Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The traveling bug seems to have bitten me recently.  I want to go everywhere and see everything!  Americans have the great blessing of living in a country that is incredibly large and diverse.  There is so much to see and do right within our country's borders! But, unfortunately, funds for fun things like traveling can get low when emergencies crop up, student loan deadlines loom, and rent and car payments needs to be paid.  To make myself feel better, I sometimes have to remind myself of all the places I've already been to.  I can't say that I've traveled the globe but I can say that I have visited roughly one third of the United States.  That's not great but it's not bad either.

When the Christensen side of the family met at my grandparents house in Tennessee for a family reunion, we took a couple of side trips into neighboring states.  We went to the NASA Space Museum in Huntsville, Alabama.  There were several rides, one of which was the one that shoots you up into the air multiple times.  I was terrified but my siblings and cousins kept going on it so, of course, I had to as well.  I got motion sickness on the ride where you stand against the wall and spin around in circles.  I was basically incapacitated for the rest of the day.
The only thing I've ever done in Arizona is drive through the northwest corner on my way from Southern California to Southern Utah.  You can decide if that counts.  But I am going to Phoenix at the end of this month to visit friends so my questionable status won't be questionable for long!
The canyons in Northern Arizona
What have I done in California?  I've had the privilege of growing up here and living here until I went off to college.  Then I moved back here a couple of years ago to take a job and get my paralegal certification.  It's kind of crazy to think that I have spent 20 years of my life within this state's borders.  I've also done a fair bit of traveling throughout the state.  I've gone down to Southern California several times to visit my sisters and go to Disneyland.  I've camped in Tahoe and I've gone boating on Lake Shasta.  Even though the politicians are crazy, we have earthquakes, and we're in the middle of a drought, I love my home state!  (Side rant: What a lot of people don't realize is how big California is.  Someone actually said to me once, "You're from California, right?  So you're not too far from San Diego?"  Uh, actually it takes eight hours to drive to San Diego from the San Francisco Bay Area.  And if I wanted to drive from my hometown to the Oregon border, it would take about six and a half hours.  It's about a 14 hour drive from the top to the bottom of the state.  It's much bigger than you think so stop thinking that San Francisco and Los Angeles are somehow neighbors!)
On the beach near Point Montara Lighthouse in Half Moon Bay
The Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Fields
San Diego
Muir Woods
Lake Tahoe
Donner Lake
Near the Sutro Baths in San Francisco
This is another questionable one.  The only time I've touched ground in Colorado was when I landed at the airport in Denver on my way to Tennessee.  I had a rather long layover there.  (I spent a good three hours in the Frontier terminal.) But I must admit that I didn't see much of the Mile-High City.
When I was four years old, my family went to a family reunion in Aruba where some of my cousins were living at the time.  We had a layover at the airport in Florida.  I don't remember this at all so I would understand completely if this one was discounted.
We dropped my sister off at BYU-Idaho in Rexburg back in 2004, helped her get settled in, and then we headed to Yellowstone, spending most of our time in Montana and Wyoming.  A few years later, my grandfather passed away and we attended his burial service in Pocatello, Idaho where the Christensen side of the family is from.  All of the family members who attended the service ate at the Golden Corral down the street from the cemetery.
Another side trip during our family reunion in Tennessee was our little sojourn to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.  Besides the amazing stalactites and stalagmites, what I remember most about Kentucky is the sound of the bugs.  As soon as we got out of the car, you could just hear the bugs whizzing by.  The amazing thing is that I don't remember being grossed out by them.  (If you know me well, you know that my track record with bugs isn't good.)
I went on a trip to America's capital last year but I didn't spend much time on the Maryland side of the Potomac.  However, we did drive into Maryland to get to Virginia to see George Washington's estate.  I spent a decent amount of time on the porch of Mount Vernon looking across the river at Maryland, though.
When my family went to Yellowstone, we stayed in a hotel in West Yellowstone, part of which happens to be in Montana.  We saw the sights and watched a film on the Lewis and Clark expedition on the big IMAX screen.
I'll be honest, most of the time I've spent in Nevada has consisted of simply trying to get through it.  We drove to Utah a lot when I was younger and much of what I remember about those road trips is the seemingly endless expanse of desert and sage brush.  But, eventually, there came a time when Nevada was actually a destination rather than just a state to drive through.  One of my roommates got married in the Las Vegas Temple so another roommate and I stayed in a hotel a few blocks off of The Strip so we could attend her wedding and reception.  Las Vegas interesting place.  But the Bellagio water show was awesome!
The ceiling in part of the Bellagio

Bellagio water show
Las Vegas temple
I remember nothing about Oregon.  My family drove through the state when I was one and a half to visit my aunt and uncle in Seattle.  Apparently we stopped at Crater Lake along the way...
I've been to the beautiful state of Tennessee twice in my life.  The first was for a Christensen family reunion at my grandparents' house outside of Nashville when I was middle school age.  We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville and stood on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.  The second time I went was when I was in college.  My sister Lisa and I went out there to visit our grandparents over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Aunt Karen and Uncle Ronny came also and our Thanksgiving dinner was made up of tasty, wonderful southern dishes.  We also went and saw some of the Civil War sites and other historic landmarks while we were there.  Going to Tennessee fueled my fascination with the South and I wish I could go down there more often.
My grandparents' old neighborhood in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
My sister Lisa standing where the Battle of Stones River took place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Rippavilla Plantation
The Carnton Plantation
I spent four long hours in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on my way back from Tennessee.  Yep, that's the extent of my experience in Texas.
Utah was my family's main summer destination when I was growing up.  We went there almost every summer to visit family or to drop off siblings at school.  We stayed at my Great Aunt and Uncle's cherry farm in Santaquin, Utah.  We visited our cousins in St. George.  We visited my Great Grandpa Terry at his house in Orem and even helped paint his house one year.  We threw Keddington family reunions all over the state.  When I turned 18, I was accepted into BYU and moved to Provo where I spent the next few years studying and earning my degree.  I loved my BYU experience and living in Utah, although the snow got a little bit wearing after a while.  I met some of my best friends during my five years in Provo and I love going back and visiting!
My oldest sister Lisa and I riding a horse at Karen and Claude's farm in Santaquin, Utah when I was seven.
A store in Park City, Utah.
Bridal Veil Falls
Hiking at Bridal Veil Falls
BYU Football Game
BYU Campus
St. George Temple
The Narrows in Zions National Park
The Salt Lake Temple
The Conference Center in Salt Lake
Built the Venus de Milo in the snow.
At Claude and Karen's farm in Santaquin, Utah.
We went into Virginia a couple of times when I took my trip to Washinton D.C.  We ate dinner at Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia.  We toured George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, on the shores of the Potomac River.  We went to Arlington National Cemetery.  We also had dinner at Hannah's grandparents house in Virginia.  It's absolutely beautiful there.
Me on my grandparents' couch when they lived in Virginia. (1990 or 1991)
Overlooking the Potomac River from the porch of Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon

Changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery
This is another place I've been to that I don't remember at all.  I was one and a half the last time I stepped foot in Washington state and, needless to say, my memory doesn't exactly cover that far back.  I guess I just need to take another trip to Seattle!
Washington D.C.
While Washington D.C. isn't exactly a state, it still deserves an explanation all its own.  I've covered pretty extensively what I did when I was in the United States' capital in previous posts but some of the highlights include seeing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (on the anniversary of the day they were signed, I might add), walking through the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of American History, and the Holocaust Museum, reading the words on each of the monuments, and standing in the theater where President Lincoln was assassinated.  I loved being in a city with so much history!
Lincoln Memorial
The National Archives
The Jefferson Memorial
The Smithsonians
Obviously we spent some time in Wyoming on our trip to Yellowstone.  We saw the Old Faithful Geyser.  Our car broke down up on a mountain while we were going to see the hot springs.  It was an adventure :). 

That's my American traveling experience so far.  I haven't walked the streets of Boston or New York City.  I haven't been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or DisneyWorld.  I have never seen the wheat fields of the Midwest.  And don't even get me started on other continents. (Europe is basically a far-off dream at this point.)  But I have done some things and that's a good place to start.

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