In September and October 2017 Wendy and I took another trip to the United States where we wanted to see some of the 'middle bits'. Travel notes from earlier visits to the East coast and West Coast can also be found on this website.
For over six weeks we travelled through a dozen states and stayed for a night or more in 20 different cities, towns or locations. This involved six domestic flights for the longer legs; five car hires and many thousands of miles of driving on America's excellent National Highways and in between on many not so excellent local roads and streets.
We had decided to start in Chicago and 'head on down south' to New Orleans via: Tennessee; Georgia; Louisiana; and South Carolina. From there we would head west to: Texas; New Mexico; Arizona; Utah and Nevada; then to Los Angeles and home. That's only a dozen states - so there are still lots of 'middle bits' left to be seen.
During the trip, disaster, in the form of three hurricanes and a mass shooting, seemed to precede us by a couple of days.
The United States is a fascinating country that has so much history, culture and language in common with us that it's extremely accessible. So these notes have turned out to be long and could easily have been much longer.
Much of our time was spent in states that briefly formed a separate country: The Confederate States of America. Thus slavery, The Civil War and its consequences loom large there.
The chapter 'Andrew Jackson's Hermitage' contains my version of the history leading up to The Civil War and beyond and provides a background to many of the locations we travelled to. Readers with a good knowledge of American history; who violently disagree with my interpretation; who have no interest at all; or who have a short attention span, might like to skip that chapter and 'cherry pick' places that could interest them for other reasons, like Graceland or NASA or the Grand Canyon, from the contents table.
Near the top of our priority list were local museums. History and natural history museums help to provide insights to the people and their culture and we visited lots including: two Presidential Libraries; the Martin Luther King Jnr memorial; the JFK museum in Dallas; Andrew Jacksons Hermitage; and many more.
Whereas history museums might have similar exhibits and information, every art collection is unique. North America has some of the greatest art museums in the world. These enabled us to see unique, influential and sometimes iconic, paintings, sculpture and other media at first hand. Yet it's difficult to give each great work the attention it deserves. So I took pictures of many works that interested me for future reference and most of these can be seen in the various albums linked to these notes.
Eating, sleeping and shopping in a new location is always interesting and hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and shopping malls along the way provided many opportunities to talk and interact with the locals and to observe them interacting with each other. Local television and the car radio added colour (color).