Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Travel (Page 1 of 3)

Remember the Alamo

The Alamo

When you think of San Antonio, Texas, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably the Alamo. The Alamo is one of the most famous buildings in all of Texas and everyone has heard the phrase “Remember the Alamo”. Before visiting, I had heard from numerous people that located in with all the modern buildings, the Alamo seems small and underwhelming. So, I went into the visit with very low expectations.

Known originally as Misión San Antonio de Valero, Alamo was built by the Spanish as a mission to the local native people, just like other San Antonio Missions. Construction began in 1740. By 1793, the mission was secularized, meaning the land and assets were divided up among the mission residents. By the early 1800s it became occupied by the Spanish military and was used as a political prison during Mexico’s War of Independence. Later, the Alamo was used as San Antonio’s first hospital.

In 1835, the Texas Revolution began. Following Texan victories at Mission Concepción and the Grass Fight, the Texans began to fortify both the Alamo and the town of San Antonio. For thirteen days, the Alamo was under fire. On March 6, 1836, the fighting ceased after all of the defenders of the Alamo had perished, including Davy Crockett and James Bowie (of Bowie knife fame). On April 21 at the Battle of San Jacinto, cries of “Remember the Alamo” were heard from the Texans in battle.

The Alamo is free to visit but reservations are required. Somehow, in all of my obsessive planning, I missed the reservation part and when we got there, all of the reservations to visit the inside of the church were taken (reservations are not needed to walk around the gardens and see the statues outside the church building).  We were told all that was available was an outside history talk. I was disappointed in this, but we paid a small fee for the talk and went on our day. When we came back the next day for the talk we discovered that at the end of the talk we got to go inside and see the Alamo. I don’t know why this wasn’t better explained to us when we bought our tickets, but it worked out in the end.

The history talk went into much more detail than the brief history I outlined here. If that is something you’re interested in, I highly recommend it! Photography is not allowed because of the sensitive nature of this historic site, so if you want to know what it looks like inside, I recommend you get your free tickets in advance at thealamo.org.

Thanks for stopping by! To find out more about this trip, check out the Texas Hill Country Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Alamo Pinterest Graphic Davy Crockett Statue Alamo Pinterest Graphic

Wordless Wednesday: Wing

Runaway RangeRunner First Impressions

Runaway Rangerunner

I first heard about Runaway Campers years ago on an episode of the Improve Photography Podcast as an inexpensive place to sleep on a photo trip. I have followed Runaway since then until the time was right to finally buy my own. The stars aligned and in May we put down a deposit on our very own micro camper. We were only able to run away with it for six nights before it got too cold, but I wanted to give you our first impressions of our new RangeRunner.

Camper from the dunes

Runaway calls itself America’s most affordable mini camper. They are built in the U.S. and you can visit the factory in Florida. With its low price point, it doesn’t have many amenities of the bigger, most expensive rigs. You won’t find a bathroom or kitchen inside that little trailer. Runaway currently sells three versions of its camper: the 4×8 CoolCamp, the 6×8 RangeRunner, and the off-road capable Venturist (available in both the 4×8 and 6×8 size). At one time Runaway made a version that you could stand up in called the Rouser and I know people are really hoping to see it come back soon.

Runaway campers pretty much come as an empty box (with an air conditioner) and the owner gets to modify it however they want. Some people just toss an air mattress in it and hit the road while others build cabinets and fold out beds. The camper can be whatever you want it to be.

One thing to note about Runaway Campers is they were made up of wood until the 2020 models. The new models are made out of a composite material that makes them lighter and also makes it so they shouldn’t have water damage, which has been a problem with the older models. You don’t need a big truck to tow a Runaway. We tow ours with a Subaru Outback.

We typically are people who prefer to buy used to save on the depreciation, but with these changes we decided to buy a new one. Due to higher demand and some supply chain issues, the build time on these campers is currently about 12 weeks. That is really nothing compared to some of the bigger camping brands where you may have to wait as long as 18 months for a new rig right now!

Selfie in front of the camper
Setting up camp for the first time at Cumberland Falls.

As tent campers, this little camper is really everything we need right now. If you read this blog regularly, you know that we love to take road trips, but setting up and taking down the tent many times on a trip really starts to get exhausting. With the camper, all we have to do is make sure the doors are locked, hitch up, and move on. The few times we’ve been out in it we noticed that not only is it faster to set up and take down than a tent, but it’s also easier than packing up a lot of the big rigs we see in the campgrounds. We refer to our RangeRunner as our tent on wheels.

Our little camper has also allowed us to camp in conditions that I’m not brave enough to tent camp in. We definitely wouldn’t have gone to D.H. Day with snow on the forecast in the tent, but the Runaway kept us warm and we had some power banks to run a small heater and charge our phones.

I am very excited to Runaway when the weather warms up and the snow melts. We already have four reservations booked for this summer to try out new campgrounds! To learn more about Runaway campers visit Runawaycampers.com.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Flashback Friday: Savannah Ferry

Savannah Ferry

Essential Tent Camping Packing List

Camping at Straits State Park

With COVID-19 sticking around this summer, many people are opting for vacations away from the crowds and into nature. Campgrounds filled up fast and it is very difficult to get a last minute site anywhere! With all these new campers out there, I wanted to share my must-haves for tent camping.
I keep my gear organized in big Rubbermaid bins: one for the tent supplies and another for kitchen. We tend to be minimalists when we camp so you won’t see portable AC units, outdoor lighting, or Crockpots on this list. This list is in no way exhaustive and may not be right for every camper, but it should help to get you started.
Tent:
  • Tent, poles, stakes, rain fly
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Ground cover
  • Sleeping pad, cot, or air mattress and pump
  • Sleeping bag, pillow
  • Extra blankets/sheets
  • Mat or rug for tent entrance
  • Dust pan/broom
  • Extension Cord
  • Fan
Kitchen
  • Food and Water
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Lighter or matches
  • Cooler and ice
  • Pot and/or pan
  • Utensils (tongs, serving spoon, spatula, can opener, knife)
  • Pot holder/oven mitt
  • Plates and/or bowls
  • Silverware
  • Cups, mugs
  • Cutting Board
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cooking oil
  • Seasonings, condiments
  • Coffee maker (French press, Ready Set Joe)
  • Dishpan, biodegradable soap, and sponge
  • Paper Towel
  • Food storage container
  • Trash bags
  • Water bottles
  • Table Cloth
  • Dutch oven
  • Campfire grill
  • Pie iron/marshmallow roasting stick
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
Other
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight/headlamp/lantern
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Firewood
  • Fire starter
  • Folding chairs/hammock
  • Multi-tool or knife
  • Hatchet
  • Clothesline and clothespins
  • Bungee cord
  • Backpack
  • Canopy or screen tent
  • Rubbermaid tubs
  • Outdoor shower or toilet and privacy tent
  • Towels
  • Shower Shoes
  • Toothbrushes and toiletries
  • Clothes

For a printable version of this list, click here.

Thanks for stopping by! Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Island Blossoms

How to Feed Your Wanderlust in Quarantine

New York Skyline from the Norwegian Gem

I don’t know about you, but being stuck at home day in and day out is really starting to get to me. We had a trip planned a few weeks ago that we had to cancel and that really stung. When the highlight of your week is going to the grocery store or catching some sun on your deck, you know you’re going stir crazy!

  • Reminisce over past trips: Edit photos, get out your travel souvenirs, make a photo book, write about your adventures, create a photo gallery wall with your travel photos. I just got a photo travel map to add pictures to.
  • Read travel books: Libraries are closed but many have resources available to check out electronically. Visit your library’s website for more information. While it takes longer and does cost some money, pick a dream destination and order a book from Amazon. I got a National Parks book and Northern California book to read while stuck at home. Not into reading travel guides? There are great memoirs and novels out there to feed your travel bug too.
  • Binge travel shows: With so many streaming services out there these days, you can always find something to watch! To fuel your wanderlust, I recommend checking out National Parks: America’s Best Idea (Amazon Prime), Travel Man (Hulu), Expedition: Unknown (Hulu),  Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Hulu), Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix), and Samantha Brown’s Places to Love (free on PBS.com and the PBS app).

The view from the top of South Bubble Mountain

  • Create your travel bucket list: Where do you dream to visit? Make a list. Chris and I did this a few years ago and without even realizing it, when I found the list again last summer, we had already crossed a few places off of it. Organizing our thoughts helped us to make decisions about future trips.
  • Plan your dream trip: While you have extra time, research a bucket list trip. Figure out where you would stay, eat, what you would like to see. Start at trip on TripAdvisor or make a vacation Pinterest board. A Cornell study shows that planning a trip can make you as happy, if not happier, than actually taking it. If you, like me have a flight credit from a cancelled trip, pick a place and book it. We booked flights to California for this summer. I know there is a possibility that it won’t be safe to travel when that date comes, but right now it feels good to have something to look forward to and plan for. And if we have to cancel it, I have already saved a lot of places on TripAdvisor for when we can actually get out there.
  • Research places to go near your home: Eventually this virus will go away and you will probably not be able to hop on a plane right then. Find places nearby that you can escape to for a little bit. There may be some places close to your house that you never even knew about before. Check out Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Yelp, ask your friends on Facebook for inspiration. Check out onlyinyourstate.com for unique ideas!

Grand Canyon South Rim

Travel show host Samantha Brown posted something a few weeks ago that really stuck me and I wanted to share it with you. She writes on her blog: “I had to go back to work [hosting travel shows] a week after 9-11. There was the financial crisis of 2007, H1N1, floods, fires and volcanic eruptions. All of these events abruptly changed my immediate course of travel..But one thing I’ve learned in two decades? Travel comes back.” Travel always comes back.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Rainy Day Tour of Austin

Our recent trip to Austin, Texas was a short one; we only had 2 days to spend in the city. And of course, our first day was chilly and rainy. We talked about doing the double-decker bus tour that day as a way to see the city, but tours were canceled because of the weather.  So we went back on TripAdvisor looking for a Plan B and we found a tour of Austin and the Hill Country from AO Tours instead.

The tour was a small group in a Mercedes Van which was much nicer than the recent bus tours we’ve taken in Belize and Beaver Island. The tour provided a pre-recorded narration of the sites with our guide peppering in her thoughts and updates as we went along.

The tour started in South Austin before heading to the Hill Country, which was not something I was planning on seeing on this trip, but absolutely blew me away. We ended up renting a car on our second day to see more of that area. We returned to the city and saw the Capital and the University of Texas campus. We also got to hear about the history and see up and coming East Austin.

Overall, this tour was a great way to see the city and pointed out places that I would not have checked out otherwise, including The Austin Public Library, and Mount Bonell. We learned some of the history of the area and it was a great way to relax and stay out of the rain. Our tour guide, Ari also gave a lot of good restaurant recommendations as well.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week to hear more about our trip to Austin! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Michigan Bucket List

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Download a Printable PDF Version here: MichiganBucketList

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen these location-based “ultimate bucket list” graphics floating around Pinterest. I’ve even pinned a few of them for future trips. I searched and searched for a Michigan one (I was curious how many “bucket list” worthy things I’ve done in my home state) but when I came up empty, I decided to make one myself! Some of these are attractions and others are cities, but they span both peninsulas and are definitely the highlights of the Great Lakes State!

Ultimate Michigan Bucket List:

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes
    Located in Northwest Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore covers 35 miles of Lake Michigan coastline. In 2011, the area was named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America. The Dune Climb is one of the most popular hikes in the park, but the Empire Bluff Trail (above) has amazing views of the crystal blue water!
  2. Grand Rapids
    The Second Largest City in Michigan, Grand Rapids is known for its food and its art. In 2011, Grand Rapids tied with Asheville, North Carolina for the title of “Beer City USA”. Grand Rapids was also the childhood home of US President Gerald Ford and is home to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.

    Tawas Point Lighthouse

  3. Tawas Point Lighthouse
    An iconic Michigan landmark, the Tawas Point Lighthouse is located on Lake Huron in Tawas State Park. The lighthouse was built in 1853 to prevent shipwrecks on the point.
  4. Pictured Rocks
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located on the southern shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 1966, congress named Pictured Rocks the first National Lakeshore.
  5. The Henry Ford
    Located in Dearborn, The Henry Ford is an indoor and outdoor history museum started by Henry Ford himself. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover dedicated the museum to Ford’s longtime friend, Thomas Edison, on the 50th anniversary of Edison’s successful incandescent lightbulb. On display in the museum are The 1896 Ford Quadricycle, the limousine where Kennedy was assassinated, George Washington’s camp bed, the bus where Rosa Parks was arrested, and the chair from Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was assassinated, among many others. The Village is home to Henry Ford’s Birthplace, The Logan County Courthouse where Lincoln practiced law, Noah Webster’s Connecticut Home, along with many other historical buildings.

    Lower Tahquamenon Falls

  6. Tahquamenon Falls
    Located in the Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to two waterfalls on the Tahquamenon River. The Upper Falls is more than 200 feet across with a drop of 48 feet. Located four miles downstream, the lower falls are actually a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. The Tahquamenon is also known as being the land of Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha, which contains the line: “by the rushing Tahquamenaw”, where Hiawatha built his canoe.
  7. Frankenmuth
    The name Frankenmuth translates to “Courage of the Franconians”. Frankenmuth wears its German Heritage on its sleeve with Bavarian architecture, German Food, and the first Oktoberfest to be recognized outside of Germany. Frankenmuth is also home to Bronner’s, the World’s Largest Christmas Store, as well as dueling chicken restaurants.

    Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park

  8. Ludington
    Ludington is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Ludington is home to the SS Badger, a car ferry that will take you across the lake to Wisconsin. Nearby Ludington State Park is one of the most popular parks in Michigan and is home to the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse. In 1675, French explorer, Pere Marquette died and was laid to rest in Ludington.
  9. Drive M-22
    Running from Manistee to Traverse City up breathtaking Leelanau Peninsula, M-22 is so popular, people steal the road signs to hang up in their homes. The Michigan Department of Transportation has redesigned the signs in hopes of reducing the number of thefts. In 2015, readers of USA Today named M-22 the best scenic autumn drive in the nation.
  10. Mackinac Bridge
    Connecting St. Ignace to Mackinac City, the Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere at 26,372 feet long. The bridge officially opened to traffic in 1957 after three and a half years of construction. Once a year on Labor Day, the bridge is open to pedestrians for the annual bridge walk.

    Scott Fountain on Belle Isle

  11. Belle Isle
    Belle Isle, the 982-acre park on the Detroit River, was designed by urban park designer Frederick Law Olmstead and is the largest city-owned park in the United States. The island is home to the Belle Isle Conservatory, Belle Isle Nature Center, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, The James Scott Memorial Fountain, and Belle Isle Aquarium. Before it closed in 2005,  the aquarium was the oldest operating aquarium in the United States. It was reopened in 2012 as part of the Belle Isle Conservancy.
  12. Traverse City
    Traverse City is located in Northwest Michigan on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. Being the country’s largest producer of tart cherries, each summer the National Cherry Festival is held in Traverse City. Known for vineyards, freshwater beaches, downhill skiing, and breweries, there is much to do and see in TC.
  13. Detroit Institute of Arts
    The Detroit Institute of Arts has one of the largest and most notable collections of art in the United States. The collection includes works of art by Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and many more. One of the highlights of the museum is the huge fresco-style murals by Diego Rivera known collectively as Detroit Industry, or Man and Machine. Built in 1927, the Italian Rennaisance inspired building the museum is housed in is beautiful as well.
  14. Whitefish Point
    Whitefish Point is a cape in the Upper Peninsula that marks the entrance to Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. For visitors, Whitefish Point is great for rock hunting, birding, and ship watching. It is also home to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Whitefish Point Lighthouse.

    Kitch-iti-Kipi

  15. Kitch-iti-Kipi
    Located near Manistique in the Upper Penisula, Kitch-iti-Kipi is Michigan’s largest natural spring. Early Native Americans referred to it as the “Mirror of Heaven”. The limestone bottom of the spring gives it its unique emerald green color. The water in the spring is has a constant temperature of 45 degrees so even in the middle of winter, it does not freeze.
  16. Houghton
    Located on the Keewenaw Peninsula in the Northern Upper Peninsula, Houghton is home to a lot of wilderness and is a great place for outdoor exploration from hiking and biking to snowshoeing and snowmobiling.  The Keewenaw is home to the Copper Mining boom and you can experience that history today at Quincy Mine near Houghton. Houghton is also where you can catch a ferry to Isle Royale National Park.
  17. Porcupine Mountains
    Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located in the Northwestern Upper Peninsula and is made up of a group of small mountains. As a wilderness state park, Porcupine Mountains has a large system of backcountry trails for hiking and backpacking with the North Country Trail running through the park. Seeing Lake of the Clouds should be on everyone’s Michigan bucket list.
  18. Mackinac Island
    Located in the Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island is a popular summer tourist destination. The island is closed to most motor vehicles so most people travel by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage and stepping off the ferry is like taking a step back in time. One of the biggest attractions on the island is the Grand Hotel, a Victorian-style hotel with the world’s longest porch. The island is also home to a British fort that was built during the American Revolution and saw action during the War of 1812.

    Tulip Garden in Holland

  19. Holland
    Where Frankenmuth was settled by Germans, Holland was settled by the Dutch. Located in the western part of the state on Lake Michigan, Holland is home to Tulip Time, the largest Tulip Festival in the United States. Located in Windmill Island Park, De Zwaan was supposedly the last windmill that was allowed to be removed from The Netherlands. Dutch culture is pervasive in Holland; wooden shoes are available in all of the gift shops.
  20. Eastern Market
    Eastern Market is a historic commercial district located in the city of Detroit. Covering 43 acres, it is the largest historic market district in the country. The market changes on different days of the week. Saturday Market is a big event with over 225 vendors selling everything from produce to tacos. The Sunday market features a taste of Detroit with the work of local artists, jewelers, cooks, musicians, and more. A more traditional farmer’s market can be found on Tuesdays and every third Thursday in the summer Easter Market offers a unique night market with food, drinks, music, and shopping.
  21. Turnip Rock
    Located in Lake Huron near Port Austin at the tip of the thumb is Turnip Rock, a unique geological formation. The water of Lake Huron has severely weathered this small rock so that the top is much larger than the base with trees growing out the top. The rock is located on private property so the only way to see it is by water. The trip to the rock is a 7 mile round trip paddle along the Point aux Barques trail with several local companies that will rent you a boat for the trip.

    Chapel in the Woods at Hartwick Pines

  22. Hartwick Pines
    Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest parks in the lower peninsula. Located near Grayling, the park contains 49 acres of old-growth pine forest, one of the few remaining in the state. The Hartwick Pines Logging museum pays tribute to the 19th-century logging industry when Michigan led the nation in lumber production.
  23. Motown Museum
    Motown Records was founded in Detroit in 1959 by Berry Gordy. Hitsville USA, once the home of Motown Records is now the home of the Motown Museum, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeastern Michigan. Visitors to the museum will walk through Studio A where many Motown Stars recorded their hits including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, and many more. Michael Jackson’s white glove is on display as well as countless other Motown artifacts.
  24. Headlands Dark Sky Park
    Located near Mackinaw City, Headlands Dark Sky Park is a 550 acre park including 2 miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. It was only the 6th park in the US to receive the Dark Sky Park designation and is one of the best places in Michigan to view the night sky.
  25. Soo Locks
    The Soo Locks provide ships with a way to bypass a waterfall on the St. Mary’s River and gets ships adjusted to differing water levels on Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The Locks are located in Sault Ste. Marie, in the northeastern upper peninsula. There are four American Locks and one set of Canadian Locks. Visitors can watch ships go through the locks from the observation deck, or can take a Soo Locks Boat Tour and experience the locks first hand.

    Meijer Gardens

  26. Meijer Gardens
    Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a 158 acre botanical garden located near Grand Rapids. The Gardens are home to more than 170 sculptures from sculptors such as Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin, Dale Chihuly, and many more. At five acres, the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the largest children’s gardens in the country. In 2009 the Gardens were named one of the 30 “must-see museums” in the world in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
  27. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
    Located on Lake Michigan, bordering Silver Lake in Mears is Silver Lake State Park. The park is best known for its 2,000 acres of beautiful sand dunes. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are known for ORVs and dune buggy rides, but there is a section of the park that is closed to vehicles for people to climb. Also within the park is the beautiful, brick, Little Sable Lighthouse.
  28. Isle Royale National Park
    The crown jewel of Michigan and the least explored is Isle Royale National Park. Established in 1940, the 894 square mile park is located in northern Lake Superior and can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. Camping, hiking, and fishing are popular on the island. Isle Royale is the only known place on earth where moose and wolves cohabitate without bears.

So far, I’m at 22/28. What’s your number? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to share this on Social Media to show off to your friends!

Download a Printable PDF Version here: MichiganBucketList

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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