Amtrak Adventure: Canyons, Cliffs & Clouds

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I just returned from a train trip on Amtrak's California Zephyr through the colorful canyons and gorges of Utah and Colorado. See my photo gallery "Canyons, Cliffs & Clouds" on the right sidebar, and two interesting trains I photographed along the route of the Zephyr (below). Three simple observations about the American railroading experience: Thousands of giant boulders perched on steep hillsides never tumble down when your train is passing by. People dump enormous quantities of trash alongside backyard fences and railroad tracks. People wave at arriving and departing trains, but not at buses and airplanes. If you want to see some of this gorgeous scenery for yourself, much of it accessible only by rail, get yourself an Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard and start racking up travel points for your next train ride.

John Maybury, Editor & Publisher

  6a00d8341c795b53ef01b7c86ac683970b-800wiOld Burlington Northern steam engine on display at Amtrak's Galesburg, Illinois train station. (John Maybury iPhone photo taken onboard westbound California Zephyr)

6a00d8341c795b53ef01b7c8685ef4970b-580wiAirport shuttle train waits for passengers at Denver Union Station. (John Maybury iPhone photo taken onboard Amtrak's eastbound California Zephyr)

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Help Riptide Cover the Coastside

Salada beach -#4v  copyPlease tell our advertisers you saw their ad on Riptide. Our advertisers and friends have generously supported Riptide since our 2007 launch. Now you can help, too. Click here to ask how. One way is to click the ad and Amazon link on our right sidebarwe get a percentage! Any size donation gladly accepted by mail: John Maybury, PO Box 334, Moss Beach, CA 94038. Remember to share Riptide stories on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the social media icons below each post. As our friend, Pacifica City Council member John Keener, says, "Thanks for maintaining the best blog in Pacifica."

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Australian Rainforest Flora & Fauna

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My globetrotting brother Joel Maybury recently visited Australia's rainforest. Below are his notes on the flora and fauna he photographed (see his photo gallery on our right sidebar; more photos will be added as we receive them):

The tropical rainforest region of northeast Australia is home to the greatest concentration of bird species on the continent.

The Curtain Fig Tree (see above), with its vertical fig roots forming a curtain-like appearance, is one of the largest trees in North Queensland, Australia. It's near the town of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tableland.

Different fungi in the rainforest at Lake Eacham National Park on the Atherton Tableland region of Australia's Queensland state.

An Azure Kingfisher along the Daintree River in Australia's rainforest region.

Australia's Daintree Rainforest is one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests and most fascinating ecosystems. You can stand on the beaches in that region and see where the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef meet -- a blending of two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Pieces of bleached coral wash onshore along with assorted forest "products," creating colorful patterns on the sand.

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Don't Frack My Food

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Oil-fracking chemicals in our oranges and strawberries? Yeah yeah yeah -- we've all heard it: Buy local organic produce. Or grow your own. But how many of us regularly buy California strawberries, mandarin oranges known as Cuties and Halos, and other produce from the Central Valley, without considering that there might be oil production chemicals in the food? Tell Governor Brown you'd like to see this process stopped until it can be reviewed and reported on by independent professionals. Click the link below to take action:

Don't Frack My Food