Happy Travels -- Enjoy our Blog

Thanks for visiting, we'll look forward to hearing from you--Pam and Henry

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Ozark National Scenic Riverways was the first National Park area to protect a river system.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) would be responsible for reforesting public lands, building roads, trails, bridges, and buildings in state and national parks and other public lands across America during the 1930’s. 

Historic Big Springs has a CCC built lodge and cabins as well as several additional buildings like this.

The Big Spring has a wonderful water color.

The CCC also built an impressive flood control dike that is now part of a hiking trail from the campground.

The CCC workers laid out a trail along the cliff to the back of the spring that blended in with the natural environment. They also built a stone ledge wall in the spring branch to stop animals from entering.

Posted in Architecture, National Parks | Leave a comment

Great Rivers: Tennessee to Missouri

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area – Tennessee

Piney campground was large and full but we snagged this wonderful site.

Fort Donelson National Battlefield : “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.” Ulysses S. Grant, 1862

Cairo, Illinois: the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and 3 states: Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri.

A transportation corridor: We saw a barge transporting a rocket going up Tennessee river to Ohio river, then down the Mississippi to port of New Orleans and then onto Kennedy Space Center.

Not all transportation has been for the best: as the Trail of Tears history shows.

Lewis and Clark spent nearly a week here.

What is the Third Principle Meridian? a longitude reference line running true north from the point of confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. 

There is even Spanish history in this area with archeology discoveries.

The New Madrid earthquakes were some of the biggest earthquakes in American history, felt all the way on the East Coast.

In 1811, this was the largest settlement on the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri and Natchez, Mississippi.

A well compiled museum explained more about the quakes.

It was reported that the Mississippi actually ran backwards for several hours.

Posted in National Parks | Leave a comment

Kentucky: The Gap to The Caves

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park KY, TN, VA the first great gateway to the west!

Three states come together at this point – just 2 here on the trail but close enough.

Kentucky is the land of Lincoln – his grandparents came through the Cumberland Gap to settle the west.

Abe as a babe with his parents.

Teaching the young about the Civil War at Mills Springs.

One looks out of uniform!

We also visited nearby Camp Nelson National Monument which was supply depot during the Civil War and a large training center for African American soldiers.

The first Memorial at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park. The 56 steps represent his living years.

Our 16th president was born in this area near Hodgenville, Kentucky.

The monument protects this log cabin as a representation of the cabin he was born in.

Mammoth Cave National Park was a good place to camp and have an early morning walk to appreciate this UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

Lots of water dripping down over the entry to the cave.

This spring comes out of the cave system. Protecting the water quality in this area protects the cave environment as well.

Posted in National Parks | Leave a comment

Blue Ridge Parkway

Very aptly named. Our Blue Ridge Parkway (469 miles) experience this visit was between miles 380 and 410 around Ashville, NC.

Two nights in the Pisgah National Forest at Lake Powhatan in the Appalachian Mountains – a full day to explore.

Lots of nice overlooks to enjoy the view.

We hiked a couple miles in this area, seeing the foundation remains of where the Vanderbilt’s had their mountain retreat.

We went to the folk center and appreciated the intricacy of many of the crafts.

A colorful quilt that felt like spring was in the air.

We enjoyed a long visit at 17th PresidentAndrew JohnsonNational Historic Site on the other side of the mountains in Tennessee.  For us it tied together history of the civil War and the Reconstruction Era. Also 1867 was when Alaska was purchased from Russia by Secretary of State William Steward.

Posted in National Forests, National Parks | Leave a comment

Congaree National Park/South Carolina

Congaree National Park protects the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern US.

Spring wildflowers blooming made the boardwalk part of the trail extra special.

In 2003, it gained National Park status and has since been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a National Natural Landmark and Globally Important Bird Area.  It is named after the local Native American tribe and was been preserved since1976 as a National Monument.

Unique tall trees included bald cypress with the knobby knees above as well as Tupelo trees, Loblolly pines, and giant oaks.

This is really beautiful with all the reflections.

We enjoyed a 6 mile hike and a picnic lunch to absorb the enormity of this park. Perfect day.

Ninety Six National Historic Site we learned more about the Revolutionary War. This was a nice park to walk around but the VC was not open.

Lake Greenwood SP is one of 16 S Carolina State Parks built by the CCC. They had an amazing exhibit in their VC. The previous night we were at Givens Ferry SP on the Edisto River also built by the CCC .

Kings Mountain National Military Park and Cowpens National Battlefield we learned more of our Revolutionary War history. Both had walking trails to contemplate the enormity of this war.

A walk through the woods and rolling hills brings to life the fighting conditions that the armies faced.

We enjoyed a stroll to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site just across the border in North Carolina. He enjoyed life here from 1945 until his death in 1967.

This was the only interpretation available about “America’s Voice” (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) an American poet, biographer, journalist, and editor. He won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln

Posted in Hiking, National Parks, Wilderness Areas | Leave a comment

Salt Marsh-ing to Charleston

Crossing into Brunswick/St Simons Island on a beautiful crystal clear day.

Looking over the salt marshes towards the Atlantic Ocean – very flat.

Fort Frederica was established in 1736 by James Oglethorpe to protect the southern boundary of his new colony of Georgia from the Spanish in Florida. He had started Savannah in 1733 laid out with many park squares highlighting the grid layout.

Now we move into the revolutionary wars visiting a few of these forts: Pulaski, and Sumter.

Ft Pulaski National Monument: completion of an interesting “modern” brick fortress built in 1847 put it on the front lines in 1861 when S Carolina and Georgia seceded from the United States. The Union forces took control of Savannah harbor from here in the American Civil War.

Now the huge shipping containers have full use of the harbor keeping our supply chain active.

Skidaway Island State Park, near Savannah was another outstanding Georgia State Park. A short walk took us to this overlook over the inland Salt Marsh, or the renamed “Moon River” after the song.

Archeological remains from the not so distance past history of prohibition.

Enjoying the water front in Charleston after exploring Beaufort with is interesting history and the new Reconstruction Era National Historical Park.

This is our turning point to head back West…How far is that?

Chatting up a new friend…

Posted in Architecture, National Parks | Leave a comment

Timucuan~Atlantic Coast

The Ribault Monument commemorates the 1562 landing of Jean Ribault. France’s first attempt to stake a permanent claim in North America was at La Caroline, a settlement near the mouth of the St. Johns River in Florida (North of Jacksonville)

Que bon! Ribault erected a stone column bearing the coats of arms of his French King Charles IX to claim Florida for France. There is much history to Fort Caroline National Memorial.

The Atlantic Ocean ~ an early morning walk before a rainy day.

This pine carved owl totem, preserved from around 1400 at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, is the largest wooden effigy recovered from an archaeological site in North or South America.

We had a great campsite where the Live Oak trees dwarfed the van.

The camp ground had wonderful bird viewing pavilion.

Luckily we didn’t spot any crocs or alligators! But we kept our distance from the wild humans.

Beautiful drive in the Timucuan Preserve and its maritime hammock.

Azaleas blooming in front the Ribault Club, built in 1928, a renovated monument to the resort era on Fort George Island.

We spent the day enjoying the Atlantic Coast and barrier islands, driving through Amelia Island before ending at Crooked River SP in Georgia.

Posted in Florida, National Parks | Leave a comment


We felt like we had conquered Florida like Hernando DeSoto!

Hillsburo Lighthouse near Pompano Beach

Lots of boats and fishing activity to entertain us.

Good Cuban black beans for lunch with Mima.

Reconnecting with other family by the pool.

The five year old teaching her uncle how to count to 100.

Paint the pizza box after dinner – reuse before recycling!

Posted in Florida | Leave a comment