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MarkHitsTheRoad
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Great Places. Cool Sights. Across America. Around The World.
Great Places. Cool Sights. Across America. Around The World.

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Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Trackway, Escalante, Utah

Located along a dirt side road off Hole-in-the-Rock Road is the Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Trackway. This definitely off the beaten path trackway features more than 1000 dinosaur tracks, a veritable Jurassic Park.

Many of these are theropod tracks - three-toed dinosaurs that were often carnivorous; the others I saw are sauropod tracks - typically plant eaters with long necks and pillar-like legs. It is common to see long sequences of steps where you can follow the route of some ancient dinosaur for several feet.

The tracks can be a bit harder to identify than tracks I've seen at other sites because most of these are captured on the surface rather than as indentations, which makes them harder to see, especially isolated sauropod tracks, so I focused on finding sequences of tracks.

The trackway can also be somewhat challenging to find. When I stopped here, the only information box reported that there were no trails to follow. But a rock outcropping coloration reminded me of other dinosaur trackways I've been to, so I found my way up that. Once I got Up there I spotted hundreds of tracks.
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Paria River Quicksand (Live Action) - Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

I took a couple hikes along the Paria River on a recent Utah trip and had to cross the river a number of times on the hike. I often encountered patches of quicksand, which isn't nearly as scary as some B movies make it out to be. Here are a few brief video clips of some of those encounters.
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Windsor Castle and St. George's Chapel, Windsor, England, United Kingdom

Windsor Castle has been in the news in 2018 as its St. George's Chapel plays host to the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Windsor Castle actually dates back to the 11th century. The Normans who had just conquered England originally built it to protect their hold on the area west of London and along the Thames River. Henry I began using it in the early 1100s, and the royal family has continued using it to this day; Windsor Castle is reportedly Queen Elizabeth's favorite weekend home. This makes Windsor Castle the longest occupied royal palace in Europe. That said, there have been a number of additions over the years, and many parts of Windsor Castle have been rebuilt and restored over the years.

Windsor Castle is a popular tourist destination, with trains from central London to the Windsor & Eton Central station 21 miles away. From there it's a short uphill walk to the castle entrance.
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Alabama Hills Recreation Area - Lone Pine, California

The Alabama Hills are an interesting geological feature located just west of Lone Pine, California. Although this area was raised up as part of the uplift that created the Sierra Nevada, chemical weathering before the uplift produced much of the erosion that created this very different landscape.

The Alabama Hills are strewn with granite boulders that have taken on a variety of shapes - including some natural arches, one of the area's attractions.

Given its rugged appearance and proximity to Los Angeles, the Alabama Hills have been used for "on location" filming for well over 100 movies and TV series, including The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, Gunga Din, Gladiator, Tremors, Iron Man and others.

The Alabama Hills were named for the CSS Alabama by Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War.
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Green Sea Turtles at Black Sand Beach - Pahala, Big Island, Hawaii

Punalu'u Beach, near Pahala, Hawaii on the Big Island features a remarkable stretch of black sand beach. The sand is the result of lava flowing into the sea, just to the north at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The black sand alone makes it a popular tourist stop, although swimming is discouraged here. But the bigger draw may be the threatened and endangered animals that often visit the beach.

During my visit I got to see a number of green sea turtles resting on the beach or bobbing in the water just offshore.

Give the animals some space (this is what the zoom feature on your camera is for) - in fact, you're required to stay at least 15 feet away from any of the turtles.
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Roadside Maine

These are but a handful of the quirky sights I've come across while driving along the highways and backroads of Maine.
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Scenic Vang i Valdres - Oppland, Norway

My maternal grandfather was born and raised on farms near the village of Grindaheim in Vang Kommune in the traditional region of Valdres (Vang i Valdres), located in Oppland County, Norway.

I've been there a few times now, once with my grandparents. It's a pretty area, centered around Vangsmjosa (Vang Lake) and including the surrounding mountains. Vang is sparsely populated, relatively rugged, although a number of picturesque farms line Vangsmjosa.

Vang also is home to some historic stave churches, but I feature those in a separate slideshow (The Stave Churches of Valdres - Oppland, Norway).
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Muffler Man Sightings - Across America

In the 1960s, International Fiberglass developed a side business of creating large fiberglass figures used to draw attention to businesses lining America's highways.

The company started with a "Paul Bunyan", but minor changes to the mold could be used to create a number of other similar characters. The way Paul Bunyon held an axe could also hold a muffler. And thus "Muffler Man" was born.

As businesses changed or closed over time, Muffler Men were often repurposed - sometimes with just a new paint job or something else to hold, other times with (often clumsy) alterations.

Today, "Muffler Man" is used broadly to refer to surviving Paul Bunyons, Muffler Men and their altered successors. You can find them all over the US, although more likely along "main roads" long since bypassed by interstates.
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Exploring Ballantrae, Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom

Ballantrae is a small, rural parish located at the mouth of the River Stinchar in southwest Ayrshire. Ballantrae is a pretty town located just north of the ferry to Ireland.

I visited Ballantrae because some siblings of my great great grandfather spent the last several years of their lives there.

Like other rural Scottish parishes, Ballantrae features a handful of castles and estates, ruins sites, historic sites and walking paths. It also features nice views of Ailsa Craig, an island that rises steeply out of the Firth of Clyde about ten miles offshore.

Robert Louis Stevenson used Ballantrae as the setting for his novel The Master of Ballantrae.
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World of Flowers 4 - Around the World

Here are some more of my favorite flower pictures that I take when I'm traveling.
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