June 25, 2018

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP: GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER BIRTHPLACE

  Take an educational backroads trip! We didn’t know when we drove southern Missouri backroads, we would find the birthplace of George Washington Carver.     I always root for underdogs. In my mind, they reinforce my own prospects in life. Those who leave the world a legacy are inspirational to me. The George Washington Carver birthplace is a place that traces the gifts, inspiration and obstacles faced by one of the most famous of America’s underdogs. The Ranger’s stories about Carver’s life left me in awe of the man.     Carver National Monument     The Park Service established the George Washington Carver National Monument in 1943. The monument is…

June 20, 2018

LEARN WHILE IN BACKROADS AMERICA: FIND NAVAJO HARMONY

Learn While in Backroads America and Find Navajo Harmony Some places just resonate with us as senior travelers. Exploring backroads America, most of our experiences have taken us far beyond sightseeing.      Growing up on the plains, I was exposed to Pow Wows, Native lore and art. My grandmother could remember living in a sod house in central Kansas! Native American culture, but more to the point, Native American dignity and sense of oneness with the earth has mesmerized me for decades.     We learned about Navajo harmony on one of our favorite trips.  We love photographing and exploring the Slot Canyons on Navajo Nation lands in Page, Arizona. It is one…

June 15, 2018

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP: THE ZYDECO-CAJUN PRAIRIE SCENIC BYWAY

Find the heart of Cajun country deep in Louisiana.  The Cajun culture is so exotic and mystical! Take a backroads trip to Louisiana on Highway 90 and the Zydeco-Cajun Prairie Scenic Byway in Louisiana and explore one of America’s backroad jewels.         Louisiana epitomizes one of the ultimate melting pots of early America.  Since neither Stu nor I have spent much time in Louisiana, the blend of the French, Cajun, and Creole influences with fishing, rice fields and music sort of slapped us in the face and said, “Gorge on the Richness.”     The 283-mile long Zydeco-Cajun Prairie Scenic Byway hides rural and cultural treasures.     The Zydeco-Cajun…

June 15, 2018

REVIEW OF THE TUCSON DESERT MUSEUM: MANTA RAYS IN THE DESERT?

Manta Ray

Tucson Desert Museum Rattlesnakes and lizards were expected at the Tucson Desert Museum but Manta Rays in the desert?     The Museum was founded in 1952 and is dedicated to interpreting the bi-national Sonoran Desert region. The Desert Museum came highly recommended to us, but, truthfully, we were disappointed. Now, children would love this place with live animal shows, raptors, gems, fossils, paleontology exhibits and more.     Cons     We thought the entrance fee ($19.95 per senior) was very high-even with a military discount of $17.95. We visited for the Hummingbird Aviary but there weren’t many birds there the day we went. When we visited, temperatures were…

June 11, 2018

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP: THE BILLY THE KID SCENIC BYWAY

If you are like me, certain questions keep you up at night. This is one of them, “Do bears use restrooms?” Take a backroads trip on the Billy The Kid Scenic Byway in New Mexico,  one of America’s best backroads trips, and find out!   Lore from when the west was more wild with shoot-outs, posses and jail breaks are stories Stu and I truly love. Colorful people are our favorites and the old west had plenty!  We can’t get enough and had no idea that the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway and New Mexico is home to so many legendary sights and characters.   At the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway Visitors…

June 9, 2018

SHOULD I TRAVEL SOLO?

Yes! TRAVEL SOLO! Do it! Should you book with a tour group? Maybe. It all depends!     Our Experience with Solo Travel     Stu and I have both traveled alone internationally and in North America.  I’ll never forget one of my first travels alone over a Memorial Day weekend. I went to Chestertown, Maryland. It’s a picturesque and historic small town that has slumbered for centuries along the Chester River. It had a tea party before the one in Boston! I booked a room at a B&B. As I settled in, the B&B owner asked if I was alone and I replied, “yes.” “That’s a shame,” she said….

June 3, 2018

TIPS FOR SAFE AND HAPPY BACKROADS TRAVEL

TIPS FOR SAFE AND HAPPY BACKROADS TRAVEL A little hesitant to travel these days? Don’t be! It is safe and easy to travel like we do! Honest! Still, you need to plan your trip so safety is not an issue. Just follow these tips for safe and happy travel.   First, people. People we meet are universally polite, inspirational, knowledgeable and gracious about sharing information and stories. Stu talks to everybody! Before you know it, he’s made a fast friend. I am more shy. But get either of us in an interesting place with interesting people and watch out!   Truthfully, the people on our journeys have been as richly rewarding…

June 2, 2018

SO. THIS HAPPENED.

While in Tucson, we went to Saguaro Park or Sabino Canyon every night to photograph sunset. See our Saguaro Sunset post. WOW, it was incredible! But I digress.   One of those evenings, a couple, decked out in wedding attire, was posing for wedding photos among the Saguaro. A beautiful desert setting.   We worked around the couple and didn’t give it a second thought. Until…we heard a call for some help. Did the bride fall into the cactus wearing her gown? Did rattlesnakes appear because it was cooling off?   Wedding Photographer Mistakes   No. The photographer, choosing an artsy shot, had put the girl’s wedding ring on a…

June 1, 2018

SPRING BACKROADS TRAVEL COSTS (2018)

When Stu and I first cooked up a 2018 backroads trip from Florida to the Grand Canyon and back, we had no real idea what it would cost. We researched online blogs and found someone who had posted that a recent trip from Florida (where I planned to meet up with Stu) to the Grand Canyon cost about $3,700. So, we each budgeted about $4,000 apiece for the trip. We didn’t set an end date for our trip or a precise budget. We planned to stay on the road as long as we wanted. This road trip ended up being from northwest Florida to southern Utah and back and lasted 36 days….

June 1, 2018

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP: CAMINO REAL de los TEJAS NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

Take a backroads trip through rolling grassy hills covered with bluebonnets and other wildflowers on The Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. See nps.gov/elte/planyourvisit/maps.htm.     Once a year, my grandmother, in her 80s and 90’s would take a trip from Kansas City to Texas to see her son and the bluebonnets. Now I understand the bluebonnet part.  I don’t think Stu or I expected the beauty of the eastern Texas hill country since neither of us had ever been there. Waving grass, wildflowers, huge skies and curving backroads is the image that comes to mind when someone says, “a perfect spring/summer day.” THAT is the eastern Texas…