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North America » United States
July 28th 2018
Published: July 28th 2018
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My Sister’s Place, Fort Morgan, Colorado

Although the trip isn’t over yet, the sightseeing is. So I have a few summary numbers on the progress through my National Parks Bucket List.

On this trip we visited seventeen parks on the bucket list. Three were full scale National Parks (Isle Royale, Cuyahoga Valley, and Voyageurs) and they were all terrific. Not surprisingly, since were touring the Great Lakes, we saw all four National Lakeshores (Indiana Dunes, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Picture Rocks, and Apostle Islands). Lakeshores are nearly as big as a park and have lots to see and do in them, both culturally and naturally. When planning visits you need to allocate a fair amount of time to see them - a couple of days is a bare minimum.

We toured four National Historical Parks (George Rogers Clark, Dayton Aviation Heritage, Hopewell Culture, and Keweenaw). We allocated two days to each of them, but managed George Rogers Clark in one, and, because of the heat, cut a day from Hopewell Culture. Historical Parks can be a mixed bag - I was disappointed in George Rogers Clark, but thoroughly enjoyed Dayton Aviation Heritage, and Keweenaw. If you don’t have an interest in Native American history, Hopewell Culture might be a little challenging to sustain your interest. George Rogers Clark celebrated the Revolutionary War efforts in the interior. Dayton Aviation told the story of the Wright Brothers, as well as the black poet Louis Dunbar. Keweenaw was all about America’s copper industry and was one of the most interesting stops.

Then there were six National Monuments (Homestead, Effigy Mounds, Pullman, Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers, Grand Portage, and Pipestone). Homestead, Effigy Mounds, Pipestone, and Grand Portage all relate to our Indian history; Pullman and Charles Young are more recent monuments preserving Black American stories; and Homestead and Grand Portage tell parts of the story of our nation’s expansion westward. All six of them were interesting, and in some cases beautiful, parks that are well worth a day, or a good part of a day, especially if you are nearby anyway.

So now we have visited 90 of the 201 parks on my bucket list, leaving 111 to go. At this rate, I better stay alive and kicking a few more years, or I might not make it.

Geographically, we completed the bucket list in 8 states (Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota). This was Joan’s first time in six of those states. We have finished our travels now in 24 states and territories (mostly in the northern central part of the country, and the Deep South) but have 27 left to see. So, we’re about half way through our tour of the country. Some of the most challenging parts of the country still remain, like California, Alaska, and the busy Northeast! Still much to see. Wonder if the trailer is going to make it!

I’ll have some more numbers after we get home.


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