I’m in the process of cleaning out the rest of our possessions from our house in upstate New York to complete our move to Tucson, Arizona.
Our house in Tucson is maybe half the size of our house in New York, and therein lies a problem: what to do about the hundreds of books that we no longer have room for and can’t afford to move anyway?
The problem is particularly acute with one genre of books that dominate my old office: travel guidebooks.
To say that I have a sizable collection of them would be a bit of an understatement. They date back to my earliest trips abroad in the 1970’s and continued proliferating in the decades since, reaching a crescendo in the early 1990’s just before the Internet began turning print guidebooks into dinosaurs.
Still, being a baby boomer… Continue reading
During our recent visit to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California, my wife, Catharine, and I and four of our closest friends went searching for spring wildflowers, cactus blooms, and palm oases, and hoped to spot some of the park’s iconic bighorn sheep on our hikes.
We were successful on all fronts except for catching a glimpse of the elusive bighorn sheep, which probably spotted us first and decided to retreat into the park’s rugged canyons and mountains.
But we did see something that I wasn’t expecting at all: one of the greatest displays of public art I’ve ever encountered in the U.S., occupying the desert flat lands outside the town of Borrego Springs, which lie adjacent to the most traveled areas of the park.
As our friends from California… Continue reading
Though hardly a household name outside its region, southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the Golden State’s largest, spanning some 600,000 acres of the Colorado Desert about two hours’ drive northeast of San Diego.
Anza-Borrego has rugged canyons, badlands, mesas, nature trails, campgrounds, oases, cacti gardens, Native American rock art, and wildlife, all surrounded by rugged mountain ranges, the latter of which are virtually all road-free wilderness areas.
My wife, Catharine, and I just spent several days there with friends from California — hiking, rock scrambling, seeking out springtime blossoms, four-wheel driving over sandy, bumpy “roads” leading to remote outposts of desert boulders and vegetation, and searching in vain for signs of desert bighorn sheep, the elusive animals that take to Anza-Borrego’s mountainous, rocky terrain. (“Borrego”… Continue reading
When last we left my daughter, Lia, then age 11 and on her first whitewater rafting trip on California’s American River, it was the calm before the storm. The storm that lay ahead was called Troublemaker, a Class III++ rapids, and our normally jovial Adventure Connection guide, Lumpy, had turned deadly serious, issuing instructions that left Lia (and the rest of us in the raft) feeling just a bit apprehensive. What came next justified those feelings, but left a lasting impression on a young adventurer.
Here is Part 2 of Troublemaker: A Whitewater Memoir, by Lia Norton.
Slowly, our raft — the last in the convoy — drifted towards the drop. The current pulled us along, allowing us an opportunity to view the swirling mass in its entirety, as we watched the rafts ahead… Continue reading
If you start to see Chinese-style rice porridge appearing in your hotel’s breakfast buffet, don’t be surprised — it just means that hotels are catching on to the skyrocketing spending power of the sheer numbers of Chinese tourists now washing over American (and other) shores.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Chinese tourists spent more than $100 billion worldwide last year, up by more than third since 2011, during the course of some 83 million trips out of China. That’s more than any other nationality.
While the bulk of those statistics reflect travel within other parts of Asia, the U.S. is also seeing an influx of Chinese visitors — some 1.5 million of them in 2012, spending nearly $9 billion here. That’s an average of $6,000 spent per trip — also more than any other nationality.
The rise… Continue reading