Dear America: Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I'm skipping New York because that pretty obviously deserves its own post, which I'm saving for last.

I stayed in Montana for a handful of nights during my Yellowstone trip in 2009. We stayed at a motel in West Yellowstone, which was a very small resort-like town. The town was so small that I was able to eat at most of the restaurants in town, including Buckaroo Bill's for elk burgers and some of the most delicious fries I've ever had. There were a lot of very nice-looking (young) cowboys in town, too, so that didn't hurt.

I really want to see Glacier National Park in Montana, and wherever they filmed Brokeback Mountain, although I'm not sure what I would do there, other than sit in my car and stare at the beautiful scenery. I can't ride horses and I'm not exactly cowgirl/boy material.

New Mexico
During my trip to Los Angeles after college, my friends and I drove from Austin, TX. We passed through New Mexico and took a couple hours out to visit the White Sands National Monument. We drove and drove into the park until we didn't see any other cars. Then we pulled over and went "sledding" down the dunes on rented discs.

One of my friends checking out the scenery

Me climbing back up a dune ... tiring and hot!

North Carolina
I've stopped twice in North Carolina, both times very briefly, but it's a state I've wanted to spend some time since about the time I became obsessed with Florida. The last time I was there, Megan and I were driving back to New York from Charleston and hit a NC Target to stock up on Dolly Parton music and snacks. We stayed the night near Rocky Mount and then I visited Waffle House for the first (and only) time the next morning. Someday I'll return and see it properly.

Not long after my trip to Colorado/Yellowstone/Utah and all the states in between, I made my first trip to the Pacific Northwest. I have a friend I met on the internet as a teenager who lives in Seattle, and I'd been saying for years that I'd go out and visit her, so I did. During this trip, I also visited Vancouver in Canada and Portland, Oregon (for a day). The only photo I have from Portland is of a milkshake I got at Arctic Circle, oddly enough. I really liked what I saw of Portland and would really like to spend more than a day in it at some point.

South Carolina
I have very sweet memories of South Carolina, which I visited during the road trip I took with my friend Megan in 2008. We were both extremely tired and thirsty driving from Georgia to South Carolina. We spotted a Sonic Drive-In (one of my favorite chains just because there are none near me and I always want what I can't have ... and I'm a sucker to marketing schemes) and immediately pulled in. We were in Columbia, and this particular Sonic had servers on skates. 

We both got out of the car, and the weather was AMAZING. We had just come from frigid, foggy, hailing Atlanta, and it seemed like summer in Columbia. We were doing a happy dance around the car when our server skated up to us with our limeades, and I don't think I'd ever been so happy to see a smiling waitress in my life. I almost wanted to hug her.

Anyway, our destination was Charleston, which is such a beautiful city. I thought it would feel a lot older, but it was actually pretty vibrant and youthful. We were there on a Friday night and Saturday, so we drove to Folly Beach on Saturday morning and had a really good Southern brunch at the Lost Dog Cafe. I think I had either the biscuits and gravy or Huevos Rancheros while Megan got the "Whistlin' Dixie shrimp and grits" which, if you're ever in Folly Beach, you must have. So delicious, and incredibly decadent.

Folly Beach

Then we spent a couple hours walking along the Charleston Waterfront Park and swinging in the swings, talking about our lives.

South Dakota
Saw South Dakota in the same trip I saw Montana in. We stayed one night in Custer in the Black Hills before driving towards Wyoming. I got a very homey, folksy feel about South Dakota, which I found to be a more welcoming state than Wyoming (based completely on the state of the highways).

A bison in Custer State Park

From the car

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