50 x 30

Fifty by Thirty is currently unavailable.  A revised version will be available later in 2016.

Almost a decade after ticking the last state off her list, Kari shared her adventures and misadventures in a humorous account of her travels throughout all fifty states, from description of the terrain to observations and debacles.  The novel is filled with tales of all the fun and reluctant aspects of traveling through small towns and big cities, National Parks, campsites and hotel suites, Roadside America, highways and dirt roads. The descriptive nature of the travelogue will appeal to those who are planning their own next adventure, hitting retirement age and contemplating that RV trip, or are so terrified of public restrooms that they live vicariously through others.  Those who want to know which sentence of the 9-Mile Canyon brochure would have been helpful to read before entering the canyon, will want to read Fifty By Thirty just for the laughs.  Kari pokes fun everywhere, at everyone, but at no one more than herself.

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When I lived in Pennsylvania, I planned trips like this: “I’m going to drive five miles. It will take me five minutes.” When I lived by the Beltway, I calculated trip miles like this: “I’m going to drive five miles. I will pack a suitcase and three square meals, and make sure my estate papers are in order.” Not far from where I lived was the “mixing bowl,” the bottom of the Beltway, where the Beltway and 395, and possibly one of the runways of Reagan National, dump into one highway, 95 South, in Springfield, Virginia. If you look at a map, it appears as if someone is extracting and twisting a person’s veins, which presumably followed pulling them out of the driver’s ear during the brain aneurysm he suffered while attempting to exit at the mixing bowl while listening to his GPS recalculate. The charming nickname “Mixing Bowl” is very misleading. When I think mixing bowl, I think about scraping every last bit of chocolate brownie batter from the bowl after the bulk of the batter has been poured in the pan, and licking the batter off of the spatula and my fingers and, while no one watches, the mixing bowl. It’s a happy place.  There is no chocolate brownie batter in Springfield. Navigating the mixing bowl is like sticking your hand in the garbage disposal and turning it on: you’re screaming obscenities, it’s a bloody mess, there are fingers uncontrollably flying, and you lose bowel control. As you look around, you see that every other driver, regardless of the state of issue on their license plate, has the same look on their face. Not one single exit-missing, traffic-stopped, GPS-banging Beltway driver looks like they’re licking the brownie batter out of the mixing bowl.

…A Washington area park that gets little publicity is Great Falls, a national park straddling Maryland and Virginia. The park offers views of rocky waterfalls on the Potomac and, when running, a mule-drawn boat ride along the historic C&O Canal. My theory is that liability is behind all the secrecy. Many people would rely upon the Beltway to take them to Great Falls, located 15 miles from our nation’s capital. Since they would arrive with the demeanor of someone whose hand had just been removed from the garbage disposal, the first thing they would want to do is to jump from one of the overlooks into the rushing Potomac below. No national park wants that kind of publicity.