Tag Archives: Hawaii

“Travel America” and Me

20 Feb

The other day, we were flying to Arizona, and I picked up a magazine to read on the plane. Travel America lists over 250 places to visit in the United States. As I skimmed through the pages, I began to count all of the ones that I have visited. I have been lucky enough to travel to all 50 states and have seen some great stuff. This is a list of places that Travel America and I have in common.

Wait, here is a picture that I took on the trip to get you in the mood. It is in the Superstition Mountains.img_2279


Paul Revere House

Old North Church

USS Constitution

New York

Central Park

Madison Avenue

Statue of Liberty

Empire State Building


Niagara Falls


Independence Hall

Liberty Bell

National Constitution Center

Rhode Island

The Breakers


Walt Disney World

Kennedy Space Center

Everglades National Park

Miami Beach

South Beach


River Street


Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola Museum


University of Kentucky


Garden District

Lafayette Cemetery

French Quarter

Louisiana State University


Ground Zero Blues Club

Delta Blues Museum

Natchez Trace

North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Biltmore

South Carolina

Harbour Town Golf Links


Beale Street

B.B. King’s Blues Club


Ryman Auditorium

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Hermitage

Union Station Hotel

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Alum Cave Trail

Cade’s Cove

Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

Old Town Alexandria

Mount Vernon


Michigan Avenue


Indianapolis Motor Speedway


University of Michigan


Gateway Arch

North Dakota


Fort Mandan


Progressive Field

Warehouse District


National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Cattleman’s Steakhouse

South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Wall Drug

Mount Rushmore

Crazy Horse Memorial

Custer State Park

Saloon #10

Mt. Moriah Cemetery



Mission San Xavier del Bac

Grand Canyon

Canyon de Chelly

Goulding’s Lodge and Trading Post



Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mesa Verde National Park



Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield Indian Memorial

Beartooth Highway

Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road


Death Valley National Park




New Mexico 

Carlsbad Cavern

Palace of the Governors

Inn of the Anasazi

White Sands National Monument


Sixth Floor Museum

South Congress Avenue

Sixth Street

River Walk

The Alamo


Bryce Canyon

Temple Square


Snake River

Grand Tetons National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Inn

Yellowstone Lake

Old Faithful

Lower Falls

Yellowstone River

Buffalo Bill Center of the West


Glacier Bay National Park

Denali National Park


Universal Studios


Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Walk of Fame

Rodeo Drive

Golden Gate Bridge


Redwood National Park

General Sherman Tree

Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls

Pacific Coast Highway


USS Arizona Memorial

Lanikai Beach

Volcanoes National Park

Waimea Canyon


Haystack Rock

Columbia River Gorge

Mt. Hood

Historic Columbia River Highway

Crater Lake


Mount Rainier National Park


A New Year’s Eve Celebration to End All New Year’s Eve Celebrations

2 Jan

Yesterday, my old college roommate sent a text saying that it has been 26 years since the greatest New Year’s Eve party of all time. It was held at our apartment, and I am certain that, in the past quarter of a century, the apartment complex has not seen anything else like it. I will not recount the specifics of the gathering. Just know that none of have forgotten any of it.

After that text, I thought about how I have spent some of the other New Year’s Eves.New Year

There was the one that my future wife and I spent in a swanky private club in Nashville.

There was the one at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.

There was also the one in the downtown streets of Phoenix, Arizona with the same old college roommate.

Oh yeah, there was also the one spent in a Waffle House in north Georgia.

I almost forgot about the one on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

There was also the one when I had the flu.

A lot of New Year’s Eves have come and gone. Some of them have been memorable. Some of the have been forgotten. Some of them have been fun. Some of the have been miserable. However, my favorite New Year’s Eve was a few night ago.

My stepdaughter had a couple of friends over. We had homemade pizza and took selfies. They danced and sang. I slipped off and watched the end of The Magnificent Seven and the beginning of Wyatt Earp, but nothing could keep me away from the fun. We watched the ball drop in New York and the musical note drop in Nashville.

It was a great night spent with people I love. Is there a better way to start the new year?



Get Away From Magazines

14 Jul

I have to stop going to the grocery store because I always buy some “Special Edition” magazine. “Special Edition” is the code for something that costs more than a regular magazine. Yesterday, I got one called Great American Getaways that was put out by LIFE.Getaway

I read it and decided that the money spent meant that I should do more than that. Therefore, we have a post.

This is going to be simple. List the getaways. Write if I have ever been to them. Yes or no answers will suffice.

Mount Desert, Maine – No

The Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts – Yes

Franconia, New Hampshire – No

Block Island, Rhode Island – No

Mystic, Connecticut – No

Sag Harbor, New York – No

Tanglewood and Williamstown, Massachusetts – No

Stowe, Vermont- No

New York City, New York – Yes

Cape May, New Jersey – No

Cooperstown, New York – No

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, No

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. – Yes

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Yes

Niagara Falls, New York – Yes

Sea Island, Georgia – No

Walt Disney World, Florida – Yes

The Florida Keys – No

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia and North Carolina – Yes

Horse Country, Kentucky – Yes

Columbus, Indiana – No

Mackinac Island, Michigan – No

Nashville, Tennessee – Yes

Chicago, Illinois – Yes

New Orleans, Louisiana – Yes

Ozarks, Arkansas – Yes

Sand Hills, Nebraska – No

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota – Yes

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Yes

Land of the Anasazi, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico – Yes

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – Yes

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Yes

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona – No

Alta, Utah – No

Glacier National Park, Montana – Yes

Las Vegas, Nevada – Yes

Death Valley, California – Yes

San Diego, California – Yes

Yosemite National Park, California – Yes

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada – Yes

Oregon Wine Country – No

Mount Rainier, Washington – Yes

Big Sur, California – Yes

San Francisco, California – Yes

San Juan Islands, Washington – No

Redwood National Park, California – Yes

Volcano National Park, Hawaii – Yes

Lanai, Hawaii – No

Glacier Cruise, Alaska – Yes

The Brooks Range, Alaska – No

That is 29 visits out of 50 places.

Now, I promise myself that I will not buy more “Special Edition” magazines…until I go back to the grocery store.


National Parks and Me

27 May

On our recent trip to New Mexico, we visited several places under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and those visits made me wonder how many I have visited.Park

This post is simple. It is a list of the ones I have visited with a short comment about each. Oh yeah, they will also be listed by state.


Denali National Park – a beautiful view of Mt. McKinley

Glacier Bay National Park – eagles, bears, whales and calving icebergs.


Canyon de Chelly National Monument – an interesting ride into another culture

Grand Canyon National Park – a big hole in the ground

Montezuma Castle National Monument – cliff dwellings by the river

Petrified Forest National Park – trees of stone

Saguaro National Park – the insects make a weird sound, but the cacti are awesome


Death Valley National Park – hot does not describe it

Golden Gate National Recreation Area – the bridge is not golden

Redwood National Park – a bunch of big trees

Sequoia National Park – another bunch of big trees

Yosemite National Park – one of the most beautiful places on earth


Great Sand Dunes National Monument – it is a heck of a climb to the top

Mesa Verde National Park – unfortunately, I had to correct the park ranger


Jimmy Carter National Historic Site – Plains never had it so good


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – we visited before they started erupting


New Orleans Jazz National Historic Site – it is a room behind Cafe Du Monde


Natchez Trace Parkway – it is a cool drive but do not speed

Vicksburg National Military Park – this is what a siege looks like


Harry S Truman National Historic Site – my favorite president to visit

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – otherwise known as the Arch


Glacier National Park – it is my heading on Twitter

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site – a real ranch is better

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument – my favorite battlefield to visit


Lake Mead National Recreation Area – made famous by Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson

New Mexico

Bandelier National Monument – climb the ladders

Carlsbad Caverns National Park – walk in and take the elevator out

Chaco Culture National Historic Park – kivas are everywhere

El Morro National Monument – the most awesome collection of autographs ever

Fort Union National Monument – not much left of the fort

Pecos National Historical Park – exists due to the generosity of Greer Garson

Petroglyph National Monument – a victim of urban sprawl

White Sands National Monument – it is like visiting another planet

New York

Statue of Liberty National Monument – she has big feet


Crater Lake National Park – bluest water I have ever seen

Lewis and Clark National Historic Park – this is where they stopped before turning around


Independence National Historic Park – they signed some sort of document around here

South Dakota

Badlands National Park – it took some bad people to survive here

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – where are the rest of their bodies


Andrew Johnson National Historic Site – it does not matter that he was impeached

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – it has some great hiking trails

Shiloh National Military Park – the tragedy can be felt in the air

Stones River National Battlefield – it is right down the road


San Antonio Missions National Historic Park – remember the Alamo


Bryce Canyon National Park – walk among the hoodoos


Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial – it looks down on the eternal flame

George Washington Memorial Parkway – we had a nice lunch along this road


Mount Rainier National Park – you do not want to be around when it erupts

Washington, D.C.

Korean War Veterans Memorial – truly haunting at night

Lincoln Memorial – covered with people

National Mall – it is bigger than you might think

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – touch the wall and feel the loss

Washington Monument – they play softball all around it

White House – it does not look as big as I thought it would

World War II Memorial – try to find Kilroy


Devil’s Tower National Monument – did not see any alien spacecraft

Fort Laramie National Historic Site – several broken treaties signed here

Grand Teton National Park – what does that name mean in French

Yellowstone National Park – the jewel of all national parks


Celebrations of Yesteryear

1 Jan

Last night, we spent a low-key evening playing games and doing everything we could to stay up until midnight. It was a fun celebration of the new year, but my mind kept going back to a celebration that took place twenty-five years ago.

My college roommates and I threw a huge party at our apartment. To protect the guilty, I will not recount the gory details of the gathering, but it would make a good movie to be shown in some art house theater.

There were two parts of the party that can fit a family blog and provide examples of that night. First, most of the furniture ended up in the backyard. Second, I spent the strike of midnight convincing a girl not to kill her boyfriend.

As I thought back to that night, I thought about where I was on other nights of the yearly eve, Honestly, I cannot remember most of them. That is either a result of inebriation or old age. However, a few of the nights come in clearly.New Year

One New Year’s Eve was spent at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Those were the days when my favorite football team played in a New Year’s Day bowl every year. We watched fireworks that night and watched fireworks on the field the next day.

Traveling to a football game also took me to the streets of Phoenix, Arizona on a warm December night. My friend, who was also hosted the famous party, and I stumbled down the sidewalks with 200,000 other people. Luckily, we ran into Larry, who you have read about a couple of times, and he got us to our hotel.

Football games have also led me to less festive locales. One New Year’s Eve was spent in a Waffle House in north Georgia. The greatest memory of that night was one of my traveling companions complaining about the iced tea. According to him, it tasted like urine. Of course, he used a different term.

The New Year’s Eve on of Waikiki Beach was a lot better than the one in north Georgia. Everyone sat in the sand while fireworks blasted over the Pacific Ocean. The only problem was that we had to drive across the island to our beach house and almost got lost.

There have been many memorable New Year’s celebrations. However, none of them compare to the party at Citizen, a private club in Nashville. At one of their parties, I spent New Year’s Eve with my future wife. Since then, every celebration of the coming year has been awesome.

Is There a Place Like Home?

7 Oct

This weekend, we were tailgating with some friends before the Tennessee Titans game, which turned out to be historic for all of the wrong reasons. Anyway, the conversation turned toward moving. One of them said that she would like to move somewhere else, but that her boyfriend would never leave town. My wife, who has lived in different parts of the country, said that she knew when we married that we would live here forever.

I said that I have been lucky enough to have traveled in every state and have spent time in most of the major cities. I love visiting them, but I have never seen anywhere that is a better place to live than right here in my hometown. They both looked at me funny and said that other places have culture, art and different lifestyles. That is when I said that is true, but they are missing one thing. They are not home.Tennessee

I understand that a lot of people have to move for jobs and other reasons. Some people move because they hate where they grew up. Heck, there are people from my graduating class who left the day after the ceremony and have never been back. However, I have always thought it important to have roots and contribute to the place that made us who we are. It is a place of family and old friends. Like I said, it is home.

All that being said, the conversation made me think of an assignment that my therapist had me complete. I had to list ten places, other than here, where I would like to live. I remember most of the list, and I know that it would be slightly different if I did it today. That is why I am going to do it today. If I was going to live somewhere else, then it would be, in no particular order, the following:

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Durango, Colorado

Sonoma, California

Asheville, North Carolina

Maryville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Prescott, Arizona

Waialua, Hawaii

What do those places have in common?

I have spent time in each one and thought they were worth more than a visit. They struck me as good places to live. Some of them have rich culture, and others are just good towns.

None of them are huge cities where the buildings block out the sun. They have that small town feel with a little extra thrown in.

They all have great things around them. It would not take long to find a good hike or a another cool place to visit.

Will we ever move? You never know what the future holds. However, if it was going to be one of these places, then it would make the decision somewhat easier.



A Few Days in December 1941

7 Dec

December 7, 1941 was a Sunday. It was also the day that the Japanese fleet attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.Pearl Attack

Actually, that is not accurate. It was an attack on various locations around the island of Oahu. Most people know the story and have seen the footage of the attack. However, something else was taking place thousands of miles away.

In Washington, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who graduated from Cumberland University, was preparing to meet with the ambassador of Japan when word of the attack got to his office.Cordell Hull

Hull greeted the ambassador, who did not know the attack had already taken place, and read documents stating that negotiations between the two nations were ending. The Secretary of State exploded with angered while the ambassador quickly left. Hull uttered a few other choice words while realizing that the United States had just entered the World War.

On December 8, Franklin Roosevelt convened a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives to request a declaration of war against Japan. On that day, he said:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.