Valley News – Column: Facing COVID travel challenge to find a place of peace

Oh, for the days when all you had to worry about was whether Bernoulli’s principle could really sustain you in midair over 3,000 miles of open water. Now it’s COVID-19 tests, before, after and during travel, passenger disclosure and attestation forms, passenger locator forms, prebooked rapid antigen tests, pages of entry requirements to read and fill out to get into the country you are traveling to, and pages of instructions to (with hope) allow you to return home.

But I prevailed, and so one misty autumn evening I found myself trundling off a tiny ferry onto the pier of Iona again. Iona is just a mouthful of an island, a small comma on the map of Scotland, nearly invisible on a map of the world. I have been here before, but was preceded by Columba, an Irish monk who landed in its cove in 563 A.D.

Depending which history you read or believe, Columba was either a scoundrel or a saint. Whichever he was, he was certainly a man of immense energy. On Iona he founded a monastery and then took off for the mainland, the Western Islands and Orkney to convert the Picts to Christianity. No buildings remain from Columba’s time. The large, present-day abbey dating from about 1200 A.D. was already in complete ruins in 1773, when Johnson and Boswell visited.

But in 1938, George MacLeod, a Presbyterian minister and socialist, settled a new community on the island and began rebuilding the abbey. His belief that Christianity must be centered on practical endeavors to help others attracted many to the Iona Community. The restored abbey is beautiful, a large, honey-colored cathedral. And the ethos of the Community and MacLeod — to work for equality for all — must contribute to the atmosphere of intense peace here.

I booked a room in the Argyll Hotel, built in 1858, which, fronted by a small garden, sits directly on the water. I had stayed here before. The timeless quality of the place, with peat fires burning in the lounges, and a large, old-fashioned dining room, suits my taste. I turned the brass key to the door of my room (no fiddly computer cards here) and took it in at a glance: a single bed hugged up against one wall, its headboard upholstered in Harris tweed, a small Scots pine bedside table just large enough for a reading lamp, my book and an apple. Two pretty watercolors hung on opposite walls, and a sizable window opened up onto a fuchsia hedge. The bathtub was huge and the towel rack was hot. It felt exactly right.

The island, just 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, is perfect for exploring on foot, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had come to this island to find my center, to reflect and renew, to discover where I’d gone wrong and to reset my sails.

On the first morning, I headed to the north, through the pink granite ruins of the Augustine nunnery, and then past the restored abbey, which I had explored many times before. I walked on, following the road to its end and then took a grass pathway that meandered onto a raised beach. Waves crashed onto the rocks below, sheep bleated in the high grasses around me, a brisk sea breeze ruffled my hair and I relaxed in a deep and profound way, a way I have been unable to do in my day-to-day life.

The path curved around a headland and down to a beach where two intrepid swimmers played in the waves. It then led up over a hillock onto a heathered moor and onward to a large field. Here I became confused. And so, in the end, the day was fine and the walk was mostly flat, except that somewhere, somehow, I got lost and climbed a small mountain by mistake. This certainly seemed to be a metaphor for my life.

The next day, I planned to go to the other end of the island, Martyr’s Bay, where Columba had landed. I had done this before and packed with anticipation: water bottle, rain gear, snack and eyeglasses tucked in my upper left hand pocket. The walk began on the single-track road ringing the island, narrow and requiring me to jump up onto the verges when a car drove by. I walked for about 15 minutes, occasionally leaving the tarmac to make room for a car. And then I absentmindedly felt my pocket and realized, to my distress, that my glasses were gone. Impossible, I thought, and then noticed that the seam on this pocket had unraveled. The glasses had fallen through, sometime in the previous 15 minutes.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just retrace my steps. And carefully I did, scanning the road and combing the grass verges. I was so sure I would find the glasses that I constructed a parable. Nothing is ever really lost, I said to myself. This experience should remind me not to give up hope, always to assume the best; to be positive, to be strong.

But despite my optimism, I did not find the glasses. Never mind, I said to myself, I’m sure I’ll find them later, and I set off for Martyr’s Bay, determined to have a good time. After some confusion again, I found the path, over a golf course — what felt like the most remote golf course on Earth — through a herd of highland cattle, rumored to be friendly but who really knows, and over the brow of a hill, past a lochan, or small lake. Soon the path plunged down and I was rewarded by a vast sweep of high green grass leading onto a rocky beach, edged by a turquoise sea.

A scattering of small islands leads the eye to the horizon, which curves eventually toward the Irish coast from which Columba had sailed. Here I spent a happy afternoon, daydreaming, thinking and writing.

On the way back, I looked for my glasses again, without luck. Maybe I just thought I pocketed them, I mused, still sure they would turn up. But later, after a thorough search of my small room, I still hadn’t found them. The next day, before boarding the ferry to leave the island, I retraced my steps again. Now I had to admit it: Despite the first law of thermodynamics, some things really are lost.

So I changed my parable: This is a lesson on learning how to live with loss, I told myself. An important reminder that loss is a part of life and that what remains is more than what has been lost; a reminder that joy can blossom again after loss and that the way misplaced can be recaptured.

And I thought, leaving a small token of myself, however inadvertently, on this island isn’t a bad thing. It’s a link between me and a place of peace and beauty and growth.

Joan Jaffe lives in Norwich.

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Travel back in time with Whitewater Valley Railroad | News

The Whitewater Valley Railroad is hosting excursions this month that train riders don’t want to miss.

Wild West Train

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Valley leaders urge White House to reopen bridges, as travel restrictions ease

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Starting in November, people from the European Union will be allowed to fly into the United States with proof of vaccination. But these new rules laid out by the Biden Administrations do not apply to people in Mexico wanting to cross through land bridges.

Borders have been closes to non-essential travel since March 2020. Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said this has had an effect on South Texas.

“Traditionally Mexican shoppers in some of our major retail areas represent 40% of our sales,” Cortez said. So, when you have those numbers and sales missing it’s having a huge impact.”

According to U.S Representative Henry Cuellar, the new travel rules set in place will allow Mexican nationals to fly into the U.S. But not opening the borders has not only had a negative impact on the local economy but the entire country.

“I’ve calculated it, since March of 2020 until now that we have lost over $30 Billion because the Biden administration does not want to open up the border restrictions to the land ports,” Cuellar said.

Congressman Cuellar said he has given the Biden Administration ideas on how to open the ports of entry in a safe way, but they have not gone through with any of those options. Now Cuellar is urging the White House to reopen the border before it is too late for local businesses.

“You are going to have businesses shut down. Some of them forever because they just can’t keep this up,” Cuellar said. “I am hoping that they open this up soon, I have given them a map way to open up.”

But it is not just local businesses that have been suffering since the borders have been closed.

“It’s a tragedy because it is not only hurting our economy, but it is hurting the relationships with our families there is a lot of family relationships between Mexico and the United States,” Cortez said. “Unfortunately some of them have not been able to come over and spend time with their families.”

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Entrance & Exit Issue For Love’s Travel Center in Valley City

Entrance & Exit Issue For Love’s Travel Center in Valley City | News Dakota


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6 Tips For Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga National Park is not your typical national park. I remember arriving there for the first time and thinking, “What is this?” Most national parks are surrounded by national forests, rustic lodging, and campgrounds. In contrast, Cuyahoga National Park is surrounded by development and industry. Many small towns surround it and Cleveland is to its north, making Cuyahoga an oasis in the middle of commerce and housing. 

The booming industry, rapid growth, and industrial climate of the 1960s were the recipe that would create Ohio’s only national park.

The Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969 for the 11th time in a century. The locals were not surprised by the burning river. However, while it burned this time, there was a grassroots movement beginning to take hold in America. People were ready to see a change start to happen in how we cared for the earth. The 1969 fire is sometimes portrayed as a direct cause of the first Earth Day in 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Sign and entrance.
Jacob Boomsma /

In 1974, President Gerald Ford signed a bill establishing Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area. People were wary about this designation to the polluted Cuyahoga River, and many argued the river could never be used for recreation or tourism. However, Ford used this platform as a preventive measure allowing the government to purchase land along the historic river and the nearby Ohio Canal, creating the path for Cuyahoga National Park.

1. Visit Boston Mill Visitor Center

Start your visit to this unique National Park at the Boston Mills Visitor Center. Reopened in 2019, this fully refurbished building was built in 1905 and was the first company store for the Cleveland-Akron Bag Company. Here you will find all the necessary information for your exploration of the park and surrounding areas. Watch the video about how Cuyahoga became a national park, get hands-on with the interactive exhibits, and peruse the gift shop. Parking is easily accessible, and there is space for oversized and big rigs across the intersection.

Pro Tip: Get a Jr. Ranger book to help you experience the park. While you might think it is just for kids, rangers will tell you they can be used from preschoolers to 100+-year-olds. You’re never too old to learn.

Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The vintage Nickel Plate 765 steam locomotive pulls an excursion train of passenger cars on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad south of Cleveland.
Kenneth Sponsler /

2. Ride The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

The history of trains in the area stretches back over 100 years, and you can hop on board to experience the beauty of the national park from the climate-controlled cars of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad along the route. The train runs from Rockside Station in Independence, Ohio, to North Side Station in Akron, Ohio, so you’ll be able to see stunning views of the Cuyahoga River all along the route on your excursion. Rides can take up to 3 and a half hours during the summer months.

Pro Tip: Passengers who are 55 and older receive $2 off an adult coach ticket price on the National Park Scenic train on weekdays (Wednesday – Friday) between June and September. This discount only applies to coach tickets.

Rustic park shelter in Cuyahoga Valley National Park with brilliant autumn foliage.
Kenneth Sponsler /

3. The Best Time to Visit Cuyahoga National Park

Any time, of course! However, there are a few advantages to each season in Ohio. Springtime offers the beauty of the world coming awake after its long winter nap, with wildflowers and plenty of water flowing. Summer brings warmer temperatures and longer days for outdoor adventure. Autumn is stunning here in the valley. Trees burst forth with bright reds to deep oranges, and the cooler temps bring a crispness to the air that invigorates. Winter isn’t just for hot chocolate by a fireplace; adventures within the park are just as exciting as summer, just with a different look. During the colder days, you can ski at the nearby Boston Mills Brandywine ski resort.

Pro Tip: Pack layers for your trip because temperatures can fluctuate during the day.

Tourist trail to Brandwine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Trail to Brandwine Falls (Henryk Sadura /

4. The Best Ways to Explore Cuyahoga National Park

There are multiple ways to explore this National Park; all you have to do is choose your adventure. 


There are over 125 miles of hiking trails are available for your hiking pleasure in CVNP, and picking the one that is just right for you is all you have to do! Three of the more easy and accessible hikes within the park can be found below:

High view overlooking Blue Hen Falls.
Blue Hen Falls (Patrick Jennings /
  • Tree Farm Trail (2.75 miles) strolls alongside a tree farm the park acquired.
  • Blue Hen Falls (3 miles) takes you to a 15-foot waterfall. Note that there is a steep hill for a half-mile on this trail.
  • Station Road Hike (1 mile) is a short, scenic hike over flat terrain that provides views of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Brecksville Station, the historic Station Road Bridge, the Cuyahoga River, the Ohio & Erie Canal, and you can see an eagle’s nest and blue heron along the route.
Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Doug Lemke /


One of the best ways to experience the nature of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is biking on the 19.5-mile Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath. The path is comprised of compacted gravel, making it wheelchair accessible and bicycle-friendly. Century Cycles and Eddy’s Bike Shop offer bicycle rentals, and both now offer electric bicycles for a more leisurely ride. In my opinion, it is one of the best ways to experience the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath is by bicycle.


There is nothing like taking a trip down this reclaimed river to see what conservation and restoration look like! You could come across beaver, white-tailed deer, and a fox or two along your way. There are 10 kayak launch sites within the park, and you can use the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway train to get back to your vehicle. There is no place to rent kayaks within the park. 


You might not want to venture too far from your vehicle, and that’s OK. Touring the National Park this way offers one of the best ways to see the Cuyahoga Valley National Park without ever breaking a sweat! You can take one of the scenic drives from the visitor center. Riverview Road Scenic Drive stretches for nearly 20 miles through this park, taking visitors on a road trip through some of the most beautiful parts of the park.

No matter how you find your adventure at Cuyahoga National Park, it will be the perfect one for you.

Pro Tip: Plan your desired style of exploration and book early.

Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio at Dusk in Summer.
Brandywine Falls (RN Photo Midwest /

5. You Must See The Waterfalls

Let’s face it; waterfalls are magical. The sound of the water falling over the rim of the falls to come crashing down into the rocky bottom is mesmerizing! Cuyahoga has many falls to choose from, so plan your day accordingly. Some are easier to get to than others. 

Whitewater cascades over rock ledges of beautiful Bridal Veil Falls, a waterfall photographed in the colorful autumn landscape of Cuyahoga Valley National Park of northeast Ohio.
Bridal Veil Falls (Kenneth Keifer /
  • Bridal Veil Falls: A short easy walk along a boardwalk with a few steps down will lead you to this cascading beauty. Parking is across the street, so be cautious as you cross.
  • Mudcatcher Falls: This man-made waterfall is located on the towpath making it an easily accessible sight. 
  • Brandywine Falls: The most popular and busy waterfall within the park! Plan your trip here accordingly because parking is limited. Try arriving early in the morning or later in the day. You can take the easy boardwalk to view the falls from up top or venture down the stairs into the gorge for an up-close look and hike the 1.5-mile gorge trail.
  • Shredder Falls: After checking out Brandywine Falls, continue on the Brandywine Gorge Trail, and you’ll find the falls. The story goes that this long cascade got its name in the 1970s when boy scouts would hike here to ride and slide the falls down, shredding their pants. While it was fun in the ’70s, it is not allowed today. 

Pro Tip: Stay nearby at the Inn at Brandywine Falls for an evening of relaxation near Brandywine Falls.

6. Get Educated At The Canal Exploration Center

The Canal Exploration Center is an outstanding museum for exploring the history of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Once the Erie Canal was completed in 1825 across New York, Ohio decided to build a canal connecting the Ohio River to Lake Erie, and the race for commerce was on! It is essential to learn about the canal history and how it transformed the state of Ohio. Learn how it is such a vital part of CVNP. 

The Canal Exploration Center has a complete map of the entire canal system between Ohio and New York with interactive features.  Park rangers are on-site during normal business hours, ready to answer questions and share helpful information.

Even though urban areas surround it, Cuyahoga National Park seems a world away. You’re nearby all the conveniences of the modern world but able to explore like Lewis and Clark in a wonderland of restored lands and waterways. Take a road trip to Ohio and explore the returned natural beauty of this one-of-a-kind national park.

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Rogue Valley travel is still down, but is above national average

MEDFORD, Ore. – Travel overall is still down in the Rogue Valley. However, compared to the national scale we’re above average.

Rogue Valley International Airport told NBC5 News it’s taking it as a win. While the airport said the year started off slow during the summer season it was almost pre-pandemic numbers. But as school is back in session and the delta variant is prevalent in the community things are starting to slow down again.

“They were right at about 98% of what they were in 2019. But we still have a long way to go because we got off to a slow start. In 2020 as you can imagine was not a good year for aviation,” said Jerry Brienza, Executive Director of the Rogue Valley International Airport.

As the airport prepares for a potentially busy holiday season they told NBC5 News they’re hiring in pretty much all positions. Click HERE for more information.

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As travel rebounds, Napa Valley Transportation Authority announces schedule changes | Local News

NVTA continues to strongly encourage Vine riders to follow all of the latest recommended health and sanitation protocols. Face coverings are required on Vine vehicles, at bus stops, and at all facilities. Seats are blocked off to promote physical distancing between passengers and Vine buses are thoroughly sterilized each day with high touch-points cleaned several times during the day.

A summary of service changes are as follows with new changes indicated in bold:

Vine Transit

City of Napa will continue to operate mostly as an on-demand service

Routes N & S will begin fixed-route service in the City of Napa

Routes 10 & 11 will return to a weekday schedule on Monday – Friday

Route 21 and 29 Regular service (No weekend service)

No service on Routes 10X and 11X

Napa Valley College will now be regularly served by Route 21

Community Shuttles

Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Egypt expects $1 billion in damages over stuck ship in Suez – Cowichan Valley Citizen

Egypt is expecting more than $1 billion in compensation after a cargo ship blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, according to the top canal official. He also warned the ship and its cargo will not be allowed leave Egypt if the issue of damages goes to court.

Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the canal authority, said in a phone interview with a pro-government TV talk show on Wednesday that the amount takes into account the salvage operation, costs of stalled traffic, and lost transit fees for the week that the Ever Given had blocked the Suez Canal.

“It’s the country’s right,” Rabei said, without specifying who would be responsible for paying the compensation. He added that in the past, canal authorities and the ship’s owners have had a good relationship.

The massive cargo ship is currently in one of the canal’s holding lakes, where authorities and the ship’s managers say an investigation is ongoing.

On Thursday, the ship’s technical managers, Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement, said in an email to The Associated Press that the ship’s crew was co-operating with authorities in their investigation into what led to the vessel running aground. They said that Suez Canal Authority investigators have been given access to the Voyage Data Recorder, also known as a vessel’s black box.

Rabie also said that if an investigation went smoothly and the compensation amount was agreed on, then the ship could travel on without problems.

However, if the issue of compensation involved litigation, then the Ever Given and its some $3.5 billion worth of cargo would not be allowed to leave Egypt, he told the show’s host.

Litigation could be complex, since the vessel is owned by a Japanese firm, operated by a Taiwanese shipper, and flagged in Panama.

On Monday, a flotilla of tugboats helped by the tides, wrenched the Ever Given’s bulbous bow from the canal’s sandy bank, where it had been firmly lodged. The tugs then guided the Ever Given through the water after days of unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the colossus that had captivated the world, drawing scrutiny and social media ridicule.

The Ever Given had crashed into a bank of a single-lane stretch of the canal about 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the city of Suez. That forced some ships to take the long, alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip — a 5,000-kilometre (3,100-mile) detour that costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other costs. Others waited in place for the blockage to be over.

The unprecedented shutdown, which raised fears of extended delays, goods shortages and rising costs for consumers, added to strain on the shipping industry, already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Travel experts predict brighter days ahead for tourism – Cache Valley Daily

A view of Logan’s Main Street and Center Street. Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

LOGAN – After a disastrous year due to the coronavirus pandemic, things may be looking up for the Cache Valley tourism industry in 2021.

“The U.S. Travel Association indicates that, according to their recent surveys, nine of 10 Americans already have a vacation planned for this year,” said Julie Hollist-Terrill of the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau, during a recent report to the Logan City Council.

“They say that we need to prepare ourselves for a wave of ‘revenge spending’,” she added. “I think that’s because people are sick of staying home. They’re sick of not being able to go out to eat or to shows or to sporting events or wherever.”

While acknowledging that a vacation plan can vary from traveling an hour to the Great Salt Lake to flying coast-to-coast, Hollist-Terrill stresses that the fact that the majority of Americans now want to resume vacation travel is great news for the beleaguered tourism industry.

“When that wave (of revenge spending) breaks,” she predicted, “it’s really going to break and that bodes well for all of us.”

Whatever the future holds for the year 2021, travel experts say that it can’t possibly be worse than the previous 12 months.

Roughly 115 million Americans either lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in their work hours from the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020 through February 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Analysts at U.S. Travel say that about 25 percent of those impacted individuals were employed in the tourism or hospitality industries. In March and April of 2020 alone, more than 8.3 million Americans lost jobs in those industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hollist-Terrill says that visitor spending in Cache Valley supported more than 2,200 jobs in 2019 and those employees were heavily impacted when local tourist attractions shut down in 2020.

In terms of dollars and cents, the pandemic caused travel spending in the United States to decline by $492 billion, from $1.7 trillion in 2019 to $679 billion in 2020.

Here in Utah, tourists spent $10 billion in 2019. While official figures for 2020 are still being compiled, U.S. Travel estimates that statewide visitor spending declined by as much as 33 percent during the pandemic. If that estimate proves to be accurate across the board, Cache County may have lost the benefit of up to $62 million in tourist spending.

State officials estimate that nearly 130,000 tourists visit Cache Valley annually with about 40 percent attracted by local cultural events, including the usual Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre and Lyric Repertory theatrical seasons.

In other good news, at least some of Cache Valley’s traditional tourist attractions are now slated to resume this summer.

After a one-year hiatus during the height of the pandemic, organizers of Logan’s Summerfest have announced that the annual arts faire will return in June. That event, traditionally held downtown on the grounds of the Logan Tabernacle, will be moved to Cache County Fairground near Willow Park this year due to planned tabernacle renovations.

Utah State University officials have also announced that their traditional USU Summer Citizens Program will resume in 2021.

For more than 45 years, as many as 800 senior citizens have flocked to Cache Valley each summer, mostly from Arizona. Major attractions for those retiree couples are cooler temperatures, enrichment classes offered during the summer months on the USU campus and the opportunity to attend local performing arts programs and community events.

Recent analysis by the Utah Cultural Alliance suggests that spending by those senior citizens boosts the economy of Cache Valley by up to $14 million each summer.

Still in question, however, is whether or not those footloose retirees will return to Cache Valley in 2021 when its usual theatrical events remain in doubt.

As of Mar. 30, the managers of the Lyric Repertory Company and the UFOMT have been unable to confirm whether they will be able to resume production this summer due to state and federal guidelines limiting public gatherings.

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Activist traveling 191 countries to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS stops by the Coachella Valley


Cyclist Somen Debnath is on a journey across the worldto raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.

Debnath, a resident of the village of Basanti in India, started his journey in 2004.

Debnath stopped by the Coachella Valley this week, visiting the city of Indio.

News Channel 3 photojournalist Inez Gonzalez caught up with Debnath during his desert visit. Learn more about him and his journey.

News Headlines / Top Stories

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