The Magnificent Lost Coast

imageYou know you’re not in Dallas anymore when the anti-Bush bumper sticker reads: “Chop His Head Off,” and the locals don’t drag the driver out of the front seat for a pummeling, but honk and cheer instead. That’s the way it was in extreme northern California a few years ago, and attitudes haven’t changed much since. So if you’re a hard-core redneck, my guess is Humboldt County won’t be your cup of tea.

Like beached whales, hippies of old, and the new, have washed ashore in droves in this northwest corner of the state. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since genuine hippies are basically harmless and friendly, but as you look around you get the feeling the county took one big hit off the community bong - and forgot to exhale.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Saturday, May 8, 2010

Arizona Open and Closed

My wife and I used to spend a great deal of time in Arizona, and it has much to offer–particularly now that the state is the object of a boycott by those who favor illegal immigration.

By Lance Thompson - Thursday, April 29, 2010

Northern California’s Sonoma and Mendocino Coast

imageIf California ever breaks off and falls into the Pacific we’re going to lose some outstanding oceanfront property, especially along that hidden gem of a coastline that stretches 120 miles north of San Francisco along curvy Highway 1.

While not remote, it’s off the beaten path and laid back in that unique California way. And compared to any stretch of jagged cliffs, hidden coves, deep green pastures and pristine sand beaches in North America, the Sonoma and Mendocino coastal region is sublime; it is highly romantic. It is stunning.

My first recollection of the wind-battered hills took place on a cloudless day in July a few years ago. The fog had lifted, the sun was bright and shining and the sky was deep blue, though not as blue as the white-speckled ocean that sprawled to the distant horizon.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Cross-Country Wine Lovers Tour in New Zealand

imageIt has been said that if you know a country’s wine, you know the country. Spending time in one of New Zealand’s ten major wine growing regions allows visitors to learn a great deal about the country, the people and, of course, the wine!

Wine tours in the land of the long white cloud are highly popular and with boutique wineries found on both the North and South Islands, you’re never far from a good glass of wine. Wine growing regions in New Zealand include Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara Valley and Central Otago.

By Travel New Zealand - Friday, April 16, 2010

Where “Little Hollywood” Meets the Coral Pink Sand Dunes

imageDue to Kanab’s convenient location as a central hub, if you plan to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Lake Powell, you should consider making Kanab your home base like many visitors from across the globe have done over the decades. With ample lodging, wide tree-lined streets, stately brick dwellings and friendly residents, recently “discovered” Kanab caters increasingly to the tourist and is decidedly unpretentious. It’s the real deal - a conservative slice of the authentic republican West built on a strong Mormon heritage, like much of rural Utah.

Isolated in the southwest corner of Utah’s red rock country, Kanab’s placid demeanor and impressive Old West architecture do little to convey its storied past as Utah’s “Little Hollywood.” The drive-by tourists headed for the big parks have little reason to suspect that roughly 300 mostly-western motion pictures and television shows were filmed in and around this small town of 3,800 from the 1920s to the present.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, April 11, 2010

Zion National Park

imageThe great 19th century French novelist Gustave Flaubert, who wrote that “the three most beautiful things ever created in this world are the sea, Hamlet, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni,” had obviously never been to southern Utah because if there is a paradise on earth, this place is a top contender with its many parks, monuments and fertile desert wild lands. And of all those red-rock gems, Zion is the most visited.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, March 28, 2010

Know your rights before booking travel online

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, booking travel online may be a convenient option for some. According to the Travel Industry Council of Ontario however, knowing what your rights and options are before booking is an important and often overlooked step.

By Guest Column - Friday, March 5, 2010

Murder on Main Street

imageI flinched. The gunshot was much louder than expected and launched a sharp echo careening off the ancient wood buildings that line main street in this craggy old town. I did not know the man who fell dead right before my eyes. Middle-aged, tall and sporting a dirty-white flowing beard, he dropped with a stunned, graceless kerplunk. And then another shot ripped through the quiet, and a second man lay sprawled on the asphalt face down in the dusty, sun-drenched afternoon. An awkward silence fell over the crowd of onlookers. No one called the police, no one interfered with righteous indignation. We just stood there, staring.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bandelier National Monument

imageOne of the most unusual and highly-popular archeological attractions in New Mexico is the 33,000 acre Bandelier National Monument about an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe and a mere 15 miles from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where they developed the nuclear bomb. You’ve probably heard of Bandelier and have most likely seen images on television of the towering columns of smoke associated with it because the monument nearly burned to the ground in 2000 during the infamous 48,000-acre Cerro Grande fire.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sedona Arizona

imageAs things go in a subjective world, the editors of USA Weekend Magazine might have hit the nail on the head when they named Sedona the most beautiful place in America. But this crowning was no doubt a bittersweet accolade for some of the 16,000 residents of this picturesque Arizona town who probably let out a collective groan at the prospect of even more tourists descending on their squeaky-clean fair haven.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Friday, January 29, 2010

Death Valley California

imageDon’t let the name stop you from visiting one of the most remarkable desert wilderness parks in North America.

From soaring snow-covered peaks down to the blinding-white barren salt flats at Badwater 282’ (86m) feet below sea level, this vast 3 million acre heritage epitomizes the most rugged terrain that the American southwest deserts have to offer.

This is a land of contrasts with extremes of light and color, wet and dry, the vertical and the horizontal.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Thursday, January 14, 2010

WestJet limits carry-on baggage for U.S.-bound guests

Due to the new, increased security measures imposed by the Canadian and U.S. transportation authorities, flights to and from the United States continue to be affected by significant delays and in some cases, cancellations. In addition, some domestic flights have also been adversely affected due to late arriving aircraft from the U.S.

By Guest Column - Monday, December 28, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park California

A welcome reprieve from the urban insanity of southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is a sprawling and remote high desert anomaly full of delightful surprises.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Most Canadians won’t cut travel budget in 2010

TORONTO, /CNW/ - Despite the tough economy, 73% of Canadians say they plan on spending as much or more for their next vacation as they did for the last one, according to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of cruise vacation site In terms of dollars, 58% of Canadians plan to spend a minimum of $750 per person on their next holiday, while 21% plan to spend at least $1,500 per person.

By Guest Column - Friday, December 18, 2009

Jerome, Arizona

Perched on Cleopatra Hill 2,000 feet above the Verde Valley floor with grand vistas of Sedona’s red rock country 35 miles distant, Jerome reminds me of the old country, Europe.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Saturday, December 12, 2009