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Nebraska's Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway

August 25th, 2021

Nebraska

There are very few places left in America that are so pristine that they have been virtually untouched by man. Nebraska Highway 2, AKA Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway, is one such place. Located in the north-central section of Nebraska, the Sandhills cover a little more than a quarter of the state. This 272-mile long National Byway starts in Grand Island and ends in Alliance, passing through the middle of an area of world-class natural wonders. It’s home to the completely hand-planted Nebraska National Forest, the Loup River, abundant wetlands created by the Ogallala Aquifer, and brilliant night skies. Being in the Central Flyway for migratory birds, it’s teeming with wildlife, and you can’t forget the Spring Migration of the Sandhill Cranes.

​The Nebraska Sandhills is a place of wide-open spaces where undulating windswept dunes have been stabilized by a sea of prairie grass that only has a fragile hold on the land, and where cowboy hats and cowboy boots are a way of life and not just a fashion statement.

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Escape to the Blue Ridge Parkway

June 23rd, 2021

Escape to the Blue Ridge Parkway

At 468 miles long, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway with the designation of All-American Road, the highest classification in the National Scenic Byway system. Starting at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Parkway follows the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, winding its way through North Carolina before terminating at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park's Cherokee entrance. At its highest point, the Blue Ridge Parkway reaches 6053 feet in elevation near Mount Pisgah in North Carolina and at its lowest 649 feet along the James River in Virginia. Along the way, you will see spectacular mountain and valley vistas, quiet pastoral scenes, sparkling waterfalls, and colorful flower and foliage displays.

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Moonlit Flight

June 23rd, 2021

Moonlit Flight

Sometimes what's going on behind the scenes is just as good as the image created...


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Three Golden Age Favorites in Mississippi's Queen City - Meridian, Mississippi

June 23rd, 2021

Three Golden Age Favorites in Mississippi

What do the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, a Dentzel antique carousel, and graves of Gypsy royalty have in common?

All three are located in Meridian, Mississippi. In my opinion, this eclectic mix of sites is some of Meridian's more interesting locations dating back to the city's Golden Age.

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Historic Waterway to the West - The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

June 23rd, 2021

 Historic Waterway to the West - The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

The year 2021 is the 50th Anniversary of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park becoming part of the National Park System. This park preserves the historic 19th Century transportation canal from Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Since 2019, it has been ranked as the 11th most visited United States National Park, with Great Falls being the most visited location along the canal's 184.5 mile-long towpath. Many visitors stop at the Great Falls Tavern but never explore more than the canal's first 14.5 miles.

No road follows along beside the C&O Canal. For that reason, the towpath is most popular with hikers and bikers. However, I decided to stay out of the city and explore some of the lesser-visited C&O Canal highlights. Wanting to see as much as possible and knowing that I didn't have time to see it all, I decided to drive to different locations along the canal, doing a series of short hikes along the way.

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The Spring Migration of the Sandhill Crane

September 16th, 2020

The Spring Migration of the Sandhill Crane

National Geographic calls the spring migration of the Sandhill Cranes through central Nebraska “one of the greatest wildlife phenomena in North America”. If you are a birder, a wildlife photographer or just a nature lover, I really consider this a “must do” for your bucket list!

In 2017, I was lucky enough to spend the entire migration season in Nebraska with the Sandhill Cranes. It had been on my bucket list for quite some time. I had gotten a small taste of it about 10 years ago when my husband completed a 2 month assignment in Grand Island. That year, we left at the beginning of March when the cranes were just starting to arrive but what I saw in those first few weeks literary blew my mind!

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The Bridges of Madison County - Iowa's Covered Bridges Scenic Byway

September 16th, 2020

 The Bridges of Madison County - Iowa

When you hear someone refer to “The Bridges of Madison County” I bet your first thought is the movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. If you are an avid reader, it’s the best-selling novel that preceded the movie by a few years. Many people are not aware that those beautiful covered bridges Clint’s character went to photograph are located in a picturesque area of Iowa less than an hour drive from Des Moines.

The official name for this area is Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. It is one of Iowa’s newest scenic byways. At 82 miles long, this byway is packed with beautiful natural areas and unique destinations like John Wayne’s Birthplace. There’s enough to see and do in Madison County to easily fill a 2 or 3 day weekend.

If you are like me, you may need to make a second trip just to see and experience it all!

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Following the Path of the Pioneers Through Western Nebraska

September 16th, 2020

 Following the Path of the Pioneers Through Western Nebraska

In the western portion of the state of Nebraska you’ll find Western Trails Scenic and Historic Byway. This is a historic 144 mile route from Ogallala to the Wyoming border that roughly follows the path the pioneers took almost 200 years ago. While there is much to see and do here, I have chosen the amazing geological formations that those brave pioneers saw along the way to be the topic of this post.

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Waipi'o Valley the Valley of Kings

September 16th, 2020

Waipi

Visiting Waipi'o Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii had been on my bucket list since 2006. At that time, we were on a seven month assignment on Maui and had hopped over to Hilo for a weekend visit. We planned to hike the volcano, see waterfalls and drive down into Waipi'o Valley. I had done all the research, rented the jeep, was raring to go, and then we simply ran out of time. Not realizing how much larger the Big Island was to the other islands, I failed to plan for the driving time. Plan accordingly, from Hilo, it is an hour and fifteen minute drive and from Kailua-Kona, you are an hour and a half away. That's no stopping to take pictures or sightseeing but straight drive time.

Fast forward 11 years to 2017, when I received the news of the Big Island assignment my first thought was, "I finally get to see Waipi'o Valley!"

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Little House on the Prairie

September 16th, 2020

Little House on the Prairie

I have a confession to make; I was 50 before I read the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can hear the collective gasp of all the shocked women that are currently reading this post….blasphemy, I KNOW! In my defense, when I was about the age when all the other little girls were madly absorbing these books, playing "Holly Hobbie" dress up and dreaming about being Laura, my local librarian marched me over to the adult section of the town’s public library and handed me an Agatha Christie novel. I never stepped foot in the children’s section of the library again.

When I look back, I’m really not sure what I was doing when the television series came out because I didn’t watch that either. Oh, I saw an episode or two but without the background of the books; I just really didn’t get it. Maybe, it was just too “girly” for me; I hated pink, didn’t play with dolls and was the only girl in my neighborhood with a complete football uniform, shoulder pads and all.

Needless to say, my husband was more than a bit skeptical when I tossed out the idea of driving up to DeSmet, South Dakota, for a “Little House on the Prairie” weekend.

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