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Devils Tower Road Trip: Things to Do

Black Hills, South Dakota

This airport to destination road trip to Devils Tower begins in Rapid City, South Dakota. Distance between Rapid City and Devils Tower: 107 miles/1.75 hours. In this post we will be highlighting four bonus stops along the way and listing things to do at each stop. We’re even including a bonus road trip! Let’s check out Rapid City before we hit the road.

Badlands National Park

Lying just east of the Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota, Rapid City was settled by prospectors during the Black Hills Gold Rush days of the late 1800s. From its humble beginnings on the banks of Rapid Creek, Rapid City has grown into a flourishing metropolitan area. Nicknamed the City of Presidents because bronze statues of every U.S. president can be found on downtown streets and because of the city’s proximity to Mount Rushmore. As a vacation hotspot, Rapid City has practically anything a visitor could want in the way of accommodations, dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Custer State Park, South Dakota

Things to do in Rapid City

Click the venue name for information about these family favorites:

When to go? Anytime, but we recommend May, June, July and September. Note that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place during the first two weeks of August. Visiting during this time is not recommended unless you plan to participate in the rally.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Things to Do near Rapid City

Rapid City is also a perfect road trip “home base” due to its proximity to several state and national parks. (Click the park name for information.)

Now, let’s begin our road trip to Devils Tower…

Getting There

Take I-90 west toward Sturgis via Black Hawk. Distance between Rapid City and Sturgis: 29 miles/30 minutes.

Bonus Stop: Sturgis, South Dakota. Home of the world’s largest motorcycle rally. The city has some interesting stops whether you are interested in motorcycles or just a little history.

Things to do in Sturgis

  • Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame – 999 Main St, Sturgis
  • Saab Heritage Car Museum USA – 940 Dickson Dr, Sturgis
  • Black Hills National Cemetery – 20901 Pleasant Valley Dr (3 miles east of Sturgis)
  • Old Fort Meade Museum – 50 Sheridan St, Fort Meade, SD (1.5 miles east of Sturgis via Highways 34 and 79)

No road trip to Sturgis would be complete without a visit to the world’s largest biker bar. Full Throttle Saloon (19942 Hwy 79, Vale, SD) is the real deal. While you’re there, grab a bite to eat, an ice-cold beverage, and a souvenir or two. Most of the time the bar is open from 8:00 am to around 8:30 pm. If in doubt about the hours, give them a call – (605) 423-4584. Distance between Sturgis and Full Throttle Saloon: 20 miles/20 minutes.

Continue west on I-90 toward Spearfish. Distance between Sturgis and Spearfish: 21.7 miles/22 minutes.

Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish Canyon

Bonus Stop: Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway via Exit 10 or Exit 14 off of I-90. US Highway 14A is the 19-mile-long Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Without stops, the drive takes approximately 30 minutes, but we recommend allowing 1-1.5 hours for sightseeing along this beautiful byway. The canyon features three waterfalls, wildlife, and hiking trails as well as steep cliff walls and a variety of trees and other plant life. Free to visit.

Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

Things to do in Spearfish

  • High Plains Western Heritage Center (museum) – 825 Heritage Dr, Spearfish
  • D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery – 423 Hatchery Cir, Spearfish
  • Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center (water park) – 122 Recreation Ln, Spearfish

Bonus Road Trip: Deadwood, South Dakota. Back during the gold rush Deadwood was a rambunctious Old West town that catered to the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Their gravesites in the Mount Moriah Cemetery are a popular stop for tourists. Today, this National Historic Landmark town features a lively Main Street with gun fight reenactments and plenty of shopping and dining.

Things to do in Deadwood

  • Gambling resorts and gaming halls
  • Museums
  • Gold mine tour
  • Tatanka, Story of the Bison – exhibit featuring bronze sculptures depicting a bison hunt
  • Northern Plains Peoples Interpretive Center

Distance between Spearfish and Deadwood: 15 miles/18 minutes – via US Highway 85 south.

Continue west from Spearfish on I-90 toward Beulah, Wyoming. Distance between Spearfish and Beulah: 15 miles/15 minutes.

Welcome to Wyoming

Wyoming’s welcome centers are definitely worth a stop. The Northeast Wyoming Welcome Center at Beulah includes museum-type exhibits, free maps and other tourist information, clean restrooms, and extremely helpful employees. Travelers can also enjoy a paved walking trail and wayside information boards that detail interesting historical facts about the area.

Bonus Stop: Vore Buffalo Jump. This active archaeological site is located approximately 3 miles west of Beulah on the US Highway 14 access road. See archaeologists at work recovering bison bones and other artifacts left by the Plains Indians in a trap/sink hole dating to 1500-1800 AD. The site is open daily June 1 through Labor Day, but tours may be able to be arranged during other times of the year by calling (888) 945-7676.

Continue west on US Highway 14 toward Sundance, Wyoming. Distance between Beulah and Sundance: 18 miles/20 minutes

Statue of the Sundance Kid in Sundance, Wyoming

Bonus Stop: Sundance, Wyoming. Sundance is the county seat of Crook County, Wyoming. Harry A. Longabaugh was an outlaw who served time in the Crook County Jail for theft. He joined Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch Gang after being released from prison around 1896 and became known as the Sundance Kid. It is widely believed that Butch and Sundance both died in Bolivia in 1908 during a shootout with the Bolivian army. Crook County Museum – 120 North 4th Street – holds an array of historic relics from the area, including some exhibits about Longabaugh, and also features an art gallery. Admission is free and the museum is well worth the stop. Allow 1-1.5 hours.

Continue west on US Highway 14, then take Highway 24 north to Devils Tower. Distance between Sundance and Devils Tower: 27 miles/31 minutes.

Destination: Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower as seen on approach to the park

What is it? The result of ancient volcanic activity, Devils Tower is a rock butte rising 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. The National Park Service explains:

“We know that the Tower is formed of a rare igneous rock, phonolite porphyry, and is the largest example of columnar jointing in the world.”

Devils Tower is sacred to Northern Plains Indian tribes who traditionally refer to the butte as Bear Lodge. The tower has been called by other names, but Bear Lodge or Bear Lodge Butte is what appears most commonly in early explorers’ notes and maps. Somehow through explorers’ translations of Lakota Indian words, the probable misinterpretation of “bad gods tower” evolved into Devil’s Tower. The government entity that manages place names officially proclaimed the monument Devils Tower and dropped the apostrophe due to their policy against possessive names. President Theodore Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as our country’s first national monument in 1906.

View of Devils Tower from Tower Trail
  • Website link: Devils Tower National Monument
  • The park is open 24 hours every day
  • Cost: $25.00 per car for a 7-day pass – credit card only or purchase pass online

Note that parking at the visitor center is limited and can be difficult for maneuvering long RVs and travel trailers. Check the website for information regarding RV parking.

Another trail view of Devils Tower

Things to do at Devils Tower

  • Stop at Devils Tower Trading Post just before entering the park to pick up snacks or souvenirs and then take some postcard worthy shots of the tower
  • Camp – RV and tent camping available at the Belle Fourche River Campground – first come only, no reservations
  • Picnic – large picnic area with tables
  • Hike – several trails available
  • Join a ranger program or night sky program
  • Visit the park’s resident prairie dogs at Prairie Dog Town
  • Climb. Climbing is permitted with registration of climbers. Note: during the month of June when Native American rituals and religious services take place, climbers are asked not to climb due to the sanctity of the site.
One last Devils Tower shot

Thank you so much for joining us on our road trip to Devils Tower!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road or at a national park.

Mike and Kellye

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Need more US road trip inspiration? Click on these other exciting destinations:

Abilene, Texas Road Trip: Things to Do

Albuquerque to Taos Road Trip: Things to Do

 

 

 

 

 

10 Amazing Things to See and Do at Big Bend National Park

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

RV Tips and Tricks: Our Favorite Campsite Dinners

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In preparing for camping trips – most of ours are weekend or long weekend trips – we try to prepare as much food at home as we can before we leave. Who wants to spend all weekend cooking when there’s hiking, and photography, and sights to see? In our experience, convenience foods are the way to go, especially if prep time is limited. The following recipes utilize as many convenience foods as possible and can be pre-prepped at home to save a lot of time at the campsite. Each recipe serves four but can be easily adapted for more hungry mouths, or minimized for less servings. Our trick is to go ahead and cook the extra to enjoy as leftovers later. Bon appetit!

Main Dishes:

Lemon Basil Garlic Grilled Chicken

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  • 1/2 c lemon juice, fresh or concentrate
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T minced garlic – use more or less as desired. (We use the kind in a jar.)
  • 2 T chopped basil, or more if desired
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts without rib meat

Place the first four ingredients in a zip lock bag. Seal bag, squeezing out air, and gently knead/shake to mix ingredients well. Add chicken breasts, reseal, and knead/shake to coat chicken. Place the sealed bag into another zip lock bag to ensure against leaks during transport to the campsite. Marinate in refrigerator or cooler until ready to grill (at least two hours) or up to 24 hours if kept properly chilled.

Dispose of marinade, and grill chicken over medium heat 5-7 minutes per side until done.

Close-up of Salad in Plate

Serve with grilled corn on the cob and tossed green salad.

Variation: Cut grilled corn kernels off of the cob and add to salad along with the sliced or diced grilled chicken.

Tips:

  • Make two batches of the marinade. Use one to marinate the chicken breasts and the other for salad dressing, adding a dash of salt and pepper or other preferred seasonings to the dressing batch – sometimes we add a teaspoon or two of sugar or sugar substitute. Do not reuse the marinade that contained the raw chicken.
  • Chicken may also be baked in the oven (350 for 30 minutes) or sauteed in a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until done.
  • Leftover cooked chicken breasts may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Pork Tenderloin Two Ways for Two Meals

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  • 3 Hormel Lemon Garlic or Peppercorn Pork Tenderloins
  • Two bottles of Heinz Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Sauce (or any favorite BBQ sauce)
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Hamburger Dill Pickle Slices
  • Sliced or chopped onion

Place the tenderloins in a (lined for easy clean up) crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or prepare according to label directions. When done and cool enough to handle, tightly wrap one and a half of the tenderloins in foil, then place in a gallon size zip lock bag in the refrigerator.

Meal one:

At the campsite, heat the foil wrapped tenderloin in the oven, over a campfire, or on the grill at medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes, until heated through. Slice into medallions and serve.

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Serve with canned ranch style beans and potato salad or coleslaw. Try the Fresh Express Coleslaw Kit or make your own with the leftover cabbage and carrots used in the soup below. And, if you want to get really fancy, serve medallions on top of mashed potatoes. (We like the Simply Potatoes brand that can be heated in the microwave.) Spoon jarred Heinz Pork Gravy with a splash of red wine added while heating or Heinz Homestyle Mushroom Gravy – with a few fresh or canned mushrooms and a splash of white wine added while heating – over the top of the meat.

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Meal Two:

Take the other one and a half tenderloins and shred the meat. We cut them into chunks and put them in a food processor or beat with a hand mixer to shred. The meat can also be shredded with bear claws or forks. When the meat is coarsely shredded, place in a lidded Tupperware type bowl and add the barbecue sauce to taste, mixing well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Heat in a pan on the stove top, grill top, or in the microwave and serve on buns with hamburger dill pickle slices and onions. Take along the remaining BBQ Sauce to serve with the sandwiches.

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Serve with chips and fruit for an easy dinner or lunch.

Tips:

  • The shredded barbecue mixture freezes well. Thaw in refrigerator or cooler then reheat. This (or sloppy joes) is our go-to meal for the first night at camp, especially if we’re arriving late in the day, and it’s perfect for when the weather isn’t conducive to outside cooking.
  • If using jarred gravy, doctor it up with extra pepper, garlic or onion powder, fresh or dried herbs, or sprinkle in a few sliced green onions, including the tops. Add small amounts at a time and taste as you go.

Foil Packets

  • 2 packages of Hillshire Farms 14 oz Polska Kielbasa or other smoked sausage of your choice sliced into 1/2″ thick coins and divided into 4 portions.
  • 1/2 head green cabbage sliced into thick chunks and divided into 4 portions
  • 8-12 small red potatoes halved, divided into 4 portions
  • Onion sliced into 4 – 1/4″ inch thick – slices
  • Butter or margarine
  • Salt and pepper or Season All
  • Pam or other non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 – large (at least 12″ x 12″) squares heavy duty aluminum foil
Hillshire Farm® Polska Kielbasa Smoked Sausage Rope, 14 oz.
Spray foil squares with Pam. Then layer, starting from the bottom, 1/4 of the red potatoes, onion slice, 1-2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 of the sausage coins, and top with cabbage. Season to taste. Fold the foil over the sides, then fold down the top, creasing to make a slightly loose packet, but don’t smother the food. The packet needs a little space inside to allow the food to steam. Place the packets on the grill over medium heat. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until everything is heated through and potatoes are fork tender.
Several sections of lemon. Macro

Variations: Layer 1/4″ thick potato slices, uncooked hamburger patty, sliced onion, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Add butter, season to taste, and cook 45 minutes to one hour. Try salmon, lemons, and asparagus, or shrimp, lemons, and broccoli. Or go vegan and use only fresh veggies. The sky’s the limit with these little gems, so try your own variations. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.

Tips:

  • Look for Hillshire Farms Sausage on sale at Walmart, then stock up. It is also fantastic for breakfast!
  • Foil packets are super versatile, and we love the “fix it and forget it” way of cooking. All ingredients can be cut up at home and placed into zip lock bags for transport to the campsite, however, we do not recommend slicing potatoes until they are ready to be cooked as they can turn an unappetizing gray color. The packets can also be cooked in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until done.

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Wondering what to do with the leftover cabbage? Make this:

Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • 2 – 32 oz boxes of beef broth (use only 1 box if choosing to use V-8 juice for additional liquid)
  • 2 – 4 cups original V-8 juice or other V-8 variety of choice, optional for additional liquid
  • 1/2 head of cabbage chopped into chunks
  • 3/4 c shredded carrots
  • Large onion chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1/2 of 1 small package fresh green beans cut into 1″ pieces – use the other half as a side dish later
  • 2-3 medium zucchini cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 T Better Than Bullion beef base, optional, but recommended for slightly thicker, beefier stock
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 t minced garlic (we use the kind in a jar)
  • 1/2 t garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t onion powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Note: if using Better Than Bullion, taste soup before adding salt,

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, saute the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil over med-high heat until just tender – about 5 minutes. Add beef broth and other ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

Serve with: sandwiches or warm buttered bread for a light and easy dinner.

Variation: Add cooked pasta, cooked stew meat, or cooked meatballs for an even heartier soup.

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Side Dishes:

 Grilled Corn on the Cob

  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 4+ T butter or margarine, divided into 4 portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle each ear with salt and pepper, then place 1 T (or more if desired) butter or margarine on each. Wrap individually in foil and place in a gallon size zip lock bag. Store in refrigerator or cooler. When ready to cook, place on grill over medium/high heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the kernels are tender. Remember to turn them occasionally so they don’t burn. If charred corn is preferred, unwrap during the last 10 minutes of cooking time and place ears directly on grill, continuing to turn occasionally.

Grilled corn cobs on wood background. Free Photo

Serve with: additional butter and/or garlic herb seasoning, or garlic and/or onion powder, smoked paprika, or other seasoning of choice.

Tips:

  • Corn may be cooked in boiling water on a stove top until done. Cooked ears will keep well in a refrigerator or cooler for a day or two and can be wrapped in foil and reheated in the oven or on the grill. If reheating in a microwave, wrap in a damp paper towel and place on a microwave safe plate.

Grilled Veggies or Fruits

Fresh halved ripe tomato viewed close up at an oblique angle to show the juicy texture of the pulp
  • Halved (longways) zucchini or yellow squash or both – grill cut side down
  • Onion, thickly sliced
  • Cabbage, thickly sliced – think of them as cabbage “steaks”
  • Bell pepper
  • Beefsteak or Heirloom tomato halves – grill cut side down
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Pineapple rings
  • Peach halves – grill cut side down
  • Pear halves – grill cut side down
  • Apple halves – grill cut side down
  • Grapefruit halves – grill cut side down
  • Any other fruits or vegetables of choice

Brush will olive oil and grill over low-medium heat until cooked/heated through, then season as desired.

Variations: cook any of the above in a foil packet, turning occasionally, until done. We like to add butter and a dash of Worcestershire sauce to our onion packets. The grilled fruits are wonderful with a little butter and brown sugar for an easy side or dessert.

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Super Simple Salads

Prepare these easy salads at your campsite:

  • Bagged salad from the supermarket. Add any variety of vegetables, cheeses, and fruits of choice, or eat it as is. Red or green grapes, strawberries, and mandarin oranges are great on green salads.
  • Sliced avocado and halved grape tomatoes with coarsely ground salt and lime juice.
  • Cut a head of iceberg lettuce into four wedges. Top each wedge with creamy dressing of choice, such as ranch, blue cheese, green goddess, thousand island, etc. and sprinkle with bacon bits and shredded cheese.
  • Jarred marinated artichoke hearts mixed with any combination of halved grape tomatoes, black and/or green olives, pickle slices, baby corn, and cut up pickled okra or other pickled vegetables such as beets, asparagus, carrots, and green beans.
  • Halved grape or cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, onion, and basil, mixed with store bought balsamic glaze and a little olive oil. Best if prepared 24 hours before serving so the flavors can blend.

That’s going to do it for this post, y’all. Come back soon for more RV tips and tricks, campsite recipes, road trip ideas, and awesome destinations. If you’re not a follower, become one so you never miss a post. In the meantime, happy eating!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road – or at a campground! 

Mike and Kellye

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⇒Tossed Salad Photo Credit: Jill Wellington

⇒Grilled Corn Photo Credit: “https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by jcomp – http://www.freepik.com

⇒Halved Tomato and Sliced Lemons Photo Credit: freefoodphotos.com

⇒Bell Pepper Photo Credit: Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re6/1d21115b”>Visualhunt</a&gt;

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

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 products, vendors, and venues. Our suggestions are for places or products that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited or used personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Featured

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island is a place that we have wanted to visit for years. Once we heard about the wild horses that make the island their home, we were raring to go. And, yes, it lives up to the hype! The National Park Service has done an excellent job with maintaining the roads, facilities, and beaches.

Our first stop was the visitor center where we got some information about the island, bought our requisite Christmas ornament, and picked up the park brochure. Then we drove over the Verrazano Bridge to get to the island.

For information about the national seashore, click here: https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm

Not long after we drove in to the park, there was a pony jam which was very similar to the bison jams we have encountered in other national parks. Everyone wants to stop and take pictures, and if the horses are in the road, well, you just have to wait because this is their turf!

Some believe the wild horses that live on Assateague Island, which lies in Maryland and Virginia, and its neighbor, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, are the descendants of horses that came from a Spanish galleon ship that sank offshore. Others believe that farmers who lived nearby turned their stock out to graze on the islands to avoid paying heavy taxes on them. Whether these theories are true or not, it is known that the horses have been on the islands for about 300 years. In Maryland, the horses are owned and managed by the National Park Service. The horses in Virginia are owned and managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

No, we weren’t as close as it looks. We obeyed the rules, kept our 40 foot distance, and used the zoom.
Parking lot picnic!

Approximately 80-100 horses live on the Maryland side of Assateague Island, and they are considered wildlife. There is no veterinary or human intervention toward their care, except for birth control. Their short legs and stocky bodies have evolved to enable them to easily navigate the sand dunes and walk through the marshes on the island. They appear to be bloated due to the fact that they drink twice the amount of water as domesticated horses because of their salty diet.

For a super interesting short film about the Assateague horses, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44KhYh3LVLU

Absolutely beautiful!

The beaches at Assateague Island are beautiful, too. There were no crowds on the day we went, and everything was clean including the beaches, the changing facilities, and showers. We were impressed.

View of the dunes from the boardwalk leading to the beach
We encountered several people who were surf fishing. We never have surf fished (probably because we live about 500 miles from the nearest surf) but they looked like they were having a great time. Crabbing is also allowed at this park. Other things to do here are hiking, biking, and camping.
Not a scrap of trash to be seen! We don’t know if this is one of them, but we encountered several “No Trash” parks on this trip. In those parks you pack out all of your own trash, and there are no trash cans. What a great idea! Someone should have thought of it sooner.
Check out all the passengers on this horseshoe crab
Did you know that horseshoe crabs have been around longer than dinosaurs? It has been estimated that horseshoe crabs have been on earth for 450 million years. That means they survived the ice ages! Their bright blue blood is vital to the medical industry as it is used to test vaccines for contamination. Who knew?

Assateague Island National Seashore abuts Assateague State Park in Maryland. The horses also have free reign in this park, and the facilities and beaches are great here too.

Assateague State Park beach
Beach grass at Assateague State Park. The grass controls erosion. Without it, the dunes would blow away.

This ends our visit to Assateague Island. We hope you enjoyed your visit and will come back again soon for another fun destination, quick stop, or travel tip. We will leave you with one more shot of the horses, this time standing in a marshy area. Doesn’t the one in the middle have spectacular coloring?

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.

©2022

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Sunrises and Sunsets

Sunrise over Lake Mackenzie, Texas

Who doesn’t love the breathtaking beauty of a pretty sunrise or sunset. We sure love them – that’s why our signature photo on this site is a sunset. We’ve shot most of ours in Texas, mainly from our own yard or neighborhood, but we’ve been lucky enough to shoot some in a few other places, too. It’s just about being in the right place at the right time and making ourselves get up early enough to catch the sunrise. All of these are aim and shoot shots, no filters or enhancements were used, and some were taken with our phones. We hope these brighten your day!

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Bar Harbor, Maine sunrise

Winter sunset from our front yard.

Sunrise shot from our street

We’ve posted this Sedona, Arizona sunset before, but it’s so beautiful we wanted to include it again.

West Texas sunrise. Had to sign this one because it’s so pretty.

Sunset shot near Amarillo, Texas

Taken from the window of a plane, we captured this between-the-clouds sunrise somewhere over Mississippi.

Sunset before a storm – our front yard.

Fall sunrise taken about a mile from our house

Another beautiful Texas sunset shot from Decatur, Texas

Sunrise near Saguache, Colorado

Thank you for viewing our post! We hope you will return again for more WWWTWs, Quick Stops, road trip destinations or a few tips and tricks. Join our family of followers here so you never miss a post! We can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Happy hump day, everyone!

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: 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

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

Catoctin Mountain Park and National Shrine Grotto

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: Catoctin Mountain Park

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: Saint Anthony Shrine

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: Seton Shrine

Here is the link to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial: Fallen Firefighters

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

Virtual Road Tripping Ideas

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Wyoming Capitol Building

Bored? Stuck at home? Rather be on the road or camping? We are right there with you. To fill the void at our house, we’ve been using our spare time to take different kinds of virtual road trips. In this post, we’ve put together a list of ideas to help end the boredom. We hope some of these resources will “get you out of the house” and help you start planning your next big adventure.

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Bridge at Acadia National Park

YouTube

Some of our favorite folks to virtually travel with are full-time RVers. These folks travel all over the country giving tips on where to go and what to do and see. They also give reviews on great camping spots, and we promise that you’re going to see some amazing scenery and points of interest along the way, too. In random order, our top six picks:

  • Changing Lanes – best for higher end camping and motorcycle rides.
  • Embracing Detours – best for free camping spots and traveling with pets.
  • Grand Adventure – best for boondocking in very scenic places.
  • Traveling Robert – best all around for travel, RV camping, hiking, and scenery.
  • Less Junk, More Journey – best for traveling the country with small kids.
  • Long Long Honeymoon – best for tips and tricks along with great destinations.

Texas

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Texas

We love for others to see what adventures await in our great home state of Texas. Some of our favorites:

  • The Daytripper – Chet Garner and crew travel to a new Texas city or town every week – PBS – check listings for times.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife – travel to state parks and recreation areas and view our state’s amazing wildlife – PBS – check listings for times.
  • Texas Country Reporter – ride along with Bob Phillips for amazing places in Texas – various channels – check their website for more information. Here’s a link: Texas Country Reporter
  • The Texas Bucket List – learn about the people, places, food, and fun that Texas has to offer with host Shane McAuliffe – various channels and times – check their website for more information. Here’s a link: Texas Bucket List

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Good Ol’ Buoys

Netflix

We thoroughly enjoyed the two shows listed below. The only problem: they weren’t long enough!

  • Expedition Happiness – join Salima and Felix as they travel North America in a school bus turned RV – movie – 1.5 hours.
  • National Parks Adventure – documentary narrated by Robert Redford – 42 minutes.

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Water Diamonds

Prime Video

While some Prime Video selections have to be rented, the following are included with an Amazon Prime membership.

  • The National Parks – America’s Best Idea – 12 part documentary by Ken Burns
  • America’s 58 National Parks – documentary series with 57 episodes
  • America’s National Parks – 8 part documentary series
  • Best Parks Ever – America’s National Parks – 10 part documentary series
  • America’s Treasures – 8 part documentary series
  • RV – hilarious 2006 movie starring Robin Williams – 1.5 hours
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation – 1983 movie starring Chevy Chase – the ultimate guide for what you don’t want a road trip to be – definitely worth another watch

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West Texas Sunrise

Books

There’s nothing like a good book. Pick up the hard copies or download a couple of our favorites listed below.

  • Dear Bob and Sue – three book series covering Matt and Karen Smith’s adventures while visiting all of the national parks. These are a great read for any national park or travel enthusiast – couldn’t put them down! They have written a couple of other travel-related books, too, so check those out as well.
  • 50 States 5000 Ideas – National Geographic publication which also includes the 10 Canadian Provinces – where to go, what to see, what to do. This is a fun book!
  • On the Road – classic Jack Kerouac novel published in 1959. If you have never read it, now is a great time.
  • Any road atlas – yep, we mean that old fashioned paper map book. Atlas trips are a favorite pastime of ours. Pick a state and see what all it has to offer by “traveling” its highways and backroads via map.

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Fat Prairie Dog

Around the Web

The possibilities are endless for navigating travel related sites on the web. Here are some of our favorite stops:

  • RoadsideAmerica.com – pick any city and state to see what quirky attractions await.
  • AtlasObscura.com – enter a destination in their search box to see what interesting sights can be found there.
  • Explore.org – a collection of live webcams and webcam videos from around the world. Kids will love this!
  • OnlyinYourState.com – enter a state in the search box to find out about people, places, and things in the state of your choosing.
  • TripAdvisor.com we like to search “things to do” in a particular city and state to see what Trip Advisor comes up with.
  • DearBobandSue.com – check out their website for podcasts, photos of their adventures, and more.
  • One for the Money Two for the Road Blog – you’re already here, so look through our archives and revisit some great road trip ideas, itineraries, and photos!

 

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Reflections of Boston

We hope our ideas will help you escape for a few minutes or a few hours. Remember to count your blessings, wash your hands, and turn off the news. Stay safe and well, and we will see you when we can get back on 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

Featured

Camping in Texas: Lake Mackenzie

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Lake Mackenzie is a municipal water district reservoir located about seventy miles southeast of Amarillo, Texas. The water district manages campgrounds and recreation areas around the lake. RV with electric and water hook ups and tent camping are available here. (Campers, the campgrounds were nice and clean, but the bathrooms/showers were very dirty.) Currently, speed boats and skiing are prohibited due to low water levels, however, pontoons, kayaks, and motorized fishing boats, as well as jet skis are permitted. We suggest checking with the lake regarding water levels and boating regulations prior to arrival. Lake Mackenzie is a popular fishing lake. There are two beaches for swimming, picnic areas, miles of ATV trails, and group facilities. This is definitely a place to kick back and relax.

For information and fees, here’s a link to the website: Lake Mackenzie

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Interesting West Texas history

We enjoyed camping at Lake Mackenzie. The relaxing atmosphere was perfect for a weekend trip. During our stay, we saw several deer, a raccoon, a fox, and many different birds.

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This mama and baby mule deer pair walked right through our campsite

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This beauty got up early to watch the sunrise with us. You would think we had never seen a deer before, but it’s still a thrill to see them in their habitat. We love their curiosity…and their big ears!

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Four Canada geese and their early morning reflections on the lake

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Side trip: Caprock Canyons State Park is about forty minutes southeast of Lake Mackenzie. (Link to our Caprock Canyons post here: Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway.) Caprock Canyons is home to the Texas State Bison Herd and is a can’t-miss state park. Go not only for the beauty of the red cliffs and canyons, go to see the bison. There is a wonderful scenic drive and miles of hiking trails, too.

When we camp, we love to get up early for the sunrise, and the Lake Mackenzie sunrises did not disappoint. Neither did the sunsets. We were also treated to two brilliant harvest moons, but unfortunately those didn’t photograph well. Here is our favorite sunrise shot:IMG_5563And, our favorite sunset shot:IMG_6823

The scenery is breathtaking as you enter the canyon on approach to Lake Mackenzie from the south. It reminded us a little of the area around Moab, Utah, specifically Canyonlands National Park, with its red rock fins, buttes and hoodoos. Y’all know how we love red rocks!IMG_5569IMG_6754IMG_5566

Here are a few more shots of the lake:

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Pontoons on a sunset cruise

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Cloudy reflections near the beach

That’s going to do it for this weekend trip. We hope you enjoyed Lake Mackenzie as much as we did. Please join us next time for another adventure, tip or trick. You are the reason we post our trips. Become a follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, too. 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.

©2019

 

 

 

 

Featured

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

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Scenic Highway 112 aka the Kancamagus Highway aka the Kanc is a National Scenic Byway that traverses 34 miles of the beautiful White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

You’re probably wondering why we chose to do a New England road trip when the leaves weren’t turning. The simple answer is: we didn’t want to fight the crowds.

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The White Mountains

As crowded as some of our destinations were during non-leaf peeping season, we can’t imagine what it is like in October when the trees turn. With that said, we were not disappointed in the least about seeing Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont on the cusp of autumn. Although we did see a few trees showing their colors, we thought the foliage was beautiful as it was – green. So now that we’ve cleared that up, hop on board, buckle up, and let’s do the Kanc.

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The Kancamagus (Can-cuh-ma-gus, sort of rhymes with August) Highway begins in Conway, New Hampshire, if you’re driving West, but a few miles up the road in North Conway, we decided to stop for lunch. Our pick: Muddy Moose Restaurant & Pub. The weather was perfect, so we were able to sit on their patio, have a great burger, and enjoy the fresh air in the White Mountains. We are giving them a high five because their food and service was great. Thanks, Muddy Moose!

Back on the road in Conway, we stopped to see our first covered bridge.

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The Saco River Bridge was built in 1890 and spans – you guessed it – the Saco River.

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The Saco River as seen from the bridge.

Our next stop was the Saco Ranger Station. While a drive on the Kanc is free, a special pass is required for parking at the scenic areas. The ranger gave us a great map of the highway along with some other information, and he told us about the can’t-miss sights along the road. After that quick stop, we were off on our adventure.

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There are six National Forest campgrounds along the Kanc. All have potable water, bathrooms, parking, open fire places, and picnic tables. None of the campgrounds have RV hook-ups. Campsites are generally available from mid-May through mid-October, and most are only available on a first-come basis. Wood for campfires cannot be brought into the national forest. For information about camping on the Kanc, contact the White Mountain National Forest Ranger District. Additional campgrounds and hotels are available in Conway, North Conway, and Lincoln.

Albany Covered Bridge

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The White Mountain National Forest Covered Bridge was constructed by the Town of Albany in 1858 and renovated in 1970.

Lower Falls Scenic Area

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Scenic falls on the Swift River

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

We spent about an hour at Rocky Gorge. The area had well maintained walking trails, a bridge, rocks, pools, and even a small flume. This was one of our favorite stops along the Kanc.

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A small flume at Rocky Gorge

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The (rock filled) Swift River at Rocky Gorge

Russell-Colbath House Site

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The Russell-Colbath House, a historic farmhouse that sits near the Kancamagus Highway

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Across from the house is a small cemetery that is still maintained by the Town of Albany. What is it about old cemeteries that piques our interest? The age of the graves, perhaps, or maybe it’s the interesting headstones. Doesn’t it make you wonder who these people were, and wouldn’t you like to know their stories?

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Many of the graves in this cemetery are marked simply by fieldstones, such as the two in the right foreground.

And, here is the interesting but sad story of Ruth Russell Colbath, the wife of Thomas Colbath. For the rest of her life, Ruth maintained her family home and the farm with the help of her children and a local handyman. No one ever solved the mystery of what Thomas was doing for all those years.IMG_7632 (1)

Sabbaday Falls

This was our favorite stop on along the highway. The hike to the falls was wonderful, and the falls… well, see for yourself.

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Sabbaday Falls

The earthy scent of the lush, green forest and the crashing of the water on the rocks. That’s our kind of hike, and we loved every minute of our time here. The US Forest Service has added bridges, stairs, and viewing areas for ease in accessing the falls. There is also a picnic area near the parking lot. The hike is about .6 miles round trip with a 75 foot elevation gain.

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Serene scene

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From Sugar Hill Overlook. A few of the trees are about to start changing into their fall colors.

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Here’s one getting a head start on its autumn colors.

Lincoln Woods

This is the trailhead into the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Franconia Mountain Range. Apparently, this strenuous trail is not for the faint of heart.

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Suspension bridge over the Pemigewasset River

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The Pemigewasset River as seen from the bridge

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Look who we found near the parking lot!

At the end (or beginning, depending on which way you’re going) of the Kanc is the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire, which was our stop for the night.

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In Lincoln, we had dinner at Gordi’s Fish & Steak House. Does roasted beet salad sound good? Homemade clam chowder? Steak and baked potato? We loved their atmosphere, food, and service. This restaurant came highly recommended by the folks at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express. High fives, to Holiday Inn Express and to Gordi’s!

We’re at the end of this journey, but stop by again for more of our New England road trip, tips and tricks, and other exciting destinations. Become a follower on our site and on Facebook, and we would very much appreciate it if you would tell your friends about us.

We’re going to close this post with one more look at beautiful Sabbaday Falls.

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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