Vacation mystery photos- Revealed

Well, we are finally home after 4184 miles, 11 states, 5 mountain ranges, 6 hotels, 672 photos, a car full of dirty clothes, and 46 state license plates (remember the license plate game? I understand not seeing Hawaii and Alaska, but we wondered why we didn’t come across New Hampshire and Idaho.)

Some of the photos I posted speak for themselves, but I promised to reveal the locales, so I shall. Part of the fun of a road trip is taking advantage of unplanned opportunities. Serendipity led us to some really great sites. I only wished we had more time to linger on the American roadways.

Fantasy Caverns, the only drive-through cavern in North America- Springfield, MO (Unplanned treat)

St. Louis Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO (we didn’t have time to tour the museum or travel to the top, but it was worth the stop to wander around the arch and marvel at the size and architecture.)

Lincoln’s Tomb (another unplanned stop. Unfortunately, we got there 15 minutes after closing. Darned traffic jam. How dare a trailer catch fire on the road ahead of us.)

Museum of Science and Industry – Chicago, IL (they have a special Harry Potter exhibit temporarily, though tickets were sold out. The museum is a must see.)

Cousin’s wedding- Schaumburg, IL – I don’t get to see my cousins and aunts very often so this was a huge treat. Part wedding / part reunion.

Monticello – Home of Thomas Jefferson – Charlottesvill, VA (a last minute detour when we realized how close we were travelling) What a remarkable home and beautiful grounds. Jefferson was truly a progressive architect.

Colonial Williamsburg, VA – Three days was not enough to soak it all in. We ate in the restored taverns, listened to the Declaration of Independece being read as it was in 1776, participated in street dramas, and joined a band of revolutionary soldiers for an insider’s perspective of training a rag-tag army. It was an amazing experience. As for the glass armonica concert- well, that was a highlight for me because of one of my current nonfiction projects. Such a boon to have the support of a premier expert in a field.

Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, TN – We enjoyed the music of Crystal Gale, Hal Ketchum, The Oakridge Boys, and several other groups and artists that I wasn’t familiar with. They even took commercial breaks to allow for their live radio show. Just downright cool!

Tennessee research- Thanks to my husband, I had a chance to research microfilm at a small Tennessee library plus donned white cotton gloves at the state archives. Only a writer would find this as thrilling as I did.

Crystal Digging in Hot Springs, Arkansas – Known as the crystal capital of the world, Arkansas has lured us to red-dirt moutaintops before. A perfect end to a frenetic road trip, digging in the dirt on a quiet, windswept mountain with nothing but tree tops as far as the eyes can see. True therapy. Oh, and buckets of sparkling crystals to boot – all for the price of $10. per day.