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This page last updated: Mon Jan 19, 2015.

Traveling Morgans 2009 Destinations and Travel Highlights

NOTE: Construction is basically finished, but more links will be added as more detail pages are completed.

Early Spring

Before leaving San Marcos, Texas, (upper map reference 1) The Traveling Morgans took a short trip to Rockport TX (lower map reference 2) and Corpus Christi TX (lower map reference3) to visit friends and take a great bird watching boat tour (all labeled A top left). Highlights included seeing more than 20 highly endangered Whooping Cranes (the tallest birds in North America), an island rookery with many species of sea birds, and having dolphins swim in the wake of the boat, including a baby.

We found two interesting places to eat. The Seafood Railroad Station in Corpus Christi B and Turtle Bay Cafe just north of Rockport C. Turtle Bay is the type of place you might overlook if it were not recommended by friends, but the food was very good and the prices were reasonable.

Our Route North

Click on map above to see a larger version. Map reference numbers should be easier to read.

Heading North

Our trip north from San Marcos, Texas, (upper map reference 1) was rather hurried. We unexpectedly found ourselves needing a job. We called our children to alert them we were coming, ordered some parts needed for our truck, and arranged for someone to do the work in Indianapolis (4). All this time we were also making phone calls about possible jobs as we traveled. One surfaced in West Yellowstone MT. There was no opportunity to enjoy our travels.

We hurriedly left Indianapolis in late June needing to be in West Yellowstone by July 2. This left only a little time for relaxing stops and seeing the wonders of the land.

Loosing a wheel bearing on a Saturday near Onawa IA (5) changed that. Calling for warranty support on Monday, we were told it would be a minimum of 5 more business days before parts would reach us, we would pay for the work, and have to mail the old parts back to the factory where they would decide whether or not to reimburse us. No parts were available except through the factory, the factory would not even help us find them locally. They told us if we found replacement items locally it would void our warranty. The extra delay would mean we would lose our summer job. Since we were not convinced this would be the end of the trouble -- and felt any warranty that required such a long shipping time was a joke -- we elected to replace both axles totally with heavier duty axles by Dexter that were available in Omaha NE. Dexter axles and parts are readily available in most major cities in the USA. Larry got the axles by noon and Schroeder Services (in Onawa IA) had the new axles on the trailer late that same Monday. Tuesday morning we were on the road. We had to make time. Roscoe and Harpo handled the accelerated travel schedule well (D left).

We made it to West Yellowstone July 2 as planned, but there was no time to see the wonders of the land.

We did manage to take some pictures of the wonderful Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming (map location 6) from some rest stops. We hope to visit them in the future (Eat left). We also saw some interesting things while traveling (Fat left).

Summer

Yellowstone 7 is probably the most amazing place in the world you can reach via paved roads. It leads all national parks in age (although Yosemite was protected earlier) and is now second in size (a new one in Alaska is even larger) being larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Perhaps because of political interference and diverse special interest groups pushing their own agenda in Yellowstone, it would probably be low on the list of "best managed parks".

The pictures from 2009 have not been integrated into the Yellowstone section. All pictures on this page are from 2009.

Yellowstone has perhaps the great variety of wildlife in a national park; including (G left) grizzly bear & black bear (no pictures this time), buffalo or bison, bald eagles (adult & juvenile), elk, moose, mule deer, osprey, prairie dogs, pikas, and wolves and coyote (sorry no picture of pikas or wolves or coyote this time).

Some say Yellowstone sits on a sleeping super volcano (also known as the Yellowstone Caldera) with a catastrophic eruption only a matter of time. This is reported by the Discovery Channel and BBC among others. The Yellowstone Hot Spot is certainly real and described in Wikipedia. Without buying into any doomsday forecasts, it is safe to say Yellowstone certainly has unique geology with thermal activity unmatched anywhere. Over 25% of the worlds active geysers are in Yellowstone. Pictured are Great Fountain, Old Faithful, Riverside, and Grand (H left below), with wonderful thermal pools and hot springs. Chromatic Pool is pictured (also H below). Mammoth Hot Springs is a world class wonder (I below).

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River with Upper Yellowstone Falls and Lower Yellowstone Falls (J below) would rate a national park in its own right. as would the largest Alpine Lake in the world -- Yellowstone Lake (K below). The largest petrified forest in the country is in Yellowstone, and they are standing upright. Only one tree can be driven to, the others require following a steep hiking trail.

There are fantastic mountains at and near Yellowstone. Grand Teton National Park 8 (L below) and the mountains of Bear Tooth Pass --where we had snow banks and mosquitoes at the same time -- 9 (M below) are wonderful examples.

Idaho also has some wonderful scenic sites, such as Mesa Falls (N below).

The best place to walk dogs was in Gallitin National Forest at the edge of town. One place was the old airport(O below).

A herd of "painted buffalo" "roamed" West Yellowstone for three years. They were auctioned off near the end of the summer(O below).

There were a few places we could recommend in West Yellowstone MT. Chief among the food establishments was Ernie's Bakery & Delicatessen for breakfast and lunch (P below). Other food places include Main Street Grill, Bulwinkle's, Pete's Rocky Mountain Pizza, and Bear Tooth Barbecue.

Hot Springs, Waterfalls, and Yellowstone Lake

Near Yellowstone

West Yellowstone MT

Fall and Heading South

The season ended Labor Day, and we had notice of issues we had to address in Rapid City and Indianapolis. Well we never object to a few days in the Black Hills -- checking the slow but steady progress on the Crazy Horse monument and visiting a favorite leather shop -- Rough Rider in Keystone (Q right).

Custer State Park SD 10 is possibly the best state park in the nation, and certainly better managed than most national parks. We stopped at Mt. Coolidge, where we could see The Needles, Mt. Harney the highest point east of the Rockies, Mt. Rushmore, (Q right),and Crazy Horse. Badlands National Park from the same mountain. was not visible due to haze. The gravel roads off the Wildlife Loop led us to a regal Prairie Falcon and a Pronghorm anteleope. The buffalo were elsewhere that day. If the last Q  image to the right looks familiar even thoug you have never been to South Dakota, it was featured prominently in the movie National Treasure 2. The beautiful mountain lake in Custer State Park is Sylvan Lake

Nebraska was famous for the way West before it became a state. Wagon tracks are still visible on the Oregon Trail (R right). Courthouse Rock is adjacent to Jail Rock, and Chimney Rock is another landmark from old history books. Most notably, Scott's Bluff NE 11 was a landmark on the Oregon Trail that Larry had wanted to see for many years. The staff at this National Monument were incredibly helpful and friendly. Shuttle service was provided that even transported our well behaved dogs. The picture shows our modern "covered wagon" and "team" parked at Scott's Bluff where we spent some wonderful time.

Indianapolis 4was a visit with our grown children as well as other issues that demanded our presence. Phyllis found a favorite bead store -- Beads Unlimited in Whiteland IN (S right).

We had stops at St. James Missouri 12 for the fine winery of the same name (T right), and Branson Missouri 13where we were able to rest for a few days and Phyllis found another very good bead store (U right). Near Texarkana TX 14, we had the worst storm of all of our travels. The trailer really rocked in the early morning. Tornado? We later learned it was a micro burst. A big stop was San Marcos Texas 1 for some chiropractic help from Raphael Marino of Once Source Family Chiropractic as well surgery on Roscoe at Tickle-Blagg Animal Hospital, plus a chance to visit friends we had made in multiple winters in San Marcos.

Boerne TX 15 was where we purchased our new trailer. Some repair work we only trust to our friends at Explore USA.

The WalMart at Hondo TX16 is a great place to stop for one night.

New Harbor campground in Zapata TX 17 is certainly one of the most reasonable priced campgrounds in the country.

Donna TX 18 is where we worked for the winter. Palm trees and cactus are both prevelant V right). Phyllis worked in the RV Office, and Larry worked for the internet, communications and cable TV department. I walked to my job one morning and found someone had parked inside our office.

We did spend a day on South Padre Island with our dogs (W right). They like walking on beaches where dogs are allowed. Of course we stayed outside of the town of South Padre. We found the beaches north of town but reachable by roads to have too much broken glass and other debris to be worth visiting again. Padre Island National Seashore on North Padre Island and the beaches on Mustang Island were much better. Later (see 2010) we would find Boca Chica beach at the very southern tip of the Texas mainland to be much cleaner.

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