Crater Lake National Park

24 June 2019

Pic 2019-0624 06 Crater Lake NP (79) edit
In a country full of stunning places, Crater Lake in Crater Lake National Park is one of my favorites. The views of this striking deep blue water and surroundings are more spectacular than these pictures could capture.

Crater Lake National Park was the fifth established in the United States and the only national park in Oregon. It is the deepest lake in the United States and ninth in the world. It has no rivers flowing in or out of it; instead it fills from the surrounding mountains at a rate enough to offset evaporation. The West Rim Road from the North to South Entrances was open but unfortunately we were too early in the season for the East Rim Road and The Pinnacles, both still snow covered. The park gets an average of 43 feet of snow each year!

Pic 2019-0624 06 Crater Lake NP (53) edit

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Toketee Falls and Diamond Lake

24 June 2019

Pic 2019-0624 03 Emerald Trail Area (16) edit2
Two and a half hours southeast of Eugene is Toketee Falls on the North Umpqua River. The overlook is only a half mile moderately strenuous hike from the trailhead. The double tiered waterfall is special. If traveling from the west to Crater Lake, Tokette Falls is an easy stop off Oregon Route 138.

Pic 2019-0624 04 Toketee Falls Trail (35) edit

Toketee Falls

Continuing on Route 138, Diamond Lake was another quick stop.

Pic 2019-0624 05 Diamond Lake (14) edit

Diamond Lake

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Pacific Northwest

22 & 23 June 2019

Pic 2019-0623 01 Salem Oregon State Capitol (7) edit
We’ve started on our next adventure, the Pacific Northwest. The first day we flew into Portland International Airport and drove south to Oregon’s state capital, Salem, and bought supplies for our upcoming road trip. The next morning we visited the State Capitol Building and walked downtown, including Riverside Park and Union Street Bridge. Salem looks like a nice place to live. We enjoyed our visit and seeing another state capital.


After lunch we traveled south to see Oregon State University in Corvallis and University of Oregon in Eugene where we stayed for the night. For a special treat we got pie slices from Shari’s Cafe and Pies, an Oregon institution.

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Shake Shack – Nashville

14 April 2019

Pic 2019-0414 06 Nashville Shake Shack (5) edit

Since we stumbled into our first Shake Shack in New York City 2015, they have expanded globally.  We’ve found them in London, Tokyo, Austin, Hollywood, Baltimore and now Nashville.  So how long will it take for Raleigh, North Carolina to get its very own?

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Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

15 – 18 April 2019

Pic 2019-0415 05 Gatlinburg Walk (11) edit

Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge-Sevierville is a popular resort area to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has become, for better or worse, the Myrtle Beach of the mountains. We love the action and excitement of Myrtle Beach so we loved our time here, but it’s not for everyone. We spent more time enjoying the fun and entertainment than the surrounding mountains.

Pic 2019-0417 11 Gatlinburg Skylift (37) edit

Gatlinburg

Fun in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Ogle Place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Nashville to Gatlinburg

15 April 2019

Pic 2019-0415 03 Foothills Parkway (4) edit

With our Nashville visit in the rearview mirror we drove east to our other main stop, Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, and made several stops along the way. Hiking at Cummins Falls State Park outside Cookeville gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs. The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge was interesting to learn more about the Manhattan Project. The last leg of the drive along the Foothills Parkway was not the quickest way to Gatlinburg but worth the time.

Pic 2019-0415 01 Cummins Falls State Park (7) edit

Cummins Falls State Park

Pic 2019-0415 03 Foothills Parkway (14) edit

Foothills Parkway (Walland to Wears Valley)

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Nashville, Music City USA

12–14 April 2019

Pic 2019-0413 08 Nashville Seigenthaler Bridge (6) edit

For Spring Break this year we took the opportunity to get back on the road, this time to explore Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Nashville, the Capital of Tennessee, is known by many names, the Capital of Country Music, Music City USA, and Nash Vegas amongst others. It is one of the United States’ unique destinations.

It didn’t take long for us to understand why they call it Nash Vegas. Outside of Las Vegas, we’ve never seen so many bachelorette parties – limos, buses, party wagons everywhere we looked up and down Broadway.

Downtown Nashville

Music City USA is a more obvious nickname. Live music rings out throughout downtown streets and alleys. Similar to the Blues in Memphis and Jazz in New Orleans, Country Music largely defines Nashville’s image. This was a family trip so we didn’t spend time in the juke-joints and honky-tonks that line the streets; instead we concentrated on the town’s history and quirky sites.

Pic 2019-0413 05 Nashville Capitol Mall Park (10) edit

Nashville Capitol Mall

Centennial Park located downtown, north of Vanderbilt University, was a bit of a disappointment. The park’s size and location in this vibrant town felt like an opportunity lost. Its highlight, the Parthenon, was worth the effort though. The full-scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece, was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

Pic 2019-0414 03 Nashville Centennial Park (20) edit

Centennial Park

Nashville is filled with current and historically significant landmarks of Country Music. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, Ryman Auditorium, Johnny Cash Museum, Music Row, The Grand Ole Opry, Bluebird Café, and Third Man Records top the list.

Pic 2019-0413 12 Nashville Country Music HoF (41) edit

Country Music Hall of Fame

Pic 2019-0414 08 Nashville Third Man Records (8) edit

Third Man Records (Jack White of the White Stripes)

Pic 2019-0414 11 Nashville Grand Ole Opry (6) edit

The Grand Ole Opry

Antique Archaeology (American Pickers TV Show)

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