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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 4: An Appalachian Trail But for Non-Hikers

me at overlook!

Whenever a long drive through vast panoramas threaten to turn dull, break up the pretty monotony with a stop at a scenic overlook! Then quickly get back in the car and floor it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression. For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

The morning drive through the West Virginia mountains was beautiful, and not just because the traffic was light and I made great time. Their wilderness panoramas are many and vast and spacious and layered and wondrously three-dimensional.

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 39: Pennsylvania Piques

Madonna of the Trail!

She’s a familiar face to longtime MCC readers…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Day Six was a long haul through the southern half of Pennsylvania, a six-hour drive on country highways if you avoid the expenses of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We drove nearly the entire length of the Turnpike on our 2010 road trip to Philadelphia and on our unforgettable visit to Manhattan in 2011. Between those two vacations, we exhausted several pounds of spare change on tolls in the process. Avoiding the tolls wasn’t our primary objective here, merely a happy benefit. Everything on our to-do list this time was south of the interstate. Fortunately our route through the Allegheny Mountains and/or the Appalachian Plateau was nonstop scenery and points of interest.

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 5: Miles of Maryland Mountains

Maryland Overlook!

The view of westernmost Maryland from an I-68 overlook.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Much of the drive from Pennsylvania through West Virginia to western Maryland looked exactly as show above — interstates surrounded by deep sylvan panoramas. The first time we drove this way in 2003, my son was disappointed that the Appalachians lacked pointed, snow-topped peaks like in all the movies about the Rockies or the Himalayas. Mountains may be massive, but to some audiences they’re no less subject to stereotyping.

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Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 11 of 12: Chattanooga Rock City

Lookout Mountain!

Hiking the Appalachian Trail for hundreds of miles is one way to see the mountains. Or you can settle for these spiffy decks up Lookout Mountain.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

Driving through the Appalachian Mountains and/or its various spinoffs on our way to Florida had been one part traffic ordeal, three parts staring at sightly scenery. For the return trip we knew we had to view some of that ruggedness up close. Lookout Mountain, right around the Chattanooga area and nearly reaching 2400 feet in elevation, was the perfect opportunity for one last round of exploring the sort of stupendous terrain we don’t have back home in Indiana. Granted, we have caves not unlike Ruby Falls (and we have better photos of one of them). But mountains in general are nearly as foreign to us flatland Hoosiers as Martians.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #29: Outtakes, Colorado

Rocky Mountains!

Those amazing colossal Rocky Mountains up in Rocky Mountain National Park. Better or worse than the shots we shared before?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our second trip to Colorado in twenty-eight episodes — November 1-6, 2015, Sunday through Friday, which represented our very first experience with air travel. We didn’t lose any luggage, eat any airline meals, wait extra hours for a delayed flight, land early due to onboard nuisance, see any Muslims snap-judged, or throw up at any point. And between the flights there and back again, we saw lots more Colorado we hadn’t seen our first time around when we drove out there from Indianapolis in 2012.

Here, in our grand finale: a selection of outtakes from various chapters — a few skipped by dumb oversight; a few that captured isolated moments disconnected from the rest of the narrative; and a few left behind due to inadequate wow factor. We may be aging amateurs who don’t have thousands of unconditional superfans, but we do have light standards.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #27: Clocking Out of Cloudy Colorado

Colorado Clouds!

At 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Friday, November 6, 2015, my wife wrapped up the final shift of her Colorado Springs business trip, jumped in the rental car with me and sighed in relief. Her work week hadn’t been an easy one. The branch appreciated her assistance, but it was clear they needed more help than she could give them in her 40+ hours on the premises. She did her part, but what happened after she left was no longer her concern. At long last she was free. She could finally unwind and enjoy a little Colorado sightseeing before we ended our six-day experience.

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