Browsing Tag »Unusual US destinations«

Groundbreaking Attractions: Over and Under in the New Las Vegas

May 2, 2014

Grinning, I worked the levers and lowered my bucket.  Drawing the teeth down and back, I chewed my first hole in the soil of Las Vegas, one of several I would dig over the next 90 minutes.  Operating the 315CL Caterpillar Hydraulic Excavator at the Heavy Equipment Playground set me to thinking about all the […]

Wild Man: Down to Earth and Out on the Edge with the Mayor of Telluride

April 4, 2014

My brother Curt and I were sitting in the dining room of the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ after our ski trip to Telluride when I said, “Look something up on your phone, will you?   See if you can find out the steepest pitch a person can ski without losing contact with the earth […]

Way, Way Out There: The Art and Artlessness of Marfa, Texas

March 21, 2014

Southwest Texas is vast, and mostly empty.  From San Antonio to El Paso, a distance of 550 miles, no town larger than 9,000 people exists.  In the entire region, an area about the size of California, the population does not exceed that of Rhode Island. In the 1880s the region was even more uninhabited.  Yet […]

Down and Dirty Fun: Mud Bogging at Carolina Adventure World

November 15, 2013

I like to watch the Amazing Race.  It’s one of my favorite shows.  With each new episode the show’s producers must find interesting and compelling new challenges for the race’s contestants, tests of grit and fortitude that have included everything from diving off a 30-foot platform into frigid water to eating a live octopus. I […]

Message in a Black Box: Alien Encounters at Area 51

May 31, 2013

The black mailbox was white.  Or more precisely it was a black mailbox locked inside a white wooden outer box, a mystery locked inside an enigma, a fitting symbol.  Amongst all the graffiti, stenciled in large black letters, was the name Medlin.  He still lived here.  He still collected his mail there at the end […]

Naval Gazing: Pondering the Cost of Defense on the USS Midway in San Diego

April 5, 2013

Believe it or not, the Right and the Left are bickering.  But this time around it’s a good thing because they’re not arguing about whether or not to cut the US federal budget but where to cut it.  Which means most Americans have woken up and smelled the coffee.  We’ve got a problem and it’s […]

Surrendering to the Void: Stargazing at Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona

March 22, 2013

Here’s what I learned from the media on February 18th:  Justin Bieber is acting strangely.  He wore a gas mask in public for no apparent reason and stormed out of his own birthday party. Here’s what I learned at Kitt Peak Observatory on Saturday: Early in the afternoon of Friday, Feb 15th an asteroid measuring […]

The Dark Camps of War: Revisiting the Horrors of Andersonville

January 11, 2013

When they came to Wirz with the offer, he refused them. He was not a man to play games. He had already told them he knew nothing that would implicate President Jefferson Davis in the calamity that was Andersonville, but they kept pressing him, thinking he would crack, thinking he would bear false witness in […]

The Tyrant’s Art: Living in a Dream House in Two Rivers, WI

December 14, 2012

Living in his house, it was hard to comprehend how such a cold, self-absorbed person could create a thing of such lasting beauty. By 1938 he had left a trail of tragedy and destruction behind him.  An unapologetic womanizer and adulterer, he had left his first wife and six children and run off to Europe […]

Dumped On: The Messy Truth About Love Canal, NY

October 19, 2012

The United States today is a country of two different people, liberals and conservatives. The partisan divide is stark and dramatic.  But at bottom what exactly is it that divides us?  The best definition I’ve heard comes from libertarian essayist P.J. O’Rourke who said, “Conservatives fear the government more than they do the corporations.  Liberals […]