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Gone Campin’ (Part 3)

In Part 1 I have reasons to camp. In Part 2 I wrote about shelter, sleeping gear, lights, lighters, food, and stoves as the beginning needs for camping. In this last part, I will talk about some of the other goods that one needs to bring on a camping trip. First is clothing. You want to make sure you have appropriate clothing. If you are camping somewhere cold, then layers are key. You will want...

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Gone Campin’ (Part 2)

Okay, so now that I have laid out reasons to camp, I thought it might be helpful to talk about what you will need for an extended camping trip. Sometimes, we can just pack a sleeping bag and go out for a night, but if we are planning a real camping trip spanning several days, we must be responsible in what we bring. Safety first, and all that. So, let's start with shelter and sleeping....

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Gone Campin’ (Part 1)

While many Americans went out to eat and to New Year's Eve parties, I spent the change of year camping in Big Bend National Park (more to come on this topic soon). It was perhaps the best New Year's Eve I have ever spent, which is not a knock on my other New Year's Eve experiences, but being in Nature at the turn of the year was simply incredible. And it got me thinking...

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Get Out And Travel

Traveling around the country and the world provides experiences that can only enhance our lives. Worldwide travel is obviously pushed often, but I think it’s important to consider domestic travel, too. Traveling the U.S. So often Americans do not leave their backyards, yet the U.S.A. has some of the most interesting cultural experiences just next door. The United States is so large that we have cultural diversity from one state to another. This allows Americans to...

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Songs About Places (Part 2)

I have to admit I’d never heard of Allentown, Pennsylvania until Billy Joel sang about the blue collar community on his 1982 album, The Nylon Curtain. “Allentown” introduced me to a world that I had never really thought about. That’s the power of songs about places—they can teach us other people and other cultures in subtle ways that stick with us. Yesterday, I listed some popular songs about places in America; today, I’ve broadened out....

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Songs About Places (Part 1)

Do you know the way to San Jose? That’s the question posed by Dionne Warwick in the 1968 song of the same title. Written by Burt Bacharach, the single went on to top charts in France, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Brazil and Mexico. It also became an unofficial anthem of sorts for the city of San Jose, California. Songs about places are quite common. Today, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to...

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The Big Plunge

In the minds of many, Niagara Falls is tied to weddings and barrels. The wedding connection dates back to 1804 when Napoleon’s younger brother, Jerome Bonaparte, brought his new bride to witness the thundering falls. Since, so many couples have chosen to start their new lives together here that has become known as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World.” While you could say you took the plunge by getting married, it’s the daredevils that literally...

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Why People Eat Yak

I ate yak for the first time last week while on vacation in Colorado, and while you might expect it to “taste like chicken,” it didn’t. It tasted just like beef, which makes sense. Yaks are a shaggy-haired relative of the cow, an ox found in the Himalayan region of Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. Eating yak is such a foreign concept to Americans that it got...

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Eating Where You Live

“Mother Nature is an edible food basket,” Hopi farmer Max Taylor told me. “There’s a surge of interest in collecting native plants. Everyone is going organic.” You see, Taylor doesn’t just farm the traditional foodscorn, squash, beans—he also collects them. As a boy, he learned from his mother about the local plants, and then later, he built on that knowledge using guidebooks. Regularly, he heads out to the desert lands near the Painted Desert and...

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Monument Valley

You begin to get a sense of just how large the Navajo Nation is when you drive from Flagstaff to Monument Valley. Covering more than 27,000 square miles of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, the reservation extends north 70 miles on US 89 to Page while roughly following I-40 to the south. It includes Canyon de Chelly, Chaco Canyon, Lake Powell, and Monument Valley. And, near Tuba City, it surrounds another reservation: Hopiland. As you...