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.