Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Food Service Meeting . . .

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. . . sked for 2:30 p.m. has been


Nothing new till next month.

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Breath-holding Utah Sights to Behold

By Fyllis Hockman

Mature Life Features                                                                      

Full four-wheel drive didn’t seem to be enough to hold us from dropping 1,300-feet from the narrow cliff-side ledge as I clung to my heart. Gaping at the towering walls adorned with sharp pinnacles leaping skyward, it looked like the earth had been splashed with multi-hued red dyes, all running together.

Such is life among the five national parks of southern Utah — Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion that share uncompromising splendor, history of both the earth and the country, and a sense of personal sanctuary. After more than 150 million years, they are still works in progress.

Arches National Park is a mecca of some of nature’s most intriguing architectural designs that span space and confound logic for which no man-made blueprint was ever drawn. With more than 900 such structures, it boasts the largest concentration of natural arches in the world. The trail to Delicate Arch, one of its most famous, requires hiking slick rock at seemingly 90-degree angles at times. The visual wonder makes it worth the climb.

Nearby Canyonlands requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. The view from Island in the Sky at 6,000 feet embraces 2,000-foot cliffs rising out of a magnificently painted landscape.

The panorama at Grandview Point stretches across countless canyons providing a broad view over the entire park. “Scenic Overlook” signs become redundant. Shafer Trail, a dirt road that’s rough in spots and very rough in others, is bordered on one side by perpendicular cliffs and on the other by a sheer 1,300-foot drop.

Although geologic history is stressed in every park, it’s what defines Capitol Reef that ranges from 80 million to 270 million years old.

A stroll along the nearby Grand Wash River bed, so narrow in parts you can touch both canyon walls at the same time, evoked old western film images of the lonesome cowboy out on the trail. Butch Cassidy used to ride along this stream bed (it had water in it then) and hide among the cavernous cliffs overhead. It’s now called, not surprisingly, Cassidy Arch.

Bryce Canyon is synonymous with hoodoos — phantasmagorical images emerging from weird and wonderful rock formations. There are thousands of the little (and not so little) guys in all shapes, colors and sizes. Rain and ice have sculpted these fanciful folk out of the rusted limestone.

Arriving at Zion reinforces the idea that each park is unique. At the other parks, your line of sight extends out toward the horizon as well as down into the canyons. At Zion, you look straight up, and up, and up. The soft-running Virgin River is responsible for creating the huge rock gorges that encircle the park. It took only 5 million to 16 million years to do so.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 28, 2023 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Travel, United States.

Tagged with

Feels Like . . .

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. . . a laid-back week to close out the month.

So gear up for a busy Thursday,

which offers a Mad Money review at 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor theater,

followed by our regular Thirsty Thursday respite at 3 p.m. in the bistro

before the Lou Malati’s Pizzeria tasting

in the dining room at 5 p.m.

Check your monthly calendar and fliers in the mail room for further details.

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San Diego Cradles California History

There’s more to San Diego than the zoo.

The history of California and, as follows, that of the western United States is rooted in a promontory overlooking the bay that Spanish conquistadors first sailed into what has become the nation’s southwestern-most metropolitan complex of more than 3 million people.

Whether you drop down into San Diego on I-5 from the Los Angeles megalopolis or slide in along I-8 from the great Southwest, the two freeways meet at the Presidio.

Parked around a solid early-Californio tower is what is now a 40-acre Presidio Park that anchors the 21-mission chain that forms the backbone of the Golden State.

The park is the home of the museum that honors Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra who planted a cross on the hill that might have been intended to be the site of the first U.S. mission but gave way to rebellious Kumeyaay Indians who resented the Spaniards’ iron hand.

The first permanent mission, San Diego de Alcala, was built about five miles up the San Diego River in 1769 to soften relations between the intruders and the natives.

The growth of Alta California grew out of the presidio, however, as the Franciscans accompanied the Spanish soldiers and built the mission chain over the next half century until Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821.

The Mexican government secularized the missions a decade later and rich rancheros came north to claim the spoils. San Diego’s Old Town at the base of the hill crowned by the Presidio became a trade center as Mexico encouraged foreign trade. Today, it attracts both locals and tourists to its shops, restaurants and 19th century shop workers, such as blacksmiths and woodworkers.

Presidio Hill became a military fort and garrison in the nid-1840s after a combined force of Commodore Robert Stockton and Gen. Stephen Kearney won control of Alta California.

The Mormon Battalion Monument honors the Mormon men and women who volunteered to enlist in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War, effectively opening stage routes west and securing those Mexican territories for the States. Brigham Young was looking for help with his westward migration plans and enlisting his followers in the army paid for wagons, horses, and other necessities for his grand exodus.

Accompanying the 550-man battalion were 33 women, many serving as laundresses, and 51 children. They earned the church a total of $30,000 in donated salaries, the only religiously based military unit ever established in U.S. history.

Marked trails all around the Mormon monument take you past ruins of the original structures, a bronzed statue of the Friar Serra, and the Indian – an statue of a Kumeyaay brave with a freshly killed cougar.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 27, 2023 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Travel

Chorale Call

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Verena Voices is still open for,

and will continue to seek, more voices — both female and male.

If you enjoy singing in the shower,

take you talent to

the weekly choir practice

2 p.m. Tuesdays – 2nd floor theater.

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Something You All Gotta Check Out

Save yourself the trouble of trundling through airports

and visit your hometown, favorite city or international landmark you’d like to see

by typing in your search engine

“drive and listen” or “live webcam (and the city you’d like to visit)”

and enjoy the trip. It’s captivating and fun.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 26, 2023 at 7:23 pm

It’s The Weekend . . .

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. . . so take it EZ

and drop by to schmooz

around Sunday’s ice cream

+ + + +

Happiness is

not having to set the alarm clock.

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Roman Festival Brightens

Umbrian Hillside

Why not drop around on Sunday, Riccardo suggested, “We’ll have a few artichokes.”

The retired Alitalia pilot and his wife, Mariolina, were our landlords when we arrived in the medieval central-Italy castle-town of Panicale and became our friends before we left. They opted out of big-city living in Rome and built a picture-book home in a hill-clinging olive grove just below the town’s centuries-old walls.

This fortress overlooks Lake Trasemino, the peninsula’s fourth largest lake, to the north; the manicured Tuscan countryside to the west, and the rolling Umbrian hills to the south and east.

As every hiker knows, you walk a hill at your own pace. That’s why no one hurries. Everything here is up hill. So it was about a 25-minute walk to Riccardo’s.

We knew we were in for something special as we approached the lane sloping into their farmyard. It was like breaking into an opera. About three dozen people wearing the full array of bright yellows, reds, greens – pick a color – were milling about chittering, chattering, and chanting in that Italian sing-song from which arias emerged. The accompaniment was provided by Riccardo’s tractor as it hauled dead olive branches to a pile resembling a titanic tumbleweed.

We became a member of the cast immediately because our chore was to pluck mint leaves off the plant stems and chop the stocks off the artichokes – shopping-cart-sized mounds of them. The leaves were minced with garlic and olive oil and the artichokes were given a good slam on the ground to soften them because the centers were opened up and crammed with the mint leave-garlic-oil mixture.

Through all this, you had to balance wine – almost everybody brings their own to determine whose is best for bragging rights – with oil-drenched bread, cheese, fresh fava beans, and more wine before the fire was ready.

The giant pile of shrubbery is burned and the ashes raked into a flat lava-like bed of coals. Then you had to tuck your artichoke into the coals to cook. Again, the operatic metaphor arose as each person displayed a distinctive dance pirouetting around the blistering mound. It takes about 45 minutes for the artichokes to cook in this manner, which gave everyone time to sample more wine with the sausages and pork barbecued on a fire fed with larger chunks of trimmed olive wood.

Then flowed the desserts, all of them home-made.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 17, 2023 at 7:00 pm

During Our . . .

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. . .table conversation t’other day,

one of the guys said

there was a time when

he was addicted to the hokey pokey . . .

but he turned himself around.

Travel Insurance Sometimes Isn’t

Among the many lessons a lot of folks learned during the coronavirus shutdown is that travel insurance doesn’t always cover everything. Many would-be travelers found out that the trip-cancellation coverage they thought they had, they didn’t. Everyone learned that a world-wide pandemic changed all the coverage rules.

Some airline and cruise customers were fortunate enough to receive refunds for their fares. Most of these ticket holders, however, have been given vouchers that precluded them from making insurance claims to recoup their loss.

The real lesson here is ask questions and more questions when you buy the coverage. Some insurers do not provide coverage for mishaps suffered during such activities as skiing or scuba diving while you’re on your trip. You also have to determine if your policy covers you for any misadventure or cancellations caused by any act of terrorism.

Before putting together a travel-insurance plan, check with your health-and-medical insurance agent to see what coverage travels with you. Then be aware that trip cancellation insurance pretty well settles around injury, sickness or death of you, members of your family or a travel companion. You also have to make sure you define any and all coverage you want, ranging from emergency medical evacuation to lost luggage.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 29, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Travel

Tagged with ,

Why Is It . . .

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. . . that people

who know it all,

never know

when to shut up?

On a Mission to Travel

Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, Hoover Dam, Mount Rushmore are but a few of the famous U.S. tourist attractions. Among the many overlooked possibilities for those seeking diversion is California’s Mission Trail – the 21- mission El Camino Real that became the foundation of the Golden State.

It’s a 600-mile journey north from the beaches of San Diego to the wine-making Sonoma Valley. It includes the nation’s second-largest urban center surrounding missions San Gabriel and San Fernando and one of the country’s most sung-about city, San Francisco. Each complex is different and offers a range of experience, from scenic to serene to historic to mid-town hurly-burly.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 27, 2023 at 2:00 am

Historic Palomar Observatory

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By Tom Morrow 

With a $6 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, astronomer George Ellery Hale orchestrated the planning, design, and construction of the world’s largest astronomical telescope on Palomar Mountain about an hour northesat of San Diego, CA. 

It took 20 years to complete the Hale telescope that was double the diameter of the 100-inch-diameter reflecting telescope in the Mt. Wilson Observatory north of Los Angeles. The Palomar project pioneered many new technologies in telescope-mount design and in the fabrication of its aluminum coated “honeycomb” Pyrex mirror. Since its completion in 1949, Palomar in active use as one of the world’s largest and most-sophisticated land-mounted telescopes. 

For more than 30 years, the Hale Telescope represented the technological limit in building large optical telescopes until the Soviet Union built a six-meter (236 inches) one in 1976. Palomar remained the world’s second largest until 1993 with the construction of the two 300-plus-inch Keck optical telescopes atop Mauna Kea in Maui.. 

Palomar is operated by the California Institute of Technology and continues to conduct research programs that cover the vast range of our observable universe, including near-Earth asteroids, outer Solar System planets, Kuiper Belt objects, a variety of star formations, and black holes. Research research partners include the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,Yale University, and the National Optical Observatories of China.  

The first telescope built on the Observatory complex was an 18-inch Schmidt camera put into operation in 1936. In addition to the giant 200-inch Hale Telescope, there are the 48-inch Schmidt Telescope, Palomar 60-inch Telescope, and 12-inch Gattini Telescope, all of which are involved in continual research. The 48-inch and 60-inch telescopes operate robotically and are active in deep-space exploration.

While Palomar Observatory is a research facility, there are selected Observatory areas open to the public during the day. Visitors can take self-guided or guided tours of the 200-inch telescope daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The observatory is open seven days a week except for Dec. 24-25 and during inclement weather.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 23, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in News / Events, Travel

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If They . . .

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. . .arrested the devil,

would they charge him

with possession?

America’s Colorful Hall of Fame

We smelled it as soon as we swooshed through the cool glass doors from the oppressive Pennsylvania humidity into the revitalizing air-conditioned building.

“Crayons,” my wife said.

We had entered the Crayola Hall of Fame nestled in a high rolling Easton meadow close by the New Jersey border just 90 minutes from downtown Manhattan.

It was a timely visit because a mittful of tones were to be retired to be replaced by a similar number in the colorful contingent. I lobbied for the enshrinement of a violet orange I developed when an old crayon melted in my water color set long ago but I was too late.

The initial move to modernity was made a few decades ago after interviews with Crayola’s major consumers – kids – revealed a need for brightness among the corporate colors. We asked our guide if there was any move to add a scent to the product. “Are you kidding?” was the response. Studies show that crayons are among the 20 most-recognized scents in America. Coffee and peanut butter top the list.

It was almost disappointing to see how such colorful pieces of my life could be the product of such a cramped and constantly-clattering plant. It was like discovering that Santa’s workshop is in a carport.

Workers did display an elfin dedication to quality in the care and concern they show in making sure every Crayola has a straight label and perfectly pointed tip. Color was splattered all over as paraffin was recycled in large globs, colorful paper sleeves awaited the cylindrical sticks of color, and the familiar orange-and-green boxes of various sizes housed hundreds of thousands of Crayolas ready for shipment around the globe.

Crayolas have rolled out of this site since the first eight-color pack was produced in 1903 and sold for a nickel. The trade name Crayola derives from the French word craie for chalk and the Latin oleum for oil. Crayolas are made of paraffin and pigment. And crayon is the generic term for a colored writing stick.

The one person I hunted for but never found: the inspector who checks for crayons that stay inside the lines.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 8, 2023 at 2:00 am

Give A Man A Fish . . .

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. . . and you’ll feed him for day,

the old saying goes,

but if you teach him how to fish,

you’ll probably have to get yourself

a new rod, reel, tackle box and boat.

Missouri River Town Echoes Mark Twain

HANNIBAL, MO. —- History and heritage are linked in this northeastern Missouri community nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is here, in “America’s Hometown” that adventure and charm are
alive and well.

Its most famous son is Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, author of some of the
most- loved American literature. Visitors get a chance to relive “The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer” by passing through Mark Twain’s boyhood home, museums, the Mark Twain Cave, Becky
Thatcher’s house, and the Tom Sawyer Dioramas.

Live representations of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, dressed in authentic attire of the era,
greeted you on the town’s streets. Visitors encounter them on summer weekends or on arrival by river boat.

Hannibal visitors also find crafts, antiques, working artisans, museums, river-boat cruises, and
dinner theater. It’s fun to take a sightseeing tour on a horse-drawn wagon and pay a visit to the
“Unsinkable” Molly Brown’s birthplace.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 5, 2023 at 2:00 am

We’re Told . . .

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. . .that our brain

has a left side and a right side.

On the left, there is nothing right,

and on the right, there’s nothing left.

Sedona’s Health In the Pink

Red rocks tethered to meditative vortexes are everywhere in Sedona, rising as cliffs, buttes and wind-sculpted animal-shapes cutting sharply into the deep blue sky. It was these sandstone sentinels that sparked the transformation of what was once a small artists’ colony into an upscale resort an hour or so north of Phoenix.

On our first visit here in the late 1950s, the business community comprised a cafe, drug store, market, gas station and a few other establishments. Its 2,000 or so residents would drive into town for groceries from homes scattered among the junipers, pinion pine and Arizona cypress atop red-rock slopes, or from cabins in nearby Oak Creek Canyon. There were no traffic lights and few places to stay other than cabins and camping areas up in the canyon.

Hollywood loved Sedona and built false-front towns where the heroes of countless westerns rode off toward the wind-scoured sandstone outcroppings.

Perched midway between the Valley of the Sun’s desert and the massive Colorado Plateau’s pine forests, Sedona’s dry climate and generally mild temperatures attracted snowbirds from the Midwest’s grim, gray wintery grip.

As word got out, people arrived from all over. Land values shot up. By the 1960s and ’70s, New Age spiritual gurus were proclaiming the area contained a concentration of psychic energy sites. In the late 1970s, Sedona was designated the epicenter of a “harmonic convergence” of people drawn to the spiritual overtones.

Filmdom’s false-front frontier was replaced by European spas, upscale resorts and chic boutiques. Stop lights controlled traffic on the main street, which also was the highway north through Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. Two championship golf courses and a pair of nine-hole layouts were laid out few miles out of town.

It would have become just another hideaway for the beautiful people, had in not been for the photogenic red rocks – and the pink jeeps.

Realtor Don Pratt purchased former movie-studio land in the late 1950s in the Broken Arrow area and took prospective buyers on off-road treks to ooh and aaah the red rocks up close. Noticing folks not interested in housing came back for more, he bought an old Jeep and began charging $3 for a tour. He made them all pink after a stay at Waikiki’s legendary – and pink – Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 27, 2022 at 2:00 am

Posted in Health, Humor / Quote, Travel

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