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Wish We Were There Wednesday: Wildlife

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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.

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Sup, gurl?
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We try to shoot (with our cameras) cardinals every time we see one. Not sure what was so interesting about that wall, though.
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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.
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We wanted to take this adorable baby longhorn home with us, but our neighborhood doesn’t allow us to have cattle in our yard. 🙁
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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Texas. They’re the state bird of Oklahoma. Guess this one heard the flies are bigger in Texas.
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Guadalupe Mountains mule deer on a mission. Pretty sure we heard her humming that song “I’m Bringin’ Home a Baby Bumblebee”.
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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.
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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.
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Dude, she’s just not that into you. All 10’s for the performance, though – just too bad you couldn’t stick the landing.
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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.
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Colorado hummingbird. One of our luckiest shots ever, ’cause these little guys are fast!
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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.
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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…
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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

Antietam National Battlefield

Located just outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland, Antietam National Battlefield was one of our favorite destinations on our Mid-Atlantic road trip. During the battle that took place on September 17, 1862 and lasted only about 12 hours, 23,000 men’s lives were changed forever. Ending in a Union victory, it was the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War.

Maryland Monument
Dunker Church so named because their parishioners were baptized by dunking
Miller Farmhouse

The men who lost their lives here did not in any way die in vain, but when one steps foot on these consecrated grounds it is hard not to think that any war has its own senselessness. We felt something spiritual here that resembled the way we felt at the Oklahoma City Memorial – both being places that were once violently disrupted by turmoil but are now utterly serene. Perhaps the spirits of those who fought and died here walked along with us and somehow soothed our souls.

Mumma Farm, the only structure deliberately destroyed during the battle. Confederate soldiers burned the house and outbuildings so Union troops could not use them. Luckily, the Mumma family had left the house before the battle. They rebuilt the house in 1863. Before this trip, we never knew that families whose properties were damaged or destroyed during the Civil War were compensated by the government in order to rebuild.
Hallowed Ground

Another thing we learned on the trip was that the National Park Service leases some of its land to local farmers for growing crops. We never had seen so many soybeans, and certainly never knew that so many acres of soybeans were grown in the US.

Sunken Road aka Bloody Lane looking north
Bloody Lane looking south

This is the site where the Confederates held off 10,000 Union soldiers during a three hour battle. The casualties were high and the road was lined with bodies. Click here for some additional information and photographs of the aftermath of this battle thanks to the History Channel: https://www.history.com/news/battle-antietam-photography-civil-war . Warning – the photographs are graphic!

Burnside Bridge – probably the most photographed landmark at Antietam. General Burnside’s men captured the bridge from about 500 Confederate soldiers who had held the area for more than three hours. Burnside’s troops crossed Antietam Creek, which drove the Confederates back toward Sharpsburg.

The Antietam National Cemetery is located in Sharpsburg, Maryland, just a few miles from the battlefield. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go in, but according the the park brochure 4,776 Union soldiers are buried here, along with veterans of other wars. This cemetery did not exist at the time of the Civil War so the dead were buried where they died on the battlefield. Later their remains were reinterred at this cemetery. Confederate soldiers were buried in Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD, and Shepherdstown, VA, now WV. Interestingly, in 2009 remains of an unidentified soldier were found in a cornfield, most likely buried where he fell on the battlefield almost 150 years before.

Cemetery Lodge (sometimes called Keepers House) on the grounds of the Antietam National Cemetery

That’s going to do it for our overview of the Antietam National Battlefield. We hope you enjoyed the visit and that you will come back often to see us as we post more trips and tips. Thank you for joining us on the road. Until next time…

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.

©2021

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Pretty Pictures

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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.

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Paintbrush

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Morning

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Bloom

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Serenity

Study in Pink

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Texas

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Next to grandma’s porch, perhaps

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Where the desert meets the sky – White Sands National Park

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National Grassland, South Dakota

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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

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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.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Feathers and Fur

Bighorn Sheep, Badlands National Park

Part of the reason we travel to parks is to see wildlife. We even keep lists of the animals we see on trips because we can’t always get a picture of them – like the badger that ran in front of us on a road in South Dakota. Hey, it was exciting! (Here in West Texas you don’t see too many badgers, although a couple of coyotes ran across the road in front of us near our Walmart one time!) Anyway, all wildlife sightings are a thrill to us. Today we’re sharing some of our faves.

Cute prairie dog at Badlands National Park. Okay, these animals make their homes in nearly every vacant lot where we live – they’re literally everywhere – but we don’t go around taking pictures of them. Besides, this is a South Dakota prairie dog.

We have no idea what kind of bird this is, but it was a beggar. We were at the end of our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and as soon as we sat down to have a snack, this guy showed up, like, “Y’all gonna share?”

This is a javelina that we saw in a dry creek bed near Big Bend National Park. We’re sure they serve some purpose, but we don’t know what. Wouldn’t want to snuggle with one.

Petrified Forest raven – not the species, we just took the picture there. Another shameless beggar. He sat right down next to us, and every time we would move over, he would move over too. Pretty sure he was checking out our jewelry. Never trust a raven, they are super sneaky. Trivia: ravens can imitate human voices better than a parrot, and if they like you, they might bring you a gift – probably something they stole out of someone’s purse, but it’s the thought that counts.

We have squirrels in our yard, but these little (Colorado chipmunk) dudes are way cuter… and they don’t eat our fence.

We captured (not literally) this mad mother cactus wren at Big Bend National Park. We’d be mad if we had to live in a cactus, too.

Rocky Mountain National Park bull elk. No lie, this macho man had at least 20 wives and a bunch of kids that he was watching over, but he was so pretty we wanted a shot of him alone.

We didn’t have to go far to find this little hummingbird because he was in our own back yard. Thrilling for us because we only see them if we’re lucky enough to catch them during migration. Trivia: a group of hummingbirds is called a charm.

Here’s a little North Dakota gal that we would like to snuggle.

Boston harbor gull. Undoubtedly, he is waiting for an unsuspecting tourist to walk by with food. These guys aren’t beggars, they’re thieves. Trivia: gulls can smell food up to three miles away, and they can see for up to two miles. A group of gulls is called a colony. PSA: never go near a harbor with a Big Mac.

We’re going to close this post with a bison we saw at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We wouldn’t want to get too close to him, not only because he weighs a ton and could probably kill us with a little head butt, but because we think he would smell terrible – like really terrible. We will keep our distance, thank you.

We hope you enjoyed our post and will come back again for more exciting road trip destinations, a Quick Stop, some tips and tricks, or another Wish We Were There Wednesday. Better yet, come back for all of our posts, and join our family of followers so you never miss one! We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

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”?

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Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

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Slide Rock State Park, Arizona

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Cathedral Rock, Red Rock State Park, Arizona

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Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

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Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota

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Needles. Another shot from Custer State Park because we loved it so much!

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Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas

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1934 Pool Pavilion, Abilene State Park, Texas

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The Water Tower. Originally built by the CCC then rebuilt after a fire. Abilene State Park, Texas

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Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

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Rio Grande Gorge State Park, New Mexico

The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

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Living Desert State Park, New Mexico

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Missouri Headwaters State Park, Montana

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Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

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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

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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.

©2022

Featured

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

The town of Harpers Ferry is a national park located (now) in the state of West Virginia, but it also borders the states of Maryland and Virginia. The town once had an armory (established by George Washington to build muskets), a cotton mill among other important manufacturing sites, and a college. It is also the site of the 1862 Civil War Battle of Harpers Ferry, when the town was in the state of Virginia.

Here visitors can hike a section of the Appalachian Trail, walk the C & O Canal towpath (part of the Appalachian Trail), or enjoy several other hiking trails. There are also outfitters nearby that can put you on a river if water sports are your thing. Several museums and other points of interest are located along Potomac and High Streets in the lower town.

The Appalachian Trail winds its way from Maryland Heights across the Potomac River and through Harpers Ferry
Peaceful path to Virginius Island

The Rivers

The Point is where two rivers converge. This is a popular place in the park. It is interesting to see the water of the Potomac blend with the water of the Shenandoah where they meet at the center of the image.

The forest green water of the Potomac (foreground) flows into the olive green Shenandoah (background)
Along the bank of the Shenandoah

The Town

When visiting Harpers Ferry, guests can park at the visitor center then board a free shuttle to take them to the lower town. A hiking trail leads to the lower town for those who would rather walk. There are many historic buildings to see and there are also shops and restaurants. Although it is a national park, Harpers Ferry does have residents.

High Street
Along Shenandoah Street
Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

John Brown

John Brown was a staunch abolitionist. In 1859, he organized a raid on Harpers Ferry. The rebellion, which was intended to arm enslaved men by seizing the armory, was a failure. After a thirty-six hour standoff, Brown and his men were killed or captured by a group of US Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Brown was later found guilty of treason, inciting a riot, and conspiracy. His trial and subsequent hanging took place in Charles Town, Virginia, now West Virginia.

John Brown’s Fort was originally the firehouse for the armory in Harpers Ferry. It is now referred to as John Brown’s Fort because it is where he and his men barricaded themselves during the final hours of their raid before being captured.
This and the photo above were taken at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

It is reported that Brown wrote this on the wall of his cell just before being hanged: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”

Miscellany

The Harpers Ferry train tunnel is actually on the Maryland side of the Potomac River
Remains of a B & O Railroad bridge which spanned the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. While these piers are newer, railroad bridges here were destroyed and rebuilt nine times during the Civil War, however, five of those times the bridges were destroyed by floods.
Shenandoah Bridge near The Point at Harpers Ferry. The bridge was originally constructed in 1882. It was destroyed by a flood in 1889 and rebuilt. These piers are all that remain after another major flood destroyed the bridge in 1936.
Ruins along Virginius Island Trail
Train trestle currently used by Amtrak and a commuter train service

We’re going to wrap up our visit to Harpers Ferry here. Thanks so much for joining us on the road. We hope you will come back again to enjoy more of our Mid-Atlantic road trip. Until next time…

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.

©2021

Featured

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Williamsport, Maryland

The C & O Canal runs for 184.5 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD

The first idea for a canal was introduced as a bill submitted in 1774 to the Virginia governing body of the time by George Washington. His plan was to use the Potomac River as a means to move cargo, however, there were parts of the river that would be too dangerous for boats. He proposed to build a canal system that would enable navigation around those treacherous areas. After the Revolutionary War, his plans were set in motion and the Potowmack Canal Company was established with Washington at its helm. The canal was completed in 1802, three years after Washington’s death. It operated until 1828 when the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company took over Potowmack Canal Company and devised a plan to build a better canal system which would connect the Ohio River to the Chesapeake Bay. Under the new C & O plan, the canal would run next to the Potomac, but boats would not have to navigate the river. The construction period ran from 1828 to 1850, but the canal never made it to the Ohio River, mainly because the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad got there first. Moving cargo via the railroad was faster and more efficient. The canal was utilized from 1831 to 1924, and in its last years was used primarily for moving coal from the Allegheny Mountains to Washington, DC.

In 1938, the government purchased the canal with plans to turn it into a recreational area. President Eisenhower declared a portion of the canal a national monument in 1961. Ten years later, President Nixon signed a bill into law creating the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

Cushwa’s historic warehouse in Williamsport, MD, one of the three current visitor centers for the park

We chose to visit the Williamsport, MD portion of the park because it was the closest to our next destination. Our initial plans did not include this stop, but we are so glad we were able make the last minute change. Williamsport is the future home of the park’s headquarters. The National Park Service is currently refurbishing the site of a former lumber company that sits across the street from Cushwa’s.

This portion of the park sits at the confluence of the Potomac River (background) and Conococheague Creek (foreground). What a serene and beautiful place we found this to be on a lazy September morning. By the way, those trees on in the background are in West Virginia. Here the Potomac forms the border between West Virginia and Maryland.
The canal as it flows over the recently restored (in 2019) Conococheague Aqueduct
The 1879 Bollman bridge over the canal is one of the oldest standing iron railroad bridges in the US. Here you can see the towpath where mules would walk as they towed boats up and down the canal. Now, the towpath is used for a walking and biking trail. Trivia: the C & O Canal towpath at Harper’s Ferry, WV is part of the Appalachian Trail.

Wendell Bollman, a self-taught engineer who began his career at the age of 15, designed a specific type of truss, now called the Bollman Truss, that was used for many bridges built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B & O) including the one shown above. Trivia: the B & O Railroad is the same one that sits between Illinois and Atlantic Avenues as depicted on the classic Monopoly game board.

Built in 1923, this strange-looking contraption is the only one of it’s kind on the C & O Canal. It is a railroad lift bridge that operated like an elevator to lower the tracks enabling trains loaded with coal to cross the canal. It is now a pedestrian bridge.
A view of the railroad lift bridge from underneath
A different view of the Bollman bridge with railroad tracks on the ground next to the canal. These tracks (along with the railroad lift bridge seen in the previous photos) would have been for the trains delivering coal to the power plant, part of which can be seen in the top right-hand corner of the picture.

For more information about this historic park, click here: https://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm

We are going to end our trip to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park here, but we will leave you with one more look at the canal and towpath. Imagine warm sunshine, no breeze, the smells of the earth, and complete solitude with nothing to disturb you except the summery drone of an occasional cicada. This is that place.

Thank you so much for stopping by our blog! Please come back soon for another road trip, quick stop, or travel tip. We love hearing from our readers, so feel free to leave a comment, and be sure to “like” us, too. Become a follower so you never miss one of our posts. We will not share or sell your information

Until next time…

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

Mike and Kellye

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.

©2021

Featured

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg has a lot to see and do, and honestly we should have stayed for more than a day. We spent two hours viewing the introductory film, seeing the cyclorama, and seeing the museum. All three are covered in a $15.00 fee at the visitor center. Otherwise, the park is free to visit. The auto tour took another three hours. We hiked one trail near Little Round Top and then walked the entire National Cemetery Trail. In all, we probably spent six to seven hours in the park. If you have never been to Gettysburg, you need to know that the park is surrounded by the town where traffic is heavy and parking is almost non-existent. Downtown Gettysburg is fun and has lots of shops and restaurants, but be prepared to feed a parking meter if you go.

Restaurant recommendations:

Tommy’s Pizza – great for lunch.

The Gettysburger was worth the hour-long wait for a table for dinner. The food was great and the service was excellent. They even have a dog menu if you want to have your fur baby join you on their patio! We highly recommend making a reservation.

The Auto Tour

The auto tour is 24 miles long and can be self-guided or many types of guided tours are available. We chose to do the self guided tour which is easy using the information provided in the park brochure. The tour is well marked with signs so it is easy to follow. We did not stop at every memorial or monument, however, we did stop at all sixteen points of interest described in the brochure.

Eternal Light Peace Memorial – “Peace Eternal in a Nation United”
The Virginia Memorial
State of Pennsylvania Monument
Church at the Lutheran Theological Seminary – Seminary Ridge

The Gettysburg National Cemetery

The National Cemetery is a a somber and extremely beautiful place. While driving through the battlefields, you can’t help but think about what took place there and the lives that were ended or changed forever on those hallowed grounds, but walking through the cemetery really brings it home.

The Soldiers National Memorial at Gettysburg National Cemetery sits on the site of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Cyclorama

The Gettysburg Cyclorama, which is 377 feet long and 42 feet high, is a stunning depiction of the final Confederate assault on July 3, 1863. The painting, one of the largest in the world, was done by Paul Philippoteaux in the 1880s. The building that houses the cyclorama provides special lighting and sound effects that seemingly place the viewer in the midst of the battle. The narrator does an excellent job of pointing out the landmarks and explaining how the battle took place. Seeing this before we took the auto tour really helped us to know what we were looking at. Some of our photos are below, and here is a link to the National Park Service website which has the history of the cyclorama, videos, and additional photos: https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/cyclorama.htm

This is a close-up of the photo above. Look closely at the man being carried. It’s a little Easter egg that Philippoteaux added to his masterpiece. Do you see that the man is Abraham Lincoln? They also said that Philippoteaux portrayed himself somewhere in the painting too, but we didn’t find him.

The Gettysburg Museum

So much to see and learn in this museum! It is a definite must-do prior to taking the auto tour. We were particularly interested in the many flags that are on display. Below are a couple of the exhibits.

We’re going to close this post with one last picture from the auto tour. Please come back often to see more of our latest trip. Better yet, become an e-mail follower so you will be notified every time we post. We will not sell to or share your information with anyone.

The beautiful State of Vermont Monument

Thanks so much for riding along with us. Until next time…

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.

©2021

Featured

We’re Finally Back on the Road!

Covid threw us (and everyone else) for a loop, but after a too-long hiatus, a lot of research, and many hours of soul searching, we decided to mask up, pack our hand sanitizer, and get back to business. We are thrilled to share our 1200 mile, five state Mid-Atlantic road trip with you over the next weeks and months, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Our trip began and ended in Baltimore, MD because…well, Southwest flies there. We try to always fly Southwest if possible – gotta love those points! Plus, Baltimore was a perfect central location for everything we wanted to do and see. What we didn’t expect was the heavy traffic. (Wilmington and Baltimore, we’re looking at you!) For a couple of folks from the wide open spaces of West Texas, we weren’t used to taking two and a half hours to go 68 miles. That said, the trip was great and the bumper to bumper traffic in some areas just added to the adventure.

Here’s our cute Kia Sorrento rental car.

Catoctin Mountain Park (Thurmont, Maryland)

Our very first stop on the trip was at Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. It is a free entrance national park site that includes a scenic drive, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, streams, fishing, rock climbing, and cross country skiing in the winter, and it abuts Cunningham Falls State Park, which is the site of the highest waterfall in Maryland. You may not have heard of Catoctin Mountain Park, but we bet you’ve heard of Camp David. The presidential retreat established by Dwight D. Eisenhower and named after his grandson is located in Catoctin Mountain Park. Camp David is not accessible to the public and its location is apparently kept very secretive. We happened to see what we believed to be the entrance because it had official looking gates with signs that prohibited parking, standing, and picture taking.

Oh, the beauty, the delightful bird calls and the earthy smells of the forest. We love a good trail, and this one didn’t disappoint.
Pastoral Catoctin Mountains farm scene from the overlook at the end of the trail

Here’s a handy link to Catoctin Mountain Park for more information: https://www.nps.gov/cato/index.ht

National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

We didn’t have this stop on our itinerary, but it was on the way to Gettysburg so we took a chance. What a great place to see! The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The grounds, walking paths, and gardens are beautiful. We got to witness a pilgrimage to the Grotto while we were there, which was an exciting first for us. That is why there are no pictures of the actual Grotto, but below are some shots from in and around the area. While viewing the pictures, imagine walking through a serene garden setting on a mountain top while a carillon rings out “How Great Thou Art”.

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Saint Anthony Shrine (dedicated in 1859) near the National Shrine Grotto in Emmitsburg

Here is the link to The National Shrine Grotto if you would like additional information: https://www.nsgrotto.org/

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Also in Emmitsburg, MD, is the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Born in 1774, she was the first American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Shrine and Basillica

Also of interest in Emmitsburg is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial which is located just down the street from the Seton Shrine.

Here is the link to The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: https://setonshrine.org

Here is the link to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial: https://www.firehero.org

That is all we have for this post. You won’t want to miss our next exciting destination, Gettysburg. We appreciate you for visiting our site and riding along with us on our adventures. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Until next time…

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.

©2021

Featured

Beautiful Plants and Flowers of New England

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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…

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Water lilies on a pond at Acadia

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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.

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Can anyone identify this gorgeous plant?

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We found ferns everywhere we looked

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Mountain Ash. The clusters of lipstick red berries made them hard to miss.

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Does anyone know what this pink plant is called?

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This majestic tree is on the grounds of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, near the visitor center.

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Sunflower in a garden in New Hampshire

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Viburnum

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Pink Viburnum

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Velvety mosses carpet the forest floor

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We had to include this hot pink zinnia that we found growing near the Vermont State House

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Staghorn Sumac

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We aren’t sure what kind of tree this is (birch, maybe?), but we thought it was interesting.

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Asters

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We are tempted to call these sedum, but we’re not sure. Can someone confirm?

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Stunning dahlias found in a garden in Bar Harbor

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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!)

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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…

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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.

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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

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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.

©2020