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Across America 2004

There's no single theme for this year's sojourn.  Given the year, Lewis and Clark seemed obvious, and while up in the Dakotas, why not learn more about the aftereffects of the Voyage of Discovery on the native inhabitants of the area--the Lakota (Sioux).  After numerous visits to the southwest, I knew that my knowledge of the Black Hills gold rush, Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, etc. was pretty minimal.  So for the first month, I'll be following The Path of Lewis and Clark and visiting the Land of the Lakota.

After a month on the prairies (think no trees, no mountains), I'll need to hug a tree and stretch my legs.  I'll visit an area that's the geologic antithesis of the plains--The Land of Fire in southern Oregon and northern, northern California before heading for Tall Trees and the Lost Coast.  I'll spend a day in Sacramento before driving to San Diego.

Although I'll be near the Oregon Trail and its terminus, it's peripheral to my journey west.  On the other hand, the Santa Fe Trail will be the focus on my way home, especially as promulgated by Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe Railroad.  Fred Harvey played a major role in turning the southwest into a tourist destination.  He also promoted Native American arts and crafts.  Many of the Harvey Houses, hotels, and restaurants may be gone, but I continue Searching for Fred Harvey, especially as viewed on the postcards published under his name. I'll also take a few detours to visit places like Hays, Ellsworth with nearby Mushroom Rock, Winfield, Lindsborg, Abilene, and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.