It’s been so much fun staying off the Interstates (when possible) and keeping to  the  back roads to get in touch with the towns like I remember doing when I’d  travel  Georgia with my father as a child in the 1950’s. He was the Public  Relations Photographer for the numerous Governors for the State of Georgia over 25 years. When  the current Governor told Dad to cover a specific  event, Dad went and, when possible, I went with him. I sat on the laps of  Governors and knew many important State Legislators; that’s how it was  being his daughter. But, the most   impressionable part of it all to me was traveling those  country roads. I’d sit quietly in his car, imagining what the life was like in the  house we’d just passed where the people were sitting on the porch next to the  old wringer washing machine; the lights inside  barely glowed and looked more like candlelight than like Edison’s invention.

It was  all mystical and alluring but unsettling all at the same time to this little  girl  who was as young as 5  on her first great adventure with her dad. Who were   these people? Where did they work so far away from civilization? Did they play  Checkers? What did those children do during those long, hot, South Georgia  summers? Did they have a swimming hole like we did or a lake?  A million and  one questions raced through my young mind formulating stories, lives yet all the while trying to keep a very low profile so my dad wouldn’t quiz me with words to spell  in rapid fire fashion. Not only was I supposed to know how to spell words at 5  like “kudzu” but also remember the history of it in our state, etc. Needless to say,  I wandered off into their world to avoid answering his questions wrong!

Yep, it was then that I fell in love with country roads and their stories. And, I  guess, it was the hope that the ambiance of the small town still existed almost  60 years later that sent me on the first Great Adventure in 2009. I’m happy to tell you all that it does exist. The rapid rate of technological advancement has NOT deleted this wonderful attribute of our country. Thank you, God!

It’s the back roads I take, the Mom and Pop places where I sleep at night, fill up my truck and buy my food that keep me feeling alive. No big chain stores for me… except for the Truck Stops  (aka Welcome Centers) when the Interstate can get me where I  really want to be mo’ faster so I can spend more time off ’em!

As the weather has been unpredictable with high winds, rain and snow, I really haven’t even been able to pop-up the pop-up as yet. You just can’t fold up a wet pop-up without ruining your bedding and probably the particle board underneath. So, it’s been motel-ville for me. Not what I wanted, but as a friend of mine reminded me, “It’s what’s NOT planned that’s the most fun!” Thanks Big Ed-2 (not to be confused with Big Ed-1, my bro).

So, it was the Mom and Pop in Chugwater, WY and the Mom and Pop near Bryce  Canyon that tell the stories of how families stick together for the greater good of  all. Nice stuff.

At Buffalo Lodge and Grill in Chugwater known to serve the famous “Chugwater  Chili” (307-422-3463), the owner of the facility had become too sick to run the  place so the family stepped up to the plate… not just immediate blood-type  family but in-laws and out-laws alike doing the cooking, cleaning, managing  and baby sitting for those working. There was the cutest little 4-year-old girl  chirping around the small lodge. She ran back and forth between her grandma  in the restaurant to her mom/or aunt behind the desk. I really liked seeing that  part of Americana that appears to be lost in the big cities like Atlanta.

At Harold’s Place (435-676-2350) near Bryce Canyon (at the junction of Hwy.   89 and 12), I met Christy (sp?/Kristi/Christie), the daughter of the Mom and Pop   establishment. She rattled off her duties in rapid fire succession… manager,   landscaper, gardener, security, cook, waitress, bottle washer and overall get ‘er   done lady. When a Brit came into the restaurant and asked her what they   served, she replied, “Food” in the driest of British humor that totally went over   the Brit’s head! It was all I could do to keep from throwing out one of my   spontaneous, turrets like guffaws at her wonderful, Utahns British dry humor.   Thanks, Christy/Kristi/Christie! And, also, a special shout out to  Marty/Mardi (again sp?)  who had recently been hired to help with the hotel part of Harold’s. She’s   following along with me on this Great Adventure. Christy/Kristi/Christie   doesn’t touch computers and doesn’t even want to because they lock up, freeze  up or just go crazy when she touches them. She leaves all that to her dad   (harold@color-country.net).

And, as in the past few days, I woke up to more snow! So, off I went from   Harold’s to explore Bryce Canyon. Boy, was I glad I’d gotten my Senior Lifetime   National Park Pass in Georgia for a whopping $10.o0! It saved me the $25.00   fee to see the small but impressive park.

It snowed all the way through yet another aptly named “Red Canyon” (this one  in Dixie National Forest) to get to an overcast, snowy Bryce. Here’s what it  looked like going through Red Canyon on the way to Bryce.

going through Red Canyon to Bryce

more Red Canyon

Now, finally, at the famous Bryce Canyon:

Bryce

Natural (?) Bridge

At Bryce Peak

coming back out of Bryce

coming out of Bryce 2

Now it was onto Zion National Park going west on Hwy. 9. I had no way of  knowing the magnificent views and white-knuckle driving waiting me around  the bend.

Entering Zion

no stopping for pix... this is on-the-go photo ops

right before the white knuckle driving started & battery in camera ran dry

Ava and I will be driving through Zion (going east this time) to camp there (if  space is available) on our way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Four  Corners and other points east on our way back to Atlanta. Even with bad weather, I saw lots of tents and bicyclers in Zion. They must all be young!

As for now, I’m settled in at Ava’s home for the next couple of weeks in Vegas- Baby. I will keep you posted on our adventures here and photos when they can be  published! Just kidding. We’re not all that rowdy any more! Really. Why don’t  you believe me?

See you all soon and thanks, again, for joining me on this Great Adventure. I am  so truly blessed to have this opportunity of combining the three things I love  most in life: my daughter, writing and travel.

Happy trails!

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