Lightning and Thunderstorm Preparation and Safety

Which states are the five most prone to lightning strikes in America?

Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Avg. # of days per year of thunderstorms

The top six most prone states (in this order) are Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can:

IF YOU ARE UNDER A THUNDERSTORM WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • When thunder roars, go indoors!
  • Move from outdoors into a building or car.
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Do not use landline phones.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A THUNDERSTORM THREATENS

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  • Create an emergency plan so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from the effects of a thunderstorm.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
  • Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive DURING

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
  • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
  • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Golf course green hit by lightning

Be Safe AFTER

  • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
  • Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately.
  • If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Pet Foods, Health Products, Cosmetics and More Recalled in 6 States at 404 Stores

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a major recall of various products sold at Family Dollar Stores in six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The recall includes, but is not limited to: 

  • FDA-approved dietary supplements
  • Cosmetics, including skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos and baby wipes
  • Animal foods, including kibble, pet treats and wild bird seed
  • Medical devices, including feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages and nasal care products
  • Over-the-counter medications, including pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids and other medications for both adults and children

The FDA said they began an investigation into their West Memphis, Arkansas, distribution facility after receiving a consumer complaint in January.

Inspectors found live rodents, dead rodents, “rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination,” the FDA announced this week. After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were discovered. 

Between March and September of last year, the company’s internal records showed it found more than 2,300 rodents in the facility, the FDA said.

Any and all pet food — whether it’s a can of Alpo or a bag of the “good stuff” — has been recalled from 404 Family Dollar stores in the South because a distribution center in Arkansas had an apparent rodent infestation.

“There are numerous hazards associated with rodents, including the potential presence of salmonella,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted in its recall announcement.

Here is the full list of affected Family Dollar store locations.

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President Donald J. Trump’s Alabama Rally Speech Highlights

Quotes from America’s 45th President, Donald J. Trump, last night in Alabama.

🔹“Joe Biden was going on vacation as Afghanistan was going to Hell.” 

🔹”Taliban, great negotiators, tough fighters. Biden failed totally on the pandemic and he’s now overseeing the greatest foreign policy humiliation in the history of the United States of America.”

 🔹”The issue here is not whether to leave Afghanistan, the issue is Joe Biden’s staggering incompetence and gross negligence … creating the greatest strategic humiliation that we’ve ever seen as a country.”

🔹”With me in office the Taliban would not have ever dreamt of capturing our airfield or parading around with our American weapons.”

🔹”There would have been no emergency embassy evacuation and no taking down of our flag. Because we would have established clear lines that the Taliban would never have dared to cross.”

🔹”The problem with Biden is that our enemies are not afraid of him, they don’t respect him.”

🔹”Vietnam looks like a masterclass in strategy compared to Joe Biden’s catastrophe and it didn’t have to happen.All he had to do was leave the soldiers there until everything’s out, our citizens, our weapons, then you bomb the hell out of the bases.”

🔹”Not even a contest, this will go down as one of the great military defeats of all time and it did not have to happen that way. This is not a withdrawal. This was a total surrender for no reason. They weren’t asking.”

🔹“This is not a withdrawal, this is a total surrender. They [Afghans] don’t respect us and this is what happens when you have weakness in the White House. Under my administration, everyone in the world knew not to mess with America.”

“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he allowed to happen in Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in Covid, the border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy,” Trump said in a statement released prior to the Cullen, Alabama rally, attended by more than 60,000 patriotic Americans.

“It shouldn’t be a big deal, because he wasn’t elected legitimately in the first place!”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey greets Trump.

🔹“He didn’t stop the virus. He’s done a terrible job, including on vaccinations and now the virus is back.”

🔹“We have to defeat the radical left. We will not give up and we will never surrender. Our movement is far from over, in fact, our fight has just begun.”

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More States End China Virus COVID-19 Emergency Restrictions

 Emergency orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ended in two states last week: 

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued an order terminating the statewide COVID-19 emergency. Ivey first declared a state of emergency in reaction to the pandemic on March 13, 2020.  
  • Gov. Jared Polis (D) ended Colorado’s COVID-19 health emergency on July 8. Polis subsequently issued a new “Recovery Executive Order,” allowing him to retain some aspects of his original order, including the continued deployment of the National Guard to assist local governments with vaccination efforts. Polis first declared a health emergency in response to the pandemic on March 10, 2020. 

As of July 9, COVID-19 emergency orders have expired in 24 states. They remain active in 26 states. 


Governors and state agencies in all 50 states issued orders declaring active emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These orders allowed officials to access resources unavailable to them during non-emergencies, like stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, and to waive or suspend certain rules and regulations.

Governors and state agencies relied on emergency power authority to enact lockdown and stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and other restrictions on businesses and individuals. 

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Which States Have Banned Proof of Vaccination Requirements?

Fifteen (15) states have prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements at all or some levels of government: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

In 10 of those states, governors banned proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders. In the other five, legislators passed laws banning proof-of-vaccination requirements.

Additionally, five states have gone a step further. Alabama, Iowa, Montana, Texas, and Florida have extended bans on proof-of-vaccination requirements to some private businesses.

On the other hand liberal socialist leaning states, New York, Hawaii, and Oregon exempt fully-vaccinated individuals from some COVID-19 restrictions. To avoid the restrictions, they must provide proof of vaccination.

Meme of the Week

Article V, US Constitution Growing in Favor by More States to Restrict Federal Government

What do Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Sen. Jim DeMint, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Steve Hilton, Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, Mark Levin, Louie Gohmert, and Allen West have in common (besides being censored by Big Tech websites)?

They all endorse using Article V of the United States Constitution to reign in Deep State operatives and the abuses of power by federal government.

The Convention of States Project is a national effort to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution.

The intent is to propose amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.

Americans want to bring power back to the states and the people, where it belongs. Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. shouldn’t be allowed to make sweeping decisions that impact millions of Americans. But right now, they do. So it all boils down to one question: Who do you think should decide what’s best for you and your family? You, or the feds?

WHAT’S A CONVENTION OF STATES ANYWAY?

Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments. It takes 34 states to call the convention and 38 to ratify any amendments that are proposed. The convention would only allow the states to discuss amendments that, “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials.”

Once 34 states apply for a convention to propose amendments on the same issue (i.e., limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government), Article V requires Congress to name the place and the time for the convention. If it fails to exercise this power reasonably, either the courts or the states themselves can override Congressional inaction.

States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates—properly called “commissioners.” Historically, the most common method used was an election by a joint session of both houses of the state legislature. 

Delegates discuss and propose amendment proposals that fit the topic framed by the 34 state resolutions that triggered the convention. All amendment proposals the convention passes by a simple majority of the states will be sent back to the states for ratification.

Each state has one vote at the Convention. If North Carolina sends seven delegates and Nebraska sends nine, each state must caucus on each vote. North Carolina’s one vote would be cast when at least four of its delegates agreed. Nebraska’s vote would be cast by the agreement of at least five of its delegates.

Current status

The ratification process ensures no amendments will be passed that do not reflect the desires of the American people. In addition to this, there are numerous other safeguards against a “runaway convention.” 

Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) is the parent organization of the Convention of States Project. CSG provides the resources and experience necessary to make this project a success. The CSG mission is as follows: “Self-governance must be restored across America. Citizens for Self-Governance will elevate awareness and provide resources, advocacy, and education to grassroots organizations and individuals exercising their rights to govern themselves.” CSG sees the COS Project as a means to accomplish this mission.

http://www.conventionofstates.com

More States Join Texas to Protect Election Integrity With Supreme Court

Update December 12, 2020 2 pm CST: Alaska has joined Texas and other states with the lawsuit.

“Hold my Lone Star Beer,” President Donald J. Trump seems to be saying as he vowed to intervene in the Texas case sent to the Supreme Court, tweeting on Wednesday:

“We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton late Monday, by filing suit with the Supreme Court, is asking for a majority of justices to invalidate the Nov. 3 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

He argues that officials in those four battleground states violated the Constitution by making changes to how ballots were cast and counted without legislative approval.

Four justices must agree for the court to hear the case. The Electoral College is scheduled to vote Dec. 14. In the election case brought before the Supreme Court in 2000, the court ruled on Dec. 12.

As of this writing, 18 more states have joined Texas to fight the electoral fraud perpetrated by Democrat operatives.

Don’t Believe Mainstream Media

In another tweet, Trump said, “This was not my case as has been so incorrectly reported. The case that everyone has been waiting for is the State’s case with Texas and numerous others joining. It is very strong, ALL CRITERIA MET. How can you have a presidency when a vast majority think the election was RIGGED?”

Trump was referring to a case brought by Republican Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly against the state of Pennsylvania, which the Supreme Court rejected to hear on Tuesday.

Article 3, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that the Supreme Court can hear cases brought by one state against another without first going to a lower court.

Paxton realizes that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is exclusive when it comes to disputes between the states.

According to US Constitution, states cannot sue other states in any court except SCOTUS. Congress has no power to regulate it by statute.

SCOTUS remedies are unique and can be both legal and equitable, granting them the sole power to make a ruling. This is literally a constitutional jurisdiction that grants SCOTUS the authority to rule how to decide the dispute, including what evidence to consider.

The justices are responsible for the development of the evidentiary record and are not bound by the rulings or fact findings of any other court.

Texas Is On Course

Texas automatically has standing to challenge the constitutional bonafides of another state’s electoral college selection process.

Since SCOTUS controls the process constitutionally, there are no procedural technicalities that can defeat jurisdiction other than what is expressly set forth in the Constitution.

SCOTUS must decide the issues because the Constitution expressly leaves the decision to SCOTUS.

There is no abstention doctrine or political question dodge available.

In essence, Texas said, “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court thinks election fraud doesn’t matter because those contesting the election waited until after the election and the fraud to file their contest.”

Paxton told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday “Our request is we want to be heard” before the U.S. Supreme Court. “… We’re pleading with the U.S. Supreme Court, please hear our case. Give us a chance at least to argue what we think is right. We want to argue the Constitution.”

Compromised Leaders Must Decide: Do What’s Right or Politically Die

If SCOTUS decides to remand the resolution to the legislators, those state’s elected officials realize the truth that their constituents, by a large margin voted for Trump and MAGA.

By voting against President Trump, many would be ending their career with their voters. Even those under the influence of China, George Soros and Big Pharma lobbyists would have to decide if they would fall on the sword (hoping to be taken care of by them).

If remanded to the state legislatures, then the corrupt ones would be wise to vote fast to avoid the MAGA rallies.

Trump’s First Responsibility: Defend America

Trump will defend the security of the United States with or without SCOTUS. He has to, its his job, thats what his oath of office requires him to do, and I couldn’t think of a better person to lead us into the fray.


China owns DOMINION, and controls all the officials who run the machines at every level of government.

Constitution experts agree that the Supreme Court should recognize Constitutional mandates “are being changed, perverted and, in some cases, outright ignored by thoroughly corrupted government officials, thereby rendering any actions to return decision making powers to the same corrupt and criminal system just as corrupt.”

By now, the justices know there are some officials at every level that are corrupt and engaging in criminal behavior, and “they realize there’s a very good chance that sending it back into that system again would be a mistake with the votes stolen and legitimate voters disenfranchised.”

States That Have Joined Texas

Arkansas

“The integrity of our elections is a critical part of our nation and it must be upheld,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Alabama

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said his state is committed to “the fight to ensure election integrity” and that the Supreme Court’s decision on the lawsuit will “instruct me as to how the State of Alabama will proceed in our fight to ensure election integrity.”

Florida

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Tuesday that “tens of millions of our fellow citizens in the country have deep concerns regarding the conduct of the 2020 federal elections,” adding that “the Justices should hear and decide the case which we have joined representing the citizens of Louisiana.”

Mississippi

Missouri

“Election integrity is central to our republic,” said in a tweet Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Tuesday. “And I will defend it at every turn. As I have in other cases – I will help lead the effort in support of Texas’ #SCOTUS filing today.”

Montana

Nebraska

North Dakota

Oklahoma

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Utah

West Virginia

Breaking @ 7:30pm CST Dec 9, 2020.

Georgia

According to a Georgia lawsuit filed by President Trump’s campaign, over 30 violations of their state law were cited.

There were 2,560 felons who voted, 66,247 underage voters, and 2,423 votes from people who were not registered.

The lawsuit additionally lists 1,043 individuals registered at PO boxes, 4,926 individuals who voted in Georgia after registering in another state, 395 individuals who voted in two states, 15,700 votes from people who moved out of state before the election, 40,279 votes of people who moved without re-registering in their new county and 30,000 – 40,000 absentee ballots lacking proper signature matching and verification.

Currently, Biden leads the state with 2,473,633 votes to Trump’s 2,461,854. The lawsuit has highlighted nearly 200,000 illegal votes, more than enough to change the results.

The lawsuit also showed that statistically it is not possible for Biden to win all four states.

“For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power.”

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, where Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, a group of Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Kelly, asked the state Supreme Court to overturn the state’s 2019 law on mail-in voting.

Their suit argues that a state statute, known as Act 77, violates both the state and federal Constitution by allowing for “no-excuse mail-in” votes on a large scale.

More than 2.5 million Pennsylvania residents voted by mail during the election, constituting more than one-third of total ballots cast statewide.

The state’s Supreme Court shot down the lawsuit, prompting Republican officials to make an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has offered to make arguments if SCOTUS decides to hear the case.

In Wisconsin, following a recount in its two most populous counties, the state’s Supreme Court declined to take up a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to invalidate up to 221,000 ballots. The campaign filed lawsuits in lower courts, which were then combined. The fate of that case is currently pending.

These Wacky American Town Names Will Make You Laugh

Our faith in America’s sense of humor was restored during the pandemic summer of 2020.

We escaped from the onslaught of negative news and propaganda by just getting away. Our travels  through 14 states and Washington D.C. for over a month thoroughly offered a lighter side of truth and experiences.

Besides counting the number of Trump (159) and Biden (0) flags and banners along the way, we got a kick from some of the names and places we saw. Uranus, Missouri,  Santa Claus, Indiana and Hot Coffee, Mississippi were three favorites that come to mind.

To pass some of the highway mile time away, we researched and gathered humorous and fun town names from all 50 states. Here’s are list:

ALABAMA

Screamer, an unincorporated community in southeastern Alabama, may have come from 19th century Native Americans who screamed and  heckled white train travelers as they passed by what was then a reservation. Smut Eye, Alabama is doozie too.

ALASKA

Unalaska has over 4,500 residents, making it the largest city in the Aleutian Islands. Originally, Unangan residents named it Agunalaksh, a word that means “near the peninsula.” Eek, Alaska is noteworthy.

ARIZONA

Why a call a town?” Yes, that’s right “Why” is a small community near the U.S.-Mexico border namhed after the Y-shaped intersection of two nearby highways. But because of an Arizona law requiring place names have at least three letters, “Y” became the much more pragmatic “Why.”

ARKANSAS

Smackover, a town of 1800 people in southern Arkansas, was once a major oil producer. Settled by French trappers in the early 19th century,  “Smackover” may have derived from the French name for a local creek, Chemin Couvert, which means “covered way”—and “sumac couvert” means a covering of sumac trees, a local plant. Goobertown is another fun one

CALIFORNIA

Rough and Ready, California, is named after an old mining company with that same label. It was the first to secede from the Union and become its own “republic” in 1850 as a protest against mining taxes, prohibition mandates, and laws that weren’t enforced. They rejoined the United States three months later.

COLORADO

Colorado has No Name. When government official first marked a newly constructed exit off I-70 with a sign reading “No Name” as a placeholder, it stuck.

CONNECTICUT

Hazardville, Connecticut, was an 1800s industrial village that made gunpowder. The town was named after Colonel Augustus George Hazard, who purchased and expanded the gunpowder company in 1837.

DELAWARE

Corner Ketch is an unincorporated community in New Castle County, Delaware. A rough-and-tumble local bar was known for warning strangers that if they didn’t get you in there, “They’ll ketch ye at the corner.”

FLORIDA

Two Egg, Florida, got its name during the Great Depression. When bartering transactions occurred with two eggs traded, almost like currency, for goods.

GEORGIA

Climax, Georgia sits at the highest point on the railroad between Savannah and the Chattahoochee River.

HAWAII

Volcano, Hawaii sits near the Hilo Volcano and several volcanic hot spots.

IDAHO

Slickpoo, near Culdesac, Idaho, was once a bustling village and site of a Catholic mission. Landowner Josiah Slickpoo donated acreage to the missionaries. Dickshooter, Idaho made us laugh too.

ILLINOIS

Sandwich got its name from Sandwich, New Hampshire.

INDIANA

Santa Claus, Indiana celebrates the spirit of Christmas every day, but especially at the Post Office in December. Gnaw Bone is an interesting name too.

IOWA

What cheer Iowa has in What Cheer, Iowa. It was derived from an old English greeting.

KANSAS

Gas, Kansas is the butt of many jokes. “You just passed Gas.” “Gas Kan.” “Get Gas!” Natural gas was discovered in the area in 1898.

KENTUCKY

Bugtussle is a tiny spot on the Kentucky-Tennessee border is an homage to doodlebugs. Personally, I think Kentucky has some of the best town names with Knob Lick, Bald Knob, Chicken Bristle, Fearsville, Hippo, Krypton, Mud Lick, Monkeys Eyebrow, Pig, and Raccoon.

Bald Knob (guess they licked it too much?), Chicken Bristle, Fearsville, Hippo, Krypton (say hi to Superman’s parents for us!), Mud Lick, Monkeys Eyebrow, Pig, and Raccoon.

LOUISIANA

Uneedus is the settlement site of the Lake Superior Piling Company. Their corporate slogan was “You need us.”  Residents founded another farm community nearby and called it Weneedu.

MAINE

Burnt Porcupine is an island off the coast of Maine.  Located near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Burnt Porcupine has nearby sister islands with equally intriguing names: Bald Porcupine, Long Porcupine, and Sheep Porcupine.

MARYLAND

Boring, Maryland. Enough said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Belchertown wasn’t named for the aftermath of a particularly gassy meal. It’s named after Jonathan Belcher, a colonial governor of Massachusetts.

MICHIGAN

Hell is 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. In the 1830s, the town settler, George Reeves, traded homemade whiskey to local farmers for grain. The farmer’s wives said “He’s gone to hell again.”

MINNESOTA

Nimrod, Minnesota is full of nimrods. In the book of Genesis, Nimrod is described as “a mighty hunter before the Lord” and is credited with overseeing the construction of the Tower of Babel.

MISSISSIPPI

Hot Coffee is marked as the midpoint between Natchez, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama. A late 1800s inn was erected and capitalized on the spring water, molasses and New Orleans beans used to make hot coffee for weary travelers.

MISSOURI

Although Uranus was our favorite spot in Missouri, Tightwad has a cool name too. There’s also a Cooter and a Licking.

MONTANA

Pray, Montana. And they do. But the town of Pray, Montana, was named for then-state representative Charles Nelson Pray in 1907.

NEBRASKA

Magnet, Nebraska was named by settler B.E. Smith in 1893.

NEVADA

Jiggs, Nevada is about 30 miles south of Elko. It’s named after a top hat-wearing, cigar smoking Irish-American protagonist from an old comic strip Bringing Up Father. A women’s organization in town dubbed itself Maggie’s Club after the character’s wife.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Sandwich is named after The Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague, who actually invented the sandwich.  In 1763, he chartered the town between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

NEW JERSEY

Loveladies, New Jersey, was named from a nearby island owned by Thomas Lovelady, a local hunter and sportsman.

NEW MEXICO

Candy Kitchen lies between Zuni and Navajo reservations in western New Mexico.  A local moonshine distiller needed a front to hide his illicit operations during Prohibition. To secure the sugar necessary to concoct barrels of hooch, the moonshiner established a confectionery that produced pinion nut candy on the side. Just 85 miles away is Pie Town.

NEW YORK

Neversink, New York is currently sunk under about 175 feet of water. Named for the Neversink River, the longest tributary of the Delaware River, the city of 2000 was a Catskill towns flooded in the 1950s to create reservoirs that would provide water to New York City. It relocated afterwards. But another town, Bittersweet, remains underwater. On land, are towns called Coxsackie and Butternuts.

NORTH CAROLINA

Why not Why Not? That’s the named settled upon when the post office was established in 1860. If not, try Lizard Lick, NC.

NORTH DAKOTA

Cannon Ball, North Dakota gets its name from geological curiosities called concretions. There’s also Zap.

OHIO

Knockemstiff, Ohio. Bar brawls and street fights during moonshine days, prompted the advice from a preacher. When asked by a woman on how to keep her cheating husband home and faithful, the preacher responded simply: “Knock ‘em stiff.” Take that advice however you want.

OKLAHOMA

Gene Autry, Oklahoma was named after the singing cowboy who purchased a 1200-acre ranch nearby that he would turn into the headquarters of his Flying A Ranch Rodeo. On November 16, 1941, the town of Berwyn officially became Gene Autry, Oklahoma. It’s home to a museum and film festival in his honor.

OREGON

Zigzag, Oregon, in the middle of Mount Hood National Forest, is named after the Zigzag River, which drains from the Zigzag Glacier. Notable is

PENNSYLVANIA

Intercourse is in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. “It’s okay, you can giggle!” the village’s website says. “We’re happy with our name. It’s the perfect conversation starter.” About 20 minutes away is the town Blue Ball, named after an 1850s inn.

RHODE ISLAND

Woonsocket is the sixth largest city in Rhode Island ands was originally known as la ville la plus française aux États-Unis, which translates to “the most French city in the United States.”
Historians believe the name is an evolved variation of a word from a Native American language.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ketchuptown got its name from a country store built by Herbert Small in 1927 were locals went to “catch up” on news and gossip.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Mud Butte was named for a nearby barren butte. In 1981, archeologists digging around unearthed the sixth Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, after a local rancher finally got around to calling a museum about the dinosaur bones he’d seen digging out of a cliff on his property for years.

TENNESSEE

Difficult, Tennessee isn’t too hard to remember.

TEXAS

Muleshoe, Happy, Dime Box, Gun Barrel City, Cut and Shoot, Telephone, Jot ’em Down, Loco, and Comfort were among my favorite town names in Texas until I came upon Ding Dong.  Located in Bell County, the community was named after its founders, the Bell family.

UTAH

Mexican Hat, Utah, has a 60-foot-wide, sombrero-shaped rock formation on the northeast side of town.

SATANS KINGDOM

Satans Kingdom, Vermont is not the only state with that town name. Massachusetts and Connecticut does too. The land was said to be rocky and void of fertile soil.

VIRGINIA

Bumpass, Virginia is pronounced “bump-iss.”

WASHINGTON

Humptulips was a major logging center. The name comes from a local Native American word meaning “hard to pole.” Native Americans used to canoe by propelling themselves along with poles.

WEST VIRGINIA

Lick Fork, Virginia is basically known for photo opportunities with signs bearing that name. There’s more in Booger Hole.

WISCONSIN

Bosstown, Wisconsin takes its name from a William Henry Dosch, a storeowner nicknamed Boss. Wow! There’s also a Spread Eagle.

WYOMING

Chugwater, Wyoming was home of the Mandan tribe, whose chief was reportedly injured during a buffalo hunt and sent his son to lead the hunting party in his place. According to Chugwater’s website, the son determined that the easiest way to kill the buffalo was to drive them off the local chalk cliffs. “The word ‘chug,’” the town’s website notes, “is said to describe the noise that the buffalo or the falling chalk made when it hit the ground or fell into the water under the bluff, depending on which version of the legend you wish to believe. Indians began to call the area ‘water at the place where the buffalo chug.’”

COVID Beliefs Blown Away For RVers-Campers on Iconic U.S. Travel Roads

We have just returned from a 32-day, 4500 mile roadtrip (June 19-July 21) from the Texas Hill Country through much of the South, Washington D.C. for July 4th, to part of the Midwest and back.

Our preconceived ideas from news and the continually changing regulations around COVID-19 were blown away with the reality we experienced. It actually restored our faith in the goodness of America.

People of all ages, creeds, races and sexes were friendly, polite and eager to be traveling. By far, they agreed that what news outlets portray and what is actually happening are not in sync. We met scores of campers and travelers who indicated they had no problems with getting reservations and lodging.

We found our routes and destinations were open to travelers, including campers with self-contained RVs.

Pigeon Forge grist mill in Dollywood.

Most restaurants and stores were open with COVID-19 restrictions varying by state, city and location.

Our plans were modified only twice because of not feeling welcomed due to tourist closures.

1. We bypassed Nashville because the Grand Old Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum were closed. Nearby Murfreesboro was welcoming for an overnight stay.

2. We left St. Louis immediately after driving to the Gateway Arch and seeing seedy characters in garbage, urine and feces infested tent encampments throughout the area. Wildwood, about 20 miles southwest on Historic Route 66, was awesome.

Here are some of the most notable routes we enjoyed and recommend.

Blue Ridge Parkway

A road trip gem, left Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. This scenic byway traverses the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains across Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. We especially enjoyed Appalachian towns like North Carolina’s Asheville and Mt. Airy (Andy Griffith Museum).

RVers should be aware some roads have tunnel height restrictions. Check the tunnel restrictions for your planned route. The most restricting tunnels have a maximum height of 18 feet. Cell phone reception could be an issue depending on your carrier (we had no problems with Cricket). There were very few gas stations and other amenities limited. We remained anticipatory and planned ahead just in case.

Blues Highway

Highway 61, known as the “blues highway,” is rich with the history of musicians in the Mississippi Delta area. It’s the birthplace of the blues and the roots of much of American music. 

The original route went from New Orleans to Minnesota, but most of the history of the blues is embedded in Mississippi.

We started in Vicksburg, Mississippi,  a great spot to understand some of the roots of the blues. In 1863 Vicksburg was under siege from the Union Army. General John Pemberton (Confederate) surrendered Vicksburg to General Grant (Union) after sustaining huge losses and facing a catastrophic defeat by an army that greatly outnumbered his abled soldiers.

The Blues developed from slaves toiling on the cotton plantations in Mississippi. The war was over and slavery was officially abolished. Opportunities slowly merged forward toward Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago. The music permeated across the Mississippi Delta.

Some say Clarksdale, Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues. While most of the old Juke Joints have perished, we stopped by  Ground Zero Blues Club (co-owned by Morgan Freeman). It’s a great place to see talented musicians perform and enjoy local food favorites including fried green tomatoes, Mississippi tamales and catfish.

At the Highway 61/49 intersection is a famous location known as The Crossroads. It’s where Robert Johnson was fabled to have sold his soul to the Devil to be the King of Delta Blues. Robert Johnson was born in 1911 and died just 27 years later. 

Highway 61 leads to Memphis, the land of Elvis Presley, SUN Studio, Beale Street and Graceland. The Graceland RV Park is conveniently located next to the Elvis Memphis complex and museums.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is an excellent route to see the southern United States by RV. We loved it because no commercial trucking or 18-wheelers are allowed.

Although it’s over 440 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, we started in Tupelo, Mississippi after visiting Elvis Presley’s Birthplace. We stopped often to see waterfalls, prehistoric mounds, and other historical landmarks.

Like the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, there are maximum RV restrictions. The maximum length is 55 feet (including a tow vehicle) and a 14 feet height restriction. 

Route 66

Long before our current national interstate highway system, federal highways, like U.S. Route 66, were main thoroughfares. On historic Route 66, you can explore America’s Heartland and other enchanting pockets of the United States from Chicago to Los Angeles. 

We began the route in St. Louis and took it most of the way toward Branson. Be sure to visit Uranus, Missouri for a fun, quick pit stop.

We did join Route 66 again later in Oklahoma City. Continuing West, we could have carved out time to visit Grand Canyon National Park, but elected to return back to Texas after four weeks on the road.

New Travel Resources

U.S. State Department’s Traveler Checklist. Read more

The TripIt app has a relative new feature that shows safety scores from 1 to 100 for neighborhoods around the world, representing low to high risk. These scores cover a variety of categories, such as women’s safety, access to health and medical services, and political freedoms. Travelers will find safety scores for their lodging, restaurant and activity locations there.

True Things We Didn’t Know About States Until We Visited Them

We left the Texas Hill Country on June 19th on a roadtrip through the South. On our 28th day (We’re in Oklahoma City), we sharing some interesting facts about each state we’ve learned along the way.

Louisiana

Louisiana has the longest coastline (15,000 miles) of any other state in the U.S.

Louisiana makes up approximately 41% of the wetlands in the U.S.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at 23.83 miles in Metairie is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed (Bonnie struck 53 times and Clyde struck 51 times) by Louisiana and Texas state police near Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Bonnie was married to another man and never divorced him. The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana, is located a few miles away from their death site.

In 1977, Luisa Harris, the only woman in U.S. history to officially be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA), was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz basketball team.

In 2010, the world’s record for the largest pot of gumbo was set by award-winning chef, John David Folse. The pot served 10,000 people. It contained 50 pounds of white crab meat, 85 pounds of oysters, 100 pounds of crab claws, 200 pounds of alligator meat, 450 pounds of catfish, and 750 pounds of shrimp.

Mississippi

In 1963 the University of Mississippi Medical Center accomplished the world’s first human lung transplant and, on January 23, 1964, Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world’s first heart transplant surgery.

In 1902 while on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County, President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. This act resulted in the creation of the world-famous teddy bear.

In 1884 the concept of selling shoes in boxes in pairs (right foot and left foot) occurred in Vicksburg at Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor on Washington Street.

Guy Bush of Tupelo was one of the most valuable players with the Chicago Cubs. He was on the 1929 World Series team and Babe Ruth hit his last home run off a ball pitched by Bush.

Root beer was invented in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq, Sr.

Tennessee

There are more horses per capita in Shelby County than any other county in the United States.

Davy Crockett was not born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, as the song says. He was born on the banks of Limestone Creek near Greeneville, where a replica of the Crockett’s log cabin stands today.

David Crockett

The capitol building was designed by noted architect William Strickland, who died during its construction and is buried within its walls.

Tennessee ranks number one among other states in the total number of soldiers who fought in the War Between the States.

The name “Tennessee” originated from the old Yuchi Indian word, “Tana-see,” meaning “The Meeting Place.”

Coca-Cola was first bottle in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two local attorneys purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $l.00.

Cumberland University, located in Lebanon, lost a football game to Georgia Tech on October 7, 1916 by a score of 222 to 0. The Georgia Tech coach was George Heisman for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

Alabama

In 2004, Chad Fell of Haleyville was certified by the Guinness World Records for blowing the World’s Largest Bubblegum Bubble, Unassisted (without use of his hands) at Double Springs High School in Winston County. He used three pieces of Dubble Bubble gum.

In October of 1989, residents of Fort Payne built a cake to celebrate the city’s centennial. The 12-layer cake was 32 feet wide and 80 feet long and weighed 128,238 pounds. It was certified by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Cake.

The country’s first 911 call was made on February 16, 1968, in Haleyville. Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite went to City Hall and called U.S. Representative Tom Bevill, who was at the local police station. The red phone used is on display in City Hall.

The actors who portrayed Goober and Gomer, fictional cousins on the Andy Griffith Show, were both born in Alabama. Jim Nabors, “Gomer,” was born in 1930 in Sylacauga. He died Nov. 30, 2017. George Lindsey, “Goober,” was born in 1928 in Fairfield. He died in 2012.

Virginia

About 1/2 of all the people in the United States live within a 500 mile radius of the Capital of Virginia.

Over 1/2 the battles fought in the civil war were fought in Virginia. Over 2,200 of the 4,000 battles.

The first Thanksgiving in North America was held in Virginia in 1619.

Yorktown is the site of the final victory of the American Revolution.

The first English colony in America was located on Roanoke Island. Walter Raleigh founded it. The colony mysteriously vanished with no trace except for the word “Croatoan” scrawled on a nearby tree.

Mount Mitchell in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It towers 6,684 feet above sea level.

Washington D.C.

Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams had pet alligators in the White House.

To date, nobody has beat Jimmy Carter’s record of watching 480 movies in the White House movie theater.

Washington DC is missing “J” Street. It uses letters for streets traveling east to west. But numbers are also used for streets. I was told it’s because “J” and “I” look too similar on street signs.

There’s a crypt under the Capitol building that was made for George Washington. Although he was not buried there, the crypt still exists; they also had a viewing chamber built so people could go by and see him.

John Adams was actually the first president to live in the White House. George Washington never lived there; it was built after he died.

There are 35 bathrooms in the White House. There are also 132 rooms and 6 levels in the residence. Even more staggering are the 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators.

There’s only one U.S. president buried in Washington D.C. Woodrow Wilson is entombed at Washington National Cathedral.

Missouri

The first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.

The most destructive tornado on record occurred in Annapolis. In 3 hours, it tore through the town on March 18, 1925 leaving a 980-foot wide trail of demolished buildings, uprooted trees, and overturned cars. It left 823 people dead and almost 3,000 injured.

At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, Richard Blechyden, served tea with ice and invented iced tea.

Also, at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, the ice cream cone was invented. An ice cream vendor ran out of cups and asked a waffle vendor to help by rolling up waffles to hold ice cream.

The Arch has foundations sunken 60 feet into the ground, and is built to withstand earthquakes and high winds. It sways up to one inch in a 20 mph wind, and is built to sway up to 18 inches.

The most powerful earthquake to strike the United States occurred in 1811, centered in New Madrid, Missouri. The quake shook more than one million square miles, and was felt as far as 1,000 miles away.

During Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for the presidency, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat named Valentine Tapley from Pike County, Missouri, swore that he would never shave again if Abe were elected. Tapley kept his word and his chin whiskers went unshorn from November 1860 until he died in 1910, attaining a length of twelve feet six inches.

Situated within a day’s drive of 50% of the U.S. population, Branson and the Tri-Lakes area serves up to 65,000 visitors daily. Branson has been a “rubber tire” destination with the vast majority of tourists arriving by vehicles, RVs and tour buses. Branson has also become one of America’s top motor coach vacation destinations with an estimated 4,000 buses arriving each year.

Indiana

The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871.

Santa Claus, Indiana receives over one half million letters and requests at Christmas time.

Deep below the earth in Southern Indiana is a sea of limestone that is one of the richest deposits of top-quality limestone found anywhere on earth. New York City’s Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center as well as the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury, a dozen other government buildings in Washington D.C. as well as 14 state capitols around the nation are built from this sturdy, beautiful Indiana limestone.

In 1934 Chicago Gangster John Dillinger escaped the Lake Country Jail in Crown Point by using a “pistol” he had carved from a wooden block.

Comedian Red Skelton, who created such characters as Clem Kadiddlehopper, and Freddie the Freeloader, was born in Vincennes.

Arkansas

Alma claims to be the Spinach Capital of the World, but Texas knows Crystal City really is.

A person from Arkansas is called an Arkansan.

The state contains six national park sites, two-and-a half million acres of national forests, seven national scenic byways, three state scenic byways, and 50 state parks.

North Carolina

The Venus Fly-Trap is native to Hampstead.

The first miniature golf course was built in Fayetteville.

Babe Ruth hit his first home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.

North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the United States. The state’s highway system currently has 77,400 miles of roads.

West Virginia

On January 26, 1960 Danny Heater, a student from Burnsville, scored 135 points in a high school basketball game earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Nearly 75% of West Virginia is covered by forests.

Outdoor advertising had its origin in Wheeling about 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with the wording: “Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch.”

Bailey Brown, the first Union solider killed in the Civil War, died on May 22, 1861, at Fetterman, Taylor County.

The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets.

Oklahoma

Boise City, Oklahoma was the only city in the United States to be bombed during World War II. On Monday night, July 5, 1943, at approximately 12:30 a.m., a B-17 Bomber based at Dalhart Army Air Base (50 miles to the south of Boise City) dropped six practice bombs on the sleeping town.

Sooners is the name given to settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush of 1889.

The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Carl C. Magee, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is generally credited with originating the parking meter. He filed for a patent for a “coin controlled parking meter” on May 13, 1935.

During a tornado in Ponca City, a man and his wife were carried aloft in their house by a tornado. The walls and roof were blown away. But the floor remained intact and eventually glided downward, setting the couple safely back on the ground.

Bob Dunn a musician from Beggs invented the first electric guitar in 1935.

Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface acres of water.

Kentucky

Cheeseburgers were first served in 1934 at Kaolin’s restaurant in Louisville.

Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured in Bowling Green.

Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest cave and was first promoted in 1816, making it the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Niagara Falls, New York is first.

The song “Happy Birthday to You” was the creation of two Louisville sisters in 1893.

Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca are buried in the Frankfort Cemetery. Their son Isaac is buried at Blue Licks Battlefield near Carlisle, where he was killed in the last battle of the Revolutionary War fought in Kentucky.

Boone Gravesite

The public saw an electric light for the first time in Louisville. Thomas Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb to crowds at the Southern Exposition in 1883.

The radio was invented by a Kentuckian named Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray in 1892. It was three years before Marconi made his claim to the invention.

Joe Bowen holds the world record for stilt walking endurance. He walked 3,008 miles on stilts between Bowen, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California.

Miscellaneous

The most fun Dodie and I have experienced so far was riding the mile long Branson Sawmill Coaster. We were able to control the speed of our individual coaster pods.

I Don’t Believe in News, I Believe in You

We drove through downtown St. Louis, Missouri yesterday to check out the Gateway Arch. We didn’t feel welcome for the first time on this trip. Trash, urine, tents, and people who looked drugged out and not too bright were welcomed though. The local city government is doing a horrible job. I wonder which political party controls St. Louis?

For the last 20 days I’ve been doing a great deal of listening…and I mean a lot!

We elected to drive to a southwestern suburb location and stayed at the clean and beautiful Wildwood Hotel about 1/2 hour away. Many homes in this well maintained and manicured area proudly display American flags.

Tired and weary from fake and propagandized news, we’ve elected to stay away from it. On our 2020 roadtrip, we’ve learned far more by listening to ordinary folks than predictably biased political pundits. 

Corky’s BBQ in Memphis.

America is even more beautiful than I imagined. Remember how many of us came together, waving our flags and bowing our heads, after the terrorism of September 11, 2001?

Being on the road has not only been an encouraging respite, but it’s turned out to be an eye opening reality check of the strength and character of our citizens. 

Accustomed to flying to and from cities during my career days, there wasn’t much time for many road trips except in Texas.

I’ve given speeches and presentations in NY, LA, Chicago, Orlando, Vegas, Philadelphia, Nashville, San Diego, Dallas, Vegas, Monterey and Monterrey. But there was little time to explore.

Lucky for me, Dodie shares a love of roadtripping, so we took off as soon as we could. Last week we celebrated our 7 month anniversary in D.C. and West Virginia.

If there is one solid thing I can take from this trip, it’s that belief in traditional values of Americans is strong.

By Dodie’s count we’ve seen 77 Trump vs. 0 (ZERO) Biden flags and signs since we left Texas on June 19th. Even in D.C. we expected there would be some for Biden. But there were none.

Near the Lincoln Memorial, by the Arts of World Sculptures, entering the Arlington Memorial Bridge, I talked briefly with three university students while Dodie was finding a restroom.

One male was from Georgetown University and the two coeds attended Howard University nearby. It was Friday, July 3rd and the area was filled with joggers, skaters, bicyclists and walkers. I asked several questions: why traffic was so light? Do they have concerns about protests?  What’s the mood of students right now? Why no Biden signs anywhere?

The succinct answers: 

1. bureaucrats left for July 4th holiday.

2. protests are contained in their normal location north of the White House near La Salle Park. It’s not the big deal mainstream media make it out to be.

3. many students are as fed up with the pandemic, distorted news, and false reasons for protests as most Americans are.

The male, African-American, with courtesy, answered my last question with a question.

“Does it appear as if the Democratic National Committee does not wish to spend money on him?”

I almost fell over stunned and stumbled to reply.

“Well, I just don’t know,” is all I could reply, then explained we had only seen Trump signs and flags from Texas to here.

The front desk manager at the Hyatt Place in Chantilly, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C., said they don’t play anything but FOX News on their lobby TV because “we were getting too many complaints about CNN.”

At the Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel, we stood next to friendly, decent people–Black, Indian and Hispanic–to pay our respects to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the rain. We smiled and wiped our tears together. It was solemn, but we were with each other.

In a Shoney’s Restaurant in Sevierville, Tennessee, our server Ruth, went on a friendly tirade about how bad the media is.

“Watching them, you’d think everyone in the world hates President Trump,” she said. “But everyone I talk to here loves him. And I’m talking about people coming in from all over the United States. People are sick of this nonsense and it’s going to backfire on them. What they (media) say and what I see are far different.”

A couple in their 40s, sitting near us at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia were practically repeating what Ruth said in Tennessee. The wife asked her husband if she knew anyone voting for Biden.

“No one who will admit it,” he laughed. Then, with all seriousness said, “The only way Democrats can win is by cheating and fraud. That’s why they’re pushing for mail in voting.”

Dining in Emzara’s Restaurant at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, a Georgia man, perhaps 35, proudly wore a “TRUMP 2020” T-shirt in the dining room. I had to ask.

“Oh I’m thinking I’m around God loving people here,” he grinned as we bumped fists.

Another man, about 50, walked up to say “Hi” and pointed to his very own MAGA (Make America Great Again) red ball cap.

“Looks like we’re on the same team,”  he said and tipped his cap.

Over our plates of Dodie’s chicken and dumplings and my meatloaf at a Vicksburg, Mississippi Cracker Barrel, the topic of conversation of two couples sitting at tables across from us was similar.

“I don’t believe the news anymore.”

“Oh me too. We just turn them off.”

“Their dishonesty is so obvious, only an imbecile would still believe them.”

We’ve tried to analyze this phenomenon along the way. We travel rural and urban roads and highways.

We stay near universities, tourist attractions or remote locations (ever heard of Corinth, Kentucky?).

When feasible, we favor mom and pop restaurants over chains: North Star Cafe, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, Marlowe’s, Johnnie’s Drive In, and D’Cracked Egg for instance.

Our server, Brian (but nicknamed “Flash” according to the badge his regular local customers made for him) at a Bob Evans restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia, had plenty to say about politics. It was as if he had been conversing with server Ruth in Sevierville.

“Biden can’t even talk right, much less run a country,” he was riled. “Ever’ body ’round here is voting for Trump.”

In D’Cracked Egg in Tupelo we overheard a group of locals expressing the same sentiments as so many others.

Mt. Airy, North Carolina–AKA Mayberry–had the largest number of Trump and American flags of any city.

Yesterday morning,  I walked in a small gas station-store combination and sat down for about 20 minutes listening to the breakfast and coffee regulars near Corinth, Kentucky. It was the same: Trump all the way.

Moments ago at a rest stop on IH-64 West in Illinois, I saw a young man, perhaps 25, wearing a MAGA cap. He was polite and opened the door to the Visitors Center for me.

“Thank you kind Sir,” I responded. “I like your cap.”

“Well thank you too,” he smiled. “I’m proud to wear it.”

What we’ve seen and heard is not what we’ve expected. Having a moratorium on mainstream news has opened our eyes. We can think better, have very little anxiety about politics, and have greater faith in America…even more so than ever in our lives.

With our own eyes, traveling through 10 states (and D.C.), we see, hear, and sense that the vast majority of Americans are good and decent people. Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are fed up and willing to protect their freedoms, traditions, history. 

Roadtrip 2020 Day 8: The Prehistoric American Trail


Imagine driving down a highway with virtually no other vehicles in sight, no billboards, no gas stations, no hotels or businesses for several hours.

Now visualize this as a two-lane paved road, with origins of being a trail during prehistoric times, now twisting and curving through dense tall forests and beautiful countryside.

A quick, short detour led into beautiful Dennis, Mississippi–just in case my ancestors had something to do with the name.

We took this journey, rich in miles of history, from Tupelo, Mississippi through the northwest corner of Alabama, to just shy of Nashville, Tennessee.

The Natchez Trace Parkway was an opportunity to slowdown–the maximum speed limit is 50 mph–enjoy casual observations and relish historical treasures along the way. No eyesores, trucks, or commercial vehicles are allowed.

The Parkway, we learned, was first a Native American pathway, with archaeological evidence dating back 10,000 years.

In the early 1800s, it served a vital role as a road home for Kaintucks, men who floated down the Mississippi with goods to sell, sold their boats as lumber and then walked hundreds of miles back north. The average walk back home was over 35 days.

The advent of the steamboat would change all this, but in the meantime, “stands” were developed up and down the Natchez Trace to put a one-night roof over travelers’ weary heads.

Slaves were sold, soldiers were buried, a nationally-known explorer killed himself, all surrounded by the most beautiful landscape and natural formations…and some not-so-natural formations.

In total, the Parkway begins in Natchez at Mile Marker 0 and ends at 444. We joined the last 180 miles at about Marker 260.

Highlights along the way, with Mile Markers given, are:

261.8 Chickasaw Village Site with multiple dwelling places and a fort. This small archaeological site has outlines of a winter home, summer home and the fort on the ground. Trailheads for a short nature trail and the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail are here.

269.4 Confederate Gravesites Thirteen unknown Confederate soldiers lie buried here, on the “Old Trace,” the trail before asphalt.  A short stroll under a canopy of aged trees offered time to reflect on our nation’s history and imagine what life was like then.

286.7 Pharr Mounds was one of our favorite stop offs. There are eight man-made burial hills laid out across the sprawling field. These mounds are older than Emerald Mound, built between 1 and 200 A.D.

327.3 Colbert Ferry Just before the bridge crossing the wide Tennessee River, this site provided a nice respite and photo opportunity.

We took Mr. Beefy for a peaceful walk and noticed a family picnicking by the river, and others fishing and boating.

It was at that moment, it hit me that Dodie and my dreams are coming true. Our lifestyle is allowing us to make memories we never would have otherwise.

Beefy along Tennessee River.

“Colbert’s Stand – George Colbert operated a ferry across the Tennessee River from 1800 to 1819,” some literature from the National Park Service (they maintain the Trace) explained. “His stand, or inn, offered travelers a warm meal and shelter during their journey on the Old Trace.”

“Colbert looked after his own well being and once charged Andrew Jackson $75,000 to ferry his Tennessee Army across the river…After a venison supper, one guest at Colbert’s Stand spent the night in an outbuilding (Wilderness Haven) with ‘not less than 50 Indians, many of them drunk.’ Here and about 20 other stands along the Trace, Kaintuck riverboatmen, money-laden businessmen, Indians and outlaws shared a spot of fellowship on a long hazardous road.”

“‘Shrewd, talented and wicked’ thus a traveling preacher characterized George Colbert, the half-Scot half-Chickasaw chief. But for more than 30 years he helped negotiate with the U.S. for Chickasaw rights as the tide of settlement advanced from the east. His successful farm showed his people the way of the future.”

385.9. Meriwether Lewis Death and Gravesite.Remember Lewis and Clark?

Lewis lived from 1774 to 1809. A marker states:

“Beneath the monument erected under the legislative act by the State of Tennessee A.D. 1848, reposes the dust of Meriwether Lewis, captain in The United States Army, Private Secretary to President Jefferson, senior Commander of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Governor of the Territory of Louisiana.

Meriweather Lewis gravesite.

In the Grinder House, the ruins of which are still discernible 230 yards south of this spot, his life of romantic endeavor and lasting achievement came tragically and mysteriously to its close on the night of October 11, 1809. The report of the committee appointed to carry out the provisions of the Monument Act contained these significant statements: “Great care was taken to identify the grave. George Nixon, Esq., an old surveyor, had become very early acquainted with the locality.” He pointed out the place; but to make assurance doubly sure the grave was reopened and the upper portion of his skeleton examined and such evidence found as to leave no doubt this was the place of interment.”

Over this section of the Trace passed part of the Andrew Jackson army in his campaign against the Creek Indians in 1813 and again on his return from the battle field of New Orleans in 1815.

But before Talladega and New Orleans – before the soldiers of Jackson had given renown to the Natchez Trace, it received its immortal touch of melancholy fame when Meriwether Lewis journeying over it on his way to Philadelphia to edit the story of his great expedition, met here his untimely death on the night of October 11, 1809.

Grinder House – Site and ruins of the Grinder House in which Meriwether Lewis met his death on the night of October 11, 1809.”

“Lewis led an amazing life, completing a two-year expedition through wilderness to the Pacific Northwest by the time he was 32 years old. When he returned, he was made governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory.

Unfortunately, Lewis died along the Natchez Trace Parkway three years later, under mysterious conditions. Most historians have concluded that his gunshot wounds were self-inflicted, for reasons we can only guess at now.”

Dodie exploring Old Trace.

391.9. Fall Hollow Waterfall is just off the Parkway just north of the US 412 intersection. As soon as we were out of the car we could here it.

A very short path and two wooden bridges took us across the small creeks before they begin their tumbling descent. The easy part of the path ends at an observation deck where we looked down at the largest waterfall. Past this point the path becomes very rocky and steep.

401.4 Tobacco Farm displays a tobacco farm from the early 1900s. A short trail leads to an old barn where tobacco hangs from the timbers.

404.7 Jackson Falls The trail here is one of the most popular along the parkway, but rain kept us from the
moderately strenuous hike. Jackson Falls is named after Andrew Jackson.

Although we left the Parkway at this point to travel to Murfreesboro, we did get a view of the Double Arch Bridge at 438.

Completed in 1994, the double arch bridge that spans Birdsong Hollow received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995 for its innovative design that rises 155 feet above the valley. The bridge carries Trace travelers 1,648 feet across the valley and Tennessee Highway 96.

Chickasaw and Kaintucks