Back to My Midwest Roots: San Diego to Illinois

I’m from the Chicago area, and between the pandemic and the hassle of traveling at the holidays (when I would normally return), it’s been over four years since I last spent time with my family. I was overdue for a visit. My sister and her family, along with some longtime friends, have been spending their Memorial Day weekend at a resort on a man-made lake … Continue reading Back to My Midwest Roots: San Diego to Illinois

Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

One of the cool things about being retired is having the ability to just get up and go. On Monday morning, I decided that I was going to head over to Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, so I packed a bag, booked a hotel room for two nights using points, threw my camera in my car and drove six hours to Tucson. I left … Continue reading Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Yellowstone National Park

Prologue On one of my many cross-country trips in the early 1980s, I took a considerable detour off of Interstate 80 and spent a few hours touring around Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone National Park. I knew that I didn’t have time to do Yellowstone justice, so I skipped it and vowed I would return at some point in the future. Now, … Continue reading Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Prologue In early September 2021, I journeyed by car from San Diego for my first visit to Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park. As a lover of mountains, I planned my trip so that I could bookend my visit to Yellowstone with time spent in Grand Teton National Park. Finally, on the way home, I detoured to Cedar Break National Monument just outside … Continue reading Grand Teton National Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

On the return from my recent trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks, I stopped by Cedar Breaks National Monument. You can think of it as a smaller scale Bryce Canyon, but with fewer hoodoos and no way (that I could tell) to hike down into the canyon. One of the amazing things is that all of the observation points are above 10,000 … Continue reading Cedar Breaks National Monument

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

Not long after glaciers and the Kings River carved out Kings Canyon, I made my first and only trip through Sequoia National Park on one of my many Navy cross-country trips. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t that long ago and not measured in glacial time, but definitely in the early 1980s. The only distinct memory I have from that trip was a terrifying near head-on collision … Continue reading Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

Utah’s National Parks

Utah is renowned for its “Big 5” national parks—Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion—and for good reason. It’s difficult to come up with enough superlatives to describe their natural wonders. Each park is unique in its own right and worthy of a visit. Which you choose to visit depends a bit on your interests, but you really should visit them all if you … Continue reading Utah’s National Parks

A to Z: Arizona to Zion

October means it’s time for another one of my notorious planned impromptu road trips. “Planned impromptu? Huh?!?” I planned on taking last week off quite some time ago, so I’ve had that on my schedule for a while. The impromptu part comes in when I didn’t make my first hotel reservation until 11:00 p.m. Saturday night for a Sunday morning departure. The options under consideration … Continue reading A to Z: Arizona to Zion