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The West

Steptoe Butte State Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

Surprisingly, I think that there is no better place to experience our country’s “amber waves of grain” than Eastern Washington. The rolling hills, prevailing breezes and panoramic vistas here present a scenario of wheat fields that one wouldn’t normally expect to describe as beautiful, but here it most definitely is. One of the best places…

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A Day in Coeur d’Alene

Posted by Group Travel Leader in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

A quick road trip east of Spokane will bring the traveler to the handsome community of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as the storied body of water from which it gets its name. Included among the list of the “five most beautiful lakes in the world” compiled by National Geographic, sky-blue Lake Coeur d’Alene is…

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Magnificent Manito Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

Recently, I spent a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in the Spokane, Washington area. I’m sure that flower buffs in other parts of the country (and especially the South) might disagree, but I for one believe that the Pacific Northwest can make an honest claim of having the best total collection of beautiful floral gardens in North…

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This spring, I drove my motor home north through Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon to my destination for the summer in Southeastern Washington, where I arrived on May 2. At the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam on the Snake River, I’ll be volunteering in the Visitor Center until mid-September. Ice Harbor Dam Ice Harbor (photo…

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Korbel Champagne Cellars

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on June 06, 2013

 
 

To my knowledge, every state now offers wineries, some great, some good, others not so much, a few of them just plain awful. But champagne production facilities worth visiting are few and far between, which is all the more reason to plan a visit to the renowned Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, Calif. This commercial…

 

A fine (and thrifty) Montana weekend

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on November 15, 2012

 
 

Whoever originated the thought that “the best things in life are free” surely couldn’t have come up with a better description of a weekend I experienced this October in Southeastern Montana. First, the aspens along the Bighorn River and throughout the area were at their peak of golden color. Second, with my trusty “America the…

 

A different view of Mount Rainier

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 25, 2012

 
 

Regular readers of my blogs are likely already aware that Mount Rainier National Park is one of my favorites among America’s great parks. However, being able to spend the entire summer in the Seattle/Tacoma area this year has provided me with the opportunity to visit a number of the area’s secondary attractions that are still…

 

A worst-case scenario

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 25, 2012

 
 

Last month I addressed this subject, before almost immediately became an unwitting participant in exactly what I had advised against. During a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords in early August, I decided to join the ship’s $94.95 “Hiking on the Hardanger Plain” shore excursion from the small town of Eidfjord. This supposed “hike” was little…

 

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 25, 2012

 
 

Near the Mount Rainier National Park, the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is one of the most unusual city parks in the U.S. Yes, this Eatonville park is basically a zoo, but it is a zoo unlike any you are likely to find elsewhere. The mission of this 725-acre wildlife park is to present only those…

 
 

You never know how people are going to travel together until you hit the road with them, which is why I felt nervous about my husband’s first family vacation with my mom and brother to Yosemite National Park this spring. Although I had traveled with them individually, I was unsure if everyone’s travel styles would…