The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace" a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, "Kaintucks," European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping along the parkway. We spent a few days camped at the Natchez Trace RV Campground (a Thousand Trails preserve), near Hohenwald, Tennessee. Within just a few minutes drive of the park, and inside the Natchez Trace National Park, we visited the final resting grounds of Meriwether Lewis and discovered this fascinating chapter of American history.
The Corps of Discovery. When Thomas Jefferson was looking for a strong, bold leader to explore the northwest in search of an all-water connection between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean, he found an eager volunteer in his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis. Jefferson agreed that Lewis was the man for the job, and on May 14, 1804, the Corps of Discovery left St. Louis.
The 2.3 year tour failed to find a continuous waterway to the Pacific, but it succeeded spectacularly in accumulating massive amounts of geographical, cultural, and biological information. This information, though familiar to the resident American Indians and the French and British trappers in the northwest, was previously unknown to scientists.
After the Expedition. After the expedition returned home, Jefferson rewarded Lewis with the governorship of the Upper Louisiana Territory. As the presidency changed, so did politics. Several of the bills that Lewis submitted to the Department of War for payment were questioned, leaving Lewis personally liable for those bills. Lewis set out from St. Louis (the capital of the Upper Louisiana Territory) toward Washington to defend them.
Part of Lewis's route took him along a portion of the Natchez Trace. During the early morning of October 11th, while staying in Grinder's Stand, Lewis died of gunshot wounds. The evidence that exists leads most historians to conclude that Lewis' wounds were self-inflicted, and many who knew Lewis believed he had committed suicide. Some accounts dated 1848 and later suggest that Lewis may have been murdered.
The Memorial. Meriwether Lewis was buried near Grinder's Stand, and, in 1848, the State of Tennessee erected a memorial to honor him. A simple erect, broken shaft reaches above the stone base, symbolizing a life cut short. The memorial includes several inscriptions, one in Latin. "Immaturus obi; sed tu felicior annos vive meos: Bona Republica! vive tuos." "I died before my time, but thou O great and good Republic, live out my years while you live out your own." To see the Lewis Monument, visit the Meriwether Lewis Site at milepost 385.9 on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista is a Spanish mission in San Juan Bautista, San Benito County, California. Founded on June 24, 1797 by Fermín Lasuén of the Franciscan order, the mission was the fifteenth of the Spanish missions established in present-day California. Named for Saint John the Baptist, the mission is the namesake of the city of San Juan Bautista.
Barracks for the soldiers, a nunnery, the Jose Castro House, and other buildings were constructed around a large grassy plaza in front of the church and can be seen today in their original form. The Ohlone, the original residents of the valley, were brought to live at the mission and baptized, followed by Yokuts from the Central Valley. Mission San Juan Bautista has served mass daily since 1797, and today functions as a parish church of the Diocese of Monterey.
Following its creation in 1797, San Juan's population grew quickly. By 1803, there were 1,036 Native Americans living at the mission. Ranching and farming activity had moved apace, with 1,036 cattle, 4,600 sheep, 22 swine, 540 horses and 8 mules counted that year. At the same time, the harvest of wheat, barley and corn was estimated at 2,018 fanegas, each of about 220 pounds.
Father Pedro Estévan Tápis (who had a special talent for music) joined Father Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta, at Mission San Juan Bautista in 1815 to teach singing to the Indians. He employed a system of notation developed in Spain that uses varied colors or textures for polyphonic music, usually (from bottom to top) solid black, solid red, black outline (sometimes solid yellow) and red outline (or black outline when yellow was used). His choir of Native American boys performed for many visitors, earning the San Juan Bautista Mission the nickname "the Mission of Music." Two of his handwritten choir books are preserved at the San Juan Bautista Museum. When Father Tapis died in 1825 he was buried on the mission grounds. The town of San Juan Bautista, which grew up around the mission, expanded rapidly during the California Gold Rush and continues to be a thriving community today.
The mission is situated adjacent to the San Andreas Fault, and has suffered damage from numerous earthquakes, such as those of 1800 and 1906. However, the mission was never entirely destroyed at once. It was restored initially in 1884, and then again in 1949 with funding from the Hearst Foundation. The three-bell campanario, or "bell wall," located by the church entrance, was fully restored in 2010. An unpaved stretch of the original El Camino Real, just east of the mission, lies on a fault scarp.
Although initially secularized in 1835, the church was reconsecrated by the Roman Catholic Church in 1859, and continues to serve as a parish of the Diocese of Monterey. The mission includes a cemetery, with the remains of over 4,000 Native American converts and Europeans buried there.
The mission and its grounds were featured prominently in the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo. Associate producer Herbert Coleman's daughter Judy Lanini suggested the mission to Hitchcock as a filming location. A steeple, added sometime after the mission's original construction and secularization, had been demolished following a fire, so Hitchcock added a bell tower using scale models, matte paintings, and trick photography at the Paramount studio in Los Angeles. The tower does not resemble the original steeple. The tower's staircase was assembled inside a studio.
The San Juan Bautista is one of the 21 missions in California. The San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797. It was called the Mission of Music and was named for St. John the Baptist. However, it was also called, “The Mission of the Glorious Precursor of Jesus Christ, Our Lord San Juan Bautista.” The person who founded the San Juan Bautista was named Fr. Fermín Francisco Lasuėn.
Be sure to check out our photos of this beautiful location in our Photo Album.
Leavenworth is a city in Chelan County, Washington. It is part of the Wenatchee−East Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village.
Leavenworth was officially incorporated on September 5, 1906. A small timber community, it became the headquarters of the Great North Railroad in the early 1900s. Railroad construction was completed during the winter of 1893. The railroad relocated to Wenatchee in the 1920s, greatly affecting Leavenworth's economy. Lafayette Lamb and his brother, Chauncery Lamb, arrived in 1903 from Iowa to build the second largest sawmill in Washington state.
In 1962, the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee was formed in partnership with the University of Washington to investigate strategies to revitalize the struggling logging town. The theme town idea was created by two Seattle business men, Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, who had bought a failing cafe on Highway 2 in 1960. Price was chair of the Project LIFE tourism subcommittee, and in 1965 the pair led a trip to a Danish-themed town Solvang, California to build support for the idea. The first building to be remodeled in the Bavarian style was the Chikamin Hotel, which owner LaVerne Peterson renamed the Edelweiss after the state flower of Bavaria.
Leavenworth is home to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which opened in 1995 and contains more than 5,000 nutcrackers dating from prehistoric to modern. Leavenworth hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration. Leavenworth's transformation into a theme town was inspired, and assisted, by Solvang, California. Later, the Washington town of Winthrop followed Leavenworth's example and adopted a town theme.
For the next few months we will be exploring the historic "101" from north to south. There will be many stops along our journey, and hopefully lots of exploring. Be sure to keep checking for the updates to our Photo Albums for the sights and sounds found along this route.
U.S. Route 101, or U.S. Highway 101 (US 101) is a north–south United States Numbered Highway that runs through the states of Washington, Oregon and California, on the West Coast of the United States. It is also known as El Camino Real (The Royal Road) where its route along the southern and central California coast approximates the old trail which linked the Spanish missions, pueblos, and presidios. The nearly 1,550-mile-long (2,500 km) highway's "northern" terminus is in Tumwater, Washington: the route remains along the Olympic Peninsula's coastal perimeter west, north, and east; the northernmost point on the highway is in Port Angeles. The southern terminus of US 101 is in Los Angeles at the East Los Angeles Interchange, the world's busiest freeway interchange.
US 101 is called the Oregon Coast Highway in Oregon, and the Pacific Highway in parts of California. It is also called "The 101" (pronounced "the one oh one") by Southern Californians or simply "101" by residents of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. From north of San Francisco and continuing almost to Oregon it is also signed as the Redwood Highway though not often spoken of as such outside organizations responsible for tourism marketing. Urban portions of the route in Southern California are named the Santa Ana Freeway, Hollywood Freeway, and Ventura Freeway at various points between East Los Angeles and Carpinteria, California.
In 2008, the portion of US 101 that runs from the Conejo Grade to the Old Town district of Camarillo was dedicated as the Adolfo Camarillo Memorial Highway to honor the city's namesake and extends through the boundaries of the original Camarillo family ranch. In 2003, the portion of US 101 in Ventura County was named Screaming Eagles Highway in honor of the US Army 101st Airborne Division. Urban portions of the route in the Bay Area are called the James Lick Freeway, Bayshore Freeway, and Central Freeway. A portion of the route between Cochrane Road in Morgan Hill and SR 85 in San Jose is named the Sig Sanchez Freeway. The section of highway between SR-85 in Mountain View and Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto is officially known as the Fredrick E. Terman Highway.
Street routings in San Francisco are more commonly referred to by their street names rather than the route number. Portions of the route between Southern California and the Bay Area are named El Camino Real or El Camino Real Freeway, but such names are rarely used colloquially; the route number is used instead. In Northern California the section of US 101 between Sonoma and Marin counties is often referred to as the Novato Narrows because of the reduction from four lanes to two.
Birch Bay RV Resort
Birch Bay is a protected bay located between Semiahmoo Bay and Lummi Bay. It is also commonly referred to as the community near and around this body of water, but is actually not its own town. Birch Bay is approximately 100 miles north of Seattle and 35 miles south of Vancouver, BC, Canada. It was named in 1792 by Archibald Menzies, a member of the Vancouver Expedition. Vancouver's two ships used Birch Bay as an anchorage for several days. Menzies noted a number of species of birch and gave the name to the bay.
Situated just a few miles south of the US/Canadian border, Birch Bay RV Resort offers convenience, fun, and a family friendly environment 365 days a year. For water-goers, a beautiful saltwater beach is located just a few miles away. There visitors can enjoy swimming and splashing about, along with crabbing, clam digging, and oyster picking. For those seeking land activities, Birch Bay RV Resort has a bicycle and walking track perfect for soaking up the great outdoors.
We enjoyed exploring the area that included day trips to Blaine, Bellingham, Fairhaven and a ferry boat ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We squeezed quite a bit into our ten day stay here. Be sure to check out the photos, this is a beautiful area and the people are very friendly.
Grand Canyon Railway
Since 1901, the Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people on a fabled journey into the heart of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. For those fortunate to have traveled on this iconic train, the Grand Canyon Railway is more than just a mode of transportation: It’s a trip back in time to what many consider the most awe-inspiring place on Earth.
More than a century after its creation, the Grand Canyon Railway is delivering passengers to the canyon’s South Rim on a ride that blends adventure, history and culture.
The path this one-of-a-kind railway took to today’s popular service is an interesting one. It was established in the late 1800s as a means of hauling mined ore from Buckey O’Neill’s Anita Mines. But its owner quickly realized that hauling tourists could be lucrative, too, and probably more so. Unfortunately, Buckey was killed in the Spanish American War serving with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and never saw the railway’s completion to the Grand Canyon. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway completed the line to the South Rim in 1901. In 1905 the Santa Fe Railway opened El Tovar on the South Rim, which would become one of the great national park lodges. With a deluxe hotel perched on the edge of the spectacular gorge, and a comfortable way to get there, Grand Canyon tourism took off in earnest.
Automobile travel had long usurped rail travel by 1968, when the GCR passenger train made its final run. But the service was resurrected in 1989 as an excursion train ferrying visitors along 65 miles of track from Williams, Ariz., to the South Rim. The renewed service pulled out of the Williams depot on Sept. 17, 1989, exactly 88 years after its maiden run. Xanterra Parks & Resorts bought the railway in 2007 and continues to expand the property and refine the experience.
We took the train from Williams AZ up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There we spent a night at the Maswik Lodge, enabling us to spend a little over 24 hours inside the park including a sunset and sunrise experience, before taking the return train to Williams. If you're planning a visit to the park, we highly recommend taking the train. This was truly one of those "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences.
The Gonzales Memorial Museum is a Centennial Historical Memorial Museum that commemorates the Immortal 32 who died in the Alamo. The Come and Take It Cannon which fired the first shot for Texas Independence on October 2, 1835 is prominently displayed. Other exhibits inside the museum include period rifles, ammunition, uniforms, and more. Other objects and artifacts reflect early life in Gonzales, including vintage clothing, household goods, and archival photographs, and all help tell the story of this community, a pillar in the state’s historic march towards independence.
The structure is an elegant Art Deco complex which includes two exhibition wings, an outdoor 500-seat amphitheater, and a reflecting pool designed by the San Antonio architectural firm of Phelps and Dewees. The complex is constructed of shell limestone and trimmed in Cordova cream limestone. The central exterior entry features a monument comprised of pink granite and a bronze sculpture by artist Raoul Josset.
Two indoor murals adorn the two-wing Gonzales Memorial Museum. Both are approximately 7 feet tall and 20 feet long, placed high on the west walls of the building. The murals depict the exploration of Texas’ history and culture -- with special emphasis on the local area of Gonzales, Texas. The murals were painted in 1938 by James Buchanan using aluminum metal leaf over canvas mounted on plaster, as well as special effects under an over painting of mural detail and thin washes of reduced paint to create translucent color over the metal leaf.
Immigrants, mostly German, Austrian and Czech, came to Texas in the late 1800's through the early 1900's, not through Ellis Island as we might suppose, rather, they arrived in Galveston, Texas, which began to be called the "Ellis Island of the West" due the large number of immigrants arriving in the port. From there many traveled north in Texas and established ethnic communities, many of which were predominantly Catholic.
In central Texas you will find a collection of churches reminiscent of the European countries from which their builders came. From the outside they look like typical small-town churches, but once inside you will see the frescoes and paintings by the immigrants that built them.
Most of these churches are a short distance apart in the general area of the town of Schulenburg, while a couple of others are in the "Hill Country" near Austin. The churches are active parishes, which means if you time it right you can probably attend Mass. We suggest you call ahead to be sure.
The town of Schulenberg suggests the following on their "painted churches tour" itinerary:
There are a couple of other painted churches not too far away in what is known as the Texas Hill Country:
We did not make it to the Shiner and Plantersville churches, but enjoyed the four near Schulenburg in an easy afternoon drive. Be sure to check out the photos of these beautiful churches.
Oak Creek RV Park
OCT 28, 2015 - AUG 28, 2016 OAK CREEK RV PARK, WEATHERFORD, TEXAS, USA
Spent ten months at Oak Creek RV Park, just about a 10-minute drive west of Weahterford, Texas. This was home base for us since we used to live in Weatherford. Medical issues kept us from travelling too far from the metroplex. This is a great park for full-time living. Beautiful and abundant oak and pecan trees, a nice fishing pond and creek that run throughout the property. Family lodge, swimming pool, hot tub, and two laundry with shower facilities.
MAY 8-15, 2015 THOUSAND TRAILS MEDINA LAKE, LAKE HILLS, TEXAS, USA
Spent the week at Medina Lake, just about a 30-minute drive west of San Antonio. Used our free week in the Getaway Cabin. Had all the children join us, which was a real treat. Matt and Ally drove down from Dallas and Britt rode along with us. We have stayed here on two previous occasions and everyone always has a great time, especially with the wildlife. This trip would prove no different and we fed the deer on our very first night in the cabin. The highest count for the week was 24 deer in our campsite, just steps from the front door of our cabin. A little deer corn gets 'em every time! Everyone was able to have a deer eat corn right out of their hand. No big bucks this trip though. Plenty of other wildlife... Jackrabbits, cottontails, dove, quail, wild turkey, and of course the squirrels.
We took a side trip to San Antonio and enjoyed a day of shopping in the Mexican Market as well as dinner on the river walk. We also ventured into Boerne for an afternoon and found a great wine shop [The Boerne Wine Company], some antique shops and a burger joint [The Longhorn Cafe].
MAY 1-3, 2015 THOUSAND TRAILS BAY LANDING, BRIDGEPORT, TEXAS, USA
Our second outing in the Crossroads Cruiser. We spent the weekend at Bay Landing, on Lake Bridgeport just west of Bridgeport TX. Have not visited this preserve in many years. Found it to be quite full considering the location.
We tried our luck in a back-in spot near the activity center. Okay, yes, took me three tries but I finally managed to get it parked. Obviously much practice needed at backing this 29' fifth-wheel into a narrow slot.This was an opportunity to check out all of the equipment and supplies stored in the underbelly. Found two pink flamingos among other things.
April 24-26, 2015 THOUSAND TRAILS LAKE WHITNEY, WHITNEY, TEXAS, USA
First weekend in our Crossroads Cruiser. Chose a location close to home for our first overnight in the new rig. Played it safe and selected a "pull-thru" space. Spent most of the time just getting acquainted with the trailer. Spent nearly all day Saturday just giving her a good deep cleaning inside. Front to back, head to toe. Remarkably, we found the inside to be in great shape and extremely clean (not too surprising given the previous owner's attention to detail). We were pooped by the end of the day and just kicked back in the trailer. Weather didn't cooperate at all and we had some pretty bad thunderstorms, hail and heavy winds.
Hi! We are The Wandering Bays...Michael & Terry. We're glad you stopped by!