Brendan and Marcia's Travel Pictures

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Location: United States

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chasing Summer

In our last post, we told you that we were chasing Summer. Well, we never quite found it! We had mild weather, (it snowed on us briefly twice), but it was never very hot.

We spent about 2 months in Arizona, staying in Phoenix, Casa Grande, Tucson, Benson, Huachuca City and St David. Below is a picture of our campsite in Tucson at the lovely Catalina State Park. We also visited Green Valley, Sierra Vista, Nogales, Bisbee, and Tombstone. Below Brendan considers his options in the old time street in Tombstone. Here Marcia is trying to ‘play dead’ in a local saloon. Then we started to slowly head east. We saw many interesting things in Southern New Mexico, including Carlsbad Caverns where below you see Brendan gazing in awe at the amazing limestone formations. We had also visited Kartchner Caverns in Arizona and it was fun to compare the two.

We enjoyed learning about the history of Columbus, New Mexico where Poncho Villa invaded the town and General Pershing pursued him, unsuccessfully into Mexico. This pursuit was to be called the “Punitive Expedition”. Although Poncho Villa was never captured or even fired upon, this place and time marked the first use of airplanes in a military role for the USA (the “Jenny”). Also it acted as a training mission for General John Pershing who later perfected his art of soldering in WWI. Another cool place in New Mexico was the City of Rocks State Park (below). Further east and into Texas we drove past El Paso and into the middle of Texas to a surprisingly beautiful spot in Junction, Texas. This park was full of wild turkeys and the South Llano River that ran through it had the cleanest, turquoise water we've ever seen in a river. We stayed for a couple of weeks at McKinney Falls State Park in the lovely Austin, Texas. As we drove on, we stayed at Tyler State Park (below) and then Atlanta State Park (still in Texas). We had some fun around the campfire at this campground. Heading north we landed in Little Rock, Arkansas and proceeded to get the rig stuck in the soft, rain-soaked grass in the front of Dave & Jeanne M’s house. Dave worked tirelessly to dig us out and managed to keep a smile on his face the entire time! Dave and Brendan worked in the steel mills together back in Gary, Indiana and we all enjoyed the stories they shared. One of the sights that Dave took us to see was the Big Dam Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River whose headwaters begin in Colorado. We said goodbye after a wonderful visit and were on our way to Tennessee with our first stop in Memphis. Here we are heading out on a riverboat cruise on the mighty Mississippi. Memphis was an interesting city and we visited the famous Beale Street and ate BBQ at the Rendezvous. We left the big city behind and discovered a beautiful state park (Natchez Trace) on the way to Nashville. Our campsite was right on the lake and we were reluctant to leave such a peaceful spot. The drive to Nashville on the Natchez Trace Parkway was very pleasant with the new green of the sprouting trees and the pink, purple and white blooms. In Nashville we had another really fun visit with Mike & Theresa N. They kept us entertained with a Moody Blues concert, a musical and a play-off hockey game, not to mention the tour of the city, some fun card games and lots of time visiting.

We continued our journey north and stayed awhile at Mammoth Caves National Park. The cave was not accessible so we didn’t get to tour it, but we had a lot of fun seeing the park and paddling a canoe for 8 miles down the Green River. We are now in Bloomington, Indiana where we are visiting with Sean who is graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Political Science. Way to go, Sean! We are also looking forward to seeing Erin and meeting her fiancé, Ronnie, whom we’ve heard so much about.

Friday, December 14, 2007

West coast Fall 2007

Heading further on in Oregon we had to “hole up” for a few coach repairs. One of the slide-out mechanisms failed and of course we had to get that fixed. We got to find out that there are some very caring and generous people in Oregon. After some blood sweat and tears we were fixed and off to the southern Oregon coast.

Anyone who has seen the Oregon coast knows it’s beautiful, nothing has changed. We got to experience both hard rain and sunny warmth depending on the day. Traveling along this rugged stretch of coast was just one picture opportunity after another. We saw every manner of view and seascape you can imagine.

Heading south and chasing summer we ended up in the Giant Redwoods. Wow! It’s hard to grasp the volume of wood massed in each of these giants. This is certainly one of those times when pictures just don’t do the subject justice. Marcia informed me (after some research) that there are Coastal Redwoods (the tall ones) and Giant Sequoias (the thick ones further inland). 2000 years old these monsters inspired awe and humility. If you have never seen them go check them out.

On The City By The Bay. We ended up parking in an RV park at the very north end of San Pablo Bay which is connected to San Francisco Bay. We got to ride ferries in to the city and hang around the wharfs and do a bit of shopping. Riding the ferry back to the RV park at night was excellent. The view of the city and the surrounding mountains lit up with homes and roads was really something. We even got to experience an earthquake while we were there. Check off another life experience. Coincidentally, we got to hook up with Sandra S while we were there. All 3 of us took a day trip to Muir Woods. What a magical place! The whole park seemed wheelchair friendly and we all wandered aimlessly for hours. I will remember the rich thick pine scent and the dark cool atmosphere forever. The floor of the forest was deep with shed needles, moss everywhere. It is just such a special place.

Further south we stopped in the California delta. This was an odd place that had large rivers running through it but the curious thing was that “islands” were sunken dry spots developed between dikes. Sort of reverse island as we commonly think of them. It was pleasant enough but I felt a ting of danger. An earthquake out there could destroy a dike and well you know the rest.

We headed back out to the coast and stopped in Monterey. Mike and Theresa N. ended up flying out for business and we all got to hang for a couple of days. We went out on a whale watching tour and had some great seafood. It was wonderful seeing both of them, even for just a couple of days.

Further south we stopped in L.A. and did some touristy things. We had lots of fun but if you have been to L.A. you know it’s a good day when you leave too.

South again we stopped in San Diego for Thanksgiving and the Granite Bar at Jim and Tammy B’s house. Mark and Rai flew out and we started to celebrate the holidays. Of course we had a great time and I have to say that Jim and Tammy are magnificent and generous hosts (as always). Thanks again you two!

We headed East and are currently in Palm Springs. Brendan likes it here but there are roads ahead yet to see. We’ll stay warm and keep you posted soon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dinosaur National Monument & a little of Oregon

After leaving Denver we drove to Dinosaur National Monument and entered on the Utah side. We stayed in a lovely campground right on the Green River. Here is a picture of our campsite.

And here we are after climbing up to check out some petroglyphs.

We also played around on the kayaks in the Green River--testing out our skills on some mild rapids.

We stayed at Dinosaur for 5 nights and then drove through Salt Lake City and camped for a night near the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Then it was on to Oregon. We stayed 4 nights at a beautiful Oregon State Park at Goose Lake. The deer and quail were plentiful. We even picked apples from some trees in the park and made apple pie!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Summer 2007 in Colorado with friends and family

We arrived back in Colorado in mid May 2007 and first stopped in Durango to see Marcia’s youngest son, Mark. It was beautiful there and Mark had just moved into a rental house with 4 other roommates--they all attend Fort Lewis College. We enjoyed visiting with Mark and meeting his friends and roommates. We spent one Saturday at their house cooking up a batch of Brendan’s Green Chile and Chile Rellenos. Here is a picture Marcia took while kayaking with Mark on a lake outside of Durango.

We spent the rest of the summer in Denver. Here is Marcia with her oldest son, Adam and another of Marcia with her granddaughter, Kaylyn. Kaylyn is 12 years old and just started 7th grade. She is a beautiful young lady, very poised, well mannered and fun to be around. We spent many entertaining times at Adam, Jenni and Kaylyn’s house.

Marcia’s daughter, Laura, also lives in Denver with her daughter Cali. Cali, who is almost 4 years old, is smart and pretty and full of creative energy. Marcia enjoyed spending a lot of time with her and Laura.

This picture below was taken on a trip to the zoo with Kaylyn and Cali. We had a fun time that day.

We also had many nice visits with Marcia’s parents and her sister and brother.

Mark and Rai flew up from Florida for a wedding while we were in town. We had some fun times with them and Bart and Jamie while they were in Denver.

While in Denver, Brendan’s son, Sean, flew out for a visit. It was great to see him and we had some nice times.

Brendan’s daughter, Erin, also came out to visit us. She is a lovely young woman. Here is a picture of her admiring her new shoes and one of her laughing with her friend.

We left Denver near the end of September and have headed west to see the Redwoods.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

We left Ft Myers, Florida

...with the kayaks loaded on the truck and began following the Gulf Coast.

We've seen alot of interesting and beautiful places since then. One of the first places we stopped was at a Florida State Park on St. Joseph Pennisula. There were miles of lovely, white, sand beaches that Marcia enjoyed walking on and sand dunes that reminded Brendan of his childhood in Miller Beach. We would both recommend this park to anyone who wants to lounge on a pristine beach with few others. Sunsets were wonderful and there really was very little population anywhere near.

Soon we were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We stayed at an RV Park within walking distance to the French Quarter. Our RV neighbors included the 'Jagermeister' and the 'Girls Gone Wild' rigs. We had fun visiting with the locals, watching parades, collecting beads and doing our best to blend in!
Rockport/Fulton, Texas is midway between Houston and South Padre Island and was a lovely, little fishing town. One of the parks we stayed at was directly across the street from the bayview below. A town with a very slow pace and very reasonable pries for everything including waterfront homes. The town had "Oysterfest" while we were there and it was charming.

Brendan enjoyed watching the shrimp boats come and go but didn't enjoy the food poisoning that had him reeling for several days. He'll probably never eat Red Snapper again.

We had planned to go to South Padre Island, but when we learned that the Spring Breakers had taken over the island we decided to spend a few days on Mustang Island just East of Corpus Christi. We daringly drove our home onto a ferry and rode over to the island where we were rewarded with another nice state park and more miles of beach to walk and ride on.

Leaving the coast, we headed West and spent some time at Falcon reservoir in South Eastern Texas. We did some kayaking, bird watching (its all the rage down there!), took the nature walk around the campground, crossed into Mexico to buy some supplies, and watched for illegal border crossings over the Rio Grand from the Roma Bluffs in Del Rio, Texas.

Continuing Westward following the Rio Grande, we are now find ourselves in and around Big Bend National Park. This is a place of unexpected natural beauty! The rocks, the canyons, the cactii and the blue sky make for some breathtaking views. Big Bend is one of the darkest places in the US (very little light pollution) and a park ranger gave us an astronomy lesson and stargazing tour in the darkness last night.