had a great vacation this summer—our largest trip ever. (Second-longest: driving
to SD and eastern CO in 2012. Third-longest: NY state in 2011. We took shorter
trips to northern MI in 2015 and southern MI in 2014; to NC in 2010; and to SC and more of NC in 2013.) We flew into
SF on June 28th (the first flight for all of the kids except Zach)
and back home July 14th. In between, we drove a loop up to Glacier
(in NW Montana) and back. We rented a Kia van from Alamo and drove it 3,800
miles. We stayed in 13 hotels over 16 nights. The kids got along well (enough).
In a nutshell, the trip was enjoying two cities and 20 kinds of landscape beauty
in God’s Creation. (Here are the pics we posted on FB.)
was a big, pricey trip for us: $2,330 in airfare; $1040 for a rental car; and
$1,940 hotel (all including tax). But it was also our last guaranteed op to
vacation with the entire family. With Zach moving on to college and beyond,
jobs and other things may prevent a big trip like this again!
flew with Frontier, non-stop out of Cincy. Frontier has cheaper rates, but
you’ll want to keep track of the add-on charges for baggage and seat choice. I
knew we wanted to see the NW and do a loop, so we could have flown into SF,
Portland, Seattle, or Salt Lake City. SLC was the best choice in the earlier
window (mid-May to early-June), but SF was the best in our travel window and besides,
a great place to visit. (Unfortunately, Denver was too far east to start
because those fares were much cheaper.)
the airport, we took BART. In SF, from Tuesday evening through Thursday
afternoon, we walked and used Uber twice (first time for us; inexpensive and
very easy!) Then, we rented a van and started out of the city. In SF, lodging
was expensive but I got a relatively good deal at a Travelodge on Market.
Tues PM, we were aiming for a Mexican restaurant, but ended up at one of our
best meals on the trip—Pete’s BBQ on Mission and 20th —about $50 for
the whole family and the best ribs I can remember. From there, we walked east
on 20th to Vermont St., which is curvier from 20th-22nd—in
a more-organic way than the far-more-popular Lombard St. It’s out of the way,
compared to other tourist attractions (thus, its limited popularity), but if
you have a car, it’s easily worth the trip.
Wednesday, we did a huge batch of the touristy stuff. We ubered to the CableCar museum—very cool to see how it works and to see it working before your
eyes. From there, we walked to and through Chinatown. (Grant is the touristy
street; Stockton, Kearney, and the cross streets are far more authentic.) Then,
we walked to Coit Tower—with its nice views of the city—and then down Lombard
to its famous curvy section. We headed toward the bay, going past the Keane(Big Eyes) painting/gallery (you could see a lot from the sidewalk, but it was
closed) and hung out at Ghiradelli Square for ice cream and chocolate. Next up:
Musee Mecanique at Fisherman’s Wharf with its old arcade games and antique
turn-key machines. After meeting Tonia’s brother’s family and having dinner
with them, we ubered back to our hotel. In total, we walked three miles, but
SF’s hills made it seem a lot longer than that!
Thursday, we walked up Market to City Hall (at least in that time frame, there
were many more Gay Pride flags than U.S. flags) and the British Motor Sports
dealership (where Daniel and Joseph were geeked to see so many expensive sports
cars). We went shopping at a huge, six-story mall. We saw the Shaking ManSculpture at the Yerta Buena Center and had amazing kimchee/Korean burritos at
the HRD Coffee Shop. We spent the afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art—great
stuff and a lot better than the kids anticipated.
we noticed in SF (at least downtown): 1.) The hills in the city—whether
walking, riding, or driving—are amazing. 2.) As expected, it was cold (60
degrees) and windy. 3.) Women were dress far more conservatively than in our
area—in particular, showing a lot less cleavage. Part of that was probably
temperature, but it all looked a whole lot classier. (Or maybe that’s the new
trend and they’re ahead of us by a few years!) The men were much better dressed
than in our area. Both relied on more muted tones. 4.) Very few people were obese
or even much overweight.
was quite a bit of homelessness and we were warned about some aggressive folks,
but it wasn’t too bad. Then again, we avoided Tenderloin, which is supposed to
be the worst. We were also told to avoid food at Fisherman’s Wharf, but we ate
with Tonia’s brother’s family there out of convenience. (Small world that they
were there at the same time!) We missed Twin Peaks (which is supposed to be
cool, especially at sunset, if there’s no fog) and Alcatraz. The latter is
pricey but worth it (from what people say and my memories), but in the summer,
I learned that you have to buy tix at least a month in advance!
in SF (at the end of the trip) was like any other big city—or what I
experienced in Puerto Rico. You just get in there and mix it up—far more
aggressive than usual, but “civilized” in its own way. Leaving SF at 6:00 PM,
there was a ton of traffic, for a long time (really, all the way to
Sacramento). And even, outside of the city, few people knew how to handle the
fast lane. Also, throughout CA, there was far less signage inside and outside
of cities—less visual pollution, but tougher to get around.
LEAVING THE CITY
wanted us to see Lake Tahoe, but I knew that our time of arrival there was
likely to be after dark. I had been told that the drive on US50 from Sacramento
to Lake Tahoe was beautiful, but we mostly saw shadows of what looked
picturesque. (If you go with the interstate from Sacramento to Reno, consider
checking out Emerald Pools in Nevada, CA.) The next morning, Lake Tahoe itself
was gorgeous and the drive to Carson City was nice. So, I’m glad we stayed
there before moving on to Reno and our long drive to Idaho that day.
featured the National Auto Museum in Reno. It’s Bill Harrah’s collection and
rated one of the top five car museums in the nation. We had a guide who made it
far more interesting. On the way out of town we caught a VW bug that had been
turned into a huge spider (630 Victorian Ave) and then drove 400+ miles to Twin
AM started in Twin Falls with great views of the Snake River canyon, Shoshone
Falls (really nice; Niagara-Falls-lite), and Perrine Memorial Bridge. We got to
see three people parachute off the bridge—apparently the only bridge you can do
that without a permit. There are plans to create a memorial to Evel Knievel’s
Snake River Jump, but for now you can only imagine it without assistance.
up: Craters of the Moon NP. (You have other options coming out of Twin Falls:
City of Rocks National Reserve and Bruneau Sand Dunes both looked good.) Volcanic
activity is a key and obvious feature on our trip—from Yellowstone’s geysers to
Lava Cast Forest in OR. At Craters, from a distance, the terrain looks like
rich soil that has been plowed by a Paul-Bunyan-sized till. A closer look
reveals huge lava rocks. With little moisture there and little ability for
these rocks to hold moisture, nothing grows there (or has grown there for
hundreds of years). The result is a stark, beautiful landscape. We also hiked
up a spatter cone—what is now a lava sand mountain—one of many places on the
trip where the terrain allowed for a very windy setting.
finished the day’s events with Don Aslett’s “Museum of Clean” in Pocatello. We
had gotten off to a late start and Craters took more time than I had expected,
so we only had a half-hour at the museum. The bad news: it probably requires
1.5 hours to do it right. The good news: Don met us at the door; let us in free;
and gave us a personal tour of his historic collection of vacuums,
disinfectants, washing machines, art from cleaning instruments, etc. Sounds
dorky, I’m sure, but it was great fun and informative, especially if Don will
give you a tour.
was also our formal introduction to 20 kinds of beauty in Creation on this
trip. Every hour or so, we’d get a different topography—and a lot of it was
somewhere between pretty and breath-taking.
next geographic target was Jackson (Hole), as the entry to the Grand Tetons. At
this point, we were into the July 4th weekend in a rural area with
big national parks in range, so it was tough to find lodging. I had initially
planned to go east and stay at Lava Hot Springs’ hot pools, seeing Soda
Springs’ man-tamed geyser the next AM, and heading north to Jackson. But we
couldn’t find lodging, so we went northeast, stayed at the Sleepy J Cabins in
Swan Valley, and came into Jackson from the west.
THE GREAT PARKS
started with Grand Teton NP. We drove the inner road and took a four-mile hike
to Taggart Lake. I heard recommendations to do Jenny Lake (early-AM is
apparently best), but construction and crowds scared us away from that. We also
had recommendations to hike at Phelps Lake and Two Oceans—and to drive Signal Mountain
Road—but we didn’t do any of those.
there, it’s a quick jaunt north to Yellowstone NP. The main roads in the park
are set up like a figure-8. On Sunday, we covered the west side of the southern
loop, including Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and other geysers /
overlooks. Old Faithful is the supposed to be the must-see, but GSP is awesome.
(Fountain Paint Pots are supposed to be good too, but we missed those and
caught Artists Paintpots the next day—excellent.)
stayed overnight in West Yellowstone and headed back into the park on Monday, July 4th—for
Artists Paintpots and the middle of the figure-8. (Norris Geyser Basin, including
Steamboat and Echinus Geysers, is supposed to be great, but the traffic was
brutal. Likewise, we wanted to do a slight detour north on the upper-half of
the figure-8 to see Roaring Mountain, but construction and traffic made that
seem unwise.) We took a slight detour, continuing on the lower-half of the
figure-8 to the “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”, including Lower and Upper
Falls, the hope to see wild game in Hayden Valley, and the stinky but cool Mud
Volcanoes. Moving to the upper half of the figure-8, we saw Tower Fall and Calcite
Springs (both good), before exiting Yellowstone at Tower Junction.
could have gone to Mammoth Hot Springs, but it would’ve been a detour, given
that we wanted to drive out of Yellowstone through Lamar Valley (hoping to see game,
esp. wolves—didn’t see much) and especially to drive Beartooth Pass. It has
been rated the top drive in America, but it was going to add 140 miles and 2:15
to our drive, so I was reluctant to take the detour. I asked FB friends for
counsel and they insisted that it was worth the drive. Starting into it, you
can imagine me trying to see what they wanted me to see, wondering if it would
be worth it. For the first half-hour or so, it was solid/good but not worth the
time. Then, it got awesome! I agree that it’s a must-see—a winding road,
snow-capped mountains and ridiculous views.
spent the night in Bozeman, since that was the start of my plan to spend a day
going from Yellowstone to Glacier. And I planned for us to devote a day to
Glacier before moving on. In Bozeman on Tuesday AM, we saw Ted Koterwas’ “Yard
Art” (403 W. Alderson) before visiting the American Computer Museum (tons of
detail on the history of computers and what led to their development).
could make the drive from Yellowstone to Glacier without stopping for any
length of time. Since the park is out-of-the-way and closed much of the year, there
is not much development, especially on the rural eastern side. So, it’s
difficult to stay near Glacier on the
east side; we stayed an hour away. You can get close to Glacier on the west
side, but then what do you do once you traveled through Glacier? Re-trace your
steps through Glacier or reverse our trip on the east side!) As another aside,
I’ve heard that Canadian Glacier is even better, but we didn’t have passports
for the kids and I didn’t want to add even more miles and cost to our trip.)
Bozeman, we drove to Butte where we saw four things:
1.) Evel (not Evil!) Knievel’s
grave (3910 Harrison Ave). Knievel was a Christ-follower who has a great
gravestone. And it was made in 1974, just before his Snake River jump, when he
thought he might die. (Or was that part of the publicity?)
2.) The Berkeley Pit (of Death)
Overlook. It was a mine where they turned off the water pumps and things got
nasty and poisonous. The story of how it got there and how they plan to address
it is interesting. And it’s a non-beautiful lake of note!
3.) The Piccadilly Museum which was good overall and really good for the boys (lots of car stuff).
5.) I’m thinking that we should
have visited the World Museum of Mining, but maybe not (any input?).
there, we drove to Great Falls where we had planned to visit the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. (It was well worth it, including a permanent collection of Lee
Steen’s “Tree People”. Steen was born in Horse Cave, KY!) Lewis and Clark are
a big deal here, since the Missouri River comes through this area. So, we went
by the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center there (although too late to see
much). We also dropped by Giant Springs and the Roe River—acclaimed as the
shortest river in the world at 201 feet. Seeing its beautiful, crystal-clear
spring-fed waters flow into the Missouri, the longest river in the U.S., was really
the road between Butte and Great Falls, we saw the Missouri River strolling
through the countryside. In particular, there’s a beautiful canyon area called
Gates of the Mountains. I hadn’t heard anything about it until we got there. I
wish we had taken the two-hour boat cruise down the river in that area. But
that makes for more than a full day to get from Yellowstone to Glacier, so what
should one sacrifice?!
spent the night in Cut Bank, the self-acclaimed coldest town in America. The
next day, Wednesday, was Glacier NP—out-of-the-way, but spectacular. We drove the “Going to
the Sun” Road through the middle of the park, hiking the Hidden Lake Overlook
trail (3 miles through a path half-covered with snow!) and Avalanche Creek/Lake
(about 5 miles). Throughout the day, we had a bit of rain and fog, but not
enough to reduce our experience much. But that can happen: after we got to the Hidden
Lake overlook, fog rolled in obscuring or obliterating the view. And after we
finished the HL trail, a grizzly bear and her cub caused them to shut it down!
(If you have time or other hiking preferences, you should also consider Highline
Trail, Fishercap Lake / Redrock Falls, and St. Mary / Virginia Falls.)
is probably a good time to talk about animals. We didn’t see much as much as
expected in the Tetons and Yellowstone. But we saw a lot by the end of the
trip: tons of bison (many, right next to the road); elk a few times; a fox; a
handful of lizards; quite a few mule deer. On the way to Glacier, we had a
moose run right in front of our car. (Tonia was VERY excited about moose.) And
in Glacier, we were within 100 yards of the grizzlies. Later, we saw two eagles
and a coyote.
Glacier, we drove through Kalispell and the Flathead Lake region—another
beautiful drive. This is probably a good time to mention that the kids did
really well with all (well, most) of the driving and cramped hotel rooms.
Electronic devices (and Pokemon Go for the older two) were certainly a good
distraction. Stopping every few hours to do something was probably a help. And
they’re ages 11-17 now, so all of this has gotten a lot easier—except fitting
into our usual hotel room with two queen-sized beds! We were also surprised to
hear so much Christian music on the trip. In the non-city areas, there were
still multiple Christian radio stations. Often, it was country and Christian
dominating the airwaves.
Wednesday night, we stayed in Post Falls, ID and then started Thursday with Ray Kresek’s Fire Lookout Tower and Museum in Spokane, WA (123 W. Westview; call
509-466-9171) the next AM. As with these little “museums”, it’s a big plus to
have the founder give you a tour. Ray was passionate about the topic and
gracious. His wife was about to return from 30 days in the hospital and
recovery, so we prayed with him and it meant a ton to him. I’m glad we had that
God-appointed time to encourage him.
drove to Palouse Falls SP which was another nice waterfall, a beautiful lagoon,
and a tough hike. (I followed Zach, Brennan, and Joseph on a short-cut that was
really tough.) From there, we drove to Sacajawea SP in Pasco—at the confluence
of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Not a great site, but it’s on the way to the
Columbia River Gorge (CRG), a nice stop, and a quick look at a historically key
moment for Lewis and Clark. We decided to parallel the Columbia along Rt 14
in Washington instead of I-84 in Oregon. It’s shorter; requires about the same
amount of time; and allowed us to catch the Stonehenge Memorial at Maryhill, the first WWI memorial in the U.S.
(The Museum of Art just west of there was recommended, but we got there after
closing time.) We stayed in The Dalles, OR—a good access point to the CRG from
Friday, we covered the CRG, starting with Bridge of the Gods ($2 toll), back
into WA. We drove seven miles west on Rt 14 to Beacon Rock Trail, a one-mile
hike up a huge rock to a nice overlook. We returned east to Bonneville Lock/Damand its fish ladders—very interesting, including an underwater look at the fish
and lamprey moving through the ladders. (We were also surprised to learn/see
that many people are employed to count all of the fish that travel through. Hmm…)
We crossed the Bridge again and headed down I-84 to Exit 35 at Dodson, where
the Historic Columbia Parkway gets going. There, Daniel, Joseph and I hiked the
Oneonta Gorge—a nice little adventure, but you will get wet in some chilly water.
(It’s up to the ankles for the most part—knees at one point—and then chest-deep
toward the end.) Four of us did the five-mile loop to see Multnomah and Wahkeena
Falls. (Daniel and Zach did a short-cut. You can see both falls from near the
roadway, but there was a lot of stuff, in between, on the longer hike.). And we
only got to see Vista House at Crown Point after closing, but it looked neat.
evening, we rolled into Portland for two days and three nights. It was a
vacation within a vacation—an easy pace, sleeping in and roaming around, rather
than seeing a bunch of particular things. (We could have added Mt. St. Helens
in WA, but it didn’t get rave reviews from my FB friends and didn’t seem worth
the additional travel. We missed Kidd’s Toy Museum [1300 SE Grand], which
looked excellent but is not open on weekends.)
started with the “Saturday Market” on the riverfront. We went to the Rose
Garden and then skipped the Japanese Garden (too expensive with uninterested
kiddos). We went to the Freaky But True Peculiarium (ok for the boys; can’t
recommend in general). The store at the “museum” included a highly-blasphemous
depiction of Christ on the cross with the ability to dress him in various
clothes. It was sad to see the blasphemy but encouraging to know this
underlines the reality of Jesus and his work, since the same thing wouldn’t be
done to Buddha, Muhammad, or MLK Jr.
went to the Adidas headquarters, saw the shoe sculpture out front, and watched
some employees play soccer on a small turf field behind the building. Downtown,
among other stores, we visited Powell Books (world’s largest), Doc Marten USA
(shoes), and Ground Kontrol (arcade). Then, we hit some food trucks for dinner—an
entire city block’s worth at that location. Finally, we went to Blue Star Donuts and got three of their last donuts of the day: a passion fruit with
cayenne pepper and cocoa that made our heads explode; a very good
Blueberry-Bourbon-Basil; and a Lemon-crumb something they gave us for free. The
donuts averaged $3 apiece, but they were worth it—a dessert, really. Briochefor the donut and craziness for the toppings.
highlight was our time with Bill and Jenny Hunter on Sunday. We met them at
Voodoo Donuts (compared to Blue Star: longer lines, crazier and cheaper donuts,
and really good, but not as good). Then we worshipped with them at the
SE/Ankeny campus of Imago Dei. (Small world: I sent their discipleship guy an
email and that evening, unsolicited, Kurt told me that he plans to call him to
talk about their similar stories. They’re both trained by Dann Spader and had a
spouse who died young!) We made plans to meet Bill and Jenny for an early
dinner at Ken’s Artisan Pizza. In the meantime, our family toured the Alberta
Street Art District, including lunch at Little Big Burger (excellent) and a
snack of the two “walking” waffle options at the Waffle Window. Then, we drove
to Mt. Tabor for a look. On the way, we stopped at Mike’s Museum of MotionPictures (4320 SE Belmont), a cool little museum of film artifacts within a
huge video store.
with the Hunters, after dinner, we dropped in on Chinese Gardens and walked the
Tilikum Crossing Bridge. (We had hoped to take the tram from the bridge to the hospital
on top of hill, but it was closed for the day.) We finished the evening at Salt and Straw Ice Cream, where they have a range of exotic flavors. My choice was
Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero—excellent!
did everything we wanted to do in Portland. But if Tonia and I were there without
kids, we would have tried some nicer restaurants. Among many recommendations, I
had these on my list as possibilities, even with the kids: Ken’s Bakery; Nong’s
Khao Man Gai (esp. chicken and rice); Pok Pok Noi (Thai); Tasty n Alder for Sunday
brunch; and sets of “micro-restaurants” at The Ocean (2329 Glisan) and Portland
Mercado (7238 SE Foster).
out of Portland on Monday AM, we went to Silver Falls SP—with a number of
waterfalls on a nice, five-mile hike. (If you’re heading south or west out of
Portland, consider the Evergreen Aviation/Space Museum in McMinnville and the
apparently-excellent Oregon coast, including Seaside, Ecola SP, Newport; Sweet
Creek’s beautiful one-mile hike; and Seal Rock. In Central Oregon, also
consider Mt. Hood and Deschutes Canyon.)
toward Bend, we enjoyed some short hikes and the very different topography of SmithRock SP. It reminded us of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It’s not
famous, but I’d put it on your list. In Bend, we enjoyed the lovely park and
walking trail along the Deschutes River Trail. There is supposed to be a Whitewater
Park there, where you can watch water experts do their thing in kayaks, etc.,
but we didn’t get there.
Tuesday, we started with a long drive on a dirt road, going the wrong direction
through some wonderful territory. Then, we got back on US-87 and went to LavaCast Forest. It’s similar to Craters of the Moon, but more rainfall has allowed
a different outcome with slowly-emerging vegetation. The “Cast Forest” is an
area where the volcanic flow had lost some pop, surrounding and killing trees,
but not destroying them. The result: the dying trees rot away and the cooled
lava forms a “cast forest”—hardened lava holes where trees had once been. Very
up: Paulina Falls, another nice waterfall. But given the others we saw, it’s
not worth the trip—except in tandem with the Big Obsidian Flow a little further
back in the park. That was amazing. Pumice and obsidian are two fruits of
volcanic activity and this allowed us to another beautiful and cool moment in volcanic
we had probably the biggest wow of the trip: Crater Lake NP. One of the
placards noted the many times that people had “discovered” it—and a sense, we
were discovering it that day. The response every time must be a jaw-dropping
wow. Like Glacier, given the snowfall, it’s only open a few months a year. (In
fact, the eastern loop still wasn’t fully open when we were there on July 12.)
But oh my! Snow, amazing blue water, one of the world’s deepest lakes, and a
number of beautiful views from the rim of the volcanic crater. (You can take a
tough hike down to the bottom—and even get a boat ride to the larger island.
It’s also a place where you can fish without a license, since there are no
there, we had a long drive to stay the night at Crescent City. Like our evening
drive to Lake Tahoe, the landscape seemed pretty, some of the best parts were
probably invisible for our drive to the coast. At the end, we went through
Jedediah SP on US101—and even at night, you could tell that the redwoods were
awesome! (My favorite part was when they obviously built the road to barely miss
a mammoth tree or two.)
City apparently has some nice stuff (Pebble Beach Drive and Point St. George),
but we kept moving on Wednesday. (Another option is to stay east—to drive past Mt. Shasta
and go to Redding for the Sundial Glass Bridge and Sculpture Park.) The next
morning, we saw more of the Redwoods in the daylight, with a drive down Howland
Hill Road (not in my research for the trip, but apparently, the no-brainer way
to see the great trees—driving, a short hike, and/or a longer hike). Ideally,
we would have gone all the way down HHR and loop back on US101, but they were
doing construction on HHR’s bridge.
south, the rest of the day was a mix of beach views (with two stops at
beaches), canyon drives, a herd of elk near Orick, Redwood Creek (where the
creek goes into the ocean and the beach has dead redwoods), and two scenic
drives through redwoods (Redwood SP and the more-touristy Avenue of the Giants.
If you want more time on the beach and on Route 1, you can head SW at Leggett.
But we stayed on the main road to our hotel in Healdsburg (about 50 miles north
of SF): America’s Best Value Inn. This was our only bad hotel experience: no
A/C and no ability for management to get us to a different room (fine, stuff happens,
right?), but no discount and the implication that we deserved it since we
signed up through Priceline (unacceptable).
On Thursday, our last day, we had a short drive to Sebastopol, to see dozens of excellent “junk
art” pieces on Florence Street between Wilton and Healdsburg. (The artist,
Patrick Amiot, lives in that neighborhood and refers to it as "junk art" and “urban folk art”.) Aside
from Reno’s 95 degrees, this was our only (brief) time above 80 degrees. Even
so, there was little humidity—all in all, gorgeous weather. (And we’re glad we
missed the usual summer fun in Louisville for two and a half weeks!) Then, 25
miles later, it was back into the 60s—and another 25 miles later, we were back
to 60 degrees and windy along the beach.
looked at Pt. Reyes SP briefly, but time was short and the lighthouse was
closed. If that’s your cup of tea, I could see spending a half-day there. I had
Muir Woods on my list, but didn’t know why. And there were huge crowds. But it
was just to see more redwoods. Well, of course, most people haven’t been further
north in CA to see redwoods, so Muir is the place near SF to do that! We walked
the Golden Gate Bridge (very cold) and wrapped up with a drive around Golden
Gate Park and through the city.
public policy items to close: First, Oregon was funny since it had legalized
marijuana but is one of two states (along with NJ) where you’re not allowed to
pump your own gas. One is tempted to imagine that the policy is driven by paternalism
(and safety concerns). It's certainly motivated by that. But the more likely explanation is the standard bad-economic
thinking that leads one to imagine that such government efforts create net
jobs. (From the little bit of easy research I could do, Oregon revisited this topic with a referendum in 1982 and maintained the status quo.)
of government creating net jobs: we’ve seen this on most (every?) trip, but our
time in national parks concentrated the observations. Placards tell us that X
was the result of funding from the WPA in the 1930s and often mention the job
destruction from that spending. Of course, when you take money from some people
and give it to others, you’ll create jobs, but you’re not likely to create net
jobs. Of course, the creation is obvious and the destruction is subtle, so it’s
easy to get fooled. The WPA was one of many interventions that lengthened and
deepened the Great Depression. Although it’s cool that we can enjoy such things
today, it was on the backs of those who were forced to sacrifice by the lousy
economic policies of FDR and his “New Deal”. (I will turn this into something
this Fall, but the project could range from op-ed to major research piece. Stay
was a lot of work, but it was a great trip. If you have the resources, make it
a priority to get out west!