America the Beautiful/or what I’ve learned from cross country trips

horseheader1.jpeGood Morning!

I’ve been out of town for about 1 1/2 weeks — again, I’m in Florida, but this time only for 2-3 weeks hopefully — much shorter than last time, when I was away from home for a total of about 16 months.  Whew!

page2d.jpeWell, although it’s not true that I travel by horseback when I go out of town, it is true that I would rather drive than fly or take a train.  Why?  The answer is easy:  The countryside.  There are so many things to see and places to visit and history to learn — all conveniently advertised along the roadside.  On my trips across country (and I’ve probably driven across country now more than a dozen times) I’ve seen canyons that stretch on forever (the Grand Canyon comes to mind); I’ve seen caves — two enormous different ones — and have learned that the rocks in these caves are alive.  Did you know that?  They grow like any life thing and they can die if you touch them — thus, there are many, many signs in these caves not to touch the rocks.hubby.jpe

As part of these trips, I’ve been to pow-wows in Montana, climbed mountains in Vermont, swept down raging water streams in Nebraska — have witnessed glaciers in Montana and have visited Pueblo villages — in the southwest, and have visited and have lingered at battlefields — ones that took place between the cavalry and Indians.  When we were in Crow country in Montana, my husband and I visited Little Bighorn of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull fame.  For one book, War Clouds’ Passion, I visited the battlefield that took place — goodness, I can’t recall the name of that battle off the top of my head — but it took place in Kansas.  Also discovered in Kansas was a former Cavalry outpost, and again, forgive me for the name escapes me.  picturesforblog.jpg 

On one particular trip, I visited a waterfall, where George Washington carved his initals in a rock — there was also an Indian village there, which I went to visit, also.  There I learned how the Indians made flour and cakes from acorns — a very involved process, I must admit.  Sometimes I get lost.  But sometimes this is very good.   On one trip just last year at this very time of year, I was traveling to Vermont to attend my daughter’s wedding. 

img_6598Actually  I didn’t lose my way on this trip until I was well into Vermont, and then I took a wrong turn and ended up at the scene of a very beautiful statue of Ethan Allen.  Although I was very lost, I had driven into a spot where the trees were alive with autumn color and I really do mean live.  They were bright, bright yellow and gold.  So bright that an overcast day looked sunny.  And the trees were overlooking the road as I drove by them.  I’m not certain I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful in Nature.  The only thing that might even come close would be perhaps the Grand Teton area in Wyoming — and of course the Glacier Mountains in Montana.

phot0110The picture here was taken in Montana in the Glacier Mountains which set up against the Blackfeet reservation.  Once another author and myself visited a deserted train station — trying to envision the people who had once used it.  Another time we searched out a town in Louisana called Transylvania.  Nancy Richards Akers and I once skirted along the Choctaw trail and another author and I learned of a legend of a young Indian princess who threw herself off a mountain to avoid marrying a man she didn’t love.  (Her true lover followed her over the cliff, by the way).  And another time, fellow author, Heather Cullman, and I visited Sky City — I’m only calling it that because I can’t recall exactly the name of the town.  Here we were taken on a tour, learned the history of the town and learned that the town was used as a safe refuge in a time of uncertainty.phot0166

We also visited an old church which was again fascinating.  Indeed, there is much to see and visit here in America.  When I was very, very young, I seem to remember a commerical that went like this “See the USA, in your Cheverolet — American is asking you to call” — powwowend21.jpePerhaps I took tha invitation to heart.

Another time, when my husband and I were attending yet another pow-wow in Montana, we visited  America’s edition of Stonehedge — the Medicine Wheel atop a 10,000 foot mountain in the Bighorn Mountains in Northern Wyoming.  Lone Arrow’s Pride goes into my experience atop this mountain at this particular spot.

51obnqdgasl_sl500_aa240_1I guess we Americans — or maybe I should just say we humans — love to travel.  And whatever the cause, I do enjoy my trips — even though it might take me longer to go from here to there.  I bet you’ve had some incredible adventures here in the heartland of America.  And I’d love to hear about your own trips.  So please come on in and let’s chat.  And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Black Eagle today.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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24 thoughts on “America the Beautiful/or what I’ve learned from cross country trips”

  1. Karen,I too have just returned from a long trip an we were in Vermont too,small world,its so beautiful there an no snow right now,lol,I lived there for 5 years,an now in Tennessee now which is just as beautiful but in a different way,not that much snow here

  2. Wow, you’ve really done some driving, Kay. Since I don’t like to take long road trips alone, I usually fly, but you’ve inspired me. I remember driving to Glacier Park as a kid–most beautiful country ever, I think. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Hi Vickie!

    Where in Vermont did you live? I raised my kids in Vermont — in So. Burlington — to this day I love Vermont — it’s beauty is so soothing. No snow, huh? But that’s not unusual this time of year — it will come — usually in December or January or even in the latter part of November — and it will be there for a while. : )

  4. Hi Elizabeth!

    Sorry I’ve been gone from the forums for a while — when I get back home, I hope to be more of a presence.

    Yes, I love to travel and do different things along the roadside — you can really get the flavor of the country from simply driving across country and participating in the things that you see — caves, etc. I never liked caves until I went in them — now I love them — and story ideas…wow!

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. I love to travel by car, but in the last two years that has become a chore.. But I still love to drive around this time of year to see the changes in the towns and cities that border mine.. I love to stop in small towns and browse around and I always find some little treasure.. I hope my health improves so that I can make longer journeys.. I driving..

  6. Kay, I agree with you. America is certainly a beautiful majestic place. I’m constantly in awe of its beauty. One of my favorite places to visit is Deadwood, South Dakota. There is so much history there and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a gorgeous place. The air is crisp and cool and the trees tall. Plus, there’s no shortage of things to see and do around that area. Loved the awe-inspiring Mt. Rushmore with our most revered presidents. And the Crazy Horse monument that was still unfinished when I visited there. It’s going to be awesome when done. And it’s not far from Deadwood to the Little Big Horn battlefield. I got chills down my spine when I walked the ground where so many died.

    Another favorite place is Cripple Creek, Colorado. It’s another historical town and has been very well preserved.

  7. I forgot to say how much I enjoyed reading BLACK EAGLE. What an unforgettable hero! He was so tender and sweet but tough and unyielding when he had to be. The story has stayed with me long after I finished it. You certainly know how to spin a captivating romance. My hat’s off to you and your amazing talent.

  8. Hi Linda!

    Can hardly believe that I’ve never been to Deadwood — I’ve been to So. Dakota often, and even the momument — but haven’t gone to Deadwood — I’m going to have to do that — and Cripple Creek, as well. Thanks for the suggestions. : )

  9. Linda,

    Thank you so much for youru compliments. I’m really enjoying your book — I’ve been on the road, which has put off reading it for right now cause I’m so involved in driving and what I’m doing here — and I can’t wait to get back to it.

    Your heroine is so spunky and the hero is so sexy — yet hard and sweet at the same time. I can’t wait till I’m done here and can get back into your story — I feel like I know these people. : )

    Wow, Linda, I so love your story!

  10. Hi Kay, oh I so love Vermont. I see those explosions of color still in my mind. Next summer we’re going to take a “city slicker” wagon train trip around the Tetons, and I can’t wait. It’s been quite some years since I’ve been to Wyoming.

    This is a great post with many travel ideas, since we’re retired now. oxoxoxox Have safe travels.

  11. Hi Kay, The best trip of my life was driving from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. I loved every minute of it, especially the happy surprises we never expected. One of my favorite moments was a late-night ride up the arch in St. Louis. We also stumbled on Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home and a living history exhibit. This is such a beautiful, diversity country.

    Our most recent drive was the 540 miles from Washington DC to Lexington, KY. We did it three times because of selling the house. Each time we drove through the Shenandoah Valley, the fall colors were more vivid. Car travel is my favorite way to go anywhere.

  12. Hi Kay – it was fun “traveling” with you today! I love road trips too, but time seldom permits it anymore. Thanks for sharing your adventures. My favorite road trip from coming from New York to California … oh the adventures I remember. The world was so big and open to young girl of 7 and I remember so many stops along the way with my sister and parents. When I arrived in CA, I expected to see forts and horses and ranches – we were OUT WEST, but I learned quickly that California was civilized. It was still an adventure, but I was a little disappointed.

  13. I have been watching a series on PBX about the national parks. It goes way back to the beginning and tells of the struggles of men like John Muir to establish our National Parks. It really makes me want to get in the car and go. Driving is also my favorite way to travel. Only wish there was more time and $$$ to do it.

  14. I love to travel, too, and driving is the only way to get a real feel for the size of this continent. For me, two unforgettable trips have been to western Newfoundland and the Saskatchewan prairies. Both so grand and inspiring in such different ways. I love to go off the beaten track and discover places that aren’t on the tourist maps.

  15. Kay,
    We travel the same way. We often leave the interstate, unless we really are in a hurry. I don’t like the traffic or the pace of it. Would rather drive through the towns and countryside. Have often told my husband to take the next exit and see where we end up. On a drive through Iowa, I got tied of the flat, so had him take the next exit and take a right. We ended up in Saskatchewan. At that point, I remembered that the “bread basket” extended into Canada and it was flat there too. We discovered an old fort, a wonderful art museum in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska, almost hit a moose in a town in Canada, a renovators’ supply store, and still made it to our meeting in Omaha. Our recent trip to Texas wasn’t long enough and we didn’t see mush of what was on my list.
    Our trip out to CO-SD-WY a few years ago was great. We hit the fair/pow wow at the Rose Bud Reservation (wonderful regalia and my husband got to be in the veterans flag ceremony) , Devil’s Tower, The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore (a big disappointment – way too commercial), Spear Fish Canyon, Crazy Horse Monument (AWESOME), Custer Park, Jewel Cave, Sturgis (but got there 2 days after the rally, darn), and attended the big Rendezvous at Ft. Bridger, WY (if you haven’t gone, you really should). We did a bunch of other things, then got a call while waiting for a tour of the Coors plant and heard that our son had been attacked by a bear in our back yard at home. Oh well, back to the reality of our regular life.
    We still have Lots of places we want to go. Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Glacier Nat. Park, Monument Valley, etc., etc….
    Enjoy your trips and keep us posted.

  16. Hi Tanya!

    You know, in my opinion, the only country that can even compare with the beauty of Vermont is the Grand Teton area and Montana around the Glacier Park area. Beautiful spots. I love them all.

  17. Hi Vicki!

    That’s beautiful country there in Kentucky — I remember the Smoky Mountains, although I haven’t explored them like I have Vermont or even Montana or here in CA — the Sierra’s.

    I’m with you, Vicki, on travel by car. I prefer it over most anything. : )

  18. Hi Charlene,

    Your adventures and the way you described them brought a smile to my face. I can just imagine getting to California and being disappointed that you were in the West and it was civilized. Sometimes I think the pleasure of going somewhere is going somewhere. Although it’s nice to arrive — especially when one is headed home — the adventure of getting there is much of the pleasure, I think. : ) Thanks for your thoughts.

  19. Oh, Sue, I echo you on the National Parks and traveling by car — and especially the $$$ aspect of it — it is still, however, the cheapest way to travel for a family, I think. Sometimes in this age of speed, it’s nice to take it easy — and driving often is like that for me. : )

  20. Hi Jeanne!

    Wow! You’ve been to Newfoundland — and I didn’t know that Saskatchewan had prairies — I’ve never been there — I bet they are grand and it reminds me that in all the world, there is beauty to be found. Thanks for your thoughts.

  21. Hi Patricia!

    I feel like I traveled with you today on your tours through the country. Wow! But I guess my biggest question is — your son was attacked by a bear? In your back yard?

    My goodness. Is your son all right? Bear attacks (I have one in the new book, due to be released in April — Seneca Surrender) but I’ve never really seen a bear up close and personal — don’t think I’d want to actually.

    I have seen buffalo up close — somewhat up close — but not a bear.

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventure, Patricia!

  22. Kay,
    Our son is OK. There is some permanent nerve damage in his left hand, loss of feeling. He didn’t realize it was a problem until he was working in the forge and could smell something “cooking”. A coal had landed on his hand and was burning it but he couldn’t feel it. He never did go to the doctor – hard to make him go when we are in CO and he is in TN. The wild life officer that came to the house to take a report (after I called from CO) told him he really should have it looked at, but he couldn’t make him go. He cleaned it well, but when we got home, I noticed he had stripped the bed and washed the bedding. There was a 3 ft.
    diameter spot on the mattress where he had bled at night. He said he was nauseous the next day, blood loss I’m sure. He had gone out into the field because our 2 older dogs were barking and wouldn’t come in (this was at 11 PM). He literally bumped into the bear in the dark. I’m not sure who swung first, but he punched the bear in the nose and ran. It was probably the big male that has been in the area.
    My sister asked me why I didn’t dye my hair. Told here I’ve earned every one of these gray hairs. He added a few more that night.

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