April 16, 2019

Ausable Point Campground - Adventures on Magnificent Lake Champlain

Last fall, Alan and I enjoyed a short camping trip to State Parks in Vermont and New York that were completely new to us, followed by a week at a waterfront site on our beloved Great Lake Sacandaga.  I detailed the first leg of the journey in a recent post about Half Moon Pond State Park and our adventures in the Vermont countryside (link HERE).  Our family time at the Northampton Beach Campground on Sacandaga was covered in a post back in October (“I Just Love these Guys to Pieces” - link HERE).  So this post is the third and final one recounting the time we spent on the middle leg of our journey, camping at Ausable Point.  I know that was completely out of order but family always comes first! 

When Alan and I left Half Moon Pond State Park in Fair Haven, Vermont, we turned our wheels westward and made our way to Ausable Point Campground in Peru, New York.  To say that we were excited about this next stop would be an understatement.  Since we are campers and boaters, the opportunity to camp directly on the shore of Lake Champlain held a huge appeal and we were most definitely looking forward to our first stay at Ausable Point.

April 09, 2019

Celebrating National Park Week 2019 – Why It’s Impossible for Me to Choose a Favorite Park

National Park Week 2019 runs from Saturday, April 20th, through Sunday, April 28th, with a “fee-free” day on the 20th to kick off the week of celebration.  Other “fee-free” days during 2019 are August 25th (the birthday of the National Park Service), September 28th (National Public Lands Day) and November 11th (Veterans Day), so mark your calendar accordingly.  Spring is a perfect time of year to get out and enjoy our national treasures, and many of our National Parks have special events scheduled during the week.  Plus, the National Park Service has assigned a theme to many of the days during National Park Week such as Junior Ranger Day on April 20th and Bark Ranger Day on April 27th.  (Yes!  Some National Parks and Monuments do allow pets!)  National Park Week focuses on the beauty and benefits of these glorious public lands – OUR public lands - and the countless opportunities that exist for us to enjoy them.

Photo credit:  www.nps.gov

Many of you know that our love affair with our National Parks began back when Alan and I honeymooned by tent camping across the country on a journey to visit several of the iconic Parks in the American West.  Currently, there are 61 National Parks in existence, but properties managed by the National Park Service number 419 and include National Monuments, Battlefields, Military Parks, Historical Parks, Historic Sites, Lakeshores, Seashores, Recreation Areas, Scenic Rivers and Trails, and the White House.  We’ve made a dent in that list, but we still have a long way to go to see them all.  (Interesting tidbit of information:  The largest National Park is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska at 13.2 million acres, and the smallest is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Memorial in Pennsylvania at 0.02 acres.)  With all of those Parks to choose from, (okay, Mike, I admit it should be “from which to choose”), the question that inevitably comes up is, “Which National Park is your favorite?”

March 23, 2019

Half Moon Pond State Park - Fall Explorations in Vermont

Last summer, the push was on to complete a major construction project at one of our rental properties.  Hoping we would be done by late August, but not knowing whether or not we’d actually be able to complete the project by then, Alan and I made no camping plans for the spring or summer of 2018.  However, if all went well, we would be free to take some time off in the fall.  I was reluctant to plan any type of extended or complicated vacation because I had visions of cancelling numerous reservations if the construction project wasn’t completed when we expected it to be.  So, the decision was made to shoot for a couple of State Park visits within a full day’s drive from home.

March 18, 2019

Great Sand Dunes National Park - Playing in the Biggest Sandbox I've Ever Seen (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.

Regular readers of this blog know that I spend a lot of time planning our travels, paying particular attention to campgrounds that are the best fit for our preferences and specific sites within those campgrounds.  Some people view a campsite simply as a place to catch some z’s and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that because they often are.  To me, the campsite is an integral part of our traveling experience, unless we’re specifically making time between point A and point B, in which case we do need just a place to rest our weary selves.  Yes, Wally World has been our “campground” of choice on more than one occasion.  But I enjoy selecting campsites that I know our family will really like and make the most of – whether that’s because of the seclusion, the view or the easy access to a lake or hiking trail.

Because I had identified Piñon Flats within Great Sand Dunes National Park as our go-to campground for this visit, I spent a great deal of time looking at the photos of the sites there on Recreation.gov.  Many had beautiful views of the dunes and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains behind them, but the sites tended to be smaller and there were not a lot that I felt we could comfortably fit in with our 30’ travel trailer.  I was having a difficult time deciding on a site based on what I was seeing on Recreation.gov and I had questions on more than one of the sites I was considering.  What to do?  Take a chance, book a site and keep our fingers crossed we would fit?  Play it safe and stay at a private RV park outside the National Park?  Neither one of those options appealed to me and I decided to try something I had never done before.

March 17, 2019

Quick Post - RVParkReviews.com is now CampgroundReviews.com

Just a quick update today while I’m working on a regular post . . .

I’m not sure when the change occurred, but RVParkReviews.com is now CampgroundReviews.com.  (The change is reflected in my list of favorite places in the column to the right.)  The content and web site design are still the same and you can find nearly 350,000 reviews of more than 18,000 campgrounds and RV parks on this extremely helpful site.  It’s one of my absolute favorite trip-planning resources.

I’ll be back soon with another post.  Meanwhile, have a good day and try to make it a better one for someone else!

March 06, 2019

Unique Travel Experiences Enrich Our Lives in Distinctive Ways

Since I posted the most recent installment detailing the second of our cross country National Parks camping trips, a thought has been percolating in my mind that I’ve been having a hard time putting into words.  Actually, I think it’s more about feelings than words and, although I’ve been pondering for weeks, I’m still having a difficult time expressing those thoughts and feelings.

When I wrote about our visit to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, I felt like I didn’t successfully convey just how much the opportunity to ride the tiny tram up to the top of the Arch really affected me.  That got me thinking about a number of other experiences we’ve had in our travels.  Let’s face it – I love to travel and I believe that all travel experiences enrich our lives in many ways.  I remember almost every single one of our travel adventures in a positive light (although there are a few exceptions that I’d be just as happy to forget).  Some served to relax and recharge after an exceptionally busy or stressful time.  Some provided a sense of personal satisfaction as a check mark was placed next to a Bucket List item.  Some simply brought the pure enjoyment of being in a magnificently scenic setting. But, every once in a while, we enjoy an experience so rich, so unique or so fascinating that it is forever imprinted on my mind, my heart and, maybe, even in my soul.  Like I said, it’s really hard to explain, but I’m going to give it a try.

February 24, 2019

The Least Technical Post You'll Ever Read on Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

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 mentioned - I’m simply sharing our experience with you.

In March of 2017, Alan and I traveled clear across the country to buy our new travel trailer – a Creek Side 26RLS made by Outdoors RV Manufacturing in eastern Oregon.  Due to the multi-year construction project at our rental property, we only used the Creek Side for a couple of weeks in the fall of 2017 and several weeks in the fall of 2018.  Now, with that construction project in our rear view mirror and the open road stretching out for miles in front of us, Alan and I intend to get back to the pleasures of traveling and camping.