Time For Some Changes

When this blog began almost two years ago, it was partly an answer to calls from friends who wanted to know about my adventures. It was partly a distraction from a major life change. It was partly an outlet for sharing words and pictures that matter to me.

In the beginning it was mostly about my travels both far from home and in my own backyard. The blog has evolved some. I still tell those stories but occasionally share about other things happening in my world – food, books, Scout, and the random things that turn my head.

Daffodil 2020It’s time for things to shift again, at least for a while. As I type, I’m staring at my hands which are dry and sometimes bloody from the near compulsive hand washing that has become socially acceptable. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day for adventure but there’s nowhere to be. It’s too windy to go outside so when I get up from this desk, it will be to go to another room to perhaps read a book or organize something or maybe just take a nap.

I’m not complaining because I’m safe at home. I’m not a victim of this pandemic but a lucky human who is healthy, who has a safe place to live, and plenty to eat. There are a ton of things to do in this house and one day life will go back to normal.

Meanwhile, plans are on hold or perhaps just cancelled. Book talks and concerts have been postponed. My list of museums, restaurants and junk shops to visit keeps getting longer. I’m looking at small businesses in my community – a riding stable that does guided trail rides, an antique store, and a host of others that I worry for because times are always tough for a small business without having all their customers quarantined. How much can I afford to support these businesses when this is all over?

Plans for my epic summer vacation are now on hold to the degree that I gathered up all the brochures and maps and stuffed them in a drawer. It’s almost too much to hope that I’ll be able to go.

Obviously, I have no new adventures to tell you about right now.

Part of me wants to just live in this quiet world I wake up in every day. And it is quiet. It’s made up mostly of books, music and birdsong. I’m currently working from home so that keeps me busy. Scout entertains me too but there are days I don’t even turn on the tv except to hear the governor give his daily briefing. While others are going stir crazy, trapped in prisons of their own making, I’m perfectly fine. Disappointed about lost adventures, but fine because I know there are better days ahead.

So I’m going to shift things again, just a bit, and hopefully for not too long. When this is all over, I want all of us to be prepared to do something important. For those who can, I want us to go out into the world, boldly and without apology, to do all the things we cannot do today and to support the small businesses that need us more than ever.

Shop. Eat in a restaurant. Stroll through a museum. Fly. Stay in a hotel. Take that guided trail ride. Sit in a crowd of like minded people and listen to beautiful music. There’s so much to see and do. We need to go out and be part of it.

So I’m going to start talking about the places I want to go when this over and then I can tell you more about them after I visit. Someday.

There’s also probably going to be more stuff about what I’m reading, maybe some about music, and a little about what’s going on here in my very small corner of the world. Perhaps by looking more closely at my everyday life I can start to appreciate it more.

Life will return to normal someday and we need to be prepared for that inevitability. We also need to embrace the world we wake up in now because there’s no point in wishing our lives away by waiting for tomorrow.

It’s sort of a tight rope to walk.

Who’s with me? Comment and tell me how you’re coping and what you’re looking forward to doing when this is all over.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

This black and white image of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop was taken from Nashville’s busy Broadway Street. The store (and it’s fabulous sign) is a landmark and something I love to look for when I’m in town.

Founded by Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubb in 1947, it feels a bit like a country music time capsule.

They sell music, books and memorabilia. Plus, the service is good and they’re always happy to chat. Go support them if you’re in town.

Lady Liberty

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This is the view of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. A ride on the ferry is a free service offered by the city. Just remember that when you arrive, you have to get off and reboard the ferry.

This was a good day with friends. Someday I’ll go back and actually go inside the statue.

Push Hard

I am drawn to specific things – doors, old churches, vintage signs, weird architectural details, and informal signs.

This one made me laugh.

You’ll find it in downtown Douglas, Wyoming. You can read more about Douglas if you’re interested.

First there was the cool exhibit of Vintage trains.

Douglas looks like a modern Wild West town and I really liked it there.

And then there was the most unique church I’ve ever seen.

Not to mention the rainbow we saw after failing to climb the mountain.

And more about that trip.

Half the fun of traveling is reminiscing about the place we’ve been!

Wall Drug

If you’ve ever traveled I-90 through South Dakota, you’ve no doubt noticed signs for Wall Drug. That’s because they are everywhere.  The Burma Shave style signs entice weary travelers into their palace of extravagance – food, entertainment and shopping for as far as they eye can see!

After a quiet morning exploring the Badlands, neither of us were prepared for the circus that awaited us at Wall Drug. Well, actually, my pal Johnna was because she had been there before. She warned me that it would be awful but I wanted to see for myself.

I am glad that we went and now can say I’ve been there but have no desire to ever return. There were hoardes of people everywhere – in lines, in stores, in the hallways, in the restaurants and blocking basically anything you would want to see. There were lots of opportunities to buy and eat as well as free photo ops.

We found a quiet corner in one of the dining rooms and the veggie burger wasn’t bad. The aggressively marketed Wall Drug has a long and storied past. It started out as your average drug store that was struggling to survive. One hot summer the owners began advertising to the automobile passengers along the highway that they would find free ice water at Wall Drug. What began as a clever way to bring in potential customers has ballooned into a multi building complex that pulls in scores of visitors every year.

By the way, don’t order water if you’re truly thirsty. I would have paid anything they wanted for a large glass of ice water but their free water is tiny – like the little cup they give you to swish with at the dentist.

The history buff in me loves their story. The introvert in me would rather not spend a lot of time there. But if you don’t mind crowds and are looking for some family friendly fun in South Dakota, I say go give it a shot. And honestly, it’s the kind of thing that roadies should see at least once.

Want to learn more? Click here to read their story!

The Jerrie Mock Story

On this day in 1964 an Ohio woman set out to make history. Her name was Jerrie Mock and her goal was to be the first woman to fly solo around the world.

You likely think this record was set by Amelia Earhart but you would be wrong. It was an Ohioan, a housewife who wanted to do something important who set this record.

She departed Columbus in a single engine Cessna 180 that she christened the “Spirit of Columbus.” It took 29 days to cover the nearly than 23,000 miles, besting a California woman who was simultaneously attempting the same feat.

I had heard Jerrie’s story before but recently read a book about her. In fact, it’s the only book about her in print today. The only other book I know of is something Jerrie wrote about the journey that has been out of print for decades.

This particular book is a biography for young readers and it’s well done but it’s a biography for young readers, for crying out loud.

There have been shelves of books written about male aviators. The only female aviator to get much attention at all is Amelia Earhart and most of what is written is centered on her disappearance and the conspiracy theories surrounding what happens.

Even Bessie Coleman who I told you about earlier this year has just a few volumes despite her trailblazing life and career.

Some documentaries about the women’s air races of the twenties and work done about the WASPs of World War II have shown a fresh light on womens’ contributions to aviation but it seems like we can do better.

Jerrie Mock sounds like a real character and like my kind of gal. She struggled mentally to keep her schedule because she wanted to sightsee in the exotic places where she stopped!

I would be the same way, likely deciding halfway through to sacrifice the record for cultural enrichment and photo ops.

She set several records during her aviation career and received countless honors but her accomplishments have very much been lost to time. Instead of being a household name like Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh, she’s a novelty. A trivia question.

And that’s a darn shame.

If you’re interested, her plane is on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. If you can’t make it there, I hope you’ll at least read the book and tell her story to others as a way to honor this woman.

Street Art

There’s an amazing alley in Rapid City, South Dakota where graffiti artists can legally leave their mark.

It’s a brilliant method to tamping down on graffiti around the city and one of those most surreal places I’ve seen.

There were several pieces that caught my eye. Here’s just one.

Incidentally, I don’t recall reading about this in any brochures. We found it because we parked the car and walked around. When you visit a new place, get out and explore. You never know what you’ll find!