The human eye is a miracle, its abilities far more capable than any camera at capturing and processing what it sees. No photo could distill the world’s majestic beauty onto paper or the screen. The eye scans near, then far, and back again, interpreting depth of field, color, texture. “Though nothing can bring back the hour/Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower,” that didn’t keep me from taking photographs attempting to preserve memories of our trip. (Credit to Wordsworth)

 What makes some people content never to stray beyond the county where they were born while others year to see beyond every horizon?

The mountains in Utah are works of art, the hillsides lined and swirled with streaks of color, with  shades of sand, gray, terra cotta, green, and golden brown. It would take a giant box of crayons to duplicate the colors.

What demonic spirit possesses a human being and makes him want to join a bike race on a major US highway in Utah with 6 and 8% grades in 100 degree heat?

In Texas, I had no problem reading as we drove along the Interstate; In Colorado, Utah, and Oregon, books couldn’t compete with the scenery, no matter how fantastic they were!

Thank you, Lady Bird Johnson, for your campaign to sow wildflowers along the nation’s highways. Their beauty brought me, and countless others, great joy.

Thank you to all the presidents who preserved land through our national park system. The parks are truly a national treasure.

The human spirit strives to create beauty. Even in the least habitable places, like Barstow, California, the campground owners strove to create a pleasant environment with oleanders and cool trees.

Speaking of the California desert, what made anybody look over that barren land and decide to call it home?

I was excited to see road signs for Weedpatch and Arvin as we drove along CA58. My friend Elizabeth Strickland lived there after her family fled the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma. She and her family picked crops in the California fields. Elizabeth received her education at a school ahead of its time in providing quality vocational training.

Best Campsites:

Sequoia Ranch, near Sequoia National Park, where we positioned camp chairs in the gentle current of a melodious stream and exchanged life stories with neighbors whose names we never got, watching their children tube past.

Polson RV Resort, at the southern end of Flathead Lake in Montana. The view of the lake and mountains lifted the soul.

Best National Parks We Visited:

Crater Lake. The beauty of those blue waters is beyond compare.

Sequoia, Umpqua National Forest, and Armstrong State Redwood Preserve. All for the same reason: the ancient souls of those trees.

Olympic, particularly Ruby Beach for the abundant sea life stranded in tidal pools.

Mesa Verde. The chain of human history.

Favorite States Visited:

Oregon

Western Montana

Least Habitable Places Visited:

Barstow, CA

Tie, other parts of state without trees (Eastern Montana, Central Wyoming, South Dakota except for area near Rapid City and Rushmore.

Best Meal Out:

The Girl and the Fig restaurant in Sonoma. From the cheese and fruit board to the sautéed flounder to the flight of white wines—simply perfect.

Shortys in Moses Lake—a fried egg breakfast sandwich that defines comfort food.

Worst Roads:

I-10 between Lafayette, LA, and the eastern Texas border

CA freeway from Texas border to San Francisco

Interstate in Iowa and Arkansas

What We Hope To See on the Next Trip West That We Missed This Time:

Yellowstone

Grand Teton

Glacier

Rushmore and Custer State Park

Northern Colorado

More Oregon Coast

Advertisements