Wyoming

On Sunday the 25th of June, following our weekend at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, we set out across Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains for Cody.

Our drive into the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. Airstream and GMC us14

Our drive into the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. While Google and the truck’s GPS wanted us to retrace our steps towards Billings before turning south towards Cody, we decided to head straight south into Wyoming and drive across the Bighorn Mountains. This route may have been longer, but the Bighorn Mountains are beautiful and I’m glad we went that way. We got off I-90 in Ranchester, WY and followed US14 up into the Bighorns.

The Bighorn Mountains are both quiet and lovely. In fact, they are often advertised as a less crowded alternative to Yellowstone and if we had a reliable water pump—and didn’t already have reservations in Cody—we may have pulled over into one of the many campgrounds (both dispersed and regular) we passed during our drive across. We’ll save the Bighorn Mountains for another time…

The mandatory warning sign at the junction of US14 and US14A in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. We decided to take US14!

The mandatory warning sign at the junction of US14 and US14A in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. 10% grade for 10-miles? We decided to stay on US14!

About halfway across, we had the choice of two routes, US14 or US14A. We’ve been on the road long enough to know the legend of US14A, and we approached the 14/14A junction with trepidation. We I wanted us to take 14A so, undaunted, we turned right. Almost immediately we came across the compulsory Truck and RV Warning Sign. We pulled over and I got out of the truck to give the warning its due diligence. After a few minutes of contemplation, we both I finally agreed that US14 was probably a better option.

The Bighorn Canyon as viewed from US14. Airstream

The Bighorn Canyon from US14

To tell the truth, we’re not sure why we wanted to go to Cody?!?! We heard good things about the town and decided to check it out for ourselves. We had difficulty finding a campground with last minute availability, but came across the Cody Trout Ranch—a trout hatchery cum RV park—located five miles outside of town. There weren’t any reviews floating around about it, but their website looked promising. Besides, it’s all we could find, so it would have to do. With reservations for two nights, how bad could it be?

Sunset from our Cody, Wyoming campsite.

The Wyoming sunset from our Cody Trout Ranch campsite

Maybe we were feeling a little road-weary after our relatively rapid pace through Montana, or it could be the fact that Owen is completely unimpressed by Cowboys and Cowboy Culture, but Cody was a big let down. We felt like the town had a lot of character at one time, but it had been overtaken by the drive to milk every last bit of money out of the tourists streaming in/out of Yellowstone. Cody will forever be remembered as the Myrtle Beach of Wyoming.

The corny Cody Shootout. I think these guys saw Tombstone too many times...

One evening we attended the nightly “gunfight” outside the Irma Hotel in downtown Cody. The free gunfight is listed as a Cody “must see” and is held Monday through Saturday nights in the summer. You can either find a place to hangout on the street or pay a couple dollars to reserve a front row chair. Part frontier pageant, part community theater, the Gunfight was mediocre at best. I’m glad we did it, but we wouldn’t do it again. By the time we finished watching the gunfight, we were done with the Cody tourist scene and decided against trying to go to the rodeo. We wandered around town window shopping; stopped in at Sunlight Sports, a great little outdoor store right in downtown; and grabbed dinner at the Millstone Pizza Company and Brewery (beer and food were good) before heading back to the Trout Ranch.

We spent two nights in Cody and came home disappointed both nights. We considered the famous Buffalo Bill Center of the West, but the Campground Host advised us against it because of cost and she didn’t think Owen would enjoy it. She did recommend the kitschy-looking Old Trail Town, a private museum made up of reconstructed 19th century Wyoming cabins. While a couple of the cabins were once occupied by a few pseudo-famous western figures (the real life Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for example), most were filled with dusty relics and moth-eaten animal skins that had seen better days. We spent about 45-minutes wandering the reproduced streets and felt torn when we left. On the way back to the truck, a couple stopped us and asked if it was worth it? At almost $25 for the three of us, we honestly didn’t have a good answer for them.

Our drive from Cody to Rawlins was marked by high winds and severe thunderstorms. These folks were lucky to walk away from this accident. #towslow

Our drive from Cody to Rawlins was marked by high winds and severe thunderstorms.  These folks were lucky to walk away from this accident. #towslow

The next morning, we departed Cody and headed back to Colorado. The Googler informed us that the drive to Anna’s parents’ house was going to take eight hours, so we planned to spend a night on the road at the KOA in Rawlins, WY. It should have taken us four hours to get to Rawlins, but because of heavy winds and severe thunderstorms it took us almost seven! During the final stretch to the KOA, we came across an RV that was flipped over. We stopped to help and luckily everyone was all right, if just a bit shaken.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado! Our glorious return to Colorado following three weeks of exploring Wyoming and southern Montana.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado! Our glorious return to Colorado following three weeks of exploring Wyoming and southern Montana.

On Wednesday, the 28th of June we pulled into Avon, Colorado for another 12-days of moochdocking while hanging out with Anna’s family. I managed to keep busy with a full plate of trailer repairs and modifications, including replacing our water pump with a new Shurflo water pump and installing our new WeBoost Drive 4G-X Cell Phone Booster. Our old cell phone booster (same model) had failed in late-May and we mailed it back to Wilson Electronics in early June. Even though it was over a year old, they didn’t hesitate to replace it with a new one. Unfortunately, the new booster didn’t arrive in time, so we left without it. Exploring the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Montana, and Wyoming without a cell phone booster really made us appreciate having one!

Next up? July in southern Colorado!

Posted in 2017, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Montana

As our explorations of Yellowstone neared their end, we started to think about our next destination. When we left Colorado, we had no solid plans after Yellowstone. We considered Glacier National Park, but once our waterpump began to fail, we ruled out further boondocking until we could replace it. Ever since my Montana fishing trip in 2016, I had wanted Anna to see Bozeman and Livingston, MT. Besides the Puget Sound area, Bozeman and Livingston were on my list of possible places to settle. We had also heard good stuff about Cody, WY and once we started researching routes around Montana and Wyoming, we realized that the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument was on our route and the annual re-enactment was scheduled for 23-25 June.

Ultimately, we decided to stay in Livingston and use that as a home base to explore both Bozeman and the Paradise Valley. After Livingston, we would drive 4-hours east and visit Little Bighorn over the anniversary and re-enactment weekend. Finally, we would wrap up our trip with a couple of days in Cody, WY before heading back to Colorado and the in-laws’ driveway.

Bozeman and Livingston, Montana

We left Yellowstone through the west entrance and followed the Gallatin River into Bozeman. With out a reliable water pump, we were limited to full hook-up campgrounds and ended up making reservations at the Livingston KOA. I’ve previously stayed at another Livingston RV park and it was really nice, but we went with the KOA because they had a pool.

We rolled into Bozeman around 1pm and decided to stop somewhere for lunch. We usually have lunch in the Airstream, but after two weeks of boondocking in two National Parks, we were ready for a meal at a restaurant. Anna fired up the Yelper and we found Clark’s Fork, a nice lunch place just outside of downtown in a big box store area with plenty of parking for the rig. Our parking spot was an easy walk to the restaurant, an REI, and a Starbucks; it was a good lunch stop that checked a lot of boxes for us. Once we pried ourselves away from civilization, we finally wandered into the Livingston KOA and got set-up for the next three nights.

Livingston Montana Big Big Trip Trout

Owen gives Livingston, Montana a thumbs up!

As the Yellowstone River was high and dirty from all the snowmelt, fishing was ruled out and we spent Wednesday June 21st exploring downtown Livingston. We wandered around and explored several different shops before having lunch at Gil’s Goods, another awesome local restaurant. We eventually made our way over to the weekly Farmers Market, then returned downtown for a couple of beers at the Katabatic Brewing, before finally heading home to the KOA and some swimming.

On Thursday, we drove the 40’ish minutes back to Bozeman and spent the morning at the marvelous Museum of the Rockies (another ASTC.org member) before heading downtown to grab lunch and explore Bozeman.

Owen channeling his inner T-Rex in front of Big Mike, the bronze Tyrannosaurus rex in front of the entrance to the Museum of the Rockies on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

Owen channeling his inner T-Rex in front of Big Mike, the bronze Tyrannosaurus rex in front of the entrance to the Museum of the Rockies on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

We spent about 2-1/2 hours strolling the exhibits at Montana State University’s Museum of Rockies (MOR). They have an extensive and well-curated collection of locally discovered dinosaurs, including the largest T-Rex skull ever unearthed. They also have very informative exhibits of early pioneer and Native American life, but make no mistake, we were really there for the dinosaurs.

The Museum of the Rockies' Siebel Dinosaur Complex has one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world, including over 13 Tyrannosaurus rex specimens.

The Museum of the Rockies’ Siebel Dinosaur Complex has one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world, including over 13 Tyrannosaurus rex specimens.

After MOR, we headed downtown to another local restaurant that Anna found on Yelp. Anna (or maybe Yelp? I’ll go with Anna…) nailed it again and we had a fabulous lunch at Starky’s. Afterwards we wandered Main Street peaking into a couple of bookstores, a fly shop, a coffee shop, and a couple local outdoor retailers. I came across the new posthumously published Jim Harrison book, A Really Big Lunch, and since we were in Bozeman, I had to purchase it. By 6pm we were back at the KOA, swimming and thinking about getting ready to pack up and head out the next morning.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

On Friday morning, after a quick trip back into town to procure some fresh bread at Gil’s Goods, we regretfully said goodbye to Livingston and drove the 200 miles east to the Little Bighorn Battlefield.

Camping options around the Little Bighorn Battlefield are few and far between. A year ago I spent a week fishing and camping at a very nice campground on the Bighorn River. Although an hour from the battlefield, we debated staying there and doing a little tailwater fishing along with Little Bighorning, but decided against it. Harnessing the power of Campendium we came across the 7th Ranch RV Park. With several impressive reviews, and a convenient location just a few miles down the road from both the battlefield and the re-enactment, we couldn’t have been happier with our decision.

Our campsite at the wonderful 7th Ranch RV Park, located outside the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana.

Our campsite at the wonderful 7th Ranch RV Park, located outside the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana.

Another view of our campsite at the wonderful 7th Ranch RV Park.

Another view of our campsite at the wonderful 7th Ranch RV Park.

After unhooking and getting our campsite set up, we drove over to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument’s Visitor Center to get the lay of the land. We picked up their Junior Ranger booklet, tried to watch the movie (we couldn’t because it was SO CROWDED), and sat in on a wonderful Ranger Discussion of the battle. This gave us the background information we needed to enjoy the next day’s festivities. The next morning we packed up and drove over to the site of the re-enactment, located in the same spot as Sitting Bull’s camp on the side of the Little Bighorn River.

Anna and Owen touring the 7th Cavalry Reenactors' campsites near the battlefield.

Anna and Owen touring the 7th Cavalry Reenactors’ campsites near the battlefield.

Little Bighorn Reenactors getting ready for the show.

Little Bighorn Reenactors getting ready for the show.

In late-June of 1876, approximately 1,500 – 2,000 Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Warriors defeated Custer’s 7th Cavalry—263 U.S. Soldiers were killed in the battle. This battle was part of a larger strategic campaign to force the capitulation of the remaining northern plains Indians to return to, or move to, the newly established reservation in present day South Dakota. The Indians were a mixture of reservation renegades and holdouts from the Fort Laramie Treaty. Of the Indians camped alongside the Little Bighorn River in June 1876, many (including the Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse) had rejected the treaty and didn’t feel compelled to comply with it. Others were refugees from the South Dakota Reservation, escaping the invasion of white prospectors and entrepreneurs that started after Lt Col George Armstrong Custer’s 1874 expedition into the Dakota Territory discovered gold in the Black Hills. These Indians were defending their way of life, fighting against encroachment, broken promises, and enacting revenge for past atrocities.

The Battle of Little Bighorn Reenactment. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

The Battle of Little Bighorn Reenactment.

In all, we spent two days touring the battlefield and attending the Battle of Little Bighorn Reenactment. Owen earned the Junior Ranger Badge and we all walked away with a deeper understanding of a complex and heartbreaking period in our Nation’s history.

Indian Warriors and Wild Horses at The Battle of Little Bighorn Reenactment. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Indian Warrior Reenactors and wild horses at the Battle of Little Bighorn Reenactment.

There are markers scattered throughout the Little Bighorn battlefield that represent the spots where individual Soldiers fell. This is the only battlefield in the world with this type of display and it really helps you understand how events unfolded over those hot and dusty two days in June 1876. In places, the White markers (U.S. Soldiers) and the Red markers (Indian Warriors) are commingled. You can almost see the battle and the many individual skirmishes in your mind’s eye. It’s a touching tribute to everyone who fought here.

The view from Last Stand Hill at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. These markers are located throughout the battlefield and represent where individual soldiers fell during the two-day battle in 1876. The white markers are U.S. Cavalry. There are red markers (not many though) that indicated where Native American Indian warriors fell.

The view from Last Stand Hill at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. These markers are located throughout the battlefield and represent where individual soldiers fell during the two-day battle in 1876. The white markers are U.S. Cavalry. There are red markers (not many though) that indicated where Native American Indian warriors fell.

Of course no one really won. The Indians may have won a tactical victory, but as the legends of Custer’s Last Stand grew to mythical-like proportions, the Battle of Little Bighorn became a strategic defeat for the Indians of the Northern Plains. The politicians used Custer’s Last Stand as a rallying cry to gain leverage to pacify the Indians. Pacification meant the systematic slaughter of the Indians’ primary food source—the Bison—and the destruction of their villages. Within a year of the battle, most of the hostile Plains Indians had been pacified and the U.S. Government, without compensation, took the Black Hills.

Markers along the Deep Ravine Trail at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Markers along the Deep Ravine Trail at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

We were on the fence about visiting Little Bighorn and we were definitely on the fence about attending the reenactment. While the reenactment was in equal doses hot, dusty, kitschy, and corny, it was executed with a lot of pride and sincerity and was one of the highlights of our June swing through Wyoming and Montana. The Indian reenactors that played Warriors and the white reenactors that played the 7th Cavalry have tremendous pride in their heritage and their role in preserving the history of both this battle and the larger war. Many of the reenactors are direct descendants of veterans of the battle.

More white markers at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

More white markers at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Driving the auto-tour route through the battlefield, walking the trails amongst the red and white markers, and listening to the Ranger Discussions all had a profound impact on us. While Anna and Owen finished up the Junior Ranger booklet, I walked the Deep Ravine Trail from the Visitor Center. At first it was simply a way to kill some time and get some exercise, but as I walked down to the Deep Ravine and further away from the crowds, I started to have a strange and, I dare say, almost religious-type experience. At the end of the trail, I turned around and looked back towards the visitor center. I saw several groups of white markers stretching along the trail and down the hill. Each group was spaced rough 15-20 yards apart. What wasn’t apparent as I walked down the hill was suddenly staring me in the face as I looked back up. In my mind, I could see the cavalry soldiers of Company E retreating down from Last Stand Hill, looking for safety in the nearby ravines and the Little Bighorn River. With a very little imagination you could easily see the soldiers fighting off the approaching Indians, and dying in their effort to reach the perceived safety of the river valley. This quiet stroll on a hot and dusty trail, among the white markers and tall grass turned into what I can only call some sort of transcendent experience—something that I’m still trying to digest and comprehend. I guess that is what travel is supposed to do. Maybe that is something I was looking for on the Big Big Trip?!?!

As a Nation, we are still dealing with our past and trying to understand how it fits into (and impacts) our society today. As I read the news each day and watch the world around us go through the daily gyrations of He Said/She Said/Social Media Said, I become disillusioned, frustrated, and sad. How can we improve and grow as a nation and a society if we continue to look for confirmation of our beliefs, if we don’t break free from our biases, and we don’t critically think about our past, our present, and our future? We need to look at the world around us. We can’t ignore the more ugly sides of our history and our present. We need to seek the truth and trust the facts. Every once in a while, we need to break away from the crowds and walk down a hot and dusty trail and take a look at the world around us from a different perspective. That’s the only way to understand our past, to see our present through a different lens, and to continue to grow into the great society that our founders predicted.

Owen at his Junior Ranger Swearing-in at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Owen at his Junior Ranger Swearing-in at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

To learn more, click here for a more in-depth history of the Battle of Little Bighorn. I also I recommend Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Posted in 2017, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

On Wednesday 7 June, following 12-days of moochdocking in Colorado, we hit the road for the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. With a vague notion of destinations, no reservations anywhere, and no solid schedule other than returning to CO before July 4th, it felt great to be back on the road.

We spent the morning making our way across Colorado’s high plateau from the Vail Valley towards Wyoming. After a delicious lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Craig, CO, we turned north on CO-14 and entered Wyoming. For miles on end we saw nothing but rolling hills, distant mesas, and the occasional Pronghorn. Eventually, we met up with Interstate-80 for a quick 80-mile jaunt to the west towards Rock Springs, WY, before heading north towards Jackson.

For the most part, we prefer the meandering and more picturesque US and State highways more than the Interstates. We enjoy driving through the small towns and seeing the interesting sights along the way. The back roads give us a real feel for an area’s personality. However, sometimes we need to strike a balance between our back roads mosey and the need to put some mileage behind us and an interstate is the solution.

After 413-miles, we finally called it a day. We spent the night at the very nice Warren Bridge BLM Campground just outside Pinedale, WY. We considered some free dispersed BLM camping options further south, but Warren Bridge was an hour closer to Jackson and had a dump station on site. It made more sense for us because we planned to dry camp in the Tetons and wanted empty black and grey tanks and a full fresh water tank. There were only a handful of other rigs at Warren Bridge and the über-friendly hosts immediately greeted us and gave us the rundown. Owen enjoyed riding around the campground and playing in the labyrinth after 8-hours cooped up in the truck.

airstream at warren bridge

Our campsite at the Warren Bridge BLM Campground. Did you know a labyrinth is different than a maze? Neither did I, but the camp hosts explained it to us. Evidently, the hosts have been working here for several years and built the maze labyrinth in 2013 or 2014…they’re very proud of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of it.

Early the next morning, after a thorough pump and dump, we headed north and followed the thaw-swollen Hoback and Snake Rivers into Jackson, WY and Grand Teton National Park.

The Tetons is one of our favorite National Parks. Both Anna and I still recall the awe we felt upon first seeing the peaks rising up over 7,000-feet from the floor of Jackson Hole. We could sit and watch the vast array of diverse wildlife in the valley or the clouds roll around the peaks for hours on end. Grand Teton National Park never seems to gets old to us.

Owen checking out Phelps Lake after our day hike in Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve area of Grand Teton National Park.

Owen checking out Phelps Lake after our day hike in Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve District of Grand Teton National Park.

Though we didn’t have reservations, with several options both inside the park and in the National Forest surrounding the valley, I was confident in our ability to find somewhere to stay. Our first choice was a National Forest dispersed camping area known as Upper Teton View. Given the quantity and quality of reviews on Campendium, I suspected this area might be busy. I was right!

airstream grand teton national park big big trip

Our free campsite overlooking the Grand Tetons!

Luckily, we arrived at Upper Teton View early and managed to snag a prime spot with gorgeous, unobstructed views of the valley and the Tetons. Once we were parked as the afternoon wore on, the dispersed area quickly filled with other travellers. The building community didn’t bother us though, we still had our view and new-comers were spacing themselves out nicely so as to not interfere with other campers. However, after a GIGANTIC Texas fifth wheel pulled up right next to us, deployed their multiple slides, and fired up their TWO loud and obnoxious generators, I was beginning to question the wisdom of our decision.

jackson wyoming elk arch grand teton national park big big trip

We spent one afternoon exploring Jackson, WY. Besides a bustling tourist trade (t-shirt shops, tacky souvenirs, etc.), Jackson has an awesome park in the center of town, the highlight of which are these four Elk Antler Arches. We also enjoyed a delicious late-lunch and beers at the Snake River Brewery.

Over cocktails that evening, Anna and I even began to discuss moving to one of the National Park campgrounds because they have rules and designated sites. For instance, you generally can’t run your generator 24/7 and you have to park in a designated site, that isn’t right up in your neighbor’s junk. Thankfully, the Texans killed their generators sometime around 10pm—I guess when they were done playing video games and watching their satellite TV—and everyone had a restful nights sleep.

phelps lake grand teton national park

Another shot of Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park.

We awoke the next morning to find the Texans (and several of the other late arrivals) gone; the camping area was peaceful and empty again. This would become the routine for the remainder of our stay. By mid-afternoon, overnighters would start to arrive in droves and by sunset the place was packed. However, by early the next morning the grassy plateau was relatively empty again. Since we were out and about most of the time, combined with our relatively isolated and front-row view of the Tetons, we spent four glorious nights enjoying our own little slice of paradise. We hated to leave. That is until we were packing up and three GIGANTIC matching fifth wheels pulled in.

The obligatory photo of Moulton Barn [Grand Teton National Park].

The obligatory photo of Moulton Barn [Grand Teton National Park].

As the new rigs jockeyed for position, I noticed they were hovering like vultures, waiting for our luxurious site to open up. Being a good neighbor, I mentioned we had about 30-45 minutes before we were ready to depart and they were welcomed to our site. No problem, the new comers killed the time by unloading a couple full-size, residential propane grills and more than one ATV, while enjoying several PBRs and smokes. Meanwhile multiple dogs and kids ran amok around the entire dispersed camping plateau, inspecting the other sites and alternately throwing rocks off the ridge or at each other. Maybe we didn’t hate to leave after all?

grand teton national park sunset big big trip

Our final sunset from our door at the Upper Teton View dispersed camping area just outside Grand Teton National Park.

Where I was pretty confident in our ability to find a campsite in the Tetons, I was less so about our chances in Yellowstone. Given how crazy Yellowstone is in the summer, combined with the fact that many of the first-come, first-served campgrounds were still closed for the season, I was concerned that we may not find a spot inside the park. Because Yellowstone is HUGE, we definitely wanted to be inside the park so we wouldn’t be forced to deal with the entrance lines.

Towards the end of stay in the Tetons, after we had done everything we wanted to do, we decided to take advantage of a bad weather day and drive to Yellowstone to scope out campgrounds. Grant Village was the first open area as we drove north from the Tetons. While Anna and Owen checked out the Grant Village Visitor Center, I went to the campground to see what was available. Our plan paid off with a reservation for five nights in the Grant Village campground. On Monday June 12th we moved to Yellowstone National Park.

june snowstorm yellowstone national park big big trip

During our first few days in Yellowstone, we enjoyed less than optimal weather, which ran the gamut of rain, thunderstorms, cold, snow, and thundersnow! Since we were dry camping, the weather forced me to break out the generator for the first two days in order to keep our batteries charged.

We had first visited Yellowstone in October 2009, during a cross-country move. Anna was five months pregnant at the time so Owen has never been to Yellowstone. Our 2009 visit was right after the first snowstorm of the season and the park was relatively empty and incredibly beautiful with all the fresh snow. We managed to score a last minute room at one of the lodges near Old Faithful and had a fantastic time touring the empty park. While we knew it would be much busier this time around, we looked forward to sharing Yellowstone with Owen.

During our Yellowstone visit, Owen worked on two kids' activities, the usual Junior Ranger book and the Yellowstone Young Scientist Book. The Young Scientist program dealt specifically with the park's geo-thermal features and featured a Ranger-led walk through the Upper Geyser Basin. Each kid is issued a backpack of scientific gear and Owen took his responsibility very seriously. He was the only Prospective Young Scientist on the walk, so we had a very personalized guided tour of the Upper Basin. Earning the patch was tough, but we all learned a lot!

During our Yellowstone visit, Owen worked on two kids’ activities, the usual Junior Ranger book and the Yellowstone Young Scientist Book. The Young Scientist program dealt specifically with the park’s geo-thermal features and featured a Ranger-led walk through the Upper Geyser Basin. Each kid is issued a backpack of scientific gear and Owen took his responsibility very seriously. He was the only Prospective Young Scientist on the walk, so we had a very personalized guided tour of the Upper Basin. Earning the patch was tough, but we all learned a lot!

In all, we spent 10-days in Yellowstone. Our plan was to spend the first half our stay in the southern portion of the park and then move further north to make exploring that end of the park easier. During our stay in Grant, we managed to explore most of the major southern areas, including multiple visits to the Upper and Midway Geyser Basins, as well as the Canyon area. We also spent one long afternoon driving out through the Lamar Valley, which was relatively deserted and stunningly picturesque.

castle geyser yellowstone national park big big trip

We timed our return visit to the Upper Geyser Basin so that we could catch both Castle Geyer (above) and Grand Geyser erupting. Both were spectacular!

Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyer Basin [Yellowstone National Park].

Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyer Basin [Yellowstone National Park].

After Grant, we headed north. We had been unable to get a reservation for our second half stay and planned leave early and stop at campgrounds until we found something. Our first planned stop was at Madison (our preferred choice). If no joy, then we would venture onward to Norris, Indian Creek, and ultimately Mammoth. If we couldn’t get a site anywhere in the park, we would take it as a sign and leave Yellowstone to continue our explorations into Montana. As we approached Madison, I commented to Anna that since I had been unable to get a reservation all week, we should skip it and continue to Norris. Anna insisted we stop and I’m glad I listened to her! Even though the sign out front said “Full” we snagged a really nice pull-through site. The folks at the front window cautioned me that I might not fit into that site, but we easily got into it and had room to spare. In our opinion, the Madison Campground is one of the nicest campgrounds in Yellowstone and is easily our favorite.

baby bison yellowstone national park big big trip

Although the crowds were starting to build, the highlight of visiting in early June is the opportunity to see all the baby animals. We spotted a bear cub in Grand Teton (sadly, no picture) and about a thousand Bison Calves in Yellowstone.

Where Grant was old, run-down, crowded, and muddy (we had a lot of rain and snow during our stay), Madison was much newer, with clean and well-maintained facilities. Madison’s campsites were also large with plenty of open space amongst the trees to spread out. With the majority of our touristing completed, we were able to sit back and enjoy Madison’s numerous Ranger Programs and its easy access to the Madison, Firehole, and Gibbon Rivers. Although Owen had already completed his Junior Ranger and Young Scientist booklets and earned the patches, he attended several Junior Ranger programs at the Madison Junior Ranger Station. The campground’s location at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers into the Madison River made fly fishing these world-renowned rivers an easy walk from the campground. Owen and I spent a few mornings and afternoons on the water looking for fish. The Bottom Line? We loved Madison and can’t wait to go back.

owen with echo fly rod big big trip

Teaching Owen to cast his new fly rod in Madison Campground [Yellowstone National Park].

madison river fly fishing yellowstone national park big big trip

Owen breaking in his new fly rod on the Madison River [Yellowstone National Park].

owen and dad in eno hammock madison yellowstone national park big big trip

We really enjoyed Madison Campground. Since we had seen most of what we wanted to see, and the weather had dramatically improved, our final few days in Madison were much more relaxed [Madison Campground, Yellowstone National Park].

Midway through our visit to Yellowstone we began to notice an increasing number of daily visitors. On Saturday, 17 June I drove into West Yellowstone, MT to procure a very specific fly rod for Owen and discovered a quarter-mile long line to get back in to the park. Finding a parking spot at the popular attractions between the hours of 10am and 4pm was becoming difficult. Trash was starting to overflow. The geysers were beginning to sprout hats and vault toilets at the pullouts were extra ripe. On Monday the 19th, we drove to Mammoth Hot Springs and promptly got stuck in a 5-mile long Bison-Jam that took an hour to negotiate. Yellowstone finally thawed for the season and Humanity was beginning to bloom; time for us to go…

grand canyon of the yellowstone yellowstone national park big big trip

As usual, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was incredible. With the spring thaw in full force, the Falls of the Yellowstone River were pretty dramatic.

upper mammoth terraces yellowstone national park big big trip

We were feeling pretty burnt out by the time we got to the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park, so we didn’t spend as much time exploring as we could have…We’ll have to spend more time here during our next visit!

old faithful junior ranger young scientist yellowstone national park big big trip

A Junior Ranger and a Young Scientist!

We knew it was time for us to move on as congested roadways, wildlife-induced traffic jams, overflowing parking lots, and humanity-clogged visitor centers became the norm. Don’t get me wrong we love Yellowstone! Spending 10-days in the park had us reconsidering future plans and wondering if a season in Yellowstone was right for us? We enjoyed almost every minute in the park and briefly considered relocating to Mammoth or trying to extend our stay at Madison, but we knew we had to pull-chocks and continue our journey. So, we were just a little sad as we packed up and headed out on the 20th. But our departure decision was quickly validated as we passed a 10-1/2 mile long, on-coming lane, Bison-jam that was filled with cars, trucks, and RVs of every shape and size, all loaded with people looking for some Yellowstone magic. Time for us to go before that magic wore off…

north entrance gateway theodore roosevelt yellowstone national park big big trip

This beautiful archway, which Theodore Roosevelt dedicated in 1903, stands at the northern entrance to the park and welcomes visitors. Part of TR’s speech is immortalized at the top of arch and it says, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” As we sat in more and more traffic jams, I kept telling myself to embrace the sentiment of TR’s words, but the reptilian core of my brain told me it was time to go.

Posted in 2017, Grand Teton National Park, Montana, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

May – D.C. to the Colorado Rockies

We left D.C. on Friday May 5th. While our ultimate destination was Michigan for a 10-day visit, we had intermediate stops in both Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Hanging out with Honest Abe the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Hanging out with Honest Abe the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Early in the spring we made an 8 May service appointment for a few minor repairs at the Airstream Factory (i.e., The Mothership) in Jackson Center, Ohio. In between D.C. and the Mothership, we planned to meet up with the @thisisournext crew, as well as some old Navy friends outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. So, after a quick stop at the Gettysburg Battlefield, we pulled into Pennsylvania’s Little Buffalo State Park and parked next to some of our favorite Airstreamers for the weekend. Over the course of the weekend, besides meeting up with our old Navy friends, we hungout in the campground, exposed our kids to the insanity that is the kitschy and tourist-trappy Hershey Chocolate tour, and visited the Whitaker Center for Science and Arts in Harrisburg (another ASTC member). On Sunday morning we said our goodbyes to Dave, Rosa, and the girls and headed west towards Jackson Center and the Mothership.

Gettysburg Junior Junior Ranger

While Anna took a nap in the trailer (she was running at 102-degree fever when we left D.C. that morning), Owen and I worked on his Junior Ranger Badge at the Gettysburg Visitor Center. Without a doubt, this was our most difficult Junior Ranger Badge to complete.

big big trip airstream friends buffalo state park pennsylvania

One of the unexpected highlights of this lifestyle is meeting new people along the way. It was great to have the opportunity to hang out with Dave, Rosa, and their girls again.

The 444-mile drive from Harrisburg, PA to Jackson Center, Ohio was our longest day of driving as family since the beginning of the Big Big Trip. I had a longer day, but that was by myself, driving from Montana to Colorado after we launched. Following a mind-numbing day on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we finally pulled into the TerraPort at Airstream’s Jackson Center factory. All of us were fried and just a little cranky, but quickly got situated and settled into our spot for the night.

Airstream Mothership Terraport

Our first night parked at the Mothership’s Terraport.

Luckily, Dave and Rosa had been through the Mothership Routine the week prior and gave us the gouge. So, the next morning, not quite feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was checking into the service desk at 7am. While I was checking us in, Anna and Owen drove a few miles down the road to drop Dash off at a local kennel (link to kennel here). While everyone we talked to said that dogs were fine in the Airstream waiting room, we wanted our freedom and didn’t want the hassle of trying to deal with Dash for two days of trailer service. Plus, Dash is a barker and can be obnoxious and we didn’t feel like dealing with his bullshit. Anna managed to find a great kennel just a few miles outside of Jackson Center and the $43 we spent on two days of boarding (plus a wash!) was money well spent.

Dayton Ohio Aviation Junior Ranger

Owen earning one of his two Junior Ranger Badges from our visit to Dayton, Ohio.

Over the next two days while the techs worked on our home, Anna and Owen completed school in the morning and then we all would hop in the truck to explore the area. We spent our first afternoon exploring Dayton and the two Wright Brothers and aviation-themed National Park sites (here and here). Dayton has a very nice downtown area and has collaborated with the National Park Service and the U.S. Air Force for several, very well done Wright Brothers sites. Owen even managed to earn two Junior Ranger badges during our afternoon visit to Dayton.

By the time we got back to the Mothership, our trailer had been returned to the Terraport and was patiently waiting for us. After our long day of driving on Sunday, combined with the 100-mile roundtrip drive to Dayton, we were once again exhausted and fried. Thankfully, we had planned an easier second day. With our tour scheduled for 2pm on Tuesday, we only ventured a few miles south to Sidney for some exercise at a playground and lunch at a burger place—both highly recommended by Dave and Rosa.

Another Afternoon parked at the Mothership in Jackson Center, Ohio.

Another Afternoon parked at the Mothership in Jackson Center, Ohio.

With all our work completed by the time we finished our tour on Tuesday afternoon, we spent a relaxing evening in the Terraport and departed Jackson Center late Wednesday morning after a well-deserved late wake-up. By late afternoon on Wednesday, we were parked in my Dad’s yard in Michigan.

Farmer Owen John Deere

Nothing runs like a Deere. Owen is practicing his driving skills in my Dad’s yard in Michigan. A little more practice and he will be ready for the big tractor!

Airstream Cabinet Remodel

One of the big jobs on my “to-do” list while at my Dad’s was to remove the microwave. Since we only used the microwave for storage (and since the mounting frame had recently broken), I decided to remove it and install a door. I got lucky and managed to score a piece of laminated plywood at the Airstream factory! It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. And on the food storage front, it’s been a game-changer!

We spent 10-days in Michigan visiting with family and catching up on Airstream odds and ends. After completing the microwave removal project (I got a hook-up of some veneered plywood from the service tech at Airstream), I finally managed to complete my Airstream to-do list! Plans with Anna’s family were looming on the 24th of May in Loveland, Colorado, we departed Michigan on Sunday the 21st.

Airstream leaving michigan

The morning of our departure from Michigan.

Over the next three days, we averaged about 330-miles per day and made our way across the Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, to Colorado. We spent nights on the Mississippi River in Illinois, the Missouri River in Omaha, and the middle of nowhere in Ogallala, NE. In Loveland, Colorado, we met up with some of Anna’s family and stayed at Colorado’s Boyd Lake State Park. After mini-reunion, we left with Anna’s mom and dad and headed up I-70 to the Vail Valley and their driveway for the next 10-days.

During the trip to Colorado, we spent our first night on the road at the Fisherman's Corner BLM Campground on the Mississippi River in Illinois (just off I-80).

During the trip to Colorado, we spent our first night on the road at the very nice Fisherman’s Corner Army Corps of Engineers Campground on the Mississippi River in Illinois (just off I-80).

During our cross-country move in 2012, we stopped at the Antique Archeology shop in Le Claire, Iowa. Since then, Owen has fallen in love with the American Pickers TV show and we decided to stop again.

During our cross-country move in 2012, we stopped at the Antique Archeology shop in Le Claire, Iowa.  Almost exactly five years later, we decided to stop again.

Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Railyard North Platte Nebraska

We’ve always wanted to stop at the Bailey Yard and Golden Spike Visitor Center in North Platte, Nebraska. We finally had the opportunity. This is the largest railroad classification yard in the world and handles over 14,000 rail cars every day.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado Airstream

Colorado…Finally!

New Belgium Fort Collins

Anna’s brother owns a brewery in Loveland, so the beer culture is strong in this family. Fittingly, we spent one afternoon during our Loveland stay getting a FANTASTIC Private, Behind-the-Scenes Tour the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins.

Airstream in Avon Colorado

Parked in Anna’s folks’ driveway.

Red Stone Colorado

During our stay at Anna’s folks’ house, we had the opportunity to escape for a romantic get-away. We headed west to the town of Redstone, Colorado and stayed at the charming Redstone Inn.

Colorado Ghost Town

Exploring an old Ghost Town.

Still snow in early June on the Continental Divide at 12,095-feet!

Still snow in early June on the Continental Divide at 12,095-feet!

 

 

 

Posted in 2017, Colorado, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, Gettysburg Battlefield, Great Plains, Michigan, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, National Aviation Heritage Area, Rocky Mountains, Washington, D.C. | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Airstreaming in D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina

We celebrated our one-year Nomadiversary last week in Yellowstone National Park. It’s amazing how quickly this first year flew by. One year ago we were rushing around trying to finish packing and selling our house, while simultaneously getting the Airstream packed and on the road. It’s also amazing how for behind I continue to remain this blog?!?! Or, maybe it’s not really that amazing…

While I had made progress on the blog in late-May and early-June, it continues to lag our real-time travels by a few months. Since we left Anna’s folks’ home in Colorado, we’ve been off the grid and I haven’t been as aggressive in the blog-updating as I should. So, take this as an excuse for the delayed one-year post. I have more thoughts on our First Nomadiversary, but will save that because I want to keep this silly blog in some type of chronological order.

greenbelt national park maryland airstream pussy hat airstream

Hanging out at Greenbelt National Park Campground with my niece Jen.

After leaving Raleigh, NC on the 30th of March, we made our way to Washington, D.C. Last November, we concocted a plan to meet my niece and her family in D.C. over their kids’ Spring Break. They drove down from Michigan with their RV in tow and we camped together in the National Park campground at Greenbelt Park in Maryland. The Greenbelt Campground was a dump less than stellar (you can read our review here), but we enjoyed taking the Metro into D.C. and exploring the city with them. Since we lived in D.C. for almost two years—and we planned to return in late April for another long week—we let the Michiganders drive the tourist schedule. Although the peak of the Cherry Blossoms had already passed, we still had a fun exploring city and sharing it with Owen and his cousins. On Friday morning, April 7th, we parted ways heading south towards Hampton Roads.

big big trip washington dc district of columbia

Fun in Washington, D.C. with cousins

Owen channeling his inner Grizzly Bear at the Museum of Natural History big big trip

Owen channeling his inner Grizzly Bear at the Museum of Natural History

We planned to spend April flittering about the mid-Atlantic. After D.C., our route included stops in Hampton Roads; the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; Shenandoah National Park; and finally a return to Washington, D.C. at the end of the month. First, we planned to spend the 7th and 8th on the south shore of Virginia’s Middle Neck. We camped at Belle Isle State Park with some old Navy friends who happen to own a very sexy, late 80’s Airstream Excella. After a very nice weekend at a beautiful Virginia State Park, we continued south to Hampton Roads.

One of the volunteers at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Colonial Beach, Virginia.

One of the volunteers at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Colonial Beach, Virginia.  This is a great little NPS site that is a little out of the way but worth the stop.  Owen earned their Junior Ranger Badge–it took less than an hour to complete.  Also, it’s located just down the street from Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home (Lee married Martha Washington’s Great Grand Daughter, who would inherit the family estate in Arlington, VA–the current Arlington House at Arlington National Cemetery).  We stopped here on our way south from Washington, D.C. to Belle Isle State Park.

Airstream Meet-up with old Navy friends at Belle Isle State Park in Virginia

Airstream Meet-up with old Navy friends at Belle Isle State Park in Virginia

We had lived in Norfolk for almost eight years and therefore had a pretty full schedule planned for our stay in the area. With activities planned on both the Peninsula and the south side, we decided to break our Hampton Roads stop in half and spread it out over two weeks. If you’ve lived in the Virginia Tidewater area, you clearly understand the logic of this decision. If you’ve never lived around (or even visited) Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake, or Virginia Beach then I can quickly explain our decision with one word: TRAFFIC. With dozens of bridges and tunnels that bottleneck the already congested civilian and military commuters, Hampton Roads has fucking awful terrible traffic problems. Regardless of the reasons for our bifurcated Hampton Roads visit decision, our plan was to spend one week on the peninsula in Williamsburg and our second week in Virginia Beach. In between we would make a quick trip south to the Outer Banks of North Carolina…just because!

Colonial Williamsburg in the springtime

Exploring Colonial Williamsburg

Our first Hampton Roads week was dedicated to the historic Williamsburg area. Visiting Historic Jamestown(e), Colonial Williamsburg, and the Yorktown National Battlefield easily filled our time.

Owen was not excited with Colonial Williamsburg

Owen was not excited with Colonial Williamsburg

We love Williamsburg. When we lived in the area, we always enjoyed wandering around the colonial village and capping our visit off with lunch or dinner at The Trellis restaurant (pre-Owen). Also, as an alumnus of the College of William and Mary (I earned my MBA there in 2003), Williamsburg holds a special place in my heart. Thankfully, Owen put up with our meandering about Duke of Gloucester Street and our reminiscent lunch at The Trellis. But he also made it abundantly clear that Colonial Williamsburg wasn’t his cup of tea! To be 100-percent honest, given that we picked the busiest week of the Spring Break season to visit, we didn’t enjoy our Colonial Williamsburg visit that much either. After visiting so many historic National Park sites, we found Colonial Williamsburg to be too commercialized and too corporate. It’s funny to realize that we never noticed that aspect when we visited in the early 2000s?!?! Luckily, the Yorktown National Battlefield and Jamestowne National Historic Site (not the commercialized Historic Jamestown(e) next door, but the NPS site located at the actual Jamestowne settlement) were much quieter and less crowded. We enjoyed them more than the too crowded and too commercialized Colonial Williamsburg. At the end of the week, we finally packed up after getting our early American history on, and headed south to the Outer Banks on Friday the 14th of April.

Yorktown Battlefield National Historic Site

Yorktown Battlefield National Historic Site

When we were in Raleigh, we had wanted to try to get to work in a quick trip to the Outer Banks, but couldn’t make it work with our schedule. On the day we drove from Raleigh to D.C., we realized that if we split up our Hampton Roads visit, we could slip down to the Outer Banks for a quick weekend visit. Easter weekend at Oregon Inlet fit the bill nicely.

During the drive down to the Outer Banks, we stopped at the Wright Brothers National Monument in Kitty Hawk, NC.

During the drive down to the Outer Banks, we stopped at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC.

big big trip cape hatteras national seashore oregon inlet airstream gmc

We managed to snag a great campsite at Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks

Oregon Inlet is a great little campground. While you can’t actually see the beach from the campground, you can walk there by traversing a few small dunes. Many of the campsites are located in amongst the dunes, but the length of our rig relegated us to the grassy loop area which, given that the campground was less than half full, was just fine. Not to mention that Anna still has PTSD from all the sand we found at Padre Island National Seashore. With no trees and a constant fresh breeze off the ocean, our batteries stayed full and we were completely comfortable. In between lounging around the campsite and hanging out on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and at the lighthouses, we managed to work-in a trip to Manteo, NC to visit the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Fort Raleigh officially closed the loop on the whole English settlement lesson we started at Jamestown(e). This quick trip to North Carolina resulted in Owen rocking three more Junior Ranger badges…SCORE!

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Feeling refreshed and satisfied, on Monday morning we left the Outer Banks and ventured north to Virginia Beach. We spent the next five days camping on the beach at First Landing State Park, visiting old friends, and frequenting old haunts.

Hanging out in front of the USS Wisconsin in downtown Norfolk, Virginia

Hanging out in front of the USS Wisconsin in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Anna and I lived about four blocks from here in 2006 and 07.

First Landing was a completely adequate state park, but we felt let down by it. Given our experiences with Belle Island State Park earlier in the month (the was perhaps the best state park we’ve visited), we were disappointed by the quality and cleanliness of the park. Not only were the sites dirty and poorly maintained, most are located right next to a busy Virginia Beach roadway. Overall, while it was nice to see some old friends (and Anna got to visit her old—and favorite—http://www.amicistyle.com), we left Virginia Beach feeling a little let down by our stay. Perhaps we had built it up too much in our heads, or maybe it was the congestion and hectic pace of life around us that left us feeling less than satisfied? Also, I suspect that we were starting to get a little road-weary after 4+ months of traveling with only one real break in Key West. Regardless, on Friday the 21st of April, we headed inland towards the mountains and the land of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Over the next several cold and rainy days, we explored Charlottesville and had an amazing children’s tour of Jefferson’s Monticello. Our plan was to continue our route back to D.C. via Skyline Drive and three days in Shenandoah National Park, but with continued cold weather and HEAVY rain in the forecast, we decided that boondocking in the mountains didn’t sound like a lot of fun. So, we pulled chocks and beat feet back to Washington, D.C on Monday morning.

On Saturday morning we took the Monticello Family Friendly tour and it was AWESOME. Our tour guide was obviously a local school teacher and she did a wonderful job of keepingthe kids excited and engaged throughout the tour.

On Saturday morning we took the Monticello Family Friendly tour and it was AWESOME. Our tour guide was obviously a local school teacher and she did a wonderful job of keeping the kids excited and engaged throughout the tour.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

During our return trip to D.C., we visited a TON of NPS sites throughout the D.C. area. This was taken in front of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which we had never visited before and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s really well done and definitely worth the walk.

We visited Arlington National Cemetery during our first stop earlier in April. While we were there, we picked up the Arlington House Robert E. Lee Memorial Junior Ranger booklet and worked on it during the rest of the month. When we returned at the end of the month, we force-marched (it was a really hot and humid day) Owen through the cemetery, up to the house so that he could get his badge.

Returning to northern Virginia early meant that we now had 10-days to continue our D.C. explorations. But, given the last-minute change of plans, our camping accommodations were divided up into three separate reservations at two campgrounds—two different sites at Pohick Bay Regional Campground, followed by a few full hook-up days at the Army’s Fort Belvoir Campground.

Anna and Owen working on the National Mall and Memorial Parks Junior Ranger Booklet during our Metro commute from Pohick Bay Campground.

We had a pretty full dance card for our second D.C. visit and over the course of our stay we managed to exhaust ourselves with almost daily Metro trips into the city and six separate social engagements with old friends and old co-workers, as well as an InstaMeet with the famous (or infamous?) @upintheairstream crew. Also, Anna was a roadschooling machine during our stay, keeping Owen busy with National Park Junior Ranger’ing and general History’ing in the multiple sites throughout the city. By the time we left on 5th of May, we were all literally sick and tired of D.C. We had all managed to contract varying degrees of cold/flu during our 10-days and Anna ended up with the worst of all, including having a 102-degree fever on our May 5th departure. With Anna feeling like shit under the weather, we steered our rig through the legendary D.C. traffic and headed northwest on I-70 and departed the Mid-Atlantic.

Washington Monument Junior Ranger Badge

Owen showing off the rewards from his hard work while in D.C.

Posted in 2017, Arlington House Memorial, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Jamestowne National Historic Site, Mid-Atlantic, National Mall and Memorial Parks, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Wright Brothers National Memorial, Yorktown National Battlefield | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment