Spring 2020


Red Rock Beauty in Sedona, Arizona Country Tailormade for Great Photography

A Baker’s Dozen Free places to visit across the USA

SPRING DESTINATIONS Gettysburg Battlefield Resort Gettysburg, Pennsylvania R Ranch in the Mountains

Dahlonega, Georgia Tres Rios RV Resort Glen Rose, Texas

Choose your adventure with Members On Vacation Travel the World

A Perfect Day at CocoCay Prepare for adventure in the Caribbean with a fun family cruise. Along the way, you'll sail to Royal Caribbean's brand new private island adventure, CocoCay, to experience towering waterslides, helium balloon rides with beautiful panoramic views and relaxing beaches, exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests.

Beautiful Caribbean Beach Resorts

Are you ready for a warm, sunny vacation adventure? Why not venture to the Caribbean? With a Delta Vacations flight & resort hotel package you can journey to a tropical paradise full of exotic forests, crystal-clear waters, and sandy beaches. Relax by the ocean while sipping on a drink, take a fun family hike, or swim with amazing aquatic wildlife. Pure fun and relaxation await you on one of these dream vacations. Relax at this beach-front Jamaican resort that features an 18-hole signature golf course, renowned spa, children's village and more. Half Moon St. James, Jamaica This breathtaking resort, surrounded by a tropical rainforest, pristine beaches, and towering cliffs, offers diverse culinary selections, a spa and fitness center and more. Eden Roc at Cap Cana Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day 7 nights aboard Harmony of the Seas Roundtrip Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida Interior from $692* per person Taxes, fees and port expenses are an additional $112.62.* Bahamas & Perfect Day 7 nights aboard Majesty of the Seas Roundtrip New Orleans, Louisiana Interior from $407* per person Taxes, fees and port expenses are an additional $117.16.*

Many more resorts to choose from.

*Contact our personal vacation planners about available Delta Vacations flight and hotel packages from any Delta Vacations origin in the U.S. or Canada to the Caribbean and Costa Rica. Valid on reservations that include a minimum of one flight on Delta Air Lines®, Hawaiian Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air France, Alitalia, Bahamasair, Aeromexico, Virgin Australia International, Virgin Atlantic, China Southern, WestJet and/or their codeshare partners; reservations that include only flights on other airlines do not qualify. Minimum 2-night hotel stay required. Additional baggage charges for checked luggage may apply, as well as any applicable hotel/resort fees or departure taxes collected by hotel/resort/airport at destination. Must be purchased through Delta Vacations. Programs and availability may vary. Delta Vacations flight reservations may be made up to 331 days in advance of flight departure. Delta Vacations must issue all airline tickets. Standard Terms and Conditions apply and are outlined during the booking process; other restrictions may apply. Delta Vacations is the final authority on the interpretation of these rules and reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions without prior notice.

*Prices are average per person, cruise only, based on occupancy selected, reflect promotional savings (if any), for new individual bookings, are subject to change and availability. Taxes, fees and port expenses are subject to change. Additional terms and conditions apply. Contact our personal vacations planners for more information. © 2020 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Ships registry: Bahamas.

CST# 2129700-40; Iowa: 1284; Washington: 603-561-512; Hawaii: TAR 7279.

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TRAVEL 12 Virginia is for (Cave) Lovers Explore Virginia’s underground BY DAVE G. HOUSER 20 Red Rock Beauty in Sedona, Arizona Country tailormade for great photography

GOOD SAM AND CAMPING WORLD CHAIRMAN AND CEO Marcus Lemonis MarcusVIP@goodsamfamily.com COAST TO COAST PRESIDENT Bruce Hoster CCRPresident@coastresorts.com


MEMBER SERVICES 64 Inverness Drive E. Englewood, Colorado 80112 800-368-5721 info@coastresorts.com COAST TO COAST WEBSITE CoastResorts.com COAST TO COAST FACEBOOK Facebook.com/CoastResorts EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Dee Whited ART DIRECTOR Nicole Wilson


27 St. Louis on a Shoestring

Have a free-for-all in this Gateway to the West BY DEE LITTEN WHITED

34 A Baker’s Dozen

Free places to visit across the USA BY NEALA MCCARTEN

Volume 39, Number 2. Coast to Coast (ISSN 1093-3581) is published quarterly for $14 per year as part of annual membership fees, by Coast to Coast Resorts, 64 Inverness Drive E., Englewood, Colorado 80112. Coast to Coast Resorts assumes no responsi- bility for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any method without prior written consent of the publisher. ©2020 Camp Coast to Coast, LLC. Coast wing logo is a reg- istered trademark of Camp Coast to Coast, LLC. The GOOD SAM ICON, and Dream. Plan. Go. are registered trademarks of Good Sam Enterprises, LLC and used with permission. Unauthorized use of Coast’s or Good Sam’s trademarks is expressly prohibited. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN THE USA. COVER PHOTO BY EMILY AND MARK FAGAN CTC58130 - 0220

DEPARTMENTS 4 From the President 6 Member Matters 7 Resort Updates 40 RV Review

RESORT PROFILES 8 Gettysburg Battlefield Resort Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 9 R Ranch in the Mountains Dahlonega, Georgia 10 Tres Rios RV Resort Glen Rose, Texas




FROM THE PRESIDENT PUTTING MEMBERS FIRST A special message regarding the Covid-19 virus Coast is experiencing temporary closures of some of our affiliated Resorts and Good Neighbor Parks across North America in response to state and local government orders to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. While most Coast Resorts and Good Neighbor Parks remain open, if you have a reservation during this time please call ahead or visit the campground’s website for the most up to date information and to ensure the park or resort is still hosting. You may also call Coast Member Services at 1-800-368-5721 to check on any Coast Resort reservation. To check on any Good Neighbor Park reservation please call the Good Neighbor Park directly. As we learn of temporary Resort closures, Coast will notify members with impacted reservations and will attempt to relocate members to a nearby affiliate that is open. This is the same procedure we follow for any type of emergency resort closure. Also be aware that, even if a park is open, they may close public facilities like clubhouses, pools, grills, laundry, restrooms, etc. in keeping with best practices to prevent the spread of the virus. Some resorts are also suspending cabin rentals

over concerns of spreading the virus from one renter to the next. Coast is maintaining a listing of resorts that have notified us of their temporary closing. For an updated list of Coast affiliate temporary closures, log in at www.CoastResorts.com and click on the special message at the top of the page, then click on the link in the message to view the list of temporary resort closures. As Covid-19 continues to affect our communities, many national, state, provincial and local campgrounds have been impacted. Our sister organization Good Sam is a great resource for updates on national, state, and provincial campground closures. Good Sam has created a special website page with links to the latest information, to view that website page click https://blog.goodsam.com/covid-19-campgrounds/ We encourage you to stay informed with the latest information by visiting the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index. html, and following social distancing best practices. Best wishes from our entire team to you and your family, may you enjoy safe travels throughout 2020.

MARCUS LEMONIS Chairman and CEO Camping World & Good Sam marcusvip@goodsamfamily.com

BRUCE HOSTER President Coast to Coast Resorts CCRPresident@CoastResorts.com





Need anything? I’m here to help. CALL MY OFFICE 866.232.8790 or Email me at MarcusVIP@goodsam.com

Marcus Lemonis Chairman and CEO Camping World and Good Sam

CTC58178 - 0120

MEMBER MATTERS MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR COAST TO COAST MEMBERSHIP New Coast Deluxe Resort – Quinebaug Cove Resort In Massachusetts Coast is pleased to welcome Quinebaug Cove Resort as the newest Deluxe resort in the Coast network. Locat- ed just four miles west of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, the easy access to historic Old Sturbridge Village and the quaint shops and restaurants of this charming town make this resort the perfect location for lovers of American history. In addition, there are endless day- trip possibilities from the resort with the Berkshires and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge 70 miles to the west and Boston 60 miles to the east. Both are accessible via I-90. But with the amenities at Quinebaug Cove Camp- ground, you may never want to leave the resort. There is beachfront access including a boat launch on 420- acre East Brimfield Lake, where you can fish for bass, trout, pickerel, and northern pike. If you like to kayak or canoe, you are in for a real treat. East Brimfield Lake

is the part of the Quinebaug River Canoe Trail, which provides a scenic 4.6-mile paddle from East Brimfield Lake down the Quinebaug River to Holland Pond. Pack a picnic because there are picnic areas for specific use of those paddling the canoe trail. And if hiking or bik- ing is your thing, enjoy the Brimfield Rail Trail which is a 2.8 mile completed section of a the proposed 60-mile Titanic (Grand Trunk) Trail, a Rails-to-Trails project. You can access the trail right across the road from the campground. Amenities on the resort include a pool, horseshoes, shuffleboard, basketball, volleyball, playground, and a band stand with entertainment in-season. There are three bath houses on the property, one that is brand new this year, one that has just been renovated to include a laundry facility, and a third that is being renovated this year. The spacious clubhouse includes a snack bar, arcade game room, a warm fireplace to en- joy on cool evenings, and a camp store featuring movie rentals and hand-dipped ice cream. And then there’s the amenity you can’t see but may appreciate the most: the campground’s underground infrastructure has been completely redone to provide 30-amp and 50-amp electric, water, and sewer hook-ups to all sites as well as Wi-Fi that works through the park.




RESORT UPDATES ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE 2020 DIRECTORY The 2020 Coast to Coast Resort Directory is packed with everything you need to navigate the network of Coast to Coast Resorts and Coast Good Neighbor Parks. To keep members up-to-date, each issue of Coast magazine includes any updates that have occurred since the last issue. COAST DELUXE NEW COAST DELUXE RESORT MASSACHUSETTS Quinebaug Cove Resort, 49 E Brimfield Holland Rd, Brimfield, 01010. Telephone: (413) 245-9525; Email: quinebaugcoveresort.com; URL: quinebaugcove.com Directions: From the intersection of I-84 and US 20: US 20 W 4 mi. After the lake appears on both sides of hwy (100 ft after Tru-Valu gas station) next L on E Brimfield Holland Rd. Resort on L. Latitude: 42.103600; Longitude: -72.147500; Check-in 3:00 p.m.; Check- out 11:00 a.m.; Max RV length: 45 feet; Max amp: 50; Notations: Additional charges: Cable $3/night, 50 amp $3/night, Internet $3/night weekdays & $5/night weekends, resort fee $8/night. Refundable deposit- member must have site checked before the deposit is refunded. Season: May 1 to September 30. COAST CLASSIC COAST CLASSIC RESORT TERMINATION UTAH Skyline Mountain Resort, Fairview (page 178) GOOD NEIGHBOR PARKS NORTH CAROLINA Oasis of North Carolina, Aberdeen (formerly Marston) (page 209)

NEW GOOD NEIGHBOR PARKS TEXAS Crockett Family Resort, 75 Dogwood Lane W, Crockett, 75835. Telephone: (936) 544-8466; Email: marina@crockettresort.com; URL: crockettresort. com. Directions: From Jct of Loop 304 & FM 229 (NW of town): W 6.8 mi on FM 229 to CR 2140, N 2 mi. Latitude: 31.41133; Longitude: -95.57894; Check-in: 2:00 p.m.; Check-out: 2:00 p.m.; Max. RV Length: 41 feet; Max amp: 50. Notations: 2020 Coast rate $28.80. Rate includes 2 people. Additional charges: Add'l adult $3/night, add'l child over 6 yrs $3/night, add'l vehicle $3/night, 50 amp $3/night, cable $3/night. Season: Year-round. Hailey's Beach-n-Bay RV Resort, 1029 Joy St, Gilchrist, 77617. Telephone: (409) 225-2020: Email: david@hbnbrv.com: URL: hbnbrv.com. Directions: From Galveston: Take the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula. N on Hwy 87 to Yacht Basin Rd, just before Rollover Pass. L on Yacht Basin Rd. One block R onto Joy St. Resort on L. From Winnie: Hwy 124 S to High Island until you get to the beach. The road turns R onto Hwy 87. S to Yacht Basin Rd after crossing Rollover Pass. R on Yacht Basin Rd. One block then R onto Joy St. Resort on L. Latitude: 29.510403; Longitude: -94.507714; Check- in: 2:00 p.m.; Check-out: 11:00 a.m.; Max RV Length: 60 feet; Max amp: 50. Notations: 2020 Coast rate: $48 May 1 to Sept 30, $36 Oct 1 to Feb 28. Rate includes full hook-up, 4 guests. Additional charges: Add’l adult $10/night, tax 8.25%. Season: May 1 to September 30; October 1 to February 28. . GOOD NEIGHBOR PARKS TERMINATION NEBRASKA Sleepy Sunflower RV Park, Ogallala (page 208) ONTARIO Golden Pond RV Resort, Mossley (page 225)




RESORT TYPE Coast Premier LOCATION Gettysburg, Pennsylvania SEASON Year-round WEBSITE campgettysburg.com

Gettysburg Battlefield Resort Come for the history; stay for the amenities

There are two great reasons to visit Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The first is to tour the historic Gettysburg National Military Park and the second—not the least important—is to check into Gettysburg Battlefield Resort, a fabulous Coast Premier Resort. Most everyone knows the history of the battlefield, but if you haven’t visited Gettysburg Battlefield Resort, you’re in for a treat as you will experience one of Coast’s Pennsylvania gems. Once at your spacious site, you can choose to stay and relax or stroll around to see what the resort has to offer. Stop by the authentic farmhouse lodge or visit the battlefield reenactment grounds on site. If you don’t feel like swimming in the beautiful Olympic-size swimming pool, it’s possible relaxing in one of the lounge chairs is just right for you. Try your hand at fishing in the stocked lake with catch and release fishing. Meet new friends during one or more of the planned activities and themed events.

Other onsite amenities include a snack bar with Hershey’s hand dipped ice cream, laundry facilities, nature trails, playground, shuffleboard, beach volleyball and horseshoes. More activities include basketball, cornhole, gaga ball and funnel ball. If you haven’t played gaga or funnel ball, here’s your chance. If you’re traveling without your rig, stay in one of the comfortable modern cabins on site. Some visitors never want to leave. Bev and Michael Lam sent this message to the resort after their recent stay. “We can’t pry ourselves away from Gettysburg Battlefield Resort unless we run out of food or some other life-sustaining necessity.” If you do pry yourself away, take advantage of the proximity to the Gettysburg National Military Park where one of the most significant battles of the Civil War was fought on July 1-3, 1863. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the Civil War's bloodiest battle.




RESORT TYPE Coast Classic LOCATION Dahlonega, Georgia SEASON Year-round WEBSITE https://rranch.com/

R Ranch in the Mountains Have fun camping on a working horse ranch

This private resort is located in the North Georgia Mountains on 830 acres of land surrounded on three sides by the Chattahoochee National Forest. R-Ranch is just 10 miles from beautiful downtown Dahlonega, Georgia, and just 90 minutes from metro Atlanta. This unique getaway offers relaxation and equestrian adventures amid the beauty of the North Georgia mountains. The 13,000 square-foot multi-use recreational lodge hosts regular entertainment, from dance-band evenings to Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve parties. It’s also a great venue for wedding receptions, family reunions, and corporate retreats. The downstairs recreation area offers movie rooms, pool table, ping pong table, and more. For quiet times and a glorious, panoramic mountain view, enjoy the lodge while you relax in a rocking chair on the long wraparound porch. Take time to relax at the R-shaped swimming pool or fish in one of the lakes. You have your choice of Crystal Lake and

Rainbow Lake. You'll find bass, bluegill, and catfish, as well as frogs, tadpoles, minnows, and geese. For serious trout fishing, the cold waters of the Chestatee River and other trout streams are only a few miles away. If you choose to travel without your RV, you’ll find both single units and duplex log cabins at Rainbow Lake. Three fully furnished cottages are also available for rent. There are trail rides five days a week led by stable employees. Kids can ride horses in the corral until they are ready for a trail ride. Historic downtown Dahlonega was home to the very first gold rush in the United States. The town is located on top of the largest gold deposits found east of the Mississippi River. Mining started in1828whengoldwas first discovered. Today quaint shops around the Square are filled with regional art, antiques, unique jewelry, and collectibles. Dahlonega is also the heart of the North Georgia Wine Country, as the surrounding area includes multiple vineyards and wineries.




RESORT TYPE Coast Premier LOCATION Glen Rose, Texas SEASON Year-round WEBSITE www.tresriosrvpark.com

Come enjoy RVing Texas style at Tres Rios RV Resort, nestled among native Texas pecan and oak trees on 47 spacious acres. The resort, near Glen Rose, Texas, is named for the three Texas rivers that converge on the resort’s southern point—the Brazos River, Paluxy River, and Squaw Creek. Fishing, boating, swimming, and rafting are favorite activities…as are day trips to nearby Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Dinosaur Valley State Park. There are spacious meeting rooms perfect for family reunions, as well as regular activities including jam sessions, kayak demonstrations, and community clean- ups of the surrounding rivers. There’s a packed schedule of events for members and guests. Activities include cards, bingo, stitching, potluck dinners, wood crafts, nature walks and more. Whatever you’re interested in, Tres Rios has something for you. When choosing a destination, RVers look for a variety Tres Rios RV Resort Enjoy all three rivers at this resort

of options. Weather is always a consideration. If the RVer is active, then the number of nearby activities is important. And, if the RVer is an angler, a canoer, a boater, or just enjoys water activities, then nearby water is a must. This makes Tres Rios RV Resort the place to be. Meet friends while fishing, swimming in the pool, playing horseshoes, or fossil hunting in and around the rivers. The three rivers assure visitors of water fun year-round. The convergence of these three rivers creates a bluff on the south end of the resort that’s a great place to view the natural beauty, wildlife, and breathtaking sunsets of Texas. The Brazos is popular for tubing, kayaking, and canoeing. The Paluxy is known for numerous dinosaur footprints found in its bed near Glen Rose. Not only are the waters great for fishing—the Brazos River is home to 44 fish species—but the area is a magnet for a large number of bird species including blue herons and bald eagles.




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Virginia is for (Cave) Lovers Explore Virginia’s underground




Tatiana’s Veil, Luray Caverns.

degrees year-round, cell phones won’t work (thankfully), and you’ll probably bump your head and get dripped on (a “cave kiss” is considered good luck). Also, a “hands off” rule is observed because oils from skin can interfere with the growth of formations essential to nature’s cave- making handiwork. So, strike your best Indiana Jones pose and let’s get to


Beneath its lush green surface, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is full of surprises. Its limestone surface is riddled with cracks, crevices, and channels where water has dissolved the rock over millions of years to form holes. Drip by drip, the slightly acidic water enlarged those holes to form caves, and within them to shape a wonderland of fantastic stone formations. Virginia is home to more than 4,000 caves, most of them “wild,” or unaltered by humans. Fewer than 10 are open to the public, but six of these have been developed to the point of “show cave” status, with lighting, smooth paths, stairs, guided tours—and in one case, even an elevator. The Valley’s leading visitor attractions, these show caves began taking in guests in 1806, when Grand Caverns opened. It’s the nation’s oldest cave concession. Each of Shenandoah’s caves is unique but all have a few things in common: the temperature averages about 55

know Virginia beneath the surface. Luray Caverns – Luray, Virginia

If you are familiar at all with Virginia’s caves, you’ve probably heard of Luray Caverns. Not only is Luray the largest cave system in the Eastern United States, it’s the nation’s third most-visited cave after Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. It also has been designated a U.S. Natural Landmark. Discovered in 1878, Luray is home to a winding series of large well-lighted rooms with paved floors that feature some spectacular limestone formations and crystal-clear lakes, streams and pools. Most impressive are Saracen’s Tent, a ten-story-high column with a rock configuration that resembles folded ribbons, Tatiana’s Veil, an intricate composition of crystalized calcite, and Giant’s Hall with its towering golden columns.




Tea Garden, Shenandoah Caverns photo by Jenna French.

Capital Dome, Shenandoah Caverns.

The real star of the show, however, is the aptly named Great Stalacpipe Organ. It is said to be the largest musical instrument in the world—using electronically controlled rubber mallets to gently tap the cave’s stalactites (formations that hang from the ceiling) — creating mesmerizing gong-like tones. Luray is open every day of the year and guided tours depart every 20 minutes beginning at 9:00 a.m. The Luray Valley Museum and the Car & Carriage Caravan, an excellent transportation museum, are additional free attractions. www.luraycaverns.com – 540-743-6551 Shenandoah Caverns – Quicksburg, Virginia Virginia’s only cavern elevator whisks Shenandoah Caverns’ visitors down 60 feet and opens onto a mile- long path through 17 high-vaulted chambers that reveal a subterranean world of breathtaking geological formations. One of the caverns’ most extraordinary formations, seen in a side passage not far from the Entrance Hall, is known as “Breakfast Bacon.” Thin sheets of striated calcite, they bear a striking resemblance to strips of bacon. One can only fancy that they’d combine nicely for a geo-breakfast with the curious “fried egg” formations seen in Luray Caverns. Soaring chambers such as Druids Hall, Cathedral Hall,

and Giant’s Hall are profusely decorated with thick coatings of flowstone and giant drapery stalactites. Feathery aragonite growths (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate known as “cave flowers”) adorn many of the draperies and stalactites. Farther along, a circuitous corridor leads to Rainbow Lake, a strikingly beautiful reflecting pool. Guided hour-long tours are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. during summer). Save some time to visit Shenandoah’s other on-site attractions including the Yellow Barn’s collection of antique carriages and the American Celebration on Parade, featuring an array of historic parade floats. www.shenandoahcaverns.com – 540-477-3115 Skyline Caverns – Front Royal, Virginia The northernmost of Virginia’s show caves and the closest to Washington, DC, Skyline Caverns has been packing in visitors since its surprise discovery in 1937. A well-lit walking tour, available every day of the year, wastes no time in revealing the caverns’ many amazing underground formations—or speleothems in the language of geologists. Water flows and drips just about everywhere in Skyline and shortly after entering the cave visitors encounter a massive flowstone formation—a sheet-like deposit




Cathedral Hall, Skyline Caverns.

Rainbow Room Grand Caverns, photo by Frank Ceravalo.

of calcite formed where water flows down the walls of a cave. Farther along, The Shrine rises into view. This giant stalagmite (a formation that grows from the ground up) started forming 45 million years ago—one drip at a time. At the Wishing Well and Waterfall, a rushing stream tumbles 37 feet, eventually flowing into Fairyland Lake. Skyline also affords a rare glimpse of another unusual flower-like formation—anthodites—delicate needle- like crystals situated in clusters that are sometimes referred to as “orchids of the mineral kingdom.” Ancillary attractions here include the Skyline Arrow—a miniature train sure to appeal to the kids—as well as a maze created by Guinness World Record holder Adrian Fisher who has designed more than 500 mazes. www.skylinecaverns.com – 800-296-4545 Grand Caverns – Grottoes, Virginia They say that “history runs deep” at Grand Caverns. Indeed, history is a major talking point for the nation’s oldest show cave. Weyers Cave, as it was originally named (for its founder Bernard Weyer), opened for tours in 1806, making it the oldest continuously operating show cave in the U.S. The cave has gone through several owners and name

changes since Weyer discovered it in 1804, but since 2009 it has been owned and operated by the Town of Grottoes. The caverns are open year-round with guided tours operating seven days a week. Grand Caverns’ most colorful history surrounds its role in the Civil War. During that war, and the “Valley Campaign” in particular, when Confederate Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson was driving his forces north against Gen. John Freemont’s Union troops in 1862, the cave was visited repeatedly by both Union and Confederate soldiers. These visits are documented by the verified signatures on cave walls of more than 200 Civil War soldiers. Intense battles around the cave cost the lives of more than 3,000 men in just a single two-day period in 1862. Geologically speaking, Grand is best known for its hundreds of disk-like “shields.” Shield formations can best be described as flat discs of rock hanging from a cave wall or ceiling. They are believed to have formed as water was forced out of cracks in the cave wall, causing the growth of plates of crystalized calcite. The National Park Service designated Grand Caverns a National Natural Landmark in 1973 in recognition of these unique shield formations and other features such as flowstones, stalactites, and stalagmites. www.grandcaverns.com – 800-430-2283




Lily Room, Grand Caverns, photo by Frank Ceravalo.

Natural Bridge Caverns.




Endless Caverns.

Natural Bridge State Park.

Endless Caverns – New Market, Virginia Not long after a couple of boys discovered this cave in 1879 while hunting rabbits on the property of Ruben Zirkle, the Zirkle family began operating candle-lit tours through the cave. A promoter named Colonel Brown purchased the property in 1919 and employed several expeditions to survey the caverns. They failed to find an end to the complex of passageways—which explains the name Endless Caverns. Six miles of the caverns were mapped, and Brown had the cave fully electrified/ lighted for an August 1920 grand opening. Endless Caverns is often cited as the most “authentic” of Virginia caves, a description that is open to interpretation. On one hand it is less developed and hence more “natural” than show caves such as Luray and Shenandoah. On the other, it is less well maintained and is in places dangerously slippery. Nor are its formations as numerous and majestic as those seen in some of the Old Dominion’s more popular caves. That said, Endless has its share of fans—many of whom take advantage of the adjacent full-service campground. The facility is open seasonally, April 1 to November 15. www.endlesscaverns.com – 540-896-2283

Caverns at Natural Bridge – Natural Bridge, Virginia Visitors had best be prepared for a deep dive when making their way into the Natural Bridge Caverns. The deepest cave in the eastern U.S. bottoms out at 349 feet—equivalent to 34 stories below ground. Hardy cave enthusiasts are duly rewarded for their efforts in negotiating one of the cave’s 45-minute guided tours (departing every hour on a seasonally adjusted schedule from March through November). Highlight of the tour is a stroll through the Colossal Dome room, featuring an enormous dome-shaped flowstone formed over thousands of years. Other points of interest include Mirror Lake, the Well Room, and the Canyon Room. The Caverns are located just minutes from Natural Bridge State Park, home to a limestone gorge capped by a striking 215-foot-tall natural bridge with a span of more than 90 feet. Thomas Jefferson once owned the bridge, purchasing it in 1774 from King George III of England. The park has had numerous owners since but has operated as a state park since 2016. Like many visitors do, you should consider exploring both the bridge and caverns during your stay in the area. www.naturalbridgeva.com/caverns – 540-291-2482




Mammoth Cave.


Meramec Caverns, Missouri Meramec is the largest and most visited of Missouri’s more than 6,000 caves. Located along historic Route 66 about 60 miles west of St. Louis, Meramec features an array of amazing and colorful limestone formations— and some equally colorful history—serving in the 1870s as a hideout for the infamous outlaw Jesse James. One not-to-be-missed feature—the Wine Table—is a six-foot-high onyx formation that resembles a three- legged table adorned with grape-like clusters known as botryoids. It was formed millions of years ago, entirely under water. Guided 90-minute walking tours go every half-hour. www.americascave.com, 800-676-6105 Wind Cave, South Dakota So named for the whistling wind ever present at its natural entrance, Wind Cave, located near Hot Springs, was the world’s first cave to be designated a national park back in 1903. One of the longest (163 miles) and most complex caves on the planet, it is home to 95 percent of the world’s known accumulation of a delicate honeycomb-like cave formation known as boxwork—formed from calcium deposits as a byproduct of limestone water erosion. Visitors can explore the fascinating cave through a variety of ranger-led tours. www.nps.gov/wica, 605-745-4600

With more than 50,000 caves within the United States, there are plenty more of these underground worlds to explore beyond Virginia. Tennessee is said to have the most caves of any state with 9,200. Missouri, which bills itself as the “Cave State,” has about 6,400 caves. Next is Alabama with 4,800. Here are five of the largest and most visited caverns across the country. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky A national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mammoth is the longest cave system in the world, with more than 400 miles of passageways. Located in the Green River Valley of south-central Kentucky, it is a subterranean wonderland of vast chambers, glistening pools, travertine dams and complex limestone labyrinths that are at the same time beautiful and eerie. A variety of self-guided and ranger-led tours ranging from 90 minutes to six hours are available year-round. www.nps.gov/maca, 270-758-2180




Mammoth Cave.

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico Without question, Carlsbad is America’s most famous cave complex. Since opening to the public in 1924, it has recorded nearly 45 million visits and currently entertains more than a half-million visitors annually. This labyrinth of more than 120 known caves nestled beneath the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico was formed when sulfuric acid and water dissolved the surrounding limestone in a process that began more than 250 million years ago. Both self-guided and ranger- guided tours are available. More than 400,000 Mexican free-tail bats inhabit Carlsbad and they put on quite a show when they whirl out the caverns at sunset to feed. From May to October—before the bats migrate south for the winter—visitors can attend a special ranger program at the outdoor Bat Flight Amphitheater (free with park admission) to witness this striking exodus. www.nps.gov/cave, 575-785-2232

Kartchner Caverns, Arizona These beautiful caverns, located near Benson in southeastern Arizona, have existed for at least 50,000 years but weren’t discovered until 1974 and it wasn’t until 1999 that they were opened to the public as a state park. The 2.4-miles of passageways lead to two major features—the Rotunda & Throne Room and the Big Room—that can be visited only on separate, hour-long guided tours. The Throne Room contains the world’s largest known calcite soda straw stalactites and a towering 58-foot-high dripstone column named Kubla Khan. The Big Room is notable as home to the world’s most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk, a creamy form of limestone precipitate. The Big Room is closed from April 15 to October 15 while it serves as a nursery roost for thousands of resident cave bats. https://azstateparks.com/kartchner/tours, 520-586-2283




RedRock in SEDONA, ARIZONA Country tailormade for great photography




After a dark and stormy day there was fire in the sky behind Cathedral Rock at sunset.

as well as numerous trailheads into the red rocks. Artists and psychics have flocked to Sedona over the years, the former drawn by the exquisite landscapes and the latter lured by energy vortexes that some claim to sense in special locations around town. Lovely images created by professional photographers and landscape painters can be found in many galleries and tourist shops in town. But the majestic scenery brings out the artist in everyone, and tourists taking pics with their smartphones can be spotted all over the place. Artistry and artwork are a theme throughout the area, and not only do metal sculptures of cowboys and horses stand sentinel along the sidewalks in town, but a collection of xylophones and gongs begs the passersby to grab a mallet and fill the air with mellow tones. A trip to Sedona isn't complete without getting out into the red rocks one way or another, and there are over 250 trails from which to choose. One of the most iconic and easiest trails is the Bell Rock Pathway. With several trailheads positioned along SR-89A between downtown Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, this popular and easily accessed 3.5-mile round-trip trail is open to both hikers and mountain bikers and offers some of the most dramatic scenery in the area. Our spirits soared as we rode our bikes on the wide, hard packed path, jaws

RED ROCK BEAUTY Story by Emily Fagan Photos by Mark and Emily Fagan

Sedona, Arizona, is one the most beautiful jewels in the crown of the American southwest. My husband, Mark, and I love the area so much that we have returned with our Hitchhiker fifth-wheel again and again, and we've discovered new wonders on every trip. Nestled between extraordinary towering red rock formations, the Sedona area encompasses three communities connected by ribbons of roads interwoven between stunning National Forest land that is full of hiking trails and red rocks. The downtown area of Sedona is situated on Arizona State Route 89A just north of the intersection of Arizona State Route 179. Both of these highways climb and dive over hilly terrain, offering everchanging, awe-inspiring views while sweeping from one turn to the next. West Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek are located west and south of Sedona proper, respectively, and all three areas boast boutique shopping and unique dining galore




There are 250 hiking trails in and around the Sedona area, and each one is both thrilling and unique.

A Pink Jeep rolls into view at Chicken Point on the Broken Arrow Trail.

agape as the unmistakable Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Cathedral Rock formations came into view along the way. There's no requirement to hop on a mountain bike or don hiking boots to enjoy the majestic crimson peaks surrounding Sedona, however. On another occasion, we parked at the Courthouse Vista Overlook and walked a mere hundred yards onto the trail where we witnessed an extraordinary sunset glowing between the spires of Cathedral Rock as the last vestiges of orange light poked out from under huge black storm clouds overhead. The clouds were moving fast, and Mark captured a glorious long-exposure image of streaking clouds behind a wall of red rocks in the waning light. Wild skies at dawn created a memorable hiking experience for us just south of downtown Sedona on winding and intersecting trails named for the pig-like javelina that live in the area: Pig Tail Trail, Hog Heaven Trail, Hog Wash Trail and Peccary Trail. These trails are much less used than other more famous trails in Sedona, and in the early morning hours of a dark and stormy day we had both the trail and the glorious surrounding scenery all to ourselves. As we rounded a corner, the dark blanket of sky suddenly split open over the distant red rock mountains to let a sliver of sunlight through,

and for a moment the brightly lit peaks were framed by deliciously brooding clouds. The network of trails in Sedona is so vast that little known trails often run alongside or cross the most popular trails. Just steps from the network of Pig Trails lies the famous Broken Arrow Trail, which is actually two trails, one for hikers and one for motorized vehicles. Amazingly, the presence of UTVs and Jeeps on the motorized trail doesn't detract from the tranquility of the hiking trail, and we were surprised to come face to face with a coyote who looked us over and then turned and walked away. In a few places the two Broken Arrow trails intersect, and it was fun to see the animated and charismatic Pink Jeep Tour drivers thrilling their passengers on the adjacent trail. Arriving at well-known Chicken Point, we found wide flat rocks surrounding a series of towering pinnacles. The whole area was filled with endless possibilities for photo-ops and we got a kick out of trading cameras with other tourists for portraits in front of the vibrant rock formations. Dazzling Chicken Point can also be reached from the opposite direction via Little Horse Trail, which cuts through a myriad of red rock desert scrub brush from a trailhead on SR-179. A sunrise hike on that trail delivered us to Chicken Point before the first Pink Jeep Tour of




Montezuma's Well is a deep-water spring-fed pond where we found some unusual and antique graffiti painted on a rock wall.

The views from the highways around Sedona are breathtaking.

Another stunning view from the highways around Sedona.

the day. What a unique sensation it was to stand in this expansive sea of red rocks, utterly bereft of people, and imagine what Sedona was like a mere 75 years ago when the town was just a smattering of small homes. Many Hollywood movies were shot where strip malls now stand. During our stay we watched the 1946 John Wayne movie Angel and the Bad Man and had to smile when we recognized Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte behind the actors. What a shock it was, though, to realize that the cameraman, with his wide-angle views of the pristine landscape before him, had been standing where we had parked our truck to get a cup of joe. There are so many trails and so many views that it is hard to choose which ones to do, and the "top 10" lists don't all agree. We stopped at Rollie's Camera Shop and asked the shopkeeper, a longtime resident and photographer, which one he liked best. He sent us a little way north of town on SR-89 to the West Fork Trail which gave us a completely different kind of immersion in nature. While many hikes offer breathtaking views highlighting red rock peaks, this trail follows the West Fork of Oak Creek and took us deep into deciduous woods where glassy water reflected the shady canopy of leafy trees. Early in the hike we passed the site of historic Mayhew Lodge. Originally a ranch house, it became a guest house in the 1920s and hosted well-heeled visitors until the 1960s

when the US Forest Service purchased the property. Lost to a fire shortly afterwards, the lodge had once housed such esteemed guests as President Hoover, Jimmy Stewart, and Walt Disney. Today, all that remains is the ruins of the brick hearth that once dominated the interior of the home. The West Fork Trail is just one of a surprising number of watery destinations that dot Sedona's desert landscape of red rock, gravel, and cactus. A popular swimming hole lies at the end of Bell Trail (not to be confused with the Bell Rock Pathway) and is called The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek. Starting on the south side of I-17 south of the Village of Oak Creek, the 7-mile out-and-back hike took us through open grasslands and into a red rock canyon where the trail clung to the edges of hillsides and followed a zig-zag pattern through gorgeous scenery. Soon we heard the sound of rushing water ahead of us, and then wide stair-stepping shelves of boulders appeared before us. We walked down these stairs to a sheer cliff's edge and peered down at a pool of glassy water. A group of teenagers lay sunbathing on towels nearby, and one by one they jumped into the water to cool off. One of the most popular excursions in Sedona is a 4x4 drive up or down Schnebly Hill Road. The route up this




The views from the Bell Rock Pathway are ethereal and magical.

The leafy canopy of trees and red rocks are reflected in still water on the West Fork Trail.




A driver thrills his Pink Jeep Tour passengers on the Broken Arrow Trail.

A red rock view is doubled by its reflection after a rainstorm.

road begins in the middle of town, but we opted to drive out of town and head north on I-17 toward Flagstaff where there is an exit onto Schnebly Hill Road high above Sedona. At the beginning of this scenic drive we were in thick ponderosa pine forest, and views were nonexistent as we drove our truck downhill. Eventually, however, the ponderosa pine trees gave way to ever more astonishing red rock vistas. Soon we were in Jeep and ATV country on rugged terrain, and wild Pink Jeeps passed us going in both directions. Our 4x4 diesel truck handled the harsh road well, but some of the twists and turns in the road were a bit tight for a long bed. The views, however, were out of this world. No wonder a drive on this road is considered a "must do" activity when visiting Sedona! Another excursion out of town took us to Montezuma's Castle National Monument. This ancient Indian cliff dwelling ruin is perched high up a sheer rock wall and dates back to the time period of Europe's Middle Ages. Early settlers in the American Southwest assumed the ancient cliff dwellings and pueblos they found were of Aztec origin because the Aztec ruins had recently been discovered and explored some 1,500 miles further south in Mexico. They named these ruins after the Aztec king, Montezuma, and attributed the dwellings to his culture. However, archaeologists later realized the builders of

the cliff dwellings were not Aztec but were an entirely different group of people that they named the Sinagua which, in Spanish, means "Without Water." The Sinuagua people did find water aplenty, however, in a nearby natural limestone sinkhole that in modern times became known as Montezuma's Well. Fed by an underground spring, this unusual small pond is 125 feet deep in one spot. We strolled around the top of the well and then headed down a trail toward the water where we found ourselves in the shade of tall sycamore and willow trees, surrounded by dozens of blooming columbine flowers. Along one rock wall at this lower level we also noticed some graffiti painted on the rock: "Photos of this by Rothrock. Phoenix, 1878." Intrigued, I looked up the name and learned that George H. Rothrock had been a rancher, gold miner, and store clerk in Arizona in the mid-1800s and later became a photographer with a studio at the intersection of First and Jefferson in Phoenix. He had put his name on the wall at this tourist site in 1878 as an advertisement for his photos and studio. More amusing and amazing still, sometime later we took our fifth-wheel trailer to Rucker Trailer Works in Mesa, Arizona, for repairs, and we discovered that the two brothers who own the shop and were working on




The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek is a fun swimming hole at the end of a pretty hike.

Mountain bikers ride the red rocks at the base of Cathedral Rock.

our trailer are George Rothrock's great-great-grandsons! From this kind of heartwarming coincidence to the ever- astonishing beauty of Sedona's unique scenery, every visit has left us enchanted. If your RV travels take you to Arizona, put Sedona on your list!

FOR MORE INFORMATION Sedona Tourist Information: https://visitsedona.com Sedona Hiking Trails: http://www.sedonahikingtrails.com • https://www.hikesedona.com RV Parks: https://ranchosedona.com




ST. LOUIS ON A SHOESTRING Have a free-for-all in this Gateway to the West




The City Garden lights up at night.

Unlike the early travelers, the sacrifices they had to make, the dangers they faced, and the expensive cargo they had to transport, your expedition will find you comfortably ensconced in your cozy RV, probably traveling iconic Route 66, on your way to the Gateway City, famous for an arch, barbecue, beer, and much, much more. And you won’t have to take out a loan to do it. Once settled in one of the nearby RV parks, start planning your itinerary and making note of all the money you’re going to save by visiting a baker’s dozen of the city’s best venues, which are all free. Downtown Walking Tour: Gateway Arch National Park The Gateway Arch National Park, formerly known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is located near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse. It's free to walk on the newly designed grounds around the arch, which is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. The national park consists of the Gateway Arch, a steel catenary arch, that has become


It hasn’t always beeneasy or inexpensive to visit St. Louis. In 1672, the French Governor of Quebec commissioned Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette to explore the Mississippi River. Traveling in birch bark canoes and camping up and down the river was neither comfortable nor inexpensive. Plus, the expedition was considered a bust when the explorers discovered the Mississippi River didn’t take them to the West Coast and into the Pacific Ocean. More than a century later, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark literally put the region on the map when they set out on their two-year adventure of discovery from the banks of the Missouri River. The 40 members of the party started out with 50 kegs of salt pork, seven barrels of salt, 600 pounds of grease, and 3,400 pounds of flour. Their dangerous and grueling expedition took 28 months and covered 8,000 miles and ended in 1806.




St. Louis Art Museum.

View of the Gateway Arch from Eads Bridge.

the definitive icon of St. Louis; a 91-acre park along the Mississippi River on the site of the earliest buildings of the city; the Old Courthouse, a former state and federal courthouse; and the 140,000-square-foot museum at the Gateway Arch. You may choose to pay to ride the tram to the top of the 630-foot arch. The park grounds are open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. www.gatewayarch.com Across fromtheGatewayArch is theOldCourthouse,which is often pictured framed by the silvery arch. This was the scene of many rallies, speeches, and several important trials, including the suit by Dred Scott for freedom from slavery and by Suffragist Virginia Louisa Minor for the right to vote. Visitors can tour restored courtrooms and historic galleries. The Old Courthouse is open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. www.nps.gov/jeff/planyourvisit/och.htm Citygarden Keep heading a few blocks west to the Citygarden, a 2.9 acregreenspace filledwith lushplantings, internationally renowned sculpture, and gurgling fountains. Opened in July 2009, highlights of the Citygarden include 24 pieces of sculpture and three water features, one with 102 computer-controlled spray jets and custom lighting.

Enjoy the video wall, set within a limestone wall that spreads across two blocks, displaying video art. Take the audio tour through an innovative smartphone app, featuring the voices of St. Louis celebrities including Olympic Gold Medal-winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee, sportscaster Joe Buck, and baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith. www.citygardenstl.org St. Louis Union Station Built at a cost of $6.5 million in the 1890s, Union Station was given a facelift in the 1980s. A highlight is the Allegorical Window, which is a stained-glass window with hand-cut Tiffany glass. The window features three women, representing the main U.S. train stations during the 1890s—New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco. In additiontobeautiful, historicarchitecture, thedowntown station offers free movies and a concert series between April and October. Check www.stlouisunionstation.com for a schedule. Although it’s free to enter the station, there are many new attractions that require admission including the St. Louis Wheel and the St. Louis Aquarium.




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