Ft Worth Texas- Family – Zoo – Botanic Gardens – Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge – Dinosaur Valley State Park – Waco Magnolia At The Silos

Ft Worth Texas

We were was so excited to finally arrive in Ft Worth, to spend the holidays with our daughter, son in law and two grandsons. We arrived just before Thanksgiving and left 3 days after Christmas, we definitely broke our 3 day rule. But we got to be woken up almost every morning by a three year old who would crawl in bed with us, cuddle up and want his grandpa to go hide so he could find him. This was 6 am in the morning Texas  time and 4 am Bend, Oregon time and truly what great memories are made of. Well I could have used some (lots) of coffee and really needed to brush my teeth, but no this little guy just wanted to play, snaky, snaky, hiding rubber snakes all over the house. I will never forget the sound of the boys voices, their feet running on the wooden floors and getting to explore Ft Worth with them.

First thing we did was join the Ft worth Zoo and we visited a lot. Our two grandsons Cole and Bryce know every name of every snake, lizard, alligator, etc. The Ft worth Zoo has won many awards for being one of the best in the nation and for good reason. Founded in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock and a few rabbits. The zoo now is home to 5,000 native and exotic animals and has been named the top zoo in the nation.

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The holidays were amazing, with an elf appearing every morning in a different location around the house, a Christmas parade downtown Ft Worth and the most beautifully decorated neighborhoods. We even got to attend a TCU versus Baylor football game, thanks to our son in law. To much fun.

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Our next exploration with the boys was The Botanic Gardens a living museum. A beautiful self guided tour of groomed trails, featuring numerous native plants and trees. . This day we were in search of a snapping turtle which makes his home in one of the many streams and beautiful water features and per the boys -loves granola bars. To Funny!!

Next fun adventure with the boys was The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. A natural area comprised of forests, prairies, and wetlands allowing you to step back in time and experience what the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex was like in the early 20th century. First stop was the visitor center because we just had to see the texas Alligator and numerous snakes on display. The very nice ranger on duty brought out a snake for the boys to touch, well I had to touch also. We then explored the groomed trails and had a fun picnic on the shore of Lake Worth. Now that the boys are fed its off to do some geocaching along the trails and lake. Fun day, lots of special memories.

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Dinosaur Valley State Park-Where Dinosaurs Roamed

Long ago, dinosaurs left footprints in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean. Today, you can walk in their tracks in the bed of the Paluxy River. This long trip to the past is just a short drive from Fort Worth.

We packed a lunch, lots of water and set off for Dinosaur Valley State park, a meir 58 mile drive from Ft Worth with typical Texas scenery. (SNORE). Ok, sorry for the comment but when you are from Oregon you start to miss the color GREEN. What a fun day, the boys were in heaven trying to catch tiny fish in the Paluxy river overtop dinosaur tracks. If you like dinosaurs, you’ll love the 200 million-year-old fossil trackway. You can spend a whole day exploring the groomed, vista trails.

WACO-Magnolia, Chip and Joanna, need I say more. A 90 mile drive from Ft Worth and you are in Waco eating cinnamon rolls and Joanna’s famous cupcakes at Magnolia. There’s a little something for everyone and another fun day exploring the beautiful grounds and shopping, it’s definitely worth a stop. Everything has been carefully thought out for your comfort and pleasure, from a bite to eat, covered rest areas to a safe large play area for kids.

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Cheers From Just Around The Bend ♥♥♥♥ liz-logo-1

 

Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico

High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes. Carlsbad Caverns is an amazing National Park, at every turn it  impresses from the entrance of the cavern all the way to the 750 foot elevator ride back up to the visitor center. Definitely a must see! We were extremely lucky to have been able to finish the day viewing the bats exiting the cave at sunset, a huge check on our bucket list.

 

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If you have your Senior National park pass the entrance fee is free-what a deal, otherwise $25.00 per person..

Lots of Parking for RVS, you can pull thru or park along the curbs, well thought out for us in big rigs.

Bathrooms = Clean large flush toilets

Visitor center is huge with lots of tempting items to spend money on.

Cheers From Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥ 

Please join me on my next adventure in Ft Worth Texas with our family for the holidays

 

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Catalina State Park Arizona

Sometimes I’m not sure when we are headed to a new destination what’s ahead. I get anxious,wondering will the park be nice, comfortable, amenities that we enjoy, things to do and explore. Not to worry at Catalina State Park out of Tucson Arizona. Actually I should play this park down and really not tell you the truth as this is a true gem nestled at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife with nearly 5,000 saguaros. I would highly advise staying at least 2 weeks as when you are finished hiking, biking, visiting the ruins,attending the free concerts and Saturday wildlife exhibits you still need to explore what Tucson has to offer.
The campground itself has 120 sites, which are strategically arranged to give you much privacy yet an amazing view of the Catalinas. Campground slips are paved including picnic tables, bbq grills water and electric.Campgrounds have modern flush restrooms with free hot showers. RV dump stations are available in the park with no limit on RV length. Campground is open year round. The fee is $30.00 a night with a 14 day limit.
This is one time we both did not want to leave, we were so comfortable in our site with a spectacular view of the Catalinas and so much to do the time just flew. We will return.

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CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND♥♥♥♥

Sorry most of our pictures of this camping visit are MIA, if they show up I will re post. I did re cover a few enjoy and join me on our next adventure at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

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Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument is a United States National Monument located about 10 mi southeast of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, near Interstate 40. The canyon rim elevation is 6,690 ft; the canyon’s floor is 350 ft lower.

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Of all of the ruins we have lately been exploring, this was number 2 of our favorites, number 1 being Mesa Verde, so far. The ruins are up close and personable, yes it’s a hike but well worth it, 244 steps down to be exact. The views around every corner are truly spectacular and the ruins are very well preserved. Walnut Canyon lets you experience the ruins along the very trail the ancients used. This was Grampa and Gramma Thompson’s very favorite ruins to visit and we can now see why.

Next Adventure follow us to The Bio Sphere2

Cheers from JUST AROUND THE BEND♥♥♥♥

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Canyon De Chelly National Park

Canyon De Chelly

Cottonwood campground is located at the entrance of Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The campground consists of 92 sites, two group sites. All campsites are paved, no electric or water or sewer, its dry camping all of the way.  The campsite has three restrooms no showers, water station and dump facility. The campground is first come first serve, No reservations and cash only for payment, which is $14.00 a night. Park is open year round popular during October to April. www.navajonationparks.org

Now that we have  our trailer settled in our camping site it was time to make reservations for a jeep tour of the canyon.  We contacted Arizona Jeep Tours, spoke with Oscar Yazzie, 928-781-2113 and yay we had a tour at 9 am the next morning. Oscar advised us to dress warm, bring water and snacks and a personal guide would pick us up at our trailer. Sure enough, our guide was spot on time and arrived at 9 am sharp, in an open blue jeep wrangler, hence the dress warm.  Our guides name was JJ and he is pure Tseyi’ Dine’, not Navajo he assured us. Per JJ our guide Navaho means STUPID. We rode off towards the entrance to Canyon De Chelly; you cannot enter this Heritage area without a guide. The four hour and 30 mile round trip tour was very informative; we learned much about the people and their beliefs.  The ruins were highly historical yet slowly deteriorating due to the hands of man and Mother Nature. Many petroglyphs and pictographs remain in amazing condition. Be sure to bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares. If you are on a quest for history of the Navajo/Dine’ people, the jeep tour is highly recommended.

Later in the day, we took the scenic roadway that takes you on the south upper rim along the canyon with outlets to observe the canyon. Again – Bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares in the parking areas.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND 

 

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Join us next time at Walnut Canyon for more Indian Ruins

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Arches National Park Utah

The Adventure Begins
We are new snowbirds, very new, as this is our first time to say good-by to our home and not return for 5 months. In the past the longest we have been gone is around 32 days and that was in Canada. Setting off when the fall leaves are at their prime, saying good-by to our friends and neighbors was a very heartwarming for me. We tried to remember everything we thought we needed-ha, I’m sure we way over packed!! We winterized our house and yard, set the alarm, closed our eyes and drove away. We have a full agenda planned with memories and explorations to be made. Follow us as we head out to the daily unknown with the first Thompson Snow Bird Adventure.
Day 1 – Driving, Driving, Driving, left home with a snow storm and 28 degrees – burr, drove until 3pm when we arrived at the elks lodge in Caldwell, Idaho, $15.00 for overnight, included water and electric.
Day 2 – Caldwell Idaho to Mona, Utah, drove most of the day, decided to fill up with fuel and stay overnight at a truck stop-Free.
Note: This was our very first truck stop experience, actually not bad.
Day 3 – Up at 5 am – yikes, where is a Starbucks. We realized (our navigator GPS – Phoebe) took us a little past our turn off, we turned around and headed back to Spanish Fork (20 mile detour) oops. Then it was on to Moab, that’s when the landscape started to get amazing. Around every corner was a new surprise, beautiful this time of year with the landscape slowly changing into its fall colors and massive red rock canyons. This is when it gets difficult to drive, so much beauty to look you need to pull off often. We arrived in Moab at around 10 am heading to Goose Island, hoping and praying there was a site available. We lucked out, as this is a BLM first come first serve facility (no reservations) and luckily, as we arrived, someone pulled out-yay-we got a spot. This is pure dry camping, no water, sewer or electric. They do have very nice vault toilets, garbage, very nice picnic tables and fire pits. Sometimes it pays to be a senior as the fee for us was $7.50 a night, thank You America the Beautiful Pass.
Here we are settled in our camping spot Litterly on the Colorado River, looking up at Arches National Park. There are no words to describe the majestic beauty and serenity of the Moab area.
Day 4 – Off to explore Arches national Park, the entrance fee is $25.00 a vehicle, with an America the Beautiful Pass it is free. Leave super early as its crowded and limited parking. Touring this park, you need good hiking boots, 2 quarts of water each and a sun hat, walking sticks help on some of the dicer trails and Shade is limited. Even though this is the end of the tourist season, you need patience, as it is crowded and snowbirds move slowly.
NOTE: Summer daytime temperatures can reach 110 degrees, heat and dehydration can be fatal – advised 1 gallon of water per person per day.
We stopped at every turn out and vista view area working our way to Landscape Arch a 1.6-mile moderate walk located at the Devils Garden trailhead. A hidden gem just off the roadway was Sand Dune Arch (0.3mi) an easy sandy walk and great for kids as it is a huge natural sandbox with narrow partition rocks to climb through and at the end a hidden arch. Of all of the National parks we have visited in our lifetime, I have to say Arches is the most spectacular. Every corner you hike around is another wow!
Day 5 – Boy are we out of shape! Today we visit Balanced Rock (0.3mi) beautiful paved trail, wheelchair accessible. Double Arch (0.5 mi) Easy trail through some loose sand, spectacular arch. Delicate Arch (3mi) round trip – Difficult trail with elevation gains, no shade, at the end open slickrock with close exposure to heights-not for faint of heart, but worth it.
Day 6 – We are going to stay around camp today, catch up on laundry-walk the beautiful bike trail that leads to Downtown Moab that just happens to be 200 feet from our campsite. Does it sound like we are resting today, ha not us as we have 6 Geocaches calling our name along the new bike trail!!!

Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass
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Cheers From Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥

Next Adventure we are off to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point

 

Fort Stevens State Park – Oregon

Fort Stevens State Park in the fall is another 10 experience. The weather has been perfect with 72 degree days and 60 degree nights. Wind, none-that’s unheard of at the beach-right. Even though the park is literally packed with snow-birds, you would never know it. You practically have the most pristine paved trails to yourself and once you are back in  camp, it’s quiet and so relaxing. The campsites are situated so you have ample privacy, lots of trees and vegetation separating you from your neighbor. All sites have fire pits, tables, water and electric. Two larger loops have full hookups. Restrooms are clean, pretty modern with token paid showers. Full hookup for us was $32,00 a night, well worth it.

Our first day we were so excited to explore the many bikes trails, we actually got up early, packed snacks, water and off we biked hoping to end up at the beach. We geocached along the way and found many, ending up at the beach and exploring  a wrecked cargo ship named The Peter Iredale . Well what’s left of it.

Second Day was exploring bunkers, watching ships come in and out of the mouth of the Columbia River and more biking. This particular bike exploration brought us to a new trail which led to a very pregnant very large elk just grazing in a marsh right next to the trail. Wow are they big! The last day of our time here we are going to spend at the beach and yes probably get there by bicycles. What a fun, relaxing and memorable time this has been.

 

 

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What To Do Here:

First thing we did was get our bikes unloaded and hit the many miles of beautiful trails.

Find the beach – yes we rode our bikes directly to the beach- You can drive there also.

Tour the many bunkers

Geocache – So many very creative caches to be found, most you can find on your bikes or by walking, we found many!!!

Start a fire in your fire pit  and relax

Explore The City Of Astoria and be sure to ride the train

Visit The  Peter Iredale a wrecked cargo ship

See you next time from Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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