Tag Archives: Travel

Europe: Summer Trip for 2018

Part of what I will focus on here at Down That Dusty Trail will be my travels. And with that being said, I am announcing my plans for the summer of 2018. As a teacher, I have a few months off each summer. Two years ago I moved and drove from Alaska to Texas stopping at several National Parks along the way. Last year, other than a few short trips, my main trip was a week in Washington D.C. However, next summer I will be headed to Europe for the first time.

Last June I bought a one-way ticket to Berlin for just $255. I knew I wanted to go but didn’t know when I wanted to come back. Germany has been a place I’ve always wanted to travel to, and next year I am going.

About a week ago I finally found a return flight. I had earned over 50,000 points via American Express with most of those coming from a sign up bonus. I don’t use the card any longer and will be canceling before my first year is up so I don’t have to pay the yearly fee. Using those points and an additional $200 (half of which was buying the last needed points I needed) I booked a one-way flight back to the US from Munich – business class.

I am very excited about the trip. I plan on seeing Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Krakow, and Wroclaw but not necessarily in that order. I might mix in another stop as well since I will be there for a month.

I have never been to Europe but lived in South Korea for three years. So international travel is not something new. There are many places I want to see both historically and sports wise (baseball mainly). Yes they play baseball in all of those countries.

I begin my trip in Boston since that is where I am flying to Berlin from. On my way back I will make a stopover in NYC, another place I have never been. I do not know the exact route I will take just yet, but over the coming months I will definitely be working on that. As we get closer I will share my plans a bit further.

If you have any suggestions on places to see, things to do, or food/drink I should try, please feel free to share.

I am Hooked on Teardrops

I’m hooked. Since I was a kid I have loved RVs. When I was young my parents had a bumper pull camper that we would take out on weekends and vacations. It was so much fun. We also did a lot of tent camping.

Last summer I moved from Alaska back home to Texas and drove back. Part of the way I camped in a tent at or near National Parks, and it was one of the best experience of my life. I love to camp and love to be out in the parks, and so I have gotten hooked on the idea of purchasing a teardrop trailer.

What is a teardrop trailer?

You would be surprised at how many people do not know what one is. No worries. Basically it is a small, streamlined, and lightweight camper. It gets its name from its shape.

hooked teardrops

That is just an example of a teardrop taken from Wikipedia. There are so many designs and models now. They range from rather simple and cheap (couple thousand dollars) to rather elaborate and fully decked out (over $20,000).

I’m not looking for one of the high end ones but would rather have a lower end one that is lightweight. Right now I drive a Toyota Camry, which I love, but it cannot pull much of anything. I don’t think I would have a problem puling a smaller teardrop (many of them are around 600 lbs). But eventually I want to upgrade my vehicle and get a small SUV.

There are a lot of different manufacturers out there. I have a few things that I want on my teardrop including:

  • Air conditioning – I currently live in Texas and don’t see myself moving anytime soon. And if you have missed it – it gets hot here.
  • Rear hitch receiver – This will basically allow me to put a bike rack on the back of the trailer.
  • TV – I know many of you are saying that it defeats the purpose of camping, but I want to do some long-term camping in the summer in the future. And without it there will be no baseball and that is not good in my book.

I think that’s about it. There are other things I am torn on like a rear galley. I think I could live without it, but I’d really like to have one.

Possible Future Teardrop?

My favorite so far is the Koa Simple Galley┬ámodel from the Tiny Camper Company. It is inexpensive, lightweight, and I’ve read good reviews of their workmanship.

Lately I have been sucked down the vortex of YouTube. I’ve seen so many videos on RVing, teardrops, and just about anything else camping related. So I will not do anything rash, but I’m really looking at and pricing various teardrops with the hopes of having one at the latest by next summer. Ideally I’d love to have one made and ready to pick up somewhere by spring break

Keep checking back for more posts on teardrops. I hope to bring you some of the blogs/vlogs that I’ve been following and learning from.

Lincoln Memorial – Washington D.C.


Lincoln MemorialRecently I had the chance to spend nearly a week in Washington D.C. and it was awesome. Regardless of what you think about the politics that go on there, the city is full of amazing architecture and history.

One thing that I was very anxious to see was the Lincoln Memorial.

The memorial was built between 1914-1922 where it sits on the west end of the National Mall. It is a beautiful structure that echoes the great Greek temples of ancient times. The pillars are magnificent, but one of the interesting things about it that I never realized it until visiting was the names of the states inscribed on the monument. There are 36 of them around the memorial representing the states that were in the Union upon Lincoln’s death and the date that they joined the Union.

Inside the memorial you see the magnificent statue of Lincoln sitting down. The statue is a famous one having been seen in many different movies, magazines, and images. But did you know to the left of the statue etched in the wall is the Gettysburg Address? Perhaps Lincoln’s most famous speech, the address goes from ceiling to floor and is quite the site.

The memorial is one of the most popular spots in D.C. and thus it is almost always busy. It makes for great people watching which is what I did one evening after walking many miles around the city. I watched group after group reach the memorial and you could see the awesomeness of the monument in their faces. But on the other hand it attracts others as well. While I sat and enjoyed some much needed water there were two young boys riding bicycles and doing wheelies. They were weaving in and out of the crowds narrowly missing people, until they didn’t. One of the reckless boys took down two people after they walked in front of him as he raced across the front of the memorial. He ran into one girl and then fell and knocked over another man walking. Luckily neither was hurt badly, and the boy took off not returning.

With the crowds it can be difficult to get good clean photos without many people. I tried to get some photos of it at night, but with so many people they came out with too many ghost images.


Purchase prints here on Etsy

Etsy Travel Photography & New Blog Direction

Etsy Travel Photography

I have decided to take this blog into a new direction and will be turning this into an Etsy travel photography blog. I plan on sharing my travel experiences and hopefully selling a print or two on Etsy to help fund future travels.

I have some stories in the works already from my recent trip t

o Washington D.C. I will be showcasing some of the photos that I took and some of the places that I went. D.C. is an amazing city with so much to do and see and I hope to share a little of that with you in the coming days.

In addition to changing directions with the blog, I have also set up an Etsy store. I hope there I can share some of the my prints with you at a decent price. You can check it out by clicking the link below. I will not be here to simply pimp my photos, but will mention it from time to time. The money made will go toward funding future travels and equipment.

I already have my next trip planned which will be mentioned in a future blog post coming probably early next week. I am also in the process of planning a huge trip for next summer. I know what you are thinking. It is a year away, but I have found some good prices on flights and some other things to help me out, like rewards points. So I will be talking about all of that as soon as I get my plans more set in stone.

I also hope to bring some background to some of the places I visit. I am a history teacher and while I hope not to beat you over the head with the history of places, I do hope to bring a little extra insight on some of the places I visited to add to the story.

I am open to suggestions and feedback at any time. Feel free to contact me and let me know what you think.

Etsy Store

Stonehenge II – Ingram, Texas

Texas is known for a lot of things, but many people who live here do not know there is a replica of Stonehenge in their own state. It is located in the hill country just outside of Kerrville, Texas in a little town called Ingram.

It is not a full size replica, but it is about 2/3 the size of the original. According to the Hill County Arts Foundation it is 90% of the height and 60% of the width of the original in England. And not all of the stones are actual stones. Some are plaster covering a mix of steel and metal.

Originally it set on creator Al Sheppard’s land in Hunt, Texas. Years after he passed and the family land was sold, the entire thing was going to be knocked down, until the town of Ingram came along and partnered with the Hill County Arts Foundation to move the exhibit to Ingram.

In addition to the replica of Stonehenge, there are two Moai statutes like that found on Easter Island which stand 13 feet high.

You can see all of my Stonehenge II photos by going to the Galleries Page.

Welcome to Down that Dusty Trail

Welcome to my photography blog. I love getting out with my camera and taking photos. It is therapy for me to get outside and work to try and create shots. Most of what I do is either landscape or photographing some sort of building somewhere. I also love skylines and hope to get out in the coming months to get a few new cities under my belt.

Here on the blog you will also find where I am headed and where I have been. I plan on writing about my trips including my recent trips to Florida and Tennessee. I am also planning a few weekend trips to Austin and Dallas to shoot a few skylines and other landmarks including the Texas state capital building.

Please comment or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

So welcome and ’till next time.