Day 62: Sunday, August 1st, 2021

“To connect with your soul, you must first connect with nature.” I am sure someone famous said this, but I heard it being whispered in the trees during today’s adventure…and it landed hard in my heart. Like something out of “Ferngully,” literally, and a favorite film of my Dad’s, I found a place so special today that it made my top 10 for my trip thus far. THIS is HOH Rain Forest.

Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

Located inside the Olympic National Park in Washington state, I headed out about 8ish this morning and checked into the Ranger Station just before 9:00 a.m. The Visitors Center opens at 9, so I figured I was there at a good time. As it has been ALL summer, the National Parks are busier than ever!  Now, I maybe waited with 3 cars in front of me at 9, but when I left around 11:30, the line of cars had to be about 100. This entrance is very small, one Ranger on site, so it takes awhile for each car to pay, unless they have the Annual Pass (like I did). Its just a flash of my ID with the pass, just like Disney, and they waved me through after giving me a map.

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What I LOVE about this section of the National Park is that this is designated TO the Rain Forest and ONLY that, with some camping here and there.  One road in, one way in, goes to a dead end which IS the Visitors Center, pray you find parking, and then it’s time to explore!

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All three trails come right out of the Visitors Center parking lot area, so it’s just a matter of parking and watching the signs inside the Forest. I did both the “Hall of Mosses” (.8 miles) and the “Spruce Nature Trail”  (1.2 miles).  Completely doable with a family, kids, and the “Hall” one older folks could handle, not a lot of climbing in that one, but both have lots of tree roots to pay attention to while walking.

Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

Have you ever been somewhere and thought “this can’t be real?” It was something out of a fairytale. I didn’t know whether to sing and skip (neither happened, I still have my cold), write a poem, film, take pics, or sit under a tree and just absorb the insane energy from this magical place. Every corner I took, I would see something more beautiful, more vibrant, and just the most insane food for my soul. I didn’t want to leave, I just wanted to stay in there all day, build a home, and become a forest fairy for the rest of my life. LOL

Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

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Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

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Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest
Walter reenacting Edward in Twilight when he steps into the sun to sparkle….sparkle on my dear Muppet, sparkle on.

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Both trails together took about 2 hours, and that’s with walking at a normal pace, and stopping for lots of pics and videos.  My cold was starting to kick back in (seems always better once I move in the morning and then I am exhausted again after lunch) so I headed out- immensely happy with the treasure I had just found in this place.  As I am driving down the Park, I notice my a/c wasn’t working.  Great. So now I will have to deal with that in the next town, I am in no shape right now to deal with it, and this town is small and it’s a Sunday- so barely anything is open to help me anyways. Such is life, got to move with the punches.

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Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

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Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest

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Olympic National Park Hoh Rain Forest
Trees growng out of one large tree root fallen over.

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I grabbed lunch at “Hard Rain Café” at the bottom of the hill, so happy they had grilled cheese. For some reason, I thought that would be great on the throat, the hot cheese…nay, nay. The bread ripped up my throat more, sending me into a coughing tizzy that was SO embarrassing that I had to wolf down my food and get to my car as quickly as possible. You have your highs and lows of every day, this was mine today. 

Hard Rain Cafe

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So I am back at the hotel for a nap and to work on packing and cleaning my car for the next drive tomorrow. All I can say is…”Goonies Never Say Die!” See you tomorrow.

Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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South Dakota Completed Itinerary…. Week of July 5th-12th, 2021

Bear Country USA:  Click HERE to see their Website

                                    Click HERE for my blog post on it

Bear Country USA

Reptile Gardens: Click HERE to see their Website

                                 Click HERE for my blog post on it

Reptile Gardens Rapid City SD

Mount Rushmore: Click HERE to see their Website

                                  Click HERE for my blog post on it

Mount Rushmore

Crazy Horse Memorial: Click HERE to see their Website

                                           Click HERE for my blog post on it

Crazy Horse Memorial

Custer State Park: Click HERE to see their Website

                                  Click HERE for my blog post on it

Custer State Park

Deadwood: Click HERE to see their Website

                      Click HERE for my blog post on it

Deadwood South Dakota

1880’s Train: Click HERE to see their Website

                         Click HERE for my blog post on it

1880s Train Keystone SD

Alpine Inn Restaurant: Click HERE to see their Website

                                          Click HERE for my blog post on it

Alpine Inn Hill City SD

Press Start Arcade Bar and Grill: Click HERE to see their Website

                                                                   Click HERE for my blog post on it

Press Start Bar and Grill

Hot Springs: Click HERE to see their Website

                       Click HERE for my blog post on it

Hot Springs SD

Pioneer Museum: Click HERE to see their Website

                                  Click HERE for my blog post on it

Pioneer Museum Hot Springs SD

Chapel on the Hill: Click HERE to see their Website

                                   Click HERE for my blog post on it

Chapel on the Hill

Dinosaur Park: Click HERE to see their Website

                            Click HERE for my blog post on it

Dinosaur Park

1880 Town: Click HERE to see their Website

                        Click HERE for my blog post on it

1880 Town South Dakota

Mammoth Site: Click HERE to see their Website

                              Click HERE for my blog post on it

The Mammoth Site

Broken Boot Gold Mine: Click HERE to see their Website

                                               Click HERE for my blog post on DAY TOUR

                                             Click HERE for my blog post on GHOST TOUR

Broken Boot Gold Mine

Wall Drug: Click HERE to see their Website

                    Click HERE for my blog post on it

Wall Drug

Wind Cave National Park: Click HERE to see their Website

                                               Click HERE for my blog post on it

Wind Cave National Park

The Badlands National Park: Click HERE to see their Website

                                                     Click HERE for my blog post on it

Badlands National Park

Deadwood Brothel: Click HERE to see their Website

                                       Click HERE for my blog post on it

Deadwood Brothel

Buffalo Bill Hickock Saloon- Where Wild Bill was shot and killed: Click HERE to see their Website

                                                                                                          Click HERE for my blog post on it

Wild Bill Shooting Site

DIGNITY Statue: Click HERE to see their Website

                               Click HERE for my blog post on it

Sakajawea Lewis and Clark Statue

Keystone: Click HERE to see their Website

                   Click HERE for my blog post on it

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Hill City: Click HERE to see their Website

                 Click HERE for my blog post on it

Hill City SD

Rapid City: Click HERE to see their Website

                    Click HERE for my blog post on it

Rapid City SD

Sioux Falls: Click HERE to see their Website

                      Click HERE for my blog post on it

Falls Park Sioux Falls SD

Legion Lake Lodge: Click HERE to see their Website

                                    Click HERE for my blog post on it

Legion Lake Lodge

Celebrity Hotel in Deadwood: Click HERE to see their Website

                                    Click HERE for my blog post on it

Celebrity Hotel

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Thanks for your kindness in supporting my hard work.

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Camping Frustrations

I liked to be prepared…. having a plan B or more makes me feel secure. This camping possibility in the West right now is stressing me out.  For a one person, car or tent, it seems like it SHOULD be something as simple as book a piece of concrete slab for the evening or week and let me be, right?  Well, I had no idea what the cutthroat life of a full time camper actually was until I dug into my research this week…I wasn’t prepared.

Now, having OWNED my own Campground with my family growing up, I know how things work. People love a certain site or cabin, book it a year in advance, and so on. We would be fully booked on the big holiday weeks, but for the most part, we always had room for someone who didn’t need hook-ups. Now I am camping in my car, and probably a tent because I don’t know how my back would handle sleeping like that in my back seat every night, and yet I am having THE hardest time trying to book a spot.

My theory? This summer people are more than covid fatigued and want to get the heck out of Dodge. The staycation is over, and they need to get out on the open road, so like I have said before, I see this summer BOOMING in the Tourism sector.  Maybe just within States, but once borders open, it will be massive.

I just had no idea that the entire booking empire of the National Parks and Campgrounds were so sought after and so hard to find. I read camping forums I could find, the information on the National Park websites, yet there is still no one out there that really HELPS you determine what kind of site would be suitable for you.  If you have ANY suggestions for me on how I can find sites easier, please let me know. Yes, there are apps out there, but when you don’t know the areas being suggested, it makes it that much harder.  Of course research must be done on my part, but there is SO MUCH out there that I just get frustrated and stop cold.

Maybe I will just book a hotel or sleep in my car anyways. Any help would be great! I am trying to find something in Yosemite in August. Even if I can just get a couple of nights so I can see a bunch of stuff and then head out. Thanks for any help!

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

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One of my bucket lists, and I have many going, is to visit each National Park in the great U.S.A. I have been blessed to have been to many already, so I am well on my way to checking them off.  I am always intimidated by the “big city” on driving in, around, and especially the anxiety around parking.  You’d think that living in Florida I would be used to bumper to bumper traffic and being constantly on my guard when changing lanes or using my GPS, but alas, I was still intimidated here. Thankfully I was there on a Saturday morning, around 9 a.m., and the first parking lot I saw I took!  $10, pre-paid CC only lot, I didn’t care because it was nice and close to the Park and it was also close to the highway to get out- a VERY important detail!rsz_img_0198rsz_img_0199rsz_img_0200

I was there around 9 a.m. so lucky me, I had pretty much the place to myself.  The sun was shining, and the walk TO the Park was pretty neat!  I walked underneath their train system, then up a large hill lined with trees and clean sidewalks.  It was the kind of Park that you see picnics in, joggers running by, and kids holding parents hands.  As you get to the cusp of the hill, like a movie being revealed behind the red velvet curtains, the great Mississippi in all it’s majesty presents herself. It was so beautiful, it almost takes the attention away from the Arch that sits quietly above your head. Riverboat cruises and helicopter tours are provided down on the river, a large paved staircase located next to the one side of the Arch.rsz_img_0203rsz_img_0205rsz_img_0207

Constructed in the early 1960s, and costing $13 million, the land they needed to build the arch would need 40 blocks of the downtown St. Louis area, and demolish it they would along with 290 Businesses.  Ouch! The legs were built seperately, so if they were even off by a HAIR, they would not reconnect at the top correctly! Can you imagine them getting to that point and being like “well crap, it’s a do over!” LOL.  Kind of a cool fact, it is as high as it is wide. 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide! Now, the Tram wasn’t operating, due to Covid at the time, but my Mom had ridden it and said it’s a spectacular view but a terrifying experience- especially if you don’t like heights.  Part elevator and part ferris wheel, it takes you to the top where you can see out of windows, and then back down again. rsz_img_0208rsz_img_0188rsz_img_0213

Personally, I was just happy to touch it. I was so happy standing underneath it, taking pictures, and enjoying the view of the Mississippi. They had food trucks near the Main Entrance of the Park, and then souvenirs being sold out of another truck.  It’s a great location to walk from to enjoy the River or the Downtown area, which I then walked to get to the City Museum. Check out that post HERE.  It was a great experience, everyone had masks on, and you can easily social distance in this spacious area. Enjoy!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Who are the People in your Neighborhood? A Look at Abe’s Home and Community!

They say you are, who you are, by the company that you keep. Abraham Lincoln knew this as he surrounded himself with amazing neighbors who would help his family as much as he helped them, in a little suburb in Springfield, Illinois. Let’s walk it, shall we?LincolnHome2This is on the National Park Registry, so for all of you adventurers out there looking to complete the list, this is a must stop! Parking is free right off of 8th Street, at a lot in front of the Visitors Center OR you can park on the Street and pay the meter.  I went on a Saturday, July 25th, 2020. The Visitors Center and Abe’s home are NOT OPEN during Covid, but the neighborhood is open and free to walk around in. It is a “blocked off” area meaning you can walk the gravel streets without any cars, leaving plenty of room between you and others for social distancing. I wore a mask around others, alone is when I gave myself a breather.IMG_8081LincolnHome8LincolnHome6IMG_8073IMG_8074Lincoln lived here with his family from 1844 to 1861, right before becoming our 16th President. Signage is provided everywhere on who’s home is what, and how they were impacted by Lincoln in their lives. Imagine if each of our neighborhoods did that now, maybe we would treat each other better for the legacy we would like to leave.IMG_7870IMG_8078 LincolnHome1Lincoln’s home is a simple house, but it’s the picture posted kiddie corner across the street that brings you right into his time. Its of him and his boys on the porch with Mary on the sidewalk, and to stand there and see where he once stood with his family, where he called home…it gave me goosebumps.  I have a ghost app on my phone that supposedly you can hear them say words through, and once and awhile I’ll play it in hopes I might get something. As I was standing there, it said “Particularly strange.” I laughed and said “Sounds like something Lincoln would say” and I got back “Precisely.” It has been reported numerous times that Abe has been seen many times in this area, walking around like the good old days. Not to be confused with the reenactors who frequent this area, along with Abe, but due to Covid, are on a break for awhile.LincolnHome5LincolnHome3I enjoyed this area because it was quiet, off the beaten path, no one was around, and it was in the shade of some beautiful trees, so it was just a nice place to visit and be.  I highly recommend it! More Lincoln? Yes please! Check it out HERE and enjoy!

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Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00