Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Biking Through Desert History

©Bert Gildart: On December 20, 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza led 240 Sonoran colonists through the same valley that Don Dennis, Adam Maffei and I toured several days ago by mountain bike. Because the valley remains under the control of California’s Anza Borrego State Park, little about the area has changed.

Although you can drive a high clearance vehicle along the rutted road, the valley can best be accessed by biking.  Thick sand, of course, presents its challenges and at times we had to dismount to walk our bikes.  But the rewards (Biking Fanatic) were substantial, for our explorations provided great insights into the struggles de Anza confronted.


Back dropped by Coyote Mountain, we cycled through streams


The valley is cut by Coyote Creek and flanked to the east by the Coyote Mountains and to the west by the San Ysidro Mountains. Last year Don and I (after two tries, one, two) climbed Coyote Mountain, so the prominent peak grabbed our attention and made for much reminiscing.

But it was the valley floor that sustained our attention.  We came to a trailhead sign pointing to Alcoholic Pass, named according to a guide book for the switchback-ish nature of the trail.

Next, we came to an area our map referred to as the Desert Gardens. We spent a few minutes hiking around–taking photographs–not only because of the garden’s beauty but because it had once been the home to a group of Native Americans known as Cahuilla.


“A Canyon Called Home,” began an interpretive panel. “People,” the sign continued, “raised families in Coyote Canyon… With sheltered canyons and year around running streams, Coyote Canyon was the perfect place to call home.”

Coyote2 Coyote4 Coyote3

From the gardens we rode another mile, stopping shortly after crossing a stream near another interpretive panel. This one further described the hardships of de Anza’s expedition, explaining that Gertrudis Rivas Linares gave birth to a son, Salvador, on Christmas day. “Next day she mounted a horse for the journey north.”

Don, Adam and I cycled yet about another mile, eventually reaching a point at which the road became quite rocky.  Here, we turned around and retraced our route, taking about another hour to return to our camp.  Our odometers said we had ridden about 12 miles and over half of those miles were through sand.  We concluded that our day of biking with history had been challenging, but that it had also been extremely satisfying.

We vowed that someday soon we’d repeat our ride.



*Year of the Dragon



4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Sometimes the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy

Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

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