2018 April Blogging From A to Z Challenge: Theme Reveal

Friends out there in interweb…its that time of year again!  April is the “Blogging from A to Z Challenge” and for the third year in a row I will be participating and posting daily for the month of April, each day featuring the letter of the day.

Today I have chosen to reveal my theme for the 2018 version of the challenge and hopefully it will be fun!

During a good part of April I will be traveling across the United States and so my posting time will be limited.  Therefore, this year will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada.  I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines.

America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures

Welcome to Austin Mural – Austin, TX

My photos may be like the one above (Letter A) or may be of unique objects like the one below (Letter P – Pistachio – though it is from Alamagordo, NM).

World’s Largest Pistachio in Alamagordo, NM

I have taken 1000s of photos along the Less Beaten Paths of America and I continue to share them here and in social media.  I hope you will enjoy the ride with me on this A to Z adventure across America’s back roads!

Happy Happy Happy…yes, there is a Happy, KY
Books 1 & 2

Also — a reminder that you can get my first book, available on Amazon: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names (GET IT HERE).  I am working on Book 2 – Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, which I hope to have available on Amazon by the end of March 2018 or mid April.

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A is for Adventure – #atozchallenge

What is April A to Z?

Every April, bloggers from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers. To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then visit as many other bloggers as you can.

Today is day one of the A to Z bloggers challenge. I am focusing on Wanderlust and for my first post I will look at what is probably the biggest result of wanderlust. That is, adventure.

Those that travel in most cases do so for the adventure. Indeed, the opportunity to discover new things, experience new things and taste new things — all are part of the adventure of traveling.

Bayou at Caddo Lake in Texas
A back road in South Dakota

For me, as a back road travelographer, seeking adventure at every corner in a modus operandi. I have traveled thousands of miles on back roads of America, most of which I had never traveled on before. Therefore, each mile, each yard even, might present a new adventure for me.

These adventures equal discoveries. On

Pelicans at Lake Andes in South Dakota

one such adventure, I was driving along a back road in South Dakota and in the distance I saw a lake. At the time, I didn’t even know the name of the lake, but it turns out I later discovered it was called Lake Andes.

As I got closer to the lake I saw a big patch of white in the lake and I knew it was some kind of a flock of birds. I decided to find a road back to that area and was fortunate enough to find one. I parked and had to walk about 50 yards to the lake only to discover a huge flock of white pelicans, birds that I had never seen in their natural setting before.

The mountains tower over the city of Livingston, MT
Chester, Montana welcome sign on West side of town

Another great opportunity for adventure is to drive through the small towns that lie upon the outskirts of the highway. I recall another trip along US Highway 2 in Montana. The locals call this the Highline and it is the most northern highway in the United States. It pretty much parallels the Canadian border by just a few miles in some cases.

 

Main Street, Chester, Montana

About every 20 to 30 miles there is a small town along the way. Each little town has a welcome sign and they each have their own little personalities whether they be something unique downtown, an old movie theater or just an old grain elevator. And as you get into the town you never know what you will see. That is the joy of adventure to me.

When I plan a road trip, I make minimal plans. I usually know what my starting point is and I usually have a destination set. However, my final destination usually is in a place that I come to after sundown. The reason I do this is also centered on the adventure part. I may come across a sign pointing to a road that takes me off of my main course a bit.

The Crescent Hotel, America’s Most Haunted in Eureka Springs, AR – just happened upon it on a trip
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876 near Xenia, OH

Oft times I have come across signs in the eastern United States that. Two covered bridges or museums or some other historical or unique site.  One never knows what is around the next corner.

Of course, there are always limitations to traveling long-distance is, so many times I will take a local “staycation” just to be able to continue to fulfill my desire for adventure. It might be taking a back road to some small eatery in some small town. Or, it just might be driving over to the local lake to get photos of the wildlife.

A Blue Heron relaxes in the waters of Port Orchard, Washington

To me, the thrill is in the seeking. The opportunity for adventure is always there.
Following are a few more photographs of my “adventure discoveries” from my travels.

Walls of snow continue along the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming
Let’s Crash in Roswell wall art – Roswell, NM
Front side of Larry Kirkland’s “Agraria” in Santa Rosa, CA
Billy Tripp’s Mindfield in Brownsville, TN
Sawtooth Mountains as seen from Lower Stanley, Idaho
Big Fish Eats House!! In Bena, MN
And found Prosperity in PA

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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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