Since I have road tripped around the USA from the Sixties (the decade) to the Sixties (my age), I have discovered a lot of amazing places.
And it seems like for every trip, there’s been a few discoveries that have really stood out.
For instance, I was once hired to do writing, photography, marketing, etc. for a nutraceutical company based out of Iowa City, Iowa. Since I had never been there before, I just assumed I’d be working in some remote farm house surrounded by gigantic corn stalks. However, much to my delight, I was given a high rise guest suite right on the famed University of Iowa Ped Mall. And I was surrounded by great places to eat, drink, socialize, walk, etc.. so I was constantly intrigued and entertained.
Another example is when I finally said yes to my longtime friend, Jennifer Ricci who kept asking me to visit her in her little mountain town of Salida, Colorado. I think I fell in love with it long before I even got there because the drive over from Colorado Springs was just breathtaking – as in beauty, not my high altitude-induced wheezing. And once I got there I was blown away by the people, shops, restaurants, parks, downtown area, international kayaking championships, amphitheater concerts, and awesome river that runs right through it.
On this trip there were so many great new places, I can’t really name them all, so I’ll just pick three to discuss here.
Experiencing The Great In The Great Northwest.
There’s a reason the word “Great” appears before “Northwest” on maps and in literature. It is because it is both grand in size and spectacular in beauty. I had been to Seattle, Washington before to shoot weddings and events, but I had never driven it so I wasn’t prepared for the incredible grandeur. There are towns like Ashland, Oregon that are so charming you don’t want to leave! Then there’s the drive up near Mount Ranier where you can ride for hours in awe of the natural beauty around you. And just when you think you can’t possibly see anything that impressive, one tour through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho reminds you that there’s still a lot more to come.
I’ve Got Georgia On My Mind.
I have been to Atlanta, Georgia several times. The first time I was hitchhiking from Florida to Michigan and got picked up by a couple of thugs who wanted to roll me, but decided not to. (Thanks guys!) As we drove through Georgia on siphoned gas, I just prayed we wouldn’t get arrested. Another time was when I went to cover the Olympia Contest for Muscle and Fitness and FLEX magazines. Need-Les to say I was…wait for it…really pumped up about that trip. But this trip was the first time I spent a full week there getting to know the city. And I have to tell you, I was impressed. Atlanta has figured it out. They have this terrific mix of historic and contemporary, casual and sophisticated, practical and artsy, and big city and intimate neighborhoods. And the food? Well let’s just say that there’s a reason that Southern cooking is legendary.
I Was Glad I Traversed To Traverse.
Last, but not least, was Traverse City, Michigan. I have to say that this lakeside resort city was probably the biggest surprise on my trip. You see, the last – and only other – time I was in Traverse City was over 45 years ago when I went there to earn money picking cherries and driving tractor. But since there was absolutely nothing to do on the farm other than work and no women for miles, I said a quick good riddance and headed back home to the Detroit area. Well obviously a lot can happen in that span of time, and Traverse City stands to prove that sometimes that can be all good. The town absolutely crackles with energy. There’s great pubs, restaurants, shops beaches and parks that looks out on the magnificent body of water known as Grand Traverse Bay. So it is some place I definitely will come back to on a future trip to my home state.
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