On the Eve of the National Park Service 100th Birthday

Unit #32 / 412 - Herbert Hoover National Historic Site As I write this, it is the eve of the National Park Service's 100th birthday. I'm sitting in a DICK'S Sporting Goods parking lot on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, seeing cars whiz by on the interstate, and routinely wiping the late evening humidity from my brow. And for poetic sake, the mall security just drove by and rubbernecked at my oddly furnished "candle van." It's a far cry from the glamorous scene I imagine most envision when hearing about my trip, what with Instagram accounts showing people blogging from mountaintop hammocks, and no newspaper headline reading "30-Year-Old Visits 4 Fast Food Restaurants in Search of

Mounds of Questions on Native History

Unit #31 / 412 - Effigy Mounds National Monument A realization I'm having now that I'm a few months into this project is that the U.S. National Park Service shares a lot of Native American sites. It makes sense, seeing as so much of the NPS is about nature, history and culture, and Native Americans cross-section that quite often. But what's odd for me is that my state mandated K-12 education didn't reflect the same emphasis that my country's park system puts on Natives. I feel that for the first time, only due to this trip, I am starting to scratch the surface of the Native connection to this land I call my own. Visiting these locations filled with Native history and culture, I pondered at w

We're All Carried Along the River of Dreams

Unit #30 / 412 - Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) I'm floating down the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway with the Executive Director of the Saint Croix River Association, and she says, "Have you seen anyone else yet? I can often kayak this river for miles and not see another person." We exit the river, I dry off, then climb into Vanny McVanface and drive 60 minutes back to St. Paul, Minnesota, where I'm staying for my week in the Twin Cities. I cross another national park on the way. But like this picture I snapped out Vanny's window, if you don't pay attention, you might not notice this unit of the National Park System. That's because, unlike the Saint Croix, the M

My Favorite Place on Earth

Unit # 29 / 412 - Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway If you're planning your next summer vacation to Saint Croix, be careful of the GPS coordinates in your search field. However, if your goal is to escape urban hustle and bustle for private and pristine water, then it might not matter whether your reservation ends up being for Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. Though only one hour from "Sin Cities a.k.a. Minneapolis/St. Paul," as Gladys Leeman from Drop Dead Gorgeous would say, it's true that you can be on the water, in a kayak, and not see a single other person, all without taking a flight to the Caribbean. Pad

Optimal Road Trip to 375 National Park Service Sites

With the National Park Service turning 100 this August 25th, popular data scientist Randy Olson created The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip. However, Randy's map has some problems. A few hundred to be exact... Randy's road trip visits the 47 National Parks in the lower 48 United States, leaving out the twelve in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands (understandably, the lack of access roads and ocean crossings makes it difficult for a road trip). He states that "the U.S. national park system, it consists of 59 protected areas" then suggests visiting "all of the national parks in one epic road trip." But Randy leaves out over 300 accessible national park syste

Tearing Down the World's Religious Sites

Unit #28 / 412 - Pipestone National Monument Westminster Abbey in London. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The Kaaba in Mecca. Whether to Christians, Jews, Muslims, or all sorts of ethnicities and cultures, these landmarks stand as sacred places in the eyes of the world. It would be unthinkable for anyone to deny access to, interfere with, or break down these icons. Yet that's exactly what was done to Native Americans, specifically at a place we now call Pipestone National Monument. Though it may seem foreign depending on your religious background, the Natives believed that smoking was a way to communicate with their Creator. By releasing their smoke into the air while praying, it allowed

How Your Teachers Lied to You

Unit #27 / 412 - Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site Do you know who Sakakawea is? I bet you do. Or you've at least put her coin in a vending machine. Popularly recognized as Sacajawea (sa-ka-juh-wee-uh), she is perhaps the most famous of Native American women (OK, so you got a Disney movie, Pocahontas). Though she wasn't known for painting with the colors of the wind, she is credited with making something quite difficult--would you like to cross the Rocky Mountains with no horses or knowledge of the area?--possible. But it isn't just mountains which are important to this story. In fact, the prairie plays a pivotal role in the Lewis & Clark expedition. It was in this North Dak

North Dakota: America's Red Headed Stepchild

Unit #26 / 412 - Theodore Roosevelt National Park Poor North Dakota. Nope, not North Carolina--that's the one by the ocean. North Dakota. The state at the top of the great plains, just under Manitoba and Winnipeg. Oh, still not getting it? Hmmm... The one with the huge oil boom. With the champion 1-AA college football team. Who tried to change their name to just "Dakota" because they were worried people weren't visiting. Still doesn't ring a bell? The one where FARGO was filmed. Ah, yes, now you know. THAT one. North Dakota has been the butt of so many state jokes that it's earned the moniker "red headed stepchild of the United States" in my vernacular. So often the last in tourists' visit-t

Fort Union: More Like "Walmart" Than a Military Fort

Unit #25 / 412 - Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site Feeling the sun of a North Dakota high-desert beat heavy on my neck, I looked up to view a panorama of dry, grassy bluffs and wondered how early pioneers fared here. With dust blowing in my eyes and waves of wind flowing above the Missouri River to my right, I thought of my own family. How they'd immigrated from Germany to settle in this same vast prairie and endured everything I was experiencing, only without the luxury of 150+ years of technology. Presumably, the way they overcame this was with strong communities working together to make sure everyone survived each season. That's what Harrison Ford taught us in the barn raisin
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    © 2015 - 2020 Mikah Meyer

Professional Speaker - Motivational Speaker - Travel Show Host - Travel TV Host - Gay Speaker - Best College Speaker - Best High School Speaker - Best Corporate Speaker - Travel Expert - Road Trip Expert - Gay Travel - Travel Influencer - Influencer - Travel Show - Best Motivational Speaker