Rick and I had a wonderful time in the south with friends from Tyndale as we visited book stores and met readers in Birmingham, Huntsville, Cleveland, Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Asheville, and Spartanburg. It was our first time in Alabama and Tennessee and our second in the Carolinas — and we loved the southern people, hospitality, towns, scenery and food. We spent an extra day visiting cousins (I’d never met and Rick hadn’t seen for years) and had a great time with them. We drove through the beautiful countryside, saw two family homes and where Rick’s grandparents are buried. We talked non-stop and loved every minute with them. We’ll be planning another visit, and hopefully get them to come out west as well.
I was only home a few days, catching up with as many errands as possible, before I set off again — this time with daughter Shannon and her two munchkins for an “introduction” to the southwest. In the last two days, we have been through Yosemite, Manzanar (where there is now a beautiful new interpretive center), and Death Valley. As we wound down the steep, narrow road, the temperature climbed from 70s to 90s. My grandson called highway 190 “the road to nowhere…” Pioneers felt the same way. Some didn’t make it across.
We made it to Las Vegas and the Golden Nugget where we all swam in “The Tank”. The three of them went down the tube through the tank with sharks while I watched from the outside pool. We stuffed ourselves with a buffet dinner and fell into bed. Still have miles to go to see Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, then back to Hoover Dam before making the long haul home to northern California.
I hear echoes of my mom as I say, “Look out the window. You may never come this way again.”