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Having heard so much about the Canadian Rockies, we set out last summer to see for ourselves the scenic beauty of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. There is no doubt about the majestic blend of heaven and earth as you travel the mountain highways through these Canadian national parks.

It reminds one of the Swiss Alps as you gaze at the mountain peaks formed by melting glaciers during the ice age. Dense growths of pine and fir trees surround lakes that are tinted aqua by a high concentration of very fine rock sediment, called glacial flour, the result of heavy glaciers grinding down the mountainside. Every turn of the road brings another spectacular view as waterfalls cascade down mountainsides or fast-moving streams rush over boulder-studded courses. Little villages crop up every now and then, and there are always bicyclists pedaling along the road. Parked cars are at nearly every turnoff as hikers enjoy the trails that take you away from the highway.  

Longer than the state of California, Mexico’s Baja California is a sun-drenched paradise with 2,000 miles of coastline offering spectacular places to camp. Yes, the opportunities for camping on the beach have diminished in Baja since our first trip there in 1985, but they still exist and, best of all, some remain free!  

With the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) to the east, the Baja peninsula is one of the greatest ocean playgrounds you can imagine. Add in deserts, mountains and plains that are alive with spiny botanical oddities and are crisscrossed by roads, and you have a very special place.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” — Edward Abbey

Once in awhile you come across a place that just feels made for RV travel. Stretching from the rolling Cariboo Mountains to the Pacific Coast, British Columbia’s Highway 20 offers seemingly endless vistas with unspoiled wilderness everywhere you look.

The scenic, winding journey of 283 miles from Williams Lake to Bella Coola is full of diverse landscapes, ranging from grassy plateaus and rolling meadows to picturesque canyons and high mountain peaks. You feel like you are in British Columbia’s “wild west,” with each small community providing its own unique story along the way. With ranches and specialty lodges, grizzly bear viewing and tranquil visits off the beaten path, each trip along Highway 20 provides a fresh experience.

The North Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon is 1,000 feet higher and worlds apart from the more popular South Rim. I’ve been to both rims many times, and while I always enjoy the South Rim and its free shuttles from one trailhead to another, I will forever thrill to the beauty and feel of the less crowded North Rim.

It’s only 10 miles as the California condor flies from one rim to the other, but if you drive from the South Rim to the North it’ll take you all day. The drive is more than 200 miles, and they are not always fast miles. Rather hike?  You can do that, but it’ll take you a few days and about two-dozen miles of strenuous foot travel.

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