Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trip #10 Los Angeles area

Beautiful scenery at the Reagan Library. Simi Valley, California

Presidential Gravesites seen on this trip: #37 Richard M. Nixon  Yorba Linda, California  33 of 38
                                                  #40 Ronald W. Reagan  Simi Valley, California  34 of 38

When we got back from Texas I started getting used to the idea that we probably wouldn't do anything to big for the rest of the year. There was a possibility of going to Washington DC around Thanksgiving, but that fell through. I already had a pretty big year so I was pretty happy and I started gathering information for next years trips.

My sister travels alot for her work. In the spring of 2010 she went to San Fransisco for work and took my parents with her. This got me thinking. I had plans for finishing the Presidential Gravesites that I needed for my collection. All but the 2 in the Los Angeles area. I really had no idea how or when I might get around to seeing those 2. So awhile ago I told my sister that if she ever got a chance to go to Los Angeles for work to let me know.

So one evening in late July she gave me a call and told me of the possibility of going to Los Angeles the first week of October. At this point it was a long shot. Even if she would definatly go, I would need to see if I could afford the plane tickets, car rental, hotel, ect...

After about a week of us looking into things it all came together. Even now nearly 2 months after the trip it hardly seems real.

October 1, 2011  Richard M. Nixon

I got off of work 2 hours early on Friday September 30th. I rushed home, got a shower, double checked that I had everything, kissed my family good by, and was on my way to the Detroit Airport with my sister. This was a new experience since I hadn't flown in nearly 10 years, and I had seen all 32 Presidential Gravesites at that point by driving.

We flew out of Detroit around 730. We arrived for our layover in Denver just long enough to run the length of 20 terminals to make our flight to Los Angeles. I wasn't able to get any rest between Detroit and Denver. But somewhere between Denver and L. A. I dozed off. I woke up and looked out my window at the lights of Los Angeles and for the first time a saw the Pacific Ocean coast line. It was a pretty amazing feeling. We finally landed and hopped a shuttle to our rental car place and then drove to our hotel for the night. It was midnight L. A. time.

We woke up the next morning and got a pretty nice complementary breakfast at the hotel. We had 5 stops to make that day. The 2 Presidential Libraries were both open from 10 - 5, with a 2 hour drive inbetween them. Our first stop of the day would be the Pacific View Memorial Park, burial place of John Wayne. Thanks to information found on the internet we found John Waynes gravesite with little trouble. We still had some time to kill before the Nixon Library would open. So we found a beach to kill a little time walking.

We finally made it to the Nixon Library just as they were opening. I ended up enjoying the Library and Museum alot more I had expected. There are alot of interesting displayes in the museum. Most recently they put in a display on Watergate that doesn't hold any punches. Nixon is buried on the property just afew feet away from his birthplace home. It is kind of cool for people like me when the Presidents birthplace, library, museum and gravesite is all in one place. Very convenient.  Richard Nixon has a very simple black headstone. One of the simplist of Presidential Gravesites.

Richard Nixon's gravesite. Yorba Linda, California

October 1, 2011  Ronald W. Reagan

After about an hour and a half at the Nixon Library we were on our way to Simi Valley. It was a beautiful drive. More and more as we got closer. I could definatly tell why Reagan picked this site for his Library. It may be because Reagan is one of my favorates but so far the Reagan Library is my favorate Presidential site. 2nd favorate is a tie between the LBJ Ranch and Coolidges Vermont home.

Anyways we spent about 2 and a half hours there and really took it all in. Reagan is buried in the back of the property with an absolutely beautiful view.

Ronald Reagan's gravesite. Simi Valley, California

After the Reagan Library we headed into downtown Los Angeles to Pierce Bros. Westwood Memorial Park. It is a small cemetery that is the final resting place of several big names. Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and many more. After the cemetery we headed to have dinner at a place that our cousin recomended. Philippes french dip sandwhiches was a very good end to a perfect day of site seeing.

The next day we went on a 5 hour Hollywood bus tour. For just a weekend in L. A. this tour showed us alot of the big sites one would want to see. We saw the Hollywood sign, Chinese Theatre, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Muscle Beach and a bunch of other stuff. After the tour we didn't have alot of time. We hit one more nearby cemetery, Holy Cross Cemetery. We were able to find the graves of Bing Crosby, Rita Hayworth, John Ford, Sharon Tate, and Lawrence Welk. We also made it into the mausoleum that John Candy and Fred MacMurray and buried, put were kicked out before we could find them because they were closing.

This concludes my trips for now. I still have 4 Presidents to see. Which will mena 2 more trips. One down to eastern Tennessee to see Andrew Johnson. And one more eastern trip to see Grover Cleveland, Ulysess S. Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt. And more trips will follow someday assuming I survive any of the living former Presdients.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trip #9 Back to Texas

Lincoln birthplace Hodgenville, Kentucky

Presidential Gravesites seen on this trip:   future gravesite of #41 George Bush  College Station, Texas

It had been a full 2 years since I started this little hobby and it had expanded to basically any site to do with Presidents. Birthplaces, Homes, Libraries. I wanted to see them all, and still do. For the first time I found myself planning a big trip that would not include any current Presidential Gravesites.

Just like we did in 2009, we decided to make a trip down to Texas so that my wives family down there could meet our new baby. In 2009 it was our little Khloe that we were taking down to meet the family. In 2011 it was our little Nicholas that we took down. Of course Khloe went down this time also.

In 2009 we had seen all the the Presidential Gravesite on the way down and back. This time I explored several options of other stuff to see. On the way down and back I decided to keep it simple, not knowing how 2 little ones would or would not cooperate on such a long road trip.

We left about as quick as we could get around after work on Friday June 17, 2011. It was around 5 pm when we hit the road. We drove and drove all through the night and came to our first stop of the day in Hope, Arkansas early in the morning. We got some breakfast at the Waffle House in Hope. We then saw several sites that have to do with Bill Clinton's early life in Hope. We had alittle car trouble in Hope, so when we finally left we cut out any other possible stop and headed straight for my wives' cousins apartment near Houston, Texas.

We would leave the Houston area early on the morning of Monday June 20th on a little 2 day trip. Our first stop would be the George Bush Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. As we know George Bush is alive and well, but as is the case with several recent Presidents his burial site is prepared for when the time comes. And also like most recent Presidents he will be buried on the property of his Presdiential Library and Museum. While we were there I couldn't help but check it out.

Future burial site of George and Barbara Bush College Station, Texas

George and Barbara Bush are not buried there yet but it is a current gravesite. Sadly the Bush's had a little girl Robin who passed away at the age of 4. She is already buried in the small cemetery.

Young Robin Bush's headstone is off to the left

We all had a good time at Bush's Library. It was very well done. After we left College Station we headed for Austin. In Austin we visited the LBJ Presidential Library and also the Texas State Capital Building. He ended up spending the night in a town in between Austin and San Antonio. The next morning we headed to San Antonio. In San Antonio we walked some off the city's Riverwalk and of course we visited The Alamo. It was pretty cool to see such an iconic landmark. After The Alamo we started back to Houston.

Not much in the way of historical sites for the rest of the time down there. At one point we stopped by the church that George Bush attends. We also drove by the well guarded gate to the street that he lives on.

Early Friday morning we left Houston and had a long day of driving ahead of us. Altough we drove past several points of interest, there just wasn't time to stop and see anything. That night we arrived in Columbia, Tennessee for the night.

Saturday morning we left the hotel and drove into Columbia and saw the James K. Polk Ancestreal Home, aka his parents house. Then we headed north of Nashville to Hendersonville to see the gravesite of Johnny Cash. The first of many big name celebrity gravesite I would see this year. But more on that later. After Hendersonville we continured northward towards home and stopped by Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in Hodgenville, Kentucky. That was the last stop of the trip. It was a good time. That was seemingly the last big trip of the year. But life has a way of throwing some pleasant surprises at you from time to time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trip #8 Western Midwest

Place of Meditation. Burial place of Dwight D. Eisenhower

Presidential Gravesite seen on this trip: #33 Harry S. Truman  Independence, Missouri  30 of 38
                                                  #34 Dwight D. Eisenhower  Abilene, Kansas  31 of 38
                                                  #31 Herbert Hoover  West  Branch, Iowa  32 of 38

            Presidential Gravesite revisit #23 Benjamin Harrison Indianapolis, Indiana

After our June 2010 trip to Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington DC, we started preparing for the new addition to our family. It was a very exciting time. We did take some small day and weekend trips in August, September and October. We revisited Hayes home in Fremont, Garfield sites in Cleveland, McKinley sites in Canton and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.

Nicholas was born in early November and we started settling in for the Holiday Season and Wintertime. In January we started discussing a possible weekend getaway once the weather breaks. One of our favorite bands the Christian band Third Day. So we started looking for where they would be stopping on their upcoming tour. 2 spots stuck out to me. Davenport, Iowa on March 12, and Johnson City, Tennessee on March 31. President Hoover is buried near Davenport, and President Andrew Johnson is buried near Johnson City. At that point we had taken 3 big trips, south to Texas, east to New England and east to Virginia. So I was itching to do a western trip.

We decided to do the Davenport show. After I looked into a few things we added a day to the trip in which we would see Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. I found a bunch of other sites to see along to way and before we knew it March had arrived and my wife and I were off on a 4 day trip, just the 2 of us since we left Klo and Nicky with my parents.

March 10, 2011  Harry S. Truman

On the night of March 9, 2011, we left home around 8pm. This was a strange feeling. It was the first time that both of us were going on a trip by ourselves since we had kids. It was a great time together. The plan was to drive 12 hours through the night and arrive at the Truman Library when they open. It was a long night. But knowing all that the next day would hold kept me going. We arrived in Independence with about an hour to kill before the Truman Library. We explored the town and walked some of the Truman walking tour. We saw 'Clintons Soda Fountain' where a young Truman had his first job, the courthouse where he was a judge, his home and his boyhood home. Finally the Library opened. We were the only ones there for a little while. So it was like having the place to ourselves. We took about an hour and a half to explore the Library. It is definatly one of the better ones. I think that it was because, for all of Truman's retirement he lived just up the road. He even had an office there. So in the early day of the Library, Truman himself would on occation give tours. After the Museum part we headed out to the courtyard where the Truman's are buried. Like most of the modern Presidents, Truman's gravesite is simple and respectable. I really enjoyed the Truman Library but we had alot to see, and a long way to go before the end of the day. So we were on our way.

The Truman's gravesite, Independence, Missouri

March 10, 2011  Dwight D. Eisenhower

We left Independence and crossed the state line into Kansas. We went through Kansas City and before long we were driving through the open plaines of Kansas. On the way out to Abilene and Eisenhower we made a quick stop in Topeka to see the gravesite of Vice President Charles Curtis. It was a very quick stop in that the cemetery was just off of the Interstate.

We finally arrived at the Eisenhower Center in Abilene, KS. It was a nice set up. His boyhood home, Library, Museum, and the Place of Meditation (where the Eisenhowers are buried) are all there. After driving all night to Truman's Library, and then driving another 2 hours out to Eisenhowers, we were pretty exhausted. Plus we still had to drive 4 hours to our hotel near Omaha, Nebraska when we were done in Abilene. So I decided to tour the boyhood home and skip the Museum since I heard that it wasn't one of the better ones. Now I really regret this choice since I can't claim to of seen Eisenhowers Library and Museum now. I guess that it gives me a reason to return someday.

After the house tour we walked around the loop on the property. There are a bunch of memorial plaques at the far end of the property and a statue of Ike in the center. We then made it down to the Place of Meditation. Which is a small chapel built to be the Eisenhowers final resting place. Inside are the graves of Dwight, Mamie and an infant son Doud.

Dwight Eisenhowers gravesite Abilene, Kansas

After the Eisenhower Center we got some Sonic burgers and headed north towards Omaha, Nebraska. We made a quick stop on the way in Marysville, Kansas which was the location of the Pony Express station #1. There is a prety cool statue of a Pony Express rider on his horse there. We continued into Nebraska as we were losing daylight. One last stop of the day was in Omaha at Gerald Ford birthplace. We got there just as the sun was setting. I'll bet that it's a pretty cool thing to see in the summer and in the daylight. It's a garden on the site of the house where he was born. After that we crossed our 6th state line in 24 hours from Nebraska into Iowa. We spent the night at a hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It had been a long tough day and we got to see alot. The next 3 days would be a little more easy and relaxed.

March 11, 2011  Herbert Hoover

We got a great nights sleep on the night of March 10th. We had a pretty simple day ahead of us with 3 stops. We would drive the entire length of Iowa that day and spend the night in Moline, Illinios. Just on the other side of the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa. We left our hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa around 8 am. First stop of the day was in Winterset, Iowa at John Waynes birthplace. After we toured the birthplace we headed to nearby Des Moine to see the gravesite of FDR's Vice President Henry Wallace. Then we continued east to West Branch, Iowa where both the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are. We toured the small Hoover birthplace as well as some other buildings that were significant to Hoover's early life there. We then tour the Hoover Library and Museum. We really enjoyed the Hoover Library. It focused more on the humanitarian work that he did, than it did his administration. We then walked out to the Hoover gravesite. The whole Hoover experience was a pretty cool one.

Herbert Hoovers gravesite. West Branch, Iowa

The trip would continue for 2 more days. On March 12 we left our hotel in Moline, IL and saw Ronald Reagan's birthplace in Tampico, IL and we also saw his boyhood home in Dixon, IL. We then returned to our hotel in Moline and rested for the rest of the day until our concert that night.

March 13, 2011 Benjamin Harrison revisit

On Sunday March 13 all we had to do is drive the 8 hours home, and hit a few sites along the way. We first stopped in Bloomington, IL to see the gravesite of the 2 Adlai Stevensons. One was Vice President under Grover Cleveland, and the other, his grandson ran for President twice against Eisenhower, and was Ambassador to the UN under Kennedy. We also stopped in Indianapolis at Crown Hill Cemetery to revisit the gravesite of President Benjamin Harrison, as well as the 3 Vice President buried there and John Dillinger.

Ben Harrison's gravesite Indianapolis, Indiana

Before we left Indianapolis we made a quick stop at Ben Harrison's home, which was closed. We then drove the 3 hours home and had a nice evening with the kids.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Trip #7 PA, DC and Virginia

National Cathedral in Washington DC. Gravesite of Woodrow Wilson

Presidential Gravesites seen of this trip: #15 James Buchanen  Lancaster, Pennsylvania 21 of 38
                                                  #35 John F. Kennedy  Arlington, Virginia 22 of 38
                                                  #28 Woodrow Wilson  Washington DC 23 of 38
                                                  #27 William H. Taft  Arlington, Virginia 24 of 38
                                                  #1 George Washington  Mt. Vernon, Virginia 25 of 38
                                                  #4 James Madison  Orange, Virginia  26 of 38
                                                  #3 Thomas Jefferson  Charlottesville, Virginaia 27 of 38
                                                  #10 John Tyler  Richmond, Virginia 28 of 38
                                                  #5 James Monroe Richmond, Virginia 29 of 38

Bonus President: Jefferson Davis #1 and only President of the Confederate States of America

This was a trip, in large part, to pick up some loose ends. 8 of the Presidential Gravesites that I saw on this trip were sites that I had seen at least once before. But I had few to no pictures of any previous visits. But I was happy to re visit them, since it had been at least 6 years since I had seen any of them.

2009 had been a great year with this hobby, seeing 20 Presidential Gravesites total. At the begining of 2010 I had hoped to add another 10 or more for the year. Then around March we found out that my wife was pregnant. This was great news! I gladly put some of my trip ideas on the back burner until the after the baby was born. Our little boy Nicholas was born then in November.

We agreed on one big trip for the year. I cut quite a bit out and turned what was originally a 9 day trip into a 6 day trip once we found out that we had a baby on the way. Before all was said and done we added a day at the end of the week to break up the trip home a little, making it a 7 day trip. So when the time came we were heading east to pick up 8 re visits, 1 new visit, and a bunch of other great stuff.

June 12, 2010 James Buchanen

We headed out around midnight on the night of Friday June 11th. We had the same travel group as the New York New England trip from the previous September. Mom, Dad and my cousin came along with my wife, Khloe and I. My plan for the day was to visit the Buchanen gravesite, a quick stop by Buchanen's Wheatland home, which I figured would be closed when we would be there, and they were. Then spend the rest of the day in Gettysburg.

A couple weeks before our trip my sister and her family went to Gettysburg and toured the battlefield with a CD that they put in their car that directed them where to go. The CD was made by 'The History Channell'. So it was really well done. Knowing that we were heading there she gave us the CD. So my plan was to see the the Buchanen stuff in Lancaster, PA, then tour the Gettysburg Battlefield,  tour the Eisenhower home at Gettysburg, then head to our Arlington, Virginia hotel for the night.

He made it to Lancaster around 8 am. We found the cemetery ok, but the gate was locked. My cousin and I got out on foot to find a way in as the rest of the van circled the cemetery in the van to do the same. After further investigation we found an area that didn't even have a fence. I missed the sign that directed you to Buchanen's Tomb. Instead I spotted a flag pole in the distance and made a bee line for it as my cousin followed. On the way I couldn't help but notice that most of the cemetery was in serious disrepair. But when we found the Buchanen grave it was easy to see that someone was maintaining his gravesite pretty well. Everyone in the van found us after a few minutes at the gravesite. It wasn't long and we were on our way to Gettysburg. All went as planned that day except that we didn't get to tour the Eisenhower Home at Gettysburg. But it was a very full day of site seeing. After Gettysburg we were all pretty exhausted and then were on our way to Arlington, Virginia for the night.

James Buchanen gravesite Lancaster, PA

June 13, 2010, John F. Kennedy

This turned out to be a day where not everything went as planned, but it all worked out in the end.
Here was my original plan: Drive the short distance from our Arlington, Virginia hotel to Arlington National Cemetery. Since I had a pregnant wife I figured that we would take the Arlington National Cemetery bus tour, instead of venturing into the massive cemetery on foot. The bus tour only stops at JFK's gravesite, The Tomb of the Unknown Soilder, and Arlington House, home of Robert E. Lee. After the bus tour we would go back to the hotel where everyone else would relax while my cousin and I would venture back into the cemetery on foot and see President Taft as well as some other points of interest. We would return to the hotel in time to get everyone else and drive out to the National Cathedral to see the gravesite of Woodrow Wilson. After calling ahead I found out that on this day I only day a window of one hour to see President Wilson's gravesite between 1 and 2 pm. We would then return to the hotel, hop on the subway and head to the Holocaust Museum and then spend the rest of the day walking the main mall area.

What really happened: We got to the cemetery when they opened just like a hundred other people. I underestimated how long it would take to buy the bus tour tickets, wait in line for the bus, and take the tour.  First stop of the tour was JFK's gravesite. It is a nice and respectable gravesite. Probably one of the most visited of all Presidential Graves. JFK's brothers Bobby Kennedy and Teddy Kennedy are buried nearby. There is also an area nearby that has a bunch of Supreme Court Justices buried in it. Including Chief Justices William Rehnquest and Warren Earl Burger. Justice Thurgood Marshall is also there, he was the first black man appointed to the Supreme Court.

John F. Kennedy's gravesite. Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia

June 13, 2010,  Woodrow Wilson

By the time we were done with Arlington National Cemeteries bus tour there was no time for anyone to relax at the hotel. And no time to see President Taft's grave. We HAD to get moving to the National Cathedral or else we would miss our one hour window of oppourtunity to see Wilson. So we left ANC for the National Cathedral. When we got there my wife, cousin and I hopped out and headed into the Cathedral while Mom and Dad stayed with a sleeping Khloe. Wilson's gravesite in a beautiful part of the Cathedral including stained glass windows and a marble casket. After seeing Wilson we explored the Cathedral a little more, and then were on our way back to our hotel in Arlington. Once we got there we packed up and headed for the subway to go into DC. We got to the Holocaust Museum which my cousin really wanted to see. We went inside and I had to throw away an unopened bottle of Pepsi Max in order to gain enteree. But once I got in there they said no more civilian tours for the day, only government employees for the rest of the day. Which really pissed me off. We checked out a couple of temporary displays and were off to the Mall area. We saw the Washington, Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, Vietnam, WW2 and Korean War Monuments. I decided that we would have to make an unexpected stop back at Arlington National Cemetery on the way to Mt. Vernon on the next morning to see President Taft.

Woodrow Wilson's gravesite. National Cathedral Washington DC

June 14, 2010  William Howard Taft

After an exhausting day in the Washington DC area we all got a good nights sleep. The original plan for this day was simple. Be at George Washingtons Mt. Vernon when they open, then make it down to James Madisons Montpelier before the end of the day, then continue on down to Charlottesville for the night. But since the day before didn't go quite as planned we had to make a quick stop at Arlington National Cemetery to see President Taft. Now on this trip I really came to hate the roads around Arlington, Virginia. We missed our turn and ended up driving past the Pentagon. We eventually made it all the way around ANC and got it right the 2nd time. We parked the van and my cousin and I headed in on foot. I knew that it wouldn't take long since Taft's gravesite is very close to the front gate. We made our way up to Taft's grave. It is a unique grave marker for the only man to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Not far away was the gravesite of Robert Todd Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln's only son to live to adulthood. We made a quick stop at Robert Todd Lincoln's grave before heading back to the van. Then it was off to Mt. Vernon.

The day before I got a map of ANC and all of the graves of interest to me marked on them. Taking the bus tour I wasn't able to see very many of them. But unexpectedly I would be back in the Washington DC area 6 weeks later for the weekend to see my nephew in the Boy Scout Parade. On that trip I was able to go into the Cemetery on foot with my cousin and see alot of those loose ends, plus a bunch of stuff that I missed in DC as well.

Taft's gravesite. Arlington National Cemetery

June 14, 2010  George Washington

We left Arlington National Cemetery after seeing Taft's gravesite for Mt. Vernon. We arrived shortly after they opened. We waited in line to see the house and started heading toward the Tomb, seeing the old tomb on the way.

There are just a few Presidential Gravesites that I have visited that I had to wait my turn to see, and wait for the crowd to clear some, in order to get my pictures. Washington was one of them. Also in this category was Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan.

I had last visited Mt. Vernon 6 years earlier on my honeymoon. In that time they had added alot. A museum, visitors center and reconstructed distillery. One could easily spend the whole day there, which I really hope to return someday and do. But we had a scheduel to stick to so we were on our way after a couple of hours.

Me at Washingtons Tomb

June 14, 2010  James Madison

After Mt. Vernon we were on our way to James Madison's Montpelier. Montpelier had undergone a huge renovation in recent years. The Du pont family owned the house for a long time and added to it over the years. The recent renovation restored the house back to how it looked in Madisons time. Having worked in Construction since High School I was very impressed with all that they had done. After the house tour we headed down to the family graveyard. James and Dolley Madison are buried together there. Dolley's smaller marker is just behind James's larger one. We then headed to our motel in Charlottesville. On the campus of the University of Virginia. Being on campus I figured that it would be a decent place. But it turned out to be a dump. After dinner we headed to the older parts of the U of V campus that Thomas Jefferson designed. It was pretty cool.

James Madison's large tombstone in the front. Dolley's smaller one in the back.

June 15, 2010  Thomas Jefferson

We got up early to leave the craphole motel, and head over to Monticello. I must of got bad information because we showed up at 8 when I thought they opened. The guy at the gate told us that they don't open until 9. He mentioned a donut place called Spudnuts nearby to kill time at. So we went there for some donuts. They were pretty good.

We made it back to Monticello in time for the first tour of the day. The house tour of Monticello is very interesting. Jefferson was a brilliant inventor on top of everything else, and his house is proof of that. Like Mt. Vernon, Monticello has also added a museum and other things that we didn't have time to see. So sometime I would like to return. After the house tour we walked the grounds alittle. It is a beautiful property that is mostly unchanged since Jefferson's time. We then headed down to the family cemetery where Jefferson's family members are still being buried on occation.

Thomas Jefferson's gravesite at his Monticello home. Charlottesville, Virginia

June 15, 2010  John Tyler
                       James Monroe

After we left Monticello we were making good time so we stopped by James Monroe's Ash Lawn Highland home. It was a nice tour. The home is owned by the College of William and Mary. After Ash Lawn we headed to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. The burial place of Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, and also Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Confederate Generals J.E.B. Stuart and George Pickett are also buried there.

First we saw the 2 Generals. And then we headed to the area where both John Tyler and James Monroe happen to be buried near each other. There are 3 places that can claim 2 Presidential Gravesites. The first is the United First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts where John Adams and John Quincy Adams are both buried. Another one is Arlington National Cemetery were William Howard Taft  and John F. Kennedy are both buried. The last is Hollywood Cemetery.

John Tyler's gravesite,  Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia. The black birdcage in the background to the left is the gravesite of James Monroe.

James Monroe's gravesite

June 15, 2010  Jefferson Davis CSA President

After we saw the 2 U. S. Presidents there was one last stop before we left the cemetery. Any real gravehunter can't visit Hollywood Cemetery and not visit the grave of Jefferson Davis, the only President of the Confederate States of America.

The grave of CSA President Jefferson Davis

That concludes the Presidential Gravesites seen on this trip. However the trip continued for 3 more days.

When we left Richmond we headed towards Williamsburg for the night. On the way we stopped at Berkeley Plantation, birthplace of W. H. Harrison, Sherwood Forrest Plantation, home of John Tyler, and the roadside marker marking the birthplace of John Tyler.

The next day Wendesday June 16th was the Lighthouse and beach day that I promised my wife. On this day we saw 4 lighthouses. One happend to be on the same island that Jefferson Davis was imprisoned for 2 years after the Civil War.

On Thursday we visited Appomattox Court House, where the Civil War ended. Then we hit Lexington, Virginia where Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are buried. And finally we stopped in Staunton, Virginia at the birhplace of Woodrow Wilson.

On Friday we stopped in Shankesville, PA at the Flight 93 Memorial. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 there was a memorial started near the crash site of  Flight 93. It was a mooving experience. We then hit French and Indian War sites Fort Liggioneer and Fort Nessesity. Fort Nessesity is the site of George Washington's first battle.

All in all it was a pretty great week. We went home to soak it all in, and of course prepare for the arrival of our son Nicholas, who would be born the following November.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trip #6 Grand Rapids

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Grand Rapids, Michigan

Presidential Gravesites seen on this trip #38 Gerald R. Ford  Grand Rapids, Michigan 20 of 38

December 26, 2009 Gerald R. Ford

On Christmas Day, 2009, My whole family came to my house for Christmas. I was talking with my sisters about my hobby and they asked how many Presidential Gravesites I had seen that year. I added them up. 19. That's when I started thinking that it would be cool to make it an even 20. The closest and easiest that I hadn't seen yet was Gerald Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 4 hours away.

I gathered some last minute information and talked my wife into getting an early start the next morning. So we headed out for Grand Rapids around 7am. The weather cooperated. As I got higher up in Michigan and closer to Grand Rapids we started to go through some dusting of snow. As far as the weather went we were very lucky for being in Michigan in late December.

This was a new experience for me. This was the first Presidential Library or Museum that I had taken the time to tour. Ford is the only one whose Library and Museum are in different places. As mentioned his Museum is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is also buried. But his Library is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the campus of the University of Michigan, Ford was a U of M alumni and I am a big Ohio State fan. But that's ok. lol.

I really enjoyed the Ford Museum. It was very well laid out. After this I tried to incorporate the other Presidential Libraries into future trips. Ford was the only President to be appointed President. He was House Minority Leader when Richard Nixon appointed him to be Vice President to fill the vacancy left by Spiro Agnew's resignation. When Richard Nixon himself resigned Ford became President. Ford wouldn't win the election of 1976. Making him the first VP who assumed the Presidency who never won a term in his own right since Chester Arthur. He was a good, decent man who brought integrity to the White House after the coroption of Watergate.

After visiting the gravesite of Gerald Ford on December 26, 2009 it made 20 gravesites in one year. In 2010 I would visit another 9. So far in 2011 I've seen another 5. Which leaves 4 left which I hope to see in 2012.

Gerald Ford's gravesite, Grand Rapids, Michigan