Karen and I went to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The space program has come a long way. Exoplanets are now the rage. Mankind is leaving Earth.
Fairbanks is in the middle of the state. Nome is in the Seward Peninsula close to Russia. Point Barrow is on the Arctic Ocean. The Alaska pipeline carries oil from Prudhoe Bay. I rode the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park.
Michael and I went to the Grand Canyon. We attended the star party. The population of Arizona is mostly in Tucson and Phoenix. The Saguaro cactus is in the Sonoran Desert. Astronomers Vesto Slipher and Clyde Tombaugh worked at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930. Karen and I rode past Yuma at night.
Interstate 40 runs through Little Rock. The Ozark Mountains reach into the state from Missouri. People go to Hot Springs National Park hoping to be healed.
Americans flocked to California after World War II. The state's economic and political influence is huge. It is first in manufactured goods and farm income. Fruits and vegetables are grown in the Central Valley. Much of eastern California is desert.
Interstate 25 runs through Colorado Springs up to Denver. Rocky Mountain National Park is northwest of Denver. Denver is called the Mile High City because it is 5280 feet above sea level. Denver's financial district is known as the Wall Street of the West. Mining and natural resources are vital to the state's economy. Karen and I drove through Durango.
Hartford is the capital. The insurance industry began here. Yale University is in New Haven.
The boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania is an arc, the only rounded "state line" in the nation. Delaware is home to corporations. Dupont makes Wilmington the chemical capital of the world.
Michael and I went to Daytona Beach and down to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Destin is in the Panhandle. Retirees move to Florida to live in condos.
Atlanta is the capital of the New South. It is a commercial, financial & transportation center. It was the corporate headquarters of SunTrust Bank. Michael and I saw the Yankees play the Braves at Turner Field in 2009. We went up Stone Mountain. I-75 runs into Atlanta.
80% of the population lives on Oahu, in and around Honolulu. I climbed Diamond Head Crater. Pearl Harbor is the harbor for the town of Pearl. Pineapples are an export.
Idaho and potatoes are synonymous. Karen and I had lunch in Pocatello while on the Grand Tour.
Chicago is on Lake Michigan. The Sears Tower is now the Willis Tower. Michael and I went to Wrigley Field to see the Yankees and the Cubs.
I-65 runs from Louisville through Indianapolis to Chicago. Pam and I recorded in a studio in New Albany. She did "Old Time Country Song." My mother and I saw shows at the Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville.
Iowa is a farming state in the midwest: pigs and corn. Soil was deposited by glaciers. Iowa is a caucus state, and Des Moines is its capital.
Interstate-70 comes out of Kansas City and heads for Denver as the Great Plains rise toward the Rocky Mountains. Kansas City, Kansas, is a satellite of Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas is in the center of the United States, and I passed through it on a Greyhound in 1978. Farms dominate: corn and wheat.
The Ohio River flows along the northern border of Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville the first Saturday in May. Bardstown Road is the hippie section, and I met with songwriters. Coal is mined in the Appalachians.
Oil refineries play a role in the state's economy. New Orleans was changed by Hurricane Katrina. Lake Pontchartrain flooded the city. Creoles are a blend of French and Spanish. Cajuns are descended from French colonists driven from Nova Scotia (Arcadia) by the British.
Maine has as much land as the rest of New England combined. Mainers catch shrimp and lobster. They manufacture machinery. Augusta is the capital. My plane landed in Maine before flying to Frankfurt, Germany.
Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore. Returning from Iceland, I was detained at the Baltimore airport because I had no luggage.
My parents and I went down to Boston during our New Hampshire stay. It is the state capital, and the history is overwhelming. Fenway Park opened in 1912, and is famous for its left field wall: the Green Monster.
Michigan consists of an Upper and Lower Peninsula. Motor City is a better name for Detroit than Renaissance City. It is home to the American automobile industry. Henry Ford popularized the assembly line with his Model T. Famous musicians are Ted Nugent and Bob Seger.
Michael lived in Minnesota for a while, and I visited him in 1993 and 94. We saw the Yankees play the Twins in 94. Minneapolis and St. Paul are the Twin Cities. The Mississippi River begins at Lake Itasca.
Elvis Presley was born in a 2-room house in Tupelo. Karen, Michael & I paid a visit on my 39th birthday. Michael was not yet a year old.
St. Louis' Gateway Arch is a National Monument. From the top, Karen and I looked down on the Mississippi River.
I wrote a song called "My Heart Is In Montana" and recorded it with a girl from that state, famous for its big sky.
Karen and I passed through Nebraska returning from Las Vegas. I attended the Nebraska Star Party south of Valentine in 2018.
Nevada is first in gold and silver mining, but it was gambling that brought prosperity. Nevada is the driest state, and Las Vegas gets its water from Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam. I toured Death Valley in 1993.
29 NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire is one of the 6 New England states and the first to hold presidential primaries every 4 years. My sister moved to New Hampshire in 1987, and my parents and I paid her a visit.
30 NEW JERSEY
New Jersey is shaped like the number 8. Thomas Edison had his research lab in Menlo Park. He invented the phonograph and the electric light. Atlantic City is a resort town. Einstein worked at Princeton.
31 NEW MEXICO
White Sands National Park is inside the White Sands Missile Range. Roswell is famous as the site of an alleged flying saucer crash in 1947. It was a reconnaissance balloon.
32 NEW YORK
New York City seems separate from the rest of the state. It is the headquarters for major corporations and the home of financial markets. Michael and I returned to New York in 2009. We went to the new Yankee Stadium and to Carnegie Hall for Kristina in Concert. Squares are throwbacks: Times Square, Washington Square & Portland Square.
33 NORTH CAROLINA
Karen and I drove up the chain of islands called the Outer Banks. We went through Cape Hatteras and Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers made their 12 second flight. Roanoke Island is the site of England's Lost Colony.
34 NORTH DAKOTA
The Dakota Territory was split into North and South in 1889, becoming the 39th and 40th states. Sacagawea was from North Dakota. A small population grows wheat, oats & barley. Hot summers and cold winters!
The Cincinnati Red Stockings were baseball's first professional team. I remember them as the Redlegs. The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland. I attended the Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Expo in Columbus.
Oklahoma looks like a fist with a pointing finger. It is famous for the dust bowl of the 1930s. Cattle ranches & oil. The Red River flows between Oklahoma and Texas.
Our great timber-producing state! Fishing! Trout and salmon! The Columbia River flows between Oregon and Washington. The Willamette Meteorite was found in the valley of the Willamette River.
Chester and I went to Erie. We drove through Harrisburg and past Gettysburg.
39 RHODE ISLAND
The smallest state is 48 miles from north to south and 37 miles from east to west. It gets its name from an island in Narragansett Bay.
40 SOUTH CAROLINA
I was in the army in 1970, and my parents drove me to Fort Jackson in Columbia. From there, I flew to Germany.
41 SOUTH DAKOTA
I visited Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park & Deadwood. Mount Rushmore is in the Black Hills. 4 presidents are carved into the granite: Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt & Lincoln. I flew to Rapid City.
Three stars on the state flag stand for west, middle & east Tennessee. Michael and I went to Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis. Nashville was called the Athens of the South before it became Music City. The Parthenon in Centennial Park is a replica of the temple in Greece. Music Row centers around 16th Avenue and is home to country music. Michael lives in Williamson County. I-65 runs south to Franklin and Brentwood.
Karen and I went through El Paso. Chester and I were in San Antonio on the truck. The Texas Star Party is at Fort Davis.
The Mormons went to Utah in 1848. Brigham Young's "right place" became Salt Lake City. The Mormons grew crops by digging irrigation canals. Utah has the largest copper mine in the world. Karen and I went through St. George.
Stellafane (Latin for shrine to the stars) is an annual convention of telescope makers held in Springfield. Vermont produces maple syrup.
Karen and I went through Virginia Beach and ended up in Richmond, capital of the Confederacy.
Aircraft manufacturing is a major industry, and the Boeing Corporation makes jets. Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, while Karen and I lived on Murfreesboro Road. Olympic National Park is in the Olympic Peninsula.
48 WEST VIRGINA
Originally part of Virginia, it became a state in 1863, when people refused to secede from the Union. Coal and natural gas are industries. The Appalachian Mountains isolate. Chester and I went through Wheeling.
America's dairyland has more than a million cows. Dairy farms produce milk, cheese & butter. I went through Milwaukee on my way to see Michael in Minnesota.
It took me 35 years to see Grand Teton National Park. I might have seen it in 1980, but wanted Karen to see Yellowstone even though I had seen it. Devils Tower is in Wyoming. It is a butte made of igneous rock. It formed underground and was pushed up.
** WASHINGTON, D.C.
Washington was originally one of several cities in the District of Columbia. Now, it is the only one. The metro area reaches into Virginia. Half the people in D.C. work for the federal government. Tourists create hotel and restaurant jobs.