Harris reaches goal: 50 states in 50 years
Lauren Branas, Hartselle Enquirer
Doris Turrentine Harris had a goal: 50 states in 50 years.
That goal developed in 1994 when Harris went west. She sat down with a map and colored in all the states she had visited. By that time, she had been to about 30 states, but decided she wanted to experience all of America's personalities before she turned 50.
Harris reached her goal two years early when she finally visited Nebraska, the last state in her repertoire. Although she's seen the Western world, Harris still calls Alabama home. She has lived in Hartselle most of her life.
Harris has also crossed the border into Canada twice and has visited China. Harris, her sister-in-law and her aunt made it back to the Huntsville Airport from China 14 hours before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Special memories from each state stay with Harris as she photographs birds, wildlife, old school houses and everything old. She has also purchased a state thimble from each state for her collection. Now she is working on getting bells from each state.
"I love it! Each state has something different to offer," Harris said.
Rural areas are Harris' main attraction.
"I like getting off the roads to see and photograph unique things," Harris said.
Her aunt travels with her frequently and is a history buff, but most of their excursions develop as they go.
Alaska runs a close second to Alabama in Harris' book. She loves the abundant wildlife and gorgeous mountain and water scenery. She has been whale watching there. She also recalls a time when her bus broke down in Delani Park. Harris and her husband, David, thought their trip was destroyed when another bus that went further into the park picked them up. They sighted 19 grizzly bears, a snowy owl and a rare lone wolf. Their trip turned out better than they had imagined.
Harris and her husband flew to Hawaii for their 10th anniversary and got to go island hopping. They visited five of the islands and went snorkeling along the reef in Hanauma Bay.
"Hawaii has beautiful rainbows. It was in Hawaii that I first saw a double rainbow," Harris remembered.
Harris maintains a photo album to document her adventures. The pictures contain family, friends, covered bridges, birds, wildlife, sunsets, old buildings, and anything else that caught Harris' eye.
"I use this book to remember people and things from my experiences," Harris said.
Harris worked 15 years as a mechanic for Amoco Chemicals where she volunteered in her free time to build habitats for wildlife. She also worked in the Wallace Center as a mental health technician. She often dressed up like the clown, Raggedy Ann, with her husband, known as Sir Clumsy, who is a professional clown.
Harris takes the pictures she accrues from her trips and puts them into personalized cards for friends and family. Aside from taking pictures, Harris' love of wildlife extends into another hobby of hers', carving birds, wildlife and fish.