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One of my favorite little-known units administered by our National Park Service is the extraordinary John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (JDFB), created in north-central Oregon by Act of Congress in 1975. This facility deserves to be upgraded to full “National Park” status, but regardless, it makes an ideal addition to a tour itinerary visiting…



The recent free fall of petroleum prices has reminded me that as a youngster, I would regularly walk from my family’s suburban St. Louis home to a nearby discount service station (self-serve had yet to be invented) with a gallon can to get gasoline, so I could cut the grass with our power lawn mower….



Holiday season touring has become consistently more popular as Americans have tended to travel more, while breaking some longstanding end-of-year family traditions. Time was that everyone headed over to Grandma’s house for a Christmas feast, but now even Grandma and Grandpa can frequently be found “hitting the road,” with or without accompanying family members, to…


Bob Hoelscher

Late Season Departure for Alaska

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Alaska on December 18, 2014


If you haven’t taken a late season cruise to Alaska, then you should consider this less crowded time and take advantage of a unique opportunity to view the sites. I’ve taken many cruises to Alaska in the past, but this year I decided to take a late-season, round-trip sailing from Vancouver, partly to see if…

Bob H Nov photo 2

Bob Hoelscher

Exploring the Gateway to the Yukon

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Alaska on December 18, 2014


Having been to all of the featured ports (and having experienced all their major attractions) on this itinerary previously, I felt that this trip more closely resembled reuniting with old friends rather than making new ones, and a very comfortable, leisurely way to vacation.  Consequently, numerous past visits to Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, had fully…

Bob H Nov photo 8


What can one say about Glacier Bay? This incredible wilderness of ice and mountains is not only one of Alaska’s premier natural attractions, but also a World Heritage Site.  Happily, the sun made appearances in the morning and frequently during the day, while low-hanging clouds added to the park’s mystique. Moderate temperatures also brought most…

Bob H Nov photo 12

Bob Hoelscher

Inside Passage Southbound

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Alaska on December 18, 2014


Happily, the poor weather we’d experienced on the northbound trip did not make a return as we cruised towards Vancouver. The sky-blue waters, snowcapped peaks, dense forests and picturesque British Columbia villages that make the “Inside Passage” special were on full view today for all to enjoy. Disembarking in Vancouver at the Canada Place Pier…

Bob H Nov photo 14


Having spent the entire summer volunteering for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Visitor Center at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, just east of its confluence with the mighty Columbia, I took the opportunity during my free time to go exploring throughout the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest. I kept my…


Bob Hoelscher

The Pendleton Woolen Mills

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on October 14, 2014


The historic town of Pendleton, Oregon, lies just east of the Blue Mountains in the northeastern part of the state. A community of some 17,000 residents, Pendleton is probably best known as the namesake for the renowned Pendleton Woolen Mills. In operation since 1909, the company’s original plant here still makes the near-legendary woolen blankets…


Bob Hoelscher

The Pendleton Round-Up

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on October 14, 2014


Pendleton is home to one of the best-known rodeos in the American West, which has been held since 1910. Scheduled annually for the second week in September, the Pendleton Round-Up features dozens of events during its eight-day run, including parades, concerts, cowboy shows, children’s events, beer garden and the Happy Canyon Outdoor Indian Pageant &…