Here we are again, dumping a load of blog posts that are seriously past due (and we have a bunch more to type up that are also seriously past due). It seems we prefer to be volunteering, playing, exploring and even doing household chores to blogging but we eventually get there. The latest batch is from last summer. We’ve included links so you can jump to them easily.
On a trip to Florida long ago we met people involved in Manatee rescue. They were selling adoption packets for $25. We “planted a seed” and adopted a manatee named “Ginger” for our granddaughter (she had a dog named Ginger). She was thrilled and learned all about the manatees. When her parents took her to Florida, they paddled out to see the manatees. Her eyes still light up when she talks about it many years later. That seed grew into an awareness and love for an animal she had never heard of before. (A quick check of their website and I discovered that it is still $25 to adopt and Ginger is still swimming around out there. https://www.savethemanatee.org/ )
This is the beautiful house we lived in for over 30 years. Trees, woods, critters, a large lake (hiding behind those trees) and peace and quiet in the midst of the Maryland hustle and bustle and crowds. Such a sweet place to go to at the end of a hectic day.
We camped at Kings Mountain State Park. The campground road was full of potholes, the site driveways were almost as bad, and the sites were not even close to being level. Fortunately we were only there for a couple of nights.
The site we booked had a nonworking electrical connection. So we scouted the campground, made a list empty sites that would work as alternatives, went to the camp office, and asked for another site. They were happy to accommodate us. And they were shocked that our first choice was available. Apparently it had been booked but the reservation must have been cancelled at the last minute and no one else snagged it. That site was better, but only because it had electricity.
Kings Mountain National Battlefield
There is a 1½ mile loop trail that circles the crest of Kings Mountain. Along the way you will find informative signs and several monuments. Most of the signs have a map that show you who fought at that point.
The terrain today is quite different than what was here in October 1780. Oaks, hickories, and chestnut trees covered the slopes. The trees were massive compared to those standing today and were farther apart. There was also less underbrush. The top of the mountain was bare. The battle of Kings Mountain occurred on October 7, 1780. This battle was fought entirely between Patriot militia and a like number of Loyalist militia. So like in the Civil War the men who fought here very likely faced family and friends.
We often take things for granted that are near where we live or that we see on a regular basis. Having lived in the DC area for over 36 years, there are a LOT of things that we took for granted and never entered into our blog. We will try to rectify that when we travel back to that area. One trip back was for John’s 49 ½ year high school reunion (two classes joined forces to put on the reunion so it was midway for both of them.) We camped at Susquehanna State Park and had a little time to tour their historic sites. We really enjoyed both the park and the tours so we thought there should be a blog post on them. They have an old toll house, working mill, mill pond, millstream, and historic mansion all looking out on a beautiful view of the Susquehanna River.
Beginning in the late 1600s, the Straits of Mackinac became a strategic crossroads for Great Lakes travelers. Three cultures – English, French, and Native American – converged here, not always peacefully. In the summer, Native Americans came here to fish in lake waters. The French and English vied for control of the lucrative fur trade. To cement their claim to the area, the French established Fort Michilimackinac in 1715. During the Seven Years’ War (1764-1761) (known locally as the French and Indian War), the British took control of the fort. Native Americans captured the fort in 1763 during Pontiac’s Uprising. Their hold was short-lived as the British retook possession the following year. In 1781 the fort was moved to Mackinac Island. What was left was burned. The fort you see today is a detailed reconstruction of what had once been here.
The Lewis & Clark expedition stopped along the way at this Mandan village along the banks of the Missouri River. Near here they built a small fort, Fort Mandan, where they spent the winter of 1804-05.
More importantly, this was where they came across Sakakawea. That is not a misspelling. In this part of the country, Sacagawea is spelled with k’s. Mandan people still in the area say that is the way the name would have been pronounced. Sakakawea, a Shoshone, was kidnapped by the Hidatsa, and eventually sold to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian trapper. She accompanied Charbonneau when he joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Replica Mandan earthlodge (L) and visitor center (R)
Medora is the gateway to the Southern Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. And NO, we did not see the Medora Musical. Every single person that heard we went to the national park asked if we also went to the Medora Musical. We were too busy hiking and gazing in wonder at nature’s beauty, learning the history of the area and generally lounging around in the sweltering heat when it was too hot to move. The thought of sitting in an open air amphitheater when it is in the 90’s didn’t appeal to us at all. Maybe next time. Then again, maybe not.
WAY up north is a National Park well worth the drive. We’d heard about it and actually hoped to get there last summer with Chloe but it is so far away from anything else and our time was limited so we dropped it off the list… but remembered.
Where the Buffalo Roam
In July 2019 we were lounging in Spearfish, SD in the Black Hills, happily enjoying the cooler temperatures and the trees (I love trees) when hundreds of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally early birds started rolling in.
We were a week away from the massive rally that roars into the Black Hills each summer and sends residents running for quieter locales. One week before the rally is not enough for many rally goers anymore. Locals told us that the rally has expanded. Area traffic gets so congested during Sturgis that bikers come a week early and stay a week later to enjoy the rides without the crowds. So many bikers have adopted this strategy that Sturgis is nearing a full month of motorcycle madness. We watched them roll in day after day and finally decided it was time for us to roll out.
But, where to go? We looked at the atlas (I love maps too) and spotted Theodore Roosevelt National Park way up there in North Dakota. We missed it last year, it was less than four hours away, and it was north – gotta be cool up there, right? Wrong. We headed on up and sweated our butts off but we loved it anyhow. If you like natural beauty; if you like animals; if you are into photography – you’ll want to spend time in this park.
We had several reasons for spending time here. First, we have relatives that live a few minutes away from the Spearfish City Campground, where we stayed. Second, we wanted to scope out the area as a possible Phoenix Cruiser Travel Club rally site. One advantage in having family that’s lived here for many years is that they know all the best places to go and things to do. As it turned out Spearfish and the surrounding Black Hills area provide countless places to walk to, bike to, and drive to. If it wasn’t for the long, cold winters, Holly and I would have put Spearfish on our (short) list of places to settle when we’re done wandering in our Phoenix Cruiser.