Nov 25

Petroglyph National Monument

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Situated on the Westside of Albuquerque, Petroglyph National Monument was an ideal stop for us as we were in town for the balloon fiesta.  It was cheap to visit. The weather was nice so being outside was a must.  It was also one of the last major attractions in the ABQ that we had not seen. So, since we had some time to kill from the morning ascension to the night glow at the balloon fiesta we figured a few hours at Petroglyph National Monument would be good for us. 
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The national monument is divided up into three sections.  The most popular being the Boca Negra Canyon, home to thousands of petroglyphs that date from the 1300’s to 1600 CE.  The drawings were carved into the lava rock that is found throughout the area.  The abundance of lava rock comes from the three dormant volcanoes that can also be seen in Petroglyph National Monument.  

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Our first stop was the visitor center.  Finding the visitor center proved a little tricky with all the new development going on in the area. Make sure you have a good up-to-date navigation system or map before you go looking for it.  I always like my first stop of any visit to any location in the national park system to be the visitor center.  The park rangers have always given us good advice on where to go depending on how much time we have  to spend there.

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After talking to the park ranger and letting her know we were on a bit of a time crunch she told us to check out the Boca Negra Canyon.  We would have to leave the Rincondada Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon for another time.   

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The Park Rangers advice proved quite helpful as we were able to see multiple petroglyphs in just a small concentrated area.  Three short paved walks to petroglyph sites allow you to visit almost 150 drawings.  The best of the bunch was Mesa Point which goes up the side of the hill and offers close up views of the some of the better petroglyphs that we saw.  There is a small fee to park at Boca Negra but for us it was worth it.  If you have some time while you’re in the Albuquerque area be sure to check out these prehistoric wonders yourself.   

To see our review of other New Mexico attractions click here

Petroglyph National Monument
Located on the Westside of Albuquerque on Unser Blvd and Western Trail
Cost as of this Posting Free to Petroglyph National Monument but a parking fee of $1 weekday $2 weekend at Boca Negra Canyon
For more information visit their website at

Nov 24

Blue Hole

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Blue Hole… What can one say about it other than the name fits.  Blue Hole in Santa Rosa New Mexico was an instant hit for my wife.  She loved it.  Now we are not scuba divers, but she was struck by the beauty of the crystal clear blue water in the sea of tans, reds, and greys of eastern New Mexico.  The aquamarine colors did leave us in wonder.                                            

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A 80-foot-deep artesian spring fed hole-in-the-rock is about as technical as I can get in describing Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole.  One of the top diving spots in the Rocky Mountains.  Wow, that is a sentence I never thought I would type.  The Blue Hole attracts scores of divers every weekend due to its constant 62 degree temperature. On our week day visit we saw at least 30 divers in or out of the water.  The place was hopping.  The water completely renews itself every six hours and it is the clearest water that we have ever laid eyes on.  Unfortunately, we did not spot any of the goldfish that call the Blue Hole home. 
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The Blue Hole was a fun little stop for my family.  A good get out and stretch the legs visit that did not keep us off the road for too long.  The Blue Hole is a neat little destination on ol’Route 66 and one of our more unique stops in that part of the country.  We did enjoy our time at the Blue Hole and though we did not get in the water that day it was fun watching the scuba divers descend to the depths below. I am more of snorkeling man myself. I also prefer my water to be a little bit warmer.  However, we imagine it would be hard to find a prettier blue in that part of the country. For that reason, I could see myself taking a dip or a dive into the Blue Hole.

For more reviews of things to do in New Mexico click here

Blue Hole
Located at
1085 Blue Hole Rd., Santa Rosa, NM
For more information about the Blue Hole go to their website at


Nov 23

New Mexico Route 66 Museum

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The New Mexico Route 66 Museum is a good get out of the car and stretch stop along I40 in Tucumcari New Mexico. There are a couple of reasons for this, its free, donations are suggested.  It is small but filled with interesting objects about the legendary road.  Last but not least, it has the largest collection of Route 66 photos giving plenty of ideas for the would be traveler to enhance their route.
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Located behind the Tucumcari Convention Center the New Mexico Route 66 Museum was a nice pit stop for our family.  We checked out the Route 66 Monument located at the front of the building.  Snapped a few shots. Then headed to the back to see what the Route 66 Museum had to offer us.  Not having high expectations walking in but we left enjoying the short amount of time spent there.  My youngest liked seeing the cars all painted up, the signs, and photographs.  My wife enjoyed reading about some of the Route 66 history and Tucumcari’s part of the legendary road.  While I enjoyed my conversation with the volunteer that was in charge of museum that day.
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The New Mexico Route 66 Museum is not going to wow you but it was a good stop.  My wife and youngest got to use the convention restrooms which beats the heck out of a gas station stop, and I got to see some interesting cars and antiques.  It is a hole in the wall kind of place. A get out of the car for a few minutes’ destination.  For a family like mine with two youngsters in tow it was a nice little oasis for us before hitting the road.  We are glad that we found it and it helped us pass the time along I40.        To read our reviews of other things to do on Route 66 click here
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New Mexico Route 66 Museum
Located at 1500 Rte 66, Tucumcari Convention Center, Tucumcari, NM
Hours of Operation 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday
Cost as of this Posting Free: Donations are Suggested
For more information visit their website at

Nov 22

Tucumcari Murals

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The Tucumcari Murals were a welcome diversion for us as we were traveling along Interstate 40 between Albuquerque and Amarillo.  Tucumcari is a small town whose heyday came and went with the mother road, Route 66.  For those that have traveled through eastern New Mexico it can be hard to find to things there to help break up the drive.  Having made the drive a few times we have come to appreciate Tucumcari with is murals, dinosaur museum, and their Route 66 museum and monument. 
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Painted on a variety of buildings mostly located on Tucumcari Boulevard or the side streets near the post office and where the motels are located, the Tucumcari Murals range in subject from standard Route 66 fair to scenes of the open range.  My 3-year-old had a blast looking for them as we drove down the road watching for a place to eat.  We made a game of it and by the time we got down the road she was quite good at spotting them.

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If you are somebody that is looking for the old Route 66 feel of a cross country drive, then the town of Tucumcari is a must stop.  Hats off to the artist that made the Tucumcari Murals because they did a great job bringing to life the history of the town.  We were sure glad they were up because the Murals added a nice touch to our drive through Tucumcari before we continued on our way.

To read our reviews of other things to do along Route 66 click here  

Nov 21

Route 66 Monument: Americana Icon

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Route 66 Monument in Tucumcari, New Mexico is a quaint tribute to the Mother Road.  An adobe-ish like sandstone base with a chromed out fender that spells out Route 66 is what you are going to find in this quintessential Route 66 town.  If you are fan of getting your kicks on Route 66 then you are going to love Tucumcari with its city murals, old hotel signs, Route 66 Museum, and of course its Route 66 Monument.  Now if you are not a fan of the historic highway well then Tucumcari is probably not the town for you and like time you will march right on by as you fly down the interstate. 

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You got to hand it to Tucumcari for trying to keep the myth, legend, and love for Route 66 alive. The Route 66 Monument is a newcomer to the famous Route 66 landmarks having just been dedicated in 1997.  So in terms of the other Americana icons adorning the “Road to the West” it is just a baby, and while the Route 66 Monument might seem out of place now.  Eventually over time as the next generation of would be travelers that look for the fragmented pieces of the long-dead highway will see the Route 66 Monument as a fitting tribute to a time long forgotten.

To see our other reviews of things to do on Route 66 click here

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Route 66 Monument
Located at 1500 W. Route 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, New Mexico
Cost as of this Posting: Free


Nov 12

Tanyard Creek Nature Trail

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Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is located in the beautiful private community of Bella Vista.  It is extremely generous of Bella Vista to open up this family area to the public, and we are glad that they do.  So if you do decide to make the trek to Tanyard Creek please remember you are a guest in there backyard.  Located in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, Tanyard Creek Nature Trail made for a nice little road trip while we were staying in the Bentonville area of the Natural State of Arkansas.
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We were checking out the area as we were hunting for waterfalls and there is a nice small one that has views form an overlook that we went to see.  The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail waterfall’s flow is set by the spillage from the dam and at the time we were there it was completely open and flowing at a good clip.   Other times you can get head on views and play in the falls (info based on pictures we have seen on the internet) as the water flow slows.  Like most places that we have found during our travels, we go looking for one thing, only to discover that that there was much more in store for us.
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The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail impressed us much more than we thought it was going to.  At first we were just going to make it a quick stop to the waterfall but as our legs took us further down the trail we found ourselves wanting to discover what else was around the bend.  Though it is only about 2 miles in length it packs a whole bunch it is little space.  There is part of the trail that runs along a creek with several bridge crossings including a suspension bridge.  There is also part of the trail that goes by a cave and there is another with great views of the flowing water. Also along the trails there is opportunities to spot wildlife from white tail deer to a variety of birds that call the area home.
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We found the trail itself to be very kid friendly as we had our 2 daughters with us.  Our 3 year old had a great time on the trail as we walked and occasionally carried her along the way.  The youngest of our clan was in a baby sling and the level mostly smooth trail made for a safe and easy hike with her.  We also enjoyed the many interpretive signs along the way that explained the different types of plants that we were seeing.  All-in-all it was a really nice well maintained trail that made for a great family adventure.
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We left Tanyard Creek Nature Trail feeling happy that we made the short drive up from Bentonville on our way to Pea Ridge National Military Park.  Those 2 stops made for a fun day as we explored the northwestern part of Arkansas. To view our reviews of other hikes we have been on click here.
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Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
Located at Lancashire Blvd, Bella Vista, Arkansas
Free Trail
2 mile easy level trail
For more information visit their website at

Nov 11

Trick-or-treat: Our Halloween Costumes

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We had a really fun Halloween this year.  In years past I’ve tried to make all of our costumes (and when I say “I”… I really mean 20% me and 80% my Mom… she’s a sewing genius).  This year I took the easy way out a little bit, mostly buying costumes or using things we already had around the house.  I bought the Alice costume, Mad Hatters Hat (and bow tie), and Bunny ears off Amazon (love that site).  Then made the white rabbit clock out of a paper plate, modified a clearance dress from Target for the queen of hearts and created the little crown out of glitter card stock. All in all I’d say it turned out really well.  We got a lot of smiles and sweet comments as we were trick or treating door to door.  The girls had so much fun and it makes me grin from ear to ear that Kenny is happy to oblige his little ladies. to read all of Halloween posts click here
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Nov 05

Bill Clinton Presidential Library: A 90s Time Capsule

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The Bill Clinton Presidential Library made for an interesting stop in our trip to Little Rock.  My wife and I came of age in the 90s and seeing the Bill Clinton Presidential Library brought back a flood of memories for us.  It was fun for us to think about where we were when some of those key moments of the 90s happened and to see just how much the country has changed since the 90s.  The Clinton Library is the 2nd presidential library that we have visited and though we are not the biggest Clinton fans in the world we did enjoy our time there.
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Located on the banks of the Arkansas River, the Bill Clinton Presidential Library is massive with 20,000 square feet of museum space dedicated to the 42nd president of the United States.  The museum has three main floors the first being the entry way, guest services desk, and the presidential limousine.  The second floor is the heart of the Clinton Presidential Library and it is divided up into 2 different areas.  A presidential timeline that lists the important events and decisions Clinton made and the second explains different facets of Clinton’s legacy.  The third floor shows off Clinton’s early years from childhood to his rise to the presidency.  This floor also showcases some of the many gifts Clinton received while president.   Clinton also has a private penthouse apartment and there is a restaurant, Café 42, in the basement
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Now it seems this day in age with such a divided electorate a trip to a presidential library might fill one with dread especially if you are on the other side of an aisle from the Clintons.  However we found the museum to be tastefully done now of course it portrayed the Clinton legacy with a rosier glow than others might. (just like all presidential libraries)  So if you have an open mind and are not a die hard conservative where the democrats are wrong in all facets of life you will probably enjoy this little trip back in time to the 90s.
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The building design itself I think was meant to look futuristic but as I overheard someone say in the parking lot as we were walking by there is the ol’ double-wide.  Now that I take a closer look at the picture I can kind of see the resemblance to a trailer home which I don’t know of that is my stereotypical thinking of Arkansas coming through or if really does look like a trailer.  I will let you be the judge of that and in turn allow you make a judgement of me.
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The highlights of our trip to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library included the life-size replica of the oval office as well as his cabinet room, the 30 acre city park which had nice views of the Arkansas river, and getting a chance to reminisce about our teen years.  I thought our time spent at the Clinton Library was well worth it and the price of admission was very reasonable.  If you are in Little Rock and are interested in American history then a stop at the Bill Clinton Presidential Library would be well worth your time.

To read our reviews of other Arkansas attractions click here

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Bill Clinton Presidential Library
Located at 1200 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, Arkansas
Hours of Operation 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
Cost as of this Posting Adults 18 to 61 $7.00 Seniors 62 and over $6.00 Children 6 to 17 $3.00
For more information visit their website at

Nov 03

Petit Jean State Park

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Petit Jean State Park is arguably the best state park in Arkansas and worth a visit if you find yourself traveling along I-40.  While Petit Jean State Park is most famous for its spectacular 95 foot waterfall called Cedar Falls it also has a variety of other things to keep its visitors entertained.  This large 2,658 acre park has scenic overlooks, 21 miles of hiking trails through the parks charming forests, canyons, and meadows, historic Mather Lodge, 3 National Historic Districts with more than 80 structures dating back to the FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps.  It is a great state park and one that we have enjoyed on both of our visits to the Natural State.
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Like most people we first stopped at Petit Jean State Park to see Cedar Falls which is a great waterfall and should not be missed.  As we looked around we quickly realized that there was a lot more to do at the Petit Jean State Park than we thought.  We were just there for the day but we got to see a lot of the area and take in a few hikes along the way.  Besides the trail to Cedar Falls we also took in the interesting Bear Cave Trail that had some interesting rock formations and the Cedar Falls overlook trail which gives a nice view of the falls below.  There is also a nice car museum located near the entrance to the state park.
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Petit Jean State Park is one of the few state parks that Karen and I have visited that we have both said lets go back.  There were a few other trails that I wish I would have had enough time to do like the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Boy Scout Trail which basically connects most of the trails at Petit Jean State Park.  Another would be Seven Hollows Trail which features a natural stone arch.
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It truly is a wonderful area and we were glad that we got the chance to explore it.  Hopefully we were be back through the area in the future and get to see more of this wonderful state park.

To read our reviews of other Arkansas attractions click here

Petit Jean State Park
Located at 1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road
Morrilton, AR 72110
Cost as of this Posting: Free
For more information visit their website

Oct 30

Halloween Season

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Well another Halloween is upon us and times are getting more exciting now that our three year old is starting to understand a little bit more about the holiday.  She already likes to play dress up so for some time now she has come up with about ten different things that she would like to have as her costume.  We also thought it was about time that we did the whole pumpkin patch experience and allow our daughter to pick out a pumpkin and decide on a design for her first jack-o-lantern.
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Our visit to the Pumpkin Patch was a fun one for our little girls, a little disappointing for the adults.  My wife and I had these grand visions of walking in an actual pumpkin field like Linus from the Peanuts.  The patch that we went to was highly reviewed and had some fun activities for the children to do; pony rides, a petting zoo, games, a wagon ride, and a maze.  While it did not fulfill our fantasy expectations it was a nice outing, but we will probably check other options for next year.
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McKenna, our oldest has had her heart set on a cat pumpkin this year and dived right in when we started carving it.  She had a big smile on her face as she reached it to take out the guts of the pumpkin, it was a fun sight for us to see.  McKenna helped with the designing and waited patiently (not an easy feat for a 3 year old) as my wife carved it out.  Next up the candle, followed by turning off the lights and she shouted with joy as her pumpkin kitty came to life.

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It has been a joyful Halloween season and as our children get older the excitement and fun times will only grow stronger.  We wish you a safe, fun Halloween!
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