From Sea to Shining Sea…Well, Almost.

Image via Eric Abrahamsen

Here we are approaching the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and I don’t know about y’all, but in my neck of the woods folks have been sporting red white and blue for two weeks already.

My family and I have embarked on a road trip that will take us all the way to the West coast, so while it’s not quite a Manifest Destiny vacation, it’s still from Gulf to Shining Sea so we’ll give it a pass.

Image via Elizabeth Abrahamsen

On the way so far we have seen some incredible sights. We stopped in Arizona to take a gander at the Grand Canyon, and then moved on into Nevada to check out the Hoover Dam. Eventually we will make it into California to see the Giant Sequoias and then onward to the Pacific coast.

Image via Elizabeth Abrahamsen

One thing that always strikes me when visiting this nation’s natural wonders is how many people from other countries show up to appreciate them. At the Grand Canyon I identified at least five languages being spoken around me, and there were three more I didn’t recognize. It makes me proud of the stunning beauty America possesses that it draws people from all over the world to view it.

On the road I’ve seen some interesting warning signs.

In New Mexico we encountered poetic road signs informing us that “Gusty winds may exist”. That wording seemed funny to me, but those winds are no joke. Darn near blew us off I-40.

In Arizona there are road signs that warn drivers that they’re in a “Blowing dust area”. That seemed funny too at first, given that the whole state seemed to be a blowing dust area. However, that sign is also serious. Apparently, a few days ago, several people were killed in a blowing dust accident that shut down I-10.

When we entered California traffic slowed as drivers were forced through an “Agricultural Inspection”. We wondered what would be involved in an agricultural inspection. Apparently some people ahead of us were pretty worried about it, because someone has jettisoned a watermelon a little way beyond the sign.

As it turned out, we probably could have smuggled in all the watermelons we wanted because they weren’t actually stopping anyone at the checkpoint. Apparently the state of California is unconcerned with contraband watermelons.

Image via Elizabeth Abrahamsen

At Hoover Dam it was 116 degrees outside. It was like walking through an oven. We arrived about 20 minutes before the last tour of the day, so we had to hurry. I have written quite a lot about the heat in Texas, but having experienced it now, I’d say the heat in Arizona puts it to shame. I carry a buck knife in my purse, my Dad’s last Christmas present to me before he passed this March. Knives aren’t allowed in Hoover Dam, so the security guards asked me to return it to my car before going on the tour. Because it was so close to the tour start time I ran – foolishly – up four flights of stairs and through the parking garage in that heat to put my knife away. I was literally praying the entire time. *Spoiler Alert* I lived. Thank you God.

As we approach the Fourth of July, I feel eternally grateful to have been blessed to be born an American. Our nation is far from perfect, but I sure love it.

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