Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and I agree(ed) on one thing: President James Polk should not have gone to war with Mexico in 1846. When I went to Utah, California, Arizona, and New Mexico in January, I should have required my passport to enter Mexico. Nonetheless, those "stolen states" have incredible natural beauty, so I enjoyed it, either it be Mexico or the United States. (But I still hope that we allow California to secede. If it doesn't, I'm for kicking them out of the Union. Wisconsin then can regain the leadership in milk production--and Wisconsin dairy farmers won't have to unfairly fight against the massive California herds that benefit from subsidized water coming from the Sierra Nevada. There, I got THAT off my chest!).
I visited two national parks in California: Death Valley NP and Joshua Tree NP, plus a couple of national monuments. I also drove for a ways on old Route 66 west of Needles--as I did in 1946 and 1961. Both its pavement and my body have aged approximately the same--but from different kinds of abuse.