Sumoflam’s #AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal: Wanderlust

Last year I decided to take on a challenge from my author friend Tui Snider, namely, to participate in the 2016 Bloggers A to Z Challenge.  It was not easy.  The rules of the challenge are to post 26 blog posts, one a day, except on Sundays, and all based on a self-defined theme and in alphabetical order. You can see my entire list of last year’s posts with links on my Reflections Post from May 2016.  Check it out at http://lessbeatenpaths.com/a-to-z-challenge-complete-list/

Ultimately, despite the grueling challenge, I have decided to tackle it again this year.  Read more to see the theme!

Travel the US

As a travel blogger (and sometimes blogger of things odd and quirky and offbeat), I plan on keeping my theme along the same lines.  From the time I was 5 or 6 years old I have had a wanderlust-filled life. My desire to see the world has continued into my 60th year of life.

 

My best definition of wanderlust comes from one of my favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien.  He is famed for the quote “Not all those who wander are lost.”  This comes from a poem (“All That is Gold Does Not Glitter“) in “Fellowship of the Ring,” one of the three books in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Not All Who Wonder….

The unique thing about WANDERLUST is that it doesn’t just have to be on travel.  It can be defining course in one’s life.  I even created a Selfie Meme with a play on Tolkien’s words.  “Not all who wonder are uncertain.”  Life is full of discovery and I hope to show a few wanderlust discoveries over the month of April.

Novelist Roman Payne wrote in “Europa: Limited Time Edition

Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both “at one with” and “separate from” the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.

US Highway 2 near Browning, Montana and US Highway 89

So, come wander with me along the glorious paths of discovery as I chart a course from A to Z in April.

 

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Life Gets Busy But I Still Try To Enjoy The Ride

Somewhere in Oregonia, OH
Somewhere in Oregonia, OH

Recently, life has gotten pretty hectic for old Sumoflam.  So much so that my blogs are taking a beating and seemingly forgotten.  I am now teaching Japanese full time at the University of Kentucky and that, coupled with my website work, has taken a toll on available time.

Sunbeams through the trees at Jacobson Park in Lexington, KY
Sunbeams through the trees at Jacobson Park in Lexington, KY

Traveling, blog writing and photography are my passions.  They are my art.  When I can’t be working on them, it hurts. I feel like I am missing out on some of life’s joys.

Today we are traveling to the Pittsburgh area and I had a few minutes to write a couple of notes.  I have had some travel opportunities in the past few weeks…Ohio, Nashville and now Pittsburgh.  These make me happy.

Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia - taken when we visited the Virginia Creeper Bike Trail
Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia – taken when we visited the Virginia Creeper Bike Trail
Washington Court House in Washington CH, Ohio
Washington Court House in Washington CH, Ohio

So, for the past couple of months we have seen beautiful sunsets in Ohio, bike trails in Virginia, hung with Antsy McClain in Nashville and just been generally busy, trying to make time on the weekends to be together and escape from the rigors of week day life.

Following are just a couple more pics I want to share.  Soon I will be back at blogging as I figure out how to budget my time and make time for this enriching passion of mine.

At Nashville's oldest eatery - Elliston Place Diner - in late September
At Nashville’s oldest eatery – Elliston Place Diner – in late September

I still have posts about Bike Trails, Central Ohio, Nashville, Virginia and more in the works

In the meantime, enjoy a couple of pics and enjoy the ride.  Life is awesome, but its getting better.

Old Train Station in Killbuck, OH
Old Train Station in Killbuck, OH
While in Nashville last weekend, there was a massive gas shortage. Many stations ran out of gas.
While in Nashville last weekend, there was a massive gas shortage. Many stations ran out of gas.
Sunset at Jacobson Lake in Lexington, KY
Sunset at Jacobson Lake in Lexington, KY
Welcome to Virginia...taken in early August
Welcome to Virginia…taken in early August
Hanging with my dear friend Antsy McClain in Nashville in mid-September
Hanging with my dear friend – singer/songwriter/artist/poet Antsy McClain in Nashville in mid-September
Enjoyed a lovely sunset in Dublin, OH in early September
Enjoyed a lovely sunset in Dublin, OH in early September
An old Mail Pouch barn in Brinkhaven, OH
An old Mail Pouch barn in Brinkhaven, OH along the Little Miami Bike Trail

 

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A to Z Challenge: The X Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique towns. To see what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

XThe X Towns

For the X towns, I am taking a little deviation.  Since there are really only two places in the United States whose names begin with X (namely Xenia, Ohio and Xenia, Illinois), I am including a few places that have X in the name as well.

Xenia, Ohio

Welcome to Xenia, OH
Welcome to Xenia, OH
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876
Charleston Mill Covered Bridge built in 1882
Charleston Mill Covered Bridge built in 1882
Stevenson Road Covered Bridge built in 1877
Stevenson Road Covered Bridge built in 1877
Ballard Road Covered Bridge built in 1883
Ballard Road Covered Bridge built in 1883
Clifton Mill in Clifton, OH
Clifton Mill in Clifton, OH

Xenia, Ohio is in central Ohio and is the County Seat for Greene County. I visited the town in 2008 specifically to hit the many covered bridges in the area.  Though most are not really in Xenia, but rather are in Greene County, Xenia was just the main destination.  Greene County has at least seven of them.  I have pictured a few above.  An, not far from Xenia is the town of Clifton and there is a bridge there as well as the Clifton Mill.  A great place to visit.  You can see more photos and read the history of these bridges on my 2008 post HERE.

Lexington, Kentucky

This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Thoroughbred Park
Thoroughbred Park
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park

OK.  I admit it.  Lexington, KY is my home town.  There is a great deal to see here as this is the Horse Capital of the World and also the center of the Bourbon industry.  The city has some great eateries (try the Lexington Diner!!) It is the home of Keeneland Race Track, the Kentucky Horse Park and now also has a couple of dozen murals.  Rather than provide links, just go to this blogs’ Search Bar and type in Lexington to see a number of posts about Bourbon Trails, Horse Photos and the amazing murals and wall art that dot the city thanks to the PRHBTN group and LexArts.

Texarkana, Arkansas

Texarkana
Texarkana
Texarkana Water Tower
Texarkana Water Tower

Texarkana, Arkansas (and its neighbor in Texas) share a common road and share a post office, the only US Post Office that sits on a state line and is on two states. See more about one of my many visits (or drive thrus) of this town HERE.

Oxford County, Ontario

Snow Countess - large cow statue in Woodstock, Ontario
Snow Countess – large cow statue in Woodstock, Ontario
Woodstock, Ontario water tower
Woodstock, Ontario water tower
Jakeman's Maple Products - Beachville, Ontario
Jakeman’s Maple Products – Beachville, Ontario
Bruce Windmill Farm - Woodstock, Ontario
Bruce Windmill Farm – Woodstock, Ontario
Tulips in Oxford County, Ontario
Tulips in Oxford County, Ontario

I have mentioned in my blog posts a number of times that I spent 8 months living in Woodstock and Paris, Ontario.  Woodstock is the seat of Oxford County, which offers an abundance of interesting places to visit including the location of the first baseball game played in North America.  Read more on my detailed 2008 post HERE.

Rexburg, Idaho

Rexburg, ID
Rexburg, ID
Rexburg, Idaho LDS Temple
Rexburg, Idaho LDS Temple
Big Jud's Country Diner - Rexburg, Idaho
Big Jud’s Country Diner – Rexburg, Idaho

I spent a few weeks in Rexburg, Idaho in 2013 and got to travel extensively.  Nestled in the mountains of Idaho, it is close to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  It is a small college town and home of BYU-Idaho.  Definitely a great place to visit.  Check out my detailed post about Rexburg (one of many) HERE.

Cotopaxi, Colorado (Honorable Mention)

Cotopaxi Store, Cotopaxi, Colorado
Cotopaxi Store, Cotopaxi, Colorado
Sange de Cristo Range near Cotopaxi as seen from CO Cty Hwy 1A
Sange de Cristo Range near Cotopaxi as seen from CO Cty Hwy 1A
US 50 south near Cotopaxi, Colorado
US 50 south near Cotopaxi, Colorado

In 2013 I drove from Rexburg, Idaho to Dallas, Texas for business.  Part of the trip took me on US Highway 50 which went through the small, but beautiful Cotopaxi, Colorado. See the entire trip HERE.

Exie, KY (Honorable Mention)

Greasy Creek Homestead in Exie, KY
Greasy Creek Homestead in Exie, KY

Not much to say other than there is a place called Exie, Kentucky and it has this Greasy Creek Homestead place.   It lies at the intersection of U.S. Route 68 with Kentucky Routes 487 and 745, south of the city of Greensburg.

Texline, Texas (Honorable Mention)

Texline, Texas
Texline, Texas
Main Street of Texline
Main Street of Texline
Sumoflam at Texas Border in Texline, Texas
Sumoflam at Texas Border in Texline, Texas

Like Exie, Texline, Texas is a blink your eyes and you’ll miss it place.  On the border of New Mexico and Texas, the town is in northwestern Dallam County, Texas and has a population of about 500. The town is named for its location near the New Mexico-Texas state line.  I drove thru there in 2013 on the same day as I drove through Cotopaxi, Colorado above.

Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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A2Z-BADGE [2016]

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