On June 5 I departed home on a 10 day adventure to the southwest U.S. I had made plans with my sister Sherry to accompany her and her family to Tucson and Albuquerque to visit our brothers Aaron and Gary, both of whom neither of us had seen on over 20 years.
I love my road trips. But I really looked forward to this one as much of it would take me to many of my old stomping grounds. Plans were to visit Aaron in Tucson, then go up to Flagstaff, via Sedona, for a couple of days of touring around there and then off to Albuquerque to visit Gary.
I was really excited about the Flagstaff part. From 1980 to 1984 we lived in Flagstaff, where I attended Northern Arizona University and, for three years, worked as a Tour Guide/Driver for the Gray Line Tours franchise called Nava-Hopi Tours. That job was always one of my favorites as I got to take people from all over the world to see parts of the world that were fascinating. The geography and geology of the area is world-renown. The history, with the ancient American relics and the present day Native American Navajo and Hopi tribes and their life styles were also fascinating. I really was excited to visit many of the places I had not visited since the 1990s, when I took a return trip up there after getting back from Japan.
This ten day adventure took me over 6000 miles of highway and through nine states. During the trip we got to visit two National Parks (including Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest) and four National Monuments (White Sands, Sunset Crater, Wupatki, Montezuma Castle). We visited mountain tops and deserts and saw a lot of great scenery.
It has taken a while to compile much of the road trip fun. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks I will be able to get a few fun posts out about what will likely be my big road trip for 2019.
Watch for detailed posts on the road trip and the many places. ENJOY THE RIDE!
Like what you see? Well, there is lots more! I now have three books available about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see all of them at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Book 3 was published and available on August 24, 2019.
Life gets so busy. The first two months of 2019 have been exceptionally busy and so I am just now getting to my annual review posts for 2018.
At the beginning of 2018 I didn’t have very high hopes for many travel opportunities. I had begun a new job in early October of the previous year and I didn’t have any definitive travel plans. But, I had also learned to roll with things and, as good fortune would have it, 2018 actually became a really good travel year.
Over the course of the year I was able to travel through 26 different states and drove nearly 12,000 miles. I was able to add a plethora of photos (I took over 15,000 travel photos in 2018) and content for use in future blogs and books. Though many of my travels were alone (which I love), I also was able to travel with family on some of the trips (which I also love!).
My major trips included:
A trip to Nashville in January to visit with my new employer ComicBook.com. On this trip I also visited the cool and “off-beat” Paradise PointMarketplace
In late January I made a trip down to Barren River Lake State Park in southern Kentucky to view the sandhill cranes which had migrated down there.
In February I was asked by son Seth to come down to Cypress, Texas to watch his two sons for a couple of weeks while he and his wife were off on a cruise. The trip south took me through Calvert City, KY where I visited the Apple Valley Toy Land and Hillbilly Gardens. I also found my way to Kenton, Arkansas, home of the white squirrels, then to historic Walnut Ridge, Arkansas to see some fun Beatle’s things. I then meandered my way into Louisiana and visited a few fun places. While in Cypress with the boys I also visited Austin and then took the boys venturing out on some of the back roads around the Houston area where we discovered some fun places. My return trip took me up to Keller, Texas to visit my sister and while there I found a few more fascinating places. I then made my way home through Oklahoma and Arkansas, traveling back roads all the way and discovering some fun places. I finally returned to Lexington at the end of February.
March saw me again on the road for a quick trip up to Cleveland, Ohio. On this trip, with my wife, we visited sites in Cleveland and then on the way home stopped in Columbus to see the famed Topiary Garden Park. It was a quick, yet fun and interesting trip.
On April 2 I set off on one of the biggest road trips I have had in a couple of years. We had a family event taking place in Port Orchard, Washington. I drove while my wife flew (she had a tighter schedule and needed to take some PTO time). I set out heading west through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. I had hoped to go up through Minnesota, but a major snowstorm diverted much of my initial plan. Nonetheless, I always find something. This trip allowed me to visit seven different Peter Toth “Whispering Giants” , which also took me to other unique places along the way. I ultimately made my way through Iowa Falls, Cedar Rapids, northern South Dakota and overnight in Belle Fourche. I then headed northwest into snowy southeastern Montana and crossed the state from there through Bozeman, Butte, Missoula and overnight in scenic and touristy Wallace, Idaho. From Wallace I made my way to Spokane and then east on US 2, to complete my travels on the western portion of that highway (other parts I had driven on in previous road trips. This took me through Washington’s high desert and then into the Cascades and back down into apple orchard country. I ultimately made my way into the Seattle area. The return trip went down through Olympia and then into Oregon on US 101 and then across Oregon’s high desert, through Winnemucca, Nevada and then into my old stomping grounds in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City. I then ventured to Colorado Springs to see my son Solomon and then across Colorado’s high deserts into western Kansas, and finally back home through St. Louis and Louisville. It was an amazing two week adventure!
I didn’t really venture out on a road trip again until mid-June when my wife and I took a day long trip up to Cincinnati to see some things we hadn’t done before. It was a nice sightseeing adventure.
In late July I was joined by my oldest grandchild Autumn for a fun adventure to Cypress, Texas. I was again asked to babysit my two granddsons for about ten days. Autumn and I meandered our way down there through Tennessee and Alabama down to the gulf coast and into Biloxi, Mississippi. We traveled along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana and eventually into Texas. While in Texas, the four of us made a few trips as well, including a day-long adventure to the weird city of Austin. Autumn and I then returned home through central Texas and up to Keller to stay with my sister and allow Autumn to hang with her cousin, who is the same age. After a couple of days in Keller, Autumn and I returned home through Oklahoma, Kansas and into Missouri, where we visited the unique touristy place called Uranus and then finally home. It was an amazing fun trip.
Over the next few posts, I will try to catch up with content about different themes…road scenes, wood art, murals, roadside attractions and more.
I hope you will enjoy the ride with me as I revisit these adventures.
Have you seen my most recent book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is available on Amazon!
The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos. I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle.
Had a wonderful (but hot) Father’s Day 2018. My wife asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to take a trip to Cincinnati and visit the downtown area for fun. Cincinnati is one of those cities that has a great skyline to photograph.
So, before we went, I looked for places that we could get good views of Cincinnati. In the past, I have taken shots from across the river in Newport, KY and a couple of other spots, but I wanted something more unique.
Our first stop was in Devou Park, east of Cincinnati and across the Ohio River in Covington, KY. Devou Park sits up on a big hill and offers some wonderful views of the city.
After Devou Park we headed downtown for another chance to see the city.
Enter the Carew Tower. The Carew Tower is a 49-story, 574-foot Art Deco building completed in 1930 in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, overlooking the Ohio River waterfront.the city. It overlooks the Cincinnati waterfront and offers a panoramic view of the city. It is the second tallest building in the city, but was the tallest until 2010 when the Great American Tower was completed. It is 86 ft higher than Carew Tower, but Carew Tower is actually still the highest elevated building in the city so viewers from the observation deck can look down on the Great American.
Historically, the Carew Tower was built in 1929/1930 in an Art Deco style with the idea to have a hotel, a shopping area, etc. Basically, a city within a city. It was named after Joseph T. Carew, who founded the Mabley & Carew Department Store Chain. We didn’t have the opportunity to look inside the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel, but probably should have as there are a number of massive murals inside the building as well as some immaculately ornate rooms. This deserves a next trip!!
That said, the highlight was the view from the top. Enter the hotel from the parking lot on the second floor and take the elevator, an express zoom up to the 45th floor. Once off that elevator, its a short walk around a corner to a much smaller (and older) elevator which takes you to the 48th floor and then a few steps up to the 49th. Pay your $4 fee and step out to a spectacular view, one that lets you look over the river to Kentucky and way west into Indiana. Following are a few of the shots I got from the top:
ENJOY THE RIDE! CHOOSE HAPPY!
If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon. My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late June or mid -July 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.