Over the last few weeks, our family has driven over 5,000 miles from the West Coast of the United States (California) to the East Coast. We live and work full-time in Bangkok, Thailand, and this was a summer trip back home to visit friends and family across the country. We didn't get in as many outdoors activities as we'd anticipated, but we had a blast in the things we did do. Enjoy the pics as I have time to get them loaded in the coming days as we head back to our missions work in Thailand. Maybe it will inspire you to visit certain places and explore more in depth than we had time for. All the pics are just from iphone or Samsung.
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Cowpens, South Carolina, site of a crucial battle in the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of Cowpens was a very important victory for Americans in their fight for independence from Great Britain. It was the beginning of the end for the British in this war.
The area isa national park, and the visitor center had a very well-done film that taught all about the battle and its significance in US history. Not normally a history buff, I did enjoy this visit and the trail through the battle sites, which were pasture lands at the time.
Rhode Island was a destination for us because my hubby has family there. Here are my hubby, our teenage son and his cousin (same age) clamming at the Town Beach in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. They hauled a lot of clams that day, along with my father-in-law and brother-in-law, and they cooked 'em up. I didn't partake because I am allergic to shellfish.
(If you've followed the posts, between the last locale - Badlands, South Dakota - and here, we hit Wisconsin Dells for waterpark action and Indiana Dunes on shore of Lake Michigan, ((where we encountered poor weather and had miserable camping in the heat and mosquitos!)) also Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania.)
Badlands National Park was incredible! We camped out at a free, primitive camping area called Sage creek. We saw bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs and the amazing layered rock formations that Badlands is famous for. The weather was beautiful, with some dry lightning storms that cleared up and allowed for a view of thousands/millions of stars in the heavens. The hikes we did were awesome - I highly recommend a trip here to South Dakota.
In the middle of a fairly urban area, Greenville, South Carolina, there is a 20 mile trail for walking, running, and cycling. We took a jaunt on one part of it with my parents to see some waterfalls and walk a suspension bridge. (the green bridge is not the suspension bridge) Here is a pic from one part of the trail just upriver from the falls.
South Carolina peach! I am a California native, and only moved from there last year to live in Thailand (see my journal entitled "Amazing Thailand"). Being out of the country for the last year made me realize how spoiled I was in California - we grow everything there! All year round in California there is something growing, and I was able to eat farm fresh and seasonally, which I really missed over the last year in Thailand.
So, when my dad and son came home one day while we were visiting my parents (who just moved to South Carolina last year from California!) with fresh picked peaches I was super excited. It's the little things that make me joyful!
Landrum, South Carolina. My parents now live in the Carolina foothills, which as a first time visitor I found to be really cool. I enjoyed our time visiting western North Carolina, especially tubing on the Greenville River up in Saluda. (They call them "mountains" up there, but to a Californian they are "hills", but they are beautiful!)
The photo is a barn near my parents' friends' property. I liked it. A few days later when we went back there again, the field was harvested into large round bails of hay!
This is probably my last pic for this journal, as we are back in Thailand now. I can't sleep due to jet lag, so loading up the last of the pics while the rest of my family blissfully sleeps (how do they do that?)
Where the first week of our road trip was full of what I like - mountains (western ones, the 10,000 feet ones!), open space, and few buildings & people - the next week of our trip was very urban!
After leaving New England, we needed to get to South Carolina, so a stop in Washington DC was the half way point. None of us had ever been (I think hubby when he was a small child maybe), so it was nice to see.
We saw the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which I thought was really cool. We visited landmarks all around that area. Pictured is the World War II Memorial, which offers a view of Washington Monument (which was closed to going inside we were disappointed to find out).
Our kids haven't been to Boston before, and we took a day during our Rhode Island family visit to ferry over there and walk the Freedom Trail and eat dinner at a yummy brewery. It was timely for our son who just graduated 8th grade and had studied American history this last year - he got to see places he'd studied about, and hear ranger talks on details of events. I am not a huge history buff myself, but I always enjoy time in Boston! Plus, we had a day of clear blue skies and not- too- hot weather!
Our time in Badlands, though short, was incredible. It is so different there from anywhere else I've seen. The Sioux called this area Bad Land because it was so difficult to navigate. I am grateful for the opportunity to have driven through and done some hiking to see the rock up close and also catch vistas like this one. The rock decays very quickly here, each year looking quite different, we learned in the visitor's center.
Our 9th grader has wanted to see Mt. Rushmore National Memorial since he was a young boy. Located in Black Hills of South Dakota, they are 60 feet high granite faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. It was interesting to see, to walk around the bottom and up the stairs that take you up closer. Also fascinating was the museum telling the history of how the idea was conceived and the details of how they actually built it and continually maintain it. Black Hills are beautiful, hope to return to that area some day. We hit this stop coming from northern Idaho, through Billings, Montana, and on into South Dakota. Next stop: Badlands - my fave!