World in the clouds

Liz Morales has been all over the place. Now she's setting her sights on different locations in Nebraska.

Liz Morales, The Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS — A few weeks ago I noticed something interesting.

In any given trip to my go-to stores, someone knows my name. They know where I work and they know about the pieces of my life I share in these weekly columns.

None of this is new. But that made me realize I’m certainly not the new kid anymore. It’s not a sad notion, I’m not angry about it. I just have to start writing to a different tune.

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I’m all for changing things up here and there.

So I got to thinking about a project I’ve been procrastinating for two years. In 2015, I drove up the entire length of California to set temporary roots in Washington. When life brought me back to middle America, I scribbled down an outline of all the things I saw along the Pacific Coast Highway.

I had two pages, front and back, filled with brief explanations and landmarks along with asterisks denoting the important parts. Like Gilroy, California, which is just south of San Jose. The entire town is surrounded by garlic fields and the smell stayed in my vehicle until Oregon.

This was great because there isn’t much on this planet I love more than garlic.

Then there was the time my dad’s good friend flew me around northern Idaho in his plane. Those sights deserve a chapter on their own. We rounded one mountain and greeted British Columbia. A quick whip around the other side of the same mountain met Alberta. Then we swooped along the river and found a train chugging along a cliff that hugged the river. My personal pilot turned the plane perpendicular to the earth so I could clearly and easily see the train. The Lord’s Prayer found its way out of my throat as I waited for Bill to turn the small aircraft back to an upright position.

I’ve been on many planes before, don’t get me wrong. They don’t bother me a bit. But to turn the entire bird over like that to see a train and closely detailed trees is the wrong kind of exciting.

On second thought, procrastination is not the word I’d like to use. I prefer distracted. College came with its particular set of challenges that included scholarly work in television, radio and, of course, newspaper, all on top of a full-time job. I had time to get ready for bed and that’s about it.

At any rate, this outline pushed me to realize a small dream I've always had. I would like to add travel writer to my list of human tricks.

In a previous column I listed places around town I’d like to visit. Since winter is coming, I can’t easily enjoy miniature golf for several weeks. The lack of thermal energy excludes park jaunts, as well.

So I came up with a plan to see what is enclosed within the state lines of Nebraska.

Most Nebraskans I’ve talked to have been to Branson, Missouri, so maybe it’s time I return the favor and see what you guys have up here.

In short, the focus of my weekly ditties will be switched around a little bit. Maybe I’ll get to see the badlands region of Nebraska. Or that poky rock that’s somewhere west of here. I’m a foreigner, you’ll have to excuse me.

I still have to go check out the one-woman town of Monowi. I’ve always wanted to meet her.

Editor's note: The "New to Town" series features regular columns by Telegram reporter Liz Morales as she documents her transition to Columbus and what she learns along the way.

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