In 1967 my father bought a Pontiac Catalina and a dingy old travel trailer and took his girlfriend, my brother and me on a road trip. Over the next 8 weeks we drove 13,498 miles, visited 51 parks, and saw wonders like geysers, redwoods, grizzlies, and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The trip made an indelible impression, cementing my appreciation for the natural world and the American landscape. This summer Pamela and I hope to repeat the experience for our family.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Sunday, July 4th

9:04 Broke camp Grand Canyon. Beat our Bryce time. Good riddance Mather Campground.

10:25 Exited Grand Canyon National Park as we listen to john Phillip Sousa music in honor of the holiday. Lark asks, “Can I walk?”

12:45 Stopped in Tuba City. Not much there.

1:38 Pulled over on approach to Monument Valley and picnicked in car.

3:05 Went to Goulding’s Trading Post in Monument Valley. This is where John Ford headquartered when making his westerns. Lots of John Wayne memorabilia.

3:36 Drove through Mexican Hat. And yes, the rock looks just like a big sombrero.

4:05 Entered Bluff, UT, starting point for tomorrow’s raft trip down the San Juan River.

4:09 Checked in Recapture Lodge, friendly mom & pop motel next door to the river outfitters. Heard in Goulding’s that this motel is owned by local fire chief and all the employees are either fire fighters or EMTs. Know we’ll be safe here. Now just waiting for the arrival of the Kalinski family.

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