Category Archives: Nature Rocks!

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!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Nature!

Thank you, Mother Nature, for some of the most amazing experiences in the last several years out here in the western United States!

Find Your Adventure With Rose Parade Float Decorating

We’re watching the Rose Parade on TV today from our Phoenix home and reminiscing about several years of volunteering to decorate parade floats in Pasadena, California. These particular pictures are from working on an HGTV float. How appropriate is that to be

Definitely have to do it again some time. What a spectacular item to add to your bucket list!IMG_5683 IMG_5653 IMG_5668And we love the Rose Parade theme this year . . .

Find Your Adventure!

We here at Teardrop Adventures HIGHLY recommend getting out and exploring the jaw-dropping, ever-inspiring scenery and adventures that await you in the great outdoors.

Mother Nature rocks it and so should you!


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All our best to you this coming year,

Susan & Mark

Fall Springs Ahead in Arizona

Arizona’s not one to follow protocol. Not only does she ignore the rest of the country’s insistence on turning back clocks in the fall (for Daylight Savings Time), but her desert flowers flagrantly (or is that fragrantly?) disregard the suggestion that cold is coming. Instead, she flaunts spring-like yellows like the flora fashion diva she is.

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Gross Understatement of Amount of Oil Dumped Into Ocean: Surprising?

[UPDATE]:

 oil spill, Santa Barbara, Plains All American Pipeline, destruction of nature and the environment, big oil sucks, big gas sucks, respect for nature, greed, power, death, Refugio State Beach
Photo Credit: Paul Wellman for the Santa Barbara Independent

No, it shouldn’t be surprising. Disappointing and distressing, but not surprising.

Since my article two days ago about a 4-mile-wide, 21,000-gallon oil spill near Santa Barbara, CA, the numbers have proven to be grossly understated. Estimates changed throughout the day, pinning the disastrous oil spill at 9 miles wide–the forgotten, damaged pipeline instead releasing 105,000 gallons of crude oil into an otherwise pristine coastline of the Pacific Ocean.

My article from two days ago. Please give it a read . . .

Major Oil Spill Near Santa Barbara, CA: It’ll Be the Death of US

Again, please DO NOT turn a blind eye to the decisions being made by big oil and gas companies and the politicians and other entities that support them, decisions that are destroying our environment and permanently impacting the stability of our delicate ecosystem. SLOW DOWN and TAKE SOME TIME to GET INFORMED about what is happening right under your nose, under your feet, and in your own back yard . . . before it’s too late (and especially if you feel it’s already too late . . . your voice can and should be heard!).

Thank you, from the bottom of the heart,

Sue J signature

 

 

Major Oil Spill Near Santa Barbara, CA: It’ll Be the Death of US

Yesterday, an oil pipeline leaked 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean in an area most noted for its bountiful, yet already endangered, wildlife. See the following link to an article giving the details:    May 19, 2015:  4-mile-wide oil spill near Santa Barbara, CA

Today, due to the callous neglect demonstrated by Plains All American Pipeline, a filthy, 4-mile-wide oil spill now coats every form of animal, bird, and sea life that exists in the already struggling, now permanently altered, environment west of Santa Barbara.

Today, and every day moving forward for quite some time to come, my friends and I will no longer be able to walk along this beautiful oceanfront area, or bring our dogs to one of the few remaining nearby beaches that still allows dogs to enjoy the surf.

Today, and in the foreseeable future, no longer will we be able to enjoy the spell-binding tidepools, sea caves, and reefs at the hugely popular beach-access campground at Leo Carillo State Park.

(Leo Carillo State Park also happens to be a favorite of the entertainment industry who used the beach for movie and TV show scenes, including scenes from the movie Grease. As the lyrics of a Frankie Valley song written for that movie suggest, maybe GREASE really IS the word–at least it is now at Leo Carillo State Park and nearby areas.)

oil spill, Santa Barbara, Plains All American Pipeline, destruction of nature and the environment, big oil sucks, big gas sucks, respect for nature, greed, power, death
Photo Credit: Paul Wellman for the Santa Barbara Independent

One quote from the May 19, 2015, oil-spill article:

“With accidents and oil development, it is not a question of if, but of when.”

Take a look at the oil disasters of the last decade alone, and you’ll know this is the God’s honest TRUTH.

Another quote from the article:

” . . . the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said the broken pipe operated by Plains All American Pipeline had been abandoned some time ago. He couldn’t say when, and noted, “I guess there was still some product in there.””

YA THINK? Now, 21,000 GALLONS of CRUDE OIL have made it to the pristine shoreline west of Santa Barbara not far from where I’ve lived for the past 4 years. The spill extends 4 miles wide now in the ocean. THIS IS WHERE WE CAMP EVERY YEAR!!!! Now, it is all but destroyed and will likely KILL many of the ENDANGERED SPECIES of magnificent WHALES and other rare sea and shoreline life that exists in this area.

I AM SADDENED BEYOND MEASURE. I DON’T CARE WHAT THESE OIL & GAS COMPANIES CLAIM, THEY ARE DESTROYING OUR REMAINING BEAUTIFUL PLACES & KILLING ALL ITS LIFE FORMS ON A DAILY BASIS.

GREED is so POWERFUL that it DEFIES ALL LOGIC and leads men in power to RISK EVERYTHING for a FISTFUL of MONEY.

DON’T LISTEN TO THE LIES. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT HAPPENS IN **YOUR** BACKYARD. TAKE A STAND TODAY. PLEASE.

The cost of this country’s dependency on oil outweighs the benefits. And our next-in-line reliance on natural gas is just as costly. Oil spills are inevitable, as is the fact that spills destroy critical natural resources that we rely on for our very existence.  And the flat-out reckless procedures used when fracking for natural gas lead to dramatically increased earthquake activity and toxic–often flammable–water in our aquifers, our main source of drinking water. The misguided ongoing quest for more oil and more gas is literally poisoning the planet and the human race.

PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT THE ADDITION OF ANY MORE OIL PIPELINES IN THIS COUNTRY OR ANY NEW OFF-SHORE DRILLING SITES OR ANY NEW NATURAL-GAS-INDUSTRY FRACKING SITES!!

FORCE THE INDUSTRY TO PROMOTE AND PROVIDE SAFER & CLEANER ALTERNATIVES!

IF YOU DON’T HELP SHIFT THIS NATION’S THINKING AWAY FROM WHAT NO LONGER IS WORKING TO SOMETHING THAT WILL (WITHOUT DESTROYING OUR PLANET in the process), IT’LL BE THE DEATH OF US ALL.

Please DO NOT turn a blind eye to the decisions being made by big oil and gas companies and the politicians and other entities that support them. SLOW DOWN and TAKE SOME TIME to GET INFORMED about what is happening right under your nose, under your feet, and in your own back yard . . . before it’s too late.

Sue J signature


Another interesting read about a potential leak scenario with Keystone 1 Pipeline . . .

Exclusive: TransCanada Keystone 1 Pipeline Suffered Major Corrosion Only Two Years In Operation, 95% Worn In One Spot

Day 19, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

When I saw before me an endless valley blanketed in vast colonies of fantastical HooDoos, I knew I would not rest until I ventured deep into that valley for what would surely be a mind-blowing hike.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Ever since I made its acquaintance in early 2014, Bryce Canyon National Park is THE national park I wanted to revisit. When first there, we’d only seen the HooDoos from high places like this, which was STILL pretty spectacular! (See full details of the 2014 trip here:  3 Days, 2 Nat’l Parks, 1 Bum Foot: Miracles and Inspiration) . . .

Bryce Canyon National Park, Farview Point, hoodoo heaven, easy trail, awesome quick hike
Bryce Canyon National Park: Farview Point. An excellent “bang for the buck” hiking trail. Take it as far as you have time for, turn around and head back. You’re immediately submerged in hoodoo heaven!

Four months after the initial visit, I did venture down into that HooDoo valley. It was the second to last day of our three-week-long teardrop trailer trip and my mind was, as expected, officially blown.

One of the toughest tasks I’ve ever undertaken was to whittle down two hundred twenty-five Bryce Canyon photos into a subset to share with you, my readers. The best I could do is trim my full set of photos down to one hundred twenty. Since I don’t want you to be as saturated with Bryce as I was, without the benefit of actually being there, I’m splitting the photos between two different posts-half here, half on the next. You’ll think it impossible for a place to sustain its beauty and your attention for so long, but, believe me, it does and it will should you go yourself some day.

Those specks below on the trail are people! . . .

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

The trails are completely intriguing. Curved stone doorways beckon you to enter.

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks. It is, in my opinion, the BEST OF THE BEST in Utah, and that’s saying a lot. Utah is a MUST GO destination for mind-altering, highly accessible, unique scenery.

I did most of my hiking in Utah last year on a bum foot, courtesy of plantar fasciitis. I thought the three-week national park trip would be a bust because of it, but there were enough options (especially in Utah) to enjoy the parks to their fullest.

This particular hike was a huge commitment for me, more than I suspected I could handle with a recently injured foot, but I deeply wanted this HooDoo experience.

We headed out on the Queens Garden Trail with the intention to “see how it goes” and either double back after visiting “the garden” (almost a mile down into the valley) or continue on. The nice thing about Queens Garden is you get a real bang for your buck. With just a two-mile commitment, you’ll be “in the HooDoos” and will feel momentarily satisfied.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

You’ll find shady places to hide from the sun and benches spread out along the trail that will be much appreciated on the walk back up to the top.

And, of course, you’ll see the Queen looking out over her garden!

Vistas and passageways abound, calling upon you to stay and explore . .  .

and you’ll have to decide, once out of the Queens Garden, whether to backtrack from whence you came or continue on other trails. I felt good at the time and chose to continue on. Should you ever do the same, realize that you are pretty much on the hook for the full round trip. At some point, it seems plain ridiculous to head back.

If you believe in mystical energy, you’ll find fallen tree branches drenched in powerful energy. If you don’t believe, you’ll find instead really cool-looking fallen tree branches . . .

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

Here are some other sights along the way . . .

All in all, we completed an eight-mile-long round trip, which took a solid four-and-a-half hours to complete. My foot stopped cooperating in the last two miles. Be forewarned that you have to drop down into that valley and, of course, come back up, but you also have to rise and fall many times throughout the hike to navigate the irregular landscape, up and over hills and often through them. Initially, I had this thought that I’d hike down into the valley, hike some more on mostly level ground, and then hike up out–not true.

I had a hiking stick with me, which I strongly suggest you have as well (it gets steep in parts), and PLENTY OF WATER, even just for the Queens Garden trail. If you misjudged and didn’t equip yourself with these necessities, you’ll be happy to see this when you finish your hike.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips

As for us, it would be five more miles beyond the Queens Garden trail before we would rest our eyes on this happy sight. Instead, we continued on the Peek-a-Boo trail and finished out on the Navajo Trail.

On my next post, I’ll share the rest of our hike. ‘Til then . . . Adios! Au revoir! And Happy Trails!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's Mighty Five, HooDoos, best hiking, best hikes, bucket list items, Teardrop Adventures, teardrop trailer travel trips and tips



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If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

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To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

Or any of our stops so far on the way . . .

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Journey to the Center of Utah

Got Gas? Utah Offers an Old-Time Fix

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Arches National Park, Utah–Simply Speechless

Day 17: 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Day 18: 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah