Category Archives: Destinations

Fantastic AND FREE National Park Map Resource!

national park map, map resource

One guy. One website. TONS of FREE maps of every sort, related to our National Parks.

Click here for the website –>   NATIONAL PARK MAPS

This extremely thorough website and project is clearly a labor of love. If you camp, backpack, hike, or just plain old visit the incredible National Park system we as citizens of the United States so far been blessed to have in the first place. (Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt! Thank you, every environmentalist! Thank you every selfless, kind-hearted politician that protects our parks–ok, I know you are few, but thanks to those of you who do! Thank you every activist who fights the good fight to keep these amazing National Parks clean, secure and abundant in healthy flora and fauna!)

I don’t know about you folks who read my blog, but I view the National Parks as an emblem of what is meant by “America, the beautiful.” Without them, American wouldn’t be so beautiful. So, please do what you can to preserve what we have right now, to keep anyone from destroying it, degrading it, AND ESPECIALLY FROM CAPITALIZING on it for monetary gain.

I love you guys and gals who respect our parks enough to always leave ’em looking better than they did when you first got there. So many folks continue polluting and defacing our National Parks. Common sense and respect are fading fast in our society. It’s hard to keep up with it’s negative impact. So, everything you do to mitigate that reality, to balance out the bozo heads around you, really makes a tremendous difference. Never forget that!

Thanks and ENJOY!

Lemmon Eye Candy: Sunset Photo Gallery, Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

Valentine’s Day 2016. Desert cactus. Snow skiing. Stunning sunset after hiking. Prepare yourself for eye candy a.k.a. a photo gallery of our day trip to Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ.

We started with desert cactus at the base . . .

and wound up in snow at the peak . . .

followed by hiking and spectacular Lemmon candy at sunset . . .

and perhaps my favorite photo of the day . . .

LemmonMtn_DSC02028_UR‘Nuf said!



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Happy trails, y’all!

Hope your Valentine’s Day was just as special.

XOXO

Sue J signature

Get Yer Kicks in Williams, AZ: Gateway to Grand Canyon’s South Rim

Need a ROUTE 66 fix? Need a GRAND CANYON fix? Need a CAMPING fix? Need a FOOD fix or a MUSIC fix? Get Yer Kicks in Williams, AZ, just one hour from the GRAND CANYON.

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66Twice in the past year, we made a stop in Williams, AZ, with our teardrop trailer. We had a great time both times, enough to say that from now on, Williams will remain on our must-do list when heading up from our current home in Phoenix, AZ, to Grand Canyon National Park.

The town of Williams, AZ is a really great place to visit on your way to or from the south entrance of the Grand Canyon. We enjoyed it’s cozy, eclectic, old-town feel . . .

it’s restaurants (Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe) . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66
Excellent ribs at Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe in Williams, AZ

it’s music  (Vincent Z performing at Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe) . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66
Musician Vincent Z (www.vincentzmusic.com) providing excellent entertainment while we dined at Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe in Williams, AZ

it’s plentiful gift shops . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66

and even the shoot-em-up cowboy showdown that erupted in the streets (promptly at scheduled show times throughout the day) . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66 Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66

We were even entertained by our friend, Dave, while we waited for our food to arrive at Cruiser’s Restaurant . . .

One more great thing in Williams, AZ, is you can wander over to the Grand Canyon Railway railroad station and treat yourself to a comfortable, scenic ride to the Grand Canyon by train. They have all kinds of events going on, including the popular Christmastime “Polar Express” ride (something I think I’ll make a point of doing sometime!). Check out the Grand Canyon Railway event page for more info.

We were in Williams, AZ, on the polar opposite of Christmastime . . . on July 4th, 2015, when we met up with other teardrop trailer and vintage trailer owners at a camping meetup at Kaibab Lake Campground. Kaibab Lake Campground is part of the Kaibab National Forest, which has a rather large footprint at the foothills of the Grand Canyon and beyond.

This campground is quite large and can accommodate anything from tents to large RVs. If you check out my previous blog post about the 4th of July trip, the photos of cool vintage and teardrop trailers give you a feel for the site layouts and terrain at the campground.

You can fish and kayak on Lake Kaibab, but in July, the lake was significantly lower than usual due to a dry summer. There is a boat ramp and a fishing pier, although the fishing pier at Kaibab Lake Campground led you out to a grassy area instead of to actual water. Remember to bring your bicycles, so if the fishing scene is a bust, you can at least enjoy tooling around plenty of roadway within the campground itself.

Downtown Williams held a great, old-fashioned 4th of July parade when we were there (plenty of pictures on my last blog post), exactly the kind of thing we were into with our vintage-inspired trailer.

In October 2015, we were back in Williams again when our friends from England came for a visit. This time, we camped an hour away in Grand Canyon National Park for a night, at Mather Campground at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Honestly, we didn’t care for the campsite itself (#147) at Mather Campground.  We were stuck in a parking pad that was really just a slight bulge in the roadway, a pullover really, with a few large rocks around it. Muddy. Muddy. Muddy.

We did, however, score a great view of a family of elk passing through the site across the way from us, and also scored some close-up pictures while hiding behind trees and bushes.

And we even saw this . . .

Grand Canyon Nationa Park, South Rim, Mather Campground

Again in October, we took in the splendor of Grand Canyon National Park, snapping photos, and looking down upon hiking trails in her belly that we planned to tackle some day.

Grand Canyon National Park South Rim Grand Canyon National Park South Rim

Overall, Williams, AZ, is a great place to situate yourself for a week while you check out some of what you’ve seen here and plenty more–like Flagstaff, AZ, (40 minutes away by car) or Sedona, AZ, (1 hour, 20 minutes away by car) both easy day trips from Williams.

All you have to do now is get out and enjoy it all!


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Happy trails, y’all!

 

WILLIAMS_07042015_140Sue J signature

Cabin Fever Cure: January 18, Free Entrance Day in National Parks

Got cabin fever? Beat the winter doldrums with the perfect cure: FREE entrance days in the National Parks!

It begins this year with January 18, 2016, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And we’re ready to take advantage of it. Watch out, Joshua Tree National Park. We’re coming to see you again! (Check out our last trip to Joshua Tree here.)

Joshua Tree National Park Split Rock Loop Trail
Sue hiking on Split Rock Trail

The National Park Service has rolled out the list of fee-free dates for 2016:

  • January 18:  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24:  National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28:  National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24:  National Public Lands Day
  • November 11:  Veterans Day

With 409 National parks to choose from, 127 of them normally charging an entrance fee, this is a great opportunity to cure yourself of the winter blues and simultaneously show all the folks who help preserve these incredible national treasures that you really do care about their efforts. What better way to prove it than to show up on one of the fee-free days and enjoy our National Parks! You’ll be so glad you did!


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Happy trails! Happy New Year!

Be safe,

Sue J signature

There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Teardrops

There can never be too many teardrops in a person’s life.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Say WhatTeardrop trailers, that is.

And there can never be too many teardrop trailer gatherings.

This past July 4th–our first ever spent in our new home state of Arizona–we joined up with a teardrop trailer group known as Arizona Roundup for a holiday weekend camping event. The gathering required participants own either teardrop trailers or vintage trailers dated pre-1980.  Let me tell ya’, the cozy, classic, and funky factors of the trailers were way off the charts (and we’ve seen some pretty interesting trailers in the past!).

The event took place at the Kaibab Lake Campground near a town called Williams in northern Arizona.  The campground is part of Kaibab National Forest and is only about 60 miles away from the southern entrance of Grand Canyon National Park.

Unfortunately, the weekend started with a communication snafu, resulting in the campground setting aside only half of the campsites we needed for the event. But ya’ know what . . . teardrop and vintage trailer folks are a friendly lot, so attendees salvaged the situation by agreeing to the only option available: doubling up at each campsite.

We were one of the last trailers to arrive at the event, so had few choices on where to crash. Bent on staying near the center of the action rather than on the fringes, we were happy to take up the campground office’s compensatory one-time offer to allow trailers to park on the turnaround road in our dedicated loop area. We made camp at one end of the turnaround road . . .

WILLIAMS_07042015_082while another teardrop trailer made camp at the other end . . .

WILLIAMS_07042015_045Though we technically camped on a paved road, we were happy about our setup. Tons of space around us to spread out. Plenty of room for the dog run. And exceptional real estate for putting up our over-sized American flag . . .

WILLIAMS_07042015_002We had some rainy weather to deal with, which served to remind us why we love our teardrop trailer so much more than tent camping. Rain? No problem. Time to curl up inside on the queen-size bed and read a good book or take a little nap.

Knowing the event included a Saturday afternoon picnic, Mark made his Dutch Oven Sweet Potato Curry Chicken recipe to share with 30 or so folks who gathered at one of the covered (thank goodness!) picnic areas. Thanks to everyone else bringing equally great appetizers, entrees, and desserts, we probably ate better than our forefathers did on Independence Day 1776!

After the community food fest, we headed over to downtown Williams, AZ, for a good old-fashioned 4th of July parade down their main street–a vibrant stretch of historic Route 66.

Williams, AZ is a super-fab place to visit on your way to or from the south entrance of the Grand Canyon. It’s chock full of restaurants, music, and gift shops . . . and even the occasional play-acted cowboy, shoot-em-up showdown in the streets.

But especially on this Independence Day weekend, there was no shortage of patriotic spirit in Williams . . .

and no shortage of teardrops, since a half dozen or so of our teardrop trailer-event folks joined in on the parade, too . . .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Sunday, Mark and I spent the afternoon at Grand Canyon National Park. The weather was still snotty, but we enjoyed the park just the same. If anything, cloud cover adds interest to the canyon.

When we were exiting Grand Canyon National Park, we were treated with an elk sighting that perfectly wrapped up a great day and an awesome weekend. Check her out . . . isn’t she purty?

WILLIAMS_07042015_151

Check out the Williams area if you ever get a chance. And if you’re interested in future camping events in the Arizona area open to vintage trailer owners and teardrop trailer owners (both vintage AND new), check out the Arizona Roundup web page .

WILLIAMS_07042015_140


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Happy trails, y’all!


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4th of July Teardrop Trailer Gathering in Northern Arizona

DSC07948_copyCamping brings people together, and what could be more cozy than a vintage trailer and teardrop trailer gathering to experience a truly nostalgic version of camping? This weekend, we head off for our first teardrop trailer gathering since we moved to Arizona earlier this year. I’m so excited. I always love camping, but I especially love it when I know I’m gonna meet some great people.

This gathering’s in northern Arizona at the Kaibab Lake Campground near a town called Williams.  The campground is part of Kaibab National Forest and is roughly 60 miles away from the Grand Canyon.

We’ll join what looks like a nice group of folks who gather under the name Arizona Roundup. Event participants own either teardrop trailers or vintage trailers dated pre-1980. Check out the Arizona Roundup web page if you are interested in future camping events in the Arizona area open to vintage trailer owners and teardrop trailer owners (both vintage AND new).

As for us, we’re looking forward to the pot luck dinner on Saturday. Mark is making his Sweet Potato Curry Chicken recipe in a cast-iron Dutch Oven. Can’t wait to meet the other folks and see what they’ve got under their pot tops!

Happy 4th of July, folks. Have a safe holiday. Go out and make a [few] new friends!


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Happy trails, y’all!

Sue J signatureOur last teardrop trailer gathering was in California at Lake Perris:

2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer Gathering: Photo Gallery

2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer Gathering: Dutch Oven Cooking

And the Dutch Oven pot luck dinner at the 2014 Lake Perris event looked like this . . .

DSC09070


UPDATE: 

Click on the following link to see highlights of the 4th of July weekend  . . .  

Highlights of 4th of July weekend 2015

 

Lost in Daydreaming at Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

This is the view from inside my teardrop trailer. How am I supposed to get any work done with a view like this enticing me to daydream instead of write?

I should’ve known the moment we stopped at the entrance gate to the Lost Dutchman State Park campground in Apache Junction, Arizona, that nature would be ready to play hard ball to win my full attention for the next two days . . .

We chose a spectacular campsite that typically is claimed by the camp host but was available during this trip. This week’s camp host was instead set up next door to the one we were interested in. Good thing, ’cause we fell in love with ours right away . . .

Cactus plants all around. Some very much alive . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

others providing valuable service as they delicately decayed . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

I enjoyed the outdoor space, while Mark took his time with setting up the trailer . . .

and a few “features”–like the outdoor shower . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

and the chili-pepper lights and hummingbird feeder . . .

We have new additions to our teardrop trailer this time around; did you notice? . . .Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

I tried to settle in and stay focused on my writing for the day, but how could I? With Gambel’s quails strutting about the perimeter . . .

and cottontail rabbits bouncing about, too, it was all I could do to keep my head down and follow my own words. When I wasn’t distracted by the wildlife, I had this view to contend with . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

The second day, we headed out for an early morning hike. There are many possible trails at Lost Dutchman, from easy to difficult. We chose a moderate one which afforded views like this . . .

after which we gladly ended the day like this . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

Sadly, on day three, we had to leave. While packing up, we chatted it up with a man walking the road past our campsite. He was telling us about the campground’s wildlife, things to look for and look out for when, mid-sentence, a sizable bristle-haired javelina (a medium-sized, wild boar-like mammal) charged out of the brush and across the road behind us. Our dog barked her objection at the intrusion, inspiring the javelina to race by in a flash. I had no time to take a picture, but here is what one looks like . . .

javelina

Anyway, turns out the man we were speaking with was our camp host, and the camp host is a writer, and the writer had written a book.

“Fabulous,” I said. “What about?”

“It has to do with 9/11 and a cross-country bicycle trip I took. It’s about having hope.”

“Funny,” I said. “I’m writing a book right now that relates in part to 9/11. I used to live in New York.”

“So did I,” he said. Conversation followed of towns we both knew and a dozen other things we seemed to have in common, including something to say about 9/11 and the power to heal.

“I’d love to read your book,” I said. “And, hey, maybe some day when I’m done writing it, you could read mine.” We shared that excitement and encouragement commonly found among fellow writers and agreed to exchange business cards before Mark and I headed home.

Within minutes, Ray came back with a copy of his book as a present to us. I was blown away by his generosity.

Ray of Hope, Inspiring Peace, Ray MadaghieleInside the front cover read the words, “Mark & Susan, Thank you for your adventuresome spirits & for being rays of hope in this world. Many Blessings”

I can’t wait to read Ray’s book, “Ray of Hope: Inspiring Peace”; something tells me I’m gonna feel good after reading it. As for you, Ray, if you’re reading this blog page, thanks for the thoughtful gift. I plan to pay it forward some day soon.


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Happy trails, y’all!

 

Sue J signature