These are the minor trips, somewhat abbreviated travels that do not permit truly close exploration and are more passing through than a real experience of the places one vists. Still, they are enough to give a taste of the locale and a profound desire to return again.

Cape CodeI grew up going to the beach in the summer at Nantasket Beach and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. More than a decade later I returned as a college student, with female companionship, traveling in my old friend Terri's 240Z to Wellfleet and Provincetown. Around that same time I was in Hyannisport when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency after Watergate, The Cape is a very special place, particularly then — before the massive real estate development that now chokes the roadways. A narrow peninsula of scrub pines and bermuda grass, crystal clear, cold water and brisk evenings. And no boardwalks.

Participating personally in history can be thrilling, even when conventional wisdom says the event, in retrospect, was barely historic. But in January 1977, after nearly 10 years of evil Capitoland bumbling Republican presidents, Jimmy Carter was sworn in on the East Wing of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Little did I know on my trip during that brutally cold week that I would eventually settle in D.C. and someday be paid to walk the halls under that same Capitol dome. But on that winter Thursday afternoon, I managed to capture a poignant vignette of the quadrennial changing of American political power. Here Capitol Hill police scramble across the icy grounds to surround the helicopter Gerald Ford used to leave Washington following the inaugural. But after all that, I missed Carter's historic walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bald HeadFor several summers in the early 1990s, we rented a home on the peaceful beach at Bald Head Island, North Carolina. These were magical days of swimming, sunsets and beach games with my young son Allan, whose fascination with Formula One racing reached a peak designing masterful sand racetracks on lazy summer afternoons. Bald Head continues to shrink with the constant pounding from hurricanes bearing in off the Atlantic coast. The house we stayed in has now been moved two hundred yards inland.

ZermattOne of my great passions for more than 30 years has been skiing, which has taken me to three continents, four countries and more than 10 states. In 1996 we visited the village of Zermatt, Switzerland, nestled against the majestic Matterhorn. Here my family and I pose with Benny the St. Bernard in front of that famous peak on a splendid, bright February morning. This trip also included Lake Como and two nights in Milan, as well as an incredible train ride trough the mountains of Northern Italy. And of course, some fantastic pistes.

CaymanGrand Cayman Island is a wondrous sounding place but in reality is like a strip mall in the Caribbean. What makes it special are the fabulous tropical waters, tremendous for diving, snorkeling and, in this case, sting ray petting. On a sand bar several miles off Grand Cayman is a place they call "Sting Ray City," because the rays are so tame they come right up to nuzzle the humans. Slightly inland is Hell, a hole-in-the-wall town that (literally) sells postcards from Hell. Yes, a hell of a way to earn a living. Just don't go looking for local culture; there ain't any.