Archive | June, 2012

South Dakota, not so snoring after all!

25 Jun

My initial thoughts about South Dakota were similar to the way I may feel about taking a math test.  I imagined it would be tedious and boring.  For whatever reason, the thought of having to go to South Dakota, in my mind, the American equivalent of getting banished to a Siberian gulag.  Alas, as I drove through the state last week, I must say the beautiful landscape and amount of cool activities called me to repentance.  Alas, I was wrong about South Dakota.  South Dakota is surprisingly cool, especially if you’re into camping and outdoor fun.

We mostly drove through the state, but I was impressed by the amount of random awesomeness.  For example, from afar, we saw some HUGE random sculpture of a cow head/bull head/some kind of head.  As we got closer, we realized there was a huge sculpture garden off the side of the road.  Porter Sculpture Park is kind of an awesome conglomeration of weirdness in the middle of nowhere.  It was a very noticeable, even a bit disruptive, but a pleasant surprise in the middle of a long drive.

Another fun surprise was billboard after billboard advertising the Corn Palace.  I pictured a huge castle made out of small bits of corn.  Turns out, it’s a venue for concerts and community events drawing popular artists from all over the country. Awesome.

The pinnacle of my visit to South Dakota was obviously Mount Rushmore.  I’ve always seen the pictures of the faces carved into Mount Rushmore, but I have never seen the surrounding landscape.  I also had no understanding of how big the carvings were.  Visiting Mount Rushmore was definitely worth the visit and a nice tribute to strong leaders.  I dug it.

Here are some pics that will hopefully give you a better idea about the things that were curious to me.

 

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United States Geography According to Me

23 Jun

My Travel Geography Lesson

This is my personal break-up of the United States of America that highlights each state’s fun factor.

States where you can have crazy wild fun are indicated in red. States that are off the charts as far as outdoor adventure goes are colored green. States that have rows and rows and rows and rows and rows and rows and rows and rows of corn are colored yellow. And, states I haven’t been to, but would like to visit are in white.

I also starred some of my favorite places, but just realized I forgot to highlight Seattle and Portland. Oopsie. Anyway, if you’re ever bored, and/or need a vacation, consider going to Southern California, New York City, Southern Utah, Portland, Seattle, Nashville, or Washington D.C. Do it. Love it.

Where are your favorite places to go in the US? Tweet me and let me know @ashleyrcummings.

Winter Quarters

20 Jun

I spent the last week driving across the country, and ended up at a place that is incredibly special to me.  After driving through Nebraska, which is a total chore, and a big time snore (that rhymes), I ended up at Winter Quarters.

The first time I visited Winter Quarters, I was 17 years old and it left a particularly strong impression on me for a couple of reasons.  For any of you who don’t know me personally, here is a bit of information about me, besides that fact that I love traveling.  I am a Mormon.  Yep, you heard it right…a Mormon…aka…a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The reason why Winter Quarters is so special to me is because I come from a long line of Mormons, dating back to the pioneers.  I think it’s always touching to learn about my ancestors and to understand how I came to be born into a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, UT.

Statue at Winter Quarters.

Winter Quarters represents a place of dedication and faith that I greatly admire and appreciate.  Many of my ancestors faithfully left their homes, possessions, and comforts of every day life all in pursuit of their religious convictions.  Winter Quarters was where many of the pioneers built a temporary residence to wait out the winter till the weather permitted to them move forward to their final destination — Salt Lake City.  They built small homes, some of them encased in the mountains, and suffered many hardships.

I am definitely a faithful person, have a testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, believe in modern-day revelation and the truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I can’t imagine having the strength, fortitude and faith to leave literally everything behind to settle in a desert and rebuild an entire community from scratch.

Regardless of what anyone believes religiously, I think that kind of fortitude shows faith, humility, patience, hard work and diligence–all qualities that I am proud are deeply rooted in my pioneer heritage.

Winter Quarters Temple.

God bless the pioneers.  May we always remember them as we walk the streets of beautiful Salt Lake City, or travel across the plains in our air conditioned cars.

Summer of Action 2012

5 Jun

Any of you that know me personally know that I can’t live without creating headlines for my life. For whatever reason, I function better when I have a headline for certain activities including — New Year’s, my wedding, and as it were…SUMMER!

In light of creating titles to explain phases of my life, I would like to introduce –Summer of Action 2012.

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Photo from a previous Summer of Action — This was in Thailand!

I just got married, and I’m really poor, but that is no excuse for not knowing how to have a good time.  People who don’t know how to have fun, even if they don’t have money, are LAAAAME!

Okay, here is what’s on my agenda, so far:

  • Road-trip to Minnesota
  • Moab
  • Goblin Valley
  • Nashville (husband is a musician, and we want to live there when we grow up)
  • Slip-n-slide
  • 7 peaks
  • Hiking a lot
  • Waldorf Astoria, Park City
  • 4th of July fireworks
  • Wake-boarding a lot
  • Tibble Fork kayaking
  • Riding my bike everywhere in Provo (honk if you see me…my bike is gold)
  • Anywhere else someone would like me to do a press trip.

Okay, any other suggestions for Summer of Action 2012?  What are you doing for Summer of Action 2012?  Tell me you’re going to Greece and Turkey, and I’ll be jealous.  That’s where I wanna go next. Cool!