In August, I wrote a column about travel, focused on our trips to other countries. Today I want to focus on travel in our country.

I hope throughout your life, you have been able to travel. That’s something my wife Linda and I always enjoyed, and I feel very fortunate that we were able to do so much traveling. As a teacher, Linda had part of the summer off, so I managed my work so I could have the summer off too.

We started traveling in a VW camper, but eventually we purchased a motor home. It was so big Linda wouldn’t drive it. But I loved driving it, and once drove for 28 hours straight to reach Montana.

Starting right here in Maine, there are so many wonderful places to enjoy. We spent a lot of time camping at Cobscook Bay State Park, where almost all the campsites are on the ocean.

We visited a lot of states, some a lot of times. We loved taking our kids to Disney World, a really great place. And while we spent time all over Florida, we liked its west coast best, because it is a lot less crowded; I’ll never forget the time we were the only people on a beautiful beach there. We also liked the Florida Keys.

There are some great events too. One of our favorites was Mardi Gras in New Orleans. On every street corner a band was playing and the food was delicious.

There are lots of great national parks. Our favorite was Glacier National Park in Montana, which we visited a lot. Most of the park is in Montana, but the northern section is in Canada, which we also visited.

We would start at Glacier, then head south to Yellowstone National Park, where I took photos of our kids surrounded by elk. Just south of Yellowstone is the Grand Tetons, impressive mountains where we liked to camp.

Continuing south, you’ll definitely want to see the Grand Canyon. It’s amazing, and we saw it from three different places, and even hiked into the canyon one time, exploring a cave along the way.

Eventually we discovered Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. We enjoyed renting a house in Terlingua, about 10 miles from the park. Big Bend National Park is an incredible place, beautiful mountains, the River Grande, and fabulous hikes. We visited there a number of times, and recommended it to a bunch of people, all of whom loved it. Just don’t go in July or August, when it is very hot.

Yosemite National Park in California is impressive too. And we enjoyed seeing those amazing trees in Redwood Park.

We enjoyed two visits to Hawaii, and I even took Linda on a fishing adventure to Alaska, where I took a photo of her after she had just cast into the river while there was a huge brown bear 10 yards away staring at her. The river was full of bears, and fortunately they were very good at catching fish, so they never bothered us, but it took a while to get comfortable fishing with bears all around you. Even if you don’t fish, Alaska is a great place to visit.

One trip I’ll never forget is the chicken pox trip. Our son Josh had the chickenpox just before we headed to Montana, and before we got there, Linda and our daughter Hilary got the chickenpox. On our way home, our daughter Rebekah got the chicken pox.

Whenever we were out west we would come home through Canada, which has a very good and straight road all the way from the west coast to Montreal. One time we dropped down to see Niagara Falls, which is impressive.

Another time, in western Canada, we pulled in to a campground to spend the night, and we were the only ones there. In the middle of the night, Linda woke me up because she thought she heard someone stealing our gas.

I moved to the front of the van, pulled aside the curtain, and called Linda up to see the five baby racoons on our front bumper. Their mother was rooting around in the garbage can.

Yup, traveling is full of amazing adventures!

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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