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Jimmy Carter’s hometown touch; Traveling by wagon train

Jimmy Carter’s hometown touch
Every week, a small crowd gathers at a church in Plains, Ga., for a special Sunday school class, said Mary Ann Anderson in The Washington Post. The teacher: Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States. Carter’s rural hometown (pop. 776) offers a variety of attractions related to its most famous native son. While there, I visited Carter’s boyhood farm, the museum located in his former school, the gas station that his brother, Billy, once ran, and the old depot that served as Carter campaign headquarters. But the highlight was getting to see the man himself, teaching a Bible lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church. Before settling into our pews, about 75 of us passed through a security check. Then former First Lady Rosalynn Carter entered, followed by her husband. The former president spoke to us like old friends, occasionally “flashing a charismatic million-watt smile.” Had he not become a politician, “he would have made a fine preacher.”

Traveling by wagon train
On one weekend each spring, an old-time wagon train passes through the Methow Valley in north-central Washington state, said Karen West in The Seattle Times. The four-night Ride to Rendezvous “is a chance to experience life on an elemental level,” as I discovered during last year’s excursion. “Capricious weather is a familiar component of the experience,” but I was lucky enough to be riding in a covered wagon when the temperature hit a blazing 90. Our 30 wagons and tail of horseback riders crept through forests and across hills “festooned with gold sunflowers.” At night, we pitched our own tents and enjoyed big buffet-style meals, plus nightly entertainment. This year’s trip will begin May 5 and end, as usual, at Winthrop, helping to kick off the town’s ’49er Days celebration (visit woga.org to join in). “As always,” the camaraderie will be the highlight, along with such simple joys as “listening to the campfire crackle while cowboys sing.”

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