Our Great and Funny United States

Week 5- Virginia

Well, how fitting. ‘They’ tell us Virginia is for lovers. And, it’s heart month and Valentine’s week.

I don’t know why Virginia is for lovers and maybe there’s an elephant in the room you Virginians can clue me into. Often, sloganists come up with something that sounds good and then sell us on the intrigue even if there’s not a story behind it.

If Virginia is for lovers because it’s lovely, I’m buying. How to describe the Shenandoah Valley? Serene, untouched, pastoral, picturesque. And the beaches, long, crashing, uncrowded and nature-wild in spots. Places that innocently romance and a place for innocent romance. Then there’s Virginia, the political enclave (peep the meme). All DC, white collar, busy, and unnoticing. A place for illicit love affairs? Certainly.

V’s dipped its toe into Northern ways while remaining wholeheartedly southern in pockets. Historical hotspots well known, besides hundreds of old barns and fences of unclaimed, not reclaimed wood. On vast farmsteads, round bales sprayed in prideful displays 🏈 , mostly VT. Bud and Ned’s bbq in Richmond is a treat. There’s plenty of federal history, too.

It’s not a top 20 state for me, but I’m glad I’ve experienced its lovely nuance, the rustic and the risqué. Happy ‘V’ Day! -CC

Our Great and Funny United States

Week 4- West Virginia

Oops, I skipped over you last week, WV, and went straight to Washington 🧳🍎 What a shame!

We ❤️ West Virginia! I mean, I know it seems like I say that I love every place we go, but WV is Top 7-ish state for me!

Long time ago, our kids learned to snow ski there. West Virginia is less than a day’s drive for 75% of the country, btw, which also means a decent flight. We didn’t want our kids to learn on manufactured snow AKA southern-fake, butt-busting slick, and we didn’t want the enormity of westward travel and skiing, for their first time. Winterplace or Snowshoe is perfect powder! ❄️❄️❄️Pay attention: If you’re south of Pennsylvania and east of Arkansas, take newbies to ski in WV (or the Poconos, but that’s a post for another week). WV, perfect powder and manageable slope size. They were skiing like champs in an hour.

We chose to drive on that trip because we hadn’t spent any time exploring the reputably incredible landscape of WV before. Wow! Y’all, really. The first meme is 100% accurate, only WV is way, way prettier with its narrow roads cut slap-dab through steep mountain walls. Signs like:

Beware Falling Icicles

are legit. We saw icicles, no, monster-size lasers topple and crash on both sides of the car.

We surprised the kids and went for a week during MLK holiday, way back. It was cold, even for me, the cold-lover! A massive winter storm was brewing and it was -1 the night we crossed the state line. I said to Chris that this may be An Actual Snow Event, know what I mean? Adventurous, fly by the seat folks that we are, he said, “Nah!” and we plunged on toward El Gordo, our cabin self-proclaimed on the website as ‘tucked discreetly in the woods well away from the stresses of ordinary life.’ …Would later prove accurate advertising😳😉

Nearing midnight, we passed a 24-hour Walmart with ice-outer-layered cars and trucks parked all the way out to the highway. Reread that. Chris observed, “Well, maybe, we should stop and get a few things…” Seeing the shelves emptied of bread and water and people rushing, I inquired to a random shopper if this was An Actual Snow Event. He laughed and said, “First time I’ve left the house in five days. I’m buying a chainsaw and a new generator. Yeah.”

On we went. The low, and high, was -1 for much of the trip and we saw a couple feet of snow fall amid wildly whipping winds.

This is a state that is paused-in-time, mining where you can ride in coal trains deep into caves, we rode a sleigh- a horse drawn sleigh- at The Greenbrier (Don’t know this place? Look it up😍), we saw the longest single span steel arch bridge (over New River Gorge ((third highest, too)) ) in America and the river running backward below because the river is older than the mountain🧐🙂

Good, hearty food. Artistic vibe with mountaineer down home feel!

Pies and Pints pizza 🍕 can hold its own with any pizza place I’ve been! The parking lot was iced over and the structure kind of looked like it was in a neighborhood, one of those funky-cool, mod-interesting places from the road. Inside, local men in fur-trimmed bombers, with ice shards on their lumberjack-looking boots, drinking good beer from longnecks, watching the game, while jukebox softly whined anything from Loretta Lynn to Gin Blossoms. Greek pizza menu to die for, or drive 10 hours for, I’m serious.

Pies and Pints

The road we took from Somewhere Remote, WV to The Greenbrier did have signs like those in the meme below. In WV, they will cut a road, and leave it be, anywhere because…the only way to make a road is through a mountain!

…We arrived at the amazingly appointed wilderness cabin, after slip sliding more treacherously than any place we’d previously driven (and if you know us, that’s saying a lot) to find a sign tacked to the door, ‘Generator works. Loaf of bread here.’

Hot water from the outdoor spa tub, when we’d splash each other, froze on our lashes.

We love West Virginia! I’ve not done it justice. West Virginia is wonderful 🏔 The John Denver song kinda says it all. -CC

Our Great and Funny United States

Week 2: Wisconsin

Wow, I know and like several folks from Wisconsin! It’s a glacier, like, you understand, the state was a glacier. It’s THE dairy state and these are some interesting and commendable farmers! We know a few firsthand.

Wisconsinites consume 21 million gallons of ice cream / year (I think of a specific couple/ farmer friends; they have a cool farm and store there and make A LOT of ice cream).

Here’s what I know: It’s freezing and the lakes are big like an ocean view. The only trip that’s ever been canceled on me was when the land/Air BnB owner from Door County called and said, “Take it from me. It’s a bad week to come.” I replied, “I know I have the accent and we live in Georgia, but, trust me, we’re accustomed to winter travel. We want to dog sled!” He said, “Listen, I can’t get to the house you rented, the dogs aren’t coming out, and when we get off the phone I’m going to Minnesota to warm up…” 👀

I guess they eat a lot of ice cream because it’s the dairy state, but, dang, it’s a cold place to eat 21 million gallons of ice cream. Highlights: beer, cheese, lakes, invented ice cream sundaes

Home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frank Lloyd Wright and 16,670+ lakes

***Please feel free to comment or share state photos each week.
****We once drove 140 extra miles on a 2500-mile road trip so our kids could get a pic on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. We snapped one pic, ate two pounds of very good cheese, and drank beer (us, not the kids🍻). -CC

Our Great and Funny United States

Week 1: Wyoming

So, the Halloween memes I shared on Facebook produced laughter, something we are in need of in 2021 and always.

What about poking fun at the great United States, one per week? I’m a geography/travel/states/US trivia nerd and enjoyed spending time in almost every state (I love something about each one). I have FB friends in/from every state but the least populated: Wyoming (correct me if I’m wrong, Wyomingites)🤠

Laugh with me and at ‘US’ instead of being offended, please, which is why I’m going in reverse alphabetical order. Alabama memes proved too brutal for week 1😉

Hopefully I/you will learn something along the way. Do comment or share your travel pics!

Wyoming, to me- Windy, sparse, vast wilderness. Highlights- windy, sparse, vast wilderness

Known for Yellowstone, Old Faithful, first to grant women the right to vote and first female governor, Harrison Ford, Dick Cheney, Jackson Pollock, last to raise the legal drinking age (understandable 💨 ❄️🐎 )

*For this great state, I couldn’t choose just one meme. –CC