‘Y Traveling Between’ Category


My Absolutely Positively Last Stop

19 Linda Last StopLinda Burton posting from Tuscaloosa, Alabama – “This is it. This is really truly it. You have to get my picture one last time by the Scion,” I said to brother Craig. “Right here in the same spot as when I left 659 days ago.” I was feeling other-worldly at the moment, unreal, like I was Hillary at the top of Everest, or Amundsen at the South Pole. Or my friend Howard Cottrell, when he finally reached the last county in the United States. It took him 16 years to get to all 3,100 counties; it took Sherpas and sled dogs and some serious cold-weather gear to get to those extreme parts of the world. All I had to do was drive, and load and unload the car and the cats every two weeks. And re-establish a home and a workplace fifty times. I traveled 31,710 miles in all, according to my quick calculations last night. And I never varied from the course, I stuck with the plan. Where are the drum rolls, and the marching bands? Craig is 19 Craig car maplaconic. No mushy-gushy stuff, no congratulations or wow-you-did-it praise. But he did take the camera and ask what angle I wanted. And he cooked spaghetti for me today (it’s our Christmas tradition – red spaghetti sauce and green salad). And he stored all my furniture and clothes in his basement for two years, and kept things safe. And last year he drove to New Orleans to spend Christmas with me there. So, yeah, he’s a primo brother, wouldn’t you say? I did my pose. And had him stand by the car too, laconically pointing to Alabama on the map. The Journey Across America is officially over. » read more


Hornswoggled in Birmingham

18 PlaqueLinda Burton posting from Birmingham, Alabama – “Finish your lunch so you can open your present,” Emily said. “I know you’ve got to get on your way.” I took a last sip of Cracker Barrel tea and suggested that we go outside for the opening; it was a brilliant sunny day, and I wanted to make sure the cats were okay in the car. They were. “This is NOT a Christmas present,” Emily promised, as I mumbled about not having a present for her. “Just OPEN.” Have you ever gotten a gift that surprised you to your toes, and pleased you beyond measure, and humbled you too, at the thoughtfulness of the giver? Yeah, I got that today. It was a silver and walnut plaque, beautifully engraved, with a full-color picture of the decked-out Scion, and these words:

CONGRATULATIONS     Linda L. Burton    Given in admiration and recognition of your dedication to your Journey Across America to all 50 states.    March 1, 2012 – November 29, 2013    Making Capital Cities USA available to students, teachers, historians, researchers, and the general public.    Your timeless efforts will enrich all who take advantage of your vast knowledge gained in this great undertaking.    From Emily Taylor

18 Emily Presenting PlaqueEmily Taylor is my cousin and has been one of my most loyal followers throughout the Journey. She has read and commented on every post, and swears on oath she enjoys them. We’re both descended from William Irwin Jr, our ancestor who died in Arkansas in 1849 as he attempted a move from Alabama to Texas with his family. William Irwin Jr, the reason I have chosen to settle in Arkansas myself, hoping to learn more of what happened to the Irwins way back then. My great-grandmother Mary Susan (b 1866) and Emily’s grandmother Leavonia Augusta (b 1869) were sisters, and granddaughters of William. Emily is named after their younger sister Emily Letitia (b 1883) and grew up knowing more about the family’s history than I did; it was genealogy research that brought us together in recent years. Now she is more than a twice-removed cousin to me; more than a friend; even though she has many sisters of her own, we feel, well, sort of like sisters too. » read more


The Streisand Syndrome

Linda Burton 16 Tennessee Welcome Signposting from Chattanooga, Tennessee – Streisand has been sitting on my shoulder for two days now. Humming that song she made famous. Memories. You know. The way we were. Memories. (That light the corners of your mind.) The minute I saw the Tennessee welcome sign yesterday I was slammed with them; by the time I reached the hotel in Chattanooga I was completely soaked in the past. “This is your home town,” I said to Alex as I unloaded the car, remembering that day in 1997 when he stuck his head out of the cage at the pound and nuzzled my neck. My heart melted into a puddle right there and then; “Go get a box,” I told the attendant. Alex slept curled on the foot of my bed that night, and has every night since for sixteen years. “I saved your life that day,” I reminded him in a tone, “and thanks to me you have been lucky enough to live in 48 states since you were born in an alley here. So there.” “Just feed me,” he said, sniffing around the room. “No need for drama.”

16 Brenda Big River Brick BoatMy dear Brenda was a little more patient with me as I told story after story during our evening touchpoint visit. She and friend Phyllis were traveling from Florida to Virginia; we worked it out to meet in Chattanooga for one night as we passed going in different directions. As soon as they arrived I jumped into show-off mode. “We’ve got to go downtown,” I insisted, “so you can see the waterfront.” Brenda’s Mike (my first-born son) grew up here, but she was unfamiliar with the town. She drove. I pointed. “I used to work in that building!” “We celebrated Rick’s seventh birthday in that restaurant!” “There’s the Walnut Street Bridge, it’s a park now!” “There’s the hotel where my Mom and Dad had their honeymoon in 1937!” They peered and squinted in the dark, but just like the cats, finally insisted that we eat. » read more


Tingly and Happified

15 Jack atop carrierLinda Burton posting from Wytheville, Virginia – It’s still Virginia. And it’s still cold. Our room is on the back side of the mountain, winter bleak and bare, and my face was wind whipped with little ice needles as I stepped from the car. It isn’t far to West Virginia from here on I-77, or to North Carolina in the other direction. Remember March 22, when we came right by this spot on the way from Richmond to Charleston? “Here we are again,” I said to Jack as he sat waiting to get into his carrier and go inside. “It was cold then too.” But we are warm-hearted in spite of the weather, tingly excited and happified. We are so close to the finish line!

14 Jim FireYesterday was Uncle Jim day, finally, after snowy bad weather all week. We had lunch at one of the many dining rooms in his fabulous retirement community where everybody you see smiles and says hello. He has a nice apartment there with access to every amenity that man or beast might ever need. We didn’t have to step outside until I went back to my car. Uncle Jim is the last of the generation of my Mom and Dad. He married Mom’s younger sister Jo, and after a stint in the Navy went to work for the US Treasury Department, where he stayed till he retired. Do you receive a Social Security check? Well, as Chief Disbursing Agent for the 14 Jim and PicturesTreasury Department Uncle Jim was responsible for getting those checks disbursed during his day. Do you remember the Panama Canal treaty back in the Carter days? Well, Uncle Jim was down there, overseeing the financial transactions that took place.

Uncle Jim is Dad to cousins Jean, Teresa, and Deborah, and has a bunch of grandkids and great-grandbabies too; twins born in June are the latest delight. Deborah lives nearby (and I missed seeing her despite our best efforts); she is an excellent seamstress and works with Wounded Warriors, adapting uniforms and clothes for 14 Jim Mapthose in the military who have recently lost a limb. The entire family is busy, and fun, and every mention of their name brings good memories. My first visit to the White House in 1952 (when I was a teen) was arranged by Uncle Jim. We visited Uncle Jim and Aunt Jo in Virginia many times as my own kids were growing up. They visited us when we lived in Chattanooga and Seattle; they were Mom’s and Dad’s best traveling buddies throughout their lifetime. Saturday was a very special day. » read more


Stockton’s Valley

15 Williams Journal Page 1Linda Burton posting from Nashville, Tennessee I was born October 5 1816 in Cumberland County Stockton’s Valley Kentucky. That is the beginning line in the Journal of William Irwin Jr, my 3rd-great-grandfather. My path today, as I headed south from Frankfort to Nashville, would lead me through Stockton’s Valley. For weeks I’ve been following the trail of Daniel Boone and the pioneers who moved westward into Kentucky; now this is my day to get personal with history. William is my relative and my pioneer; and best of all William kept a Journal; he left behind a written picture of his life and times. My brother discovered William’s Journal just a few years back; the original is in possession of a distant cousin in Oregon, who kindly sent us copies. William died of cholera in 1849 as he and his family headed for the new state of Texas; he is buried by the trail in Arkansas, alongside his father William, and three of his children, a heartwrenching story as are so many stories of this 15 Williams leather pouchcountry’s settlement. The Journal was preserved in a handsome leather pouch; an amazing tale for us to read today. The first page continues: The name of Irwin was imported from Ireland in the person of William Irwin who emigrated to the United States and settled in Cumberland County Pa on Antedum Creek. He had three sons, James, Robert & John. The latter of whom was my grandfather who married a woman of Welsh descent by the name of Elizabeth Cunningham.…grandfather… was a soldier in the revolutionary war….Grandfather had three sons…my father William, Francis, and John. Francis married but had no heirs and died in Cotton Gin Miss. John settled in Cumberland Cty Ky and had a large family of children.

It is John’s grave I’m looking for today; the target is Albany Cemetery. » read more


It’s Called Experience

Brenda and Judy and Nathan at Houma Plantation in Louisiana

Linda Burton posting from Pensacola, Florida traveling from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Tallahassee, Florida – Country music stars travel a lot; so do politicians. Social media and viral videos may add another dimension as to how we share information, but nothing replaces face-to-face. It’s called experience. This year’s political campaign is a good example of the benefits of “up close and personal.” Candidates racked up the miles and people flocked to their rallies, each wanting the experience of the other. (I tried to get into a Denver rally, but tickets were long gone.) Those music stars don’t hide out in palatial music-star homes watching sales of their albums tote up. They tour. They know that people want the experience of them, and they in turn find out how people respond to what they do. And consider the million miles that Hillary Clinton has covered during her tenure as Secretary of State. She has met with world leaders on their turf, in their environment; such efforts not only allow the visitor a better understanding of why the other fellow looks, feels, and acts as they do, it shows the visitor’s respect for the places, and people, visited. And so it is with the Journey Across America, now 40% complete. Twenty capital cities lived in during the last 309 days; twenty capital cities experienced. » read more


Rooms With A View

Linda Burton posting from Westcliffe, Colorado traveling between Denver, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico – I’m taking a break. Two weeks in the Colorado Rockies, in the autumn of the year. Expect no posts, beyond today, till I get to Santa Fe. I’m at son Mike’s and Brenda’s house, but they aren’t here, it’s just me and the cats. Yesterday I ate lunch at Rancher’s Roost Restaurant in a bowling alley in downtown Westcliffe. A cute little bowling alley; a spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and the Wet Valley from the restaurant. As I ate, and stared, I thought about telling the owner to move the booths away from the windows so as not to block even one inch of the scenery. There’s one grocery store here, where I bought 21 bags of groceries today. I may not leave the house again till time to go to Santa Fe. Look at these pictures, and you’ll see why. The great room overlooks the valley and the mountain range; deer come near the dining room window to graze; we watch each other eat. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms with the same view; the kitchen too. Every room is perfect; why leave? Meanwhile, here are some straight facts on the area around me. » read more


Pomp, and Circumstances

Linda Burton posting from Forsyth, Montana while traveling from Helena, Montana to Bismarck, North Dakota –I could see the Sleeping Giant across the valley this morning; the smoky haze was gone. No sleeping for me however; it was time to leave Helena; time to drive across Montana and see historic sights along the way. Too bad I wound up missing most of them, thanks to time spent trying to repair a malfunctioning GPS (an hour lost), time spent on teeth-jarring rutted roads (Highway 12 was de-paved for re-paving), and time spent searching for my wallet (it had bounced into the back seat under the cat supplies). Three hours behind and ravenous for some lunch, I allowed a stop at Wheat Montana, (the famous bakery where John Dough Actually Lives). But I bypassed the Missouri Headwaters, where three rivers converge to mark the beginning of the Missouri. The History. July 28, 1805, Meriwether Lewis recorded in his journal “both Capt. Clark and myself… agreed to name them after the President of the United States and the Secretaries of the Treasury and State…we called the S.W. fork… Jefferson’s River in honor of Thomas Jefferson…the Middle fork we called Madison’s River in honor of James Madison and the S.E. Fork we called Gallitin’s River in honor of Albert Gallitin…the first two are 90 yards wide and the last is 70 yards…all of them with great velocity.”

I missed Pompeys Pillar too, another integral part of the Lewis & Clark story, arriving nine minutes after the gates were locked. But Pomp’s is a story I’ll share with you anyway. » read more


Behind Me Now

01 me and all at Scotts

My Northwest Family in Washington.
Back – Andrew, Matthew, Rick, Jake, Alec, Scott. Front – Kayla, Linda, Tami, Sam.

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington traveling from Juneau, Alaska to Helena, Montana Twenty percent. That much of the Journey Across America is complete. Twenty percent! That amounts to ten capital cities, ten places on this earth that I have come to know. The hardest part of the trip is behind me now. I have done the flying part, visiting those states that refer to the contiguous 48 as the “mainland”, or the “lower 48.” I have boarded the cats for two-week sessions twice. (Awful for me; awful for them.) I had the joyful company of my two youngest grandkids in two cities, and the added advantage of two points of view. Kayla wrote some excellent posts from Honolulu, took and edited hundreds of photos, and verified anomalies (more people in Waikiki wear black than floral prints!). Sam interviewed everyone he met in Juneau, made friends with the homefolk, and described the far-off sights to me while peering through binoculars. I also had a two-day visit in Olympia from son Rick, grandson Andrew, and Kayla once again; we explored the capitol, the coffee-roasting place, the 17 Brett and carriver and the falls; they loved it all. And there was home and family – the gatherings at son Scott and Tami’s house, the food, the sit around and talk, a Kramer-dog to pet (and throw the ball a hundred times). There was friendly business too; the visits with three members of the Board – Jim and James and Bob, all sharing their ideas and showing their support. I’m ever grateful for it all. (I’m including Brett’s photo, right, from my Arizona stop in March, can’t leave a family member out!) Now, want to see the stats? » read more


Business and the BFF’s

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington while traveling between Juneau, Alaska and Helena, Montana – Okay, okay, capital cities are great, and two-year journeys across the entire United States are awesome. But sometimes you need to stop and take care of business. It had been six months since I last visited the dentist at home in Alabama; how fortunate that my former dentist from Seattle days could schedule me in today! Taking care of business. And the Scion; another 5,000 miles have added up since that Austin, Texas checkup at Charles Maund Toyota back in March, so a visit to Magic Toyota in Edmonds was on tap too. It’s all about maintenance. But the most important item on the ticket is touching base with friends. It’s been almost three years since I left the Pacific Northwest; but super news, Carmelita and Jennifer both can get together with me in my waning hours before I start driving east again. » read more