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Category: Family Day Trips

Unique Orlando day-trip destination…

February 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Unique Orlando day-trip destination…

We are always on the lookout for a unique day-trip destination that’s fun and interesting, and this winter, while we were spending some time in Florida, we found such a treat of a day-trip in Orlando. We spent a morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando, checking out their Discover Center. Wycliffe is a non-profit organization that translates the Bible into languages that do not currently have the Bible available to them in their “heart language” (your heart language is the language that you think, dream and naturally speak in). Named after John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, the Wycliffe Discover Center focuses on informing people of the need for Bible translations and the works that are in progress. The Discovery Center is a very engaging, interesting, and informative place; you can either self-tour the facilities, or the center offers 20 minute guided tours on the hour, every hour, from 9 to 3.  They also have a special talk every... [Read more...]

Mardi Gras Defined: Speak Like a Local

February 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Mardi Gras Defined: Speak Like a Local

It’s Mardi Gras time!   Mardi Gras. Two little words with an infinitely large explanation. For different people it’s different things—an event, an idea, a day, a way of life, piece of history, state holiday, or a million parades and countless memories. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Are you ready? There are a few terms you will hear throughout Mardi Gras. Familiarize these terms before you embark upon the revelry and you will understand everything going on around you and know how to converse like a true resident during Mardi Gras. Say What? Laissez les bon temps rouler — Let The Good Times Roll Carnivale — The carnivale season officially begins each year on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, ‘King’s Day’, with traditional balls occurring in the weeks that lead up to the big event. Mardi Gras — Fat Tuesday Lundi Gras — Fat Monday which is the day before the Mardi Gras holiday. Mardi Gras Colors — The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.... [Read more...]

Valley of Fire State Park: Simply WOW!

February 12, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Valley of Fire State Park: Simply WOW!

The lights! The glitz! The shine! Sculpted, chiseled, and twisted red rock formations more dramatic than most others we have seen dominate the park’s 42,000 acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved From the bizarre to the beautiful, Las Vegas has it all: New York, NY, The Venetian, Caesars Palace, and Paris—and the Bellagio water fountain show. When the neon of Vegas becomes too much, head out to Valley of Fire, Nevada’s first state park, so designated in 1935. With its blood-red sandstone cliffs and weird rock formations, there’s an other-worldly feeling here. Valley of Fire State Park is 55 miles—and a few light-years—northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75. Sculpted, chiseled, and twisted red rock formations more dramatic than most others we have seen dominate the park’s 42,000 acres. We felt as though we had been transported to the alien surface another planet. The Valley of Fire derives its name from red sandstone formations, formed from great... [Read more...]

Czeching Out La Grange

January 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Czeching Out La Grange

We headed to the Central Texas town of La Grande to “Czech” out what might just be the “Best Little Day Trip in Texas.” Texas Quilt Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The events of La Grange’s famous Chicken Ranch inspired the stage play, movie, and the lyrics of a popular song, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Then there’s the ZZ Top song that still fuels Texas folklore. The brothel is no longer around—it was officially closed in 1973 after operating for more than 130 years. The building was sold and hauled to Dallas where, for awhile, it served as a restaurant that served—what else? Chicken. Later, the building burned to the ground. All that’s left these days is the legend and some fading memories. However, there’s still plenty to do in this town. For starters, we Czeched out the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. This museum gave us a feel for the culture and early days of Fayette County when thousands of Czech immigrants populated the area. The... [Read more...]

Taking it easy in Monroe, Louisiana…

January 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Taking it easy in Monroe, Louisiana…

We recently spent two weeks visiting Louisiana.  We were pleasantly surprised by how much there was to do there.  We spent a few days in Shreveport, where we stayed in a Louisiana state park, went bowling, visited a local nature center and a great science museum, and we found a yummy Cajun restaurant and even got to hold a gator! Next we took I-20 over to Monroe, where we found a few more fabulous stops! Monroe is home to the the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum. This free museum covers military history from WWI through Vietnam and specializes in covering aviation-related service members. The museum features displays on individual service members, including their story and memorabilia from their lives. The museum is small, but there is so much history packed into it! When we visited, there were two gentlemen there who acted as guides. They were very knowledgeable and had a passion for their topic! We spent about an hour and a half there but didn’t even visit all the exhibits... [Read more...]

Top 6 Birding Hotspots in Southeastern Arizona

January 27, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Top 6 Birding Hotspots in Southeastern Arizona

Southeastern Arizona is an ecological crossroads, where the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is home to 260 species of birds including the vermilion flycatcher. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The abrupt rise of mountains like the Huachucas from the surrounding arid grasslands creates “sky islands” harboring rare species and communities of plants and animals. If you are a birder, Southeastern Arizona is the place to go. Birding enthusiast are attracted to this unique region with many arriving in recreational vehicles. The following are our suggestions for where to find the best birding spots. Generally, they are located along streams and rivers or in forested mountain canyons. Some will have nearby RV parks or forestry campgrounds but will require a drive in your toad/tow vehicle. 6. Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve Between the majestic Santa Rita and beautiful red Patagonia... [Read more...]

Conquering a Demon–Part 2

January 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Conquering a Demon–Part 2

In my last post (see January  19, 2014) I was sharing an experience I enjoyed in early December 2013 after two miserable downhill skiing adventures. Deciding to face my demon, I undertook a Yellowbird Group Ski Lesson at the Taos Ski Valley. My instructor, Karen, was not only competent and professional, but she was nurturing and kind as well. After starting on the bunny hill, we moved on to another gentle, but slightly longer slope. We skied there until lunch, took a break, during which Terry and I had a sandwich at one of a number of restaurants at the resort. It was only then that I noticed how cold my hands had become. I had been so focused on skiing, I had not even felt cold. After lunch, I met Karen at a new ski lift as she had decided I was ready to take on yet another challenge. I should mention that as the temperature was only 20 degrees, it was very early in the season and it was snowing significantly during the entire lesson, I was Karen’s only student that day. Therefore,... [Read more...]

Eat My Words: Top BBQ Joints

January 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Eat My Words: Top BBQ Joints

Each of the four iconic barbecue regions—Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina—serve a different style of barbecue. Lockhart, the official Barbecue Capital of Texas, is home to four major barbecue restaurants including award-winning Black’s Barbecue, which has been owned by the same family since 1932. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Typically, Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City are all about the ribs. In North Carolina, pulled pork dominates the menu, and Texans love brisket. Of course, you’ll also find chicken, turkey, and sausage along the way. Some of the biggest differences in cooking methods involves the type of wood such as oak or hickory, and direct or indirect heat. Then, there is the wet versus dry debate because some pit masters baste their meat while it is cooking and others use a dry rib. And of course, an entire book could be written on barbecue sausages alone. Vinegar-based sauce is preferred in the Southeast, while the Midwest and Western regions like... [Read more...]

Conquering a Demon–Part 1

January 19, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Conquering a Demon–Part 1

On a snowy day in early December I decided to face my demons, well, one of them anyway. Since we moved to a downhill skiing Mecca nearly two years ago, I have been terrified of the sport. I begrudgingly went skiing with my husband and two of my children the Friday after Thanksgiving the past two years, but was tense and terrified the entire time. After my most recent experience this past November, I decided I had had enough of the fear and I was going to conquer it. I have always been a take the bull by the horns kind of person; in fact I started hiking up mountains due to my fear of heights. Now you can’t keep me away. What does this have to do with camping, you ask? Only that it is about enjoying the out of doors in all types of weather and I am thinking there may be other campers who share my fear and/or my interest in skiing. Also, the Taos Ski Valley, where I took my lesson, not only has one of the most competent and exceptional ski schools in the United States, they also have... [Read more...]

If You Only Do One Thing in Tucson…

January 16, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

If You Only Do One Thing in Tucson…

There are numerous reasons to visit Tucson and the many other historic towns and sights around Southern Arizona. Some RVers come for a day or two. Some come for a week. Others stay for the season. There are numerous reasons to visit Tucson. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Those of us who spend time in Southern Arizona have our favorites places. What you do and where you go depends partly on the season, the amount of time you have available, and your interests. If you only do one thing while in Tucson… Then go to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. If it is HOT, go early; drink lots of water. Do take Gates Pass to get there. (Take Speedway west and keep going.) Stop at the rest area at the top of the pass for a great view amid a magnificent saguaro forest. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden, all in one place. The Desert Museum is unique among zoological parks for its focus on interpreting the complete natural history... [Read more...]

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