Month: March 2011
As I sit and reflect on the upcoming spring season, I am wondering what I could tell the readers of Woodall’s this week. Then it dawned on me… Spring means that the campgrounds in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada will be opening soon (May is coming!) and with that many families will be on the road to discovery with camping or rving. I already have had a couple of people that I know telling me on facebook that they have purchased a pop-up trailer… So how would you save money for your family while traveling this year? Purchasing a trailer is one way to save money as the campgrounds are less expensive than a hotel room for sure (well depending on where you go that is…). Eating at the campground, bringing lunches is another way to save money. But what to do with activities? What will you do if it rains? I have a solution for you. Check at your local museum if you can get a membership and if the museum is a member of the Canadian Association of Science... [Read more...]
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I honestly do not know what to write about or how to even begin to express my horror and sorrow. We have been watching the news channels and reading about the disaster and devastation. It all exceeds any conceivable element of imagination – especially by those of us thousands of miles away. I feel so helpless. Right now, all I can do is pray for these people and their country. Life is so precious and everything you hold dear and secure can change in a blink of an eye. The forces of nature; hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes can take away in seconds what man has spent years building. We must never forget how vunerable we are and how important our loved ones and friends are to all of us. I do pray for the people of Japan. I hope you will join us in praying and asking God for His mercy for the Japanese people in this time of extreme suffering and shock. Randy & Nancy . . .
Several years back, our nearly annual trek out west took us a bit further north than usual. While it is customary for us to travel to northern New Mexico and Colorado, and we have, on a number of occasions, ventured farther north to spend some wonderful times in Montana at Glacier National Park, this particular year we decided to include Canada as part of our trip. While we had taken a trip to the Toronto/Ontario area a few years before, we were anxious to get our first glimpse of the Canadian Rockies. We had reserved a site at the Lake Louise Tent Campground in the Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Upon arrival we found the entire campground surrounded by a bear-proof metal fence, which made us feel both safe and imprisoned at the same time, and set out to investigate the area. I have previously written about our first stop, Lake Louise, and our hike to the Plain of the Six Glaciers and its Teahouse looking out at the gigantic Victoria Glacier. But there is much more to see and do... [Read more...]
(Photo Caption: Buckhorn Lake RV Resort from our window) As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, as full-timers our goal is not the same as many campers in that we are not trying to “get back to nature.” For us the ideal campground is not one that is set deep in the woods with no phone, satellite tv, or internet connection where the only activities are fishing, hiking, hunting, and sitting around the campfire. While this might be an ideal vacation for someone, it is not the ideal for us to do every day of the year. With that said, though, we do enjoy nature. Just yesterday morning we were sitting outside drinking a cup of tea and watching the birds, butterflies, and bees as they were visiting our flowers that have already returned after our freeze this winter. The challenge we face in our travels is finding those locations that provide you with this close-up contact with nature, but are still close enough to restaurants, events, theater, movies, etc. that we feel as though... [Read more...]
The economic downturn had hit Frank’s hometown in northwestern Illinois hard. The manufacturing plant where Frank worked was closed. He had been out of work for almost 8 months. Frank’s efforts to find another job were stymied by the high unemployment rate in the area – it seemed that everyone was looking for a job. He had managed to find some part-time work with a commercial construction company out of Philadelphia, but when investors stopped building strip malls that job dried up too. Frank’s wife, Karen, had worked as a Teacher’s Aide at a nearby elementary school. Sadly, budget cuts by the School Board had eliminated her position. They had two children – Nicky and Samantha. Nicky was 12 and Sam had just turned 14. It was rough. With no jobs, Frank and Karen had fallen behind on their home mortgage. Without a job, the bank would not refinance the home. Frank was looking at a Foreclosure Notice laying open on the kitchen table. How could this happen to them? Frank... [Read more...]
Improvements to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ campgrounds around Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes south of the Arkansas-Missouri state line have been upgraded, the Baxter Bulletin recently reported. The shoreline of Norfolk Lake is extremely erratic as it follows the rugged Ozark ridges and valleys. The result is coves, creek arms, and valley runs offering a thousand secluded spots. Photo courtesy Norfolk.com Most of the improved campsites can now accommodate 50-foot recreational vehicles and offer 50-amp electrical service in addition to the basic amenities. Along with the bigger, reconfigured campsites, 2011 parks’ visitors will find new toilet and shower facilities at the Corps’ major parks—Jordan, Cranfield, Robinson Point, Tucker Hollow, and Lakeview—in places before served by pit- or vault-type toilets that did not include showers. Money for the upgrades came in part from special federal appropriations to restore parks following 2008 record floods and a major ice storm in 2009... [Read more...]
What should you do when you are in a small town in Northern Ontario? You would think that September would be a nice time to visit. But let me tell you that it is quite cold up there at that time of the year. Fortunately, my mother-in-law strongly suggested that I bring coats and warm sweaters for everyone before we left (thank goodness for wise mother-in-laws). But what can you do in Elliot Lake, a retirement community located north of Lake Huron, halfway between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie? Seriously. With about 11500 people in town and mostly retired people, is there anything good to check out? And with signs everywhere saying “You are in Bear Country” it doesn’t inspire confidence. We spent a few days in Elliot Lake in September 2010 when my husband was having meetings for a contract with the Elliot Lake Retirement Living. While there, we explored the area and discover that you can do quite a bit in Elliot Lake, ON. FIRE TOWER LOOKOUT The Fire Tower Lookout is... [Read more...]
Just north of Austin, TX, are 90 acres of living history in the form of furnished pioneer homesteads, farm buildings and implements, and volunteer reenactors. Pioneer Farms is a quaint step back in time, beginning the moment you enter the General Store to purchase your tickets or membership. As old-fashioned as they are, they do, however, offer some modern conveniences-like the ability to pay by credit card :). The General Store is a fun little place in itself; they sell Watkins extracts, free range eggs, pioneer style toys, and some fun, old-fashioned books too. After receiving your self-guided tour book, you are free to explore at your leisure. Pioneer Farms has five themed historic areas to explore: an 1840′s Tonkawa Encampment, an 1860′s German Immigrant Farm, an 1870′s Texian Farm, an 1880′s Cotton Planters Farm, and the 1890′s Sprinkle Corner rural village, as well as extra outbuildings scattered throughout the acreage. The farm also... [Read more...]
If you’re looking to buy an RV, and you can get yourself anywhere near North Carolina, it’ll be worth your time to visit with Genia, RV sales rep at Van and RV Sales, in Rocky Mount, NC. And just how do I know this, considering I’ve never been to North Carolina and don’t know Genia from a hole in the ground? Because I asked! I asked Woodall’s readers to let me know if they’ve met a standout, truly excellent RV sales rep. Yvonne and Terry Shepherd wrote to highly commend Genia. But before we hear from the Shepherds, let’s take a look at what makes a good RV sales rep. I’ve created a 3 point evaluation form to help RV sales reps and our readers. The criteria comes from compliments and complaints from Woodall’s readers, in addition to my family’s experiences. Let’s take a look at what we’re evaluating, and why Genia came out such a superstar: 1) Meet and Greet: It appears that when our readers meet a new rep on the lot and they say, “Oh,... [Read more...]