About the Author | Reviews | Contact
#1 American Experience Expert In USA    .     #1 Motorcycle Touring Expert In USA

About the Author
Gary McKechnie

Gary McKechnie
  • Entertaining Media Guest
    Watch Gary in:
    Philadelphia | Chattanooga
  • Featured in USA Today, Southern Living, Orlando Sentinel, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Dallas Morning Herald, Southwest Airlines, Lake & Sumter Style, Orlando magazine, Road Trip, CNN, CBS radio and newspapers and magazines across America.
  • Two-time Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award Winner
  • Benjamin Franklin Award Winner
  • Cunard Line (Queen Mary 2) Insights Series Speaker
  • Booklist Selected Author
Read more about Gary McKechnie

An Entertaining Presenter

Having followed in the footsteps of Charles Kuralt, Gary's own epic travels have given him an unparalleled education in our nation's history, culture, and pastimes. Visit AEI Speakers to arrange for Gary to share with your group fascinating stories of American humor, heroism, and inspiration.

READ: Gary's Road Trips

Prairie Hog
Vacationing for a Living


I know how I feel about USA 101, but let me know what you think - and add your suggestions for future editions.
Email Me

Rocky Mountain West

Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah

Rocky Mountain West Highlights

Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Utah

Calling upon his own experience as an artist, actor, and director,
 Robert Redford puzzled over a way for up and coming directors to break through a top-heavy motion picture system and get their stories out. In the end, the answer was the Sundance Film Festival. Now a part of America’s cultural calendar, it remains  “dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences.” You should go.

Aspen, Colorado

Like the Kentucky Derby, Groundhog Day, and the indictment of a congressman, each year there are certain events we can count on. Each winter, one that appears like clockwork in the tabloid press is the return of movie stars to Aspen. Flocking here like swallows to Capistrano, their arrival focuses the attention of the nation on a tiny little town in the Rockies.


Nearly every old Western includes a scene that ratchets up the suspense: The Showdown. Close-ups capture spurred boots stepping along a dusty street, a nervous hand fingering a holstered gun, and a furrowed brow beneath the brim of a wide cowboy hat. The series of images are forever tied to our American story because scenes like this really happened. They happened in frontier towns like Tombstone.

Grand Canyon

When you stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon and look across some 4,000 square miles of what is essentially nothing, the view seems surreal. All the postcards you’ve seen and all the pictures your friends have shared are now right in front of you but magnified a billion times. In a way all of this is a visible reminder of what happens when you leave the water running.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
New Mexico

Each fall, one of the year’s most pleasing visual samplers arrives special delivery from New Mexico. It is the sight of hundreds of balloons floating peacefully above the Sandias and Rio Grande at Albuquerque.

Why are so many balloonists here and doing this? Because flying a balloon is fun, and it is beautiful. Isn’t that’s reason enough?

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Salt Lake City, Utah

Dividing lines have been drawn regarding the separation of church and state, but there has never been such a line when it comes to a hymnbook and house of worship. Whether it’s a church choir, a gospel group, a lone guitarist, or an entire rock band, music can emphasize the message. Every Sunday morning in Salt Lake City, 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are making sure they’re getting their message across by lifting the spirit of worshippers of all ages, cultures, and religions.

Miss America Pageant
Las Vegas, Nevada

Of all the beauty pageants across the country, only the Miss America pageant has reached the status of national icon -- unless you factor in the Coon Dog Queen of Saluda, North Carolina. Even after its popularity dimmed during its final years in Atlantic City, the Miss America pageant could never really go away. It’s the nation’s original reality show.

Las Vegas - Welcome Sign

After a brief flirtation with wholesomeness, in 2003 Las Vegas decided to instead remind visitors that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Turned out that was the clarion call for hedonists and expense account execs on business trips. What also helped propel the city’s appeal was the creation of billion-dollar resorts, dreamlike casinos, indulgent spas, and the most spectacular stage shows in America. Although Las Vegas turns Puritanism on its head, you can’t argue with excess.