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Month: February 2011

The Stowe Experience–Part 5

February 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Stowe Experience–Part 5

After our Mt. Mansfield hike/climb, we felt the need, as we often do following such an athletic achievement, to treat ourselves to a delicious meal. While there were many wonderful dining options from which to choose, more than 45, in this small town of just over 4000 residents, the obvious choice for our family was the Trapp Family Lodge. Together we have watched “The Sound of Music” at least twice a year for the past 10 years. We were not about to leave Stowe without paying a visit to the place this Austrian family had settled upon arriving in America. And to visit without partaking of a great gourmet meal was unthinkable! We initially visited earlier in the day to see the lodge and make a dinner reservation. There are several dining options available: the Main Dining Room, the Slayton Pasture Cabin, the Lounge with a more casual atmosphere and the newest delibakery. As it is a quality gourmet restaurant, reservations are recommended for the Main Dining Room where we chose to dine.... [Read more...]

You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide

February 5, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide

(Photo Caption: Ice on the Palm Trees) As a full-timer, who tends to fall into the categories known as “Winter Texan” and also “Snowbird,” a major part of planning our locations throughout the year involves running from the bad weather.  We watch the weather patterns and try to avoid tornado season, hurricane season, blizzards, and nasty weather such as freezing rain.  Naturally, we also avoid the other extremes as well, such as those days it is 100F in the shade with 96% humidity. Over the last few years, we’ve accomplished this fairly well (even though we still manage to find ourselves in at least one snow storm each year—this winter it was Salt Lake City, Utah).  However, once we made it way down here to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, we assumed that we had made it out of the bad weather.  (Photo Caption: Grass covered with ice) Sure, we know that we could have some days when it will dip below the freezing mark, and other days when it is a bit too windy; however,... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Andre Agassi’s “Open”: Great RV Reading

February 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Andre Agassi’s “Open”:  Great RV Reading

Road Rager I  recall Andre Agassi in his heyday;  good looking in a foppish, hot pants wearing, hyped-up adolescent sort of way. I didn’t play tennis then; don’t play now, and frankly, don’t give a rip about the sport. But I know when I’ve netted a great read and Andre Agassi’s memoir, “Open,” qualifies. If you’re looking for excuses to avoid draining black water or fixing the thousandth sandwich for the troops, download or get a copy of Agassi’s “Open” ( with J.J.Moehringer serving brilliantly as Agassi’s collaborator). Agassi’s sometimes funny, frequently dark, and always frank memoir is the real deal. He reveals heartbreaking details about his life long loathing for tennis and his tormented relationship with his father, Mike Agassi. You’ll not soon forget Mike Agassi’s road rage as it terrorized six year old Andre seated beside him;  talk about writing on the tablet of a child’s life. Equally memorable is “the dragon,” a customized ball machine... [Read more...]

Usery Mountain Regional Park, AZ

February 4, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Usery Mountain Regional Park, AZ

Usery Mountin Regional Park, one of ten Maricopa County Regional Parks, is a 3,648 acre preserve at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. Located on the Valley’s east side, Usery Mountain contains a large variety of plants and animals that call the lower Sonoran Desert home. Saguaro and ocotillo (in bloom) at Usery Mountain Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Usery Pass is known for being a major sheep trail leading from the high country north of Mt. Baldy south to the Salt River Valley. Flocks of sheep, led by Mexican and Basque shepherds with their dogs, present a picturesque sight in the spring and fall as they move into or out of the Coconino plateau region. The traditional account of settlement of the Salt River Valley credits a former Confederate Officer and gold seeker, Jack Swilling, with the beginning of the modern irrigation in central Arizona. Swilling came into the Valley in 1867 and noted the presence of ancient canal... [Read more...]

Campers Choose Their Favorite Campground for January

February 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Campers Choose Their Favorite Campground for January

Woodall’s is searching for North America’s Favorite Campground, and is asking RVers and campers to help us. Throughout this year, campers have multiple opportunities to nominate their favorite campground by going to www.woodalls.com/myfavoritecampground and casting their vote. At the close of the year, a grand prize winner will be named North America’s Favorite Campground, but Woodall’s will be counting the votes throughout the year, and announcing the monthly winners of the sweepstakes as well. The campground that received the most votes in the month of January was Candy Hill Campground, in Winchester, Virginia! Read more about Candy Hill Campground here. Pismo Beach The second place winner was Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. Situated midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in the California Central Coast, Pismo Coast Village RV Resort is located right on the scenic Pismo Beach. This award winning resort is conveniently located within walking distance from downtown Pismo Beach... [Read more...]

Where the Heck is TOAD SUCK ARKANSAS?

February 3, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Where the Heck is TOAD SUCK ARKANSAS?

Shucks, everybody should know that Toad Suck is on the opposite side of town from Pickles Gap . That’s where I found Nancy – Conway Arkansas, not Toad Suck.  Both Toad Suck and Pickles Gap surround Conway. When I hear the name Toad Suck, it conjures up visions of people sucking toads, which brings a big smile to my face.  Actually, the name is supposedly derived from a local tavern where boatmen “sucked up whiskey like toads.” We now live in Mechanicsville Virginia.  Even that name strikes many as odd.  I am often asked if it is a good place to have your car or RV worked on. Actually, we do have our fair share of quality repair shops, but the name is said to have come from a blacksmith shop that was here back in the 1800’s.  Farmers stopped with their wagons full of produce on the way to Richmond markets  for repairs to their wagons. Living where we do often takes us into neighboring states with our RV.  Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina... [Read more...]

Visit The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria!

February 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Visit The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria!

When we purchased our travel trailer many years ago, I told my husband that our new camper was going to become our  informal summer classroom on wheels.  I wasn’t home schooling my children, but I was intent on camping and exploring many places with them.  I adhere to the “Use Boots Not Books” philosophy, so I knew our camper would open many opportunities for learning.  Over the years, we’ve explored countless  regional museums throughout the Pacific Northwest.  One of our favorite museums is the Columbia River Maritime Museum  in Astoria, Oregon. Located on the massive Columbia River, this beautiful museum celebrates the region’s rich nautical history. There are interactive exhibits suitable for adults and children alike, and the Lightship Columbia is a popular attraction.  The museum’s current exhibit, “Crossing the Bar: Perilous Passage,” covers the treacherous  Columbia River Bar  in depth and detail, using an interactive... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: “How to Earn Money RVing: Chapter 3: Retool, Retrain, Reinvent Yourself”

February 1, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie:  “How to Earn Money RVing:  Chapter 3: Retool, Retrain, Reinvent Yourself”

  Maybe you’ve read articles about ways to earn money while RVing and thought, “Easy for her to say she can do that job from her RV; she has a degree.”  Or perhaps you thought, “Yeah, I could do that job from my RV, too, if I had his skills.”  Does this inner dialogue reflect your thinking? If so, may I be blunt? I have found working from an RV requires a positive attitude and a commitment to doing what it takes: maybe retooling, retraining, or reinventing yourself. It’s work, not magic. For instance, let’s say you want to write for publication but grocery lists top your writing experience. So what?  Just because you’ve never written articles or blogs or books, does that mean you can’t write? Of course not! Consider taking an online writing course. Read any of a million great “How to Write” books. Study the hundreds of free writing tips on the internet. Get an online degree in something (you can get low-interest government loans for accredited online degree/certificate... [Read more...]

What has 400,000 legs, avoids hot peppers, and hates cold weather?

February 1, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

What has 400,000 legs, avoids hot peppers, and hates cold weather?

(Photo Caption: The Los Ebanos Ferry) There is an interesting group that shows up in the Rio Grande Valley (extends approximately from just West/North of Rio Grande City down to Brownsville) each year that are called “Winter Texans.”  Some estimates say that 200,000 (for a total of 400,000 legs) Winter Texans arrive in the Rio Grande Valley each year (other estimates are closer to 150,000), causing some of the smaller cities in the region to almost double in size. Okay, not all Winter Texans avoid the jalapenos you find down here in the valley, but a significant number of them do; and ALL of them seem to have a strong dislike for cold weather.  I’ve noticed that many of the Winter Texans also tend to avoid local dishes such as barbacoa and menudo.  For the uninitiated, in South Texas barbacoa is normally a slow roasted and seasoned meat dish that is made from the cheek of the cow (the high content of connective tissue provides an excellent flavor, but a texture that some prefer... [Read more...]

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