One summer, two San Clementes: a travelogue

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

Strolling San Clemente's scenic beach trail, more than 5,000 miles from Southern California, I marveled at the aquamarine waters of the Bay of Biscay and the historic Phare des Baleines lighthouse.

Key moments at the missions

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

1542

One-track mind in West Texas

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

I feel like a time traveler, stretched out in a sleeper car on a train slicing across the West Texas scrubland.

Patterson House with bullet holes is attraction at West Virginia's Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. - Carnifex Ferry is not Gettysburg. It's not Antietam. It's not Shiloh.

Hudson Valley: small towns, artists, farmers, fall color

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

Wending our way to the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, we cross a creek, meander down a country road, then come to a farm with red barns, split-rail fences and flocks of sheep grazing in the green pastures.

What to do along the Blue Ridge Parkway

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

Picture the Blue Ridge Parkway as a crooked spine running through the Appalachian Mountains. Government stewardship of public lands is splashed across the map in confusing variety - a national park at either end, national forests, historic sites, monuments and state parks along its 469 miles.

In Zihuatanejo, Thursdays are pozole days

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

The air is hot and sultry, weighted with smoke and sea salt and the heady balm of pig fat. It's not exactly soup weather. It's the rainy season, July, when I'm in Zihuatanejo, which doesn't translate to any actual rain but rather a steamy, lazy heaviness that's boxed in by an unrelenting sun, with the Pacific Ocean in front and the Sierra Madre del Sur behind.

Discovering more about California's missions

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

Attention, California fourth-graders. If you want to make a model of a handsome, historic California building that was built for a simple purpose and produced entirely positive results, consider a lighthouse.

Beauty awaits the adventurous at Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

Lying on the ground in Coyote Gulch, the night sky framed by openings in a natural arch and a curved canyon wall, I peer at the cosmos as through a Mardi Gras mask.

The 21 California missions

| |Monday, Sep. 15, 2014

San Diego de Alcala, San Diego