state parks

13 articles tagged as state parks

I am FINALLY out of the mountains. Hello, Nevada! I knew I was past the hard part when I exited the HUGE Virgin River Gorge outside St. George, Utah to be greeted by the town of Mesquite, which has a desolate and lovely view, yet can still grow palm trees I visited Valley of Fire State Park, which borders Lake Mead. It gets its name from the bright red sandstone rocks that are pitted and shaped by the strong wind. You can see three sets of mountains from the vista (usually) though today snow was happening. For once, I didn’t have to avoid it, and it avoided me. The park gets only 4 inches of precipitation annually. …

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As an addendum to my “Amarillo is kind of a nice play to stay a few days, if you’re into weird Texas culture and 72oz steaks” I will add my trip to Palo Duro Canyon, which is 30 miles south from here. This is what Texas looks like, okay? It’s big, extremely flat, brown, with almost no trees and you can see for miles in every direction. You can bet then, that I was surprised to find this: Seriously, you just drive for a long time through the flat-nothingness and then suddenly a gorgeous, desert canyon happens. Monty and Niko and I hiked all day here. Unlike the Oklahoma version, this canyon is the REAL DEAL. They …

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Route 66, known as the Main Street of America, was once a bustling highway full of classic cars, drive ins, and motels with kitchy furnishings. Now, to be honest, it’s full of potholes and, in places, difficult to recognize as a road, let alone a highway. I’m headed west on Historic Route 66, which parallels Interstate 40 across Missouri, Oklahoma, the top of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It’s been some time since I’ve posted, and I apologize, but there simply is no internet here. The internet lives and breathes in the 21st century, but it is solidly 20th century in these parts. In fact, I’m pretty sure I entered a live-action version of the movie Footloose …

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The Ozarks (from the French ‘aux Arcs’ short for ‘out of Arkansas’) is a hilly plateau that stretches through southern Missouri and into Arkansas. It is known for its rolling forested hills, rocky plateaus, caves and ‘hillbilly’ culture (as depicted in the show The Beverly-Hillbillies, who were supposed to have come from the Ozarks). I am staying in a campground on the Lake of the Ozarks, which is a fingery lake surrounded by hills. Fall is nearly at a close, and the leaves are shades of golden brown. Most of them are oaks. It rained for several days, cold, with large drops hitting the trailer roof over and over, making me nearly insane. After the rain, however, …

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Finally, after traveling all the way through southern Iowa and into Missouri, I have found warmer weather! I’ve not traveled much in the middle of the country. There are probably many things to see, but none of them are obvious. I am trying a few things out to see where they take me.  In this story, I headed for what I thought might be exciting campgrounds. My first was Geode State Park in Iowa. This is a misleading name. There were no geodes (as in the rocks with pretty crystals in them) from what I could tell. I looked. There was a very pretty man-made lake and many long trails, which Monty and Niko and I took …

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Tonight I’m staying in Muscatine, Iowa, a smallish town on the banks of the Mississippi. It’s much more farmy here and much less marshy, but still quite pretty. I was feeling a little tired of woods, so I ventured into town with Monty and Niko in tow. Muscatine was once famous for its Pearl Button Factory, which made tiny pearlescent buttons from the shells of freshwater mussels. The building is now a restaurant, but it’s surrounded by an historic district that is full of beautiful architecture. Surprisingly, unlike many small towns I’ve traveled through recently, the town seems to be on the up and up, almost metropolitan at points. (Almost.) I suspect some of this has to …

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  Dear Wisconsin, Your state has nice beer and lovely cheese. Your people are generally friendly, and your sports teams are not detestable. However, you are not very tourist-friendly. Here are my complaints in order: 1. YOUR HORRIBLE ROADS. 2. YOUR EXPENSIVE, NICKLE-AND-DIMING, SHITTY CAMPGROUNDS. Please consider improving these situations, so that people can further enjoy your beer and cheese. Sincerely, Sarah Okay, so I don’t HATE Wisconsin. I just had an awful time, which probably had a lot to do with the season and the weather. A ton of the campgrounds were closed for the winter, which was a problem. Some of them left me no way of knowing they were closed until I had already …

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Down the road from Barraga towards Bruce Crossing there are many niches to explore just off M28. Agate Falls can be seen from a roadside park. There is a train trellis overtop. I wished there were hiking trails so that I could scope out the bottom of the falls, but alas, there were none. Bond Falls is a short drive down a very picturesque country road from M28. Sidenote: it’s just outside of Paulding, which you may have heard of since it is famous for it’s “Mysterious light.” There is apparently a place there where you can see a strange light coming from the woods if you are there at night (I do not venture out much …

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It rained a cold, heavy rain today. It is supposed to rain for many more days and there are few places to camp this far north. I trekked another 40 minutes north in Sacajewea to see if I could find a couple neat places to visit before heading south for the hills. By the time I had found the mine my feet and shoulders were soaked. These are excuses for why I did not travel further, as I hear the north shore of the UP of the UP is gorgeous. That being said, I’m sure it is less gorgeous when it’s pouring rain. In any case, if you’re visiting the UP, definitely try to get up as …

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The drive from Munising to Barraga was not a fun one. There were a great many hills accompanied by most unpleasant traffic, and of course my gas mileage was awful. Lola and I can only do about 45 uphill, and only 40 up a big hill. So though I passed a great many interesting sites that I’m sure were wonderful, I did not stop because I was excited to get off the road. By the time I arrived in Barraga it was cloudy and threatening rain, but I could see how beautiful it must be on a sunny day. Even the curve of the road as you enter the Keweenaw bay area is lovely. Barraga is named …

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