Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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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

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Where in the world is it?

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

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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.

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Once the home of the son of the founder of Gruene, this beautiful building is now the Gruene Mansion Inn
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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

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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

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  • 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

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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.

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

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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!

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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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Stronghold House

Second Stop: Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park

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Where in the world is it?

It is in North Platte, Nebraska.

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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”.

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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 

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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