American Morning, Our Gateway

AMERICA’S BACK ROADS

This sunrise photo was taken from my back deck in rural Maine on a cold winter morning.

By Howard James

So what’s “AmericanMorning.com” all about?

It is far more than just a collection of beautiful sunrise photos. We’ll be digging into a variety of interesting and often important topics in the weeks ahead, reporting to you on serious subjects here and on our several companion sites.

Our focus is on ALL of America, but especially RURAL America, an area that has been largely neglected over the years by most large television networks and many daily newspapers.

This isn’t just another travel blog, telling you about our interesting trip across the nation. That would have been more appropriate back in 1963, when we followed the continental divide from Cloverdale, New Mexico north to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana in a pickup camper. While on that trip one morning we were choked my smoke because I had parked our rig too close to an outdoor Zuni bread oven.

But we will keep you posted on where we are and where we are heading. Watch for our Maine license plate “USA 1”.

motorhome

One possibly controversial topic in our blog community would be American Exceptionalism. Do we live in a country that is, for a variety of reasons, superior to all others? There are people who strongly differ with the concept of American superiority. We intend to track down solid evidence to prove who is right and who is wrong – but in a new way. That site has already been launched.

Check out:   “www.OurExceptionalism.com“.

We also will be looking into the future of the nation’s forest products industry. Paper mills are shutting down in many states. North Carolina’s furniture future seems bleak. Have we saved the redwoods? Are there enough trees left in America to purify the air? Our blog BoldOak.com is now  available to tell you.

We’re visiting the nation’s coastline as well. Can New England’s small coastal towns survive the loss of their fishing fleet that has brought in tons of fresh cod for 400 years. What about those who provide us with Chesapeake Bay oysters? Or what is the future for shrimp fishermen who ply the Gulf of Mexico after the BC oil calamity? Can fishermen make a living along the Pacific Coast? See www.ShutDownFishing.com.

Have we finally surrendered all of our manufacturing to Asia? Check out www.KeepUSABusy.com. There is more than a glimmer of hope.

You may find our 1000SmallTowns.com interesting.  Same is true of ThePeopleOfAmerica.com.

With a million new websites being created every week Google, Bing and other browsers are struggling to keep up. If you want to visit our sites you’ll have to copy the URL and paste the name into the browser line for awhile. That’s not our choice. It’s just the way it is.

My wife, Judy, and I are traveling across America in a 1999 27-foot, Class C motorhome, first from Maine to Florida, then west to California and north to the state of Washington. When the winter weather breaks we plan to head back across the Cascades, across the Rockies, the prairie, the Great Lakes states and the rest of the Midwest to Maine again, stopping frequently along the way to take photos and ask questions. Before we are done in 2015 or 2016 we hope to visit every state accessible by road.

Tired of bad weather?  Consider www.FloridaFavorites.com. While we prefer the Sun Coast from Sarasota south, in time we’ll look at the entire state.

Now another blog is underway:   http://www.trulyspecialplaces.com  This website is the logical extension of 1000smalltowns.com. Not certain how many of these special places we will find. But we’ll know it when we get there and in a year or two of traveling ahead we should find several.

We already have some places we havespent time in years past that should qualify. Sadona, Arizona could make the list. That’s where friends Doug and Mary Hancock have settled.

Years ago, before Mary became a world class jewelry designer the couple lived with us and took care of our children while Judy and I worked long days at our newspapers. You can check Mary out at http://mummysbundle.com

I lived and worked in Marquette, Michigan back in 1956. In fact I signed the first television station in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the air that spring and was their news anchor.

I remember walking out on the ice on Lake Superior when it was breaking up in the spring. A young Coast Guard member, Seaman Penberthy, walked just ahead of me. In case a chunk of floating ice didn’t hold me, it was his job to fish me out of the frigid water as I trundled out to visit two fishermen whose boat was trapped in an ice flow a half mile off shore.

I met the two men and took their pictures, then interviewed them. I found  they were as happy as kids because they didn’t have their wives there to complain or nag them, and they had plenty of food and appropriate beverages to last as long as their boat was trapped.

I want to see if Marquette is still the pleasant community I found it to be back in the 1950s.

There also are some delightful fishing and tourist communities along the Maine coast. Question is, would “people from away” be welcome to live there year around? I remember people jokingly telling me how they would like to build a barricade across the Maine end of the Kittery bridge (Interstate 95) to keep strangers out. The folks that depend on tourism for a living certainly didn’t feel that way. But some of the Maine natives seemed to want to preserve their towns and way of life for Maine natives only. I’m grateful they can’t do that.

Our goal of launching and tending multiple blogs is an ambitious one — perhaps actually too large for two folks to tackle. But I asked myself: “Why not at least try? You don’t play golf, haven’t been fishing in years, tomatoes grow slowly, so why spend your days watching television or planting another garden when you have the energy and a strong desire to continue writing after more than 60 years in the television and newspaper business?

We live in a new world of technology, so I’ve purchased a “mobile hotspot” –  a pocket-sized device that will let me communicate with you by internet right from the kitchen of our motorhome whenever there is a cell phone tower within range. If that doesn’t work we’ll stop at fast food restaurants that offer wifi or if required, switch to blogging via satellite.

See you down the road.

Howard James

 

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46 Comments

  1. Stefan

    Fascinating, Howard. My best wishes and prayers to you and
    Judy as you take on this great adventure!

    Reply
  2. Joel

    Thank you, it was a great start to a great adventure that you are undertaking. I look forward to living vicariously through your eyes along your journey.

    Reply
  3. Ginger Brown

    A most interesting read! Thank you for sharing the beginning of your new adventure. The transition from your brush with calamity, in the encounter with the big rig, to Judy’s pink mirror improvisation, has left a lingering smile. Also, the intriguing snippets, providing a glimpse into your past, make me look forward to future installments…

    Reply
  4. Cari

    You’ve made a strong start. I look forward to keeping up with your blogs. All the best and bon voyage!

    Reply
  5. Susan

    This is so exciting . I am pleased to be reading what you write again – and to have you and Judy as my ears and eyes traveling across America.

    Reply
  6. Leasa Garvin

    Hi Howard! Lisa McCann shared your blog with me. Nice see you and Judy are enjoying life! It will be fun reading about the towns you visit. Nothing is better than a cross country road trip! I shared the link on Facebook for my friends. STAY SAFE!

    Reply
  7. George McGinn

    This site looks great! I am excited and can’t wait to read your future posts.

    And I enjoy reading what you write. It has been a while since Charlotte and North Port.

    I look forward to reading about all your adventures, and wish you success on your journey.

    Be safe, and you and Judy are in my prayers.

    George McGinn

    Reply
  8. David

    Excellent. Superb. Naturally, very professional. Of One Mind. Check out the small towns of Wisconsin. Hayward in particular. Looking forward to viewing all the blogs that will be sent our way.

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  9. Susan Summerlin

    Howard, I just read you blog on Florida and loved it!! I’ve bookmarked your page and will look forward to keeping up with you along the way. Best wishes to you, Judy and Jonathan. We miss him on the board!!!

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