Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Home


I can’t believe our first truly westward trip has ended. We expected our last stop in Mississippi to be a “stopover “ but found a gem of a park, we didn’t even know existed that we absolutely loved. I hesitate to even share it’s name because it seems off everyone’s radar and is certainly a place we want to visit again. Tishomingo State Park borders the Natchez Trace and offered history, beauty and tranquility...not to mention three separate disc golf courses. We loved our campsite on the lake and hiking trails a few minutes walk from our camper. I love ending things on a high note and this park topped things off nicely.


Last campfire of the trip!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Passing Through Arkansas


It’s a strange feeling to be back in a state that borders Tennessee. We can begin to feel this trip drawing to a close. Because we visited Arkansas, last spring, we decided not to revisit our favorite park, Devil’s Den, but try a new one. We chose Lake Dardanelle State Park and though Devil’s Den will continue to maintain it’s #1 spot this is a beautiful park.. We were especially impressed with the 18 hole manicured disc golf course at neighboring Old Post Road Park. It was dog friendly and offered some beautiful views.



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Oklahoma: a new state!


As we left Texas and arrived in Oklahoma we collected our last state sticker for this trip. Our rule for adding a sticker to our door map is spending the night and showering in the park. Just driving through a state doesn’t satisfy our criteria. I think Mark and I were expecting Oklahoma to be flat and treeless but Chickasaw National Recreation Area was anything but. We enjoyed our large, quiet, shady campsite and were thrilled to be able to have a campfire after almost a month of burn bans in the parks of the southwest. Another treat was hiking around a nature preserve that is home to a small herd of bison.




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sad to Say Goodbye to Texas!


Mark describes many of the places we stay as “epic” and Palo Duro fits all of our criteria. Mountain bike trails wind throughout the canyon so we were able to explore almost the whole park on our bikes. The beauty that surrounds on all sides is indescribable. To top things off, the camp hosts, Jane and Rich, were our neighbors and hosted us to one of our best meals of the trip. I would credit southern hospitality but they are from Illinois! We loved our stay here and will be back.



Jane & Rich

Texas Panhandle


Making our way back home, we planned to go through the panhandle of Texas so we could stay in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This canyon is the second largest canyon in North America (behind the Grand Canyon) with beautiful campsites scattered on the canyon floor. We were also close enough to Amarillo so had the opportunity to spend a day checking out the Cadillac Ranch public art installation off I40, paralleling Route 66. Ironically, it was a rainy day, in drought ridden Amarillo, which just added to the installation.


We’ve had lots of different campsite visitors, on this trip, but this family of wild turkeys were  something new!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Enchantment Indeed



We continue to be enchanted with the state of New Mexico. Our last park, for this particular trip, is an Army Corp of Engineer park at Cochiti Lake on the Cochiti Pueblo Indian reservation. Situated within easy reach of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Los Alamos we’ve had access to so much to see and do. Mark really wanted to revisit Bandelier National Monument where you can explore ancestral Pueblo dwellings accessed by ladders up steep walled canyons. He, and friend Lee Pace, visited here decades ago, so it was pretty cool to see that three decades hadn’t  dimmed the timeless beauty of this place. We also got to do a beautiful hike at one of America’s most recently recognized National Monuments; Tent Rocks (or Kasha-Katuwe). We love rocks and this place has some of the coolest most unique hoodoos we’ve seen!



Tent Rocks National Monument 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Back to New Mexico & Mexico!


What a difference a day makes. Our original plan was to spend another week in Arizona, traveling north, to Fool Hollow Recreation Area, but because of a cold front bringing 50 mph wind and temps in the 20’s we opted to head east to a little state park with a lot of history. Pancho Villa State Park has been a delightful detour. We still had to drive through fierce wind and a dust storm to get here but we are so pleased with the change in plans. Not only have we learned about Mexican revolutionary leader Poncho Villa, but with the park being only 3 miles from the Mexican border we grabbed our bikes and passports and rode down into the town of Paloma, Mexico. What a cool but strange experience to so easily find yourself in another country.