|Dan and I just returned from visiting family in the good ol' USA, and this year, we decided to be a little crazy and rent a car and drive from Arizona, to Connecticut, to South Carolina, and then back again. In between, we saw the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Tombstone, Long Island Sound, the Outer Banks, Charleston, Asheville, and Graceland. We racked up over 6,000 miles of highway driving and saw bits of disappearing America. Thank goodness for cars that average 30 miles to the gallon or more!
In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we rode the Ocracoke ferry and saw shoreline that hadn't changed in hundreds of years. In Charleston, where descendants of West African slaves still make sweet grass baskets like their great-great-great-great aunts did, development is destroying the sweet grass. I guess future generations could find other materials from which to make the baskets, but it's sad to think that one day this could be a lost art. I purchased a basket from a young male basket-weaver, which is a pretty rare sight. Basket weaving is traditionally a woman's art.
In Asheville, we once again stepped back in time to get to the top of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, in the thickest fog I can recall. I remarked to Dan that I wished I could capture the smell of balsam and Douglas fir trees with my camera. I've never been able to find an essential oil or incense that truly captures this fruity-piney smell. I look forward to Christmases with my house filled with the odor of fir tree, so I'm determined to find that elusive fragrance.
In Memphis, we visited Graceland and its surrounding exhibits. I was never a huge Elvis Presley fan growing up. By the time I was a teenager, Elvis was performing in Vegas and seemed to own the domain of middle aged women. I was more into David Bowie. Now that I'm a middle-aged woman, myself, I find myself fascinated with the world of Mr Presley - where he came from, what his values were ... and I confess that one of my guilty pleasures is to sit and watch Elvis movies. Visiting Graceland was one of the highlights of our trip.
Back in Tucson, I introduced Dan to the world of Halloween at Old Tucson. There, the old film studios are transformed into a world of zombies with haunted houses and live performances. Dan and I never laughed so much or had such a great time being "spooked."
To say that it was difficult to come back, knowing that work awaits us both tomorrow, is an understatement. I may live in Australia, but my heart is in my homeland and I can't wait to go back again. Sadly, road trips are a disappearing event in many people's lives now - with the price of fuel, concern over the environmental impact of long trips, and few people being able to take sufficient time off to "see the USA in your Chevrolet." I'm glad we did this as we may never get the chance again.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing about my impressions of things we did on our journey around the United States. I hope you'll come back to read about it and see the photos.
Labels: Halloween, tourism, travel