Wandering Dawgs is five years old

March, 2018 marked the fifth anniversary of the WanderingDawgs blog. I  started the blog in 2013 as a way to keep friends and family up to date on our journey from Georgia to Alaska and back. I never dreamed that five years later I would still be blogging.

Thank you to everyone who visits Wandering Dawgs. I really appreciate all the visits, likes, comments and shares over the years.

Every now and then I check on the traffic statistics for the blog. Here are the top five posts of 2017.

Number 1: For three years in a row, the most viewed post is Starting the Lonesome Dove Cattle Trail. So far, it is the also the number one post for 2018.

Lonesome Dove Trail Map
Lonesome Dove Trail Map courtesy https://www.etsy.com/shop/AntiqueMapsofTexas

Why is this the most popular post? I can only guess that there are as many other Lonesome Dove fans out there that are frustrated because there isn’t more information available about the actual trail that the fictional Hat Creek Cattle Company followed when they took their cattle herd from the Rio Grande in south Texas to Montana.

Number 2: The second most viewed post of 2017 is Wandering Around America One State at a Time – New Mexico.

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View from Sandia Crest

Number 3:  Palo Duro Canyon – the Grand Canyon of Texas.

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Palo Duro Canyon

Number 4:  Wandering Around America one State at a Time – Tennessee.

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Fall in the Great Smoky Mountains at Cades Cove

Number 5:  Wandering Around America one State at a Time – Utah.

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Henry standing under Delicate Arch

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back soon to see what we are up to.

Spring Flowers and the Suwannee River

It’s been two years since our last visit to Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs. During that stay we did a lot of exploring around the park, the town of White Springs, and nearby Big Shoals State Park. I posted about those adventures at  Way Down upon the Suwannee River.

We returned to the park this February. The carillon tower is a focal point in the park and one of my favorite things about being there is hearing the the bells from the carillon chime on the quarter hour and hearing Stephen Foster’s music throughout the day.  Unfortunately, the carillon wasn’t working this year.

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The carillon at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center

We didn’t visit the museum on this trip but there are interesting exhibits about Stephen Foster and his many songs.

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Stephen Foster Museum

Even though it was only February there were some beautiful spring blooms. Gotta love Florida!

One day we took a drive to Suwanee River State Park near Live Oak to check it out. High on the banks above the Suwanee River, we enjoyed a walk on an easy trail to the confluence of the Suwanee and Withlacoochee Rivers. Beside the trail were relics from riverboats that once traveled up and down the river.

We enjoyed wonderful views from an overlook at the confluence of the two rivers.

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Confluence of Suwanee and Withlacoochee Rivers
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Bridges over the Suwanee River
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Withlacoochee River

After our walk we sat on a wooden swing overlooking the Suwanee River enjoying a picnic lunch. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Historic Silver Springs

Tourists have been traveling to Silver Springs to see the crystal clear water since the early 1800’s. One of Florida’s first tourist attractions, the first glass bottom boat tours began in the late 1870’s. During the 1900’s the attraction grew to include a jungle cruise and animal exhibits.

Silver Springs was a popular filming location for Hollywood during the 1900’s. Some of the films shot there include several Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller, the 1954 version of Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Moonraker (a James Bond movie). It was also a location for the TV series Sea Hunt. Some of the sets still exist around the property.

In 1971, Silver Springs was named a National Natural Landmark. Today, Silver Springs State Park is owned and operated by the state of Florida. The state operates the famous glass bottom boats now but there are no more jungle cruises. Visitors can walk beside the springs or sit in one of the rocking chairs to enjoy the view. There are boardwalks and trails as well as a boat launch area with canoe and kayak rentals.

This is one of our favorite Florida state parks and we wanted to spend a few days there to unwind after the excitement of the Daytona 500. We were able to reserve our favorite campsite and I was glad to see it hadn’t change much. There was gopher tortoise hole right next to the campsite just like I remembered and the resident tortoise paid us a visit our first night.

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Gopher Tortoise by our campsite at Silver Springs State Park

One day we drove over to the main entrance of the park for a ride on one of the famous glass bottom boats. Captain Oscar has been working at Silver Springs since the early 1960’s and had lots of interesting stories about the park.

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Entering Florida’s Silver Springs park
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Glass bottom boat at Silver Springs
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Captain Oscar has been working at Silver Springs since the early 1960’s

After the boat tour we wandered around the path next to the springs before taking a walk on the boardwalk trail.

Another day we rented a kayak for a beautiful paddle on the Silver River.

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Kayaking the Silver River at Silver Springs
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Although there are no more jungle cruises, this fort built for the attraction is still standing
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Quiet and peaceful along the Silver River

I felt like I was in one of the old Tarzan movies as I walked along the river trail near the campground.

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Back in the 1930s during the day of the Jungle Cruise boat ride, the operator of the ride brought in a group of wild rhesus monkeys to use as part of the attraction. Not knowing they could swim, he left them on one of the islands beside the Silver River. When he later returned to the island he was surprised to see they were gone. The monkeys are still living in the area and are often seen by visitors.

Although we didn’t see any of the monkeys on this visit, we saw many of them when we kayaked down the Silver River in 2009.

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Wild Rhesus Monkey along the Silver River in 2009
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We spotted this baby Rhesus Monkey beside the river in 2009. He must be all grown up now.

The monkeys can be very aggressive at times. All around the park are signs warning about the danger of feeding the monkeys. Now where else in the United States would you see a sign like this?

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Monkeys in Florida?

 

Wandering to Geographical Points of Interest in the United States

Our wandering has taken us to some memorable geographical points of interest in the United States.

 

West Quaddy Light is located on the easternmost point in the U. S.
West Quaddy Light in Maine is located on the easternmost point in the U. S.
Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai is the westernmost lighthouse in the United States
Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai in Hawaii is the westernmost lighthouse in the United States
Anchor Point is the most westerly highway point in North America
Anchor Point, Alaska is the most westerly highway point on a continuous road system in North America
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Southernmost Point in the Continental United States in Key West, Florida
Mile Marker Zero of U. S. 1 in Key West
The end of U. S. Highway 1 is Mile Marker Zero in Key West, Florida
Start of U.S 1 in Fort Kent, Maine
Start of U.S 1 in Fort Kent, Maine
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End of U.S. Hwy 80. The highway originally went from the west coast in San Diego, CA to the east coast in Tybee Island, GA but now goes from Dallas, TX to Tybee Island.
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Belle Fourche, South Dakota, is the Geographic Center of the United States
Four Corners - States of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada
Four Corners – the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada meet here. It is the only place in the U.S. shared by four states
Beautiful Mt. McKinley
In Alaska, Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley), at 20,320 feet tall is the tallest mountain in North America
At the Arctic Circle at last!
The Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway in Alaska
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We’ve crossed the Continental Divide numerous times during our travels
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The Eastern Continental Divide runs through Black Rock Mountain State Park in Georgia

Although these next points aren’t the most extreme in the U.S., they are the farthest directional points we visited.

In Coldfoot at the visitor's center
The farthest north we traveled was the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot, Alaska
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The most northwestern continental U.S. location we visited was Ruby Beach, Washington
Point Loma in Cabrillo National Monument
The most southwestern location we visited in the continental U.S. was Cabrillo National Monument, California.

This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

Wandering Dawgs 2017 Year in Review

This year was a little different for the Wandering Dawgs. Instead of traveling to far away places, we had many memorable adventures by staying close to home in 2017.

Our RV travel started with a short spring trip to Pine Mountain, Georgia to tour nearby Callaway Gardens and F. D. Roosevelt’s Little White House .

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
FDR's Little White House in Warm Springs, GA
FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs, GA

From Pine Mountain we continued on to Alabama to attend an air show at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. All of the performances were exciting but the stars of the show were the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show
U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds at Maxwell Air Show

Seeing the Thunderbirds was so much fun we made a day trip to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina to see the United States Blue Angels perform.

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Our final RV trip of the year was a fall getaway to north Georgia to see Mountains, waterfalls, and Tallulah Gorge .

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Dry Falls near Highlands, NC in the Nantahala National Forest
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Suspension Bridge over Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls

Visiting New York City with my daughter was one of the highlights of my year.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty

Just like we’ve been doing every fall since the 1970’s we made several trips to Athens to attend University of Georgia’s home games.

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The teams take the field for pregame practice before a night game in Sanford Stadium

And when we were home we when for boat rides and walked on the beach whenever we could.

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Small island in the Georgia salt marsh
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Early morning at the beach

My Wandering Around America One State at a Time blog project was really fun to do. As I worked on the post for each state I loved going through old photographs and reading my hand written trip journals. With each state I was flooded with many fond memories of places we had been and the wonderful people we met.

Where do you think we will wander next year? Stay tuned…