Tag Archives: National Parks

A Cross Country Road Trip ~ June/July 2018 ~ Part 3

Next up: A back road drive from Huddleston Virginia to Chincoteague Island Virginia.

We decided that we really didn’t want to drive on the big highways, its so much more pleasant to take the road less traveled.  It took a little longer, but well worth it.

Not a real big island, but what a great place!  And why are we on Chincoteague you ask?  My husband’s good friend of many, many years has a home there and it just so happened that he was there while we were passing by, so we stopped for a while.

[I just had to get a souvenir]

Chincoteague is just a quaint tourist town.  Cute shops, restaurants and oh yeah, the Assateague Ponies are right across a small bridge.  I couldn’t get a good enough photo of the horses, but WOW!  If you go, make sure you’ve got your NPS America The Beautiful Pass!

And talking about the restaurants, we went to two places that were fabulous!  DH’s Old Friend had asked what we’d like to eat and in unison we both said, SEAFOOD!!   😀

Ray’s Shanty, just off Chincoteague Island was just plain delicious!

My husband ordered a Fried Oyster Platter and I had the Shanty Special 3 Item plate of Flounder, Steamed Shrimp and Clam Strips, Oh My GOSH!!!  With a nice cold local brew on tap along side, I was very happy.  Oh yeah, we did share by the way  😉

The other great restaurant that we went to was Bill’s Prime Seafood and Steaks right there on Chincoteague Island.

Both DH and I had a salad, they were huge; I ordered Crab cakes to DH’s 2 plates of raw Oysters on the half shell.
That was a real treat for us!

Old Friend made us dinner too!  Gorgeous Prime Porterhouse Steaks on the grill.

Well, my DH and his Old Friend started to get-a-yackin’ and, ummm, kinda forgot the grill … it was delicious!

We both had a really nice visit with his Old Friend, but we need to motor …

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Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #13 ~ Next Up Is Keystone South Dakota

On our way out of Sundance Wyoming we went through Deadwood South Dakota, interesting place for a morning visit.

On to the main event: Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

I know that I’ve said WOW! quite a few times already in sharing our Great Western Adventure with everyone, but WOW!

As we walked towards the granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, I stopped in my tracks, tears welling up and rolling down my cheeks.

I spotted Hawaii’s State flag in the breeze, which reminded me what a lucky little girl from Kaneohe Oahu I am. My husband was so excited, he plowed ahead, getting as close as he could to this National Treasure. This was a place we both had been waiting all of our lives to see…

So let’s not waste any more time dilly-dallying around.

We didn’t bother with our hotel until later that afternoon. We stayed at the park for the majority of the day, got a quick bite in the cafeteria and then found a good spot to watch the Evening Lighting Ceremony.  I don’t have one of those fancy cameras that can take a good night-time photo, but was really awesome to see!

The next day we had breakfast in our hotel, which was once again the usual “continental-plus” fare and then back to the park for the day. Surprisingly, there is a lot to see and do. We had decided that we would end our day early and have dinner at the Powder House Restaurant. You wouldn’t know that this is a restaurant, it looks like a log cabin, but man, what great food. In my research prior to leaving on this trek, I found that the Powder House specializes in local grass fed beef, bison and game.

My husband and I shared an appetizer of game kebabs-venison, bison and elk, wonderful. My supper was the special game of the day, pheasant with a fresh apple relish if you will and steamed veggies. My DH ordered the Prime Rib and the steamed veg as well. It seems that we had just enough room leftover to share a chocolate mousse.

We found a small grocery store in the next town over and replenished our supplies the next day and spent one more day at Mount Rushmore. We both just sat, in silence, looking up at the four faces that helped to forge America.

WOW, just WOW!

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #12 ~ Sundance

No, not the town that you’re thinking of, Sundance Wyoming. Why did we go there you may ask? Because once again, that was the closest town with a hotel to Devils Tower National Monument.

It’s kinda of out in the middle of, well, nothing and nowhere, but once you spot America’s first National Monument, it’ll take your breath away.

We spent a good part of the day at the park, hiking around the base of the igneous intrusion, that’s what it’s called, I thought it was a granite tower. We tried to have a picnic lunch, but the bees were everywhere and unrelenting.

Trying to find dinner in a very small town can be a challenge, but I had done my homework. Aro Restaurant, very unassuming and homey. Each of us ordered a burger and sweet potato fries that came with ‘yam butter’. When our waitress came back to check on us, I had to ask, what is yam butter. She gave me the basic recipe, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and butterscotch topping. I know it sounds crazy, but it works! Dessert was one of the daily special pies, chocolate and peanut butter with a meringue topping, very good.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #10 ~ Keep On Movin’

The drive from Whitefish to Billing Montana was very much a reverse route of our previous ride, SO BEAUTIFUL! I encourage anyone who was not gone into Montana, do so, it’s well worth your time. You will decompress from your hectic day-to-day.

We had just a little trouble finding our hotel in Billings, and it was a very long drive. We found a grocery store, replenished our picnic-making supplies and decided on just a simple mixed veggie salad in our room.

I have always road tripped with my dollar store knife, flexible plastic cutting mat, disposable sea salt and black pepper grinders and garlic powder for just such an affair. Sometimes we will stay in and make a salad of whatever vegetables we can find, either in stores or farmer’s markets.

We aren’t stayin’ long here, so let’s get to it!

We knew that it was going to be another long day, so it was a fast breakfast in our hotel and then off to Pompey’s Pillar National Monument. What, you’ve never heard of that either, well time for another American History lesson.

Remember the Lewis & Clark expedition? This is the only physical evidence of their journey. Captain William Clark inscribed his name into this sandstone formation along the Yellowstone River. He named this tower, as he called it, after the son of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau and Sacagawea, whom he nicknamed Pompy.

We clambered to the top, as we were being attacked by mosquitoes the size of B52 boomers! Thank goodness I had a can of bug repellent with me at all times on this trip, we had use it on more than one occasion.

On to our next history lesson, Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. I wasn’t expecting to be so taken aback, but to see all of these markers where men and horses too had fallen. We spent a good amount of time at the Visitor Center, watching the video and then the Ranger’s talk about the battle, fascinating. We drove the self guided loop road, stopping at the different placards.

Mushroom Pizza @ Ciao Mambo in Billings Montana

That was another long day, so what’s for dinner?

I found Ciao Mambo again, here in Billings too, and not terribly far from our hotel. We shared another Caesar salad with those huge anchovies and a mushroom Pizza. We didn’t have too much luck with pizza on this trip. It was okay, but that’s all.

Tomorrow is another town though.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #4 ~ Day Two Of Our Great Western Adventure

Can you believe it? I was up at 5 am!

We got ready and went down to breakfast in the hotel. It was okay I guess for the free fare that you get in most hotels; then it was out the door with us.

Bryce Canyon National Park, WOW!

Even the drive up there was beautiful, going through those red rocks. We’ve got our America the Beautiful annual pass, which will get us into all of the National Parks for a year.

Bryce Canyon Utah

What I had read before hand, was to drive all the way to the top of the road, which was 13 miles, and then work your way back down to the front gate. That was perfect! We got to see the red rocks and formations in the different changing light and then on top of that, the pullouts or vistas are all on the right hand side of the road going back down, it made sense.

BREATHTAKING!

We had a picnic lunch at Sunset Point which was the only stop with water and flushing toilets. It was a very pleasant day, starting out at 45 degrees when we woke up, but by the time we had lunch it was in the high 60’s.

Dinner was at Ruby’s Inn again; I ordered a baked potato with the trimmings all on the side and a cup of chili; I topped my potato with everything, yum.

It was Rainbow Trout for my husband and we shared an apple pie ala mode. We’ve found it best to go to eat dinner by 7pm; I’ve never seen so many Germans in one town that wasn’t in Germany. We were told that 88% of visitors to the National Parks for NOT Americans.  #SeeAmerica people !!!

Oh, I forgot to tell you, there was this campground just outside of the entrance to the park that has TIPIs, for real kind that you could camp out in! I didn’t get a picture though, shucks!