Tag Archives: National Parks

The shadow of our car on the rocky mountainside below us.


For years, my aunt has tried to persuade me to move to California. Her tactic has been repetition of the state’s numerous glittering qualities.

“We have the beaches, and then the mountains are just an hour away. An hour! You can go swimming at the beach and then go skiing!”

When that fails, mostly because I don’t understand how such a thing could be true (I have seen no such evidence of the multi-climate environment she claims exists in Southern California. It is, all of it, very warm and rather pleasant), she tries changing tactics.



Joshua Tree National Park is about a 90 minute drive from Palm Springs, which is totally fine is you are over the age of 2, but kind of a bummer if you aren’t. And one of us wasn’t.

Though to be fair, on New Year’s Eve he wore a friggin tux and looked like he was 4 or 5.

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Note: Since my posts are generally too wordy, I decided to see what happened when I made something a little too photo-y. Enjoy.


One hot summer’s day, seemingly a lifetime ago, when I was in Kansas, we drove and drove.


We drove through a part of the country most people only fly over. We drove until there was nothing but sky and grass. It didn’t take us long.



As a lover of bargains, history, and little old men in uniforms, I can safely say that one of my favorite things about travel is partaking in the many free national park tours our country has to offer. America’s National Park Service seems to exclusively hire flirty male septuagenarians as guides, and I am completely okay with that. (Interestingly, docents at museums in the U.S. are almost exclusively spunky single women in their golden years. I smell the makings of a senior citizen rom-com staring Susan Sarandon and Ed Asner. YOU’RE WELCOME, HOLLYWOOD.)

My love for gray-haired men in uniform is so strong that it sincerely saddens me to tell you that the NPS guided tour of Freedom Trail in Boston is not really worth the time. At least, not from a historical perspective. It was educational and informative, though, when it came to pastries.

And while I am sure you’d rather I discuss baked goods first, you will have to wait, as I did, and suffer through all the boring stuff. I know. Life is difficult.


(Yesterday I told the tale of how I visited the Statue of Liberty. This post continues where that one left off, as I made my way from Liberty Island to Ellis.)

I call this "Sign at Ellis Island with Arm of Some Dude Who Wouldn't Get Out of the Way."

I’d be remiss if I told you about my visit to Ellis and Liberty Islands and neglected to note how I almost royally messed up the entire trip.

The ferry that I boarded in Battery Park was scheduled to make two stops – first to Liberty Island (where the eponymous Statue of resided) and another to Ellis Island. I assumed there was service between the islands, and I considered staying on the ferry and going straight to Ellis first, hitting up Liberty on the way back. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to ask a crew member about this idea, and he informed me that this was impossible. The ferries go from Ellis Island straight back to the mainland, so if you don’t get off on Liberty Island the first time around, you will miss it. And yet, I nearly did this (as did, based on the conversations I overhead, a few other people on the boat). Clearly, I am not cut out for travel blogging, as I have a tendency to completely miss the places I’m trying to write about.


(Note: Due to length, I’ve split up my coverage of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island into two posts. Part 1 covers the Statue of Liberty, and Part 2 will be published tomorrow, and will cover Ellis Island. Enjoy.)


Hanging out with my lady liberty.

I am not one to feel emotionally moved very often. This is probably on account of my heart being a brittle lump of coal. It is hard, black, and basically a pollutant.

I first became aware of said coal-heartedness during my senior year of high school. Titanic had just come out, and most of the female population of my school was in some strange teenage mass hysteria over it.

I wasn’t very interested in the movie myself, as I was pretty sure I knew how it ended. I managed to avoid it until late that summer, when a friend suckered me into seeing it at the drive-in by telling me we were going to Austin Powers (Chris, if you are reading this, you are an unmitigated ass. Call me.) Determined to not be the only one having a miserable time, I spent most of the movie ridiculing the characters, and by the final scene (WARNING: major spoiler on the way. But if you aren’t familiar with the top films of 1998, then perhaps you should get on that.) I was downright incredulous.