AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – Reflections #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each of my entries highlighted a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  If you missed any of the posts, check out my page with all of the links HERE.  I will reflect back on this past month’s posts.  Enjoy the Read! Enjoy the Ride! (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

What a Whirlwind!

CA 198 in Sequoia National Park

Throughout the month of April I participated in the A to Z Challenge.  It was my fourth straight year, but this one was really my most interesting yet.  Beginning in March the Coronavirus hit the world.  I am amazed how a microscopic thing could have such a massive impact on the world.  The world was shut down effectively, but the internet and the opportunity to post content was not.

Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastapol, CA

It has been a whirlwind.  What made it more so was knowing (in hindsight) that while the coronavirus was hitting the U.S. in Washington and California back in January and February while I was traveling out there with my daughter and her three children.  Many of the places we visited, including massive National Parks like the Grand Canyon, were eventually closed.  In fact, as of this writing, many are still closed.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses are closed all over the country.  Interstate travel bans are in effect across most states.  As of this writing on May 5, 2020, nearly 70,000 Americans have died of this virus since mid-February…while we were still traveling!!

I am both amazed and grateful that we are all home and safe. And brought back a boat load of memories.

ENJOYING THE RIDE

Interstate 90 at the Montana / Idaho border in late January 2020

I really like to share my travels with the world and the A to Z Challenge provides a great platform to share these with many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Family at the Grand Canyon

Over the course of the past month I posted my 26 posts and included over 300 photos and dozens of unique stories of the places we saw on our epic road trip.  Thus far I have had over 20 comments from readers and well over 200 views of the posts.  I am thrilled for the visits and the experience.

What did you miss?

If you haven’t visited any of my posts, I shared a link to a page that has all of the links at the top of this post.  Please visit it and click on any of the links.  In the mean time, what did you miss?

Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
  • A road trip of 8154 miles across 20 states in 21 days
  • Lovely photos of wildlife like eagles, bison, prairie dogs, seagulls and more
  • Amazing scenery from all kinds of geography including mountains, deserts, oceans and massive forests
  • Visits to over a dozen National Parks and Monuments
  • Stories and photos of many unique and quirky road side attractions
  • Visits, photos and stories about towns with unique names
  • A few fun and unique places to eat
  • An opportunity to learn about a different perspective on the amazing diversity of these United States
Pacific Coast as seen from Long Beach, Washington
welcome to Happy, Texas
Bald Eagle, taken on US Highway 2 near Davenport, WA
Big guy at Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
Mount Rushmore as seen from a tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. The tunnel was built intentionally to frame the monument
Joshua Trees near Baker, CA
Martian Soda anyone?
Sandhill Cranes in West Texas
Paul Bunyan in Klamath, California
San Francisco CA
Uranus Fudge Factory, St Robert, Missouri
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Caddo Lake bayou near Uncertain, Texas

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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Masking the Whispering Giants of Peter Toth

American artist Peter Wolf Toth (photo courtesy of the Atlanta Expat

Since the 1970s, Hungarian-born and American-raised Peter Wolf Toth has busily created his giant hand-carved “Whispering Giants.”  Every U.S. state has at least one of the 72 giants that he has created.

I have featured Peter’s Whispering Giants in a few of my blog posts and even dedicated a chapter to these lovely giant carvings dedicated to the plight of the Native North Americans.

Whispering Giant by Peter Toth, in Murray, UT
Wearing facemasks out in public. (Photo credit: Salt Lake Tribune)

Since the beginning of March 2020, the world has been ravaged by the Coronavirus.  We have been pushed into “social distancing,” keeping away from people.  Over 95% of the American population is under some sort of stay-at-home order.  And, everywhere we go, we now see people wearing face masks to try to keep this terrible virus from spreading.

Peter Toth has masked the sculptures at his gallery in Florida.
Peter Toth Whispering Giant in Florida has been masked

As a result, many people are adding masks to statues, etc.  And some of Peter’s Whispering Giants have been the recipient of these as well.   And now Peter is on a mission to get ALL of his Whispering Giants in the United States masked to recognize the plights of many of the Native American Tribes and their plight with the Coronavirus.  For example, as of this writing, over 1000 Navajo people have come down with the virus and 41 of them have died.  Other tribes are not exempt either.

Chief Wacinton statue in Paducah, Kentucky with mask

I spoke with Peter on the phone today and he is so concerned about all of the American’s suffering, but especially the native Americans, many of which live in areas with scant medical facilities and some, like the Navajo Reservation, that has many areas without electricity and running water.   Out of respect for these great peoples, Peter would like to see all of his Whispering Giants get masked as a sign to protect these peoples.

Whispering Giant in Delaware with mask

So, I am posting this in hopes that those that read it and that may live or be close to one of these lovely sculptures might take a few moments to create a mask and then go to the Whispering Giant and carefully mask them so that they can be symbolically protected from the novel coronavirus.

If you do one of these, please email me at lessbeatenpaths@gmail.com with a photo and I will add it to this post with a credit to you for your time and photo.

Also, if you are not sure where the 70+ Whispering Giants are located, please check out the comprehensive site created by David Schumaker as it contains the locations of each of these.  CLICK HERE to get to his site.

 

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