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April, 2014

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The Oct 2016 newsletter had a story about travel to Texas. Don’t be misled, Texas is not in Texas. Texas is in Utah. Here’s what I mean. On a river cruise in China, I fell into a discussion with one of our Chinese guides, who said he was saving up to take a trip to Texas because he was a big fan of John Wayne western movies, which were always located in Texas, so he wanted to go see Texas for himself.

I warned him– movies are fiction, and John Wayne never filmed a movie in Texas. Texas westerns were almost always filmed in Utah– in and around Monument Valley, Moab, and Kanab. For example, the largest room at the Apache Motel in Moab, Utah, is the John Wayne Suite, John Wayne’s home away from home for filming many cowboy movies.

Filming a movie, “The Conqueror”, in Utah, killed John Wayne and 200 members of the cast and crew. The movie was filmed in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park., a few miles from Kanab. The Park is down wind from the Nevada atomic bomb test site, and the sand was heavily polluted with radioactive fallout, which was stirred up my the galloping horses used in the movie, and breathing the radiation released from the sand killed more than 200 people.

The most dangerous radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests has a half life of 29 years, which means that the danger in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park has been reduced by about 80% from what it was when Utah killed John Wayne. Nevertheless, when we visit, we de not kick up the sand, and we make it very short visit, just long enough to see the spectacular scenery and take a short walk out onto the sand.

Travel Tip: The State Park charges an admission fee. The BLM land next door is free. What’s BLM land? The federal government owns 60% of all the land in Utah. The Bureau of Land Management is one of the federal owners, along withe The National Forest Service, National parks, National Monuments.

Travel Tip: Save money. Stay in nearby Fredonia, Arizona, rather than in high cost Kanab.

Travel Tip: Eat at Houston’s (dinner $11-25).

Travel Tip: Google “Frommer Kanab boycot”

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