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June 1, 2014

Not enough time to fill this entire bucket list

DUNCAN — A few years ago, I wrote a piece offering vacation tips to those anxious to get away from the workplace for a while and have what is commonly referred to as “a life.”

Vacations are supposed to be the reward working stiffs receive for their labor, although sometimes the time off you fervently anticipate turns into a catastrophe that leaves you yearning to get back to work.

Anyway, when I was younger, so much younger than today (Sorry, just had a Beatles moment.), I started making a list of the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do in the USofA. Over the years, my Vacation Bucket List has overflowed with sticky notes containing locales and sites of interest.

I’ve crossed off dozens of those places and activities, but they’re just a drop in the Vacation Bucket List. There’s no chance I’ll accomplish the entire list before kicking that “other” bucket.

But in case you need some, uh, captivating reading material while you’re on v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n, let me share some of my Vacation Bucket List. Here’s a few places I wanna see and things I wanna do:

  • Hop onto U.S. Highway 51 and drive from Laplace, La. to Hurley, Wisc. I want to see the crossroads where Robert Johnson made a deal with the Devil, and to listen to the styles of blues spawned along that 1,286-mile musical conduit.
  • Check out the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and stay longer than Chevy Chase did in the first National Lampoon Vacation movie.
  • Drive the 42 bridges that link the Overseas Highway down to Key West, Fla., then make a stop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar to speak with the ghost of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Tour the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, R.I., just to see what life was like before income taxes.
  • Go to a lobster boil anywhere along the Maine coastline.
  • Spend a week taking in musicals and plays on Broadway in NYC.
  • Flip on the lights at the Thomas Edison laboratory in West Orange, N.J.
  • Go to a Super Bowl, one of the few major sports events I’ve not attended.
  • Take a cruise on the Erie Canal in New York (Duck for the low bridges!), and raft down the entire length of the Mississippi River.
  • Learn to like poi at a luau on Oahu. (But I won’t wear a grass skirt.)
  • Start in Bartlesville and visit every structure Frank Lloyd Wright designed from sea to shining sea. (Hey, told you this list was ambitious.)
  • Find out why U.S. Highway 50 is the “Loneliest Road in America.”
  • Listen to Aaron Copland’s <ITALS>Appalachian Spring<END ITALS> on a morning hike along the Appalachian Trail.
  • Tour the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.; the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.; and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
  • Stroll through the dazzling flower-festooned Chugach mountain range near Anchorage, Alaska during that state’s eye-blink of a summer.
  • Take the evening ferry to Santa Catalina Island, Calif., and watch the sun drop off the edge of the world.
  • Be enveloped by “The Dream” of equality on a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta; stop to admire the courage of Rosa Parks at a museum and library in Montgomery, Ala.; and honor Cesar Chavez at his bronze statue in Sacramento, Calif.
  • Appreciate nature’s sculpting ability while viewing the stone monoliths at Cannon Beach in Oregon.
  • Appreciate human sculpting ability while viewing the pieces at Brookgreen Gardens, S.C.
  • Visit Ellis Island Immigration Museum in NYC and Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay, and have visions of how we became a melting pot.
  • Hope to have enough water and gas to endure a drive through Death Valley National Park, the lowest point on the Western Hemisphere.
  • Sing some shanties while taking in Mystic Seaport, Conn., home of the nation’s leading maritime museum. (Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!)

Should be obvious to those of you who have an inkling about my age that there’s not enough time to complete my Vacation Bucket List. And I’d love for the Lovely Karen to be my companion on these ventures.

But she says she has a list of her own, and believe it or not, some of it differs from mine.

Geez, go figure.

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