Travel Essays

Making It to Mars

Travel Essays
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After reading Robert Heinlein’s 1949 sci-fi novel, Red Planet, more than a half-century ago, I was convinced that someday I would be living on Planet Mars, not Planet Earth. After seeing the 1956 film, Forbidden Planet, in the theaters, I had no doubt that since interstellar travel was technologically feasible (at least in Hollywood) flying […]

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World Cup, Your “Football” Isn’t My “Football”

Travel Essays
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Unless you were vacationing on the far side of the moon last weekend and were disconnected from the Internet, you know that Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the quadrennial World Cup of soccer. But if you were just “up in the air,” flying around Planet Earth on a commercial jetliner, you may have been […]

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Traveling In Columbus’ Wake

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“In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” When I was growing up back in the last century, every American school kid learned the opening lines of that ditty about Christopher Columbus’ voyage of discovery. And the rest, as they say, is history. Columbus made three trips to the “New World” in the 1490’s […]

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Remembering America’s Birth: A Capitol Fourth

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Hot dogs. and beer. It could be any summer day. But today is the Fourth of July, when we not only wash down those quintessential America wieners with copious quantities of the hop-laced brew, but celebrate the birth of the U.S.A. Here’s PBS television’s visual remembrance of the country’s roots. Enjoy your Fourth, readers. Tales […]

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“Droning” Over National Parks

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Since I shoot video when I travel and have produced a few TV travel “shorts,” I’ve been intrigued with the idea of using a miniature helicopter, such as the Phantom 2 Vision Drone, to make my own version of  travelogues like “Over Hawaii.” But there’s one set of places where I won’t be able to […]

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“Driving The Damned Road” – A Cinematic Essay

Travel Essays
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A scenic highway runs almost arrow-straight through the Canadian Rockies from Banff to Jasper. It’s the only practical way to travel quickly and easily through that mountainous region. But should I have followed the advice of a “local” I call “The Cowboy” and shunned that road? That’s the question posed by following short film which […]

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“Southeast” – A Cinematic Essay

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Southeast Alaska is one of the most remote places where one could live in the United States. No roads connect its few towns, which are scattered wide apart over 35,000 square miles of mountains, forests, glaciers and sea. Should you move there to permanently live, or merely pay it a brief visit on vacation? That’s […]

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“Sunset” Has Risen

Travel Essays
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For nearly forty years I had been a subscriber to Sunset magazine whose tagline had been “The Magazine of Western Living.” The pages of Sunset were filled with ideas for home remodeling, gardening, cooking and entertaining aimed at those who, like me, reside in the Western United States. What I enjoyed most about Sunset were […]

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Road Kill: Death of the Family Summer Car Trip?

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Lately there’s been a lot of talk about raising the minimum wage. Back in 1964 when I was a college freshman, I was paid the federal minimum wage of $1.25/hour to deliver pizzas, and chicken, fish and rib dinners. Adjust that wage for inflation, and someone performing the same job in 2012 should have been […]

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Love in “Earthquake Country”

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Those, like myself, who live in the San Francisco Bay Area might rightly claim it to be the “epicenter” of “Earthquake Country.” After all, the 1906 quake shook San Francisco to its foundations and started a fire that destroyed vast numbers of that city’s buildings, forcing residents to relocate to the East Bay, North Bay, […]

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The Birth and Future of the Travel Blog

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Tales Told From The Road was born in the summer of 2009. It wasn’t by any means the first travel blog. Nor was I the first travel blogger. But I’ve met the person who gets credit for writing the first travel blog post way back on January 6, 1994, even though, technically speaking, at that […]

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“Doing” Death Valley: A Travel Memoir

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Mad dogs. Englishmen. And nine-year-old kids from Seattle. That’s who goes out in the noonday sun on a summer’s day in Death Valley.

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Comatose: “It’s The Only Way to Fly!”

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Fifty years ago air travel was a far cry from what it is today: Enjoyable. To underscore that point, Western Airlines ran TV ads declaring that travel aboard its planes was “the only way to fly!”   Western, which took off in 1926, disappeared from the skies when it merged with Delta in 1987. Today, […]

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The Syria I Knew

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(This story has been made available to Tales Told From The Road by the news syndication service Repost.us.) The Syria I knew (via The Christian Science Monitor) Damascus, 1983: A shopkeeper (r.) urges passersby to buy suit material. (R. Norman Matheny/The Christian Science Monitor) Latakia, coastal Syria, September 1982: It was twilight, night coming fast. […]

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Away from home with JFK, MLK, and RFK

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In the summer of 1961, six months after being sworn in as the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy found himself in the cross-hairs of a dangerous political situation. (National Archives Photo on Flickr) As did his brother, U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. As did civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, […]

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Fog-Bound in Baghdad By The Bay

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It’s November. Where I live just north of San Francisco, November means fog will be soon creep into my early mornings and late evenings on some days from now throughout winter. It’s called “Tule Fog,” after the reedy plant that grows along the waterways of California’s Great Central Valley. It hangs low to the ground […]

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You Ruined My Trip! I’m Gonna Sue!

Travel Essays
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Benjamin Franklin said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. He was wrong. Sooner or later during your life as a traveler something will go haywire with your trip plans. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Dick Jordan

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Parking a Tree Park to Death

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Muir Wood National Monument, a 17 mile drive north from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge is in danger of being “loved to death.” The monument’s giant coast redwoods aren’t being crushed by “tree huggers.” But its parking lots are becoming so choked by visitors’ vehicles that a “Take-A-Number-Next-Customer-Please!” entrance scheme is being considered. […]

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Weather: Do You “Get” It?

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(Ironically, this story was originally scheduled to run on Wednesday, September 11th, just as the Colorado Rockies were being hit by massive storms that caused flash floods along the Front Range of the mountains, inundating several towns, including Estes Park, which Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan, is scheduled to visit later this […]

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A Musical Road Trip Down Memory Lane

Travel Essays
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It was 1965 and I was driving a “1951 1/2” Chevy—a 1951 body with a 1952 engine, or maybe it was the other way around. I forget. But what I do remember is that I wasn’t driving the “hottest chick-magnet” being made at that time by U.S. car manufacturers in Detroit, Michigan: The Ford Mustang. […]

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On Not Getting to L.A.

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As I took my seat on the train, a glass of bubbling champagne magically appeared before me. Halfway through the trip, I enjoyed a three-course lunch with wine as the landscape flew by outside the window. In less than three hours, I’d gone over three hundred miles, city to city. From San Francisco to Los […]

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“Disconnected” in Lassen Volcanic National Park

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Thirty years ago when I had a real “day job,” I often vacationed in western U.S. national parks for a simple reason: It was difficult, if not impossible, to reach me by phone. Unlike city motels and hotels, national park lodgings generally did not have in-room telephones. A phone message left at the front desk […]

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