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Traveling a chance to see the country, meet people


Harry D. Butler

A recent article in this journal relates the research of the University of Alabama concerning vacations. I hope you have read this interesting book.

It started like this: “Endless summer surfers, Elvis in the movies, the Go-Gos, Jack Johnson and Jimmy Buffett would probably agree with this premise: beach people live the sunniest lives.

“But it turns out that it’s the road ahead that brings the most joy, according to a study by two researchers from the University of Alabama. Yes, beaches were named most often as destinations desired, in the study of 1,040 travelers from across the United States, but it is the journey itself, the escape from routine, that creates the joy.

This my family and I agree with. Travel, get away from it all – as my dad often said, “Go somewhere you haven’t been and learn something new.”

Over the years we’ve seen much of the eastern United States, on trips from the white-sand beaches of Pensacola Beach and Daytona Beach to our nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, all in Florida; at Virginia Beach Campground and Waters, Virginia; at the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC; at Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain in Maine; to New York and many other destinations.

Traveling on roads off the high-speed highways is what we found the most fun and often the most economical. And growing up, taking our tents – later, an RV – to campgrounds full of vacationers was a great way to meet people from all over the United States.

“The traveler may be climbing mountains, sailing on cruise ships, or hiking through parks,” wrote Jay Waters, a UA instructor in advertising and public relations who created the study with Jameson Hayes. , associate professor and director of AU’s Public Opinion Lab.

Yes! Waters and Hayes did a remarkable study. Many Etowah County residents are totally on board with the results of their work. Their exploits are clearly displayed on Facebook and other websites.

Question: Are you familiar with the Tear Drop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey? Those to whom I asked the question said “no”. Granted, it’s not as well-known as the rebuilt Twin Towers of lower Manhattan in New York City. Our clan elder, on a trip to the Jersey Shore, suggested we visit; I’m so glad she did. It was a great visit to this historic place.

The Memorial to the Fight Against Global Terrorism, also known as the Tear Memorial, stands at the end of the former Bayonne Military Maritime Terminal. It’s the first thing you see when approaching New York by boat from the Atlantic, long before the Statue of Liberty comes into view. It’s exactly across the Hudson River from the Twin Towers

According to Wikipedia, the sculpture features a 100-foot bronze-clad tower divided with a jagged opening in the middle, in which hangs a 40-foot-tall nickel-clad teardrop.

As noted, the UA researchers found that “it is the journey itself, the escape from routine, that creates the joy.” When you travel the highways and back roads of this country, you’ll agree that many other people feel the same way.

Crawling through the basements of Mammoth Cave is an incredible experience, much like seeing and touching the giant California redwoods, the tallest tree in the world, reaching over 379 feet, with a base of 23 feet and living up to at 2,200 years old. (Note: you can buy a seedling for $9.)

Branson, Missouri, home to dozens of star-studded musical performances and the Bigfoot Museum; Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Loretto Chapel and its mysterious staircase; the Grand Canyon; boating on Lake Mead behind the Hoover Dam – these are other great places for our travels over the past six decades. We hope many more places will be visited.

My editor loves trips to Savannah, Georgia; others also enjoyed visits to Charleston, South Carolina; and a few friends have just returned from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to watch the herds of wild horses.

But let me suggest Alabama as a great getaway. Telling this story will take pages to describe adequately. This work is ongoing.

Where have you been, my reader, and where do you plan to go for your next vacation?

Before I go, I must tell you that one of our best vacations was spending days at Camp Sumatanga, a 1,700-acre facility owned by the United Methodist Church, open to the public, which stretches along the valley of St. Clair County, nestled against Chandler Mountain near Gallant. The hiking and fishing, and the long climb to Creel Chapel, were unforgettable adventures.

Now, where is my roadmap?

Harry D. Butler, a former broadcaster, is a motivational speaker and author of “Alabama’s First Radio Stations, 1920-1960”.