J. Stephen Conn
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I am a semi-retired clergyman with a passion for travel, history, and the great outdoors. You will see these interests reflected in my images, which are taken primarily to document my travels. My goal on Panoramio is to post one photo from each of the 3,142 counties or county equivilents in the the United States. I completed my goal of visiting each of them in Carson City, Nevada on September 1, 2012. In many of the places I have visited I did not take any pictures so that gives me reason to go back again. As time pemits I also hope to post a few images from the 57 countries of the world that I have been privileged to visit so far. May God grant me a long life so I can finish more of my "To Do Before I Die" list.

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Karen and I took the tour of the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine on a Friday morning in April and were fortunate to be the only two people on our tour, although we just missed a school class of more than 50 kids, coming out of the mine as we were going in. This personalized tour gave us the opportunity to ask many questions of our guide, who had spend 28 years working underground as a miner before retiring to become a tour guide. The tour is both interesting and educational.

Zona Rosa, San Salvador, El Salvador

This very modern Pizza Hut / Wendys is located just a short walk from the Tica Bus Station and Hotel Meson de Maria in the upscale Zona Rosa, San Salvador, El Salvador.

The Rubén Darío National Theatre is one of the few buildings in the Area Monumental that survived the devastating earthquake of 1972. It was named in honor of Nicaragua's most renowned poets, Rubén Darío, whose likeness can be seen on the 100-cordoba note. The theater sits beside Plaza de la Fe and overlooks Lake Managua. Behind the theater are the Old Cathedral, the National Palace and other important Managua landmarks. The Nicaraguan National Theater is a leading venue for cultural life in Managua, including music, theater and the visual arts.

The downtown area of Managua, Nicaragua, has scores of small tiendas of various kinds. However, near the center of the city is also a large modern shopping mall, Plaza Inter. Here, across the street from the Crown Plaza Hotel, you will find you will find a department store, three levels of shops, a multi-screen cinema, an Internet cafe, a bustling food court, and more.

One of the primary attractions of Plaza Inter to me was that it is air conditioned, unlike most of the small shops of Managua. I found it a welcome respite from the heat and humidity that is almost always prevalent in Managua. From a balcony on the south end of the plaza are good views looking out over the Area Monumental and to Lake Managua beyond.

The word "Alcatraz" is Spanish for "Pelican", and we did indeed see pelicans there, as well as an abundance of other bird life. But to most Americans, Alcatraz means "The Rock," infamous as once being the site of the most feared prison in the United States. Legends of Alcatraz are legion, about well known gangsters, daring escape attempts, and more recently, Indian uprisings. On the beautilful spring day of our visit the island itself (not counting the prison ruins) seemed more like a little piece of paradise, with flowers blooming profusely, and the cool deep blue of waters of the San Francisco Bay all around us. The strategic island also has an interesting old lighthouse. This is definitely a "Must See" for any visitor to San Francisco. Regardless of your interest: history, nature, culture, architecture, whatever, you are sure to find a bit of it to always remember from Alcatraz Island.

Log church in McCloud, California, near the base of Mount Shasta.

Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming:

This structure, started in 1903, was created by piping the hot mineral water through a vertical pipe built into a rock pyramid. As the water exits the top and flows over the structure it cools and deposits travetine, much the same as the Terraces are formed near the Big Horn Spring within the park. The algae within the water colors the deposits.

The Detroit Lighthouse Depot was formerly a central supply depot for lighthouse activity on the Great Lakes. Established in 1874, the depot supplied lenses, oil and equipment for area lighthouses and lightships. The site has now been abandoned by the Coast Guard and taken over by the city of Detroit. Plans to turn the facility into a museum are pending.

Vandalia was the first capital of Illinois, before the state's seat of government was moved to Springfield.

Call of the Wild is a small privately owned museum which features 60 exhibits of wildlife in their native habitat. The emphasis is on animals of the northern latitudes. There are bobcats, wolves, an eleven foot standing Polar Bear, and much more. The displays may not be quite as professionally done as in some larger museums, but we still found them interesting.

There is also a Wildlife Theatre, and interactive exhibits which are fun and educational. For all of our fellow "chocoholics," the gift shop offers 36 varieties of homemade fudge, as well as clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, etc.


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