Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Oregon

State 34:

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. The next state in my series is

Oregon

Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. The capital is Salem.

Our visit to Oregon was entirely along the spectacular Pacific coast along Highway 101. In order to have easy access to the scenic overlooks we traveled south from Washington. After crossing the Columbia River bridge our Oregon journey began.

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Crossing the Columbia River into Oregon

We were towing our fifth wheel as we drove south. Lucky for us the overlooks were big enough that we didn’t have any trouble finding parking places.

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Tillimook Rock Lighthouse
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Northern Oregon Coast
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Northern Oregon Coast

We enjoy camping in state parks so before we left home I called the Oregon State Parks to find out if I needed campground reservations. We were traveling in late April and the ranger assured me we would not have a problem finding a campsite that time of year (this was ten years ago and campsites may be harder to get now). Our first two night stay was at Beverly Beach State Park in Newport. With the fifth wheel parked in our campsite we were able to take the truck on several scenic drives.

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Devil’s Punchbowl
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Surfer’s on the beach looking for the right waves
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Bridge at Depoe Bay
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Bridge on Otter Crest Drive

We visited two lighthouses near Newport.

After climbing to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse we walked down a series of stairs for a stroll along the beach. We came upon Harbor Seals sunning themselves on the rocks.

I love the Oregon bridges and this one we saw from the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was one of my favorites.

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Bridge near Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Our Oregon adventure continued as we continued south from Newport on Hwy 101. The first stop of the day was at the Sea Lion Caves near Florence. The caves are 250 feet below the visitors center. After a long elevator ride we were down in the caves for a close up view of the Stellar Sea Lions. The waves crashed into the cave while the seals held on to the rocks and barked at each other.

As we continued south we passed the huge Oregon sand dunes and stopped for lunch at the Umqua Lighthouse State Park.

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Umpqua Lighthouse

We settled into our campsite at Humbug Mountain State Park near Port Orford for our next two night stay. Our campsite was a short walk from the beach.

The campground was just a short drive to the Port Orford Heads State Park and Lifeboat Stations. The ocean views were breathtaking as we hiked along the trails on top of the cliffs. At the museum we learned the Coast Guardsmen used to go down over 500 steps to launch their lifeboats.

When we weren’t enjoying the rugged coast, lighthouses, dog friendly beaches, bridges, seals and lifeboat stations in Oregon we took time out to enjoy some amazing fresh seafood in Newport and Port Orford. Our time there was short and we didn’t waste a minute of it.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – North Carolina

State 30:

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. The next state in my series is

North Carolina

North Carolina became the 12th state on November 21, 1789. The capital is Raleigh.

From the Great Smokey Mountains to the Outer Banks, there is a lot to explore in North Carolina. Waterfalls and beaches, hikes and scenic drives, mountains and racetracks, wildlife and wildflowers  –  these are just a few of the things that make North Carolina memorable.

Back before our RVing days we wandered around the Outer Banks seeing the lighthouses and beaches, visiting the Wright Brothers Monument where they took their first flight, and taking the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke.  Another ferry took us from Ocracoke back to the mainland where we visited Bath where the pirate Blackbeard once lived.

If you love waterfalls, you won’t be disappointed in North Carolina.

It doesn’t get any better than a campsite with a beautiful view. Our campsite at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville was perfect for hanging out after hiking or touring the fabulous Biltmore Estate.

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Blondie taking a break at our campsite at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville
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Biltmore Estate in Asheville
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Sunset at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville

I felt as if I had gone back in time to Mayberry as we wandered around Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy.

We ended our tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the winner’s circle.

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In the Winner’s Circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway

One of the hikes we made was on Whiteside Mountain in the Nantahala National Forest.

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Whiteside Mountain in Nantahala National Forest

Whether it’s the leaves showing their fall colors or the flowers showing their brilliant blooms, the vibrant colors of the North Carolina mountains change with the seasons.

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Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We explored Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mingus Mill in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park near Cherokee.

And if it’s wildlife you’re looking for, try visiting in the fall where you might see the bugling elk in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – New Mexico

State 28:

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. The next state is

New Mexico

New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912. The capital is Santa Fe.

We have traveled through New Mexico several times in our travels. The first time was in 1985 in a mini van on our way to the Grand Canyon to tent camp with our two kids. Each time we were in the state we made sure to eat some of the delicious New Mexico food.  From blue corn tacos to green chile stew it’s all delicious. One year we visited my brother and his wife near Albuquerque and they took us to some of their favorite restaurants. Nothing better than eating where the locals eat!

In New Mexico many restaurants give you a choice of red salsa or green salsa. If you want both, when the server asks you what salsa you would like, the answer is “Christmas”. And where else would you have green chile stew and nachos for breakfast?

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Green Chile stew and nachos for breakfast at the Frontier Restaurant in Alburque

When we left home on our first RV trip in 2006, one of our must see stops was Roswell, New Mexico to visit the UFO Museum.

New Mexico is one of the states that meets at the Four Corners.

Four Corners – States of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada

Our campsite at Santa Fe Skies was a perfect home base to explore Santa Fe and the surrounding area. We enjoyed wandering around Santa Fe, shopping at the Palace of the Governors and visiting the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.

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St. Francis Cathedral Santa Fe
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Camel Rock near Santa Fe
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Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe

When we asked one of the staff at the RV park the best way to get to Taos, he told us we could take the high road or the low road. Of course given two options we decided to travel to Taos on the scenic high road through high desert, mountains and small towns and return to Santa Fe on the low road through the valleys beside the Rio Grande River.

The scenery changed along the high road as we drove from Sante Fe to Taos.

We visited the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside of Taos before exploring Kit Carson’s home and enjoying tacos from a vendor at a Fiesta in Taos.

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
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Kit Carson’s home in Taos

As we drove back to Santa Fe on the low road there were great views of the Rio Grande.

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Rio Grande River on the Low Road between Taos and Santa Fe

Santa Rosa is one of the places to see some of the neon signs along historic Route 66. The Blue Hole was also worth a visit.

There is so much to see in and around Albuquerque. Although we had visited before, my brother and his wife were great tour guides and knew the best places to go. After attending a Navajo Rug sale with them we all took a hike through Petroglyphs National Monument.

On our most recent trip to New Mexico we wandered around Old Town Albuquerque and visited the Coronado State Monument.

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Historic church in Albuquerque
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Coronado State Monument

The highlight of our stay in Albuquerque was the drive on the Sandia Crest Scenic Byway. The views along the way and at the peak were amazing.

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View from Sandia Crest
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View from Sandia Crest
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View of Albuquerque from the Sandia Peak

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – New Hampshire

State 27:

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. The next state is

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is one of the original 13 colonies and became the 9th state on June 21, 1788. The capital is Concord.

Before we began our RV adventures, during an early spring trip to New England we traveled along some scenic back roads in New Hampshire. Instead of spending the nights in RV Parks, we spent our nights in inns along the way. We came across three historic covered bridges as we wandered through the beautiful countryside.

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Covered Bridge in Bath, New Hampshire
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Covered Bridge in Bath, New Hampshire
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Swiftwater Covered Bridge
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Covered Bridge in Jackson, New Hampshire

We picked up some New Hampshire cheese at Harman’s Cheese and Country Store in Sugar Hill and fudge and other goodies at the Brick Store in Bath.

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The Brick Store in Bath, NH

There was spectacular scenery as we drove along the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains. A hike on snow and ice beside a partially frozen creek  was worth it for a close up view of Sabbaday Falls.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada

More of the beautiful Texas Hill Country around Inks Lake

Bluebonnets lined the roads around Inks Lake
Bluebonnets lined the roads around Inks Lake

Inks Lake State Park in Burnet (pronounced BURN-it DERN it) was our home for the 4 nights before Easter weekend. Thanks to my friend Tim in Arlington for recommending this park.

We arrived early in the day and were able to get a beautiful waterfront site. The bad news is we would have to leave on Good Friday because the park was full for Easter weekend. I knew we would love the area when we saw bluebonnets lining the roads to the park.

Our waterfront campsite was a great place to watch ducks, geese and all the water activities. We saw people paddling canoes and kayaks, floating on tubes,  and fishing from motor boats. The sunsets were gorgeous.

I love talking to locals to find out the best places to see. We stopped at Longhorn Caverns State Park one morning to ask about the tours. The ranger had seen me taking pictures of bluebonnets beside the road and he told us about a great scenic drive south of Llano. We were headed to Llano for lunch so we were off on a bluebonnet hunt after we stuffed ourselves with brisket and ribs.

Cooper's Barbeque in Llano, Texas
Cooper’s Barbeque in Llano, Texas

One afternoon we toured nearby Longhorn Caverns. During prohibition the cavern was privately owned and the cavern was run as a honky tonk and restaurant. In one of the large rooms was a bandstand with tables set up all around. When prohibition was repealed the owner gave the land to the state of Texas.

One morning we took a hike on the Valley Spring trail in the state park. The trail started out beside the lake and wound through the woods with wildflowers growing beneath the trees.

Inks Lake State Park has moved up near the top of my list of favorite state parks. Our site was a back in paved pad with water and electric hookups, a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern hook. We had a huge area beneath shade trees to set up our chairs and watch the world go by. There are two fishing piers, a marina and boat launch, canoe and kayak rentals, playground, camp store,  and several hiking trails. Click to read my campground review of Inks Lake State Park.