TRAVEL 1 - Jim Colyer

November 21, 2009
An atlas is a book of maps, and this one is divided into 8 sections. States are categorized as New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, Great Plains, Mountain, Southwest and Pacific as they cross the continent. I mention the states which Michael and I have visited or plan to.

New York City seems set apart from the rest of the state. It is the headquarters for major corporations. It is an international cultural center and the home of financial markets. Michael and I will returned to New York. We went to Carnegie Hall for Kristina in Concert and to the New Yankee Stadium. The squares of New York are throwbacks: Portland Square, Washington Square and Times Square.

Washington was originally just one city in the District of Columbia. Now it is the only one. The metro area reaches into the suburbs of Virgina. Half the people living in D.C. work for the federal government. Tourism creates jobs for restaurants and hotels.

Michael and I went to Daytona Beach and down to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Many retirees and older Americans move to Florida to live in condos. Panama City is in the Panhandle. Florida is the flattest state.

Atlanta is the capital of the New South. It is a commercial, financial and transportation center. I-75 comes into Atlanta from the north. In 2009, Michael and I saw the New York Yankees play the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. We drove out to Stone Mountain.

Cajuns are descended from French colonists driven out of Nova Scotia (Arcadia) by the British. Creoles are a mix of French and Spanish. Petroleum and oil refineries play a role in the state's economy. New Orleans was forever changed by Hurricane Katrina. Lake Pontchartrain flooded the city.

The Ohio River runs along the northern border of Kentucky. Coal is produced in the Appalachians. There are 300 horse farms around Lexington. The Kentucky Derby is the biggest race in the world and is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville the first Saturday in May. Michael and I will return and sit in the stands.

The three stars on the state flag represent east, middle and west Tennessee. Michael and I went to Graceland in Memphis. Middle Tennessee is home to automobile factories: Nissan in Smyrna and Saturn in Spring Hill. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is close to Knoxville.

Interstate-70 runs west from Kansas City into Denver. Rubel writes that that Kansas is not flat. I recall traveling through it on the Greyhound, and I can say it is definitely flat. It would be a good place to watch the Perseids. Kansas is the nation's leading wheat producer and sits in the center of the United States. Michael and I will cross Kansas on our road trip to Denver.

Colorado was the "cool" place in the 1970s. Natural resources are important to the state's economy. Mining is big because of the Rocky Mountains. Cattle ranches are found on the plains. In Denver, we will tour the Mint and the Wall Street of the West. We will go to Rocky Mountain National Park and south to Pile's Peak. Karen and I drove through Durango.

Arizona is an interesting state. Michael and I spent time at the Grand Canyon in 2007. We attended a star party. The population of Arizona is mostly in Phoenix and Tucson. The Saguaro cactus grows in the Sonoran Desert. I-40 parallels Route 66.

Nevada leads the nation in gold and silver mining, but it was legalized gambling that brought prosperity. Nevada is the driest state. Las Vegas gets water from Lake Mead, the reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. I went to Death Valley in 1993. Michael and I may drive out there when we return to Vegas.

Point Barrow is on the Arctic Ocean. Nome is in the Seward Peninsula and close to Russia. Fairbanks is in the middle of the state. The Alaska pipeline carries oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez in the south. The Alaska Railroad runs from Anchorage to Denali National Park. Alaska is a hard place.

After World War II, Americans flocked to California. The state's economic and political influence is huge. It is first in manufactured goods and farm income. Farmers grow fruits and vegetables in the Central Valley. Still, much of eastern California is desert. I-5 runs north from L.A. into Oregon.

Maps in the appendices show population density and river systems. Major river systems are the Mississippi-Missouri, Colorado, Rio Grande, Columbia and Yukon. The final map shows territorial expansion.