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  • 1. June, 2009 Mystic Aquarium


  • Mystic Aquarium offers attractions familiar to most visitors; the aquarium of note with most New England communities. There are seals, turtles, rays, and reef fish, as well as activities for the kids, a special themed theater, gift shops, and cafeteria style lunches. What makes Mystic so unique is the belugas. A centerpiece of the park, the beluga tank boasts several of these pleasant mammals. They are visible both from the surface and from a viewing glass along the side of the pool.


  • July, 1999
  • Yellowstone National Park


  • Along the northwest corridor of the park, twelve miles west of the Yellowstone River, through a heavily wooded area between Mammoth and Norris, this aged bison, appearing lost, straddles the double-yellow lines, and stares down a row of northbound automobiles. The Terraces will have to wait, for drivers are at his mercy. His tired eyes are glossed, weary of the persistent invasion, looking simply to cross the road and possibly search for an elusive place for permanent rest. It is soon obvious; one charge could thrash any number of these SUVs and those nervous inhabitants inside who anticipate his next move. He stands, minutes pass, he takes four steps, stops, and more minutes pass. Many drivers turn toward the shoulder, giving the old giant the respect of an emergency vehicle, but to no avail. Minutes approach an hour, and he begins to move, pausing to catch the eye of each passing driver, who avert his stare. A brief glimpse seems to represent a lifetime of buffalo profanity. After several more pauses, periods of indecisiveness, he decides to cross in front of my vehicle, moves slowly to the right shoulder, glances again into the passenger window, and meanders down a ravine. Good-bye old man!


  • April, 2000
  • Scotty's Castle


  • Scotty was able to convince an east coast millionaire, who suffered from ill health, that there was a substantial vein of gold in the northern wasteland of Death Valley. The benefactor sent money to Scotty to invest in material and equipment to mine the gold. Legend has it that Scotty bought a few nuggets to continue the cash flow and then squandered the rest. The millionaire and his wife arrived to Death Valley to evaluate how their investment was being spent and discovered instead that the dry climate had a healing effect on their health. After relocating, Scotty and the couple became friends. The castle is situated near the California and Nevada border; a southwestern style home with a stucco facade and a red-tile roof, and located in one of the most desolate areas in the lower 48.


  • June, 2009
  • Louie's Lunch


  • Only a block from Yale University, this New Haven institution claims the invention of the hamburger. The burgers are cooked vertically in unique grill contraptions resembling that of a toaster oven standing on end. The patty is thick, placed between two pieces of toast sans crust. Dill pickles accentuate the taste. Ketchup is absolutely forbidden in the establishment. The dining area is small and crowded. Graffiti has been carved in the tables, window sills and walls, dating back over a century. Louies ambiance complements the food. The burgers are juicy and the fries are piping hot.


  • April, 2009
  • Dyer's Burgers


  • Dyers Burgers on Beale is only a block away from B.B. Kings bar. Within walking distance from the Mississippi River, this Memphis landmark claims to use the same grease to fry its burgers that was used at its grand opening in 1912. The raw hamburger is pulverized with a mallet before being submerged if a large pan of sizzling lard. The fixings are up to the customer. The burger drips cholesterol, but is worth every bite. Whether a precursor to a night of raw delta blues or a filling nightcap to the evenings bar hopping, Dyers ranks as one of the best burgers places in the U.S.


  • August, 2009
  • Napoleon Dynamite's House


  • The city of Preston, Idaho has a great sense of humor, and with tongue firmly in cheek, the Annual Napoleon Dynamite Festival is scheduled each summer. Attendees can bowl at the towns only bowling alley on South State Street. North a block and two blocks east is Preston High. No tetherballs were apparent. Further north on State is the burger place and the second hand store. It appears the tae kwon do establishment has closed. The festival has contests for happy hands performances and dancing, milking familiar scenes from the movie for maximum effect and to everyones delight. Napoleons house stands on a ridge northeast of town; a private residence. The door seems to anticipate a knock from Deb, soliciting boondoggles or glamour shots for college tuition. In the pastureland surrounding the house, Tina, the llama, is nowhere to be found.


  • August, 1999
  • Grizzly Falls


  • Take the spur route north from Sequoia into Kings Canyon National Park. The road winds down to the canyon floor, with seemingly endless hairpin curves. The thirty mile trip can take well over an hour. When the Scenic Byway reaches the rushing river, travel toward Cedar Grove and Roads End. The byway eastward goes against current, creating a sense of vertigo as one becomes intrigued by these white water rapids. Its easy to relax along this stretch of road that follows the rivers northern bank, especially after the white knuckled effort it required to reach here. Kings River is mesmerizing, inviting. A suggestion would be to simply stop at the first pull-off, get out, and stroll several minutes along the river. Here, the San Joaquin Valley smog doesnt yet reach levels that it does in nearby Sequoia and Yosemite. Just outside the parks western border, still within Giant Sequoia National Monument, and to the left of the roadway, a signpost announces Grizzly Falls. The water splashes off outcroppings and soon joins the current of the Kings.


  • August, 2009
  • Yellowstone River, Montana


  • The Yellowstone leaves the lake, carves the parks grand canyon, dropping two major falls, before exiting into Montana. Along the western plains bordering the Rockies, the river rolls with the topography of the land, joins the Missouri, then the Mississippi in Saint Louis and reaches the gulf. Driving westward from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, upon a ridge where a Montana rest area is stationed, dawn had broken and the sun was cresting. The reflection, of almost perfect blue, defines a hairpin bend.


  • April, 2009
  • Tennessee River, Alabama


  • The Tennessee Valley Authority and its construction of the Pickwick Dam resulted in this reservoir that flows into northwestern Alabama. The bridge, crossing at one of the widest points, is the modern route of the Natchez Trace.


  • August, 2009
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park


  • Northern Dakotas equivalent to the Badlands of the south, Theodore Roosevelt National Park represents an area of pristine beauty where, because of its isolated location, few enthusiasts make the effort to tread. The parks namesake liked the area and lived here for a time. His cabin still stands directly behind the Visitor Center. The looped drive around the parks South Unit offers amazing vistas through fertile buffalo pasture land.Summer thunderstorms are frequent but disperse quickly and allow for brilliant natural lighting. The only campground, located on the Little Missouri River, is amidst river cottonwoods. The bluffs on the opposite bank provide a perfect backdrop to a spectacular sunset. Look for a daily rainbow in the eastern sky.


  • June, 2009
  • Plum Point, Rhode Island


  • Plum Point is on the western shore of Rhode Islands Narragansett Sound. The point overlooks Conanicut Island and the village of Jamestown. The bridge is the first of two that connects the southwestern region of the state with down east and the city of Newport.


  • July, 1999
  • Mesa Verde


  • Once fertile farmland to pre-historic Native Americans, the mesa has now returned to natural forest. The deep ravines that define the mesa have exposed sheer cliffs where pockets served as an excellent protection from inclement weather. The anasazi enclosed these pockets with masonry, using the rooms for shelter, storage, and religious ritual. The Cliff Palace may have served as a central meeting place for this ancient culture; a national capital for several hundred thousand who may have lived in the greater four-corner region of the United States. Tribe leaders and kokopelli shamans may have met to discuss politics and cultural affairs.


  • June, 2009
  • Mystic Seaport


  • The Figurehead Exhibit has a room dedicated to the carved wooden figures once attached to the bow of ships. Voluptuous women, salty seaman, eagles and the like stand proud at a forty-five degree angle around the perimeter of the room. The craftsmanship is exquisite. During the peak of the whaling industry, smiths manufactured tools, rigging, as well as other necessary commodities. Specialty shops have been restored at Seafaring Village, where artisans recreate t