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J. Stephen Conn's Posts
J. Stephen has posted 94 reports and 398 photos.

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Alabama Visit: 2016-1
2008-02-10 - Alabama, known as the Heart of Dixie, is much more than just cotton fields. Geographically and ethnically it is a truly diverse state extending from beautiful white sand beaches along the Gulf Coast to lofty mountain ridges in the northeast - the southernmost reach of the Appalachian mountain range. Cities such as Huntsville , Birmingham , Montgomery and Mobile are unmistakably southern, yet surprisingly cosmopolitan.

My mother grew up in Alabama and my first trip to the state would have been to visit my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins when I was just a toddler. I\'ve traveled throughout Alabama on numerous occasions over the years. On December 2, 2004 I completed my quest to visit each of Alabama \'s 67 counties when I entered Coosa County , near the center of the state.




Alaska Visit: 2004-8
2008-02-12 - Alaska, The Great Land, is unlike any other state in the United States . Immense in size, if Alaska were spread over the lower 48 states, parts of it would touch Georgia and California , Michigan and Texas . This provides a particular challenge to the county collector because most of the territory in Alaska is inaccessible except by airplane or boat - or, theoretically, by foot or dogsled.

There are no jurisdictions in Alaska that are called counties. The state is divided into roughly equivalent administrative districts which are either incorporated boroughs or unincorporated census areas. The largest of these boroughs, the North Slope Borough, covers an area larger than the states of Pennsylvania , Maryland and Ohio combined, yet it only has a population of about 7,350, scattered in a handful of small villages.

I have made three trips to Alaska and have spent about four weeks traveling across the state. I expect to visit Alaska again at least two more times before I can say that I have been in every political division of the state.




Alberta Visit: 2006-8
2008-02-05 - I first visited Alberta, Canada, with my wife, Karen, in August, 2006. We traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio, by train (Amtrak) to East Glacier, Montana. From there we rented a car and took it into Alberta. We stayed at the very picturesque Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes and spent three days exploring Waterton Lakes National Park. It was a great introduction to Alberta and whetted our appetites to return and see more of this beautiful Province.


Anguilla Visit: 1989-2
2016-01-17 - I visited the Caribbean island nation of Anguilla for three days and two nights, February 13-15, 1989. Travel to Anguilla was by a short ferry ride from nearby St. Martin, and departure was via Liat airlines, first back to Sint Maarten, then onward to Dominica. This was one leg in a 30 day tour to 11 Caribbean nations, from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Isla Margarita in Venezuela. I arrived in Anguilla without a reservation, hailed a taxi at the docks, and asked the driver if he would recommend an inexpensive place to stay. He took me to Lloyd\'s Guest House and Beach Apartments, located on Crocus Hill and a short walk from the very beautiful Crocus Bay. Price for the room included meals, served family style around a big table. One of the most enjoyable factors in my stay in Anguilla was chatting around the table with the eclectic assortment of other guests who were from various places around the world. During my three days on Anguilla, I enjoyed hanging out some at an open air café on Crocus Bay, and also spent several hours walking about the island, immersing myself in the rural ambiance of the island which appeared to have very little tourist infrastructure at the time.


Antigua Visit: 2001-11
2016-02-01 - I have been privileged to visit the island nation of Antigua on two occasions. The first time, in February, 1989, I arrived by air from St. Maarten. I was on a month long solo trip to the Caribbean on a 30 day ticket which was a special promotion offered by Liat Airlines at that time. I began my trip in the U.S. Virgin Islands and ended it a month later in Caracas, Venezuela, visiting and exploring a total of 11 places along the way. This was a low budget trip in which I stayed no resorts, but in the most inexpensive accommodations I could find. In Antigua, that was in a spare bedroom of a private home in the capital city of St. Johns. My second visit to Antigua was in November, 2001, and I arrived by sea aboard the MV/Amazing Grace which was a converted British Navy Lighthouse Tender which was later put to use as the supply ship for the now defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, a small fleet of sailing ships. We stopped for the day at English Harbour, on the opposite end of the island from my previous visit. This gave me the opportunity to see parts of Antigua I had missed before. I especially enjoyed exploring Nelson\\\'s Dockyard National Park. The dockyard was developed as a base for the British Navy in the days of the great sailing ships. The picturesque natural harbour served as the headquarters of the fleet of the Leeward Islands during the turbulent years of the late 18th century.


Arizona Visit: 2014-9
2015-03-09 - My first visit to Arizona was in the early spring of 1967, crossing the state with three friends on a road trip Denver Colorado to Glendale, California. A highlight of that trip was a brief stop at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Since then I have made 6 or more trips to Arizona, visiting every corner of the state. In March, 2008, I visited my 15th and final county in Arizona, entering La Paz County from Mojave County by crossing the Bill Williams River. I had previously visited all 14 counties in Arizona, but La Paz county was not formed at the time, so to complete my county quest, I made a special trip. My wife, Karen, and I flew from Cincinnati, Ohio to Las Vegas, Nevada to celebrate our wedding anniversary. From Las Vegas we rented a car to take us across the Hoover Dam and on into Arizona. Since completing the counties, Karen and I have made one additional trip to Arizona, to explore the Grand Canyon from the north rim.


Arkansas Visit: 2013-7
2015-03-09 -


Aruba Visit: 2010-3
2015-03-09 - On March 17, 2010, I visited Aruba with my wife, Karen, while on a cruise out of Colon, Panama. We toured highlights of the island including Baby Natural Bridge, the California Lighthouse, Casibari Rock Formations,and more. We also took an interesting underwater boat ride to view sea life and a sunken ship.


Bahamas Visit: 2001-10
2015-03-09 - The first time I traveled outside the United States was when I was 15, on a trip to the Bahamas. My dad was going there for a church convention and invited me and two of my brothers to go along, but we had to pay our own way. For the three day trip, passage aboard the S.S. Bahama Star was $99. I had a college savings account from money I earned on my paper route, since I was ten, so I dipped into my college fund to pay for the trip. This was before the days of the modern cruise ship industry. Our boat was a passenger ship which had previously made transatlantic crossings, carrying more than 500 passengers. It had just been refurbished and re-christened for the Bahamas route, this being the maiden voyage. The four of us, Dad, Philip, Paul and I, drove from our home in Cleveland, Tennessee to Miami Florida and spent the night the highest I had ever been in a hotel. That night, which was New Year\\\\\\\'s Eve, just happened to be the evening of the famous Orange Bowl Parade, which went right in front of our hotel. I had never been in a crowd that big and it was about as much excitement as a small town boy from Appalachia could contain. On New Year\\\\\\\'s day we sailed for Nassau. The ship docked at the pier there for three days and served as our hotel. At that time the Bahama Islands were still under British rule. While Dad was in his meetings, he allowed us boys to explore Nassau on our own. We rented bicycles and rode them over much of the island. The most exciting part of the voyage was when the ships broiler exploded on the return trip to the United States. Paul and I had set our alarm clock for thirty minutes before daylight. We wanted to see the sun rose over the Atlantic. As we were getting dressed the lights suddenly went out in our cabin. Emergency lights came on in the hallway ways and porters ran frantically through the ship, banging on every door and shouting: The ship\\\\\\\'s on fire. Put on your life jackets. Everyone to the lifeboats. Panic ensued. Pajama clad people with wild eyes and messy hair were rushing to the top deck, fumbling with their life jackets as they went. Some were weeping; others carried frightened children. After considerable commotion for about 20 minutes it was announced that the fire had been extinguished and the ship was not in danger of sinking. However, we had no power and were adrift. The Gulf Stream was carrying us northward. It took 12 hours for a couple of tug boats to catch up with us, many miles off course. It took them another 12 hours or so to tow us back to Miami. During that long day the kitchen was not in operation because of the lack of power. Also, most of the food supplies were exhausted, however some snacks were served. A few people kept their life jackets on and stayed near the life boats all day long. Most of the passengers relaxed and made the best of an unexpected day at sea. During the afternoon I fished off the back of the boat with tackle and bait given me by some of the crew. I didn\\\\\\\'t catch anything, but saw lots of flying fish. It was one of the most fun days I had ever had. I have been back to The Bahamas twice since then. One trip was a four day cruise on the Oceanic, aka. the Big Red Boat, with Premier Cruise Line. The other time I flew to Freeport, where I caught a Windjammer supply ship which dropped me of in Trinidad two weeks later. Both of those trips were lots of fun, but neither came up the excitement of the maiden voyage of the S.S. Bahama Star.


Baja California Visit: 2005-3
2008-02-05 - The first couple of times I visited Baja California I simply walked over the bridge from San Diego to Tiajuana. In March, 2005, my wife, Karen, and I visited Ensenada for our 4th wedding anniversary. We flew from Cincinnati, Ohio to San Diego, California and from there took a bus 109 kilometers (68 miles) south of the border to Ensenada, with a stop in Rosarito Beach, Baja California. Ensenada attracts many tourists, including Mexicans, but it is much more than just another tourist town. With a population of about 250,000, it is the third larges city in Baja California. We thoroughly enjoyed our three days there and found it to be a much more authentic Mexican experience than the border towns.

Ensenada is the home of the fish taco. If you ever find yourself there you must try one of these delectable treats. The best fish tacos are to be found at the fishermen's stalls, down by the docks. You'll see more locals than tourists eating there.




Barbados Visit: 1989-2
2016-02-04 - I only visited the island nation of Barbados for about four hours. I had booked a flight on Liat Airlines from Grenada, where I had spend a four days, to Isla Margarita, in Venezuela, by way of Caracas. My flight schedule called for a four hour layover in Barbados. Determined not to sit in the airport for four hours, and delighted with the chance to get a brief glimpse of Barbados, I passed through customs and immigration. Hailing a taxi outside the airport, I inquired of a suitable place to spend my time. The taxi driver suggested a beachfront hotel just a few miles away from the airport, so that\'s where I went. The drive allowed me to drink in a sampling of the countryside. I saw no towns, but did have a view of numerous small farms, many children playing, people working or walking along and goats grazing in the fields. I stayed as long as I dared without risking missing my flight to Venezuela. That was time enough to explore the resort, take a long walk along the beach, and then chill out for a while in a beach chair with my toes digging into the sand. Next time I hope my stay in Barbados will be much longer.


Belize Visit: 2008-1
2008-01-30 - On January 23, 2008, I visited Belize for the first time with my wife, Karen. We traveled by cruise ship aboard Enchantment of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Belize made my 50th country or territory according to the Traveler\'s Century Club, and my 117th place according to MostTraveledPeople.com. We took advantage of our limited time in Belize by touring Belize City and then traveling by bus 30 miles north to explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.


Bonaire Visit: 2010-11
2016-01-14 - I visited Bonaire, in the Caribbean Netherlands with my wife Karen on November 19, 2010. We were on a cruise with Royal Caribbean aboard Enchantment of the Seas. The ship docked at Kralendijk, the small capital city, and from there we took a tour of the island. Highlights were Lake Goto Mere with it\'s numerous pink flamingos, and the Washington Slagbaai National Park. Coming back to Kralendijk, we still had time to take an unguided walking tour of the city, with its quaint colorful buildings, Government House, Customs House, historic Fort Oranje, and other interesting sites. The beauty and history of this tropical island made it a very pleasant and memorable visit.


British Columbia Visit: 2009-5
2016-01-20 - My first visit to British Columbia was on October 3 and 4 2008. On that trip I had to drive through a several miles in southern British Columbia in order to reach Point Roberts, Washington, on my quest to visit each of the 3,142 counties and county equivalents in the United States. Point Roberts is a seldom visited geographic oddity, a small tip of land which is in the state of Washington, but can only be reached by land by going through about 30 miles or so in British Columbia, then dipping back south into this isolated spot in the United States. I spent one night in motel in Delta, BC. Although I was within easy striking distance of the city of Vancouver on that solo trip, and wanted to go there, I decided to wait and experience Vancouver for the first time with my wife on a trip we were planning. Karen and I made it to Vancouver in May, 2009 and spent three days and two nights exploring that beautiful city before embarking on a cruise from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska, via the Inside Passageway.


California Visit: 2012-9
2015-03-09 - Without question, California contains some of the most spectacular scenic areas in the United States. Congested cities and a high cost of living counterbalance all that scenic beauty. Although I would not want to live in California, I\'ve thoroughly enjoyed several visits to the state. My first time in California was to attend a convention in Glendale in 1967, when I was 22 years old. I have returned several times over the years, exploring great cities like San Diego and San Francisco, Even more I have enjoyed exploring the smaller towns, historic sites, and natural features of the state, from the cool evergreen Redwood forests to the stark beauty of Death Valley and the incomparable Yosemite National Park. In August and September, 2012, My wife, Karen, and I took a two week road trip around the state, starting at Lake Tahoe, to visit those places we had missed earlier On September 1, 2012, in San Jose, I visited my 78th and final county in California. The next day, just over the state line in Carson City, Nevada, I completed my United States County Quest, ending a 17 year goal to visit each of the 3,142 counties, parishes, independent cities, Alaskan boroughs and unoraganized census areas of the United States.


Catalonia Visit: 2016-6
2016-09-05 -


Cayman Islands Visit: 2007-3
2008-02-06 - Karen and I traveled to the Cayman Islands twice in 2007 - January and March - both times by cruise ship. We landed at George Town, Grand Cayman, which is which is well known for offshore banking and duty-free shopping. We don't have enough money to hide offshore, and neither of us enjoys shopping, but we still found more than enough to see and do on this small island, which lies due south of Cuba. We enjoyed a walking tour of the capital city of George Town, visited the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory, mailed postcards from the little town of Hell, and explored the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm. The highlight of our visits was getting up close and personal with the sting rays at Stingray City, a series of shallow sand bars found in the North Sound of Grand Cayman.




Coahuila Visit: 2005-2
2015-03-10 - I first visited the Mexican state of Coahuila in September, 2005, on a day trip to Piedras Negras, a city of about 200,000 people at the northern border with Texas, on the Rio Grande River. Piedras is sister city to Eagle Pass, Texas, and it is 441 km north of Saltillo, capital city of Coahuila, via Federal Highway 57. The area surrounding Piedras Negras is ranchland, and also a popular area for hunting wild game. Piedras Negras is known as \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"La Puerta de Mexico\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" (Mexico\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Door), however I found it to be much less touristy than other border towns I have been to, and a visit there seems much more authentically \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Mexican.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Piedras Negras is the home of the Nacho, a classic Tex-Mex dish of cheeze and tortilla chips. While there, I couldn\\\\\\\'t resist stopping for dinner at Sam\\\\\\\'s Restaurant and ordering the cheese and tortilla chips where the dish was invented. I also strolled the streets of the business district, and spent some time photographing the monuments and a few of the local people in Heroes Square. Another very interesting stop was the very beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.


Colombia (mainland) Visit: 2010-3
2015-03-09 - I visited Colombia with my wife, Karen, in March, 2010. We were on a 10 day cruise with Celebrity Cruise Lines sailing from and returning to Colon, Panama. Two stops were in Colombia: Cartagena and Santa Marta. In Cartagena we especially enjoyed visiting sites made famous by the movie \\\"Romancing the Stone,\\\" and Karen brought back an emerald necklace as a souvenir. A city tour, including a visit to the Museum of the Inquisition was fascinating. In Santa Marta we also took a city tour highlighted by a visit to Santa Marta Cathedral. Afterward we toured a Dole banana plantation near Santa Marta where we watched bananas being harvested and packaged for shipment. At the banana plantation we also thrilled at a folkloric program presented by dancers in colorful native costumes.


Colorado Visit: 2014-9
2016-01-20 - My first visit to Colorado was during the summer of 1964 when, as a 19 year old college student, I spent that summer in the Rocky Mountain west, mostly in Montana, but I also managed to visit Denver and the Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado. I fell in love with the state and have been back more than two dozen times since. In more recent years, I have a son who lived in Colorado for about 12 years and I have gone out to visit him at least once a year. On each trip I made it a point to see different parts of the state until I had explored each of Colorado’s 64 counties All of Colorado is worth a visit, even the arid high plains in the east. My favorite parts of the state can be found in the national parks and monuments: Rock Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Dinosaur, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, and Colorado, Hovenweep, Curecanti, and Bent’s Old Fort. However, if one should not visit a single one of these sites, there are still numerous scenic wonders that are just as interesting to see. My proudest adventure in the state was a solo ascent to the top of Mt. Elbert, which at 14,440 feet above sea level is the highest summit in the state. If you’re not up to that strenuous of a climb, you can get almost as high by taking the drive up Pike’s Peak or Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America, at more than 14,000 feet.


Connecticut Visit: 2007-7
2008-02-10 - For such a small state, nestled between New York City and the megalopolis surrounding Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts, I found Connecticut to be surprisingly diverse. Although the state is crowded with a dense population and is largely urban - or at least suburban - it still manages to have quaint small towns and quiet rural areas. The western part of the state carries a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, with enough mountains and wildness to provide refuge to those who love the outdoors.

My first trip to Connecticut was to visit with friends in the seaside town of Mystic in the spring of 1977. I have returned to the state at least four times since then and completed visiting each of Connecticut's eight counties with Windham County in August, 2005.




Costa Rica (mainland) Visit: 2007-3
2008-02-09 - Karen and I made a cruiseship stop at Puerto Limon, Costa Rica in Marh 27, 2007, aboard the MV Zenith, Celebrity Cruise Lines. Only having one day in Costa Rica, but wanting to see as much of the country as possible, we took a bus tour to the capital city of San Jose. The long trip to San Jose and back gave us the opportunity to see much of the beautiful Costa Rican countryside, including a glimpse of many villages, mountains, rivers and Brauilo Carrillo National Park.


Curacao Visit: 2010-3
2016-01-16 - My wife Karen and I visited the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, also called the Caribbean Netherlands, on March 18, 2010. We were on a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean\\\\\\\'s Enchantment of the Seas. We were totally captivated by this colorful island and were amazed to note how each of the neighboring ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, have their own distinct character and appeal. Of special interest was the row of colorful waterfront buildings which provides an iconic travel photo opportunity at Willemstad, the capital and largest city of the island. Not to be missed in Willemstad is the preserved historic RIF Fort, established in 1828. We also took a tour around the island and found the interior equally fascinating for it\\\\\\\'s history, beaches, and quaint countryside there were everal points of interest, including a natural arch, salt flats, and the beautiful beach at Playa Kenepa Grandi. We also took a short but interesting hike at Shete Boka National Park, where we saw a churning rocky coast, numerous tropical birds, and lots of iguanas.


Delaware Visit: 2011-6
2016-01-22 - In the mid-1970s Delaware became the first state in which I visited every county. That was many years before I set the goal of visiting every county in the United States. I was living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the time and was invited to speak at a district-wide banquet of church leaders in Laurel, Delaware. Driving down to that appointment took me through every county in the state - all three of them. Delaware has fewer counties than any other state in the union, including smaller Rhode Island, which is divided into five counties. On my most recent trip to Delaware, in June, 2011, I again visited every county, but my goal this time was somewhat different. In researching my genealogy I had learned that my great, great uncle, John Thomas Conn, had been a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware during the War Between the States. John Thomas was one of four brothers from Cobb County, Georgia, who had fought during that tragic conflict. John Thomas was lucky to have been captured. He was the only one of the four Conn brothers who survived the war and returned home to Georgia. It was personally very meaningful to me to find the place where my distant uncle had been incarcerated, and to stop by and pay my respects.


Dodecanese Islands Visit: 2016-6
2016-09-05 -


Dry Tortugas Visit: 1995-4
2016-02-02 - I have visited the Dry Tortugas on two different occasions. The first time was in the winter of 1976. I flew from what was then my home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Miami, Florida, on business. Having always been intrigued by maps of the Florida Keys, I decided to stay over a few extra days and visit them. In Marathon Key I found a company which offered seaplane trips to the Dry Tortugas, then known as the Fort Jefferson National Monument. I bought a ticket and was excited about taking my first seaplane ride. A half dozen other passengers were on the same trip, but because I was the only one who was traveling solo it was my good fortune to sit in the copilots seat. The pilot offered me earphones so I could hear him as we went. We flew at a very low altitude all the way, and the pilot pointed out points of interest, such as small uninhabited islands, shipwrecks, and even an occasional shark. Before we landed he banked the plane to give me a good aerial shot of the island. We stayed about three hours, which was plenty of time to thoroughly explore Fort Jefferson. Even though the fort was never completely finished, it is still the largest masonry structure in the Americas. New implements of war, developed during Abraham Lincoln’s War to Prevent Southern Independence, made the fort obsolete before it was finished. I was especially interested to see the cell which housed Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, who was charged with conspiring to assassinate United States President Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Mudd had treated the broken ankle of John Wilkes Booth, after he injured himself by jumping from the Balcony of Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., after he shot the president. Mudd was later pardoned by President Andrew Johnson, who rose to the office following the death of Lincoln. My second visit to the Dry Tortugas was even more fun than the first. It was during Spring Break, 1995, and I was camping in the keys with my family. One day I took my son Jeremy to the Dry Tortugas by seaplane out of Key West. This time we carried our snorkeling gear with which we swam all the way around the back of the fort – an awesome experience we will always remember. By the way, the Dry Tortugas gets its name because the sandy islands, 67 miles west of Key West, are dry. They have no source of fresh water. Tortugas is Spanish for Turtle, and the turquoise waters surrounding the islands are the haunt of an abundance of sea turtles. Many water birds can also be seen there.


Egypt (non-Sinai) Visit: 1985-2
2016-01-18 - I visited Egypt in February of 2085 as part of a two week tour with the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. I was the only non-Methodist in a group of pastors who were gaining college credit for the tour with lectures in Jordan, Israel, and Egypt. We flew from the United States to Amman, Jordan via KLM Airways. Travel from Amman to Jerusalem and then from Jerusalem to Cairo was by charter tour bus. From Jerusalem we passed through the Gaza Strip, the Sinai, and across the Suez Canal. I am not sure such a trip by bus would be possible by bus today, but then all three countries seemed to allow charter busses of pilgrims to make the journey. Apparently, all the countries benefited from the revenue the trip generated. At that time there was no public bus transportation allowed between Jordan, Israel and Egypt. We spent the final three days of the trip in Cairo, staying at the Holiday Inn near the great pyramids of Giza. I have more photos to post if I ever get time to transfer them from color slides to a digital format.


El Salvador Visit: 2008-4
2015-03-10 - In April of 2008 I took a ten day solo trip through Central, America via Tika Bus. On both the southbound and northbound legs of the trip, I stopped for the night in San Salvador, El Salvador, spending two nights and parts of four days while staying at Hotel Meson de Maria, next door to the Tika bus station. During the days, I was able to explore much of this colorful, bustling city by walking and taking taxis. People were very friendly and helpful to an old gringo who speaks only limited Spanish. The entire trip, through four countries, was a fascinating adventure.


England Visit: 2002-4
2016-01-19 - In April, 2002, my new bride, Karen, and I flew from Cincinnati, Ohio to London, England, to embark on a two week honeymoon around Great Britain. We chose to rent a car and in a way I was amazed that the rental agency didn\'t even ask me if I knew how to drive on the left side of the street. Actually, my only experience in doing so before had been in Trinidad and Tobago several years earlier. We drove first to Cambridge, where we visited my cousin, Alan Wheeler, who was a student at Cambridge University at the time. It was a great place to sleep off our jet lag, and then have a \"local\" show us around for a couple of days. A highlight was punting on the Cam. I never knew until then that Cambridge was named for the bridge which crosses the Cam River there. We chose not to make advance reservations for lodging, and were fortunate to be able to find reasonable rooms wherever we went. We had overnight visits to York and Bath, especially enjoying the historical sites in those cities. We then ventured north into Scotland, then on to Wales where we stayed in a medieval castle, but I will say more about those on the appropriate pages. A side trip to Stonehenge was a must see on our bucket list. Then It was back to London to take in the sights of that City we had missed earlier. It happened to be the same time as the queen mum\'s funeral, and also the London Marathon, so London was crowded with visitors. Of the many sights we saw (Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and much more), I was especially determined to see the Tower of London. As fate would have it, we found ourselves standing on a corner across from the Tower, and the street was blocked by the Marathon which was in progress. We watched for an opening between the runners for several minutes, then finally made our dash across the closed street. As we did, a policeman yelled at us to go back, saying \"These people have waiting all year for this race, you\'ll have to come back tomorrow.\" I grabbed my wife\'s hand and kept running while I yelled back, \"I\'ve waited 54 years to see the Tower of London, and today is my only chance.\" I don\'t know what the onlookers thought of us rude Americans, but we loved our visit to their awesome city.


Florida Visit: 2015-4
2016-01-31 -


Gaza Strip Visit: 1985-4
2016-01-26 - In the early spring of 1985 I entered and crossed the Gaza Strip by bus. The adventure began when I signed up for a two week Holy Land pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel, and Jordan. The first leg of the trip was by air from Atlanta, Georgia to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and from their aboard KLM Airlines onward to Aaman, Jordan. After spending the night in Amman, our group of about 40 boarded a tour bus to Jerusalem, Israel. Jordan and Israel were technically at war with each other at the time, and there was no public transportation of any kind available between the two nations. However, the two countries had agreed to allow tour groups of religious pilgrims to cross the border, after being thoroughly searched and questioned on each side of the border. I suppose this was because both countries benefited from Our tourist dollars. After several days in Jerusalem, it was time to travel onward to Cairo, Egypt. The most shortest and most direct route was right through the middle of the Gaza Strip, which was also at war with Israel - even more so than Jordan. As we approached the heavily guarded Gaza border, our tour guide, took on a somber expression and instructed us that while traveling through Jordan we would not stop or get off of the bus for any reason. He strongly cautioned us against doing anything to pay attention to ourselves and told us to be careful to not make any gestures in any way that could be seen through the windows. To do so he said could cause the Palestinians to stop and attack the bus. Because of his very serious demeanor in giving these instructions, all on board complied. I did risk taking a couple of discrete photos out the bus window as we passed by along the Mediterranean coast. If I every get around to converting those color slides into digital form, I will post them on this page. Yes, I count that as a visit to the Gaza Strip. Of course I would have preferred to have gotten off the bus and explored the place and met the people. Still, I was definitely there. During other portions of the same trip, our group travel a great deal in other parts of Palestine, going into the Golan Heights all the way up to the border with Lebanon and Syria, and also visiting several other points in Palestine such as Jerico, and Bethlehem, where I met and chatted with the Christian mayor of that city.


Georgia, State Visit: 2016-1
2016-01-16 - Georgia is the largest state of the United States, in land area, east of the Mississippi River. It is subdivided into 159 counties, which is more than any other state except Texas. Geographically it has much to offer, from the sea islands along the Atlantic Coast to Appalachian mountain peaks which rival those in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Springer Mountain, Georgia, is the southern terminus of the famed Appalachian Trail, the world\\\\\\\'s longest marked footpath, which finds its northern terminus at Mt. Kathadin, Maine, more than 2,000 miles to the north. People in Georgia often refer to the two Georgias. One is Metropolitan Atlanta, and the other is the rest of the state. Atlanta, a world class metropolis, boasts the busiest airport in the world and is the home of Coca Cola, CNN Television, and numerous other international corporations. The other Georgia has impressive smaller cities such as Columbus, Macon, Savannah, and Augusta, home of the famous Masters Golf Tournament. I lived in Augusta for 15 years, from 1777-1992 and fell in love with the state. My favorite places are the small towns and back roads with delightful surprises at almost every turn, including battlefields from the War Between the States, and the Okefenokee Swamp, the largest blackwater swamp in North America and one of the five largest swamps in the world. Atlanta is a vastly different world than the rest of the state, which I call the real Georgia.

Guangdong Visit: -


Guatemala Visit: 2008-4
2008-05-29 - Guatemala, with more than 12 million inhabitants, has the largest population of any country in Central America . It covers a land area approximately equal to the state of Tennessee , bordering Mexico and Belize to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. More so than most Latin American countries, Guatemala has a large indigenous population, many of the people tracing their ancestry to Mayan and other native American ancestors. The colorful dress and fascinating cultures of the native Guatemalans makes this an especially exotic destination for the foreign visitor.

I spent eight days in Guatemala in April, 2008, traveling to Guatemala City on Delta Airlines from Cincinnati, Ohio, with a stop in Atlanta, Georgia. I stayed two days in Guatemala City and six in Antigua . From those cities I took several day trips to other parts of the country. Highlights of the trip included climbing Pacaya Volcano, one of three active volcanoes in the country, visiting Guatemala 's largest native market in Chichicastenango, and seeing the very picturesque Lake Atitlan at Panajachel.

From Guatemala I traveled by southward by bus to El Salvador, across Honduras, to Nicaragua, and return.




Haiti Visit: 2004-3
2016-02-11 - Following is my syndicated newspaper, written following the second of three visits I have made to Haiti:……………………………. THE POOR OF HAITI ARE RICH IN FAITH ………… PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI: It was Saturday morning in Haiti and the streets of Port-au-Prince were crowded. I found it to be a colorful, clamoring place, and utterly fascinating. An independent nation since 1804, Haiti is the oldest Negro republic in the world. Poor, superstitious, and violent, it is a virtual Africa of the West Indies. At our doorstep, Haiti is much closer to America than some states are from one another. I had read and heard enough about this Caribbean land that I was prepared for most of the sights we saw. When Columbus discovered the mountainous island of Hispaniola in 1492, he called it the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen. Five centuries later it still maintains an incredible beauty, amidst an astonishing poverty. With an annual per capita income of only $260, the Hatian people are the poorest in the western Hemisphere. A crowded land, Haiti has approximately the same population as the state of Georgia, about six million, but less than one fifth the land area. And two thirds of the land of Haiti is too rugged for human habitation. The most frightening tales to come out of Haiti concern witchcraft and voodoo, with allusions to demon possession and human sacrifice. Just the night before we had heard the rhythmic voodoo drums with their satanic bet coming from the mountain behind the mission compound where we stayed. Now, with a missionary guide, we wound our way through the city streets. Our destination was the Rue du Centre Church of God. Every Saturday morning is a time for fasting and prayer at this 6,000 plus member church, the largest Protestant congregation in the republic. Of all the sights and sounds of Haiti, that which I was about to experience would catch me most by surprise – wonderfully so. Before we saw the church I heard it. More than a block away, the streets were filled with the sound of singing. I could not understand the Creole language, but the tune was unmistakable: Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great Thou Art. It is a song that is a favorite in many lands. The church building was a simple, yet imposing structure. The six double doorways leading into the sanctuary were open and hundreds of people stood in them, spilling out on the street, unable to get inside. Even those outside the building were lifting their hands toward heaven, worshiping and praising their God. I was led through a side entrance onto the platform from which I could see 3,500 radiant smiling faces. People stood around the sides, sat in the aisles, and literally hung from the balcony railing. Tomorrow morning this churh would hold its first service at 5:30 a.m. in order to accommodate the larger Sunday attendance. It was both an honor and a humbling experience to be able to address such a congregation. In the United States we sometimes have prayer breakfasts and are able to get a few people to attend. But this scene is an every Saturday occurrence in Port-au-Prince, a morning of fasting and prayer. I had to preach through an interpreter. But first I gave a greeting in French – a tradition in many Hatian chuches: Benis soil L’eternal, (Blessed be the Eternal One). Benis sois L’eternal! Th congregation shouted back in in unison, hands and voices lifted in praise. I could not stop the tears as the words of James 2:5 pounded through my mind: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs to the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? Surely this congregation ministered to me more than I did to them. Perhaps the day will come that Haiti will be sending missionaries to America.


Hawaiian Islands (including NW Islands) Visit: 2008-12
2016-01-19 -


Hesse Visit: 1988-11
2016-02-11 - My only trip to Hesse (so far) was a long layover at the Frankfurt airport while changing planes, traveling from Helsinki, Finland, back to the Atlanta airport in the United States. It was the last leg of a two week trip to the old Soviet Union. I was frustrated to be in Frankfurt for three hours but not to be able to see anything except the airport and the area right around it. I walked almost nonstop during that time to see as much as possible. This is one of only a couple of places on my MTP list in which I only saw the airport and environs.


Honduras (mainland) Visit: 2008-4
2016-01-19 - in April, 2008, I took a solo bus trip through Central America, beginning in Guatemala and traveling south through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and return. I spent from two to seven nights each in all of the countries except Honduras, which I traveled through on the Pan American Highway twice, going north and south. Tica Bus, which I rode on the main segment of the trip, made only a single stop in Honduras, and that was at a convenience store/gas station, to refuel the bus and give the passengers a rest stop. This was my second time to be in Honduras since I had previously visited the Bay Islands of the Caribbean coast. It was good to at least get a small glimpse of the mainland.


Idaho Visit: 2013-7
2016-01-25 - For shear scenic beauty the state of Idaho is second to none in the United states. Here you will find majestic mountains, bountiful farmlands, verdant forests, majestic waterfalls, amazing lava fields, giant sand dunes, and much more. I first visited the state in 1964, at the age of 19, on a summer long trip to the Rocky Mountain northwest from my home in Tennessee. I have been privileged to return to Idaho a half dozen times or more since then, and have spent time in each of Idaho\'s 44 counties. Most of those trips were solo. My latest visit to Idaho holds a special place in my memories. It was in July, 2013, when I took my bride, Karen. We took a long road trip from Cincinnati, Ohio to Yellowstone National Park. After spending three days in Yellowstone, we ventured westward into Idaho, which was the culmination of Karen\'s goal to visit each of the 50 United States.


Illinois Visit: 2007-10
2008-06-26 - My first memory of visiting Illinois was on a trip with my dad and brothers to Chicago when I was about 12 years old. We stayed in a downtown hotel on one of the highest floors. It was absolutely thrilling - my first experience in a really big city. I've returned to Illinois many times and have discovered that there is much more to Illinois than just Chicago. It is a large and diverse state with many historic sights, fertile farms, and hundreds of interesting places to discover in its 102 counties. As of this writing I have been to all but one of those counties, and have plans to visit there within the next few months.




Indiana Visit: 2007-10
2008-02-09 - Indiana, which bills itself as the crossroads of America, is mostly flat and checkered with farmland. Scattered across the state are several scenic spots and many historic sites worth visiting. My favorites include the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan, the wooded hills of Brown County State Park in the southern part of the state, and the 30 covered bridges of Parke County in east central Indiana. Indianapolis, in the center of the state, is the only city in any American state which was designed and built especially to be a state capital.

I first visited Indiana as a teenager and have been in and through the state since then more times than I can count. On October 14, 2003, I visited Kosciuko County in the north central part of the state - completing my travels to each of Indiana's 92 counties.




Iowa Visit: 2012-6
2016-01-28 -


Islas de la Bahia Visit: 2006-4
2016-01-21 - My wife and I celebrated a wedding anniversary by taking a cruise which stopped for a day at Roatan, in the Islas de la Bahia, or Bay Islands of Honduras. Several weeks before before embarking on our cruise we did an internet search and found a young native couple living on Roatan who offered guided tours. It turned out to be a great choice for us. They met us at the dock and took us on a day long cruise which showed us far more than the shore excursions offered by the cruise lines, for less money, and with a very personable guide who turned out to have formerly worked on a cruise ship. We circled the island, making several stops at various points of interest. At one point we left the car and took a small boat along the shore and into a couple of beautiful coves, and then through a mangrove forest. At our request, our guide took us to a native restaurant on the far side of the island, one that is not normally frequented by people on cruises. There we enjoyed an exceptionally fine meal of fried fish and plantains with a beautiful waterfront view. I got a kick out of the fact that when I asked where the restroom was, I was told to dip a bucket of water from the rain barrel and take it with me to use to wash my hands and flush the toilet after I had finished. It was a wonderful visit to a beautiful island with very friendly local people - special trip to remember always.


Jordan Visit: 1985-4
2016-01-26 - tHE FOLLOWING IS FROM MY NEWSPAPER COLUMN, FOLLOWING MY VISIT TO THE MIDDLE EAST IN THE EARLY SPRING OF 1985 - - - AMMAN, JORDAN: Arriving alone in Amman, Jordan in the spring of 1985 presented no problems. An immigration officer at the airport matter-of-factly gave me a 30-day visa. Two days earlier in Istanbul (see previous post,) I had been separated from the tour group with which I was traveling to the Holy Land. My problem had been compounded by the fact that I was the only non-Methodist in a group comprised of Methodist ministers. I later learned that concluded I had used their group to get to Turkey, and that our unscheduled stop in that country had been part of some clandestine plan. They had gone ahead without me, giving it little more thought. When I arrived in Jordan, they had already left that country by bus and were somewhere in Israel. It was evening when I landed in Amman. I checked into a hotel, expecting to buy a ticket the next morning for the two hour bus trip to Jerusalem. That morning a travel agent near the hotel gave me the distressing news. Israel and Jordan were officially at war with each other, and have been since the six day war of 1967. There is absolutely no public transportation between the two countries. “A tour group is different,” the agent explained. “Both Jordan and Israel need the tourist dollars, so they have an agreement to allow foreign pilgrims to cross the border with a special visa. There is no way a person can make the journey alone.” Back at my hotel I began calling in search of a tour group. Eureka! There was a bus load of Christian pilgrims eating a late breakfast at a hotel across the city. In less than an hour they were leaving for Israel. I ran to catch a taxi. Arriving at the hotel restaurant which was full of Americans, I asked for the tour leader. To my delight he turned out to be Kash Amburgy, a Pentecostal preacher from Lebanon, Ohio. When I introduced myself he said he was an old acquaintance of my father. Sitting in the back of the bus, traveling toward the Israeli border, I felt great. “God is so good,” I thought. I had an unexpected adventure in Istanbul, and now I’m safely on my way to Jerusalem.” As we neared the border it was obvious we were in a war zone. There were soldiers, tanks, and bunkers at frequent intervals. About 100 years short of where the Allenby Bridge crosses the Jordan River into Israel, the bus came to a halt. Twenty soldiers armed with submachine guns surrounded us. Mr. Amburgy assured our group that this was just a routine stop. One soldier boarded the bus and walked down the aisle checking passports. When he looked at mine his stoical expression suddenly changed. “You don’t belong on this bus,” he growled. “Come with me.” A young couple with whom I had been talking became frantic. “Quick,” they insisted. “Give us your home telephone number. We’ll call your family and tell them where you are. I tossed them my card as the soldier yanked me off the bus. The 20 soldiers outside gathered around me, much as those had done a couple of days earlier at the airport in Istanbul, except these seemed even more excited. Across the river Israeli artillery was pointed toward the Jordanians through bunkers and barbed wire. I prayed beneath my breath, “Lord, please get me over to that side of the river.” From the stamp in my passport It was evident to the soldiers I had entered Jordan alone, from Turkey, and was not part of this group from Ohio. Under the hot desert sun they seemed to argue endlessly among themselves concerning how to handle the matter. All of a sudden Mr. Amburgy, with holy boldness, cam e storming off the bus. With a red face and a loud commanding voice he waded into the circle of soldiers. “This boy’s with me; I know his daddy. He comes from a very important family back in America. Now you let him go! To my utter amazement the officer who seemed to be in charge gave a disgusted grunt and motioned us both back onto the bus. We rolled over the Allenby Bridge, across the muddy Jordan, and into the Promised Land.


Kansas Visit: 2007-10
2008-02-03 - As a lover of wide open spaces, Kansas is one of my favorite states. The first time I remember being in Kansas was in the Summer of 1965, when I was twenty. I was on a road trip with a couple of college buddies, en route from Prosser, Washington, to Cleveland, Tennessee. I have taken about a dozen road trips across Kansas since then, each time by a different route. On October 18, 2007, I entered Baxter Springs in Cherokee County, Kansas, thus completing my quest to visit each of the 105 counties in the Sunflower State.

Kansas is one of those states which is often under-rated and over-looked by tourists. Many road trippers race across the 411 mile expanse of the state on Interstate 70, seeing little except the view from their car window at 75 mph. No wonder they say Kansas is boring. Those who take time to poke along the back roads with a curious mind will find scenic beauty, history and enchantment beckoning in the places they least expect it.




Kentucky Visit: 2008-1
2008-02-04 - My first memory of visiting Kentucky was on a trip with my dad and two of my brothers, when I was 10 or 11 years old. We crossed the state from south to north via US-27, a long winding road which ultimately led us to Cincinnati, Ohio. I have been privileged to travel to every part of this fascinating state since then on more occasions than I can count. Kentucky is divided into 120 counties - more than a few of which are well off the beaten path, accessible only by narrow, twisting backroads. I completed my quest of visiting every county in Kentucky on August 2, 2002, in Elliott County, nestled in the commonwealth\'s verdent eastern mountains. I am also pleased to say that Kentucky\'s governor has given me the high honor of naming me a \"Kentucky Colonel.\"


Louisiana Visit: 2008-3
2016-02-04 -


Maine Visit: 2007-7
2008-02-04 - In June, 1995, at the age of 50, Maine became my 50th and final state to visit in the United States of America. I stopped the car a few yards short of border with New Hampshire and ceremoniously walked across the state line as my son, Jeromy, took my picture to record the event. We were on US-2, near the town of Bethel, Maine. That very afternoon I determined now that I had visited every state, I would begin collecting counties. My goal is to visit each of the 3,141 counties or county equivilents in the United States at least once in my lifetime. I have been back to Maine twice since that first trip, entering Franklin County, my 16th and final county of Maine on July 18, 2007.


Manitoba Visit: 2011-8
2016-01-18 -


Maryland Visit: 2012-4
2016-01-19 -


Massachusetts Visit: 2007-7
2015-03-09 -


Michigan Visit: 2005-7
2008-02-09 - Michigan, which hugs the shores of three of the five Great Lakes, is one of our favorite camping destinations. Over the past several years Karen and I have camped in Michigan on the shores of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This is the fabled land of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow\'s Gitchie Gummi - by the shining big sea waters. It\'s is a great place to escape the hot muggy weather we usually have in Ohio during the dog days of summer. Our favorite part of the state is the wild, rugged and very scenic Upper Peninsula, which is a world apart from the city of Detroit, Michigan\'s largest city.




Minnesota Visit: 2007-5
2008-02-09 - The Scandinavian heritage of many of Minnesota's earliest European settlers is evident throughout much of this state, known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." The twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are urban and cosmopolitan; however, there are still plenty of wild empty places in this northernmost state in the continental United States. I first visited Minnesota at the age of 19, with a group of other college students. Karen and I have taken road trips around most of Minnesota. Our most recent trip to the state was a memorable weekend getaway in the Twin Cities in May, 2007, which we tagged on to a business trip Karen made to Minneapolis.


Mississippi Visit: 2008-1
2016-01-20 - When I was just a kid, traveling with my dad and brothers, I clearly remember stopping at a motel in Meridian, Mississippi. We were en route from Cleveland, Tennessee, to Roswell, New Mexico. That Mississippi stop stands out in my memory because there we were amazed to bump into good friends of ours, the Vep Ellis family, who lived near us hundreds of miles away in in East Tennessee. That was the first of countless “small world” encounters I have had during a lifetime of travel. I’ve visited Mississippi numerous times since then and in the process have managed to visit each of the 82 counties in the Magnolia State. Looking through my photos of Mississippi for this post, I noticed that most of those trips to and through Mississippi have been in winter. No doubt that is because the weather here can be very hot and humid in summer and is generally more pleasant in winter, although the state does infrequently experience snow and ice storms. Favorite memories of Mississippi include a hike up Woodall Mountain, the highest point in the state; camping in Desoto National Forest; exploring Vicksburg National Battlefield and several other sites from the War Between the States; swinging on the porch of the house where Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo; fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, from a pier in Gulfport; enjoying a leisurely three day drive with Karen up the beautiful and historic Natchez Trace Parkway, and much more.


Missouri Visit: 2007-10
2008-02-03 - I was born in the small community of Leadwood, Missouri, about sixty miles south of St. Louis. However, my family moved from there to Tennessee when I was only three. Over the years I have traveled to and/or through Missouri on numerous occasions, having visited 105 of Missouri's 114 counties. I hope to add the final nine counties to my collection in the summer of 2008.


Montana Visit: 2013-6
2016-02-04 -


Nebraska Visit: 2014-9
2016-02-03 -


Nevada Visit: 2012-9
2016-01-22 - My first time to visit the state of Nevada was in the winter of 1967. I was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the time and volunteered to drive a pickup truck pulling a trailer to Westwood, California to bring back a load of used clothing to be distributed among the Navaho Indians in Gallup, New Mexico. On that trip I entered Nevada after sunset at Hoover Dam, on the Arizona border. Since I did not have money for a motel room, I decided to just drive all night, first through the Las Vegas strip and then northwest toward Reno, where I would exit the state into California. The sun was rising as I reached Walker Lake, Nevada, where I stopped to take pictures. It was many years later before I returned to Nevada. However, I have now been in the state at least a half dozen times now, visiting by plane, train, and automobile. Nevada best known for the glitz, gambling, and sin of Las Vegas and Reno. Although I have visited those cities, I have enjoyed exploring the vast emptiness of the state much more. Especially fascinating are the Great Basin and Death Valley National Parks. On September 1, 2012, along with my wife Karen, I reached a travel milestone at the Carson City line. When I stepped from Douglas County, Nevada, into Carson City it marked my completion of a 17 year quest to visit each of the 3,142 counties, or county equivalents in the United States. I was met at the Carson City line by a newspaper reporter from the Nevada Appeal, and also a representative from the Extra Miler Club, an organization which keeps record of those who visit every county, parish, independent city, Alaskan borough, and unorganized census area in the United States. I became the 34th known person to complete such a fete since the first man, Ed Dietz of Nebraska, did it in 1976.


New Brunswick Visit: 2005-9
2015-03-10 - I visited Campobello Island, New Brunswick, with my wife Karen in September, 2005. We were on a camping trip at Lemoine State Park in Maine, and decided to go to Campobello Island for the day. The Island, which is connected by a bridge from the United States mainland, is surrounded by the Bay of Fundy, with the highest - and lowest - tides in the world. Highlights of our trip included seeing three picturesque lighthouses, the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park, and the beach at Herring Cove Provincial Park. We ended the day with a greasy but very tasty seafood dinner to cap our full day of exploring the island.


New Hampshire Visit: 2007-7
2016-01-26 - In the summer of 1995, my youngest son, Jeremy graduated from High School and I asked him what he wanted as a graduation gift. He replied that he would like to take a trip to Vermont, so we flew to Burlington, VT and rented a car and a condo in Stowe for a week. Every day we took day trips to explore Vermont, and one day we ventured into New Hampshire and Maine, my 49th and 50th states to collect. Since then I have returned to New Hampshire at least three times. and have made it a point to visit each of the ten counties in the state. I have enjoyed exploring the state capitol in Concord, and numerous other small towns, some with quaint covered bridges, old mills, and other points of interest as well as historic sites. Most of all I have enjoyed exploring and hiking in New Hampshire\\\'s White Mountains, and especially the exhilarating drive to the summit of Mount Washington, which at 6,288 ft. is the highest point in the northeastern United States. There my son and I were caught in an unexpected snow squall in July. It turned out to be a great adventure since the snow didn\'t last long.


New Jersey Visit: 2001-6
2016-02-02 -


New Mexico Visit: 2006-12
2008-02-11 - New Mexico is an ancient land, although it was the 47th state to be admitted to the Union. In the dim past, Pueblo, Apache, and Navajo peoples thrived here. Later they were joined by European Anglo and Hispanic settlers, giving the state a unique cultural blend that is unlike anywhere else in America. New Mexico has colorful arid deserts, cool green forested mountains, bustling cities and wide open spaces. Beneath the surface of the land are some of the largest caverns on earth.

My first visit to New Mexico was on an unforgettable road trip to Carlsbad and Roswell when I was ten years old. At the age of 22 I moved to Albuquerque, the state's largest city, and lived there for one year. I've returned to New Mexico on visits at least three times since living there. In late December, 2005, I entered Catron County for the first time, to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. That trip completed my visits to each of New Mexico's 33 counties.




New York Visit: 2011-6
2016-01-31 - My first visit to New York State was in August, 1964, when I was a 19 years old. To get there I had hitched a ride with some friends from my home in Cleveland, Tennessee, to their home in Erie, Pennsylvania. I stayed with them for a week before taking the bus back home. On my last day in Pennsylvania, we took a day trip to Niagara Falls – my first time in both New York and Ontario, Canada. The next visit I made to New York was on foot – literally, hiking solo along the Appalachian Trail. On that particular trip, in the summer of 1975, I had started from the Delaware Water Gap on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border and walked across New Jersey in three days, into New York. That same summer I also visited New York City while doing research on a book I was writing. There have been numerous trips to and through every part of New York. On one of those trips I hiked an icy 15 mile trail which took me to the top of Mt. Marcy, which at an elevation of 5344’ is the highest point in the state. On a more recent trip to New York I walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the famous Brooklyn Bridge, June 6, 2011, thus completing my visits to every one of the 62 counties in the state of. Each of the 5 Boroughs of New York City is a separate county. Brooklyn, which is Kings County, brought my total to 3,066 visited of the 3,142 counties, parishes, independent cities, Alaskan boroughs and census areas in the United States. It would take me another two years to complete entire United States.


Nicaragua Visit: 2008-4
2016-01-22 -


North Carolina Visit: 2015-9
2016-01-20 -


North Dakota Visit: 2011-8
2016-01-29 -


Ohio Visit: 2008-5
2008-05-29 - Ohio was the first state created out of the Northwest Territory, which originally included all of modern-day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and parts of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The word \"Ohio\" comes from the Iroquois Indian term \"O-Y-O,\" which means \"the great river.\" The state is bounded on the south by the Ohio River and on the north by Lake Erie. Having visited each of Ohio\'s 88 counties I must admit that it is not the most exciting state for tourists. However, there are many points of historic and natural interest. My favorites include Hocking Hills (a wonderland of caves, cliffs and waterfalls), the Amish country (World\'s largest Amish community, in and around Holmes County), Lake Erie islands, and the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton.

I traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio on February 7, 2001, on a temporary work assignment. I was single at the time and although I had been in the state many times before I never expected to live there. That all changed when I met Karen, the love of my life. I made my move to Ohio permanent and one year later I made Karen my wife. We spent our first 12 or 13 years together in Ohio, and then, upon retirement from full time employment, we built a new house on the Cumberland Plateau of east Tennessee, where we make our home today.



Oklahoma Visit: 2014-6
2016-02-04 -


Ontario Visit: 2011-8
2016-02-02 - Ontario was the first Canadian province I visited, and that was on a trip to Niagara Falls when I was nineteen. Numerous visits have followed, including a low budget trip by bus from Cincinnati, Ohio to Toronto, where I stayed four days and three nights in a downtown hostel. Twice I have taken road trips across Ontario on the Trans-Canada Highway traveling both east and west. I have also made overnight trips to Windsor and environs on two occasions, where I have visited with friends who live there. Being a lover of the outdoors and wild places, I especially have enjoyed my trips to Northern Ontario, where I have seen moose, black bear, loon, and other wildlife and have also hiked to remote lakes, waterfalls, and other scenic vistas.


Oregon Visit: 2008-10
2016-02-05 -


Panama (mainland) Visit: 2007-1
2008-02-11 - Panama, the southernmost country in Central America, occupies one of the most strategic locations on earth. By land it joins North and South America, and via the Panama Canal it connects the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean.

I visited Panama on March 29, 2007, while on a cruise with my wife, Karen, aboard the MV Zenith, Celebrity Cruise Lines. As is always the case when we have only one day to see a country, we tried to cram in as much into our visit as possible. A day long tour took us completely across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, by bus. We stopped at the Gatun Locks on the Panama Canal and spent some time in Panama City, the capital and largest city of the nation, seeing many historic sites as well as some of the rapidly expanding modern city.




Pennsylvania Visit: 2009-9
2016-02-02 -


Quintana Roo Visit: 2008-1
2008-02-09 - Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan Peninsula, is Mexico's newest state. It was made a territory of Mexico in 1924 and did not gain statehood until 1974. Quintana Roo borders the states of Yucatan and Campeche to the north and west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the nation of Belize to the south. Until recent decades, the area was sparcely populated and poorly developed. Today it is growing rapidly and has become a major tourist destination, boasting pristine beaches, clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and a large collection of Mayan ruins.

My first trip to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo was a week-long vacation in Cancun around 1988, flying there from Augusta, Georgia. I have been back to Quintana Roo three times by cruise ship, twice to Isla Cozumel and once to the new dock at Costa Maya.




Rhode Island Visit: 2007-7
2008-02-11 - It is well known that Rhode Island, the Ocean State, is smallest of all the fifty states in the USA. Less known is the fact that it also has the longest official name: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

I first visited Rhode Island when I spent a week in Cumberland, a suburb or Providence, in May, 1977. I have been back in Rhode Island twice since then. On my most recent trip, in July, 2007, I visited Newport and Bristol, thus completing my collection of each of the five counties of Rhode Island.




Russia (other Russia in Europe) Visit: 1988-11
2008-02-08 - I was very fortunate to travel to Russia in November, 1988. This was in the days of Glasnost and Perestroika, before the fall of communism, and Moscow was still capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. At the time I was a syndicated newspaper columnist and was invited to travel to Russia and the Ukraine with an international group of journalists on a trip sponsored by the World Media Association. Our stops were in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Moscow and Kiev. We were one of the earlier groups of outside journalists allowed into the old Soviet Union. My assignment was to write a first hand account of religion as, and if, I discovered in in the USSR. One day I hope to return to Russia and witness all of the changes that have taken place since I was there.




Scotland Visit: 2001-4
2008-02-09 - Karen and I celebrated our honeymoon with a ten day road trip around the United Kingdom, which included three days in Scotland. We flew with U.S. Airways from Cincinnati, Ohio, to London, England, and there rented a car. Our trip took us into parts of England Scotland and Wales. By the time I became comfortable driving on the left side of the highway it was time to our trip to end. We did not see nearly enough of this enchanted land and hope we will one day be able to return.


Sinai Peninsula Visit: 1985-4
2016-01-26 - In the early spring of 1985, I spent two weeks exploring the Holy Land with a study tour led by the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. We began with a couple of days in Jordan, spent about a week in Israel, and then traveled on for a few days in Egypt. The Journey from Jerusalem to Egypt was on a tour bus, through the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. At that time there was no travel allowed between Israel and Egypt except for organized tour groups. Our drive through the Sinai was uneventful and there was little to see except desert scenery, a few Bedouins, and glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea, sometimes fringed with date palms. I could not help but think Moses and the children of Israel traveling through this stark landscape so long ago. We made only a single stop in the Sinai, probably around Arish. It was a desperately needed stop since I seemed to be coming down with a case of traveler\'s diarrhea. In my urgent condition, I happened to be the last one in line to use the facilities, and was almost left behind by the bus which I saw pulling out as I left the men\'s room. I had to run, waving my arms and yelling until they stopped and let me on board. Crossing over the Suez Canal was very interesting. We were not allowed off the bus at the canal, although we endured a long stop while great ships and freighters passed through. From our vantage point we could not see the water in the canal and the ships seemed to be gliding on the desert sand which, with the intense sun, created a mirage on the desert.


Sonora Visit: 2004-12
2016-02-08 - My only visit to Sonora, Mexico (so far) was a day trip into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico From Nogales, Arizona, U.S.A. in December of 2004. I was with my wife Karen, mother-in-law and step-daughter, Jennifer, during the Christmas holidays. Crossing the border from Nogales, Arizona, to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was a cinch. Although we passed through a revolving gate, there was no one there to check us in. We weren\\\'t asked for passports or any type of identification whatsoever - we just walked in. However, it is my understanding that there is a border station a short distance outside of town for those who venture further into the interior. No visa is required for visits of 72 hours or less. You may drive your vehicle into Mexico, but insurance is required and most American policies don\\\'t cover you there. Insurance offices are near the border for those who need to get it. For most people visiting Nogales from the USA, it is easier and more practical to park in one of the lots near the American side of the border and walk across. Many Americans cross over the border to buy their medications because they are cheaper in Mexico. You won\\\'t have to look hard to find a pharmacy; there are dozens of them - everywhere you look in Nogales. As we were walking down the main shopping street in town we were actually accosted several times by people inviting us into their pharmacy. Not only are prices cheaper here, but some drugs which require a prescription in the United States, such as antibiotics, can be obtained without a prescription in Mexico. This is all perfectly legal, but there are some restrictions. I would strongly advise anyone planning to take drugs of any kind back over the border to be aware of both American and Mexican laws concerning them beforehand. As far as illegal drugs go, Both the U.S.A. and Mexico have no tolerance at all. This is no place to test the law; don\\\'t even think about it. You will see a few places in Nogales where you can change your Dollars for Pesos, but unless you are going further into the interior of Mexico I would advise you not to bother. The shops and restaurants in Nogales all take American money. In fact, they seem to prefer it. Virtually everywhere we looked prices were posted in dollars instead of pesos. We had lunch at the El Greco Restaurant which, according to my mother-in-law o was living in Tucson at the time, is one of the finer restaurants in Nogales. It is on the second story above several shops, and in one of them we were offered a coupon for a free margarita with our lunch at El Greco, so we accepted the offer. The dining room is tastefully decorated with linen tablecloths and big windows overlooking the street. There was an organist - a very good one too - who provided live music of both American and Mexican oldies which added much to the ambience. The servers were all men in white shirts and ties and the service was excellent. During our lunch we were solicited three times: by a man who wanted to take our photo, another who wanted to draw our caricature and a mariachi with a guitar who wanted to sing us a song. We opted for the singer, and he did a fine job. The Margaritas were not huge, but larger than we expected for free. The alcohol content seemed a little low, which was fine with me since I never did like the taste of the stuff. I had the \\\"Lunch Special,\\\" a Mexican combination platter. It was good, but neither as good nor as generous a serving as is the Mexican platter at El Rancho Grande - where we lived at the time in Ohio. And the price of $7.75 US was more than our amigos in Ohio charge for lunch. But then in Ohio they don\\\'t have linen tablecloths. One of the primary reasons Americans come to Nogales is to shop, and one of the most colorful places to pick up a bargain is from the scores of street vendors who set up along the two blocks of Pasaje Morelos. This is a repainted alleyway which has been converted into an open-air pedestrian shopping strip. Even if you are \\\"just looking\\\", you will find Pasaje Moreles an interesting walk, although you may also find it to be a bit crowded. There are also many finer shops throughout the city for those who are seeking something a little nicer. On at least half a dozen street corners in Nogales we saw entrepreneurs set up with burros or donkeys and colorful props and backdrops, soliciting tourists to have their picture taken. Sure, it\\\'s touristy, but why not just do it? We were asked $5.00 to take this picture of Karen on a burro, but the man readily accepted $2.00 when I made the counter-offer. He helped Karen mount and eagerly outfitted her with a sombrero, a tequila bottle, and a colorful shawl. It was a fun thing to do, we made a happy memory, and our amigo made a couple of dollars - a good deal all the way around.


South Carolina Visit: 2007-9
2008-02-20 - South Carolina is one of the smaller southern states but one of the most historic, having played a vital role in both the American Revolution and the War Between the States. It is a surprisingly diverse state, naturally divided into three major geographic regions - the Low Country along the Atlantic coast, the Piedmont of the midlands, and the Appalachian Mountains in the northwestern reaches of the state. Each of these regions has its own major city: Charleston on the coast, Columbia in the center of the state, and Greenville in the mountains.

I have been in South Carolina far more times than I can count, and I have lived there twice, in North Augusta. Each time I was there only a year, in 1973-1974 and again in 1977-1978. On June 15, 2006 I completed my quest to visit each of South Carolina's 46 counties when I entered Lancaster County, in the north central part of the state.




South Dakota Visit: 2009-9
2016-01-30 - South Dakota has always held a very special place in my heart. Maybe it is because I spent several weeks traveling about that state on a three month solo trip to the western United States when I was twenty. It was my first time to be on an extended trip on my own. I have returned to the state numerous times since then and have always found new and exciting places to explore. Most of South Dakota\'s major tourist destinations can be found in the Black Hills, in the southwestern corner of the state. Well known attractions include the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Jewell Cave, Wind Cave, and the amazing Custer State Park, with abundant wildlife, including the largest free roaming bison herd in the world. The wide open spaces and small rural towns which cover most of the state also hold many fascinating spots which reveal their presence, and their secrets, only to those who slow down and take the time to explore this beautiful state, which just happens to contain the center point for the United States of America. In September of 2009, I had time to take a two week vacation but my wife only had one week off. No problem; I took a leisurely drive from our home which was then in Ohio, to Rapid City, South Dakota, where I picked my wife up at the airport. Karen and I enjoyed a wonderful week exploring the Black Hills area, then she flew back home alone. I took another zigzag route back home, collecting new counties along the way. It was on that trip that I completed my visits to each of South Dakota\'s 66 counties.


St. Kitts Visit: 2005-10
2008-02-15 - If you want to experience the Caribbean the way it used to be, without all the touristy crowds and clutter, then come to St. Kitts. But you had better hurry. This "undiscovered" island jewel has just begun to be promoted as a tourist destination and the hoards can't be far behind.

I first visited St. Kitts in October, 2005. I was on the first cruise ship of the season to land at the new dock at Basseterre , the capital city. Although I had already visited more than two dozen different Caribbean islands before coming to St. Kitts, it became one of my favorites upon first sight. The colonial style houses of Basseterre give it the look of a picture-perfect West Indian port. A necklace of small villages hugs the coastline. These are surrounded by green pastures and fields of sugar cane. The center of the island is dominated by dormant volcanic peaks which rise into the clouds. Shaped like a cricket bat, St. Kitts is five miles across at the widest point and 23 miles long, with a total area of 65 square miles. The population is about 40,700, with about 10,000 more people living on the nearby island of Nevis . This makes the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis the smallest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere .




Tamaulipas Visit: 2005-2
2008-02-09 - While on a vacation at South Padre Island, Texas, in March, 2003, Karen and I took two day trips into Tamaulipas, Mexico, visiting the border cities of Matamoros and Nuevo Progresso. About two years later, while on a solo road trip across south Texas I took a detour and spent the day in Nuevo Laredo. All three of these border towns are interesting and well worth a visit. Matamoros was the least touristy of the three and offered the most authentic Mexican experience.


Tennessee Visit: 2007-11
2008-01-30 - I grew up in Cleveland, Tennessee, after moving there with my family at the age of three. When I was twenty-one, I moved away for the first time, but have returned to Tennessee on many occasions either to visit or to live for a few years. In addition to Cleveland, I have made my home in the Tennessee communities of Dayton, Chattanooga, Cosby, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. I have also traveled extensively throughout Tennessee, visiting each of the state\\\'s 95 counties - most of them many times over. After living in a dozen different states throughout the United States I returned to Tennessee to make my permanent home on the Cumberland Plateau, near Fall Creek Falls State Park.

Tennessee is a very long state which offers great variety, stretching from the Great Smoky Mountains in the east to the Mississippi River on the state\\\'s western border. The extreme northeastern portion of the state is actually nearer to Ontario, Canada than it is to Memphis, in Tennessee\\\'s southwestern corner. Tennessee\\\'s border is joined by eight other states, a distinction unequaled by any other state except Missouri, which happens to be the place of my birth.




Texas Visit: 2009-9
2016-02-08 -


Turkish Thrace (Turkey in Europe) Visit: 1985-4
2016-01-26 - - - - ISTANBUL, TURKEY: I was en-route to the Holy Land, in early spring, 1985, flying from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Amman Jordan, on a KLM Airlines 747. The captain’s voice came over the speaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to make an unscheduled stop in Istanbul, Turkey. We’ll be on the ground for about one hour.” No explanation was give as to the purpose of the stop. What great luck, I thought. That’s just long enough to say that I’ve been to Istanbul, ancient Constantinople. Viewing the exotic Moslem city from the air made my pulse quicken. The skyline, with its numerous domed mosques looked like something out of a Rudyard Kipling novel. In the outlying fields shepherds herded their flocks. The airport was heavily guarded. Armed soldiers stood on elevated platforms above the high fence which surrounded the runway. In my excitement I didn’t hear the announcement that all passengers were to remain on board. I’ll never know why I wasn’t stop as I walked off the plane. The best souvenir I could imagine was not a trinket from an airport gift shop, but a stamp in my passport. Without any luggage, I walked through customs unhindered. At the immigration desk I presented my passport for the coveted stamp, and received it without a hitch. Walking outside the airport, I took a deep breath and smiled to myself. “So this is the legendary Turkish capital.” I walked around the front of the airport to see as much as I could. Forty minutes of the allotted one hour passed. Just to be safe, I decided to re-board the plane. That’s when two armed guards stopped me at the airport entrance. “Ticket,” they demanded. That seemed to be about the only word they knew in English. The other word was “No!” which they repeated with increasing vehemence as I tried vainly to explain to them my situation. When I made an effort to enter the airport above their protest, they pressed the barrels of their submachine guns into my stomach. I’ve never seen anyone prouder than these two young Turks as they marched me off to the police sub-station in the airport. I was taken into a bare room where one stood guard over me while the other went for assistance. Soon I was surrounded by a dozen angry looking dark-faced men in uniform. One of them spoke English. He demanded my passport. With exaggerated motions he crossed out my immigration stamp, scribbling something beside it in Turkish. I glanced out the window just in time to see my flight taxiing onto the runway. My heart sank; the blood drained from my white face. I was informed I had entered the country illegally. My ticket was from Atlanta to Amsterdam and from there to Amman. I didn’t have passage into our out of Turkey. The officer gravely shook his head, “This is very serious.” For more than an hour I stood in the middle of the room, praying silently while the police argued among themselves in excited tones as to what to do with me. Through the interpreter I laboriously explained again and again how I had arrived in their country. Finally they must have decided I wasn’t subversive – just stupid. The English-speaking officer turned to be with a wide grin which showed a missing front tooth. Returning my passport he said in a pronounced accent. “Velcome to Istanbul. You may go now.” The first flight I was able to book to Amman was 26 hours later via Royal Jordanian Airlines. They were very kind to offer me free passage. Twenty-six hours gave me the opportunity for a fascinating day of exploration. A taxi took me to a hotel near the Bosporus Bridge, which connects Europe with Asia. The next morning, while visiting the famed Blue Mosque, I met a local young man who was eager to practice his English. I accepted his invitation to have afternoon tea with his family. He treated me as an honored guest and proudly showed me off to his friends and neighbors. It was an experience I would not have wanted to have missed. Little did I know that in only 48 hours, on a lonely Jordanian road, near the place where Moses looked over into the Promised Land, I would be arrested again.


United Nations Headquarters (New York) Visit: 2011-6
2016-01-14 - I visited the United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY, on June 16, 2011. It was a beautiful sunny day when I drove into the city by way of Staten Island after spending the previous night in New Jersey. Parking at the Staten Island Ferry, I rode across New York Harbor to Manhattan, enjoying the excellent views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. First item on my agenda that day was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a long time goal. With some difficulty I found the entrance to the bridge, after having been given poor directions by at least six different people, including two policemen. When I finally crossed the Brooklyn Bridge it was an exhilarating experience because it marked my entrance into not only my 62nd and last county to visit in New York State, but also my final county to collect east of the Rocky Mountains. This was all part of a 17 year quest to visit each of the 3,142 counties, or county equivalents, in the United States, a quest which I completed in September, 2012. After walking about Brooklyn for a couple of hours and enjoying lunch there, I then walked back into Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge. From there I headed north toward the United Nations Headquarters. Unfortunately, I was not wearing proper walking shoes, and had underestimated the distance. With my feet getting sore and my energy dwindling, I caught a cab for the last couple of miles to the United Nations Headquarters. I explored all of the public areas of the U.N. complex, then got myself a cold soft drink, found a place to sit for a spell and watched the interesting parade of people of all nationalities who were entering and exiting the building. Satisfied that I had seen all that a person who has no real business there could see, I caught a bus back to the Staten Island Ferry and headed home.


Utah Visit: 2013-9
2016-01-20 - If I had to choose one state in the United States that has more scenic splendor than all others, It would probably be Utah. It is an amazing state, filled with National Parks and monuments that should dazzle the most jaded traveler. My first Visit to Utah was in August, 1964, at the age of 19. I\\\'ve been back at least a dozen times, and in July, 2008, I visited my 29th and final Utah county. I returned to Utah Utah most recently in September 1913, this time with my wife, Karen. Many of my earlier trips to Utah had been solo, and I had explored every national park site in the state on those trips. Now with Karen I visited them all again. It\\\'s amazing, but going back to a place with the woman you love is almost like seeing it for the first time.


Vermont Visit: 2007-7
2008-02-20 - Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is located in northern New England, in the northeastern United States. It is one of the most rural of all the states, having no large cities. It addition to the Green Mountains, Vermont is noted for it's picturesque small towns, maple trees with their brilliant autumn foilage, dairy farms and left leaning politics.

My first visit to Vermont was circa. September, 1986, when I entered the state from Quebec, Canada. On that visit I camped at Smuggler's Notch State Park, near the town of Stowe, and climbed Mt. Mansfield, the highest point in the state. I have returned to Vermont twice since then. On my most recent visit, July, 2007, I entered Windham County, thus completing my collection of all of Vermont's 14 counties.




Virginia Visit: 2009-2
2016-01-26 - The Commonwealth of Virginia is comprised of 95 counties and 40 independent cities, making it a particular challenge to those who aspire to visit every county and/or county equivalent in the United States. There are only four other independent cities in the United States which are not in a county. They are: Baltimore, Maryland; Carson City, Nevada; St. Louis, Missouri, and Washington, DC. Also note that Virginia is not a state, but a commonwealth. Three other constituent states of the United States of America use the nomenclature of commonwealth. They are: Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Virginia is very diverse in its landscape and its population, going from Atlantic beaches to the Appalachian mountains, and from the coal mines in the southwest to the suburbs of Washington D.C. in the northeast. My first memory of visiting Virginia was on a trip with my dad and brothers from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to Washington, via the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah National Park. Later, while in my twenties and early thirties I hiked hundreds of miles of the famed Appalachian Trail as it winds its way through Virginia, from Damascus, on the Tennessee border, to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, a short distance south of the Mason Dixon Line. I’ve visited and driven through the Virginia commonwealth countless times between then and now. A visit to the independent city of Hopewell, Virginia on February 2, 2009, marked the completion of that state in my quest to visit each of the 3142 counties or county equivalents in the United States.


Wales Visit: 2012-4
2016-01-15 - After our wedding in early spring, 2002, my new bride Karen and I celebrated by taking a ten day driving tour through Great Britain. We both agree that the highlight of the trip was our two days and one night in Ruthin, Wales. Ruthin Castle is a little more pricey than the places we usually stay, but we made the splurge since it was our honeymoon and it it was worth every penny. We will cherish the memories we made there for the rest of our lives. This is an authentic mediaeval castle, the oldest remains of which date back to 1277. A short walk from the quaint town centre, it is surrounded by thirty acres of gardens with flowers and peacocks and a flock of sheep. We loved exploring the old walls, dungeons, and passageways. We also kept watch for the resident ghost, the Lady in Gray, but she failed to make an appearance during our visit. evening.


Washington Visit: 2012-7
2016-01-15 -


West Virginia Visit: 2008-2
2008-02-06 - West Virginia, isolated by its rugged mountain terrain, is one of the most overlooked and underrated states in America. It is a southern state that reaches into the North, and an eastern state that touches the Midwest. Formed out of the Commonwealth of Virginia during the War Between the States, West Virginia is a beautiful but rugged land of mountains, rivers, small towns, and hardy independent-minded people.

The first time I remember being in West Virginia was in May, 1961. I visited Beckley and Oak Hill with a group of college students, although I was only a high school sophomore myself. In October, 1972, I moved to Pineville, a small coal mining town in southern West Virginia and lived there for one year. I have returned to West Virginia for visits on numerous occasions and on July 20, 2006 I completed my quest to visit each of the state's 55 Counties in Clay County, near the center of the state.




Wisconsin Visit: 2007-5
2008-02-12 - Wisconsin, located in the upper Midwest of the United States, is famous for its dairy farms. Sitting due north of Illinois , Wisconsin is bounded on the east by Lake Michigan and touches Lake Superior to the north. The larger portion of the population lives in the southern part of the state, which includes the cities of Milwaukee and Madison . Further north are fewer towns and more forests. Numerous lakes are found throughout the state. The northernmost tip of Wisconsin is crowned with the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, jutting into Lake Superior .

My first visit to I Wisconsin was on a trip with my dad and brothers when I was about twelve. I've been back to this beautiful state numerous times and have visited 61 of the Wisconsin's 72 counties.




Wyoming Visit: 2013-7
2015-03-11 - My first visit to Wyoming was in the summer of 1964, when I was 19 years old. I drove with five college friends from Tennessee to Dillon, Montana, where we spent the summer. Along the way, we crossed Wyoming twice, visiting Devil\'s Tower National Monument and Yellowstone National Park, both in Wyoming. I fell in love with the wide open spaces, scenic splendor and abundant wildlife of this magnificent state.the least populated in the United States. In September of 1966 I moved to Casper, Wyoming and lived there for about one year, to take advantage of a job opportunity in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have returned to Wyoming on numerous occasions during which I have explored each of the 18 counties in the Cowboy State. On one trip, with three of my brothers, we backpacked for four days deep into the Wind River Range. Our goal was to climb Gannet Peak, the highest mountain in the state, but we turned back before reaching the top because of a summer snowstorm. We camped for three days at an elevation of more than 12,000 feet at the base of the mountain, but felt conditions were too dangerous to continue on. Spring, summer and fall are generally fabulous in Wyoming. Winters can be bitterly cold and the wind seems to never stop blowing. My most recent trip to Wyoming was on a road trip from Tennessee to Yellowstone National Park and beyond with my wife, Karen, in the summer of 2013.


Yukon Territory Visit: 2004-8
2008-02-18 - In August of 2004 I spent three days in the Yukon Territory. I arrived in the Yukon by flying from Cincinnati, Ohio to Anchorage, Alaska, and then renting a car which I drove 504 miles to Dawson, with an overnight stop in Tok, Alaska. From Tok it is 106 miles (176 km) to the border via the Taylor Highway. There is a customs station at the remote Top of the World Highway. Here you are at an elevation of 4,127 feet, which is above timberline at this northern latitude. The last 50 miles to the border is on a winding gravel road and the going is slow. Expect to take 3.5 hours to drive from Tok, the last significant town in Alaska, to the border.

The Customs Post is generally open May 15 - Sept 15, but those dates can vary depending on the weather. The road is maintained only during summer and is closed the rest of the year because of snow. Daily hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Yukon time, which is one hour ahead of Alaska time

From the Canadian Customs Station at Little Gold Creek, it is 66 miles (105 km) to the first town, Dawson City, Yukon, via the "Top of the World Highway." The road is winding and only partly paved with many stretches of gravel, so the going will be slow. Expect to take two hours to drive the 66 miles (105 km) from the border to Dawson City. Likely you will want to take even more time like I did to get out and hike some of the high open ridges across the tundra, revelling in the splendid views.

At the end of the Top of the World Highway you will descend to the Yukon River where a small free ferry, running 24 hours a day in season, will carry you across the river and into Dawson City.




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