An Olympian Apology

Dear Olympic National Park, It's not you, it's me. Usually, I like knowing something about my destination before I get there, especially when I'm planning to visit a National Park. I'll make a point of scanning the internet or paging through some travel books, gathering information about your geography and your attractions before my arrival.…Read more An Olympian Apology

Glacier Assurance

Glacier National Park had some big shoes to fill considering we were still riding a Canadian Rocky Mountain high from our past visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks. It’s as if Banff and Jasper were the opening act and killed it, and just as Glacier, the headliner took the stage, the power went out.…Read more Glacier Assurance

Smoke and Mirrors

Sadly, we were nearly out of time. Our visit to Banff and Jasper had taken our breath away, and now becomes the benchmark by which all future destinations will be judged. Fortunately, our farewell tour followed the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff, and continued down the Banff-Windermere Parkway to Radium Hot Springs--our last Canadian…Read more Smoke and Mirrors

Valley of the Five Lakes

Clouds to the right of us... ...and clouds to the left of us... ...left us completely surrounded by clouds. Now we had to figure out what to do on such an overcast day. Park cognoscenti suggested a popular destination showcasing five distinctly different alpine lakes--each with its own signature green hue. I was hooked. With…Read more Valley of the Five Lakes

H2O-2-GO

The Icefields Parkway represents the spine of Banff and Jasper National Parks. It runs a crooked line astride the Continental Divide for 140 miles between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper--rising and falling, twisting and turning--as it follows rugged mountain vertebrae, verdant river veins, alpine organs of opalescent waters, and at the heart of…Read more H2O-2-GO

Banff Is My New Bff

I really missed being in the mountains, and eagerly anticipated the rush of crossing into the Canadian Rockies. After a month of wandering through American and Canadian prairies, Leah and I were more than ready for a change in scenery, but it came with a dose of anxiety. British Columbia was on fire at several…Read more Banff Is My New Bff

Way Back in the Day

On the recommendation of a film school buddy who's been Canadian all his life, we doubled back east of Calgary to tour the Red Deer River Valley, hitting many of the Badlands hot-spots before immersing ourselves in Drumheller dino-madness. We drove for nearly two hours along prairie roads, wondering when the landscape would eventually change…Read more Way Back in the Day

Back in the Day

Taming the Canadian Wild West required spirit, courage and resolve. Throw in the railroad, the missionaries, and the Mounted Police, and Calgary soon took shape along the banks of the Bow River. A visit to Heritage Park in Calgary... retells the history through a fully recreated settlement of restored buildings occupied by staff members dressed…Read more Back in the Day

Satisfaction

Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon, SD was special not just because the cold mountain water rushing down the mountainside provided a welcome relief from the summer heatwave, or because of the occasional bursts of rainbows sparked by the resultant spray, but from the satisfaction of being able to share it with my niece and…Read more Satisfaction

A Park Where Nothing Happens

Riding Mountain threw us off our game from the very start. We were eager to visit our first Canadian National Park--as the whole country and its visitors from outside are celebrating Canada 150 with free admission to Parks Canada--but we really didn't know what to expect. Our experience with National Parks in America allows us…Read more A Park Where Nothing Happens

Facing the Future of Awareness

The van in front finally pulled away, making it my turn to methodically approach the gatehouse window with the Airstream in tow. But nobody was home. Leah noticed an outstretched arm extended from a raised window a dozen feet forward, and it was waving me closer. I inched parallel to the higher window, and awkwardly…Read more Facing the Future of Awareness

A Day of Beauty

With so many spectacular parks checked off our bucket list thus far, Leah and I needed a time out for reflection. Seemingly, the constant shifts of locations, coupled with maximizing our time at each stop has blended our experiences and threatened our recall. We have been so immersed in the natural beauty that soothes the…Read more A Day of Beauty

The Temple of Conspicuous Consumption

A photo essay... In honor of the 25th birthday of Mall of America®, here are 25 incredible facts + figures about the nation's largest retail and entertainment destination (as reported by Mall of America). 1.15 MILES: Walking distance around one level of Mall of America 8 ACRES OF SKYLIGHTS: What allows about 70% of the…Read more The Temple of Conspicuous Consumption

Cavfefe

What better way to escape the summer heatwave than to explore a cave. But Leah and I were literally at a subterranean crossroad of epic proportions. South Dakota's Black Hills boast two of the most highly respected holes in the ground anywhere in the world, and we only had time to explore one of them.…Read more Cavfefe

Battle Lands

It was 103 degrees outside and we were melting. "Where are the trees? There aren't any trees here," moaned Leah. There were no shadows to hide from the relentless sun. Even the clouds had forsaken us. Fortunately, they had drifted into the distance, providing the coveted contrast that landscape photography almost always requires. With the…Read more Battle Lands

Wise Guys

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July, than a trip to Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Sure, the crowds were large; that was to be expected. But once the cars were garaged, the pedestrian traffic was easy to negotiate. And with everyone looking up at the mountain, the president's faces and…Read more Wise Guys

Oddities—North Unit

Sixty-eight miles north of Medora lies the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Leah and I had agreed that we would visit the North Unit on our second day. Although not nearly as inconvenient as reaching the North rim of the Grand Canyon--getting to the north from the south was an easy drive. We…Read more Oddities—North Unit

Horsing Around—South Unit

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a tribute to the man who became a conservationist out of his love for the North Dakota badlands. In fact, he credits his North Dakota experience as early preparation for his ascension to the Presidency. It's easy to understand Roosevelt's attraction to the hardscrabble prairie, the steep rolling mounds of…Read more Horsing Around—South Unit

Eating Crow

We missed it by one day. The Battle of Little Bighorn lasted for two days, from June 25 to June 26, 1876, but the reenactment only lasted for one day, June 25, 2017. Unfortunately, we arrived in Hardin, MT on June 26. Our neighbors--a retired couple from Illinois living aboard a 2004 Classic Airstream--witnessed the…Read more Eating Crow

On Steady Ground, Part 3

Leah and I were breaking up with Yellowstone Park. In the beginning, the park had welcomed us and offered us sanctuary. At times, it made us dizzy with excitement. Despite all the wonderful things the park had brought into our lives (the scenery, the animals, and the natural oddities), there was little doubt that the…Read more On Steady Ground, Part 3

On Shaky Ground, Part 2

(picture credit: UUSS) Leah and I passed through the construction zone with time to spare, thus avoiding the road closure, and reducing our stress level. It was 7:00 pm, we were tired, and I needed a break from driving since 10:00 am. If we could make it through the next 28 miles without incident, we'd…Read more On Shaky Ground, Part 2

On Shaky Ground, Part 1

via Daily Post: loop I know I've complained about crowd size at National Parks before, but now that summer is upon us, and we've arrived at Yellowstone, it seems as if this park is bursting at the seams. Today, we abandoned our plans to visit the Upper and Lower Falls of Yellowstone's Grand Canyon because of…Read more On Shaky Ground, Part 1

Rocky Road National Park

With so much attention being paid to the over-crowded conditions at National Parks this year, Leah and I were optimistic that Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) would allow us some breathing room—despite a doomsday article recently published by Denver Post that boasted a 21% increase in visitor attendance at RMNP over the same month last…Read more Rocky Road National Park

Drop-Dead Gorge(ous)

After spending eleven days exploring "The Mighty 5", I believe I've inhaled enough red dust to qualify for the first NASA Mars mission. Utah's red dust had infiltrated everything, leaving a veiled matte finish on every surface: inside the Airstream, inside the truck, inside our undies, and inside our lungs. Leah and I were more…Read more Drop-Dead Gorge(ous)

A Park By Any Other Name*

If you could mix Sedona's red rocks, with Painted Desert's colors, and Zion's canyon walls, and Canyonland's monoliths, while also adding Arches' arches... in a geologic blender, then stir in one cup of Fremont River water,   top with orchard fruit,sprinkle in some petroglyphs, and season with Mormon history,you would have a delicious National Park…Read more A Park By Any Other Name*

Hoodoo You Trust?

What a difference a day makes. Leaving Zion behind for Bryce Canyon gave us cooler temperatures, cooler tempers, and cooler views--now that we left the maddening crowd behind and were no longer limited by what we could see (Keeping an Eye on Zion). After driving two hours through riveting scenery along 89 North, we arrived…Read more Hoodoo You Trust?

Keeping an Eye on Zion

The crowds that crammed into Zion National Park over Memorial Day weekend left us frantic and bereft. As our first stop in Utah, we came to Zion to enjoy the trails and distinctive scenery of mountains and water. We planned to hike the Narrows through the Virgin River, and experience the Kolob Arch (the world's second…Read more Keeping an Eye on Zion

Can’t Elope Canyon

Driving past the Desert View entrance of Grand Canyon, we rode with uncertainty to our next destination, watching the last trace of Mount Humphrey's snow cap dip behind the hilltops like a setting sun. We were driving through Page, AZ on our way to experience Utah's quinfecta of National Parks, with a hopeful detour to Antelope Canyon. Two…Read more Can’t Elope Canyon

Freedom’s Just Another Word

For many, the notion of boondocking in an Airstream trailer might be enough to move the oxymoron needle from sublime to ridiculous. There are those whose purist sensibilities are offended simply because my RV has AC, TV, LP and TP.  To them, my mobile home is an affront to Bear Grylls, surviving in the wilderness with only flint, rope,…Read more Freedom’s Just Another Word

Carlsbadland

If Disney were to design a cave attraction, he couldn't do any better than Carlsbad Cavern, for deep within the Guadalupe Mountains of southeast New Mexico lies an enchanted forest of mysterious-looking limestone formations. The journey begins at the ticket counter, where for the price of admission, a visitor can access the cave from a nearby…Read more Carlsbadland

Hiking Hat Trick—2nd Goal

The ride to Closed Canyon Trail, the only slot canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park, took us past the park picnic area, revered for its iconic teepee overhangs. The road continued another 7.5 miles up and down multiple grade changes, curling in and around exposed mountain walls, and mimicking the serpentine lines of the Rio…Read more Hiking Hat Trick—2nd Goal

Ouch! and Ahhh!–Part Two

*For those who are reading postaday blogs, please see Part One first to follow the narrative. Sorry for the inconvenience.   Previously on Streaming thru America... (see Ouch! and Ahhh!--Part One, previously published) Neal and Leah were both feeling the effects of the heat--both inside and outside the F-150. Temperatures had climbed to 103º on the…Read more Ouch! and Ahhh!–Part Two

“We’re on the Road to Nowhere”

After spending the day roaming through wide-open spaces at Big Bend National Park, we returned to our relic of an RV park at Stillwell Ranch--just outside the Persimmon Gap Visitor Center--to cool off under a revitalizing blast of AC running inside the Airstream. The glaring sun and punishing heat of the day had taken its…Read more “We’re on the Road to Nowhere”

Here T(w)oday, Guano T(w)omorrow–the Sequel

If you love the smell of ammonia (and who doesn't), then Stuart Bat Cave in Kickapoo Cavern State Park should be on your bucket list. When approaching the entrance, the acrid smell of guano is omnipresent, and for good reason, since Stuart Bat Cave is home to 1 million Mexican free-tailed bats from spring through…Read more Here T(w)oday, Guano T(w)omorrow–the Sequel

Where Have all the Gators Gone? (Long Time Passing…)

Traveling the Gulf coastline across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana during the past week has brought us closer to Creole and Cajun cuisine, crawfish, casinos and country music, but alas, no crocodilia. Having driven nearly five hundred miles of state and county highways, and cruising endless back roads and bayou causeways, we have yet to see an alligator,…Read more Where Have all the Gators Gone? (Long Time Passing…)

River Rock Falls–Elemental

I came across a kaleidoscope of submerged river rocks at the base of Baring Falls in Glacier National Park while on a hike yesterday afternoon. The air was smokey from area wildfires, and the haze was holding the blue sky hostage. Surprisingly, the temperature was crisp on the trail, and the spray from the falls…Read more River Rock Falls–Elemental