Travel Letters: Taking note of river cruises

In the article "Cruising the Past" by Chris Erskine [June 29], the Travel section should have included a great alternative from the L.A. area to Portland, Ore.: JetBlue from the Long Beach Airport. It's a pleasant experience, as it is a smaller airport. The good: The flights are nonstop, and the first checked bag is free. The bad: Parking is a bit pricey. This airport is easily reached by several freeways.

Laurie Anderson


Palos Verdes Estates


In the sidebar to the river cruise article "On the Trail of History, Culture," by Chris Erskine, the term "squaw" was used in this sentence: "We learn how Sacagawea, a 16-year-old Shoshone squaw, served as mediator with distrustful tribes." That is an extremely offensive term to most American Indians, equivalent to many other slurs.

Dr. Charles Braithwaite

Editor, Great Plains Quarterly

Center for Great Plains Studies

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

I see where the legendary Baker, Calif., 13-story-tall thermometer will once again be displaying the temperature ["Soon It'll Be Taking Temperatures Again" by Jay Jones, June 29]. Since 1992, it was a sort of unofficial desert beacon for travelers on Interstate 15 coming and going to Vegas.

It's about three-quarters of the way from the L.A. area to Las Vegas, so people on their way to Sin City know that their fun-filled, exciting weekend lies just beyond a few more hills.

On the way back from Vegas, the same people seeing the towering edifice are probably muttering to themselves, "We've only driven a quarter of the way home?"

Bill Spitalnick

Newport Beach

On June 21, my husband and I returned from the Historic Trains of Colorado tour through Road Scholar ( On June 22, I was delighted to read Chris Reynolds' review of the Durango-Silverton railroad ["Making Tracks in Colorado"].

Reynolds did an excellent job of describing just how awe-inspiring that train trip is. Anyone interested in trains and beautifully picturesque landscapes might like to know that in the Road Scholar Historic Train tour we rode not only the Durango-Silverton Railroad but also six additional stunning, authentic railroads, including the cog railroad on Pikes Peak, the Georgetown Loop, the Cumbres & Toltec line and the Royal Gorge line. Each was as remarkable in its unique way as the Durango-Silverton line.


We rode through desert, red rock gorges, high bridges, mountaintops, rivers, meadows and even tundra. Far from being only for train buffs, the Road Scholar tour taught us about Colorado history, important people, economy and even geology. If you like trains, we highly recommend the Historic Trains of Colorado tour.

Laurie Orange

Chula Vista, Calif.