Waco Mammoth National Monument – Waco, Texas

Waco Mammoth National Monument – Waco, Texas


A few weeks ago a good friend of ours sent us information about an event the Earth Day Texas Organization was holding on Thursday, August 18, 2016. They were showing a video in conjunction with the National Parks Service in Texas, SMU, and TEDtalks. The name of the video show was “The National Parks of Texas: In Contact With Beauty.” This was a PBS video shown on the PBS station in 2015, but we were just now seeing it. It is a mystery how or why we had never heard of this video. Maybe we have been so hung up on Texas State Parks only, we had not tuned our brains in to hear it.


We knew about a couple of the National Parks Service sites here in Texas.  In June we visited Fort Davis National Historic Site and even discussed driving to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, but the one that surprised us the most was Waco Mammoth National Monument in Waco. We had visited Mayborn Museum once and saw the mammoth dig but never knew it had become a National Monument in 2015.  I wanted to see if there had been type of “announcement” on YouTube concerning the dedication of the monument and came across the actual video of President Obama signing the paperwork making it official.

Having been at the museum site many years before it had become a National Monument, we assumed we were going to be visiting the museum again. However, as we followed the gps app, we found we were headed in the complete opposite direction of where we had planned to visit. So this was going to be an adventurous day for sure. As we came to the location we needed to turn, we saw the huge sign that told us were had arrived.


As you know, Scott and I had to get out and do the huge photo production or else we didn’t feel it would count towards the project. So he took out the tripod to do the photo right, no more selfie photos for us, unless it is just to post on instagram or otherwise. We decided if it worth doing, it is worth doing right. Therefore we had to set up the tripod, take a sign photo, us in the next photo and then there is the silly photo that goes along with it. It definitely make the opening of our videos interesting.


We then headed up to the office to get registered and stamp the passport. I think I am more excited about that than the photos. There is something so satisfying to here the click click of the stamp as you push down on the handle. Then to see the cancellation knowing it is because you made it to yet another National site. I really wish we would have had the passport when we visited the Golden Gate Bridge and Yosemite in January. I guess we will have to go back and stamp both of those twice. Shoot, what a hardship that will be. Can’t you see it pains me? Haha.


While I have thought about doing a video on the National Parks Service Passport, I haven’t even tried to do one yet when there are quite a few really good ones out there already.  If you are curious about the passport and the cancellation process, please watch this video made by MMC/TRODAT USA (they make the stamps and passports):

We met Raegan King, the director of the Monument, and were shown where the tour was getting ready to take place. Our guide was Gena Stuchbery and she was fantastic. I am sure all of the tour guides are, but in my opinion our Gena was wonderful. She was one cool lady when it came to the Q&A and she knew what the facts were about the bones, dig site, building, and history. I actually learned so much information on Saturday that I am still amazing myself and friends with all of it.  I loved that the creators of this site thought about the way information would be given to the public. We walked a ways from the headquarters to find this semi-circle of stones which were perfect for sitting through the Ice Age portion of Gena’s presentation.


I think my favorite thing about the whole location is that they have taken the time to build something that will encourage future generations to look for answers through science. I know everytime I see a fossil, I get excited because it reminds me that it, the past, really did happen. The dinosaurs roamed the earth, the sea covered this great state of Texas giving us the limestone to walk upon, and the volcanos helped to make the beautiful landscape we see all around us. If it were not for places like our National Parks, Historical Sites, and Monuments, we would possibly not see and be able to learn how precious and special this world is. I know it makes me appreciate my life and the world around me much more.


The tour leads you through a gated area to the actual location of the original dig sites.  This was the location where, in 1978, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin found a femur bone that was definitely not your average femur bone of cattle or humans.  In 1996 the owner of the land donated it to the City of Waco to build the dig shelter.  This building is kept under lock and key because of the bones not being fossilized and can be damaged if the conditions are just wrong for them. I won’t spill all the secrets here, but thanks to Canada for figuring out how to protect these bones giving the site creators a way to preserve and present in such a unique way.  It is also a live digging site so the bones are precious and must be protected from scavengers.


Upon entering the site, I found myself in awe of the light and openness of the area.  It was huge, but of course when you think of what the room is home to, it must be.  I loved seeing how they elevated the floor from the ceiling and protected the bones below.  It is such a unique and thoughtful way of presenting the bones.  This is not just a display though, this is an active dig site and they have interns who come in and work on the bones.


While we stood around looking at the bones of the mammoths, camel and other creatures, I found myself wondering what my part in all this was. How was it I was going to contribute, share and encourage? One, of course is by the blog and the videos, but another way is to tell all of you about the website page where you can donate and volunteer your time. By donating money, you help keep the facilities up so they can keep their electricity on and continue to protect the bones by controlling the temperature and the humidity within the building where the bones are kept. The money also helps to pay the programs and educational events the location has to encourage learning. If you would like to donate to the National Parks Service, please visit HERE!

If money isn’t something you feel you are called to do, maybe you should look into giving a bit of yourself and volunteering. Many times, the parks, historical sites, and monuments are not allowed to have as many employees as they truly need because funding is not always available. Volunteers can be found doing things like working in a park store, giving tours, or just picking up litter. There is something for everyone. If you would like to volunteer with the National Park Service, please visit HERE!


The third way you can help your National Parks, Historical Sites, and Monuments is to encourage your friends and family to visit these places. There is so much to learn and the traveling will help them, and yourself grow as a person from the experiences you have as an individual or a family. Not only will traveling to these locations help you to experience new locations, cultures, and people, but it will help you and them see the beauty of our country, world. Seeing this and learning the history will help you to respect and appreciate what is in nature, which, in turn will help you to protect these places for future generations to see, learn, and grow, just as you have.


I bring this third issue up because recently there have been some things happening in our National and State Parks that has broken my heart. There have been people who have decided they wanted to leave their mark upon these places of beauty and importance by painting their “tags” and “art” upon places like Zion National Park, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and countless other locations. It has happened here in Texas as well at our Enchanted Rock more than once. This causes much work for those who work in the park, causes the park to lose money because certain areas must be closed to the public, and discourages people to not visit these places because the beauty is being destroyed. Remember it is illegal to deface these places and there are fines and jail time for doing so. For more information on this story please go HERE!

Yes, there have been many, many, many years of people scratching their names into rocks, benches, and caves at the places, but that does not make it history or beautiful.  It is still damage, granted it does mean something when you see a name and year from before the location was a place of national importance, but that still does not give anyone the right to do it today.  Instead of destroying these places of beauty to be your “mark on the world” why not pick up some trash someone left behind or stop someone from chopping down that baby redwood?

Please take time to visit, donate, and volunteer at a National Park, Historical Site and/or Monument, it will change your life. Then, encourage others to do the same.  For a full list of the National Park, Historical Sites and Monuments in Texas, please go HERE!


#59nationalparks #stitchntravel #stitchntraveler #mammoth #camel #npsp






On A Roll!

On A Roll!

Scott and I seem to be on fire lately when it comes to getting work completed.  Last night he was able to get quite a few photos processed from our weekend adventure and I was completely my second video for the week.  We were definitely hard at work over the past few days.

After coming to the realization that I was not ready to be a Daily Vlogger, I decided to do a weekly vlog telling you about the previous week’s adventure.  Last week it was all work and no play until Thursday came along and then BLAM! we had an adventure in the making.  Funny how you just expect to be out for the day and end up getting home the late evening the next day.  Want to find out more?  Check out my weekly vlog HERE!

Finding My Footing

On Monday we had a bit of a surprise on Facebook.  Sunday we were holding at 86 followers, but Monday I get a text from Scott to find we we had just passed our first milestone.  We were finally over 100 followers.  I know it doesn’t seem like much but for six months we had been holding at 86 followers and were starting to feel as if we weren’t doing something right.  I am not sure what happened, but we were so relieved to find out we weren’t wasting our time.  Yes, this is all a hobby right now, but we are trying to turn this into something worth your time and ours.

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Yesterday I decided to get my to do list finished and the last thing on it was to process the Outside Our Box – Episode 7 video.  It took all day because I wanted to do more than just slap an introduction, title, and closing to it.  I took my time and added the extra photos to make it interesting and then added what a friends calls “Renism’s” to it.  When we viewed it last night at 10:30pm, I realized I needed to change a thing or two.  Not feeling up to the time to change it all, I waited until this morning to do the work.  However, it is now up and ready for your viewing!  You can see it HERE!

Outside Our Box

Today I am starting to work on the Waco Mammoth National Monument video and post.  I figured I would get the more recent things done and play catch up with the later things.  I am sure you are curious about the Davis Mountains trip and a few other things we have been working on.

Not only have we been working on the videos and such, but we have been working on the website.  I have added a few more projects to the projects page and on my page.  It seems we are constantly coming up with new and interesting, be it interesting just to us, ideas to pursue. It just keeps us out of trouble and gives you more to see.

Looks like time is getting away from me so I had better get back to work.  Remember to get out, live life outside your box!


#stitchntravel #stitchntraveler #outsideourbox #tspp

Daily Vlogging – Not Really My Thing At This Time

Daily Vlogging – Not Really My Thing At This Time

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As you know, I have been trying to do Daily Vlogging for 30 days.  If you already seen the latest video in this vlogging series, you know I have given up a daily vlog and am planning to do a weekly vlog post instead.  If you haven’t seen the video, you can view it HERE.

Finding My Footing (6)Unfortunately I am not ready to be a Daily Vlogger because I am not able to get the daily vlog filmed, processed and uploaded and still get my other Stitchntravel duties finished for the day or any of other things I need to do.  This isn’t fair to you because I was not getting quality items up and it was not fair to myself because I was starting to stress out about the quality and content.  This was really frustrating me and causing me not to want to do the videos at all.  Therefore, I decided it was time to put that project on the side to be done on a weekly time frame giving myself more time and quality content for each video.  This was for the best and I feel good about my decision.  That is what is important.

The decision was a bit difficult to come to because I had a goal of 30 days and here it was only day 21 and I had only created 19 videos; one of which, was a “I failed” video.  Now, I do not actually see this as a total fail, but a fail to achieve my goal.  However, this is not a bad thing, I have had some good content and ideas which have helped me learn about where I see our YouTube channel and how I want our website to be.  I have also learned what it means to be a daily vloggers on YouTube such as TheDailyWooSACCONEJOLYs, and CaseyNeistat.  These people work hard at producing good content and do it in a quick, professional manner.  Yes, it is a large part of their day, but they get it done and done well.

I was able to get 18 vlog posts out and I would like to think they had some good content and pearls of wisdom to help you along your day.  I know I worked hard at thinking up what you might like to know and what I wanted to share.  Knowing how much of a goof I usually am, Scott said he was quite surprised they all usually had a good message and he could tell I put time and effort into them.  Below are week and a half’s worth of videos I did for the vlog.  I still intend to continue to do issues about downsizing, organizing, and wisdoming, but only once a week. So until next week, please enjoy the past 11 episodes of Ren’s Daily Vlog.


Clean Up The Clutter, Cutiepie was all about taking a few minutes and cleaning up the places where clutter seems to gather.  It didn’t take long to declutter the kitchen pass through.  Not having a place with much storage, we have to be creative in how and where we put things.  This pass through is just one of those places.  We keep our coffee mess and the items to take to Half Price Book Store to sell. Unfortunately we do not have a pantry closet to put our broom and mop so I had to get creative in  my storage.


Off Roading With Ren was nothing more than me being silly and completely unskilled at filming.  I decided it was time to get outside and have a bit of fun on the knee scooter.  Fortunately for me I am a rather daring person who is willing to have some wild and crazy fun!  Hey you only live once, isn’t that what YOLO is all about?  If you enjoy the wild adventurous videos, this is the one for you!  But be aware, it is not for the faint of heart so bring your guts and smelling salt.

RENVLOG-105 of My Favorite Place was a post I have wanted to do for a little while but it never seemed to have a place on our channel until I started to do the vlogging.  However, I really enjoyed doing it.  This video enabled me to go back and find nice photos of our trips and this brought on a huge “memory down the lane” period of time.  I loved it.

I know we haven’t been to many places outside of Texas, but Texas is a wonderful state that has so much to offer in the way of landscapes.  We have ancient mountains, seashores, deserts, grasslands, pineys, and so much more!  Why not take a look at the video and see where in Texas you want to go?


Happiness for a Pain Day was one of those posts that I had so much Fibromyalgia  pain that I decided to let the our photos entertain you.  I was able to use a lot of my favorite photos I have taken and hopefully you can see my unique styling.  Scott was so surprised when I started taking photos with my cellphone and that they were actually really nice photos.  One of the things I love about this video is that I was able to show you a little bit about who we are and what we love to do.  Also, you get to see our sweet little Chihuahuas, Cordie and Snickers.  What could be better than seeing sweet Chi faces?


Needing Fuzzy Therapy Today  Wow, I was having a second day of pain and it was really bad.  I guess maybe you could tell from my yelling at the camera.  I didn’t realize I was yelling, but Scott came home wondering if I thought I should redo the video so I didn’t scare any of you off.  I wasn’t going to do that, I want what I do and say in my vlog posts to be real and not sugar coated.

I did love having the Snickers there to cheer me up.  Hopefully you benefited from the cute fuzzy butt video time as well.

Finding My Footing

It’s Taco Tuesday Baby!  Tuesdays are one of my favorite days because we go out of our way to eat tacos, of course I was craving enchiladas instead, but I still had a taco!  I was so happy to drag you along with us on our errands. I felt so great after having two days of misery that I was wanting to share every second on it.

Fortunately I had decided to start a new project for myself called Selfies with Strangers.  It is where I ask strangers to take a selfie with me and then post the results.  However, I do make sure to get permission from them before I do this.

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I Gave Scott The Boot!  I broke my ankle/leg July 2 and over a two month period life was so slow and boring because I wasn’t able to do any traveling.  Scott was such a good sport at taking care of me and being my hands and feet.

Vlog Day 14 I went to the doctor’s to see about getting my cast off and if everything was healed up correctly.  Both of us were expecting to have me put into a boot for a month.

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And, Um, So…  How many times have you found yourself using words like “and, ” “um,” or “so” in between thoughts as you are talking to other people.  I have found myself saying it so much more since I started vlogging and it is a terrible habit to be doing.  I decided to make this video to show just how bad of a habit it is.  Can you figure out how?

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Words Can Always Hurt Me!  After Day 15’s vlog Scott and I had a long conversation about the words we use and how they affect us and those around us.  He told me something that really surprised me about a phrase I say on a regular basis and it made me think.  It is always dangerous to let me think, but this time it was a good thing.

So while running some errands, you and I have a bit of a discussion about it.  Plus I get a strange reaction to vlogging in public.

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Copyrights & Wrongs  While out for an ice cream sundae my whole vlog plan is derailed because I had forgotten a very important rule, “Don’t vlog in loud places.”

The conversation was wonderful and we had so much fun, but you don’t get to hear any of it because I goofed up and didn’t pay attention to my surroundings.  It is a shame to have wasted our time; but was it really a waste if I learned something?

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Let Sleeping Chi’s Sleep  What a nice chilled out Sunday!  I was able to love on the Chihuahuas, hear Scott work on music, and enjoy spending time with another one of my besties, Leigh.  She is definitely a ball of fire and is so much fun to hang out with.  Yes, this was a really good Sunday and I completely enjoyed it.  Hope you do as well.

Even though I am done doing a daily vlog, I intend to continue vlogging.  Look for it each week, as I am not sure which day I will be posting yet.  You will be able to find that information here or on our Facebook page.  You can also find information about the video posts on Instagram and Twitter.  If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you won’t miss a single episode of the vlog, Outside Our Box, Texas State Parks Project – First Visits, or any other video we upload.  So check them out, like, share and subscribe!

Thanks again for all the support you gave while I tried out my daily vlogging.  It really does mean a lot to me and I so appreciate it.


Can They Actually Do THAT To A National Park?

Can They Actually Do THAT To A National Park?


In 1906 Oklahoma had a National Park; it was actually the seventh National Park created, yet it is no longer as such. I was surprised to find the Chickasaw National Recreation Area just outside Sulphur, Oklahoma, was once Platt National Park, named after Orville H. Platt who was a Connecticut Senator who served on the Committee on Indian Affairs.

Oklahoma was once Indian Territory and these mineral springs were known to the Chickasaw and Choctaw to be “healing” waters.  They would come together here to be refreshed and cooled during the summer months. Because the “white” man was beginning to encroach on this Native American place of healing and camping, the tribes approached the 1902 government about taking the area to be turned into a place where everyone was able to us use and enjoy instead of it being taken and used privately.  It was then turned into the seventh National Park, Sulphur was moved a little ways from the area and there it sat for many years being used as a health spa complete with golf course.


The was not used for much more than mineral springs, health spas, and cattle grazing until the 1930’s when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began to work on area. The CCC company working on the Platt National Park was Company 808.  This company worked on the park creating bridges, making swimming areas, building spring coverings, planting over 60 types of trees and so much more for eight years until they were moved to the Rocky Mountains National Park in 1940.  The community of Sulphur was appreciative of these young men and did what they could to help them have an clean, attractive camp by donating many gallons of paint for their barracks.


Even though this was the smallest of all the National Parks, Platt National Park brought in many visitors and helped to create a highway system enabling the masses to visit the area. Unfortunately, because this park was not on the same degree of grandeur as Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks, it was not seen to be of the same superior status. Seventy years after this seventh national park was created, it was no longer a park, but a recreation area.  The park was combined with the Arbuckle Recreation Area (Lake Arbuckle) being renamed the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.


Taking time to visit the Sulphur area to enjoy this hidden gem, you will find the Chickasaw National Recreation Area Headquarters/Chickasaw Visitor Center is directly across from the main gate.  It is a recent build and rather beautiful.  You will find information about the park, local attractions and history; lots and lots of history to be enjoyed here.


Even though this is no longer a national park, you can camp in the campgrounds that were once well visited as Platt National Park.  There are three areas:  Central Campground, which is ten group camp sites; Cold Springs Campground, which is directly across from the Travertine Creek and has 63 sites and open from May through September; and finally, the Rock Creek Campground, where 105 year round sites can be found near Veterans Lake.


Scott and I have been begging friends and family to meet us halfway between them and us for a time of celebration and relaxation, but they never seem to be interested.  Now with the knowledge of this having once been one of the first national parks, I feel an urgency to visit again; I long to camp beneath the trees lovingly planted by Company 808, to swim in the swimming hole where hundreds of thousands have cooled themselves during hot summer days, and to hike the paths once walked by those who had the courage to give up something so special and important to their people to save it for further generations to enjoy.


Taking time to visit the Sulphur area to enjoy this hidden gem, you will find the Chickasaw National Recreation Area Headquarters/Chickasaw Visitor Center is directly across from the main gate.  It is a recent build and rather beautiful.  You will find information about the park, local attractions and history; lots and lots of history to be enjoyed here. (The photo below is a direct link to their site’s photo; unfortunately, we have not been able to visit the center as of the writing of this post.)

For a very good video on this beautiful park, please click HERE.

If you are interested in a deeper, more intense amount of history about this location, please click HERE.

For the NPR story that caught our attention, click HERE.








Watch Out For the Gorilla – Ren’s Adventure in YouTube Vlogging

Watch Out For the Gorilla – Ren’s Adventure in YouTube Vlogging



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Seven days ago I decided to give vlogging on YouTube a try.  I have found something rather interesting; this form of journaling is amazing and extremely hard work.  When I started out I thought there would be no end to ideas and I would be able to churn them out day after day without any difficulty.  This is far from the truth.

I find myself spending hours thinking about what I am going to be discussing the next day only to find myself at a loss for words the next day when it is time to start filming.  Once I begin filming and talking I am having to work very hard staying on subject; I’m such a bunny trail kinda gal.  Once I am finished with the filming, I have to take the video and process it.  This is the time I decide what stays and what is deleted into the void.  I then add the extra photos and videos to the mix to help get my point across and then decide how to get everything to blend smoothly.  Now it is time for the music and making sure all plays out nicely; and FINALLY upload to YouTube.

I wait patiently for it to process by working on a thumbnail to creatively entice you to click it and watch that day’s vlog posting.  I also have to put in a good description of the video, hashtags, and tags so the search engines can locate it as you search them.  After it has posted, I find myself working on many other video projects as well as websites, and embroidery.  As I lay in bed trying to sleep, I am back at the beginning of the Vlogging Adventure and I am loving every minute of it.

Finding My Footing (1)This is the first time I have ever vlogged before so I am pretty much all talk.  However, if you want to know where I am coming from and why I am doing what I am doing, this is the post for you.  I explain about my fall and breaking my ankle/leg and all that fun background stuff.

The video quality is good except for the shaking.  Unfortunately there really isn’t anything that can be done about it because the shaking was the chair I was sitting in.  Every time I said anything with zest and zeal, the chair bounced.  Oh, dear me!  What an adventure.

Finding My Footing (2)I was able to get out of the house on my own and sit comfortably at the pool.  Unfortunately with the cast I was only able to sit.  I was able to do a nice video with a relaxed atmosphere without the bouncing of my chair.

I spoke about our adventure in preparing to move into an RV someday and how we arrived where we are now in a 547 sq ft apartment traveling all over the state of Texas.  It was fun because I was able to talk about the downsizing and add photos.    The artwork I made for the thumbnail was REALLY fun.

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When we got up Sunday morning I had visions of making a video full of driving, shopping, and restaurant action, but sadly, it was not the cinematic footage I hoped for, but it is kinda there.  By the time we were home I was exhausted and hurting.  However, there ended up being an excellent subject to vlog about.

The day was pretty much me going to get my hair washed and cut, lunch at a nice restaurant, a camera shop then home because my foot was swelling horribly.  It is another sitting and talking post, but plenty of photos and video.

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Getting up and heading out for breakfast was all we planned to do this Sunday.  There was so much more to be done than we expected.  It always shocks me when we don’t make plans but end up being extremely busy with spur of the moment plans.

We made a purchase to help us downsize more and the whole bit of activity was perfect for a time lapse vlog entry! How fun is that!  Plus I learned so much by the things I did wrong.  Isn’t that what it’s about?

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Monday was a bit of a challenge because I had a big chore of sorting, purging and putting things away; and I still have to do my daily vlog post.  Well, I did what every smart vlogger does and put the two together and did another major time lapse video complete with captions, photos, and chatting.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how well this video came out considering it was mostly me working on my sorting project, which I promised Scott I would have finished by the time he came home.

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This was the day I decided to sit down on the floor and go through a laundry basket full of little things that needed to be gone through and sorted.  Granted I didn’t throw much away, but I was able to give away a few things and put a few more things off for another day and another major sort.

Yes, there is a lot of talking in this post, but it has some really great tips and tricks I use to get through everything that is piling up and causing the mess we call clutter.

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Finally we come to today.  This was truly a bugger for me because I was not feeling up to sitting in front of a camera talking about my life.  I just wanted to take some meds and go back to bed; however, I knew I was committed to this so I got up and started blogging, but I did it pre-coffee. I am thinking this was part of the “bunny trail post” it hopped into.

However, with the magic of a delete button, I was able to sort through all the rambling and make something halfway decent.

I am not sure how long I will do this, but I have committed 30 days to give it a good test.  Maybe by that time I will have a better feel for it all and decide it is a good thing to continue.  Check it out and give me your honest opinion or suggestions.  And remember, if you like the video, give it a thumbs up; and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Hahaha…..  I’m so obsessed.