While exploring Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, we camped at Cottonwood Campground inside the park. It’s located just five miles from the National Park’s South Unit park entrance. Our plans were originally to camp three nights. Due inclement weather, we ended up staying a few more days. But it was more than the cold rain that kept us there!
While we were enjoying an Xscapers event in Casa Grande, Arizona, we escaped for a day with a couple friends to visit Casa Grande National Monument in nearby Coolidge, Arizona. Translated, Great House, these ruins were once, a cultural gathering place rich in ancestral and ecological history. Today, visitors like us come to gather for a different reason.
On our National Park’s 100th anniversary in August 2016, we thought it was fitting to visit one of America’s most famous memorials; Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This great memorial is located in South Dakota with majestic views of the Black Hills.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of travelers look forward to taking advantage of our National Park Free Admission Days. This wonderful opportunity allows visitors to visit our National Parks. Also included are our National Monuments, Historical Landmarks, National Battlefields, National Seashores, etc. without requiring a pass or payment.
When’s the last time you visited a National Park?
Did you know there’s 60 of National Parks; at least one in every state? That’s ‘just’ the National Parks since 1916! There’s also countless National Monuments, Historic Landmarks, Battlefields, Military Parks, Seashores, Lakes and Rivers. They’ve grown to epic numbers of visitors. It’s fairly inexpensive, fun and a great way to get in touch with nature and the wild. At the same time, it’s a great way to learn about our Country’s history, geography and geology. Are you ready for your amazing experience?
Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert is one of the least visited National Parks. Not understanding why it’s not as popular as other National Parks, we think it should be one of your bucket list destinations when you’re visiting the southwest United States. Its’ unique and vibrant natural features will lead your curiosity into wondering how these remnants were once a forest in the desert today.
Its November; the month for giving thanks. We are grateful for life’s rewards, the smallest of struggles and everything in between. We feel its necessary to recognize those who have been a huge influence in our RV traveling journey for the past two years.
So, here’s our own RVer’s Thanksgiving Message:
When our RV friends weren’t working their remote jobs, we’d get together for an outing and vittles. One morning, we all rose early to drive out to the Great Sand Dunes National Park for some hiking, sightseeing and to get our National Park Passports stamped.
About the Great Sand Dunes…
Welcome to the Dunes…
After getting parked, we got our passports stamped at the Visitor Center and viewed a video and hands-on informational exhibits.
All four of us headed to the picnic area where we sat down to enjoy some fellowship while chowing down on our cooler full of vittles. We were blessed with beautiful weather too.
Our exciting adventure…
It was already a very warm day so it seemed like it was a little more work but that didn’t stop Dan and Brittany from doing the inevitable; climbing to the top of the dunes. Being that Eric has bad knees and I have back issues, we hung out at the top of the smallest dune to watch Brittany and Dan challenge themselves. We were already 6000′ above sea level, so this was a bit more challenging than just taking a stroll up a 750′ hill, not to mention, it was loose sand.
While Eric and I stood there chatting for what seemed forever (because we stood there in the heat for all of it), Brittany and Dan disappeared over the crest of the first dune. They looked like little ants the further they hiked. We’d see them again and then loose them doing down another…and another…and another.
Brittany’s words upon their return, ‘it was quite exerting; one step forward, three steps back and doing it at higher altitude, we just couldn’t catch our breaths’.
Dan said they had to stop often to empty their shoes which weighted them down. Adding to that, it was a very warm day; about 85 degrees.
A few times, we’d see one of them, bend over in the distance during their climb and stop for awhile. They said they were offered water by some passerby’s (hikers that were faster and more in shape as them?!). Then we’d see them start up again.
The finish line…
An hour and a half later, they successfully made it to the top and another hour and a half after that, they came back tired, weary but celebrated. They were red-faced and a bit dehydrated so Eric and I sacrificed our own water bottles to get them back to looking a normal color. But LOOK at them looking all celebratory!
On the drive back, our tummies were growling so Eric took to googling places to eat in Pueblo. We agreed on the Bingo Burger which turned out to be a very deserved and pleasant meal. Fantastic burgers!Best friends! Good times! Fantastic memories!
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