April 02, 2021

Arches National Park – Nature’s Creative Artistry on Display (National Parks Trip #2)

Wow!  It seems like it has taken me forever to document our second cross-country National Parks camping trip with travel trailer in tow, but here we are at the FINAL installment!  At the time of this trip in 2010, our son, Ryan, was 16 and our daughter, Kyra, was 11.  Reliving this epic journey by documenting it has reaffirmed my belief that these extended, month-long National Parks trips with our kids provided all of us with priceless experiences and exceptional memories that will last a lifetime.

You might recall from the prior post that our family of four was using a private RV Park in Moab as our base camp for exploring the section of Utah in which Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are located.  Sadly, none of the campgrounds in those two Parks have electric hookups.  Despite our preference for camping within the National Parks, there was no way we’d forego the electricity needed to run the air conditioner during our visit in July.  Thinking it would be a treat if the kids had a swimming pool in which to cool off, I had booked a site at the Moab KOA (link HERE).  For a couple of reasons, that turned out to be a bad idea for this family of outdoor enthusiasts.

March 22, 2021

Goblin Valley State Park & Canyonlands National Park (National Parks Trip #2)

During the past two and a half months, while Alan and I have been renovating a rental property, nearly everything else has taken a back seat to the project, including my blog posts.  For a while there, it seemed like whenever we weren’t painting and repairing, we were shoveling and plowing snow - or sleeping.  We tried to fit a little of that in every once in a while, too.  Now that the renovations are complete and a few warm spring days have us anticipating the even more delightful weather to come, we’re both looking forward to resuming our “regularly scheduled programming.” 

This post represents another installment in the series detailing the second of our three cross-country National Parks camping trips with travel trailer in tow.  At the time of this trip in 2010, our son, Ryan, was 16 and our daughter, Kyra, was 11.

With the visit to Capitol Reef, we crossed off the eighth National Park of our month-long trip.  This epic journey, like our first cross-country National Parks trip with the kids three years earlier, was what we considered a “sampler” trip.  We kept our visits to each Park short so that we could see as many different Parks as possible.  By sampling each Park, we would learn which ones we wanted to return to for a more extensive visit.  In addition, knowing that Ryan and Kyra wouldn’t be traveling with us forever, we chose to introduce our kids to as many areas of the country as possible when they were young and excited about such grand adventures.  We figured that the more extensive our travels were as the kids were growing up, the better they would understand the geography, climate and opportunities in each area of the United States – providing experience that might influence their lifestyle and location choices as adults.  That being said, the fact that Ryan and his long-time girlfriend recently bought a house just 25 miles away in the same beloved mountain range in which we live does not disappoint me.  Wink, wink.

We left Capitol Reef heading north and east toward Moab and the final two National Parks of the trip – Canyonlands and Arches.  First though, a stop at Goblin Valley State Park was needed.  Who could resist a chance to play among a bunch of goblins?

February 22, 2021

Capitol Reef National Park - A Surprising Superstar (National Parks Trip #2)

This post represents another installment in the series detailing the second of our three cross-country National Parks camping trips with travel trailer in tow.  At the time of this trip in 2010, our son, Ryan, was 16 and our daughter, Kyra, was 11.

When travelers are trying to come up with the five National Parks that make up Utah’s “Mighty 5,” I’ll bet Capitol Reef is usually the last one that comes to mind.  Zion with the towering walls of its canyon and unique hiking experience up the Virgin River; Bryce Canyon with its fantastical hoodoos; Arches with its countless and unusual arch formations; and Canyonlands, Arches’ neighbor, with mile after mile of remote and rugged landscapes – these four are generally known for one particular feature.  Capitol Reef, well, Capitol Reef is a National Park comprised of many different features, each one as intriguing as the next.

February 11, 2021

RV Still Valentines? - Celebrating a Lifetime of Love for the Great Outdoors

I realized a few days back that it has been over three weeks since my last post.  All is well; it’s just that Alan and I are in the middle of a “refresh and repair” project at a rental property.  Between that and dealing with snow storm after snow storm, there hasn’t been much time to do anything other than shovel, plow, paint, repair and shingle.  Yup, Alan decided he wanted to re-roof the place himself, and we managed to somehow squeeze it in during a short spell of sunny weather.  Notice I didn’t say “warm, sunny weather.”  Let me tell you people, if you haven’t shingled a roof during winter in the northeast, you’ve missed a memorable experience.  You also haven’t frozen to death which, I’m pretty sure, is what nearly happened to me.  Thank heaven our son, Ryan, devoted a full weekend to working with us.  If he hadn’t, we wouldn’t have finished before the next storm came along.  As it was, it began snowing three minutes after Alan wrapped up the project and climbed down from the roof.  Literally, three minutes.

The “refresh and repair” project is far from over, but I didn’t want to let Valentine’s Day go by without sharing a few thoughts about our camping lifestyle and the extraordinary amount of travel pleasure we’ve enjoyed throughout the years.  Of course, you all must know that Alan is my #1 Valentine.  I wouldn’t embarrass him (or myself) by going on and on about all of his finer qualities, although I certainly could.  We’ve never been mushy-gushy about our love and this is no time to start.  Instead, the focus is on a young couple who fell in love with each other and the great outdoors, and deepened that relationship with nature during more than 40 years of marriage.  Let’s get to it – before I have to start shoveling again.

January 18, 2021

Bryce Canyon National Park - and the Bristlecone Pine Adventure (National Parks Trip #2)

This post represents another installment in the series detailing the second of our three cross-country National Parks camping trips with travel trailer in tow.  At the time of this trip in 2010, our son, Ryan, was 16 and our daughter, Kyra, was 11.

It was during our first National Parks trip in 2007 that our family initially ventured off the path of camping in private RV parks by spending a few nights at the Madison Campground inside Yellowstone National Park.  Waking up in such a gorgeous and serene location immediately changed our perspective on camping, and a love affair with State and National Park campgrounds was born.

January 01, 2021

Dreaming of Dusting Off My Travelin' Shoes

If our beloved Dr. Seuss had lived during the COVID-19 pandemic, I think he would have applied his quirky, cheerful and optimistic spin to our current situation.  In fact, he may have ended up with something like this . . .

This year is done.  It was not fun.  But look, there is another one!

The old year’s dead.  Let’s look ahead.  Let’s take a breath and clear our heads.

No time to mope – it’s time for hope.  Together is the way to cope.

So dream your dreams and plan your schemes and take the time to laugh at memes.

A new year’s ahead and life is good – be thankful as you know you should.

I wish you luck; I wish you well.  I wish last year would go to h*ll.

On that note, let’s move along to today’s post . . .

December 13, 2020

Dear Santa . . .

I hope this letter finds you, Mrs. Claus and all the elves well and COVID-free.  I have not seen any pandemic statistics for the North Pole, specifically, but I trust that the isolation of your neighborhood has kept the number of cases down.

I know you receive countless letters every year, and I imagine that some of the lists you get will be especially long and heartbreaking this year.  I don’t envy you your job.  While I hesitate to burden you with a list of my own, there are some things I’m wishing for, and I’m hopeful that you will have the time and the resources to make every single one of my wishes come true.  Please know that my family is safe, healthy and not in need – a blessing for which we are all extremely grateful.  But there are others . . .