Hasta Luego

Here it is November. It is 70 degrees, the sun is shining, and the grass is still green. Almost seems a shame to be heading “South of the border” when it is so nice here.

Yet the cold, north wind and rain that pelted us a few days ago and the projected temps for the end of the week are reminders that I am getting out of town just in time.

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Cuidado

That is “Be careful” in Spanish.

One thing I am not fond of about Mexico is the drivers. The pedestrian does NOT have the right of way here. Oh, sure, a taxi or combi might stop and signal for the gringo to cross a busy street but that does not prevent someone behind from speeding around him and hitting you.

With all the processions clogging the streets these past two weeks and all the vacacionistas in town, it has been particularly peligroso on the streets. Cars, taxis, and motor bikes are more plentiful than usual and all are in a hurry to get somewhere, so pedestrian, be aware.

You might start crossing the street without a car in sight but before you reach the other side, a car comes zooming up and passes mere inches behind you. That is scary! What is even worse is when the driver misjudges or you slow just a bit to negotiate a pothole or curb and well….

I had a taxi hit my bag once and a few of those “give me a little space” moments but that is nothing compared to a friend who is currently laid up because a car hit his foot or the two friends of friends we lost this week because of a pedestrian/car accident.

Time and unforeseen occurrence may befall us all, however, it is always wise to be careful out there.

Motorbikes, Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico

And the band played on

…and on and on and on until the wee hours of the morning.

With all hoopla going on in Taxco last night and today, it might be easy to miss a quieter but much more important celebration happening down the street and in communities around the world.

Conmemmoracion, Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico

The night before he died, Jesus celebrated his last Passover meal with his disciples. He shared bread and wine with them as symbols of his body and blood to be poured out (with his death) on behalf of all those who put faith in him and the value of his offering his perfect human body as a ransom for our sins.  This act provides all with the hope of attaining life as God originally purposed, living forever in a Paradise earth. As he passed the bread and wine to his disciples, he said to them, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

Tonight, after sundown, is the anniversary of that momentous event. If you value the ransom Christ paid for our sins, I invite you to attend the commemoration nearest you. To learn more and for a full list of locations in communities near you, around the world, click here.

Millions around the world will attend. Will you be one of them?

Meandering

Curvy RoadWhen I travel, unless inclement weather, my goal is not to go the fastest or the farthest in the shortest amount of time, it is to enjoy the journey. Today was a perfect example of that philosophy — no deadlines, no particular place to go or be, no final destination to make by the end of the day. That leaves one free to explore the day and the area, step by step, mile by mile, moment by moment, stopping or moseying at will.

The roads are narrower, the towns smaller, and the pace slower — takes me back to an era when you really could “see the USA in your Chevrolet” rather than just flying down the Interstate.

Here are a few things I discovered along the way…

 Paducah, KY — It was a cold Sunday morning and outside the tourist season, with no paddle-wheelers expected, so it was pretty quiet downtown. Driving through the Lowertown Artists District and into downtown, checking out the  old steam train (should I be the conductor or the engineeer?)  and seeing the brightly painted flood wall reminded me of previous trips on a warmer day. Here are a few that might entice you to visit the arts district some summer weekend or maybe the end of April for the International Quilt Show.

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Land Between the LakesLand Between the LakesWhen I head South and East, I always go a little out of my way to drive my favorite byway in these parts — The Trace, a rustic and very , scenic road that runs along a ridge of land called Land Between the Lakes (a National Recreation Area) between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes (formerly and still under there somewhere the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers).

I feel a little guilty enjoying this beautiful natural area filled with trees, water, and wildlife because of the way the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and US government, in the name of progress and the greater good, went about acquiring the land by forced condemnation. Families were forced to leave to make way for the damming of the river and thus flooding of their ancestral farms, homes, and businesses. The thing is that between 1960 and the late 60s, some families were forced to move, not once, not twice but in some cases three times, eventually having to leave their land between the rivers altogether to create the “park” itself.

Between sightings of wood ducks, hawks, and a majestic eagle soaring over my head, cement steps leading to nowhere, seas of daffodils in now empty clearings, the occasional dilapidated barn or shed, and the cemeteries are all that is left of these town.

I ended the day at Montgomery Bell State Park, West of Nashville, TN. The park is 4000 acres, the former lands of a young man who came here from Pennsylvania seeking (and gaining) his fortune mining and smelting iron ore until The Civil War put an end to the industry. If you are in these parts, stop by for a visit. A creek babbles along the edge of the campground (or for you city slickers you can get a room at the lodge/conference center), miles of hiking trails will give you a work out, several lakes, some accessible only by foot, provide beautiful reflections — the whole place is just serene (at least in the off-season.