The Florida Keys are a string of tropical islands stretching 125 miles off the southern tip of the US state of Florida between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Until 1912, they weren’t connected to the rest of the world as there was no bridge. A recently rebuilt 7-mile bridge stretching over the vast ocean brings you to at a completely separate destination from the rest of the US, and that is how the local “Conchs” want it to be. There is a different feel to the Keys as soon as you are removed from the hustle and bustle of Miami. A soft breeze, gentle murmur of voices and a relaxed island vibe is felt everywhere you turn.Explore
“Off our starboard,” says our tour guide, voice crackling with static from the speaker attached to the boat’s coach roof, “you’ll see the Chicago Tribune Tower.” He points to the right in the event lubberly visitors don’t know port from starboard, then he points skyward. No coincidence this building towering over “Chicago’s First Lady,” our ninety-nine-foot tour boat, looks like a cross between an office building and a church. Architects envisioned the 140-metre tall edifice as a Gothic Revival masterpiece; they even visited its inspiration – the French cathedral at Rouen – before finalizing the design.Explore
Our Zodiac skimmed through the quiet early morning waters of the Pacific, all eyes scanning for signs of whale activity, a hump, a fin, a tail or a tiny ripple. An excited hush fell on all eleven passengers. We had been assured of many sightings, but you never know with whales. “Over there!” someone shouted, and our driver picked up speed, heading towards the tail as we waited, but not for long, as the whale breeched thrusting most of its body high out of the water.Explore
Sapphire blue water contrast with towering red sandstone cliffs, a postcard worthy shot that can only be seen in Northern Arizona. The 186-mile Lake Powell straddles the Arizona-Utah border, with six major side canyons and close to 2,000 miles of coastline. Complete with sandy beaches, there is more than enough to explore when you rent a houseboat from Lake Powell Marina.
I stood on the edge of Hell’s Canyon, and even though it sounds like the beginning of a murder mystery, it is one of the major tourist pulls in the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho area. After boarding a 29 ft. boat with Snake Dancer Excursions, we traveled fifty miles upriver even though we were heading south on Snake River. Although it’s in Idaho, straight across the river is Washington, with another entrance from Oxbow, Oregon. Famous explorers, Lewis and Clarke crossed this river at Lewiston and mention it in their journals often. The deepest canyon in North America, word from the locals is that it’s so deep, it goes to hell, and so wide, you can’t see the upper edge from the bottom and you can’t see the top from the bottom.Explore
I have been on several journeys by air recently, so when a road trip beckoned, it felt novel to pack up the car with snacks, books on CD from the library and magazines and drive to a different country.
We arrived, if not totally refreshed, close to it, with no jet lag or time difference to deal with. We didn’t have to stand in line or worry about luggage restrictions and could stop whenever we wanted to. Road trips are growing in popularity and the reasons are clear. They can be fun, especially if your destination is as appealing as Lake Placid, NY.Explore