Category Archives: vacation

Records/Milestones from my London trip

My proper travel posts (and pictures) are still in the works, but some records/milestones from my trip:

–Longest flight ever: Chicago to London
–Second Trip to London and first for 23 years
–First Worldcon
–First Hugo Award ceremony
–Furthest East ever traveled: Excel Center, London
–First Trip to England where I left the city limits (Bath, Salisbury, Stonehenge)

National Parks and me

I am a “late convert” to visiting National Parks.
Although my first “national Park” is technically the Gateway National Recreational Area in NYC, and I visited several of the historical ones in New York, my National Park experience really dates to my emigration to Minnesota. (Although, funny, as a prelude, one of my courses in College had a textbook of the geology of National Parks, which was an eye opening experience. I got, and lost, a poster map of the Grand Canyon geology from that course).
So, my visits to National Parks:
2005 Teddy Roosevelt National Park
2005 Yellowstone National Park
2005 Grand Teton National Park
2005 Mt. Rushmore National Monument
2005 Badlands National Park
2007 Teddy Roosevelt National Park
2007 Jasper National Park, Canada
2007 Banff National Park, Canada
2007 Yoho National Park, Canada
2007 Waterton Lakes, National Park, Canada
2007 Glacier National Park
At this point, I convinced myself to get myself a DSLR! I was hooked into visiting and photographing National Parks.
2008 Badlands National Park (2nd visit)
2008 Mt. Rushmore National Monument (2nd visit)
2008 Devil’s Tower National Mounment
2008 Jewel Cave National Monument
2008 Wind Cave National Park
2008 Pipestone National Monument
2008 Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
2009 Teddy Roosevelt National Park (2nd visit)
2009 Yellowstone National Park (2nd visit)
2009 Grand Teton National Park (2nd visit)
2009 Glacier National Park (2nd visit)
2013 Arches National Park
2013 Mesa Verde National Park
2013 Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
2013 Grand Sand Dunes National Park
2013 Capulin Volcano National Mounument
2013 Florissant Fossil Beds National Mounument
2013 Rocky Mountain National Park
2013 Mt. Rushmore National Monument (3rd visit)
2013 Badlands National Park (3rd visit)
2014 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
…Where will I go next?

My Travels and Adventures 2013

I don’t have any additional major trips planned for 2013, so here comes the recap of what and where I’ve gone this year.
Cardinal Directions:
Furthest West: Arches National Park. Furthest West since 2009
Furthest East: Davenport, Iowa
Furthest North: Itasca State Park
Furthest South: Capulin Volcano, New Mexico. Furthest South since 2003
Highest Elevation: 14110 Feet, Pikes Peak Summit (New Record)
Places Slept outside of Home:
Marion, Iowa
Davenport, Iowa
Denver, Colorado
Mesa Verde, Colorado
Gunnison, Colorado
Cortez, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Wall, South Dakota
Park Rapids, Minnesota
New States Visited:
Nebraska
Colorado
Utah
New Mexico
New State Capitols Visited:
Nebraska
Colorado
Wyoming
National Parks and Monuments Visited:
Arches National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Rocky Mountain National Park
Mount Rushmore National Monument
Badlands National Park

My Journey to the West

My Journey to the West:
Total miles drove: 4318.9 (6950.6 kilometers)
Cities Slept in:
Arvada, Colorado
Mesa Verde, Colorado
Montrose, Colorado
Alamosa, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Westminster, Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Wall, South Dakota
National Parks Visited:
Arches National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Badlands National Park
National Monuments Visited:
Florissant Fossil Beds
Capulin Volcano
Mount Rushmore
State Capitols visited:
Lincoln, Nebraska
Denver, Colorado
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Hitherto not visited states reached:
Nebraska
Colorado
Utah
New Mexico

My year in travel

My 2011 travel was not very extensive.
The main reason is that my main traveling companions, My Friends The Olsons™, uprooted themselves and moved to Iowa this past year. The loss of their trailer to theft didn’t help.
And of course, the bugbear of us all in this tough economy, money.
So, anyway, 2011 recap in travel:
States Visited: 3
Minnesota
Iowa
Wisconsin
Places slept:
Blaine, Minnesota
Roseville, Minnesota
Marion, Iowa
Furthest North traveled: Oberg Mountain, on Minnesota’s North Shore
Furthest South traveled: State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa
Furthest East traveled: Springfield, Ohio (for work)
Furthest West traveled: Itasca State Park, Minnesota
States Visited for the First time:
Indiana (Auburn, Indiana)
State Parks visited for the first time:
Willow River (Wisconsin)
Lake Bemidji State Park
State Parks revisited:
Itasca
Jay Cooke
Gooseberry
Amnicon Falls (Wisconsin)
Tettegouche
Interstate State Park (Minnesota)
Interstate State Park (Wisconsin)
Interstate Highways completed: 1 (I-380 in Iowa)
Conventions Visited: 1 (Diversicon)

Travels in 2010

My travels in 2010.
I didn’t go very far in 2010, mainly because of the Olsons financial situation, and a lack of personal time off in my new job.
Where I laid my head to sleep:
Blaine, Minnesota
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Two Harbors, Minnesota
A campground near Ely, Minnesota
From Home…
Furthest North traveled: Grand Portage State Park, on the Canadian Border
Furthest South traveled: Solon, Iowa
Furthest East traveled: Copper Falls State Park, Wisconsin
Furthest West traveled: Jordan, Minnesota
In 2011, I’ve already promised to visit the Olsons often when they move away down to Iowa, and I owe a visit to the East Coast.

Picture of the Day: Castle Geyser

I am in a bad mood today. So to cheer myself up, here is a picture of my favorite geyser in Yellowstone, and the world. No, its not Old Faithful.

This is Castle Geyser, which erupts less frequently than reliable Old Faithful, but I think its more spectacular, and its cone is far more interesting looking.

In the foreground, my friend Felicia (of My Friends the Olsons™) is a bit unhappy I used her as a scaling factor in my shot!

The Wolves of Yellowstone, and Me

This NPR story on the fall of the Yellowstone Druid Pack tells part of the story as to why I have pictures of Coyote, Fox, and many herbivores, but I have no pictures of Wolves.
Rotten luck.
During my trips to Yellowstone, in 2005…
Yellowstone Lake
And in 2009…
Paul at the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone
The Druid Pack was not doing well in either year, despite years of success for the most famous and visible pack of Wolves in Yellowstone. Now, according to the NPR story, the pack is so devastated that its down to a lone female who has all but fled the Lamar Valley.
Sad, and doubly ironic, since the Olsons and I this weekend had watched a documentary explaining the travails and trials of the Druids a couple of years ago (which gave us a clue why we had so much trouble seeing wolves in 2009). That documentary ended on a hopeful, positive note. Apparently, that optimism, and the temporary re-rise of the Druids, was only that: temporary. Predation, a nasty disease that kills cubs, and intra-pack aggression have done in the druids.
Alas, it may be a while, or perhaps never, before another “photogenic pack” takes the Druids place in Lamar Valley.