It is an understatement to say it's a great country but this trip certainly brought home that point. From the culture of Santa Fe to the rapidly emerging metropolises of Phoenix and Las Vegas to the gorgeous scenery of the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, the breadth and diversity of the country are striking.
The people in the west seemed different too, particularly on the trip leg from Salt Lake City to South Dakota. In Salt Lake City, they were extremely friendly, helpful and proud of their city. In addition, they seemed to have a respect for authority not prevalent in many places on the coasts. For example, the city was spotless; it never seems to occur to persons there to litter or deface their facilities with graffiti. At street corners, when walk/don't walk signs said don't walk, nobody did.
In Sheridan, Wyoming, a stop in a convenience store to buy a copy of USA Today resulted in the following exchange: The man behind the counter looked at the front page of the paper and said the photo of a U.S. soldier in Iraq looked like his son. I asked if his son was stationed there and he said he was. There was a pause and he said to me--"I feel so helpless, I never should have gotten out (of the service); I should be over there helping them." Then with almost tears in his eyes, he said again "I feel so helpless--the only thing I can do is pray." No matter what you think of the Iraq war, this man had only one thought--I need to be there helping my country. That sort of patriotism isn't found in a lot of quarters in the east.
We hope you will find time in your travels to experience this wonderful part of the country.
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