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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.

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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

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Our road trip begins in Johnson City, Texas where the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park Visitor Center is located. Johnson City is:

  • 48 miles/1 hour west of Austin, Texas – Website link: Visit Austin
  • 64 miles/1.25 hours north of San Antonio, Texas – Website link: Visit San Antonio

The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is divided into three sections: the Johnson City section, the state park section, and the LBJ Ranch section. The state park and ranch sections are 14 miles west of Johnson City in Stonewall, Texas via U.S. Highway 290. We recommend visiting all three of the park sites to get a complete overview of Johnson’s life and legacy as the 36th president of the United States. 

Website link: Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Bridge on the path between Johnson Settlement and Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home

Johnson City

The park’s visitor center museum in Johnson City features a timeline of the president’s life, photos, and other historical information. Artifacts from Lyndon Johnson’s presidency as well as some items that belonged to his wife, Lady Bird, are also on display. Johnson’s boyhood home sits across the street from the visitor center, and down the street is Johnson Settlement where his grandparents settled after the Civil War. Easy trails, sidewalks, and wayside information boards make an interesting and pleasant walk between the sites. 

Johnson’s Boyhood Home 
Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on what is now the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall, Texas in 1908, and the family moved to Johnson City when he was five years old. The Johnsons lived in the home for 24 years while raising their five children, including three girls and two boys. In the early 1970s, the modest family home was restored to its 1920’s style by the National Park Service with help from the former president. The property also features a shed, a windmill and cistern, and a small barn surrounded by gorgeous old oak trees. Check the park’s website for tour information.

Windmill behind Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home

Lyndon’s father, Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., was a Texas legislator for 12 years, and his mother, Rebekah Baines Johnson, was an educator. LBJ attended Texas State Teacher’s College. For a short time, he worked as a teacher and principal to earn money to continue his college education. After graduation from college, he attended one semester of law school at Georgetown University before dropping out. 

Shed behind Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home
LBJ the Politician

In 1937, Johnson announced his bid for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 10th District of the State of Texas from the east porch of his boyhood home. He won the election and later went on to serve in other capacities primarily as a U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader. LBJ ran for president in 1960 but lost the Democratic nomination to John F. Kennedy. Johnson was asked by Kennedy to be his running mate due to LBJ’s popularity with the southern Democrats who weren’t especially fond of JFK. The duo won the election, and the rest, they say, is history. On November 22, 1963, while standing aboard Air Force One at Dallas’s Love Field airport, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president two hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The east porch of LBJ’s boyhood home
Johnson Settlement

A block west of Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home is Johnson Settlement, which is the site of his grandparents’ original home. In the mid-1800s, Sam Ealy Johnson, Sr. and his brother Tom settled on 320 acres in what is now Johnson City and began a successful cattle driving business. Sam returned to Texas after serving the Confederacy in the Civil War and married Eliza Bunton in 1867.

LBJ’s grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, lived in this cabin from 1867-1872
This barn was added to the property by James Polk Johnson for whom Johnson City is named and who was a nephew of Sam Ealy Johnson, Sr.
This cooler house, windmill, and cistern were also added to the site by James Polk Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site

The next stop on our road trip is in Stonewall, Texas at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. The park is located 14 miles/15 minutes west of Johnson City on U.S. Highway 290. 

State Park
The Lyndon B. Johnson State Park Visitor Center

The state park site is adjacent to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park/LBJ Ranch along the banks of the Pedernales River. This park features:

  • Visitor center and gift shop plus memorabilia from LBJ’s presidency 
  • Olympic-sized swimming pool – open in the summer
  • Historic cabin tours
  • Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm
  • Hiking trails
  • Tennis courts
  • Fishing (no license required if fishing in the state park) 
  • Longhorn herd
  • Bison herd

Website link: Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site

Bison at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site
Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

Located within the state park is the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. Here rangers and park volunteers dress in period clothing and take on the chores of managing an early 20th century home and farm. Volunteers give tours of the buildings, grow gardens and cotton from heirloom seeds and take care of the animals that live on the farm. 

Barn and blacksmith shop
Sheep and other animals live at the historic farm

It’s about a 10-minute walk from the visitor center to the farm. The farmhouse, which was later added on to, was built in the late 1800s by the Sauer family. Interestingly, one of the Sauer’s older daughters was the midwife who attended Lyndon Johnson’s birth in 1908. The Beckmann family bought the farm in 1900, and they remained neighbors of the Johnsons until the property was sold to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1966.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Stop number three on our road trip is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park/LBJ Ranch. The drive from the state park visitor center to the ranch entrance takes about ten minutes, and the auto tour through the ranch takes about 1 to 1.5 hours depending on stops.

Lyndon and Lady Bird

After his short stint at Georgetown Law, Lyndon met University of Texas graduate, Claudia Alta Taylor. As an infant, Claudia had been called Lady Bird by her nanny, and the nickname followed her throughout her life. LBJ asked Lady Bird to marry him on their first date, and she promptly declined. More proposals and refusals were made over the next ten weeks until Lady Bird finally said yes. The couple were married in November of 1934. LBJ liked being known by his initials, and he also like having them attached to everything he owned, including his ranch and cattle! Having a wife with his initials must have been quite a boost to LBJ’s reportedly huge ego. They named their children Lynda Bird Johnson and Luci Baines Johnson. Even the family’s dog, Little Beagle Johnson, had the same initials. 

LBJ Ranch 

Upon approach to the park visitors will see Trinity Lutheran Church which sits just across the river from the LBJ Ranch entrance. The church was registered as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1989.

Trinity Lutheran Church, built in 1904
The final resting places of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson in the family cemetery on the ranch

As a kid, Lyndon spent summers on what is now the LBJ Ranch helping his aunt and uncle work cattle and doing odd jobs. After her husband died, LBJ’s aunt asked if he wanted to buy her floundering property, and he jumped at the opportunity. He quickly began purchasing registered Hereford cattle. Over the years, Lyndon and Lady Bird expanded the ranch by purchasing additional land, growing the ranch to over 2,700 acres. When the historical park was being established, the Johnsons opted to donate a portion of the ranch to the National Park Service. Their only condition was that it would continue as a working cattle operation. The park service agreed, and descendants of LBJ’s original prizewinning Herefords still thrive on the ranch today. 

Some of the descendants of LBJ’s prizewinning Hereford cattle
LBJ’s Texas White House
LBJ’s Jetstar, nicknamed Air Force One-Half. This smaller jet was used to carry the president home from a nearby airport where Air Force One had landed because the runway at the ranch couldn’t accommodate a large jet.

The buildings surrounding the airplane hangar (now a visitor center) pictured below are garages, offices, and a secret service command post. These buildings sit behind and to the side of the ranch house. The runway is now the visitor center parking lot. 

Airplane hangar, now visitor center, on the LBJ Ranch

The media began referring to his home as the Texas White House because Johnson spent so much time at the ranch during his presidency. The president held meetings on the lawn under a large live oak tree where members of the cabinet conducted government business from lawn chairs. Foreign ministers, former presidents, and other dignitaries spent time at the LBJ Ranch, and the president even held press conferences from the porch. 

The Texas White House/LBJ Ranch house
The pool and pool house sit in the side yard next to the house
Final view of the Texas White House

Nearby Points of Interest

Click the links below for information on these points of interest in the Texas Hill Country beginning from Johnson City:

Thank you for joining us on our Texas Hill Country road trip! We hope you enjoyed the visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.

Want to learn more? Click to see these other exciting historical sites: 

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Antietam National Battlefield

Harpers Ferry National Historical 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!) Our opinions are our own.

©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

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Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Sitting right on Baltimore’s inner harbor near an industrial area on the edge of downtown is Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the “The Star-Spangled Banner”. It was during the War of 1812 that a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key penned the now famous words. He had been aboard a US truce ship on the river while witnessing the battle between the Americans defending Baltimore at Fort McHenry and the British navy. The British had sailed up the Chesapeake Bay after burning Washington and filled the river with its ships aiming to capture Baltimore. After the battle in September of 1814, Key was inspired to write the poem when he saw that the garrison flag “yet waved” by the dawn’s early light over Fort McHenry. The poem was set to an adapted tune of an 18th Century European song called “To Anacreon in Heaven”, and in 1931 “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the National Anthem of the United States. Did you know that the original title of Key’s poem was “The Defense of Fort McHenry”?

A smaller replica of the original garrison flag, which bore fifteen stars and fifteen stripes and measured 30′ x 42′, flies over Fort McHenry today. The original flag, made by Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore at the request of the fort’s commander, Major George Armistead, now resides in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Fort McHenry was built between 1798 and 1803 and is named for James McHenry who hailed from Baltimore and was George Washington’s Secretary of War. During the Civil War, the fort was used to hold prisoners of war, but it was primarily used as a prison for pro-succession Maryland residents. During World War I, the grounds around Fort McHenry were home to 100 buildings composing a 3,000 bed hospital. Called General Hospital 2, which was one of the largest in the US at the time, it was used to treat wounded from the battlefields of France. Fort McHenry is the only national park site that has been designated as a shrine.

Prison cells at Fort McHenry
These cannons swivel on a round track so they can be aimed in different directions
These cannons are aimed toward the harbor. Baltimore’s harbor is actually the Patapsco River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
Inside the fort
Outside the fort
Sallyport (entrance) to the fort

We’re going to call this trip done, but in closing the post we want to leave you with a couple of cool shots at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is where the Baltimore Orioles baseball team plays, and the stadium is next to M&T Bank Stadium where the Baltimore Ravens football team plays. Both fields are in downtown Baltimore.

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The great Babe Ruth was a Baltimorian who was born just a few blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In fact, his father once owned and ran a bar that sat about where the ballpark’s second base is located today.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Until the 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

 

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Wish We Were There Wednesday: Random Places

Today we’re taking a random places road trip, and we are so happy to have you along for the ride. Enjoy!

Pike Place Market, Seattle. Established in 1907, it is the oldest running farmer’s market in the U.S. The original Starbucks opened here in 1971.

The Green Monster left field wall at Fenway Park, Boston. The reason the wall is there? To keep people from watching the game for free. In 2003, 269 barstool seats and 100 standing room only spaces were added to the deck on the wall, however tickets for those seats are hard to come by. By the way, the scoreboard on the Green Monster is still updated by hand. Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912.

Smokey Bear’s gravesite, Capitan, New Mexico. The idea of a fire prevention mascot was conceived in 1944 when the National Forest Service came up with a character called Smokey Bear. In 1950, a black bear cub was found badly burned after a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. The firefighters who found him named him Smokey. A popular living symbol of fire prevention, Smokey made his home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. until he died in 1976. He was returned to Capitan where he was buried in what is now Smokey Bear Historical Park.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville. Home of the Midnite Jamboree, which started right after the Grand Ole Opry show was over on Saturday nights. Ernest helped many artists get their start right there in that store until 1974 when the show was moved to another venue. The Midnite Jamboree was moved back to the store in 2021. Tubb was born in Texas, 35 miles south of Dallas. He performed and wrote songs up until his health required him to quit in 1982. He died in 1984. In March 2022, it was announced that the store is being sold and the Midnite Jamboree would be ending.

Geographic Center of the U.S. The actual survey marker is 22 miles north of town, but Belle Fourche, South Dakota does a great job of letting people know it’s close by.

UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico. Occupying a 1930s era movie theater, the museum was opened in 1991. In addition to the exhibits, mostly about the so-called Roswell incident, they also have a gift shop that carries things like bumper stickers that say, “I Like Aliens, They Taste Just Like Chicken”, and other gotta-take-one-of-these-home souvenirs.

Granary Burying Ground, Boston. Established in 1660, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock are all buried here, along with some of Ben Franklin’s family members and victims of the Boston Massacre, among others. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people are buried in this small cemetery, though there are just over 2,300 markers.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, Nebraska. Site of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Scout’s Rest Ranch, which was his home from 1886 to 1913. This beautiful barn was built in 1887 to house his purebred stallions and other livestock that lived on the 4,000-acre ranch. His mansion is shown below.

Buffalo Bill Cody’s home at Scout’s Rest Ranch

Reflections on the Colorado River, Moab, Utah. Did you know that the Colorado River Basin is part of eleven national parks? The Colorado River also flows through seven states, two Mexican states, and it forms a partial border between Arizona and Mexico.

Provincetown, Massachusetts. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims on the Mayflower landed first at Provincetown in 1620 where the men on the ship signed the Mayflower Compact. The compact was a document whereby they agreed to self-rule the colony they were set to establish in the New World. After finding no fresh water in the area, they sailed across the bay to Plymouth, and the rest, they say, is history.

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado. Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, opened the hotel in 1909. In the 1970s Stephen King visited the hotel and was inspired to write his novel The Shining. Today, the Stanley Hotel claims to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country with none other than Freelan and his wife, Flora (among other spirits) roaming the hallways. We toured this stunning hotel, and even went in the basement, but we didn’t see any paranormal activity – or Jack Nicholson!

That’s going to do it for today. Thanks so much for joining us on our random places road trip. 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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Wish We Were There Wednesday: Churches

Intricate details on the historic Trinity Church, Boston.

If you have followed our posts, you’ve probably noticed that we love churches – especially historic ones. Today we’re sharing a few of our favorites, and we hope you love them too. Enjoy!

Another detail of the Trinity Church in Boston – love the gargoyles!

Trinity Church, Boston. Built 1872 – 1877.

Mission Church, Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico. Built in 1717.

Old North Church, Boston. Built 1723.

Quechee Church, Quechee, Vermont. Built in 1873.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona. Built 1954 – 1956.

Ruins of the San Jeronimo Mission Church at Taos Pueblo. Dates to approximately 1706.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built 1907.

The Cathedral of Saint Helena, Helena, Montana. Built 1908.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Built 1869 – 1887.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist (also known as The Mother Church), Boston. Built 1894 – 1906 with later additions.

Chapel at Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Maryland. Cemetery established around 1808.

San Jose de Gracia in Las Trampas, New Mexico, built in 1760.

Grace Methodist Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built 1873 – 1878.

Thank you for visiting our site! We hope you will come back again for more great road trip destinations, Quick Stops, WWWTWs, and some tips and tricks. Become a follower so you never miss a post – just hit that SUBSCRIBE button on the right-side of the page. We will not share your information with anyone!

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

 

 

 

 

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Quick Stop: Zion Episcopal Church

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

Where in the world is it?

Zion Episcopal Church is in Charles Town, West Virginia. The town was settled by Charles Washington, the youngest full brother of George Washington, around 1780. At the time, Charles Town was in Virginia, as West Virginia did not become a state until 1863. Charles Town is the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, and lies in the Shenandoah Valley.

About Zion Episcopal Church

The original building was constructed around 1815, but another larger church was built on the site and was completed in 1848. Tragically, the second church building burned. The third church building was dedicated in 1851 and is the building that exists today, though the steeple wasn’t added until the 1890s. Perhaps most significant is the church cemetery. Approximately 70 of George Washington’s relatives are buried here, many of whom were born at Mount Vernon. Resting beside the Washington family members are other prominent historic figures and townspeople. According to the church history, approximately 85 to 90 Confederate soldiers and two Revolutionary War officers are also buried here.

 

We were able to walk through the cemetery and read many of the grave markers. Some of them are so old, however, that the words on them have been erased by time.

We identified the markers of quite a few members of the Washington family, and we were surprised by how many were named George

During the Civil War, the church was seized by Union soldiers for use as a barracks and later as a hospital. The soldiers did so much damage to the interior that it had to be completely renovated after the war.

One last view of Zion Episcopal Church surrounded by its cemetery

And now you know.

Until the next trip…

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.

©2021

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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