I was expecting a vast, punishing expanse of sand and
rock. What else would you expect from a place called Death Valley?
To be fair, Death Valley National Park (more than 5,000 square miles) is undoubtedly formidable in its extremes. Death Valley claims to hold the record for the hottest temperature – 134°F/57°C – ever recorded on earth. And within it is the lowest point in North America – Badwater is nearly 86 metres (282 ft) below sea level. It’s also the driest place in America.
New Orleans isn’t a city that quietly welcomes the visitor. They call it NOLA (short for New Orleans Louisiana) or N’Awwlins, but whatever you call it, this city assaults the senses – and I happily surrender to the sights, smells and sounds of this amazing city.
Now a recreational and dining area, Riverworks is the rebirth of the old grain silos by the river.
In 1813, the British in Upper Canada burned the tiny village of Buffalo to the ground. It rose from the ashes – bigger and stronger than ever. In fact, Buffalo was the first city in America to be electrified. In the late 1800s, when the rest of the continent was in the dark, Buffalo was all lit up.
Sadly, by the mid-20th century, progress elsewhere re-routed ships and business away from the Erie Canal and Buffalo found itself with abandoned silos, warehouses, office buildings, and homes. While other American cities tore down their 19th century masterpieces to make way for glass and concrete, Buffalo had little incentive to do this. Continue reading →
The Peabody Ducks march the red carpet to return to the Duck Palace on the roof of the hotel.
At the Peabody Hotel, five well-fed ducks waddle across the red carpet, encouraged by two rapid thumps from the Duckmaster’s cane. No, this isn’t the opening of a children’s book, though the delighted faces of youngsters watching their progress speaks volumes. It’s a spectacle many, including a long list of glitterati like Michael Jordan, Nicholas Cage and President Jimmy Carter, have found irresistible.
Ducks on a red carpet, you ask? Well, gather around and I’ll tell you the story…… Continue reading →
A raft full of beaming paddlers at one of the stops. I’m second from far right end.
I’ve just added a tick on my bucket list and I did it with all the panache of a born klutz.
White water rafting was added to my list about 15 years ago, when we hiked the Grand Canyon (another bucket list tick). I recall looking way down to the Colorado River and watching rafts shooting along. It looked exhilarating, thrilling and frankly, a little scary. And I immediately added it to my list of things I simply have to do. Continue reading →