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So after trying for about a year to get other classmates to allow me to write about them, Ken's hit bottom and has decided to let me write my final article for him about my 2009 summer trip along the Rocky Mountains with my wife Eunice. While I took over a thousand photos, I decided not to test the storage capabilities of this server system and your patience with them. Instead, I'll highlight only a few instances where my experiences were somewhat different from what most tourists would expect.

First I'll make a plug for the National Park's "Senior Pass". For $10, any 62 or over U.S. Citizen or permanent resident can obtain a lifetime pass to all of our national parks and monuments. One trip alone, with a few friends in the car will pay for this investment several times over. I'd guess we saved almost $200 on entrance fees on this trip alone.

So to begin; we landed in Phoenix Arizona on May 19. After picking up our compact near the airport, we drove it over 4,000 miles up the Rocky Mountains, into Canada and finally dropped it off at the Portland Oregon airport on June 8. The major places included Arizona (Sedona State Park, The Grand Canyon), Colorado (Mesa Verde, Durango, Silverton, The Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain National Park), Wyoming (Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs), Montana (Glacier Park), Canada-Alberta (Glacier Park).

While literally millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year, here's a photo that may not be that familiar to many of them: I got it in the morning while looking out over the south rim on Bright Angel Trail. It started out as a black spec in the distance that slowly grew. After getting Eunice's attention to watch it, she jolted me into action by screaming "take your camera out". I shot this photo of a California condor just as it passed over us.

After leaving the Grand Canyon for Mesa Verde, we took the Highway 163 at Kayenta to drive through the Monument Valley area. After rounding a turn, we saw a strange scene in the far distance when a person ran out into the middle of the road. We almost thought that the person was in trouble, but then the person got back in a car and drove off. After a minute or so, while passing the same spot, Eunice looked back and screamed "Forest Gump". So we pulled over and took a picture of the famous scene from the movie.

One of the reasons for planning a trip from South to North was to take advantage of the warming trend during the three weeks of May and June. After a couple of weeks of dressing in Bermuda shorts and polo shirts, we had an "Ithaca moment". This photo was taken on June 7 at the entrance to the Old Faithful Lodge.

At the suggestion of a colleague, we stayed at the Izaak Walton Inn in Montana. This place was originally built by the railroad system to accommodate riders on long cross country trips. People actually request rooms on the side facing the tracks so that they can be waken up in the middle of the night when trains pass by a few hundred feet away.

One of the highlights of our trip was to experience a bit of "foreign" travel by staying at the Prince of Wales Hotel in the Canadian part of Glacier Park. Having high tea while overlooking the quaint town of Watertown was a fitting end to our travels up the Rocky Mountains. This was the only time that we had to pay an entrance fee since the Senior Pass is only good for U.S. national parks.

On the way to visit our son's family in Portland Oregon, we had to overnight at a B&B called the Inn at Blackberry Creek in Walla Walla Washington. So here's a plug for perhaps the best B&B we've ever stayed at, and a great reason for visiting this portion of the Washington.