USA – Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida & North Carolina

Our USA road trip in a coronavirus world was a bit surreal, with numerous places closed or hours of operations modified. It was certainly a challenge to plan an itinerary! Big Bertha was ready and waiting for another road trip so we accommodated by driving from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, back to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Highlights of this road trip were the quirky “world’s largest ____” oddities that we found in Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. We love these peculiar finds strewn throughout the States. Another highlight was traveling on Rt 66 in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas – a classic USA road trip to be sure! The Palo Duro Canyon state park in Texas (home to the second largest canyon in the US) was another unexpected gem which made up for White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns being closed due to the virus. We picked up Becky’s nieces in Texas and brought them on the road with us to Florida, getting a crash course in parenting a 5 year old and a 9 year old! Big Bertha was a bit cramped with 4 travelers but we survived. After a brief stay in Florida, our second road trip was from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to SCUBA with sand tiger sharks at the fabled “Graveyard of the Atlantic” with Olympic Dive Center. North Carolina’s coastal waters are notorious for their fickle weather, so we lucked out with 2 of our 3 days of diving being a “go”. We met an unlucky diver who had made 4 attempts to dive here, striking out each time. Back in Florida, snorkeling with manatees has become our latest obsession, and we have grown quite fond of the floaty potatoes. Hopefully 2021 will bring more travel opportunities as we are getting a bit stir crazy being in the US for so long!

Whale mural in Warren, Ohio Robby sitting on top of the world's largest drum sticks at David Grohl (founder of Foo Fighters) Alley in Warren, Ohio World's largest cuckoo clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio This 7 story tall giant picnic basket once served as the distinctive Longaberger company headquarters Becky at Chief Leatherlips Monument in Powell, Ohio Robby takes a bite out from one of the 109 concrete ears of corn in Dublin, Ohio's "Field of Corn" art installation Carmel, Indiana has a wonderful art and design district with a series of J. Seward Johnson's sculptures hidden in the old town and city center Life sized sculpture of a woman carrying groceries in Carmel, Indiana Becky G showing us the world's largest fork in Springfield, Missouri "In the Ozarks, the Land of a Million Smiles" motto on a wall in Springfield, Missouri Hungry cows in Ava, Missouri Selfie with Emma, a foster dog up for adoption in Springfield, Missouri Path leading to the "Precious Moments" chapel in Carthage, Missouri Grandpa's Island at Precious Moments Chapel Junkyard of symbols from a bygone era at Red Oak II in Carthage, Missouri Phillips 66 gas station at Red Oak II One of the many early 20th century buildings found at Red Oak II Red Oak II is a town frozen in time and well worth a quick visit! Red Oak II was created by Lowell Davis who amassed a collection of old buildings that reminded him of his childhood hometown (Red Oak) Route 66 - an iconic road trip through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona Blue Whale of Catoosa, one of the most famous attractions on Rt 66 Becky standing between the legs of the Golden Driller Statue, a 75 foot statue weighing 43,500 pounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma Buck Atom's Cosmic Curios - a gift shop selling all things Rt 66 Mural of Woody Guthrie and his guitar displaying the label "this machine kills fascists" in Tulsa, Oklahoma "Let there be peace on earth" mural in Chandler, Oklahoma Arcadia Round Barn on historic Rt 66 The world's largest pop bottle is a 66 foot tall LED sculpture in Arcadia, Oklahoma Oklahoma City Capitol building Oklahoma Veterans Memorial Tower Theater, a historic venue built in 1937 in Oklahoma City Oklahoma City National Memorial Centennial Land Run monument commemorating the opening of the unassigned land in Oklahoma Territory back in 1889 Detail of the life sized bronze statues of the Centennial Land Run monument; Oklahoma City Robby chilling in an El Reno Rt 66 sign A portion of the "Crossroads of America" mural in El Reno, Oklahoma Sid's Diner - an authentic Rt 66 burger and shake joint in El Reno, Oklahoma Ladybugs Robby on a "Welcome to Oklahoma" sign Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton Formerly the City Meat Market, this building is now the Sandhill Curiosity Shop in Erick, Oklahoma Another view of Sandhill Curiosity Shop Welcome to Texas! U-drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas Advertisement for Big Vern's steakhouse on Rt 66 in Shamrock, Texas Vintage 1929 Route 66 Gas Station in McLean, Texas "Leaning Tower of Texas" in Groom, Texas Welcome to Texas! VW Slug Bug ranch in Amarillo, Texas Cadillac Ranch Can't drive through Amarillo without stopping by the famous Cadillac Ranch where 10 cadillacs are buried nose first in the ground Wildflowers; Palo Duro Canyon state park Dung beetles getting it on Hoodoo formation on the Givens Trail; Palo Duro Canyon State Park Dramatic mesa walls have earned Palo Duro Canyon the nickname "The Grand Canyon of Texas". It is the second largest canyon in the US Yucca plant seed pods Hoodoo formations; Palo Duro Canyon The Lighthouse is the most famous rock formation in Palo Duro Canyon State Park Wildflowers in bloom; Palo Duro Canyon Canyon lizard Texas horned lizard Robby at a Dunkin Donuts in Rowell, New Mexico Taking cheesy pics in Rowell, New Mexico Alien mural painted on the side of a building in Roswell Greetings from Roswell! Robby at a "Roswell...we believe!" mural Taking a photo at the world's largest pistachio at Alamogordo, New Mexico Chris showing us his bearded dragon Emma on the sand dunes at Monahans Sandhills State Park The girls at the Stonehenge Replica in Odessa, Texas Emma and Grace at the world's largest working fire hydrant in Beaumont, Texas Alligators at Gator Country in Beaumont, Texas Red-eared slider turtle One of over 450 alligators at Gator Country Close up of an alligator sunning itself An alligator debating whether to exit the pond or not Volunteer at Gator Country Feeding "Big Tex", the world's largest alligator at 13 feet, 8 inches long The girls at the Welcome to Alabama sign Daytona - the world's most famous beach Unique mailbox at Ormond-by-the-Sea Storm clouds gather at Ponce Inlet, Florida Speckled swimming crab Juvenile southern black racer Hummingbirds around a feeder Hummingbird in flight (they flap their wings 15 times per second!) Getting ready to dive the "Graveyard of the Atlantic"  with Olympus Dive Center in Morehead City, North Carolina Our hearts were pumping at the first sight of a sand tiger shark, North Carolina A school of fish on the Aeolus WWII era attack cargo ship; North Carolina Sand tiger sharks look menacing but they are sluggish and non threatening to humans This sand tiger shark came in for a closer view A fish on the coast guard cutter Spar Shark teeth souvenirs found on two dives in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" Barracuda checking us out intently as we dove down to the Papoose Fish hiding in the Papoose wreck, a 400 foot tanker A skittish sand tiger shark on the Papoose wreck Fish thriving on the wrecks of North Carolina A murky view of the U-352 German Submarine wreck A lionfish on the U-352 A school of small fish on the U-352 wreck Our third morning of dives had a spectacular sunrise. Too bad the weather turned for the worse and our SCUBA dives were canceled. Better safe than sorry at the Graveyard of the Atlantic! Manatees seek the warm water of a spring Florida is home to 700 springs and with the water at a temperate 72 degrees, it is possible to swim here year round Hey buddy! A curious  manatee checks us out The sunlight on this manatee was a spectacular sight to see Thick wrinkled skin on this adorable manatee! We didn't know that manatees have nails on their flippers until we took this photo A manatee gives Becky some smooches Manatees in an embrace Manatee trying to get rid of its hitchhiker Baby manatee sucking milk from its mom Portrait of a manatee and its calf Mirror reflection visuallight boxby VisualLightBox.com v6.1

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