Southeast Tour: Christmas in Savannah

Oh what fun it is to ride…🎶

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fullsizeoutput_829dSince our grandson’s family would not be with us during this Christmas holiday, Sally proposed a road trip to celebrate her birthday and Christmas with her twin sister Julie in Savannah, Georgia.  When older sister Jo disclosed her intention to also join us in Savannah, the trip plan was locked in.

Deciding to take our camper to make a grand sight-seeing / camping tour, we determined to stop in St Louis to visit friend Doris, re-explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit cousin Jackie in Tennessee.  On the return from Savannah, we planned to bask in the sunshine throughout the warm sunny south, touring the Natchez Trace, antebellum mansions in Natchez itself and finally do some camping and hiking on the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas.

Most of our plans came to fruition however, due to unseasonable cold weather bringing snow and ice to portions of our intended route, we had to make some changes and regrettably our shorts and sandals never were unpacked.

Driving across Kansas and stopping in Saint louis, we spent a couple of nights with our friend Doris who lived across the hall from us in Shanghai, China.

Continuing on, we arrived in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the temperatures began to drop and the clouds rolled in.

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Cade’s Cove Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Continue reading “Southeast Tour: Christmas in Savannah”

The Mojave National Preserve

Lovely desert wilderness…..

Driving in from the from Las Vegas, Nevada to the north, the road turns from paved to dirt and then to very rough dirt. Not awful, but the Park Service does advise 4WD vehicles only. The desert dusk scenery is lovely and I am the only vehicle on this 40 mile stretch of road. I find plenty of open campsites at Hole-in-The-Wall Campground and settle in for the night.

The Mojave National Preserve encompasses 1.6 million acres, including portions of the Mojave, Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts  About half of the Park is congressionallly designated wilderness.

Sunrise Hike: Rings Loop Trail, Hole-in-the-Wall Nature Trail and Barber Peak Loop Trail

Mojave Yucca

Buckhorn Cholla Cactus

Banshee Canyon

The ascent is so steep, hikers climb using iron rings mounted in the rock for hand and toe holds in two sections.

Beavertail Cactus

Barrel Cactus

Although the landscape appears barren, the Mojave Desert is home to a plethora of wildlife including Bighorn Sheep and the Desert Tortoise.

Lovely desert landscape

Sunset