Thursday, December 22, 2016

National Lands: Delaware

Bombay Hook NWR, Smyrna, Delaware: hundreds of...
Bombay Hook NWR, Smyrna, Delaware (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The First State National Park honors Delaware as the first state to ratify the Constitution. The park consists of seven sites in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. Visitors should check the National Park Service Website for more information. The closest interstate to this area is Interstate 95. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network contains over 170 parks. The area includes museums, hiking trails, parks and water activities.

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail covers five states and DC. The trail pays homage to John Smith and his men who mapped out over 3,000 miles of the area. A myriad of water activities is available in the area.The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail travels through nine states and DC. The trail crosses the northern tip of the state.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

National Lands: Florida

Fort Jefferson is no longer in use and is curr...
Fort Jefferson is no longer in use and is currently part of the Dry Tortugas National Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gulf Islands National Seashore has an amazing beach. The white sand in contrast to the blue water is a beautiful sight. This park is in the southwestern corner of the panhandle of Florida and extends into Alabama. Interstate 10 is to the north. The area has 160 miles for hiking, biking, swimming, camping fishing and boating along the Gulf of Mexico. At the southern tip of Florida is Everglades National Park., which has 1.5 million acres of activities including boating, biking and fishing. Boat tours are available. Visitors should be careful driving the roads because alligators can be on them. Interstate 75 crosses the area and Interstate 95 is to the east. The Dry Tortugas National Park is not near any interstate. The area can only be reached by boat. This 100-square mile park has the amazing Fort Jefferson to explore and offers all kinds of water activities. Seaplanes, ferries and charters will take visitors to the island. Canaveral National Seashore is a barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean. Interstate 95 runs alongside the area and Interstate 4 joins 95 to the north. Horseback riding, fishing, swimming, surfing, hiking and boating are some available activities. Biscayne National Park is located just south of Miami. Interstate 95 ends near this area. Most of the parks 172,000 acres are underwater. Boating, fishing, scuba diving and swimming are popular activities. Big Cypress National Preserve is located to the north of the Everglades. Interstate 75 crosses through the northern section of the park. Tours are available to explore the swamp.

English: Pensacola Beach, 1957. Beach shows ex...
English: Pensacola Beach, 1957. Beach shows extremely white sand color. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Castillo De San Marcos National Monument is located in St. Augustine which is south of Jacksonville on Interstate 95. South of St. Augustine is Fort Matanzas National Monument. This fort guarded the city from anyone approaching on the river. Hiking and fishing are available in addition to tours of the fort. De Soto National Memorial is located in Bradenton which is between St. Petersburg and Sarasota on Interstate 75. Information on De Soto's exploration is available as well as guided walks. The Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor extends from Wilmington to Jacksonville. The area is a showcase for the culture of the people who came to this country from West Africa. Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, located in the northern section of Jacksonville, is north of the St. John's River and east of Interstate 95. One section of this area is Fort Caroline National Memorial which honors the French presence in Florida. The Kingsley Plantation is also available as is the jewel of the area - Little Talbot Island.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

National Lands: Georgia

This is the beach at Cumberland Island. Cumber...
This is the beach at Cumberland Island. Cumberland Island is home to many wild (feral) horses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cumberland Island National Seashore provides a unique experience for visitors. The park is located in the very southeastern corner of Georgia east of Interstate 95. Visitors take a boat to the island where they are greeted by wild horses. The beach is available as are trails and the ruins of the Carnegie mansion. The First African American Church is on the island. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has 48 miles of river available for activities north of Atlanta. Some parts of the river have Class II rapids. The August Canal National Heritage Area honors the canal that connected the Savannah River to power mills and factories. The canal runs to the west of the Savannah River. Interstate 20 is the closest interstate.  The Appalachian Trail travels through fourteen states. In Georgia the trail is in the northern section of the state. It begins at Springer Mountain and runs for 75 miles. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the relocation of the Cherokee people from Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to Oklahoma.

English: Front of Ft. Pulaski
English: Front of Ft. Pulaski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Andersonville National Historic Site features the largest Confederate military prison which housed more than 45,000 Union prisoners. The area is southwest of Macon and southeast of Columbus. Interstate 75 is to the east. Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is located in the very northwest corner of the state. It is west of Interstate 75 and east of Interstate 59. Fort Frederica National Monument is located on St. Simons Island which was the scene of a British - Spanish battle. Fort Pulaski National Monument is located in Savannah. The fort is to the east of town on the coast. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield preserves the battlefield of the Civil War. It is located to the north of Atlanta and to the south of Marietta on Interstate 75.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is just east of Atlanta. Interstate 20 runs through the park. Granite monadnocks are a feature of the land. Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor extends from Wilmington to Jacksonville along the coastal region. This area celebrates the culture of those who came to the area from West Africa. Jimmy Carter National Historic Site is located in Plains which is to the southeast of Columbus and west of Cordele. Interstate 75 is to the east. The site honors President Carter and his accomplishments. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site celebrates the leader of the Civil Rights movement. The site is located in Atlanta east of Interstate 75/85.  The Ocmulgee National Monument, which is a prehistoric Native American site, contains mounds and six miles of trails. The area is to the east of the triangle formed by Interstates 16, 75 and 475.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

National Lands: Hawaii

English: sulfur dioxide emissions from the Hal...
English: sulfur dioxide emissions from the Halema`uma`u vent, Kīlauea. Français : Émissions de Dioxyde de soufre dans le cratère Halema`uma`u, sur le Kilauea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Haleakalá National Park is a beautiful area of volcanic land and rain forests. This is a remote area with no gas, food or drinks. The summit is 10,000 feet. The park is located on Maui on the southeastern section of the island. Camping and hiking are available, but visitors should be well prepared for all circumstances since help is not readily available. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is located in the southern section of the island of Hawai'i. Crater Rim Drive takes visitors around the summit of the volcano. Hiking and biking opportunities are at the park. Honouliuli National Monument features the history of those who were interred during World War II. The monument, which is still under development, is 15 miles west of Honolulu with Interstate H1 close to the area. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument honors those who fought in the Pacific during World War II. The U.S.S. Arizona, the U.S.S. Oklahoma and the U.S.S. Utah memorials are located in this area. The monument is located west of Honolulu and south of Interstate H1. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail travels along the western side of the island and along most of the southern side to just south of Mountain View.

English: Pāhoehoe Lava is entering Pacific at ...
English: Pāhoehoe Lava is entering Pacific at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kalaupapa National Historical Park commemorates those with leprosy who were banished to the area. This area has the ocean on three sides and 2,000 foot cliffs on the fourth side. Access is only by air, mule, boat or foot. Visitors must secure a permit for this extremely isolated area on the Molokai. Kaloko-Honokóhau National Historical Park is located in the center of the western coast of Hawaii. The park honors the skills of the ancient inhabitants of the area. Pu'uhonua O Hónaunau National Historical Park features a place a refuge for those who had broken sacred laws. The park is located to the west of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Pu'ukoholá Heliau National Historic Site has opportunities for hiking, swimming, camping and scuba diving. The park is located in the northwestern section of the island.

Friday, September 30, 2016

National Lands: Idaho

Devils Orchard - in: Craters of the Moon Natio...
Devils Orchard - in: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The northeastern tip of the lower section of Idaho has Yellowstone National Park, which is to the northeast of Idaho Falls and east of Interstate 15. The largest section of the park is in Wyoming, but the park crosses the state borders of Idaho and Montana. This is the nation's first national park. The geyser basin, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River are just some of the attractions.  Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve is located in the central southern section of the state. It is west of Idaho Falls and Interstate 15 and north of Interstate 86. Visitors can drive or hike the volcanic area. The Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is located in the southern section of the state. It is south of Interstate 84 and northwest of Twin Falls. Thousands of fossils are in the park.

The City of Rocks National Reserve is on the Nevada border west of Interstate 84 and south of Interstate 84. (The interstate takes a turn south.) Climbing, hiking and horseback are some of the available activities. The park has 14,407 acres of spires. Minidoka National Historic Site is located in the southern section of the state between Twin Falls and Jerome on Interstate 84. This site commemorates the relocation of 120,000 Japanese by President Roosevelt during World War II. Nez Perce National Historical Park is spread over four states. Thirty-eight sites exist for the park, so travelers should check the National Park Service for more information.

The California National Historic Trail travels through ten states. In Idaho the trail runs through the southeastern corner of the state near Interstate 15. The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail covers eleven states. It cuts through from east to west in the center of the top section of Idaho. Interstate 90 is the closest interstate. Covering seven states is the Oregon National Historic Trail. Interstate 84 is close to the trail's route in Idaho.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

National Lands: Illinois

English: Most photographed corner of the Linco...
English: Most photographed corner of the Lincoln home in Springfield, Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Lincoln Home National Historical Site is located in Springfield, Illinois. Interstate 55 runs north to south through the city and Interstate 72 travels east to west. Springfield is in the center of Illinois. This site is very busy during the summer season. Visitors can tour the Lincoln home and its neighborhood. The Pullman National Monument is located in Chicago with Interstate 94 providing close access to the area. A variety of sites are included in this new National Monument. These include The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, Historic Pullman Foundation and West Pullman Park.

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail travels through eleven states. This trail is over 3,700 miles long and has visitor centers in each state. In Illinois the center is in the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site. This center is located in Hartford which is along the Missouri River just north of Interstate 270. Covering five states is the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. The trail begins its 1,300 journey in Nauvoo which is on the Mississippi River south of Burlington and Fort Madison. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the relocation of the Cherokee people from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to Oklahoma. The trail runs east to west across the southern tip of the state.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

National Lands: Indiana

English: This photo was taken in June 2005 and...
English: Indiana Dunes Bathhouse and Pavilion in Chesterton, IN along Lake Michigan on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. To the south are Interstate 94 and Interstates 80/90. Both interstates will provide close access to the area. This seashore is 15 miles long and has 15,000 acres. Woods, dunes, marshes and rivers are along the 45 miles of trails. Hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and cross country skiing are some of the activities that are available to guests.

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is located to the east of Evansville in the southern section of Indiana. It is just south of Interstate 64. The exhibits and structures on the property honor President Lincoln and his accomplishments. George Rogers Clark National Historic Park honors the general and his men who captured Fort Sackville from the British. The site is located on the Wabash River at Vincennes which is directly north of Evansville. Vincennes is on the western border of the state and north of Interstate 64.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

National Lands: Iowa

Mississippi River from Fire Point in Effigy Mo...
Mississippi River from Fire Point in Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Effigy Mounds National Monument is located in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. The park is in the northeast corner of the state next to the Mississippi River. No interstate is near the area. The site has over 200 American Indian mounds which are considered sacred burial places. No auto tours are permitted out of respect for the burial area. Walking around the grounds is permitted. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site is located to the east of Iowa City and just south of Interstate 80. The park contains the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, his gravesite and birthplace.

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail travels through eleven states. In Iowa the trail runs along the western edge of the state. The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail covers five states. The trail runs along the southern section of the with Interstate 80 traveling north of it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

National Lands: Kansas

US Army 51501 Belated Honors for Fort Larned S...
US Army 51501 Belated Honors for Fort Larned Soldiers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Kansas the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site is located in Topeka. This site commemorates the case that ended legal segregation in public schools. Topeka is located on Interstate 70 west of Kansas City in the northeast corner of the state. The Fort Larned National Historic Site features a fort on the Santa Fe Trail. This site is well-preserved and complete. The fort is to the southwest of Great Bend and south of Interstate 70 in the central part of the state. Fort Scott National Historic Site is located south of Kansas City near the Missouri state line. No interstate is close to the area. Nicodemus National Historic Site honors the African Americans who helped with the settlement of the Great Plains. The site is located in the northwestern section of the state east of Colby and north of Interstate 70.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve protects what is left of the tallgrass that used to cover so much of the prairie lands.  The area is to the west of Emporia and Interstates 35 and 335. Trails and fishing are available in the area. The California National Historic Trail covers ten states. In Kansas this trail cuts across the northeast corner of the state. The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail travels through eleven states. It runs along the Missouri River along the upper eastern border of the state. Traveling across seven states is the Oregon National Historic Trail. This trail also cuts across the northeastern corner of the state. Young men carried the mail on horseback from Missouri to California. The Pony Express National Historic Trail traces this route. In Kansas the trail travels along the northeast corner. The Santa Fe National Historic Trail runs across the northern section of the state.

Friday, August 12, 2016

National Lands: Kentucky

Mammoth_Cave_National_Park (Kentucky)
Mammoth_Cave_National_Park (Kentucky) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The world's longest known cave system is in Kentucky. Mammoth Cave National Park has over 400 miles of caves. The park is located to the northeast of Bowling Green with easy access provided by Interstate 65. Cave tours are available, but visitors should check the National Park Service website for the list of restricted items. No matter how hot the weather is, visitors should remember the cave temperature is much lower. A jacket would come in handy. The park offers more than the cave. Biking, hiking, camping and horseback riding are also available. Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area has 125,000 acres of land. This area is located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border just west of Interstate 75. The park has hiking trails and horse trails. Whitewater rafting is available and so is the opportunity to tour a coal mine.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is in three states. The park is where Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia all meet just east of Interstate 75. The area has waterfalls, trails and caves. It is also rich in historical sites. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park is located southeast of Elizabethtown and to the east of Interstate 65. Hiking trails and picnic areas are available. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail travels through nine states. It commemorates the relocation of the Cherokee people from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to Oklahoma. In Kentucky the trail runs through the southwestern part of the state.

Friday, August 5, 2016

National Lands: Louisiana

English: A scene in the Atchafalaya Basin in L...
English: A scene in the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Louisiana is a state rich in culture and the national lands in this state reflect the importance of its cultural heritage. Atchafalaya National Heritage Area covers fourteen parishes and celebrates the Cajun Culture in the area. Basically, this site is the center of the lower section of Louisiana. Interstate 49 and Interstate 10 are close to this part of the state. The Cane River Heritage Area is located in Natchitoches which is on Interstate 49 between Shreveport and Alexandria. Forts, plantations, museums and historic homes are in the area. Hiking, biking and fishing are some activities. In Natchez is Cane River Creole National Historic Park. The park celebrates the Creole culture and includes two plantations.

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail is shared with Texas. This 1,000 mile road connected missions and posts. In Louisiana this trail travels west from Natchitoches. Interstate 49 is the closest interstate. In New Orleans the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve has six sites around southern Louisiana. These include a cemetery, a battlefield and a museum. These sites are not close to on another, so visitors should check the National Park Service website. The New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park pays homage to the famous music of New Orleans. The visitor center is in the French Quarter. The Poverty Point National Monument in Epps is located in the northeastern corner of the state. It is just north of Interstate 20 and west of the Mississippi River. This site has 400 acres and has Native American earthworks dating back to 12 centuries before Christ.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

National Lands: Maine

English: A rocky portion of the coastline in A...
English: A rocky portion of the coastline in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. This and other similar shots can be viewed at http://flickr.com/heycheckitout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Acadia National Park is located on the rugged coast of Maine in Bar Harbor. The park is to the southeast of Bangor and Interstate 95. Biking, hiking, fishing, climbing, swimming, boating and horseback riding are just some of the available activities. Lighthouses, seashore and mountains are some of the attractions. Roosevelt Campobello International Park is located on the very eastern border of the United Staes and Canada. Although it does travel through the state, Interstate 95 is not close to this area. This park serves as a tribute to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who loved to vacation here. The area also honors the great relationship between the U.S. and Canada.

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is further north up the St. Croix River from Roosevelt Campobello in Calais. This site is also on the border of the United States and Canada. Trails and tours are available. Maine Acadian Culture is located in Saint John Valley which is at the very end of US 1. Interstate 95 will get travelers close to the area, but not the site. The area celebrates the culture of the people of Maine. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail begins its 2,185 mile journey through fourteen states in Maine. The trail begins at Mt. Katahdin and runs by Andover. The trail is west of Interstate 95.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

National Lands: Maryland (Part 2)

English: Pooles Island Lighthouse, Chesapeake ...
English: Pooles Island Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay, MD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Assateague Island National Seashore is located on the very southeastern edge of the state. This island is 37 miles long and offers every water opportunity in addition to biking, camping and horseback riding. The area is famous for its ponies. No interstate is close to this area. The Chesapeake Bay Gateway and Watertrails Network covers six states and DC. It includes over 170 parks and trails. The National Park Service has the mobile app Chesapeake Explorer so visitors can enjoy all the activities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park has 184 miles of activities which include hiking, biking, fishing, boating and horseback riding. In Maryland the route is along the Potomac River with Interstate 270 in the area. The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a picturesque highway that travels on the southern shore of the Potomac River. It begins at Interstate 495 and travels southeast toward Reagan National Airport. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway uses its 29 miles to connect the two major cities. Also known as 295, the road runs to the east of Interstate 95.

Antietam National Battlefield commemorates a battle in which 23,000 soldiers were killed. The area is located south of Hagerstown and east of Martinsburg, West Virginia. Interstate 81 is to the west and Interstate 70 is to the east. The Baltimore National Heritage Area is an area of 18 square miles that honors Baltimore's influence in the Chesapeake Bay. The last tall ship U.S.S. Constellation in is the Inner Harbor. Interstate 83, 95 and 97 are in the area. In the Inner Harbor area is Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine which is located by Interstate 95. This fort is the inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner. Harmony Hall is a mansion on 62 acres on the Potomac River. It is located to the southeast of Alexandria and to the west of the Potomac River south of DC.

Wild Pony at Assateague Island National Seasho...
Wild Pony at Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located to the south of Hagerstown and to the southwest of Frederick. Interstate 70 is to the east. Hikes and tours are available activities. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park honors the woman who guided 70 slaves to freedom. Her spirit is commemorated in this area enhanced by the beauty of the Eastern Shore. This new park is by Cambridge to the east of Chesapeake Bay in the southeastern section of the state. The Monocacy National Battlefield is located to the south of Frederick. It is south of Interstate 70 and north of Interstate 270. Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm show the changes from plantation to hospital farm. The area is located south of Interstate 95/495 and east of the Potomac River.

Friday, July 8, 2016

National Lands: Maryland (Part 1)

English: Stream to the Potomac River underneat...
English: Stream to the Potomac River underneath the footbridge from the parking lot to Glen Echo Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Clara Barton National Historic Site is located just outside Washington, D.C. Glen Echo is on the Potomac River with Interstate 495 as the closest interstate. The site honors Clara Barton's life of service to others. Hampton National Historic Site is accessible by Interstates 70, 95 and 695. It is located north of Baltimore in Towson. This 63-acre park has tours of the mansion and farm. The Thomas Stone National Historic Site celebrates one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The park is located in Port Tobacco which is south of Washington, D.C. Interstates 95 and 495 are to the north. Catoctin Mountain Park is located to the east of Hagerstown. Interstate 70 is to the southwest and Interstate 81 is to the west. The area has 25 miles of hiking trails. Other activities include camping, fishing, horseback riding and rock climbing.  Fort Foote Park contains what is left of this fort that helped protect DC during the war. The fort is just south of Interstate 95/495 in Oxon Hill which is just east of the Potomac River. Fort Washington Park is south of Fort Foote and provided protection for DC on the river. Close to that park is Piscataway Park where fishing and boating are available. Glen Echo Park had been an amusement park until 1968. Cultural events take place here. The carousel and children's theater are other attractions. The closest interstate is Interstate 495 which is to the west. The town is on the Potomac River. The Greenbelt Park has camping, trails and picnic facilities. It is located on Interstate 95/495 in the northeast section of the beltway.
English: This is the Chimney Rock Vista at Cat...
English: This is the Chimney Rock Vista at Catoctin Mountain Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail covers fourteen states. In Maryland the trail runs from Catoctin Mountain Park to Harpers Ferry. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake honors the work of John Smith and his men in mapping 3,000 miles of the Bay area. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail provides opportunities for biking, hiking and boating. It travels in three states and DC. In Maryland it crosses the state west of Hagerstown. The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail begins in Solomons which is in the southeast corner of the state west of Chesapeake Bay. The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail travels through nine states and DC. In Maryland the trail runs just to the west of Chesapeake Bay.

Friday, July 1, 2016

National Lands: Massachusetts (Part 2)

Cape Cod beach at sunset, Race Point Beach
Cape Cod beach at sunset, Race Point Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cape Cod National Seashore is at the very southeastern tip of Massachusetts. Interstates 195 and 495 will get travelers to the area, but not close to the seashore. The beach, which contains forty miles of activities, is the north-south land that is between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay. The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area has 34 islands and peninsulas in a 50 square mile region. A myriad of activities await visitors in this area which is east of Interstate 93. The Black Stone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and Historical Park is located on the border with Rhode Island with Interstate 295 as the closest interstate. The corridor contains many sites that show the transition of the area from farming to industry.

Georges Island and Fort Warren in Boston Harbo...
Georges Island and Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, and part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Adams National Historical Park is the home of President John Quincy Adams. The park is located in Quincy which is on Interstate 93 south of Boston. The National Park Service reminds visitors that large bags and backpacks are not permitted in the historical homes and no storage is available. Boston National Historical Park is a 43 acre park which includes famous Boston sites such as Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church, Bunker Hill, U.S.S. Constitution and Charlestown Navy Yard. Lowell National Historical Park features the water-powered textile mills and the stories of the immigrants who worked them. Lowell is to the northwest of Boston and west of Interstate 93 near the New Hampshire border. Minute Man National Historical Park is northwest of Boston with Interstate 95 running through the center of the area. This park includes the towns of Lexington, Lincoln and Concord and honors the opening battles of the American Revolution. The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is located in the lower southeastern section of the state just south of Interstate 195. Guided tours are available so visitors can learn about the whaling communities.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail covers fourteen states. In Massachusetts the trail runs along the western edge of the state and is crossed by Interstate 90. The New England National Scenic Trail is shared by Connecticut. The trail is 215 miles long and runs in the western section of the state. The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail runs in nine states and DC. The trail travels in the eastern part of Massachusetts.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

National Lands: Massachusetts (Part 1)

English: Replica of Friendship at Salem, Mass....
English: Replica of Friendship at Salem, Mass. Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Salem, Massachusetts, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Massachusetts is a state rich in history and that is reflected in most of its national lands. The Boston African American National Historic Site celebrates the brave people who fought against slavery and injustice in Boston in the 19th century. Museums and trails are available. Interstates 90 and 93 are the closest interstates to the area. Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site honors the man who excelled in his field of landscape architecture. The Site is located in Brookline which is south of Interstate 90 and east of Interstate 95. Also in Brookline is the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. This birthplace of President Kennedy is located south of Interstate 90. Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site has a dual meaning. It was the home of poet Henry W. Longfellow. The home also served as the headquarters for General Washington. The site is located in Cambridge which is north of Interstate 90 and west of Interstate 93.

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is located in Salem which is northeast of Boston and east of Interstate 95. Visitors can tour the building and the tall ship. A film about the Salem Witch trials is available for an extra charge. The Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site commemorates the place where iron working skills were first brought to this nation. Saugus is north of Boston and south of Interstate 95. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site honors the achievements of those who made the ammunition at the nation's first armory.  Springfield is on Interstate 91 just south of Interstate 90 almost on the Connecticut border. The Essex National Heritage Area begins just north of Boston and continues north to the New Hampshire border. The area is 500 square miles and hundreds of historical sites, trails and water activities are in the region. Special event weekends called Trails and Sails are held periodically.

Friday, June 17, 2016

National Lands: Michigan

Empire Bluffs Trail view of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Empire Bluffs Trail view of Sleeping Bear Dunes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Isle Royale National Park is an island in Lake Superior. Visitors can access the park only by ferry or seaplane unless they have their own watercraft. The island is remote so travelers should be well prepared with plenty of supplies. They should also be aware of weather conditions. Interstate 75 will take drivers to northern Michigan, but that is it. Pictured Rocks National Seashore is also in Northern Michigan. The area is located on the shore of Lake Superior. The area has cliffs, sand dunes, waterfalls and forests. The lakeshore is 40 miles long. Once again, Interstate 75 will take visitors to the northern part of the state, but it is not close to this area. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is on Lake Michigan in the northwest corner of Lower Michigan. Interstate 75 is to the east, but not close. Miles of beach with hiking and biking trails are available and dunes are waiting to be climbed. The area has amazing scenery and is well worth the drive.

Keweekaw National Historic Park is in the very northwest tip of the state of Michigan. The visitor center is in Calumet. No interstate gets close to this area which features information about mining copper in the area. Hiking, biking, kayaking and winter snow sports are available. The North Country National Scenic Trail covers seven states. In Michigan the trail runs along the western side of Lower Michigan and across Upper Michigan. River Raisin National Battlefield is in the southeastern corner of the state on Lake Erie. The area is just north of Toledo, Ohio. Interstate 75 provides direct access. The 1813 battle here ended with an Indian victory. Museum displays and biking and hiking trails are available. The Motor Cities National Heritage Area is in Detroit. This area consists of many sites, so advance planning is necessary. The area, which covers over 10,000 miles, celebrates the history of the automobile and its impact on history.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Travel Tales: Helpfulness of the iPhone 6

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
Just before I went on my last trip, I got the new iPhone 6 Plus. I was excited to use the larger phone and I wanted to stay with Apple. Even though I knew many of the great aspects of this model, I was delighted to discover some unexpected benefits associated with travel and this phone.

When I stay in the San Fernando Valley, I always have a problem with cell phone reception. Either the location of the building is a problem or the number of apartment buildings in the area is a problem. Reception affects all carriers in the valley. That is why drivers will sometimes notice people sitting on the curbs talking on their phones. Another popular place for apartment dwellers to make calls is in the park, which has great reception and a wonderful view. This problem in the apartment where I was staying was really bad, but then I got a message on the phone telling me to consider using wi-fi calling. I contacted my carrier because I did not want to increase my bill. The option was free. How amazing! Putting the call on wi-fi was simple and the clarity of the calls increased dramatically.

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
Another great feature was the ability to get HBO Now on the phone. Since the phone had such a large screen, I was able to view the movies with ease. I had brought my Apple TV with me, but I would have had a lot of work to try to connect it in the maze of wires behind the tv in the rental. The phone worked really well.

When I travel, everyone back home forgets about the time difference. I am awakened very early some mornings. That is why I decided to use the Do Not Disturb feature. That solved the problem. If my daughter needs me, she knows how to override it.

One problem with the phone seemed to affect all carriers. When I made a phone call, the person on the other end would hear a periodic beep. I did not hear it. This happened while I was in California and now while I am in Ohio. When I read the Apple forum, I noticed this happened to people no matter who the carrier was. I have taken the phone to Apple and despite several attempts, nothing has worked yet. By the way, that is the old iPhone in the photo. Next week National Lands resumes!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Travel Tales: In Praise of the Honda Civic


(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
Back in 2004 I needed to get a car. I wanted a vehicle with great gas mileage, but it also had to have a sunroof because I had a dog. I finally decided on the Honda Civic, but it was difficult to find one that was not white or silver. After a long search I found one, but I was not in love with the color at the time. I bought the car anyway. I thought that I would find exactly what I wanted in the next car I would purchase.

The Civic was the best car I had ever owned. I had very few problems with it. On my trips the car had great mpg and had no problems in the mountains. The only problem with the car was the small trunk space. Any time I went shopping I would have to figure out if the larger items would fit in the trunk. On trips fitting all the luggage into the trunk was a nightmare. Since I never took the same bags on every trip, I had to prepack the trunk every year to make sure I would not have a last minute crisis.

After I had the car for ten years, I decided to think about my next car. I loved the Civic, but the trunk was a problem. I wanted to stay with Honda. In 2015 the Fit and the HRV did offer a better cargo option, but I was not impressed with either model. As an afterthought I decided to sit in the CRV. The moment I did so, I knew it was the car for me.

(Photo Credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
The interior of the CRV was more comfortable than that of the Fit or the HRV. I could pull things out of the back instead of lifting up and out of the Civic trunk. The gas mileage was not as good as that of the Civic, but the difference was only a few miles.

I had no reason to let go of the Civic, but I wanted the person who bought it to have a good car for many years. Still I was sad and knew parting would be difficult. I had never owned a car for so long. In March I knew the time had come. The 2015 CRVs were gone and finding a used 2016 would be impossible. Rumors on the internet speculated the CRV would be larger in 2017 and I did not want a larger car.

I wanted a certain color and did not want all wheel drive. Honda had to search a five-state area, but they found it. I was excited to be getting my first new car in decades, but I still wondered about where the Civic would go. My mechanic thought his son would want the car. If he did not, the mechanic would put the car on his lot to sell.

I gave the Civic one last wash to get the bugs from my last trip off the car. My neighbor came over to welcome me home. I told him to say goodbye to the Civic. Unbeknownst to me, that morning he had been looking for a used car since his vehicle was in bad shape. He offered me more that the mechanic had offered and we handled the paper work. He was thrilled with a good car that had never been in the winter. He fusses over that car all the time! I was happy that my beloved Civic was right next door. By the way, I absolutely love my CRV. Everyone is content!!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Travel Tales: A New Option

English: Aerial view of Barstow, California, USA.
English: Aerial view of Barstow, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After I left the Grand Canyon, I was traveling west on Interstate 40 on my way to Los Angeles. As always the trip through the Mojave Desert was beautiful and thankfully uneventful. This part of my trip is the calm before the storm. Once I reach Interstate 15, I am involved in the hectic and intense Los Angeles area traffic. This year I decided to do something different. I reached Barstow and Interstate 15 and went south on the 15 for a couple exits. Then I turned west on California State Route 58.

I had researched SR58 and thought I would never really know how good the road was until I tried it. Some sections of the road were two-lane, but the traffic was going the speed limit. I noticed a lot of trucks and RVs were traveling on this road. By going this way they would avoid the Cajon Pass, so that made sense. I continued west and drove past Edwards Air Force Base. Here I found the map confusing since SR58 curved to the north, but another 58 went straight ahead. I went straight keeping the airstrip to my left. The road joined 14 at Mojave and I continued south through Lancaster and Palmdale. I had no traffic problems.

When I reached the Golden Valley exit, I took the opportunity to stop at Sam's Club and get supplies. I got back on 14 and four miles later it merged with Interstate 5. I found it difficult to determine if I saved time by taking this route. The traffic was so much better and I did not have to deal with the Cajon Pass. When I reached the 5, I was driving reverse to rush hour traffic.

California State Route 58
California State Route 58 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I decided I will return that way if I can travel the road in the daylight. I would be concerned about having a problem in that isolated area in the dark. I have to get up so early when I drive east just so I can miss the traffic backup for the 5 on the 134. However, if am traveling at night, I would feel safer on the 134/210 in case I needed help. I have included a map which shows SR58 in red. On the right end of the red line are the blue lines for I-15 and I-40. They meet at Barstow. Following the line to the west, one sees the next blue line runs to the south only. That is 14 which curves to the west to meet I-5. The jumble of blue lines at the bottom are the highways of the Los Angeles area.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Travel Tales: Grand Canyon National Park

(Photo Credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
I had a beautiful set of days for my trip to California in November. Only one day would present a problem and that was the day I wanted to see the Grand Canyon National Park. The weather forecast for that day was snow and high winds. I have a National Park Pass so I decided I would visit that day and then come back on the next day which was forecast to be sunny. I had seen the North Rim many years ago and had no desire to see the South Rim because I heard the area was always so crowded. I had some free time, so I decided this would be the year to visit. I was lucky to get a great hotel room in Tusayan which was seven miles from the rim. A storm was coming in that night and I arrived just as the snow was starting. The forecast for the next day was a high of 29 degrees with snow and high winds. It was perfect!!

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
The next morning I arrived early and went to the rim. What canyon? The area was completely covered by fog. I went to the visitors center to talk to a ranger. She informed me that the snow would clear out of the canyon by 3:00. I told her I would visit the exhibits and shops and come back the next day to take photos. She said if I did that, my pictures would look like millions of other photos, but if I took as many photos as I could in the bad weather and then waited until later that afternoon for more opportunities, I would have pictures that were unique.

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
I decided to walk around and every once in a while the wind would blow and a gust would clear all the clouds out of the canyon. Swirling clouds and rainbows added to the amazing scenery. The ranger was correct. No one would ever have the same exact photos. Not many visitors were at the park that day, but a group of us bonded together and had a great time in the adverse conditions. Only a few dozen of us were hardy enough to stay for sunset. The rangers had warned us that clouds might obscure the view, but we were willing to chance it. The gusts of wind at that time were so intense that we would scream in pain because we were so cold. I used my Big Canon camera for most of the photos because I was afraid my iPhone would be blown right out of my hands. I got beside a tree which protected me from the wind to take some photos with the phone. Later I could not tell which pictures had been taken with the camera and which had been taken with the phone.

As soon as the sun set all of us ran for the shuttle bus. I was happy to get a seat on the first one so I could finally get warm. Even though the weather was challenging that day, I will always remember it as one of the best days I have ever spent in a National Park. I learned a lesson that a park visit does not need perfect conditions. Each type of weather presents unique opportunities to showcase the amazing aspects of the park.