After a minor wrestling match with Blogger and, as it turns out, my outdated browser, I've managed to get back into my blog after a few weeks of having no luck! Sorry for the long silence. To those of you still reading this, I am home again in Santa Cruz, after our month-long travels through the midwest. In fact, in the last 4 months we have travelled over 10,000 miles through 18 states. The last trip was terrific, every day. Without writing reams about it, I'll try to share a few of my most memorable highlights of those last weeks on the road.
Milwaukee - the surprise city of this trip. I thought it was only a 'beer and brats' kind of town, but in fact it is vibrant and exciting. It has one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever entered, the art museum, sitting on the shore of the vast Lake Michigan. The museum was designed by the Spanish architect, Calatrava, and it looks from some points of view like a great white swan just lifting off into the sky over the lake. It is gorgeous, inside and out. Here are a few photos:Not only is the building stunning, but the art collection is magnificent too. The Bradley Collection emcompasses all of European and American contemporary art, with over 700 pieces donated by one collector.
Missouri - on our first visit there, we fell in love with the rolling countryside, leafy green trees, winding rivers, elegiac farms. One day we rented bikes and took a 30 mile ride on the Katy Trail, a bikes-only pathway that runs for 245 miles along the Missouri River, flat all the way. Despite our sore butts, we loved every minute of being able to get out into the woods and meadows and explore.
Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks. This was another first, and both of these national parks did not disappoint. The Tetons are shown below, at sunset.We saw bison, wolves, and dozens of elk. One of the most exciting moments was watching a pair of bull elk rutting, ramming their antlers together repeatedly, and then bellowing loudly as they repositioned themselves for another run-in.In Yellowstone, we explored the weird bubbling, steaming, simmering geyser areas scattered throughout the park. We watched "Old Faithful" gushing high into the air. Everywhere in these park the views were breath-taking, and the air was brisk and salubrious.Autumn. As California residents, experiencing seasons is always a treat. During the month of September, the autumn colors were advancing as we drove along. We saw golden aspen, willows, cottonwoods, flaming maples, and many other signs of the fall season. So often I thought of just the simple notion of "America the Beautiful", because this trip was all about that - from the wilds of Montana to the lakes of Minnesota to the prairies of Kansas to the Rocky Mountains, and everything in between. I've had such a bittersweet feeling, torn between immense love for our country and huge sadness at what we have become politically, militarily, and emblematically in the world. If anything I'm even more determined to fight back against the powers of fascism and extremism growing in our government. Today I signed up to work at the polls on election day, because I am deeply concerned about the validity of the American electoral process. For some reason I'm more frightened of fraud in the voting machines than all the saber-rattling about terrorists. I want our voting system to remain intact, untampered with, and reliable. For the last 6 years, it has been violated repeatedly, and without the soundness of our votes, our democracy is gone for sure. At least, I thought, I can do a small part to participate.
Anyway, it's great to be home again.