‘Y Traveling Between’ Category


Uncles and Aunts

Uncle Rick talking with Nephew Sam

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington while traveling between Juneau, Alaska and Helena, Montana – This post is a bit of a stretch, capital-city wise. But I am in Washington state and it is the only state named after a president (although we know for sure George Washington never slept here!). I was thinking about George’s relatives today, because I spent the afternoon with some of mine. With all the stories I have heard about our first president, I never learned about his relatives. Did he have any kids? Or nieces and nephews? A little research tonight led me to the answer; turns out George has often been referred to as “First Uncle.” George didn’t have any children of his own, but he was step-father to Martha Dandridge Custis’ two children, Jacky and Patsy, only four and two when George and Martha married. George had two half-brothers, three brothers, and a sister; he wound up with a number of nieces and nephews too. And since George outlived all his siblings, it follows that he wound up with responsibilities towards their children. » read more


Highland Terrace Elementary

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington – Rockets bursting in air. I was sure that’s what I heard as I emerged from the tall fir trees at the 4-way stop. Rockets, and cheers. It was the 6th graders rocket show taking place on the playing field at Highland Terrace Elementary; I continued to the parking lot by the office door. An Orca whale on a sign directed me to the checkin place. “Look who’s behind you,” the office secretary said, “they can direct you to Kayla’s room.” I turned around to the sight of four smiling girls, my granddaughter Kayla, and her classmates Sam (Samantha L), Mantha (Samantha R) and Sophia, ready to help with set up (once they had explained their names). One of them took my bag of notes; another took the tripod; they were missing recess and the rocket show, but didn’t seem to mind. Desktops were cleared, the postcards and brochures I’d brought about “capitols” were artfully arranged for classmates to see, the US map was pulled down, the projector was on. We were ready.  » read more


Lunch With James

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington while traveling between Salem, Oregon and Honolulu, Hawaii –“I’ve been interested in politics as long as I can remember,” James recalled. “I used to hand out political flyers for my father when I was five years old.” James and I are sitting in my favorite red-booth spaghetti place in the Wallingford neighborhood, not too far from the University of Washington. I first met James at the University where he taught a class I took several years ago. And now, because James has agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of Capital Cities USA, we’re discussing business. The “historian’s way of looking at things” is the important niche James fills on the Board. You know, that nit-picking three-part method historians insist on using to explain the world – (1) multiple perspectives (2) a variety of sources and (3) critical analysis. It’s much easier to make a surface-level snap judgment about the events of life, and most of us do that, most of the time. But James is a context person. It’s not just what, it’s what led to the what. Go wide, then narrow in. Understand the influences of the time. Look at some of the things James has focused on since developing that interest in politics at his father’s knee; you’ll see what I mean. » read more



Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington Fifty State Capitols has an IPPY now! I’m talking about the book, Fifty State Capitols, The Architecture of Representative Government, authored by Jim Stembridge and published by Coho Publishing. Jim stopped by yesterday on his way back to Salem from New York, where he accepted the award, and I got to meet his wife Joan, and the big black dog that helped him research the capitols, Ruth. I was glad to be able to congratulate Jim in person on such an accomplishment, and pleased that he brought me a copy of the newly bronze-stickered book. An IPPY! Jim’s book received the 2012 Bronze Medal in the Architecture category by the Independent Publishers Book Awards. It was an event that involved the best of independent published works internationally; just look at the photo of Jim accepting the award; blue ribbons around his neck and a big smile on his face. Something to be proud of! » read more


Kent Meridian Elementary

Linda Burton posting from Kent, Washington – “Who likes to travel?” I asked. Every hand went up; that means both hands from every kid; double the enthusiasm. I’m visiting Mrs Macey’s 4th grade class at grandson Sam’s school, Kent Meridian Elementary; he’d help me set up the room before this happy bunch came back from recess. “So, did you know you are traveling right now?” I continued. Summer vacation? Going home after school? “No, I mean, right NOW,” I answered back. “Right now, in this room, while you are sitting at your desks.” A young man to my right caught the idea then, “We’re orbiting the sun!” “Correcto mundo!” I praised. “We’re traveling around the sun. Every time you have a birthday you’ve circled one more time. I’ve been around the sun 73 times already!” Oo’s and ah’s, such a large number to comprehend. We discussed how many trips they’d made so far; how many miles that was; an awesome fact. Then down to earth, my Journey Across America. » read more


Family Roar

Linda Burton posting from Kent, Washington while traveling between Salem, Oregon and Honolulu, Hawaii – We had to stand at the top of the stairs to sing Happy Birthday. The stairs to the family room, that is, so Kramer could see the cake-with-candles and join in. Kramer loves birthdays. One year he gobbled up half the cake before the party; that’s why he’s in the family room today, behind the gate. Tami is taking no chances, though he’ll get a slice, after everyone else is served. Right now, as the candles flicker and the nine of us sing human words, Kramer howls, in his own joyous big-black-dog way. “He’s the best dog there ever was,” Scott affirms. “The best.” We’re gathered here to celebrate; my baby-child is 47 years old today. How great that I arrived in time to party up. Boxes are stacked everywhere for the family’s impending move, but we don’t mind; we use them for table-tops. Finger-licking food; corn on the cob and KFC; the youngest ones are picky eaters still; the oldest gobble up. Tami made Scott’s favorite cake, the German chocolate kind his grandma made when he was ten and went to fish the Gulf of Mexico. And now it’s picture-taking time. Let’s go outside. » read more


Shut The Front Door!

Linda Burton traveling from Boise, Idaho to Bend, Oregon on the way to Salem, Oregon – “Shut the front door!” or some version thereof is what I repeated each time I rounded another curve. The scenery was unexpected. According to the map, once I crossed the Snake River from Idaho into Oregon and left the freeway for Highway 20, there wasn’t much. First Vale, a small agricultural town, then what looked to be a curvy road to Burns, and Harney Basin. It was that unassuming curvy road that gave me the “wows” – a juicy-fruit of changing scenes, each one a surprise. All I could say was “Shut the front door!” Just outside Vale a lonely mass in a freshly plowed field commanded my attention. I stopped to read the sign. “Mahleur Butte,” it said, a leftover from the Idaho Lake of 2 million years ago. “Mahleur,” derived from the French “misfortune.” Turns out I’d see that name again and again. » read more


I Wanna Go Fast

Linda Burton traveling from Elko, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah –Boggled by nature’s theatrics as I drove east from Elko, I thought by now I’d seen every type of terrain. I was wrong. My curving descent at Wendover, past the last of the Nevada casinos, showed flashes of white ahead. A battery of signs assailed me – Mountain Time Zone, Welcome to Utah, High Wind Area. Then another sign, a green directional, that simply said “Bonneville Speedway.” I didn’t hesitate.  » read more


If I Were A Geologist

Linda Burton traveling from Carson City, Nevada to Elko, Nevada on the way to Salt Lake City, Utah – If I were a geologist, I think I’d choose to live in Nevada. Nevada claims to be the “most mountainous” state of the lower 48, yes, ahead of California, Montana, Washington, Colorado. The numbers vary a bit depending on the source, but Nevada has (approximately) 314 named mountain ranges and 172 summits over 2,000 feet. With that many mountains, you wind up with a matching number of valleys of course; just think what a challenging life of ups and downs for a serious-minded geologist! (Technically, that is range and basin geology.) And good news for the traveler, none of these mountain-valley scenarios looks the same. Today, I’m just a traveler. » read more


The Sierra

Linda Burton traveling from Sacramento, California to Carson City, Nevada – Today was the day to tackle “The Sierra.” I’ve been hearing about it for two weeks; it’s all the Sacramento news – the weather of it, the condition of the road to Tahoe, events to entertain. I couldn’t see it, and didn’t really understand (why isn’t it Sierras, plural?).  I’d delayed a day to let the snow clouds dissipate; no chains in my repertoire. Now I had a sunny day and loaded up with ease, one thing at a time from room to car.

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