From Purple Mountain’s Majesty

Looking west toward the Bitterroot Mountains o...

Looking west toward the Bitterroot Mountains over Missoula from Mount Sentinel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When I was a kid we took two trips out west to visit family in Colorado. It was fun seeing cousins I normally wouldn’t, camping out under the stars, playing with all the WW2 era surplus army gear those cousins had. We visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Rocky Mountain National Park, The Casa Bonita in Denver (think Chuck E Cheese with a Southwest theme), and The Flying W Ranch (twice!) All of that was great, but paled in comparison to the journey itself.

My dad may have a different recollection, but other than being car sick on the way home the first time, I don’t think I complained during the very long car ride. I loved looking out the windows and seeing everything our country had to offer, though I don’t think I was quite ready to articulate it in that manner yet. I got a deep thrill crossing the Mississippi (ha, nailed it first try.) I was awestruck by the traffic and expanse of Chicago. Even the long, unchanging waves of corn in Iowa were magnificent to my young eyes.

I love to travel, whenever I can, however short the commute. I enjoy changing scenery, while sitting back in a bus seat. I remember later taking the 57 hour Greyhound trip to move, however temporarily, to Missoula, MT. It was cramped and uncomfortable and by the end of it I stunk to high heaven (though not as much as the toilet in the back of the bus between Chicago and Milwaukee) and still I didn’t want the journey to end. Getting to see beautiful Madison, Wisconsin for the first time, herds of bison in North Dakota, and even the strange charm of Bismark left a lasting mark. I get the same enjoyment out of bus rides to and from NYC.

I want to do that again sometime soon. There is so much to see and do in America, and really you can do it on the cheap if you avoid the touristy garbage. I want to just hop on a Greyhound and head to Sacramento, or Austin, or Tampa, or wherever else in this country. We have a nearly four million square mile playground, and I want to make the most of it, from the Redwood Forest to the New York Island.




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