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Month: May 2011

A Close Encounter With A Mermaid

May 13, 2011 by · 7 Comments 

A Close Encounter With A Mermaid

We were staying at an RV park near Tampa Bay, Florida and I decided to take our much-neglected kayak for a cruise around the bay’s northern end; Old Tampa Bay. I put in behind a kayak rental store and took the stream under route 19 and out into the bay. It was a beautiful day; a bit chilly, but dry and warm enough in my sit-in kayak to be really enjoyable. But at that point, I had no idea of the adventure that awaited me.  I spotted a couple of porpoise up ahead and followed them, hoping to stay close enough to watch them do their thing. I paddled along a channel that led out into the bay. On either side of the deep water it was shallow; only a few feet deep at high tide. I saw the porpoise quickly cut across the shallow area and disappear far up ahead. Disappointed, I continued following the deep water of the channel until it took me around a waterside condo complex to the rear of a mobile home community. I paddled up and down the canals that divided the community until, tiring a bit,... [Read more...]

HISTORY AWAITS US UNDERNEATH OUR RV TIRES (If only the dirt could talk!)

May 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

HISTORY AWAITS US UNDERNEATH OUR RV TIRES (If only the dirt could talk!)

Often history can be right under the tread on our RV’s tires, and we fail to see it.  Such is the case of the campground my friend Chris and his family own and run in Central Virginia. I wrote about Chris last week – mostly his dilemma over rising operating costs and irresponsibility on the part of some campers.  What I did not share was when and how the campground began and has continued to exist for the past century and a half.  It is an interesting story – one that I am sure many other campgrounds may share. This particular campground is on a working family farm.  They plant soybeans and corn in two of the fields while maintaining a large part of pasture for hay.  They have about forty head of beef cattle along with the usual coops of chickens, a few hogs, two mules, a horse, and some goats.  The lake on the farm is home to many wild geese and domestic ducks. I listened intently as Chris began his story: “The farm goes back to my great grandfather who bought the... [Read more...]

Experiencing the Medieval Times

May 13, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Experiencing the Medieval Times

http://www.medievaltimes.com/ Have you heard of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament?   If not, you definitively need to check this out.   Essentially the show brings to life six knights, donning armor, and competing in a jousting tournament for the title of “King’s Champion.” Two years ago, my husband and I went to celebrate our anniversary.   Last year, my husband decided to bring the boys (ages 9, 6 and 4 ¾) to discover the medieval times with him as a surprise.  I stayed at the RV park with our daughter who was too young for this sort of event.   But we agreed that the next time we do this, the whole family will be going… Throughout the show, you will be served a royal feast that includes: Oven Roasted Chicken, Garlic Bread, Tomato Bisque Soup, Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Spare Ribs, and Pastry of the Castle.  If you prefer a vegetarian meal, make sure to specify this while making your reservation.    We found that there was definitively too much food on... [Read more...]

Savor Local With Regional Markets And A Small Kitchen

May 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Are you a farmers’ market fan or a fan of small regional food purveyors and farmstands? I am and have been for many many years.  After we purchased our travel trailer about eight years ago, however, my  market forays became even more meaningful because I always have my  mobile kitchen within arm’s reach!   For that reason,   I know I can buy local food with confidence and a sense of adventure. Local oysters purchased fresh from the grower? No problem, because I know my husband always keeps an oyster knife stashed in the kitchen drawer.  Fresh organic berries grown on Vancouver Island? Absolutely, because I have a little strainer and a big bowl in which to serve them.  Big fat beefy tomatoes? Yes, indeed,  because the cutting board and Wusthof serrated knife are waiting! When we travel, I often keep my eyes open for local farmers markets,  farm stands, artisan shellfish growers, and purveyors. On more than one occasion and much to my husband’s chagrin, I’ve... [Read more...]

Historic Fort Laramie N.M., WY

May 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Historic Fort Laramie N.M., WY

We had the opportunity to stop at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, in Wyoming.  This was a great fort, with many restored buildings, military displays, and historically accurate furnished rooms.  During the summer months, the fort offers ranger programs and has reenactors around the grounds to answer questions.  And anytime of the year is a great time to participate in their Jr. Ranger program!    Fort Laramie has a great visitor’s center that had a short introductory film, a timeline for the fort and surrounding areas that covers 2 walls, and a super bookstore that offered many items that we had not seen at other National Parks. We enjoyed walking the grounds and checking out the restored buildings, several of which were furnished circa 1860s; there is an officer’s home, a store/post office, bachelor officer quarters (named Old Bedlam, probably aptly named!), and a military barracks that is fully furnished as it would have been when occupied. We spent only... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Life On the Road or How to Destroy Your New Hubcaps While Your Husband Faints

May 12, 2011 by · 14 Comments 

We did it! We drove from Prescott, Arizona to Whitefish, Montana (our first major RV trip) and loved it. However,  there’s a reason I titled my blog “Saga of an RV Rookie” and that’s pretty much because this is the journey of two people who have no idea what they’re doing. I’m inviting you to follow along, either to commiserate with us or laugh at us, because we love your company.  Our trip, thank God, was largely uneventful.  The irritations were few, hubby withstood my myriad observations about his driving (even though I was the one who hit the chunk of tire on the freeway, ripping off two hubcaps and a side panel in the process), our Winnebago View is AWESOME and perfect for us, technology was grand, and Sirius radio allowed us to listen to the humiliation of the LA Lakers as the Mavericks kicked their…anyway…you get the picture. And in my defense about hitting the tire chunk, I did hear him yelling “Whatever you do, don’t hit that tire!” but I... [Read more...]

Economical Travel With Pets

May 12, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

Economical Travel With Pets

By Karen Brucoli Anesi As families plan summer vacations part of those plans often include pets, and their accommodation for the trip, and weighing the costs, benefits and alternatives. If you are reading this blog, chances are good that you are a pet owner. And most pet owners have experience with deciding whether to leave the dog at home with a dog sitter, kennel the dog in a boarding facility or take the pet with them. Camping with your pet is often (but not always) the most economical choice. While cost should not drive the decision whether your dog travels with you, for many families, the additional cost of pet care can be the vacation deal breaker. So what are the real costs? Campground Fees First of all, the campground may charge a pet fee or impose certain restrictions on breeds and sizes of dogs. The time to find out is before you make your reservation. Make no assumptions and ask questions about pet policies and management expectations. Visit the Vet Before traveling with any... [Read more...]

Let There Be Light!

May 12, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

If  you’ve ever been car camping and found yourself rummaging through your cooler late at night or very early in the morning, then you might be interested in the automatic cooler light from Coleman. I’ve never tried this nifty gadget but I discovered it on Monday night while I was poking around the flagship REI here in Seattle. The light is compact and easily fixates to the inside of the cooler. When you open the cooler,  the battery operated  light automatically turns on.  This is probably a  neat gadget worth exploring before your next camping trip! I know my husband would appreciate it for his annual fishing/camping trip in Canada when they sleep in a tent and rise well before dawn… –Melissa Trainer

Go Wild, Go Birding

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Go Wild, Go Birding

Spring is here! 2011 International Migratory Bird Day poster In spring we look forward to the end of winter. And migratory birds, sensing whatever it is that that triggers their urges, set off from their winter homes for their summer nesting and breeding grounds. (Oh, yes, the human snowbirds also sense that urge and migrate back to their northern home) The annual arrival of millions of colorful songbirds, shorebirds, and other northbound migrants is eagerly awaited by millions of backyard bird-watchers and armchair naturalists. For many, these are the true harbingers of spring—no matter what the weather looks like. In North America, the spring migration roughly follows four major flyways—the Pacific, Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic. Except along the coasts, the flyway boundaries are not always sharply defined—and both in the northern breeding and southern wintering grounds—there is some overlapping. During spring migration birds don their colorful breeding plumage; the bright... [Read more...]

The Annual Pilgrimage to Chimayo–Part 1

May 11, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

The Annual Pilgrimage to Chimayo–Part 1

During Easter Week this year, we happened to be traveling through New Mexico listening to Taos, New Mexico’s solar radio station (for those interested, it is the most powerful solar radio station in the country and plays a wonderful eclectic collection of interesting music. I often listen to them while at home in Wisconsin as well at www.ktao.com). During the broadcast, a comment was made about the annual “Pilgrimage to Chimayo” occurring during Holy Week. The Chapel Grounds Intrigued, and looking for something new to explore, we inquired at the Visitor’s Center in Taos, NM about what the pilgrimage was all about. The woman we spoke with explained that every year during Holy Week, people make the journey to Chimayo, New Mexico from wherever they happen to be, Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, even Colorado and other parts of the country. The pilgrimage is typically completed on foot; the day the journey begins depends on the individual’s starting location. As Chimayo is approximately... [Read more...]

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