Let Nothing You Dismay: The Joys, Miseries and Other Adventures of Cutting Christmas Trees

christmas-tree-cutting 009

To hear my wife tell it, I present no shortage of difficulty when it comes to Christmas trees. She's probably right. Before our second Christmas I barnstormed with fury that we forget a tree and get a cactus instead, because that was something we could plant in the yard after making a spectacle of it. Well, that unfestive suggestion grew no wings and did not fly. We still found ourselves at a tree lot, looking for something perfectly triangular and uniform and just tall enough and something more or less out of a storybook and everything else that just doesn't come naturally to things that are, well, natural.

We bought one. Probably for 60 bucks. The whole experience left me dissatisfied . . .

Hiking to Cascade Lake in Yellowstone National Park

Hiking to Cascade Lake, Yellowstone National PArk

My wife is the oldest of three siblings, so when her youngest brother settled into starting his Ph.D. earlier this year, I think that set off a small amount of anxiety in my father in-law. Not for the schooling, but because life was changing. You know? So he lobbed this idea of taking a full-on family road trip to see Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2013; it's a trip he'd always meant to take his kids on, but other trips made thier way to the top of the priority list every year. His kids were now moving on to their adult lives, and who knows how much time each of us has left, so we all made it happen.

Gallery: 4-Day Family Adventure Travel to Puerto Lobos, Mexico

puerto lobos mexico family beach camping

At first, you think there's absolutely nothing to do at these little seaside fishing villages on certain empty stretches on the coast of Mexico. In one sense, you're right. No restaurants, no stores, no hotels. That's kind of a frightful thought, too, because I had talked a few friends to pack up thier kids and their dogs and their toys into their pick-ups and Land Cruisers and follow me to this, this . . . magical place at the end of a very long washboard dirt road. So, it had better be good. What happened for the next couple of days is revealed in this set of 50-some photos.

Gallery: 2012 Was a Good Year

2012 brought all kinds of delights and hilarious disasters behind the scenes around here. Here's a gallery of photos I hope you'll enjoy as I look at the pictures and events that shaped the year. Click the thumbnails, or scroll through using the arrows under the main image. Descriptions are at the bottom. Enjoy.


Stuck: Sonora, Mexico

Oh, what would we do without Wil? Would anything funny ever happen again? On the last morning of a pleasant road trip along the Sea of Cortez coast in Mexico, we chose to drive the sandy beach for several miles to get to the next town. It was one of those happy mornings with the windows down and five vehicles crusing in a line. I was leading the pack, came to this suspect mudhole and decided to get out before trying to drive through it. That's when Wil pulled up with his 37" tall macho man tires and just drove in. The dude got stuck. He got out, we chatted for a sec about what to do, which was one thing only: hook up at least one winch and send off some prayers. He had his wife, Wendy, two kids and a dog inside waiting. He killed me, though, when he said, "Yeah. Wendy's kinda pissed now."

10 Awesome Dirt Roads of The American West

White Rim Trail Canyonlands Utah

The earth is round and the great discoveries, crossings, and formidable pioneering efforts on the planet have all been ticked off the list by countless predecessors. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be out there experiencing previously uncharted lands for yourself. Check out this gallery of 10 sweet ones . . .

Don't-Miss Daily Deals