I remember, as a child, the sense of adventure I imagined as I sat looking out the window of the Greyhound bus we travelled on. Although the view was a blur at times it would depend on what vantage point I had and what I fixed my sight on. I just knew somewhere beyond the horizon lay something wonderful to see and experience.
Today, I realize that tourism is always there, just beyond the horizon, right in front of our noses past the windshield of our vehicles, be it a motor scooter, four-wheeler, family automobile, 18-wheeler or Greyhound bus.
I wondered if this was a dying phenomenon when I received a digital photo of the horizon, taken from an 18-wheeler, my road warrior son sent to me. The photo of the rugged mountain range was a jolt from the past and suddenly I was taken back to rolling tumble weeds, cacti protruding above rocky ground, and the bluest skies I’d ever seen where every now and then a collage of puffy white clouds would drift by.
Before planes many vacations took place by way of motoring there. Often times you ventured to nearby states; after all, most vacations were a week long so that meant you tried to keep it little more than a days drive away so you could actually vacation.
Beyond your horizon, was the view the vastness of a desert, or perhaps a seashore? And, if a mountain vista, where was your mountain range?
If you lived in Tennessee or North Carolina you might have traversed the Blue Ridge Mountains, known as the “physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains” beginning in the northern part of Georgia and ending in Pennsylvania. Known for their bluish hue when seen from a distance, the Blue Ridge Mountains features the Shenandoah National Park in their northern region and the Smoky Mountain National Park in its southern region.
If you traveled to New Mexico, as I did, you might have seen Sierra Blanca Peak, part of the Cimarron Range (often seen in Western movies) . . . or, if Missouri is your destination, perhaps you might spy Wildcat Mountain, which at 1,770 feet high is the second highest summit in Missouri. Wildcat Mountain and Taum Sauk Mountain are located in Arcadia Valley in Iron County, known as the lead belt region in Missouri for its abundance of iron ore. Its claim to fame might just be the Mark Twain National Forest named for the famed story teller and author. By the way, both New Hampshire and the State of Georgia feature a Wildcat Mountain as well.
Maybe the Black Hills of South Dakota is your destination, then Bear Mountain or its highest mountain, Harney Peak, might be in your horizon? The Black Hills is a “small, isolated mountain range” with its start from the Great Plains of North America in Western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming. This area, steeped in American Indian tradition has been a very popular tourist attraction throughout the years. The gold rush of 1874, the infamous Custer’s last stand, Crazy Horse, and Ellsworth Air Force Base all have common ground in this area.
Have you ever visited Paha Sapa or Mo ohta vo honaaeva (the Black Hills as known to the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians, respectively?)
The next time you are on the road, think of all the wonderful adventures that lie just beyond the horizon!