August 12, 2018

Social Hermit: A Personal Definition


The photos accompanying this post are of places and campsites that held particular appeal due to their solitude or the feeling of quiet contentment they evoked.  Enjoy!

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned the fact that I consider myself a “social hermit.”  While I won’t necessarily claim credit for coining the term, I have to admit that it’s not a phrase I’ve heard uttered by anyone other than myself or my husband, Alan.  (I’m pretty sure he’d be classified as a social hermit, too, but I’ll leave it to him to conduct his own psychological evaluation.)  Since I’m aware that those two words – social hermit – can conjure up an image in people’s minds of a guy of indeterminate age with a long, shaggy beard who lives by himself in a shack in the woods, bathes in a creek and has no contact with the outside world, I thought it might be a good idea to share with you my personal definition of social hermit in order to dispel that myth.  Because, really, I don’t look or live anything like that.  And, although we may not be consciously aware of it, an individual’s personality can have a major impact on his or her travel style, as well as the activities he or she enjoys. 

August 07, 2018

Three Cheers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers! (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 kids and travel trailer in tow.

Prior to our first National Parks trip with the kids back in 2007, we hadn’t yet experienced the delight of camping directly in State or National Park campgrounds.  We had only had our first travel trailer for a year, and most of our early camping trips involved private RV parks with activities for children.  It was during that 2007 journey that we ventured into the Madison Campground in Yellowstone National Park.  That two night stay would forever change our camping lives and I devoted a blog post to that event some time ago (A Camping Epiphany - link HERE).  So, when planning the second of our National Parks trips in 2010, I was focusing on state and federally operated campgrounds in the locations we would be visiting.

The first night of the trip, we stayed in the RV section of one of the travel plazas on the Ohio Turnpike.  The second night would bring us to our first actual campground, and a love affair was born that very night.

July 29, 2018

July's Tidbits


It seems like every month I stumble across some intriguing little tidbits of news – none of which are worth a full blog post but all of which I find interesting, so I thought this format would be a good way to share them with you.  Please note that this post is not sponsored in any way.  I’m not affiliated with, recommending or receiving payment from any of the companies or organizations mentioned.  I’m just sharing what I consider to be delightful or useful bits of news with you – just the kind of stuff that might come up during an evening around the campfire.

For those of you who don’t already know, I find cloud formations mesmerizing.  It always amazes me how fluid (and gorgeous!) they are and how quickly they seem to disappear and reinvent themselves.  Since I don’t have any photos appropriate to the Tidbits included in this post, please enjoy some of my favorite cloud formations, even though they have nothing whatsoever to do with the items below.  A fair warning though - these probably won’t be the last photos of clouds you’ll ever see here.  (I did take a bunch of photos of the inside features of a dozen travel trailers at the Hershey RV Show a couple of years ago but, somehow, I just knew you wouldn’t find them fascinating.)  So, let’s move on to July’s tidbits . . .

July 24, 2018

National Parks Trip #2 - The Adventure Begins


Welcome to Reflections Around the Campfire!  This post represents the first installment in the series detailing the second of our three cross country National Parks camping trips with kids and travel trailer in tow.

“What About Now?”  That song title, one of the country music group Lonestar’s popular songs from a number of years ago, pretty much summed up Alan’s philosophy and mine during our working years.  As young adults, we were pretty serious and goal-oriented, but we had agreed early on that saving for the future and planning for retirement would never get in the way of living life to its fullest.  Since Alan had been working for a single company since his college days, he had built up an enviable vacation allotment of six weeks per year.  While I can’t say that his request for four solid weeks of vacation was met with enthusiasm, it was approved and our family of four set out on the second of three cross country National Parks camping trips in the summer of 2010.  Our son Ryan was 16; our daughter Kyra was 11.  By this time, they were both seasoned travelers, each with at least one cross continent trip to Alaska (two for Ryan) and one cross country camping trip under their belts.

To have a four week block of time in which to vacation is a blessing.  To fit everything you want to see and do in that four week block of time is impossible.  We had already decided that this trip would focus on the National Parks of the southwest, but a decision needed to be made early on:  Should we pick just one or two Parks and do them up right or should we visit more Parks, but spend less time in each?  The dream of four wonderful weeks on the road was quickly replaced with the realization that, no matter what we decided, the choice would be an imperfect one and opportunities would be both gained and lost along the way.

July 15, 2018

RV Blessed? You Bet!


I have good news to share - only because I know you were all so worried about me (wink, wink).  Gander Outdoors re-stocked their supply of bear spray, and I was able to purchase a can a couple of days ago.  Just in time, as far as I'm concerned, since we had yet another bear sighting in the neighborhood.  They're only black bears but, still, I figure it's best not to take any chances, especially since there are a couple of cubs out and about.  So, I'm all set.  Thank you for your concern.

Over the course of the past six months or so, I’ve recounted our family’s travels during the first of three cross country National Parks camping trips with our kids and travel trailer in tow.  Our second trip (in the summer of 2010) was to the “Grand Circle” in the southwest and future posts will cover the tale of this epic journey.  Suffice it to say for now that this trip included 9 National Parks - 2 in Colorado, 1 in Arizona and 6 in Utah - and at least 2 State Parks.  In preparation for those upcoming posts, I pulled out our itinerary and have been scrolling through our photos, opening the floodgates to a whole host of memories.

July 07, 2018

Tidbits and Tips - June


Over the past month, I’ve been collecting a few (hopefully useful) tips and I’ve come across some intriguing little tidbits of news – none of which are worth a full blog post but all of which I thought might be of interest to you, and I decided that this format would be a good way to share them.  Please note that this post is not sponsored in any way.  I’m not affiliated with, recommending or receiving payment from any of the companies or organizations mentioned.  I’m just sharing what I consider to be delightful or useful bits of news with you – you know, the kind of stuff you might talk about when you get in a discussion about camping with your friends around a campfire.  First, the tips . . .

July 02, 2018

My Love-Hate Relationship with Walmart


Let me preface this post by saying that the effectiveness of my bear spray expired on June 30th according to the label on the can.  Now you and I know that this is simply an arbitrary date chosen by the manufacturer and, chances are, the spray will still be effective for at least a short time thereafter.  I am particularly hopeful that this is true as I carry it when I go for my daily walks down a quiet road in a forested area and I haven’t been able to pick up a new container yet.  I found out that this product can no longer be shipped to the state in which I live and the nearest outfitter doesn’t have any in stock right now.  However, since we have had three bear sightings within the past two weeks or so and one included a mama with two teeny tiny cubs, I thought it best to point out my situation to you in the event that, well, just in case I become as expired as my bear spray.

Let’s face it.  There is probably nothing I can say about Walmart that hasn’t already been said by someone, somewhere.  But that’s not going to stop me from sharing my personal feelings with you.  Please note that I’m not affiliated with Walmart in any way other than as a customer.  I am neither encouraging you to do business with them nor discouraging you from it.  I’m not being compensated in any way for this post; I’m simply sharing my opinion.