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Mexico - A Trip To Cancun PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Prohl    Tuesday, 02 February 2016 10:57

On the beach in Cancun

(On the beach in Cancun)

Fiftieth birthdays don't roll around very often - once in a lifetime, last time I checked - so when my wife Irina's fiftieth came along we decided to celebrate it in our favorite fashion: by traveling somewhere. Since her birthday falls in January and we live in a cold, wet, northern climate, our choice of destinations came down to A) cold and snow, such as a ski resort, or B) head somewhere sunny and warm. After a couple of straight months of leaden, dripping Seattle skies, and with neither of us being skiers, we chose option B more or less by default.

Emporio hotel beachfront

(Emporio hotel beachfront)

After selecting plan B, it became a choice between Hawaii or Mexico. We'd been to Hawaii once before a few years ago - a trip detailed on this site -  and although we would both like to return sometime, the lure of the unknown and untried won out. Now I'll be the first to admit that Mexico has never been very high on my list of longed-for travel destinations. We've all heard the stories of Mexican drug wars and cartels and don't drink the water and don't eat the food unless you want to spend your vacation sitting on the commode. Well, I'm as susceptible to gringo paranoia as anyone, so my resistance level to going south of the border was pretty high. Add in the fact that I'm not really one for laying around on the beach for a week getting drunk and neither is Irina, so why go to a tropical beach resort? We both like active travel, getting out, seeing the sights, interacting with the locals and soaking up as much culture and atmosphere as we can find.

A variety of sunrises

(A variety of sunrises)

 
Bend, Oregon and vicinity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Prohl    Monday, 14 December 2015 10:24

Bend, Oregon seen from Pilot Butte

(Bend, Oregon seen from Pilot Butte)

As a traveler, it isn't always necessary to circle the globe to find somewhere of interest to visit. Sometimes the best trips can be to your next door neighbors. Case in point, our recent journey just a little bit south of home to the great state of Oregon.

I'd driven through central Oregon once before about ten years ago and retained fond memories of the trip. Since my wife, Irina, had never been there, it seemed like the time was ripe to revisit the area. We chose the city of Bend as our destination, mostly because if you're headed to central Oregon, Bend really is the Rome of the region: all roads lead there.

Sunset dinner beside the Deschutes River

(Sunset dinner beside the Deschutes River)

I'm probably going to sound a bit like the Bend tourism board here, but it really is a year-round outdoor mecca. There's fabulous skiing and snow sports in the winter centered around nearby Mt. Bachelor, and in the spring, summer and fall, every variety of land or water based recreation you could possibly want to indulge in beckons you outside. Hiking, mountain and/or rock climbing, golf, cycling (especially mountain biking), fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, white water, still water, lakes or rivers, they've got it all. And they have the perfect sunny, dry climate to enjoy it.

Drake Park along the Deschutes River

(Drake Park along the Deschutes River)

 
Canadian Rockies Part 5 - Calgary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Prohl    Wednesday, 04 November 2015 11:36

Welcome to Calgary

(Welcome to Calgary)

After spending five days exploring the vast untamed natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies in Banff and Jasper National Parks, we decided it was time to head into town for a couple of days worth of city fun, so it was off to Calgary.

Calgary is Alberta's largest city and the gateway to Banff National Park, which is only about a 90 minute drive to the west. The town began life in the 1870's as Fort Calgary, established at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers as the westernmost outpost of civilization, primarily to bring some law and order to the wild frontier of western Canada. Prior to the arrival of Captain James Macleod and his force of Canadian Mounties in 1876, the area was overrun by whiskey traders and as lawless and dangerous as Tombstone, Dodge, or any of the more famous outlaw towns of the American west.

A really big head. Public art in downtown Calgary

(A really big head. Public art in downtown Calgary)

In 1883 the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area and Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre. Calgary was officially incorporated as a town in 1884, and in 1894 it was incorporated as "The City of Calgary" in what was then the North-West Territories

Pathway paralleling the Bow River

(Pathway paralleling the Bow River)

 
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