Travel Story: That Time I Went Sledding in Heidi Country

Sledding in Gimmelwald, Switzerland


Travel, especially when you’re young and going solo, is such a portal into other worlds. That was especially true when, from Summer 1989 to Spring 1990, I went around the world, visiting more than 20 countries along the way. I was, and am, an awfully lucky guy.

One of the best nights on that trip was in Gimmelwald, Switzerland, when several of us were called from our hotel in the snowy mountains to join some locals on a sledding trek. It was exactly as magical as you might think. Continue reading “Travel Story: That Time I Went Sledding in Heidi Country”

Travel Story: A Run Through Reform (Alabama)


Many of the travel columns I wrote for the Memphis Flyer between 1996 and 2012 actually occurred well before that time. In this case, I reached all the way back to my teenage years in the early 1980s.

That photo above is me, aged 17, with my Dad and the car from the story. The story actually ran in the August 16, 2001 Flyer, and in this case I am also going to share the text here.

Read along, then, as a couple of dumbass kids in Dad’s too-fast car almost crash and/or get murdered while driving to a football game in Alabama ….

Continue reading “Travel Story: A Run Through Reform (Alabama)”

New Project: My Old Memphis Flyer Travel Columns


My career as a travel writer — as opposed to a traveling writer, which we’ll get to — actually had its start in the advertising business.

Not that I worked in advertising, heaven forbid. But I worked near it, and apparently under its powers, such that in one strange moment I went from “kind of a sportswriter” to “professional travel writer” because of a decision made across the hall in advertising.

Continue reading “New Project: My Old Memphis Flyer Travel Columns”

Note to Self: Planning is not Living!


I recently arrived at a significant decision in my life, one that has many layers, challenges and opportunities. It’s big, kind of scary, but very exciting. It also doesn’t really start for about seven months, and there are major factors involved which I can’t control.

In short, aside from curiosity and perhaps a few long-term elements, there’s nothing I need to be doing about it right now.

Continue reading “Note to Self: Planning is not Living!”

Thoughts and Plans on my 24th Anniversary in Portland

pittock mansion portland

There’s really no significance to anniversaries, other than our tendency to take stock when they roll around. Where I “am” now versus where I “was” 24 years ago doesn’t mean a lot, but it is interesting to think about, as is seeing a photo of myself from back then and think, “Wow, I was really young!”

What did I think my life was going to be in 1996, when I arrived in Portland by Greuyhound bus, my car having finally died at an I-84 rest stop near La Grande, Oregon? (That, as they say, is “a whole nother story,” here in parts 1 and 2.) I had come to Oregon to get out of my hometown and away from that whole life, but also to explore the Pacific Northwest. I didn’t (and still don’t) orient myself around jobs or relationships, neither of which have stuck around for very long. I saw coming to Portland as going to a new area, close to many mountains, to build a new life. And I did.

Continue reading “Thoughts and Plans on my 24th Anniversary in Portland”

September, 2020: The Oregon Coast Trail South of Arch Cape is a Windblown Mess (And Some of it is Closed)


I went out and tried to hike some of the Oregon Coast Trail on September 21, 2020, and it is a total mess. There was no fire here, but I assume that what I saw was the result of winds around Labor Day.

Near as I can tell, you really can’t hike from Arch Cape to at least Cape Falcon right now, and in fact some of that trail is officially closed. Continue reading “September, 2020: The Oregon Coast Trail South of Arch Cape is a Windblown Mess (And Some of it is Closed)”

My Latest “Breakfast Bulletin” Newsletter: In 2020, Rain is Sunshine


Every couple of … well, years lately (hanging my head), I write a newsletter I call the “Breakfast Bulletin.” The name comes from my old days as the Portland Breakfast Guy, and I keep it to honor those good times.

The latest issue is about the strange times we live in — for example, when the city of Portland celebrates rain in September. Tough times bring weird thoughts, I guess.

Continue reading “My Latest “Breakfast Bulletin” Newsletter: In 2020, Rain is Sunshine”