Sunday, March 3, 2013

100 Things I Love About the USA: Part 5

I'm doing a series of things I love about the good ol' USA. To catch up on previous posts in this series, please click here. And in no particular order, I continue!

#16. Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. It's one of the largest protected lands/water area in the world.

This whole area used to be one large glacier until somewhere in the 18th century, when it began retreating - it's retreated 65 miles in the last 200 years. There are 50 identified glaciers in the area. Three quarters of the people who visit this majestic part of our country are cruise ship passengers.

John Muir Glacier

#17. They Mighty Mississippi River. It's a right of passage for every child to be able to spell Mississippi quickly. This river runs from near the Canadian border over 2,500 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

Between all of its tributaries, the Mighty Mississippi drains all or part of 31 states between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountain ranges (so basically the entire Mid-West), and also two Canadian provinces. It's widest point is in the southern region, where it's over 1 mile wide. This river was a huge turning point in our Civil War (1861-1865), since it was used largely for shipping of supplies. And it still is used this way today.

While this river helps make all this land some of the most fertile anywhere, this river also causes so much devastation when it floods. This river has several tributaries, the largest are noted on the above map, and when they flood from rainfall and/or snow melt, so does the Mississippi.

#18.  Nothing says "America" like the Statue of Liberty. This world renowned landmark nearly never came to fruition due to lack of funding in the economy of the 1870's, as we Americans were to front the bill for the pedestal. In the end, the majority of contributors donated a dollar or less. Our Lady Liberty was built by the French in bits and pieces, which were shown off bit by bit before being shipped in crates to America. In the 1980s the statue to was closed to the public due to major structural issues - her arm was swaying too much and had been found to have been improperly attached in the first place. Also? Her head was two feet off-center. (REALLY.) It was closed after 9/11. Parts of it were eventually reopened bit by bit until recently when Hurricane Sandy devastated the entire eastern seaboard. It's unknown when it will be reopened again.

 Post Hurricane Sandy, 2012. The Statue is structurally sound, but the island's infrastructure isn't.

Dedicated in 1886, our lady represents the Roman Goddess of freedom, Libertas, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence - July 4, 1776, and at her feet lay the broken shackles of oppression and tyranny. This majestic lady has welcomed millions of immigrants and vacationers alike. And just for fun: her crown has 7 rays on it, representing each of the 7 continents, her waistline is 35 feet, weighs in 225 tons, and her face is 8 feet tall.

#19. The Golden Gate Bridge in the one and only San Francisco.

Built in the early 1930s, the bridge is actually named after the strait it straddles - the Golden Gate Strait. The bridge itself is "International Orange" in color. It cost $35 million to build back then, but if it were built today, it would cost well over $1 billion. They also have "reversible lanes" - with a total of 6 lanes of traffic, they can decide how many lanes will be open to northbound or southbound traffic to offset congestion during peak hours. For example, for the morning commute there are 4 lanes of traffic going southbound into San Francisco and two lanes going northbound; for the evening commute they can change it to 3 or 4 lanes northbound out of the city, and 3 or 2 lanes heading southbound.

20. Mesa Verde National Park. I've been fortunate enough to visit this national park. And it was so cool!

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park.

This park, which isn't too far from Four Corners (which I wrote about earlier), so if you ever get a chance to visit one, you should visit the other. These ancient buildings were built by Native Americans starting as early as 600 A.D. and left somewhere around 1300 A.D. They built more than 600 cliff dwellings. President Theodore Roosevelt created this national park in 1906, to "preserve the works of man".

Square Tower House, Mesa Verde National Park.

Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park.

Here's the map to show you where I've taken you in today's post.


  1. I love this series. I wish I had seen any of those sites.

    1. I wish I had been to many of the places on my list, too. But I hope to see them!

  2. We went to the Statue of Liberty a few years ago. Youngest lost his first tooth waiting in line to see her. We climbed the stairs to the top of her crown for the view...

    ...I had no idea she was closed because of Sandy... so very, very sad.

    1. Yep, it's very sad. I don't know if it's open yet, I was thinking they wouldn't really work on it until the storms are over this season. Which means, just in time for the next storm season to begin.

  3. Never knew they did the 'reversable lanes' with the Golden Gate Bridge traffic. How interesting. I've always wanted to visit San Francisco, too.

    My ma-in-law and aunt-in-law did a cruise ship of Glacier Bay a few years back. Said it was absolutely gorgeous. I've always wanted to go to Alaska, too.

    Heck, may as well admit it...there are lots of places I want to visit! :-)

    1. There are so many places I want to visit, too!

  4. I really want to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge!

    1. I've never walked it, just driven over it several times. :o)


I love comments. Please leave one. :o)