Falling for Flagstaff

Flagstaff Arizona in OctoberIf you’ve never been to Arizona, you probably have some preconceived notions about the so-called Copper State: It’s full of sweeping deserts, saguaro cacti, and red rock formations. And while that’s certainly true for some parts of the state—Tucson, for example, which I’ve visited previously—there’s so much more to Arizona. Continue reading

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Curves for Days: Arches National Park

Arches national parkBefore this trip, the only arches I had seen were limited to the Arc de Triomphe (and McDonald’s). Yet Nicole and I had gone back and forth about this stop in our travels. We knew that some of the most impressive formations at Arches National Park required a bit of a hike, yet we really wanted to see this natural wonder.

In the end, we decided to spend a day here—and we knew it was the right decision from the moment we saw the first major rock formations, known as “Fifth Avenue”. The huge red rocks towered above us, dwarfing everything else. Continue reading

There’s Nothing Scary about the Petrified Forest

petrified forestAs a kid, I was fascinated by the concept of the Petrified Forest. After all, who can resist the idea of trees, seemingly magically turned into rocks? Of course, there’s nothing magical about it: The colorful fossilized trunks were formed millions of years ago when silica from volcanic ash formed quartz crystals in fallen redwood trees.

The science is intriguing, but the actual “forest”—a span of desert off Route 66 in Arizona—is even more so. Words really don’t do it justice, so instead I’ll give you want you really want: photos. Nicole and I spent a few hours walking and driving past the logs and taking in the sweeping views of the Painted Desert, but you could spend much longer here. I hope my three nephews will find the box of petrified wood I picked up for them just as fascinating as I did.

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On the Road in Bavaria Day Nine: Mostly Good in Munich

MunichThis is the last post in a series about the first roadtrip Jess and I took together. We’ll be heading out for a Southwest roadtrip in just a few days, and will be chronicling our adventures from the road!

Our first order of business was to return the rental car in Munich. This sounds like a simple task, but no. It was hell. We spent at least an hour circling the train station, each of us running in to speak with various rental company agents, before being sent back out into the world to another location. Sigh. Jess and I never get snippy with each other, but the strain of returning the car had us on edge. Add in the fact that we got lost walking in circles trying to find our hotel, and Munich wasn’t off to a very good start. Continue reading