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The John Shinnick 5 Year, 50 State (and D.C.) Pledge!

Recreated Feb. 20, 2021


Rhode Island

It was June 7, 2011.  I had decided I'd see the greatest tribute to the "Gilded Age", mansions in Newport, Rhode Island.  Back in the late 1800's, several VERY wealthy Americans (the source of much of the wealth does not bear close scrutiny) built summer homes on the coast of Rhode Island.  Probably the most ostentatious of the bunch was that of Cornelius  Vanderbilt II, "The Breakers.  He inherited the lion's share his grandfather's railroad fortune and built this.  This and many other mansions have been taken over by non-profit preservation societies so we can all feel inadequate.  There was one room with a silvery wall paper.  The curators wondered why the silver in it wasn't tarnishing.  Turned out it wasn't silver. It was platinum.  Sorry, Rush, nobody should be THAT rich! (6-7-11)



As a former rock and roller myself, a pilgrimage to Graceland in Memphis was required.  I have to say that it was different than I expected; smaller and more laid back.  No, 13 acres isn't tiny, but the guy seemed to know what he wanted and the place didn't seem excessive.

The self-guided tour was truly excellent - I never lost my place in the audio, which was very informative and had lots of optional background.

Best of all, lots of clips and recording.  Sad that like so many others in the profession, he died young (42).  The man could sing and the man could perform. Oh, he also won 3 more Grammys than I have to date.  (5-21-09)


South Carolina

I expected either Fort Sumter or the Charles Pinckney site to be representing South Carolina.  Sumter would have won that honor, but it was strongly recommended that I go into the old section of Charleston by the waterfront.  This area was just great!  The house above isn't of specific historical significance at all.  But it was somewhat typical (including the expensive cars in the driveway!) of the houses in the neighborhood.  Of course, John C. Calhoun's old house was right around the corner (he was our 7th V.P. you know!) but this house just struck me as a perfect representation of southern charm and old money.  I just loved walking around!

I checked the real estate prices - even in this depressed economy, these are all multi-million dollar wonders.  Too bad I gave all my money to charitable causes, I might have moved in! Charleston rocks!  (5-27-09)


South Dakota

South Dakota really is nice (at least the west of it.)  In the Black Hills are both Mt. Rushmore (which will generate a letter to Congress about having to pay $10 to a private company to park there - THE NERVE!) and the Crazy Horse Monument.  It's only a small bit completed.  See all those tiny people?  That'll be the arm.  The white outline at the below right that looks like a horse?  That'll be his horse!  If I live to see its completion I'll be lucky.  It was commissioned by the Lakota Sioux.  

People get to go up there only twice a year.  This just happened to be the day.  If I'd only known...  The visitor center is great.  (8-7-08)


I'll always feel so ashamed.  It was a couple of years ago that I woke up and, well, I FORGOT THE ALAMO!  I've never been a big fan of Texas, but San Antonio was really fun.  If you hear about the river walk, well, it's really cool!  Actually, when I did it, it was downright cold, even for late January, but it was still great. And about a block off of it it the famous Alamo where both Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie died in its defense. This is it. (1-28-09)



A stop on my 2007 trip to Durango was Bryce Canyon, Utah.  One of the many vistas is Bryce Point.  I figured if they named this point after the whole park it must be good!  This place is really great and close to both Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon.  Although the rock makes it look somewhat desolate, it really isn't as the forest in the background attests.  If you get the chance, see it.  If you don't get the chance, MAKE THE CHANCE!  (8-13-07)

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