travel


Northern Normality 2

Rode an ATV to tea Fresh from meeting Sam Magee. Grand digs and heirloom china too, All because “we like you”? We like you too and we might stay But oh, the winter’s cruel they say.   So dark and cold that fissures crack, Grit and grunt to fill them back. La, the stories locals tell Of artfully rebranding Hell. Engage the neurons, thrill and train Before the darkness drills your brain. Wouldst thou learn a sexy skill? Tassel twirling o’er the hill. Weaving, pickiin’, tossing ax, Write a memoir, make up facts. Ice worms dancing in the road? Sober […]


A Gift from the Orient 2

We needed souvenirs for ranching men, and what better than knives? But Chinese gift-shopkeepers carried no knives. A knife, given as a gift, would signify the giver’s wish to cut off the friendship. We walked the length of the Jiuzhaigou shopping street, asking for knives at each shop.  No one had a knife, but when we walked past those same shops on our way back to the hotel, the sellers met us on the sidewalk to offer knives of all kinds.  This one isn’t sturdy enough for ranch work, or much of anything else, and we were skeptical of the […]


The Haunting of John Wilkes’ Grave 2

John Wilkes Booth’s grave seems a likely top attraction for Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery.  The staff is happy to mark the location on a map, and that took us to the family plot, but even so, there was no finding J.W.  What we did find was actually more interesting–pennies.  I noticed a fair collection on an unmarked stone at the corner of the plot.  More were balanced amongst the raised “Booth” lettering on a central stone.  The more we looked, the more pennies we found infiltrating the plot. Where do they come from…and why?  It’s not hard to guess, but can anyone know for certain?


Where To Hear Tunes

What city is the live music capital of the US? Austin? Really? How does Austin out croon Nashville, Branson, and Vegas? Willy, Waylon, and the Boys I guess. Luckenbach is right down the road.


Berries and Bears

I’ve always loved finding sweet ripe serviceberries (pronounced sarvice) while hiking in the mountains.  The Waterton Park guide called them Saskatoon berries which has an even funner ring to it. Our campsite was overrun with them, so when our dog spotted a bear rummaging around right under our window, I was only surprised that the bear didn’t stay longer.  


Bowhead Blessing 1

I wanted baleen bad, but I didn’t want to go to jail over it — especially in the middle of giving a whale lecture. So when Steve and I set out for Anchorage, I called NOAA and asked how I could carry a piece of a protected species around the world without risking handcuffs. No problem, actually. If a member of a Native Alaskan tribe inscribes the baleen with artwork, it is no longer taboo. Better yet, the agent I talked to, had a few illegal pieces that were cluttering up the NOAA office, and he was happy to gift […]


Moving On

A fellow Newfoundland Ferryboater commented on the miles that Steve claimed we’d put on our trailer. I said that Steve is the kind of guy that likes to get there…and there, and there, and there.  The man’s wife upped the smart comment bar by saying: “He thinks he’s a shark and has to keep moving or die.”


Newfangled Park

The promised grand opening didn’t seem promising.  We couldn’t see a park from, the road was still under construction, and who ever heard of an Old West park?  But the road opened, the planners did a bang up job on the play town, and there’s a hand pump feeding a waterfall of sluice boxes.  I can’t wait to thrill a grandkid!


A Favorite Dad Story

“We scouts raised enough money to stay on Grand Mesa for two weeks. The Mesa is the highest flat-topped mountain in the world. It’s beautiful country; forests of blue spruce, ponderosa pine, and aspen with flowery meadows in between. The flat top collects rainfall in three hundred sixty lakes and a zillion marshes. Those wet-lands make for a whole lot of hungry mosquitoes, but we scouts were tough. After two weeks of eating the fish that ate the mosquitoes that feasted on us, we were all blood brothers, and there was no mystery left in the circle of life.” Thought […]


Freya the Sharp Minded

My revered ancestor, Aud the Deep-Minded, had nothing on the five-year-old girl who attended my Viking presentation at the Penrose Community Library.  Freya’s parents had their hands full keeping their busy one inbounds through 40 minutes of adult-level Viking history, but when I asked for questions, Freya popped up with one of the best questions I’ve ever gotten from an audience.  “Why aren’t they scary anymore?” Whoa!  All that fidgeting, didn’t keep her from listening…and thinking.  Fortunately, I knew the answer:  Vikings took the Atlantic by storm because they had better ships and weapons.  When they invaded other countries, took slaves, formed alliances, and fraternized, others picked […]