365 Daily Prompt: Road Trippin’

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely–bike? Hot air balloon?)

The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon

Photo credit

I am definitely a bit rusty on my Blogging since coming home, so it’s time for a prompt to help motivate me! This question is so perfect right now, since I’ve been talking to my friends about travel and I’ve been daydreaming about vacations.

I like to drive, always have. I find it calms me down. I drive a manual transmission 2005 Honda Accord. I like being in control and driving down the freeway with hardly any cars to my right and left. Before I did my 15.5 hour solo trip down to Irvine a few weeks ago, I had only driven 3-4 hours tops. That was with my parents. I did well on that long solo trip though, thanks to my stack of CDs and the trusty GPS.

If I were to embark on this cross-country trip, first I’d want to see Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe in California. I’ve been to Yosemite before, but two hours is rather short and I did not get to see El Capitan. I’ve always heard people rave about Lake Tahoe. I wonder if it’s worth it. This is why it’s on the list.

My next stop would be the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. The views are breathtaking, I’m told. From here I would travel to the South: San Antonio, Texas for something deep fried to eat, then listen to some good jazz at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and see Savannah, Georgia, the city John Berendt wrote about so eloquently in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Finally, and I’m not sure how I would get there, I would spend some time in Boston, Massachusetts and learn more about our nation’s history and then I would go to New York City, New York.

Yes, this trip could be wildly unrealistic, but it certainly covers all the places I still want to see in this amazing country.

What do you think? Does it sound exciting enough? What is your ideal trip, and what mode of transportation would you want to take?

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Daily Prompt: Beyond the Pale| Ready, Aim, Fire!

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That’s me in the blue shirt.

I smiled when I saw the topic for January 4th’s Daily Prompt: When was the last time you did something completely new and out of your element? How was it? Will you do it again?

The shooting range near the Joshua Tree campground is about 30 min away from the national park itself. Green shrubs and rocks litter the area. (Green shrubs in the desert? Surprising). A power station rose a few meters into the air. It was so ugly out there in that part of the desert I didn’t bother pulling out my camera. Then we heard it.

Several shots rang out into the sky and bounced off the small hills, the sound jumping towards us in the last instant. The noise was weak by the time it got to us. We planned to enjoy this, since we had lost our way over to the range.

My friends and I wandered past the pickups and SUVs until we came to a wide clearing. It was close to noon and the sun was relentless, covering everything. Tables contained rifles, pistols and shotguns of varying sizes and shapes.  Ammunition lay next to the weapons.

“Have you taken the gun safety test yet?” No, I hadn’t. But could I? “Sure!” Once I had repeated the basic safety rules, only shoot past the safety line in front of the tables, keep the safety on the gun until you’re ready to shoot and never point the gun towards my fellow shooters, I lined up with the rest of them and gave it a try.

Control was a key part of the exercise. I practiced keeping my arm steady and resting my chin on the stock, which was a challenge if I wanted to reload the ammo fast. I also learned to adjust until I could see a clear picture of my target. It was exciting when I hit the first few targets and helped my team shoot the other team’s targets down first. I tended to make my shot when I wasn’t super concentrated on what I was doing. At the same time, if I made two or three in a row, I’d mess up the next one if I got too cocky.

Shooting for the first time last November was a fun experience. I wish I had gotten to try the pistols and the bulky airsoft guns. The people were friendly and the men who taught me how to shoot helped me become better and more confident.

I’ve never had the desire to shoot animals and I didn’t think I would be shooting on this trip. But when people asked me if I wanted to shoot, I decided I should at least give it a try.

I’m so glad I did. Next time: bigger rifles and pistols!

Why they invented the camera

And yes, I use a Canon. Picture credit of the lovely fields, the shore line and of Joshua Tree National Park goes to EarthPorn.