Ten Places That I Want To Visit In The US

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Ten Places That I Want To Visit In The US

“The major advantage of domestic travel is that, with a few exceptions, most domestic locations are conveniently situated right here in the United States.” Dave Barry

I have not traveled much around the US. Other countries and cultures have always been much more interesting to me. Since we can’t go anywhere else right now, I made a list of the places I want to see in my own country. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of those places that everyone should see at some point during their lifetime.I have always been fascinated by geology and  it is a bucket list place for me. I’ve wanted to go on my birthday but it is supposedly freezing. There are so many ways to see the canyon that I get overwhelmed thinking about it but I will get there one day for sure. 

Marfa, Texas

I have been wanting to go to Marfa. The best way is to fly to El Paso and then make the three hour drive through nothing to Marfa. It is a hippie art town in the middle of Nowhere,Texas. It is all about the location, the art and the food. It sounds like it is totally my thing.

Kauai, Hawaii

 I have been to Hawaii many times but we always went to Maui or the Big Island. I have never been to Kauai and it is supposed to be the most beautiful island. There is something about lush, overgrown landscapes that I love. The old South Pacific movie was filmed  there.  It looks less developed than the islands I visit. The next time I go to Hawaii, that is where I will be. 

Big Sur, Carmel  and Monterey, California

It is crazy that I live in California and have never been to Big Sur and Monterey. Ii is a windy road trip and I get car sick so there is a reason- but still I could take dramamine.  The photos of  Big Sur are spectacular and how have I not walked down Cannery Row in Monterey? I’m a huge Steinbeck fan. (Big Sur)

Civil Rghts Tour – Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham (Georgia and Alabama)

I don’t think I can ever really understand American History without seeing the struggle of African Americans in the deep South. I want to see first hand the places, the memorials and the museums. When I was very young, my mother volunteered for Dr King. We grew up making posters for her marches for Civil Rights. When I was eight, I won a prize for a poster I made for her, that said “Arrest Discrimination-It’s Wanted For Murder.”  It is sad that after all this time, it is still true.  We can’t fix yesterday but the more of us that acknowledge and see the history, the more chance we have for reconciliation.  We are not the promise land but we have to do better.

Austin and Dallas, Texas

Austin looks like a city with a lot to do when it comes to art and culture and of course South by Southwest film festival. Live music is a lifestyle in Austin and it has become a foodie city as well. It seems to be a place people love and that is good enough for me. I am a history buff and I want to see the Texas Book Depository in Dallas where Kennedy was shot.The sixth floor has been turned into a museum which tells the story. I also want to see the  new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Cowgirl Museum, the Arts district and try some Texas barbecue. (Austin)

Zion, Brice and Yellowstone Parks (Utah and Wyoming)

Zion is the most visited National Park in Utah and one of the most popular parks in the country.  Pine trees dot the landscape in clusters and towering red rock cliffs rise on either side of the canyon. Carving through the center is the clear Virgin River. It’s supposed to be breathtaking and crowded. The landscape at Bryce Canyon National Park is filled with pillar-like red rock formations  which makes it one of the most unique landscapes in the world. I’m a huge fan of red rock landscapes all over the world and can’t wait to see it. Yellowstone is the oldest National Park in the world. It is weird that I have  been to geothermic parks in Iceland and New Zealand and have not seen Old Faithful and the geyser basin. I’m a little embarrassed that I have not been there yet. (Brice)

Niagara Falls, New York

Growing up in New York, Niagara Falls was a road trip. But we were not a road trip family. As a young adult it was not on my radar of cool places to go.  I have been to Iguazu and many beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and feel that I have to go to Niagara as well. The Niagara River lies on the border of Canada and The US. I want to see this epic power of nature on both the the American and Canadian side and I am prepared to get wet. 

Nashville  and Memphis Tennesee

Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley and where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. There is a Civil Rights Museum that tells the story.  I like music so why wouldn’t I want to see a place nicknamed “Home of the Blues” or “Birthplace of Rock and Roll”. Nashville is also named the Music City and it’s the home of the Grand Old Opry. This trip is going to involve a lot of street art, fried chicken, biscuits and barbecue. (Nashville)

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

I have seen tons of movies, photos and parodies of Mt. Rushmore. I’ve seen special monuments in other countries but not ours. I’m expecting to be awestruck. It is a feat of art and engineering and right now I feel a need to see our Founding Fathers.

Stay safe,
JAZ

Neither Snow Nor Rain…..The US Postal Service

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Neither Snow Nor Rain……The US Postal Service

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds’. Herodotus

I grew up with this quote. It summons up visions of brave postal workers trudging through inclement weather conditions.  For more than a century,  it’s been synonymous with the tireless work the postal service does to make sure you get your junk mail, magazines, and birthday cards on time. 

This quote was inscribed in the NY Postal Building in Manhattan  in 1912. Architect William Mitchell Kendall was a classics scholar in both architecture and words. It comes from Herodotus, Book Eight of the Persian Wars. Herodotus was impressed with the fast travel of the Persian couriers.

When the Constitution established the postmaster-general position, the Founding Fathers were worried about how to get the new nation’s increasing volume of mail delivered. A system had been developed in the colonies, in which merchants, slaves and Native Americans would pass letters and parcels from person to person until they reached their destinations. That soon gave way to  mail carriers who traveled via horse and stagecoach and later locomotives and airplanes.

In January 1913, one Ohio couple took advantage of US Postal Service’s new parcel service to make a very special delivery: their infant son. The Beagues paid 15 cents for his stamps and an unknown amount to insure him for $50, then handed him over to the mailman, who dropped the boy off at his grandmother’s house about a mile away. People who mailed their children weren’t handing them over to a stranger. In rural areas, many families knew their mailman quite well.

It has always been  a system of trust. Today, though email and Amazon have replaced a lot of their job, it  is still our most trusted organization.

The 2020 election will definitely not look like any other election in American history.  A record number of states will allow for expanded early voting options including vote by mail.  Although mail balloting, sometimes known as absentee voting, has been around since  the Civil War, it has come under new scrutiny this year as Trump has claimed that this type of voting is open to fraud.  This is not true.

 What we should be worried about, is whether Trump’s Post Office can handle the influx of ballots with all the recent budget cuts. There are tight deadlines on when ballots must be received. Most require the ballot to be postmarked on or before Election Day and they must be received by the Board of Elections within 7 days of the election.  The mail is already backlogged. Imagine what it will look like with a hundred million mail in ballots.

Make sure you vote as early as possible. If you can, go to the post office instead of putting it in a blue box (which is as sanitary as anything else you touch), drive to the mail-in location, or drop it off the day of at your polling place. Don’t wait until the last minute. This year we need to work with the Postal Service,  like the  Founding Fathers did in the colonies to make sure letters got to their recipients. “We are Americans. We get the job done.” (I have to stop rewatching Hamilton).

Stay safe,

JAZ