Charting my course, piloting life's waters, having fun! GB Snorkeling with the Manatee's... it's a hoot! GB
Alabama - Dothan - The National Peanut Festival is held annually in this small southern town at the Harris County Fairgrounds. Lot's of food and commercial vendors, live music, tractor displays, exhibits about the history and cultivation of peanuts and a carnival for the kids. And, of course, fresh Hot Boiled Peanuts! www.nationalpeanutfestival.com
Arizona - Ajo - The Ajo Old-Time Fiddlers Contest is held at the Ajo Country Club next to the municipal airport outside of this small Arizona Community. In fact, the RVs were parked on the driving range! The music was terrific with lots of good fellowship. www.fiddlecontest.com
Arizona - Buckeye - The Buckeye Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Festival is one of the smaller ones that I have attended but, also, one of the best! This festival is held annually at the Eagle Mountain Ranch with plenty of room for rigs and festival seating under a big-top. It's informality and intimacy with the performers is refreshing. Three days of pickin' and strummin'. http://home.earthlink.net/~phototom/Festivals.htm
Arizona - Bullhead City - The second bluegrass music festival of the new year, Colorado River Bluegrass Festival, is held in this small town on the Colorado River across from Laughlin NV. Nice weather and toe-tappin' music. www.geocities.com/laughlinbluegrass
Arizona - Parker - Congratulations to Larry and Sandy Baker for a wonderful, first-ever Annual "Bluegrass on the River" festival. The weather couldn't have been better, the setting was perfect (green grass lawn overlooking the Colorado River), the campground was spotless and roomy and the music was superb including the only west coast appearance in 2003 of the U. S. Navy Band "Country Current". Over 6,000 folks enjoyed some terrific 'pickin and singin'. www.parkerbluegrass.com
Arizona - Quartzsite - It's called simply The "Q". This dusty little desert town of 3500 swells with over one-million visitors during the months of January-February as sun-seekers from Canada and the USA flock to the warmth, free or low-cost camping, and what must be the world's largest open-air flea market! The sunrises and sunsets are incredible. Mostly full-timers, but lots of snowbirds as well. www.quartzsite.com
Arizona - Scottsdale - What a fun festival! The Festival of the West held at WestWorld was full of Western music, crafts, shopping, food and probably most interesting, a sanctioned points event for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association. This is an exciting series of events wherein cowboys and cowgirls with two single-action six-shooters shoot at balloon targets while at a gallop on their mount. It's gripping! Later on was another (new to me) exciting event: Team Penning. Twenty-seven heifers are in a corral each with a single-digit number (1-9) tied on their sides. The three wranglers must sort out the three cows with the suddenly called-out number and herd them into a small pen set up inside the corral. It's a timed event with a sixty-second maximum. Exciting! www.festivalofthewest.com
Arizona - Sierra Vista - A bustling 40,000+ pop. city in south-eastern Arizona host of the annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering. What a delightful event! Over 100 talented performers. www.cowboypoets.com
Arizona - Sonoita - A new (2008 three year-old) Cowboy music and poetry festival called the Arizona Cowboy Symposium is hosted at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. Four different stages plus some food vendors and an indoor market pavilion and plenty of RV parking make this a delightful stop on the festival circuit. Most of the entertainers are working cowhands. Arizona weather in November isn't too bad, either! www.arizonacowboysymposium.org and http://sonoitaaz.com
Arizona - Tempe - Major League Baseball's Cactus League holds Spring Training at five different stadiums in Arizona in late-February and March of every year. I worked for ARAMARK at the 2008 and 2009 Spring Training at Tempe Diablo Stadium preparing food and serving beer! Great weather, great fun, happy people. http://cactusleague.com
Arizona - Yuma - The Yuma Old-Time Fiddle Contest is the first one of the year and is held at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. A small contest, but enthusiastically performed. www.fiddlecontest.com
Arkansas - Waldron - The Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival is one of the oldest (32nd Annual in 2009) and largest in the country. The RV Park was built especially to host the festival and is now being operated by the second generation of Lovetts and is located on Hwy 250 about ten miles east of the town of Waldron. It's surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest and is heavily wooded. They still have to put out bear traps when predation is excessive! www.turkeytrackbluegrass.com
California - Angels Camp - A small town with a quaint historic main street from the '49er Gold Rush Days. Site of the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. The story of the jumping frog competition was made famous by Mark Twain... this is where it took place! www.frogtown.org
California - Bakersfield - A bustling ranching and farming community at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield host's the Kern County Scottish Gathering and Highland Games. A fun-filled one-day festival featuring Scottish Heavy Athletics, music, food and Celtic vendors. www.kernscot.org/games
California - Blythe - Blythe Bluegrass Festival, the first bluegrass music festival of the year is held in this small town at the California/Arizona border on the Colorado River. Just a mile off Interstate 10, this truck-stop town swells by about 5000 people for the festival. www.azblugrass.org/events
California - Camp Mather - Located just one-mile outside of the northern boundary of Yosemite National Park, Camp Mather is the site of the semi-annual Strawberry Music Festival. This well-attended (5,000) folk music festival is a real "happening". I haven't seen so many tye-died shirts and skirts since the 1960s! The music was wonderful throughout the four-day festival. The surroundings were magnificent and the people really mellowed-out the "strawberry way." www.strawberrymusic.org
California - Castroville - This small, farming community is the "Artichoke Capital of the World". It's on a plain inland from the Pacific Ocean with nearly perfect agricultural conditions. The Castroville Artichoke Festival each May is a fun, local festival with vendors, crafts, a parade and lot's of artichokes! I enjoyed fried artichokes, steamed artichokes, artichoke pasta, and artichoke burritos! www.artichokefestival.org
California - Death Valley - Known by name to most Americans but visited by a relative few, Death Valley is the lowest spot in the United States and often the warmest with temperatures approaching and sometime equaling 130 degrees! Each year in early November a non-profit volunteer organization known as The Death Valley Forty-Niners holds an Annual Encampment to commemorate those hardy pioneers of the "Sand Walking Wagon Company." Hundreds of RVs converge at Furnace Creek Ranch for camaraderie, displays, exhibits, western music and informative presentations. www.deathvalley49ers.org
California - Grass Valley - A busy little community on Highway 49 in the Mother Lode Country of California. The well-developed Nevada County Fairgrounds host several festivals and fairs in it's beautiful, 90' tall pine tree lined grounds. The annual Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival produced by the California Bluegrass Association is one of the largest in the state attracting many notable bands. www.cbaontheweb.org
California - Imperial - Located in the southwest corner of the state, Imperial is a rich agricultural area not far from the Mexican border. In March, 2005, also the site of the 42nd Semi-Annual Escapade of the Escapees RV Club. Over 1200 rigs and 2500 people attended dozens of informative and fun seminars, socializing and entertainment. http://www.escapees.com
California - Indio - Busy, small town south of it's larger Coachella Valley sister-city, Palm Springs, Indio is more of a working-class town rather than a destination-resort city. It is famous for it's agricultural production of dates and for the Indio International Tamale Festival. The festival is a typical street festival with several blocks of downtown roped off and booths lining the streets. What's different is the Latino flavor to it and that about every fifth booth sells homemade tamales! Yum! www.tamalefestival.org
California - Lancaster - In the high desert of the Antelope Valley, Lancaster and its neighbors Palmdale and Mojave are the airspeed capital of the world. Home to Edwards AFB, birthplace of the X-2, XR-71 "Blackbird", and the western landing zone for the Space Shuttles. In April, 2003, also the site of the 38th Semi-Annual Escapade of the Escapees RV Club. Over 1100 rigs and 2400 people attended dozens of informative and fun seminars, socializing and entertainment. http://www.escapees.com
California - Mather - Located in rural Tuolumne County near the northern entrance to Yosemite National Park, the little village of Camp Mather (pop. 782) hosts the semi-annual Strawberry Music Festival where 5,000+ fans converge to listen to a wonderful long weekend of eclectic music. I saw more tie-died tee-shirts that weekend than I have since the 1960's! www.strawberrymusic.com
California - Parkfield - The self-proclaimed "Earthquake Capital of the World" (more 6.0+ earthquakes per year than anywhere else) is host, therefore, to the largest collection (200+) of geo-seismic measuring devices... and not much else. Pop. 18! It does, however, host the Camp Rude Bluegrass Festival each Spring. Fun little festival with intimate rustic surroundings. Primitive boondocking. http://www.americanprofile.com/issues/20011125/20011125we_1565.asp
California - Pismo Beach - Known for it's clams and the Pismo Clam Festival, this charming small coastal town also hosts a top-notch Dixieland Jazz Festival, Jubilee by the Sea, every fourth weekend of October. Six venues, a dozen plus bands. Great music! Lot's of RV parking at in-town RV parks. www.pismojazz.com
California - Sacramento - Musical overload. That's a strong first impression at one of the largest Jazz (all styles) festivals in the country. One hundred thirty-one bands in twenty-eight venues spread across seven sections of California's capital city for Sacramento's Jazz Jubilee. Fabulous! Comfortable RV parking in 2005 at the Cal-Expo Fairgrounds. This one is well worth attending. www.sacjazz.org
California - Santa Clarita - Home to the Cowboy Music and Poetry Festival, a terrific festival with multiple venues, lots of good cowboy cookin' and set in a real working movie studio and old west town. Named Melody Ranch when owned by Gene Autry this ten acre site is the set for the current hit series "Deadwood" and was the site for many notable motion pictures (High Noon, Billy The Kid, etc.) and television shows (Bat Masterson, Gunsmoke, etc.). www.cowboyfestival.org
California - Stockton - "Catch the Spear-it" is the slogan of Stockton's Asparagus Festival. You certainly can at this community street-festival held in and adjacent to a downtown park. 100,000 attendees are served by over 5,000 volunteers. Deep-fried Asparagus (40,000 lbs. worth), Asparagus Burritos, Asparagus Tamales, Asparagus Margaritas (Aspara-Rita) along with all of the other festival food vendors you could wish for. www.aspagausfest.com
California - Three Rivers - Nestled in the foothills of the western Sierra at the northern entrance to the Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers is the site of Jazzaffair, a Dixieland Jazz Festival. What a terrific little festival! Wonderful bands, nice setting, three venues... thoroughly enjoyable! I'll try to return! www.kaweahcommonwealth.com
California - Yermo - Calico is an actual 1880's mining town which was purchased by Walter Knott (of Knott's Berry Farm fame) who donated it to the County of San Bernardino. Many old buildings and mining memorabilia. A tent/RV campground is adjacent. Four annual festivals are held at Calico. I attended the Calico Spring Festival. www.calicotown.com
Connecticut - Danbury - I joined up with The Strates Shows at the Danbury City Fair. Strates is the last of America's carnivals still traveling from city to city in it's own 61-car private train. I'm working as Paymaster Assistant in the traveling office. Fascinating! www.strates.com
Florida - Dade City - The rural Sertoma Youth Ranch Bluegrass Festival held every Thanksgiving weekend is in a beautiful grassy, wooded setting and features top nationally known bands. www.sertomayouthranch.com
Florida - Key West - At the "End of the Road" (U. S. Hwy. 1) lies the charming little city of Key West... home of Fantasy Fest in late October every year! This is a Mardi Gras-like festival complete with beneficent police, lots of bikers, college kids, middle-age folks and liberal senior citizens. Body painting, bare chests, parades, beads, toga contests, and fun, fun, fun! I parked my motor home at Boyd's Campground at Mile Marker 5. They conveniently had a shuttle running every half-hour from 5:00PM - 3:00 AM. www.fantasyfest.net The Pirates in Paradise Festival a month later each year is much, much smaller.
Florida - Pensacola - East of Pensacola is the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Located on the west end of Santa Rosa Island is the Fort Pickens Campground. This is a delightful, well maintained National Park Service campground just a few steps from the beach. Plenty of white sand! http://reservations.nps.gov
Georgia - Jekyll Island - A delightful small beach community, Jekyll Island is on the Intercoastal Waterway just off the coast of southeast Georgia. I could live here year-round! Host's the wonderful Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival http://aandabluegrass.com/
Georgia - Perry - 6 miles East of I-75 in the middle of the state, the Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival was one of the nicest one's that I have attended. I call it "the festival in the forest" because that's what it was... spread throughout a copse of tall, shady mature virgin-growth trees. Absolutely delightful.. What an unexpected find! www.mossycreekfestival.com. It occurs twice a year; I'll try to return!
Georgia - Vienna - 1/2 mile East of I-75 on Exit 109, the Big Pig Jig is an accredited Barbeque Contest for the professional and amateur barbeque teams. Dozens of teams competing with very elaborate booths, some two story, resembling old time saloons and cafes offering the tastiest beef and pork BBQ. The key is to arrive after 3:00 PM on Saturday after the judging; that's when the samples are offered. And they're incredible! www.bigpigjig.com
Idaho - Kooskia - In north central Idaho, this small town (pop. 1000+) is host to the Frontier Music Festival put on by The Singing Mountain Man, Terry Raff. This is a small, intimate festival (only about 30 rigs including mine were parked alongside a grass airport runway 100 yards away). The surroundings are beautiful with the Clearwater River babbling nearby. The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery encamped here on the banks of the river in both 1805 and 1806! www.lewisandclarktrail.com
Idaho - Weiser - In southeastern Idaho near the Oregon border, Weiser is "small town America" (pop. 5200). Weiser doubles in size during the third week of June each year when it hosts the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest and Festival. What a hoot! I loved it! www.fiddlecontest.com
Illinois - Pittsfield - Historic little town (pop. 4500) in southwestern Illinois with many connections to President Abraham Lincoln (then a country lawyer practicing law in Pittsfield and surrounding Pike County... site of the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debate, first newspaper to call for Lincoln's presidential nomination, home of Lincoln's Secretary of State. And, home and burial-place of my great-grandfather Isaac Barton whose mid-nineteenth century house is still standing and occupied.
Illinois - Springfield - Capitol of Illinois, Springfield is very proud of its most prominent former citizen President Abraham Lincoln. "Lincoln Land" is everywhere. Most impressive is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum which opened recently in 2005. It's more than twice as large as the next largest such complex. In a word, it's spectacular! Both buildings, side-by-side, are also just a few blocks away from other historic sites of the 25 year residency of The Great Emancipator before he was summoned to Washington, D. C. www.alplm.org
Indiana - Bean Blossom - Home of the Bill Monroe Music Park and Campground and Bill Monroe Hall of Fame and Museum. Nice campground, Bean Blossom Blues Festival is an average blues festival www.harpdepot.com/blues . A much larger festival in June is the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. I'm planning to return for it.
Indiana - Fort Wayne - A bustling large city, it's home to the Allen County Public Library which is one of the top three genealogical libraries in the country. It's a heaven (and a haven) for genealogists! http://fuji.acpl.lib.in.us/genealogy
Iowa - Altoona - Home to Adventureland Park, a large (160-acre) amusement park where I workamped for the summer of 2006. I worked in Food Service - sometimes I made Mini Donuts, other times cooking a mean Greek Gyro or a classical Funnel Cake; still other times I was baking pizzas! If I wasn't cooking I was cashiering. A fun and interesting summer! www.adventureland.com
Iowa - Amana - This lovely assemblage of seven small townships known collectively as the Amana Colonies is a tourist's and historian's delight. It is the largest and probably most successful of the many attempts at communal living during the nineteenth century having finally reorganized itself into private ownership and entrepreneurship in 1932. It's beautiful farmland with rolling hills, crops and grasslands. It is also host to the annual Becksterfest Polka Festival. What fun! www.barefootbecky.com/becksterfest
Iowa - Avoca - Just east of Council Bluffs and west of Des Moines. Home of the 26th Annual Avoca National Old Time and Country Music Contest and Festival. 600 musicians, ten stages, a great festival with lot's of gospel music, pickin' and yodelin'. www.oldtimemusic.bigstep.com 2005: Festival moved to the town of Missouri Valley, Iowa, in a dispute with fair board management - good move for the festival.
Iowa - Britt - Since 1900 this little farming town has been host to the National Hobo Convention! They love the 'boes! I parked my RV in the Hobo Jungle (a place where 'boes gather to sleep, camp, cook, wash-up, etc.) and enjoyed the campfire each night. I learned the difference between hoboes, tramps and bums and their hierarchy and witnessed the crowning of the National Hobo King and Queen.. The National Hobo Museum was well worth the visit! Hobo poetry and music is a different but somewhat similar genre to that of the cowboy. The number of these wanderlusts is shrinking rapidly. It's a real piece of Americana. www.hobo.com/conventio
Iowa - Elk Horn - This little Midwestern town is home to America's Danish Immigrant Museum. It's a fabulous museum with wonderful permanent and rotating exhibits, obviously very well curated. Denmark's Queen Margreth II is the Protectorate. www.danishimmigrantmuseum.com
Iowa - Nashua - The little (pop. 3600) town of Nashua hosts a delightful annual Old Time Country Music Festival. Abundant RV parking on a county fairground.
Iowa - Tipton - The annual Bluegrass Music Weekend held in this small Iowa town is delightful! www.tiptoniowa.org
Kansas - Otis - The annual Old Iron Days festival features antique tractors and steam engines on the downtown main street each April. I parked a couple of blocks away and then drove out to camp overnight at the concurrent trappers black-powder festival. Small town America!
Kansas - Wakeeney - Every year for the last ten-plus years the first weekend of May this small prairie town hosts a community festival to celebrate the Ancient Festival of Beltane called simply Th' Gatherin'. A Scottish-Celtic festival with heavy athletic games, music, bagpipes, vendors, dancing and good cheer. www.thgatherin.com
Kentucky - Corbin - A couple of miles east of I-75 is a small Kentucky town which is where Colonel Saunders got his start! The very first KFC Restaurant was a cafe and motel where customers could get a clean room and a good meal featuring the Colonel's chicken. It's now preserved as museum with a modern KFC restaurant. Charming!
Minnesota - Braham - The “Homemade Pie Capital of Minnesota,” holds a one-day pie festival annually, Pie Day. This includes pies in the park, crafters, a quilt show and performing artists on the first Friday of August. It's a hoot! www.pieday.com
Minnesota - Jordan - Site of the Scott-Carver Old Threshers Festival. This fun weekend features a tractor parade and dynamic displays of antique gas, kerosene and steam engines. Men's "boy's toys"! Demonstrations of threshing, potato digging, broom making and lots of polka! A fun time! "Ya sure, ya betcha". www.startribune.com/stonline
Minnesota - Pipestone - Pipestone National Monument is the smallest of the National Parks (just 253 acres). It's also the site of sacred ground to all North American Indians as it's the only place on the planet where a distinctive red clay called "pipestone" is quarried for making the ceremonial "peace pipes" used by the Indians. It has a charming and informative visitor center. Pipestone is also the site of the annual Song of Hiawatha Pageant performed outdoors in a natural setting with an all-volunteer cast of 200+! You'll remember that Longfellow's epic poem starts with "By the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the Great Red Pipestone Quarry...." Worth detouring for! www.pipestoneminnesota.com
Missouri - Lathrop - The Antique Show Grounds in Lathrop MO are home to the semi-annual Lathrop Bluegrass Festival. A nice little festival in a covered pavilion. Many of the RV sites have electrical hook-ups. The grounds are level and grassy. The town of Lathrop is famous as the Mule Capital of the Mid-West. Most of the mules used by the U. S. forces in WWI were trained at Lathrop! www.bluegrassmule.com
Missouri - Sedalia - Site of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. Three days of the country's best Ragtime musicians. Charming, small mid-Western town where Mr. Joplin attended college and wrote some of his most famous tunes. Six venues, all downtown and all within walking distance of each other. Free and fee concerts... all were delightful! www.scottjoplin.org
Missouri - Theodosia - Ozark Mountain Music Fest is an annual small community music festival which includes a Friday night local talent contest. Saturday evening features a headliner bluegrass band. Free will donations to benefit the local volunteer fire department.
Nevada - Las Vegas - There's no place else quite like Las Vegas! I parked my motor home in the lot of a small "suites hotel" on the south end of town and thoroughly enjoyed the city. One of the highlights was the Liberace Museum. You gotta' see it! www.liberace.org
Nevada - Mesquite - The Mesquite Springtime Bluegrass Festival is a blacktop festival held on a vacant shopping center parking lot in small town 80 miles north of Las Vegas. Small festival with local and regional bands. www.visitmesquite.com
New Mexico - Albuquerque - Host city for the annual Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow. Over 3,200 Native American dancers from all over North America compete in several classes with world-class Drums and Singers. Held indoors at the Univeristy of New Mexico Arena "The Pit". The color and sounds were incredible! www.gatheringofnations.com
New York - Hamburg - Self-styled as "America's Fair" due to it's antiquity, the Erie County Fair is one of the country's oldest and largest county fairs. Over a hundred rides, scores of games, food vendors, and the traditional contests and displays you come to expect at your local county fair only magnified! Check it out at www.americas-fair.com
New York - Canandaigua Lake - The largest of five glacially-carved New York Finger Lakes, it's a great spot to home-base in exploring this beautiful region. The fall colors are spectacular, the wineries around most of the lakes are fun to visit, and antiques abound. http://www.canandaigua.com
New York - Rochester - The annual Rochester Jazz Festival hosts some terrific entertainers in a delightful nightclub in downtown section of the city. Park your RV some 20 miles away in the Finger Lakes Region.
New York - Syracuse - For over 158 years there has been a Great New York State Fair. The Fair and Expo Grounds just south of the city contain hundreds of acres of permanent facilities and RV camping. Lot's to see and do, dozens of permanent buildings and exhibit halls, great entertainment. The James E. Strates Shows has been the Carnival provider for over 50 years. www. nysfair.org
North Carolina - Winston-Salem - "Long before the towns of Winston and Salem merged, there was a Fair in the area. What is now known as the Dixie Classic Fair began as a grain exhibition in Salem in 1882, The Piedmont Tobacco Fair started 15 years later, and the two Fairs joined to become the Winston-Salem Fair... renamed in 1956" www.dcfair.com
Ohio - Eaton - Just west of Dayton, Eaton is home to the annual Preble County Pork Festival "Pigs Are Pretty". There were Pig races, demonstrations of hog butchering, pork sausage and pancakes for breakfast, pork chops for lunch and spare ribs for dinner. Hundreds of vendors and crafts booths (I accomplished a lot of Christmas and Hanukkah gift buying). Clogging demonstrations, Line Dancing performances, and a magic show provided additional entertainment (but not as good as the people watching). http://www.porkfestival.org
Ohio - Van Wert - East of Ft. Wayne IN, Van Wert is the self-proclaimed "Popcorn Capital" of the country. It was the site of the 37th Escapade of Escapee RV Club, a semi-annual gathering of members. Over 1,000 rigs of all types and sizes and nearly 2100 people came to gather for five days in Sept. 2002 to exchange information, attend educational seminars and socialize. http://www.escapees.com
Ohio - Waynesville - At the southern edge of Ohio, this small village grows on the second weekend of October to nearly 100,000 people who come for the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival. The main street becomes a street festival with 400+ vendors in booths selling all types of food (including, of course, sauerkraut served in every tasty way you can imagine) and arts and crafts of all type.. It's one of the largest festivals in Ohio. http://www.waynesvilleohio.com/Sauerkraut.com
Oklahoma - Edmond - Just a few miles north of Oklahoma City is the small suburban town of Edmond which puts on a delightful free Jazz and Blues Festival each year in Stephenson Park. Free parking in a nearby vacant parking lot. Cool sounds! www.edmondjazzandblues.org
Oklahoma - Oklahoma City - Lot's to see and do in the capital city. One place I highly recommend is the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum just off I-35 at exit 133. This huge, sprawling facility with several interconnected modern galleries is more than one can take in in just one day. It reminded me of another wonderful facility, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Wyoming. www.nationalcowboymuseum.org
Oregon - Ashland - The fabulous Oregon Shakespeare Festival is held every year in this lovely, small college town in south-central Oregon. The three theaters themselves are beautiful with excellent acoustics. But, it's the quality of the productions that excels. In 2005 I was fortunate to see one of the Bard's most hilarious comedies, Twelfth Night (Or What You Will), and perhaps his most ruthless villain, Richard III. Two diametrically opposed offerings, each stunning! www.orshakes.org
Oregon - McMinnville - Home of the Evergreen Aviation Museum, a truly great aviation museum. Obviously very well endowed this sparkling new facility even has an Imax Theater under construction next door. It houses an impressive collection of aircraft from the earliest to the latest including a MIG-15, MIG-17, B-24, B-17, F-4, F-15, P-40, P-38, P-51, SR-71, a Titan II ICBM and the crown jewel (which dwarfs all other airplanes) the HK-4, the Spruce Goose flying boat, which is the largest aircraft ever built. This one's really worth a stopover! www.sprucegoose.org
Oregon - Oregon City - The Oregon End Of Trail Interpretive Center is a marvelous living museum and multi-media center which celebrates the terminus of The Oregon Trail. My ggg-gf James Rickey trudged the 2000 mile trek in 1850 with his family including my gg-gf Henry Rickey so I was very interested to see and visit this center. Fascinating artifacts and re-enactors! www.HistoricOregonCity.com
Oregon - Salem - The state capitol of Oregon, Salem is home to the Oregon State Archives and it's excellent Reference Room. A genealogist's haven! http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us
Oregon - Tillamook - Charming little coastal town in northwest Oregon which is home to the modern Tillamook Cheese Visitor's Center www.tillamookcheese.com and the Tillamook Naval Air Station Air Museum www.tillamookair.com which is housed in a 1942 blimp hanger, the largest non-supported wooden structure in the world.
Pennsylvania - Gettysburg - Pennsylvania... where a country was born and a country saved. In addition to the fabulous historic sights of Gettysburg, there also is a terrific semi-annual Bluegrass Festival - one of the largest - hosted by the very nice Granite Hill Campground. www.gettysburgbluegrass.com
South Carolina - Anderson - The Anderson County Fair is a delightful annual small county fair which features the usual stuff and the world's largest old-fashioned Demolition Derby! Midway provided by The Strates Shows. www.andersoncountyfair.com
South Carolina - Campobello - Plum Hollow Farm hosts two music festivals annually - Alternative Bluegrass in May and Moonshiners Reunion & Mountain Music Festival in October. Primative camping on wide open grass field or under the trees. A few vendors, food, tee shirts, etc. "Mountain Music" really is southern rock-n-roll (heavy on Leonard Skynard). Lot's of Confederate flags flying, whooping & hollering. www.moonshiners.com
South Dakota - Deadwood - At 4800' elevation in the mountains of the Black Hill's in Northeast South Dakota lies the little former gold-town of Deadwood. Restored with the charming ambiance of a ski-resort town, it's the final resting place of both Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. The famous Homestake Gold Mine (over $1,000,000,000 worth!) and the charming little town of Lead are nearby. Several festivals here including the Annual Days of '76 and it's 100+-years-old Pro Rodeo. www.deadwood.org
South Dakota - Mount Rushmore - Declared a National Monument in 1925, artist (and first generation immigrant) Gutzon Borglund with a team of 400 workers labored on Mount Rushmore from 1927 to 1941. Gutzon died just before finishing the work, but his son Lincoln Borglund compeleted the task. Difficult to describe with words: stupendous, colossal, magnificent, beautiful, awe-inspiring. Every American should see it in-person! www.nps.gov/moru/
Tennessee - Rutledge - Charming little town on TN Hwy 11. Annually hosts the Grainger County Tomato Festival known for its Tomato Wars and lots of craft and food booths. www.graingercountytomatofestival.com
Texas - Crockett - About 100 miles north of Houston, Crockett is the site of a terrific little music venue, the Camp Street Cafe, which is owned by the Gillette Brothers, one of my favorite western and folk music duo's. This seventy year-old former cafe (they serve popcorn, soda and coffee now) was built by their grandfather over seventy years ago. Now this charming spot which seats about 100 hosts some terrific performers including when they're home not touring, the brothers. Call ahead or check the web for scheduled performances www.campstreetcafe.com . I parked my motorhome overnight in a nearby parking lot .
Texas - Mexia - About 90 miles south of Dallas, Texas, is the small town of Mexia. The town itself has seen hard times (many boarded up businesses downtown) but they put on a nice little bluegrass festival - Jack's Creek Bluegrass Festival - http://www.angelfire.com/tx/bgrass/jackscreek.html outside of town at the Confederate Reunion Grounds.
Texas - Mercedes - Less than ten miles north of the US/Mexican border, the little town of Mercedes hosts an excellent annual music festival at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Showgrounds. While the Rio Grande Valley Music Festival is fine, the venue is not RV friendly [difficult to find, parking is 3/4 miles away from music]. www.rgvmf.com
Texas - Midlothian - The self-professed "Cement Capital of Texas", this small town has several cement plants and their attendant trucks. It's located about 25-miles southwest of Dallas and equidistant from Ft. Worth. Not a lot here but it's the place where I landed for a six-month Workamper assignment with Music Tee's, Inc. in 2003-2004. www.midlothian-texas.org
Virginia - Williamsburg - The "Historic Triangle" consists of Jamestown Settlement (where the British North American Colonial Era began in 1607), Williamsburg (the capital of the largest and richest Colony ) and Yorktown (the site of the famous British Defeat in 1781 that ended it's Colonial Era in America). By historic coincidence all three are within 30 minutes of each other! www.colonialwilliamsburg.org
Washington - Long Beach - Home of the "Best Kite Festival in the World" (Kite Trade Assn. Intl.) and the "world's longest sand beach". Delightful peninsula at the mouth of the Columbia River. http://kitefestival.com
Wyoming - Carson - High (appx. 8000' elevation) atop Carson Mountain just south of the City of Carson lies the beautiful Beartrap Meadow, site of the Beartrap Summer Music Festival. This was a marvelous two days of mostly Bluegrass but concluded with a concert of Marches and Dances by the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra under a beautiful Wyoming blue sky. Absolutely delightful. www.beartrapfestival.com
Wyoming - Cody - Home of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center www.bbhc.org and the Yellowstone Jazz Festival, just 60 miles outside of the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park www.yellowstonenationalpark.com Near both the Mormon and Oregon Trails www.isu.edu/~trinmich/oregontrail.html used in the western migration by the hardy pioneers including my gg-grandfather Henry Rickey in 1850.
Mexico - Algodones, Sonora - Algodones is in the northern end of the State of Sonora, Mexico. It's a small border town just five miles from Yuma, Arizona. It's a favorite spot for "snowbirds" who come for inexpensive prescription drugs, haircuts, dental and vision care. Short lines, low prices, quality care.
Mexico - El Fuerte, Sinaloa - El Fuerte is a charming little Mexican town (pop. 20,000) inland from Las Mochis about 100 miles south of the Sonora/Sinaloa border. Of course, there is a small fort (el fuerte) on a hilltop next to the center of town. The fairgrounds in El Fuerte was the site of the Chapter 8 "Mexican Connection" RV Rally in March 2006. About 100 rigs convoyed down from Sonoita, Arizona, crossing the border at Nogalis AZ. El Fuerte was hot and buggy but the fellowship was nice.
Mexico - Puerto Peñasco, Sonora - Puerto Peñasco also is in the northern end of the State of Sonora, Mexico. It's a small town on the northern tip of the Sea of Cortez (aka Gulf of California). Located in the Free Zone (no entrance paperwork), it's a short 60 mile (100km) drive on a nice, wide paved road (Hwy. 8) from the border crossing at Lukeville AZ. Warm sun, nice Mexican RV campgrounds, low cost-of-living. www.puerto-penasco.com
Mexico - Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco - Puerto Vallarta has long been a fly-in and sail-in destination on account of it's year-round wonderful weather and beautiful beaches. Now, with modern Mexico Highways 15 and 200 it's also a popular spot for RVers.
Mexico - Bahia Tenacatita, Jalisco - Small Mexican village of Tenacatita is right on the bay. Beautiful white sand beaches, plenty of restaurants. Even a free camping area.
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