Carmel L. Mooney

moonwriter

Carmel L. Mooney

I'm a travel columnist and travel talk radio show host. I'm about to embark on an 80 day round trip journey across the USA to write about and cover some of the very best family friendly travel destinations in the nation!



North America » United States » Idaho » Boise August 12th 2009

Well, we left our "happy place"---Montana and made our way into Idaho and through the Craters of the Moon Nat'l Monument. Wow, Boise and Meridian and Nampa have grown since we were here a few years ago! Wazoo! Speaking of Wazoo we went to Wahooz Family Fun Center and Roaring Springs Water Park today as well as a funny dinner at Donnie Mac's Trailer Park Cuisine ---where trailer trash food is served at its finest! (Gail, you will love this....) (I could feel you laughing) We have 4 sets of friends (all different families) who live in Nampa now so we visited everyone yesterday. Tomorrow we set sail for CA and home---a 9 hours drive. Wow, what an adventure this 2 1/2 month trip has been! 11,000 + miles.... read more
Montana
Craters of the Moon Nat'l Monument
Visiting friends in ID

North America » United States » Montana » Missoula August 8th 2009

We just spent 2 1/2 days enjoying the Lodge at Whitefish Lake and this morning and afternoon a drive through Glacier Nat'l Park. When we left the Runamuk in Roundup a few days ago we went to Helena and then to Whitefish and Kalispell. (Way too crowded and expensive and UN-Montana-ish...first time in weeks I had seen traffic, liberal wackos, rude people, and malls)....no wonder the Montana folks call it Kalispell-angeles----very sad! Tonight we're in the Bitterroot Valley and yes, we had to drive by Huey Lewis' ranch for fun---why not? Tomorrow on to Idaho and then home!... read more
Too cool!
Glacier Nat'l Park
Lodge at Whitefish Lake

North America » United States » Montana August 4th 2009

Today we enjoyed Runamuk Guest Ranch in Roundup, MT where we played in the Musselshell River and rode around on quads (on just a fraction of the tens of thousands of acres here) and went horseback riding, and ate dinner on a high mountain top and granite outcropping overlooking a half dozen mt. ranges and several bordering states---Big Sky Country at it's finest!... read more
grooming the horses
Montana Cowgirl
great views of Big Sky Country

North America » United States » Montana » Red Lodge August 3rd 2009

We are in my favorite place in the world----Montana! A few days ago we left Jackson, WY and went to Teton Village and rode the tram to the very tippy top---it makes the tram in Squaw Valley seem like nothing---three times as high and far more spectacular of a view. We did the bungee jump there too and drove back into Yellowstone. We crossed the Continental Divide many times and got ice cream at Old "Faith" ful. We watched it erupt which was kinda cool and then we saw lots of moose and critters in Yellowstone and tons of geysers. We checked into Mammoth Hot Springs and then went to a local hot springs on the WY/MT border called Boiling River. The next day we rode horses through the areas around Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. ... read more
Old "Faith" ful
Hot Springs on the WY/MT border
Yellowstone Nat'l Park

North America » United States » Wyoming » Jackson Hole July 30th 2009

We left Mt. Rushmore yesterday only after a terrific helicopter flight over Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse where we saw buffalo. We also did the Alpine Slide there too. Then we ate at Peggy's Place for breakfast and then drove to Devil's Tower, WY where they filmed Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We rode funky lowrider 3 wheelers at the KOA there and checked into our cabin and then a fascinating local rock climbing instructor, musician/ bed and breakfast inkeeper gave us a terrific tour of his private property at the base of the tower where he takes folks climbing to the top daily. We ate dinner at the KOA. It rained all night and the next day we rode horses around Devil's Tower which was great even though it rained. We saw a mother ... read more
Mt. Rushmore, SD
Mt. Rushmore
view from helicopter


Today we arrived in Keystone, SD and we took a tour of Custer State Park where we did the entire wildlife loop during an intense thunderstorm. We saw lots of cool wildlife, like donkeys, and deer and antelope. Unfortunately the buffalo were all hiding from the rain. Then we visited Mt. Rushmore. Last time we were here we could not even stand the winds were so strong and this time we got caught in major downpours. Then we went to The Historic Powder House Lodge in Keystone for our hosted dinner of Elk, Buffalo, and Venison which was great. After dinner, we decided to go back to Mt. Rushmore for the lighting ceremony which was a lot cooler than I expected---I was glad we went. We both had fun. I'm exhausted so this is short---last night's ... read more
Pigtail switchbacks and tunnels framing Mt. Rushmore into Custer State Park
Wild donkeys
Wildlife


We left Mankato, MN a few days ago and drove along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway to Walnut Grove, MN (On the Banks of Plum Creek). We waded in "Plum Creek," by Laura's real dugout house from the 1800's. It was so much prettier than when I was there in wintertime years ago. The blooming prairie grasses and flowers were exactly as she described in her books. The whole town was going crazy with hundreds of visitors for the LIW pageant that night. We even spotted a crab under the same big rock where 150 years ago Laura tricked the famed Nellie Oleson, in Plum Creek, with a crab in that creek. After we ate a big pageant dinner at the little local community center we went to the pageant in our dresses and bonnets ... read more
Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway
1800's dugout spot
pageant wagon

North America » United States » Minnesota » Mankato July 23rd 2009

Yesterday we left Sparta, Wisconsin the BICYCLE CAPITAL OF AMERCIA (where we never saw one single bicycle---does a jogging stroller count?) We had gone 7610.2 miles when we left Sparta. We crossed the Mississipi too many times to count all day as we wound our way in and out of WI and Minnesota. We crossed the Chippewa River into Pepin County and finally arrived in Pepin, population 878 at 1:38 p.m., 70 degrees. We stopped in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and then drove down to Lake Pepin which sure looked different than when I ice skated across it 6 years ago on New Year's Day. The we stopped at a local produce stand and munched on blueberries, raspberries, and the sweetest peach I can ever remember savoring (we fought over the last bite) and then ... read more
Pepin, WI
Lake Pepin
Little House in the Big Woods


We have really hopped around and covered miles the last three days. Before leaving Springfield, MO we ate our last breakfast there at Mudhouse---a local favorite and then toured Fantastic Caverns for my second time and we had to eat at Andy's Frozen Custard one last time again before we left---nothing like it! We traveled on 255N over the Mississippi River AGAIN and stopped in St. Louis to touch the GI-NORMOUS St. Louis Arch. It was 76 degrees and cooler. Then we crossed the Mississippi again into Illinois. We ate dinner at the Ariston Cafe, the oldest existing restaurant on Route 66 and quite a little gem...the best liver and onions I have ever had and even the kid loved the liver! The elderly guy who runs it inherited it from his grandparents (about a century ... read more
St. Louis Arch
Looking up at the Arch
I love WIU

North America » United States » Missouri » Springfield July 18th 2009

This is still one of my favorite cities and that says a lot since I am not a city girl. I was in Springfield (here) before last year for a press trip and they invited me (us) back. Folks are very friendly and lots of nice things to see and do here and they have a great sense of community plus it's a city but has a warm small town feel. (here on Route 66) Yesterday we went to Mansfield, MO and visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic homestead and farm and cemetery which I had seen last year and is very charming and beautiful and the museum is spectacular there. It was a nice cool day like today in the 70's and low 80's for a change---nice break from heat and humidity. Last night we ... read more
Camel in the car!!!
The REAL Little House on the Prairie Peoples' Grave
Laura Ingalls Wilder's real house




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