Road Trip: Destination San Antonio Missions and More 29-30 September 2015

Posted by Pat on October 2, 2015 in Travel |


Bat Outta Helles beer along San Antonio’s River Walk

I thought I would like San Antonio more than I did. The Alamo is a “Shrine” here. But across from this martyred plaza where Travis, Crockett and Bowie made their last stand are Ripley’s, Guinness, Coyote Ugly, Tomb Raider, Mirror Maze, and Tussauds. Hop On trolley-style buses, horse drawn carriages and a huge gazebo make this more a Disneyland Main Street than a Tex-Mex city. Canal tour boats and miles of River Walk remind me less of Texas than Pirates of the Caribbean. There is even a 622′ Tower of the Americas, a Seattle Needle knock-off if ever there was one. However, San Antonio is definitely worth a couple days visit.  Read more…


Road Trip: Destination Cahokia Mounds And Meramec Caverns 25 September 2015

Posted by Pat on September 26, 2015 in Travel |
One gigantic mound of dirt

Monks Mound, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

On the eastern and western sides of the great Mississippi River, lay two destinations for today’s exploration. Unfortunately, St. Louis lies between. The city skyline is memorable with its famous Gateway Arch and cable-stayed Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, the brick facade of Busch Stadium is admirable, the meandering Mississippi and its plethora of bridges is impressive. But all I see are the twists and turns of expressway interchanges, acres of elevated concrete, swarms of cars and trucks, stop and go and sit and wait traffic. The worst of Chicago or LA rush hour has nothing on St. Louis.  Read more…

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Road Trip: Destination Arches and Canyonlands National Parks    15 September 2015

Posted by Pat on September 17, 2015 in Travel |


Delicate Arch

Night rains have washed the Grand Canyon dust from my car, cleaned the windshield, and brightened the day for exploration under cloudy blue skies. All the better for enjoying the dramatic landscape of the Canyonlands. And here once again is my favorite sculptor at work – the Colorado River. Read more…

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Road Trip: Destination Moab, Utah   14 September 2015

Posted by Pat on September 16, 2015 in Travel |


Flat desert and awesome rock formations in route

It is a boring, long 200 miles from Grand Canyon’s North Rim to its South Rim. But my destination is 350 miles north. I drive to Moab – a shower and a bed.

To appreciate Arizona, one needs to drive through the northeastern part of the state. I descend over 3000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon into an arid valley, driving past miles and miles of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, last seen as I stood at Imperial Point on the North Rim. These cliffs are home to the slowly growing population of California condors in this area. The cliffs appear endless as I drive for about 50 miles past both their western and southern side. As are all rock formations in this part of the country, these sandstone cliffs are awesome in color, shape, and size. Read more…

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Road Trip: Destination North Rim of Grand Canyon 12-13 September 2015

Posted by Pat on September 15, 2015 in Travel |

Hiking North Rim of Grand Canyon

I slept in the back of my car last night, listening to huge raindrops slapping the sunroof, and I still had a fantastic time on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Visiting the Grand Canyon, one of 23 UNESCO sights in the U.S., is all about seeing fantastic views and witnessing the incredible force of nature at work. Only 10% percent of the people who visit the Grand Canyon come to the north rim. So being here is about having hiking trails to myself; about being in nature with the only sounds heard being the wind, birds, squirrels and some scurrying unknowns through the underbrush. Except for perhaps 100 visitors around the North Rim’s Visitor Center, being here is like having the entire Grand Canyon to myself. It’s a marvelous feeling. It’s about nature’s shapes, colors and sizes on a Grand scale. It definitely is not for the acrophobic. Read more…

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Road Trip: Destination Jacob Lake Arizona, North Rim of Grand Canyon 11 September 2015

Posted by Pat on September 11, 2015 in Travel |


Hidden Pinyon Overlook hiking Snow Canyon SP in Utah

Dinner conversation with the gentleman next to me led to a recommendation to visit Snow Canyon State Park. I’m on my own, I have time, I can’t see why not. So this morning I drive five minutes out of Nevada, 10 minutes across Arizona, and witness Utah turn on the beauty switch. Mother Nature blooms in Utah.  Read more…

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Road Trip – Destination Mesquite Nevada. 10 Sept 2015

Posted by Pat on September 10, 2015 in Travel |


Mesquite Nevada brown

From the glorious beauty of the Central Coast, fog-enshrouded with blue skies, I drive inland through desert and the brown smog-filled Central Valley. Temperature climbs from a comfortable 70° to a high of 106°. Gas prices drop from a high of $3.57 to a wonderful “steal” of $2.75. My drive is HOT, dull, brown. There is little that is remarkable – perhaps the huge wind farm above Tehachapi. Nothing blasting off around Edwards AFB.

Nothing but scrub, sand and depressed scorpions as I drive north into the high desert of Mojave National Preserve. I pass the ever-interesting Zzyzx Road, not because it goes somewhere but that it is a unique road in nowhere.

Vegas is Vegas. Bumper to bumper traffic for miles, hot, some interesting architecture surrounded by what I view as my least favorite city in the world. After 513 miles I arrive in Mesquite, NV. I sleep over at the Virgin River Hotel and Casino, which hints at a river close-by. I bet it’s dry. The Arizona border is just down the street. Strolling thru the bowling alley and weaving past the slots and gaming tables, I arrive at the River Cafe for a $10 plate of steak and eggs and a $3 beer. Overall a good end to the day.

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