Westward ho, part one


The Tensaw River, which borders Blakeley Park

After a one-night stopover at a nice state park in Georgia, we crossed into Alabama, where we spent two nights at Historic Blakeley State Park. (We passed through the area that was hit by tornadoes that killed 23 people, but we were long gone by then.)

Although it’s called a state park, Blakeley is financed and run separately from the Alabama park system. It is the site of an early 19th century settlement that briefly sought to rival Mobile as a port before it fell into decay and disappeared. Continue reading


A day in Canyonlands National Park


Canyonlands National Park is about 30 miles from Arches. It too has fascinating rock formations, but in some ways it’s a different experience. Part of the reason is that it’s more remote and so has fewer visitors.

The park has three sections that are not connected to each other: Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze, which can be reached only by four-wheel drive or water.

We went to Island in the Sky, the most accessible. Island in the Sky is essentially a giant triangular plateau formed by the Colorado and Green Rivers, which meet at the southern end.

Like Arches, the photos really tell the story of Canyonlands.

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Heading east for the winter


We have begun our annual migration to North Carolina. We left Thursday and made a stop-over at a state park outside Pendleton, Ore., which gave Robin an opportunity to visit the Pendleton Woolen Mills store. After one night in Idaho, we are now in Utah, heading for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

We were planning to camp at Utah Lake State Park, but the campground was closed, even though it was supposed to be open until the end of the month. We ended up staying in a commercial campground just down the road from the park.

Today we walked over to the park, which was pretty deserted except for a few people fishing. The park has a big marina, which was also nearly empty.

Utah Lake, with the Wasatch Mountains in the background

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A New Mexico oasis with a history lesson


2F7385D8-27EF-4563-A8A5-D13B061D411BToday we got off the Interstate and took a side trip to El Morro National Monument west of Albuquerque.

El Morro means “the headland” and that’s what it is, a giant sandstone headland rising out of the New Mexico desert. But what makes it especially notable is a pool of water at the base. That pool, fed by rain and melting snow, has been an oasis for travelers for hundreds of years. Continue reading