My Wyoming Book Tour: A Travelogue by Marilyn Skinner Lanier (excerpt)

Wyoming book tour: discovering new pioneers in the old West
by Marilyn Skinner Lanier

Early August 2016

wyoming1I’d been getting ready for weeks. Firmed up stops at indie bookstores in Laramie, Cheyenne, Casper, Cody, and Jackson for the week of August 8-12—towns that form a diagonal across the state from southeast to northwest wyoming2Wyoming, through Yellowstone National Park to the Grand Tetons.

I’d contacted bookstores and local newspapers with names that echo the rural West: The Second Story in Laramie, City News in Cheyenne, Wind City Books in Casper, Legends Bookstore in Cody, and Valley Bookstore in Jackson, the Laramie Boomerang and the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

After Cody, Bob and I would drive to our family ranch near Clark where my family lived in the mid-1950s—the place that inspired my debut novel, Hardpan.

But this time our ranch house wouldn’t be there. During my last visit, in 1973, I didn’t imagine our ranch house would burn down some twenty years later. Even so, the ranch land would be there—all thirteen hundred acres of it.

Once more I’d marvel at the rugged expanse of sagebrush and cultivated fields interrupted by the Clarks Fork River winding its way to the Yellowstone and wonder at alfalfa fields that continue to defy the pounding winds (more…)

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Echoes of Okunoin by Tania Amochaev

Every step took me deeper into the ancient heart of Okunoin, the largest and most revered cemetery of Japan, a shadowy forest of giant cedars and stone markers; of mists and mosses; of ghosts present and past. The trails, hidden under mud and needles, pulled me away from the well-maintained and heavily visited formal areas of pagodas and pavilions. Water dripped from overhead branches. Old stones leaned gently together. I slowed and followed a weak beam of sunlight to a mismatched pair of eroding markers, when a sudden vibration in my pocket interrupted my reverie. Was someone trying to reach me? 


It was the fall of 2015 and I was staying in a temple in the small mountain town of Koyasan, between visits to Tokyo and Kyoto. Previous travels in Japan, some years ago, had involved my high tech business career. At that time, the enigmatic silent politeness I encountered made negotiation challenging. It hadn’t start smoothly. One of the first executives I worked with casually mentioned that women walked two steps behind in his culture, a comment he came to regret when he learned I controlled his investment budget.  His culture and I never matched wavelengths. (more…)

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Electronic Withdrawal in the American Wild

©2013 by Marianne Lonsdale

My family took a six-hour road trip from Oakland to Sequoia National Park last week. My husband, Michael, was the driver. I’m the trusty navigator with maps, AAA tour book and the 800 number that helps locate In-N-Out Burger locations along Highway 99.

My ten-year-old son, Nick, and his buddy, Josh, sat in the back seat, zoning out with iPods and handheld video games. We’d instructed them that electronics would only be allowed in the car while traveling to and from Sequoia. No electronics during the five days in the park. So Nick and Josh were getting in their last fix.

Separation anxiety for ten-year-old boys from electronics is very real. (more…)

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Remembering Quincy

©2012 by Richard Jordan

I met Quincy in July of 1984 at a campground just west of the McKenzie Pass on Highway 242 which runs between the Willamette Valley and the town of Sisters on the east side of the Oregon Cascades.  We would spend the next five days together camping out in the wilderness that lies at the foot of the volcanic peaks known as the Three Sisters.


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Travels in Siberia

©2012 by Lorrie Goldin

Emma, my 22-year-old daughter, has long dreamed of Russia. At last she is there, studying for a semester in St. Petersburg. It’s not Siberia, but the vastness that separates us feels like a kind of exile. (more…)

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Dragon Dictation, Vlingo, or to Type, Type, Type

©2012 Christine Oneto

During the Christmas holidays and throughout mid-January, I had an issue that no writer would like to have: I could not type! Although I can often type faster than I write, my fingers wouldn’t move – quickly or otherwise – as carpal tunnel had reared its nasty head! The worst fear I had ever had was now coming to fruition: Could it be that someday I could not physically write? (more…)

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Sampling the South with Writers: Try the Crab Balls!

©2010 by Martha Dabbs Greenway

As a South Carolina native, I’ve been a sampler of fine Southern cuisine for many years, and as one of the founders of the Southern Sampler Artists Colony, I was thrilled to be sharing that cuisine with a great troupe of writers joining us for our Eat, Play, Write April writers retreat. Having set up, along with SSAC co-founder Mary Brent Cantarutti, an unusual and far ranging culinary tour, I was looking forward to dining at T.W. Graham & Company Seafood Restaurant, an eating establishment in  McClellanville, South Carolina. In fact, T.W. Graham & Company is the only restaurant in McClellanville  … and it is enough.

We had just finished Bud Hill’s walking tour of this small coastal shrimping village with its population of only 491 and were (more…)

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Crater Lake

© 2012 by Lorrie Goldin

I’ve long wanted to visit Crater Lake, but my husband refuses.

“It’s hot and dry and endless,” he objects, recalling a boyhood vacation with his parents.

So instead I’ve roped our daughter, Emma, into a detour there. Crater Lake will be my reward for driving her back to college instead of putting her on a plane. (more…)

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Driving Through India

©2012 by Kalpana Mohan

It’s one thing to grow up in India’s middle class and travel as a local. But traveling as a well-to-do non-resident Indian who is taking in everything around her as part of her work requires wearing trifocals. I was peering into things that I had taken for granted when I lived in India as a young woman; I wanted to talk to people I would not have deigned to talk to in the past. I was interested in doing things that I’d never have dared to do before. On this trip, drivers became my best friends. (more…)

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On Track and Off Kilter

@ 2012 Tami Casias

You know you have to get out when you find yourself ironing rather than writing. So when I needed to travel to my daughter’s home in Nebraska at the same time that I had writing projects due, I started looking at my options. (more…)

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