Once again we put up two trees in our fifth-wheel. I blame it on all the souvenir ornaments we buy. Well, that’s my excuse anyway!
Gulf State Park is a series of parks located in Gulf Breeze and Orange Beach (AL). If the two miles of snowy white beaches along the Gulf of Mexico isn’t enough water for you, the park area also includes access to a 900 acre lake. From picnic areas to fishing piers and cottages to tennis courts, Gulf State Park is a great place to visit if you find yourself along the coast.
The park is located between Hwy. 180 and Hwy. 182, depending on which entrance/facility you are visiting. Entrances fees also vary per location. The beach access points in Orange Beach are free, yet the ones in Gulf Breeze are currently $5 per vehicle.
For more information on Gulf State Park, please visit their website at: http://alapark.com/GulfState/
Trading the bumpy highways for some sun, sand and seafood for a couple months…
I took this photo as we were leaving the RV resort this morning. Hmm… that was a whole state ago! Not sure where we are? I’ll try to keep the TRAVEL section updated in the weeks ahead.
Left the Ozarks… went South for a bit… then West… and Southwest… a little North and then… oh, not there yet! But hey, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
You just never know what kind of history your going to dig up (hmm… poor choice of words, perhaps!) at a cemetery. Like the time we were gold panning along the Yuba River (CA) and found a small trail leading to a cemetery. The small cemetery revealed to be the resting place of a Captain Thompson and his descendents – a ship’s captain until his crew abandoned ship for the promise of riches in California’s gold fields. And there are those with a voiceless past, like the Yuma Territorial Prison Cemetery (AZ) where there are no grave markers, just rows of rock mounds… It really is amazing what you can learn at these locations. So why not plot… uh, I mean plan, a trip to visit a historic one near you?
A gal at the campground today mentioned possums and that got me talking about the Possum Monument. Yes, the Possum Monument! Apparently I have neglected to mention our pilgrimage to this roadside memorial before.
Off Highway 77 in Wausau (FL) there is a stone monument dedicated to the possum. In 1982 the Florida Legislature passed a resolution that the first Saturday in August would be Possum Day. Now you are probably scratching your head thinking, “Why?” Well, the possum did play a role in helping early Southern settlers during tough times by providing an additional food source… so that’s kinda worthy of a monument. Baked possum is still a popular dish. Of course, modern recipes involve beer and Tabasco sauce!
But what would a monument be without a festival? There is a Possum Festival every year in August. Although this year’s festival is over, you can always work your vacation plans around it next year.
If you aren’t familiar with Rose O’Neill, then you probably haven’t seen a Kewpie doll. This talented woman created the Kewpie dolls (as well as other characters) and was a well-known writer and artist between the early to mid-1900s.
Her family home, which she called Bonniebrook, is located off Hwy. 65 (mile marker 20.2) in Walnut Shade (MO). The original home burned down after her death in the 1940s, but years later dedicated volunteers rebuilt the 14-room mansion. Today the home appears as it did during O’Neill’s time.
Admission is $8 for adults and includes a guided tour of the home (3 stories), entrance into the gallery and museum. There is a walkway around the grounds and a couple of her large sculptures are on display. A short walk along the creek leads to the family cemetery. Flowers adorn Rose’s grave.
More information on O’Neill and Bonniebrook can be found at: http://roseoneill.org/mainpage.html#/
If you find yourself within a day-trip of Mansfield (MO), I recommend a visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homestead. The homestead consists of the farmhouse Laura and Almanzo built, a museum devoted to the Ingalls and Wilder families, a gift shop and vegetable garden. A brief drive will take you to the Rock House, which Rose Wilder Lane built for her parents.
The farmhouse remains as Laura left it in the 1950s – you are literally stepping back into time. Admission price includes a guided tour of both homes and entrance into the museum. Current admission prices are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors.
For more information: http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/
When the temperature got well below 32 degrees (F) we decided to flee! Although never being fair-weather Campers, we decided we were overdue for some warmer weather. We had to chuckle when we saw this ICEE truck on I-30 westbound, since it was only 27 degrees at the campground we just left and there was ice on our slide-outs!
Last of the 2013 fee-free days is quickly approaching. So if you haven’t had a chance to visit your local U.S. National Park, mark your calendar for Veterans Day Weekend. From November 9 -11 entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.
November 9-11, 2013
(Veterans Day weekend)
For more information, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour this weekend… if you are in an area that observes Daylight Savings Time, that is!
If you have ever seen “Haunted Collector” on the SyFy Channel, then you probably recognize Pythian Castle. This historic landmark is located in Springfield (MO) and can be toured. They offer historic and haunted tours.
This unusual structure was built by the Knight of Pythias in 1913 as an orphanage and senior home. In the 1940s, the government took over the property for injured WWII vets. A lot of “souls” have visited this landmark.
If you find yourself near Springfield and want to stop for a tour – be advised that Pythian Castle is located near the downtown area and streets are narrow for wide-turning RVs. Although there is ample parking at the castle, you would be better off just taking a tow vehicle.
For information on tours and times, visit their website at: http://www.pythiancastle.com
Aww! You don’t scare me!
If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ve probably seen over-sized statues, a themed or odd-shaped building, bizarre monuments or just plain wacky stuff! These roadside attractions are a great way to add to your trip and travel memories. So next time you see something, slow down, turn around and take a look. You never know what roadside wonder you may discover.
NOTE: A site worth visiting for roadside attractions: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/
So you planned to take that dream trip across the country to a national park or visit that must-see museum only to find out it’s closed… What’s a family to do about vacation plans now?
There are many wonderful hidden treasures across the USA and if you take a closer look, a few are probably right in your own backyard!
The first thing to do is visit an area’s local tourist or visitor center website. Often they will list attractions, recreation and events and have links to other websites that contain more details. Don’t forget to look for small museums, historical sites and botanical gardens! And there are still places that offer free admission, but appreciate donations. Your support of these smaller attractions and non-profit organizations helps keep them open. You may find yourself enjoying the less popular attractions as they are not as crowded and their volunteers are eager to share information about the site with visitors.
So before you begin to panic about your upcoming travel plans, browse the web! Like TV shows? Find out about your favorite and visit places from the show, like the Walton’s Mountain Museum (Shuyler, VA). Enjoy history and art? Check out Rose O’Neill’s home “Bonniebrook” (Walnut Shade, MO). Love sci-fi? Drop by the International UFO Museum & Research Center (Roswell, NM). The possibilities are endless!
If you had planned to stay in a park lodge or campground, don’t fret! Most private campgrounds offer cabins with basic bunks and beds to deluxe cabins completely furnished. Ask if they have discounts, as most campgrounds will offer a free night if you stay longer than a week. Although private campgrounds are a bit higher priced than national and state parks, consider ones with additional amenities like playground, scheduled activities/events, ice cream socials, free breakfast, Cable TV and WiFi to get the most for your money.
This is a beautiful country and there are plenty of ways to experience and explore the USA outside of it’s national parks and museums.
If you haven’t visited your local U.S. National Park recently, don’t forget that September 28, 2013 is a fee-free day. In celebration of National Public Lands Day, most parks will be free. To find a park near you visit: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm and click on “Find a Park” in the top left corner.
It is so hard to believe that we are already in the middle of September! This year certainly has went by quickly. In fact, if it wasn’t for a kindly reminder from WordPress, I would have forgotten that today is the anniversary of Three Modern Nomads. It was on this day in 2008 that I finally found the time to sit down and start blogging about our travels. We were in Gold Country (CA) and the WiFi was limited, but I managed to stay connected long enough to get TMN started that day.
We have certainly put on a lot of miles (and tires) since then, but it has been well worth it. America is such a beautiful country and we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to see it this way. Many folks still think we are crazy to live year-round in a recreational vehicle and occasionally I think we are too. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Looking ahead, I welcome Fall. It means the wheels will start moving a different direction… and a new adventure awaits…
In the Summer of 2008 we found ourselves along scenic Highway 101 near Crescent City (CA). We found a nice little campground and enjoyed visiting Redwood National and State Parks, in addition to Battery Point Lighthouse. Although we found ourselves with poor timing and had to return to visit the lighthouse. Battery Point is only accessible from shore during low tide. There are many sites to see along the coast and we look forward to returning in the near future.
The second book in my Campground Mystery series is now available in hardcover, softcover and PDF version! Find out what trouble Full-Time RVer Molly Miller gets into in THE PROPANE GAME.
FROM THE BACK COVER:
Molly Miller, sole winner of a $500 million lottery jackpot, has begun to settle into her new full-time RVing lifestyle in Emerald Bay, Florida. Surviving both gun-toting jewel thieves and a visit from her parents, she hopes to establish a quiet routine at Emerald Bay Campground.
When a famous mystery writer leaves her pug in Molly’s care, she quickly discovers that her RVing lifestyle will be anything but quiet. Between her mysterious Canadian neighbor’s obsession with propane and the arrival of a pair of rabble-rousing square dancers, Molly has her hands full at the campground.
With the help of her new four-legged companion and the local sheriff, Molly begins to unravel the mystery surrounding her Canadian neighbor. But will it be in time to save those she cares about from danger?
Can you believe that the last of the Big Three (July Fourth, Memorial Day, Labor Day) summer holidays is almost here?! For most folks, this is the last time they will head to that favorite camping spot until next summer. Whatever your plans, have a safe weekend!
NOTE: Make a flag for your campsite this holiday:
Only a few more days remain for 2013… so don’t delay another trip to your local U.S. National Park. Mark your calendar for at least one of these dates and GO! During these times, entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.
August 25, 2013
(National Park Service Birthday)
September 28, 2013
(Public Lands Day)
November 9-11, 2013
(Veterans Day weekend)
For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm