Kansas City

Kansas City

Having read about this cooking contest, I wanted to go to the American Royal World Series of BBQ sometime. So “on the way” back to Illinois to get my car title and some other papers, I took a bit of a detour and stopped in Kansas City for three nights. The World Series is too big for the American Royal Center downtown so it is now held at the Kansas Speedway. I had purchased the “Royal Tour” tickets with a guided…

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A Year in The Life …

A Year in The Life …

Today is the anniversary of closing on my house sale and a full year that I’ve been on the road. 28,344 miles. Stays in 17 states: New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Kansas. I’ve visited 13 National Parks; over a dozen National Monuments and Historic Parks; 2 National Military Parks; 2 National Seashores; many National Forests; seven National Scenic Byways from the Blue Ridge Parkway…

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Nomadland or the Unexpected Difficulty of Being Houseless

Nomadland or the Unexpected Difficulty of Being Houseless

It is hard, very hard, to be “houseless” in this country. I had planned for a mail  service, but that was the easy part. Little did I know. Okay, so I didn’t lose my spouse, job, and house like Frances McDormand’s character. But, regardless of not literally living in my car and better resources (AKA ‘money’), it was still difficult in a number of ways. Your papers, please Last September when setting out for my adventure, my driver’s license was…

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Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Like several parks I’ve visited recently, I’ve been to Badlands National Park before, both with my parents decades ago and with my daughter in the late 90’s. I didn’t remember the beautiful colors, thinking the park was just various shades of tan, but there are yellow, pale greens, purple/pinks, gray. So beautiful. I drove all the way down I-90 to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. I should have entered at the Pinnacles entrance, exit 110, and driven the Badlands Loop…

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Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park

I’ve never been to this park and definitely wanted to visit while in the area. I like visiting caves. My daughter has mentioned to me she thinks all caves are alike but even she thought Wind Cave is unique. Wind Cave, the 3rd largest cave system in the US and the the 8th largest in the world, contains 95% of the world’s box works formations. Box work is a rare cave formation; it is formed when dissolved calcium carbonate crystallized…

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Vernal, Utah: “An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making”

Vernal, Utah: “An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making”

The Jurassic Park movie tagline isn’t quite accurate, since many of the fossils in the area are more like 150 million years old, but it’s a fun movie to think about while here. My daughter and I stopped at Dinosaur National Monument over twenty years ago, when driving from Yellowstone to Arches, but it was just a quick stop on the way. I did remember visiting the Quarry Exhibit Hall and that fantastic “wall” of fossils. I’m trying to keep my…

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Southern Idaho

Southern Idaho

After Bend I went to Coeur d’Alene. I had booked a lake cruise. I should have checked active fires around here, too, before booking, like I did with the Lassen Volcanic park area and Bend. The skies were filled with smoke from Canadian fires. I really didn’t see anything on the cruise. I did visit the Museum of Northern Idaho ($5 entry/$2.50 for veterans), walked the floating boardwalk and around the lake front park. I saw a few of the moose…

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Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

After visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park, I drove straight north to Bend, Oregon for a week stay. Because of all the fires, 97 was one lane for several miles and I was stopped for about 20 minutes. I thought it was just road work until they let us through and I saw all the heavy equipment knocking down and cutting up burned trees. Devastating to see the damage from all the fires. Some days in Bend were hazy because of…

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Like Pinnacles, I hadn’t heard of this park, either. I read about it on my daughter’s blog. Unlike Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Pinnacles, however, Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a “new” park, it was established in 1916 under President Wilson after Teddy Roosevelt made it a national monument in 1907. I did check the active fires in the area before booking here or Bend, Oregon. Crazy. I’ve never thought about doing this before, but every time I listened…

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Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway runs from just north of San Diego all the way up to Seattle, Washington. Two years ago right after my retirement, during the “Summer of Lisa”, I drove the coastal highway from Redwoods NP, California up the Oregon coast to Seattle, Washington. This year, I did it in several stages. When in San Diego, I drove Highway 101 to and from Carlsbad many times. While it still had heavy traffic, it was much more beautiful and certainly easier…

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