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O.K., it's not June 15 like it says above.  It's actually a few weeks later, but I haven't had time to work on my website until now.  To be honest, I'm currently in Knoxville, Tennessee, busily writing updates for my website and describing my travels during the past month, from San Diego, California, through the southwest, across Texas, down to Louisiana and then up here to Knoxville.


Above:  Tina and Colby on the final episode of "Survivor - Outback."  But where are the Doritos?

Knoxville, Tennessee, of course, is best known for... um... let's see.  That's a hard one.  Oh yeah, Knoxville is the home of "Survivor - Outback" winner Tina Wesson.  Speaking of "Survivor," I visited Colby's home state of Texas a few weeks ago, but I didn't stop by to see that flag-waving Texan since he was kind of weird.  I mean, what was that thing about his relationship with his mother?  I didn't see Jerri either while I was in Los Angeles, because she was out flying around on her broom.  I thought I'd stop by Tina's house here in Knoxville and get some tips on surviving the Australian Outback, because she seemed like a nice person and we both love Doritos, but I'm sure she's out having some more plastic surgery done.  Boy, didn't she look goooood on that final episode??   My next stop is to visit Jerri's cute-but-evil twin sister, Amber, in Beaver, Pennsylvania.  But enough about Survivor.


I'm currently writing updates for my other major stops across the country so far, including:

  • Austin, Texas

  • Corinth (accent on the first syllable), Mississippi, and

  • Here in Knoxville, Tennessee

I have the photos and maps ready and am currently writing the text for those updates.  I have lots of interesting stories to share and have met some terrific people here in the Deep South (and one creep in Austin, who I'll describe as well), and will post those updates soon.  But I thought I'd pass this update along now and post some pictures of what I think is the most beautiful place in America:  Utah, the home of slickrock sandstone, polygamist Mormons, and the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics.  Utah is a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there as opposed to the Midwest, which is a great place to live but I wouldn't want to visit there.  


All right, now that I've offended Midwesterners, Utahns, and Tina Wesson, let me get you caught up.  Here's a quick summary of my trip so far:

  • Utah was beautiful, hot, and dry.

  • The Deep South was beautiful, hot, and steamy.

  • I've thrown my schedule, which I had carefully created in Portland before I left, out the window.  I'm taking things at my own pace now, which means that I won't be visiting you folks in the Northeast and Midwest until much later than we planned.  A profound thought hit me after I left Austin:  what's the point of being on a vacation if you have to stick to a schedule?  According to "The Schedule," I was supposed to spend exactly one day in Tennessee but I've been here for a week and a half.  So there.


A Note About E-Mail

   I really appreciate receiving e-mail from folks, so please keep writing.  However, please be patient with me in getting back to you, since I don't stay in motels very often to plug in my modem (and it's pretty hard to download e-mail in campgrounds!)

     After camping for a solid week, I finally got a motel room the other night, hooked up my modem and responded to everyone.  It took me eight hours to reply to all the e-mails but I'm not complaining.


Mea Culpa

When I left Portland in June, I was hoping to update my website every week or so but I obviously haven't been able to do that.  The main problem is not lack of interest, because I have a lot of stories to tell and lots of photos to post, but rather a lack of time. 


I typically travel all day, pull into a campground around 8 p.m., eat dinner, then work on the digital photos that I shot that day until it's bedtime.  I've been shooting over 100 pictures a day (more than 3,000 since leaving a month ago) with my new Canon D-30 digital camera and I spend an hour or two each night processing them.  It's a lot of work but I'm not complaining!  Photo processing also eats up my laptop's batteries, which I carefully charge each day via my truck's AC/DC converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter, so I don't have much juice afterwards in the evenings to work on my website.


But enough excuses.  I'll be posting another update next week and a major update in two weeks after I get to my brother Don's house in Syracuse, New York.


By the way, on those nights in the campgrounds that I have been able to work on my website, I always get a lot of strange looks from fellow campers.  I mean, who in their right mind would bring a laptop computer to a campground?  It's pretty much unheard of.  It's fun, though, to sit at my picnic table at night and type away by the campfire.  The only downside is that the light from my laptop's screen attracts lots of bugs, which I squish if they land on the screen while I'm typing.  After a while, though, it gets hard to read what I've typed because of all the squished bugs on my screen. 

New Things

My website is a work-in-progress and will (hopefully) continue to grow over the next year.  I added several new pages this past week, including:

  • Close-Ups, which includes more detailed stories and photos on certain topics related to travel.  I'll continue to add things to this section over the next year.  I even put a page in there about Mormons and Polygamy.  And check out The Best and Worst of the 50 States to find out which states have the friendliest people, the worst drivers, and the best state parks.

  • I like taking pictures of funny signs and will be posting them on my Funny Photos page, along with other funny things I run across during the next year.

I also revised some of my other web pages, as you'll notice if you click around.  In fact, I posted a picture of me sitting on the roof of an outhouse for your amusement.


O.K., on with my trip.  This page is getting pretty long so I split this entry into two parts.  See you in Part 2!



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