Whether they be super small, or ridiculously tall, there's a force that drives our travel compass towards the superlative. Being peppered with some of the most incredible mountains in the world, this continent boasts an almost unparalleled collection of sceneries framed by peaks.
In all the speculation leading to Pope Francis's address to the Joint Session of Congress, few expected to hear a sweeping reminder of four exceptional American visionaries -- noting less than a spiritual Mount Rushmore.
If there is one kind of doctor I could never be, it's a gastroenterologist. Aside from the fact that I'm a gasbag, the reason is simple: When it comes to invasive medical procedures that involve the exploration of cavities not treated by a dentist, I don't know which end is up.
Few artists paint from the perspective that "You're only as big as the canvas that's facing you." Sculpted by the father-and-son team of Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the few exceptions to the rule.
Some are simply roadside photo ops, others are full-fledged tourist attractions, all are worth putting on your Americana bucket list. Go ahead, strap on a fanny pack and grab your binoculars. We're playing tourist today.
Any sculpture or monument has the potential to be impressive, but there's something about the intricate carving of stone that has fascinated the masses as far back as ancient Egyptian times (some might argue longer).
Only now after standing in front of it can I say that seeing this monument in real life is pretty mind-blowing. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Mt. Rushmore is a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring experience that you really have to see in person to understand.
Every July 4th, we remember George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, the hallowed presidents etched into Mount Rushmore. What if we replace the four men with the most influential people of our generation?
For many Americans, July 4th is a family holiday -- it involves backyard barbecues, maybe a parade through town, and a local fireworks show. Some people, however, have dreams of celebrating the nation's birthday with more pizzazz, out of town.
Which prime movers are featured in our history and government textbooks? Whose stone faces look out from Mount Rushmore? Whom do we honor with national holidays? Who are the central characters in our movies, TV shows, and books?
What do you get when you combine wild child designer Antonio Ballatore with Mount Rushmore, an old Radisson Hotel and a couple long-time hoteliers who want to reduce the footprint of the hospitality industry?
It seems every week or so, a political pundit or newspaper columnist, metaphorically speaking, propels the president to Mt. Rushmore status. In fact, Rushmore and Mr. Obama are invoked so frequently in the same sentence that I began to wonder.
The airplane flights that do the grunt work of your trip, that allow you to get from place to place, are a sort of forgettable magic that, if you are like me, you do not record in your diary or photograph.