Revisiting My Childhood in Pictures

My father loved to take pictures with his Minolta 35 mm camera and through the years he accumulated thousands of slides. My younger brother became the curator of his slides and has been converting the good ones to digital format. His Christmas present to us this year was a DVD with many pictures from my childhood. In the photo at the top of this post you can see our Ford station wagon in Yosemite National Park.

In 1959, when I was eight years old, my father’s work required him to go to California for several weeks. Instead of going by himself, my parents decided to take the whole family on a cross country journey to see America.

I spent many hours crammed in the back seat of our station wagon, usually on the hump in the middle between my two brothers. I wonder how many times my mother had to turn around to tell us to be quiet?

Ford-on-Utah-State-Line
Our family of 5 traveled cross country and back in this Ford Station wagon in 1959

I had so much fun looking at the old photos converted from my Dad’s slides. Each one brought back so many memories. As I was going through the photos I found a few that I unknowingly replicated as an adult during our RV travels. On the left is me in 1959 on the Big Tree in Redwood National Park and on the right that’s me in 2007 at the same tree.

Dad took a picture of Yosemite Valley that looks a lot like the one I took almost 50 years later. It looks like we were standing in the exact same spot.

Here’s our two pictures of the Yosemite tunnel at Tunnel View. I love the old cars in Dad’s picture.

Mount Rushmore in 1959 and 2006.

While we were in California we went somewhere almost every weekend. We visited national parks, theme parks, San Francisco, and even went panning for gold. I’ll never forget our trip to Disneyland. Where were the crowds back then?

Disneyland-1
Disneyland in 1959

Dad loved gathering the family together in the basement for slide shows. Thank you to my brother for putting these slides into digital form to be enjoyed over and over again.

Unusual Roadside Attractions

Sometimes we stop to see unusual roadside attractions as we wander around America.

We had to take a tour of the Hammer Museum
Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska
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Bigfoot on the road to Pikes Peak in Colorado
The Bat Tower, Sugarloaf Key
The Bat Tower, Sugarloaf Key, Florida
Smallest Church in America in Ochopee, Florida
Smallest Post Office in America in Ochopee, Florida
Smallest Church in America
Smallest Church in America, Townsend, Georgia
The Iron Horse on Highway 15 in Green County, Georgia
The Iron Horse on Highway 15 in Green County, Georgia
Green Giant Statue in Blue Earth, MN
Green Giant Statue in Blue Earth, MN
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South of the Border, South Carolina
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Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota
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The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
We visited Superman in Metropolis, Illinois
Superman Statue in Metropolis, Illinois
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Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas
Big Blue Crab in Rockport, Texas
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John Henry Statue, Talcott, West Virginia

What kind of unusual attractions have you seen in your travels?

Wandering Around America one state at a time – Alaska

State 2:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride! I will be featuring the states alphabetically and next up is

Alaska

Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959. The capital is Juneau and it is the only state capital that can only be reached by air, boat, or birth. The largest city is Anchorage.

We spent 50 glorious nights in Alaska in the summer of 2013.

I loved meeting so many wonderful Alaskans and hearing their stories. Wildlife, glaciers, boat trips, a flight seeing tour, eagles, halibut fishing, Denali National Park, taking the RV on the Alaska Ferry from Skagway to Haines, and a train ride on the Alaska Railroad are just a few of the amazing things we experienced while we were there. Our favorite place was Haines. The most exciting thing we did was take a flight-seeing tour from Talkeetna to see Mt. McKinley and land on Ruth Glacier. The farthest north we went was Coldfoot, north of the Arctic Circle.

Every day was memorable, every day was special, every day we saw something spectacular. Was it worth driving over 14,000 there and back? Absolutely!

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama

Celebrating Ten Years of Wandering

What an amazing ten years! Each marker on this map represents a place where we camped in our RV.

Ten years ago, on July 1, 2006, we spent our first night in an RV park in Tampa, Florida. Two weeks later we left Georgia with no reservations anywhere and a bucket list of what we wanted to see. You can see highlights of that trip at Looking Back on our First RV Trip. Last year I posted a few of our most memorable experiences from our first nine years at Celebrating Nine Years of RVing.

Many of our trips revolved around either visiting family or attending a special event such as a wedding or Titanium Rally. Sometimes we traveled just for the fun of seeing new places. No matter where we were going, we always took the long way around to get there.

We discovered beauty in every state and province we visited. Sometimes the everyday things were the best.

I love watching the changing landscape and seeing the many farms and ranches.

I love seeing the farms as we drive along
I love seeing the farms as we drive along
We always enjoy seeing lighthouses.

Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore
Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore
Seeing wildlife is always a treat.

Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
And of course we loved visiting many of our National Parks.

Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Sometimes we enjoyed watching the sunset from our campsite.

Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
We did a few amazing hikes.

At the Summit of Enchanted Rock
At the Summit of Enchanted Rock in Texas
Chilling by a camp fire is always fun.

Enjoying the campfire
Enjoying the campfire
Now that we have ten years of RV’ing under our belt, our priorities have changed. Of course, we are ten years older and it is more difficult to make long trips. When we started our wandering, we only had two grandchildren. Now we have four and we want to spend as much time with them as we can. Going on long trips takes us away from them for too long.

Our wandering days are not over. There are still many places we haven’t seen in and near our home state of Georgia so from now on we will travel a little closer to home.

Girl’s Trip

Last week two of my girlfriends and I made a road trip to a resort in Orlando near Disney World. Our goal was to hang around by the pool, do some shopping, go out to eat, and have a few umbrella drinks.

Spent a lot of time chilling by the cascades at the pool
Spent a lot of time chilling by the pool

One night we arrived at The Whiskey during happy hour.  We were the only tourists at this hip locals hangout and also the oldest people there! The wait staff was great, the food was good, and we enjoyed watching the young crowd.

Happy Hour at the Whiskey
Happy Hour at the Whiskey

There is no Trader Joe’s near where I live so I am always happy to find one when I am on the road.

Got my Trader Joe's fix
Got my Trader Joe’s fix

To  celebrate my birthday on Friday we spent the afternoon at Disney Springs. This used to be called Downtown Disney and since my last visit seven years ago it has totally changed. Parking lots have been replaced with new upscale shops and parking garages have been added.

There is no fee to go to Disney Springs and parking is free. Be prepared to do a lot of walking. Although we didn’t give ourselves enough time to really enjoy it all I was able to find gifts for my grand children that can only be purchased in the shops there or in one of the theme parks.

Rent an amphicar to tour the lake
Renting an amphicar is one of the attractions at Disney Springs
Birthday dinner at House of Blues Orlando
Birthday dinner at House of Blues Orlando

On the way back home we stopped at Skipper’s Fish Camp in Darien, Georgia for some delicious fried shrimp and a great view of the shrimp boats.

After three days of laughter and fun, I returned home exhausted but with happy memories of a great adventure with my friends.