We get inspiration for our travels from a variety of sources, but the Barringer Meteor Crater marks the first time we’ve picked a vacation destination based on a video game. As we were driving out west for our Southwest Road Trip (Trip #5 from my e-book, How To Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips), my son asked me if I’d ever heard of the Barringer Meteor Crater and if I knew where it was. He had heard about it while playing Civilization V with a friend. I hadn’t heard of it, so I pulled out my trusty smartphone and [...]
Many of my friends who have seen my pictures of Great Sand Dunes National Park have the same reaction: “Really?! That’s in Colorado?! Where?”
It’s in south central Colorado. We stopped at Great Sand Dunes for a few hours on our way from Colorado Springs to Mesa Verde National Park. Combined with several hours of driving on both ends, that adds up to a full day. Before you head to the park, plan to stop at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis or in the town of Alamosa where you can rent a sand sled and a sandboard from Kristi [...]
We’ve all seen models of our solar system before, but I had not seen anything like the Lightspeed Planet Walk until we visited Anchorage, Alaska. Not only was the model made to scale, but the scale was selected such that a leisurely walking pace matches that of the speed of light. That means that it takes a person about eight minutes to walk from the model of the sun to the model of the Earth, just like it takes about eight minutes for light to travel from the real sun to Earth.
The place to start is the corner [...]
There is only one place in the United States where you can stand in four states at once: the Four Corners Monument. This is where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet.
When we were planning our trip to the Southwest (Trip #5 in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips), one of my daughters was adamant that Four Corners must be on the itinerary. A couple of people discouraged me from visiting, saying there wasn’t much to it. We really wanted to go, and didn’t expect it to be an all-day type of [...]
When we were planning our trip to Amish Country, Indiana, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that touring a real, working Amish farm was an option. I definitely wanted to sign up for that. An Amish man named Kenny offers buggy rides as well as farm tours. We met him in downtown Shipshewana where he picked us up in a buggy.
He then drove us through town and out into the country. It was a scenic and relaxing ride accompanied by the clip clop of horse hooves.
Although most Amish people do not want to be [...]
Perhaps Jewel Cave National Monument doesn’t sound very impressive. After all, it’s just a National Monument, not at National Park, right? Wrong. Jewel Cave is the third longest known cave system in the world. And the key word in that sentence is “known.” New passages of Jewel Cave are still being discovered and mapped. Once it’s all mapped, it quite possibly could turn out to be the world’s longest cave. Scientists have estimated the volume of the cave using airflow studies. They measure how much air the caves exhales when the outside pressure drops and vice versa. The parts of [...]
I love South Dakota’s Black Hills region for all of its natural beauty, and not only is there gorgeous scenery above ground; there’s even more to be discovered below ground. As with most national parks, the place to start is the visitor center.
One word of caution: the park’s website warns you not to trust your GPS to find the visitor center. The website has a map and directions. I am one of those people who tends to trust my GPS too much, and it has gotten me into trouble more than once, so I wanted to point that [...]
Diamond Caverns is located in Park City, Kentucky, in the heart of Kentucky’s Cave Country, not far from Mammoth Cave National Park. Because it is located so close to Mammoth Cave, it makes sense to compare the two caves. The names hint at the differences. What makes Mammoth Cave impressive is the sheer volume of the underground rooms. Diamond Caverns, on the other hand, glitters with beauty.
You won’t find any diamonds in it, but there are many beautiful discoveries to be found on the hour-long tour. Another difference between the two cave tours is the size of [...]
With so many caves in Kentucky’s Cave Country, many have added other attractions to make them stand out from the crowd. That is exactly the case with Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave, Kentucky. In addition to cave tours, they offer the American Cave Museum, along with a zipline and rappelling. And that worked out really well for our visit. It turns out that the “hidden” river decided not to stay hidden while we were in town–it flooded the cave. It wasn’t hard to find the river at all. We just walked down this long flight of stairs and [...]
Cave of the Winds is in a beautiful area west of Colorado Springs. Although the reason to go into the cave is to see the beautiful formations underground, don’t miss the beautiful scenery above ground.
The canyon is truly breathtaking.
Cave of the Winds offers three different tours: Discovery Tour, Lantern Tour, and Caving 101. Those are listed in order of increasing difficulty. Caving 101 would have been great fun for my two teenagers, but crawling through muddy passages is not my idea of fun. This tour requires you to bring a change of clothes and shoes, [...]