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.  

October 23, 2020

Zion National Park – The 1st of “The Mighty 5” (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.

I was amazed, astonished, shocked and mortified to discover that the last post from this National Parks Trip #2 series was ten months ago.  I know I have a habit of going off on tangents, but even I can’t understand how I got so distracted this time around.

Our three cross-country National Parks camping trips were all planned based on what I call “the sampler” itinerary.  Although we would have loved to spend months on the road exploring the Parks, the first two of the three trips were taken while Alan was still working a full time job.  His extra weeks of vacation, a benefit of his many years of employment, allowed us the luxury of taking a four week journey.  However, we’d be making a round trip from one side of the country to the other and back, and that travel time lopped off about ten days of vacation right from the get go.  The sampler itinerary precluded visiting any one National Park for more than a day or two, but it gave us the opportunity to visit ten of them on this one trip.  That, in turn, provided us with a huge variety of experiences and enabled us to identify the National Parks to which we’d like to return for further and extended exploration.

October 11, 2020

The Great Toilet Paper Experiment

Sometimes, even though your plate might be full and your days jam-packed, you need to step off the hamster wheel of life and do something ridiculous just for the fun of it.  September was an incredibly hectic month for us.  It included completing our last camping trip of the season (almost two weeks), emptying out the travel trailer for the winter and packing away the camping gear (which felt like almost two weeks), dealing with some medical issues (don’t worry, nothing serious, just tedious), helping our son and his girlfriend move into the house they just bought, and working on projects with them.  (“Hey, what are you guys doing tomorrow?” – a loaded question if ever we heard one.)  Let’s just say that I got tired of “adulting” and simply wanted a chance to play.

September 25, 2020

The 2020 Outdoors RV East Coast Owners Rally - Memorable for All the Right Reasons

This morning, I put on my big kid pants, and I didn't raise a fuss when we had to head home from our last camping trip of the season.  Despite the many restrictions brought about by COVID-19 this year, Alan and I were still able to enjoy almost six weeks' worth of delightful days in the great outdoors, camping comfortably and safely in a number of carefully operated State Parks.  Nature never fails to deliver a one-two punch of peace and pleasure that settles me down and soothes my soul no matter what's going on in the world around me.  I hope all of you have found people, places and/or activities that soothe your soul, too, building resiliency and providing strength for whatever hardships lay ahead.

This is the story of The Little Rally That Could – and Did.  It’s the tale of a small group of health-minded, safety-conscious individuals - loyal RV owners and dedicated campers – who braved a pandemic, in the safest ways possible, and came out winners.  Alan and I hosted the 2020 Outdoors RV East Coast Owners Rally, an event that we weren’t even sure would be held right up until the very last minute.  Before you envision a mob of hundreds gathering in close quarters for a myriad of seminars and activities (which would, understandably, send contact tracers into a full-blown panic), let me set you straight.  Alan and I tend to be conservative with our health risks anyway, and the coronavirus had our safety antenna on full alert.  The Rally brought together ORV owners from five different states in the east, but total attendance came in at under twenty – and that includes our two kids and our son’s girlfriend who were on a family camping trip with us.  I have to admit, though, that the six months prior to the Rally seemed like one long, never-ending, heart-pounding roller coaster ride.  Here’s the story . . .

September 05, 2020

Biscayne National Park & the Florida Keys - The End of the Road

This post represents the final installment in The Big Switcheroo series – tales from last spring’s epic journey from the northeast to the Florida Keys and back – involving family, friends and an extraordinary range of adventures.

A quick recap for those of you who might be wondering why this three week, whirlwind tour was called The Big Switcheroo:  In 2018, we had planned a spring 2019 loop tour of the southern states in the eastern half of the country.  Alan and I were hoping to add a decent number of states to the map (in the column at the right) that indicates in which states we’ve camped.  On Christmas Day, 2018, we found out that our vacation plans ensured we would be out of town when our son Ryan’s longtime girlfriend, Anya, graduated with her Master’s Degree in mid-May of 2019.  In January of 2019, we decided to switch our 2019 vacation plans with those we had scheduled for spring of 2020 and it was off to Florida we went, visiting friends and family all along the way.  With Everglades National Park in our rear view mirror, we pointed the truck toward the Florida Keys.  Luckily, the travel trailer followed behind.

August 27, 2020

Everglades National Park - I Can Appreciate the Diversity, But . . .

This post represents another installment in The Big Switcheroo series – tales from last spring’s epic journey from the northeast to the Florida Keys and back – involving family, friends and an extraordinary range of adventures.

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth.  Alan and I were camping for a full two weeks at our family favorite, Northampton Beach Campground on Great Lake Sacandaga in central New York.  The first week was spent with fellow owners of travel trailers and fifth wheels made by Outdoors RV Manufacturing.  The get together – a small gathering of only 7 ORV rigs – was tons of fun, despite being somewhat restricted by current COVID guidelines.  I’ll be covering that event in a future post, for sure.  The second week was spent with our daughter, son and our son’s girlfriend, and that, too, was absolutely delightful.  Now, we need a vacation from the vacation.

In the last installment of this series of posts, I recounted how Alan and I had spent several enjoyable days at Ortona South, an Army Corps of Engineers campground on Florida’s Okeechobee Waterway.  Our trip through the mid-Atlantic states and along the east coast was winding down, but we were nowhere near finished with the highlights.  Still ahead were Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys.  But first, the Everglades.

August 07, 2020

LP Gas Refills: Camping World vs. Tractor Supply Co. (Opinions Included at No Extra Charge)

I’m taking a quick break from The Big Switcheroo series to fill you in on an experience we had last week in reference to the purchase of LP gas (propane) for the tanks on the travel trailer.  Please note that I’m not affiliated with either Camping World or Tractor Supply Company, I’m not being paid in any way by either one, and I am most definitely not recommending that you buy (or not buy) stock in one or both of these companies.  I’m just sharing our experience with you, and offering my opinions which, by the way, are worth exactly what you paid for them.

After a quick camping getaway for a week or so of R&R, Alan and I found ourselves in need of a propane tank refill upon our return home.  Then, a few days after that errand was crossed off the list, the propane tank for our backyard grill called it quits.  So, it was back to town on another propane run.

If the phrases “frugal shopper,”  “good deal,” or “saving money” appeal to you, I encourage you to keep reading.  If shopping isn’t an Olympic sport in your house like it is in ours, but you’d like to hear my opinion, in general, about Camping World and Tractor Supply Co., read on.  If you think that someone couldn’t possibly write an informative and entertaining post about refilling a propane tank, stay with me and I’ll prove you wrong.  However, if you’re not interested in any of that, please feel free to go grab a beverage, find a good book, and come back for the next post which will be, I promise, a continuation of The Big Switcheroo series, and a recounting of our visit to Everglades National Park.