Featured

National Corvette Museum

Where is it?

The National Corvette Museum is in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Bowling Green has been home to the Corvette assembly plant since it was relocated from St. Louis, Missouri in 1981. The National Corvette Museum opened in its current location in 1994. Click here for the museum’s website.

National Corvette Museum – photo by Rich Howard

Trivia: Corvette sports cars were named for a fast type of naval warship also called Corvette.

History of the American sports car

This beauty is not an American sports car. It is a 1947, British built MG TC Roadster.

The MG (Morris Garage) Midget was the car that most people believe started the American sports car craze. Many of these cars were imported from Europe by returning American G.I.s after World War II. MG Roadsters then began turning up in races around the U.S., and it was this model, along with the sleek Jaguar XK120, that inspired the first ideas for the Corvette.

The 1951 Crosley Super Sport

After World War II, Crosley Motors, Inc. began producing the Hotshot and Super Sport. Crosley’s Super Sport, an updated version of the Hotshot, was introduced in 1951 and included doors which the Hotshot didn’t have. These models were considered the first American sports cars to be built in the post war era. Unfortunately, Crosley Motors closed in 1952 after only eleven model years of automobile production; however, their closing opened a door for General Motors and a design genius named Harley Earl.

A brilliant concept!

The father of America’s sports car

The son of a carriage and wagon builder, Harley Earl grew up in Hollywood, California. In 1906, after watching automobiles become extremely popular, Harley’s father changed his business from Earl Carriage Works to Earl Automotive Works. Harley would go on to Stamford University to study art and engineering because his dream was to build cars his own way. By 1916, his father’s business was building custom automobiles and accessories in the largest manufacturing plant on the west coast. Harley made a name for himself as an artist and designer and became highly popular after designing custom automobiles for several Hollywood actors. Fast forward to 1926 when he was hired by General Motors. Harley Earl was the first designated head of design at General Motors. His secretive “Project Opel” resulted in the Chevrolet Corvette. America’s sports car was first produced in 1953, and the rest is automotive history.

1955 model Corvette. While the 6-cylinder engine was available, 693 out of the 700 Corvettes produced in 1955 had the all-new small-block 265 V-8 engine. This cool car had a top speed of 120 miles per hour.
This interesting car is a 1946 Stout Y46 Concept Car and was the first fully fiberglass automobile in history. Having cost over $100,000 dollars to build, this car is the only one of its kind. That was a lot of money in 1946 and in today’s dollars would cost about $1.4 million.

Nostalgia Gallery

Our favorite exhibit in the museum’s nostalgia gallery: A vintage Mobil gas station servicing nothing but vintage Corvettes!
1960s Chevrolet dealer’s showroom. Check out the cool cars, then check out the cool candy machine!
St. Louis assembly plant exhibit

Trivia: Approximately 225 of the of the first 300 Corvettes that were built still exist today.

Corvettes on the racetrack

We didn’t spend a lot of time reading about Corvette’s racing history because it was so hard to keep our eyes off of the cars! Here are a few that really grabbed our attention.

2002 Corvette C5R GTI race car
This 1962 Corvette was once part of Grady Davis’s Gulf Oil Racing Team and was reportedly sold at auction in 2015 for $1.65 million.
They are all so cool!

Trivia: In 1954, the Chevrolet Corvette became the first production automobile with a molded fiberglass reinforced plastic body. The 1963 Corvette is the only model with a split rear window.

The Skydome

The best-known landmark in Bowling Green is the Skydome, which is the round yellow section of the museum featuring a tall red spire. (See it in the photo at the top of the post.) Inside the museum the Skydome showcases a selection of privately owned and one-of-a-kind Corvettes from their beginning in 1953 to the present day. In 2014 a portion of the floor of the Skydome collapsed into a sinkhole and sent eight Corvettes crashing into a cave.

Exhibit describing where the sinkhole opened up and swallowed eight cars.

A small plexiglass covered manhole in the floor enables visitors to look down into the cave. The museum also features a great exhibit that explains the cave and why the floor caved in.

Entering this exhibit may bring tears to the eyes of the manliest motorheads!

Click here for a short YouTube video of the initial part of the cave in from the museum’s security camera. There are videos of the cave in on the National Corvette Museum’s website as well. The fortunate thing about the collapse is that it happened around 5:30 in the morning, so no visitors or employees were in the building at the time. 

All eight of the sinkhole Corvettes have now been restored, and while all of them are beautiful, this black with red interior 1962 model was our favorite. The photographs on the Skydome’s wall are of Corvette Hall of Fame inductees.

Trivia: All of the first year (1953) Corvettes were painted Polo White with black convertible tops and Sportsman Red interiors.

Museum Delivery

New Corvette purchasers have the option to take delivery of their car at the National Corvette Museum and actually drive it off of the floor. Two lucky people were picking up their shiny new Corvettes while we were there. Several other new Corvettes were lined up and waiting for their new owners to arrive later in the week. Getting to watch all the fanfare (and hear them rev their engines) was exciting for us too – even if afterward we had to get in our 11-year-old SUV and head on down the road.

Pretty new cars waiting for their new owners to drive them off of the museum floor.
We’ll take two please; one for him and one for her! Who doesn’t love that stingray emblem?

Thanks so much for joining us on our tour of the National Corvette Museum. We hope that you will add it to your itinerary if you’re ever near Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is definitely worth the stop.

Need a little more road trip inspiration? Check out these amazing destinations!

Things to Do in San Antonio: River Walk

National Route 66 Museum

Strawbery Banke Museum and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

 

Travel safely, and we will see you 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.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

Where is it?

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site lies along the banks of the Washita River in southwestern Oklahoma. The site is also part of the Black Kettle National Grassland which is managed by the National Forest Service. Twelve miles north of the park is the Black Kettle Recreation Area featuring: 

  • Tent camping sites (no reservations/no fee)
  • Hiking and interpretive trails
  • Picnic Area
  • Lake with boat ramp
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife viewing

Cheyenne, Oklahoma is the nearest town and is located 23 miles north of I-40 and Sayre, Oklahoma via US Highway 283. 

For additional information, here is a link to the park’s website: Washita Battlefield

The park’s pretty landscape

We visited this park in early March, and while the temperatures were in the mid-60s, so were the winds. At least it felt that way. The gusts were so high, we couldn’t hold the camera still. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we were in Oklahoma where the “wind comes sweepin’ down the plain”. Despite the blustery gusts, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit surrounded by the peaceful setting and gorgeous landscape. Our photos don’t do justice to the park’s golden and red tinged grasses, russet bluffs, and gently rolling hills. 

This battlefield photo is a victim of the wind, but we included it because it reminded us of an old painting of the pristine landscape

Significance of the Site

Southern Cheyenne leader Chief Black Kettle and approximately 250 of his tribespeople were encamped for the winter in a village here on the banks of the Washita River. More than 5,000 other Cheyenne, Arapaho and Kiowa were also peacefully encamped in villages farther down the river. Following hostile attacks by bands of Cheyenne on white settlers in Kansas, renowned Civil War general, Philip Sheridan, ordered a retaliatory attack, and his (likely unwarranted) target was Black Kettle’s village. On November 27, 1868, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer led 800 soldiers of the 7th Cavalry in the surprise early morning raid, killing scores of village’s occupants including women and children. The assault would become known as the Battle of the Washita. 

This monument, located near the encampment site, tells the story of the Battle of the Washita. Offerings of remembrance and prayer line the top of the monument.

Casualties of the Battle

Upon hearing of the attack, warriors from the larger villages downstream had rushed to aid Black Kettle and his people. Their help was probably too little and too late, and sadly, both Black Kettle and his wife, Medicine Woman Later were killed in the battle. The death toll remains sketchy, but approximately 103 Cheyenne and 22 US Army personnel perished, along with the Cheyenne’s herd of ponies. Survivors of the battle included fifty-three Cheyenne women and children who were captured and taken to Fort Hays in Kansas. Custer’s soldiers were instructed to destroy all evidence of the village, therefore all fifty-one of the Cheyenne’s lodges were burned and most of their ponies were slaughtered. When all was said and done, nothing remained of the village except the bones of 800 ponies, which were finally removed from the site in 1935.

George Armstrong Custer – photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Custer’s Destiny                                            

In an ironic twist of fate, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer met his demise almost eight years later in June 1876 during the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana. The US Army (7th Cavalry) suffered defeat against a band of thousands of Native American warriors composed mostly of Northern Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux. Little Bighorn is considered the most significant battle of the Great Sioux War, which was a series of conflicts and unkept agreements between Native American tribes and the US government. Perhaps most famously, the Battle of the Little Bighorn is remembered as Custer’s Last Stand.

Identifying exactly where the lodges stood is difficult because everything was burned. However, some archaeological evidence points to this area along the southern bank of the Washita.

Why Visit This National Park Site?

Washita Battlefield tells just one story of the many adversities the native peoples suffered, especially as our country expanded westward into their homelands. Though we tend to turn our sympathies more toward Black Kettle and his people, the park does an excellent job of explaining what happened from each side’s point of view. Besides, we’re never too old or too young to learn, and where better to learn something than at a free national park. Plan to spend at least an hour in the visitor center because there is a film and a museum that are interesting as well as educational. From the visitor center, drive about a quarter mile to the village site and then walk the 1.5-mile interpretive trail to learn more about what took place on that fateful day in 1868. 

Looks like another painting. Isn’t it pretty? Not a telephone pole, billboard, cell tower, or wind turbine in sight.

Thank you so much for joining us on our quick trip to Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. 

Looking for more history? Check out these historic sites:
Fort Union National Monument
Eisenhower National Historic Site
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Site

 

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 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

Yellowstone National Park

We covered Yellowstone National Park in a seven-part series several years ago. This is an enhanced and updated single post highlighting the sections of the magnificent park which is also UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting There

Our journey began by flying to Salt Lake City, Utah and renting a car for the road trip. The distance between Salt Lake City and West Yellowstone, Montana, which was our home base, is 320 miles/4.5 hours via I-15. We chose to break up the trip by spending our first night in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

From Salt Lake City, take I-15 north toward Ogden, Utah. Continue north toward Pocatello, Idaho. Stay on I-15 to Idaho Falls.

Drive time between Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls is 3 hours through gorgeous scenery.

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Falls on the Snake River, Idaho Falls, Idaho

From Idaho Falls, take US Highway 20 north toward Rexburg, Idaho. Continue north to West Yellowstone, Montana, which is the west entrance into the park. Drive time between Idaho Falls and West Yellowstone: 1.75 hours.

Must-do stops in West Yellowstone include the Museum of the Yellowstone and the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Destination – Yellowstone National Park

The scenic Grand Loop Road through Yellowstone is laid out in a figure eight as shown on the map below. The highest speed limit we saw was 45 miles per hour, but that doesn’t mean much. When there are animal sightings, traffic stops. Bison jams are common, and visitors are at a standstill until the big beasts decide to move out of the way. Heavy traffic also slows travel, especially in the summer months.

File:Map Yellowstone National Park.jpg

Madison Area

The Madison River meanders lazily past Mount Haynes

Trivia: the Madison is one of the three rivers that converge near Three Forks, Montana to form the headwaters of the Missouri River. The other two rivers are the Gallatin and the Jefferson.

Gibbon Falls

Steamy water and brilliant colors from the runoff of Blood Geyser in the Artists’ Paint Pots area of the park

Other points of interest in the Madison area of the park include:

  • Terrace Springs
  • Fountain Paint Pots
  • Midway Geyser Basin
  • Fairy Falls
  • Firehole River
  • Madison Information Station

Norris Area

The Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest area of Yellowstone National Park, in volcanic terms that is. Visitors will find geysers, hot springs, mud pots, steam vents, pools, and lakes at Norris. Steamboat Geyser, the largest geyser in the world, is also located here, though its eruptions are irregular and unpredictable. Hiking and walking trails are the best way to see everything this area has to offer.

Porcelain Basin, Norris Geyser Basin

Green and yellow thermophiles (hot water loving bacteria) create a spilled paint effect

Other points of interest at the Norris area of the park include:

  • Norris Geyser Basin Museum
  • Norris Bookstore
  • Norris Campground
  • Museum of the National Park Ranger

Canyon Village Area

The canyon village area is home to the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. These are some of the most popular sights in the park.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lower Falls

Trivia: Lower Falls is 308 feet tall, which is twice as high as Niagara Falls, and it is the highest waterfall in the park.

Points of interest in the Canyon Village Area include:

  • Overlooks on North Rim Drive and South Rim Drive
  • Uncle Tom’s Trail – 328 stairs to a Lower Falls viewpoint
  • Canyon Lodge and restaurant
  • Campground

Driving south from Canyon Village toward Lake Village and West Thumb Geyser Basin, visitors will pass through Hayden Valley. This area of the park is a great place to see wildlife and early mornings and evenings are best for sightings.

The Yellowstone River meanders through Hayden Valley

Just past Hayden Valley is Mud Volcano and Dragon’s Mouth Spring. The area is super interesting and super sulphur-y! Take it from us, the intriguing sights will make you forget all about the smell.

Mud Volcano’s pit of boiling mud of is difficult to see in this shot because of the steam

Some of the sights on the Mud Volcano Trail include Mud Cauldron, Mud Geyser, Sizzling Basin, Cooking Hillside, Black Dragon’s Cauldron, Grizzly Fumarole, and Sour Lake. All are aptly named, but don’t be afraid of the smells. This where Yellowstone shows off some of its best volcanic features.

Dragon’s Mouth Spring. This spring not only spews steam and emits boiling water, but it also roars!

Six miles south of Mud Volcano is the Lake Village area which includes the Fishing Bridge, Visitor Center, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and marina.

West Thumb Geyser Basin Area

The West Thumb Geyser Basin and Grant Village areas of the park are located approximately 28 miles/30 minutes southwest of the Lake Village area. Located on the banks of Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb, which is a small caldera, has some of the most colorful pool features of the park.

Lots of shades of blue, and not a cloud in the sky – Yellowstone Lake

West Thumb features hiking/walking trails (boardwalk), a bookstore and information station, as well as a campground. Grant Village includes a hotel and visitor center.

Bluebell Pool

Black Pool

Abyss Pool

Upper Geyser Basin Area and Old Faithful

This area of the park sits halfway between West Thumb and Madison and is the most popular section of the park.

Old Faithful Geyser

While it is not the biggest or most frequently erupting geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful is certainly the most popular. Visitors flock to the grandstand viewing area to watch it erupt, which it does about every 90 minutes.

Built in 1904, the Old Faithful Inn is a National Historic Landmark

Things to do in the Upper Geyser Basin:

  • Hiking/walking (boardwalk) trails
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center
  • Gift Shop
  • Eat – there are five restaurants and/or grills in the area
  • Biscuit Basin
  • Black Sand Basin
  • Morning Glory Pool

The Upper Geyser Basin has over 150 hydrothermal features and approximately half of the geysers in the world!

Trivia: the chalky white substance around the geysers in Yellowstone is called geyserite.

Midway Geyser Basin Area

Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the third-largest hot spring in the world, is the star of the Midway Geyser Basin.

Nature’s art. Up close view of the thermophiles – Grand Prismatic Spring

Excelsior Geyser

Excelsior Geyser once spewed hot water hundreds of feet into the air, but it hasn’t erupted since the mid-1980s. Today 4,000 gallons of boiling water per minute pour from its crater into the Firehole River.

Turquoise Pool can also be found in the Midway Geyser Basin

We are including Fountain Paint Pots as a sub-area of the park because we thought the area had some interesting sights, especially the geysers. The area is located between Midway Geyser Basin and Madison.

Silex Spring

Clepsydra Geyser erupts almost constantly

Trivia: a clepsydra is a water clock, and the name in the Greek language means water thief.

Mammoth Hot Springs Area

The springs in this area have created a series of travertine terraces. A boardwalk trail takes visitors through this amazing wonderland of minerals, water, and thermophiles.

Minerva Terrace

Palette Spring

Rustic Falls can be seen from an overlook near Mammoth Hot Springs

Other highlights in the Mammoth Hot Springs area include:

  • Historic Fort Yellowstone
  • Albright Visitor Center – museum
  •  Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
  • Gardiner, Montana
  • Heritage and Research Center (in Gardiner)
  • Historic Roosevelt Arch at the North entrance to the park

Roosevelt-Tower Area

Note: parts of the north and northeast sections and entrances to the park may be closed due to flood damage. Check the website for information about road and trail closures.

The northern part of the park has rolling hills, meadows, and wildlife – what a thrill!

Bison jam!

Trivia: Yellowstone’s bison were once on the verge of extinction due to unenforced hunting in the early years of the park. The current genetically pure (haven’t been bred with cattle) herd, which now numbers in the thousands, are descendants of the original twenty-four that were diligently preserved and carefully bred by the park.

Calcite Springs and the Yellowstone River

Columnar basalt decorates the cliffs overlooking the Yellowstone River.

Tower Fall, 132 feet tall

The Roosevelt area of the park features Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins, a campground, and restaurant. A general store with fast food and a gas station can be found at Tower. The Tower Fall trailhead is next to the store.

Lamar Area

Unfortunately, we were unable to visit this section of the park. The Lamar Valley is reportedly one of the best viewing areas for wolves and other wildlife at Yellowstone. Located in the Northeast corner of the park near the Cooke City entrance, the scenic drive features mountains, the Lamar River, and trailheads for several trails. The drive from the northeast entrance to the Roosevelt-Tower area is 28 miles/1 hour.

Thank you for staying with us through this long post. Yellowstone is the one U.S. National Park that everyone should get to see at least once in their lifetime. And it’s the only one we want to revisit because once wasn’t enough for us! We are going to close the post with an up-close shot of one of the formations at Palette Spring.

Travertine icicles drip from a ledge while tiny water droplets create dangling strings of pearls. The icy-looking landscape is enhanced by the cascading colors of the thermophiles.

Looking for more national park adventures? Click on these:

Death Valley National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

 

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 products, 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. Photo copyright infringement is not intended. Our written content and photos are copyrighted and may not be published without our permission.

©2022

 

 

Featured

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

Ruidoso Road Trip: Things to Do

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Sierra Blanca Peak, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Looking for a road trip adventure with things to do for the whole family? Ruidoso, New Mexico is a great bet! Tucked snugly beneath towering mountain peaks and fragrant whispering pines, the quaint alpine village is a perfect getaway destination. We started going there as kids with our parents and grandparents, and we’ve been going back ever since!

Fall aspens near Ruidoso

The area offers skiing and other snow sports in the winter, along with the smoky-sweet aroma of pinion pine woodfires. Summer brings the thrill of horse racing as well as outdoor adventures such as hiking, fishing, horseback riding and golfing. While visiting Ruidoso, be on the lookout for the band of beautiful wild horses that roam around town. We love Ruidoso any time of year, but if we had to choose our favorite month to visit, we would choose October. We’re anxious to share this road trip with you, so let’s get going!

Ruidoso is approximately:

140 miles from El Paso, Texas180 miles from Albuquerque, NM250 miles from Lubbock, Texas

This airport to destination road trip is going to start in El Paso since it is the closest city with a major airport. Drive time between El Paso and Ruidoso: 2.5 hours.

City view of El Paso, Texas

Things to do in El Paso:

  • Chamizal National Memorial
  • Franklin Mountains State Park
  • Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
  • Museum of History
  • Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • Museum of Art
  • Mission Trail
  • Water Parks
  • Children’s Museum

Getting There

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From El Paso, take US Highway 54 north toward Tularosa via Alamogordo, then take US Highway 70 northeast to Ruidoso.

⇒Alternate (recommended) Route: from El Paso, take I-10 north to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Drive time between El Paso and Las Cruces: 49 minutes

Bonus stop: Las Cruces

Stop for an hour or two to visit Old Mesilla Village. Walk the plaza which is a National Historic Landmark. Mesilla offers shopping venues as well as dining with a serving of history on the side. If a hike sounds appealing, check out the Dripping Springs Natural Area at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument for scenic trials. While in Las Cruces, look for the mural-painted water tanks and the giant roadrunner sculpture made from an array of recycled junk such as old sneakers and computer components.

Organ Mountains near Las Cruces – photo by Jason Pofahl

From Las Cruces take US Highway 70 north to White Sands National Park. Drive time between Las Cruces and White Sands: 52 minutes.

Bonus stop: White Sands National Park

Currently $25.00 per vehicle to enter the park. The gift shop at the visitor center sells sand discs for sledding on the dunes. Even if sledding isn’t your thing, the scenery is out of this world. There are plenty of places to park along Dunes Drive, so get out of the car and climb the gypsum dunes for spectacular views and photo ops with the mountains as the backdrop. Here’s the link: White Sands National Park

Travel tip: before you go, check the website for temporary park and highway closures due to testing at White Sands Missile Range. Closures typically last three hours or less.

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White Sands National Park

From White Sands, take US Highway 70 to Alamogordo. Drive time between White Sands and Alamogordo: 17 minutes

Bonus stop:  Alamogordo

Plan to spend a couple of hours at the New Mexico Museum of Space History/International Space Hall of Fame, as it is a fantastic museum that both kids and adults will love. Alamogordo offers many hotel and restaurant choices, as well as a state park, wineries, and a zoo. While you’re in town, be on the lookout for the world’s largest pistachio! 

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International Space Hall of Fame, Alamogordo, New Mexico

From Alamogordo, take US Highway 54 north to Tularosa (13 miles), then take US Highway 70 northeast to Ruidoso. Drive time between Alamogordo and Ruidoso: 1 hour

⇒Alternate (recommended) Route: from Alamogordo, take US Highway 82 east to Cloudcroft. (19 miles of steep two-lane road.) This route through the Lincoln National Forest is very scenic. Drive time between Alamogordo and Ruidoso via this route: 1.5 hours without stops

Travel tip: when approaching the “Tunnel Ahead” sign, slow down for a pull out. The view of White Sands from the viewpoint is pictured below.

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Continue east on US Highway 82. Right before you reach the village of Cloudcroft, there is another pull out. Stop and get out of the car, stretch your legs, and breathe in the fresh mountain air. (The elevation is about 8650 feet.) Learn about the historic Cloudcroft Railroad/Mexican Canyon Trestle pictured below. This only remaining portion of the old rail line is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Bonus stop: Cloudcroft.

Stop and have a look around the village that is home to Ski Cloudcroft. The village also has shopping, restaurants, history, and a totally laid-back atmosphere. *Recommended restaurant in Cloudcroft: Dave’s Cafe – 300 Burro Ave. Good food and good service.

Bonus Road Trip: Sunspot Solar Observatory

Head south from Cloudcroft on Highway 130 toward Sunspot via the Sunspot Highway (aka Highway 6563). It is an extremely scenic drive (a total of 19 miles in the Lincoln National Forest) that ends at the observatory.  Along the road, be sure to stop at the scenic viewpoint pull out for fabulous views of White Sands and the Tularosa Basin. At the observatory, stop in at the visitor center then take a self-guided tour of the telescopes. The elevation at Sunspot is about 9200 feet.

Travel tip: Google Maps for directions to Sunspot are not reliable.

From Cloudcroft, take Highway 244 north to US Highway 70 to Ruidoso. Highway 244 is also a scenic route through the Lincoln National Forest. Drive time from Cloudcroft to Ruidoso: 1 hour.

Travel tip: watch for deer and elk along this road.

Did we mention why we like this area in October?

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Fall colors just outside of Ruidoso in Lincoln National Forest

Destination: Ruidoso, New Mexico

As for places to stay in Ruidoso, Inn of the Mountain Gods is our first choice. The resort has everything visitors want, including a gorgeous yet challenging golf course, restaurants, a casino, and an RV campground. Here’s a link: Inn of the Mountain Gods

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We also recommend:

  • Hampton Inn – preferred chain hotel in Ruidoso
  • Casa Blanca – preferred Mexican Food – 501 Mechem Dr.
  • Ranchers Steak and Seafood Restaurant – preferred splurge restaurant- 2823 Sudderth Dr. – make a reservation for dinner
  • Wendell’s Steak and Seafood at Inn of the Mountain Gods – preferred splurge restaurant – make a reservation for dinner
  • Anaheim Jacks – preferred lunch stop – 1097 Mechem Dr.

Things to do in Ruidoso:

  • Bet! Enjoy the excitement of summer horse racing at Ruidoso Downs. The adjoining Billy the Kid Casino is open year-round.
  • Gamble! Play the slots or try your hand at one the gaming tables at Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino.
  • Shop! Ruidoso’s walkable downtown offers a variety of great shops and art galleries. There is bound to be something for every heart’s desire.
  • Play! There are public golf courses, a public swimming pool, tennis courts, public parks, a bowling alley, miniature golf, bumper boats, go-carts, Wibit Water Park, and horseback riding stables, just to name a few.IMG_4710
  • Ski! Head to Ski Apache for wintertime fun in the snow. There is also a site for sledding and tubing near the ski area.
  • Learn! Check out the Hubbard Museum of the American West, located just east of Ruidoso Downs racetrack.
  •  Hike or Bike! There are many hiking and biking trails in the area. Here’s a link for trail information: Ruidoso Trails
  • Enjoy the Water! Area lakes provide the perfect setting for canoeing, kayaking, or fishing.
  • Drive the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway. Stop in at the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway Visitor Center in Ruidoso Downs (next to the Hubbard Museum of the American West) before traveling to the following sites. Here’s a link: Billy the Kid Scenic Byway.

Things to do on the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway

First stop:

For nostalgia buffs, head northeast on Highway 48 from Ruidoso to Capitan for a visit to Smokey Bear Historical Park. Spend an hour touring the museum and nature area and see Smokey’s final resting place. Tickets are $2.00 per adult and $1.00 for kids between the ages of seven and twelve. Six and under are free. Cash only.

Second stop:

Head east on US Highway 380 to Fort Stanton Historic Site. Take a tour of the grounds and learn the importance of this historic fort. Allow 1-2 hours to visit the site. Here’s a link: Fort Stanton.

Third stop:

Lincoln, New Mexico is a great stop for some Old West history. (East on US Highway 380 from Fort Stanton.) Learn about the Lincoln County War, Sheriff Pat Garrett, and Billy the Kid, while touring the historic buildings in town. Tickets for entrance into the museum and designated buildings are $7.00 per adult at the visitor center. There is also a nice hiking/nature trail along the Rio Bonito. Allow 1-2 hours to visit Lincoln.

Old Lincoln County Courthouse

Fourth Stop: 

Head southeast on 380 from Lincoln to Hondo. At Hondo turn right on to US Highway 70 to San Patricio, home of artists Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth-Hurd, and Michael Hurd. The family’s ranch features guest homes, a winery and tasting room, and The Hurd la Rinconada Gallery. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9:00 to 5:00 – 105 La Rinconada in San Patricio, New Mexico, 25 miles east of Ruidoso.

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We’re going to end this post with one last road trip idea. See it all, do it all, right?

Just a one-hour drive east from Ruidoso is the city of Roswell, New Mexico. Remember the 1947 Roswell incident? Well, whether or not you believe a flying saucer crashed there, a trip to the International UFO Museum and Research Center might be a fun stop to add to your itinerary.

Hopefully we have inspired your wanderlust, and if a trip to New Mexico is on your radar, we sincerely hope that you will make plans to visit Ruidoso and surrounding areas in the future. Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

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(This is an updated and enhanced version of a prior post published on October 27, 2018.)

Need more inspiration? Click the links to view these other great road trip destinations:

Amarillo, Texas

Albuquerque to Taos Road Trip: Things to Do

Palo Duro Canyon State 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

Albuquerque to Taos Road Trip: Things to Do

Taos Pueblo

Northern New Mexico is a breath of fresh air – literally. The air is clean, the skies are bright, and the mountains are majestic! While visiting Taos you will be able to learn about its historic past, see world class art, and enjoy great food, all in a casual, laid-back atmosphere! Taos is also a year-round hub for a multitude of outdoor sports, and opportunities for sightseeing abound.

Taos is:

  • The perfect road trip destination for a long weekend.
  • A great get away for couples.
  • Best visited: anytime. We like September and October. Snow sports enthusiasts will love Taos in the winter months.

Rio Grande and Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque -Photo by Stephanie Klepacki

This airport-to-destination road trip is going to start from the closest major airport which is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Miles between Albuquerque and Taos: 133 via Santa Fe.

Things to do in Albuquerque:

  • Old Town
  • Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Albuquerque BioPark – zoo and aquarium
  • Petroglyph National Monument
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
  • Breaking Bad RV tour
  • Casinos

Albuquerque’s Sandia Peak Tramway – Photo by Federated Art

*Recommended hotels in Albuquerque: Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express. Both hotel chains have several locations to choose from.

*Recommended restaurant in Albuquerque: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, 5011 Pan American Freeway NE

Travel tip: We highly recommend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta which takes place every October. Here’s a link: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Photo by Lad Fury

Getting There

From Albuquerque, there are two options for driving to Santa Fe. The I-25 route is the fastest. Highway 14 aka The Turquoise Trail is much more scenic but requires a longer drive.

From Albuquerque, take I-25 north to Santa Fe. Drive time between Albuquerque and Santa Fe: 1 hour

Recommended route: via the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. From Albuquerque, take I-40 east to Highway 14 north toward Madrid.

Bonus stop: Madrid.  Once a mining town turned ghost town, Madrid (pronounced mad´-rid)  is now a thriving artist community. Drive time between Albuquerque and Madrid: 1 hour.

Continue on to Santa Fe via Highway 14. Drive time between Madrid and Santa Fe: 40 minutes.

Bonus Stop: Santa Fe.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico

 Travel tip: If you can’t spend a few days in Santa Fe, try to stop for a few hours to explore the plaza. Plan a trip back when you can spend some time enjoying everything the historic city has to offer.

Things to do in Santa Fe:

  • Santa Fe Plaza
  • Palace of the Governors
  • Loretto Chapel
  • San Miguel Chapel
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
  • Santa Fe Railyard
  • Meow Woof

*Recommended hotel in Santa Fe: Inn on the Alameda. Within walking distance of the plaza and Canyon Road galleries. Free breakfast. Click this link for Inn on the Alameda

*Recommended restaurants in Santa Fe: The Shed – 113 E Palace Avenue, on the plaza, and The Pink Adobe – 406 Old Santa Fe Trail, off the plaza.

Side trip: Pecos National Historical Park. From Santa Fe, take I-25 toward Glorietta, then Highway 50 east to Pecos, and follow the signs to the park. View the ruins of a pueblo that was built around 800 AD. Allow at least two hours to see the site via a self-guided walking tour. The visitor center museum is extremely interesting. Drive time between Santa Fe and Pecos National Historical Park: 40 minutes. We highly recommend a visit to this park! Here is a link for more information:  Pecos National Historical Park

From Santa Fe there are two options for driving to Taos: the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway, which we recommend, and the Low Road to Taos, which is faster. Timing will determine which road to choose.

High Road to Taos – longer but most scenic

From Santa Fe take Highway 84/285 north toward Pojoaque, then take Highway 503 east via Highway 98 to Chimayo.

 Bonus stop: historic Santuario de Chimayo. Learn about El Posito, a hole in the floor of the church that is believed to have healing powers in its dirt.

Bonus stop:

The Church of San Jose de la Gracia

Low Road to Taos – not as scenic but faster

At Santa Fe, take US 84 West, then 285 North toward Espanola, then take Highway 68 to Taos. Drive time between Santa Fe and Taos: 1.5 hours.

Destination: Taos, New Mexico

Ruins of the San Geronimo Mission church and cemetery at Taos Pueblo

*Recommended hotel in Taos: El Pueblo Lodge, 412 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Here is a link: El Pueblo Lodge. There is also a Hampton Inn.

There are too many good restaurants in Taos to list, but our advice is to ask the front desk at the hotel for their recommendations. Locals always know the best places to eat.

Things to do in Taos:

Stroll the plaza. Walk the square, check out the unique shops and boutiques, pick up a box of chocolates at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and stop in at one of the plaza’s restaurants for drinks and a meal. We recommend The Gorge Bar & Grill. Try the tequila-lime chicken street tacos along with the fried green beans and sip a margarita while people watching from the second-story patio.

Travel tip: there are some great shops and restaurants outside of the plaza too.

Visit Taos Pueblo. Take a guided walking tour of the pueblo. Learn the history of the site and the people who have called this sacred ground home for over one thousand years. Taos Pueblo is one of only 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the U.S. A visit is very well worth the price of the tour and a tip for the tour guide. Plan to spend two hours. Check the site for Covid-19 restrictions and availability here: Taos Pueblo

Get up Early for a Hot Air Balloon Ride. For the thrill of a lifetime, take an early morning hot air balloon flight. Dip into the Rio Grande Gorge, touch down on the river, then float high above the plateaus for spectacular views of the gorge and the mountains with volcano cone vistas of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. There are a few hot air balloon companies to choose from, and we recommend booking ahead for this popular activity.

Walk across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Take US Highway 64 West from Taos. Park on the west side, and walk across the bridge, which sits 650 feet above the river! Look for desert big horn sheep on the rocks along the gorge. Located at the edge of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, the scenery is spectacular. Adjoining the national monument is Rio Grande Gorge State Park – we thought it was more of a rest area – where there are places to picnic while enjoying the scenery. There are great photo ops, and it is just a few miles east of the Earthships Biotecture Visitor Center. For anyone who has not seen the Taos Earthships, they are definitely worth a visit or an overnight stay. Some of the earthships are now Airbnb vacation rentals. Here is a link: Taos Earthships  

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Spend an afternoon fishing. Or spend the day enjoying most any other outdoor sport. Outfitters in Taos can arrange whitewater rafting or a float trip on the Rio Grande. Stop by Taos Fly Shop for some great fishing gear, a license, or tips on where the fish are biting. Head for the Taos Ski Valley for great hiking and mountain biking trails, and of course skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

Fly fishing on the Rio Pueblo

•Step into the past. There are no less than 10 museums in Taos, featuring the personal homes of past Taos residents, Native American history, Northern New Mexico history, and of course, art. As art lovers, we recommend learning about the Taos Society of Artists which made Taos the art colony it still is today. Be sure to check the museums’ websites for operating days and times as well as Covid-19 restrictions.

Browse or buy world class art. With approximately 20 galleries in town, Taos is an art lover’s paradise. From Native American art, pottery and jewelry to modern art and funky sculptures, there is a gallery collection to suit every taste.

Kick back. Grab a good book and find a cozy spot in the sun or curl up in front of a fireplace with a warm drink and that box of chocolates you bought at the plaza. Take a leisurely stroll then stop in at Parcht (on the plaza) for a glass of wine and a bite. Or get back on the road for a drive through the mountains and Carson National Forest. The possibilities for rest and relaxation in the Taos area are endless.

Looking for more ideas? Click on the links below to find out about these other exciting weekend road trip destinations:

El Paso to Ruidoso Road Trip: Things to Do

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Abilene, Texas Road Trip: Things to Do

Thank you for joining us! Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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

©2018

Featured

National Route 66 Museum

Where is it?

On Route 66, of course! Actually, it’s on a stretch of the original Route 66 in Elk City, Oklahoma. We plan to drive the entire route someday, but we’re settling for bits and pieces for the time being. This turned out to be a nice little piece of the route.

What’s it about?

It is a complex of five great museums all in one place. They include:  the National Route 66 Museum, National Transportation Museum, Farm and Ranch Museum, Blacksmith Museum, and the Old Town Museum which contains the Beutler Rodeo Hall. All sections are worth the stop. Below are some shots from the Route 66 Museum where there are different vignettes depicting what travelers would have seen in each of the eight states along the Mother Road.

We suspect there may still be some places like this one in New Mexico and Arizona, live rattlesnakes and all!

Crusin’ through the great state of Missouri. Gotta love those vintage cars!

“Are we there yet?”

Who napped in the back window on family vacations? Was the motel pool your entire reason for living? How about stopping at Stuckey’s for a pecan roll and a cheap souvenir? A&W root beers and burgers in the car anyone? Remember when motels had stationery and post cards in the rooms? And then there were those real live “trading posts” with that horrible-tasting rock candy and “authentic” turquoise jewelry. Oh, and Reptile Village, but our dads wouldn’t ever stop. Those were fun times, and this museum really brought back the memories for us, although some of it was way before our time.

Outside in the sunshine, we walked around the “old town” exhibits and looked in all the windows. Below are a couple of shots.

Wonder what the gas prices were back in this gas station’s heyday?

More of the old town. Each building is furnished with items the businesses would have had way back when, and all can be viewed through the storefront windows. There’s even a country doctor’s office complete with creepy medical instruments.

We fell in love with the sculpture (below) in front of the Old Town Museum. The museum building had once been the home of a family who owned department stores in western Oklahoma. The first floor depicts how some of the early residents would have lived. The second floor is dedicated to the the Beutler family who own a ranch north of Elk City and have raised champion rodeo stock for almost 100 years. This museum was worth the admission fee by itself.

His name was Commotion, and he was the Beutler brothers three time world champion bucking horse.

“Commotion” from a different angle. It is a beautiful bronze sculpture by T.D. Kelsey of Guthrie, Texas.

Click here for an interesting read about this multi-faceted artist: https://www.tdkelsey.com/the-artist

The museum complex admission is (currently) $5.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 6-16. Children 5 and under are admitted free. For AAA members and people over 60, it is $4.00. (We paid $4.00 each, but we’re not saying which discount we got!)

In closing, we would recommend a stop here for travelers who have a couple of hours to spend. And if you’re already traveling the Mother Road (or even I-40), a stop here is a great way to get out of the car for a time, take a relaxing stroll through the complex, and learn something new while you’re at it!

Thank you for stopping by our site, and we hope you come back again for more road trip stops, Quick Stops, Wish We Were There Wednesdays, and lots of other good stuff. We appreciate you more than you know, and we would love to hear from you so feel free to comment below. We can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter @KellyeHefner.

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.

©2022

 

 

 

 

Featured

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Welcome to the home of Dwight D. “Ike” and Mamie Eisenhower. How befitting that a distinguished military leader and the 34th president of the United States, would make his home next to some of our nation’s most sacred grounds at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

We had made reservations to tour the house but were notified shortly thereafter by e-mail that the house had been closed due to Covid – very disappointing. Since the grounds are open to visitors, we decided to stop by and see the property anyway. Fortunately, we arrived in time to join a ranger talk which was extremely interesting and took the sting out of not getting to tour the house. The farm, which was visited by several world leaders and other dignitaries, is only 10 minutes from Camp David and 30 minutes from Washington by helicopter. This would have been an extreme convenience to the president.

This is the only house that Ike and Mamie ever owned. Due to many military appointments at home and abroad, Ike becoming president of Columbia University, and living in the White House, the Eisenhowers only used the property as a retreat. They lived here full time after the end of his presidency.
This is a view of the back of the home
Ike’s backyard putting green, installed as a gift from the PGA. It cannot be seen in this shot, but the flag reflects the five stars of his General of the Army rank.

The property immediately surrounding the house includes a barn, a guest house, a tea house, greenhouses and gardens. Interestingly, there is also a helicopter landing pad just beyond the road in front of the house, but it’s simply a mowed-short patch of grass on the lawn.

Barn adjacent to the house and attached garage that still holds some of their personal vehicles. A secret service office was located on the opposite end of the barn. Ike was the first president to have lifetime secret service protection for himself and his wife after leaving office.
Guest House
This is the second farm where Ike’s champion Angus cattle were bred and raised.

We saw many farms that looked like this one in Pennsylvania, particularly the Amish and Mennonite farms in and around Lancaster County. We fell in love with the white barns, silos, and pastoral settings, all reflective of a simpler life that is probably anything but simple.

Beautiful soybean crop and view from the house. The National Park Service leases the land to a local farmer who also tends to the cattle that live on the farm today.

For additional information about the Eisenhower National Historic Site, click here: https://www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm

To view the Eisenhower National Historic Site collections, click here: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/eisenhower-national-historic-site

Virtual tours of the house are found here: https://www.nps.gov/eise/learn/photosmultimedia/videos.htm

That’s going to be all for this trip. Thank you for joining us on our journeys. Please join us again for another great destination. Until next time…

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.

©2021

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesdays: Vehicles

Today we’re sharing some interesting vehicles that we have come across during our travels. We hope you enjoy seeing them!

USS Cairo gunboat. One of the first ironclad warships built during the civil war, she was sunk by a torpedo (or mine) in the Yazoo River while helping other ships sweep for mines in 1862. Luckily there were no casualties. Having been raised in the 1960s after lying in the silty bottom of the river for over 100 years, she now resides at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Tour bus in Yellowstone National Park. Beginning in the 1920s, these “National Park Buses” carried visitors on various excursions through the park, with some of the buses still running in the 1960s. Eventually all of these classics were all sold. Several of them have now been relocated and refurbished so that today’s visitors to the park can experience what it was like back in the early days – with modern amenities and roads, of course.

USS Constitution. Nicknamed Old Ironsides, she was initially launched in 1797. She is the world’s oldest ship that is still afloat, and she is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, which means she is still served by U. S. Navy officers and crew. Her home is the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

This truck is called a Peacekeeper. They were once used by security officers who patrolled near minuteman missile silos. These armored Dodge trucks were usually outfitted with a machine gun turret on the roof. This one is at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota.

This is a rail truck at the World Museum of Mining in Butte, Montana. The unusual vehicle was an important part of the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway (BAP) which was the first railroad to convert from steam to electricity. Built in the early 1900s, this truck was used to maintain the overhead wires of the railroad.

These huge ships are docked in Baltimore and are Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships used to preposition or move supplies, vehicles, and other cargo needed by the military. Interestingly, MSC ships are served by civil service workers who are employed by the Navy and are not active military personnel. We captured this shot in the rain thus the monochromatic image.

Old snow blower train in Skagway, Alaska with a rotary snowplow on the front.

This is President Lyndon Johnson’s Jetstar, nicknamed Air Force 1/2. The runway at his Texas ranch couldn’t accommodate Air Force One, so this smaller plane would carry him from a larger airport (usually in San Antonio or Austin) to the ranch. The plane is on display at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (LBJ Ranch) at Stonewall, Texas.

Here is a shot of the Goodyear blimp which we captured on a gorgeous fall afternoon in our own city. Did you know that up until 2005 (with a couple of deviations) Goodyear named its blimps after the American winners of the America’s Cup yacht race? Now the public gets to submit suggestions for naming the blimps.

We’re going to close the post with a shot inside a hot air balloon while it’s deflating – just because we think it’s a cool pic.

We hope you enjoyed our post and will come back again for more exciting road trip destinations, a Quick Stop, some tips and tricks, or another Wish We Were There Wednesday. Better yet, come back for all of our posts, and join our family of followers so you never miss one! We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy hump day, everyone!

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

Antietam National Battlefield

Located just outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland, Antietam National Battlefield was one of our favorite destinations on our Mid-Atlantic road trip. During the battle that took place on September 17, 1862 and lasted only about 12 hours, 23,000 men’s lives were changed forever. Ending in a Union victory, it was the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War.

Maryland Monument
Dunker Church so named because their parishioners were baptized by dunking
Miller Farmhouse

The men who lost their lives here did not in any way die in vain, but when one steps foot on these consecrated grounds it is hard not to think that any war has its own senselessness. We felt something spiritual here that resembled the way we felt at the Oklahoma City Memorial – both being places that were once violently disrupted by turmoil but are now utterly serene. Perhaps the spirits of those who fought and died here walked along with us and somehow soothed our souls.

Mumma Farm, the only structure deliberately destroyed during the battle. Confederate soldiers burned the house and outbuildings so Union troops could not use them. Luckily, the Mumma family had left the house before the battle. They rebuilt the house in 1863. Before this trip, we never knew that families whose properties were damaged or destroyed during the Civil War were compensated by the government in order to rebuild.
Hallowed Ground

Another thing we learned on the trip was that the National Park Service leases some of its land to local farmers for growing crops. We never had seen so many soybeans, and certainly never knew that so many acres of soybeans were grown in the US.

Sunken Road aka Bloody Lane looking north
Bloody Lane looking south

This is the site where the Confederates held off 10,000 Union soldiers during a three hour battle. The casualties were high and the road was lined with bodies. Click here for some additional information and photographs of the aftermath of this battle thanks to the History Channel: https://www.history.com/news/battle-antietam-photography-civil-war . Warning – the photographs are graphic!

Burnside Bridge – probably the most photographed landmark at Antietam. General Burnside’s men captured the bridge from about 500 Confederate soldiers who had held the area for more than three hours. Burnside’s troops crossed Antietam Creek, which drove the Confederates back toward Sharpsburg.

The Antietam National Cemetery is located in Sharpsburg, Maryland, just a few miles from the battlefield. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go in, but according the the park brochure 4,776 Union soldiers are buried here, along with veterans of other wars. This cemetery did not exist at the time of the Civil War so the dead were buried where they died on the battlefield. Later their remains were reinterred at this cemetery. Confederate soldiers were buried in Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD, and Shepherdstown, VA, now WV. Interestingly, in 2009 remains of an unidentified soldier were found in a cornfield, most likely buried where he fell on the battlefield almost 150 years before.

Cemetery Lodge (sometimes called Keepers House) on the grounds of the Antietam National Cemetery

That’s going to do it for our overview of the Antietam National Battlefield. We hope you enjoyed the visit and that you will come back often to see us as we post more trips and tips. Thank you for joining us on the road. 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.

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