Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Remember When . . . The Road Went On?

This past week my family took a road trip to Texas. And while I've flown to Texas before (and will again for the ACFW conference in September--woot!), I've never before driven through many of the states. From Maryland, the path to Dallas takes us first through the entire diagonal of West Virginia, then through Kentucky, then Tennessee, Arkansas, and finally Texas.

As we drove, I couldn't help but think of the beloved books I've read that take place in these areas. Laura Frantz's amazing colonials, for example, that are set in Kentucky. Many of the books I grew up on that were set in early Texas. I noticed the names that I knew from my own research, like Pulaski, who was apparently well revered by states other than Georgia. ;-)

And as I saw this 1200-mile cross-section of our country, I was hit again and again with how big it is. How diverse. How mysterious those territories must have been for the early settlers. We started our trip in the beautiful rolling mountains of the Appalachians, spending hours and hours driving up and down, around turns, dodging wildlife. When those mountains tapered into hills, we entered the beautiful horse country of Kentucky--where there is, of all things, a castle. Talk about a fun thing for the kids to see! Though the castle was built only 30-40 years ago, renovators today are apparently shocked by the detail given to medieval authenticity. Pretty cool, eh?

From the Lexington area we continued into Cave Country, with beautiful rock ledges and hidden wonders that I obviously couldn't see from the road, but which my imagination knew waited in those caves. Driving through that area we saw all the evidence of the dinosaur discoveries in the area, including Dinosaur World and the life-size model of a T-Rex perched along the interstate, inviting you to come discover something new. Archaeology was a dream of mine before I decided I'd better just focus on writing, so when my hubby said that maybe we should come back to Cave Country sometime to explore, I was pretty excited. =)

The land began to flatten out as we drove through Tennessee, and was particularly lovely around the Mississippi. No wonder, then, that civilization sprang up there! It was quite an experience to drive over that massive river and into Arkansas, where the straight, flat countryside was largely fields with trees along the border. We got to see a crop-duster at work, which was also a new experience.

This mountain-girl started yawning at all the flat, straight lines in Arkansas and Texas (sorry, natives!), but there was definitely something about the sheer vastness that made me able to see the allure. I could just imagine that the first travelers from the east, after navigating those treacherous mountains, finally reaching this and thinking, "Oh my. Just look at all that land!"

We had a great trip, and tomorrow I'll wrap my mind around some of the reflections I had while there. But today seemed like a good time to focus on the trip itself, and this amazing land that drew so many amazing people to it.

6 comments:

  1. It's rather spectacular when crossing the vastness by road, isn't it? I've managed to traverse it that way and also by train, which I preferred, as the train allowed me to walk about and read. I remember being surprised as I drove the length and breadth of Europe that the rivers were so narrow and the open spaces so much smaller.

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip, Roseanna. What a diverse and beautiful country we live in!

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  3. I love long road trips. Just sitting in the car with family reading, talking, listening to something, just watching the world roll by. Does your family enjoy car travel?

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    1. Starting to! At 6 and 4, the kids are finally to those ages where it's more doable and they can entertain themselves. We loved listening to them play for hours. =)

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  4. What a fun trip! I'm glad to hear you're going to Dallas for conference and I hope to meet you there :)

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    1. My agent told me my job this year was to drink coffee and have fun talking to people, so by all means! ;-)

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