There was a time when we seriously considered living on the backside of the Grand Tetons, in Driggs, Idaho. The area has a lot going for it, but I think our interest there would have been better served when we were younger. Now that we’re retirement age, dealing with heavy snow doesn’t have the appeal that it once did, and dealing with snow-crazed skiing enthusiasts in the winter is a bit wearing.
Seeing White Sands as we drove across the American West during one of our recent road trips was a special treat, but we didn’t know just how special. We arrived late in the day that it was elevated to White Sands National Park! Seriously, how cool is that? White Sands has always appealed to my artistic side simply because it’s such an anomaly – absolutely stark white sand surrounded by khaki tans, browns, and greens. And it appeals to my introverted side because it’s so isolated and empty. Such a beautiful place.
Yet another place that has a name that irritates me… this is the “National Aquarium” – when it actually isn’t. It’s not located in DC, it’s not part of the Smithsonian Museum, it’s not associated with the federal government, and – most important of all – it’s not free. And the source of my irritation? They stole the name from the REAL National Aquarium – which *was* in DC, which *was* associated with the US Department of Commerce for 140 years, and which *was* free! Granted, not a lot of visitors went to the aquarium in the DC, but for years there was a lot of confusion over which location was the one tourons were trying to go to. And these days? Only the aquarium in Baltimore survives, which costs a family of four an astounding $140 one-day entrance fee.