Trails that make you linger longer!

Geographic Center of the 48 Contiguous U.S. States

Chapel at the US Geographic Center of the Continental United States
Chapel at the US Geographic Center of the Continental United States

Near Lebanon, Kansas is the Geographic Center of the 48 contiguous U.S. states just a couple of miles away from the town. You can find it in the northern part of the state via US-281 and K-191. Alaska and Hawaii are not included since they do not border any other U.S. state.

When you arrive, you will notice that there is a flag pole with a U.S. and Kansas flag on it.  There are also places to sit and have a picnic in the shade. A small white building with a cross symbolizes the religion which our founders believed in. Other than that, there is not much there besides the things already mentioned.

If you are standing in the area, you can spot the town Lebanon with your eyes since it is not that far away. Lebanon is a very small town. In fact, the population is only about 200 people. However, I am pretty sure the visit will still be interesting.

Wilson State Park Kansas

Wilson State Park

You can stop by Lake Wilson (Wilson State Park) above if you are heading North to US-281 (from I-70) via scenic Kansas Highway 232.

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Beautiful Patagonia!

Some of the world’s most beautiful places are located in Patagonia. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan called the Southern region of Chile and Argentina “Patagonia” which means “big feet”. This region is sparsely populated and offers miles and miles of pristine beauty.

Parks to explore
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina
Perito Merino Glacier, Argentina
Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile
Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, Chile

How to get explore Patagonia
You can fly into Santiago International Airport, Chile (SCL) or Buenos Aires International Airport, Argentina (EZE) to start your journey to Patagonia. You may wish to fly into one country and fly out of the other. If you can spare the time, fly into Santiago, Chile. Go down to the Valparaiso, Chile on the Pacific Coast of Chile. Enjoy some time on the beach and then get on a Patagonian cruise down to Punta Arenas in the Straits of Magellan (which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean). If you do not have the time, fly from Santiago,Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile. You can make Punta Arenas, Chile your base in Patagonia. Take your time to to discover the Chilean side of Patagonia. Cross the border over to Rio Gallegos, Argentina and take Ruta 40 that runs along the Andes Mountain Range to explore the breathtaking Patagonian region of Argentina. You can make your way North to Buenos Aires, Argentina if time permits.

Antarctica
Do you know that Chile has its own Chilean Antarctic Territory? Chilean Antarctica is a territory claimed by Chile across from Patagonia. Puerto Willams (Cabo De Hornos), Chile would be your starting point to Antarctica. You can also cross from Puerto Willams, Chile over to Ushuaia, (Tierra Del Fuego) Argentina which many consider the end of the world. You are pretty much in the bottom of the world here! It is an experience of a lifetime! You can fly from Ushuaia, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina to connect to your international destination.


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South Africa’s Wild Coast

South Africa’s Wild Coast (Transkei) is fascinating. How many places in the world can you find cows relaxing on sandy beaches? Wild Coast is a stretch along South Africa’s Eastern Cape’s Northern Coastline. Here you can explore the Xhosa local culture and the natural beauty of South Africa. If you can spare the time, linger a little longer here. Hiking is a good way to soak in the natural beauty of the Wild Coast. There are beautiful seaside villages you can visit as you explore the Wild Coast. Start from East London and head towards Port Edward, South Africa.

Flying into South Africa
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is the main gateway to South Africa. Since South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons will be opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. So for an example, Christmas will be in the Summer just like Australia! So if you are coming from the USA in December, pack for the Summer! If you live the Northern Hemisphere, you may consider South Africa as a good winter getaway.

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Georgia, The Hidden Gem of the Caucasus!

The country Georgia is located in the Caucasus. Caucasus is the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Georgia has a rich Christian history. Both Armenia and Georgia are the only Christian countries in this part of the world. You will find some ancient Christian monasteries in both neighboring Armenia and Georgia. A branch of the Silk Road went through Georgia. Georgia has the most diverse grape varieties in the world. Some consider Georgia and the Caucasus, the birthplace of wine.

Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) is the gateway to mountainous Georgia. Tbilisi is a modern city with a lot to offer. From Tbilisi you can launch your trip to rest of the country. You can explore everything from cave cities to ancient churches while enjoying some lovely Georgian cuisine, hospitality and their wine culture. You should try the Georgian Supra (feast). Supra is a multi course meal with multiple wine toasts.

Georgia is truly a hidden gem in the Caucasus and has so much to offer! The people are warm and friendly. Georgian hospitality is hard to beat!

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The New Old Silk Road

The Old Silk Road is being revived with modern infrastructure and technology. The New Old Silk Road is being built and extended from places like Shenzhen, China (Silicon Valley of China) to Duisburg, Germany (strategic river harbor with access to the Atlantic). Now you can travel on paved roads and high speed trains instead of the camels of old on China’s New Belt and Road. Marco Polo would be impressed!

Uzbekistan
However it is still the ancient charm of places like Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, Samarkand, Uzbekistan that draws tourists to retrace the steps of ancient travelers on the Silk Road. Ideas, food, goods and culture were exchanged between the Far East and the West on the old Silk Road. You could say this was the “interstate” or the “internet” of the old. Things sure moved more slowly then. Timur or Tamerlane of the Mongol Empire invested in building up Samarkand which is now in Uzbekistan. Amazing cities on the old Silk Road!

Nowruz (new day) marking the beginning of Spring is a good time to visit to soak in the Uzbek culture and warm hospitality. Enjoy some Uzbek Plov (Lamb Pilaf) and Samarkand bread.

Fly Uzbekistan Airways to Tashkent International Airport (TAS) which is the largest airport in Kazakhstan. You can get to Samarkand via train from Tashkent.

Kazakhstan
Almaty, Kazakhstan is another one of those cities that has grown and thrived! Imagine what the travelers on the Old Silk Road would have felt when they saw those beautiful mountains! In modern Almaty, Kazakhstan, you can find both the Russian Orthodox Ascension Cathedral and the Muslim Central Mosque. You can also try some great Central Asian cuisine influenced by the Great Steppe and nomadic life. You can try some Kazakh Cuisine such as Beshbarmak and Sirne.

You can fly into the Almaty International Airport (ALA) to begin your journey.

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The Romantic Danube

Europe is certainly blessed with beautiful rivers. The Danube River starts in the Black Forest of Germany and flows into the Black Sea. It flows through 10 countries making it a major water highway. Some major cities on the Danube River include Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary)and Belgrade (Serbia).

Wachau Valley
The Wachau Valley about 1 hour West of Vienna, Austria is surely a romantic part of the Danube River. There are beautiful vineyards and castles along the Wachau Valley. There is so much history along the banks of the Danube. For an example, Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned in Dürnstein Castle. Dürnstein Castle lies along the Danube River and is worth a trip from Vienna, Austria. Melk, Austria is another place that you should visit. The Melk Baroque Benedictine monastery is a treasure. It houses a large library and beautiful frescoes. River cruises run between Melk and Krems. Take a romantic river cruise along the Wachau Valley and take back lovely memories of this journey.

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Germany’s Romantic Road

Germany’s Romantic Road between Wurzburg and Fussen is a destination in itself. There are several castles on this route to be explored. So take time and soak in the beautiful German towns and villages.

Rothenburg
Spend time in towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg is located in the Franconia region of Bavaria. Experience the German culture at its best.

Fussen
Most travellers will remember the Neuschwanstein Castle. Neuschwanstein Castle is known as Schloss Neuschwanstein in German. Neuschwanstein is best explored from Fussen, Bavaria. Fussen can be reached by train from Munich. This is a very beautiful part of Bavaria. Fussen borders Austria and is lush with the Alpine scenery.

Flying into Frankfurt am Main, Germany
If you are starting in the North from Wurzburg, best to fly into Frankfurt am Main International (FRA) Airport. Rent a car and you can make your own travel plans to get to Wurzburg.
You can also take a detour from the Romantic Road and drive down to the Romantic Mid Rhine area. The Mid Rhine area has a lot offer with beautiful castles between Mainz and Kobenlz. Best to explore the Rhine River by boat. Slow down and enjoy the views.

Flying into Munich, Bavaria, Germany
If you are starting in the South from Fussen, fly into Munich International (MUC) Airport. Munich is also known as Munchen in German. If you are travelling during Christmas, the Munich Airport hosts its own Christmas Markets.

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The Romantic Rhine

You can cruise the Rhine from Amsterdam, Netherlands via the German Heartland to Basel, Switzerland. Rhine starts its journey from Lake Toma, in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden and winds its way to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Rhine actually passes through Switzerland, Liechtenstein , Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. There is so much history along the Rhine. It used to be the boundary between civilized Europe and untamed lands beyond. There is so much to see along the Rhine.

Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Rhine Falls or Rheinfall in German is Europe’s largest waterfall. In some ways resembles the Niagara Falls between United States and Canada. Rhine Falls is located near Schaffhausen , in Switzerland just across from the German border.

Lake Bodensee
Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) is one of the lakes on the Rhine. Bodensee borders Austria, Germany and Switzerland. You can basically visit all 3 countries by boat. Principality of Liechtenstein is around 30 minutes by car from the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

Basel, Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland on the Rhine is a good transportation hub to pretty much get anywhere in Europe, especially to your Alpine destinations. A good place to rest and sight see in the lower elevation before going up into higher altitudes of the Alps.

Mainz to Kobenlz, Mid Rhine, Germany
The mid Rhine is probably the most romantic part of the Rhine. German towns from Mainz to Kobenlz, Germany will take you back in time. Take the Rhine ferries to slow down and soak in the beauty.

The Moselle River to Luxembourg
The Moselle River meets the Rhine River at Kobenlz. Moselle can take you all the way to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Luxembourg actually means Little Castle). Towns along the Moselle such as Zell and Cochem are simply breathtaking.

Heidelberg, Germany
Take another detour along the River Neckar (Neckar meets the Rhine at Mannheim) to Heidelberg, Germany. Heidelberg is both romantic and picturesque. It is definitely worth the detour.

Netherlands
Keep following the River Rhine and you will end up in Rotterdam, Netherlands which is Europe’s largest port with plenty of good places to eat and shop. For the romantic side visit Amsterdam.


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Lewis and Clark Expedition Kansas USA

Lewis and Cark Expedition camped here at the confluence of the Kansas and the Missouri Rivers.

Lewis & Clark Kansas USA

Lewis & Clark Kansas USA

You can get a view of downtown Kansas City skyline from the Kaw Point Park, Kansas.  See the rivers flow gently bye. You can see the Missouri side (downtown Kansas City) from the Kansas side of Kansas City. Ponder what this place would have looked like when Lewis and Clark camped here.

Lewis & Clark Kansas City USA

Lewis & Clark Kansas City USA

Take a short trip into Missouri side of Kansas City to see more of Lewis and Clark’s historical trails.

This monument is located by Case Park, Kansas City Missouri.

Lewis and Clark Monument Kansas City Missouri USA

Lewis and Clark Monument Kansas City Missouri USA


Pacific Coast Highway 1 California USA

Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast

California’s Highway 1 is probably the 2nd most famous US highway after Route 66. If you have driven the Trail Ridge Road hugging the side of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park), you would observed the steep valleys below. Here you will get to drive high above the cliffs with the  the Pacific Ocean below.  It is a drive with gorgeous views at every turn and along the way.

California

Panaromic view of the Pacific Coast from Highway 1 – California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Stunning beauty and raw power of the Pacific Ocean.  You can see white caps as the waves hit the rocks below.

Pacific Coast

Beautiful Flowers Adorn the Pacific Coast Highway

Beautiful flowers grow on the side of the cliffs from the mist of the Pacific Coast Ocean spray. In some places, you can park the car on the side of the road and get off on a trail to the hidden sandy beaches below.

 

Pacific Coast Highway California USA

Pacific Coast Highway California USA

Amazing engineering work done to build bridges connecting one cliff to another. If you are headed south, you will have land on the left and the Pacific Coast Ocean view on the right.