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Alex and I have been full-timing in the Airstream for two months. We’ve seen so much in such a short amount of time. We left South Carolina in late May and visited the Shenandoah Valley and Pennsylvania country. We spent our one year wedding anniversary in Williamsburg, Virginia (and ate the best steak on the planet at a place called Opus 9. THE BEST STEAK… EVER!!) We then ventured through the Deep South, visiting friends in Alabama and Mississippi (two states that, by the way, are seriously underrated as prime RV destinations. Want to know more about Deep South camping? Let us know.) Most recently, we visited Nashville, Tennessee, spent an evening at the Grand Ole Opry, and really enjoyed Music City to the max.
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I have had an absolutely amazing visit with my assistant and dear friend, Alex from @livingbitesized! Her and her husband Alan are just an amazing couple with hearts for the Lord! We are blessed to know them! Today we filled our bellies with southern grub from @lovelesscafe off the @thenatcheztrace! #Tennessee #tennesseeveterans #Blogger #friends #lovelesscafe #southernfried #southernfriends #Nashville #Nashvilleliving #MusicCity
Next week, we head to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, then to Amish country near Berlin, Ohio. Alex and her parents used to visit Amish country a good bit during her pre-Alan years. I’ve heard so much about it, so we’re going to see what the fuss is all about. The Amish are fascinating. Somehow, they’ve managed to keep a really old-fashioned, land-based lifestyle all the while the rest of the world continues to follow its consumer culture. Not to diss consumer culture. I like my gadgets and modern conveniences just as much as the next person. But I do have to admire those people who still manage to reject much of that for the purpose of maintaining a close sense of community. So, to Amish country we go. More on that after we get there.
But the main thing we’ve decided lately is that we want to go to Yellowstone this year. We originally planned to do this trip next year, but, we got the itch. After looking at other blogs describing the beauties and wonders of the Old West, especially those websites that claim early fall the best time to go, we couldn’t help it. We’re going.
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We have no clue how to go about planning this trip. We will be in north central Kentucky when we begin our journey west at the end of August. I think we’ll head out to I-80 so we can see Mt. Rushmore and the South Dakota badlands. We want to spend at least two weeks visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The plan is to come back east by way of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, then back to the Grand Ole South.
But I don’t want to view the West as a modern tourist. I’m fascinated with this trip because it gives me a chance to see those places, the landscapes, the geography, that beckoned Americans to go west in search of their new beginnings. I want to see the life of the American frontier. Historian Frederick Jackson Turner wrote in the 1890s that with the closing of the American frontier, American identity and culture would fundamentally change. I think he had a good point. The frontier represented for several hundred years the idea of landed independence for a great many American settlers. When land became scarce back east, when families ran out of luck and wanted to try something new, they headed West. In our time, Americans are more reliant on other people and less independent than at any other time in our country’s history. The Old West represents the mind of this country before modern life changed what it means to be an American.
Yes, we will see some of the typical tourist destinations, Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Rushmore, etc. But I want to see more. I want to get some sense, some better understanding of the American landscape that captured the hearts and minds of Lewis and Clarke, Thomas Jefferson, Theadore Roosevelt, and the many families who moved there to make a new start. I’ve often heard it said that if you want to see history, go to Europe, but if you want to see majestic countryside, go to the American West. I think we have a good representation of both history and majestic landscape in this country. America the Beautiful, God shed His grace on thee. In his “America, Why I love Her,” John Wayne asked, “Have you seen the mighty Tetons, and watched an eagle soar?” I want to be able to say yes to that question. That’s why we spent 8 months remodeling our Airstream. We do this so we can do what Airstream’s company motto says our Airstream should equip us to do: see more, do more, live more.
See our Airstream Remodel Reveal here!