Bicycling through the Mojave Desert Outside Las Vegas

Bicycling through the Mojave Desert Outside Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – After you conclude that throwing dice and pulling the lever on a slot machine really don’t count as exercise, you can burn off ...
Where Mucking Is a Competitive Sport

Where Mucking Is a Competitive Sport

TONOPAH, Nevada – A chance conversation led to my meeting a mucking champion, and that’s no typo. It happened in the desert town of Tonopah, which ...
Explore Wilmington with Ben, the Rescue Horse

Explore Wilmington with Ben, the Rescue Horse

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Ben, the Rescue Horse, apparently didn’t play well with others back on an Amish farm in Ohio, but he proved to be a ...
Mighty Mac: Aging Gracefully and Still Swaying

Mighty Mac: Aging Gracefully and Still Swaying

ST. IGNACE, Mich. – The bridge that skeptics said never could be built – and gephyrophobics fear to this day – is eligible for Social Security but ...
Paddling Past the Casinos in Laughlin, Nevada

Paddling Past the Casinos in Laughlin, Nevada

LAUGHLIN, Nevada — Laughlin and its nine casinos never will rival Las Vegas, but Laughlin always will have an attraction Las Vegas can only dream ...
Keep Turning Left at NASCAR Hall of Fame

Keep Turning Left at NASCAR Hall of Fame

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – You might not know the first thing about stock car racing other than the advice to novice drivers – “go as fast as you ...
Keeping the Trains on Time at Tweetsie Railroad

Keeping the Trains on Time at Tweetsie Railroad

BLOWING ROCK, North Carolina – Scott McLeod has had a dozen or more jobs at Tweetsie Railroad, including cowboy actor, pyrotechnician and haunted ...
Soaring on the Wings of Eagles in South Carolina

Soaring on the Wings of Eagles in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – What began as a medical facility for injured eagles, hawks and owls in 1991 now is a very special nature attraction in ...
Hiking North Carolina’s Venus Flytrap Trail

Hiking North Carolina’s Venus Flytrap Trail

CAROLINA BEACH, North Carolina – Forget “Little Shop of Horrors” and its fanciful tale of a plant that could consume a human being. That’s because ...
The Texas Doctor Who Also Makes Chocolate

The Texas Doctor Who Also Makes Chocolate

GRAPEVINE, Texas – Sue Williams wanted to be a county agricultural agent, but she became a medical doctor and a chocolate maker instead – and the ...
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut – a Pistachio Nut

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut – a Pistachio Nut

ALAMOGORDO, New Mexico – If it weren’t for White Sands National Park and the Manhattan Project atomic bomb heritage of Alamogordo, the most famous ...
Winter on the Virginia Creeper Trail

Winter on the Virginia Creeper Trail

WHITETOP MOUNTAIN, Virginia – If the weather is the least bit accommodating, bicyclists enjoy the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail in ...
White Sands Bumped to National Park Status

White Sands Bumped to National Park Status

ALAMOGORDO, New Mexico – America got a very big present in the final days of 2019 — its 62nd national park. It is White Sands National Park ...
Birdwatching in Nashville

Birdwatching in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — One of Nashville’s more peculiar pieces of public sculpture is an ornament for passing bicyclists in Shelby Park, ...

ASHLAND, Oregon — Always keep a few dollars of folding money with you. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to reward a sidewalk busker who manages to ...
Joyous Jumpers in Chicago

Joyous Jumpers in Chicago

CHICAGO — The Bean, whose formal name is Cloud Gate, is one of the most joy-producing attractions in Chicago. It is a massive work of art (33 ...
Looking Down on Crater Lake

Looking Down on Crater Lake

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Oregon — The serenity of a crisp autumn day, belies the origins of this stunningly beautiful lake fed only by ...
A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

NEW YORK – Look for a good angle. That is sage advice from experienced travel photographers, even if it means lying on your back in the middle of a ...
Dramatic Sky Over Barbados

Dramatic Sky Over Barbados

BARBADOS, West Indies – A dramatic Caribbean sky seems to recall when Charles Fort helped protect this British outpost in the era of exploration and ...
Celebrating Chinese New Year 2019, American Style

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2019, American Style

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — It is the year of the pig on the Chinese calendar, and that is cause for celebration by pork lovers everywhere, but ...
‘The Day the Music Died’

‘The Day the Music Died’

By Tom Adkinson CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – It’s understandable if you have a curious urge early every February to scout up recordings of Buddy Holly’s ...
It Really Is the Big Dam Bridge

It Really Is the Big Dam Bridge

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A statement of the obvious earned the Big Dam Bridge its name and helped cement its identity as the longest bridge in North ...
Fishing Close to Home in Ocean Springs

Fishing Close to Home in Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – Capt. Steve Perrigin, the one-man band orchestrating a charter boat business called Strictly Fishin’, seldom ventures more ...
Meeting Mother Nature in Mississippi

Meeting Mother Nature in Mississippi

GAUTIER, Miss. – While casino showrooms on the Mississippi Gulf Coast deliver excellent entertainment, Mother Nature knows how to put on a good, ...
Fans of Barbecue Understand This

Fans of Barbecue Understand This

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee — True fans of barbecue understand the message on this T-shirt without thinking twice or having their thoughts wander ...
Autumn at Abacela Vineyard in Southern Oregon

Autumn at Abacela Vineyard in Southern Oregon

ROSEBURG, Ore. – Shades of red and yellow mix with lingering hints of green on the hillsides of the Abacela Winery and Vineyard in Southern Oregon’s ...
Firing Up a Bulldozer in a Las Vegas Sandbox for Adults

Firing Up a Bulldozer in a Las Vegas Sandbox for Adults

By Tom Adkinson LAS VEGAS – Be ready to pass a Breathalyzer test if you want to drive one of Ed Mumm’s bulldozers – which may be a bit difficult for ...
I Never Wanted To Visit the 9/11 Memorial

I Never Wanted To Visit the 9/11 Memorial

(A personal note: When Sept. 11 rolls around every year, Americans pause to remember and reflect on that date in 2001. Here’s what goes through my ...
Fish Tales and Life Stories on Lake Pontchartrain

Fish Tales and Life Stories on Lake Pontchartrain

ON LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN, La. – It’s one thing to have a fishing guide who puts you on fish. It’s an entirely different thing to have a fishing guide ...
‘Please Tell Me Another Story’

‘Please Tell Me Another Story’

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The South honed the art of storytelling – whether it was at the dinner table, on the front porch, around a campfire ...
Trading Providence for Venice

Trading Providence for Venice

  PROVIDENCE, R.I. – You don’t have to leave the U.S. to get a ride in a genuine Venetian gondola (serenade included). Two of the three ...
Chocolate Gravy? It Makes Perfect Sense in Arkansas

Chocolate Gravy? It Makes Perfect Sense in Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Some foods just sound logical. Consider roast pork, apple pie, ripe tomatoes, and sweet corn. But chocolate gravy? If you ...
Bogart, Hepburn, the African Queen — and You

Bogart, Hepburn, the African Queen — and You

KEY LARGO, Fla. — The African Queen, the actual boat from the movie of the same name, has been resurrected. The putt-putt-puttering steam ...
Watch, but don’t feed the bears in the Smoky Mountains

Watch, but don’t feed the bears in the Smoky Mountains

With the possible exception of trout fishermen obsessing over salmonoids , virtually everyone considers the American black bear to be the symbol of ...
Old Spice: 150 Years of Tabasco Zing

Old Spice: 150 Years of Tabasco Zing

AVERY ISLAND, La. – This spot in Louisiana Cajun country is famous the world over for little bottles of a spicy red sauce. Of course, it’s Tabasco ...
Dining with Melvin in Huntsville, barbecue style

Dining with Melvin in Huntsville, barbecue style

  HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Melvin’s Place of BBQ isn’t somewhere you’d take a first date – unless your date knows how to appreciate the finer aspects ...
Ava Gardner: Small-town Girl Goes Hollywood

Ava Gardner: Small-town Girl Goes Hollywood

SMITHFIELD, N.C. – Expectations for small-town museums often are understandably low, but expect to be impressed at the Ava Gardner Museum in ...
Kentucky, the Original ‘Land of Lincoln’

Kentucky, the Original ‘Land of Lincoln’

HODGENVILLE, Ky. – Illinois calls itself the “Land of Lincoln,” but Kentucky is where Abraham Lincoln was born. There’s no escaping that historical ...