Foreign Travel Is Great, But . . .

I’m a big fan of travel abroad. It changes attitudes and broadens perspectives and makes us realize that while other cultures can be very different, other people are pretty much the same as we are.
 
That said, there is so much to see in this country that I truly do understand my wife’s argument: Why travel to some foreign country when there are things we’ve never done and places we haven’t seen in this country?
 
Three years ago, her argument prevailed and we took the Southwest Chief to Williams, Arizona, where we rented a car and visited the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Arches National Park. Here are a few photos from that trip.
 

 To my great regret, we drove from Williams to the Grand Canyon in the rental car instead of taking the Grand Canyon Railway. (NARP members get a discount, too.) It just worked out better that way in our case. You do not need a car at the Grand Canyon because there is a jitney service that runs frequently and takes you wherever you want to go.
 

 Is there any wonder why people from all over the world come here? I just counted and I have 129 photographs of the canyon … and I know I weeded out a lot of them just after we got back home—duplicate shots, those out of focus or just a lousy shot for some reason. You just can’t get enough of this incredible natural wonder.
 

 Monument Valley was next on our itinerary and it’s filled with wind-eroded rock formations. There are more spectacular examples, but I was fascinated by that huge rock which seems to be so precariously balanced. I imagined a giant carefully placing it there.
 

 During our drive through Monument Valley, I looked up and saw this lone rider miles away, poised on that rocky ridge–a photo begging to be taken. Even with my long lens, he still seems miles away. In fact, he was.
 

 Arches National Park has several big “wows!” for visitors. This is Landscape Arch and, fortunately, is quite accessible. It takes a lot of trekking to reach many of the arches, but not this one. From here, we drove to Grand Junction, Colorado, where we caught the California Zephyr back to the West Coast. Another great travel experience . . . and all right here in the U.S.