Category Archives: USA – The West

Visit National Parks to Discover Some of the World’s Most Breath-Taking Natural Spaces

By Jocelyn Brown

Banff Canada by Ezra Jeffrey

Banff Canada by Ezra Jeffrey

The 7,000 national parks across 100 countries all around the globe, offer travelers the chance to experience the world’s natural beauty first hand. National parks are conservation areas used to help protect and preserve areas of natural land. The land is often semi natural or all natural. But there is some developed land which can call itself a national park, just as long as a country or state declares it as being its own property. Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but there is no doubt that these parks offer the best in magnificent landscapes, environmental wonders and fascinating plants and wildlife. Continue reading

Moon Riding: Taking Your Bike Out at Night

By Jocelyn Brown

For some reason, I’ve always enjoyed cycling at night rather than during the day. It might be because there’s less traffic or if they use their lights, they’re easier to spot. Of course, it might be the moon and the stars when you get out of the urban lighting and into the country. Regardless of why I like it, taking part in the annual Atlanta Moon Ride for the last 3 years has allowed me to share this passion and interest with people from all over the city and indeed, country – many of whom have never done a real night ride before. Continue reading

Hiking with Casper the (Un)Friendly Ghost: Four Haunted United States National Parks

By:   Jocelyn Brown

Photo by Andrea Boldizsar

Photo by Andrea Boldizsar

The United States National Parks have a dark and brooding history. Many visitors mysteriously vanish on hikes through these parks, and over the past 100 years, there have been 1,100 missing persons cases that have never been closed. Unable to cross over, these restless souls continue to haunt the parks and if you’re hiking at night, you’d better watch out for these spirits. They’re not all as friendly as Casper. Continue reading

Best States for a Motorcycle Vacation

By Sally James

Vacationers on Motorcycles

Vacationers on Motorcycles

The things which make something enjoyable are, of course, subjective. Someone who loves history will wax lyrical about the old cities of Europe, which won’t interest a wilderness-yomper one jot. A ski nut will appreciate mountainous resorts the charms of which will be completely lost upon a beach bum. This subjectivity is as true of motorcycling as anything else. Some love straight, desert roads in which to roar along with the world spread out before you. Others like the challenge of a bendy forest road. Some like it warm, some hate to sweat in their leathers. As such, any ranking of states regarding their general enjoyability for bikers is going to meet with stormy opposition in some quarters. So we won’t attempt to do that. Here instead are the best states for hitting the road on two wheels according to certain criteria – namely: Warm riding weather, dry riding weather, safety, and gasoline prices.

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Warm Riding Weather – Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana In all fairness, this is a pretty subjective category. After all, some people might prefer the crisp tang of a Wisconsin winter to the hot humidity of a Southern summer. Feel free, therefore, to completely ignore this category and go your own sweet way! To be honest, we’ve mainly chosen these states based upon their hours of daylight and the relative paucity of chill winds. In general, the states of Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and Louisiana are the most likely to give you a good, clear run of days in which the daylight is abundant and the nasty weather keeps away. Texas isn’t far behind, but loses points for just being too damn big to gather non-conflicting data for! Don’t take it as read that these states are automatically going to roll out the climactic carpet for you, however. We all know about Florida and Louisiana’s issue with hurricanes! These states give you your best chance of consistently warm riding weather, but it’s by no means 100% guaranteed!

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Dry Riding Weather – Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona Wet roads, snowy roads, and water splattering your visor do not make for a great ride. Some may enjoy the challenge, and some may relish the chance to pit their snow chains against the ice, but those of us who like an easy life would probably prefer to hit the road on a dry day. Working on yearly averages, the driest states are Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona. However, it might be worth taking seasonal averages into account as well. In the summer, California just about manages to knock Nevada from its desiccated top-spot, while in winter you’re more likely to find dry conditions in North Dakota (which perhaps helps to account for this state’s exemplary safety record – see below). In general, though Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona are the most consistently dry states all year round, so if you’re not a fan of slippy tires and the scent of soggy weather, it might be an idea to head West!

Safety – North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi You need not worry about damage (to yourself or you bike!) or theft if you head to one of these states. The roads here are smooth and well-maintained – particularly in North Dakota - which makes for an enjoyable as well as a safe ride. The accident and fatality rates for all vehicles, not just motorcycles, are commendably low in all three states (which will make your mother happy!). North Dakota notably experiences low levels of congestion, and drivers tend to be both considerate and bike-aware. Helmet laws are laxly enforced within Nebraska, which counts against them, but this does not stop Nebraskans from taking the initiative and wearing helmets out in spite of law-enforcement’s unbothered stance on the issue. Mississippi, meanwhile, are both consistent and persistent with their traffic safety laws. Thefts of motorcycles are low in all three of these states.  If you want your bike undamaged and your body unscarred, head on out to North Dakota, Nebraska, or Mississippi.

Gas Prices – Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas Gas prices zip up and down all over the USA on a daily basis, so don’t rely too much on this information in a year’s time! As it currently stands, you’ll get the most miles for your dollar in Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas – but it might be worth checking before you book anything, just to make sure!

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San Jose, CA- It’s not just high tech!

 

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Exciting Silicon Valley 

By: Charlene S. Mixa

Sunshine 300 days a year, the San Jose skyline surrounded by mountains, steep hillside vineyards, tree-lined streets, sidewalk cafes, sports venues, and quaint yet bustling small towns are all found in Silicon Valley. San Jose, the tenth largest city in the nation is exciting and trendy while still having a small town charm. The city in this wide valley creates a warm welcome. Continue reading

Explore the Prospects of Breckenridge, Colorado

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

From Gold Mines to Mountain Golf and More!

 

Riverwalk on Blue River in Breckenridge

Riverwalk on Blue River in Breckenridge

It’s not just about gold. In 1859 prospectors discovered gold and founded the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Initially a mining town rich with veins of gold and silver, today its treasures lie in tourism with scenic mountains, summer activities, and fantastic winter sportsAs one of the nation’s premier year-round destinations, Continue reading

The Aspen Meadows Resort: An Aspen Shangri-La

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Seclusion and Serenity in the Rockies

The Serene Pool at Aspen Meadows Resort

The Serene Pool at Aspen Meadows Resort

A happy land isolated from the outside world describes the serenity of the Aspen Meadows Resort. An earthly paradise and a place to leave behind a hurried life, a hectic schedule and a demanding career. Famous for enhancing the mind, body, and spirit the resort is nestled on 40 acres in a meadow between Castle Creek and Roaring Fork River, yet only a couple of miles from Aspen, Colorado.  Continue reading

The Allure of Aspen in August

By Charlene S. Mixa

Alpine Mountains and Ambiance

Fun visiting in the summer.  Our last visit the Bells and Lake were covered in snow.

Fun visiting in the summer. Our last visit the Bells and Lake were covered in snow.

A 20,000 bottle wine cellar! A Master Sommelier selects special wines from 2,000 varieties. Wines artfully paired to compliment each course on the menu. Scenic courtyard views and the natural splendor of Aspen Mountain. All this and the full-flavored dishes of Chef Robert McCormick are at the Montagna restaurant in Aspen, Colorado’s Little Nell Hotel. Ultimate Aspen dining! Alpine mountains, a Forbes Four Star Award restaurant and elegant setting all blend beautifully. Continue reading

Dynamic Denver!

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Abounds with Activities

Downtown Denver's 16th Street Mall

Downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall

The Mile High City bursts with activities! Nestled at the base of the great Rocky Mountains, Denver has it all. Its mild climate offers great weather actually averaging over 300 days of sunshine a year. Thrilling history, outstanding shopping, and a rich cultural venue add to the enchantment of this wonderful city. Continue reading

Pacific Grove: Monterey Bay’s Enchanting Seaside Town

Scenic, Charming and a Place to Reconnect with Nature

By: Charlene S. Mixa

Scenic Monterey Bay

Scenic Monterey Bay

Romance, spectacular views, a seaside sanctuary, unique shops, and world-renowned restaurants beckon visitors to Pacific Grove. Located between Monterey and Pebble Beach, this quaint coastal town is scenic, relaxing, and a location to reconnect with nature. Beginning as a summer Methodist Camp in 1875, the Pacific Grove Retreat offered a place to worship, rest and meditate. Continue reading