50 States – 50 Countries — Oregon

50 States – 50 Countries — Oregon

A new series of photographs we’ve taken from around the globe in our 50 years of traveling…The cover photo is Crater Lake National Park.

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There are many covered bridges in the state…especially around Cottage Grove…

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Miles of rugged coastline including the famous “Haystack” rock…

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The famous Astoria Column built high on a hill overlooking the town and the Columbia River delta …

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The mighty Columbia River was a major route for explorers, passengers, and freight…

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Multnomah Falls is the largest of the many waterfalls east of Portland along the Columbia River…

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Sea otters can be seen eating and frolicking along the shore…

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You might recognize “Mikey’s” home used in the movie “The Goonies,” located in Astoria…

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Oregon is also known for its wide selection of fine wines…

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Don’t miss the expansive Rose Garden in the hills above Portland…

Happy Trails!

7 Wonders of the Ancient World (and other really old stuff)

7 Wonders of the Ancient World (and other really old stuff)

No, I wasn’t talking about myself, I was thinking about our journey to Egypt back in 1984. As 2016 comes to a close and I approach the “mature” age of 70, it seems like a long time on this earth (although somebody said 70 is the new 50….but if that were true 20-year-olds would not have been born yet).

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But the pyramids are over 5000 years old, built before the birth of Christ, before the dark ages or age of enlightenment, before pop tarts were invented. I’m talking really old!

Still one of my favorite trips, in one day I visited a Jewish temple founded by Abraham on the spot where Moses stood; a church where Mary hid with the baby Jesus to escape the Romans; and the Muslim great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque History came alive!

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We were lucky enough to not only see the great pyramid of Giza, but also Karnak, Valley of the Kings, and formidable Abu Simbel (Ramses II), saved from the Aswan Dam when they blocked the Nile river.

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As we all look forward to the promise of a new year, it’s good to reflect on how far we have come (including that awful sophomore photo in your high school annual).

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Richard Allan Jones is a Musician, Actor, and Author of the comic adventure, “Drafted,” the second edition just released on Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Drafted-Richard-Jones-ebook/dp/B01M2BDY7F.

 

Road Trip 2015: Billings, Montana

Road Trip 2015: Billings, Montana

IMG_4683 (2)IMG_4682Next stop on our journey was Billings, Montana, the largest city in the state, and base camp for our visit to Little Big Horn (60 miles south). Montana was also a check on our bucket list to visit all 50 states (number 49 to be precise).

IMG_5001 (2)Montana is a lot of wide-open spaces and surprisingly lots of oil wells. The Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota holds one of the largest accumulations of crude oil in the United States; its Bakken and Three Forks formations are currently estimated to be capable of producing 7.4 billion barrels of oil.IMG_4690

Always fascinated by the story of Custer and the battle of Little Bighorn a critical point in the history of the west as the expansion of our young country ran headlong into the nomadic lifestyle of the Plains Indians.IMG_4691 (2)

Never realized that Custer’s troops were only one of three units in a planned attack that lasted several days. Several Indian tribes took part as they executed a perfect trap in a stand to preserve their lands and way of life.IMG_4743

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The Famous Sitting Bull was one of the Indian leaders.DSC01779

The monument serves as a detailed remembrance of the event for both sides.DSC01782 (2)

We also visited the Moss Mansion in Billings that belonged to one of the founders of the town. It is very well preserved because it stayed in the family for more than 100 years.DSC01800 (2)

Just outside of Billings headed east is another national monument.IMG_4758 (2)

Most graffiti is unwelcomed, but the carvings of Lewis & Clark who stopped at this large sandstone rockIMG_4803 beside the Yellowstone River…well. that’s another story.IMG_4793

Lewis & Clark, along with Sacagawea, were the intrepid explorers, as you may remember, who first IMG_4780mapped the United States all the way to the Pacific Ocean (in Oregon).

As the sun set, we headed to the last state on our bucket list, North Dakota.IMG_4994 (2)

 

Next Up: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the novels “Drafted” and “Identity Check.”

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Road Trip 2015: Yellowstone

Road Trip 2015: Yellowstone

IMG_4586 (2)One of this countries greatest national parks & the first, Yellowstone has been a 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness protected area in Wyoming (and parts of Montana & Idaho) since 1872. The park sits on a volcanic hot spot symbolized by the famous spouting geyser, “Old Faithful.”IMG_4650 (2)

This was our second visit, so we spent a couple of days going to parts we hadn’t seen before. Even in September, the park is crowded and you might have trouble finding a parking spot in the most popular attractions. We stayed in West Yellowstone, just outside the west entrance and a much easier drive into the park that if you stay in Cody and come in the mountainous east entrance.IMG_4621 (2)

Our favorite part of visiting Yellowstone is the animals. Buffalo are everywhere,DSC01750 (2) sometimes in a distant meadow, sometime right next to the road, sometimes strolling right down the road at a leisurely pace, with a long line of cars right behind.IMG_4617 (2) IMG_4601

Elk are a little harder to spot, IMG_4670 (2)although they normally travel in herds, with one or two bulls, a female harem & little ones here and there.IMG_4589 (2)

You almost never see grizzlies or wolves in the populated areas or campgrounds, but just in case, they sell bear spray in the stores and have posted signs to stay at least 100 feet away from any wildlife.IMG_4553 (2)DSC01718 (2)

Bull Buffalo and elk can weight up to 2000 pounds.IMG_4576 (2)

Lots of hot springs in Yellowstone and the smell of sulfur from the deep underground magma that causes all the activity.IMG_4666 (2)DSC01729 (2)DSC01732 (2)

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Also many beautiful waterfalls. DSC01745

DSC01748 (2)IMG_4520 (2)Hope you enjoy the photos we shot…DSC01757 (2)IMG_4579 (2)

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of “Drafted,” a comic adventure of a college student drafted into the Army during Vietnam.

Road Trip 2015: Craters of the Moon

Road Trip 2015: Craters of the Moon

We headed north out of Ely, Nevada, stopping first at McGill to peek in the window of a classic former working drug store that has now become a museum. McGill only has a handful of people left living there with a ton of abandoned buildings.DSC01617 (2)IMG_4424 (2)

 

SR 93 is another lonely road with three of four tiny farm towns all the way to the Idaho border. Towns with names like Currie, Wells and Contact. My favorite, right before the state line, was Jackpot, consisting of several casinos and two gas stations.

Our overnight destination was Twin Falls, Idaho, just a whistle-stop, with nothing particular to see, or so we thought. IMG_4438

Turns out there is a giant bridge on the edge of town, spanning a deep canyon carved out years ago by the Snake River. The bridge is so high, people come from miles around to free base jump from it, because no permit is required here. IMG_4433 (2)

DSC01640 (2)Also, since the town is called Twin Falls, we figured there had to be a waterfall somewhere nearby, and there was.  In fact they call it the “Niagara of the West.” Unfortunately, the falls is controlled by a dam to generate power, and with the drought, only a small portion of the water flow was being released. In the spring, the entire span in this picture is covered in water.DSC01652 (2)

We headed out north again to a really cool national monument called “Craters of the Moon.”IMG_4471 (2)

At one point in our ancient history, the entire area consisted of many massive active volcanoes and now there are miles and miles of lava beds, lava tubes, calderas, cone formations, and lava vents, creating a fascinating and eerie landscape.IMG_4497 (2)DSC01672 (2)

Next up:  Yellowstone

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of “Drafted” an adventure/comedy and “Identity Check,” a political thriller, soon to be released.

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