My camping equipment

My camping equipment
Campsite setup

Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Navajo Lakes State Park, Chama, NM

This picturesque state park is located in northwest New Mexico not far from Durango, CO. The vistas here are amazing with clear visibility allowing visitors to see features miles away. The campsites at Sims Mesa campground are big with great views of the lake and clean restrooms. The landscape here is colorful with large rock formations all around the lake. The marina is a great place to fish and folks from the area enjoy boating, fishing and kayaking. 

Fishing and water sports are favorite pass times at Lake Navajo
Hiking around the Sims Mesa campground near the lake shore

Rock formations surround the lake 

Kayaks are available for rent at the Marina

Our campsite at the Sims Mesa campground on the east side of Lake Navajo

The landscape around Lake Navajo has special beauty
The Marina on the east side of Lake Navajo by Sims Mesa campground
Navajo Lake
We loved our visit to Sims Mesa campground at Lake Navajo State Park and plan to include this park in our future visits to New Mexico, the land of enchantment.

Sunset over Lake Navajo

Friday, May 24, 2019

Summer Vacation 2019, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon, TX

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro is the home to the second largest canyon in the country located southeast of Amarillo, Texas. It was a bit surprising after traveling through relatively flat farmland and coming to the 1,000 foot vertical walls of this canyon that is over a 100 miles in length. The park road descends into the canyon along a steep 10 percent grade road to the canyon floor where several campsite circles are located. There is electric, water, shower facilities and bathrooms that are clean and comfortable.    

Our campsite at Palo Duro Canyon State Park
View from our campsite at Mesquite Ridge

Day Hike on one of the many trails in the park

This is a beautiful park surrounded by lovely rock formations and colorful cliffs that surround you on all sides.

One of the many rock formations in the park

Red sand stone creates a fascinating landscape 
Cave in the cliffs with a cool interior to hide from the springtime sun
Visitors Center at Palo Duro built by the CCC in the 1930's
View from the rim of the Canyon at the Visitors Center

It is also home to the play, Texas ,which is given every night in the summer at the parks extensive amphitheater that is built to accommodate hundreds of people. The play is a wonderful musical that depicts the history of this area of Texas from the very early days of pioneering with families that settled near this special place in northwest Texas. Many of the scenes had horses, well built sets and fireworks that added to drama of the play.

The Amphitheater at Palo Duro 
Seating for the play Texas that 4,000,000 people have seen over the years
We enjoyed the springtime flowers and cactus that were in bloom in the park along with interesting wildlife.

Cactus blooming in the late spring sun after a wet spring

Aloe Plants in bloom were common in the park

We saw many exotic birds

Wild flowers were everywhere
We had a wonderful time at Palo Duro State Park. Summer time can be hot in the canyon with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees in the afternoon. This is our second visit to Palo Duro. It is a great place to visit when you travel through this part of Texas. It is south of Amarillo, TX about 25 miles off of I-40 on the route to New Mexico.

Even if you do not camp you can stay at a cabin in the park. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Lake Arrowhead State Park, Wichita Falls, TX

Lake Arrowhead State Park

Located just south of Wichita Falls, TX Lake Arrowhead is a nice park with spacious sites and clean restrooms. During our visit the Lake was a bit high from recent rains. One of the features we enjoyed was the prairie dog colony. The park has nice hiking trails although many of them were a bit wet to get out and hike on. 

Our shaded campsite at Lake Arrowhead State Park

Barbara at Prairie Dog Town 

Prairie Dogs always keep an eye out for predators

Great to observe as they frolic around their borrows

The fishing peer at Lake Arrowhead

The high waters of Lake Arrowhead on 5-21-2019

 Lake Arrowhead is a man made lake. We ventured out to explore the spillway and dam during our visit. This is oil country. We were surprised to see abandoned oil derricks on the lake that were there before they built the dam years ago. There is a working oil derrick, called a pump jack, in the park next to the restroom. You could hear the machinery pumping the oil near the restrooms when we went up for our showers. 

Abandoned Oil derricks on Lake Arrowhead

Pump Jack Oil rig at Lake Arrowhead State Park

The spillway on the Lake Arrowhead dam
We enjoyed our stay at Lake Arrowhead State Park. It is a great place to stop at on the way out west as it is on our direct route to New Mexico. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Cedar Hill State Park, Dallas, Texas

Cedar Hill State Park

Shady Ridge camping area

Cedar Hill is located 10 miles southwest of Dallas on Joe Pool Lake. The park is rather large and serves as a fishing, water sports, hiking area for outdoors minded people who live in the large Dallas metropolitan area and surrounding communities. Many of the sites are shaded with great views of the lake. We found the facilities here to be clean and the sites well maintained. The only draw back was that their were no soap dispensers in the restrooms to wash your hands. The waters on the lake were very high due to recent heavy rains during our visit. The hiking trails and boat ramps were closed due to the flooding. This park is quite popular in the summer time as the temperatures hover around the 100 degree mark most of the time.

Our campsite in the Shady Ridge Loop 

View of Joe Pool Lake near our campsite

Joe Pool Marina and Boat Dock, Notice the high water of the lake

Spring time bloom common in the park.

The high waters of Joe Pool Lake near the Marina
Spring time blooms are common in the prairie lands that surround the lake
The historic Penn family farm is a great place to visit during your stay at Cedar Hills State Park. The farm has many of the original buildings that have been here since the mid 1800 hundreds. A trail leads to many of the sites that contain old farm machinery, barns and the family home along with other interesting features of farming life years ago. It is quite a contrast to the big metropolitan area of Dallas with it's modern buildings. We enjoyed our tour of the Penn family farm on a cool spring morning in mid May. 

The old Penn family home

The family windmill used to pump water into the water tower

The family barn used to house livestock in the early 1900's

Antique Tractor and mower used a century ago to mange the farm

The original family barn built in the 1800 hundreds

Old grain harvester used during the harvesting season many years ago

Cedar Hill State Park is a convenient place to stop at as it is just off I-20. We travel this route on our summer trips out west.  We enjoyed our stay and will be coming back again on our travels in the future. A great place to take a break from our traveling time on the road. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Fort Pickens Campground

Gulf Islands National Seashore and Fort Pickens is located on a barrier island just south of Pensacola, FL. The white sand beaches are pristine and beautiful making this area in the panhandle of Florida a favorite place to visit. The campgrounds are very nice with easy access to the pristine white sand beaches common in this part of FL panhandle. 

Our campsite at Fort Pickens, Gulf Shores National Sea Shore
Sunset over the beach near Fort Pickens campground

Sunset, 5/13/2019

We rode our bikes to Fort Pickens to tour the old historic fort and watch the Blue Angels perform their practice runs from the Navel air bass across the bay in Pensacola, FL. We just happened to catch there performance as they only fly on a set schedule that can be influenced by weather conditions. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time. We felt blessed to have witnessed one of the finest precision air teams on the planet. 

Fort Pickens

Cannon on top of Fort Pickens where we watched the Blue Angles preform

Barbara near the large Cannon on top of Fort Pickens

The Blue Angels

Blue Angels practicing over the Naval Air Base at Pensacola, Fl as seen from Fort Pickens

The Blue Angles preforming over the Navel Air Base in Pensacola, FL

Blue Angels going straight up into the sky. Powerful and amazing

The Blue Angels in formation

The National Naval Aviation Museum at the Navy Air Base and the The Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museumlocated across the bay from Fort Pickens, are great places to visit when you are in this area. The naval aviation history is well displayed with many vintage and modern aircraft displays. The lighthouse museum is also interesting with 177 steps to the top for a great view of the National Naval Aviation Museum, the Naval Air Base and Pensacola Bay.  Make sure you plan your visit to Fort Pickens in advance as the campgrounds here fill up quickly as this area is quite popular for those who love to camp like us. 

Pensacola Lighthouse Museum, near the Naval Aviation Museum

Barbara getting ready to climb to the top of Pensacola Lighthouse

177 Steps to the top

View of the Navel Air Base from the top of the lighthouse, home of the Blue Angels

View of the National Navy Aviation Museum for the top of the lighthouse

Barbara climbing aboard the presidential helicopter used by Nixon at the National Navy Aviation Museum
Radar Equipped aircraft on exhibit at the National Navy Aviation Museum
The Concord flying amphibious aircraft that landed in Japan
 at the end of World War II to end the conflict with Japan,
 General Sherman and General Nimitz were onboard.
A vintage restored flying boat built in 1917, saw service during World War I
The Blue Angels exhibit at the National Navy Aviation Museum
A classic Lockheed L-10 Electra similar to the one Emelia Earhart
 attempted to fly around the world years ago.
 She disappeared and her & the Electra were never found

I always like to include images of wildlife in my posts during our travels. I was fortunate to spot some of my favorite birds and a small mammal on our ventures through the trails here at the Gulf Shores National Sea Shore. Enjoy!


Great Blue Heron

Red Winged Black Bird

A small field mouse enjoying a meal next to the Fort Pickens nature trail