Travel Goals and Parsing Ballpark Visits

With the Minor League baseball season wrapping up, I confidently state that I don't expect to visit any new ballparks this year. Well, there is that one ballpark down in…no, no; not this season.
Looking back over this past spring and summer, I am happy with visiting a dozen new stadiums. Some ballparks were visited as fulfillment of wish-list objectives, while others were attended to round out itineraries for day trips, overnighters or as part of my grander summer vacation out west.
As I mull over where I've been and what I still need to see, it seems that I'll most likely never visit every MiLB venue, but I'll note that my various wish lists and travel goals—ballpark, National Parks and otherwise—will allow me to eliminate some new ballparks each season from the proverbial to-do list. Perhaps I'll get to half of them, or maybe 100 of them, but not all 160.
Just for the sake of parsing out my ballpark travel goals a bit and sharing some of my thinking, hopes, plan…

On Travel Goals

From August 4, 2013 through the start of this MLB season, it felt good knowing that I had seen all 30 teams play in their current home ballpark. I've watched the home team play in a total of 43 ballparks, in fact.
The Braves opening their new stadium this year of course knocked me out of that all-30 club. Surprisingly to me, though, I didn't feel an overwhelming urge to visit the new ballpark as soon as the season got underway. I was perfectly content to wait until the NFL schedule release later in April to see if I might in one weekend couple a visit to SunTrust park with one to Mercedez-Benz stadium to catch the Falcons in their new digs. A few weeks later, the scheduling gods did set up the alignment I sought, but I balked when realizing the football half of the setup was a Sunday night game in their new stadium's debut. While that'd be nice to see, chances are it's going to be more expensive than I'd like. So, I still haven't made plans to see the Brav…

My firmly mounted ski map

I must have used more paste when gluing my ski map to its cork base, because it is not sagging at all. After all, there are a mere 45 pins on it, the vast majority of which are on the upper right side. No, there are few pins in the Cascades, Rockies and Sierra Mountains, and not enough to sufficiently prevent the sagging, lumping and other visible eyesores afflicting my National Park map discussed in my previous post.

The problem with this one is the pin color selection. Clearly red pins against a red mountain outline was not the most prudent decision. Then again, nor would have white, black or blue pins been any better. Green and yellow pins might stand out more, but they just don't seem like ski colors, do they? Anyway, I may buy some bigger pins next time I'm in a crafts store. I'll also try to get a clearer picture, but, for now, here is a tabular representation of my ski resort visits; as with my last map, resorts are sorted alphabetically by state, and here followed…

Bailed out by pins

In retrospect, using old model train layout paste may not have been the best way to mount my National​ Parks visited map. Thankfully I'm now at 121 sites (with 30+ visited during this "nps100" campaign), so I have more than enough pins to firmly hold the map in place...
With 2016 and the NPS's centennial drawing to closes, I can certainly look back and smile on what I've seen this year, and look forward to seeing many more park sites in the coming years. Still, it's somewhat dejecting knowing that I won't add any more pins until the spring, unless a ski strip has me pass Boston or business calls me to DC, in which case I may be able to tack a few more spots sooner than later. For now, though, I can start focusing on adding pins to my ski map. 😀

For the map here, I've used three pin colors: Red pins = National Park sites (33 of 59);
black pins = Civil War sites (16);
yellow pins = all others in the #NPS system.

And, here's the list again (sorted…

A Hat Tip to the NPS Centennial

Today marks the centennial of the National Park Service, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've looked forward to this day all year. As a rather big fan of the NPS, I've visited about 20 new sites this year, some big and many smaller ones. I learned or greatly enjoyed something at every single location. Since I have posted a few other lists here, I thought it might be interesting to do the same for the parks I've visited to date: Alphabetically by state, here goes...

Denali NPAKKenai Fjords NPAKFort Smith NHSARHot Springs NPARPea Ridge NMPARGrand Canyon NPAZLake Mead NRAAZPetrified Forest NPAZDeath Valley NPCAGolden Gate NRACALassen Volcanic NPCALava Beds NMCARedwood Forest NPCASan Francisco Maritime NHPCAWhiskeytown NRPCAYosemite NPCAColorado NMCOMesa Verde NPCORocky Mountain NPCOWeir Farm NHSCTKorean War Veterans MemorialDCLincoln MemorialDCNational MallDCThomas Jefferson MemorialDCWashington MonumentDCWord War II MemorialDCWorld War I MemorialDCCanaveral NMFLChickama…

My Third for 27 Outs Baseball

I still have a ski post to belt out, and my National Parks sites checkins are growing so there will surely be something on that sooner than later. However, baseball season is rapidly approaching for some. In my latest for 27 Outs Baseball, I reflect on this, thinking about my last few MiLB adventures and what this new season seems to have in store for my ballpark gallivanting...Enjoy

Raymond James Stadium

And here I am in Raymond James Stadium!
Finally--two weekends deep in November and I'm seeing my first football game of the year. It's almost embarrassing. But, I don't create the schedule and this game was picked for good reason. You see, Big Blue is in town, along with a bunch of my closest Big Blue buddies. Just like last year in Jacksonville, we circled this date on the calendar when the schedule came out.
My day started with yet another stupid early flight, and once again I somehow woke up 2 minutes before my 4:00 am alarm, initially panicking since I thought I might have missed it. Though it was a nice crisp early morning with temps in the 30s, there was no snow in the yard like last year. The night sky created the beauty this time, with a sinking crescent moon being chased to the horizon by a bright Venus and Jupiter, coupled with some clearly visible Leonid meteor shower bursts that were actually a bit alarming in my pre-caffeinated drive down 684.
I didn't a…