Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Sunrises and Sunsets

Sunrise over Lake Mackenzie, Texas

Who doesn’t love the breathtaking beauty of a pretty sunrise or sunset. We sure love them – that’s why our signature photo on this site is a sunset. We’ve shot most of ours in Texas, mainly from our own yard or neighborhood, but we’ve been lucky enough to shoot some in a few other places, too. It’s just about being in the right place at the right time and making ourselves get up early enough to catch the sunrise. All of these are aim and shoot shots, no filters or enhancements were used, and some were taken with our phones. We hope these brighten your day!

IMG_5664
Bar Harbor, Maine sunrise
Winter sunset from our front yard.
Sunrise shot from our street
We’ve posted this Sedona, Arizona sunset before, but it’s so beautiful we wanted to include it again.
West Texas sunrise. Had to sign this one because it’s so pretty.
Sunset shot near Amarillo, Texas
Taken from the window of a plane, we captured this between-the-clouds sunrise somewhere over Mississippi.
Sunset before a storm – our front yard.
Fall sunrise taken about a mile from our house
Another beautiful Texas sunset shot from Decatur, Texas
Sunrise near Saguache, Colorado

Thank you for viewing our post! We hope you will return again for more WWWTWs, Quick Stops, road trip destinations or a few tips and tricks. Join our family of followers here so you never miss a post! We can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Happy hump day, everyone!

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.

©2022

 

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Wildlife

IMG_2564
Arizona chickens. They were at a national monument. Doesn’t that make them more special than just plain ol’ regular chickens? Yeah, we thought so, too.

As we’ve said before, part of the reason we love to travel is to see wildlife. Now we don’t see wildlife on every hike or even every trip, but we’re always on the lookout. Don’t tell the highway patrol, but we’ve even been known to back up on a highway to see something unusual. Some of the pictures we’re sharing today have been posted before and a some have not. We hope you enjoy our menagerie.

IMG_6571
Sup, gurl?
IMG_5602
We try to shoot (with our cameras) cardinals every time we see one. Not sure what was so interesting about that wall, though.
Jordan's 2007 pix 085
Confession: we didn’t see this fox on a trip, we saw him in a cemetery in our own city. Looked like he was thinking about having lunch at the Dairy Queen across the street.
IMG_5613
We wanted to take this adorable baby longhorn home with us, but our neighborhood doesn’t allow us to have cattle in our yard. 🙁
IMG_5592
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Texas. They’re the state bird of Oklahoma. Guess this one heard the flies are bigger in Texas.
IMG_5943 - Copy
Guadalupe Mountains mule deer on a mission. Pretty sure we heard her humming that song “I’m Bringin’ Home a Baby Bumblebee”.
IMG_5320
We shot another cardinal. This time in Abilene State Park, Texas. He was trying to pick up a girl cardinal in the next tree over.
IMG_3144
Aoudad herd, Davis Mountains, Texas. Not kidding: stood right next to the road to take a picture of the mountains and never saw them until another car pulled up and somebody jumped out with a camera. Never did get a picture of the mountains either.
IMG_5050 (1)
Dude, she’s just not that into you. All 10’s for the performance, though – just too bad you couldn’t stick the landing.
IMG_4267
One of many bull elk we saw at Rocky Mountain National Park. We were there during rutting season and could hear them bugling all over the place. Not sure if they were asking for a fight or yelling at their wives and kids.
IMG_4133
Colorado hummingbird. One of our luckiest shots ever, ’cause these little guys are fast!
IMG_0350
Yellowstone bison. There was not another bison in sight, so we think maybe he had been shunned by the herd. They do that, you know, shun older males that can’t seem to get a mate. Bison are so rude.
IMG_5360
Pouting wet cat in Texas. He/she wouldn’t even look at us when we asked it to say cheese. Like it’s our fault it rained…
IMG_2955
Rattler! Got in trouble with a park ranger for stopping in the road to take this picture. Sometimes you just have to do whatever you have to do to get the shot, even if that means disregarding authority. We’re sorry…not really…well, kind of.
IMG_3118
Backed up on the highway to get a look at these wild burros near Terlingua, Texas. Yep, we wanted to take a couple of these home with us, too, but the neighborhood…you know… And they were being escorted by a horse!
IMG_3816
Again, we backed up on the road to capture this New Mexico yak. Such a weird thing to see when you’re used to seeing plain old beef cattle all the time. We did not want to take this home with us, though he did have some really nice horns. Why do we have these, anyway? Do people eat them? Use them for their fur? (“Nice sweater.” “Oh, thanks, it’s genuine yak.”) We need answers, people!
IMG_0171
This coyote in Yellowstone was eating something really gross for breakfast when we stopped to take his picture, along with about 25 other people who were calling it a wolf. Anyway, we’re glad we didn’t get the gross breakfast in the shot.

Disclaimer: the shot of the sleeping animal (could be a hyena or it could be some African wild dog-thing, we can’t remember) at the top of the page was taken by us on a trip. A trip to the Fort Worth Zoo, that is! Our definition of wildlife: any animal that runs/flies/slithers/swims away when it sees you, wants to bite you ’til you die, can rip your face off and/or chew off any limb, or will drag you off to share as a meal with the rest of the pack. So, zoo animals are still considered wildlife, right?

That does it for today. Thanks so much for joining us on our walk on the wild side. We hope you will return to our site again for more sights, scenery, trips, tricks, and tips. Be sure to sign up to be an e-mail follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Tell your friends! We want to be friends with them, too.

Happy hump day, everybody!

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.

©2022

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Pretty Pictures

IMG_5840 - Copy
Agave blooms

We don’t pretend to be professional photographers, however we do love to aim and shoot. No fancy filters or special effects for us, but sometimes we get a lucky shot. You will see what we see through our lenses or on our cell phone screens! We decided to show you some of our favorite pretty pictures from our travels, most of which we have never posted before. Enjoy.

20190421_110642
Paintbrush
IMG_5591
Morning
IMG_5459
Bloom
20190421_115413
Serenity
Study in Pink
IMG_5508
Texas
IMG_5369
Next to grandma’s porch, perhaps
IMG_4746
Where the desert meets the sky – White Sands National Park
IMG_1488
National Grassland, South Dakota
IMG_1961
Waterfall
Dahlia

Thank you for visiting our site. We hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Please visit us again for new road trips, exciting cities, and more pretty pictures. Become a follower so you never miss a post, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We love having you along for the ride.

Happy hump day, everybody!

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.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: State Park Redux

Today we’re revisiting some of the amazing state parks that we covered over the last few years. Won’t you join us for a road trip down memory lane on this “Wish We Were There Wednesday”?

IMG_2754
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas
Sedona 2007 148
Slide Rock State Park, Arizona
sedona
Cathedral Rock, Red Rock State Park, Arizona
IMG_2374
Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah
IMG_1262
Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota
IMG_1264
Needles. Another shot from Custer State Park because we loved it so much!
20181014_084530
Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas
IMG_6395
1934 Pool Pavilion, Abilene State Park, Texas
IMG_5337
The Water Tower. Originally built by the CCC then rebuilt after a fire. Abilene State Park, Texas
IMG_2168
Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah
IMG_3357
Rio Grande Gorge State Park, New Mexico
The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
IMG_4643 (1)
Living Desert State Park, New Mexico
IMG_0530
Missouri Headwaters State Park, Montana
IMG_1371
Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota
IMG_5641
Ruins. Fort Griffin State Historic Site, Texas

Thank you for joining us on our recap of some of our most interesting and beautiful state parks. Come back again as we visit more state and national parks, see the sights in the country’s most picturesque cities, and relax with the beauty we find as we road trip across the USA. Become a follower and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you never miss a post. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a state 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.

©2022

Featured

Beautiful Plants and Flowers of New England

IMG_8065
Bee on garlic chive flowers

As we traveled through Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, we found beautiful plants and flowers at every turn. Most of the flora we encountered was trees, which are sparse in our part of West Texas, so we were enchanted by the sheer numbers of them. What was interesting to us was not only the countless trees, but the variety of trees we saw everywhere we went. Oh, and the flowers were spectacular! Now, because of so much “pretty”, we have created a post showcasing another part of the beauty of New England to share with you. We hope you enjoy…

IMG_7449 (1)
Water lilies on a pond at Acadia
IMG_7532
Beach roses

Some of the plants that we’re showcasing were growing wild and some were in gardens. We have been able to identify a lot of them, but some of them remain nameless. If any of you can tell us what the UFO’s (Unidentified Flowering Objects) are, please leave the answer in the comments section below.

IMG_7195 (1)
Can anyone identify this gorgeous plant?
IMG_7603
We found ferns everywhere we looked
IMG_7524
Mountain Ash. The clusters of lipstick red berries made them hard to miss.
IMG_7189
Does anyone know what this pink plant is called?
IMG_8070
This majestic tree is on the grounds of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, near the visitor center.
IMG_7629
Sunflower in a garden in New Hampshire
IMG_7046 (1)
Viburnum
IMG_7354 (1)
Pink Viburnum
IMG_7779 (1)
Velvety mosses carpet the forest floor
IMG_7972
We had to include this hot pink zinnia that we found growing near the Vermont State House
IMG_7286
Staghorn Sumac
IMG_7756 (1)
We aren’t sure what kind of tree this is (birch, maybe?), but we thought it was interesting.
IMG_7187 (1)
Asters
IMG_7462
We are tempted to call these sedum, but we’re not sure. Can someone confirm?
IMG_7464
Stunning dahlias found in a garden in Bar Harbor
IMG_7467
More dahlias. Breathtaking!

Okay, one more dahlia, and then we’re going to call this post finished. (It’s so beautiful we couldn’t leave it out!)

IMG_7469 (1)

Thank you for letting us share the beauty of New England’s plants and flowers with you. We hope you enjoyed this excursion through the flora! Please come back to our site often for more pretty pictures, exciting road trip destinations, and lots of other great stuff. We really appreciate your “likes” and comments. If you are not a follower, become one so you never miss a post.

We are going to close this post with hydrangeas. We saw them everywhere we went, and they were exquisite. See for yourself…

IMG_8333
We got caught by the homeowner when we were taking this photo, but his hydrangeas were way too pretty to pass up. When we told him what we were doing, he just smiled and waved. We have a feeling that we probably weren’t the first people to stop by this house for a picture.
IMG_8155
These hydrangeas were in front of the New Hampshire State House.

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

IMG_5646

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.

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Virtual Road Tripping Ideas

IMG_1074
Wyoming Capitol Building

Bored? Stuck at home? Rather be on the road or camping? We are right there with you. To fill the void at our house, we’ve been using our spare time to take different kinds of virtual road trips. In this post, we’ve put together a list of ideas to help end the boredom. We hope some of these resources will “get you out of the house” and help you start planning your next big adventure.

IMG_7440
Bridge at Acadia National Park

YouTube

Some of our favorite folks to virtually travel with are full-time RVers. These folks travel all over the country giving tips on where to go and what to do and see. They also give reviews on great camping spots, and we promise that you’re going to see some amazing scenery and points of interest along the way, too. In random order, our top six picks:

  • Changing Lanes – best for higher end camping and motorcycle rides.
  • Embracing Detours – best for free camping spots and traveling with pets.
  • Grand Adventure – best for boondocking in very scenic places.
  • Traveling Robert – best all around for travel, RV camping, hiking, and scenery.
  • Less Junk, More Journey – best for traveling the country with small kids.
  • Long Long Honeymoon – best for tips and tricks along with great destinations.

Texas

IMG_6888
Texas

We love for others to see what adventures await in our great home state of Texas. Some of our favorites:

  • The Daytripper – Chet Garner and crew travel to a new Texas city or town every week – PBS – check listings for times.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife – travel to state parks and recreation areas and view our state’s amazing wildlife – PBS – check listings for times.
  • Texas Country Reporter – ride along with Bob Phillips for amazing places in Texas – various channels – check their website for more information. Here’s a link: Texas Country Reporter
  • The Texas Bucket List – learn about the people, places, food, and fun that Texas has to offer with host Shane McAuliffe – various channels and times – check their website for more information. Here’s a link: Texas Bucket List
IMG_7299 (1)
Good Ol’ Buoys

Netflix

We thoroughly enjoyed the two shows listed below. The only problem: they weren’t long enough!

  • Expedition Happiness – join Salima and Felix as they travel North America in a school bus turned RV – movie – 1.5 hours.
  • National Parks Adventure – documentary narrated by Robert Redford – 42 minutes.
IMG_7378
Water Diamonds

Prime Video

While some Prime Video selections have to be rented, the following are included with an Amazon Prime membership.

  • The National Parks – America’s Best Idea – 12 part documentary by Ken Burns
  • America’s 58 National Parks – documentary series with 57 episodes
  • America’s National Parks – 8 part documentary series
  • Best Parks Ever – America’s National Parks – 10 part documentary series
  • America’s Treasures – 8 part documentary series
  • RV – hilarious 2006 movie starring Robin Williams – 1.5 hours
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation – 1983 movie starring Chevy Chase – the ultimate guide for what you don’t want a road trip to be – definitely worth another watch
IMG_6682
West Texas Sunrise

Books

There’s nothing like a good book. Pick up the hard copies or download a couple of our favorites listed below.

  • Dear Bob and Sue – three book series covering Matt and Karen Smith’s adventures while visiting all of the national parks. These are a great read for any national park or travel enthusiast – couldn’t put them down! They have written a couple of other travel-related books, too, so check those out as well.
  • 50 States 5000 Ideas – National Geographic publication which also includes the 10 Canadian Provinces – where to go, what to see, what to do. This is a fun book!
  • On the Road – classic Jack Kerouac novel published in 1959. If you have never read it, now is a great time.
  • Any road atlas – yep, we mean that old fashioned paper map book. Atlas trips are a favorite pastime of ours. Pick a state and see what all it has to offer by “traveling” its highways and backroads via map.
IMG_5756
Fat Prairie Dog

Around the Web

The possibilities are endless for navigating travel related sites on the web. Here are some of our favorite stops:

  • RoadsideAmerica.com – pick any city and state to see what quirky attractions await.
  • AtlasObscura.com – enter a destination in their search box to see what interesting sights can be found there.
  • Explore.org – a collection of live webcams and webcam videos from around the world. Kids will love this!
  • OnlyinYourState.com – enter a state in the search box to find out about people, places, and things in the state of your choosing.
  • TripAdvisor.com we like to search “things to do” in a particular city and state to see what Trip Advisor comes up with.
  • DearBobandSue.com – check out their website for podcasts, photos of their adventures, and more.
  • One for the Money Two for the Road Blog – you’re already here, so look through our archives and revisit some great road trip ideas, itineraries, and photos!

 

IMG_1833
Reflections of Boston

We hope our ideas will help you escape for a few minutes or a few hours. Remember to count your blessings, wash your hands, and turn off the news. Stay safe and well, and we will see you when we can get back on the road.

Mike and Kellye

IMG_5676

 

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.

©2020

Featured

Camping in Texas: Lake Mackenzie

IMG_6776

IMG_6744

Lake Mackenzie is a municipal water district reservoir located about seventy miles southeast of Amarillo, Texas. The water district manages campgrounds and recreation areas around the lake. RV with electric and water hook ups and tent camping are available here. (Campers, the campgrounds were nice and clean, but the bathrooms/showers were very dirty.) Currently, speed boats and skiing are prohibited due to low water levels, however, pontoons, kayaks, and motorized fishing boats, as well as jet skis are permitted. We suggest checking with the lake regarding water levels and boating regulations prior to arrival. Lake Mackenzie is a popular fishing lake. There are two beaches for swimming, picnic areas, miles of ATV trails, and group facilities. This is definitely a place to kick back and relax.

For information and fees, here’s a link to the website: Lake Mackenzie

IMG_6741
Interesting West Texas history

We enjoyed camping at Lake Mackenzie. The relaxing atmosphere was perfect for a weekend trip. During our stay, we saw several deer, a raccoon, a fox, and many different birds.

IMG_6976
This mama and baby mule deer pair walked right through our campsite
IMG_6616
This beauty got up early to watch the sunrise with us. You would think we had never seen a deer before, but it’s still a thrill to see them in their habitat. We love their curiosity…and their big ears!
IMG_6911
Four Canada geese and their early morning reflections on the lake

IMG_6783

Side trip: Caprock Canyons State Park is about forty minutes southeast of Lake Mackenzie. (Link to our Caprock Canyons post here: Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway.) Caprock Canyons is home to the Texas State Bison Herd and is a can’t-miss state park. Go not only for the beauty of the red cliffs and canyons, go to see the bison. There is a wonderful scenic drive and miles of hiking trails, too.

When we camp, we love to get up early for the sunrise, and the Lake Mackenzie sunrises did not disappoint. Neither did the sunsets. We were also treated to two brilliant harvest moons, but unfortunately those didn’t photograph well. Here is our favorite sunrise shot:IMG_5563And, our favorite sunset shot:IMG_6823

The scenery is breathtaking as you enter the canyon on approach to Lake Mackenzie from the south. It reminded us a little of the area around Moab, Utah, specifically Canyonlands National Park, with its red rock fins, buttes and hoodoos. Y’all know how we love red rocks!IMG_5569IMG_6754IMG_5566

Here are a few more shots of the lake:

IMG_6932
IMG_6817
Pontoons on a sunset cruise
IMG_6710
Cloudy reflections near the beach

That’s going to do it for this weekend trip. We hope you enjoyed Lake Mackenzie as much as we did. Please join us next time for another adventure, tip or trick. You are the reason we post our trips. Become a follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, too. Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

IMG_6889

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

Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

IMG_7720 (1)

Franconia Notch State Park is located in the White Mountain National Forest between the towns of Lincoln, New Hampshire and Franconia, New Hampshire. This park has much to offer in the way outdoor adventures, just to name a few:

IMG_7831

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Scenic Drives
  • Waterfalls
  • The Flume Gorge (fee required)
  • The Basin
  • Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and Ski Resort
  • Lakeside beach

We had limited time to spend at this park, however, we felt that we got to do most of the things we wanted. We wish we would have had time to take the tram to the top of Cannon Mountain, but it was raining or overcast the whole time we were there. A little rain and a few clouds have never stopped us before, so come along as we do some hiking and see some of the sights at Franconia Notch State Park.

IMG_7719 (1)

We made a late afternoon stop at The Basin. It was a relaxing walk from the parking lot to the trail, and then a nice little hike along the trail above The Basin.

IMG_7724 (1)
The Basin

Although it looks man made, this granite pothole started being created by rushing water from a melting glacier after the last ice age 25,000 years ago! The Basin is thirty feet across by fifteen feet deep, and the water is almost perfectly clear. Swirling water continues to shape The Basin today.

IMG_5706 (1)

As we hiked the trail above The Basin, we found more small waterfalls and a small flume. The forest in this part of the park was gorgeous.

IMG_7723 (1)

IMG_7717 (1)

At just under four miles round trip, the Flume Gorge trail was the most strenuous hike of our trip, but it was well worth the effort. As you will see in our pictures below, the scenery is outstanding.

IMG_7748
Visitor center and trailhead. Food, a gift shop, and restrooms can be found here.
IMG_7764 (1)
And, we’re off…
IMG_7761 (1)
From the trail: the Pemigewasset River
IMG_7762
Covered bridge over the river, built in 1986

IMG_7784

IMG_7790

IMG_7803

IMG_5715 (1)
Avalanche Falls
IMG_7791 (1)
Mosses, plants and trees growing right out of the rocks

Many different types of trees, shrubs, ferns, mosses, and fungi, made for beautiful scenery in the woods.

IMG_7823
View of the trail
IMG_7826
Ferns growing on this moss covered log
IMG_7751
Ferns
IMG_7822
Moss and mushrooms growing on a stump in the middle of the trail
IMG_7828
A pretty view of the river from the trail

We’re going to wrap this post here. Thank you so much for joining us at Franconia Notch State Park. We hope you will stop by our site again for more posts from New England, lots of other destinations, and some tips to help make your travels easier. If you’re not already a follower, become one. Follow us on Facebook, and tell your friends about us. We want to be friends with them, too!

We will close this post with a photo of the cloud covered White Mountains of Franconia Notch.

IMG_7835
Ghostly clouds dance above the trees at Franconia Notch

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a state 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.

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

IMG_6005
Park boundary with El Capitan (left) and Guadalupe Peak (far right) in the background
  • Website Link: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Cost: $7.00 per person (ages 16 and up) for 7 day pass – seniors free with senior pass
  • Pine Springs Visitor Center: open daily 8:00 – 4:30 Mountain Time
  • McKittrick Canyon day use area: gate is open daily 8:00 – 4:30 MST and until 6:00 MDT
  • Frijole Ranch Museum: open daily 8:00-4:30
  • Salt Basin Sand Dunes day use area: no overnight parking or camping, picnic tables and pit toilets available – located approximately 50 miles southwest of Pine Springs Visitor Center – no services
  • Williams Ranch day use area: high-clearance vehicle required for one lane dirt road access – keys must be checked out at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and returned the same day
  • Camping spaces available at Pine Springs Campground – open year-round – no hook ups and reservations are not available – restrooms and potable water are available
  • Dog Canyon Campground: open year-round – located 110 miles from Pine Springs Visitor Center, and approximately 65 miles from Carlsbad, New Mexico – tent and RV campsites available – restrooms are available – no services
  • Backcountry and equestrian camping also available in the park
  • Hotels, additional camping, food, and gasoline available in Carlsbad, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas
IMG_0367
View of the mountains near Guadalupe Pass

Getting There:

img_6093.jpg
Cholla cactus blooms

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located approximately 53 minutes southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico and approximately 1.75 hours northeast of El Paso, Texas via US Highway 62/180. El Paso has a major airport.

⇒Travel Tip: there are few services between El Paso and the park. It’s a good idea to have plenty of gasoline, water, and food on hand before beginning your journey. The only services between the city of Carlsbad and the park are 32 miles northeast of Guadalupe Mountains in White’s City near the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, but the services there are limited. There are no services available in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Recommended RV parks in Carlsbad:

Carlsbad RV Park & Campground – 4301 National Parks Hwy, Carlsbad, NM 88220 – (575) 885-6333, which is closest to the national parks. 

Carlsbad KOA Holiday – 2 Manthei Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88220 – (575) 457-2000, which is about 30 minutes farther but is close to the state parks in Carlsbad. 

Destination: Guadalupe Mountains National Park

IMG_4638
The Guadalupe Mountains are the remains of an ancient reef – beautiful!

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of two national parks in Texas, the other being Big Bend National Park. Guadalupe Mountains, however, is home to Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet. The Guadalupe Peak trail, at a little over eight miles round-trip, is a popular and strenuous hike.

IMG_6097
Pine Springs Visitor Center

There is an interesting museum exhibit inside the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Guadalupe Peak hikers can check in here. Restrooms and a water filling station are available. Outside, there is a short nature trail (the Pinery trail) leading to the remains of the historic Pinery Station, which was a Butterfield Overland Mail Station (pre-Pony Express) used in the mid-1800s. The remains of this station are some of the only ones left of any Butterfield Station in the US. Learn about some of the plants found in the park while walking the paved Pinery trail.

The Pinery Station

IMG_6053
The crumbling walls of the Pinery Station with El Capitan in the background

IMG_6060

Highway access and parking for the Pinery Station is approximately .5 miles northeast of the Pine Springs Visitor Center and is clearly marked with signs along the highway. The parking lot here also serves as overflow parking for the Guadalupe Peak trailhead which is located at the Pine Springs campground near the visitor center. The short trail to the Pinery Station is paved and is wheelchair accessible.

Frijole Ranch

IMG_6019
The Frijole Ranch house, originally built in 1876 and expanded in the 1920s, is now a cultural museum. The ranch was established in order for its owners to raise cattle near several springs located here in the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains. Subsequent owners grew vegetable gardens and tended large orchards along with raising stock. Click the park website link above to read about the interesting history of the ranch.
IMG_6023
The orchards are behind the white building (which could be an outhouse) on the left. The tin roofed building on the far right was used as a bunkhouse and schoolhouse.

Access to Frijole Ranch is via a well-marked exit off of the highway northeast of the Pine Springs Visitor Center. A short gravel road will lead to a parking and picnic area (with restrooms) next to the Frijole Ranch house/museum. Equestrian corrals and overnight parking for stock trailers are available at Frijole Ranch. This is also the trailhead for Manzanita Spring trail and Smith Spring trail. The Manzanita Spring trail is an easy 4 miles round-trip on a paved, wheelchair accessible trail. Smith Spring trail loop is classified as moderate at 2.3 miles round-trip.

Hiking McKittrick Canyon

Here you can see a wide variety of plants, and possibly some animals that call Guadalupe Mountains National Park home. That, on top of the breathtaking beauty of the mountain scenery, makes McKittrick Canyon a wonderful place to hike. Oak, maple, walnut and many other types of trees can be found in this desert-turned-riparian hideaway. When the trees turn in the late fall, the canyon becomes an even more popular place for hikers. Check the website for the fall colors report in October and November.

IMG_5851 - Copy
Starting off on the trail leading from the ranger station/contact station where all hikers must check in. Didn’t we have a gorgeous day for hiking?
IMG_5895 - Copy
A cool creek is a welcome sight on a hot day
IMG_5920 - Copy
Pratt Cabin – note the stone roof

Wallace Pratt, a Humble Oil Company geologist, first came to McKittrick Canyon in 1921, and eventually acquired about 5,000 acres of the canyon. In the early 1930s he hired Houston, Texas architects and local workers in need of jobs to construct the cabin also known as the Pratt Lodge. Mr. Pratt referred to the cabin as the Stone Cabin, which was constructed of locally quarried limestone. Pratt eventually built another home in what is now Guadalupe Mountains National Park. His second home, completed in 1945, is known as the Ship on the Desert. In 1960, the Pratt family donated their land to the park service. The cabin is open intermittently for ranger guided tours, and there are a couple of picnic tables nearby but no restrooms or water.

IMG_5922 - Copy
View from the front porch of Pratt Cabin – we could have stayed on that porch all day
IMG_5392 - Copy
This little lady was as curious about us as were about her
IMG_5974 - Copy
A shady part of the trail leading to The Grotto

The well-marked turn-off for McKittrick Canyon is located 7 miles northeast of the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Although we went on a hot day, this was one of our all time favorite hikes. It is rated moderate, however, we thought it was an easy, family friendly trail. We turned around at The Grotto (6.8 miles round-trip), but the trail continues to McKittrick Ridge which is a steep and strenuous 14.8 mile round-trip hike from the ranger/contact station trailhead. Restrooms and water filling stations are available at the station. Park passes/admission fees can be paid at the station, however, they require exact change in the form of cash only. Park passes can also be obtained at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

Below are a few more shots from McKittrick Canyon trail.IMG_5906 - Copy

IMG_5925 - Copy

IMG_5910 - Copy

IMG_5983 - Copy
Cute and colorful – we saw several of these guys along the trail

One of our favorite things to see on this trip was the blooming New Mexican agave plants, even though the only ones we saw were in Texas!

IMG_5998 - Copy

We visited the park during the latter part of May when many of the plants were in bloom. Desert plants are magnificent when in bloom, and if you’ve never experienced the refreshing summer rain scent of the creosote plant, you’re totally missing out!

Agaves and yucca plants produce tall stalks that can grow several feet overnight. Many desert animals eat the blooms and the stalks. We watched a mule deer in McKittrick Canyon gobble up an entire century plant stalk in about five minutes.

The normally scraggly-looking cactus plants put on a show during the spring with their brightly colored blooms, such as the cholla cactus shown at the top of the page.

Some of the other plants that were in bloom included:

IMG_6032
Soap Tree Yuccas
IMG_5891 - Copy
Butterfly Weed
IMG_6105
Prickly Pear Cactus
IMG_6091
Apache Plume with its white flowers and feathery pink plumes
IMG_6062
Delicate Prickly Pear “rosebuds” about to burst into bloom
IMG_5846
Bright orange Ocotillo blooms and a bee
IMG_5979 - Copy
Cardinal penstemon growing straight out of a rock at The Grotto
IMG_5986 - Copy
Another agave shot – not sorry. This was a large “agave forest” (our words) just outside the park.

Below are some of the plants and sights that we saw along the road in Lincoln National Forest on the way to Dog Canyon. Some of the plants looked like they had been purposely planted, but that didn’t bother us. We loved taking the back roads and seeing these plants off the beaten path!

IMG_6115
Creosote Bush – and oh, did it smell heavenly
IMG_6129
Yellow Bird of Paradise Bush
IMG_6125
Sweet Acacia
IMG_6121
Free range cattle jam on the road – and this wasn’t the only one we encountered
IMG_6135
This is the state line marker on the gate going in to Dog Canyon campground. Most of the trek to Dog Canyon is through New Mexico, but all of Guadalupe Mountains National Park is in Texas. Remote Dog Canyon is THE place to camp if you want to get away from it all.

We will close this post with a shot of a spectacular Texas Madrone.

IMG_5867 - Copy
Texas Madrone trees shed their bark to expose their smooth pink wood

Thank you for hanging with us through this long post. There is just so much beauty in Guadalupe Mountains National Park we wanted to share it with you! (And we barely scratched the surface.) We appreciate you traveling along with us on our journeys, and we hope you will stop back by soon for more great road tripping and RVing tips and more exciting adventures. Until then…

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

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

IMG_7570 (1)
Scenic Highway 112 aka the Kancamagus Highway aka the Kanc is a National Scenic Byway that traverses 34 miles of the beautiful White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

You’re probably wondering why we chose to do a New England road trip when the leaves weren’t turning. The simple answer is: we didn’t want to fight the crowds.

IMG_7692 (1)
The White Mountains

As crowded as some of our destinations were during non-leaf peeping season, we can’t imagine what it is like in October when the trees turn. With that said, we were not disappointed in the least about seeing Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont on the cusp of autumn. Although we did see a few trees showing their colors, we thought the foliage was beautiful as it was – green. So now that we’ve cleared that up, hop on board, buckle up, and let’s do the Kanc.

IMG_7549 (1)

The Kancamagus (Can-cuh-ma-gus, sort of rhymes with August) Highway begins in Conway, New Hampshire, if you’re driving West, but a few miles up the road in North Conway, we decided to stop for lunch. Our pick: Muddy Moose Restaurant & Pub. The weather was perfect, so we were able to sit on their patio, have a great burger, and enjoy the fresh air in the White Mountains. We are giving them a high five because their food and service was great. Thanks, Muddy Moose!

Back on the road in Conway, we stopped to see our first covered bridge.

IMG_7567
The Saco River Bridge was built in 1890 and spans – you guessed it – the Saco River.
IMG_7563 (1)
The Saco River as seen from the bridge.

Our next stop was the Saco Ranger Station. While a drive on the Kanc is free, a special pass is required for parking at the scenic areas. The ranger gave us a great map of the highway along with some other information, and he told us about the can’t-miss sights along the road. After that quick stop, we were off on our adventure.

IMG_7569 (1)

There are six National Forest campgrounds along the Kanc. All have potable water, bathrooms, parking, open fire places, and picnic tables. None of the campgrounds have RV hook-ups. Campsites are generally available from mid-May through mid-October, and most are only available on a first-come basis. Wood for campfires cannot be brought into the national forest. For information about camping on the Kanc, contact the White Mountain National Forest Ranger District. Additional campgrounds and hotels are available in Conway, North Conway, and Lincoln.

Albany Covered Bridge

IMG_7579 (1)
The White Mountain National Forest Covered Bridge was constructed by the Town of Albany in 1858 and renovated in 1970.

Lower Falls Scenic Area

IMG_7585 (1)
Scenic falls on the Swift River

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

We spent about an hour at Rocky Gorge. The area had well maintained walking trails, a bridge, rocks, pools, and even a small flume. This was one of our favorite stops along the Kanc.

IMG_7605 (1)
A small flume at Rocky Gorge
IMG_7609 (1)
The (rock filled) Swift River at Rocky Gorge

Russell-Colbath House Site

IMG_7626 (1)
The Russell-Colbath House, a historic farmhouse that sits near the Kancamagus Highway

IMG_7625 (1)

Across from the house is a small cemetery that is still maintained by the Town of Albany. What is it about old cemeteries that piques our interest? The age of the graves, perhaps, or maybe it’s the interesting headstones. Doesn’t it make you wonder who these people were, and wouldn’t you like to know their stories?

IMG_7621 (1)
Many of the graves in this cemetery are marked simply by fieldstones, such as the two in the right foreground.

And, here is the interesting but sad story of Ruth Russell Colbath, the wife of Thomas Colbath. For the rest of her life, Ruth maintained her family home and the farm with the help of her children and a local handyman. No one ever solved the mystery of what Thomas was doing for all those years.IMG_7632 (1)

Sabbaday Falls

This was our favorite stop on along the highway. The hike to the falls was wonderful, and the falls… well, see for yourself.

IMG_5696
Sabbaday Falls

The earthy scent of the lush, green forest and the crashing of the water on the rocks. That’s our kind of hike, and we loved every minute of our time here. The US Forest Service has added bridges, stairs, and viewing areas for ease in accessing the falls. There is also a picnic area near the parking lot. The hike is about .6 miles round trip with a 75 foot elevation gain.

IMG_5700
Serene scene
IMG_7688
From Sugar Hill Overlook. A few of the trees are about to start changing into their fall colors.
IMG_7690
Here’s one getting a head start on its autumn colors.

Lincoln Woods

This is the trailhead into the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Franconia Mountain Range. Apparently, this strenuous trail is not for the faint of heart.

IMG_7697 (1)
Suspension bridge over the Pemigewasset River
IMG_7704
The Pemigewasset River as seen from the bridge
IMG_7695 (1)
Look who we found near the parking lot!

At the end (or beginning, depending on which way you’re going) of the Kanc is the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire, which was our stop for the night.

IMG_5709

In Lincoln, we had dinner at Gordi’s Fish & Steak House. Does roasted beet salad sound good? Homemade clam chowder? Steak and baked potato? We loved their atmosphere, food, and service. This restaurant came highly recommended by the folks at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express. High fives, to Holiday Inn Express and to Gordi’s!

We’re at the end of this journey, but stop by again for more of our New England road trip, tips and tricks, and other exciting destinations. Become a follower on our site and on Facebook, and we would very much appreciate it if you would tell your friends about us.

We’re going to close this post with one more look at beautiful Sabbaday Falls.

IMG_7674

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