Friday, July 21, 2023
Welcome friends, to my Travel Friday’s B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog where I share my traveling experiences from driving across the United States from September 2020 through June 2022. For the most part, I have been sharing my National Park travel experiences, and this time I am trying to change things up a bit and create a new Brainerd’s Top 10 every Friday this July. The first week was my Top 10 National Parks. Last week, I shared my Top 10 favorite beaches. This third week, I will share my Top 10 favorite tourist attractions.
#10 OUE Skyspace at US Bank Tower, Los Angeles, CA – CLOSED
In 2018, I found a bunch of Colette Miller angel wings paintings and they led me to the top of the US Bank Tower at OUE Skyspace in downtown Los Angeles, CA. Once I was up there, I saw the breathtaking 360 views of LA, a couple pairs of Collette’s angel wings, and an outdoor 43” slide on the side of the building on the 71st floor down one floor the outside terrace. One time I visited with my bestie for a silent disco dance party, and another time I took both my mom and bestie to show them the views. Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances, OUE Skyspace has permanently closed, but it will always remain one of my favorite tourist attractions.
September 26, 2020, my first time driving across the country, I was determined to stop at Niagara Falls, even though the visitor center and access to the Ontario side from the USA was closed due to the pandemic restrictions. I was in complete awe of the falls and can’t wait to return to see them from the Canadian side while on one the boat tours.
#8 Gateway Arch – St. Louis, MS
March 17, 2021, I was visiting my friends in Missouri when we took a day trip to St. Louis to see The Gateway Arch National Park. It was cold, misty, and there was a dense fog hovering over the city. We were excited to learn we could take an aerial tram ride inside the arch and check out the views of the city from the top observation windows. Although we couldn’t see much, we had a great time, and I will definitely go back on a clear day.
#7 The Mentalist Show, Las Vegas, NV
November 4, 2018, one of my Oregon besties and I visited vegas, it was her first time. I used to live only four hours away and visited quite frequently seeing different shows over the years. This was my first time seeing the popular and longest running mentalist tourist attraction, The Mentalist Show with Gerry McCambridge. We were absolutely blown away with his super perceptive powers when interacting with the audience members he’s never met before. Of all the attractions in Vegas, this would be the one I recommend the most and will return to see again.
#6 Bill Speidel’s Underground City Tour, Seattle, WA
On several occasions visiting Seattle, I have taken part in the underground city tours with friends and family. It’s definitely one of our favorite tourist attractions in the Pacific Northwest. You get to see Seattle from a different perspective before it burnt down and they built a whole new city on top of what once was a bustling logging and mining city. The most popular tour is through Bill Speidel’s Underground City Tour, but I have found a few others like Beneath the Streets, and Spooked in Seattle I have tried and also enjoyed.
#5 Tower of Americas – San Antonio, TX
February 6, 2021, my Texas bestie and I visited San Antonio for a few days. We took a Red Bus Tour around the city to get better views and it’s hard to miss the Tower of Americas standing tall right smack dab in the center of downtown San Antonio. We decided to have dinner at the Chart House rotating restaurant (spins 360 degrees in one hour). Along with the spectacular views on the observation deck, there’s a 4D movie “Skies Over Texas,” and there’s the history of the six different flags flown in Texas on the walls of the top house. In case you were wondering, that is where the name 6 Flags amusement parks got their name!
#4 Graceland, Memphis, TN
On March 16, 2021, my friend from Florida and I visited Graceland for the first time. I am a huge Elvis Fan, and even stopped off in Tupelo, MS to witness his birthplace. Graceland was bigger than imagined, a little city inside a city. We first visited the museum where we saw all the fun autos and art Elvis collected. Then we made our way over the mansion for a tour of the Presley house and burial grounds. That was my favorite part of the tour seeing the inside of the house and where Elvis was laid to rest (his grandson was also laid to rest there and I can imagine his daughter, Lisa Marie is now there as well in her final resting place.
#3 Southernmost Point Buoy – Key West, FL
October 15, 2020, my first time visiting Florida, I drove all the way around the entire perimeter of the state, including the long drive to the island of Key West. I stayed one night and the TV in my hotel room had a channel dedicated to teaching about the history of the island. They were giving all the details of their biggest attractions including, The Southernmost Point Buoy, which in fact does not have accurate information on it. For example, Key West is about 95 miles (153 km) north of Cuba, they just rounded it off to 90. Also, the Southernmost point in the United States is actually located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is located further South as well as other islands in the Key West chain. Regardless of the misinformation, it was one of my favorite tourist traps!
#2 The Statue of Liberty, New York, NY
Circa September 2002, about one year after the tragic September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, my brother and I visited New York City on an all expense paid trip I won through a radio station contest in Portland, OR. Other than visiting the Ground Zero site, we were insistent on visiting New York’s most popular visitor attraction, The Statue of Liberty. We were able to take a ferry boat ride around the island. However, unfortunately the inside of the statue was closed off to visitors at the time (maybe for renovations, maybe restrictions from the previous attacks, but we can’t recall the exact reason). This is a National Park, so I am determined to visit again for the passport stamp, but also to have a chance to go inside the statue.
May 13, 2022, I was just driving through Houston on my way to stay the night at Galveston Beach. I was looking through Trip Advisor to find some 5-star tourist attractions to fill up my day when I found the fun and educational Astroville Tunnel Tours. We had a very outgoing and knowledgeable tour guide who took us on a tour of the underground tunnel system as well as some of the upper city views from the fancy Esperson Building. Our tour guide also does the evening Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston With Tunnel Access, which is something I will definitely try out the next time I visit.
Conclusion on My Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the United States
I have explored many corners of the United States and wrote down the top ten that filled my mind with wonderful memories. From a few underground tours to exploring the heights of America’s tallest towers and statues, I have thoroughly enjoyed some of the top tourist attractions in the USA. What are some of your favorite places to visit in the United States? Please leave your comments below.
Friday, July 21, 2023 Daily Motivation Draw
I set up a small outdoor altar on a plastic rectangle table on my brother’s backyard patio with a candle, fresh-picked blueberries and raspberries from his yard, the card deck, and a Palo Santo stick. There were three dogs wondering what I was doing and kept sniffing the Palo Santo sticks so I gave them each one to chew on, they loved it. I lit the candle, lit the stick, began to read the invocation from the guidebook, and she pulled the card:
Daily Draw Question: “What medicine is being invited into my life so that I may thrive?” (Frost, 2023)
The card I drew: 24 – Medicine Bag – Gather (Frost, 2023)
Message integration: This card is asking me to complete the task of gathering sacred medicines I am connected with to fill my own medicine bag (Frost, 2023). I am being called to remember the aspects of myself I may have forgotten so that I can become whole again (Frost, 2023). This bag will represent the portal for my soul retrieval necessary to help me piece myself back together (Frost, 2023).
Healing affirmation: “My medicine bag is filled with potent parts of my becoming. I honor all my parts of my sacred medicine.” (Frost, 2023)
Personal insight: Animals were surrounding me as I was conducting this ceremony, they filled me with love and joy. I learned that different animal parts can go into medicine bags that can offer amplified support. I am thinking maybe some fur, but I can’t think of any other parts I would want in the bag. I also have collected a bunch of crystals, some sage, rocks from special places, and a couple sentimental items I can add to my medicine bag. Now, all I need to do is manifest the bag, and the guidebook suggests they are usually made of animal skin, and adorned with beads (Frost, 2023).
Thank you for reading and viewing,
Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.