Monday, March 24, 2014

Top Ten Lists - Attractions

Roger here.... Continuing on with our top ten lists from our first five years of travel in the motor home, this post covers attractions that we have experienced.  The attractions tend to involve less time than the excursions from the last post,  but there are obvious shades of gray between the two categories.

1.  McDonald Observatory, near Fort Davis, Texas.

This facility, which is administered by the university of Texas, was fascinating.  We attended a special program that included dinner and a viewing through the 160-ton Harlan J. Smith reflecting telescope.  We were able to see an M-3 star cluster, as well as the rings of Saturn.  

Lots of telescopes here housed in their own special observatories.  Worth a return visit to this otherworldly mountaintop.

2 (tie).  Potash Road, along the Colorado River, near Moab, Utah.

Three adventures in one on this unexpected day.  We drove along the Colorado River on Potash Road in search of some roadside petroglyphs that we had read about.  We found them -- hundreds of them -- along a relatively long stretch of road.

Down the road a couple of miles we found fossils of dinosaur tracks.  (the two prints on the right side of the rectangular boulder)  I scrambled up the rubble to get a better look.

Further down the road we accidently discovered the movie props from the Disney movie, The Lone Ranger along with the star trailer camp for the cast and crew.

2 (tie).  Umpqua Lighthouse, near Winchester Bay, Oregon.

We took a guided tour of the lighthouse during the day.  

The red lenses were imported from France.

A return visit at night was most memorable.  We loved the way the beams of light reflected onto the surrounding trees.  Like dancing faeries!  --  D.

4.  Miami Metro Zoo.  Miami, Florida.

The day we spent at the zoo was very early in our travels.  We both still rate this as 

the finest zoo we have ever visited.  

5. Luckenbach, Texas.  Near Fredericksburg.

This is a mandatory stop when we visit the Hill Country of Texas.  It seems to be a pure Texas experience, at least to a Indiana boy like me.

It is a great place to take family and friends when they visit.  The pretty lil gal on the right is our daughter, Amanda.

The free live music, the very laid back people, and the Shiner (or Lone Star) Beer truly make this a not-to-be missed Texas experience.

Marfa Lights, Marfa, Texas.

Marfa is an isolated small town in West Texas.  The movie, Giant, with James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor was filmed here.

It has a beautiful courthouse and town square.  However, the attraction for us was the mystery of the Marfa lights.  We were staying at nearby Davis Mountains State Park.  It was evening and I was ready for bed.  Dianne insisted that we go to the nearby viewing station in Marfa to see if we could get a glimpse of the controversial lights that appear and move on the horizon on an irregular basis.  There is documentation of Native Americans seeing them before the invention of the lightbulb.  I did not want to go.  I was sleepy.  It was time for bed.  You know who always wins these arguments :-).  What a mistake it would have been to go to bed!  The lights appeared that night.  The feeling that we both felt was surreal.  So glad we saw them.  Still don't know what we saw.

7.  (three-way tie).  Ojo Caliente, Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

We needed a place to stay in an isolated part of northern New Mexico.  I found a mineral spa that happened to have a few RV sites.  We are not spa people, but we both agreed that this was fun.

There were several different natural hot springs as well as the mud bath that Dianne does not want people to see.  

What a relaxing place and an unexpected adventure.

7.  (three-way tie).  Wolf Park.  Battleground, Indiana.

Wolf Park is a research facility that schedules night howls for visitors.  These are handsome and intriguing creatures that live in a pack in a huge natural setting surrounded by fence.  The audience initiated the howling that the wolves responded to.   The park officials talked about the research being done while wandering through the pack.

7.  (three-way tie).  LBJ Ranch, near Johnson City, Texas.

We skipped this during our first visits to the Hill Country, but finally paid a visit.  We are so glad we did.  The Texas White House, shown above, truly was the location of much of the political world during the Johnson years.

The audio tour allowed us to travel through the expansive ranch and view many of the highlights of LBJ's youth and later presidency. Check out an early version of Air Force One.

The property remains a working ranch.  

10 (tie).  Powell's City of Books, Portland, Oregon.

This is the largest privately owned bookstore in the country.  It is housed in a multi-storied building in downtown Portland.  They sell both new and used books.  We spent quite a bit of time here with our daughters and granddaughter.  Had we not set a prearranged meeting time and place, we might still be browsing.

10 (tie).  River Walk.  San Antonio, Texas.

We have been here a few times and always love it.  The pictures in this post show our time with our granddaugher, Kaia (above)...

... and our daughters, Amanda and Robyn.  

Margarita time for the grown-ups.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:  too many great places not to include these.

United States Air Force Academy Chapel.  Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I was here as a child and wanted Dianne to see it.  I love architecture and this is an architectural classic.  

Loved the stained glass.

Duluth Harbor.  Duluth, Minnesota. 

Just one of those cool places... on the water with water barges, next to a huge lift bridge, a museum, restaurants, Duluth Trading Company, and ice cream.

Dania Beach,  between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida.

We spent an afternoon at the beach here so we could watch...

... the parade of cruise ships leave Fort Lauderdale.

The Desert Zoo.  Desert Hot Springs, California.

An excellent small zoo on the San Andreas Fault that features desert animals from across the world...

... appropriately to a desert zoo, it was a hot, hot day.

Astoria Column.  Astoria, Oregon.

We climbed to the top of this mural-covered Italianate structure with our friends, Jay and Nancy...

... and oh, the view.

The Running of the Ducks.  Peabody Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee.

The ducks take an elevator from the rooftop to the lobby every day...
.... and after a waddle on the red carpet they plop into the fountain in the lobby to spend the rest of the day.

11th Street Cowboy Bar.  Bandera, Texas.

Wow.  This doesn't look like much.  Why would people tell me to go here?

It sure isn't very big.  What are those things hanging from the ceiling?

Go out the back door?  Why would we go out the back door?
Oh my gravy, look at this huge place!  

We were here for a very short time with our friends, Chuck and Cindy.  Worth another visit when the musicians are on the stage.

The next top ten list will highlight our favorite tours.


Steve Conrad said...

Thanks for sharing. I will add several to my "must see" list.

Gerald Miller said...

Thank you... Good info!