Bluff, Utah

imageThough small and isolated, historic Bluff in extreme southeastern Utah was first settled by tough, persevering Mormon pioneers in 1880. Sleeping in the shadow of 300-foot sandstone bluffs along the elegant San Juan River, this quiet, polite community, like the hub of an old wagon wheel, lies at the center of stunning natural beauty that regularly draws outdoor adventurers and casual tourists in manageable numbers.

South and west of town is John Wayne country, the Navajo Nation’s incomparable Monument Valley. To the west, plunging Goosenecks canyon carved by the meandering turns of the San Juan beckons, and beyond those sharp bends are deep, inviting, long and narrow canyons named Slickhorn and Grand Gulch.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stanley, Idaho, and the Sawtooth Mountains

imageThe American West is vanishing. Authentic old towns in attractive natural settings with strong ranch and mining heritages have succumbed in great number to theme park facelifts; refurbished cowboy and hard-rock miner motifs that pander to Hollywood’s notion of what the good old days must have looked like.

Quaint “western” makeovers of main street are invariably followed by boutiques and upscale eateries, the finest galleries and lavish lodging for the well-heeled. Affluent enclaves are close behind - the big second homes and block condominium complexes that crowd out the view and displace wildlife habitat as sprawl runs rampant like a festering case of smelly gangrene.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, April 3, 2011

Taste testing your way around New Zealand

imageFor many people, a trip to New Zealand must include wine tastings. And why not? There are more than 230 wineries on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and an estimated 100 of them are open to wine lovers. Visitors to New Zealand have extensive opportunities throughout the country to try Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and, of course, Sauvignon Blanc from both larger and boutique wineries that have gained international acclaim for exceptional wines. In fact, in New Zealand, there are even opportunities to take in movies about wine making and to have a taste testing that follows the film. What visitors to New Zealand might not know is how many other incredible taste testing opportunities there are throughout the country (although wine does go with quite a few of them – a coincidence, we think not!).

By Travel New Zealand Ruth Atherley- Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ketchum and Sun Valley

imageNobel laureate Ernest Hemingway chose well when he bought a home outside Ketchum in Sun Valley in 1959, abandoning his beloved Cuba to Castro, along with 6,000 books, his motorboat the Pilar, the Finca Vigia and the sparkling blue Caribbean that ran warm and salty through his veins. A world traveler with discriminating tastes in the arts and the natural order, a rugged, brawling bookworm of a man drawn to high country his entire life, the aging Hemingway with his white beard and arsenal of firearms picked Idaho’s Ketchum and Sun Valley in the end, and for good reason.

Our literary genius of world-renown might have been plagued by a serious drinking problem and rapidly degenerating health, mental and physical, but he had enough sense to recognize the unique quality of this place. When Hemingway first set eyes on the land back in the 1930s it was little more than an outpost for the hardy tucked into the rugged fold of mountains extraordinaire boasting green meadows and deep forests that define the elevated, an alpine country awash in fresh air and dry sunshine and wild landscapes that continue to beckon - the beauty of it all.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grand Canyon, Arizona

imageWhen 16th century Spanish conquistador García López de Cárdenas stepped out of the towering ponderosa pines that blanket the South Rim of the grandest of canyons and stared dumfounded at that reddish convoluted maw, stared in disbelief at the depth and width and breadth of that crinkly crack, he most assuredly was moved with a profound sense of humility like counted millions since his day that have paid homage from the corners of planet earth.

Like many in contemporary society, Cardenas struggled for words to describe this geologic anomaly, this thing, this increasingly polluted void carved out of the Colorado Plateau over the course of eons that has brought man to the brink of tears with its incomprehensible beauty.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Monday, February 28, 2011

Cannon Beach, Oregon and Ecola State Park

imageIt was a craving for rancid whale blubber that drove Captain William Clark of Lewis and Clark expeditionary fame to trek 25 miles south of the mighty Columbia River in January, 1806, to lofty Tillamook Head on the northern Oregon coast.

Beached whale near Ecola Creek was on the menu, but had the famous explorers known what that rubbery mammal tasted like they might have stayed put.

Some claim it rivals horse meat, has the texture of dirty socks marinated in olive oil, and boiled to perfection smells like your dog’s colon. Others argue it tastes just like A-1 Steak Sauce if you’re generous.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Thursday, February 10, 2011

Encounters with dolphins and whales in New Zealand


As a destination, New Zealand has proven itself to have some of the most friendly, engaging and charming locals time and time again. Interestingly enough, those attributes don’t just apply to the people.

By Travel New Zealand Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies- Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Goway Saves New Zealand-Bound Travellers up to $800!

New Zealand, known for its clean green environment and breathtaking scenery, is a destination that is always impressive to visit. The country is filled with unspoiled areas to discover again and again and New Zealanders (or Kiwi’s as they call themselves) embrace everything eco friendly. From restaurants and markets selling only local produce to amazing activities within the spectacular, diverse landscapes there will be something special for every visitor. Unique to New Zealand, the indigenous Maori culture is found in all facets of New Zealand life and is something that is very interesting to learn about when you visit.

By Travel New Zealand - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Three reasons why Auckland is more than a Jet Lag Cure

Auckland, New Zealand – a city of food, wine and fun.  (photo: Tourism New Zealand)

For many North American travellers, Auckland is a place to recover from any jet lag and to get their bearings for their New Zealand vacation. However, visitors soon discover that the beautiful city on the bay is so much more than a stopover to the rest of the country.

By Travel New Zealand Ruth Atherley- Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lincoln, New Mexico

imageLincoln has been heralded as the best preserved cow town in the American West. Sadly for many of its earlier inhabitants, it also became the epicenter of the notorious, blood-splattered Lincoln County War that waged off and on through 1878. It was a war which claimed the lives of 22 men, wounded nine others and vaulted Billy the Kid to the pinnacle of outlaw fame whether he deserved it or not.

If you seek drama and the noisy struggle of life over death in a political and legal environment essentially corrupt to its core, this tale is for you, and it’s fact, at least those aspects agreed upon.

There’s no need to embellish or feed into any number of myths that have evolved over the years.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Orlando Rewards Travelers with Vacation Makeovers

ORLANDO, Fla.—Is trip planning so time-consuming you’re already planning a family vacation to celebrate your six-year-old’s college graduation? Are you challenged each time you try to satisfy the needs of your adventurous teen and timid toddler? If so, Visit Orlando wants to know all about it!

By News on the Net - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kodachrome Basin State Park and Red Canyon

imageRarely visited and off the beaten path, Kodachrome Basin State Park is a sumptuous buffet for the senses, an immovable feast hidden smack dab in the middle of nowhere far out on the edge of nothing.

You’ll find it midway between lost and wild, up in the rugged high desert of southern Utah’s Colorado Plateau on the northwest fringes of 2-million-acre Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument.

If you’re a crow, fly 30 miles southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park and stop when the pavement ends.

If you bring the kids to Kodachrome Park be sure to cover their eyes. Some of the monolithic spires known as sedimentary pipes that stand erect on the valley floor are downright obscene.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Friday, January 7, 2011

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

imageWhen I first heard the screaming and yelling I wasn’t sure if I should leap off my bench and run into the evergreens, stand my ground and fight, or finish lunch. I opted for the latter, chewing my ham and cheese sandwich in disbelief as the blood-curdling howls grew louder and the clip-pity-clop of shod hooves drew near.

Then, with a flutter of feathers and heavy breathing, out of the forest galloped a man on his horse, kicking up clouds of dust as he ground his painted pony to a halt before me.

Yelling “Yip! Yip! Yip!” and a throaty “AAARGGH” while his trusty steed reared and pawed the air, “Chief Howls-A-Lot” shook his pointy spear in my direction, daring me not to be afraid. I stopped chewing.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Friday, December 17, 2010

Along the Turquoise Trail

imageNew Mexico’s 52-mile Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, or simply the “Turquoise Trail,” is a popular alternative to Interstate 25 if you’re venturing between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Highway 14 east of the Sandia Mountains traverses a broad, high desert and low rolling hills with long views of mountains in the distance. This dry country of pinion-juniper, brushy grasslands and too much dirt has played host to adventurers of all walks of life including pre-Columbian Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, Mexicans during a time of Mexican supremacy, and more recently Anglo-Americans.

Two small towns in particular along the Turquoise Trail are worthy of this popular detour; Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) and Cerrillos, about 25 miles south of Santa Fe. These little gems are rich in history, rich in lore, and like so much of the American Southwest are seeped in a mining tradition that reaches back to A.D. 1,500 and beyond.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Friday, December 3, 2010