Old Tucson movie locations and Old West fun

Old Tucson

Old Tucson

Old Tucson is a fascinating attraction west of the city of Tucson, Arizona. The property was first developed in 1939 when Hollywood movie studio Columbia Pictures wanted a suitable location for a western feature film. Over the years over 300 film and television shows have been filmed there. John Wayne filmed four times there including “Rio Lobo”. Several well known western themed TV series were produced at Old Tucson.

While there are still films made there as well as TV ads and music videos the primary use is a neat and fun tourist attraction. The buildings look like they came right out of the movies. Fancy that. Once you get in the grounds there are activities shows and events every half-hour. See a rousing musical show featuring real dance hall girls. The highlight for us was the live actor short shows including a demonstration of stunts used in the movies. The actors were terrific, had a great sense of humor and interacted with the crowd to the delight of all.

We spent about four hours at the Old Tucson movie studio. The weather was rather chilly and the crowds were not at all large. A great day to visit, althogh another 10 degrees or so would have made the day perfect.

Go see Old Tucson movie sets and theme park when you travel through Tucson. Tickets are a little pricey but they do offer senior discounts with ID shown. Here is the Old Tucson website.

Another movie ready building

Another movie ready building

Cowboy actors at Old Tucson

Cowboy actors at Old Tucson

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Took the ferry to Galveston, Texas

On the ferry

On the ferry

We enjoyed a combination of good timing and good luck when we took the free ferry from Bolivar Penninsula to Galveston a couple of days ago.

The fellow at the Texas Welcome Center on I-10 told us about this ferry and suggested that we plan to follow the coast down to Galveston. We waited in line for about 30 minutes and then were directed to board the ferry. What a treat it was when we ended up at the front of the ferry boat. The best view on the vessel.

The good timing kicked in because just as the ferry left we were blessed with the beautiful sunset over the water.

 

 

Sunset on the water

Sunset on the water

The ferry

The ferry

 

Shipshewana, Indiana in the heart of Amish country

This display in front of an antique store aptly describes the Shipshewana area

This display in front of an antique store aptly describes the Shipshewana area

Shipshewana, Indiana is a tiny community in LaGrange County in the northeast corner of the state. The rural area is one of the largest communities of Amish families in the Midwest. The main roads all have extra wide shoulders to allow for safe travel for the horse drawn buggies and wagons.

The area is known for its many tourist attractions, including a huge flea market that is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In addition, there are many small shops in the town featuring hand made crafts, country decor items and antiques. As you might expect, you can take a horse drawn carriage ride or even enjoy a home made meal at one of the Amish homes who open there doors to visitors.

There are several nice RV parks in the area. All are reasonably priced. There is an RV park that is part of the flea market grounds. Enjoy a level, full hook up site that is just steps away from the market.

Restaurant, bakery and theater all in one!

Restaurant, bakery and theater all in one!

Shipshewana is truly a must see stop for anyone traveling in northern Indiana. Note that several RV companies have their assembly plants in this area. Couple a trip to see RV’s being built with an enjoyable and interesting trip to Shipshewana Amish country and you will have a trip to remember.

Lots of interesting shops to peruse.

Lots of interesting shops to visit.

Manistee, Michigan on the lake

A weather worn lighthouse. Note the large waves crashing on the wall.

A weather worn lighthouse. Note the large waves crashing on the wall.

This past summer we spent some time in Michigan. What a beautiful area we found as we set up at some festivals in the north central part of the state. We took a side trip to the town of Manistee which is right on Lake Michigan. The day we visited Manistee was a cloudy, cool and very windy day.

The town has a large park right on the water. A carnival was setting up in preparation for a weekend festival. We drove around the town and then we went to the Little River Casino. This is a nice casino, very clean with a friendly staff. There is a very nice full service RV park on the casino grounds. If we ever get back to Manistee we will stop at the RV park.

 

Beautiful inlet at Manistee.

Beautiful inlet at Manistee.

Northwest Michigan’s Best Bear Lodge & Campground

Matt and Carrie Bearup

Matt and Carrie Bearup

We found a marvelous campground in the middle of northwestern Michigan after we had finished a large festival nearby. The Best Bear Lodge and Campground is a work in progress that is already gaining a reputation as a favorite spot to stay. Nestled on ten acres of beautiful woodland, this resort is located south of Travis City and north of Baldwin.

Right now there are seven pull through water/electric sites, tent camping, one cabin and a four room lodge/motel. The cabin has two sets of bunk beds, TV, fridge and coffee pot. Bring your own linens to the cabin. The lodge rooms are outfitted with full kitchens, bath, TV and includes daily room service. The TV service is satellite with 200 channels. Seperate rest rooms are sparkling clean as are the coin operated showers.

Our home for a few days

Our home for a few days

A beautiful setting

A beautiful setting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is the overview. Here is the scoop: This place is one of the most peaceful, beautiful and nice parks you will ever find. The pull through sites offer plenty of room to run out your slides and/or awning. Between the sites there is a buffer with native oak, pine and other foliage giving the sense of privacy so often missing at most RV parks. Free pumpouts let you leave your sewer hose stowed. Bagged ice and cheap firewood is available.

We used our Verizon Jetpack for internet hookup. It went in and out, as did our phone service. This is not a good Verizon service area. The campground offers an ATT jetpack rental for a strong internet connection if you so desire.

Owners Carrie and Matt Bearup are just delightful hosts. They make you feel like family and will do anything to make your stay more comfortable. They know the area and can provide all you need to know about the hiking, ATV and snowmobile trails of the area. This area of the state is famous for the year round recreation opportunities.

The lodge building

The lodge building

The 1st of the cabins

The 1st of the cabins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional lodge rooms, cabins and RV sites are planned and will include 28 pulll through sites. The pads will be grass with paved roads for easy access to large rigs with towed vehicles or trailers. Right now the newly cleared and level sites are dirt as is the road. The sandy soil is well drained so mud is not a problem.

The $25 rate for an RV site is very reasonable and the best in the area. Be sure to visit the Best Bear Lodge website for all the information about this great campground. We will be back.

 

 

Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake

This structure is a drawbridge

This structure is a drawbridge

Today we drove around the area going to some yard sales. We had good luck finding things that will sell at some of our shows later this summer.

We also had a great time driving around the Norfolk and surrounding areas. Our son drove us so Sher and I could sit back and enjoy the scenery.

We really had a great day.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the large cargo ships

One of the large cargo ships

 

A couple of "Tall Ships" in the Norfolk Harbor

A couple of “Tall Ships” in the Norfolk Harbor

Traveling West Virginia

Remember Danny Hiser

Remember Danny Hiser

We found this place by accident and are so glad we did. It is really true that you want to go where the locals go. Totally awesome place! We are in the mountains of West Virginia in a field turned campground. Very peaceful, nice breeze and live Blue Grass music! Campground is Shady Rest RV Park, we’ll have photos up later. Now I’m back to enjoying the campfire and music.

UPDATE:

Here are some photos from our night of Bluegrass music at the Shady Rest RV Park. We were lucky to pck this weekend as our time to visit. The campground was having its fourth annual memorial concert to honor the memory of Danny Hiser, one of the best banjo pckers in the country.

Ths site is just beautiful, the people are as nice as can be and make you feel at home. The Shady Rest RV Park is not fancy: no swimng pools or elaborate club house. But there is always a warm welcome and reasonable rates for full service hook-ups. Steve and Sonja Garten are perfect hosts. Here is the link to the Shady Rest RV Park. 

Fabulous Bluegrass musicians pickin' and playin' together to honor Danny Hiser.

Fabulous Bluegrass musicians pickin’ and playin’ together to honor Danny Hiser.

Owner Steve Garten, center, chattng wth guests: a portion of the beautiful RV sites are in the background.

Owner Steve Garten, center, chattng wth guests: a portion of the beautiful RV sites are in the background.

“Peter Pan” opening at Beef and Boards

Jeff Stockberger and his bumbling pirates. Photo courtesy B&B media

Jeff Stockberger and his bumbling pirates. Photo courtesy B&B media

The 2015 Family show at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis is the beloved musical “Peter Pan”. The show opened May 14th and will have 58 total performances.

B&B favorite Jeff Srockberger will play the role of that evil Captain Hook. The casting of Peter Pan will be by newcomer to B&B Phobe Taylor. This high flying show should be one of the best family shows yet.

Sher and I are thrilled to be able to take one of our grand-daughters to see the show with us. We’ll report back after we have seen the show.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre also puts on a great family friendly buffet with items that kids will love. Chef Odell Ward knows how to please the kids! Check out the B&B website for details, including discount ticketing prices for kids aged 3 – 15.

Shady Trails Family Campground

Entrance to the campground

Entrance to the campground

Sometimes you find a campground that, for your use, just works well. Shady Trails Family Campground is near Hillsboro, Ohio and close to Rocky Fork Lake. You can see a portion of the huge lake from the entrance to the campground, and there is a public dock and boat ramps a half mile from the campground.. Primarily filled with seasonal campers, this campground does have several nice spots for transient travelers.

The owners are starting their first season as the new owners of the facility. The facilities are not fancy, but the rest rooms and showers are very clean as is the small laundry room. There is a nice playground for the kids and a large shelter house for picnics and other gatherings. Propane, ice and firewood are available.

The park is hilly with decent roads. Extra long rigs will have to be careful negotiating some of the turns.The sites are level and each has a nice concrete pad for the picnic table. Most sites also have a fire ring. This facility is very pretty with lots of trees. The campgrounds offer nice tent camping sites, too.

The rates are very reasonable and extremely reasonable ($12.50 a nite midweek) with your Passport America discount. Shady Trails is open from April through October. It features full hooks-up including 30 and 50 amp, some pull thru and some accomodate double slides. Check the Shady Trails website for the number and other information.

I would recommend this campground for its price, beauty, very nice and helpful owners and the peace and quiet.  I have to also say that their free WiFi is very strong and fast. This campground is worth a look if you are in the area.

Short term sites on the right, seasonal on the left

Short term sites on the right, seasonal on the left

The camp office

The camp office

A German WWII Buzz Bomb in Greencastle, Indiana??

As Sher and I were driving west on the National Road (aka US 40) I about drove off the street when we went through Greencastle, a town west of Indianapolis. There mounted on a large concrete “V” shaped base was one of the infamous WWII German terror weapons: a V1 Buzz Bomb. This flying bomb was the first ‘cruise missle’.

Complete with accurate paint colors is the Buzz Bomb on the town square in Greencastle

Complete with accurate paint colors is the Buzz Bomb on the town square in Greencastle

I recognized it immediately and I’m sure I startled Sher when I said “What the heck is that doing here?”

It turns out that the Greencastle requested this relic for the monument they erected to honor those from their county (Putnam) who gave their lives in WWII. There is, according to the plaque, only one other V1 in the states and it is at the Smithsonian in DC.

No Sherman tank or artillery piece for Greencastle. No they have one of the rarest of artifacts from WWII as their memorial. Wow.

Another view

Another view

From the rear

From the rear

The story of the Greencastle V1

The story of the Greencastle V1