On the Road May 7-21, 2019

posted in: Arizona, Uncategorized | 0

As of today, (Friday, May 17th), we have made it from Arizona to Ohio. We have seen some beautiful sites especially in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. In the past week and a half we have gone thru Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. We still have New York, Massachusetts and our final destination of Maine.

Our first stop was to Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona. We like to stay at state parks as they have the best places to find hikes right from the park and they are generally very clean and the sites are good. This was a nice first stop and had a good place to walk around.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

From there we visited Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. This is a cinder cone located in Flagstaff. Sunset Crater Volcano was born in a series of eruptions sometime between 1040 and 1100. Powerful explosions profoundly affected the lives of local people and forever changed the landscape and ecology of the area. A very unique area.

Sunset Crater Volcano
John & Shelby at Sunset Crater
Sunset Crater Volcano

Past the crater is the Wapatki National Monument. Ancient pueblos dot red-rock outcroppings across miles of prairie. Where food and water seem impossible to find, people built pueblos, raised families, farmed, traded, and thrived.

Wapatki
Wapatki view

Next up was Page, AZ and the Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Grande Escalante National Monument and Vermillion Cliffs. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a recreation and conservation unit of the National Park Service that encompasses the area around Lake Powell and lower Cataract Canyon in Utah and Arizona, covering 1,254,429 acres of mostly desert. Grande Escalante is called that for the series of plateaus that descend from Bryce Canyon south toward the Grand Canyon. Everywhere we looked was just spectacular. The views were 360 degrees.

Glen Canyon – looked like smoke coming out of the mountain but it was clouds.
Glen Canyon view below our campsite
Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon panorama a stop right off the road.

 

Glen Canyon looking thru the buildings.
Grande Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Grande Staircase-Escalante
Grand Escalante Snow Covered Mountains
Vermillion Cliffs

Going thru Utah is just beautiful. We went thru Red Canyon and onto Bryce National Park. It was raining when we arrived at Bryce so we just drove thru and continued on. On this leg, we hit rain, ice, snow and sun. Doesn’t get any better than that. Luckily we have been to Bryce NP twice before so we weren’t too disappointed that we couldn’t see anything. There were also restrictions for where you can go with an RV and also with a dog.

Red Canyon
Red Canyon

A favorite place of ours is Kodachrome Basin State Park. We camped here one night, but unfortunately because of the rain, we couldn’t do any hiking while we were here.

View from campsite at Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park

Another area that is spectacular is Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, Colorado. The national park campground is usually full but there is a wildlife campground (Mosca Campground) that we stayed at and got a nice sunset picture. Biggest problem here were the gnats. We couldn’t walk around as they just surrounded us.

Sunset of dunes from our campsite
Sunset of dunes from our campsite

We went to the sand dunes with Shelby and he loved walking thru the water. Such an incredible place when you see sand dunes, mountains and running water all in the same place. If you’re adventuresome (which we’re not), you can take a sand board and slide down the hills. We talked with one woman who tried it and she said it was difficult to do. So that let us out.

Great Sand Dunes Panorama
Shelby and John. They look higher than they actually were.
Great Sand Dunes (John’s contribution to photo-taking)
Great Sand Dunes

Sometimes we have to pick campgrounds that aren’t our favorite as they are mainly for big rigs and your neighbor is side-by-side. This was the case at Falcon Meadow Campground near Colorado Springs. The nice part at this place was, we were able to visit with my high school friend, Paula and her husband, Nick. They also had a nice big dog park so Shelby was happy.

Next stops were Ellis, Kansas (never did find Dorothy and Toto) and Arrow Rock, Missouri.

Cedar Bluff State Park (Arrow Rock, Missouri)

 

After this we changed direction from our original plan. We went into Ohio bypassing the Indiana Sand Dunes because of storms that were supposed to be bad. We stayed in Buck Creek State Park in Springfield. We did get bad storms in the night and woke up to flooding in our camper.

After looking at Shelby’s soaked bed and John’s sneakers full of water, we went to a Camping World to have the leak assessed. Bad news is there was lots of leakage from seals on the roof not being taken care of (this is a 2016 RV we bought one month ago). Anyway the dealership in London, OH looked at it and is fixing it for us (over $3,000 cost). Naturally, as with any extended warranty you purchase, it doesn’t cover the type of repair you need to have done. If it was a plumbing leak it would be covered. This Camping World has been fabulous to deal with and we are staying at a hotel overnight (at their cost) while they repair it. Considering all the traveling we have done, we feel fortunate this has been our first major problem.

We look forward to getting home after a quick visit to my cousin’s in New York.

Overall, we love this traveling and our new camper. Being able to see so many beautiful sites in the United States is beyond expectation. Hope you enjoy some of our pictures.

Wildlife and Marshes

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Altamaha Wildlife Management Area

 

Driving around this area, we see a lot of marshes and wildlife areas. While many of them look alike, there is always something different to see. The picture above shows a wildlife management area but used to be Butler Island Plantation, one of the largest plantations in the South, It is fun to see the birds, ducks, alligators and try to identify them. (The alligators are easy to identify.) Some birds we are successful finding what they are and other birds we can only guess at looking at the bird book.

Walking around this WMA we heard a huge splash into the water and moments later an alligator popped his head up. After that, we were on alert for not only splashes but we kept looking behind us to make sure they didn’t follow us. A few times even though I was expecting the splash it scared me as I didn’t see the gator.

A small alligator that ran into the water after he heard us. He had a twin just to the right of him not in the picture.

 

This big guy just sat watching us. His claw sticking out of the mud was a little intimidating.

 

Here are some birds that were in the trees right outside our deck at the house.

 

Hard to see this bird but as he sat there, we identified it as a Louisiana heron. Better picture below.

 

Louisiana Heron

 

Cattle Egret

 

This lizard appeared on the deck so he could get his picture taken as well.

 

 

We thought this was some exotic bird …but upon closer look it was a bobber in the trees!

 

Catbird

 

Outside of Savannah is a park called Skidaway Island State Park.The hiking in this park was like much of the hiking in Georgia–marshy areas amongst live oaks, palmettos and pines. They do offer an observation tower to view wildlife on the barrier island. Only problem was that the walkway to the tower got destroyed by the hurricane in October so there was no viewing from the tower for visitors.

Observation tower that you can only observe from a distance until they fix the damage from the hurricane.

 

View along the Big Ferry Trail.

 

During prohibition liquor stills were built on this secluded island. In the 1930s there were 31 liquor still sites located throughout the island. Boaters could easily sneak on and off this island with their illegal moonshine. Many stills fell victim to police raids. You can see ax marks on this still.

One of the remaining stills.

 

Some days we opt to stay home and choose to ride bikes and kayak. (OK maybe not John but Sharon and I got to do those activities.) John stayed back and played photographer. It was a beautiful sunny day, the bugs stayed away and the paddling was just perfect.

 

View from our house of the marshes where Sharon and I were kayaking.

 

Cheryl paddling back home.

 

Sharon working hard in the kayak.

 

View from the kayak of John on the dock. (I brought a little camera to take pictures.)

Jekyll Island and St. Simon’s Island (again)

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View of bridge to Jekyll Island

 

We visited Jekyll Island last year on our way to Florida but there is always something different to see so we opted to go back to this island. It is not a large island (7 miles long by 1.5 miles wide and has 8 miles of beaches. We went to Driftwood Beach which was a really unique looking beach to walk on and it is described as   “beautiful driftwood and trees that resemble a tree graveyard.” Looking down the beach all you can see is dead trees.

Driftwood Beach

 

 

 

Sandpiper testing the water.

 

As we walked along, we were able to imagine different animals in the driftwood.

 

One of the driftwood “sea creatures”

 

John and Cheryl at Driftwood Beach (photo by Sharon)

 

Sharon at Driftwood Beach

 

Our attempt at posing the shells for a picture.

 

Can you see the fiddler crabs in this picture?  They are no bigger than your thumb. Males have one enlarged claw that can grow to 1.5-2 inches long while females’ claws are equal size.

 

We revisited St. Simon’s Island since Sharon had never been there before. The beach has a great shape which unfortunately doesn’t show in the pictures. But is is not a straight beach like we are used to.

 

Another beach view.

 

Cargo ship from Panama moving by swiftly in St. Simon’s.

 

Pelican in flight.

 

Another view of the lighthouse. (Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to photograph it again.)

 

We identified these as elegant terns. (Anyone agree or disagree?)