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Month: September 2013

Preparing for Florida

September 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Preparing for Florida

Recently my husband and I are talking about the possibility of going to Florida next year.   We would love to bring the kids are various theme parks including the famous Walt Disney World.   We have been putting money aside monthly for quite some time and our dream is so close to become a reality.  Our plan is to take one and a half to two months off so that we can have fabulous family memories with our kids.   My husband even started mentioning the possibility for us to do long hours on the road if he could train me to drive the RV.   Yikes!  I feel so ill-equipped for this part but I guess that with encouragement and guidance from my husband I might be able to do it. So I got to think a bit about how we could incorporate fun homeschool things before, during and even possibly after the trip.   I immediately thought about lapbooks. What is a lapbook?  Well essentially it is an inexpensive portfolio containing mini-books and flaps that will allow the child to study a specific... [Read more...]

12-Year-Old Boy Finds 5.16-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds

September 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

12-Year-Old Boy Finds 5.16-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds

While traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to spend some summer vacation time with family there, the Dettlaff family from Apex, North Carolina, decided to drive 100 miles out of their way to have some fun at Crater of Diamonds State Park. They’d experienced gem mining in the mountains of their own state, but had never visited Arkansas’s diamond site. Their first visit to the park on July 31 proved to be a lucky and memorable one when 12-year-old son Michael Dettlaff found a 5.16-carat, honey brown diamond after surface searching for less than 10 minutes in the park’s diamond search area. Excited when park staff confirmed that his find was a diamond, Michael was even more surprised when it weighed in at 5.16 carats. Grateful for the blessing of a diamond find, the Boy Scout named his gem the God’s Glory Diamond, according to park staff. Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “It is thrilling any time a child finds a diamond here at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Michael was excited... [Read more...]

Climbing in Colorado–Part 1: The Ascent

September 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Climbing in Colorado–Part 1: The Ascent

We were blessed to be able to spend ten days this August with our son Ryan. Not only were we delighted to see and spend the time with him, but he is full of great ideas for how to best spend our time together and most of our adventures take place out of doors. “I want to hike at least four times a week,” he started when he arrived. We had expected this and had several hikes planned. We discussed those, then he moved onto, “We could drive up into Colorado and hike a 14er!” The three of us had hiked three 14ers (Colorado peaks in excess of 14,000 feet above sea level) during past summers, but had not hiked one in 2012 due to our cross country move. It was time. To maximize the amount of time we would have, we decided this time to focus on a peak that was within driving distance of our home in Taos, NM. There were several 14ers nearby, but we chose Mt. Shavano, 14,229 feet, as it was a mere three hours driving time from our home. There is also a traverse which crosses from Shavano... [Read more...]

RV Mod – a new entertainment center for our toy hauler!!!

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV Mod – a new entertainment center for our toy hauler!!!

Our family of 12 (there are 2 more grown and flown…) fulltimes in a 40′ toy hauler.  Needless to say, our RV, nor any RV for that matter, are made to accommodate our family comfortable.  Necessity has been the mother of many of our many mods!  Our latest one is done for both functionality and aesthetics.           The stock entertainment center in our rv was an eye sore.  Partly because we use things hard, and partly because it was designed for ease of assembly and made of junk wood.   We were missing a cabinet door as we had given it to a cabinet maker last fall, so he could build us some matching doors we wanted; his shop burned down shortly after, with our door in it.  There was square feet of wasted space, splitting face wood, miles of extra wiring, 10 lbs of amplifier that we didn’t use, and the design forced us to put the loft ladder in front of the ‘garage’ (aka boys’ room in our RV) door.  The ladder was a constant... [Read more...]

New River Gorge National River Receives Flagship RV Park

September 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

New River Gorge National River Receives Flagship RV Park

The National Park Service (NPS) is constructing a new flagship campground with power and water hookups and drive-in sites for recreational vehicles at the southern end of the New River Gorge National River. New River Gorge National River © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The new Meadow Creek Campground is located on the banks of the New River about two miles downstream of the Sandstone Visitor Center. The park’s flagship campground will provide expanded amenities to visitors including a variety of individual campsite types and one large group camping site, as well as a number of conveniences including communal water spigots, vault toilets, and a camp host, according to a NPS news release. The campsites in the first phase of development—four walk-in tent-only sites, 17 drive-in car sites, and five drive-in RV sites—will offer electricity at all sites and individual water hook-ups at some sites. An amphitheater for park interpretive programs and a public boat launch will serve both... [Read more...]

Top RV Parks for Fishing Enthusiasts Announced by Good Sam RV Travel Guide

September 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: John Sullaway Content Editor Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory 805-667-4194 jsullaway@goodsamfamily.com Top RV Parks for Fishing Enthusiasts Chosen by the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory From angling in a secluded stream to dropping a line from a boat on a well-stocked lake, fishing is a big part of the RV experience. Indeed, almost half of RVers cast lines when they go on their RV travels, according to a recent study by PKF Consulting. These sporting enthusiasts range from seasoned anglers with fully loaded tackle boxes to folks who rent their rods for a day. To help recreational vehicle enthusiasts find the best fishing spots, the editors and consultants of the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory have compiled a list of the top RV Parks for anglers. Boasting parks from across North America, the list is tailored for RV travelers seeking campgrounds with fishing on the property or located within a short... [Read more...]

A Beautiful Rocky Mountain Canyon Hike–Part 2

September 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A Beautiful Rocky Mountain Canyon Hike–Part 2

Lobo Peak from afar In my last post (see 9/15/13) I was describing the first part of a delightful hike we took in Manzanita Canyon in the Southern Rocky Mountains one hot summer Saturday. After we have been hiking for just over two hours, we reach a ridge line that feels as if it should be our connecting point for the Lobo Creek Trail that runs along the ridge of the Canyons. We find no sign, but enjoy hiking along the ridge for another ten minutes or so, when Terry spots the sign down a slight incline. We hike down to the sign, then continue along the Lobo Peak Trail, eager to summit Lobo Peak as the skies, while now a bit cloudy, still are mostly clear. We also appear to have entered yet another climate zone (our third since the start of this hike) as we are near tree line and the vegetation is more tundra like; tiny fragile flowers and grasses growing close to the ground to be protected from the harsher elements of the higher elevation climate. The views at this elevation are spectacular.... [Read more...]

Sustainability at Rest: a Revolutionary RV Concept

September 21, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Sustainability at Rest: a Revolutionary RV Concept

Sarasota, Florida-based ROBRADY Designs plans to transform the recreational vehicle from a lumbering fuel-guzzler into a lean, green ecologically sustainable luxurious machine. ROBRADY design sustainable motorhome The first step in attempting to take the idea of sustainability and green RVing to a whole new level was to slim down the motorhome and thereby increasing fuel efficiency and consumer accessibility in response to higher fuel prices. But that was just the beginning. Green RVing is not a new concept with solar panels on roofs of RVs becoming more commonplace especially in the Southwest where dry camping is the norm on BLM lands in the Sonoran Desert. What is particularly interesting and noteworthy about the ROBRADY motorhome is how its features mark the next step in the evolution of green RVing. This revolutionary motorhome makes the leap from solar panels to charge the house batteries to a solar-powered engine. ROBRADY Designs’ unique multi-disciplinary culture meant they could... [Read more...]

Billings Estate National Historic Site

September 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Billings Estate National Historic Site

For the first time this week, we went to a small museum in our city.   It was the historic estate of one of Ottawa’s founding families and we learned more about how the Billings family settled on the shores of the Rideau River in 1812, build farms, constructed a bridge and managed a timber business. It was a field trip organized by another homeschooling mom in town but I think it is fascinating to learn the history of a specific place while visiting an area.   I love to explore the history of an area when we travel in order to learn more while we travel.    So this is my primary reason for presenting you this little museum that present part of the heritage of Ottawa and how it was involved in the lumber business many years ago. The Billings family started when the first settlers of Gloucester Township, Braddish Billings and Lamira Dow Billings came and established themselves on the emplacement of the current museum.   They contributed to the community over many generations in... [Read more...]

Helena, MT – FWP Wildlife Rehabilitation Center…

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Helena, MT – FWP Wildlife Rehabilitation Center…

Today the kids and I went to visit our local (Helena, MT) Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Education Center.  It’s actually a great stop if you want to get to know the Montana native flora and fauna!  The facility is housed in a 7000 sq. ft. historic building, and is called the WILD complex. Walking in, the lobby is like a small museum.  There are informative plaques, wildlife mounts, touch tables, and hands-on displays, all great for kids and adults alike.  The building is fairly new, and it is very tastefully set up and decorated.  It is spacious, and has a varied assortment of displays – from mounted bear, mountain lion, and deer, to live fish in natural-looking, rock surrounded, aquariums.  There were various televised displays featuring beautiful outdoor pictures and hunter safety promos, and a lift-the-flap board that taught bear identification between our browns and grizzlies. My children enjoyed participating in the scavenger hunt that the center offers.  There... [Read more...]

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