Thursday, May 31, 2012

100 Years as a State - New Mexico, Land of Enchantment

Land of Enchantment
New Mexico is celebrating its Centennial this year! Scenic and historic, the Land of Enchantment is throwing a party all summer long with festivals and events that will surely be second to none.
Behold, My Son....

The actual date of New Mexico's Centennial is June 16, so for those of you in the West and Southwest United States, you still have time to plan a trip to what will I'm sure be something that will leave you with memories that will last you for the rest of your life.

From its magnificent scenery to its incredible history, New Mexico is a must visit for you, not only this summer, but any time of the year. Of course in the warmer months there is plenty to do outdoors, fishing, camping and hiking come to mind, New Mexico is also a fantastic place to hit the slopes in the winter. Ruidoso sits in the shadow of 12,000 foot tall Sierra Blanca and offers some outstanding skiing and other winter activities.

Food and Lodging

Depending on whether you'd like to stay at a luxury hotel in a city like Albuquerque, or in a mountain cabin in Cloudcroft, you'll find it in New Mexico.

The food is Mama-slappin' good. That is, it's so good, you'd slap your Mama away from the supper table to get some more. Here's a taste of what New Mexican Cuisine looks like:
Hungry yet?

See For Yourself 
To be honest, I could take a couple of months writing about all that is good and cool about NM, but rather than prattle on, I'll link you to the Official Site for the State of New Mexico and let you, through videos and web cams, discover for yourself the magnificence that awaits you in what is truly the Land of Enchantment.

You can get a FREE New Mexico Travel Guide here!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On, Wisconsin! The 30th State Since May 29, 1848!

Home of the 13-Time NFL Champs
Today I want to fill you in on some stuff about one of my favorite places in the Lower 48 - America's Dairyland,Wisconsin.

I spent a couple of months in Wisconsin about 25 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. What a beautiful place with some great people. Great people including my very good friend Kevin who lives near the Mississippi River not far from La Crosse. Wisconsin is also home to my favorite NFL team, the 13-Time World Champions, Green Bay Packers! No, I am not a fair weather fan. I have been a Cheesehead for over fifty years, so I don't want to hear any guff from you guys, OK?  :)

Why Wisconsin? Why Today?

As is often the case when looking up information for a post, I just happened to stumble across the fact that it was on May 29, 1848 that Wisconsin became the 30th State to join the Union. So, I figured, why not write about it? And here we are.

Facts About America's Dairyland

State Abbreviation - WI
State Capital - Madison
Largest City - Milwaukee
Area - 65,503 square miles [Wisconsin is the 23rd biggest state in the USA]
Population - 5,363,675 (as of 2000) [Wisconsin is the 18th most populous state in the USA]
Name for Residents - Wisconsinites
Major Industries - dairy products (milk, butter, cheese), farming (corn), machinery, paper manufacturing, beer, tourism

Major Rivers - Wisconsin River, Mississippi River, St. Croix River, Chippewa River
Major Lakes - Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Winnebago
Highest Point - Timms Hill - 1,952 feet (595 m) above sea level
Number of Counties - 72
Bordering States - Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois

Origin of the Name Wisconsin - Wisconsin is from an Indian word, but the origin is uncertain. It is perhaps an Algonquian Indian word that means "long river," a Chippewa/Ojibwa/Anishinabe word, "Ouisconsin," that means "grassy place," or "gathering of the waters."
State Nickname - Badger State
State Motto - "Forward"
State Song - On, Wisconsin!
****Facts shamelessly hijacked from****

Visiting Wisconsin

As a football fan in general and a fifty year Green Bay Packers fan in particular, my first stop on a trip to the state would be - ta da! - Green Bay! First stop in GB? The Sacred Soil of Lambeau Field, Home of the 13-Time NFL & Super Bowl Champions, Green Bay Packers. Did I mention the Pack yet?  :)

Wisconsin, of course has many things to do when visiting, no matter the time of year. There's fishing, camping and a million other outdoors activities for own personal tastes - snow skiing, hiking, biking, hunting...I could go on and on.

I am a Country Boy, and WI has plenty of stuff for guys like me to do, but for you City Slickers, the state also has an abundant city life as well. The largest city in Wisconsin is Milwaukee followed by Madison, the State Capital and Green Bay.

Original Artwork by Kev of Cheezerville

You can find out more stuff about Wisconsin in a FREE state travel guide. 

State History

Wisconsin has a fascinating history and I wish I had more space to delve into it, but sadly I don't. I will, however, leave you with this link to the Wisconsin Historical Society. They've got plenty to keep you busy for a while.

Be sure to book your travel accommodations to Wisconsin through one the sponsors of The Lower 48 (Plus 2), which you'll find in either sidebar of the blog.

Just remember, folks, On, Wisconsin! and Go Packers!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Culinary Trip Around the USA!

Many of you know that my wife, Heather, has a video recipe channel on YouTube. For that reason I subscribe to different web sites that offer free recipes. Many times Heather will see a recipe and put her own twist on it. I like that.

Long story short, I got this in an email today and thought that it would be a great way to celebrate a Memorial Day feast.

50 Recipes for 50 States!

From Alabama to Wyoming and all states in between, you'll find a recipe from each state in the Union on this list!

So, let's take a Culinary Trip Around the USA: 50 Recipes for 50 States!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Boothbay Region (Maine) - The Coast With the Most

Boothbay, Maine
With the onset of gardening seasom here in Maine, I am looking back with great fondness on this year's garden. I live in an apartment with my wife and kids, so I am limited as to exactly what I can do gardenwise, but I plow (pun intended) ahead by doing as much as I can without pissing off the Property Manager. And those you that know me know that I teeter right on the edge of "acceptable" and "don't you dare". Such is life.

While time is short until first frost here in Maine, we still have time to enjoy the bounty before us and I know just the place to enjoy said bounty - the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. From  we learn of the humble beginnings of CMBG, "This magnificent and ambitious project began with a kernel of an idea generated by Rollins Hale of Boothbay Harbor. He and other mid-coast Maine residents who shared the belief that northern New England in general, and Maine in particular, were in need of a botanical garden founded the grassroots organization in 1991." Sixteen years later, on June 13, 2007, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens became a dream come true. The Gardens now encompasses 248 acres, a 9500 square foot Visitors Center, a seasonal cafe and a gift shop, as well as a bevy of  blooming botanical beauties bound to bewilder you.

The CMBG also serve as an educational experience, with information about natural history, botany, horticulture and the ecology of the area. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens can be reached here. CMBG is privately funded (as far as I can tell) and that alone is reason enough to label it as 248 acres of awesome.

Coastal Maine Accomodations and Activities

While much of the country has enjoyed Spring for several weeks, we are just getting started with it in New England and a place like Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is a perfect reminder of the bounty that awaits us.So getting to a wonderland like CMBG is a must for Northeast US residents.

Boothbay is a neat little town in a great area for family fun and exploration. Given Boothbay's location, fishing and boating are the obvious activities at hand. But there is much more to the area than that. There is dinner theater, music arts and along with water sports, terrific opportunities to see the flora and fauna of Coastal Maine. This handy Calendar of Events has an itenerary that has a variety of offerings surely to please everyone in your family.

As far as places to stay, you'll find everything from campgrounds to fine hotels. Dining, including bakeries and specialty food shops dot the seaside and believe you me, they are outstanding!

More Info

I realize that I haven't covered all you need to know to plan a trip to Boothbay, so click on the Boothbay Region Information Center's web site and scroll down to the bottom for contact numbers and such.

Be sure to click on one of the ads on this page to look for the right hotel/motel for you.

Order your FREE Maine Travel Guide at

Friday, May 25, 2012

Granby, Colorado - You Can See Heaven from Here

See that photo up there^^^? That's what I'm talkin' about ! That is Lake Granby,near Granby, CO, about 85 west of Denver. I have been there and as beautiful as this picture is, it still doesn't do justice to what is shown. In person Lake Granby is even more visually stunning. Imagine that if you can.

At 7935 feet high in the Rockies and home to a touch over 1500 lucky people, Granby is in one of the most scenic locales in the world. The town was founded in 1904 by a  lawyer named Hilyer Granby and was incorporated in 1905.

As you have probably surmised by now, in the summer months there are numerous outdoor activities to take advantage of and some oustanding places to visit while you're in Granby. Just beacause Old Man Winter makes his annual trek through the Rockies, doesn't mean you have to be stranded inside for several months. Au contraire, podnuh. Granby is just a hop, skip and a jump from some of the best snow skiing in the world at Winter Park.
Thanks to Loco Steve on Flickr for the Photo

Loco Steve has this to say about Granby, "At an elevation of 7,935 ft. above sea level, Granby, Colorado offers the Colorado Rocky Mountain experience at a considerably lower price than your typical resort community.

Granby, Colorado has mantained it's proud ranching heritage and its friendly small-town atmosphere, despite seeing the growth of the Colorado tourist industry all around it. You can only keep such a beautiful place a secret for so long."

Well said, Loco.

Stuff to Do

The Granby Chamber of Commerce says that the town is "close to hiking, mountain biking, and boating, rafting, horseback riding, and hunting, as well as gold medal river water and trophy lake fishing." Truer words were never spoken. For trout fishing in the rivers and creeks, use an inline spinner bait such as Panther-Martin, Mepps or Blue Fox, all three are great lures. Throw the spinner bait up stream retrieving it just a hair faster than the current of the water. The fish are facing up stream looking for oncoming morsels of food and this presentation gives you a good chance of literally hitting a trout on the nose. Also look for "eddies", calms areas of water close to moving water. trout like to hide out in the eddies, waiying to ambush any poor critter that looks like lunch.

Food and Lodging

I looked up some arbitrary vacation dates on and came up with these figures. Staying Granby will cost you a little more, but the price may well be worth it to you. There are some terrific places to eat and stay at in Granby. You'll find a comprehensive list of them at the town's web site.

Lodging in a nearby town such as Fraser, 12 miles from Granby, can save you some money and offers a fantastic drive from one town to the other. 

You can't really go wrong when visiting Granby. It's in such a beautiful area, that anywhere you go and anything you see will surely take your breath away.

Get your FREE Colorado Travel Guide @ this link.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Caddo Lake, Texas - Stepping Back in Time

Caddo Lake is a work of art that comes directly from the hand of God. Magical. Mystical. Enchanted. Spiritual. It is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Creation. Don Henley of the Eagles is a native son of Northeast Texas (Linden, to be exact) and he has been a Son of Caddo for over fifty years. Listen to Don's own words and watch the short video of this earthly piece of Paradise. Caddo Lake is named for the Caddo Indians who lived in the area until the late 19th Century and is the largest (25,000 + acres) natural freshwater lake in the South. It is also one of the few natural lakes in Texas as well as the largest cypress forest in the world. Caddo as we know it today was formed in late 1799 by a series of natural events called The Big Change. From Wikipedia : "substantial development would only begin with invention of the steamboat and US annexation of both Louisiana and Texas in the 19th century. The cities of Port Caddo, Swanson's Landing, and Jefferson in Texas, and Mooringsport in Louisiana, had thriving riverboat ports on the lake. Gradually as the log jams were removed in the lake and the Red River by Captain Henry Miller Shreve and then by the Army Corps of Engineers. The lake changed shape and eventually fell over ten feet, destroying the East Texas ports and their riverboat industry." Directly out of those times, you can still catch a ride on a vintage steamboat called The Graceful Ghost out of Uncertain, Texas. There's so much more to say about Caddo Lake and the surrounding area, but we'll get to that another day. Until then, get out to Caddo when you can. And observe the Handiwork of God.

Food and Lodging at Caddo Lake

 There isn't a helluva lot close to Caddo Lake, but fortunately there are places eat and sleep on or very near the lake. The biggest "town" on the lake is Uncertain. Really. That's the town's name - Uncertain. I highly recommend a visit to Uncertain if for no other reason than to get an expensive cheap ass trinket that says "Uncertain, Texas" on it.

OK, here is a link that features several places to stay and/or chow down at during your visit to Caddo Lake. The link to the City of Uncertain (above) also has information for guests of the area.

I have been to Uncertain and Caddo Lake so I can tell you first hand that the people are extremely friendly (they are Texans after all), the air is clean (and very muggy!) and the food is pretty damn good.It's  all of these things along with the experience of being in a place where a dinosaur could pop up at any second that makes Caddo Lake a mystical, magical encounter.

Footnote: Be sure to take along plenty of insect repellant! There are several gazillion species of biting bugs in the woods of East Texas including ticks that may carry Lyme Disease and mosquitos as big as small helicopters. I'm just sayin'.

Get your FREE Texas Travel Guide at

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

America, Sea to Shining Sea -"The Lower 48 (Plus 2)"

Welcome to The Lower 48 (Plus 2)

Howdy, y'all and thanks for visiting  The Lower 48 (Plus 2). Our mission here is to show you as many facets of the Lower 48 (Plus 2) as is humanly possible. We will write about the history of our great country, the people who make America a beacon of hope for the entire World and we'll show off the beauty that permeates the Fruited Plain.

In short, we'll give you America, from sea to shining sea.

Let's See the Country Together

As I write this, it's late May, 2012. School is almost out for the summer and vacation time for you and the family is getting closer with each tick of the clock. Perhaps you have already made plans for your annual trek to Grandma's house or another part of the United States, but it's just possible that you have not. It could be that you want to add a destination or two to your vacation itinerary. That's one of the reasons this blog is here: to give you information on places you have thought about visiting before or maybe to help you discover a location that you've never even heard of.

The United States comprises over 3.7 million square miles leaving us with plenty to explore. No matter if you've visited all fifty states, several times even, I bet you a nickel that we can find some place you ain't seen yet. :)

God has "shed His Grace on thee", America and our unwavering focus at The Lower 48 (Plus 2) is to share the bounty and beauty of the United States.


Americans are a special breed of people, "forged of a hotter fire" as Coach Bum Phillips once said.

On the pages of The Lower 48 (Plus 2) we'll feature historic Americans who have had a profound impact on our land as well as the not-so-famous American who is a cog in the engine that drives the country. While some Americans may be more famous or richer than others, no one citizen of the Lower 48 (Plus 2) is more important than any of the other 310 million plus people who live in this country today.

We hope to give to you a gift of the patriotism and pride we feel for the USA.

Blessings of Liberty

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution of the United States is more than just words on paper. It is the Foundation upon which this house we call the United States is built. Bedrock. Solid. Immovable. The Constitution is a carefully crafted document written by men whose visions of Freedom and Liberty were so far ahead of their time that The Law of the Land can, by its very existence, be nothing less than Divinely Inspired. A helping hand from Heaven surely guided Thomas Jefferson's own hand as he put to paper the very words that would change the world in a way that must have seemed unimaginable in 1776.

The History of The Lower 48 (Plus 2) is a fascinating story that would serve us all well to revisit from time to time - a reminder of who we are and how we got to be the Greatest Nation in the History of the World.

Welcome, Americans and Visitors from around the Globe to The Lower 48 (Plus 2).