Posted by: Talie Morrison | June 25, 2012

US Road Trip

This spring (after my Haiti trip), I took 6 weeks and did a “road trip” the to the mid-west and southern states of the USA.  It was all planned around my cousin, Mara’s, wedding, which was in Cincinnati on May 12th.

My first stop was Denver (now that’s not very far!).   I spent 5 days there helping with a Landmark Advanced Course.   My job was “Course Leader Support” – which is my favorite Landmark volunteer job.   It’s a great job for a “mother” – because you get to “mother” the course leader!   Things like: picking the leader up at their hotel and driving them to the course site, being sure there is water and throat drops in the front of the room, fixing his/her snacks and meals, escorting them to the break room, etc.   By my being in charge of all those logistics, the course leader can totally focus on the participants and their experience of the course.   So that took me through Tuesday night (May 1st).

So on May 2nd, Gray Jay (and Tengu) and I headed cross country to Gambier which is just East of Columbus Ohio.   My friends, Jane and Robin, live in Gambier and Jane works at Kenyon College.   It took me 2.5 days to drive from Denver to Gambier – but I still say, “A long-distance truck driver lives in my heart somewhere!”   I love the long drives!   Usually, I am happier driving West of the Mississippi River because there seems to be less traffic – but this time not even that bothered me…   I was totally loving the greenery alongside the roads – even the interstates – there are SO many trees and green grass and in many places lots of wildflowers growing in the medians.   It was a beautiful drive along Interstate 70 all the way.   I had a bit of “live entertainment” when I was stopped by an Illinois Patrol Car.   I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong (not even speeding) but they stopped me because I was wearing my “ear buds” (hey when you don’t have air conditioning, and it is really hot, and all my windows are open, it is the only way I can hear my music!).   But what really was happening was that they were “profiling” me – looking for drugs being transported from West to East.   I kept laughing when the cop kept asking me if I had drugs/ marijuana with me.   They even wanted to see in the back of my truck – and then their comment was “looks like you sleep back here”.   That is certainly a true statement!   I thought the whole thing was total live entertainment and broke up the monotony of the drive.   (I will admit that after they had checked out the back of my truck, and after I quit laughing,  I pulled over and checked to be sure they hadn’t “planted” any drugs back there!)  Too funny!

I had a wonderful week with Jane and Robin.   I did lots of bike rides and doggie walks!   May is such a beautiful month in Ohio!

Then, down to Cincinnati (only a couple of hours driving) for a weekend of dressing up and going to parties.   Mara and Madison’s wedding was beautiful, and it was so fun to go to so many of the places that I knew when I was growing up.   Most of you who know my “lifestyle”, know that it does not lend itself to a closet full of fancy clothes.   So I was blessed with friends in Crested Butte that let me “shop” in their closets!   I was totally decked out for rehearsal dinner, formal wedding, “High Tea” on the Country Club lawn, dinner and reception, and Sunday Mother’s Day brunch!   I even had a manicure and pedicure to complete my package! 🙂 I haven’t dressed up like that in years and it was way fun!

From Cincinnati, I headed down to North Carolina – from one set of memories to another!   I spent time with Bev and Will in Boone and even got a chance to go to Spruce Pine and visit the Montessori School that 3 of us started in 1972.   It does my heart good to know that it is still in operation and I totally loved visiting and seeing all the kids “doing their thing”!   Then I spent some time with my nephew, Trey, and his family.   Trey took me out for a couple of hikes in those beautiful NC mountains – I had forgotten how lush and green they were!   And of course, everything was decked out in Spring Green!

From there I took a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah National Park – again it was beautiful!!! Even though I wasn’t hiking it, I was still enjoying the vistas from my windows!   Then I headed back to NC and spent several days with my friends Tamara and Ron.   Tamara was one of the other mothers who started the Montessori school in Spruce Pine.   Again, I was glad that I had my bicycle with me, because I could pedal around and get some exercise at the same time as enjoying the area!

This took me up to Memorial Day Weekend (May 25th).   I didn’t want to have to deal with the crowds for Memorial Day, so I wanted (as much as possible) to be off the main roads and touristy areas.   So I decided to go “to the woods” and spend the weekend at my brother, Craig’s, cabin in the North Georgia mountains.   First, I spent a night at a beautiful spot in Western North Carolina called Max Patch (suggested by Ron and Tamara).   It is along the Appalachian Trail and is a beautiful “bald” mountain with some pretty spectacular views!   I camped out there with “Gray Jay”, so I was able to enjoy not only sunset but also sunrise!   Loved it!

From Max Patch, I drove down the Northern Georgia (yes, there are “mountains” in N. GA!).   Craig’s cabin borders the Cohutta Wilderness Area and it is along the Jacks River.   Very beautiful area!   There were several other families camping there too – so I had a wonderful time playing with kids and enjoying the beautiful pine trees and feeling Craig’s spirit in the area.   (Craig died in 1995 – and his ashes are buried near the cabin at the Jones Cemetery.)

From North Georgia, I headed down to NW Florida.   Oh, my gosh, even more of a trip down “memory lane”!   My parents built a small one bedroom brick house back in 1940, out in the “boonies” of NW Florida  on a little lake called “Page Pond”.  I declare it is one of the few places in the US that hasn’t changed in the last 70 years!!!   We used to go there for vacations and hang out on the lake (I learned to water ski there!), in the woods and in the swamps – along with the alligators and rattle snakes!   🙂   I didn’t see any of those guys, but then I didn’t exactly go looking for them either!   It was peaceful in the extreme!   My brother Langdon (he is gone too) did a lot to fix it up, and now his daughter Nicole is also taking care of it.   Being there, I felt the spirits of my mom and dad come through me!  I actually had a hard time leaving and stayed an extra day!   It was great!

While I was staying at the lake house, I took one day and went down to Destin, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico.   Oh, the white sand beaches down there!   My friend, Ann, took me on a bike ride – not many hills along the beach – but there was plenty of “heat”!   I also wanted to do a bit of a walk on the sands and get my toes in the Gulf waters!

Now to the East Coast of Florida – I visited with my friends Jack and Ramona (part time residents of Crested Butte).   We biked along the inland waterways in that area.   Again, there aren’t many hills, but you have to go really early in the morning or the heat and humidity would get you!

From there I went down and spent a couple of nights with my niece, Nicole (Langdon’s daughter) and her husband, Derek.   They have a wonderful home with room for their two big Golden Retrievers and 4 chickens!    I didn’t expect to have a “farm” experience in Melbourne Florida!   🙂   It was great to hang out with them, and again, we were able to get some beach walking with my feet in the Atlantic!

My final stop was in Daytona Beach Florida.   My youngest son, Steve, and his family were vacationing there in Daytona.   So I was excited to see his condo and spend a couple of nights with them.   Chanda, Steve and I went for early morning walks on the beautiful Daytona beaches, and I played in the waves with my grandson, Gates.   I had forgotten how warm the ocean waters are there in Florida!   It was wonderful!

Having  finished all my “visiting”, it was time to start the long drive back to Colorado.   This time I thought I would try to do as little driving on interstate highways as possible.   It was actually shorter mileage wise, but it did take longer.   I found a couple of beautiful lakes to camp near in Arkansas and in Kansas (I don’t usually think of those states as “water states’!)   My last night I spent in Colorado Springs with my friend Carol – finally getting back to Crested Butte on June 15th!   What a wonderful “road trip”!

(But I wasn’t quite “finished” yet) – I spent the weekend in Crested Butte because that Sunday (June 17), my friend and minister, Tim, was celebrating 20 years at the UCC in Crested Butte.   That is pretty amazing!   So I really wanted to be there for that celebration, and I was glad I was!  ….  But with all this travel, I haven’t be able to see my other son, Craig, and his family.   So Monday (June 18th), I drove to Grand Junction and flew to California for a week on the West coast (with my feet in the Pacific of course!) 🙂  I had to get to Santa Barbara to celebrate with my grandson, Dakota, who has graduated from high school and has turned 18 years old!   Those are a couple of big milestones in a young man’s life.

So June 25th, I will fly back to Crested Butte for a month of beautiful Colorado hiking.   Things are pretty dry all across Colorado right now, so we are praying for some rain!   I’ll be in Crested Butte for about a month before I head to Spain to start a hike across the Pyrenees (stay tuned for more blog entries on that one!).   When I take time to look, there doesn’t seem to be any grass growing under my feet!  🙂



  1. What an amazing trip Talie 🙂

  2. You certainly don’t give time for the grass to grow. Go Girl and enjoy! Margaret

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