Tag Archives: National Parks

Mile 92658.3

That’s the number on our motorhome’s odometer.
“Wait. That’s all??”
“How many years have you been traveling?”
“We just finished our thirteenth year.”
“Is that the rig you started with?”
“Yep.”
“I’m surprised it’s not higher.”

And so it goes. That is actually a respectable 7100+ RV miles per year for(on average) and even if it doesn’t seem like much, it’s been enough for us to

Continue reading Mile 92658.3

My excuse – a WWW

I was doing pretty good with my self-imposed Post-A-Day goal for February (I had only missed Valentine’s Day and I actually had one ready – just forgot to hit the “Publish” button!) until this past weekend. Truthfully, some things are just more important than trying to figure out what to write on a blog.
Like this fellow –
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and this little guy –
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Among the highlights of our weekend –

  • A visit to the Waco Mammoth National Monument with our newest Junior Ranger.
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    We learned a lot – especially just how really, really big those guys were!
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    This location is a very recent (July 2015) addition to our National Park system, and we were very glad we got to check it out!
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  • A haircut for me (and W also if you compare the first picture with the Junior Ranger picture)
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    One of my biggest short hair “fears” is the need to get a cut every 6-8 weeks and always having to find a new stylist. It was great to go to the same sweetie that did the first cut, and we went super short (for me) to try and delay the next trim. We’ll see how that goes!
  • A trip to the Verizon Store. That was such an adventure, that I’m saving it for another post.
  • We brought Mr. Stanley along, but he didn’t get out too much. I’m pretty sure he still had a good time, though!
    Taran with Flat Stanley

Yes, indeed – we had a Wonderful Waco Weekend with our Texas kiddos! It’s probably the last one for a season, so we truly relished each moment.
And had exactly Zero Moments to worry about blogging! Sorry – but it’s really how it should be!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Catching up – Second installment

We still had a couple of National Parks to check out before we made that final dash to Waco –
Canyon DeChelly
This was another one of those ‘lesser known’ parks in the Four Corners area of the country, but we’re glad we stopped!
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Here’s the opening blurb from the website –
For nearly 5,000 years, people have lived in these canyons – longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau. In the place called Tseyi, their homes and images tell us their stories. Today, Navajo families make their homes, raise livestock, and farm the lands in these canyons. The National Park Service and Navajo Nation actively work together to manage park resources.
Because we were stopping here on our way to our next campground, we opted to do the driving tour rather than a more extensive tour of the valleys. Once again we were treated to beautiful views and lots of pueblo ruins.
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Here’s a bit of a zoom-in at the base of the canyon wall –
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Pretty impressive views all around!
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It was a great stop and we’re glad we put it into our itinerary!
(More pictures of the Canyon deChelly HERE) 🙂
Next up – The Petrified Forest and The Painted Desert.
WOW!!
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The petrified wood was so interesting –
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and very beautiful!
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The drive through the painted desert
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was spectacular, and the combination of the painted desert and the petrified forest
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was pretty amazing.
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Lots more pictures of this area can be found HERE. (Funny story about first world problems with the picture taking on this trip. Theoretically it was daylight savings time and I made sure my phone and big-girl camera were set to the same time so when I combined the pictures they would all be in order. HOWEVER, since Arizona does not do daylight savings time, every time we drove into AZ, my phone would change – but of course my camera would not. And then, if we were also in Navajo land, where they do do daylight savings time….well, let’s just say, getting these pictures in order was quite a task. Every park we went into in that Four Corners area had three clocks – Arizona time, whatever state we were in time, and Navajo time. Crazy!)

After the Petrified Forest, we put the pedal to the metal, and pointed the RV to Waco!
Back to Gary’s Journal –
[Following the Petrified Forest] we reconnected the truck and drove to the NM Welcome Center and stayed the night.
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UntitledLeft NM Rest Area @ 6:30. Stopped @ Denny’s for breakfast, drove East I40 to Rt 84. Stopped at Walmart in Lubbock, TX.
Left Walmart and drove East on Rte 84.
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Arrived Waco 2:30PM

And that finally wraps up our very long drive from California to Waco long, long ago…..

Thank you for your patience – and for coming along!

Catching Up – Installment 1

Long, long ago (well, last October at least) we drove from California to Waco, TX. And we took 10 days to get there! The reason it took so long was that we made stops at any number of National Parks along the way. I just checked where I had left off with our travel stories, and it seems we had just left Page, AZ and Lake Powell. Then I went to Gary’s journal to refresh my memory about what came next –

Tuesday, Oct 11 –
Left Walmart & drove east along rt. 98 & 160. Stopped at 4 Corners (Navajo land) & also Hovenweek NP – Pueblo Village-buildings. Continued on to campground. Set up RV. Relaxed. Went to Dinner. Pizza – Stopped at Walmart – ordered drugs. Went through many back roads to get to Hovenweep.
Wednesday, Oct 12-
Went to Mesa Verde NP. Toured Balcony House and drove around to all other lookouts. Stopped @ museum & watched movie. Also went to Anasazi Village for more movies and museum. Dinner @ small restaurant. Picked up scrips @Walmart and did laundry @ campground.

Yes – we do lead an exciting life, filled with Walmart trips and laundromats. But there were a couple of POI’s in those paragraphs too!

Four Corners –
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Truth here – it was a little disappointing. Although, it was what it said it was – a marker of where the four states come together. Several folks were waiting in line to get a picture of someone in their group standing in all four states at once, but that didn’t seem all that important to us. In looking back over my pictures, the one above is really, truly the only one I took. Oh well.
Hovenweep National Monument
I’d never even heard of the  Hovenweep National Monument. How about you? Here’s a little bit about it from the website –

Once home to over 2,500 people, Hovenweep includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Explore a variety of structures, including multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders. The construction and attention to detail will leave you marveling at the skill and motivation of the builders.

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We enjoyed a bit of a hike
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and were impressed with these remains perched on the canyon rim.
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Here’s a little panorama of the canyon –
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See the mountains in the distance? It was quite the landmark in this neck of the woods!
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🙂
After we did a bit of exploring in the Hovenweep ruins, we continued on our way to our next campground. Remember the mention of lots of back roads?
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Oh, yeah, baby!
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We settled nicely into our campground (and worked in that exciting stop at Walmart). The next day we set out for Mesa Verde – a true highlight of our ‘long road to Waco”.
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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, as you probably know, is all about cliff dwellings. It was absolutely amazing to see these masterpieces of engineering from centuries ago.
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While most of these cliff communities were viewed from overlooks, there was one that you could actually tour. The Balcony House
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And it was a real hands-on tour!
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We had an excellent Native American guide, who, as we stood silent in one of the rooms, serenaded us with a melody from his handmade flute.
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It was goose-bump beautiful!
These cliff dwellings were truly amazing.
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And the view on the way back to the campground was pretty striking too!
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It was a great day – from the guided tour to the many cliff dwellings to the beautiful views to those handy movies!
I’d highly recommend it as an addition to your bucket list!

Well, that gets us a little farther down the road, but there are still more adventures to share. But enough for tonight! HERE‘s a link to more pictures of the Hovenweep National Monument, and HERE‘s a link to more photos from Mesa Verde National Park.
I’ll save the rest of the trip for another day!

Presidential Things

Yesterday, while the nation was focused on the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States (whether you were cheering or weeping or just had your fingers crossed, I hope you were also praying!), we were concentrating on the 36th POTUS – Lyndon Baines Johnson. I was still in high school when LBJ was in the White House, and coming from a conservative family I don’t have any warm and fuzzy memories of this President.  Taking over the reins from JFK, enlarging the Vietnam War, ushering in massive welfare policies – those are the flashes of memories of LBJ I have. So yesterday when we visited the LBJ State Park and Historic Site, it was nice to put a more human face to this President.
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This property. also known as the Texas White House, was truly the Johnsons’ “Heart Home”, and it was easy to see how this was a place where a weary President (and his family) could come and get refreshed and filled up for the heavy job of the running this great country.
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But this wasn’t just a vacation get-away for the President and his family. He spent almost 1/4 of his presidency at the ranch, had telephones and TVs in every room, and entertained (and ‘did business with’) many heads of state during his time at the Texas White House. The house itself has been totally restored to how it looked during his Presidency, and the tour was excellent! (Sorry, no photography was allowed. =( ) Interestingly, one of the videos which we enjoyed was a tour of the ranch that was made during LBJ’s lifetime with him narrating in many places. The video was black and white and grainy, but you could really sense LBJ’s love for this land and his Texan heritage. Did you know

  • Johnson City was NOT named after LBJ, but after one of his ancestors that settled this area.
  • The president not only had a TV in every room, but several rooms had three TVs so he could watch all the stations at one time. (Remember when there were only THREE TV stations instead of 1,947?)
  • LBJ had an Amphicar, which could be driven right into water and then used as a boat. Apparently he especially liked to drive unsuspecting riders right into his lake, all the while exclaiming that his brakes weren’t working.  The car is one of several automobiles on display that the Johnsons used both on the ranch and in Washington.
  • LBJ spent 484 days at his ranch during 1886 days as POTUS. No wonder he had a state of the art (for the day) communication center set up at the ranch!
  • Instead of a guest book, LBJ had visitors sign their names in concrete squares (12×12) that he then placed around the property.

Just four short years after he retired to the ranch, LBJ died of a massive heart attack while on the ranch. Lady Bird Johnson outlived him by 34 years.  Both are buried near their beautiful Texan home, beneath gracious Live Oaks, with a church steeple in the distance.
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We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know ‘the man’ behind the President, and seeing the property and lifestyle that shaped who he was and how he governed. And of course, perhaps the best part of the outing was that we were hanging out with dear SOWER friends!
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Nothing makes history more fun than seeing it with friends!
I highly recommend checking out any Presidential libraries, homes, birthplaces, etc. that you might come upon during your travels. There is ALWAYS something to learn!