Road trip, final leg

By Phil Crossman | Apr 07, 2017

The road trip is drawing to a close. We were in the Great Smokey Mountains in Georgia last week, driving the spectacular twists and turns of the Blue Ridge Parkway and heading for its northern counterpart and equal, the Skyline Drive, which will take us to Front Royal, Va. From there, we visited some friends in upstate New York and then headed back to Vinalhaven, where, presumably, we'll be by now.

I've been concerned about reports of increased racism since this presidential campaign got under way, and was therefore watchful for evidence of it in areas of our country where it has a history and places where Trump's call to bigotry have resonated. I'm grateful to report that I never witnessed a single instance, although I did see an occasional, rare in fact, example of it clinging to existence.

A huge billboard in Arkansas, there for all to see because our Constitution guarantees the right to unencumbered free speech, for which I'm grateful, read, "Diversity, a code word for white genocide." These were rare, though, thank goodness, and I witnessed no personal expression of the intolerance endorsed and encouraged by this administration.

Finally, the single most beautiful and stunning memory I will have of this trip is Black Angus cattle on green hillsides and in verdant valleys. The vast, brilliantly green farmland in Tennessee, in particular, was as spectacular as any we saw, and the ever-present black cows grazing in spacious serenity in ever-changing landscapes, presented a compelling tableau at every turn for the many hours it took to drive across this state from east to west and then back again.

We certainly enjoyed driving through the mountains in Appalachia and the Ozarks and will probably do it again. But we will definitely return to Tennessee.

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