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Imagine my surprise when I discovered there were rainforests in the Pacific Northwest! Perhaps you already knew that rainforests exist in the United States. And, perhaps, United States geography is not my best subject, but I had no idea that a place like the Hoh Rain Forest existed in coastal Washington. To me, “rainforest” meant somewhere in South America or Asia or maybe even in the middle of Africa. After I made this discovery, I knew we had to spend some time in the Hoh Rain Forest. I continued researching. The vines, the lush greenery, the potential to see a banana slug? Sign me up! I was all in. And when I mentioned this adventure to my travel companions, they were all in, too. Planning Your Visit to Hoh Rain Forest Some Background Our visit to the Hoh Rainforest was part of an enormous road trip we took in 2021.…

If you’re driving along Route 66 in Oklahoma, be sure to put the historic Coleman Theater on your list of stops. We had the opportunity to tour this gorgeous theater last spring as part of a paranormal conference and ghost tour. The Coleman Theater still hosts shows and touring acts regularly, but if you’re in the area when nothing is scheduled, be sure to give them a call to see if you can arrange a tour. Or, if you’re lucky, if you stop by during typical business hours, you may just score a tour if someone is available. So don’t think you won’t be able to see the inside of this magnificent theater if you didn’t plan ahead. Check it out. And if you’re on the fence about whether you should stop during your Route 66 adventure. read on. You’ll discover why the Coleman Theater is a highlight of Route…

As we researched places to visit in Santa Fe, especially places for tasty treats, one place continued to pop up on my radar–Kakawa Chocolate House. When I discovered that you could taste rich chocolatey elixirs or devour a variety of truffles, I knew Kristin and I had to go and get our chocolate on. So, after an exciting morning at Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf attraction, it was lunchtime. And what could be better for lunch than all things chocolate? About Kakawa Chocolate House Okay, maybe we didn’t exactly have lunch there. But Kakawa Chocolate House was right along our route back to our hotel room at the Guadalupe Inn, an adorable little place (it only has 12 rooms!) that was near downtown and some pretty great places to eat. So, before we headed back to downtown and Santa Fe Plaza, we needed to satisfy our need for chocolate. There are…

One of the best things about driving along Route 66 is stopping at all the quirky, historic stops along the way, and Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, fits this description perfectly. Who can resist the challenge of the place–finishing a 72-ounce steak and all the fixings in one hour and getting the meal for free? Turns out, we could resist, but that didn’t stop our family from stopping for lunch on a road trip out west. And let me tell you, the smaller steaks are delicious. Even if you’re not hungry, this place is worth a stop to check out the decor and roadside fun. The Big Texan Steak Ranch and Route 66 The original location of The Big Texan Steak Ranch opened in 1960 along Route 66. When I-40 opened, the location was moved, though it’s worth noting that I-40 mostly runs along Route 66, often parallel…

As we planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park, we quickly discovered that we needed to spend some time in Grand Teton National Park, as well.  I’d never heard much about this park, but when I saw others planning their trips, I realized that the parks were so close and it would be a mistake to miss this beautiful park. This is our experience. When I plan trips, I like to know what others have done. Hopefully, our experience can help you plan your trip! Planning Our Trip to Grand Teton National Park As we planned the trip a year out, we initially planned to spend two days in Yellowstone and one day in Grand Teton. We soon realized we wanted more time. In the end, we spent just the right amount of time in both parks with three days in each. To read about our Yellowstone adventure, click here.…

One of the most “otherworldly” places in the United States is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. We’d always wanted to see this area, and one summer, as we wrapped a road trip from Missouri to California, we had our chance. We’d just been to the Redwoods, and it was time to point the car east and head home, but not before we did some exploring along the way. We stayed in Wendover, Utah, the night before, right next to the casino city of West Wendover, Nevada. And when I say “right next,” I mean it. The state line cuts right through town. Casinos are legal on the Nevada side, but not the Utah side. We even saw a casino whose building was in Nevada, but the parking lot was in Utah. I mention this because there were several cars in our motel parking lot with the white salt of…

I’ve been wanting to take the Brown Mansion Candlelit Christmas Tour at the Brown Mansion in Coffeyville, Kansas, for a few years now. This year, I got my chance. The Brown Mansion is a great place to visit any time of year, but it was extra magical at Christmastime. Still, if you aren’t in the area around Christmas, be sure to stop by and step back in time. Tours are available throughout the year, and I have done this tour a few times over the years. History of the Brown Mansion I spent some of my earliest years in Southeast Kansas as a young child. The Brown Mansion captured my imagination as a little girl. We’d drive into Coffeyville, and I’d see that enormous white house on the hill; it must’ve been built for royalty. Close. The Brown Mansion was built for a family that gets as close to royalty…

Halloween Weekends at Holiday World was the perfect reason to take a road trip and give this midwestern theme park a try. True, I’d made a visit to this park when I was five years old; back then, it was known as Santa Claus Land. I hadn’t been since the theme park embraced other holidays in its theme, and my travel companions, Jeff and Kristin, had never experienced the park in any form. When we discovered the park, complete with a Halloween-themed section, celebrated Halloween with Halloween Weekends, well…we knew we had to hop in the car and give this place a shot. Holiday World: The Park The park is located in, get this, Santa Claus, Indiana. This town is completely into Christmas all year long. I’ll write more about that soon. On August 3, 1946, Louis J. Koch opened this little theme park in the town, then known as…

Ever since we discovered the existence of a little place called The Clown Motel, we knew we had to go. I mean, it’s world famous. We finally got our chance last summer when we set off on a road trip from Missouri to California and back. This motel in Tonopah, Nevada, is decorated with clowns inside and out, and if that’s not creepy enough, it’s also right next door to an old cemetery. Seems like the perfect place to get a restful night’s sleep, right? The Clown Motel Lobby and Gift Shop We’d just spent two nights in Yosemite National Park, so we arrived from the west. The Clown Motel is one of the first things you see as you pull into town from that direction. I have to admit, it was a welcome sight after driving through some pretty bland areas. I know. Yosemite spoiled us! Even if you…

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