Thanksgiving in the North

This year we headed north for Thanksgiving and were greeted by snow and deer. As usual, I spend much of my time exploring nature while traveling.

The cold snap and snow motivated a squirrel to add leaves to its nest.

A few days later the snow melted and revealed Princess Pine in the woods. Princess Pine looks like a perfect little pine tree and is actually a club moss.

Lycopodium obscurum reproduces with spores and prefers acidic soils and shaded woodlands.

Milkweed was still sending off some seed “fairies”. The northern ones are much larger than the tropical Butterfly Weed I grow here.

Best of all I found some fossils.

We had to say goodbye to family and travel to the airport. As usual, we stopped at rest areas where the employees lovingly decorated their space to bring Christmas cheer to travelers. The elves were modified with tissue paper clothes and many wrapped gifts were under the tree.

A fireplace with a lace curtain repurposed for the mantle cover was created for Santa’s arrival.

The display was completed with paper and pencil to leave a note for Santa.

At the next stop, Mrs. Gingerbread was greeting everyone at the Ladies’ Room entrance, but Mr. Gingerbread was gone. Maybe he needed a bathroom break.

Soon it was time to fly back to the warm South and we took to the sky at the crack of dawn.

A Trip to Winter

After a long year at home and getting every vaccine possible, we were finally able to visit family for Thanksgiving. The place where we were staying had several days of flurires and snow, making it seem more like Christmas.

The rest stop on the way to the airport was decked out for Christmas. A gingerbread man and lady greeted travelers at the appropriate restrooms.

Many businesses in the rest stop did not survive the pandemic with the lack of travelers. The people who decorated the stop made good use of every available space and staged the Nativity in an unused cooler. Notice the second shelf has Christmas colored soda bottles. The stop was creative and fun way to break up a long car ride.

Americana on the Road

Added Note – I have been putting this post together for awhile and with current events canceling plans, this has become memories of road trips from the past and anticipation of future trips to come. 

I usually don’t blog about anything other than gardening, but I came across some interesting things while traveling back and forth across the country the last few years. I thought I would combine them into a post.

At the airport, someone had lent President Bush a hat for the hot sunny day ahead.

On a marble pedestal under the exit sign and fire alarm,  Ben was watching the comings and goings at the restrooms.

(Ben Franklin was an American founding father)

At a highway rest stop we found an entire passenger train car.  The rest stop workers were not happy with a train taking up all the spaces and sent them on their way.

What? Apparently it was once high tech.

Yes, pay phones exist.

In Mississippi someone just got tired of being asked “Where are we?”.

There are no photos to go with these experiences, but at another rest stop in Tennessee an older gentleman was playing guitar and singing.  At a hotel in the same state, the young woman that set up the buffet was singing hymns in a crystal clear voice.


A classic American Fourth of July day ended on a village green with The Repasz Band playing patriotic songs. The band  is the oldest continuous band in America and also played at the surrender at Appomattox.

I can image that a rest stop worker lovingly made this pergola and added the sign to the bench.  Potted flowers reflected the season.

The bench faced a tree of handmade birdhouses.

The porta pots were at the very, very far end of the parking lot. It could be quite a cold experience in the winter.

This turnpike rest stop really went all out with the decorations.  I know for a fact that the tabletop trees were used in other years.  Empty Cinnabon boxes and Coke ads finished off the decor.

Decorations also included a large Santa and tree.  It was all really festive for the weary traveler.

So far this year, we had to cancel three road trips and a flight. A family wedding and graduation had to be missed.  Hopefully before long, we will all be able to follow the road to the rainbow’s end.