Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Northern Arizona Sunset

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

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

First Stop: Clark Canyon Reservoir

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Where in the world is it?

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

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

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

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

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Clark Canyon Reservoir sits at the 45th Parallel

Second Stop: Jacob’s Dream Sculpture

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Jacob’s Dream

 Where in the world is it?

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

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

It’s a fact, Jack!

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye 

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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

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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A yak eating yellow flowers!

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

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

First Stop: Golden Spike Tower (Nebraska)

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Where in the world is it?

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

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

Second Stop: Lajitas, Texas

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Sundown at Lajitas

Where in the world is it?

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

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Awesome old building in Lajitas

It’s a fact, Jack!

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye 

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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

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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West Texas cotton field

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: Very Large Array (New Mexico)

Where in the world is it?

The Very Large Array, or VLA for short, is located about 50 miles west of Soccoro, New Mexico off of US Highway 60, near the tiny town of Datil. The VLA is a collection of 27 dish-shaped antennas that combine to make a radio telescope which is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Radio telescopes focus on things in the universe that give off radio waves, such as quasars and black holes. The dishes/antennas sit on tracks so they can be moved as needed, thus the array can span a distance of 23 miles. They also tilt and turn. (Take it from us…you don’t want to be standing underneath one of these things when they start moving!) Take a look…

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Each dish/antenna measures 82 feet in diameter.

For those wanting to visit the VLA, here’s a website link for information: Very Large Array.

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Pronghorns near VLA

Second Stop: Petrified Wood Gas Station

Where in the world is it?

The building is located at 501 Main Street, Lamar Colorado. Obviously, it is no longer a gas station, but we suspect that those holes in the concrete in front of the building are where the pumps used to be.

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Up close. Petrified wood mosaic comprising the side wall of the building.

It’s a fact, Jack!

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Carl Sagan was a guy who wore many hats, but he was primarily a renowned astronomer, astrophysicist, and author. He was acclaimed for his research on extraterrestrial existence and was a professor of astronomy at Cornell University. Actress Jodie Foster, a graduate of Yale University, starred in the popular 1997 movie, Contact. Parts of the movie were filmed at the Very Large Array. Carl Sagan wrote the book, Contact, upon which the movie was based. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us on our virtual tour of the VLA and the petrified wood gas station. We invite you to return to our site every week for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye 

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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 Monument Valley Tribal Park

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

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

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Getting There

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

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

*Recommended hotel in Page: Hampton Inn

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

Destination: Monument Valley Tribal Park

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

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

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

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Setting Hen
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Beautiful Butte
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Monument Valley Vista

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

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Valley of the Gods

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

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

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Alhambra Rock

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

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

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

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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

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Your guess is as good as ours!

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

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

First Stop: Fort Davis National Historic Site

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Officers Row

Where in the world is it?

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

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Remains of the original fort and some remaining buildings.

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

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

Second stop: Pipe Spring National Monument

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Where in the world is it?

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

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Living Quarters

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

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Pond at Pipe Spring

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

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Farm animals at Pipe Spring

It’s a fact, Jack!

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye 

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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

Black Hills of South Dakota – Day Seven

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Day Seven

Destination: Relaxation

Surprise! We’re leaving the entire day open for you.

However, we are going to leave you with a few additional photos. (Oh, and if you need help finding something to do on this final day of your Black Hills vacation, check out this link: Visit Rapid City)

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Badlands Bison
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Delta-01 Launch Control, 31 feet underground. Note the wall-size computer.
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Blast Door on the Delta-01 Launch Control Center
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Precious Prairie Dog
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Animatronic T-Rex at Wall Drug
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This snake interrupted our hike at Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon.
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Dog “driving” a red truck at Mount Rushmore.
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Giant short-faced bear skeleton at The Mammoth Site.

Wow! What a week! Thank you for hanging on with us through this series of blog posts.  Below is a little trivia you can use to impress your friends.

If you followed our itinerary, you:

  • visited three National Parks (Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands);
  • visited two National Monuments (Devils Tower, Jewel Cave);
  • visited one National Memorial (Mount Rushmore);
  • visited one State Park (Custer);
  • visited one National Historic Landmark (Deadwood);
  • visited one National Historic Site (Minuteman Missile);
  • visited one National Natural Landmark (The Mammoth Site);
  • visited three states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming);
  • saw a lot of wildlife;
  • saw some spectacular scenery;
  • probably learned something new;
  • can tell all your friends that you’ve been to Wall Drug Store!

Stay tuned for another series coming soon. Meanwhile, check back on our site each week for another great road trip or travel tip. We post on Saturday mornings, and we would love to have you join us on our journeys. By the way, we would love to hear about your journeys, too, so leave us a note in the comments section. 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.

©2018

 

 

 

 

Featured

Black Hills of South Dakota – Day Six

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→Note: this post is the sixth in a series as we cover a week long vacation itinerary. Our trip starts at Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Day Six

Destination: Badlands National Park

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  • Website link: Badlands National Park
  • Cost: $20.00 per car
  • Accommodations: Cedar Pass Lodge and campground, and one additional primitive campground. Backcountry camping is permitted. See the website for details.

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Take I-90 east toward Wall, South Dakota. Drive time: 1 hour.

Bonus stop: Wall Drug Store. The ultimate tourist trap! You can’t miss the exit because there is a sign every few hundred feet (it seems) along I-90. This place has everything imaginable, including their famous free ice water. Definitely worth a stop for food, gasoline, shopping, and more.

From Wall, take Highway 240 south to the Pinnacles Entrance of Badlands National Park.

Look for bison and prairie dogs near the entrance station. Notice the pristine prairie of Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Listen for the wind rustling the grasses. The rattling sound the grass makes is enchanting.

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After entering the park, turn right (west) on to Sage Creek Rim Road (unpaved) for spectacular views and sightings of bighorn sheep. Stop at each of the overlooks on this road for major photo ops of the Badlands Wilderness. Remember not to approach or feed wildlife.

Turn around and head east toward the paved road, which is Badlands Loop Road. Follow this road through the park, stopping at the overlooks for different perspectives and information on the park. Photos do not do justice to the beautiful scenery in this park. We believe it needs be seen in person.

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Badlands Wilderness
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Panoramic view from Badlands Loop Road

It is approximately 25 miles from the Pinnacles Entrance to the park headquarters, Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Just before reaching the visitor center, stretch your legs at the short, easy Fossil Exhibit Trail, then drive on to the visitor center for the exhibits, more gorgeous scenery, and additional park information.

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Stunning colors!
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Yes, it really is this pretty!
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Ancient Seabed

Take Highway 240 north out of the park toward I-90.

IMG_1586Bonus stop: Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Just north of I-90 when exiting Badlands National Park. View the exhibits in the visitor center and check in for your guided tour of the park’s Delta-01 site. During the tour, you will go underground to see how minuteman missiles were used to protect the United States during the Cold War. Advance reservations are required for the tour, and there is a nominal fee. Check the park’s website for details. Here’s a link: Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.

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This is a very interesting site and a great learning experience! We highly recommend a tour of the Delta-01 site.

Return to Rapid City via I-90 west.

That’s day six, folks, and what a full day it was! We hope you enjoyed traveling with us to Badlands National Park, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, and Wall Drug Store. Our mission is to share our knowledge to help you plan your own great vacations. Log in to our site next week for the final day, Day Seven, of our Black Hills vacation itinerary. Better yet, become a follower so you get an e-mail notification every time we post a new 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.

©2018