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

Penobscott Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox, Maine

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

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

IMG_5631
The Penobscott Narrows Bridge and Observatory

IMG_7103 (1)

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

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

IMG_7121 (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

IMG_0254

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

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

IMG_5151 - Copy

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

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

Highlights…

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

IMG_5291 (1)

IMG_5172 (1) - Copy

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

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

Hiking Palo Duro…

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

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

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

Wildlife…

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

Campgrounds and cabins…

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

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

Cool stuff nearby…

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

IMG_5153 (1) - Copy

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

IMG_5124 (1) - Copy

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

IMG_5134 (1) - Copy

Parting shots…

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

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

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

IMG_3603
Vintage motel in Delta, Colorado

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

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

First Stop: Cameron Trading Post

Sedona 2007 041
Cameron Trading Post

Where in the world is it?

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

Sedona 2007 042
The Cameron Suspension Bridge

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

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

Second Stop: Helena, Montana

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

IMG_0552

It’s a fact, Jack!

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

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

©2019

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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

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

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

First Stop: Turkey, Texas

20181013_133902

Where in the world is it?

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

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

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

20181013_134136

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

 Second stop: Dismal River

img_1623.jpg

Where in the world is it?

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

IMG_1624

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

IMG_1625

It’s a fact, Jack!

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye 

Hot Air Balloon flight

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

©2019

 

Featured

Albany, Texas and the Fort Griffin Fandangle

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

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

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

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

IMG_6298

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

IMG_5476
Some of the Fandangle cast

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

20190629_191221 (1)
Precious!

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye

IMG_2120

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

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Abilene, Texas

IMG_5388

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

On the beaten path…

Frontier Texas!

IMG_5421

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

IMG_5430
Flying Buffalo Herd at Frontier Texas

The Grace Museum

IMG_5410

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

Storybook Sculptures

img_5405.jpg
The Lorax in Everman Park

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

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

Abilene Zoological Park

IMG_5558