Saturday, September 28, 2013

Death Valley Travel Tips

Approaching Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park
I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of Death Valley National Park in my 3-part series highlighting our visit in November, 2012.  If you haven't read it yet, click here for easy access:  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  If you've now decided that you'd like to pay this most terrific National Park a visit, I've put together a short travel guide to make the most of your experience.

America's Mordor - Death Valley National Park - Day 3 of 3

A lonely road in Death Valley
Welcome to the third and final installment of my trip report on Death Valley National Park.  If you haven't read the first two parts of this series yet, I encourage you to do so; you can access Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  As a reminder, this series goes in chronological order of what we saw each day, and the following outline gives you an idea of our trip plan:

Day 1 - arrive in park, Mesquite Sand Dunes, Scotty's Castle
Day 2 - Mosaic Canyon, Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, Rhyolite Ghost Town (Nevada), Dante's View, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, Artist's Palette
Day 3 - Salt Creek Oasis, Mustard Canyon, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, Devil's Golf Course, Badwater Basin, leave park

After the jump, we pick up where we left off at the end of Day 2, with the ultimate destination being the park's most famous landmark, the Badwater Basin.  NOTE:  I had intended to put some general travel advice in this post, but given that it's gotten pretty long with all the photos, I'll do a separate post with that information.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

America's Mordor - Death Valley National Park - Day 2 of 3

Badwater Basin in the distance
In Part 1 of this series, I gave a brief background of Death Valley National Park, along with our adventures on the first day of our visit.  After the break, I'll cover the second day of our trip.  Part 3 will cover the final day of our trip, along with general travel advice if you would like to go to Death Valley and a few items we didn't see but wished we had.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

America's Mordor - Death Valley National Park - Day 1 of 3

Badwater Basin as seen from Dante's View
I'd always had a certain fascination with Death Valley National Park.  As a weather and geography geek, the idea of visiting the lowest, hottest, and driest spot in North America always had its allure.  I'd thought about going several times over the years, but for one reason or another, things never quite worked out.  Finally, last November, I made it out there for a 3-day trip.  After the jump, take a virtual tour of one of America's most isolated yet beautiful places - America's Mordor, Death Valley National Park.

NOTE:  Once again, I realized as I started writing this post that there was too much content to squeeze into one post, so I've broken this up into three, one for each day we were in the park.  I'll post the first two installments this week, and the third next week.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Road Trip! Tips to Successfully Prepare

Rainy landscape on US 40, outside of Vernal, Utah
The road trip is one of America's favorite pastimes.  Those of you who know me well know that I'm the master of the road trip, being a veteran of many cross-country journeys, and even a couple in other countries, since the age of 5.  Despite the time involved, road trips remain popular because there are just too many places in the world that can't be reached by plane, unless you own one yourself, and many people just don't want to deal with the hassles of flying today.  I can testify that road-tripping can be a ton of fun, but a little bit of advance planning can help make your journey all the more enjoyable.  After the jump, I'll share my tips for making your next cross-state or cross-country jaunt a successful one.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sightseeing at 35,000 Feet

One of my favorite things to do when flying, on a clear day anyway, is looking out the window and trying to figure out where we are.  Occasionally, I even get to indulge in some sightseeing while in the air, either with cloud formations (I admit to being a weather geek), unique views of coastlines or other physical formations, or city skylines seen from a bird's-eye view.  For those that enjoy photography, the clearer air above 10,000 feet can produce especially vivid color contrasts, as long as the plane's windows don't get in the way too much (reflections through or smudges in the window can be problematic).  After the jump, I'll share a photo essay of some cool sightseeing opportunities that have presented themselves while chilling at 35,000 feet.

Next time when you're flying, keep your camera handy and pass away the time by putting together your own photo album!  Hey, it's cheaper than paying for the WiFi or shopping in the Sky Mall catalog...

Day Trips from Dallas - Caddo National Grassland

It occurred to me that I kicked off this blog with an article about trips that can be done in a single day from Dallas, but haven't done another one since.  I'll pick up where I left off today.  For the first time since 2001, I was actually able to enjoy Labor Day weekend without working at all, and my wife suggested that we take a quick "road trip" to enjoy the day.  I say "road trip" in quotes, because in my warped mind, a drive doesn't count as a "road trip" unless it's long enough to require an overnight stay somewhere.  But anyway, after the jump, I'll talk about our quick trip to Caddo National Grassland, along the Red River Valley to the northeast of Dallas.