Our Hike In Medicine Bow National Forest

Just off I-80, East of Laramie, Wyoming is a section of the Medicine Bow National Forest called Pole Mountain.  After driving the prior evening and all day from Kansas City, we were ready for an activity. We decided to stop since we could see Pole Mountain from the highway.  It turned out to be a […]

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TEAM USA Women’s Slow Pitch Softball

We had the exciting opportunity of watching TEAM USA Women’s Slow Pitch Softball Border Battle XI Tournament this past weekend against Canada and other competitive woman’s teams.  The games were located in Midland, Michigan, which is 12 hours from our home. Although, it was a long drive for us over a short weekend, we decided […]

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The Pelican Valley Trail in Yellowstone National Park

On our last day in Yellowstone National Park, we opted to exit the park out of the east entrance. We got an early start that day and decided to have one more hike before leaving. We chose the Pelican Valley Tail. Over the course of the prior three days, we had visited most of areas […]

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Carhenge of the Prairie

Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska might be the poor man’s version of the prehistoric and more famous structure in England called Stonehenge. For sure, it’s the American version of a mystical alignment of cars that may chart the sun and moon phases. More likely, it’s just an artful pile of classic automobiles that is sure to […]

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The Blue Ridge Parkway Sunset

Blue Ridge Mountain Sunset_Steve and Gail

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic 469-mile winding road from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. We traveled on the top ridge of the mountains as we drove the southern end of the Parkway.  The road twisted and turned and each new vista […]

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10 Tips for a Successful Road Trip

Are you planning a long road trip to your favorite destination? We have a few tips we have learned on how to make traveling more fun. 1. Planning for the Road Trip If you have read other posts on this blog, you know that we advocate for traveling slow through the countryside. The challenge with […]

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The Cades Cove Bike Ride

A Cove is known as a relatively flat valley between mountains or ridges.  Cades Cove is in the southern part of the Appalachian Mountain Range and also part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Cades Cove is an 11-mile, one-way loop that winds in the valley where wild life and an old community history […]

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Dr. Seuss Wisdom

You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way! ~ Dr. Seuess

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Animals of the Great Smoky Mountains

Black Bear in The Smoky Mountains

We did it! Our first bear sighting in the wild occurred and it did not happen when we were hiking. We will always remember the Smoky Mountains for this reason. Our sighting happened when we were safely in Alice! We had just finished our hike in the rain at Rainbow Falls and the sun had […]

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Tunnels, Alice and the Blue Ridge Parkway

After spending several days in the Great Smoky Mountains we were looking forward to driving from the mountains to Asheville, NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I had been on the Blue Ridge Parkway in northern Virginia growing up so being back on this parkway was very special.  We stopped to take a picture by […]

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Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Clingmans Dome

The highest elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingmans Dome standing at 6,643 feet above sea level.  This peak straddles two states and is the tallest peak in Tennessee and the third tallest peak in North Carolina.  Clingmans Dome is also the highest peak on the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail that runs […]

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Fitness Life By Design

When we started our Van Life By Design website and blog, our mission was to write about and photograph our travels in our Sprinter van Alice and other travel related topics. This is still true. Gail is also interested in writing about exercise and fitness, healthy eating and other lifestyle topics so we have launched […]

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Spring in the Smoky Mountains

We visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park recently when the forest in the lower elevations of the mountains was coming to life. The week we were there, the renewed plant life in the forest introduced me to more shades of green than I had ever seen in one place. It’s interesting what one notices […]

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