Near Page, Arizona, along highway 98 in the Kaibito direction, you will find Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is a very narrow canyon, carved in the sandstone by streaming water. The water is gone now, although there are occasional floods, but what remains is a very beautiful smooth and colorful canyon.
Antelope Canyon lies in the Navajo Nation and is also runned by Navajo People. To enter the canyon you have to buy a permit to enter the Navajo Tribal Park and you also have to pay a small fee for the 'pickup truck' transport to the canyon entrance, but this is well worth it. Don't forget to bring sunscreen for the unshaded transport to the canyon. Icecold bottled water can be bought from the Navajo.
|Pima Air and Space Museum||The Pima Air and Space Museum is located in Tucson, Arizona. The mainly open air museum houses the most important military aircraft from this century. Among them you can find the B-52, the F-14 Tomcat, the F-15A Eagle, the F-18 Hornet, the A-10 Warthog, the SR-71 Blackbird and many more. There are a couple of hangars with World War II aircraft displays which are very interesting. The airconditioned hangars are also a welcome place to cool down if you happen to visit the museum on a 110F (43C) degree day like I did. Adjacent to the Air and Space museum is the Titan missile museum, where you can walk in a nuclear missile launch site.|
In Oracle, Arizona there is a large structure called Biosphere 2, it can best be described as a very large greenhouse. Biosphere 2 was built with the coming space age in mind, where people will colonize other moons and planets. It was designed to be completely self supporting. Biosphere 2 houses a small desert, a small ocean and a small jungle for air and water recycling plus an agricultural area for food production. In the early 90's eight people lived there, completely isolated from the outside world, for two years. They produced their own food, water and air during that period. According to the guide, these eight people were healthier when they got out after two years, than they were when they got in.|
Biosphere 2 is now part of Columbia University and besides for research by students the facility is also used as tourist attraction. There are both guided and self guided tours. You cannot enter the ocean, jungle or desert area, but you can view them from areas that you can enter, like the living quarters and from the outside.
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|Death Valley National Park||
Death Valley National Park is one of the strangest, but also most beautiful places I have ever visited. I visited it in June and apparently in the summer months it is too hot for Americans to visit the park. There weren't that many people in the park, but the ones that were there, were Americans working in one of the resorts or visitor centers and the rest were mainly European tourists, most of them Dutch and German.|
We happened to arrive there when there was a thunder/sandstorm rolling in from the north, not an uncommon thing in the summer months as we found out in the visitor center. It was like standing in a hairdryer with the 112F (44C) degree wind blowing hard. Obviously our view was obscured by all the dust in the air, but that gave a nice sunset. The next day it had all cleared up again and there was no evidence of any storm left.
It is a really strange sensation when you stand on one of the salt plains and there is absolutely nothing to hear. No wind, no sounds, nothing, you really start to think you turned deaf or something. If you don't have a problem with heat, I think June is a good time to visit Death Valley but don't forget to bring lots of drinking water. I can recommend the Furnace Creek Ranch to stay in, there are also a couple of restaurants on the ranch. The steak I had in the saloon was one of the best I ever had.
|Six Flags Magic Mountain||Six Flags Magic Mountain is located in Valencia just north of Los Angeles. The entertainment park has about ten different rollercoasters. There are both old wooden rollercoasters and high tech steel rollercoasters. If you like rollercoasters, this is the place to be. My favorite ones are the Viper and the Riddler. The Viper is the world's highest looping rollercoaster. In the Riddler you do the ride standing right up (strapped in tightly of course). If you're in Los Angeles and you don't like Disneyland, like me, you should go to Six Flags instead.|
|Universal Studios Hollywood||The Universal studios are located in Universal City near Hollywood. The movie theme park has several rides, shows and a movieset and studio tour. The rides are very good, especially "Back to the Future the ride", the one hour waiting in line was really worth it. I didn't really like the shows, but your kids may enjoy them. The studio tour is also very interesting.|
|San Diego||Coming soon|
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|Amtrak Denver-Salt Lake City||One of my dreams had always been to take a train ride right through the Rocky Mountains, so in 1996 I did just that. I took the Amtrak train from Chicago to Los Angeles (which, as far as I know, is cancelled now). The part from Chicago to Denver was not that interesting, but in Denver things started to get interesting. Denver is just on the edge of the Rockies, so right after leaving the city the train started climbing to high altitudes. It was really beautiful to travel through the high mountains and small canyons, so I can really recommend this to anyone doing the US by train.|
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| ||New York|
|New York City||New York is one of my favorite cities in the world. I have been there three times now in the last two years (1996 and 1997). It is really awesome to see all those high buildings on Manhattan Island, they go on for miles. New York always had a bad reputation for crime and violence, but that has really changed in the last couple of years. I don't know how the situation is in the other boroughs, but in Manhattan you never have the feeling that it's unsafe, not even in the middle of the night. When in New York you should of course visit all the famous places like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Greenwich Village, Central Park, Fifth Avenue and The World Trade Center. The latter is a good alternative if you don't want to stand in line for hours at the Empire State Building.|
If you want to see Manhattan from the Hudson River, there are a couple of alternatives, you could stand in line for a long time and take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but it is better to take the free ferry to Staten Island. You have an excellent view on Manhattan and you can also see the Statue of Liberty from a distance.
If you like good food then New York has an excellent choice of restaurants in all price ranges and food selections. I can recommend Bayamo on Broadway, in between 4th St and 5th street(Cuban food) and the Brooklyn Diner on 57th street in between 7th and 8th Avenue. In the Brooklyn Diner you should really leave some room for the desserts, those are really great!
New York is also a good place to buy electronics. Near Times Square there are a lot of shops that sell electronics and cameras. However, before you enter one make sure that you know what something costs at a regular department store because all these electronics stores have no pricelabels on the items they sell. They will always try to sell you something at a price that is way to high, so never say yes to the first price they offer. Eventually after some negotiating you can get an item cheaper than at say a Target store. If you don't want to negotiate it is better to go to J&R Electronics next to the New York City Hall. They are also cheap and all items are priced.
If you want to buy CD's you should go to Greenwich Village, there you can find them for $10 a piece.
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Dead Horse Point
Moab is situated right in the middle of the Canyonlands. The nearby Canyonlands National Park was originally supposed to be bigger, but the discovery of uranium was the cause that large portions of the canyons were left out of the National Park. In and around Moab there are still traces of the uranium mining, which has now ended after the end of the Cold War. All within a radius of 30 miles there are 3 parks near Moab, besides Canyonlands the other two are Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. Moab is the Mecca for the mountainbikers, hikers, rafters and other adventurous people. There are a lot of rental places where you can get bikes and jeeps. There are also organised Jeep trips, which take you to places in the canyons where you normally wouldn't get with your luxury car. I can highly recommend anyone to take an organised Jeep trip.|
|Bryce Canyon||Bryce Canyon National Park is really amazing. In this park there are several arenas with big (natural) statues of rock in all kinds of colors. The statues are formed by erosion. There are several trails that lead you along the rocks, you should take at least one of those trails in one of the arenas.|
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| ||Washington (state)|
|Olympic National Park||Olympic National Park is situated on the Olympic Peninsula just of the coast near Seattle. In the park you can find the world's most northern rainforest. Washington state is known for the frequent rain that falls there, but that's not the most important factor for the location of the rainforest there. It gets most of its water from the early morning fog. The coastline is really beautiful in that part of Washington.|
|Mount Rainier||I didn't actually stay in Mount Rainier National Park and also there aren't really that many places to stay in the park, but the views from the road leading through the park are very beautiful. When the weather is clear the view on Mount Rainier is really awesome. When travelling from Seattle to Yakima or Ellensburg (in any direction) the detour through park is really worth the extra miles.|
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| ||More to come in the near future|