Featured

Acadia National Park

IMG_7147 (1)

  • Website link: Acadia National Park
  • Cost: $30.00 per private vehicle for a 7-day pass
  • Biking, hiking, bird watching, climbing, horseback riding, fishing, swimming
  • Winter activities: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, ice fishing, snowmobiling
  • Campgrounds available in the park and outside the park. Make reservations early!
  • Picnic areas are located throughout the park
  • Jordan Pond House Restaurant is the only restaurant located in the park. Other restaurants are located in surrounding communities.
  • Hotels available in surrounding communities
  • Free park shuttles
  • When to go: any time
IMG_7284 (1)
Acadia coastline

Cadillac Mountain Summit – a very popular place to watch the sun come up. On our first afternoon at Acadia, the skies were partly cloudy, but, luckily, we could see the views of the surrounding islands and the Atlantic as we walked the summit trail. We were there on a Sunday. The summit was crowded and parking was limited, however, we got a parking place after just a few minutes of waiting. And, it was definitely worth the wait!

IMG_7153 (1)
Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from Cadillac Mountain summit

IMG_7170 (1)

Wild Gardens of Acadia. This feature of the park enabled us to take a peaceful stroll through the gardens where we familiarized ourselves with some of the plants that grow on Mount Desert Island. Next to the gardens is Sieur de Monts Spring, which some believe is the birthplace of Acadia National Park. George Dorr, who was instrumental in the establishment of Acadia as a national park, built the spring house over the spring in 1909.

IMG_7173 (1)
Bridge leading to the path to Sieur de Monts spring house pictured in the upper left

Sand Beach. The only beach in Acadia. This is a very popular place during warmer weather, though, the water is cold!

IMG_7219 (1)
Sand Beach under sunny skies
IMG_5653
Rocky coast at Sand Beach

Thunder Hole. During high tide, the waves crash into a hole in the rocks and it makes a loud sound like thunder.

IMG_7240
Wave crashing in Thunder Hole

IMG_7402

Jordan Pond Path. This is a 3.5 mile trail around Jordan Pond. Part of the path is on raised boards, part of the path is on flat ground, and part is over rocks. Most of the trail is easy, however, and the scenery is beautiful. We took off early in the morning, and saw no other people for at least the first 90 minutes. What a great hike! We had intended to have brunch at Jordan Pond House, but we finished before they opened.

IMG_7401
Jordan Pond and The Bubbles, which are two small granite mountains
IMG_7368
Boardwalk on Jordan Pond Path

Other Acadia Highlights…

IMG_7412 (1)
Beaver Dam Pond, Acadia
IMG_7447 (1)
Eagle Lake, Acadia
IMG_7442 (1)
Rock bridge over one of the carriage roads in the park

Bass Harbor Head Light. First built in 1858, the light station has gone through several improvements and changes over the years. The light, operated by the US Coast Guard, is now automated, and the keepers house is no longer used.

IMG_5679
Bass Harbor Head Light, Acadia
IMG_7475 (1)
Bass Harbor Head Light up close. The red beacon is bright, even in the daylight.

Wonderland Trail. Not far from Bass Harbor Head Light, this is a relaxing, family friendly hike through the woods to the Mount Desert Island coastline and tide pools. 1.5 miles round trip.

IMG_7493 (1)
Wonderland Trail
IMG_7494 (1)
At the end of Wonderland Trail

We loved our time in Acadia National Park. But, as happens with every park we visit, we wish we could have spent more time there. Acadia has mountains, shorelines, crashing waves, a beach, lakes, lighthouses, forests, and the list goes on… What more could anyone want from a national park?

We hope you will come back to our site for more of our New England road trip posts, other exciting destinations, and tips and tricks to make the most of your travels. We appreciate your support, your input, and your comments. Remember, we post for you!

We will close this post with one more shot of  beautiful Jordan Pond.

IMG_7399

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

IMG_5668

 

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Penobscott Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox, Maine

IMG_5634
East tower of the Penobscott Narrows Bridge and the Penobscott River

If you like bridges, add this one to your bucket list! The Penobscott Narrows Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge spanning the Penobscott River on US 1 in Maine, connecting Verona Island to the town of Prospect. The bridge boasts the highest bridge observatory in the world in its west tower. All 2,120 feet of this span are stunning, and of course, the surrounding scenery is gorgeous, too.

IMG_5631
The Penobscott Narrows Bridge and Observatory

IMG_7103 (1)

The bridge opened on December 30, 2006  and was a replacement for an earlier bridge that had been built in 1931. The observatory, which officially opened in May of 2007, afforded us wonderful views of the river, Penobscott Bay, the quaint town of Bucksport, Maine, Fort Knox, and even Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Combo tickets for the observatory and Fort Knox were a bargain at only $8.00 per person.

IMG_7091 (1)
West tower and observatory
IMG_7114 (1)
The Penobscott River emptying into Penobscott Bay as viewed from the observatory.
IMG_7115 (1)
A view of Fort Knox from the observatory

IMG_7121 (1)

Fort Knox was built between 1844 and 1869 as a guardian of the Penobscott River. Fortunately, Fort Knox never had to face a battle. It was also the first Maine fort to have ever been built entirely of granite. Perhaps that is why it is still in such good condition today. Fort Knox State Historic Site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

IMG_7125 (1)
Front and entrance (sally port) to Fort Knox. Note the embrasures for the cannons.

Note: because we are not experts on military jargon or architecture, we refer to those holes in the walls “gun holes” simply because it’s easier to remember than “embrasure”. Though it never saw battle, this fort had the means to be heavily armed if needed.

IMG_7124 (1)
More “gun holes”. This type is called an arrow slit or loophole.
IMG_7133 (1)
Inside the fort, these arched “rooms” are called casemates, and each one could hold a cannon.
IMG_7132 (1)
Men’s quarters, storage vaults (in the parade ground), and storerooms (arched areas with doors and windows on the far right). A bakery was located at the top of the stairs next to the storerooms.
IMG_7145 (1)
“D” Battery overlooking the river

This was an important stop on our road trip up the Maine coast. Although we were anxious to get to Bar Harbor, we were glad we got to spend a couple of hours here. We highly recommend adding these landmarks to your itinerary if you’re going to be in Maine.

Thank you for joining us as we travel along the coast of Maine. Come back to our site for more exciting posts from New England, as well as other destinations, and tips and tricks. We appreciate your support, your comments, and your input. We do this for you!

We are closing this post with a look at the pretty riverside town of Bucksport, Maine, which is located across the river from Fort Knox.

IMG_7140 (1)
Oh, how we love those New England church steeples!

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_0254

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Camden, Maine

IMG_7054 (1)
Camden Harbor on Penobscott Bay

Quintessential Maine. Camden is often referred to as the “jewel” of the coast, and now we know why. Could we live here? You bet. In a heartbeat.

This place is beautiful, and it is home to Camden Hills State Park, as well as the Camden Snow Bowl. How many towns can boast having a seaside harbor and a ski area? We doubt there are very many.

IMG_7048 (1)
Camden street view

First settled in 1772, Camden is clean, pretty, and adorned with quaint, well-kept buildings and residential areas. Honestly, there is something pretty to see here, no matter where you look.

IMG_7049 (1)
Private homes in a residential area. Note the pink and white hydrangeas.
IMG_7052 (1)
In our opinion, nothing epitomizes New England better than a tall white church steeple.
IMG_7047 (1)
Hydrangeas are abundant in Maine. These were in Camden’s Harbor Park.

Harbor Park is a natural space along the harbor, complete with sidewalks for strolling and benches for relaxing. We could have sat on those benches and stared out at the harbor all day (or set up an easel and spent the day painting scenes from the waterfront), but the road was calling and we had to get back to our trip up the coast.

IMG_7060 (1)
We also found these busy bees on bottlebrush flowers in Harbor Park

Everywhere we went, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, had beautiful flora. Whether it was trees (not too many of those where we come from), or shrubs, or the abundant flowers, we were captivated, as you will see as you follow our posts.

IMG_7042 (1)
The Camden Public Library
IMG_7043 (1)
The amphitheater on the grounds of the public library is designed to host a variety of events and overlooks the harbor. Imagine a wedding taking place in this gorgeous setting!
IMG_7041 (1)
Another harbor view with the bay in the distance.

From the Native American Indians who once called this area home, to the colonists who settled the area after America’s independence, Camden holds a treasure trove of history. By 1858, Camden had become a thriving harbor town, and during that time of abundant growth six shipyards had been built!

IMG_7053 (1)
Sailboats. There’s just something special about those tall masts.

Over the last century, Camden has become the summer home to many who live in large cities along the Eastern Seaboard. In 1892, a fire destroyed most of the town, but amid the devastation, the wealthy summer residents got together and invested in its rebuilding, resulting in the town we see today. Trivia: the Camden Yacht Club was established in 1912.

IMG_7064 (1)
Final destination of the three-mile-long Megunticook River. The water from these falls dumps right into Camden Harbor.

We almost bypassed Camden, as it wasn’t on our original itinerary. On a whim, we decided to make the jaunt from Maine’s capital city of Augusta to see what all the fuss was about. That decision was probably the best one of our entire trip. We were so glad to have gotten to spend a couple of hours in beautiful Camden, and now we’re able to share it with you.

That’s going to wrap up our visit to Camden, Maine. Stop back by for more posts from our New England road trip, as well as other trips, RV trips, tips and tricks, and perhaps just some pretty pictures. We welcome your input and comments. After all, we post for you!

We are going to close this post with the Maine State House.

IMG_7034
The Maine State House in Augusta

Built of Maine granite, the State House was completed in 1832, just twelve years after Maine became an independent state from Massachusetts. Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom stands atop the dome.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Portland, Maine

IMG_8335

Recommended hotel in Portland: Hilton Garden Inn – Jetport.

We flew in to Portland on the southern edge of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian had turned away from the coast of Maine and headed for Nova Scotia. Fortunate for us, but not fortunate for Nova Scotia. The skies were dark and dreary as we approached the Portland International Jetport. Luckily, the clouds cleared by the time we picked up our rental car, and the weather turned out perfect.

20190907_123643
Remnants of Hurricane Dorian and islands off the coast of Portland

This was our second visit to a New England state, however, it was our first visit to Maine. What an incredibly beautiful state! Hop on board as we start our latest road trip with a few of the sights in Portland.

20190907_123835
Taken from the dirty window of our plane. The brown and white yacht located in the upper center-left of the picture was for sale. We were told that it costs $45,000.00 just to fill its gas tank!
20190907_123817
Another dirty plane window picture: cruise ships. Port of Call, Portland, Maine. (Keep scrolling. We promise the photos get better.)

Our first stop was the Old Port section of Portland. As we found with other ports in Maine, this one was alive with throngs of people (we even saw a wedding!) and parking was limited and costly. There happened to be three cruise ships in port on our first evening in Portland. When the cruise ships are in port, there are large crowds, but we didn’t let that stop us.

IMG_7008
Long Wharf

IMG_7000 (1)At the end of Long Wharf is a restaurant called DiMillo’s on the Water. We loved DiMillo’s so much that we ate there on our first night in Maine (fresh sea food, of course) and on our last night, too. Originally a car ferry, the floating restaurant has been beautifully redone and is anchored next to the marina. They have THE BEST clam chowder we have ever tasted. We even asked if they could ship to Texas! (Sadly, they couldn’t.) The other food we had there was excellent, too. 

The Old Port area has lots of restaurants and shops that stay open a little later to accommodate the cruise ship passengers and other tourists.

img_7003.jpg
Old Port Street View

Note the cobblestone street in the image above. The first permanent settlement here was established in 1633! Obviously, there is a lot of history in Portland, but we will let you delve into the research yourself.

IMG_5617
Another Old Port street view

One unlikely bit of history sits right on Long Wharf…

IMG_6986 (1)
Three panels of the Berlin Wall
IMG_7017 (1)
Portland Lobster Company and some of the buildings on Commercial Street along the waterfront
IMG_7019 (1)
Watery Reflections

Portland is also home to the Portland Head Light, located on Cape Elizabeth which is on Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. (Quite an address, huh?) The Portland Head Light was commissioned by George Washington and first lit in January of 1791. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.

IMG_8328

Today, the light is still an important beacon and also utilizes a (loud) foghorn to warn ships away from the rocky coastline. The US Coast Guard maintains and operates the light, while the grounds and light keeper’s house are owned by the town of Cape Elizabeth. A small museum is also located on the property, which sits next to a park where the remains of Fort Williams can be seen.

IMG_5752
Portland Head Light
IMG_8307
Commemorative plaque on the side of the keeper’s house (1965)
IMG_8269
Cape Elizabeth’s rocky shoreline and a view of South Portland

In addition to the rocky coast, the entrance to Casco Bay also has several rocky ledges that sometimes are visible and sometimes are covered by shallow water. One of these ledges, Ram Island Ledge, is the home to another lighthouse that is just a few hundred yards from the Portland Head Light.

IMG_8280
Ram Island Ledge Light

(Note the lobster trap buoys dotting the water in the background.)

The Ram Island Ledge Light was first lit in 1905, and was in use for about 100 years. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. In 2010, the defunct light was put up for public auction. We believe the light is now the private property of an area doctor. Interestingly, this light supposedly has a twin that is located near Boston.

That’s going to do it for our highlights of Portland, Maine. Come back again for more exciting destinations, road trips, and RVing tips and tricks. We will be covering more of our 1,200 mile, three state, New England road trip in future posts, so stay tuned!

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

IMG_5151 - Copy

  • Website link: Palo Duro Canyon State Park
  • Cost: $8.00 per day per adult – free for children 12 and under
  • Tent and RV camping, cabins – various fees
  • Hiking on trails and backcountry, biking, backpacking, seasonal horseback riding stable or bring your own horse – equestrian campground available
  • Visitor center/museum
  • Nature interpretive center
  • Trading post with gasoline, fast food, groceries
  • Large group/event pavillions
  • Summer musical “Texas” in the amphitheater and catered dinner available
  • Wildlife watching/birding
  • Additional accommodations/restaurants in Canyon, Texas and Amarillo, Texas (see our Amarillo post)
IMG_5212 (2)
View from the CCC Overlook near the visitor center. One of the red “Spanish Skirts” is seen at the center of the photo.

Our favorite place to camp, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the crown jewel of the Texas park system. That’s our opinion, anyway. The canyon is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it is the second largest canyon in the US. The name Palo Duro comes from the Spanish phrase meaning “hard wood”. The park is located about 30 minutes south and east of Amarillo, Texas. IMG_5244 (1)The sun was in the right place at the right time for this shot. That usually doesn’t happen for us – we just got lucky this time. No filters. Look at those spectacular colors!

Highlights…

IMG_5222 (2)
Can you see him? Well camouflaged, he blends in with his surroundings. The Longhorn Pasture is next to the park entrance.
IMG_5213 (2)
El Coronado Lodge. Built in the mid-1930s by the CCC, the lodge now serves as the visitor center and museum. Three CCC-built cabins on the rim of the canyon, just west of the visitor center, can accommodate four people each and can be reserved through the Texas State Parks website.
IMG_5298 (1)
This fireplace is all that remains of the CCC camp recreation hall which served as a place for the men to socialize and relax after a hard day’s work.

IMG_5291 (1)

IMG_5172 (1) - Copy

The summer musical “Texas” has been performed at the Pioneer Amphitheatre since 1966! The production features outstanding music, singing, dancing, and special effects, all while telling the story of ranching in the Texas Panhandle in the late 1800s. “Texas” is a treat for the entire family. Tickets can be ordered online.

IMG_5220 (1)
The cave is a popular destination for those who are brave enough to climb the rocks up to it.

Hiking Palo Duro…

Lighthouse Trail, the most popular hike in the park, is just under six miles round trip, and it’s our favorite! Below are some scenes from Lighthouse Trail.

IMG_5492
Interesting geology
IMG_5521
The Lighthouse
IMG_5489
Capital Peak from Lighthouse Trail. We love the hoodoo at the far left side of the picture.
IMG_5258 (1)
Rojo Grande Trail – moderate, although we thought it was easy. About 2.5 miles round trip.
IMG_5193 (1)
Kiowa Trail. Easy, peaceful, pretty. About 1.4 miles one way.

Palo Duro has many miles of trails with varying levels of difficulty. Some trails are multi-use, some are for hiking only, and some are for biking only. Mountain biking is very popular in this park. Check the website for all trail details.

Wildlife…

IMG_5203 (2)
These deer were about 50 feet from our campsite.
IMG_5050 (1)
Looking for love in all the wrong places. Apparently he was hoping for a date, but she totally ignored him.
IMG_5095
Roadrunner

Campgrounds and cabins…

IMG_5074 (1) - Copy
One of the campsites at the picturesque Mesquite campground.
IMG_5256 (1)
Sagebrush campground. This is our favorite campground, and it is within walking distance of the Pioneer Amphitheatre. (How about those dumpsters?) Okay, ignore the much-appreciated dumpsters and check out the gorgeous scenery!
IMG_5077 (1) - Copy
Cow Camp Cabins. Yep, you guessed it…these were built by the CCC, too.

Palo Duro Canyon has several campgrounds for tent and RV camping, day use areas, and an equestrian campground. This park is also pet friendly, but pets must be kept on a leash and are not allowed in the park buildings. See the website for details and reservation information.

Cool stuff nearby…

IMG_5227 (2)
West Texas A&M University wind turbine. It is the tallest (653.5 feet from the ground to the tip of its most upright blade) wind turbine in the US. Located east of Canyon, Texas, south of Texas Highway 217 off of Osage Road. It’s hard to miss this behemoth on the way to the park!

IMG_5153 (1) - Copy

IMG_5156 - Copy
Charles A. Smith sculpture about a half mile west of the park entrance. These arrows mark trails all over West Texas.
IMG_5128 (1) - Copy
Tex Randall – 1400 N 3rd Avenue, Canyon, Texas.

IMG_5124 (1) - Copy

img_5102-1-copy.jpg
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum – 2401 4th Avenue, Canyon Texas. This is one of the best museums we have visited. Exhibits include Texas oil production, ranching, art, and paleontology, just to name a few. A visit to this museum is well worth the time and entry fee.
IMG_5133 (1) - Copy
T-Anchor Ranch Headquarters at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Its Texas Historical Commission marker is below.

IMG_5134 (1) - Copy

Parting shots…

IMG_5226 (1)
Another pretty scene in the park.
IMG_5306
Old barn, silos, and attached living quarters (?) found on FM 1541 east of the city of Canyon.
IMG_5120 - Copy
Randall County Courthouse – centerpiece of the delightful town square in Canyon, Texas
IMG_5062 - Copy
Meandering river – Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River – on an overcast day in the park
IMG_5039 (1)
Another amorous Tom

Well, that covers our overview of Palo Duro Canyon State Park, folks. Please join us next time for another great road trip, and become a follower so you never miss a post!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

RV Tips and Tricks: Things We Can’t Live Without

IMG_3823

When we bought our travel trailer, we decided that in order to get the most use out of it we would implement what we call “minimal trip prep”. Minimal trip prep for us meant outfitting the trailer with everything we needed so we wouldn’t have to pack or unpack every time we went camping. Now, with the RV completely outfitted, all we have to do is throw a few clothes in the closet, round up our food, and hit the road. Hopefully, by seeing how we roll, you will be able to do the same!

Everyone needs the inevitable sewer hose, water hoses and filters, electrical paraphernalia, grill, chairs, etc., etc., etc. We enjoy having a few convenience items when we camp, whether it’s simply an indulgence or a time or space saver. In random order, here are some of the things we don’t camp without:

Picnic caddy. This is so handy for indoor and outdoor use. We use this to store our napkins, paper plates, paper bowls, plastic ware, and our salt and pepper shakers. It frees valuable cabinet and drawer storage space and is easy to carry right outside to the picnic table. While there are many similar models out there, this is a very nice model sold by Amazon. (We also like having pop-up mesh food covers when serving and eating outside.)

Headlamp and good flashlights. Okay, headlamps don’t look very cool, but man are they great when you need both hands free. We can’t count the times we’ve had to set up camp in the dark, and let’s face it, most parks are very dark! Good lights are a great investment and a necessary safety tool. As for flashlights we like the smaller tactical grade type.

Cordless vacuum. This one might be a budget buster, but hear us out. The Deik Cordless Vacuum, purchased from Amazon, is the one we use at home, and we take it with us when we go camping. It is lightweight, takes up very little room – we store it behind the little trash can in our bathroom – and it’s rechargeable. The best part is that the top part comes off and becomes a hand held mini vac. For such a small vacuum, this thing picks up just about everything. How many times have you stepped barefoot on one of those tiny pieces of gravel that got tracked into your camper? This little vacuum works on vinyl and wood floors, and carpet, too. LOVE IT! By the way, we aren’t getting paid for our recommendations, so this is not an ad, and we never recommend anything that we don’t use ourselves. Jeff Bezos, you’re getting a lot of free advertising, buddy.

Sound machine and ear plugs. Yes, we’re talking about the same kind of sound machine used in babies’ nurseries to soothe them to sleep. Ours has settings for several different sounds, such as waterfall, ocean waves, rain, etc., and it runs on electric power or batteries. Have you ever tried to sleep while parked near a busy highway, or at a truck stop, or even a Walmart? If you have, then you know what we’re talking about. A sound machine will help drown out the background noise so you get a better nights sleep. As a side note, we will admit that we sometimes use ear plugs, too.

20181204_174513

Weather radio. We live in Tornado Alley, and our weather can sometimes be pretty scary. Our weather radio runs on electricity or batteries and is just one more safety precaution for our travel trailer. Heavy rain and hail pounding your camper in the dark and not knowing what to expect does not make for happy campers.

Battery operated flameless candles. These are great for inside and outside. If you don’t have a campfire, a few of these sitting around will certainly give the campsite some ambiance. We use them on every camping trip. Beware these will melt if stored in a hot place.

Body wipes. We admit that we don’t always shower every day when we’re camping. Shocking, we know! Anyway, we love the convenience of using body wipes for a quick sponge bath. Our favorite are these Epic Wipes that we purchased from – you guessed it – Amazon. While they are not inexpensive, they are almost as large as a bath towel and are very refreshing. These are also great to use after hiking or being in the lake or to wipe down grubby kiddos.

Britta water pitcher. The one we use for the camper is a 5-cup pitcher. We drink a lot of water, and with the Britta pitcher, we can refill water bottles with filtered water and not have to carry so many bottles, which just adds to our towing weight. The pitcher we have is shown here, and it fits in the bottom shelf of our refrigerator door.

Flag and flagpole. Yep, we are proud Americans, and we like to fly our colors. We have an American flag and a couple of others. Our FlagPole Buddy brand pole, which we purchased from RV Upgrades, is a 16′ telescoping fiberglass pole that attaches the ladder on the back of our trailer. It can be seen (sort of) in the picture at the top of the page. We also have a garden flag stand with an American flag and an assortment of seasonal and decorative flags that we sometimes use to pretty up our campsite.

Inflatable ottoman. Like the one shown here from Amazon. These are also available from Bed, Bath & Beyond and catalogs. Most cost around $25.00 and come with a pump for easy inflation. There are tons of colors and patterns to choose from, and the covers zip off for washing. Dirt and grass does not stick to them so they’re great to use outside.

Space heater. Camping during colder weather prompted us to include a space heater on our “can’t live without” list. Ours is small enough that we can store it in one of the cabinets above the dinette, but it’s powerful enough to heat our 26′ trailer. Using the space heater instead of the furnace saves on propane, too.

Extra set of sheets. We thoroughly clean our camper before we leave a campground to go home, and that includes changing the sheets on the bed. With two sets of sheets, we can rotate them as we camp, and we have clean bedding for every trip. (We also keep pillows and a few extra blankets in our camper.)

That’s going to do it for our things we can’t live without. This is a constantly evolving list, so we will update you when we find more awesome items. Leave us a comment and let us know what you can’t live without. Thank you for stopping by, and we hope you will come back again for another great tip, trick, or trip.

Happy camping, y’all!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true products, vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own. Photo copyright infringement is not intended. Our written content and photos are copyrighted, and may not be published without our permission.

©2019

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_6171
Twin windmills near Post, Texas

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First stop: The Flume

IMG_6148

Where in the world is it?

The historic Carlsbad Irrigation Flume, known locally as The Flume, is located in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It’s an aquaduct that diverts water from the Pecos River to an irrigation canal. The Pecos River was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records because The Flume caused it to be the only river in the world that actually crossed itself.

IMG_6145

IMG_6157
Looking down the irrigation canal toward The Flume

For more information about Carlsbad, New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, click this link to our post: Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Second stop: Throckmorton, Texas

Where in the world is it?

Throckmorton is located 111 miles west of Fort Worth at the intersections of US Highways 380 and 183/283. It is the county seat of Throckmorton County. The Great Western Cattle Trail passed through here during the nineteen years it was in use from 1874 to 1893. Trivia: Dallas Cowboys great, Bob Lilly, once lived in Throckmorton.

20190421_122020
The Throckmorton County courthouse was built in 1890 and in 1978 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored to its original state in 2014, the courthouse is also a Texas Historic Landmark. The population of the county was a whopping 124 when this courthouse was originally constructed.
20190421_122337
This is the original Throckmorton County jail, built in 1893. The sheriff’s offices were on the first floor, and the prisoner cells were on the second floor. The old jailhouse now serves as a museum.
20190421_121837
This metal sculpture of a pioneer woman is located in a tiny park area next to the Throckmorton City Hall. Check out that huge prickly pear!

It’s a fact, Jack!

Twenty-six miles southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico lies the only WIPP in the country. What in the world is a WIPP, you ask? Well, it is a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. It is a repository for defense-generated waste, including clothing and tools among other things, that have been contaminated with or contain man-made radioactive materials and other elements such as plutonium. This type of waste is called Transuranic or TRU for short. The plant opened in 1999, and now our country’s radioactive nuclear waste is being buried almost a half mile (2,150 feet) underground in an ancient salt bed in the desert of eastern New Mexico. The plant is operated by the Department of Defense and with 1,200 employees is one of the largest employers in New Mexico. And now you know…

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Happy Anniversary To Us!

 

IMG_6101

In celebration of One for the Money Two for the Road’s first anniversary, we want to share some shots from some of our favorite national park posts over the last year. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate each of you for following us on the blog site and on Facebook. You are the reason we post our adventures! Enjoy the recap…

IMG_2953
From our very first post: Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park
IMG_1987
Zion National Park
IMG_2041
Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park
IMG_4206
Bear Lake with Hallett Peak reflection, Rocky Mountain National Park
IMG_2543
Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim at Imperial Point
IMG_2281
The Three Gossips, Arches National Park
IMG_3528
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
IMG_2339
Canyonlands National Park
IMG_2632
Death Valley National Park
IMG_4367 (2)
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
IMG_1224
Bison grazing at Wind Cave National Park
IMG_1541
Badlands National Park
IMG_2443
Monument Valley Tribal Park (Navajo Nation)
IMG_2242
Gifford Barn, Capitol Reef National Park
Sedona 2007 086
The Tepees, Petrified Forest National Park
IMG_3392
Great Sand Dunes National Park
IMG_0179
Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park
IMG_0334 (3)
Grand Teton National Park

Thank you for joining us over the past year. We hope that you will keep coming back for more fun adventures, tips, and tricks. Oh, and there are sixty-one “national parks” now, and we’ve only covered eighteen of them so far! We will be covering more national parks, national monuments, national historic sites, state parks, awesome camping sites, and some great cities during year two. We’re also going to give you some helpful tips on RVing and road tripping. You won’t want to miss a post, so sign up, buckle up, and let’s go. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a national park!) 

Mike and Kellye

IMG_0254

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

Featured

Amarillo, Texas

IMG_4873

Not far from the halfway point on the old Route 66 lies the city of Amarillo, Texas. Today, I-40 bisects the city which is hard to miss on any mid-America east-west road trip. Amarillo is a classic, from it’s Route 66 historic area to its museums and quirky Americana. Road trippers will want to spend a day or more checking out everything this city has to offer.

On the beaten path…

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum

IMG_4894

For those who aren’t horse people (we aren’t) and especially for those who are, this is a fantastic experience! Located in a beautiful building at 2601 I-40 east (I-40 and Quarter Horse Drive), this museum and hall of fame is definitely worth a stop for an hour or two.

IMG_4890

Bloodlines from the first recorded quarter horse in America in the 1700s to present day are shown on the floor of the stunning Grand Hall.

Cadillac Ranch

IMG_4909

Ten old Cadillacs (we only captured seven of them due to mud) buried nose down in a field just west of Amarillo on the south side of I-40. Bring your spray paint and leave your own mark on this American classic art installation.

IMG_4916

Jack Sisemore’s Traveland RV Museum

Bring on the nostalgia – this place is fun and free! Located at 4341 Canyon Drive (off of I-27 and Georgia). Enter the RV dealership for an escort out to the museum. Below are some of the vintage RVs and motorcycles that are on display.

IMG_4835
Trivia: Wally Byam incorporated the Airstream travel trailer company in 1931.
IMG_4861
Happy Max. 1948 Flxible used in the movie “RV” starring Robin Williams.
IMG_4846
The world’s oldest Airstream, a 1935 Torpedo, was owned by the Holman family for 81 years.
IMG_4829
1918 Harley Davidson motorcycle with rare left-hand side car.

The Big Texan

IMG_4925
An Amarillo and Route 66 icon! There is a restaurant (obviously), motel, and an RV park, along with photo ops and a free 72 oz steak dinner if eaten within one hour!

IMG_4926

Other points of interest on the beaten path:

  • Route 66 Historic District – west of downtown, beginning at SW 6th Street and McMasters.
  • Amarillo Zoo – 700 Comanchero Trail.
  • Wonderland Amusement Park – 2601 Dumas Drive.

Off the beaten path…

Coyote Bluff Cafe

IMG_4896

Located at 2417 S Grand, this place has some of THE BEST BURGERS we’ve eaten anywhere! Love the laid-back atmosphere here, too. Arrive early for lunch. There are only twelve or thirteen tables and they fill up fast.

Helium Monument

IMG_4905

Officially called the Helium Centennial Time Columns Monument, the 60-foot tall stainless steel structure was erected in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of helium. Four time capsules dedicated to the preservation and responsible use of natural resources are contained in the columns. The first capsule was opened in 1993, and the second in 2018. The other two will be opened on the hundredth, and thousandth anniversaries of the 1968 establishment of the monument. Amarillo is home to a former helium plant and the Texas panhandle once held most of the world’s helium reserves.

IMG_4906

 

IMG_4901

Other points of interest off the beaten path:

  • Bill’s Backyard Classics. Classic car museum – 5309 S Washington Street.
  • Texas Air & Space Museum – 10001 American Drive.

Quirky…

Ozymandias on the Plains

IMG_4978

These “two vast and trunkless legs of stone” are located near the southeast corner of the intersection of I-27 and Sundown Lane, south of town. We suspect that people are using their leftover spray paint from Cadillac Ranch to keep this sculpture colorful.

IMG_4979

Second Amendment Cowboy

IMG_4918

This big (muffler man) guy can be found next to the Cadillac RV park at 2601 Hope Road and the south I-40 frontage road, west of Amarillo and just east of the Cadillac Ranch. The site also includes three old Cadillacs that have mannequins of Willie Nelson, John Wayne, and Elvis sitting in the driver’s seats, and a gift shop. The marker in front of the cowboy is a faux historical marker that touts our Second Amendment right to bear arms, but surprisingly the cowboy does not have a gun. Side note: the RV park is fabulous!

Nearby points of interest…

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

IMG_4931

  • Website: Alibates Flint Quarries
  • Cost: free
  • Visitor center hours: daily 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Where: approximately 40 minutes north of Amarillo off of Highway 136
  • Hiking trails
  • Ranger led tours of the quarries by reservation only

IMG_4935

Come here to learn about the Plains Indians who quarried the harder-than-steel flint to make arrowheads and spear points. Dating as far back as 13,000 years, flint from these quarries has been found far and wide. While at the visitor center, watch a film about the monument, and then enjoy the small museum.

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

IMG_4952

  • Website: Lake Meredith
  • Cost: free entrance
  • Visitor center located in Fritch, Texas open daily 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, except holidays
  • Where: seven minutes west of Fritch, Texas, which is approximately 40 minutes north of Amarillo
  • Hiking, RV and tent camping, boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hunting
  • Hotels, additional RV campgounds, restaurants, and groceries available in Fritch and in Borger, which is approximately 20 minutes east of Fritch

IMG_4965

IMG_4971

Check with the park regarding lake levels and boat preparation before arrival. Hunters must comply with park and state regulations. Texas fishing licenses are required. Camping is free at all sites, except for the electric/water hook-up sites at Sanford-Yake. See the website for details.

IMG_4955

Other nearby points of interest:

  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park – approximately 30 minutes south and east of Amarillo. Beautiful Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the US. (We will cover Palo Duro Canyon in a separate post.)
  • Large Cross in Groom, Texas – approximately 45 minutes east of Amarillo on the south side of I-40. Great stop with Stations of the Cross, which are life-size sculptures depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, and a visitor center that displays an exact replica of the Shroud of Turin. Free, but donations are appreciated.

Okay, that’s going to do it for our Amarillo, Texas overview. We hope you enjoy your journey. We love that you joined us on ours. Please come back again! You never know where we’re going to take you. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_3603
Vintage motel in Delta, Colorado

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Cameron Trading Post

Sedona 2007 041
Cameron Trading Post

Where in the world is it?

It is located in Cameron, Arizona, which is about 51 miles north of Flagstaff, at the intersection of US Highway 89 and Arizona Highway 64, and east of the Grand Canyon. The trading post was established in 1916 by two brothers named Hubert and C.D. Richardson.

Sedona 2007 042
The Cameron Suspension Bridge

The Cameron Suspension Bridge, above, opened in 1911 and spans the Little Colorado River Gorge. This bridge allowed faster, safer travel to what is now the town of Cameron, Arizona. The Richardson brothers built Cameron Trading Post next to the bridge where it still sits and thrives today. No longer in use, the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sedona 2007 040
Little Colorado River Gorge west of Cameron, Arizona

Second Stop: Helena, Montana

IMG_0550
The Beautiful Montana Capitol
IMG_0553
Herd Bull Sculpture at the Montana Historical Society

IMG_0552

It’s a fact, Jack!

Arizona produces more than half of the copper in the US, making it the largest copper producing state. Montana is the fifth largest copper producing state in the US. At one time, the nation’s largest amount of copper was mined at Butte, Montana. One Montana resident, William A. Clark, became one of the wealthiest men in the US because of his copper mining interests, among other businesses, and was considered one of the three “Copper Kings” of Butte. His mansion there still stands today, although, it is now a bed and breakfast. Clarkdale, Arizona is four miles southwest of of the town of Jerome, Arizona. Jerome, a National Historic Landmark, is the home of the now-defunct United Verde Mine, once one of the largest copper producing mines in the US. United Verde Copper Company, which was owned by William A. Clark, developed the United Verde Mine. Clarkdale, Arizona is named for William A. Clark. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us on our Quick Stop tour of the Cameron Trading Post and Helena, Montana. We invite you to return to our site every week for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_3123
The road goes on forever and the party never ends. Robert Earl Keen

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Turkey, Texas

20181013_133902

Where in the world is it?

Turkey is located in the Texas panhandle, about 103 miles southeast of Amarillo, at the intersection of Highway 86 and Highway 70.

20181013_133831
This restored vintage Phillips 66 cottage gas station sits right in the middle of town.

So what’s so special about this tiny town with its population of around 420 at last count? Well, it’s the home of Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing. The town hosts a Bob Wills Day festival every year on the last Saturday in April. There’s a museum dedicated to Mr. Wills in town, and a monument (pictured below) in the city park honoring him and his Texas Playboys band.

20181013_134136

20181013_133850
This replica tour bus sits next to the old gas station

 Second stop: Dismal River

img_1623.jpg

Where in the world is it?

Dismal River is located in west-central Nebraska. This part of the river is located near the town of Thetford, off of US Highway 83.

IMG_1624

We didn’t think the river was dismal at all. Actually, it was a beautiful, welcome sight within the Nebraska sand hills. The river runs for only about 72 miles until it converges with the Middle Loup River, and its source is the Ogallala Aquifer.

IMG_1625

It’s a fact, Jack!

During the early 1950s, another western swing band, Ole Rasmussen and his Nebraska Cornhuskers, became popular recording artists on the Capitol Records label. Ole Rasmussen must have idolized Bob Wills because he styled his music as well as his band’s country chic look after Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Though one would think that Ole Rasmussen and his Nebraska Cornhuskers were from the state of Nebraska, they weren’t. They were from California. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us on our virtual tour of Turkey, Texas and the Dismal River. We invite you to return to our site every week for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

Hot Air Balloon flight

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

Featured

Albany, Texas and the Fort Griffin Fandangle

IMG_6304
Shackelford County Courthouse, Albany, Texas, built in 1883.

We’re in love! Albany, Texas has captured our hearts. Not only is it a beautiful small town, it sits amid rolling hills covered in mesquite, pecan, and oak trees. The town is surrounded by ranch land, and the Clear Fork Brazos River flows nearby. Albany has a rich history, proven by its thirty-five historic landmark designations, as well as historic Fort Griffin fifteen miles north of town.

IMG_6286
This sunflower field near Albany just makes us happy!
IMG_5585
This classic sits across the street from the courthouse
IMG_5587
Historic buildings in downtown Albany
IMG_5605
Restored Gulf gas station

During the last two weekends in June, the town of Albany puts on the Fort Griffin Fandangle, which is the oldest running play in Texas. This year (2019) was the eighty-first production. People come from all over to see the townspeople tell the story of the settlement of the area. This wonderful show will delight the whole family, and we highly recommend going to see it!

IMG_6298

IMG_5474 Fort Griffin is home to the Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd, and a few of them star in the show! We had never seen a more well behaved bunch of cattle before. Plus, they’re just kinda awesome. For more information about Fort Griffin, please see our Abilene, Texas post. Here’s a link: Abilene, Texas

IMG_5476
Some of the Fandangle cast

Also during Fandangle, there are many events around town, including a catered barbecue dinner, tours of historic buildings and homes, and baby longhorns on display on the courthouse lawn.

20190629_191221 (1)
Precious!

We bet this calliope is something you haven’t ever seen, and if you have seen one, we bet it was a long time ago. We were enthralled. This one is about 76-years-old, and they play it for thirty minutes before each show. Beware it is loud, but so intriguing! Turn up your sound and check out the video.

 

While there is a hotel and RV park in Albany, there are also hotels and campgrounds in Abilene, 35 miles south. Since we love camping in our RV, we chose to stay at Fort Griffin. The campground is not only pretty, it has clean showers and bathrooms, a playground for the kids, and full hookups. We woke up to birds singing, longhorns mooing, and a couple of spectacular sunrises. In the evenings, cicadas, tree frogs, and crickets chirped, and the dark skies afforded breathtaking views of the stars. Frankly, it was hard to leave the place.

20190630_065028
Fort Griffin Sunday sunrise
IMG_6211
This guy was singing his little heart out next to our campsite. Isn’t he gorgeous?

We’re going to close this post with a couple of shots of the old Highway 183 truss bridge over the Clear Fork Brazos River near Fort Griffin.

IMG_6284
From the new Highway 183 bridge. Yes, we stand in the middle of highways to get the shot.
IMG_6272
Standing in the middle of the old Highway 183 while looking up. No traffic on this one though.

That’s a wrap, folks. Be sure to make plans to attend the Fort Griffin Fandangle in 2020. We hope you will return to our site for more great trip ideas, tips, and tricks, and if you’re already a follower, THANK YOU for your support of our site. We do this for you. If you’re not a follower, become one so you never miss a post. We would love to have you aboard on our journeys. Until the next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Abilene, Texas

IMG_5388

Abilene, Texas may now be known as the storybook capital of America, but the city is so much more. In 1881 when lots began being sold and cattlemen began shipping cattle on the Texas and Pacific Railway, a thriving city was born. Shortly thereafter, Abilene was named county seat of Taylor County, having won a vote to move it from Buffalo Gap. Today, Abilene is home to three universities, satellite campuses of a junior college and a technical college, as well as Dyess Air Force Base. Located 150 miles west of Fort Worth on I-20, Abilene is a can’t miss stop on a West Texas road trip. We highly recommend staying over for a day or two to experience this wonderful, historic city.

On the beaten path…

Frontier Texas!

IMG_5421

Located at 625 N 1st Street. This is a multimedia museum unlike any other we have ever seen, and we loved it. Go to learn about the history of West Texas from the people who settled the area. Exceptional western heritage exhibits, videos, and holograms. Yes, holograms, and they are amazing! Beautiful building, lovely grounds, and a nice gift shop, too. Open Monday – Saturday 9:00 – 6:00 and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00. Adults $10.00, Seniors/Military $7.00, Students/Teachers $6.00, Children (3-12) $5.00, Ages 2 and under are free.

IMG_5430
Flying Buffalo Herd at Frontier Texas

The Grace Museum

IMG_5410

The Grace Museum is an art and history museum that includes a hands-on children’s museum area. The building was originally the Hotel Grace, built in 1909. We happened to visit on a free admission day, but we would have gladly paid the $6.00 per adult fee for the art exhibits alone. Located at 102 Cypress Street, The Grace Museum is open 10:00 – 5:00 Tuesday – Saturday.

Storybook Sculptures

img_5405.jpg
The Lorax in Everman Park

Storybook sculptures can be found all over downtown Abilene. Dr. Seuss characters, among others, can be seen in Everman Park (across the street from The Grace Museum) and more at the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden (1008 N. 6th Street). Kids and adults of all ages will love these whimsical characters! Click here for a Storybook Adventure Guide: Abilene Storybook Adventure. While visiting downtown Abilene, be sure to check out the NCCIL (National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature) located at 102 Cedar Street for weekly children’s activities, an illustration gallery, and a children’s bookstore. The NCCIL (aka the nickel) is open 10:00 – 4:00 Tuesday – Saturday.

IMG_5390
Characters emerge straight out of the pages of a storybook! This fabulous sculpture in Everman Park is called “Childhood’s Great Adventure”

Abilene Zoological Park

IMG_5558

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part Seven

 

IMG_0318
Peeking through the trees at the Grand Teton Mountains

→Note: this is the seventh post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park

IMG_0333

We would be remiss if we did not mention that Grand Teton National Park is Yellowstone’s next door neighbor to the south. The John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway is the route between West Thumb (Yellowstone) and the northern tip of Jackson Lake (Grand Teton). The scenic parkway is twenty-seven miles long, but the road (US Hwy 191) continues another forty or so miles to Jackson, Wyoming, winding through the park along the Snake River. Teton Park Road is the one to take for the most scenic parts of the park. The park road begins at Jackson Lake Junction, running for approximately twenty miles, then joins US Hwy 191 at Moose Junction.

IMG_0326
Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake

Destination: Grand Teton National Park

  • Website link: Grand Teton National Park
  • Cost: $35.00 per car for one week pass
  • Accommodations include: lodges, cabins, dude ranch, tent camping, backcountry camping, RV campground, restaurants (hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants also available in Jackson, Wyoming)
  • Hiking, biking, scenic drives, wildlife, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, (downhill skiing and other winter sports available in Jackson, Wyoming)
  • When to go: anytime, but check the website as well as road reports for closures during winter months

IMG_0332

IMG_0334 (2)

Since this is our final Yellowstone post, we thought we would list some tips for visiting this spectacular park:

  • Don’t rush. Plan to spend several days, if not a week or more, just to see the major attractions of the park. The park is so big it would take months (or years, even) to cover the majority of its almost 3,500 square miles.
  • Make park campground and hotel/lodge reservations well in advance of your trip. These sites book months in advance. Over four million people visited the park in 2017!
  • RV sites in Yellowstone can be small and difficult to maneuver, especially for longer rigs. There are many RV parks outside the park.
  • IMG_0350The wildlife in Yellowstone (and Grand Teton) is wild! The park service recommends staying at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and 25 yards away from all other large animals. And, never feed the wildlife, including squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. Animals that get used to being fed by humans don’t continue to thrive in the wild.
  • Hike with a group. Bears are more likely to attack a lone traveler than to approach a group. Hikers might want to consider carrying bear spray.
  • Stay on the boardwalks and designated trails in geyser areas. People have been killed because they did not follow the rules.
IMG_0297
Colorful thermophiles at the edge of boiling Excelsior Geyser
  • Our last and most important tip is to plan, plan, plan before you go. Research the park’s website, watch online videos, and read blogs! Decide on everything you want to see and do while you’re there and write it down. We make a detailed itinerary for every trip. Yes, itineraries take time (and we don’t always stick to them), but it beats arriving at a destination and not having a clue about where to go, where to eat, and what to do.

Below are a few more pictures of beautiful Yellowstone National Park.

IMG_0099

IMG_0265

IMG_0366

IMG_0508

IMG_0363

Thank you for joining us on our Yellowstone National Park adventure. We hope that by posting our trips we are inspiring you to plan your own adventures to the places we have visited and loved. Become a follower, or simply like our page. Follow us on Facebook. Leave us a comment. Tell us about your own travels. Come back often to see more great road trip destinations, and tell your friends about us!

We leave this post with a picture of a vintage 1936 National Park Bus. Eight of these refurbished tour buses operate in the park today.

IMG_0503

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part Six

IMG_0482

→Note: this is the sixth post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park

Destination: Tower-Roosevelt Area

From Mammoth Hot Springs, take the northern Upper Loop east/southeast for 18 miles toward the Tower-Roosevelt Area. Drive time between Mammoth and Tower: 45 minutes…unless you get stuck in a bison jam, and then there’s no telling how long it will take.

Travel tip: always have snacks and drinks in the car.

IMG_0461
Bison jam!

This part of the park is rolling hills and vast grasslands with mountain peaks in the background. We saw many bison here. Interestingly, as many bison as we have seen on our travels, we still get a thrill when we see them. Did you know that the bison in Yellowstone were almost extincted due to unenforced hunting in the early years of the park? The current genetically pure (haven’t been bred with cattle) herd, which now numbers in the thousands, are the descendants of the original twenty-four head that were diligently preserved and carefully bred by the park.

IMG_0468

IMG_0469
A shot of the beauty of the most northern part of the park

Calcite Springs Overlook

The Calcite Springs Overlook is about half-way between Mammoth and Tower. This is a must-see stop when in this part of the park. There is a short trail (boardwalk with stairs) that affords great views and excellent photo ops. Our research said to allow 15 minutes for this stop, but we spent at least twice that time there enjoying the breathtaking views.

IMG_0486
Calcite Springs are the white cliffs along the Yellowstone River in the Yellowstone River Canyon
IMG_0490
Another view of the Yellowstone River

Did you know that the Yellowstone River originates in the Absaroka Mountains southeast of Yellowstone Lake? It does, and it flows through the park, then across Montana for about 700 miles until it meets the Missouri River in North Dakota. The Yellowstone River is the largest tributary of the Missouri River.

IMG_0485
Columnar basalt formations along the canyon edge
IMG_0488
Basalt column detail
IMG_0487
More basalt with beautiful mountain peaks in the background

A few miles after leaving this viewpoint, the road will begin to climb Dunraven Pass. While driving through this area, notice how the 1988 fires affected the landscape and how now, more than thirty years later, the forest is regenerating itself.

Continuing along the east side of the upper loop, you will find the Tower General Store, which is located a few miles south of Roosevelt Lodge. Behind the store is the Tower Fall trailhead. Uphill all the way, the trail is only one-tenth of a mile long, and the end result is a beautiful 132 foot waterfall!

Travel tip: Tower General Store has grab-and-go snacks and some fast food items. Whether eating purchased food or your own, picnic tables outside the store provide a good spot for lunch.

IMG_0494
Tower Fall
IMG_0498
Pinnacles above Tower Fall. The rock “towers” are what gives the fall its name.

That’s going to do it for this week. We thank you for joining us on our travels, and we hope that you will return to our site again and again. We are going to end the post with one more shot showcasing the beauty of the northern section of the park.

IMG_0471

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

 

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part Five

IMG_0370

→Note: this is the fifth post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park

Destination: Mammoth Hot Springs Area

From West Yellowstone, drive 14 miles to Madison Junction, then drive east/northeast to Norris. Continue north from Norris Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs. Drive time between West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs: 1.25 hours.

Travel tip: early morning travel between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction calls for a good pair of sunglasses! The sun will be blinding (seriously) while traveling east on this road.

IMG_0354
Antler Peak, Gallatin Range, Yellowstone National Park

In the Mammoth area of the park, there is something incredible to see at every turn. From mountain vistas to the breathtaking terraces of the hot springs to beautiful historic buildings.

Did you know that the park headquarters, located at Mammoth, was originally a fort? It’s true. Fort Yellowstone was established in 1886 as Camp Sheridan to protect the park from visitor damage, devious developers, and interlopers. The first buildings of Fort Yellowstone were constructed in 1891, and of course other buildings followed. The Army relinquished the fort to the National Park Service in 1918. Most of the original buildings are still used today as offices and living quarters.

IMG_0413
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel built in 1936 is within the historic district

Stop in at the Albright Visitor Center to learn more about the history of Yellowstone National Park and Fort Yellowstone. Then take a walk through the Fort Yellowstone Historic District.

Travel tip: elk love the manicured lawns at the park headquarters. It is likely that you will see many of them grazing here or lying under trees in the shade. Remember to keep your distance, and do not approach them.

IMG_0453
This is the Roosevelt Arch at the north (Gardiner, Montana) park entrance. The landmark, which contains a time capsule, was constructed in 1903 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Unfortunately, due to road construction, we were unable to get a picture of the front that shows the inscription “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”.
IMG_0452
Standing just under 11,000 feet, majestic Electric Peak can also be seen at the north park entrance. Note: This beautiful view can be seen anytime by going to our Places/Links tab at the top of the page, then clicking on the “All National Park Webcams” link. Scroll to Yellowstone and click on “North Entrance”. Watch the scenery change with the seasons!

Okay, we’ve kept you waiting long enough. It’s time to see the springs and terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. Below are some of of favorite shots. We will let the pictures speak for themselves.

IMG_0408

IMG_0431

While they appear to be icy in nature, the terraces are actually composed of travertine produced by the large amounts – about two tons per day – of calcium carbonate that comes up through the springs. The colors are created by those pretty little thermophiles.

IMG_0441

IMG_0396

 

IMG_0403

We’re going to call this post done. Thank you for joining us at Mammoth Hot Springs. Don’t forget to come back next week when we post the Tower-Roosevelt section of the park. In the meantime, we will close with a picture of Rustic Falls as seen from a pull-out on the side of the road just before arriving at Mammoth.

IMG_0359
Rustic Falls

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

 

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part Four

IMG_0264

→Note: this is the fourth post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park

Destinations: Upper, Midway, and Lower Geyser Basins

From Madison Junction, drive south for approximately 16 miles to Old Faithful. From Old Faithful, backtrack to Madison, stopping at the Midway and Lower Geyser Basins, then continue back to West Yellowstone.

First stop: Old Faithful

Ah, Old Faithful! Located in the Upper Geyser Basin, Old Faithful is not the tallest geyser in Yellowstone, nor is it the most frequent erupting geyser, but it is certainly the most popular! And what’s not to love? Take a look below.

IMG_0224
Just beginning…
IMG_0225
A little higher…
IMG_0249
Full blown!

Did you know that the white, chalk-colored substance around the geysers in Yellowstone is called geyserite? And, did you also know that the Upper Geyser Basin contains an estimated 100 hydrothermal features?

The Old Faithful Inn is another icon in the Upper Geyser Basin. Completed in 1904, the inn is a National Historic Landmark.

IMG_0250
Old Faithful Inn

Take a peek inside this “parkitectural” wonder…

IMG_0253
Constructed of locally sourced logs, the 76 foot tall ceiling of the lobby is simply spectacular. The stone chimney of the fireplace is made of rock quarried nearby. The clock on the chimney, as well as many of the light fixtures and furniture pieces are original to the building.
IMG_0254
The dining room as seen from the second floor.

Take the Upper Geyser Basin Trail (mostly boardwalk) for a total of five miles to see most everything this area has to offer.

IMG_0261
Castle Geyser

Second stop: Midway and Lower Geyser Basins

Midway Geyser Basin is home to another iconic Yellowstone feature: Grand Prismatic Spring. The spring is the largest and deepest hot spring in the park, and it is known for its deep blue water and the rainbow of colors that surround its outer edges. Take the boardwalk, which starts at the Firehole River, to see the spectacular features of the area. Then take the short hike up Picture Hill to Grand Prismatic Overlook to view the basin and and the spring from above. Park at Fairy Falls trailhead for this hike, which is a little over a half mile, and be prepared for crowds and limited parking.

IMG_0280
Grand Prismatic Spring

Next door to Grand Prismatic lies Excelsior Geyser crater, which formed when the geyser erupted with such force that it collapsed on itself. While not as grand as as Grand Prismatic, we loved the boiling crystal blue water of Excelsior.

IMG_0289
Excelsior Geyser Crater
IMG_0269
Turquoise Pool
IMG_0298
Silex Spring with its bright orange and yellow thermophiles
IMG_0313
Clepsydra Geyser – so pretty and playful!

We’re going to end here, but we hope you will come back next week for Yellowstone – Part Five when we will be covering the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park. Thank you for joining us for this leg of the journey. We will close with an “abstract painting” shot of the colorful thermophiles of Grand Prismatic Spring.

IMG_0273

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part Three

IMG_0211
Yellowstone Lake

→Note: this is the third post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park

Destinations: West Thumb Geyser Basin and Mud Volcano Area

From West Yellowstone, drive the 14 miles to Madison Junction. Here you can go north/northeast around the top of the lower loop or you can go south/southeast around the bottom of the lower loop. Either way, the drive from Madison Junction to West Thumb Geyser Basin is approximately 36 miles. We recommend the south route.

IMG_0213
Fishing Cone Geyser sits in the water at the edge of the lake

West Thumb Geyser Basin lies on the shore of beautiful Yellowstone Lake. The largest high elevation alpine lake in the lower 48 states, Yellowstone Lake boasts a large population of cutthroat trout that thrive in the average 41 degree temperature of the water.

IMG_0212
Another view of tranquil Yellowstone Lake

First stop: West Thumb Geyser Basin

Stop by the Grant Village Visitor Center, then take the short hike on the West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail (boardwalk). Afterward, drive north to Fishing Bridge (fishing from the bridge is no longer allowed) to watch the cutthroat trout in one of their favorite spawning places.

Below are some of our favorite shots along the West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail.

IMG_0217
Abyss Pool
IMG_0215
Black Pool
IMG_0214
Ribbons of colorful bacteria (thermophiles) seem to ooze out of Black Pool
IMG_0209
Bluebell Pool

Now, we are off to our next stop: Mud Volcano.

From West Thumb, drive north approximately 21 miles to Fishing Bridge, then continue north approximately 6 miles to Mud Volcano.

Second stop: Mud Volcano Area

IMG_0196
Boiling, steaming, mud

Take the short boardwalk trail to see Mud Volcano and its neighbor, Dragon’s Mouth Spring.

IMG_0193
Another look at mud volcano
IMG_0198
Up close and personal with Dragon’s Mouth Spring

Dragon’s Mouth Spring was one of the highlights of our trip, but the steam, which emitted with a thunderous roar, had an extra potent sulfurous odor.

IMG_0204
Thermophile colonies make their home on grasses near Dragon’s Mouth Spring

Thank you so much for joining us as we travel through Yellowstone! We hope you will return to our site next week for another great Yellowstone post. We are closing this post with a couple of shots of Hayden Valley.

IMG_0187
Hayden Valley is the place to be early in the morning for animal sightings. We saw a lot of bison here and we also saw a grizzly bear. Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of the bear, but we were able to watch it through binoculars as it ran across a meadow.
IMG_0186
The Yellowstone River meanders through Hayden Valley. We found this to be one of the most tranquil and uncrowded places in the park.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part Two

IMG_0127

Porcelain Basin

→Note: this is the second post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park website link: Yellowstone National Park

Destinations: Norris Area and Canyon Village Area

First Stop: Norris Area

From the west park entrance, drive 14 miles east to Madison Junction. At Madison Junction, continue east/northeast past Gibbon Falls, then north past Artist Paintpots to Norris. It is approximately 14 miles from Madison Junction to Norris.

Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest thermal area of Yellowstone National Park, is home to the elusive Steamboat Geyser which is the tallest geyser in the world. Steamboat Geyser has erupted recently, but sometimes remains dormant for years.

Take the three-quarter mile Porcelain Basin Trail (boardwalk) to see geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, steam vents, boiling water, and bubbling mud pots. Below are some of our favorite pictures from Porcelain Basin.

IMG_0138
Certain bacteria thrive in the boiling hot waters of Yellowstone National Park. These brilliant green thermophiles make an artistic display.
IMG_0139
Holy smokes!
IMG_0142
Steam vents and pristine water

The Norris area is also home to The Norris Geyser Basin Museum. The structure has a breezeway that straddles the path leading to the Porcelain Basin Terrace Overlook. Construction on the building began in 1929, and the museum is now a National Historic Landmark. This is a can’t-miss feature of the area.

Another can’t-miss feature of the Norris area is the Museum of the National Park Ranger. Originally the Norris Soldier Station, the building has seen many changes over the years, including a total rebuild using original materials and the original floor plan. Stop in to see the exhibits and watch a short film about the history of the National Park Service.

IMG_0147
Museum of the National Park Ranger

Travel tip: the steam emitted by Yellowstone’s geysers and vents smells like sulphur. This odor can linger on clothes and in hair.

Now on to the Canyon Village area of the park.

From Norris Junction go east 12 miles to Canyon Village.

Second stop: Canyon Village

IMG_0171
Coyote in a meadow between Norris and Canyon Village

Stop in at the Canyon Village Visitor Education Center. Several points along the road as well as trails offer exceptional views of the canyon and the upper and lower falls. Artists Point is a popular viewpoint. While listening to the roaring power of the falling water, hike (stairs) to the brink of Lower Falls and see them crash 309 feet down into the river canyon below. This area has several hiking trails. Check the website above for details.

IMG_0173
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
IMG_0179
Lower Falls – taller than Niagara Falls!
IMG_0176
Near the brink of Lower Falls

Yellowstone – Part Two is a wrap! We are going to end this post with the grizzly bear sculpture in front of the Yellowstone History Museum in West Yellowstone, Montana. Come back next week for Part Three. We will be posting more exciting sections of Yellowstone National Park. Thank you for joining us!

IMG_0155
A visit to the Yellowstone History Museum in West Yellowstone is a great introduction to your trip to Yellowstone National Park. Be sure to watch the film about the 1988 forest fires.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Yellowstone National Park – Part One

IMG_0510

  • Website: Yellowstone National Park
  • Cost: $35.00 per car for a seven day pass
  • RV, tent, and backcountry camping
  • Lodges and restaurants in the park
  • Hiking, scenic drives, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, swimming, wildlife/bird watching, hydrothermal features, etc.
  • Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing in the winter, and less crowds
  • When to go: anytime. Most crowded during the summer months. We recommend September.

→Note: this is the first post in a multi-part series covering Yellowstone National Park. Our journey originates in West Yellowstone, Montana.

IMG_0162
Forest fire? Nope, just some early morning thermal activity.

Hands down, Yellowstone is our favorite national park. Although we haven’t visited all of them yet, we can’t imagine anything topping this gem. Every aspect of the park, from the flora and the fauna to the rivers and the waterfalls to the mountains and the unique thermal features, is breathtakingly beautiful. We visited Yellowstone in the early fall, but we would love to go back for every season.

Yellowstone is 320 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah, which has the closest major airport, so that is where we begin our trip. If time permits, we recommend spending a couple of days in Salt Lake City. Here’s a link: Salt Lake City

Getting there

From Salt Lake City, take I-15 north toward Ogden, Utah. Continue north toward Pocatello, Idaho. Stay on I-15 to Idaho Falls.

20150910_171047 (1)

Bonus stop: Idaho Falls, Idaho. We spent the first night of our trip in Idaho Falls. A walk along the river in the city’s greenbelt/riverwalk area was the perfect way to stretch our legs after a day of travel. The city offers several parks, museums, and shopping.

*Recommended hotel in Idaho Falls: Hampton Inn.

*Recommended restaurant in Idaho Falls: Sandpiper Restaurant, 750 Lindsay Blvd.

*There are many campgrounds and RV parks in and around Idaho Falls.

Drive time between Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls: 3 hours. (The scenery is gorgeous!)

From Idaho Falls, take US Highway 20 north toward Rexburg, Idaho. Continue north to West Yellowstone, Montana, which is the west entrance into the park. Drive time between Idaho Falls and West Yellowstone: 1.75 hours.

Travel tip: while driving north of Idaho Falls, look east to see the Grand Tetons on the horizon in Grand Teton National Park. There is a pull out along US Highway 20 with signs that tell about the mountains (how they got their name) and offers a good photo op. At Ashton, you will enter the beautiful Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

IMG_0512

*Recommended hotel in West Yellowstone: Kelly Inn – 104 S Canyon St., West Yellowstone, Montana – (800) 259-4672.

*There are many options for tent and RV camping in West Yellowstone as well as in the park.

Destination: Yellowstone National Park

IMG_0098

Yellowstone is huge! It takes a lot of driving and several days just to hit the highlights of the park.  However, the roads basically make an easily navigable figure eight shape (Upper Loop and Lower Loop), and with the help of the park map everything is easy to find.

Travel tip: each section of the park that we’re going to cover has either a Visitor Center and Museum, Visitor Education Center, or an Information Station. Take advantage of these excellent resources. The park rangers are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

Now on to Madison. Since we stayed in West Yellowstone, we entered the west entrance of the park and drove 14 miles (about 30 minutes) to and through the Madison area of the park every day.  The scenery along the Madison River provided us something new each day, whether it was steam rising from the river due to the chilly morning air or animals starting their day in the meadows.

First stop: Madison Area

IMG_0094
Elk along the edge of the river
IMG_0157
Steam rising from the river

The route we’re taking in this post goes from the west park entrance to the Madison area and then north toward Norris Geyser Basin. It covers less than a quarter of the Lower Loop road which is 96 miles long.

Travel tip: traffic comes to a halt when animals are on the roadways. They have the right of way! Observe speed limits, and be prepared for delays when traveling through the park. Animals on the side of the road cause traffic jams, too, because everyone (including us) wants a picture. Remember that it is illegal to approach or feed the wildlife.

IMG_0114
This bad boy caused a very long traffic jam. We ate our picnic lunch in the car while we waited.
IMG_0101
Gibbon Falls from the scenic pull-out

Travel tip: Pull-outs for park features such as waterfalls and other points of interest can be very crowded with vehicles and pedestrians. Use caution when driving in and around these areas.

IMG_0104

Second stop: Artist Paintpots 

This area makes for a nice little hike and showcases some interesting features. Fumaroles (cracks or openings in the earth where a volcano let’s off steam and gasses), steamy water, and bubbling mud are some of the features that can be seen here.

IMG_0118

IMG_0119

IMG_0121

IMG_0122

That’s going to do it for Yellowstone – Part One. Stop by next week for an exciting Part Two as we cover more of this extraordinary park. Thanks so much for traveling with us! We will close this post with a beautiful view of Mount Holmes.

img_0123.jpg

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true products, vendors, and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own. Photo copyright infringement is not intended. Our written content and photos are copyrighted, and may not be published without our permission.

©2019

 

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_2689
Blazing Winter Sunset

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: By Bridge

IMG_3741

Where in the world is it?

By Bridge is located in Moab, Utah. It is a pedestrian bridge that spans the Colorado River.

img_3743.jpg

IMG_3746

IMG_3751
Looking upstream at the Colorado River from By Bridge

Second stop: Gruene, Texas

Jordan's 2007 pix 231Gruene (pronunced green), is home to the famous Gruene Hall. Built in 1878, this 6,000 square foot dance hall and saloon has hosted and launched the careers of a multitude of musicians. It is the oldest dance hall in Texas.

Where in the world is it?

Gruene is about an hour southwest of Austin, off of I-35. The town of Gruene was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. In 1979, the city of New Braunfels annexed Gruene which has become a popular tourist destination.

jordans-2007-pix-230.jpg
Once the home of the son of the founder of Gruene, this beautiful building is now the Gruene Mansion Inn
Jordan's 2007 pix 247
The Guadalupe River at Gruene, Texas

It’s a fact, Jack!

More than 50 movies have been filmed in and around Moab, including City Slickers II, Con Air, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Thelma and Louise to name a few. One movie, Michael, starring John Travolta, was filmed in Gruene. In the movie, John Travolta’s character, Michael, danced at Gruene Hall. Additionally, both towns sit on the banks of rivers that empty into gulfs. The Colorado River runs for 1,450 miles to its mouth at the Gulf of California, and the Guadalupe River runs 230 miles to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. And now you know…

That does it for this week. Thank you for joining us! Come back next week for another exciting post. You never know where we are going to take you! Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120 

 

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Great Sand Dunes National Park

IMG_3382

  • Website link: Great Sand Dunes National Park.
  • Cost: $20.00 per car.
  • Accommodations: Lodges and camping located just outside the park. Campground located in the park is open from April through October. Backcountry camping permitted on the dunes, in the mountains, or in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve. See website for details.
  • The Oasis Restaurant and Store is located at the park’s main entrance, and is the only restaurant near the park.
  • Many hotels and restaurants in Alamosa, Colorado, 40 minutes southwest of the park.
  • Hiking, backpacking, sand sledding, and playing in the water (if Medano Creek is running) are all popular activities at Great Sand Dunes.
  • When to go: April through October. May is typically when Medano Creek is flowing at it’s peak due to snowmelt in the mountains.

Great Sand Dunes National Park is approximately:

170 miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado240 miles from Denver, Colorado

Our trip is going to start in Colorado Springs because it is the closest major airport city to the park. So, pack a bathing suit, some road food, a full water bottle (or two), and some hiking shoes, and let’s hit the road!

*Recommended hotels in Colorado Springs: Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn.

Travel tip: Colorado Springs is a great vacation destination itself. There are many attractions in Colorado Springs including: Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and The United States Air Force Academy. There is also a zoo, Seven Falls, and Cave of the Winds, among other attractions.

Getting There

IMG_3396
Sunrise near Saguache, Colorado

From Colorado Springs, take I-25 south to Walsenburg via Pueblo, Colorado. At Walsenburg, take Highway 160 west to Highway 150 north to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Drive time between Colorado Springs, Colorado and Great Sand Dunes National Park: 2.75 hours.

⇒Side trip: Royal Gorge. From Pueblo, Colorado, take Highway 50 west to Cañon City and the Royal Gorge. Walk across the the Royal Gorge Bridge, a suspension bridge that sits 955 above the Arkansas River! Gondola rides, zip line, kiddie rides. There’s something for the whole family. Drive time between Colorado Springs, Colorado and Cañon City, Colorado: 1 hour.


Great Sand Dunes National Park lies in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in South Central Colorado. The dunes are the highest in North America, with the highest dune, Star Dune, topping 755 feet. The dunefield covers about 30 square miles.

IMG_3394

The dunes appear to take on different shapes and shadows, depending on the time of day and angle of the sun.

IMG_3388

Late summer at the park. Medano Creek is almost dry at this point, but even the smallest amounts of water cool the sand. In the summer, the sand on the dunes can reach temperatures up to 150 degrees!

IMG_3391

This guy did a little skimboarding on Medano Creek, while a lot of other people took off for the dunes.

IMG_3392

This is a great park for RV or tent camping at the park’s Piñon Flats campground, and  tent camping on the dunes is very popular. We would recommend going later in the fall or earlier in the spring when the weather is not so hot and the crowds are thinner.

IMG_3384
Dunes in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Thank you so much for traveling along with us! Leave us a comment about your trip to Great Sand Dunes, or tell us about your favorite national park. We would love to hear from you! Stop by our site often for more great trips and tips, or better yet, become a follower so you never miss a post. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

 

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_0526
Pelicans on a river

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Hovenweep National Monument

img_3794.jpg

Where in the world is it?

Hovenweep straddles the state line between the southeastern corner of Utah and southwestern corner of Colorado. It abuts Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

IMG_3796
Twin Towers

Hovenweep National Monument protects six ancient villages that are spread throughout the monument’s desolate terrain. Although the area was inhabited by ancient pueblo-dwelling farmers from about 500 AD, the park’s masonry buildings date from about 1200 to 1300 AD. Nobody knows exactly what the towers at Hovenweep were used for, but there are many theories, such as observatories, fortresses, storage structures, or religious buildings. It is estimated that 2,500 people once inhabited the area.

IMG_3800
Eroded Boulder

It is said that the Zuni, Pueblo, and Hopi tribes are descendants of the ancient Hovenweep Puebloans. Hovenweep is a Ute word that means “deserted valley”.

IMG_3798
Stronghold House

Second Stop: Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park

IMG_1652

Where in the world is it?

It is in North Platte, Nebraska.

IMG_1662

Buffalo Bill Cody was probably the first world-renowned super star. An epic showman, his traveling Wild West shows ran from 1883 to 1915 and drew thousands of spectators in the US and around the world. The show was so big that it took two trains of fifty cars each to transport the performers, animals, supplies, and props for the extravaganza. Scout’s Rest Ranch was his part-time home. His ranch near Cody, Wyoming was “home”.

IMG_1698
This is the ranch house. Scout’s Rest Ranch is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s a fact, Jack!

William Cody was nicknamed Buffalo Bill, probably because of the large number of buffalo he killed. As a young man, he had been employed by a railroad to hunt and kill buffalo in order to feed the men who were building the train tracks. Buffalo Bill was a friend of General George A. Custer. Custer led his cavalrymen into battle against an allied group of Native American tribes at The Battle of Little Bighorn aka The Great Sioux War of 1876, which took place in Montana. Contrary to popular belief, the celebrated Lakota Sioux chief, Sitting Bull, did not fight in the battle, though he had an earlier vision of his people winning the battle. Sitting Bull’s vision and encouragement helped to spur the Native American warriors into defeating Custer and his men. Years later, Sitting Bull was hired to be a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. He was paid $50.00 per week to ride around the arena during the opening of each show. And now you know…

That does it for this week. Thank you for joining us! Be sure to come back next week for another exciting post. You never know where we are going to take you! Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Ouray, Colorado

IMG_3594

Sometimes called the Switzerland of America, Ouray (pronounced, your-ay) is one of the prettiest mountain towns in Colorado, and that’s saying something because there are a lot of them! Located on US Highway 550, aka The San Juan Skyway, which runs from Montrose, Colorado, via Silverton and Durango, Colorado, then 550 continues down to Bernalillo, New Mexico. The portion of the road from Ouray to Silverton is called the Million Dollar Highway, and is one of the most scenic drives in the United States.

Getting There

IMG_3572

The closest major airport city to Ouray is Grand Junction, Colorado, so that is where our trip will begin.

*Recommended hotel in Grand Junction: Hampton Inn.

From Grand Junction, take US Highway 50 south toward Delta, then to Montrose. Continue south through Montrose on US Highway 550 to Ouray. This route follows the Uncompahgre River to Ouray. Drive time between Grand Junction and Ouray: 1.75 hours.

Bonus stop: Ridgway State Park. Located just north of Ouray, this park offers numerous camping options, including yurts. Boating, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, and birding are some of the activities found at this park. Plus the scenery here is spectacular! Here’s a link: Ridgway State Park.

Destination: Ouray, Colorado

IMG_3597

Here is a website link for information about lodging, food, and things to do: Ouray, Colorado

Our first stop in Ouray is Box Cañon Falls Park. Admission: $4.00 per adult and $2.00 per child. Take a nice, easy trail from the entrance to the falls. You will hear the falls before you see them – they roar! Most of the water cascades behind the walls of this slot canyon, but you will catch glimpses of the falls through gaps in the rock and at the bottom. At times, the rushing water seems to appear out of nowhere. This stop is well worth the admission price. We will let the pictures below speak for themselves.

IMG_3553

IMG_3557

In addition to the easy trail to the falls, there is another trail to the top of the falls that is a little more strenuous (quite a few stairs), but the views are worth the hike.IMG_3564

Upon entering the park, you may notice pipes and sprayers arranged on the rocks along the side of the road. These are used to make ice in the winter. Ouray has become an acclaimed ice climbing destination, and the town hosts the Ouray Ice Festival every January.

Our next stop is for a short hike at Cascade Falls. Although it is only about a quarter mile to the falls, this is a moderately strenuous, steep, uphill hike. However, the waterfall is worth a little panting, and there is a nice covered area with benches at a viewpoint.

IMG_3585

While visiting Ouray, take a few minutes to learn about the town’s namesake: the great Ute Chief Ouray, and his wife, Chipeta. Their former farm, located on the Uncompahgre River south of Montrose, is now the site of the Ute Indian Museum. Another home, a cabin, stood near where the Ouray Hot Springs Pool is today in Ouray. By the way, the pool, which has recently been renovated, will delight the entire family! Here’s a link: Ouray Hot Springs Pool.

IMG_3595

Eight square blocks of the original town of Ouray are a National Historic District. We would encourage anyone visiting the town to take a walking tour along Main Street. Stop in at the Ouray County Museum for a history lesson and pick up a walking tour map, then take in the many historic sites, as well as the shops and restaurants along the way.

IMG_3574

The scenery is breathtaking, and just getting to spend a few hours or days in the peaceful solitude of this town makes it well worth the trip. Unfortunately, our visit was cut short by a large screw embedded in our tire.

IMG_3601

We hope our overview of Ouray, Colorado was informative and that we’ve inspired your wanderlust. As we always say, “Just get in the car!” With a little planning, there’s nothing more fun than a road trip, especially when you get to see scenery like this! Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_2466
Northern Arizona Sunset

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Clark Canyon Reservoir

IMG_0656

Where in the world is it?

Clark Canyon Reservoir is located in southwestern Montana about 10 miles south of the town of Dillon, at the intersection of Highway 41 and I-15.

IMG_0653

What’s so special about a lake? You may be thinking they’re a dime a dozen and that you can see one (or many) anywhere you go. Those thoughts are true, but Clark Canyon Reservoir is a special lake. It is the headwaters of the Beaverhead River, a 69-mile-long tributary of the Jefferson River. The Jefferson converges with the Gallatin River and the Madison River to form the headwaters of the Missouri River.

IMG_0651

We have also heard that Clark Canyon Reservoir has some of the best trout fishing in Montana.

IMG_0657

Though, perhaps more importantly is what sits beneath the waters of Clark Canyon Reservoir. It was called Camp Fortunate. Lewis and Clark set up camp here in 1805 as they sought a passage through the mountains. While at Camp Fortunate, they met and befriended a group of Shoshone Indians who told them of a path used by other Native Americans to cross over the mountains and provided the expedition with horses that were needed to traverse rugged terrain.

IMG_0652
Clark Canyon Reservoir sits at the 45th Parallel

Second Stop: Jacob’s Dream Sculpture

IMG_1516
Jacob’s Dream

 Where in the world is it?

Jacob’s Dream is located on the campus of Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

IMG_1520

Completed in 2006 by sculptor, Jack Maxwell, Jacob’s Dream depicts angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven as described in Genesis 28: 10-22. For anyone traveling through Abilene, Texas, this beautiful work of art is definitely worth a quick stop.

It’s a fact, Jack!

Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian woman, was born in 1788 in what is now Idaho. Around age twelve she was kidnapped by a rival band of Indians and taken to North Dakota. Some years later, she was sold to a French-Canadian man who claimed her as one of his wives. The Corps of Discovery aka The Lewis and Clark Expedition hired Sacagawea and her husband to travel with them as interpreters. When the expedition met and befriended the Shoshone Indians at Camp Fortunate, the chief of the tribe turned out to be Sacagawea’s brother whom she had not seen in years. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us on our virtual tour of Clark Canyon Reservoir and Jacob’s Dream. We invite you to return to our site every week for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_3816
A yak eating yellow flowers!

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Golden Spike Tower (Nebraska)

IMG_1627

Where in the world is it?

Golden Spike Tower is located in North Platte, Nebraska. The eight-story tower overlooks Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey Yard, which is the largest train yard in the world. The Bailey Yard operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and is responsible for making sure that 10,000 rail cars per day get sent in the right direction.

IMG_1630
Watch the workings of the rail yard from the top of the Golden Spike Tower.
IMG_1634
Locomotives!

Second Stop: Lajitas, Texas

IMG_3413
Sundown at Lajitas

Where in the world is it?

It is located 12 miles southwest of Terlingua, Texas on Highway 170. Lajitas, once a thriving community turned ghost town, is now a resort.

IMG_3414
Awesome old building in Lajitas

It’s a fact, Jack!

In 1868, when the Union Pacific Railroad was extended west, the town of North Platte, Nebraska was born. The city sits at a point where the North and South Platte Rivers converge to create the Platte River. Lajitas sits at a point on the Rio Grande River, but the closest railroad is located in Alpine, Texas, almost 100 miles to the north. North Platte’s Canteen served refreshments to millions of servicemen as they passed through the depot there during World War II. By 1912, Lajitas had a saloon that served thirsty cowboys and miners who worked in the area, but the town didn’t have electricity until 1949 – four years after the end of World War II. And now you know…

That’s all for this trip. Thank you for joining us! Please come back to the site to see where our next road trip is going to take you.

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 

 

Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Capitol Reef National Park

IMG_2220

  • Website: Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Cost: $15.00 per vehicle.
  • Accommodations in the park: RV and tent camping. Backcountry camping allowed with a permit.
  • Great park for hiking, biking, and climbing.
  • Lodging, additional camping, and groceries available in Torrey, Utah – 11 miles west of the west park entrance.
  • Restaurants available in Torrey. *Recommended: Slackers – good burgers!
  • When to go to Capitol Reef: Anytime. We recommend May or September.

The interesting terrain at Capitol Reef National Park was created by a 90-mile long wrinkle in the earth called a waterpocket fold. The picture below was taken from a high point on Highway 12 looking toward Capitol Reef (mid-background).

IMG_2218

Getting There

From Bryce Canyon National Park, take Highway 12 (recommended scenic route through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument) east toward Escalante, Utah, then north to Highway 24 through Torrey, Utah to the park’s entrance. Travel tip: use extreme caution on Highway 12 through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. There are twists, turns, and high points on the two lane road with no guardrails in some places, however, the scenery is spectacular and very worth taking the route. Drive time between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef: 2.5 hours, or,

From Salt Lake City (closest major airport city), take I-15 south to Scipio, Utah. At Scipio, take US Highway 50 to US Highway 89 to Richfield, Utah then Highway 24 south(east) through Torrey, Utah and the park’s entrance. Drive time between Salt Lake City and Capitol Reef National Park: 3.5 hours.

Travel tip: if you are continuing on to Moab, Utah, top off your gas tank in Torrey before entering the park. The closest gas station (in Hanksville) is an hour east.

Destination: Capitol Reef National Park

IMG_2233

Stop in at the visitor center for information about the park. Then continue on Highway 24 to Fruita, Utah, which is the site of an old settlement that is now contained inside the park. Did you know that the original orchards planted by settlers in this area remain in Capital Reef today? The orchards are open to the public during the picking seasons. Check the park’s website for details about how and when the fruits can be harvested.

At Fruita, stop in at the Gifford House Museum and Store, check out the Fruita Schoolhouse, and don’t forget to take a few pictures of the Gifford Barn; it’s a classic!

The Fruita historic area is a great place for a leisurely stroll and a picnic. There is a campground here, too.

img_22421.jpg
Gifford Barn

IMG_2250

Take Scenic Drive south of Fruita for scenery and views of the waterpocket fold, or continue on Highway 24 east through the park. There are several places to pull out. We enjoyed seeing the petroglyphs. Parking is available in this area and there are easy trails/boardwalk to allow ample viewing of these ancient wonders.

Of course, the scenery is what we went to Capitol Reef to see, and it didn’t disappoint. Below are some of our favorite shots.

img_22361.jpg

We are quite fond of red rocks, and no, they never get old!

IMG_2259
Interesting Formations and Beautiful Colors

This park is where we first learned about desert varnish. The “varnish”, from minerals and metals in the rock turns the rock into a work of art. Isn’t nature amazing?

IMG_2251

This cliff face looks painted, but it’s not. It is just that pretty, although, the photo does not do justice to the actual view. The petroglyphs pictured above were high up on this wall.

IMG_2268Travel tip: Capitol Reef has miles and miles of hiking trails for day hikers of all skill levels. There are also many options for backcountry hiking and backpacking. Just remember that this is the desert and it can get extremely hot during the day. Take more water than you think you will need.IMG_2223We hope you enjoyed our short overview of Capitol Reef National Park. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get as much traffic or publicity as some of the other Utah national parks, but a short or long visit to Capitol Reef will be well worth you time. Leave a comment below and tell us about your trip. We love hearing from you. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Monument Valley Tribal Park

IMG_2420

IMG_2438

  • Website: Monument Valley Tribal Park
  • Cost: $20.00 per car, up to four people
  • Visitor center
  • Tribal owned hotel and restaurant in the park (Arizona)
  • Campground in the park
  • Privately owned lodge and restaurant in the park (Utah)
  • Additional hotels and restaurants in Kayenta, Arizona
  • Hiking
  • Guided tours
  • Scenic drive
  • When to go: anytime

Iconic. That is the word that comes to mind when seeing Monument Valley for the first time. At least it was for us. This spectacular park sits within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation in southern Utah and northern Arizona. It is not a national park service park, as some believe. It is a tribal park of the Navajo Nation. Many movies have been filmed at Monument Valley because the scenery epitomizes the American West.

IMG_2434

Getting There

Our trip is going to start from Page, Arizona, which has a small regional airport.

From Page, take Highway 98 east to US Highway 160. At US Highway 160, take US Highway 163 northeast to Kayenta, Arizona. Continue east to the park entrance near the Arizona-Utah border. Drive time: 2.25 hours.

*Recommended hotel in Page: Hampton Inn

*Recommended restaurant in Page: El Tapatio – 25 S Lake Powell Blvd.

Destination: Monument Valley Tribal Park

Our trip to Monument Valley was on the highway (US Highway 163 and US Highway 160) because we arrived when the visitor center was closing. This is a park that we will definitely return to in order to see and do everything it has to offer. However, a lot of the beauty of the park can be seen from the road. We will let the pictures speak for themselves…

IMG_2454
Awe-inspiring Agathla Peak near Kayenta, Arizona
IMG_2457
Owl Rock near Kayenta, Arizona
IMG_2446
West Mitten Butte, Monument Valley
IMG_2445
He posed as if he knew he belonged in the picture!

The tallest butte in Monument Valley rises approximately 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The colors are incredible, and, no, we never get tired of seeing red rocks!

IMG_2437
Setting Hen
IMG_2447
Beautiful Butte
IMG_2439
Monument Valley Vista

⇒Side trip: Valley of the Gods. On Highway 163, about seven miles north of Mexican Hat, Utah. Drive time between Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods: 1 hour. Fantastic scenery all the way, so the drive is worth the time!

IMG_2406
Valley of the Gods

Travel tip: Valley of the Gods is located on Bureau of Land Management property. The roads are graded dirt and there are no facilities. Take plenty of water, and prepare for the weather.

Bonus stop: Alhambra Rock. Located just a few miles south of Mexican Hat, Utah, this is a can’t-miss photo op.

IMG_2416
Alhambra Rock

Thank you for joining us on our virtual tour of Monument Valley. We hope that we have inspired you to venture off on your own road trip through this magical place. Please become an e-mail follower so you never miss a post. We would love to hear from you, so leave us a comment about your own trips. We are going leave this post with one last view of the fantastic formations in Monument Valley.

IMG_2435
The Stagecoach, Rabbit and Bear, Castle Butte, and the King on his Throne

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

img_2207.jpg
Your guess is as good as ours!

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Fort Davis National Historic Site

IMG_3135
Officers Row

Where in the world is it?

Fort Davis National Historic Site is located in Fort Davis, Texas, which is about 95 miles southwest of Pecos, Texas on Highway 17.

IMG_3128 - Copy
Remains of the original fort and some remaining buildings.

Established in 1854 as a frontier military post, the soldiers stationed at Fort Davis  were tasked with patrolling the San Antonio-El Paso Road. The widely traveled road was used to transport goods, mail, and emigrants traveling to California hoping to strike it rich in the gold rush there. Over the years, several regiments called Fort Davis home, including a cavalry regiment of African Americans called Buffalo Soldiers. The fort was abandoned in 1891.

IMG_3136
The fort’s hospital has been restored and is now a museum.

Second stop: Pipe Spring National Monument

img_2560.jpg

Where in the world is it?

Pipe Spring National Monument is located in northern Arizona on Highway 389, between Fredonia and Colorado City on Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians tribal land near the Utah border.

IMG_2566
Living Quarters

Kaibab Paiute Indians have called this area home for hundreds of years, but when Mormon settlers arrived between 1860 and 1870, things changed for the Native Americans. Pipe Spring was an important water source in this arid strip of Arizona, and when the Mormon settlers decided to claim the land for themselves, conflict arose.

IMG_2569
Pond at Pipe Spring

Today, the site is dedicated to telling both sides of the story, and if you happen to be in the area, the park is definitely worth the stop. The park maintains farm animals, a vegetable garden, and an orchard at Pipe Spring.

img_2561.jpg
Farm animals at Pipe Spring

It’s a fact, Jack!

In 1918, German men were seen with Mexican troops at Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Anticipating an attack on the US at the border town of Nogales, Arizona, American Buffalo Soldiers engaged in an gun battle with the Mexican troops across the border. It was the only World War I battle fought on American soil. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us! We invite you to return to our site every week for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

Sedona 2007 012
Magical, misty mountain with rainbow at Grand Canyon National Park

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Vicksburg National Military Park

IMG_1686

Where in the world is it?

Vicksburg National Military Park is located in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

For forty-seven days in 1863, Union and Confederate troops battled for control of Vicksburg, a stronghold on the Mississippi River, but the Union forces persevered and forced the Confederates to surrender on July 4. It was a turning point of the Civil War, as the Confederates lost control of the Mississippi River. Today, the national park is a beautiful memorial to the sacrifices made there. Two of the many monuments that are located in the park and the Vicksburg National Cemetery are pictured below.

IMG_1709
Missouri Memorial
IMG_1711
Texas Memorial
IMG_1707
Vicksburg National Cemetery

Second Stop: Terlingua Ghost Town

IMG_2730

Where in the world is it?

It’s in Southwest Texas near Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande River. Cinnabar, from which mercury (aka quicksilver) is derived, was mined at the Chisos Mine (Chisos Mining Company) in Terlingua from about 1905 to 1943. During the height of the mine’s operation, Terlingua reportedly had a population of 2,000.

IMG_2719
Terlingua Cemetery

The Terlingua Cemetery, established in the early 1900s, is still in use today. Terlingua Historic District, which includes the ghost town, the remains of the mine, and the cemetery, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s a fact, Jack!

Approximately 17,000 Union soldiers are buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery. Confederate soldiers are buried in the Soldier’s Rest section of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg. The Terlingua Cemetery is the final resting place of miners, citizens of the town, and victims of an influenza epidemic back in the early 1900s. One Civil War veteran, John M. Southard aka Tomas Southard White, who died in 1910 and was a member of the 47th Kentucky Artillery, is buried in Terlingua Cemetery. And now you know…

That does it for this week. Thank you for joining us! Come back next week for another exciting post. You never know where we are going to take you! Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

IMG_2120

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 <