The Sights and Sites of America

  • A view of Mount Hood from the north
  • A BASE jumper descending below the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia
  • A northern view of the Nokhu Crags in Colorado
  • The Abo Ruins of Salt Missions National Monument in New Mexico
  • A view along the Lily lake Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado
  • Looking west in the Snake River Canyon below Shoshone Falls, in Idaho
  • Looking southwest from the overlook at the top of Sandia Peak in New Mexico
  • Looking east across Bear Lake in Idaho
  • Looking southwest from Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  • View from an overlook along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in Oregon
 
What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.
Mollie Beatties, USFWS Director 1993-96
 
Puffins in their preferred habitat along the south coast of Alaska

This website is about exploring many different wonders of the United States, especially the natural physical wonders. It's a journey I have been on for most of my life and, now that I'm raising grandkids, I expect the journey will continue unabated until I pass from this world. My grandson got on this bus when he was 5, my granddaughter has never been off the bus.

I began this website following the lines of my own interests. Since then my grandchildren have been growing and as they get older, they've gotten more involved in how this website data flows. I doubt the site will ever be "finished" but there is sure to be plenty of stimulation and support along the way...

More than 13% of the households in America are classed as "multi-generational." That includes adult householders living with their parents, children living with householder grandparents or other relatives and adults (with their own kids) who live in their householder parents' home. "Multi-generational households" does not include the "nuclear" family of parents raising their own kids.

More than 60% of these multi-generational households count on Social Security income for their basic needs... and we have a national political party set on destroying Social Security payouts so they can divert those funds to wage un-winnable wars in other countries. The situation wasn't so obvious before the Great Recession of 2007 looted America's middle class but that event pushed the number of multi-generational families living at the same address into the stratosphere. And what's happened since on the national stage has served to push that number yet higher.

As of 2010, the US Census estimated that more than 10% of all children in the United States were being raised by relatives other than their birth parents. More than 8% of all children were being raised by their grandparents, more than 5% with neither parent in the home (I'm in this class). This situation is worst in those states that have the highest per capita prescription drug problems (think: opioid epidemic), the worst human services records and the lowest rated public school systems.

More than half of these grandparent-in-charge families are white. 67% of the grandparents involved are under the age of 60 and 20% of them somehow live below the poverty level. That roughly translates to more than 2.6 million children being raised by grandparents, about 2 million of these children virtually never see or get to know either of their parents and more than a million of these kids grow up in poverty.

I am advising my now 16-year-old to get good grades in high school, then go to Europe for college: at least equal quality education at a vastly lower cost that allows entry to the global job market without a crushing debt burden... and a more balanced view of the world as it is. I figure I have a couple more years with him to visit as many of the natural wonders of the United States as we can cram in, then who knows? But my littlest one is now 6 and she's been exploring with us almost since birth...

 
If we don't actively invest in all our children's futures, our society has no future.
 

I recently came across an interesting chart that may mean something to a few people. The chart was a rendering of "political persuasion" graphed against "educational achievement" for all the 50 states. Massachusetts was classed as "the most liberal state" with a high educational index while Mississippi was classed as "the most conservative state" with the lowest educational index. The economy of Massachusetts is booming while the economy of Mississippi has been stagnant and losing ground for decades... Mississippi also has one of the highest rates of poverty, deaths from prescription drugs and children being raised by someone other than their parents, coupled with the lowest levels of state support for the families and educational systems involved. Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas and New Mexico are in similar positions to Mississippi: politically more conservative and at the bottom of the list for their economies, educational indexes and human services (and at the top of the lists for deaths from prescription opioids).

Now we have a single political party in charge of the Federal government: the same party that has been successfully destroying the economies (and the people's prospects for the future) of the six states mentioned above. When I was a teenager I began commenting that "Politics is the search for the lowest common denominator. The higher the political position, the lower the common denominator." That was in the days of Republican President Richard Nixon, the first president to ever resign from the office to avoid certain impeachment. And now, in the highest political position in the land, we have Donald Trump (the same man who stated that American workers are being paid far too much for this country to be able to compete in the global market). I fear for our people, our country, our world, and my grandchildren: going forward they may already be past the best years of their lives.

A view of the south side of Colorado's West Spanish Peak in the fall
West Spanish Peak, Colorado
Map of the United States

Note: In the list below "*" indicates "not a lot of data" on the other side.

The 50 States, Caribbean, Pacific & DC