Some of the greatest sights in the world are right here in the good old U.S.A. and now is a great time to travel.

My wife and I have traveled much of this country and Canada and now is the time to travel. We always wait until school has started to reduce the number of families we had to compete with along the way. With the number of families reduced it is always easier to find rooms when you are on the fly like we are, never knowing just how far we might get in a day’s time.

We love to hit the National Parks and we have never been disappointed with any of them. It doesn’t take very long to see why our forefathers preserved these areas for all to see and each one offers a unique experience once you enter the gates.

There are a lot of tourists from other counties at most parks this time of the year and many have their children with them but we see very few American families with kids. You can tell these foreign tourists appreciate what they see and they travel thousands of miles to see it; we, on the other hand, have much of these areas not more than a day’s drive away in some cases.

From the cliff dwellers of Masa Verde to the bubbling pots and geysers of Yellowstone; from the giant redwoods to the wildlife of the Rocky Mountains, you won’t be disappointed with what this country has to offer!

Of all the states we visited, Utah seems to have the most to offer when it comes to taking in the beauty of nature at its best. Bryce Canyon National Park along with Zion National Park are must see as far as we are concerned. Never underestimate the beauty of nature if you haven’t seen some of these sights.

Once you clear the corn and soybean fields of Illinois, there is a whole new world awaiting you as you head west. If you have never been west before, you don’t know what you are missing.

I remember our first drive to Phoenix and our reaction to the first cactus we saw. We then started counting them and suddenly they were everywhere!

When we go we seldom book a room in advance as we never know what lies ahead that we might want to stop and see. Much of the information we get is by talking with other tourists as to what is good in a particular area. We might think we are going to visit only one area on a particular day but end up visiting two or three more that we learn about through conversation with others.

Just remember this about traveling; the beauty is not along the interstates but rather along the back roads of our country. Never miss an opportunity to see some of the sights off-road.

Of all the towns in the country that we visited in all our travels I found Talkeetna, Alaska to be the most unique and we got there by rafting twenty miles down a large river. What a quaint little town back in the middle of nowhere. As we left Talkeetna, the skies cleared and we got our first glimpse of Mt. McKinley (Denali) and its magnificent beauty.

Fall is a great time to travel and you will never be sorry you did!

Editor’s Note Our weekly outdoors column by Sam Van Camp has been omitted the last two Sundays. The Commercial-News apologizes for the mistake. Here is the outdoors column originally slated for Sept. 1. We will run last Sunday’s column in Wednesday’s editions.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail:

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