Travel Essays

“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. Republish This Article

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Comatose: “It’s The Only Way to Fly!”

Travel Essays
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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!

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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 Republish This Article

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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

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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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When home is not where you’re from

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LONG A FAN of travel writer Pico Iyer, especially of his poignant essay Why We Travel, I’d never seen him speak before. And he speaks just the way he writes; or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, he has that ability to transport the listener…

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Life (and Death) in Venice

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Venice. It’s like no other place in Italy or, for that matter, like no other place on earth. But someday, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, Venice may disappear under the waves. But will its death be inflicted by waves of water, or by waves of tourists? Republish This Article

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Driving My Dream (Rental) Car

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I thought my first sports car, a 1956 Austin Healy 100, was going to be my “dream car.” It turned out to a car owner’s Nightmare From Hell, falling apart, bit by bit, over the year that let it tormented me before I sold it off. If I made a sharp right-hand turn, I had […]

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The Original iPhone: “Vintage” vs “Obsolete”

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As we bumped along the dirt road leading from The Bear Track Inn to the Glacier Bay National Park Visitor Center, our van driver held the steering wheel with one hand while using the other to manipulate a wondrous device: The Original iPhone. “I need one of those!” I exclaimed to my wife. “No you […]

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Skiing Afghanistan: A Video Essay

Travel Essays
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Afghanistan. Not the most obvious winter sports destination for tourists. But as this video essay for The New York Times demonstrates, skiing is alive, if not well, in that war-torn country. Would you take the family on a ski trip to Afghanistan? Perhaps you’ve got a tamer, snow-bound place in mind. Get more travel news! […]

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Two sisters, Two wildernesses

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(This story has been made available to Tales Told From The Road by the news syndication service Repost.us.) Two sisters, two wildernesses (via The Christian Science Monitor) Copyright ImageClick to View Denali National Park, Alaska: An early-morning summer sun bathes 17,400-foot Mt. Foraker in the 6-million-acre wilderness park, which has but a single road. North […]

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Finding My Way in France

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Finding my way in France (via The Christian Science Monitor) A few months after we moved to Tours, in France’s Loire Valley, I wanted to meet my husband, Stéphane, for lunch at the university where he worked. I got lost. I had to call him from the roadside to find out how to get back […]

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