Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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It's been quite a trip.  With a length of roughly eight months, it's the longest trip I've ever taken.  Even a brief summary will be rather long.

I spent more time doing outdoor activities than anything else so I'll start with some of them.

I went to ten national parks.  They were:
  • Canyonlands Maze and Horseshoe Canyon Districts with their challenging 4WD roads.
  • Grand Canyon where I hiked down to the Colorado River and back to the rim.
  • Death Valley where I checked out the strange trails left by the rocks at the Racetrack.
  • Yosemite where I went to the Hetch Hetchy Valley.
  • Channel Islands where I took a boat trip to Santa Cruz Island.
  • Gates of the Arctic where I canoed the Upper Noatak River.
  • Kobuk Valley where I hiked around the sand dunes.
  • Zion where I visited the Kolob Regions.
  • Lassen Volcanic where I hiked around the best thermal areas in the U.S. outside of Yellowstone.
  • Acadia where I visited the Maine seashore.
I also visited the following 11 national monuments:
  • Statue of Liberty including going up in the crown.
  • St. Louis Arch
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante where I went to Coyote Butte North and South, which are actually both in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area but they're administered by the Paria Canyon Ranger Station in Grand Staircase-Escalante.
  • Natural Bridges
  • Pinnacles
  • Craters of the Moon
  • John Day Fossil Beds
  • Scott’s Bluff
  • Agate Fossil Beds
  • Pipestone
  • Effigy Mounds
I also visited a national historical site:
  • Chimney Rock National Historic Site
And along with the federal properties, I visited a couple state parks in California:
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park
  • Julia Pfeiffer-Burns State Park
I didn't just see natural landscapes.  I also visited a number of gardens:
  • New York Botanical Garden (New York, NY)
  • Conservatory of Flowers (San Francisco, CA)
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden (San Francisco, CA)
  • Ganna Walska Lotusland (Santa Barbara, CA)
I tried to climb the highpoints of six states and successfully climbed three of them:
  • Boundary Peak (NV) (successful)
  • Mt. Whitney (CA) (too much snow)
  • King’s Peak (UT) (too much snow)
  • Gannett Peak (WY) (successful)
  • Granite Peak (MT)
  • Borah Peak (ID) (successful)

I visited 11 of the 12 U.S. restaurants on Restaurant Magazine's 2010 World's Best Restaurant List, 14 of the 15 on the 2011 list and 9 of the 10 Michelin three-star restaurants from their 2011 guides for New York, Chicago and San Francisco and their older guides for Los Angeles and Las Vegas.  The noteworthy restaurants I went to are:
  • Momofuku Ssam (New York, NY)
  • Per Se (New York, NY)
  • Daniel (New York, NY)
  • Eleven Madison Park (New York, NY)
  • WD-50 (New York, NY)
  • Minibar (Washington, DC)
  • Guy Savoy (Las Vegas, NV)
  • China Poblano (Las Vegs, NV)
  • Twist (Las Vegas, NV)
  • The French Laundry (Yountville, CA)
  • Chez Panisse (Berkeley, CA)
  • Coi (San Francisco, CA)
  • Saison (San Francisco, CA)
  • Millennium (San Francisco, CA)
  • Restaurant at Meadowood (Yountville, CA)
  • Cyrus (Healdsburg, CA)
  • Manresa (Los Gatos, CA)
  • The Bazaar - Rojo y Blanca (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Providence (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Stefan’s at L.A. Farm (Los Angeles, CA)
  • The Bazaar - Saam (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Red Medicine (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)
  • E by Jose Andres (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Mistral Kitchen (Seattle, WA)
  • Joel Palmer House (Dayton, OR)
  • Alinea (Chicago, IL)
  • Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago, IL)
  • L2O (Chicago, IL)
  • Moto (Chicago, IL)
  • Fore Street (Portland, ME)
  • Le Bernardin (New York, NY)
  • Jean-Georges (New York, NY)
  • Momofuku Ko (New York, NY)
  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, NY)
I visited lots of museums ranging from some of the largest museums in the country to some small museums including these:
  • Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
  • Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY)
  • deYoung Museum (San Francisco, CA)
  • California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, CA)
  • Museum of Performance and Design (San Francisco, CA)
  • Museum of Craft and Design (San Francisco, CA)
  • Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA)
  • San Francisco Art Commission Gallery (San Francisco, CA)
  • Yerba Buena Center For the Arts (San Francisco, CA)
  • Musee Mecanique (San Francisco, CA)
  • San Francisco Art Institute (San Francisco, CA)
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco, CA)
  • Intel Computer Museum (Santa Clara, CA)
  • J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Page Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Los Angeles, CA)
  • The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (San Marino, CA)
  • Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena, CA)
  • Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA)
  • Experience Music Project / Science Fiction Museum (Seattle, WA)
  • Museum of Glass (Tacoma, WA)
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Minnesota Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI)
  • Racine Art Museum (Racine, WI)
  • Charles A. Wustum Museum (Racine, WI)
  • Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, IL)
  • Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • Shed Aquarium (Chicago, IL)
  • Smart Museum (Chicago, IL)
  • Museum of Science & Industry (Chicago, IL)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL)
  • Contemporary Art Center (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, OH)
  • West Virginia State Museum at The Culture Center (Charlotte, WV)
  • New Jersey State Museum (Trenton, NJ)
  • Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME)
  • Museum of New Hampshire History (Concord, NH)
  • Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA)
  • MIT Museum (Cambridge, MA)
  • RISD Museum (Providence, RI)
  • Frick Collection (New York, NY)
  • Museum of Art and Design (New York, NY)
  • Brooklyn Museum (New York, NY)
I visited the capitols of the following 16 states:
  • Tennessee
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
I visited a number of architecturally interesting sites including:
  • San Francisco City Hall
  • Hearst Castle
  • Eames House
  • Seattle Space Needle
  • IDS Center
  • Taliesin
  • House on the Rock
  • Willis Tower
  • Robie House
  • MIT Stata Center
I did a lot of other things that don't fit into any of the above categories.  For lack of a better term I'll just label these as miscellaneous
  • Armory Show, a large art show in New York.
  • Flew in a Vertical Wind Tunnel.
  • Skied 750,000 feet of vertical in Colorado.
  • Took the Sky Jump at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
  • Hunted for morels with the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF).
  • Watched the Bay to Breakers run in San Francisco.
  • Drove Lombard Street, the crookedest street in San Francisco.
  • Went to the Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA.
  • Went to Burning Man in Black Rock Desert near Reno, NV.
  • Hunted fossils in the Green River formations in Wyoming.
  • Stopped to see Carhenge in Alliance, NE.
  • Browsed the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.
  • Took a tour at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY.
As I said, even a summary is long.  I covered a lot of ground in eight months.  It's been quite a trip.

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