Archive | April, 2013
Yuma Balloon Festival Balloons in Flight

10 Favorite Destinations, Year 3

Glacier National Park, Three Arches, Going to the Sun Road

Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun; so much so that it is impossible for us to believe that we’ve really been on the road for three full years. But it’s not all fun and games, you know? With great travels comes great responsibility. And so we once again find ourselves confronted with the hard task of selecting our favorite destinations from the past 365 days.

Our previous “Best of” lists can be found here (Year 1 and Year 2)

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“A Little Something”

Hearst Castle Facade

A Spanish cathedral inspired the towers that rise above Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.

An old journalism adage counsels writers against burying their lede, so here’s mine: freaking zebras. Before we get to that, though, there’s this small matter of a castle. Only it is not really a castle. Maybe I need to back up and explain.

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An Old Tale Worth Retelling


A fisherman on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Standing on a pier in a remote coastal village, a vacationing American businessman watched as a tiny boat ladened with tuna docked nearby. Clearly impressed with the quality of the local fisherman’s catch, the American asked how long it took him to reel in his haul.

“Only a short while,” responded the fisherman.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

“With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

Seeming a bit perplexed by the question, the fisherman smiled and said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I can help you. If you spent more time fishing you could earn enough to buy a bigger boat and even hire some extra hands. By plowing your profits back into the business you could buy more boats and eventually amass an entire fleet of trawlers. Then you can leave this little village and move to a big city where it will be easy to manage your growing enterprise.”

“How long will this all take?” asked the fisherman.

“Fifteen, maybe twenty years.”

“That’s a long time. Why would I want to do that?”

The American laughed and said, “Because after all of those years of hard work your company will be large enough that you can sell it and use the proceeds to retire.”

“What will I do then?”

“That’s the best part. Once you retire you can move to a small coastal village, sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take siesta with your wife in the afternoon and, in the evening, stroll into town where you can sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”

Adapted from a story by Heinrich Böll

Taxpayer Dollars at Work

Santa Barbara Courthouse

What could 1.3 million dollars buy in the mid-1920s? After an earthquake rumbled through Santa Barbara in 1925 and leveled the county courthouse, a grandiose new one rose up in its place (tight-fisted voters had earlier denied funding for a grander municipal building).

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Wine Country in the City

Deep Sea Winery Tasting Room, Santa Barbara

Wine and waves at the Deep Sea Tasting Room in Santa Barbara, CA

We needed to make up some ground. We were in California, the country’s top wine-producing state, for two months before sampling even a single locally-produced vintage. That changed in Santa Barbara, on the Central Coast, where some of the regions winemakers have made tasting their merchandise as easy as taking a stroll through town.

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