Blog Archive

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Learn More About Stoness Travel Guides

A special guest post by Passport America Member, James Stoness

Canyonlands, UT
A long time ago my father took our family on a little trip each summer, an experience similar I suppose to many of your childhoods. Or maybe a little different because dad was not interested in camping so we went the motel route. The traveling habit became entrenched in me and soon I had a new bride who had never traveled and who was keen to see the world.

We started out in the old style ‘tourist tent’ and explored a rainy trip through the Smoky Mountains where the waters came in one side of the tent and out the door as we sat high and dry on our air mattress. We quickly moved to a tent trailer and moved into different travel rigs as the years rolled on.

We live in Eastern Ontario and our trips radiated outwards until we had crossed both Canada and the USA in all directions, many times. Sometimes the snowcapped jagged peaks of Banff drew us, and other times it would be the rugged canyon lands of Utah, and Arizona. Another time it would be a yearning to hear the rolling surf of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, or to watch the world’s highest tides in Nova Scotia reverse the direction of a river.

 Friends would come back from seeing Yellowstone NP and I’d ask how they liked the Devils Tower as they returned through the Dakotas. “Didn’t see it. Don’t know anything about it.” They almost all responded this way when asked about anything that wasn’t dead in front of them as they drove.

I had always researched things to see, and since I’d studied geology at University there were a lot of geological features I wanted to see. Most turned out even better than I expected. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River were striking, as were the Mittens in Monument Valley. Seeing the mountains of the Icefields Parkway in Alberta with its pristine blue jewels of lakes and dashing streams was far better than reading about it in the paper. The written word cannot do these places justice, and yet people were not visiting them because in too many cases they had never heard of them.

Chama Steam Train, NM
I decided to use my years of traveling to create scenic travel guide books. Instead of just highlighting scattered scenic drives, I decided to create several scenic trips that could be chained together to make longer trips. This way a person would have guides to follow on the way out to a destination and then it would be possible to in many cases select a different route back and be able to have some comments of what to see along the way in the scenic guide book. Sometimes the guide book would have more than one route to a popular destination and so the reader would select from them, picking the one he found most interesting.

Bryce Canyon, UT
The beginning of the book would have a large map showing all the tours. A click on the tour number would take you to that chapter where there would be a marked route map with numbers, and the text would mention things about the numbered area. Each guide book contains many colored pictures. The index is fully clickable, taking you back to the place where the word is mentioned.

My first scenic guide book, ‘The Lure of Pine and Sage’ covered part of the USA from roughly the Mississippi River west to the Pacific, and from Denver north into Canada to include the Banff Jasper region. 

I followed this with, ‘Cactus and Canyons’ running west from the Mississippi River to the Pacific, and from Denver south to the Mexican Border.
Next came, ‘Canada: Beyond the Far Horizons’ covering Canada from the Capital, Ottawa, west to the Pacific Ocean and North to the Arctic Ocean.

I’m presently working on a guide book covering from Ottawa east to the Atlantic Ocean.
These are available on CD or as ebooks from my website .

The downloads are around 20MB. They are not ‘talking’ books. There is a lot of information that is useful to a traveler, even if they’ve been there before, and the pictures are good for the armchair reader who maybe is doing a little reminiscing.

Travel whenever you can get away. Too many friends grow old and never see much past their own little town, and there are so many things to see. Enjoy the world!. 

Photos and Article Provided by James Stoness - See his novels now at:

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