January 12, 2023

The Moro Rock Trail - Yikes! (National Parks Trip #3)

With 2022 in our rear view mirror and 2023 already promising to provide a number of exceptional adventures, I’m up to my neck in travel planning.  So, it’s time to settle down and get our most recent National Parks trips documented and put to bed.  This post represents another installment in the series describing our West Coast National Parks trip in the summer of 2017.  Alan and I, along with our 18 year old daughter, Kyra, logged a total of 8,513 memorable miles of adventure over the course of five and a half weeks during the months of July and August.

Before I begin today’s post about Day #12 of our journey, I have to admit that I’m truly, truly enjoying documenting our past travels.  I believe that I’m the luckiest of family members.  I get to enjoy and anticipate our trips as I plan them, then I get to enjoy them while we’re actually on them and then I get to enjoy them all over again as I document them.  I get a LOT of mileage out of our travels and that makes my heart happy!

I’m not, by nature, a true adventurer.  Yes, I’m an outdoor enthusiast, but my idea of fun-filled outdoor activities includes the more sedate ones.  I prefer hiking, biking and kayaking over activities like trail-running, rock climbing, mountain biking and white water rafting.  Add in a fear of heights and I’ll admit that sometimes I’m a plain ol’ scaredy cat.  Then along comes our daughter – a curious explorer, outdoor adventurer and bundle of bravery all wrapped up in one petite package.

December 28, 2022

Reflections Without a Campfire

The majority of the photos in today's post were taken at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge and the Opryland Hotel in Nashville (both in Tennessee).  These establishments truly know how to do it up right for the holiday season. 

Earlier this month, Alan and I took an impromptu trip to Tennessee.  For years we had talked about visiting both Dollywood and Nashvillle during the holiday season.  This year a Tennessee Christmas adventure finally fit into our schedule – after the holiday shopping was done but before the gifts were wrapped and in between two critical dental appointments.  I needed a shoehorn (remember those?) to wedge it into our calendar, but wedge it I did.

December 10, 2022

The Nation's Christmas Tree & Other Confusing Tidbits - Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks (National Parks Trip #3)

This post represents another installment in the series documenting our West Coast National Parks trip in the summer of 2017.  Alan and I, along with our 18 year old daughter, Kyra, logged a total of 8,513 memorable miles of adventure over the course of five and a half weeks during the months of July and August.

Guess what!  Day #10 of our West Coast National Parks Trip was my birthday!  Because my birthday falls during the summer, I usually try to plan an outdoor adventure around that time so that my special day is especially special.  (Being the travel planner in the family does have its advantages.)  Although I didn’t specifically plan this trip to coincide with my birthday, as it so happened, we would be arriving at the first of our National Parks stops on my big day.  During our previous National Parks Trip in 2010, we were in Bryce Canyon National Park on my birthday.  This time around, we’d be celebrating my big day in conjunction with our arrival at Sequoia/Kings Canyon.

November 30, 2022

California, Here We Come! (National Parks Trip #3)

This post represents another installment in the series documenting our West Coast National Parks trip in the summer of 2017.  Alan and I, along with our 18 year old daughter, Kyra, logged a total of 8,513 memorable miles of adventure over the course of five and a half weeks during the months of July and August.

The morning of Day #9 on this epic journey to the west coast found us hitching up at Lake Mead RV Village in Boulder City, Nevada.  After our quick stop in Las Vegas, we were ready to continue our westward journey.  There we were, more than a week on the road already, and we still hadn’t come close to a National Park.  That would change soon but, first, a stop in the City of Angels.

November 08, 2022

Southern States Loop - The Highlights (Part 2 of 2)

Alan and I recently completed an 8,333 mile loop through a number of southern states in which we hadn’t yet camped.  In my previous post, I covered the “lowlights” of that trip.  Now, it’s on to the highlights!

The tour bus, rumbled down the track, its passengers mesmerized and silent.  The driver, focused intently on the road ahead, gripped the wheel tightly in the 10 and 2 position.  His concentration was evident as his foot forced the gas pedal all the way to the floor and held it there.  The speedometer hit 70, and the bus sped into one of the famous banked turns on the Talladega Superspeedway, a place where legends are born.  And that, my friends, was one of the incredibly memorable highlights of our Southern States loop.  Alan and I had a front row seat as our tour bus driver took the lower part of that turn carefully and brought the bus to a stop at the finish line.  “What a thrill!” sounds like a cliché to my ears, but “racing” around the track and actually standing on the finish line at Talladega really was an awe-inspiring experience. 

October 26, 2022

Southern States Loop - It's a Wrap! (Part 1 of 2)

Alan and I recently returned from a five week loop through a number of southern states in which we hadn’t yet camped.    We tallied seven new-to-us states (West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Maryland) and traveled a total of 8,333 miles.  About half of those miles were spent with the travel trailer in tow; the other 4,000+ miles were logged during our explorations away from base camp.  Overall, it was an excellent trip with a great number of wonderful experiences and a few disappointments thrown in to keep us from getting too cocky.

This is what our map looked like before the trip . . .

By way of explanation for those unfamiliar with a “visited states map,” different families have different criteria for coloring in a state.  Ours is that we have to sleep in the state in our travel trailer for at least one night for it to be counted.  So, for example, even though we’ve attended conferences in Texas, visited friends there and have driven across the narrow northern section of that state towing the travel trailer, we didn’t color it in until this trip because we never actually camped there.

. . . and this is what it looks like now. Just four more to go in the 48 contiguous states!

I’ll document this trip completely at a later date (I really need to get back to documenting our West Coast National Parks Trip), but I wanted to post a recap while these past five and a half weeks on the road were still fresh in my mind.  Read on for the highlights – and the “lowlights.”

October 04, 2022

Let's Have Some Fun with a New Quiz!

I’m taking a brief break from documenting our West Coast National Parks Trip with two or three miscellaneous posts.  Bob Lowry over at My Satisfying Retirement (link in the column to the right) recently published a post entitled, “What Do You Do for Fun?”  Suffice it to say that his readers enjoy quite the variety of fun-filled activities.  In the spirit of that post, I thought I’d bring a little fun to your day and mine by publishing a quiz that will allow you to get to know me a little better, if you’re so inclined.  Photos in today’s blog post were taken during our family’s annual summer vacation at Great Lake Sacandaga in central New York.  During one of our blue-sky boating days, the clouds were particularly photogenic, and I’m a sucker for photogenic clouds. 

In the past, I’ve published two other quizzes.  If you’re interested in backtracking to those, you can find them here (I Can't Go Camping, So . . . ) and here (It's A Pop Quiz!).  If you’re ready to take on today’s challenge, read on.