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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

Iconic Church photo from across the park

Iconic Church photo from across the park

Charleston historic firestation

Charleston historic firestation

City Market Building

City Market Building

Charleston Market is bigger than you think

Charleston Market is bigger than you think

You never know who you are going to meet

You never know who you are going to meet

Historical Circular Congregational  Church - A round church is where the devil cannot trap you, right?  At least that is what my Mother told me!

Historical Circular Congregational Church – A round church is where the devil cannot trap you, right? At least that is what my Mother told me!

Charleston seemed more commercial and business oriented than St Augustine and Savannah. It does have that southern charm though. The balcony is a common feature in many of the houses plus there are the striking southern colors which catch your eye. The developed waterfront area was well done. It has a nice downtown area which has withstood the test of time.

Three sister houses the same but different

Three sister houses the same but different

The balcony a common Charleston feature make for a nice presentation

The balcony a common Charleston feature make for a nice presentation

Very large and colorful homes down on the waterfront

Very large and colorful homes down on the waterfront

Cool old commercial building restored

Cool old commercial building restored

Cobble Stone Street of Charleston

Cobble Stone Street of Charleston

Historic Dock Theater city owned and with public restrooms

Historic Dock Theater city owned and with public restrooms

Dock Theater nicely restored and still in use

Dock Theater nicely restored and still in use

Nice photo opt, very inviting, don't you think?

Nice photo opt, very inviting, don’t you think?

Charleston River walk along the Cooper River

Charleston River walk along the Cooper River

Riverfront docks

Riverfront docks

Charleston Riverfront Park

Charleston Riverfront Park

Arthur Ravenel Bridge over Cooper River

Arthur Ravenel Bridge over Cooper River

Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston

We strongly recommend the ST James Island County Park for our RVer friends. It is a great park with extensive trails, water opportunities and a 10-minute drive to the beach. The park was great and we wished we could have stayed longer.

St James Island County Park residents

St James Island County Park residents

St James County Park pond

St James County Park pond

You always hear about the weather on Cape Hatteras so we were determined to check it out for ourselves. After the three city tour we knew we would need a down day or two so this seemed perfect. It was short drive and two ferry rides to get to our site on the south end of the island. The plans quickly fell apart when we found out we need reservations for the ferry and tried to book too late. This meant a long day in the car to find a bridge to get us from the mainland to the Outer banks and south to our RV Park.

Cape Hatteras is known for its Weather

Cape Hatteras is known for its Weather

Once we got there we found the island a much different experience than we expected. It is very remote and has a personality that is unique. It certainly has its own culture and those that live there value the remoteness. Life there revolves around the water and the weather. It does have the summer tourist season which supports those who live there. It was nice that we were there early to talk with locals about their lives on the reef.

Cape Hatteras caters to the tourist who come after Memorial Day

Cape Hatteras caters to the tourist who come after Memorial Day

Cape Hatteras has outstanding beaches

Cape Hatteras has outstanding beaches

Life along the Outer Banks has its own style

Life along the Outer Banks has its own style

The Outer Bank beaches are great for long walks

The Outer Bank beaches are great for long walks

The east coast has impressive and very large lighthouses. Many of them you can climb if you are up to it.

Cape Hatteras lighthouse is big

Cape Hatteras lighthouse is big

The lighthouse near Kill Devil Hills

The lighthouse near Kill Devil Hills

Next stop was Kill Devil Hills to check out the Wright Brothers memorial.

It took us a couple of hours to do the exhibits and walk the grounds. It was good to see the place in person. The exhibits are very well curated some of the better ones that we have experienced.

Wright Brothers Visitor Center at Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brothers Visitor Center at Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brothers Museum has several replica planes

Wright Brothers Museum has several replica planes

Where Air Flight Began, the museum is well curated

Where Air Flight Began, the museum is well curated

Memorial to Wilbur and Orville

Memorial to Wilbur and Orville

Wright Memorial

Wright Memorial

Marker for the first four flights - Number one

Marker for the first four flights – Number one

Marker two

Marker two

Marker Three

Marker Three

Marker 4

Marker 4

Fifteen years ago we spent a day at Colonial Williamsburg. It was a good experience and we always felt we wanted to go back. Before making the trip this time we read the reviews which tended toward a more tourist based atmosphere and being pricey. It was decided to go back and check it off the list anyway. Arriving there in the afternoon we got a three-day pass then checked out the main street in effort to put a plan together for the rest of the time.

Williamsburg was an active city. In the late 20’s John D. Rockefeller, Jr sign on to help restore the city and make it a historic and living history museum. One of the interpreters told he had contributed over $60 million dollars. Contemporary houses were removed, original buildings restored and/or replicates were constructed. There is large staff of interpreters and volunteers many in costume. Williamsburg was founded in 1633 with the historic recreation focusing on the period through the establishing of independence from England.

The focus on historic trade and tradesmen is impressive with plenty of demos and recreation activities. Even if you are not into history, the grounds and gardens are worth a visit. This stop exceeded our expectations as we got caught up in experiencing and seeing all we could. This is a place where you could spend lots of time and never do it all.

Entrance to Colonial Williamsburg

Entrance to Colonial Williamsburg

Flag at the visitor center - blowing in the wind

Flag at the visitor center – blowing in the wind

Welcome sign if you are driving

Welcome sign if you are driving

Lots to see at Historic Colonial Williamsburg

Lots to see at Historic Colonial Williamsburg

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We found the prices not out of line with other similar experiences. However, we did bring lunch.

Tailgating for lunch

Tailgating for lunch

There is so much to write about my strategy is to just add remarks to the pictures. Enjoy the walk back in time and to see what Historic Colonial Williamsburg has to offer.

Historic iconic windmill at the Great Hope Plantation

Historic iconic windmill at the Great Hope Plantation

Colonial Williamsburg walk to the Great Plantation

Colonial Williamsburg walk to the Great Plantation

Traditional rail fence for sure

Traditional rail fence for sure

The Governors Palace

The Governors Palace

Palace grand staircase

Palace grand staircase

Governor Palace Ball Room

Governor Palace Ball Room

Palace warming machine

Palace warming machine

Slave quarters up to 10 people would occupy a house this size

Slave quarters up to 10 people would occupy a house this size

Construction Tradesmen constructing  a farm building

Construction Tradesmen constructing a farm building

This Baker has been making cookies here in this wood fired oven for a long time

This Baker has been making cookies here in this wood fired oven for a long time

Palace kitchen where the cook was consider key personnel

Palace kitchen where the cook was consider key personnel

Middle class kitchen

Middle class kitchen

You  see a lot of period dress

You see a lot of period dress

The Brick House Tavern a place to stay the night

The Brick House Tavern a place to stay the night

We discussed Revolutionary War strategy with George Washington at the Wythe House for the British Siege on Yorktown.  He made this his headquarter for this defensive here.

We discussed Revolutionary War strategy with George Washington at the Wythe House for the British Siege on Yorktown. He made this his headquarter for this defensive here.

Formal gardens are at the palace

Formal gardens are at the palace

Gardens at the palace

Gardens at the palace

Garden at the Wythe House

Garden at the Wythe House

Garden along the Duke of Glouster Street

Garden along the Duke of Glouster Street

Fun gate to the garden

Fun gate to the garden

I like this setting, nice photo

I like this setting, nice photo

Nice presentation inside the Millinery Shop

Nice presentation inside the Millinery Shop

Artistic photo from the general store

Artistic photo from the general store

You want to be on the right side of bars here

You want to be on the right side of bars here

Nice view looking out

Nice view looking out

Iconic Williamsburg

Iconic Williamsburg

George Wythe House an original building

George Wythe House an original building

Randolph House

Randolph House

Cabinet Maker's House

Cabinet Maker’s House

Great style

Great style

Interesting...

Interesting…

This a period color mostly for show

This a period color mostly for show

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Along Gloucester Street

Bruton Parish Church

Bruton Parish Church

The Capitol Building

The Capitol Building

Inside the capitol

Inside the capitol

John D Rockefeller, Jr and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller set up a retreat at Bassett Hall an 18th century farm house adjacent to historic village. Abby brought the love of folk art which was not appreciated by her husband. This along with other art is exhibited at the art museum.

Bassett Hall - John D Rockefeller Jr. Home

Bassett Hall – John D Rockefeller Jr. Home

Bassett Hall

Bassett Hall

Art Museums at Colonial Williamsburg

Art Museums at Colonial Williamsburg

Art Museum Influenced by Abby Rockefeller's love of folk art.  A different experience than the Revolutionary City theme

Art Museum Influenced by Abby Rockefeller’s love of folk art. A different experience than the Revolutionary City theme

Next year the plan is to come back to see York Town and Jamestown

Now on to Spring Travels 2016 – East Coast #2, next stop Lewes, Delaware

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Holiday Greeting 2016

We love the sunrises over Grand Traverse Bay

We love the sunrises over Grand Traverse Bay

This is Jan's Color...for sure!

This is Jan’s Color…for sure!

Love those early morning walks on the beach

Love those early morning walks on the beach

Morning light show

Morning light show

Jan and I wish all our friends and family happy holidays from beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama. Again this year the two of us want to take time out to touch base with those important in our lives. We send our very best to everyone this very special time of the year. The plan is to change up the mode of our holiday communication by foregoing the traditional Christmas Cards this year by going digital. Our web site allows for two way communication so let us know what is up in your life.

This has been a good year for us. Life in Traverse City is still great. Our decision to spend our winters on the Alabama Gulf Coast is standing the test of time. We are getting in touch with the South and the life-style in this part of the world. The community has welcomed us in true southern style and we continue to make many new friends all the time. Of course Michigan still calls us back every spring; especially when it starts to get really warm here.

After the first of the year we finally got to take a breath after finishing up the renovation and outfitting the new digs. Once that was checked off the list, the transition to being coastal snowbirds came easily. When we arrived back in October it seemed like home right off. However once March arrives our thoughts will turn to heading north so the cycle continues.

Our summer was great enjoying our time in Northwest Michigan. There was so much to do we just ran out of time. Our late summer/early fall trip to Utah exceeded our expectations. If you have not done so, check out our web site for a blow by blow account of the trip. Right now our winter plans are on hold for at least two months or more as Larry recovers from major surgery on his shoulder two weeks ago. On that front things are looking good so it just gets down to physical therapy, patience and time.

Our travel plans are starting to take shape for 2016. On the short list are a month trip up the East coast in the spring and a two month trip to the Pacific Northwest late summer/early fall. We love to have guests so if you are near us do stop in…we always have an extra bed or two.

If you come this way you will find there is plenty to do. If you like the beach, you will find the sun, surf and sand to your liking. Everyone here takes a week off during Mardi Gras. If you like to party there is plenty to do. Last winter we made trips to the National Naval Museum (home to the Blue Angels) and the USS Alabama. If you come this way we would love to go again.

Snyder winter hang out

Snyder winter hang out

One of our winter past times -  would you believe mid 80's December

One of our winter past times – would you believe mid 80’s December

Mardi Gras is colorful...Gulf Shores has a large parade

Mardi Gras is colorful…Gulf Shores has a large parade

The Blue Angels live close by...caught this shot on a walk on the beach

The Blue Angels live close by…caught this shot on a walk on the beach

USS Alabama...Nice experience, great views

USS Alabama…Nice experience, great views

As I stated earlier, our life in Michigan moves fast. There was lots to do around the homestead. We tried to get everything on the list done but the bike trails, the sand dunes and the micro-breweries seem to call us away all too easily. It was great to get together with the Snyder’s at brother Dale’s cottage and we hope we can do it again next year. We love the yard in Michigan and wish that we could duplicate here in the south but living in Condo limits us on that front.

Rainbows over the water are always a treat...

Rainbows over the water are always a treat…

The Snyder summer gathering...

The Snyder summer gathering…

Over the summer made several trips to Sleeping Bear National Park, love that Lake Michigan color

Over the summer made several trips to Sleeping Bear National Park, love that Lake Michigan color

Still getting our hands dirty...

Still getting our hands dirty…

The flower beds always look good just about the time we decide to leave

The flower beds always look good just about the time we decide to leave

Those of you that are close to us already have heard about the new Rpod which did not work and the last minute purchase of our Airstream. By the way we love it and it was worth all the pain and agony we went through.

Our summer hang out with the ill fated Rpod in the foreground

Our summer hang out with the ill fated Rpod in the foreground

Last photo before we head out...packed and ready to rock and roll...

Last photo before we head out…packed and ready to rock and roll…

Here is a collage of photos from our trip. We loved Utah and had a great time getting there and the final leg back to the Gulf Coast in October. The side benefit of the trip was catching up with Brother John and Brother Duane along the way.

Crossing the Big MAC means we are on the road again...

Crossing the Big MAC means we are on the road again…

Our hang out on the road has wheels...photo in Zion National Park, Utah

Our hang out on the road has wheels…photo in Zion National Park, Utah

We loved the Rocky Mountain National Park...coming back down the trail

We loved the Rocky Mountain National Park…coming back down the trail

Here we are at 14,000 feet on Mt Evan, Colorado

Here we are at 14,000 feet on Mt Evan, Colorado

Rocky Mountain day hike...

Rocky Mountain day hike…

South Utah was an adventure...here we are in Temple Square in Salt Lake

South Utah was an adventure…here we are in Temple Square in Salt Lake

Dead Horse Point State Park...a favorite...love the Colorado River plus it is more fun at sunset

Dead Horse Point State Park…a favorite…love the Colorado River plus it is more fun at sunset

Adventure in Canyon Land National Park

Adventure in Canyon Land National Park

Love the red rock formation...Canyon Land

Love the red rock formation…Canyon Land

Bryce Canyon National Park is a favorite...fun Hoo Doos

Bryce Canyon National Park is a favorite…fun Hoo Doos

Bryce Canyon a must see!

Bryce Canyon a must see!

The arches and bridges were never boring to look at...

The arches and bridges were never boring to look at…

Bryce Hoo Doos...love that red rock

Bryce Hoo Doos…love that red rock

Zion National Park Patriarchs;  The peaks of Abraham - Isaac - Jacob.  Yes there is a story

Zion National Park Patriarchs; The peaks of Abraham – Isaac – Jacob. Yes there is a story

Jan top of Inspiration Point...our highest and steepest climb!

Jan top of Inspiration Point…our highest and steepest climb!

Larry on Zion Inspiration Point...had lunch and ready to head back down the trail

Larry on Zion Inspiration Point…had lunch and ready to head back down the trail

Grand Canyon...love the South Rim Trail views

Grand Canyon…love the South Rim Trail views

Mesa Verde National Park a unique experience

Mesa Verde National Park a unique experience

Santa Fe was very colorful and educational experience

Santa Fe was very colorful and educational experience

Well here we are back on the coast. Going to the beach every chance we get.

Gulf Coast sand keeps calling us....Mississippi Bay City Beach

Gulf Coast sand keeps calling us….Mississippi Bay City Beach

Status update...the black sling takes away from looking good on the beach!

Status update…the black sling takes away from looking good on the beach!

Happy Holidays to all of you as Jan and I celebrate the reason for the season!

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Utah to the Gulf Coast

UTAH TO THE GULF COAST

Michigan is now a fading memory as this trip comes to an end. We find ourselves back home in Gulf Shores after 62 days and 7900 miles on the road. It has been a great experience, exceeding expectation many times. Yes, we did everything on the spread sheet plus. Utah to Alabama was the last leg of this trip. It took us two weeks covering 9 states. The Alabama coast welcomed us back with plenty of sun and nice temps in the 80s.

Here is our map - Utah to Gulf Shores

Here is our map – Utah to Gulf Shores

NEVADA, LAKE MEAD, HOOVER DAM

After Utah then comes Nevada

After Utah then comes Nevada

After leaving Utah the next stop was two nights on Lake Mead. Reservations were at National campgrounds Echo Bay and then Boulder. It was extremely hot… peaking at 105 during the day. We heard it had cooled down from 115.

Spent two night on Lake Mead

Spent two night on Lake Mead

Lake Mead is beautiful however the tourist industry is suffering due to extreme and ongoing low water levels.

Hoover Dam from the Callaghan and Tillman Bridge

Hoover Dam from the Callaghan and Tillman Bridge

Hoover Dam is impressive

Hoover Dam is impressive

Hoover Dam - Note the Limestone bath tub ring

Hoover Dam – Note the Limestone bath tub ring

Hoover Dam from the Arizona side

Hoover Dam from the Arizona side

Hoover Dam is impressive and we did lots of the tourist things. This stop has been on my list since grade school. Glad that we finally made it.

ARIZONA AND THE GRAND CANYON – SOUTH RIM

Heading to the Grand Canyon

Heading to the Grand Canyon

For some reason in all our travels we never made the Grand Canyon. We stayed for three days and could have used one more. After seeing it in person sure we will go back, probably the North Rim.

Here we are at the Grand Canyon staying at Mather Campground

Here we are at the Grand Canyon staying at Mather Campground

South Rim trail heading west

South Rim trail heading west

South Rim Trail heading east - Cliff Roses in bloom

South Rim Trail heading east – Cliff Roses in bloom

Rim trails get dusty along the way - Easy 16 mile hike

Rim trails get dusty along the way – Easy 16 mile hike

Rim Trail Look Out - Awesome!

Rim Trail Look Out – Awesome!

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - West

South Rim Trail – West

South Rim Trail - East

South Rim Trail – East

South Rim Trail - East - Time out to enjoy the view

South Rim Trail – East – Time out to enjoy the view

South Rim Trail - East - Long way to the North Rim...

South Rim Trail – East – Long way to the North Rim…

South Rim Trail - East - Looks better in person!

South Rim Trail – East – Looks better in person!

Jan and I did the entire 13 mile South Rim trail. Enjoyed the time on trail and saw some fabulous scenery.

Bright Angel Trail - First Tunnel - Heading down

Bright Angel Trail – First Tunnel – Heading down

Bright Angel Trail - Second Tunnel

Bright Angel Trail – Second Tunnel

Bright Angel Trail is mule friendly

Bright Angel Trail is mule friendly

Yes the mule option is faster and easier

Yes the mule option is faster and easier

The last hike was down the Bright Angel Trail which goes to the base of the canyon. We only did the first third as the round trip takes two days.

Visitors next to our camp site - Bucks just hanging out - It is the season

Visitors next to our camp site – Bucks just hanging out – It is the season

Staying in the RV Park at Mather’s worked really nicely for us.

Desert View Drive heading east - Heading out

Desert View Drive heading east – Heading out

Desert View Drive overlook - Canyon gets narrower

Desert View Drive overlook – Canyon gets narrower

Desert View - Colorado River overlook

Desert View – Colorado River overlook

Desert View Tower and Museum

Desert View Tower and Museum

Heading east out of the park we took the Desert View Drive. It was a nice way to say good bye, there were many places to stop and enjoy the view. Last stop the Desert View Tower, really interesting.

Cameron - Indian Fried bread stop...Lunch was good!

Cameron – Indian Fried bread stop…Lunch was good!

A park employee told us about Cameron and a fun place to eat. Their specialty is fried bread. The menu included many native listings. Nice stop for good food in an eclectic Native American setting.

PETRIFIED NATIONAL PARK

Petrified Forest National Park - Holbrook Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park – Holbrook Arizona

This park was on the way to Colorado. One day at the park was enough to see everything.

Here is proof...We are still in the desert

Here is proof…We are still in the desert

Changing view on the 28 mile park road

Changing view on the 28 mile park road

Petrified Forest landscape

Petrified Forest landscape

Park Drive overlook

Park Drive overlook

Drive overlook - Very interesting formation

Drive overlook – Very interesting formation

Petrified wood was scattered

Petrified wood was scattered

Petrified wood

Petrified wood

Petrified Forest Newspaper rock Petrographs

Petrified Forest Newspaper rock Petrographs

The drive through the park is 28 miles. It takes some time to see everything. The landscape was very interesting and we learned a lot about Petrified wood.

Route 66 use to go through the park - Old Studebaker left behind...

Route 66 use to go through the park – Old Studebaker left behind…

Holbrook State Park Route 66 stop - old Buick

Holbrook State Park Route 66 stop – old Buick

Holbrook State Park - State Park Display

Holbrook State Park – State Park Display

Holbrook State Park...a bit on the tired side of the street - Old rusty Hudson

Holbrook State Park…a bit on the tired side of the street – Old rusty Hudson

Holbrook State Park - old Nash

Holbrook State Park – old Nash

A side benefit was learning more about Route 66 history. The highway use to go through the park before I40. Holbrook where we stayed was on old Route 66. It clearly played a large role during the heyday of the cross country highway. The City is working hard to keep the history of the classic highway alive.

MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK

Mesa Verde another Colorado adventure

Mesa Verde another Colorado adventure

Had read about this National Park but still was not sure what to expect. The park closes in October so our timing was off as many sites and tours had already closed.

Bike friendly trail to get to some sites..

Bike friendly trail to get to some sites..

Preserved dwelling - living space and storage

Preserved dwelling – living space and storage

Kivas - Community and family based depending on size...original family room

Kivas – Community and family based depending on size…original family room

Over 600 cliff dwellings

Over 600 cliff dwellings

Over 4,300 sites

Over 4,300 sites

Getting to this dwelling tested one's fear of heights

Getting to this dwelling tested one’s fear of heights

Upfront and personal for sure

Upfront and personal for sure

Got to experience a Kiva

Got to experience a Kiva

The Dwellings are all different

The Dwellings are all different

Dwellings are all different...

Dwellings are all different…

Trip down was a mile or two...getting closer

Trip down was a mile or two…getting closer

You wonder what life was like in this world

You wonder what life was like in this world

The park service has done a great job telling the story. A must do is the museum where we learned all about who lived there and why. We got to go into two open sites/houses and view many from a distance. There are over 4,300 sites with over 600 dwellings. Over 30,000 people lived here at one time. It is difficult to imagine life there in such a dry and harsh land.

Not many good sunsets...this one was at the RV park Mesa Verde - Sun going down behind the mountain

Not many good sunsets…this one was at the RV park Mesa Verde – Sun going down behind the mountain

Again staying in the National Park always seems to work well for us. The new RV was a good fit and added value to our travel experience.

NEW MEXICO AND SANTA FE

Next stop - New Mexico

Next stop – New Mexico

We had heard a lot of about Santa Fe so planned a two day stop over.

San Miguel Church - Recommended tour stop

San Miguel Church – Recommended tour stop

Oldest church in the USA - San Miguel Mission

Oldest church in the USA – San Miguel Mission

Loretti Chapel - Checking out the Tower legend

Loretti Chapel – Checking out the Tower legend

Loretti free standing staircase

Loretti free standing staircase

Loretti Chapel and staircase

Loretti Chapel and staircase

Love the Santa Fe architecture

Love the Santa Fe architecture

Lots of fun bronze statues

Lots of fun bronze statues

More Bronze

More Bronze

Kodak moment with the bronze

Kodak moment with the bronze

Kodak moment

Kodak moment

Market within the square

Market within the square

Lots of color even in the alleys

Lots of color even in the alleys

Fun looking cafe

Fun looking cafe

Lots of color even in the alleys

Lots of color even in the alleys

Railyard farm market

Railyard farm market

This guy does peppers...interesting dude

This guy does peppers…interesting dude

Love those red peppers

Love those red peppers

Great Native crafts...yes we took advantage of the opportunity

Great Native crafts…yes we took advantage of the opportunity

Ended the day with lunch and a beer at Blue Corn Brewery - Outstanding!

Ended the day with lunch and a beer at Blue Corn Brewery – Outstanding!

We loved touring the city. It was really interesting and lots of fun. Enjoy the pictures as they tell the story.

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK

Hot Springs, Arkansas...

Hot Springs, Arkansas…

Our travels over the years had taken us near Hot Springs many times. Finally this time we took time to stop. Our travel schedule had been fairly intensive so we took three days to relax and kick back. The national park campground was outstanding. We had a great site right on the river and near the extensive park trail system.

Buckstaff Bathhouse - The classic Spa

Buckstaff Bathhouse – The classic Spa

Quapaw Bath and Spa - Update to the 21st Century

Quapaw Bath and Spa – Update to the 21st Century

Superior Bathhouse and Brewery - Great place for lunch

Superior Bathhouse and Brewery – Great place for lunch

This is a state of the art fitness center circa 1910

This is a state of the art fitness center circa 1910

Hot Springs is an interesting city. It was easy to spend a day just wandering through the city. Bath House row was clearly a walk back in time. The National Park Service has done a great job preserving the Bath Houses. The tour of the Park’s facility is worthwhile and very well done. One morning I went back to try the Quapaw Bath and Spa. Great experience and was good for my ailing shoulder. After Hot Springs experience wished I was staying another day or two.

MISSISSIPPI AND VICKBURG

Moving on to Mississippi

Moving on to Mississippi

We are now east of the Mississippi

We are now east of the Mississippi

Here we are back on the east side of the Mississippi.

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg has been on the to do list for awhile.

Murals - Vicksburg Riverfront - Nice job

Murals – Vicksburg Riverfront – Nice job

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Vicksburg Mural

Mississippi leaves its mark

Mississippi leaves its mark

Great Vicksburg Museum on the waterfront

Great Vicksburg Museum on the waterfront

Vicksburg Civil War and Regional Museum

Vicksburg Civil War and Regional Museum

We toured the downtown which was interesting but clearly struggling. Walked along the river and did the two main museums which were good quality and recommend them if you get the chance. The Riverfront murals were well done and a fun experience.

The park has wonderful statues...

The park has wonderful statues…

Lots of battle fields to see

Lots of battle fields to see

Illinois Memorial

Illinois Memorial

Shirley House - Survived the Civil War Vicksburg Battle

Shirley House – Survived the Civil War Vicksburg Battle

There many states related memorials like this one

There many states related memorials like this one

Vicksburg Cemetery - Over 20,000 Confederate and Union soliders lost their lives here...

Vicksburg Cemetery – Over 20,000 Confederate and Union soliders lost their lives here…

The main event was Vicksburg National Military Park. The park has a 16 mile loop road and took us about half a day. Vicksburg was an important military objective both for the Confederate and the Union. Very informative, we learned a lot about that time period and what followed. Over 20,000 people died in this siege a very sobering take away.

Mississippi River Diversion - Yazoo River

Mississippi River Diversion – Yazoo River

USS Cairo Union Steel Clad Battle Ship - sunk 1862 raised 1964  - Plus informative museum

USS Cairo Union Steel Clad Battle Ship – sunk 1862 raised 1964 – Plus informative museum

USS Cairo restoration

USS Cairo restoration

USS Cairo restoration

USS Cairo restoration

The best thing we saw was the Union’s Cairo battle ship. A ship recovered from the Yazoo River after being under water for over 100 years. It is an iron clad ship which was new technology for the time period. The ship was sunk during the war and recovered in the sixties. There is a nice museum with a good video telling the Cairo story.

LOUISIANA AND THE ACADIANS

Louisiana and the Acadian Cultural Center - Next stop

Louisiana and the Acadian Cultural Center – Next stop

Moving south the next stop was Breaux Bridge, Louisiana targeted as home base for this stay. Nearby Lafayette has a large Acadian influence. During our time in the Canadian Maritimes, a few years back, we learned about the Acadians and how the Canadians deported them. Many of them ended up in Louisiana at New Orleans and Lafayette. In Lafayette we toured a culture center and re-creation village. This experience filled in some of the gaps we had between the US and the Canadian versions of the Acadians.

Beaux Bridge has a great very southern flavored downtown. There are several antique stores with very interesting proprietors. It is always fun for us Yankees to have the “real” South experience.

Vermilionville - Re-creation village

Vermilionville – Re-creation village

Acadian Dining Room was a nice experience

Acadian Dining Room was a nice experience

Fun to tour these old places, plus you learn a lot

Fun to tour these old places, plus you learn a lot

Acadian restoration with re-enactment

Acadian restoration with re-enactment

Acadian barn

Acadian barn

Vermilionville Estate Home

Vermilionville Estate Home

The re-creation village, Vermilionville, was fun. It took us a half day to tour the village and do lunch at their local menu based restaurant. The Acadian’s are the Cajuns and everything that goes with it. They are proud of their past and work had to keep their French culture alive.

HEADING EAST

Bay of St Louis, Mississippi - We like this area and will be back

Bay of St Louis, Mississippi – We like this area and will be back

St. Louis Bay - Good to be back on the coast!

St. Louis Bay – Good to be back on the coast!

Heading east we took the coastal route through Mississippi. The City of Bay St. Louis was a great find. We will be going back when we have more time. The St. Louis Bay and beaches are even nicer than Alabama. Had lunch on the beach and got to walk in the sand again with bare feet.

GULF SHORES

Back in Gulf Shores - Small Town, Big Beach

Back in Gulf Shores – Small Town, Big Beach

Back in Gulf Shores - It feels like home now

Back in Gulf Shores – It feels like home now

It is good to be back. The Townhouse looks great. The routine fell into place very quickly. The RV is tucked away until Spring unless we get the urge to go south this winter.

Gulf Shores sunrise

Gulf Shores sunrise

Gulf Shores - Light at the end of tunnel

Gulf Shores – Light at the end of tunnel

Love the sun rise walks along the beach.

The next trip is already in the planning process. Looks like it might be a spring trip starting in St. Augustine catching Savannah, Charleston, and Camp Hatteras, Williamsburg, (maybe Gettysburg), Downingtown, NYC, Kingston, Catskills and then back to Michigan.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Utah South #2

SOUTHERN UTAH #2

Route through Utah…

Map of our Utah journey

Map of our Utah journey

Utah continues to put on a show for us. My take away is southern Utah is a must see and highly recommend it. This blog covers our time in Natural Bridges National Monument and the National Parks of Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion. The duration is nine days covering just over 400 miles from Canyonlands to Zion. You may have heard about the heavy unprecedented rains in Utah. It was during our time here that the heavy rains hit with considerable property damage and loss of life.

NATURAL BRIDGES NATIONAL MONUMENT

Natural Bridges National Monument between Canyonlands and Bryce

Natural Bridges National Monument between Canyonlands and Bryce

Natural Bridges - Arch number one - Fun view

Natural Bridges – Arch number one – Fun view

Natural Bridges - Arch is down under - Arch Number two

Natural Bridges – Arch is down under – Arch Number two

Natural Bridges - Arch number three - View from up above

Natural Bridges – Arch number three – View from up above

Natural Bridges National Monument was on our way to Capitol Reef. We spent less than a half day and saw the three bridges: Sipapu, Kachina and Owachomo. The ranger at the visitor center referred to them as bridge one, two and three knowing I would soon forget the names. You can view them from a lookout or there are hiking trails down to each one. Our time was limited and so was the hiking so we took the easy way out most of the time. It was a nice lunch stop for us with a chance to learn more about natural bridges and arches.

Natural Bridges drive

Natural Bridges drive

Natural Bridges drive

Natural Bridges drive

There is a nice nine mile drive through the park with impressive views.

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

Capital Reef National Park

Capital Reef National Park

Capitol Reef - Hickman Bridge Trail - Note all the rocks from the Boulder Volcano

Capitol Reef – Hickman Bridge Trail – Note all the rocks from the Boulder Volcano

Hickman Bridge

Hickman Bridge

Next stop was Capitol Reef National Park. It was very wet when we arrived and many of the trails were closed. The first hike was the Hickman Bridge trail. It was a fun hike with lots of people as most everyone was looking to keep their feet dry too. The bridge was fun. By the way the main difference between a bridge and an arch is a bridge is created by running water and an Arch is created from erosion. A bridge tends to look man-made. But an arch can be a bridge if it looks man made so I was always confused. The area has many old orchards now run by the park service and there were lots of signs with U-Pick with plenty of action from the visitors.

Capitol Reef drive view - Note the black rocks from the volcano

Capitol Reef drive view – Note the black rocks from the volcano

Capitol Reef drive

Capitol Reef drive

Great view along the Capitol Reef drive

Great view along the Capitol Reef drive

Arch along the Capitol Reef drive

Arch along the Capitol Reef drive

More Capitol Reef National Park

More Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef drive - note the haze from the California fires

Capitol Reef drive – note the haze from the California fires

Red rock and cloudy skies makes for a nice photograph

Red rock and cloudy skies makes for a nice photograph

There was also a scenic drive and of course there are pictures. The drive was enjoyable, a bit on the rough side at the end. There is also a historic farm but it looked more like a tourist trap…as the clerk told us she had sold all 16 dozen of her fruit pies that day.

UTAH HIGHWAY 12

Utah Highway 12...the rain kept coming and going along the way

Utah Highway 12…the rain kept coming and going along the way

Highway 12 has switch backs too!

Highway 12 has switch backs too!

Highway 12...the rain clears by the end of the journey...

Highway 12…the rain clears by the end of the journey…

An unexpected adventure was the trip to Bryce on Highway 12. Highly recommend this drive as the views along with long-range vistas are downright impressive. As you would expect there are lots of twists, turns and switchbacks to keep the driving interesting.

BRYCE NATIONAL PARK

Bryce Canyon National Park - A personal favorite

Bryce Canyon National Park – A personal favorite

We spent three days at Bryce, again just the right amount of time for us. Our park routine continues with a big hike, some shorter ones and taking in the scenic drive. Many of the trails were closed due to the rain and rock slides. They all opened up the day we left. At the end of the day I think Bryce may be our favorite park.

Fairyland Canyon hike - best hike to date...the breathtaking views never stop

Fairyland Canyon hike – best hike to date…the breathtaking views never stop

Our main hike was the Fairyland Canyon Trail an eight mile loop.

Fairyland hike - the Bryce Canyon Hoodoos...

Fairyland hike – the Bryce Canyon Hoodoos…

Hoodoos were center stage all through this hike

Hoodoos were center stage all through this hike

Hoodoos are everywhere

Hoodoos are everywhere

They come in all colors

They come in all colors

The trees line up nicely...

The trees line up nicely…

The trail went up and down...this is a nice view from below

The trail went up and down…this is a nice view from below

The sun made these Hoodoos pop

The sun made these Hoodoos pop

Stand alone Hoodoo

Stand alone Hoodoo

I liked the orange in the foreground on this one

I liked the orange in the foreground on this one

This one was taken as I knelt on the ground shooting up

This one was taken as I knelt on the ground shooting up

Not sure if this is a bridge or and arch, yes there is a difference

Not sure if this is a bridge or and arch, yes there is a difference

Interesting formations...the Native Americans thought the Hoodoos were bad people cast in stone...

Interesting formations…the Native Americans thought the Hoodoos were bad people cast in stone…

Yes, the colors kept changing as we make our way around the Fairyland Trail

Yes, the colors kept changing as we make our way around the Fairyland Trail

This one was out there all by itself

This one was out there all by itself

Hope you like red rock...if you do you will like Utah!

Hope you like red rock…if you do you will like Utah!

Last shot on the trail before lunch...

Last shot on the trail before lunch…

If you want to see Hoodoos up close and personal then this is the hike for you. The extraordinary formations would blow you away. The long views left you breathless and wondering what comes next… This is a hike I would do again.

Bryce Park drive

Bryce Park drive

Bryce Canyon drive...many trails closed due to rock slides the day we were there

Bryce Canyon drive…many trails closed due to rock slides the day we were there

The park drive took us a half day...we had to stop at all the lookouts

The park drive took us a half day…we had to stop at all the lookouts

Bryce Canyon drive

Bryce Canyon drive

Bridge along the canyon drive

Bridge along the canyon drive

This was an awesome view which loses a lot in a photo

This was an awesome view which loses a lot in a photo

More Bryce Canyon drive...still lots of color

More Bryce Canyon drive…still lots of color

Looking down on the Hoodoos from the overlook

Looking down on the Hoodoos from the overlook

Lots going on in this shot...

Lots going on in this shot…

Over 500 shots at Bryce, it was hard to pick the best without going into overload...

Over 500 shots at Bryce, it was hard to pick the best without going into overload…

Ok, I give the last shot at Bryce...

Ok, I give the last shot at Bryce…

What can I say…the drive is just as impressive as the hiking experience?

ZION NATIONAL PARK

This park is amazing. Even though there were lots of people and you had to use a shuttle to get around, it was a great experience. We allocated four days for this park and it was the perfect amount of time. Our RV camp site was at the park’s Watchman’s campground. Great place to hang our hat with nice views plus it was close to everything. You could walk to downtown Springdale where there was plenty to do…they even had a micro-brewery…

Zion tunnel over a mile long...rock slide closed it for three days the day we left

Zion tunnel over a mile long…rock slide closed it for three days the day we left

Zion tunnel

Zion tunnel

The tunnel coming in from the East is over a mile long. Our rig was oversized so we had to go through single file of course we were not the only ones. There was a rock slide the day left and we heard the tunnel was closed for three days. Luckily we headed out west when we left.

Narrows Trail on/in the Virgin River -  trail was up the middle...yes you get wet feet without the proper shoes

Narrows Trail on/in the Virgin River – trail was up the middle…yes you get wet feet without the proper shoes

Narrows River Trail - hanging gardens

Narrows River Trail – hanging gardens

Narrows trail

Narrows trail

Narrows is a popular trail...lots of rock to dodge!

Narrows is a popular trail…lots of rock to dodge!

Our first hike was the Narrows. There is a pave one mile trail that connects with an in the river seven mile trail. We only did the first part as the “in the river” part looked too aggressive for us after all the rain.

River canyon is awesome and gets much narrower upstream

River canyon is awesome and gets much narrower upstream

Emerald pools trail....above the river

Emerald pools trail….above the river

Emerald Pools trail - Many water falls to cool you down...yes it was very hot there!

Emerald Pools trail – Many water falls to cool you down…yes it was very hot there!

Zion Three Patriarchs peaks

Zion Three Patriarchs peaks

Hike along the river near the museum...you can bike on this one too!

Hike along the river near the museum…you can bike on this one too!

He did other trails along the river and some up on the side of canyon. We chose not to do the very famous Angel Landing trail due to my fear of heights.

Shuttle view...no cars allowed on the scenic drive

Shuttle view…no cars allowed on the scenic drive

The shuttle was the only way to get around. For the most part if was a good experience and we soon learned how to use it to our advantage.

Observation Point Hike...we hike up another 2,100 ft...did good for Seventy Somethings...

Observation Point Hike…we hike up another 2,100 ft…did good for Seventy Somethings…

Observation Point HIke - Part of the trail was through a wash

Observation Point HIke – Part of the trail was through a wash

Love hiking through the splits...

Love hiking through the splits…

Very friendly Long Horn Sheep...there was a herd of twenty or so...

Very friendly Long Horn Sheep…there was a herd of twenty or so…

Observation Point Trail went up for over six miles

Observation Point Trail went up for over six miles

Jan made it to the top still smiling...

Jan made it to the top still smiling…

The sky help make this shot interesting

The sky help make this shot interesting

Nice group at the top...lots of nice conversations plus there is always a willing hiker ready to take over your camera...

Nice group at the top…lots of nice conversations plus there is always a willing hiker ready to take over your camera…

Cooled down and ready to make the desent...

Cooled down and ready to make the desent…

Observation Point Trail on the way down

Observation Point Trail on the way down

Observation Point Trail - always changing

Observation Point Trail – always changing

We started early...more sun on the way back down

We started early…more sun on the way back down

Another wash picture

Another wash picture

Observation Point Trail...looking down at the trail  switchbacks heading back to the shuttle

Observation Point Trail…looking down at the trail switchbacks heading back to the shuttle

Observation Point Trail - Overlooking the Virgin River

Observation Point Trail – Overlooking the Virgin River

Our big hike at Zion was to Observation Point. We got an early start to beat the heat. It was a 2,100 ft climb and eight miles long. The trail was fairly smooth which make it easier. At the end of the day we were impressed by how well we did. I think all the previous hikes prepped us for this one.

Of course there are lots of pictures. We will talk about this hike for a long time…it may even become a favorite as time marches on…

Weeping Rock Trail...lots of hanging gardens here

Weeping Rock Trail…lots of hanging gardens here

We did a hike up to Weeping Rock to see the hanging gardens. The gardens along the Narrows River trail were better in my opinion. The water flowing through the slits in the rocks was the most interesting part.

Watchman Trail - at the top looking down on Springdale and the Visitor Center

Watchman Trail – at the top looking down on Springdale and the Visitor Center

Watchman Mountain Hike

Watchman Mountain Hike

Watchman Mountain Trail - Interesting landscape

Watchman Mountain Trail – Interesting landscape

Watchman Mountain Trail

Watchman Mountain Trail

Watchman trail start and ends at the river...took off my shoes and soaked my feet in the cold water at the end...

Watchman trail start and ends at the river…took off my shoes and soaked my feet in the cold water at the end…

Our final hike was the Watchman Mountain Trail.

This is a very nice hike with lots of climbing and plenty of switchbacks. The views were worth the climb. Overall Zion was a nice capstone adventure for Utah adventure. We are now heading to the Gulf Coast. It will take us a couple of weeks to get there. My plan is to do a final recap once we get back to the winter home base.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Utah South #1

It is hard to believe that we have been on the road for three weeks. This adventure only gets better with time. This blog post covers our time at Arches and Canyonlands National Park. The next post will be on Capitol Reef, Bryce, Natural Bridges and Zion. On the drive from Provo to Arches the landscape gave way to more and more red rock. Our reserved RV site was right in Moab. I must say it looked a lot better online than in person. The park was tight with small spaces and very crowded. Moab is a fun and a very bustling place. There are lots of off road trails for the ATV and four wheel drive enthusiast. Our RV park was filled with big rigs and awesome backcountry machines. There were also lots of bicyclist and hikers in tents.

Arches National Park  Moab, Utah

Arches National Park Moab, Utah

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK AT MOAB

We both loved the Arches National Park Experience. If you like red rock, interesting formations and natural arches, this is the place. The weather was excellent and we soon learned the drill. It is HOT during the day and cool at night. So the objective is to get up and get going very early. The thread of our experience was around every turn there is something new to look at. There were several great hikes and the drive through the park is phenomenal. Our time there was just right for us a day and a half.

First Hike at Arches - Park Avenue Trail

First Hike at Arches – Park Avenue Trail

Park Avenue Trail - Early Afternoon

Park Avenue Trail – Early Afternoon

The Park Avenue Trail was the first hike. It was fairly easy with lots of ups and downs with great views. A very nice initiation to the park and what it has to offer.

Devils Garden Trail - First of many Arches

Devils Garden Trail – First of many Arches

Devils Garden - Interesting arch...

Devils Garden – Interesting arch…

Devils Garden Trail - Navajo Arch

Devils Garden Trail – Navajo Arch

Devils Garden Trail - Fun view through the arch

Devils Garden Trail – Fun view through the arch

Devil Garden Trail - - Long view looking north...

Devil Garden Trail – – Long view looking north…

Devils Garden Trail - Love the red rock!

Devils Garden Trail – Love the red rock!

Devils Garden Trail - Arches everywhere

Devils Garden Trail – Arches everywhere

Devils Garden Trail - The views never quit...

Devils Garden Trail – The views never quit…

Devils Garden Trail - Dark Angel

Devils Garden Trail – Dark Angel

The main hike was the Devils Garden Trail. It is seven miles long with lots of scrambling over rocks. We got a work out that day along with introduction to life on the trail in red rock territory. The hike was a bit more technical than anticipated for us flatlanders Midwesterners. There are nine arches on the route plus significant elevation changes. The trail was busy. Please do not ask me to remember the names of all the arches.

Lots of photo opts at Arches National Park

Lots of photo opts at Arches National Park

Lots of Arches throughout the park...all with their own personality

Lots of Arches throughout the park…all with their own personality

Great views from the car...

Great views from the car…

Love the colors in this shot...

Love the colors in this shot…

I liked this view...shot near the end of the day

I liked this view…shot near the end of the day

Had to hike to catch this arch...

Had to hike to catch this arch…

Double Arch in Garden of the Windows section of the park

Double Arch in Garden of the Windows section of the park

Photo taken as a storm was passing in the background

Photo taken as a storm was passing in the background

After the hike we drove almost all of the park roads. There are lots of short hikes available along the way. We did as many as time would allow. As you can see lots more arches and many outstanding views. By the end of the day we were ready for a shower and to put our feet up.

DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK

Dead Horse Point - Utah State Park

Dead Horse Point – Utah State Park

The Dead Horse Point State Park was our next stop after Moab. This was to be our base camp for our first Canyonlands adventure. Our reserved site was for four nights. The park is outstanding. Check it out if you ever get the chance. It is called the Grand Canyon of Utah. Legend has it the locals would round up wild horses and use the natural points to corral them. Will spare you the details on how the park got its name.

Dead Horse Point State Park - Grand Canyon of Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park – Grand Canyon of Utah

Dead Horse Point - Phosphate mining in the valley

Dead Horse Point – Phosphate mining in the valley

Dead Horse Point - Colorado River

Dead Horse Point – Colorado River

Dead Horse Point - Long view

Dead Horse Point – Long view

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise take two

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise take two

Dead Horse Point at Sunset

Dead Horse Point at Sunset

Would you believe this tree is over 100 years old - Utah Junipter

Would you believe this tree is over 100 years old – Utah Junipter

The Colorado River is at the base of the canyon. It is 2,000 feet down to the river instead of 5,000 like the Grand Canyon. The sunrise and sunset views are breathtaking. There are great mountain bike trails. I did a couple which were way beyond my comfort zone for risk taking and skill set but I did them anyway. This park calls us back.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK – ISLAND IN THE SKY DISTRICT

Canyonlands National Park - Island in the Sky

Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky

Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky district was next on the list. Canyonlands is large with three districts: Island in the Sky, Needles and The Maze. The Maze section was not on our list as it is not as developed and much more rugged plus it is hard to get to without lots of driving. Island in the Sky is only 30 miles from Arches but entirely different. It has its own look and feel. It is more rugged and less developed and not as busy. It has great hiking trails along with excellent scenic drives. Again we had a day and a half which was just the right amount of time for us.

Canyonlands - Neck Spring Hiking Trail

Canyonlands – Neck Spring Hiking Trail

Neck Spring Hiking Trail View

Neck Spring Hiking Trail View

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail - Long view

Neck Spring Trail – Long view

Neck Spring Trail - Shafer Canyon

Neck Spring Trail – Shafer Canyon

Neck Spring Trail looking east

Neck Spring Trail looking east

The Neck Spring Trail was our one big hike. It was an eight mile loop again with lots of elevation change but little rock scrambling… It gets its name from being at the neck of the canyon and there is a spring or two along the way. As you will see the photos display a different image than Arches.

Neck Spring Trail - Desert shot

Neck Spring Trail – Desert shot

Shafer Canyon view

Shafer Canyon view

Shafer Canyon - Fun perspective

Shafer Canyon – Fun perspective

Canyonlands Scenic Drive

Canyonlands Scenic Drive

Relaxing at the top - Canyonlands

Relaxing at the top – Canyonlands

Canyonlands - West view

Canyonlands – West view

Canyonlands - One more shot of red rock...

Canyonlands – One more shot of red rock…

Canyonlands has arches too!

Canyonlands has arches too!

More scenic drive photo opts...

More scenic drive photo opts…

We took a day to drive the scenic drives. As you can see from the photos…there is lots to see and do here.

COLORADO RIVER DRIVE

Drive along the Colorado River from Moab

Drive along the Colorado River from Moab

Colorado River Drive Arch

Colorado River Drive Arch

Colorado River Drive

Colorado River Drive

Colorado River Drive Cave

Colorado River Drive Cave

Colorado River Valley

Colorado River Valley

Colorado River

Colorado River

Colorado River Drive - Scenic turnout

Colorado River Drive – Scenic turnout

Colorado River Drive View to the East

Colorado River Drive View to the East

The last day we were at Dead Horse we headed out for a drive along the Colorado River on Utah Highway 128 out of Moab. The drive was recommended and was a nice change from our aggressive hiking experiences. We spent most of the day sight-seeing along the river with a nice picnic stop on river bank at a BLM site.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK – NEEDLES DISTRICT

The South Utah experience just gets better and better. Our RV site reservation was at a private campground in Monticello for two nights. There were no national or state Parks close by. Again same Utah experience, the park looked much better online than in person. The Needles district was a surprise as it was so much different than Island in the Sky. It was less developed hence less traffic and there was a surprise around every turn.

Canyonlands - Needles District

Canyonlands – Needles District

Canyonlands - Needles District

Canyonlands – Needles District

More Canyonlands Needles District

More Canyonlands Needles District

Canyonlands Needles - Chesler Park Trail

Canyonlands Needles – Chesler Park Trail

View from Chesler Park Trail

View from Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park - Canyonlands Needles District

Chesler Park – Canyonlands Needles District

Hike Chesler Park Trail - Over 300 photo - Hard to choose the best

Hike Chesler Park Trail – Over 300 photo – Hard to choose the best

More Chesler Park Hike

More Chesler Park Hike

Chesler Park - Interesting rock formations

Chesler Park – Interesting rock formations

Chesler Park Trail - Fun view around every turn

Chesler Park Trail – Fun view around every turn

Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park - More red rock

Chesler Park – More red rock

Chesler Park Trail - Mile 8

Chesler Park Trail – Mile 8

Chesler Park Trail - Photographers Candy Store

Chesler Park Trail – Photographers Candy Store

More fun rock formations

More fun rock formations

Red rock, white rock and blue sky...

Red rock, white rock and blue sky…

What do you think about this view...

What do you think about this view…

Chesler Park Trail - Mile 10

Chesler Park Trail – Mile 10

Red rock - slots...

Red rock – slots…

Never lost interest in this trail - always something new around the next turn

Never lost interest in this trail – always something new around the next turn

Jan in the slot canyon - it went on for almost a mile...

Jan in the slot canyon – it went on for almost a mile…

Jan climbing through the slot...of course we did the trail backwards which made it harder

Jan climbing through the slot…of course we did the trail backwards which made it harder

Jan doing the rocks thing near the end of the hike...

Jan doing the rocks thing near the end of the hike…

Hiking out...the views are still outstanding

Hiking out…the views are still outstanding

Here we took on our ultimate hike to date an eleven miler. The hike was the Chesler Park Loop which connected with the Joint Trail. Not only was it longer than we would normally do but it also was much more challenging. The trail was rocky with some drastic elevation changes. That being said it was one of the better trail experiences. We both came away with the same evaluation, glad that we had done it. The highlight of the hike was working our way through a slotted canyon where most of the time you could touch each side of the canyon. As you can see from all the photos the trail scenery changed a lot along the way.

The red rock formations are capativating...

The red rock formations are capativating…

Guess what...this is the last Canyonlands red rock photo...

Guess what…this is the last Canyonlands red rock photo…

Next we move on to the Capitol Reef National Park. The next Blog Post will be the final phase of our south Utah adventure.

Life on the road is good…

God bless…

Larry and Jan

Utah North 2015

Travels in Utah North - Dinosaur, Salt Lake City, Brigham and Provo

Travels in Utah North – Dinosaur, Salt Lake City, Brigham and Provo

It is great to be back on the road. We crossed the Utah state line on day 12 as planned. To date the trip was gone well and the adventure that we expected. The RV park reservations and the weather all seem to be on our side. This post will be on the north Utah experience. Look for the post of Utah south to follow once we hit Nevada in late September. The first Utah stop was the Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, then Salt Lake City, followed by Brigham City and finally Provo.

Here is the last shot of Colorado as seen in our rear view mirror...

Here is the last shot of Colorado as seen in our rear view mirror…

Leaving the Colorado grazing lands from the West

Leaving the Colorado grazing lands from the West

As we left Colorado again we lamented that there was more that we could do if time allowed…

Greeted in Utah with a weather worn sign...

Greeted in Utah with a weather worn sign…

Here we are the Utah desert

Here we are the Utah desert

Utah port of entry was the northeast corner of the state a high desert area. The landscape definitely changed as we cross the border between the two states.

DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT

Green River Campground at Jensen, Utah is outstanding - Good location with great views

Green River Campground at Jensen, Utah is outstanding – Good location with great views

Green River Valley creates its own personality in the Utah high desert

Green River Valley creates its own personality in the Utah high desert

Our National Park RV site was the Green River campground in the Dinosaur National Monument. We were right on the river with a great view. The Green River Valley setting of desert, water and mountains set the stage for great visuals. Adding to our quality of life on the road, the Utah sun along with the new Solar panels did their job to keep the batteries charged and our quality of life on track.

Green in the desert...this has been a one family working farm for more than 100 years

Green in the desert…this has been a one family working farm for more than 100 years

See what a little water can bring forth...

See what a little water can bring forth…

Being from the mid-west, seeing farming operations in the desert along the river was fascinating. The Chew family farm has been in operations here for over 100 years.

In the past there were herds of cattle roaming here

In the past there were herds of cattle roaming here

Fact or legend Josie Morris was an outlaw and rancher along with Butch Cassidy and others who held up in the region

Fact or legend Josie Morris was an outlaw and rancher along with Butch Cassidy and others who held up in the region

The area still has limited cattle grazing but is mostly a thing of the past. The park showcased an old ranch owned by Josie Morris. Legend has it she had several encounters with the law over cattle rustling (never convicted), was married five times, furnished horses to Butch Cassidy plus other outlaws and ran the ranch to age 89. She died at 90 in 1963. The old ranch house built in the 30s still stands with most of the other out building long gone. She was creative on how she managed water rights and used the land. Evidently she made impression on many people as there is plenty of information documenting her life.

Great drive along the park road along the river

Great drive along the park road along the river

Park landscape is diverse

Park landscape is diverse

More color in the desert

More color in the desert

The park road climbs to the top in some spots

The park road climbs to the top in some spots

Fun drive through the lower valley

Fun drive through the lower valley

View near the campground - red rock and granite mountains

View near the campground – red rock and granite mountains

Fremont Indian Pictographs from the past

Fremont Indian Pictographs from the past

There were hundreds of these on the mountain...you had to work a bit to find them

There were hundreds of these on the mountain…you had to work a bit to find them

The area was a nice introduction to Utah. We knew we were in the west with lots of mountain and great scenery. Yes, even some red rock. The area has many Pictographs done by the Fremont Indians…some say could date back to 200 to 1,300 AD.

The reason we are here...Dinosaurs

The reason we are here…Dinosaurs

A building has been constructed over the Quarry

A building has been constructed over the Quarry

Inside view of the Quarry wall

Inside view of the Quarry wall

Close up...there were over 350 tons of bones recovered and send to museums all over the world

Close up…there were over 350 tons of bones recovered and send to museums all over the world

The reason we were drawn to the area were the dinosaurs. The museum and quarry we found very educational. There is plenty of good information on the how and why the concentration of Dinosaurs in the area. The excavation was over several decades and truly a passion for those who did it. It took us about three hours to tour the facilities and grounds.

SALT LAKE CITY AND THE GREAT SALT LAKE

Salt Lake City Capital of Utah

Salt Lake City Capital of Utah

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City

Downtown Salt Lake

Downtown Salt Lake

The Mormon Campus is impressive

The Mormon Campus is impressive

Stately architecture for sure

Stately architecture for sure

Mormon Convention Center - Capacity 21,000

Mormon Convention Center – Capacity 21,000

Convention Center Building roof

Convention Center Building roof

Roof area is 7.5 acres, it even has a grass field with native trees and plants

Roof area is 7.5 acres, it even has a grass field with native trees and plants

The Mormon message is everywhere, even on the roof...

The Mormon message is everywhere, even on the roof…

Love organs...this is a small one in the Convention Center

Love organs…this is a small one in the Convention Center

Fantastic organ...we experienced it in person

Fantastic organ…we experienced it in person

Next stop was Salt Lake City the capital of Utah. We stayed about 10 miles out at North Salt Lake at a very crowded private RV park. We spent one day in the City. The Mormon influence is overwhelming. The city is laid out on a grid so very easy to navigate. The downtown area is clean and very nicely landscaped. There is a three story shopping complex which is well done. It covers more than one block and is both inside and outside with walkways over the streets. Has all the major stores plus places to eat.

Access to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake

Access to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake

Lots to see and do on the island - there arealso buffalo, antelope and other wild life

Lots to see and do on the island – there arealso buffalo, antelope and other wild life

Both high and low terrain

Both high and low terrain

066 Antelope Island

Yes, I got in the Great Salt Lake - It is salty and not very nice

Yes, I got in the Great Salt Lake – It is salty and not very nice

I have always had a fascination with the Great Salt Lake. I remember a picture of my Grandmother Woodard wading in the lake from the 40s. She had great memories of a trip west with my Aunt and I remember listening to stories of her trip. We found a good way to experience the lake was by traveling to Antelope Island. It is connected by a causeway from the main land. It has lots of wildlife like Buffalo, Antelope and Deer. It is developed mostly for recreational use now. We had less than a half day so had to leave a lot of the island unexplored. After being in the lake, yes you need a shower soon! Not sure I can share my Grandmother’s memory as a neat experience.

WILLARD BAY, BRIGHAM CITY

Willard Bay a fresh water diked reservoir on the Great Salt Lake

Willard Bay a fresh water diked reservoir on the Great Salt Lake

Willard Bay campground view

Willard Bay campground view

Our next move was to Willard Bay State Park. The bay is actually a fresh water reservoir used by farmers for irrigation. There is a dike built around it as a barrier to the Great Salt Lake. The lake is also used for boating and fishing…very interesting concept. They are in the process of raising the dikes to hold more water. The RV Park was good although very close to I15.

Could resist the National Historic Site where the Union and Pacific Railroads met

Could resist the National Historic Site where the Union and Pacific Railroads met

Jupiter a Passenger trail from the West

Jupiter a Passenger trail from the West

Union 119 freight train from the East

Union 119 freight train from the East

119 in motion

119 in motion

While we were at Willard Bay we traveled north to Brigham City. The city had a very nice look and feel. The main street is lined with Sycamore trees…which are impressive. Close by is the Golden Spike Historical site. This is where the Pacific Railroad tracks from the West met the Union Railroad from the East. We had to check it out. There were two reproduction steam locomotives built in 1979 in action and on display. The stop was educational and the trip there was through ATK land (Rocket manufacturing and testing facility). There was a rocket museum which looked intriguing but passed due to time limitations.

Logan Canyon drive - Very Scenic

Logan Canyon drive – Very Scenic

Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho at the end of the Logan Canyon Highway - Very large and beautiful

Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho at the end of the Logan Canyon Highway – Very large and beautiful

From there we headed north to Logan to pick up the Logan Canyon Highway to Idaho. This is a very challenging winding and curving road through the mountains. The main objective was to spend some time in Idaho as that is one of the states still on our bucket list. Idaho looked good; we will be going back on our next trip west.

PROVO AND UTAH LAKE

RV park on Utah Lake at Provo - Action in the air...

RV park on Utah Lake at Provo – Action in the air…

Utah Lake State Park - Nice RV accomodations - Very large harbor

Utah Lake State Park – Nice RV accomodations – Very large harbor

When in Provo...follow the Mormon trail

When in Provo…follow the Mormon trail

Note the BYU Y on the side of mountain

Note the BYU Y on the side of mountain

Beautiful landscaped campus...we did the tour

Beautiful landscaped campus…we did the tour

Campus is only 50 years old...modern buildings

Campus is only 50 years old…modern buildings

Walkable campus

Walkable campus

Lots of bronze statues - Many supporting family values

Lots of bronze statues – Many supporting family values

Our last stop in our North Utah segment was Provo, staying at the Utah Lake State Park. The objective was to catch up on the laundry and do some shopping before hitting the National Parks in the South. On the list was to check out Brigham Young University. The campus was much newer than I expected. We learned a little more about the Mormons and their way of life.

We are now more than ready to see some red rock. Our first stop will be Arches where the next blog will pick up. The trip is still on schedule, the equipment is holding together, the weather is outstanding and most importantly enjoying being on the road again. Loving the warm days and cool nights although as I write this it is 95 out…

God bless,

Larry and Jan

Getting to Utah 2015

The plan for the first 12 days

The plan for the first 12 days

It is great to be back on the road again. A trip to Utah has been on the bucket list for several years. Finally things fell into place for us to take on the adventure. The trip planning started in January. This trip required reservation so the first part of the trip is pretty much set in stone. It is broken down into four sections: Getting to Utah, North Utah, South Utah and ending with Utah back to Gulf Shores. The trip plan is 62 days with some flexibility at the end to add more days.

This first section covers seven states in 12 days.

Here we are packed and ready to go...looking more relaxed already

Here we are packed and ready to go…looking more relaxed already

The trip started on Monday, August 17th. We got up that morning with no electric. This forced us to come up quickly with a “Plan B”. It was great that Marty was there to pick up the pieces that we had to leave behind. We were only an hour behind the planned departure time as we drove down the hill heading to Utah. The trip will end in Gulf Shores mid-October…

First Stop is Lunch in Petoskey, yes we are on the road again!

First Stop is Lunch in Petoskey, yes we are on the road again!

The first part of the trip is one that we have made hundreds of time over the years. We stopped in Petoskey for lunch and to relax a bit.

A stop to view the Mackinac Bridge is a must

A stop to view the Mackinac Bridge is a must

The old light house at the Mackinac Straits is cool plus it is very photogenic

The old light house at the Mackinac Straits is cool plus it is very photogenic

Of course a stop at the Mackinac Bridge is a must. I must have at least a hundred pictures of the bridge archived.

First night Lake Michigan Campground - Hiawatha National Forest

First night Lake Michigan Campground – Hiawatha National Forest

The first night we spent at the Lake Michigan Campground which is part of the Hiawatha National Forest. This is a great campground. It only has room for tents and small rigs. The new downsized RV fit nicely. Lake Michigan is up three feet over the last year. With the higher water level the beach has disappeared.

Great fun viewing the Lego displays...

Great fun viewing the Lego displays…

Mall of America Amusement Center

Mall of America Amusement Center

Great Fun for the Kid and Adults Too!

Great Fun for the Kid and Adults Too!

The next night we spent in Wisconsin. The next day was a conference call for The Ridge board of director’s quarterly meeting so we had to get up and get going early. The stop was near Minneapolis, Minnesota to catch the Mall of America. The Mall was impressive. We spent most of the day just wandering and taking in the sights. It was a nice onetime event, not sure we would need to go back. Our campsite was in the Lebanon Campground run by the city of Apple Valley. Highly recommend this as a RV stop.

 John is a Master at the Grill...great meal!

John is a Master at the Grill…great meal!

You can always find lots of greenery at John and Gingers...

You can always find lots of greenery at John and Gingers…

Then we made our way to Missouri to the Thousand Hills Campground in Kirksville. This is a State park. There we visited Jan’s Brother, John and his wife Ginger. It had been awhile since we had seen them and was pleased at the opportunity.

Golden Spike Tower in North Platte Nebraska

Golden Spike Tower in North Platte Nebraska

Union Pacific Bailey Rail Yard North Platte - 2,850 acres

Union Pacific Bailey Rail Yard North Platte – 2,850 acres

Rail museum in North Platte Nebraska

Rail museum in North Platte Nebraska

Old 3944 is big and impressive

Old 3944 is big and impressive

One of our objectives is to take in all 50 states. One that was still missing was Nebraska so we headed back North a bit. The first night was Lincoln and then a night at North Platte. There we took in the Golden Spike Tower which overlooks the impressive Union Pacific Rail Yard. This stop was recommended by Larry Shimer our resident train enthusiast. The city also has a nice train museum. The stop plan was a half a day which was more than enough.

Coming into the Rocky Mountain National Park

Coming into the Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain view from the Moraine Campground

Rocky Mountain view from the Moraine Campground

We scheduled three nights at the Rocky Mountain National Park at Estes Park, Colorado. My son Mark and I were there many years ago but Jan had not. My brother Duane lives near Denver so this was a great opportunity to catch up with him and his family.

The Deer Mountain trail is listed as moderate?  The climb is over 1,200 feet

The Deer Mountain trail is listed as moderate? The climb is over 1,200 feet

Deer Mountain Trial looking better

Deer Mountain Trial looking better

More trees at the lower elevation

More trees at the lower elevation

Estes Park from top of Deer Mountain

Estes Park from top of Deer Mountain

Valley view - note the smoke from Calfornia

Valley view – note the smoke from Calfornia

Looking west over the park

Looking west over the park

Enjoy the view to the East

Enjoy the view to the East

Looking North...Rain shower brewing which is an every day occurance

Looking North…Rain shower brewing which is an every day occurance

Northwest coming down

Northwest coming down

At the top...time for lunch

At the top…time for lunch

There is always a willing fellow hiker to take the photo at the top

There is always a willing fellow hiker to take the photo at the top

The park is outstanding. We had time for one hike. We had planned a nice hike but after a bit of consideration went from a 3,000 foot climb to 1,200. The trail up Deer Mountain was a nice challenge for us and if we had another day would have taken on the bigger challenge. The weather was perfect, the views great from 10,000 feet although a lot of haze from the California forest fires. We found it interesting that the recommendation was to be off the mountain by noon as there are thunder and lighting storms most afternoons. As predicted a storm moved through just as we were coming off.

Duane and Bobbi took us to the top of Mount Evans

Duane and Bobbi took us to the top of Mount Evans

Larry and Duane still smiling

Larry and Duane still smiling

Here we are at 14,000 Feet - However we drove this time

Here we are at 14,000 Feet – However we drove this time

Bobbi, Mary Lynn, Duane, Steve and Toby

Bobbi, Mary Lynn, Duane, Steve and Toby

The last day we caught up with Duane and Bobbi. They treated us to a road trip up Evan’s Mountain, a climb to 14,000 feet. There was a picnic at the top and at the end of the day caught up with Mary Lynn, Steve over Pizza. Then there was Toby who kept stealing my napkin and would return it for a hand out. The trip into Denver was impressive as we climbed up and down the different grades. It seemed like I was always the slow one…takes some self assurance to drive in the mountains.

Very early morning on the Ridge Road

Very early morning on the Ridge Road

Early Morning View Ridge Road at 12,000 Feet Rockies

Early Morning View Ridge Road at 12,000 Feet Rockies

The day we left Estes Park there were two choices out, down and around or over the top. The road over the top is called the Ridge Road which tops at 12,000. Large RVs are not encouraged. After a little soul searching we selected The Ridge road. The old truck did complain a bit and got hot under the collars once or twice which slowed the climb out for us. There were gorgeous views but worth the white knuckle experience.

Next we take on North Utah with the first stop at Dinosaur National Monument. Stay tuned as there is more to come as we take on the next 10 days.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Traverse City Summer 2015

Wecome back from Gulf Shores

Wecome back from Gulf Shores

The flowering Iris welcomed us back from the Gulf Coast. We love being in Traverse City but when we are in the South or on the road it does not call us back. However once we get here it is home and we settle in very quickly. Not sure if it is age or just our self inflicted schedule that makes the time pass so quickly. Anyway there is always next year as we are getting ready to hit the road again.

Summer time, relaxing on the deck

Summer time, relaxing on the deck

We love sitting on the patio looking at the view and watching the weather over the bay. Everyday around six we take time out to wind down and enjoy where we are.

Not relaxing on the deck

Not relaxing on the deck

First post, replacing the old line fence

First post, replacing the old line fence

This project was all about small rocks and big roots

This project was all about small rocks and big roots

Finally, the last post - Hope this fence lasts 35 years like the last one - then not my problem!

Finally, the last post – Hope this fence lasts 35 years like the last one – then not my problem!

That being said as usual we had “the” plan which called for replacing the decking on the deck and replacing the old line fence. Our house is showing its age. It was built in 1981 so subsequently there is now a five year list of projects lurking out there and competing for our time and money.

Early spring and it is beginning to look like summer

Early spring and it is beginning to look like summer

Life is good after the summer shower...

Life is good after the summer shower…

Easy chair summer entertainment

Easy chair summer entertainment

Summer marches on...

Summer marches on…

Love those sunrises over Grand Traverse Bay

Love those sunrises over Grand Traverse Bay

Fires in Canada make for nice Sunrise in Michigan

Fires in Canada make for nice Sunrise in Michigan

All sunrises are not the same

All sunrises are not the same

Once the building and grounds projects were put to bed we got on with our summer. The weather was a bit cooler than average with nice rain falls early. Everything was green and for the entire summer we only used the AC once. Being an early riser and off for the morning workout was able to capture many sunrises.

Getting back in touch with Aunt Laura

Getting back in touch with Aunt Laura

My Aunt Laura now lives nearby. Over the course of the summer we managed to find interesting places to eat.

The Snyder's hangout together - Yes, we still all like each other!

The Snyder’s hangout together – Yes, we still all like each other!

Snyder campfire the last night - Sister Marilyn far left

Snyder campfire the last night – Sister Marilyn far left

Brothers Four

Brothers Four

We spent a long week end on the lake at Brother Dale’s cottage along with the rest of my siblings. Check out my previous post.

Closing down the farm after over 100 Years...

Closing down the farm after over 100 Years…

Jan’s family farm is going up for sale. The house was sold which resulted in clearing out the tool shed. The farm has been in the family for over 100 years. It was like a walk back in time cleaning it out. Again, Brother Dale came to the rescue as he took on the project. See the picture of the first load with many more to follow.

Awesome view at the end of the Treat Trail

Awesome view at the end of the Treat Trail

Treat farm house...a mile in from the road

Treat farm house…a mile in from the road

Treat Barnstead

Treat Barnstead

Treat out building - Cement and Steel

Treat out building – Cement and Steel

Treat root cellar

Treat root cellar

Trilliums Dune Treat Trail

Trilliums Dune Treat Trail

Treat farm trail late May

Treat farm trail late May

With limited time we did manage to get out and enjoy the region. There were several trips to the Sand Dunes (Sleeping Bear National Park). One of our more favorite hikes is the Treat Farm Trail. It is not on the official trail list for the park so gets very little traffic. The old farm which sits a mile off the road and it can congers up in one’s mind who did lived here and why.

Thunder Birds - Cherry Festival

Thunder Birds – Cherry Festival

…of course there is always the Cherry Festival with several hundred thousands of people… Yes, we enjoy it but at a distance.

Jan on the Wharf at Petoskey City Park

Jan on the Wharf at Petoskey City Park

Petoskey waterfront

Petoskey waterfront

Hunting for Petoskey Stone in Little Traverse Bay

Hunting for Petoskey Stone in Little Traverse Bay

Sunset over Little Traverse Bay at Petoskey Magnus Park

Sunset over Little Traverse Bay at Petoskey Magnus Park

Legs Inn - Note the old stove legs the porch

Legs Inn – Note the old stove legs the porch

Legs Inn root art?

Legs Inn root art?

Legs Inn personality

Legs Inn personality

Legs Inn gardens after lunch, just off the patio

Legs Inn gardens after lunch, just off the patio

Then there was Petoskey again…more pictures!

Crystal River early morning kayak run

Crystal River early morning kayak run

Crystal River at Glen Arbor

Crystal River at Glen Arbor

Trip down the Crystal River was a great experience even with the bugs…

Ionia Free Fair - One of our first dates over 50 years ago - first time back...

Ionia Free Fair – One of our first dates over 50 years ago – first time back…

Fifty year later and no, we no longer do the rides...

Fifty year later and no, we no longer do the rides…

Ionia Free Fair - Midway - My kind of ride

Ionia Free Fair – Midway – My kind of ride

Over 50 years ago when Jan and I were dating we attended the Ionia Free Fair…we went back to see how things changed. I know we have!

You are never too old to do the dune climb...we have been doing it for over 50 years

You are never too old to do the dune climb…we have been doing it for over 50 years

Dune trail does have a big uphill climb but worth it

Dune trail does have a big uphill climb but worth it

Dune Trail, the view never stop - this is a great hike

Dune Trail, the view never stop – this is a great hike

Dune trail hike...beautiful day

Dune trail hike…beautiful day

Next section of the Heritage Trail at Sleeping Bear Park

Next section of the Heritage Trail at Sleeping Bear Park

Vista from the Alligator Hill hiking trail

Vista from the Alligator Hill hiking trail

Sunset Sleeping Bear National Park

Sunset Sleeping Bear National Park

Sunset at DH Day Campground

Sunset at DH Day Campground

Stocking drive overlook...it is 450 ft down to the water

Stocking drive overlook…it is 450 ft down to the water

Stocking drive trail to the overlook

Stocking drive trail to the overlook

Larry at Stocking overlook for Sleeping Bear Point

Larry at Stocking overlook for Sleeping Bear Point

There is now a bike trail at the Dunes called the Heritage Trail. I tried out this year’s new section from Glen Arbor to Port Oneida. The trial is now 15 miles and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a hilly ride.

Again we made several trip to dunes to take on the different trails and of course I took my camera.

The summer quest was to explore all the local micro-breweries...there are 12 now

The summer quest was to explore all the local micro-breweries…there are 12 now

Hop Lot Brewery (new this year) quickly became a favorite

Hop Lot Brewery (new this year) quickly became a favorite

Mackinaw Brewery - Downtown Traverse City

Mackinaw Brewery – Downtown Traverse City

Right Brain Brewery an old favorite

Right Brain Brewery an old favorite

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery which use to house the Bowery

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery which use to house the Bowery

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery - The last stamp on the Beer Trail summer tour.\

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery – The last stamp on the Beer Trail summer tour.\

One of our new passions is checking out the micro breweries in the region. The local promotion was to visit all ten brew pubs and get a free glass. I made it to the last one the day before we left for the summer with Marty’s help (Our Daughter-In-law). She came to visit us just before we left. If you come to Traverse City I can now take you to the best of the pubs based on personal experience.

Marty and Larry stop at Clinch Park along the bike trail

Marty and Larry stop at Clinch Park along the bike trail

Taking a shot at the old rail bridge along the bike trail bridge

Taking a shot at the old rail bridge along the bike trail bridge

Bike Trail - over 100 kayaks on the paddle and brew outing

Bike Trail – over 100 kayaks on the paddle and brew outing

Marty and I did a couple of nice bike rides.

The Rpod at 9846, the replacement for the 5th Wheel

The Rpod at 9846, the replacement for the 5th Wheel

The last trip in the Rpod

The last trip in the Rpod

The Rpod replacement

The Rpod replacement

Bringing the RV home to Northern Michigan in june

Bringing the RV home to Northern Michigan in june

RV living is a great life style even in a small trailer

RV living is a great life style even in a small trailer

If you read my previous post, you know we ordered and picked up a new RV (Rpod by Forrest River) to replace the 5th wheel. The unit looked great but once we used it, we found it too small for our traveling life-style. To make a very long story short at the end we sold it and bought an Airstream. This took a lot of our time as we had outfitted the Rpod already. We did two trips to check things out. Needless to say we were working things out right up to the last minute. The Airstream is great and looking forward to many future adventures.

Last look at the flower garden before we hit the road again!

Last look at the flower garden before we hit the road again!

The yard is looking great, then we leave

The yard is looking great, then we leave

Our last two weeks were a blur. For some reason things started to break down like the truck, the refrigerator, the garage door and several smaller things. It almost seemed like our trip was doomed as we worked through the trials and tribulations for the fixes.

Everything fell into place right at the end. There is always something that pulls at us not to leave Traverse City. The weather is great, the yard looks great and there are still many things that we could do.

Our new church home - St Michael's of Traverse City

Our new church home – St Michael’s of Traverse City

This year we moved our church membership from Redeemer at Interlochen to St Michaels in Traverse City. We will miss Redeemer (not the Sunday morning drive) and we now love our new church home.

Nice end to a summer shower and our time in Traverse City

Nice end to a summer shower and our time in Traverse City

We have been on the road for two weeks. One of the items to do before we left was to do our summer blog post. For some reason that never happened so now here it is ready or not! In the next week there will be an update on our travels to west to Utah and points beyond.

We love being on the road again!

Have a great summer…

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

The Snyder Weekend

In June Dale and Bonne hosted a weekend at their cottage on Forrest Lake for the brothers and of course Marilyn the favorite sister. Regulars at the cottage, Jason, Trish, Chloe and Gerrit joined the weekend activities. It was great to see Jeff who made the trip north from downstate. Dale and Bonnie are the perfect hosts to take on such an event always going on an above the call. The weather was outstanding adding to the picture perfect weekend.

Pictures to follow:

Captain Dale Touring on the Pontoon with Chloe and Bobbie

Captain Dale Touring on the Pontoon with Chloe and Bobbie

Kicking back Uncle Duane and Toby

Kicking back Uncle Duane and Toby

The Pontoon got plenty of water time.

Plenty of space for the four RVs

Plenty of space for the four RVs

There was plenty of space for the four RVs and as many cars. Dale even had several 30 amp hook ups to add to the quality of life for those in the RVs.

Maggie Mae - Hosting Visitors Bella and Toby

Maggie Mae – Hosting Visitors Bella and Toby

Bella and Toby kept things moving...

Bella and Toby kept things moving…

Maggie Mae, Toby and Bella added to weekend experience.

Chloe's team won the championship game

Chloe’s team won the championship game

Many of us went to Chloe’s Champion game and of course her team won. For some reason there are no pictures of the trophy…

Mr Gerrit... the next generation

Mr Gerrit… the next generation

Gerrit stealing the photo opt, technical issues in the background

Gerrit stealing the photo opt, technical issues in the background

Gerrit made the most of the time together…

Another great garden by Bonnie

Another great garden by Bonnie

Yes, there was some wildlife

Yes, there was some wildlife

Ready for flight

Ready for flight

The Pirate Ship...the project from last year's gathering.  Still looking good!

The Pirate Ship…the project from last year’s gathering. Still looking good!

Here is another outstanding garden by Bonnie. As you can see plenty of creativity and lots of hard work has gone into pulling off this project.

Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Vic

Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Vic

Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Duane enjoying the moment

Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Duane enjoying the moment

Trish showing Gerrit how it is done

Trish showing Gerrit how it is done

Uncle Ray and Aunt Bonnie

Uncle Ray and Aunt Bonnie

Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Dale catching up on things.  Toby does not seem to be interested

Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Dale catching up on things. Toby does not seem to be interested

Must be something interesting go on down there?

Must be something interesting go on down there?

Time for some "girl" talk...

Time for some “girl” talk…

Round table meeting

Round table meeting

Family time is always rewarding. Catching up one on one keeps the home fires burning. Of course there is always a bit of humor and may be some ribbing going on…

Jeff and Jason were the master chefs for the week end.  Breakfast fare was outstanding!

Jeff and Jason were the master chefs for the week end. Breakfast fare was outstanding!

What is a Snyder weekend without Uncle Ray's B-Q Ribs

What is a Snyder weekend without Uncle Ray’s B-Q Ribs

Outdoors sit down dinner...the food for the weekend was outstanding!

Outdoors sit down dinner…the food for the weekend was outstanding!

The amount of good food was impressive. Jason and Jeff looked good behind the grill. What is a family gathering without good food and a bit to drink!

Team work getting ready to launch!

Team work getting ready to launch!

The Snyder guys off for an adventure

The Snyder guys off for an adventure

Forest Lake...a nice setting with a wilderness look and feel

Forest Lake…a nice setting with a wilderness look and feel

Toby wanted to take part too!

Toby wanted to take part too!

Rehashing the adventure...

Rehashing the adventure…

Jeff came out to check on the "old" guys in the Kayaks

Jeff came out to check on the “old” guys in the Kayaks

Yes, the Snyder guys hit the water in the Kayaks and once again sister Marilyn said she was left behind.

Sharing stories around the evening campfire

Sharing stories around the evening campfire

The group picks up around the fire for morning coffee

The group picks up around the fire for morning coffee

The campfire time is a fun time to share the past, present and future. As you can see Dale was well prepared with lots of firewood. May be we will be invited back next year…