January 30, 2019

It's a Pop Quiz - Let's See How You Do!

Please note that I’m not affiliated with, recommending or receiving payment from any of the companies, places or products mentioned in this post.  It’s all just conversation around the campfire.  The photos scattered throughout this post were taken today - after Mother Nature spent yesterday dumping a foot of snow on us.

Back in June of last year when Reflections Around the Campfire was just over six months old, I had posted a quiz about my personal preferences so that you, my friends, could get to know me a little bit better (link HERE).  Since this blog celebrated its one year anniversary in December, I thought it might be time for another quiz.  Let’s see how you do on this one!

January 21, 2019

Gateway Arch National Park - and Other Adventures in St. Louis, Missouri (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.

With the fun and games of Branson, Missouri, behind us, our family headed northeast toward St. Louis, with a visit to the impressive Gateway Arch next up on our itinerary.  You all know that we prefer camping in State or National Parks over private campgrounds, enjoying the solitude and the scenery that only our public lands can provide.  Well, our best State Park option near St. Louis was the Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park in Wildwood, but it was about a 30 mile drive into the city.  This Park looked lovely, received good reviews and is currently enjoying an 8.5 rating on RVParkReviews.com (link HERE).  But we had booked tickets for an early morning tour at the Gateway Arch and factoring in the time we’d need for breakfast and driving in to the city made that particular Park a doable but less than perfect option.  So, we had to decide - should we bite the bullet and make the drive or look for a private campground?

January 12, 2019

Tidbits - Including a Rant About Recreation.gov

Welcome to a compilation of random thoughts and tidbits.  Very random, so be prepared.  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 interesting or useful bits of news with you – you know, the kind of stuff you might talk about around a campfire with fellow travelers.  Included in this post are a few photos taken on January 4th at the Hudson Valley RV and Boat Show in Troy, New York. 

Each day I set aside time for catching up on what’s going on in the world of travel, health, finance and retirement.  I’ll peruse the online newsletters I subscribe to, visit the blogs in my sidebar (and check out any new ones that sound intriguing) and try to catch up on the magazines that I read regularly.  This is usually done early in the morning with a wonderfully hot cup of coffee in my hand – a ritual that began when the kids were young and which has continued for more than twenty years.  Back in the day, the only time I could hear myself think was when everyone else was still in bed, and my morning “quiet time” provided the opportunity to get a good, solid grasp on the day ahead - before the invasion of the little people.

In addition to the tidbits I pick up when I’m reading, topics will often come to mind when I’m taking my daily walks, and I’ve been keeping a running list of random items to share with you.  None of them are worth a full blog post, but I can write at least one paragraph about just about anything, so here we go . . .

January 01, 2019

Today is a Brand New Day!

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions.  Never have been and, most likely, never will be.  It’s not that I don’t have goals or habits I’d like to change (I do), but the new year is not a momentous occasion for me.  I tend to set smaller goals throughout the year rather than one or two lofty goals at its beginning.  I work at making good choices on smaller decisions on a more regular basis instead of focusing my efforts on a major goal from which daily life will do its best to sidetrack me.  I’m always working on a goal of some type, but I don’t need or want binoculars to have to see it.

December 26, 2018

Christmas . . . the Beginning of All That Can Be

Six weeks ‘til Christmas!  Only 5 more shopping days until Christmas!  Holiday sale ends in 4 hours and 32 minutes!  All the hype in today’s society lead us to believe that Christmas is the culmination of all things “holiday.”  But, when you think about it, the focus is not on Christmas itself; the focus is on getting ready for Christmas.  Or, more to the point, it’s about how many ways retailers can get you to part with your money before the dawn of Christmas Day.  Why does Christmas seem to mark the end of something when, in fact, it celebrates a beginning?

December 17, 2018

"Thanks a Thousand!"

I recently came across a new book called “Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey” written by A. J. Jacobs.  The premise behind the book piqued my interest and this summary is quoted from the inside of the book jacket:  “The idea was deceptively simple:  A. J. Jacobs would thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee.  The resulting journey takes Jacobs across the globe and reveals secrets about how gratitude can change us all.”

December 08, 2018

Branson, Missouri, Here We Come! (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 I looked back, I found that the last installment had been posted nearly three months ago!  I’m not sure where those three months went, but it looks like I’d better get back on the ball!

As we left Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, the rising sun was at our back and our wheels were pointed west toward Missouri.  While the focus of this trip was definitely our National Parks, our itinerary included stops at places other than the Parks because our family enjoys a wide variety of travel experiences.  Indoor, outdoor, educational, just for fun – you name it and we’ll consider it.  My husband, Alan, and I decided a long time ago that it was important for our children to learn there was more to life than the small town in which they were growing up.  Our travels throughout the years have provided opportunities for all of us to explore different regions, foods and customs in this magnificent country of ours and I can only hope that our kids’ varied experiences have served to broaden their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of life.  In my heart, I sincerely hope that the two of them will remain explorers forever.  The next National Park on our trip list was Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but our next destination was Branson, Missouri.  Because, after all, who could pass up Branson, home to the Silver Dollar City amusement park and many notable musical and variety show venues?!