School visits in D.C., part 1

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I’ve just come back from an amazing week in DC area. So amazing, that I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to fit it into one blog. I might have to put it up here in installments just like Dickens novels. (But with a lot less description and shorter sentences.)

The first thing: Virginia and Maryland are filled with big beautiful trees. They are everywhere. If you picked a spot and walked 100 yards in any direction, you would run into trees. As we were driving down the freeway, my husband—who grew up in Virginia—kept pointing out spots to me. “That’s the area where my scout troop camped out one year.”

I looked and saw what I’d seen along the highway for the last hour—trees.

In Arizona the only thing along the highway is rocks. Sometimes the highway people get creative and then there will be decorative rocks. I know of one place where there are colored rocks that form the shape of a lizard. There is also the occasional bush or small tree, but these were also placed there for decoration and have a drip system attached to give them water. I’m pretty sure I’ll never see any boy scouts camping along the highway while driving in Arizona.

Because of the lush vegetation back east, there is a large assortment of darling wildlife roaming around. While I was staying with my sister in Herndon, Virginia there were deer grazing in her back yard. I saw blue jays and fluffy tailed squirrels frolicking around. Even the road kill was cute—raccoons and foxes. Arizona is quite lacking in the cute wildlife category. We have lizards and scorpions. Trust me; it just isn’t the same to see these in your yard.


  1. Josi
    September 25, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    I went to Virginia a few years ago. It was so weird to drive amid so many trees and I never knew where I was going or when I’d know I got there. I’m used to Utah where you can see the Wal-Mart sign four miles away. It was absolutely beautiful.

    Congrats on the great tour, glad you’re having such a nice time!

  2. Karlene
    September 25, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I love that area. I grew up in KY which is very similar, with the green and the trees and the backyard wildlife.

  3. Anonymous
    September 25, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for visiting Roberto Clemente MS, Germantown, Maryland. I was really interesting to know all the things an author has to go through to get published. My mom is taking a college course to prepare for getting published.

  4. Janette Rallison
    September 25, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Roberto Clemente school was great! Tell your mom good luck from me. (And you better be a wonderful child or she’ll end up putting you in one of her books . . .)

  5. Mads
    September 25, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Hehe, that’s funny you were so fascinated by the trees. :o) Where I live, it’s all trees, all the time. Wow, so true about the whole “trees on the highway thing”; it’s like that for all of my roadtrips.

    Hmmm, maybe we’re not the ones with the weird terrain, you guys all are! :o) *winks*

  6. Tamra Norton
    September 25, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    So glad you had a great time back east. You’re a busy lady! How many schools did you visit?

  7. Annette Lyon
    September 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Sounds beautiful. Sure beats Utah’s skunk roadkills.

  8. Lillian Syville
    September 26, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I looooooove Arizona No matter how hot and dry it is. I can’t stand the cold AT ALL. I’ve lived here all my life and so have my parents, and their parents and their partents and their parent…
    To be honst i’ve never been south or Colorado. All our vacations have stuck in the west.

  9. Lillian Syville
    September 26, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Opps Did I say south? I meant East. I’m half asleep.

  10. ali
    September 27, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Oh, I miss it so much! I loved that picture too! I’ve never been to Virginia, but I’m from Nova Scotia, Canada so I totally know about the trees. Glad you had a great time!

    Welcome home!

  11. Traci Hunter Abramson
    September 28, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    As someone who has lived half of her life in Arizona and the other half in Virginia, I have to say I love the trees! Growing up in AZ I always wondered why people chose to live in the desert. (I should stop and mention here that there isn’t anything like an Arizona sunset and I do miss those.)

    Still, after growing up with all of that wide open space, it took me at least five years to get my sense of direction back. Out west, I could just look at the mountains and figure out by the landmarks where I was. Here in VA all of those beautiful trees get in the way!

  12. Marsha Ward
    September 28, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Janette, Janette, Janette, you’re talking about Arizona’s DESERTS, my dear. Up in the mountains where I live, boy scouts camp a lot, and the roadkill is cute, too. I’ve seen squirrels, foxes, raccoons, and other cute animals, and just today, another in a long line of elk, so there are many species represented on Arizona’s roads besides the omnipresent skunks, lizards, scorpions, etc.

    I do have to admit I straddled a dead skunk on my way home from town. The car ahead of me, driven, I’m sure, by an out-of-stater, hit the poor dead thing, and let loose that horrid odor!

  13. Shanna Blythe
    September 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    I went on my mission to upper-state New York. I loved it! People talk about how beautiful the desert is, but I have to say green forests and lots of water will always win out with me!

  14. Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts)
    October 2, 2007 at 7:24 am

    The scenery is astonishing on the east coast. During my first book tour I hit D.C., Maryland and West Virginia. I couldn’t get over the lushness and abundance of the trees and foliage. Wow!

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