To-Do List

In 2011, I asked Alex where we should go for our 2012 vacation.  He had just been watching one of those conspiracy-type television shows where they were talking about the Mayan calendar ending in December of 2012, and so he wanted to go to Hawaii to see Kilauea, just in case.  I assured him that the world was not going to end, but we went to Hawaii anyhow.

Then, in 2013, Alex and I started to study Italian.  The plan was that we would study for a year and then go to Italy to get some real-world experience.  Then in 2014, we went to Italy and while we were there, we visited Vesuvius.

This was the start of a trend. Now every other year we visit a volcano.  In 2016, our planned volcano is going to be Yellowstone and in 2018, I’m thinking of Mount Rainier and/or Mount Hood. The initial plan, from three years out, is to go to Seattle and then to Mount Rainier.  Then we will go down into Oregon and visit the Evergreen Space and Aviation Museum. Along the way, we might be able to fit the Oregon State Capitol building in and catch the moon tree there.  And, since Seattle is on the water, we will have to fit a lighthouse in as well.

After 2018, who knows?  If we want to catch all of the volcanoes possible before Alex graduates from college, we only have seven (eight if he goes directly for his master’s degree) more years of travel left to us.

Unlike my last To-Do List post, which was something new that I’d just discovered and wanted to get started on, today’s To-Do List post is something that I’m actively working on already.

I grew up in Chicago, which does have a few lighthouses to its credit, and yet for most of my life, lighthouses were something that existed somewhere else.  We visited one (I’m pretty sure it was Jupiter Inlet light) during my childhood.  I definitely have visited that one during my adulthood.  We may have gone to Tybee Island light during one of our trips to Savannah, since we have a postcard of it.  I don’t remember it, though.

My interest in lighthouses goes back to 1993 or 1997, depending on how you count.  In 1993, when we first got cable, one of the channels we got was the Sci-Fi Channel, and I finally, after about 27 years of hearing about it, got to see the original 1966 Dark Shadows television program.  I became a fan instantly.  The town where Dark Shadows is set is described as being 50 miles from Bangor, in Hancock County, and on Frenchman’s Bay.  So once I had an Internet connection, in 1997, I set out to figure out where, exactly, that would be, and in the process, saw all kinds of photographs of lighthouses.  At first, I wanted to see one lighthouse, but then with time I decided that I want to see them all.

Since 1997, every time I visit a place that’s near water, I try to see at least one lighthouse (and if I can climb one, that’s even better).  In my 2015 vacation, I got three lighthouses in.  The first was the Statue of Liberty, which is no longer a lighthouse, but was one from 1886 until 1902.  My second and third were Blackwell Island Light and Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse (the subject of the children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”) on our Circle Tour trip (more on the tour in a future post).

I still have never visited a lighthouse in Maine, though.

While researching my post on our day in Philadelphia, I stumbled across a new “must see” travel goal:  the moon trees.

When Apollo 14 went to the moon, the astronauts took tree seeds with them.  Upon the return of Apollo 14 to Earth, scientists attempted to germinate the seeds, resulting in over 400 seedlings (some of which were produced from cuttings).  The resulting trees were planted all over the nation and some were given to other countries, including Brazil and Japan.

NASA’s website has an article on the moon trees.  The page includes a list of some trees believed to be moon trees (unfortunately no official list was kept).  The list of locations is a strange one, including four trees in Alabama, for example, but the only one identified as being in Texas is at a “private residence” in Westlake.  I intend to ask around to see if by some miracle there is a moon tree here in San Antonio.  It would seem that out of hundreds of trees, more than that one should be in Texas.

At any rate, as Alex and I travel over the next few years, I will see how many moon trees I can see.  It looks like I can fit one into our 2018 vacation.  We’re planning to go to Seattle and take a side trip to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.  It looks like there is a Douglas Fir at the State Capitol in Salem, which is only half an hour from McMinnville.  That sounds doable to me.