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Plan on being surprised.

On this cross-country trip, we’ve already been rewarded twice with the unexpected — stuff going on we had no idea of, until the very moment that we stumbled right into it. One of the joys of a spontaneous journey.

Remembering the Alamo -- 175 years on!

Take last Sunday. We had no idea of the import of March 6 in Texas history — until we took the bus to a tour of the Alamo. All these guys in period dress: What’s going on? The celebration of the 175th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo! And so we got to enjoy a re-enactment of the siege and the fall. In adversity at the Alamo, Texas found its inner strength and soon prevailed at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Then yesterday. We had arrived in Natchez with the hope of driving past, just seeing, some old antebellum mansions. But it turns out Saturday was the opening day of Pilgrimage, the five-week stretch when the finest preserved mansions of old Natchez — a center of extraordinary wealth in the days of King Cotton — are open for public tours. Again, Who knew? So we got to go inside and visit with folks who live in mansions we had only hoped to drive past. What can you say about a structure, its occupants and a locale where the same family has lived amid the same furniture in the same house since 1849? It’s not so much the land that time forgot as it is people who don’t want to forget.

So serendipity had struck again, and we consider ourselves blessed to have had these two small but enriching surprises.

Have you ever noticed that when good things happen in life, no one ever wonders, Why me?

Movin’ Right Along

U.S 93 Hoover Dam Bypass

The Hoover Dam Bypass opened in October 2010.

Despite cancer, our lives move on. We’re driving across America, including a test drive of the new Hoover Dam Bypass, which relocates U.S. 93 traffic 1,500 feet away from the old Rte. 93 atop the dam itself. The Bypass is a stunning, spanning arch of concrete 900 feet above the Colorado River. Hoover Dam, well worth a stop and a $30 tour, was built during the Great Depression, but it wasn’t a Democratic New Deal public works project — its origins were Republican, back in the days when Republicans believed in government investment in the future. Hoover Dam provided water and power to transform vast areas of the desert Southwest, a region now populated by folks who like to oppose government and government spending. Funny to hear Tea Partiers rally themselves against government and then go home to air-conditioning and running water, thanks be to Hoover Dam.