There’s a hole in my vacation bucket list

MONDAY, NOV. 21, 2011

A new edition has arrived of the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Or, as I prefer to call it, “More Than 900 Places I’ll Die Without Seeing.”

That’s because this book, by travel writer Patricia Schultz, is a depressing reminder of how little of the world most of us have seen.

When it first arrived on my desk, I naively, without even thinking, started leafing through it to see how many of the 1,000 places I could put on my life list.

It proved to be a depressingly simple task.

Chapter 2, Africa: Never been there.

Chapter 3, The Middle East: Never seen it.

Chapter 4, Asia: Never made it.

Chapter 5, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands: Sounds great.

Chapter 6, Europe: Nope, except Great Britain.

Chapter 7, Latin America: No clue.

Chapter 8, The Caribbean, Bahama and Bermuda: Sounds exotic.

So, just like that, I’ve already identified about 750 places for my not-seen list. I have not, for instance, taken a weekend getaway to “majestic” Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains. Nor have I strolled the beautiful Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar (“home to a nomadic seafaring people”).

That leaves me with only one chapter, The United States and Canada.

And somehow, I have managed to miss most of the places in that chapter, too. I’ll add up my final, sad, tally later (see hint in second paragraph), but first I want to make a few of my own lists from this book.

1. The Las Vegas Strip - I fear it would end badly, as in, “The Hangover.”

2. Daytona Speedway, Fla. - If I want to see cars race around in circles, I’ll hang out at the Sprague couplet.

3. The Hamptons, Long Island - I’ll pass on rich Manhattanites playing polo.

4. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - I fear they would laugh when I rolled up on a Vespa.

5. Graceland - Liverpool is my personal musical Mecca.

Actually, I wouldn’t turn down a free trip to any of those five. A wise person once told me, “Never turn down an opportunity to see somewhere new,” which is a decent working philosophy of life, except if that place is the pirate- ridden coast of Somalia.

However, most of us have neither the time nor the means to gallivant around the globe, so here’s another list:

Places Within Shouting Distance That Made the Book

1. Lake Coeur d’Alene: “A pine-forest-enshrouded gem.”

2. Middle Fork of the Salmon River: “America’s greatest whitewater.”

3. Pike Place Market: “The gastronomic heart of Seattle.”

4. The San Juan Islands: “Washington’s ferry land.”

5. Glacier National Park: “The American Alps.”

6. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Mont.: “Home on the range in the Bitterroot Valley.”

7. The Columbia River Gorge: “A majestic cleft in the Cascade volcanoes.”

8. The Oregon Coast: “Rugged masterpiece of the natural world.”

Sadly, Mount Spokane (and everywhere else in Eastern Washington) failed to make it. So here’s a personal mini-list:

Other Places That the Book Egregiously Left Out

1. The Beartooth Mountains: Please sprinkle my ashes there.

2. Olympic National Park: Or there.

3. Kelly Creek, Idaho: Or there.

Well, I guess I can’t put it off any longer. I have to add up how many of those 1,000 places in the book I have seen in my 58 years. Thank goodness my parents believed in that “See the USA In Your Chevrolet” slogan when I was a kid, or this tally would look even worse. Still, too bad there is not one single entry for Kansas, where I went to a wedding last month…

Final tally

Places I’ve been: 86.

Places I have not been: 914.

I’m thinking seriously of putt-putting my way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this summer, just to make it No. 87.

Reach Jim Kershner at


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