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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Arizona

At nearly 9,200 feet, Mt. Lemmon provides a cool respite from Tucson’s summer heat. Photo courtesy of Visit Tucson.

As baby boomers whose ages put us at risk for COVID-19, my wife and I have spent the past few months mostly hunkered down at home — a sad but prudent fate for this travel writer itching to confront his bucket list without literally kicking it. 

While the fact that Tucson’s temperatures have topped 100 degrees most of the summer has made hibernation somewhat easier, the pandemic has made it difficult to escape that very heat — so that’s been kind of a wash. 

But recently — as our contributing writer Robert Waite suggested in a post on this site back in the spring — I decided to take some “baby steps” and get out of town for a few days. Hence the Tucson branch of our family headed to a… Continue reading

The Roman Coloseum dates from the time of the Roman Empire.

Arrivederci, for now.

So it’s official: the 27-nation European Union will block travelers from the United States from entering their countries indefinitely after reopening their borders July 1 to a number of other nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand — and even China, should the Chinese reciprocate.

So it’s arrivederci Roma, au revoir Paris, and adiós Barcelona — most likely for the summer and probably longer, since the U.S. leads the rest of the world, by far, in confirmed cases of both COVID-19 infections and deaths. And there’s little hope of this tragedy slowing down in the near future, with the virus currently sweeping like wildfire across the American South and Southwest, including the three most populous states: California, Texas, and Florida.

The outlook is equally bleak in Arizona, where I’ve lived for the past five years — and where I’ve seldom ventured from my home for the past three… Continue reading

I’m pleased to announce that my latest book,  Secret Tucson, has been published by Reedy Press of St. Louis and is now available for purchase at Tucson area bookstores, online at Amazon.com, or from Reedy Press.

What’s Secret Tucson about? The subtitle, A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure says it all, though I would add you’ll find such nuggets as:

What one time New York crime boss spent his last decades in Tucson?

Why does the Beatles’ classic song “Get Back” include a nod to Tucson?

Why is Tucson a must stop on many treasure hunters’ maps — and where can you search for a fortune in gold?

Where was John Dillinger captured in Tucson in 1934 after a series of blunders by his gang?

What locale is home to both the country’s southernmost ski resort and a World War II Japanese-American relocation camp?… Continue reading

The Grand Canyon taught Mitch a hard-earned lesson in trail guiding.

The Grand Canyon taught Mitch a hard-earned lesson in trail guiding.

One of our frequent contributors to clarknorton.com, my friend Mitch Stevens, is kicking off our occasional series of first-person pieces on how various baby boomers got started traveling for a living.

Mitch’s odyssey led him from summer camp in Pennsylvania to the depths of the Grand Canyon to college field trips in Wyoming and eventually to Tucson in the (mostly) sunny deserts of southern Arizona, where’s he’s been leading Sierra Club hikes for years and more recently founded his adventure travel company Southwest Discoveries.

Like the intrepid cyclists who compete in the 100-mile El Tour de Tucson race each fall, Mitch’s long-distance hikes through the canyons and across the mountains of the Southwest provide inspiration to me as I sit here at my computer giving my typing fingers a thorough workout.

So lace up your hiking boots, grab… Continue reading

The Tucson Festival of Books attracts more than 100,000 people per year. Photo from Visit Tucson.

The Tucson Festival of Books attracts more than 100,000 people per year. Photo from Visit Tucson.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who stopped by my booth at the Tucson Festival of Books over the weekend!

It’s the nation’s third largest book fest, attracting more than 100,000 visitors per  year from around the U.S. and beyond.

The festival lineup features dozens of writers, publishers and other literary types appearing on various panel discussions, as well as hundreds of booths stocked with books for sale, informative events and demonstrations, and fun book- and science-related activities geared for kids, among other attractions.

My grandson, Conrad, age 2, was thrilled to meet the costumed character of Pete the Cat, his favorite literary figure. (Pete the Cat is known for his slogan, “It’s all good,” even in the face of adversities such as stepping in piles of strawberries or seeing duck friends… Continue reading

The desert in bloom viewed along Tucson's Agua Caliente Hill trail.

The desert in bloom viewed along Tucson’s Agua Caliente Hill trail.

We’ve finally had a touch of winter here in Tucson, where temperatures reached into the high 80s in early February and it felt like summer back east.

At the end of February, while cooling rains pelted the parched city, snow fell atop 9,147-foot Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson. Mt Lemmon is the site of the southernmost ski area in the United States. (Temperatures at the summit can turn 30 degrees colder than those in the city, which sits some 7,000 feet below.)

That’s good news for Tucson hikers and anyone who values the surprisingly rich life of the desert. With refreshing spring rains, dry creek beds turn into gushing waterfalls, wildflowers bloom and hikers and picnickers flock to newly lush surroundings.

As I write in my book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before… Continue reading

A boomer goes backpacking in Aria's Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

A boomer goes backpacking in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

Is it time to hang up your backpack when you reach your 50s and 60s or even your 70s?

Certainly not — not if you don’t want to.

Sometimes carrying your traveling gear on your back can be easier than wheeling a suitcase through city streets as well as in the country.

So even if the term “backpackers” conjures up visions of 20-somethings bearing heavy loads of camping supplies and sleeping bags strapped on their backs, heading out onto forest trails or tramping around Europe or Australia, this article by Jenn Miller at Jen Reviews may change your mind.

Jenn provides a clearly written, comprehensive guide on how to pack for a backpacking trip, filled with practical tips and advice that will save you time, space, and help make your trip even more enjoyable.

Besides general packing… Continue reading

My book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die

My book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die

Due to popular demand and a shortage of books, my book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die has currently sold out at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble Online, and all local Tucson bookstores (you may find a copy or two here and there).

If you choose, you can place an order from Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore. There may be delays.

Or, you can order directly from me at paypal.me/clarknorton; price of $19.35 includes sales tax and shipping. Be sure to send me an email at clark@clarknorton.com with your name and shipping address. We also accept checks. Thanks!

UPDATE: The reprint is in! Books are now available and I can mail them out as soon as I receive your payment. 

Thanks, everyone, for helping to make 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before… Continue reading

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Asking you to relive 2016 may be asking a lot, but here at clarknorton.com we offer sheer escapism!

Well, maybe not quite — but travel can, we hope, help take your mind off other things.

So, in that spirit, we offer up Our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016 as found on clarknorton.com and voted on, in effect, by your clicks.

Yes, this is purely a popularity contest, with no quality control whatsoever. (Kind of like an election.) And because there was a tie for the tenth spot, there’s a bonus post to check out, should you wish to seek penance for overindulging during the holidays.

Here they are in order, counting down to Number One:

10. Top Bucket List Items: What’s Number One? and Top Ten Travel Predictions for 2016. (Tie)

Top Ten or Top Five lists (almost) always… Continue reading

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Cotopaxi, a company that makes backpacks, jackets and other outdoor gear — and donates a percentage of its earnings to worthy causes around the world — has come out with an infographic in celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.

It shows the top five U.S. National Parks in terms of annual visitation, plus five “Hidden Gems” that are far less visited.

The top five visited National Parks, in order, are Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, California’s Yosemite, and Yellowstone, which extends over parts of three states: mostly Wyoming, but also Montana and Idaho.

I’ve visited all of the most popular ones at one time or another, but have to admit I’ve never been to any of the Hidden Gens: Washington’s North Cascades, Florida’s Dry Tortugas, South Carolina’s… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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