Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

30 years ago we visited the Carlsbad Caverns with our kids.  We finally decided for a revisit, and although the cave hasn’t changed much,  the path system has been greatly improved.  We walked the entire open area and were awed by the size and scenic impact of the caverns.

Early explorers had a hard time, using only torches and rather rickety ropes and wire ladders to visit the various rooms and chambers.  And the ground was rough and rock strewn making for difficult explorations.

Until 1932, visitors to the cavern had to walk down a switchback ramp that took them 750 feet (230 m) below the surface. The walk back up was tiring for some. In 1932 the national park opened up a large visitor center building that contained two elevators that would take visitors in and out of the caverns below. The new center included a cafeteria, waiting room, museum and first aid area.

The park contains over 119 caves.  Three caves are open to public tours. Carlsbad Caverns is the most famous and is fully developed with electric lights, paved trails, and elevators. Slaughter Canyon Cave and Spider Cave are undeveloped, excepted for designated paths for the guided “adventure” caving tours.



Cruise to Ireland

We had been planning a cruise to Ireland since last fall.  We were going with our friends the Shireys, but they had to cancel for medical reasons.  Hopefully they will recover but we missed having them with us on our cruise.

Shipboard:    As is usual with Celebrity, this was a well run cruise.  Probably the most on board activities we’ve ever had on a trans Atlantic cruise, we were so busy we only got to the hot tubs twice!  And of course we ate too much.

The Azores:  Our first landfall after leaving Miami 8 days before.  We had an overnight stay, so we had lots of time to visit the many scenic locations, including Ponta Delgado, the capital city.

Cobh:  Our first Irish port, formally known as Queenstown.  Last port for the Titanic, and final destination for the Lusitania, which was torpedoed in 1915 just off the coast.  We had much better luck, and visited Blarney, where I kissed the Blarney Store.

Dublin:  As always, lots to do and see in Dublin.  we visited Trinity College and the downtown area on foot.

Galway:  We rented a car and drove to Galway, where we stayed at the most excellent Glenlo Abbey.  We drove to the east coast and visited Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful castle surrounded by trees and lovely gardens.  It would have been better without the strong winds and rain, but it was a nice visit.

Kilkenny:  We then drove to Kilkenny where we had a short visit to a very scenic and historic city.  The castle was fantastic.

I’m keeping the descriptions short, there are some summary images are below.  Our full photo album is at, click on 2018, then cruises then the place name.


Dallas Arboretum

March 25, 2018 Leave a comment

We always like to visit the Dallas Arboretum, and today was a nice spring day. A bit overcast, but that helps bring out the colors. I know we’ve posted many arboretum photos before, but here’s a few more.

Categories: Traveling

Change of plans

March 17, 2018 1 comment

Well that didn’t last long…. after we decided on the Tiffin motor home we went back to Dallas to re-organize our storage to get ready for the big move.  It quickly became obvious that if we wanted to move our “stuff” into the new Tiffin we’d have to throw a lot of stuff away.  So we did the obvious…. we bought a larger motor home.

This one — a 2015 Entegra Aspire — took us back to our roots as the forerunner was the Travel Supreme we owned a decade ago. This one was low mileage, only 17,000 miles, and appeared in good shape.  We had a chance to talk to the owners and decided this was the one.  It has been a somewhat rocky beginning with some unexpected problems but its getting whipped into shape and we like it!

We’ve also started a blog about our experiences with this coach.  It can be found here 

Categories: Traveling

New home (motor coach)

January 23, 2018 Leave a comment

We have been living in a large tag axle motor home for some 9 years, and have been looking at getting a new one for several years. Recently we saw a sale at Dixie RV in Hammond, LA on several tag axle units that we wanted to consider. So we took the long drive and checked the tag axle coaches.

They were really nice, but we happened to look in a 40ft., single axle Tiffin and were immediately impressed. Then we took it for a test ride and decided this would be the one. Especially since this one had the larger engine, so no problems towing our car in the Colorado mountains. Except, we wanted theater seat, and this coach had a couch. The dealer offered to have them built by Tiffin and exchange the seats for cost and that sealed the deal.

Now we have to get our old coach and get ready to exchange it for the new one, which will happen next week. So exited! I am attaching the stock photos from Dixie RV, as we get further along we’ll update it with new pics. Yeah!

Categories: Traveling

Tent Rocks National Monument

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico is a (BLM) managed site that was established as a U.S. National Monument by President Bill Clinton in January 2001. Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the Pueblo language Keresan.

The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by  a volcanic explosion within the Jemez Volcanic Field that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks, and vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

We hiked both trails, the one around the base and the much more difficult climb to the top.  The latter included both working our way through a slot canyon and scrambling over rock formations.  But the view from the was worth the effort.

Ancient peoples of the Southern USA

October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

While touring through Arizona and New Mexico, we had the privilege of visiting a few of the amazing sites of ancient peoples.  A few that stood out:

Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved dwellings located in Camp Verde, Arizona which were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.

Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 3-story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, 120 feet above the Verde River floodplain. The Tuzigoot Site is an elongated complex of stone masonry rooms that were built along the spine of a natural outcrop in the Verde Valley. The central rooms stand higher than the others and they appear to have served public functions. The pueblo has 110 rooms.  The ruins at Tuzigoot incorporate very few doors; instead, they use trapdoor type openings in the roofs, and use ladders to enter each room.
At this site, remains of pithouses can be seen as well as petroglyphs, although the petroglyphs can only be viewed on certain days of the week.

Bandelier National Monument is located near Los Alamos, New Mexico. The monument preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans of a later era in the Southwest. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, dating between 1150 and 1600 AD.  Human presence in the area has been dated to over 10,000 years before present. Permanent settlements have been dated to 1150 CE. The distribution of basalt and obsidian artifacts from the area, along with other traded goods, rock markings, and construction techniques, indicate that its inhabitants were part of a regional trade network that included what is now Mexico.

During World War II the monument area was closed to the public for several years, since the lodge was being used to house personnel working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos to develop an atom bomb.




Sweet Creek Waterfalls

October 5, 2017 Leave a comment

This hike is close to Florence, near the Oregon coast.  This was one of the nicest hikes we’ve ever done.  It isn’t long, only about 2 miles each way.  It isn’t steep, only about 350 ft vertical.  It isn’t especially challenging, although there were some roots, rocks and catwalks.  And the whole route was under heavy forest growth.

But the waterfalls were amazing!  There are about 15 waterfalls along the two mile route, and rushing water all the way.  We did this on a beautiful day with our friends Jack and Sylvia Napoles. They bought a house in the area and will certainly do this hike and others in the Siuslaw Forest again!

Seattle, Mt. Rainier

August 29, 2017 Leave a comment

We’ve lived in the Seattle area, and visited here often.  We love the area, the people, the scenery and the opportunity to visit the Great Outdoors.  So when we were in the area we had to visit some iconic places.

Mount Rainier is one of the most active volcanoes in the USA and is one of the most scenic parts of a Seattle visit.  So we took the drive to the Paradise Visitor Center and enjoyed the drive, the scenic stops, but not the Paradise Center… the visitor parking lot was overloaded.  The price for a nice day in the great PNW…

Then a quick drive to Seattle and Pike Place Market for lunch and just visiting.  Actually, a slow drive, if there is one thing Seattle has too much of it is traffic!  But we enjoyed our visit (and yummy Ivar’s fish and chips) very much.


Punchbowl Falls, Angel’s Rest

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment

The Columbia Gorge is not only scenic, it has some great hikes.   We were glad to be back and have some nice weather to do two different hikes.  First we did Punchbowl Falls, 2 1/2 mile in on Eagle Creek.  This hike isn’t too strenuous, although there are some scary drop offs to watch for.  The Falls are gorgeous.

Our second hike was up to Angel’s Rest.  This is the only hike we do that is rated “Hard”, not because of the length (total distance maybe 5 1/2 miles) but it is steep, rocky, and high.  Elevation gain is some 1,500 feet, tough n old folks like us!  But the view is absolutely superb.  See the second set of pictures.

Punchbowl Falls hike

Angel’s Rest hike