Alabama, Michigan and Now South Carolina

Gulf Shores winters are easy to take , especially the winter of 2016/2017

Gulf Shores winters are easy to take , especially the winter of 2016/2017

Greetings to friends and family. Really behind schedule in getting the winter post for 2016/2017 out there. Life here has been off schedule as Jan and I stepped back to assess what is working and where we can make life better. This summer we looked forward to spending the entire summer in Traverse City with a side trip to the UP and a back-packing trip to Isle Royale. Little did we know that would lead into a truly unplanned course of action

Overall it was a good winter in Gulf Shores. Larry had successful shoulder surgery and as this was round two knew what to expect and familiar with the process to get back into the game. Larry adopted a Vegan Diet in October in response to declining mobility issues. Jan has led the way on diet for some time now. The gutsy part of the process was Larry quit taking the six prescribed meds. The end of the story is improved mobility, a loss of 30 pounds, great blood pressure reads and blood work that indicated the meds really were not needed. The verdict is still out if the improvements were from stopping the meds or was it the diet change. Still working on getting use to the new diet (full time) but the pay back has been more than worth the effort.

Over the winter as we pondered the next few years it became clear it was time to sell our home in Michigan. Spending just three months a year there and travel plans for 2018 and 2019 that make it nearly impossible to get back at all supported a decision to sell. The natural fall back then was to make Gulf Shores our home base for at least the next two years to three years.

These decisions set the stage for even more reassessments and regrouping on our part.

…so, the update begins,

    Here are pictures taken at Easter when we got out of beach gear.

    Easter we left the flip flops in the closet as we dug out the dress clothes

    Easter we left the flip flops in the closet as we dug out the dress clothes

    Jan posing in front of the new patio ferns...

    Jan posing in front of the new patio ferns…

    Larry in long pants, not normal attire for the coast except for Easter

    Larry in long pants, not normal attire for the coast except for Easter

    What follows next are snapshots of our life on the Gulf Coast for 2016/2017.

    For those of you who follow Lefty she is doing fine. Another year and another set of hatchlings.

    The daily ritual is a bike ride and stopping to say hi to Lefty...who is keeping track of her little ones

    The daily ritual is a bike ride and stopping to say hi to Lefty…who is keeping track of her little ones

    Found this an interesting place to hang out in the sun.  There were six little ones to start now down to three

    Found this an interesting place to hang out in the sun. There were six little ones to start now down to three

    Walks and biking on the trail, walks on the beach are all part of daily life here…

    Many evenings we take a walk to the park on the Lagoon to watch the sun set and view the high rises on the beach

    Many evenings we take a walk to the park on the Lagoon to watch the sun set and view the high rises on the beach

    Watching the weather on the evening stroll can be interesting

    Watching the weather on the evening stroll can be interesting

    Lots of new trails at the Gulf Shores State Park...there were very few days you could not get out on your bike

    Lots of new trails at the Gulf Shores State Park…there were very few days you could not get out on your bike

    The trail system includes many bridges through the wetlands where you can get up close and personal with the wild life

    The trail system includes many bridges through the wetlands where you can get up close and personal with the wild life

    State Park has lots of interesting places to Kayak

    State Park has lots of interesting places to Kayak

    Early evening stroll on the beach after most of the folks have gone home.  Like the way this shot lined up and the evening color cast.

    Early evening stroll on the beach after most of the folks have gone home. Like the way this shot lined up and the evening color cast.

    Warm weather equates to busy beach.  This winter it was warm and beach friendly much of the time.

    Warm weather equates to busy beach. This winter it was warm and beach friendly much of the time.

    The State Park wharf gets a lot of action especially if you like to fish.  However swimming is not recommended as the sharks like to hang out here!

    The State Park wharf gets a lot of action especially if you like to fish. However swimming is not recommended as the sharks like to hang out here!

    The Ridge community is a central part of our life here in Alabama. Here are some shots from get togethers this year.

    Think I was off my game as the pictures at the pool party were all like this.  However, great turn out and time  to interact with friends and neighbors.

    Think I was off my game as the pictures at the pool party were all like this. However, great turn out and time to interact with friends and neighbors.

    Building 1 was the first to install a "hardscape" behind their units.  Ken and Brenda hosted a community backyard potluck to show off our project.  The Ridge Association board adopted this as an approved owner upgrade...with approval of course!

    Building 1 was the first to install a “hardscape” behind their units. Ken and Brenda hosted a community backyard potluck to show off our project. The Ridge Association board adopted this as an approved owner upgrade…with approval of course!

    Ridge owners and board members enjoying the cook out...

    Ridge owners and board members enjoying the cook out…

    Ken managed the grill skillfully...with just a little supervision!

    Ken managed the grill skillfully…with just a little supervision!

    Events like this we get to meet other owners and a chance to learn more about each other in the community

    Events like this we get to meet other owners and a chance to learn more about each other in the community

    There were several projects this year as we prepped for possible expectation that we would be here full time. We updated the laundry area in the and replaced all the major appliances. The project that added to the quality of life was creating a hardscape off the patio area.

    Pictures to follow:

    The "before" picture of the patio area.

    The “before” picture of the patio area.

    Doing a "hardscape" did require some homework.  Once executed everyone liked the result.

    Doing a “hardscape” did require some homework. Once executed everyone liked the result.

    The best caption I could come with "The ugly duckling turned into a swan"

    The best caption I could come with “The ugly duckling turned into a swan”

    This winter with great weather we got out on the trail more. Exploring the forts in the area and learning about their purpose and then different uses over time. These forts with their locations and their history goes back to the founding of the country, the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression), World War I and II. Plus, housed relocated Native Americans along with many other uses. The Gulf Coast has lots to offer for history buffs.

    We also got out to several natural refuges and reserves many of them are educational and/or researched based. Of course, there is always the Fairhope Art Fair.

    Bon Secour is where you can run into almost anything on the trail...Good hiking and a great place to explore...

    Bon Secour is where you can run into almost anything on the trail…Good hiking and a great place to explore…

    This trail has it all flora and fauna...here one stays on the trail!

    This trail has it all flora and fauna…here one stays on the trail!

    The Bon Secour trail ends at the beach and as the footprints attest it is a well travelled path

    The Bon Secour trail ends at the beach and as the footprints attest it is a well travelled path

    This was a good hike and recommend it highly...

    This was a good hike and recommend it highly…

    Weeks Bay is an interest stop between Gulf Shores and Fairhope.  Educational setting for the study of estuarine ecosystem where salt water and fresh water meet

    Weeks Bay is an interest stop between Gulf Shores and Fairhope. Educational setting for the study of estuarine ecosystem where salt water and fresh water meet

    The wooden trail at Weeks Bay seemed to wander endlessly through the marsh

    The wooden trail at Weeks Bay seemed to wander endlessly through the marsh

    Fort Morgan is alway a fun experience with so much history to explore.  The photo opts are endless.

    Fort Morgan is alway a fun experience with so much history to explore. The photo opts are endless.

    Fort Morgan has lots of brick and the aging process is spectular enhanced by the sea air of the Gulf of Mexico

    Fort Morgan has lots of brick and the aging process is spectular enhanced by the sea air of the Gulf of Mexico

    Fort Morgan has many of these buildings with arches

    Fort Morgan has many of these buildings with arches

    Fort Pickens has withstood the test of time, at least from the outside

    Fort Pickens has withstood the test of time, at least from the outside

    This is Fort Pickens.  This is now a screen saver image for my laptop.

    This is Fort Pickens. This is now a screen saver image for my laptop.

    Here is an example of Fort Picken's military role...There are lots of big canons to look at...

    Here is an example of Fort Picken’s military role…There are lots of big canons to look at…

    Each year we look forward to the Fairhop Arts Fair.  A rewarding arts experience as well as a place to buy that special item that calls out to you.

    Each year we look forward to the Fairhop Arts Fair. A rewarding arts experience as well as a place to buy that special item that calls out to you.

    Jan taking a time out at the art fair.

    Jan taking a time out at the art fair.

    Really enjoy seeing the fun food offerings.  However now with the Vegan diet can only look and not touch!

    Really enjoy seeing the fun food offerings. However now with the Vegan diet can only look and not touch!

    The drive out of Fairhope is through Pecan grove country.  Still March so no leaves yet.

    The drive out of Fairhope is through Pecan grove country. Still March so no leaves yet.

    Here is the visitor section of the blog…it is always great to have folks come south in the winter!

    Uncle Larry's visit to the coast to get out of the midwestern winter...

    Uncle Larry’s visit to the coast to get out of the midwestern winter…

    Larry and Jan hanging out in Pensacola at the seashore...

    Larry and Jan hanging out in Pensacola at the seashore…

    We took Larry to historical Pensacola.  Lots of history here going back to 1500's.  Taking a break at the museum.

    We took Larry to historical Pensacola. Lots of history here going back to 1500’s. Taking a break at the museum.

    The City has done a great job putting together interesting exhibits..

    The City has done a great job putting together interesting exhibits..

    The restored old church from the 1800's.  Loved the soft green color and all the wood work.

    The restored old church from the 1800’s. Loved the soft green color and all the wood work.

    Karl and Cully come from NYC to visit after the first of the New Year

    Karl and Cully come from NYC to visit after the first of the New Year

    Ok, so what is a visit to Pensacola without a stop at the National Navy Aviation Museum

    Ok, so what is a visit to Pensacola without a stop at the National Navy Aviation Museum

    The museum covers a long time frame and lots of Naval history.

    The museum covers a long time frame and lots of Naval history.

    This sculpture catches your eye; military art work...coming back home!

    This sculpture catches your eye; military art work…coming back home!

    Museum Entertainment...by a very colorful and animated museum volunteer.  As you can see she had her audience in the palm of her hand!

    Museum Entertainment…by a very colorful and animated museum volunteer. As you can see she had her audience in the palm of her hand!

    Karl having fun at the museum!

    Karl having fun at the museum!

    What is a visit to the Gulf Coast without at least one Low Country Boil experience.

    What is a visit to the Gulf Coast without at least one Low Country Boil experience.

    This painting caught my eye...lots of dimension with action plus I liked all the color

    This painting caught my eye…lots of dimension with action plus I liked all the color

    Dauphin Island Estuarium:  very educational and a nice way to spend a morning with NYC visitors.

    Dauphin Island Estuarium: very educational and a nice way to spend a morning with NYC visitors.

    Well have you every petted a Stingray?

    Well have you every petted a Stingray?

    Then comes the time to pack up to head north. Saying so long is always a tough part of the process.

    Saying so long for now is always hard...to good friends and The Ridge neighbors...

    Saying so long for now is always hard…to good friends and The Ridge neighbors…

    Once again packed and ready to hit the road.

    Once again packed and ready to hit the road.

    When we decided to retire over seven years ago, we did our homework and determined we wanted to move to Seneca, South Carolina. We like the recreation opportunities, the medical services, being close to a major university (Clemson) plus many other college, and the quality of life of the region. Long story made short that never happened as life took its toll…so that being said before we headed back to Michigan we wanted to check it out again to see if we still felt the way pull. Our goal was to see if this could be home base after our planned travels and the stay in Alabama full time.

    We fell in love the area all over again. It quickly became obvious, we only needed one big move not two. We then headed back to Gulf Shores to list our house there and then head back to Michigan to get that house on the market.

    Here we are in South Carolina...little did we know this would soon be home

    Here we are in South Carolina…little did we know this would soon be home

    Lake Hartwell in South Carolina always calls us back...

    Lake Hartwell in South Carolina always calls us back…

    Arriving back in Michigan later than usual but just at the right time to see all the trees in bloom.

    Spring welcomed us back to Traverse City with all the flowering trees!

    Spring welcomed us back to Traverse City with all the flowering trees!

    It took us ten days to get the Michigan house staged. We rented a storage unit to start the process. The realtor came at 11am to write up the contract to get the house listed. He had lined up several showing which were to start at 1pm. Jan and I hung out all afternoon waiting to come back home. The call came mid-afternoon we had a full price offer and our closing date would be June 20th. It all came together quickly, we had to pack and a move date of June 24th was quickly set. The rest is a blur as we packed and shed ourselves of lot of “stuff”. The moving truck left on the 24th as planned and we were right behind them. Our worldly belongings heading for a storage unit in Seneca, South Carolina and us to an RV park on Lake Hartwell for the near-term as the search for a house began.

    Back to Home Base for the last time in Traverse City.  That being said...Michigan will be calling us back shortly at least for a visit.

    Back to Home Base for the last time in Traverse City. That being said…Michigan will be calling us back shortly at least for a visit.

    Well the big news was, we had an offer on the house the first day it was listed.  This called for a plan of action right now...so the operative term is "careful what you wish for".

    Well the big news was, we had an offer on the house the first day it was listed. This called for a plan of action right now…so the operative term is “careful what you wish for”.

    The process over arching motto was to downsize...lots of big items that had to be left behind!

    The process over arching motto was to downsize…lots of big items that had to be left behind!

    Saying good bye to the family piano which had been in the family for over 100 years!  It went to a good home which made it easier.

    Saying good bye to the family piano which had been in the family for over 100 years! It went to a good home which made it easier.

    The recurring theme was we need more boxes.  We thought the process would never end!  Plus will it ever fit on the truck?

    The recurring theme was we need more boxes. We thought the process would never end! Plus will it ever fit on the truck?

    All I remember now  is carrying over 20 boxes of books down the stairs...

    All I remember now is carrying over 20 boxes of books down the stairs…

    Moving day finally came and our hope was we are ready for this!

    Moving day finally came and our hope was we are ready for this!

    It took six guys two hours to load everything and yes, it all fit on the truck

    It took six guys two hours to load everything and yes, it all fit on the truck

    The movers carried out everything and Jan and I finished up vacumning and moping.  In a short time we had an empty house and now with only memories of the good times we had here...

    The movers carried out everything and Jan and I finished up vacumning and moping. In a short time we had an empty house and now with only memories of the good times we had here…

    As the U-Haul truck pulls out, we will not be far behind as we all head to South Carolina.  All our worldly possession are headed for a storage unit somewhere in Seneca our expected new home.

    As the U-Haul truck pulls out, we will not be far behind as we all head to South Carolina. All our worldly possession are headed for a storage unit somewhere in Seneca our expected new home.

    Granddaughter Fiona and husband John came for a last time Traverse City visit. They celebrated their anniversary on Mackinac Island then coming to see us Memorial Day week. It was so good to see them, get a break from the packing and to get out with the camera to capture things in real life…

    There was a fun break from the packing as John and Fiona joined us over the Memorial Day week

    There was a fun break from the packing as John and Fiona joined us over the Memorial Day week

    It was good to get out to the Northport Light house and Leelanau State Park

    It was good to get out to the Northport Light house and Leelanau State Park

    The tip of Leelanau County at Northport is always interesting.  It was a great day to be there but a little cold for us folks who just came from the South.

    The tip of Leelanau County at Northport is always interesting. It was a great day to be there but a little cold for us folks who just came from the South.

    Yes, we will miss views like this of Lake Michigan which have been part of our life for over 50 years.

    Yes, we will miss views like this of Lake Michigan which have been part of our life for over 50 years.

    Next stop was Peterson Beach and Park.  Great place to find Petoskey Stones and when our boys were growing up a great stop after church...

    Next stop was Peterson Beach and Park. Great place to find Petoskey Stones and when our boys were growing up a great stop after church…

    John taking in the view of Lake Michigan at the Peterson Park overlook.

    John taking in the view of Lake Michigan at the Peterson Park overlook.

    Next on the schedule, a hike on the Treat Farm Trail at Sleeping Bear NP and then a picnic on the dunes.

    Next on the schedule, a hike on the Treat Farm Trail at Sleeping Bear NP and then a picnic on the dunes.

    Fiona doing the dune thing, walking between the Posion Ivy and trying to enjoy the view at the same time

    Fiona doing the dune thing, walking between the Posion Ivy and trying to enjoy the view at the same time

    The wild flowers along the trail in the spring are spectactular...especially the Jack in the Pulpits for this hike.  The Trilliums were most done at this time...

    The wild flowers along the trail in the spring are spectactular…especially the Jack in the Pulpits for this hike. The Trilliums were most done at this time…

    Over 400 feet above the water looking at the parks name sake the Sleeping Bear Dune

    Over 400 feet above the water looking at the parks name sake the Sleeping Bear Dune

    The hike over the dunes has fantasic views

    The hike over the dunes has fantasic views

    The hike over the dunes has fantasic views and iconic photo shot for sure...  The red trailer is visual evidence that the park service is doing restoration work on some of the buildings.

    The hike over the dunes has fantasic views and iconic photo shot for sure… The red trailer is visual evidence that the park service is doing restoration work on some of the buildings.

    A stop at Sleeping Bear National Park demands a drive on the Stocking Memorial Drive.  Viewing the color of Glen Lake is one of the drives many rewards!

    A stop at Sleeping Bear National Park demands a drive on the Stocking Memorial Drive. Viewing the color of Glen Lake is one of the drives many rewards!

    Manitou Island as viewed from the Stocking Drive

    Manitou Island as viewed from the Stocking Drive

    Nice shot looking North, the lake is high right now note no beach.

    Nice shot looking North, the lake is high right now note no beach.

    Once you have been to Gwen Frostic's, you are called back.  Great place to reflect, buy great nature oriented prints and/or to just reflect on nature and what is important.

    Once you have been to Gwen Frostic’s, you are called back. Great place to reflect, buy great nature oriented prints and/or to just reflect on nature and what is important.

    Fiona has memories of this outdoor movie theater.  This is the last one still in operation in Michigan!

    Fiona has memories of this outdoor movie theater. This is the last one still in operation in Michigan!

    Then there are the sunrise and sunset pictures. When I do my blog postings I am always amazed how many pictures I have taken at beginning and end of the day…

    Gulf Shores Early morning

    Gulf Shores Early morning

    Really love those early morning walks on the beach watching things come into view.

    Really love those early morning walks on the beach watching things come into view.

    What can I say...I think I did this shot before, still not tiring from seeing the sun come up and all it brings.

    What can I say…I think I did this shot before, still not tiring from seeing the sun come up and all it brings.

    Ok, same shot different day...

    Ok, same shot different day…

    night stroll on the beach just before it rained...

    night stroll on the beach just before it rained…

    Another night shot...however it was better in person.  Love the glow and color of the night time lights.

    Another night shot…however it was better in person. Love the glow and color of the night time lights.

    Double rainbow just before we left Alabama

    Double rainbow just before we left Alabama

    Sunset over Lake Hartwell

    Sunset over Lake Hartwell

    Lake Hartwell another day

    Lake Hartwell another day

    Early morning shot on the way to the gym for the daily workout

    Early morning shot on the way to the gym for the daily workout

    Never tiring sunrise over West Grand Traverse Bay

    Never tiring sunrise over West Grand Traverse Bay

    The clouds help make this picture even better

    The clouds help make this picture even better

    Another photo opt on the way to the gym.  The sunrise and sail boats make this picture perfect!

    Another photo opt on the way to the gym. The sunrise and sail boats make this picture perfect!

    Well, here is the end of the story for now. There is an accepted offer on a house we both fell in love with…If everything works like it is suppose to, we close on August 14th. On Friday of this week we head back to Gulf Shores for a month. The objective is to bring everything back not needed to stage for the selling process. We had thought that property would sell first so in the process of rethinking what we need to do there.

    On August 14th we expect this will be our new home...in Seneca, South Carolina

    On August 14th we expect this will be our new home…in Seneca, South Carolina

    The next post will come from Seneca, South Carolina after we get settled and back on track to hit the road again…

    Yes, retirement is a full-time job!

    God Bless,

    Larry and Jan

Holiday Message 2016

Christmas greetings from Larry and Jan to all our friends and family!

The setting for our life-style are our base camps in the south, Gulf Shores and in the north, Traverse City. The retirement strategy (at least weather-wise) is to be somewhere that does not require a snow blower. So far that is still working out! Michigan is still home base, at least at this time. We are still enjoying and love our time on the road. We tend to get restless after a couple of months in one place though. The bulk of our time is spent on our many hobbies, planning for the next trip and spending time on the road.

It is migration time...getting ready to head back north!

It is migration time…getting ready to head back north!

Back home in the north...the snow is gone but Lake Michigan is still very cold

Back home in the north…the snow is gone but Lake Michigan is still very cold

Life on the road takes to the big cities...this time New York City in the Spring

Life on the road takes to the big cities…this time New York City in the Spring

...or you can find us in the woods...this year following  the Atlantic Coast north in the spring and south along the Pacific coast in the summer...

…or you can find us in the woods…this year following the Atlantic Coast north in the spring and south along the Pacific coast in the summer…

Here are pictures of Larry and Jan captured at various points along the trail. The big milestone this year was our 50th wedding anniversary celebrated on Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico. We find that retirement is a fulltime job and now cannot figure out how we ever had time to work!

Two road warriors...celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Texas on North Padre Island

Two road warriors…celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Texas on North Padre Island

Great day in the Redwoods National Park...these huge trees are intimidating!

Great day in the Redwoods National Park…these huge trees are intimidating!

Wow!  Hard climb but the view is worth it!

Wow! Hard climb but the view is worth it!

Still having fun...

Still having fun…

Some views just never wear out...

Some views just never wear out…

Showing off at the beach...a favorite haunt!

Showing off at the beach…a favorite haunt!

One old cowboy hanging out in the desert

One old cowboy hanging out in the desert

This next section is devoted to family. These pictures taken in Michigan, Alabama, New York and Pennsylvania. We love to have folks come to see us or catching up with them along the way.

Visitors from the north and south...Larry and Amy

Visitors from the north and south…Larry and Amy

Aunt Laura and Larry hanging out after lunch at the Red Mesa...

Aunt Laura and Larry hanging out after lunch at the Red Mesa…

Spending quality time with Paul in Pennsylvania

Spending quality time with Paul in Pennsylvania

Jan and Paul taking in the sights at Longwood Gardens

Jan and Paul taking in the sights at Longwood Gardens

Karl and Cully on their home turf in NYC, they can always find great places to eat!

Karl and Cully on their home turf in NYC, they can always find great places to eat!

Jan and Karl liked this place as it was truly  Vegan

Jan and Karl liked this place as it was truly Vegan

Larry and Karl...seems I have to look up to him now...

Larry and Karl…seems I have to look up to him now…

Mark in front of his Kingston hangout...yes those are Mark colors!

Mark in front of his Kingston hangout…yes those are Mark colors!

Hike along the Hudson - Mark, Jan and Kevin

Hike along the Hudson – Mark, Jan and Kevin

Fiona is good at getting the family together in Brooklyn

Fiona is good at getting the family together in Brooklyn

John enjoying the beaches at Gulf Shores

John enjoying the beaches at Gulf Shores

Jan, Fiona and John taking a stroll on the Gulf Coast of course Larry is always behind the camera

Jan, Fiona and John taking a stroll on the Gulf Coast of course Larry is always behind the camera

John and Fiona ready to head back to the big city via New Orleans

John and Fiona ready to head back to the big city via New Orleans

The pictures that follow are taken while at the base camps in Michigan and Alabama. We love the Grand Traverse region and all that it has to offer. Being in the south in Alabama, we have learned what a Yankee is! Although where we live on the Island the Yankees do outnumber those who hail from Dixie, at least this time of the year.

Love those Cherry blossoms...always try to be back for the spring show

Love those Cherry blossoms…always try to be back for the spring show

It is easy to find great views of Lake Michigan...much bluer than the Gulf of Mexico

It is easy to find great views of Lake Michigan…much bluer than the Gulf of Mexico

When in Traverse City in July it is hard to escape the National Cherry Festival

When in Traverse City in July it is hard to escape the National Cherry Festival

This year we did all three shows for the Blue Angels...

This year we did all three shows for the Blue Angels…

The red spires are iconic to Traverse Commons...always a photo opt!

The red spires are iconic to Traverse Commons…always a photo opt!

In all our travels we have not found a better farm market experience

In all our travels we have not found a better farm market experience

Great playground for snowbirds

Great playground for snowbirds

Lefty still comes out most days...note the offspring in the background.  She was a bit on the feisty side on this day

Lefty still comes out most days…note the offspring in the background. She was a bit on the feisty side on this day

If you come to Mobile for a festival you will find plenty of colorful southern dress

If you come to Mobile for a festival you will find plenty of colorful southern dress

Loves these kites...looks like a great hobby - stay tuned as this may become the next diversion for us...

Loves these kites..looks like a great hobby – stay tuned as this may become the next diversion for us…

Our travels this year took us up the East coast in the spring. We spent four weeks on the road starting in Florida heading north to New York and then Michigan. There were many stops along the way, some were repeats others new adventures. Mid-summer we headed out for 9 weeks hitting Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Texas. Check out the link on the web site for all the details. The photos that follow are just some of the highlights of our time on the road…

Traveling along the coast in the south...you can find lots of view like this

Traveling along the coast in the south…you can find lots of view like this

Just loved the colorful houses in Savannah

Just loved the colorful houses in Savannah

Yes, the Atlantic is just over the bridge

Yes, the Atlantic is just over the bridge

Hanging out in Charleston is a rewarding experience

Hanging out in Charleston is a rewarding experience

Colorful tourist hangout long the Cape Hatteras Seashores

Colorful tourist hangout long the Cape Hatteras Seashores

The east coast has plenty of history...here is an educational walk in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers

The east coast has plenty of history…here is an educational walk in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers

Colonial Williamsburg will hold your interest for several days if you let it.

Colonial Williamsburg will hold your interest for several days if you let it.

Longwood spring display...a very favorite stop when we are in Pennsylvania

Longwood spring display…a very favorite stop when we are in Pennsylvania

Brandywine Creek...everything in Pennsylvania and Delaware has a Brandywine label

Brandywine Creek…everything in Pennsylvania and Delaware has a Brandywine label

The Highline City Park is fun anytime of the year...always plenty of content for the photographer

The Highline City Park is fun anytime of the year…always plenty of content for the photographer

What is a trip to the Big Apple without a stop at Macy's

What is a trip to the Big Apple without a stop at Macy’s

New York State has lots of these stops, you just have to seek them out!

New York State has lots of these stops, you just have to seek them out!

Niagara Falls is one place you will find plenty of tourists

Niagara Falls is one place you will find plenty of tourists

The Mackinac Bridge is the gateway to the north and an escape route to the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and if you are brave, Canada

The Mackinac Bridge is the gateway to the north and an escape route to the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and if you are brave, Canada

Glacier a favorite National Park...it is already calling us back

Glacier a favorite National Park…it is already calling us back

Love catching these views...mountains, Lakes and Glaciers in the backdrop

Love catching these views…mountains, Lakes and Glaciers in the backdrop

Humbling view...this was a great all day hike

Humbling view…this was a great all day hike

Glacier melt adds to any view and/or photo

Glacier melt adds to any view and/or photo

Amazing that these glacier falls run all year...however the glaciers are getting much smaller so enjoy them while you can...

Amazing that these glacier falls run all year…however the glaciers are getting much smaller so enjoy them while you can…

Mountain flowers and long views feed one's soul

Mountain flowers and long views feed one’s soul

Mirror image comes about when the sun aligns just right...

Mirror image comes about when the sun aligns just right…

Nice view, it rained shortly after this shot...of course we are in a rain forest

Nice view, it rained shortly after this shot…of course we are in a rain forest

This scene stuck with me a long time...being there was a rewarding experience

This scene stuck with me a long time…being there was a rewarding experience

Jan enjoyed the many hikes in the Rain Forest of Washington

Jan enjoyed the many hikes in the Rain Forest of Washington

Breath taking views along the Oregon Coast.  What do you think!

Breath taking views along the Oregon Coast. What do you think!

Crater Lake's Phantom Ship stands out for sure!

Crater Lake’s Phantom Ship stands out for sure!

Crater Lake experience exceeded our expectations

Crater Lake experience exceeded our expectations

Lassen is truly a different experience and strange part of the world...

Lassen is truly a different experience and strange part of the world…

Mountains in Lassen are all volcanic and very active today

Mountains in Lassen are all volcanic and very active today

Exploring a highly thermal area in Northern California

Exploring a highly thermal area in Northern California

Yosemite National Park was a bucket list stop

Yosemite National Park was a bucket list stop

Yosemite icon...

Yosemite icon…

Half Dome gets a lot of attention...fun experience

Half Dome gets a lot of attention…fun experience

After Yosemite, Sequoia is next up!

After Yosemite, Sequoia is next up!

These large Sequoia trees are awesome

These large Sequoia trees are awesome

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are side by side...however getting from one to the other is an entire days adventure...

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are side by side…however getting from one to the other is an entire days adventure…

The mountains are always different in size and color...Kings Canyon was no exception

The mountains are always different in size and color…Kings Canyon was no exception

Heading south from Northern California you get to the desert...Death Valley held our interest for several days

Heading south from Northern California you get to the desert…Death Valley held our interest for several days

Just the name of the Devils Corn field conjures interesting images in one's mind...

Just the name of the Devils Corn field conjures interesting images in one’s mind…

Finding mountains and colorful rocks in the desert was easy...a truly new experience for us!  No glaciers to be found in this part of the world...

Finding mountains and colorful rocks in the desert was easy…a truly new experience for us! No glaciers to be found in this part of the world…

Joshua Tree continues our exploration of National Parks...this was a return visit for us

Joshua Tree continues our exploration of National Parks…this was a return visit for us

Love the Joshua Trees which are actually a Yucca Palm.  The rocks have that Southwestern US look and feel, don't you think?

Love the Joshua Trees which are actually a Yucca Palm. The rocks have that Southwestern US look and feel, don’t you think?

Saguaro National Park at San Antonio is a great place to learn about cactus...

Saguaro National Park at San Antonio is a great place to learn about cactus…

Moving south...Big Bend is an adventure in the desert, the mountains and the Rio Grande River for the hiker and photographer

Moving south…Big Bend is an adventure in the desert, the mountains and the Rio Grande River for the hiker and photographer

...of course the Big Bend  mountains had to be documented using the old Nikon!

…of course the Big Bend mountains had to be documented using the old Nikon!

Rio Grande River winds it way through Santa Elena Canyon...getting to the trail you have to wade across the river...yes there were pictures!

Rio Grande River winds it way through Santa Elena Canyon…getting to the trail you have to wade across the river…yes there were pictures!

San Antonio River Walk...where you can find plenty of entertainment

San Antonio River Walk…where you can find plenty of entertainment

San Antonio Missions very interesting...management shared with the church and federal government...odd bedfellows for sure...Only President Carter could have carried this off!

San Antonio Missions very interesting…management shared with the church and federal government…odd bedfellows for sure…Only President Carter could have carried this off!

Padre Island a place we truly enjoy...

Padre Island a place we truly enjoy…

70 plus miles of undeveloped beaches on North Padre

70 plus miles of undeveloped beaches on North Padre

Jan and I love our morning and evening walks. For the photographer catching that colorful sunrise or sunset is a compulsion and a technical challenge. Many of you already know I love those photos…a few to follow…

What is a blog post without a sunrise and sunset shots...Sunrise Gulf Shores

What is a blog post without a sunrise and sunset shots…Sunrise Gulf Shores

Sunrise Gulf Coast

Sunrise Gulf Coast

Sunset Gulf Shores

Sunset Gulf Shores

Sunset Gulf Coast...

Sunset Gulf Coast…

Lake Michigan - Grand Traverse West Bay sunrise

Lake Michigan – Grand Traverse West Bay sunrise

West Bay color in the morning

West Bay color in the morning

Great early morning shot...

Great early morning shot…

Merry Christmas Everyone,

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Arizona to Alabama – Part Four

After being on the road for six weeks and seven thousand miles the trip plan was to slow down and relax a bit. Not sure that worked but that was the plan anyway. We booked four days at RV resorts in Phoenix and Tucson. Phoenix was a blur as we caught up on the business end of our lives which needed some personal attention. This stop also included getting some clean clothes and doing some grocery shopping. The RV park in Tucson was outstanding, well at least it had trees.

After leaving California next stop Arizona.  Spent a few days in Phoenix and Tucson.

After leaving California next stop Arizona. Spent a few days in Phoenix and Tucson.

We had heard of the Saguaro National Park but had not connected it with Tucson. It was a surprise find and fun to explore in the Sonoran Desert. Jan and I had a good time getting up close and personal with all the different kinds of cactus.

After checking out Phoenix and Tucs5don we take on Saguaro National Park...one more National Park checked off the list.

After checking out Phoenix and Tucson we take on Saguaro National Park…one more National Park checked off the list.

Saguaro NP - Impressive Prickly Pear Cactus.  This National Park is a gem for Tuscon.  Two sections one west and one east of the city.

Saguaro NP – Impressive Prickly Pear Cactus. This National Park is a gem for Tuscon. Two sections one west and one east of the city.

Jan checking out the park's name sake the Saguaro Cactus.

Jan checking out the park’s name sake the Saguaro Cactus.

Actually we spent two days checking out this National Park...very interesting learning about life in the desert.

Actually we spent two days checking out this National Park…very interesting learning about life in the desert.

Everywhere you look there are plenty of Saguaros.  After 75 years these cactus get their arms.  Many of these are over 100 years old and over 70 ft tall.

Everywhere you look there are plenty of Saguaros. After 75 years these cactus get their arms. Many of these are over 100 years old and over 70 ft tall.

After Arizona, we continue our trek east heading to Las Cruces, New Mexico. One thing that we wanted to do was take in the Hatch Pepper Festival. Our timing was off as we were a couple of weeks late. It was still interesting to check out the area. We find that New Mexico is calling us back and we are making plans to return in the next year or two.

For this trip only one night in New Mexico at Las Cruces.  The Hatch Chile capital!  Jan and I are into hot peppers and hot sauces.  New Mexico is calling us back...maybe next year.

For this trip only one night in New Mexico at Las Cruces. The Hatch Chile capital! Jan and I are into hot peppers and hot sauces. New Mexico is calling us back…maybe next year.

On this trip Larry missed out on the Microbreweries...finally a good one in Las Cruces...   It is good to be back in civilization!

On this trip Larry missed out on the Microbreweries…finally a good one in Las Cruces… It is good to be back in civilization!

After New Mexico, we head south to Texas. The destinations are Big Bend National Park, San Antonio and Padre Island at Corpus Christi. The trip south along the Rio Grande River was enjoyable.

Love these endless road photos.  After Arizona we continue the trip through the desert heading south  to Texas.

Love these endless road photos. After Arizona we continue the trip through the desert heading south to Texas.

Our route to the Big Bend National Park was down Texas highway 170.  Recommend this picturesque route along the Rio Grande and the Mexican border.

Our route to the Big Bend National Park was down Texas highway 170. Recommend this picturesque route along the Rio Grande and the Mexican border.

Views of the Rio Grande were spectacular...

Views of the Rio Grande were spectacular…

Although being so close to the Mexican  border made Jan a bit nervous!

Although being so close to the Mexican border made Jan a bit nervous!

Big Bend National Park was a last minute add on to our trip so we had to squeeze it in. We only had two nights there. Reservations were at the Lajitas Golf Course RV park. We chose a private park as the NP campground was right on the Rio Grande which made us nervous. Although in retrospect not sure it would have been an issue. We could have used another day easily and more if we planned any hikes.

Looking forward to checking out the Big Bend National Park.  This park has been on our list for a long time.  Good to be here now!

Looking forward to checking out the Big Bend National Park. This park has been on our list for a long time. Good to be here now!

Big Bend mountains...  It has three different terrains the river, the desert and the mountains.

Big Bend mountains… It has three different terrains the river, the desert and the mountains.

These mountains are different as they have a green foreground that sets off the rocks in the background.

These mountains are different as they have a green foreground that sets off the rocks in the background.

This day there are no clouds only blue sky to top off any photo.

This day there are no clouds only blue sky to top off any photo.

In the long past people actually lived here.  The main farms and ranches are maintained to the extend possible.  Lots of interesting history to take in...

In the long past people actually lived here. The main farms and ranches are maintained to the extend possible. Lots of interesting history to take in…

This is still a working windmill used to irrigate the old Sam Nail homestead.

This is still a working windmill used to irrigate the old Sam Nail homestead.

Then there was the Homer Wilson Ranch.  This was the largest ranch taken in by the national park.

Then there was the Homer Wilson Ranch. This was the largest ranch taken in by the national park.

Homer Wilson bunkhouse.  Nice hike down the hill through the desert...

Homer Wilson bunkhouse. Nice hike down the hill through the desert…

View across the park.  Note the notch in mountain in the background named the Window.

View across the park. Note the notch in mountain in the background named the Window.

More mountains in the desert.

More mountains in the desert.

Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande running down the middle.

Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande running down the middle.

Santa Elena Canyon...hiking the trail.

Santa Elena Canyon…hiking the trail.

The muddy Rio Grande along the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.

The muddy Rio Grande along the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.

Santa Elena Canyon was a fun experience

Santa Elena Canyon was a fun experience

Big Bend desert...

Big Bend desert…

Sun is starting to set and brings out the color in the mountains...

Sun is starting to set and brings out the color in the mountains…

Many years back I had been to San Antonio and enjoyed the visit. When Jan and I were in Texas four years ago we planned to hit the city but it never worked out so it just stayed on the list. This trip it was right on the way to the next stop. It was good to be back in a big city. Exploring the Missions run by the National Park and experiencing the River walk were the main destinations. What we found interesting is the Missions in San Antonio are a collaborative effort with the NP system and the Catholic Church. Out of the five missions we did three, as we ran out of time to do the other two.

Here we are ready to check out downtown San Antonio

Here we are ready to check out downtown San Antonio

San Antonio has done a nice job making their city tourist friendly

San Antonio has done a nice job making their city tourist friendly

Another downtown photo opt...

Another downtown photo opt…

Lots of history at the Alamo...

Lots of history at the Alamo…

Alamo has lots of interesting corners to check out...

Alamo has lots of interesting corners to check out…

The Alamo Mission has withstood the test of time...

The Alamo Mission has withstood the test of time…

iconic Alamo Shrine...lots of history was made here...

iconic Alamo Shrine…lots of history was made here…

We spent a few hours touring the grounds and taking in all history.

We spent a few hours touring the grounds and taking in all history.

The San Antonio River walk.  Interesting place to explore...no problem finding a place to eat or get a drink.

The San Antonio River walk. Interesting place to explore…no problem finding a place to eat or get a drink.

View from the bridge...nice Mexican restaurant, yes we had lunch under the umbrella.

View from the bridge…nice Mexican restaurant, yes we had lunch under the umbrella.

San Antonio River...Jan ready for some lunch.

San Antonio River…Jan ready for some lunch.

Lots of bridges and other interesting features to see.

Lots of bridges and other interesting features to see.

River walk continues beyond downtown.

River walk continues beyond downtown.

River Walk

River Walk

San Antonio has a heritage Mission Tour.  There are five missions including the Alamo.  Mission Concepcion was the first stop after the Alamo.

San Antonio has a heritage Mission Tour. There are five missions including the Alamo. Mission Concepcion was the first stop after the Alamo.

Touring the Missions exceeded expectations. It was great seeing all the old buildings even on a rainy day.

Touring the Missions exceeded expectations. It was great seeing all the old buildings even on a rainy day.

Mission Concepcion

Mission Concepcion

Great arches to view the outside world

Great arches to view the outside world

Mission Concepcion the church...

Mission Concepcion the church…

Here is a shot while waiting for the rain to stop.

Here is a shot while waiting for the rain to stop.

Next stop Mission San Jose

Next stop Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose houses the park headquarters.  The grounds are extensive.

Mission San Jose houses the park headquarters. The grounds are extensive.

Mission San Jose stables

Mission San Jose stables

Would you believe I took over 100 pictures at this stop

Would you believe I took over 100 pictures at this stop

These buildings have withstood the test of time...well sort of...

These buildings have withstood the test of time…well sort of…

Much of the stone work was done by Native Americans

Much of the stone work was done by Native Americans

Church at Mission San Jose...college student playing to earn money for tuition.

Church at Mission San Jose…college student playing to earn money for tuition.

Church at Mission San Jose

Church at Mission San Jose

These Mission Buildings have lots of interesting features...

These Mission Buildings have lots of interesting features…

Another Mission stable.

Another Mission stable.

Jan and I were campground host at the Padre Island National Seashore a few years ago. It was a good experience and we enjoyed being there. It called us back. As we created the travel schedule we decided to spend our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the Padre Island beach. It was a good call. The weather was perfect which made the stay very pleasant. This is one place that keeps calling us back.

Continuing the Texas adventure, we make our way to Corpus Christi and the Padre Island National Seashore

Continuing the Texas adventure, we make our way to Corpus Christi and the Padre Island National Seashore

Here we are on Padre Island October 8th our 50th wedding anniversary...

Here we are on Padre Island October 8th our 50th wedding anniversary…

This is dinner for 50th anniversary celebration.  Looks like a RV on the road meal to me...except for the wine maybe...

This is dinner for 50th anniversary celebration. Looks like a RV on the road meal to me…except for the wine maybe…

Here we are 50 years ago...wow we look young in this picture.  My take is this looks very traditional for 1966!

Here we are 50 years ago…wow we look young in this picture. My take is this looks very traditional for 1966!

Early morning is a great time for a walk on the beach.  Of course I always take a camera or two.l

Early morning is a great time for a walk on the beach. Of course I always take a camera or two.l

We love being at Padre...we even had a fun RV site.

We love being at Padre…we even had a fun RV site.

Padre Island is not all beach...

Padre Island is not all beach…

North Padre Island beach goes for over 65 miles

North Padre Island beach goes for over 65 miles

Trees left out in the water after the last hurricane.  Pelicans keeping watch!

Trees left out in the water after the last hurricane. Pelicans keeping watch!

Somber look as the summer trip of 2016 winds down.

Somber look as the summer trip of 2016 winds down.

Here is a sunset picture over the Gulf. After Padre, we decide to head home to Alabama. Larry was struggling with back and leg issues so we cut the trip from 65 days to 60. After Texas, we spent two more days on the road missing Avery Island and Baton Rouge. Those stop went on the list for a later adventure.

Gulf of Mexico sunset...love those colors!

Gulf of Mexico sunset…love those colors!

It is good to be back in Alabama. Lots here to keep us busy. We have been back just over a week and already settling into the winter routine. It is good to catch up with all our friends here. The next trip will be this Spring when we head back to Michigan. Right now, our plan is to stay in Michigan most of the summer and not do a big trip next year. Although in two years we are considering heading back to Alaska for a rerun…

Any of you Northerners who head south you have an open invitation to stop over. We love showing off the Gulf Coast area.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Yosemite to Joshua Tree National Parks – Summer Travels 2016 – Part Three

This will be the third posting for our summer of 2016 travels. Last year was Utah and this year the majority of our time is being spent in California. After leaving Lassen NP we looked forward to the next stop at Yosemite NP. Getting from Lassen to Yosemite was one of our bigger travel days and the roads to get there were technical as many of them were in the mountains. I must say by the end of this summer I will have certainly earn my mountain driving badge.

Our expectation was Yosemite would be crowded but our hope being after Labor Day the crowds would be down. Our travel plans had us there on a weekend which in retrospect was not good planning. There were three times we had to sit in grid lock traffic seemly for hours. There was lots of construction but there were also so many people. By the end of our stay our response was to just dumb down our itinerary to avoid the masses. The bike became the main mode of transportation. Many of the park services were already being cut back as it is considered the shoulder season. With all this activity left us trying to imagine what the peak season experience would be like.

That being said Yosemite is a beautiful place. It has so much to offer, the hikes are great and the views are outstanding. Pictures to follow of our experiences with the High Sierras, the Valley and Granite Cliffs.

Yosemite NP has been on the bucket list for a long time.  It was good to finally get there to see if all the good things we heard were true.

Yosemite NP has been on the bucket list for a long time. It was good to finally get there to see if all the good things we heard were true.

Lots of granite in Yosemite.  One of the more famous is El Capitan.  It is imposing and very photogenic in the valley looking up!

Lots of granite in Yosemite. One of the more famous is El Capitan. It is imposing and very photogenic in the valley looking up!

Another great granite formation is Half Dome.  It is sheer on one side and dome  like on the other three. It never was a full dome and was created by volcanic activity.   There is a very popular hike to the top which we did not do as it was too much on "the edge" to suit Larry's comfort zone.  We did get to view it from several different vantage points however.

Another great granite formation is Half Dome. It is sheer on one side and dome like on the other three. It never was a full dome and was created by volcanic activity. There is a very popular hike to the top which we did not do as it was too much on “the edge” to suit Larry’s comfort zone. We did get to view it from several different vantage points however.

Half Dome from the valley floor.

Half Dome from the valley floor.

Half Dome from the side and up on the mountain.  You had to be there to get the full impact of the grandeur of the park.

Half Dome from the side and up on the mountain. You had to be there to get the full impact of the grandeur of the park.

Taken from the valley floor.  The beauty of the Yosemite NP is breathtaking.

Taken from the valley floor. The beauty of the Yosemite NP is breathtaking.

Took this on a bike ride through the valley.  Great spot for hikers to get in the water to cool off after a long hike.  The weather was great for our visit mostly in the 80's which made the water inviting.

Took this on a bike ride through the valley. Great spot for hikers to get in the water to cool off after a long hike. The weather was great for our visit mostly in the 80’s which made the water inviting.

Another bike ride photo.  Everywhere you went there was another photo opportunity.

Another bike ride photo. Everywhere you went there was another photo opportunity.

If you have not experienced the drive to Glacier Point at Yosemite, it is highly recommended.  It takes more than a hour to make your way up the mountain road.  There is a lot to see along the way and once you get there you are looking across the valley to the other side.  This picture is framed from a stone building at the top.

If you have not experienced the drive to Glacier Point at Yosemite, it is highly recommended. It takes more than a hour to make your way up the mountain road. There is a lot to see along the way and once you get there you are looking across the valley to the other side. This picture is framed from a stone building at the top.

View from Glacier Point looking across the top of the mountains.

View from Glacier Point looking across the top of the mountains.

In September the Yosemite waterfalls slows down to trickle.  This shot is from Glacier Point looking across the valley.  We did not hike the trails to the falls so this is the only picture you will get.

In September the Yosemite waterfalls slows down to trickle. This shot is from Glacier Point looking across the valley. We did not hike the trails to the falls so this is the only picture you will get.

Can you pick out Half Dome...  Taken from the Glacier Point road.

Can you pick out Half Dome… Taken from the Glacier Point road.

The next stop was Sequoia and King Canyon National Park. They are connected but driving through them in just one day would be hard. The internal park road is very narrow, winding and travel is slow. One day we spent at Sequoia which gave us enough time to do hikes and see most of the park available by road. The next day was King. To get there we took the country road short cut. All I can say is it was not made for two cars to pass in some places and it seemed like either one side of the truck or the other was always on the edge. Even with the logistic challenges these two parks are outstanding for different reasons. One had great trees and the other great mountains. Our base camp in Three Rivers was one of the better park picks so far this trip. Again pictures to follow so judge for yourself…

Sequoia was a day drive from Yosemite.  Another awesome national park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Sequoia was a day drive from Yosemite. Another awesome national park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

There has been a lack of rain in this area for several years.  The grass was brown and many of the trees are under stress as you will see from the following photos.  That being said the golden grass makes for a great background in this shot set off by the green shrubs and blue sky.

There has been a lack of rain in this area for several years. The grass was brown and many of the trees are under stress as you will see from the following photos. That being said the golden grass makes for a great background in this shot set off by the green shrubs and blue sky.

We now get to experience the big Sequoia Trees the namesake for the National Park.  They are not as large as the Redwoods on the coast but they are still massive.   Sequoia are generally found inland and at elevations of  5,000 to 7,000 feet.  The canopy is not as dense which means you get a lot more light to work with.  Getting a better understanding of the Sequoia's was a learning experience.

We now get to experience the big Sequoia Trees the namesake for the National Park. They are not as large as the Redwoods on the coast but they are still massive. Sequoia are generally found inland and at elevations of 5,000 to 7,000 feet. The canopy is not as dense which means you get a lot more light to work with. Getting a better understanding of the Sequoia’s was a learning experience.

Fun trails through the big trees...

Fun trails through the big trees…

Here you can get an idea of size...

Here you can get an idea of size…

This is a big Sequoia from the bottom up!

This is a big Sequoia from the bottom up!

This it the same tree from the top down...

This it the same tree from the top down…

They name their trees here...mostly after Generals.

They name their trees here…mostly after Generals.

This tree is called General Sherman.  The stats for this tree were impressive.

This tree is called General Sherman. The stats for this tree were impressive.

Note the dead and/or dying trees.  Otherwise nice view across the Sierra Nevada's.

Note the dead and/or dying trees. Otherwise nice view across the Sierra Nevada’s.

Another mountain view...with some snow at the peaks...

Another mountain view…with some snow at the peaks…

Kaweah River here center stage:  The area here is called Three Rivers where Kaweah, North and East Fork come together.  There is a large Corps of Engineer dam near here.

Kaweah River here center stage: The area here is called Three Rivers where Kaweah, North and East Fork come together. There is a large Corps of Engineer dam near here.

More mountain views of the Sierra Nevada's.

More mountain views of the Sierra Nevada’s.

I liked this perspective.  You can see the haze from the California fires which gives the distance views a certain soften edge.

I liked this perspective. You can see the haze from the California fires which gives the distance views a certain soften edge.

Before planning this trip we had not heard of the Kings Canyon National Park.  Sequoia and King are managed together.  They each have their own personalities.  Sequoia is more forest like with mountains and King with more mountains with forest.  It does take some driving to see both on some very tricky mountain roads.

Before planning this trip we had not heard of the Kings Canyon National Park. Sequoia and King are managed together. They each have their own personalities. Sequoia is more forest like with mountains and King with more mountains with forest. It does take some driving to see both on some very tricky mountain roads.

We took a short cut to King National Park which still takes several hours.  The drive through the country was an exceptional experience one that we really enjoyed.  However coming back to our RV site at night the trip seemed twice as long...

We took a short cut to King National Park which still takes several hours. The drive through the country was an exceptional experience one that we really enjoyed. However coming back to our RV site at night the trip seemed twice as long…

King's Canyon King River...nice stop to check out the scenery.

King’s Canyon King River…nice stop to check out the scenery.

Falls along the road...easy trek to get there!

Falls along the road…easy trek to get there!

Grizzly Falls again a short trek from the parking lot.  In the spring this falls is much more dramatic.

Grizzly Falls again a short trek from the parking lot. In the spring this falls is much more dramatic.

Kings Canyon landscape

Kings Canyon landscape

We kept stopping for another photo.

We kept stopping for another photo.

King's Canyon was a great experience.  Lots of mountain views.

King’s Canyon was a great experience. Lots of mountain views.

Long view down the canyon

Long view down the canyon

If you think we are higher than the last picture, you are right!

If you think we are higher than the last picture, you are right!

King has its own walk in the forest...

King has its own walk in the forest…

This tree is called General Grant.  Evidently they had a Northern theme when picking names.  No placard picture here as there were just too many people to work around.

This tree is called General Grant. Evidently they had a Northern theme when picking names. No placard picture here as there were just too many people to work around.

At Sequoia/King we based camped at the Sequoia RV Ranch park.  It was a great find and enjoyed our deck overlooking the river.

At Sequoia/King we based camped at the Sequoia RV Ranch park. It was a great find and enjoyed our deck overlooking the river.

The river which was highly marketed was pretty tame this time of the year.

The river which was highly marketed was pretty tame this time of the year.

This park had the old fashioned swimming hole.  The water was spring fed so it cooled you down at the end of the day.  It was really deep I could not touch bottom.  However Jan did not get in once she learned that Rattle Snakes can swim...

This park had the old fashioned swimming hole. The water was spring fed so it cooled you down at the end of the day. It was really deep I could not touch bottom. However Jan did not get in once she learned that Rattle Snakes can swim…

Death Valley was unknown to us and we did not know how to plan. On our trip we met folks who loved it and others who did not. One of the biggest unknowns was the heat factor. We chose to stay in a private park in order to have AC. That was a good call by the way. However, while we there is was cooler than normal only in 80s and 90s only pushing above a 100 a few times. The one thing we were not prepared for was the size of the National Park. It is almost 5,300 square miles. To get from one location to the other took a lot more time than we had planned. Our take away at the end of the trip is it is a beautiful place, it is unique setting, the mountains are gorgeous but it can be harsh if you are not well prepared to cope with the elements.

Our RV park was in Lone Pine, California. The town sits on the edge of the Alabama Mountains. This was the setting for Hollywood to do TV shows and movies in years past. Yes, we paid our ten dollar fee to the museum.

The pictures tell the story of our travels for this stop…

Death Valley was an unknown.  At the end of the day it was a great experience.  It is a huge area and we drove over 250 miles in one day just taking in all that it had to offer.

Death Valley was an unknown. At the end of the day it was a great experience. It is a huge area and we drove over 250 miles in one day just taking in all that it had to offer.

As we enter the desert it is clear we have left the mountains and any green behind us.

As we enter the desert it is clear we have left the mountains and any green behind us.

This is Death Valley

This is Death Valley

Although it does have mountains too!

Although it does have mountains too!

 This is call the Devil's Corn field.  A desert plant that looks like it was planted.


This is call the Devil’s Corn field. A desert plant that looks like it was planted.

The Devils Corn Field was certainly different from anything we have seen before...

The Devils Corn Field was certainly different from anything we have seen before…

This is generic Death Valley.  Looks dry and desert like.

This is generic Death Valley. Looks dry and desert like.

Not much real sand in the desert.  There are some dunes in this one localize area.

Not much real sand in the desert. There are some dunes in this one localize area.

Larry bought a cowboy hat at the local general store.   Not sure it carries off the look in true western style.  However it does keep the sun out of your eyes.  The marketing tag said a hat with an attitude.

Larry bought a cowboy hat at the local general store. Not sure it carries off the look in true western style. However it does keep the sun out of your eyes. The marketing tag said a hat with an attitude.

Death Valley is where 20 team Borax originally came from.  Actually it was 18 mules and two guide horses.  They needed the mule power to get their product up and out of the valley.  The 20 team handle was created by a marketing firm and is still used today.

Death Valley is where 20 team Borax originally came from. Actually it was 18 mules and two guide horses. They needed the mule power to get their product up and out of the valley. The 20 team handle was created by a marketing firm and is still used today.

This is the production end of the Borax process.  It is no longer done in this part of the world.

This is the production end of the Borax process. It is no longer done in this part of the world.

The terrain was ever changing.  This formation stood out.

The terrain was ever changing. This formation stood out.

The coloration here caught my eye.

The coloration here caught my eye.

In the salt flats at Badwater Basin you are below sea level.  Actually the sediment here from the mountain run off over time is over 12,000 ft deep.  This depression is due to volcanic activity.  Per the curation the area is getting ready for another eruption.  We had lots of company on our walk out to the flats.

In the salt flats at Badwater Basin you are below sea level. Actually the sediment here from the mountain run off over time is over 12,000 ft deep. This depression is due to volcanic activity. Per the curation the area is getting ready for another eruption. We had lots of company on our walk out to the flats.

Taken coming into the salt beds...

Taken coming into the salt beds…

When we were there it was dry.  No water to be found here.  Interesting to look at but not sure you would want to live here.

When we were there it was dry. No water to be found here. Interesting to look at but not sure you would want to live here.

There is a drive through the mountains called the Artist drive.  The road is narrow, has lots of curves and for the driver it is eyes on the road.  However the coloration in the rock is over the top and worth the effort...

There is a drive through the mountains called the Artist drive. The road is narrow, has lots of curves and for the driver it is eyes on the road. However the coloration in the rock is over the top and worth the effort…

Artist drive shot...looks good from here.

Artist drive shot…looks good from here.

Jan liked the colors in this shot.

Jan liked the colors in this shot.

The terrain gets more interesting.  Looks a little like the Bad Lands in South Dakota.

The terrain gets more interesting. Looks a little like the Bad Lands in South Dakota.

On the Artist drive the views continue to get better.

On the Artist drive the views continue to get better.

The different colors here complement each other, don't you think?

The different colors here complement each other, don’t you think?

Death Valley is a long winding trail.  As I said before we drove over 250  miles checking it out.

Death Valley is a long winding trail. As I said before we drove over 250 miles checking it out.

We found this notice scary.  At Kings Canyon and Death Valley  there are a lot of Tarantulas.  You see them on the road all the time.

We found this notice scary. At Kings Canyon and Death Valley there are a lot of Tarantulas. You see them on the road all the time.

Lone Pines California in the Alabama Hills is close to Hollywood and where many of the western TV shows and movies in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's were shot.  The Museum of Western Film was originally created by a Roy Rogers relative.  It is now run by the city of Lone Pine.  There are tours that will take you to where the action took place.  A throw back in time for sure...

Lone Pines California in the Alabama Hills is close to Hollywood and where many of the western TV shows and movies in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were shot. The Museum of Western Film was originally created by a Roy Rogers relative. It is now run by the city of Lone Pine. There are tours that will take you to where the action took place. A throw back in time for sure…

Lots of old cars from the movies and the stage coach that was used in many films are on display.

Lots of old cars from the movies and the stage coach that was used in many films are on display.

Are you old enough to remember Roy Roger and Dale Evans.  If so you fit into our generation.  Grandpa Snyder had his first TV in 1948 and at our house it was 1954.  "Those were the days".

Are you old enough to remember Roy Roger and Dale Evans. If so you fit into our generation. Grandpa Snyder had his first TV in 1948 and at our house it was 1954. “Those were the days”.

Lone Ranger and Tonto were an important part of our TV life in the 50's.

Lone Ranger and Tonto were an important part of our TV life in the 50’s.

Oh Ya...then there was Gene Autry the singing cowboy.

Oh Ya…then there was Gene Autry the singing cowboy.

Who could forget Hopalong Cassidy.  Not sure he was ever my favorite.

Who could forget Hopalong Cassidy. Not sure he was ever my favorite.

At Lone Pines in the Alabama mountains many scenes from Star Wars were shot.

At Lone Pines in the Alabama mountains many scenes from Star Wars were shot.

Leaving Death Valley, we headed to the Mojave National Reserve. It was a bit out the way but as long as we were doing this desert “thing” we would stay with it. Mojave was interesting, it was much hotter and not as complex as Death Valley. The visitor center in the middle of the preserve was an old railway stop. We spent an hour or two there learning about the desert and how the railroads utilized this stop.

Next stop after Death Valley was the Mojave Desert.

Next stop after Death Valley was the Mojave Desert.

Ok, we are still in the desert.  Yes it was very hot.  The tourist season does not start here until November.

Ok, we are still in the desert. Yes it was very hot. The tourist season does not start here until November.

Mojave has mountains too.  Typical shot of the landscape.

Mojave has mountains too. Typical shot of the landscape.

In the Mojave you start to see Joshua Trees.

In the Mojave you start to see Joshua Trees.

This picture is true Mojave Desert.

This picture is true Mojave Desert.

Here we are stopping again to take more photos.  The desert is beautiful in its own way.

Here we are stopping again to take more photos. The desert is beautiful in its own way.

The visitor center is in the middle of the desert.  It is at the Union Pacific stop where they built a large hotel to compete with the Eastern Railroad lines.

The visitor center is in the middle of the desert. It is at the Union Pacific stop where they built a large hotel to compete with the Eastern Railroad lines.

Here is the Union Pacific hotel and restaurant.  Nice stop to get a drink and catch up on the local history.

Here is the Union Pacific hotel and restaurant. Nice stop to get a drink and catch up on the local history.

Our stay after Mojave was Needles, California. One of the many desert cities trying to survive the elements and remote location to the rest of the world. When we left there we traveled old highway 66 to Joshua Tree National Park. This section of 66 goes through the desert and clearly can be summed as a place time forgot.

Traveling from Mojave to Joshua Tree National Park we traveled down a portion of old Route 66.  It is interesting to see what is left and try to envision what it was like in the 40's, 50's and 60's before the interstates.  Jan took this and thought it was a cool picture that captured a point in time.  For Larry the story that comes to mind is the book "Who Moved the Cheese"...with the theme of how to deal with change.

Traveling from Mojave to Joshua Tree National Park we traveled down a portion of old Route 66. It is interesting to see what is left and try to envision what it was like in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s before the interstates. Jan took this and thought it was a cool picture that captured a point in time. For Larry the story that comes to mind is the book “Who Moved the Cheese”…with the theme of how to deal with change.

Jan and I had been to Joshua Tree once before over ten years ago. Our visit at that time was one to primarily observe an eclipse of the moon in the darkness of the desert. At the time we were staying on the coast near Los Angeles. All I can remember about that trip was coming back to LA after midnight in a traffic jam that moved at 80 miles an hour. This time we got to know the area much better. Really enjoying our time there. The rocks and the Joshua Trees are just fun to look at. There were some really nice hikes, some nice flat ones and one or two that really challenged us as. This area is also known for its rock climbing opportunities. Last time we were there we saw lots of activity this time we were before the rock climbing season started.

Jan and I toured Joshua Tree many years ago on trip from Disney World.  This was our first encounter with the High Desert.  It called us back on this trip where we had more time to take in the sights and explore the trails.

Jan and I toured Joshua Tree many years ago on trip from Disney World. This was our first encounter with the High Desert. It called us back on this trip where we had more time to take in the sights and explore the trails.

This shot was taken on one of several hikes.  The Joshua Trees are impressive and very different from what you see in the Mid-west and the East.

This shot was taken on one of several hikes. The Joshua Trees are impressive and very different from what you see in the Mid-west and the East.

Joshua Tree is still the desert.  However it is much different experience than Death Valley or Mojave.

Joshua Tree is still the desert. However it is much different experience than Death Valley or Mojave.

The blue sky sure helped sets this photo off...

The blue sky sure helped sets this photo off…

This is split rock on the Split Rock trail.  Sort of looks like something out of an old movie.

This is split rock on the Split Rock trail. Sort of looks like something out of an old movie.

This was call face in the rock.  Took a bit of walking to get here.

This was call face in the rock. Took a bit of walking to get here.

This is Split Rock trail.  It was a very different hiking experience.  It did keep us entertained.

This is Split Rock trail. It was a very different hiking experience. It did keep us entertained.

Had to shoot this Joshua Tree against the blue sky.

Had to shoot this Joshua Tree against the blue sky.

We did do one major hike called the Ryan's Mountain Trail.  This shot was taken early on the climb up.

We did do one major hike called the Ryan’s Mountain Trail. This shot was taken early on the climb up.

Here is Jan working her way up the Ryan's Mountain Trail...

Here is Jan working her way up the Ryan’s Mountain Trail…

The views get better the higher you go.

The views get better the higher you go.

This is a very old Joshua Tree.  Some trees here are several hundred years old.

This is a very old Joshua Tree. Some trees here are several hundred years old.

Not sure if the trees are small here or the rock are large.

Not sure if the trees are small here or the rock are large.

More Joshua Trees...

More Joshua Trees…

This is not that great of a photo but there is lot going on here.  You can see Palm Springs where there are over 300 golf courses.  You can see the San Bernardino Mountains and a mountain range in Mexico.  The Salton Sea is in the distance and if you look closely you can see the Sans Andreas Fault.  While we were there and after we left there was Earthquake activity in the Salton Sea and it raises the concern that it would trigger a reaction from the Sans Andreas Fault.

This is not that great of a photo but there is lot going on here. You can see Palm Springs where there are over 300 golf courses. You can see the San Bernardino Mountains and a mountain range in Mexico. The Salton Sea is in the distance and if you look closely you can see the Sans Andreas Fault. While we were there and after we left there was Earthquake activity in the Salton Sea and it raises the concern that it would trigger a reaction from the Sans Andreas Fault.

We made a stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden.  These are called jumping cactus and have a bad reputation.

We made a stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden. These are called jumping cactus and have a bad reputation.

Cholla Cactus Garden where one wants to be careful not to get too close.

Cholla Cactus Garden where one wants to be careful not to get too close.

There was a nice trail through the Cholla Cactus Garden.

There was a nice trail through the Cholla Cactus Garden.

We found these plants fascinating.  They are Ocotillo plants and interestingly they are deciduous.  These plants loose their leaves when it is dry so they complete the cycle several times a year.  They were all green when we saw them as there had been recent rains.

We found these plants fascinating. They are Ocotillo plants and interestingly they are deciduous. These plants loose their leaves when it is dry so they complete the cycle several times a year. They were all green when we saw them as there had been recent rains.

We are loving being on the road seeing new places and meeting new people. Now we are in the final leg of this trip. The plans for our winter stay on the Gulf coast are falling into place. It will be great to get back to catch up with everyone at The Ridge. Larry is looking forward to getting back to the gym and for Jan back to working on her piano keyboard skills. One more blog update for this trip when we get back in less than two weeks.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Mt. Rainier to Lassen Volcanic National Park – Summer Travels 2016 – Part Two

Leaving Seattle, we headed southeast to Mt. Rainier. This is a return visit and both of us were looking forward to hiking and taking in some good views. As we arrived it turned very cold, rainy and the next day the prediction was snow. The hiking trails were closed, we were cold so out of character we packed our bags and moved on as the front had settled in for a few days. We added a couple of days to our stay at Port Angeles near the Olympic National Park.

Ten years ago we visited Mt Rainier.  It had just snowed and there were clear views and lots of sunshine.  This time rain, snow and fog which hampered our plans to explore the mountain and hike the trails.

Ten years ago we visited Mt Rainier. It had just snowed and there were clear views and lots of sunshine. This time rain, snow and fog which hampered our plans to explore the mountain and hike the trails.

The mountain did peek through as we were leaving and this is the only good photo we got.

The mountain did peek through as we were leaving and this is the only good photo we got.

Fine stone work on this bridge and nice view of the falls as we make our way into the park.

Fine stone work on this bridge and nice view of the falls as we make our way into the park.

Our campground site was at Paradise...but the weather surely was not treating us nice.

Our campground site was at Paradise…but the weather surely was not treating us nice.

As we left Mt Rainier we stopped along the way to check out the Hobo Inn.  Looked liked it would be an interesting place to spend the night.

As we left Mt Rainier we stopped along the way to check out the Hobo Inn. Looked liked it would be an interesting place to spend the night.

In past travels we had taken a day trip from Seattle to the Olympic National Park. We ended up spending six days here this time. There was still more to do and we are talking about coming back. The Olympic Park is a temperate Rain Forest. Everything was lush and green all be it a bit on the cool side and damp all the time. There were lots of nice hikes plus the area is very interesting. There were lots of side trips as the following pictures will tell.

Next up was Olympic National Park.  When we visited Washington a decade ago we spent a day checking out the park.  Looked forward spending more time here.

Next up was Olympic National Park. When we visited Washington a decade ago we spent a day checking out the park. Looked forward spending more time here.

One our bigger hikes so far was to Lake Angeles.  The trail climbed over 2,600 ft. to 6,500 ft.  The goal was a lake at the end in a canyon with a high cliffs setting.

One our bigger hikes so far was to Lake Angeles. The trail climbed over 2,600 ft. to 6,500 ft. The goal was a lake at the end in a canyon with a high cliffs setting.

The trail was very interesting.  Here we got to experience a rain forest setting at high altitudes.  The terrain was very rugged as you can see.

The trail was very interesting. Here we got to experience a rain forest setting at high altitudes. The terrain was very rugged as you can see.

Larry taking a water break.  The temps were in the 60s when we started and by the time we reached the top was in the low 40s.

Larry taking a water break. The temps were in the 60s when we started and by the time we reached the top was in the low 40s.

Along the trail there were lots of small water falls all calling for me to take another photo!

Along the trail there were lots of small water falls all calling for me to take another photo!

This is the end of the trail.  We had to wait a long time to even get this shot as the top of the mountain was socked in by fog.  It was a great setting but you will need to take my word for that...The nice thing about the wait was we got to talk with the campers who settled in near by.

This is the end of the trail. We had to wait a long time to even get this shot as the top of the mountain was socked in by fog. It was a great setting but you will need to take my word for that…The nice thing about the wait was we got to talk with the campers who settled in near by.

The hike back down was cool and rainy but both of us still enjoyed the experience.  When we got back it was still 60 and sunny at the lower level.

The hike back down was cool and rainy but both of us still enjoyed the experience. When we got back it was still 60 and sunny at the lower level.

Highway 101 makes it way through the park.  Lake Crescent is a long and large lake along the road.  The setting was breathtaking.

Highway 101 makes it way through the park. Lake Crescent is a long and large lake along the road. The setting was breathtaking.

This is an early morning shot of Lake Crescent on one of several road trips within the park.

This is an early morning shot of Lake Crescent on one of several road trips within the park.

Another picture of Lake Crescent at the end of the day on our way back to base camp.

Another picture of Lake Crescent at the end of the day on our way back to base camp.

Olympic National Park is the setting for a temperate rain forest.  One of the places we visited was Hoh which gets high marks for it beauty.

Olympic National Park is the setting for a temperate rain forest. One of the places we visited was Hoh which gets high marks for it beauty.

This sign tells one a lot about what to expect on this hike.

This sign tells one a lot about what to expect on this hike.

The colors in a rain forest are vivid.  The many scenes were captivating and enjoyed this hike immensely.

The colors in a rain forest are vivid. The many scenes were captivating and enjoyed this hike immensely.

Green is the in color here.  Reminded me of the Lord of the Rings setting.

Green is the in color here. Reminded me of the Lord of the Rings setting.

You certainly can use you imagination with all the different looks the moss makes.  This tree certainly tells a story.

You certainly can use you imagination with all the different looks the moss makes. This tree certainly tells a story.

If you ever get the chance it is worth the trip to check out this National Park.

If you ever get the chance it is worth the trip to check out this National Park.

The color of orange stood out against the green background.  Just had to take a close up shot!

The color of orange stood out against the green background. Just had to take a close up shot!

Jan took this shot and was one her favorites.

Jan took this shot and was one her favorites.

This is Rialto Beach on the ocean.  The setting was certainly unexpected.  The power of the water to bring all these logs ashore is impressive.  We found a great campground here and will certainly stay there next time we visit.

This is Rialto Beach on the ocean. The setting was certainly unexpected. The power of the water to bring all these logs ashore is impressive. We found a great campground here and will certainly stay there next time we visit.

The beach was interesting with lots of Agates.

The beach was interesting with lots of Agates.

This is Larry getting on top of things.

This is Larry getting on top of things.

A trip out to Cape Flattery was recommended.  The area has share oversight with the Makah Indians.  You had to buy a permit at the general store to tour the area.  The culture here is very protective of the area.

A trip out to Cape Flattery was recommended. The area has share oversight with the Makah Indians. You had to buy a permit at the general store to tour the area. The culture here is very protective of the area.

Cape Flattery is also a rain forest but not so dense.  The trail out to the point was extremely interesting with a fairly easy walk.

Cape Flattery is also a rain forest but not so dense. The trail out to the point was extremely interesting with a fairly easy walk.

This is Cape Flattery looking north.

This is Cape Flattery looking north.

This is Cape Flattery looking south.

This is Cape Flattery looking south.

Of course there would be a lighthouse...

Of course there would be a lighthouse…

There are big caves here.  The care taker told us Yachts even enter them.

There are big caves here. The care taker told us Yachts even enter them.

The trip out to the Cape was rainy and cold as you can see by the way Larry is dressed!  Gore Tex worked well here.

The trip out to the Cape was rainy and cold as you can see by the way Larry is dressed! Gore Tex worked well here.

Leaving Olympic we headed south down the Washington and Oregon coast on Highway 101. The end of the story, this is a great experience. There were two nights in campground along the coast. The sights and views were outstanding. The road has lots of curves and is not a fast drive with the RV in tow.

Crossing the Columbia River again as we leave Washington heading down the Oregon Coast.

Crossing the Columbia River again as we leave Washington heading down the Oregon Coast.

The Oregon coast is gorgeous.  The drive on 101 heading south was a rewarding experience.

The Oregon coast is gorgeous. The drive on 101 heading south was a rewarding experience.

Oregon State Park system provides many well done turn outs and camping opportunities.  This shot has taken from a strategically placed view point.

Oregon State Park system provides many well done turn outs and camping opportunities. This shot has taken from a strategically placed view point.

The coastline views are ever changing from sand to rock.

The coastline views are ever changing from sand to rock.

Not sure how many lighthouse photos I did as we travelled through Washington and Oregon on 101.  There was another one at every turn in the road.

Not sure how many lighthouse photos I did as we travelled through Washington and Oregon on 101. There was another one at every turn in the road.

This lighthouse was posing for us as we went by.

This lighthouse was posing for us as we went by.

This place was called thunder rock...I am sure it was named from the noise all the waves make when they crash ashore.

This place was called thunder rock…I am sure it was named from the noise all the waves make when they crash ashore.

The water was filled with sea lions at this stop.  We also saw a whale water spout in the distance.

The water was filled with sea lions at this stop. We also saw a whale water spout in the distance.

The shore line seemed to go on forever.

The shore line seemed to go on forever.

Crater Lake National Park blew us away. The weather was great, the lake is gorgeous and it is easy to get around. Crater Lake is created from a volcano that blew. The mountain here was 12,000 ft. before the eruption. There is a park drive that circles the lake. It is a great drive and expect it will be even better once they get done with their major reconstruction. Here we did several nice side trips as well plus a few hikes. One big one but I can tell you we were not alone on that trail. We decided this is a place we could come back to in the future.

There is a road around Crater Lake maintained by the National Park system.  There were rivers along the road to catch your eye and demand a stop to look.

There is a road around Crater Lake maintained by the National Park system. There were rivers along the road to catch your eye and demand a stop to look.

This is a shot of a rock(s) called Pumice Castle.  It is a volcanic vent that came out after the softer rock eroded away.  It is a very interesting formation on the side of the mountain.

This is a shot of a rock(s) called Pumice Castle. It is a volcanic vent that came out after the softer rock eroded away. It is a very interesting formation on the side of the mountain.

There were some waterfall to be found on the drive.  Many had slowed to a trickle as the summer moves on...  Here is a shot of the Videa Falls just a short hike from the road.

There were some waterfall to be found on the drive. Many had slowed to a trickle as the summer moves on… Here is a shot of the Videa Falls just a short hike from the road.

These formations are called the Pinnacles.  Again these are historic volcanic vents that have shown up after erosion has worn way the softer rock.  To get there you take a long side trip down a very narrow road.

These formations are called the Pinnacles. Again these are historic volcanic vents that have shown up after erosion has worn way the softer rock. To get there you take a long side trip down a very narrow road.

Turn around and there are more Pinnacles in the other direction.  The viewing trail is less than a mile long one way.

Turn around and there are more Pinnacles in the other direction. The viewing trail is less than a mile long one way.

This rock formation in Crater Lake is called the Phantom Ship.  Would you believe it is over 12 stories tall above the water.  It too was created by a volcanic eruption.

This rock formation in Crater Lake is called the Phantom Ship. Would you believe it is over 12 stories tall above the water. It too was created by a volcanic eruption.

A long view of the Phantom Ship.  The blue water makes taking colorful pictures easy.

A long view of the Phantom Ship. The blue water makes taking colorful pictures easy.

Crater Lake gets its blue color from the clear water.  There is little erosion running into the lake.  The two days we were there it was sunny and very little wind.

Crater Lake gets its blue color from the clear water. There is little erosion running into the lake. The two days we were there it was sunny and very little wind.

As you drive around the lake there are plenty of opportunities to stop and look.

As you drive around the lake there are plenty of opportunities to stop and look.

Mt Scott is the highest peak in the Crater Lake National Park.  This trail climbs over 1,200 ft. in 2.5 miles.  The views are worth the climb...at least that is what Jan and I thought.

Mt Scott is the highest peak in the Crater Lake National Park. This trail climbs over 1,200 ft. in 2.5 miles. The views are worth the climb…at least that is what Jan and I thought.

This is one of the long views on the Mt Scott trail.  Beautiful country...

This is one of the long views on the Mt Scott trail. Beautiful country…

After you get half way up there are many views of the Lake.  Note Wizard Island on the other side of the lake.  We were there in the off season.  During the summer there is a ferry that will take you to island which has hiking trails and where the water is accessible.  The rim around the lake is so high it does not provide for easy access directly to the lake shore.  For the most part access is discouraged anyway.

After you get half way up there are many views of the Lake. Note Wizard Island on the other side of the lake. We were there in the off season. During the summer there is a ferry that will take you to island which has hiking trails and where the water is accessible. The rim around the lake is so high it does not provide for easy access directly to the lake shore. For the most part access is discouraged anyway.

Here is proof, Jan made it to the top of Mt. Scott.

Here is proof, Jan made it to the top of Mt. Scott.

Here is Larry at the top with camera in hand.

Here is Larry at the top with camera in hand.

We are on the other side of the lake now.  Still great views!

We are on the other side of the lake now. Still great views!

The yellow foreground gives this picture a bit more interest.  These flowers were all along the road.

The yellow foreground gives this picture a bit more interest. These flowers were all along the road.

Now we are back on the other side...looking at Wizard Island.

Now we are back on the other side…looking at Wizard Island.

If you are interested here are some facts about Crater Lake.  This National Park ranks near the top on our list.  Of the 59 National Parks, by the end of this trip, we will have seen 33 of them.  There are 10 of the 59 that you can only reach by getting on a plane.  Yes, the remaining 26 are on our future travel list.

If you are interested here are some facts about Crater Lake. This National Park ranks near the top on our list. Of the 59 National Parks, by the end of this trip, we will have seen 33 of them. There are 10 of the 59 that you can only reach by getting on a plane. Yes, the remaining 26 are on our future travel list.

Continuing down the coast we headed to the Redwood National Park which is co-managed with the State of California. The weather was great for our visit. The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park was outstanding. It is an older park so getting a RV in the tight spaces takes a little work but is definitely work the effort. Here we did a lot of hikes, a lot of driving and in awe of the giant trees. Jan and I both took a lot of pictures trying to capture these huge trees. All I can say now is you have to see them for yourself to get the “real” picture.

All I can say is the Redwoods are impressive.  We did plenty of hiking taking in the "Big Trees".  In the Redwood forest it is hard to even see the top of the trees let alone take a good photo.

All I can say is the Redwoods are impressive. We did plenty of hiking taking in the “Big Trees”. In the Redwood forest it is hard to even see the top of the trees let alone take a good photo.

Jan and Larry in front of the Big Tree...interesting numbers.  There are trees here over 3,000 years old.

Jan and Larry in front of the Big Tree…interesting numbers. There are trees here over 3,000 years old.

What can I say these trees are impressive in size.

What can I say these trees are impressive in size.

The Redwood National park is in the Rain Forest.  The ferns were also impressive as well as imposing.

The Redwood National park is in the Rain Forest. The ferns were also impressive as well as imposing.

Along the trail you will find many hanging gardens.

Along the trail you will find many hanging gardens.

Trail access here is through, not around.

Trail access here is through, not around.

When it comes to size this picture tell all.

When it comes to size this picture tell all.

This trail is in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park which in the Northern section.  Great RV park by the way.  The feeling here is one of being in a cathedral.  Our other hikes were in the Prairie Creek area which is more central.    Inland and to the south there is more Redwoods National Park but we did not make it that far. Getting around in this park requires a lot of driving.

This trail is in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park which in the Northern section. Great RV park by the way. The feeling here is one of being in a cathedral. Our other hikes were in the Prairie Creek area which is more central. Inland and to the south there is more Redwoods National Park but we did not make it that far. Getting around in this park requires a lot of driving.

Liked this picture as generally you do not get any sun on the trail as it blocked by the heavy canopy.

Liked this picture as generally you do not get any sun on the trail as it blocked by the heavy canopy.

Interesting shot trying to reach the top of this 350 ft. tree.

Interesting shot trying to reach the top of this 350 ft. tree.

These trees quite often grow together.  Because their roots are shallow the trees lock their roots together for stability.

These trees quite often grow together. Because their roots are shallow the trees lock their roots together for stability.

Downed tree, it is still big. Jan sizing up things.

Downed tree, it is still big. Jan sizing up things.

Larry hanging out in the shade...

Larry hanging out in the shade…

Northern California has a great coast too.

Northern California has a great coast too.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is midway between the Redwoods and Yosemite. After reading up on this park we decided to spend a couple of days which was really more than enough time. Again lots of driving to get from one side to the other. The experience of being in an earthquake prone area and where there are many hydrothermal areas was a new experience. The area is very well curated on the events of the past. Good experience and glad we did it.

I had never heard of Lassen before we started planning for this trip.  It was a great one time adventure and was a nice stop as we travelled from the Redwoods to Yosemite National Parks.

I had never heard of Lassen before we started planning for this trip. It was a great one time adventure and was a nice stop as we travelled from the Redwoods to Yosemite National Parks.

Plenty of seismic activity here.  There are several tremors every day.  You can check out the active areas at the visitor center.  We enjoyed our visit here as long as you did not think about it too much...

Plenty of seismic activity here. There are several tremors every day. You can check out the active areas at the visitor center. We enjoyed our visit here as long as you did not think about it too much…

This is Mt. Lassen topping out at over 10,000 ft.  The major eruption was 7,700 years ago.  There were also big eruptions in 1914 and 1915.

This is Mt. Lassen topping out at over 10,000 ft. The major eruption was 7,700 years ago. There were also big eruptions in 1914 and 1915.

Much of the area is barren and still in recovery mode.

Much of the area is barren and still in recovery mode.

Great views at 7,000 ft.

Great views at 7,000 ft.

Even nice view at 5,000 ft.

Even nice view at 5,000 ft.

Debris from the last eruption.

Debris from the last eruption.

Lassen from the other side of the mountain.

Lassen from the other side of the mountain.

This park has many active hydrothermal areas.

This park has many active hydrothermal areas.

Lots of hot water flowing everywhere...

Lots of hot water flowing everywhere…

This hot water pool was covered with pyrite, fools gold, which took in some fools from the past.

This hot water pool was covered with pyrite, fools gold, which took in some fools from the past.

Yes, you can smell the sulfur...

Yes, you can smell the sulfur…

Colorful displays from the sulfur and the steam.

Colorful displays from the sulfur and the steam.

The water was Robin egg blue...

The water was Robin egg blue…

Lots of steam vents.  Warning signs to stay on the trail.

Lots of steam vents. Warning signs to stay on the trail.

The main active thermal area is called Bumpas Hell.  Bumpas was going to mine here but fell through a thin thermal crust which cut his dreams short as he ended up losing a leg from the event.

The main active thermal area is called Bumpas Hell. Bumpas was going to mine here but fell through a thin thermal crust which cut his dreams short as he ended up losing a leg from the event.

This boiling mud pot was right along the park road.

This boiling mud pot was right along the park road.

As you come down off the mountain things got greener at Lassen.

As you come down off the mountain things got greener at Lassen.

The smaller RV is working good for us. The routine has emerged and this trip seems easier than last year’s trip to Utah. The days on this adventure are ticking off. The next post will be on Yosemite, Sequoia/King, Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.

Our trip is half over already.  Life on the road is good, we are having a good time and so far the travel schedule has survived the test of reality.

Our trip is half over already. Life on the road is good, we are having a good time and so far the travel schedule has survived the test of reality.

The one thing about being on the road...we eat well.  This evening is a stir fry under the RV awning...

The one thing about being on the road…we eat well. This evening is a stir fry under the RV awning…

Where has summer gone? Hope all you had a good summer too and kicking off fall doing something fun. We find that this retirement life style is a full time job.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Michigan to Seattle – Summer Travels 2016

If you read my last post this is the same travel map. Here we are on the road again heading west and ending up at our winter home base in sunny Gulf Shores. By the time we arrive all the hurricanes should be out to sea.

Summer 2016 travel route from Michigan to Seattle winding out way down the coast to California then Arizona all the way to Padre Islands in Texas then back on to Gulf Shores

Summer 2016 travel route from Michigan to Seattle winding out way down the coast to California then Arizona all the way to Padre Islands in Texas then back on to Gulf Shores

The last shot before we lock the doors before hitting the road.

Another fun summer planned.  Packed and ready to go!

Another fun summer planned. Packed and ready to go!

We always like to get on the road and leave our cares behind. Our first day is a short one just to get out of Dodge.

Kewadin Casino is a good first night out stay.  It gets us on the road and is only a two hour drive from Traverse City.  It is nice to be on the road with the planning and packing behind us.

Kewadin Casino is a good first night out stay. It gets us on the road and is only a two hour drive from Traverse City. It is nice to be on the road with the planning and packing behind us.

Great place to stop over night.  Park free or ten bucks for a hook up

Great place to stop over night. Park free or ten bucks for a hook up

There is a sigh of relief once we get across the bridge. Seeing the Mighty MAC is always a good thing.

Once we are across the Mackinaw Bridge we are really on vacation.  Although when you are retired it is harder to tell when the fun really starts. This shot is from the Upper Peninsula.

Once we are across the Mackinaw Bridge we are really on vacation. Although when you are retired it is harder to tell when the fun really starts. This shot is from the Upper Peninsula.

Lake Michigan stop along US 2.  The route will be US 2 to Seattle.  US 2 one of the first coast to coast routes.

Lake Michigan stop along US 2. The route will be US 2 to Seattle. US 2 one of the first coast to coast routes.

Our first destination stop is Fayette State Park in the UP of Michigan. It is an old mining town site on a deep natural harbor that processed iron ore from 1867 to 1891. It has a great setting. The State of Michigan is restoring the remaining buildings. Great stop to take in Lake Michigan or for the photographer lots of content to choose from.

Whenever we can we stop at the Fayette State Park.  A 19th century ghost town created to process iron ore in the 1867.  This is the old hotel.  Note the second story door which use to connect to a two story outhouse.

Whenever we can we stop at the Fayette State Park. A 19th century ghost town created to process iron ore in the 1867. This is the old hotel. Note the second story door which use to connect to a two story outhouse.

Fayette Hotel from the front...still hanging in there...

Fayette Hotel from the front…still hanging in there…

Old store and mine offices.  Employees were paid out this building.

Old store and mine offices. Employees were paid out this building.

The upstairs opera house had a side entrance...still pretty much intact.

The upstairs opera house had a side entrance…still pretty much intact.

The manager's house.  Still in great shape.  The State of Michigan is doing a nice job with restoration.

The manager’s house. Still in great shape. The State of Michigan is doing a nice job with restoration.

Middle class workers house.  Every time we come there are improvements.

Middle class workers house. Every time we come there are improvements.

Glimpse into days gone by.  The old out house still stands.

Glimpse into days gone by. The old out house still stands.

Old machine shop still looking good.  Very interesting construction and a good background for a photo.

Old machine shop still looking good. Very interesting construction and a good background for a photo.

The foundry was the heart of the Fayette operation.  Fayette is located on a natural harbor as you can see from this picture.

The foundry was the heart of the Fayette operation. Fayette is located on a natural harbor as you can see from this picture.

Inside the foundry, simple design.  Work was hard and it was hot!

Inside the foundry, simple design. Work was hard and it was hot!

The kiln matches the wall even though it is a replica.

The kiln matches the wall even though it is a replica.

This photo was taken from the ridge across the harbor.

This photo was taken from the ridge across the harbor.

This old building is a perfect place to frame a photo shot...

This old building is a perfect place to frame a photo shot…

From inside the foundry

From inside the foundry

Here are some of our favorite stops in the UP. The pictures and captions tell the story.

Enjoyed a nice sunset over Lake Michigan from Fayette beach

Enjoyed a nice sunset over Lake Michigan from Fayette beach

!

A must stop when you are in the UP of Michigan, a stop at Randall’s for a Pastie or two. Theirs are the best we have found. Just simple mine work food good hot or cold.

We have been coming to the UP for 50 years now and whenever possible we stop to enjoy Sunday Lake.

We have been coming to the UP for 50 years now and whenever possible we stop to enjoy Sunday Lake.

This time it was a lunch stop at Sunday Lake

This time it was a lunch stop at Sunday Lake

Our northern route is US 2 from St. Ignace to Seattle. Here are some shots along the way as we travel through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana on our way to the Glacier National Park.

US Wisconsin Rest stop along US 2

US Wisconsin Rest stop along US 2

Dark and rainy...Grahams Island a North Dakota State Park.  The drive out was on a causeway for the most part.

Dark and rainy…Grahams Island a North Dakota State Park. The drive out was on a causeway for the most part.

Although very early in the morning and still dark, fun black and white shots over the water.

Although very early in the morning and still dark, fun black and white shots over the water.

The long road to Grahams Island.  This was the good section.  After the trip out the RV and Truck had to have a bath.

The long road to Grahams Island. This was the good section. After the trip out the RV and Truck had to have a bath.

It took some time to get rid of the sticky mud!

It took some time to get rid of the sticky mud!

Forth Peck Dam is a Corps of Engineer project in Montana.

Forth Peck Dam is a Corps of Engineer project in Montana.

Nice walking trails.  Seeing the down stream part of the dam was closed.

Nice walking trails. Seeing the down stream part of the dam was closed.

Fort Peck on the Missouri largest earth filled dam.  The term is hydraulic filled.

Fort Peck on the largest earth filled dam. The term is hydraulic filled.

Captures the moment in the past.  One of the tubes to generate power.

Captures the moment in the past. One of the tubes to generate power.

Wheat fields of Montana...went on for a long time.

Wheat fields of Montana…went on for a long time.

US 2 in South Dakota and Montana looks a lot the same.

US 2 in South Dakota and Montana looks a lot the same.

Glacier exceeded our expectation. The weather was great and this being the shoulder season the crowds were easy to work around. We did a number of great hikes and drove the Going to the Sun Road which takes the high road through the mountains. No vehicle over 21 feet is allowed. We stayed for four nights on the east side at St Mary Campground and two nights on the west side at Fish Creek. The east side was more fun for us…

Last time we were in Glacier NP was 2003 and there were major fires.

Last time we were in Glacier NP was 2003 and there were major fires.

Our first hike in Glacier.  The views and the mountains keep calling us back!

Our first hike in Glacier. The views and the mountains keep calling us back!

Glacier is very green and there are waterfalls everywhere.

Glacier is very green and there are waterfalls everywhere.

The higher the trail the finer the view.

The higher the trail the finer the view.

The glaciers are getting smaller and there are fewer now.

The glaciers are getting smaller and there are fewer now.

Lots of trails like this follow the stream up the mountain.

Lots of trails like this follow the stream up the mountain.

Every National Park has its own personality.  East Glacier is a must see for everyone.

Every National Park has its own personality. East Glacier is a must see for everyone.

Glacier Highway Going to the Sun is a great drive.  At some points having a big pickup was an disadvantage...even with the mirrors folded in still got in trouble.

Glacier Highway Going to the Sun is a great drive. At some points having a big pickup was an disadvantage…even with the mirrors folded in still got in trouble.

Going to the Sun views never stopped...

Going to the Sun views never stopped…

Another shot along the highway

Another shot along the highway

Stopped to check out the view close up...Jan takes a shot with her camera.

Stopped to check out the view close up…Jan takes a shot with her camera.

More glaciers along the highway...

More glaciers along the highway…

As you get higher the snow gets closer

As you get higher the snow gets closer

Great view with the sun behind us

Great view with the sun behind us

The big hike 10 miles with 1,600 foot climb to Grinnell Glacier. We got an early morning start to beat the crowds.

The big hike 10 miles with 1,600 foot climb to Grinnell Glacier. We got an early morning start to beat the crowds.

Mountain Goat friends that we found along the trail...

Mountain Goat friends that we found along the trail…

We are only a short way up and already fine views to behold

We are only a short way up and already fine views to behold

It seems like there is a stream everywhere...lots of melting snow.

It seems like there is a stream everywhere…lots of melting snow.

Constant view...love the east side Glacier hikes.

Constant view…love the east side Glacier hikes.

Turn around the view is still good  the other way

Turn around the view is still good the other way

The mountain trail levels out for a bit.

The mountain trail levels out for a bit.

The sun is peaking over the top of the mountain...great early morning lighting

The sun is peaking over the top of the mountain…great early morning lighting

Getting close to the tree line.

Getting close to the tree line.

Grinnell Glacier comes into view

Grinnell Glacier comes into view

The color in this scene drew me in...

The color in this scene drew me in…

Much of this trail was about scrambling over rocks or taking big steps.

Much of this trail was about scrambling over rocks or taking big steps.

The Glacier comes into view.  A nice vantage point from here.

The Glacier comes into view. A nice vantage point from here.

The trail is easier here.  Near the peak it gets rocky and requires some scrambling.

The trail is easier here. Near the peak it gets rocky and requires some scrambling.

The Grinnell Glacier comes into view upfront and personal

The Grinnell Glacier comes into view upfront and personal

Glacier melt makes for a colorful lake...

Glacier melt makes for a colorful lake…

Jan having lunch after the climb up

Jan having lunch after the climb up

Ready to head back...it sure is a long way back down...past the four lakes to the trail head

Ready to head back…it sure is a long way back down…past the four lakes to the trail head

At Glacier you are never along...fellow hikers enjoy the reward at the end of the trail

At Glacier you are never alone…fellow hikers enjoy the reward at the end of the trail

The view coming back down is even better plus not quite so much work

The view coming back down is even better plus not quite so much work

Long and humbling view of the mountain's grandeur

Long and humbling view of the mountain’s grandeur

Miss Moose was off in the distance chowing down on the vegetation

Miss Moose was off in the distance chowing down on the vegetation

We meet Mr Grizzly eating anything he can find getting ready for winter.  He was about 500 feet from the trail.

We meet Mr Grizzly eating anything he can find getting ready for winter. He was about 500 feet from the trail.

Love the color of the water

Love the color of the water

West Glacier is wetter and more forested.  Also even more mountain streams.  This is the Avalanche River

West Glacier is wetter and more forested. Also even more mountain streams. This is the Avalanche River

Avalanche trail views are through the trees.

Avalanche trail views are through the trees.

At the end of the trail is Avalanche Lake

At the end of the trail is Avalanche Lake

This early morning reflection only lasted for a few minutes

This early morning reflection only lasted for a few minutes

Avalanche Lake changes color when the sun shines.

Avalanche Lake changes color when the sun shines.

Love the color of the glacier made water...striking stream for sure.

Love the color of the glacier made water…striking stream for sure.

Jan took this one...she liked that all the kayaks were different.  This is along the trail on Lake McDonald.

Jan took this one…she liked that all the kayaks were different. This is along the trail on Lake McDonald.

Lake McDonald behind our RV site at the Fish Creek Campground

Lake McDonald behind our RV site at the Fish Creek Campground

After Glacier we headed west again on US two. Had a nice stop at the Kootenai River and the Grand Coulee Dam. We stayed at another dam site on the Priest River and logging a night in the great state of Idaho.

Kootenai River Stop on the way to Idaho

Kootenai River Stop on the way to Idaho

Kootenai River comes cown from Canada.  The water is still blue green.

Kootenai River comes cown from Canada. The water is still blue green.

Even with a fear of heights Larry made it across the swinging bridge over the river

Even with a fear of heights Larry made it across the swinging bridge over the river

Priest River in Idaho, an Army Corp of Engineer park.  Idaho is one of the states we have not logged an overnight since we retired.  The list is getting shorter as we are down to five or six now.  The plan is to have them all checked off by next summer.

Priest River in Idaho, an Army Corp of Engineer park. Idaho is one of the states we have not logged an overnight since we retired. The list is getting shorter as we are down to five or six now. The plan is to have them all checked off by next summer.

The Corps of Engineer Parks are well done and the National Park senior pass gets you 50% off on the nights stay.

The Corps of Engineer Parks are well done and the National Park senior pass gets you 50% off on the nights stay.

We did not expect to see so many wheat fields in Washington.  They went on for miles.

We did not expect to see so many wheat fields in Washington. They went on for miles.

I love dams and their engineering.  We had to stop at the Grand Coulee to check it out.

I love dams and their engineering. We had to stop at the Grand Coulee to check it out.

This is the back water on the Columbia River for the Grand Coulee Dam.  Nice view from the top of the hill.

This is the back water on the Columbia River for the Grand Coulee Dam. Nice view from the top of the hill.

The Coulee Dam is a mile long...

The Coulee Dam is a mile long…

Another angle for the Grand Coulee

Another angle for the Grand Coulee

Next stop was the North Cascades in Washington. We made a day trip through the mountain about 10 years ago and have always wanted to go back. We did some hiking and the drive through the mountains. The weather was good and it was all we expected it to be. The pictures and captions tell the story.

Next stop...North Cascades in Washington

Next stop…North Cascades in Washington

Cascades come into view...they just seem to rise out of the ground

Cascades come into view…they just seem to rise out of the ground

Washington Pass is an impressive stop

Washington Pass is an impressive stop

Washington Pass the long view

Washington Pass the long view

The views are best on the Cascades Highway driving west

The views are best on the Cascades Highway driving west

There are three dams along the drive.  All different and interesting to check out.  Plus the lakes in the valleys make for great views.

There are three dams along the drive. All different and interesting to check out. Plus the lakes in the valleys make for great views.

There are many views like this right from the car window

There are many views like this right from the car window

Another dam created lake...note the tour boat in the lower right.

Another dam created lake…note the tour boat in the lower right.

This dam is owned by the City of Seattle.  It has an educational center and provides boat tours of the dams.

This dam is owned by the City of Seattle. It has an educational center and provides boat tours of the dams.

I took this photo standing on one end of the dam...

I took this photo standing on one end of the dam…

The Cascades are very green.  Almost rain forest like.  Enjoyed hiking several of the trails and seeing all the colors of green.

The Cascades are very green. Almost rain forest like. Enjoyed hiking several of the trails and seeing all the colors of green.

The Blue Lake Trail was through the forest with a lake at the end.  The was one of the few views through the trees on the way up.

The Blue Lake Trail was through the forest with a lake at the end. The was one of the few views through the trees on the way up.

Blue Lake has a small glacier.  It was very cold and windy when we reached the top.

Blue Lake has a small glacier. It was very cold and windy when we reached the top.

There are several very interesting towns in the Cascades.  Our stay was in Winthrop which looked very colorful with lots of things to do.  Our stay was too brief to check it out.  Here is an evening shot from our RV site.

There are several very interesting towns in the Cascades. Our stay was in Winthrop which looked very colorful with lots of things to do. Our stay was too brief to check it out. Here is an evening shot from our RV site.

We had heard about Leavenworth. A Bavarian Village in the lower Cascades. It is a German themed town that has been doing their thing for many years. Many of the people we have met along the road ask “are you going to Leavenworth”.

We heard about Leavenworth last time we visited Seattle a decade back.  It is known for its strong German theme.  We planned an overnight.  There was plenty to do and we could have used one more day here.

We heard about Leavenworth last time we visited Seattle a decade back. It is known for its strong German theme. We planned an overnight. There was plenty to do and we could have used one more day here.

There was a two day old fire when we arrived.  It had burned 300 acres and by the time we left looked to be under control.  However it does make one pause and take stock.

There was a two day old fire when we arrived. It had burned 300 acres and by the time we left looked to be under control. However it does make one pause and take stock.

The setting has a Bavarian theme and is very well done.  It looks like they have been at this for a long time.

The setting has a Bavarian theme and is very well done. It looks like they have been at this for a long time.

Downtown Leavenworth

Downtown Leavenworth

Leavenworth is certainly a destination.  There were lots of tourist having a good time including us.

Leavenworth is certainly a destination. There were lots of tourist having a good time including us.

There was German band playing fun music.  I think they were having a good time too!

There was German band playing fun music. I think they were having a good time too!

Jan caught me taking a picture of the flowers.  There sure were a lot of them.

Jan caught me taking a picture of the flowers. There sure were a lot of them.

What is a German town without beer.  Leavenworth is the home of Icicle Brewing.  They had very good beer...liked their IPA.

What is a German town without beer. Leavenworth is the home of Icicle Brewing. They had very good beer…liked their IPA.

It was an easy drive from Leavenworth to Seattle where we spent two days. We love Seattle. Taking in the downtown, the Pikes Place Market and the Harbor is a good adventure. It is a great city to visit with lots of diversity and lots of interesting things to see and do. This time we stayed north of the city and took the bus downtown. The traffic is always very heavy and getting around takes a lot of time. The day we left we tried to get to REI with the RV in tow. Now that was not a good idea.

Next stop was downtown Seattle.  The downtown square.

Next stop was downtown Seattle. The downtown square.

This could be an iconic shot of Seattle...the harbor and lots of traffic...

This could be an iconic shot of Seattle…the harbor and lots of traffic…

Pike Place Market is a must see.  This was our second time in Seattle and the market called us back.

Pike Place Market is a must see. This was our second time in Seattle and the market called us back.

The market place has been there for many years .  It draws in everyone tourist and the locals.

The market place has been there for many years . It draws in everyone tourist and the locals.

You have to experience the throwing of the fish at this fish market.  There were so many people I did not get a good picture this time.

You have to experience the throwing of the fish at this fish market. There were so many people I did not get a good picture this time.

Market color is fun to look at

Market color is fun to look at

Nice display that catches the eye.

Nice display that catches the eye.

Lots of fish here just like back home in Alabama

Lots of fish here just like back home in Alabama

Love old signs...not much changes here.

Love old signs…not much changes here.

This sign has been around for awhile too!

This sign has been around for awhile too!

...and of course there are plenty of food stops.

…and of course there are plenty of food stops.

There is a National Park downtown.  It features the Klondike Gold Rush.  Since we had seen and heard the Alaska and Yukon story had to check out the Washington side of this time periodl

There is a National Park downtown. It features the Klondike Gold Rush. Since we had seen and heard the Alaska and Yukon story had to check out the Washington side of this time periodl

The harbor is a great place to explore.

The harbor is a great place to explore.

Do you like to shop then take in Pier 54!

Do you like to shop then take in Pier 54!

Last time we were here took in Ivans.  It has been there since 1938 so will catch it next time we are here.

Last time we were here took in Ivans. It has been there since 1938 so will catch it next time we are here.

You see a lot of families hanging out here...

You see a lot of families hanging out here…

Note the mountains in the back ground.  They come and go from view depending on the weather.

Note the mountains in the back ground. They come and go from view depending on the weather.

What is a visit to Seattle without a coffee stop!

What is a visit to Seattle without a coffee stop!

One last Seattle shot from the harbor.  The downtown skyline.

One last Seattle shot from the harbor. The downtown skyline.

As we have said before time flies when we are on the road. We have been on the road for three weeks with only six left. The next leg of our journey starts in Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park in Washington. Then comes Oregon and California which will take us another three weeks. Then the final leg will be back to the Gulf Coast via Arizona, Texas and Louisiana.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Michigan Summer 2016

It is time for another update to friends and family. Summer is well under way; we are packing for a trip to the West Coast which will end back on the Gulf Coast at our winter digs in October. The travel plans are in place for another adventure. For Larry it has been a bumpy summer starting off with a lung infection and ending with back problems. For Jan it has been a great summer as she accomplished getting to her goal weight by eating right and lots of walking, almost every day. Both of us are really looking forward to this trip and being back on the road for two months.

The countdown is on as August 14th is our target date to hit the road. Actually the RV is packed. The final phase is getting the house ready for Linda who will house sit for us again this year.

The summer has been picture perfect for us. Great weather, lots of sunshine and of course plenty to do. Larry managed to get out a lot with his camera and will share some of the results with you on this blog.

The sunrises from our vantage point are always fun, different every day and finding the right time to capture at just the right moment keeps it interesting. This picture was taken last Sunday morning before church…

Sunday Morning Sunrise

Sunday Morning Sunrise

We love coming back to Michigan. Alabama works well for us in the winter but Michigan and Traverse City is still home base for us!

Summer Home Base in Michigan

Summer Home Base in Michigan

In the spring a hen turkey took up residence in the woods behind the house. She called on us the other day with her new additions to the family.

Summer Visitors

Summer Visitors

Spring and early summer brought us lots of color especially with the old fashion roses. The lilac bush was loaded and this was the year for the apple tree to blossom. The mounding Catnip plant surely took center stage. With all the rain and cool weather, the displays lasted a long time.

Old Red Rose

Old Red Rose

Another Old Rose Makes a Statement

Another Old Rose Makes a Statement

Love Those Spring Lilacs

Love Those Spring Lilacs

The Old Backyard Apple Tree

The Old Backyard Apple Tree

Mounding Catnip

Mounding Catnip

The flower garden is a rewarding activity and it is always good to get your hands dirty once in a while.

Time To Get Your Hand Dirty Filling The Old Blue Pots

Time To Get Your Hand Dirty Filling The Old Blue Pots

Backyard Comes Online

Backyard Comes Online

This is all in Living Color

This is all in Living Color

The view calls us back every spring. Our patio and deck are the center of summer activities. It helps that there are very few bugs in this part of the world.

Grand Traverse Bay Blue...View From The Front Deck

Grand Traverse Bay Blue…View From The Front Deck

Great To Be Outside - Grill Chef At Work

Great To Be Outside – Grill Chef At Work

It seems like we cannot get through a summer without at least one project. The thirty-year-old Cedar retaining wall had been at end of life for some time. It looked very bad and was surely not making a good first impression. Even though we said no summer projects this year it managed to get on the to do list. It was bit more work than we bargained for but once completed determined it was a good call!

Retaining Wall Project - Getting Started

Retaining Wall Project – Getting Started

Point Of No Return

Point Of No Return

Looking Better

Looking Better

Looks Good...It Is Nice To Have This Finished

Looks Good…It Is Nice To Have This Finished

It was good to have Uncle Larry come for a visit. With his history of being in the Ice Cream business, a stop at Moomers is a must.

Larry and Jan At Moomers

Larry and Jan At Moomers

World Famous Moomers Ice Cream

World Famous Moomers Ice Cream

Larry and Aunt Laura had a day out. She is heading off to live with her daughter in New Mexico. We will miss seeing her here in Michigan.

Aunt Laura and Larry

Aunt Laura and Larry

Every spring we arrive back at the peak of the cherry blossom time. It is always a treat to walk the city streets when the flowering trees are in bloom.

Spring Flower Show Come Every May

Spring Flower Show Come Every May

These are Apple Trees

These are Apple Trees

Flowering Trees Downtown Traverse City

Flowering Trees Downtown Traverse City

This is now wine country. Had to take a picture of a new vineyard and one that is well established. There are over 20 wineries in our two county area.

New Vineyard  and Cherry Trees In The Background

New Vineyard and Cherry Trees In The Background

One Of The Many Vineyards

One Of The Many Vineyards

These Cherries Are Almost Ready to Pick

These Cherries Are Almost Ready to Pick

Michigan is now third in the US for growing Hops. The number of Hop farms in the area is impressive. Coming on fast are the local microbreweries, there are over fifteen now.

Hops Along The TART Trail

Hops Along The TART Trail

Hops Farms - The Up And Coming Thing

Hops Farms – The Up And Coming Thing

One of the summer activities is to take on the TC Ale trail – WWW.TCaletrail.com. If you sample the wares at the ten listed stops, at the end you get a prize. This was our every Thursday afternoon outing. Here are some pictures of some of the stops… The motto is Two trails diverged, and I took the one with GREAT BEER!

Rare Bird Microbrewery - Downtown

Rare Bird Microbrewery – Downtown

Ales By The Rail In The Old Train Depot

Ales By The Rail In The Old Train Depot

Jan Taking A Shot On The Way Out

Jan Taking A Shot On The Way Out

Terra Firma Microbrewery Has An Ecology Theme...

Terra Firma Microbrewery Has An Ecology Theme…

This Brewery Grows Their Own Hops

This Brewery Grows Their Own Hops

Hop Lot A Favorite Stop - Great Setting

Hop Lot A Favorite Stop – Great Setting

Relaxing Afternoon At Hop Lot

Relaxing Afternoon At Hop Lot

The Workshop Brewery in the Ware House District

The Workshop Brewery in the Ware House District

The Jolly Pumpkin, A Bit More Upscale...

The Jolly Pumpkin, A Bit More Upscale…

North Peak Brewing Is One of the Original Breweries

North Peak Brewing Is One of the Original Breweries

The Blue Angels come to Traverse City every other year to take part in the National Cherry Festival. Their show is always impressive. Love those F18 and then there is Fat Albert a C-130.

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Fat Albert A C-130

Fat Albert A C-130

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Watching The Blue Angels From The Township Park

Watching The Blue Angels From The Township Park

The Cherry Festival gets bigger every year. It now boasts it brings over half a million visitors to the area. We personally like the festival and all it brings…well maybe not the traffic. We lived on the main parade route for over 25 years so got to know the drill very well…

Cherry Festival Gate At The Open Space

Cherry Festival Gate At The Open Space

Cherry Festival - Festival of Races - Larry Ran This 20 Times Over The Years

Cherry Festival – Festival of Races – Larry Ran This 20 Times Over The Years

The Festival Midway Takes Over Downtown Parking

The Festival Midway Takes Over Downtown Parking

You Have To Try Gibby's Fries

You Have To Try Gibby’s Fries

There Is Always Lots To Do At The Festival

There Is Always Lots To Do At The Festival

In the past I have posted pictures related to the Old State Hospital. This was a mental hospital closed by the State in the 70s. It is said to be haunted. Today it is one of the largest restoration projects in the US. Consisting of 200 plus acres and a sprawling campus of old brick buildings dating back to the 19th Century. It is being developed for retail, restaurants, residential, medical. botanical gardens, hiking/biking trails and community center events. If you are looking for a different experience walk the grounds and take the tour. The hiking and biking trails are extensive and provide for many good experiences.

Old State Mental  Hospital - Now the Traverse City Commons

Old State Mental Hospital – Now the Traverse City Commons

The Old Spires Have Character

The Old Spires Have Character

Spires From A Distance

Spires From A Distance

The Last Spire Photo

The Last Spire Photo

These Old Buildings Have A Lot of Character

These Old Buildings Have A Lot of Character

The Main Building - Building 50 Is Now All Retail and Professional Offices

The Main Building – Building 50 Is Now All Retail and Professional Offices

Love The Old Barns

Love The Old Barns

The State Hospital Grew Their Own Food And Was Self Sufficient

The State Hospital Grew Their Own Food And Was Self Sufficient

Tomb Stone For A Very Famous Cow - There Is Now A Festival In Her Name

Tomb Stone For A Very Famous Cow – There Is Now A Festival In Her Name

The TC Community Gardens A Great Project That Has Withstood The Test Of Time

The TC Community Gardens A Great Project That Has Withstood The Test Of Time

This Is A Labor Of Love

This Is A Labor Of Love

Extensive Trail System In The Woods At The Commons

Extensive Trail System In The Woods At The Commons

When we came through Savannah in the springs we saw a replica of a 16th Century Spanish sailing ship called the EL Galeon. Interestingly it showed up in Traverse City this summer at the Clinch Park Marina. The ship is on a world tour and we were surprised to see it here in Michigan.

We Saw The El Galeon In Savannah In The Spring

We Saw The El Galeon In Savannah In The Spring

El Galeon

El Galeon

Great Example Of A Spanish Sailing Ship

Great Example Of A Spanish Sailing Ship

Harbor At Traverse City Looking Downtown.  Takes Years To Get A Slip In This Harbor

Harbor At Traverse City Looking Downtown. Takes Years To Get A Slip In This Harbor

The Boardman River flows through Traverse City. There were several dams built in years past to produce electricity. Those dams are now being removed to restore the river to its natural state. As a result, the back waters (lakes and ponds) no longer exist. One of the Snyder family favorite recreation areas was the Brown Bridge reserve where we hiked, biked, snowshoed, cross country skied and kayaked on the lake. It had been two years since we had been there so we had to check it out. The lake is gone and it is returned to its natural state. The plan is to visit there every year and see how it heals over time.

This Spot Use To Be The Brown Bridge Lake And Was A Forest Before It Was Flooded 60 Years Ago

This Spot Use To Be The Brown Bridge Lake And Was A Forest Before It Was Flooded 60 Years Ago

Brown Bridge Recreation Area - Outstanding View Of the Valley

Brown Bridge Recreation Area – Outstanding View Of the Valley

Many Improved Trails for Hiking And Cross Country Skiing

Many Improved Trails for Hiking And Cross Country Skiing

All Type of Trails With Lots of Up and Downs

All Type of Trails With Lots of Up and Downs

What is a summer in Traverse City without a stop at the Sleeping Bear National Park? We spent a day there walking the trails, trudging over the sand dunes, and taking a picture or two.

Glen Lake Voted As One Of The World's Most Beautiful...

Glen Lake Voted As One Of The World’s Most Beautiful…

Sleeping Bear Taken From The Treat Farm Ridge

Sleeping Bear Taken From The Treat Farm Ridge

Another Photo Of Glen Lake.  The Color Changes During The Course Of The Day

Another Photo Of Glen Lake. The Color Changes During The Course Of The Day

Lake Michigan At Sleeping Bear Looking South West

Lake Michigan At Sleeping Bear Looking South West

Dunes Looking Toward Manitou Island

Dunes Looking Toward Manitou Island

Dune Grass Creates A Nice Foreground For This Photo

Dune Grass Creates A Nice Foreground For This Photo

I Liked All The Color In This Scene

I Liked All The Color In This Scene

Jan Stopping For A Photo Shot

Jan Stopping For A Photo Shot

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning you would find us with basket in hand taking in the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market. Only local grown produce and locally made farm products can be sold. No arts and crafts items are allowed. There are 115 farmers who take part and it is now one the three largest farm markets in Michigan.

Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market

Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market

Nice Job Of Packaging

Nice Job Of Packaging

Blue Is My Favorite Color

Blue Is My Favorite Color

This Booth Always Has Lots of Hanging Plants

This Booth Always Has Lots of Hanging Plants

This Booth Has A Very Artistic Display

This Booth Has A Very Artistic Display

It Is Fun To Meet and Talk With The Farmers To Hear Their Story

It Is Fun To Meet and Talk With The Farmers To Hear Their Story

The first couple of hours of the day you will find Larry working out at Anytime Fitness Center. The Traverse City location has a great hill top view of the City and the Grand Traverse Bay. Being there early morning it is interesting to watch the sunrises and how it changes from spring to summer.

Larry Home Away From Home

Larry Home Away From Home

Great View From Any Of The Aerobics Machines

Great View From Any Of The Aerobics Machines

Early Morning At The Fitness Center

Early Morning At The Fitness Center

One of the very sad events this summer was the loss of our dear friend Gordon. Gordon loved the cowboy world of being on horseback or in the many books he read. In a tribute to him there was a Cowboy/Irish wake around the campfire with lots of old cowboy songs being played in the background. There we said so long for now and wait for us on the other side…

Gordon's Cowboy Irish Wake

Gordon’s Cowboy Irish Wake

One morning on the way to my workout the sunrise colors were awesome. I just had to stop and take a shot or two.

This Color And Reflection From This Sunrise Was Worth The Stop

This Color And Reflection From This Sunrise Was Worth The Stop

This shot was from off Copper Ridge…a nice start on one’s day…

Sunrise From Copper Ridge

Sunrise From Copper Ridge

Jan and I are looking forward to being on the road again. Here is an outline of our tour. Watch for the updates to our blog as we make our way west. This trip includes Glacier National Park, several stops in Washington State, travel down the coast through Oregon (with several stops on the itinerary), then six National Parks in California, checking out Tucson, and spending some time in Texas including Big Bend, San Antonio and the Padre Islands. The schedule has us back at our winter home base in Gulf Shores the 16th of October.

It Can Be A Long Trip From Michigan To The Alabama Coast

It Can Be A Long Trip From Michigan To The Alabama Coast

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Spring Travels 2016 – #3

After traveling in the west for so many years, we found the Catskills a much different experience. As so often happens in our travels they are calling us to come back. Now that the family visit is done our thoughts move to Michigan and what awaits us at home base. Our next stop is one that have tried to make work several times without success. Several of our go to vegetarian cook books comes from Moosewood located in Ithaca, New York. Since we have used their cookbooks for so many years we want to try out their restaurant. Finally, we made it happen with a nice dinner along with a walk in the downtown. Now we can say been there and done that. The food and experience was ok but not sure there is any reason to go back. There is a new Moosewood cookbook which is now on the list to buy.

Moosewood Restaurant Ithaca, New York

Moosewood Restaurant Ithaca, New York

The Ithaca area has a great number of waterfalls. We had one day and explored as many as we could. Being early in the season we did not see a lot of people and we had the RV park to ourselves for the most part.

Ithaca Old Mill on the River Ithaca New York

Ithaca Old Mill on the River Ithaca New York

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Park trail, it is spring and things are just waking up

Park trail, it is spring and things are just waking up

Trilliums it must be spring

Trilliums it must be spring

Trail bridge Buttermilk Falls State Park

Trail bridge Buttermilk Falls State Park

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

Ithaca area falls

We had this RV park mostly to ourselves

We had this RV park mostly to ourselves

The last time we stopped at Niagara Falls the boys were really young. When we stopped to calculate when it was determined it must be almost 35 years ago. The postmortem this time it was a good experience and we enjoyed our day checking it out. Lots of construction on the US side so it was hard to get around. Actually the views are better from the Canada side anyway. You walk the bridge across the river to get to the Canadian side. Interestingly the Canadian charge a 50 cent toll to walk from their side.

The day started out cloudy. But by noon there was lots of sun and blue sky. There lots of photos and sharing just a few.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park

Major construction on the US side of the river

Major construction on the US side of the river

Larry at Niagara Falls

Larry at Niagara Falls

Niagara River

Niagara River

Taken from the tower  looking down

Taken from the tower looking down

Walking the bridge to Canada

Walking the bridge to Canada

Canadian garden established in the 30's

Canadian garden established in the 30’s

Niagara Falls a two country adventure

Niagara Falls a two country adventure

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada

Our plan was to come back through Canada. However, in talking with others both the US and Canada Customs were giving everyone with an RV a hard time. Also we realized that we had live plants traveling with us which is a no no so we bailed and drove the additional 150 miles using the Ohio Turnpike.

Back in Michigan

Back in Michigan

The Bronner’s Christmas store experience is something else. We only do this when it works into our travels. However, we find the city of Frankenmuth is a good experience beyond the Christmas theme.

Bronner's Christmas Store Frankenmuth, Michigan

Bronner’s Christmas Store Frankenmuth, Michigan

Jan is posing with her cousin Irene Bronner. Jan’s parents are both second generation German descendants. The German community in Central Michigan was a close knit community for many years. Frankenmuth has capitalized on the German Heritage and made it their theme for many years. Over the years it has been Americanized but they still try.

Jan and Irene Bronner

Jan and Irene Bronner

Christmas all year in Frankenmuth

Christmas all year in Frankenmuth

Iconic distance sign

Iconic distance sign

Would you believe over seven acres of Christmas opportunities? It is an amazing place to visit, you could even say spectacular. They have a strong religious presentation. There is so much it is hard to believe that the demand would be there. They have grown from a humble beginning with a small store on the main street to where they are today in the last 40 years.

Christmas display

Christmas display

Christmas display

Christmas display

Christmas display

Christmas display

Colorful Christmas display

Colorful Christmas display

Frankenmuth Street Art

Frankenmuth Street Art

Frankenmuth covered wooden bridge over the Cass River

Frankenmuth covered wooden bridge over the Cass River

We often stay at the Jellystone park in Frankenmuth then the last leg of the trip is an easy one. The city is also known for its Chicken Dinners. Jan and I both grew up about 40 miles from there. The first time I ate there was the early 50s with my parents. We would come there on very special occasions. Yes, that was before the Bronners we know today.

Zender Traditional German Chicken Dinners

Zender Traditional German Chicken Dinners

Bavarian Inn German Chicken Dinners

Bavarian Inn German Chicken Dinners

The Frankenmuth Brewery has been around for 150 years. Their beer is very good and they also have very good food. This is the last meal on the road now back to “real” life.

Frankenmuth Brewery has been around for 150 years

Frankenmuth Brewery has been around for 150 years

Yogi with Larry at Jellystone RV Park

Yogi with Larry at Jellystone RV Park

After a stop to see my brother Ray and his wife Jill in Bay City we make it back on a Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning we were welcomed by a wet snow. However, it soon melted and spring was back.

Traverse City is still as we left it. Enjoy walking the downtown streets and seeing all the familiar sights like the old bank building and the Boardman River. We love being here. That being said we love being on the road too. The summer here will be way too short….

Michigan welcomed us home with this white "stuff".

Michigan welcomed us home with this white “stuff”.

Spring rebounds by the end of the day

Spring rebounds by the end of the day

Downtown Traverse City in the Spring

Downtown Traverse City in the Spring

The old bank Building is well over 100 Years old

The old bank Building is well over 100 Years old

Boardman River Union Street, a play ground for us for many years

Boardman River Union Street, a play ground for us for many years

Now on to the rest of the summer here and then the trip out west…

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Spring Travels 2016 – East Coast #2

After Williamsburg we headed north making our way to Lewes, Delaware where we will spend a night. This is Dogfish Head micro-brewery country a must do is to check out this famous brew. An unexpected highlight of the trip was the 23-mile drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. After Lewes the next stop is son Paul in Downingtown, PA. There is a very convenient RV park to set the RV just outside of town at the Brandywine Creek Campground.

Dogfish Head great craft beer

Dogfish Head great craft beer

Paul and Marty always manage to feed us well and keep us busy. Over the years one of the favorite adventures has been Longwood gardens. It is a premier horticulture display on over thousand acres. It has impressive grounds and fountains although the main fountains are under reconstruction. In the past we visited there in the summer and fall so this is our first spring visit. Interestingly it is located in an area where the native Lenni Lenape Tribe lived (also known as the Delaware Indians). My great-great-great-grandparents are from that tribe. Last winter in my genealogy research found link which was a surprise.

This part of the post is all about the pictures.

Longwood Gardens exceptional grounds

Longwood Gardens exceptional grounds

Jan and Paul at Longwood

Jan and Paul at Longwood

One of the many fountains

One of the many fountains

Threatening rain clouds in the background

Threatening rain clouds in the background

Nice photo opt

Nice photo opt

Paul in the tree house

Paul in the tree house

Larry at the tree house

Larry at the tree house

Longwood

Longwood

Longwood

Longwood

Longwood

Longwood

Longwood Foxgloves

Longwood Foxgloves

Longwood

Longwood

Spring at Longwood Gardens

Spring at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Paul Longwood Gardens

Paul Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Paul and Jan enjoying the Conservatory

Paul and Jan enjoying the Conservatory

Larry and Paul enjoying the day at Longwood Gardens

Larry and Paul enjoying the day at Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

The next adventure for Larry and Paul was the National Watch and Clock Museum located in Lancaster County. The museum was interesting and there was a very large collection. There were many one of a kind displays as well as themed exhibits. It was curated with lots of text which we did not have time to get through. Of course there was a Micro-Brewery Columbia Kettle Works Craft Brewing close by that warranted a stop on this afternoon outing.

The National Watch and Clock Museum Lancaster, PA

The National Watch and Clock Museum Lancaster, PA

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

Conservatory Longwood Gardens

One of a kind traveling mechanical machine, yes we saw it in action...

One of a kind traveling mechanical machine, yes we saw it in action…

Watch store exhibit

Watch store exhibit

Plenty of educational curation on the world of clocks and clock making

Plenty of educational curation on the world of clocks and clock making

Really enjoyed seeing these old clocks

Really enjoyed seeing these old clocks

Columbia Kettle Works craft brewery nice stop at the end of the clock tour

Columbia Kettle Works craft brewery nice stop at the end of the clock tour

Jan and Marty had their own adventure heading off to Winterthur, a DuPont Museum (estate) in Delaware. The focus is on Americana in the US. This home was built for display by Henry DuPont who was an antique collector and horticulturist. It is always a worthwhile stop. It had been several years since we visited the museum. Pictures follow…

Winterur - Dupont Estate

Winterur – Dupont Estate

Winterthur - Dupont Estate

Winterthur – Dupont Estate

Winterthur - Dupont Estate

Winterthur – Dupont Estate

Marty Paul and Jan with Larry behind the camera

Marty Paul and Jan with Larry behind the camera

Brandywine Creek, photo taken on an early morning walk

Brandywine Creek flows through the RV park

Brandywine Creek flows through the RV park

Next stop is Jersey City, NJ and the Liberty RV Park and Marina. The trip north on the NJ Turnpike is always interesting for us Midwestern’s who are not use to 10 plus lanes in one direction especially with a RV in tow. The turnpike and the Holland Tunnel extension takes us right into Jersey City. Actually the trip is fairly easy now that we have done it many times. If you follow this route to the park, make sure you get off at the right place or you end up going through the Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River. The Liberty Marina is a great place to stay as it is close to New Jersey Transit system and links with the NYC subway system. It is also right next door to the Statue of Liberty State Park. Although we miss the park this time due to the rain.

In the City we will catch up with Karl and Cully and in Brooklyn with Grand Daughter Fiona and John.

Liberty Marina and RV Park Jersey City

Liberty Marina and RV Park Jersey City

From the park you can see the World Trade Center Complex and the Statue of Liberty. Also very interesting was the German rolling hotel…we saw this last time we here as well.

Rotel tour bus is an interesting concept for group travel

Rotel tour bus is an interesting concept for group travel

Very convenient to the RV Park you can catch two PATH trains into NYC. The destination stations are 33rd Station and the World Trade Center. Karl works in one of the World Trade Center towers, I think he said the 47th floor?

World Trade Center

World Trade Center

Inside World Trade Center

Inside World Trade Center

We love poking around the city the Chelsea market is a frequent stop. Interesting fact is that the building is where the Oreo Cookie was invented and produced.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Another favorite thing to do is the High Line linear park. It is constructed on an old elevated railroad spur. It is a great walk with many views, lots of flowers, interesting paths and always a place to take a photo or two. It calls us back each time we get to the City.

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City

High Line Park New York City - Hudson River in the background

High Line Park New York City – Hudson River in the background

High Line Park New York City end at the river

High Line Park New York City end at the river

Here some NYC shots that caught my eye as we wandered the streets of Manhattan.

In the City parking can be complicated

In the City parking can be complicated

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

Macy's on Broadway

Macy’s on Broadway

Soho color

Soho color

NYC Photo Opt

NYC Photo Opt

Soho color

Soho color

Jan's favorite spice store...it is impressive

Jan’s favorite spice store…it is impressive

Always looking for a different place to eat. Easy to do in the City. Here are a couple of our lunch finds

Great spot for our lunch

Great spot for our lunch

Another good eating experience

Another good eating experience

Since we have done most of the main museums in NYC, the target is now some of the smaller ones. This year was Museum of the City of New York. Jan and I both enjoyed it a lot. However, some of the humor and displays went over our head as I think you had to be from the City to get. Coming out of the museum we encounter the ladies who were having a spring fling in Central Park…lots of color for sure… That is why we love coming to the Big City when we can.

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

Central Park spring show has a bit of color

Central Park spring show has a bit of color

We caught up with Karl and did a walk in Central Park. Never get tired of seeing the park, it is an amazing place. It was even good in the rain.

Central Park along the lake

Central Park along the lake

Central Park New York City

Central Park New York City

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Fiona and John invited us for pizza. There we had a nice evening with Karl and Cully, Mark was in the City and Marty came down from PA for the family event. It was good to see where Fiona and John live and be with family. But this was Wednesday night so some of the more distant working folks got left out.

Family gathering hosted by Fiona and John

Family gathering hosted by Fiona and John

Family get together in Brooklyn

Family get together in Brooklyn

Marty Karl and Cully

Marty Karl and Cully

John Mark and Jan in conversation...

John Mark and Jan in conversation…

This year we took on the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time. It was a nice experience, plenty of views and lots of foot traffic. As we were headed to Brooklyn anyway this fit in the schedule nicely. During the walk you see the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Bridge, action on the Hudson and great views of the skyline, picture to follow…

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk

Brooklyn Bridge walk - Padlocks on bridges symbolize love with couples names enscribed

Brooklyn Bridge walk – Padlocks on bridges symbolize love with couples names enscribed

Statute of Liberty off to the right

Statute of Liberty off to the right

Manhattan Bridge to the left

Manhattan Bridge to the left

One of the more eclectic experience is the New York Transit Museum. We did this several years ago and really enjoyed the experience. The museum is in an old Brooklyn Subway stop. Good information on the subway system the how, what, when and where. One of main exhibit was the plan to deal with disasters and other emergencies which both of us found it very educational. The tour is also a flash back in time as you wander through all the old vintage cars with the advertising banners still in place. These banners show us a glimpse into life in the city as well life at that specific time period.

New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn

New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

Of course what you do in the City, you eat. Thursday night we caught up with Karl and Cully for dinner. Interesting place with the theme of faux meat. Actually it was very good and would go back.

Dinner with Cully and Karl at the Red Bamboo

Dinner with Cully and Karl at the Red Bamboo

Jan and Karl

Jan and Karl

Next stop is Kingston, NY to catch up with son Mark and Kevin. Mark and Kevin bought a house there and this will be our first visit. It is an easy drive from New Jersey to Saugerties, NY where we will be staying at the Rip Van Winkle RV Park. This area there has many references to Rip Van Winkle as the legend starts here in the Catskill Mountains of NY.

Mark at home in Kingston, NY

Mark at home in Kingston, NY

First on the list was a tour of Moresca by Kevin. This is where he works. Moresca is a clothing and costume shop. It has been around for over 40 years making Medieval, Renaissance, Fantasy Clothing and costumes. The tour blows one away with it depth and breadth of products. In addition, the old building and grounds had a creative flare all by themselves.

Tour of Moresca by Kevin

Tour of Moresca by Kevin

Moresca

Moresca

Moresca

Moresca

Moresca

Moresca

Moresca

Moresca

What do you think?

What do you think?

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Warehouse

Moresca Grounds

Moresca Grounds

Moresca Grounds

Moresca Grounds

Moresca Grounds

Moresca Grounds

Mark and Kevin fixed us a late breakfast but first we rounded up the ingredients at the Saturday morning Kingston’s Farmers Market. We also got a tour of the town which has an interesting history as it was once the capitol of New York. They also took us on a hike along the Hudson River.

Mark and Kevin in their Kingston digs

Mark and Kevin in their Kingston digs

Kingston Farmers Market Shopping for Breakfast

Kingston Farmers Market Shopping for Breakfast

Kingston Farmers Market Shopping for Breakfast

Kingston Farmers Market Shopping for Breakfast

Kingston Farmers Market Shopping for Breakfast

Kingston Farmers Market Shopping for Breakfast

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Hike Along the Hudson River

Historic Kingston

Historic Kingston

Kingston the Artistic side

Kingston the Artistic side

Mark being Mark

Mark being Mark

Kingston City Park has a Trolley

Kingston City Park has a Trolley

Along the Wallkill rail trail in the middle of the woods is this place that sells food. We sampled their goodies from the outside wood oven. It was very good.

Pizza oven along the Wallkill Bike Trail

Pizza oven along the Wallkill Bike Trail

Strong recommendation for the Rip Van Winkle Park for those staying in the Catskills area. It is well run and has a beautiful setting. Mark and Kevin came out for dinner and a campfire. The first real fire this time out.

Rip Van Winkle RV Park Saugerties, NY

Rip Van Winkle RV Park Saugerties, NY

RV Photo opt

RV Photo opt

Dinner at Rip Van Winkle

Dinner at Rip Van Winkle

After dinner campfire

After dinner campfire

Ending the visit was a trip to a nearby town, Rosendale for a fun dinner outside (a bit cool but fun). Here are Mark, Jan and Kevin posing for the last family shot. Looking forward to the next time we can get back to Kingston and the Catskills.

By Water Bistro, Rosendale, NY

By Water Bistro, Rosendale, NY

After dinner shot Mark, Jan and Kevin

After dinner shot Mark, Jan and Kevin

Once again it was time to get back on the road heading north. Still a week left on the road before getting back to Michigan.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Spring Travels 2016 – East Coast #1

Bikes are loaded, bags packed and enough coffee for 300 miles

Bikes are loaded, bags packed and enough coffee for 300 miles

As you can see from the photo the truck is pointed out, we are packed and ready to head north once again. Being in Gulf Shores in winter and out of the snow has proven to be a good thing for us. The weather on the coast has been good to us this winter and my take was a bit warmer than normal. There were only three or four days that you couldn’t go to the beach or go for a bike ride. There is always plenty to do keeping up with the community, exploring the region and taking in the many fun events.

For Larry It took some time to get the shoulder back in shape after surgery. Of course there is always plenty going on with his photography especially since there is a new camera. A new adventure is learning Spanish via Rosetta stone, plus the ongoing Snyder/Neitzke genealogy project and of course we are always actively planning the next trip or two. In true Snyder form the travel schedule for the next three years is coming together very nicely. For Jan, she spent many hours with the new piano keyboard learning what it can do as well as developing new techniques.

The trip north to Michigan will take us a month driving up the east coast. This blog will cover our stops in St Augustine, Savannah, Charleston and Colonial Williamsburg. Mid-August the plan is to head west. That trip will just over two months and is already booked for the most part. Stops will be Glacier NP, Cascades in Washington, Seattle, Mt Rainer, Olympic NP, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, Lassen Volcanic NP, Yosemite, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, Death Valley and Joshua Tree NP. The drive along the coast in Oregon gets high marks so the camera will be ready for action. There will be a stop in Tucson to check out the area for future trips then on to Texas. Stop there include stays in San Antonio, Padre Islands and Galveston. The final leg is Louisiana, Mississippi and then home to Gulf Shores getting back mid-October.

The beach calls both day and night. Here are a couple of favorite photos from the vast collection.

Sunrise on a warm spring morning

Sunrise on a warm spring morning

Sunset last night on the beach before heading home

Sunset last night on the beach before heading home

Here are some of the points of interest from our stay this year.

Exploring the area, we found this nature reserve dedicated to Pitcher Plants. It is a super interesting area and will be spending more time checking it out. Expect an update later when we get back in the fall.

Pitcher Plant Bog on Weeks Bay near Foley, AL

Pitcher Plant Bog on Weeks Bay near Foley, AL

If you every get the chance check out the Fairhope Art Fair. It is huge and a lot of fun. I can always find something good to eat that I shouldn’t.

Fairhope Art Fair with over 200 booths and a large food court

Fairhope Art Fair with over 200 booths and a large food court

For those of you who follow our travels Lefty is still hanging in there. Most days on my bike ride she brings out her three hatchlings from last year for viewing. You can see them in the photo if you look closely. The young ones already have an attitude.

Lefty and hatchlings - Year two

Lefty and hatchlings – Year two

Not many visitors from the north this year. Brother in-law Larry and daughter Amy came for a few days. Always a good time with walks on the beach, good food and a visit to the Mardi Gras Carnival Museum in Mobile. The plan is to catch up with Amy and family in Georgia next winter.

On the beach with Jan, Larry and Amy

On the beach with Jan, Larry and Amy

Once again the Low Country Boil at its best

Once again the Low Country Boil at its best

Amy and Jan feeling the moment

Amy and Jan feeling the moment

Carnival Museum, King and Queen in full dress

Carnival Museum, King and Queen in full dress

Mardi Gras float with typical colors

Mardi Gras float with typical colors

Carnival Museum players

Carnival Museum players

Carnival Museum, some of these cost over $50,000

Carnival Museum, some of these cost over $50,000

It was good to be on the road again. As soon as we left we easily slipped back into travel mode. This trip will be our first with a new tow vehicle. This winter the old grew very weary, needed a transplant and had to be retired from long trips. It had served us well with over 225,000 miles in 11 years from Prudhoe Bay to Corpus Christi and many points beyond.

Perry, Florida first night out on the  road again!

Perry, Florida first night out on the road again!

St Augustine was interesting and educational for us. The city has so much history. Both of us love old historic houses, the period architecture and the craftsmanship of time gone by. The visitor center had an informative walking tour guide. It took us all day as we followed it, we walked a lot of miles and learned a lot about where the city came from dating back to the 1560s. The Castillo de san Marcos Fort is in excellent condition, lots of events going on and just fun to explore.

If you ever get the chance check out the Anatasia State Park. The beaches and RV sites are exceptional.

The boardwalk to the beach at Anastasia State Park St. Augustine, FL

The boardwalk to the beach at Anastasia State Park St. Augustine, FL

Anastasia Beach a great place to enjoy the water

Anastasia Beach a great place to enjoy the water

Anastasia Beach - Larry enjoying the surf and trudging through the foam

Anastasia Beach – Larry enjoying the surf and trudging through the foam

City of St Augustine Visitor Information Center a great place to start

City of St Augustine Visitor Information Center a great place to start

St Augustine walking tour starts here

St Augustine walking tour starts here

Larry, This walk looks like fun

Larry, This walk looks like fun

St Augustine historic house

St Augustine historic house

Great color on this vintage house

Great color on this vintage house

I liked the Spanish Moss on this one

I liked the Spanish Moss on this one

The oldest wooden school house is in St Augustine

The oldest wooden school house is in St Augustine

The El Galeon 16th century Spanish galleon 1/1 replica

The El Galeon 16th century Spanish galleon 1/1 replica

Lightner Museum and shop with colorful courtyard

Lightner Museum and shop with colorful courtyard

Lunch outside at the Backyard at Meehan's on the Matanzas

Lunch outside at the Backyard at Meehan’s on the Matanzas

Castillo de san Marcos historic fort dated to 1672

Castillo de san Marcos historic fort dated to 1672

Castillo de san Marcos west wall still looking good

Castillo de san Marcos west wall still looking good

Castillo de san Marco the main harbor is just a bit south, can you see the El Galeon?

Castillo de san Marco the main harbor is just a bit south, can you see the El Galeon?

Castillo de san  Marcos fort reenactment draws a large crowd

Castillo de san Marcos fort reenactment draws a large crowd

Next stop was Savannah where we stayed on Tybee Island a very popular place as the beaches are beautiful and close to the city.

Tybee Island sunset

Tybee Island sunset

Another Tybee Island sunset just over the sand dune

Another Tybee Island sunset just over the sand dune

The Tybee Island Light Station

The Tybee Island Light Station

Once again at the Savannah Visitor Center we found a walking guide. It was the same drill as St Augustine. We spent a full day walking the city taking in the sights, learning the history and just having a good time. The city has many squares and parks which are well design and well maintained.

Ready to take on Savannah, tour guide in hand

Ready to take on Savannah, tour guide in hand

Savannah's Jones Street voted the most beautiful in American

Savannah’s Jones Street voted the most beautiful in American

Savannah  has many of these squares that are well kept

Savannah has many of these squares that are well kept

Forsyth Park, a 30 acre park in Savannah's historic district

Forsyth Park, a 30 acre park in Savannah’s historic district

We fell in love with the Savannah homes. They all come with a story which was fun to learn about.

Savannah Mercer  House has lots of history

Savannah Mercer House has lots of history

Owen Thomas House great Regency architecture plus it is just fun to look at

Owen Thomas House great Regency architecture plus it is just fun to look at

Davenport House is haunted so they say

Davenport House is haunted so they say

Pirate House where many sailors came up missing

Pirate House where many sailors came up missing

There was a lot to see just walking.

Paula Deen Restaurant and Store

Paula Deen Restaurant and Store

Micro-Breweries always catch my eye

Micro-Breweries always catch my eye

Lizzy's  a lunch stop on the balcony with great Margaritias and a great view

Lizzy’s a lunch stop on the balcony with great Margaritias and a great view

Savannah River Queen

Savannah River Queen

Savannah was once the King of Cotton

Savannah was once the King of Cotton

Cotton Exchange killed by the Boll Weevil about 1920

Cotton Exchange killed by the Boll Weevil about 1920

There is a legend with the Waving Girl, Florence Martus. She greeted the ships in the harbor for many years. It was a surprise to see how many people were making their way down the water front to check out her statue.

Florence Martus aka Waving Girl would wave at all the passing ships from 1887 t0 1931

Florence Martus aka Waving Girl would wave at all the passing ships from 1887 t0 1931

In the evening we got to watch the sunset and the many ships making their way through the channel.

Tybee Island sunset with the ships passing in the night on the channel

Tybee Island sunset with the ships passing in the night on the channel

Charleston was a first time stop for us. The first thing we did was to get “that” walking guide. In a day we covered the city and had a good taste of its culture, where it came from and what it had to offer. It was different from the other two cities we just visited. It played a much larger role in the founding of the America.

Our day seems to always start with a visitor center

Our day seems to always start with a visitor center