and don’t know what it means, have no fear (like no fear arena!) team roping is on video below, staring […]
The pun above has been made before; I am aware of that, and I appreciate the artistry of those before me. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge posed many opportunities for photo ops and contemplation. Visually, it’s stunning, and no picture can really do that justice. Scrawled and carved and scratched along the railings on either side were messages and signatures ranging from disturbing to inspirational, though all were thought-provoking. Tourists and professional photographers alike strolled across and stopped at observation balconies that jutted out from the walkway. From where we parked to where I walked, there were mountain goats visible below, jumping and looking altogether too cute and fragile to be frolicking around sharp rocks like that. Due to the incessant calling and photographs being taken by others, they soon left and went down the hill closer to the river itself. They looked like they were having fun. I walked along the bridge on either side for a good 30 minutes, and every second was worth it. This is definitely a sight worth seeing.
New Mexico is gorgeous. I’ll start with that. Yesterday, we visited Carlsbad Caverns, which took us below the idyllic mountains and fields, down to caverns over 800 feet below ground. When we got in the elevator to go down to where the actual tour took place, in the caverns, there were two men with hard hats that looked very intense also riding. I expect they were on a different tour, though, because ours comprised of walking along a fairly smooth path with a few inclines and the occasional drip of water. There was nothing that required a hardhat, nor any practical footwear, which is good, because I was wearing converse. Sadly, few photos turned out well with the lighting seeing, as it is underground, but a few were decent, and those are attached below. One of the fun things about touring cunderground in a relatively small group of people is that you may end up getting to know one of your fellow group members. I was fortunate enough to do so, and a new acquaintance taught me a memorable saying to remember which formations are stalagmites and which are stalactites. Stalactites hold on tight, as they hang from the ceiling, and stalagmites might reach the top, for they are on the ground. What was really stunning about Carlsbad, in addition to the aesthetic, was the realization that we were literally below hundreds of feet of solid rock in these vast, […]
Newsflash: Verizon wireless does not like Texas. During the 4 hour drive today, I was unable to abide by my usual schedule of gazing out the window, picking music to play, and browsing various social media when the cornfields became gratuitous. This is because I couldn’t get on the Internet, text anyone, or even get on Instagram for at least three hours of this drive. It was eye-opening in some ways, mostly because this made me unable to take a nap (This was a play on words – it’s been a long day). However, there were ample views of cattle, trailer parks, eccentric street signs, and extremely aggressive drivers when the occasional car (usually a Ford, circa the Paleolithic age) passed by. Today’s highlight, by far, was the realization that on the side of the road were cacti. This means we’re almost near the desert, which in turn means that we are closer to the lapse in light pollution that comes with near-vacant, arid deserts. I have an app on my phone that shows where the constellations are based upon where you point your phone, and I’m excited to see the constellations in real life, instead of just on a screen. This could certainly serve as a metaphor for the advent of technology in the digital age and how this affects the manner in which people perceive the natural environment. Simply put, I really like stars, and I’m really excited […]
Yesterday we stopped for lunch at a town that looked as if it had remained stagnant since the 1960s. The shop windows were dusty and framed by peeling paint awnings, and a sign outside one door read that they were selling TV antennas, which are obsolete last I checked. You could even see grain silos in the distance, and the few cars that did pass by looked like they had come along only shortly after horse and buggy. It was eerie and reminded me of Western films, of which I’m already not very fond. We ventured to this off-road hamlet to get lunch and were pleasantly surprised by the quaint café waiting behind the peeled paint and antiquated signage. We split a super yummy sandwich and looked around to see what resembled a tea shop, save the decorations on the left wall. There, hanging near doilies and cutesy signs for overzealous moms and grandmas, were a series of rifles hanging on the wall. Just to reaffirm – this was a tea shop. As this is a 21st-century odyssey, we felt the need to take a selfie in front of said guns. The presence of firearms so near our delectable, charming southern lunch was somewhat offputting. However, things got weirder. While mom went down to get the car after lunch, I stood on the sidewalk, and it took me a minute to realize how terribly out of place I seemed. […]