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 . . .

November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Reflections

A country in turmoil.  That’s what you get when you combine a pandemic with unending political angst, a lack of respect and tolerance and the unmitigated sense of entitlement that pervades our society today.  The effects of the pandemic are both staggering and overwhelming: the loss of life – so many lives - jobs, businesses and financial and emotional stability.  And yet, from the worst of the worst, the best of the best have risen to spit in the eye of the monster – neighbors bringing meals and groceries to neighbors, volunteers stepping up to man overburdened food pantries, citizens applauding health care providers and essential workers who never stopped delivering medical support, tangible goods and everything else we needed to survive.

Creativity blossomed and our usual routines were replaced with unusual and sometimes uncomfortable alternatives; people with basic sewing skills lovingly created masks to share; technology stepped up to meet the demand for social connections for the socially distanced; those who could did; those who couldn’t were comforted.  Every single day, the citizens of our beloved country are rising to the challenges presented by unprecedented circumstances.  We are a brave and resilient people.  As horrendous and disconcerting as our experiences this year have been, we believe without a doubt that there are brighter days ahead, we hope deep in our hearts that they arrive sooner rather than later, and we plan to celebrate with abandon when they finally get here.

November 08, 2020

Campfire Talk

Over the past couple of months, I’ve come across some interesting tidbits of news which intrigued me, and I wanted 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 informative or useful bits of news with you – you know, the kind of stuff you might talk about around a campfire with fellow travelers.  The photos in this post were taken during our last boating adventure of the season which happened to be on the Hudson River in New York State.

On the Road of Retirement – First up, a little housekeeping.  I’ve been meaning to add On the Road of Retirement to the sidebar because I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time.  John Hinton is the author, and he and his wife, Sharon, are full time RVers.  What I really like about their travels and John's blog is the leisurely pace of both and the fact that John and Sharon often stay in places that Alan and I would really enjoy.  They're big fans of Army Corps of Engineers facilities (just like we are), so I've been able to add a few COE campgrounds to my planning notes thanks to John's information.   Plus, he was kind enough to share details with me about where to obtain the U.S. map we use to denote states in which we’ve camped and how to add it to my blog.  (Thanks, John!)  Not only is On the Road of Retirement a pleasure to read, but John maintains a lengthy blog roll of his own that contains some excellent reading material as well.  You may visit John and Sharon On the Road of Retirement right now (link HERE) or click through from the list of my favorite blogs in the column on the right any time in the future.