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Category: Grandparent Hints and Tips

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: West Glacier, Montana’s KOA; it’s not Glacier Park, but it’s cool!

September 25, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

We northwestern Montanans are privileged to claim Glacier National Park as our personal backyard. Read more about Montana campgrounds and things to do in Montana. And the more boorish among us are pretty quick to let the entire world in on that…hence, this blog from your resident Woodall’s boor. A couple of weeks ago the Brazil Nut (a/k/a “my husband”) and I were heading up to Glacier and decided to swing through the KOA just outside the Park .Search for a national park. We stopped on a whim: I mean, how could a KOA compare with anything in Glacier Park? What could a KOA have to offer that the many lovely campsites at Glacier don’t already have? Turns out, plenty…especially if you like a resort atmosphere, enough going on for young and older kids to keep whining at bay, and a good restaurant if you (or your family) are burned out on making dinner after traipsing around all day. We couldn’t stay overnight, but I can share how beautiful and clean everything was, and what... [Read more...]

Mountain Monograms

July 6, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

While driving eastward on I-70 through southern Utah, we noticed something interesting. Giant letters. One letter at a time, on one mountain at a time, all along the interstate. Why? Who? What? When? Alien guideposts, left behind by ancient navigators? Could they be easily seen markers for little green tourists to follow: “Turn left at mountain ‘M,’ proceed 1.7 glicks SSE to mountain ‘U,’ bear right for .04 glicks to Wooly Mammoth Intergalactic Amusement Park entrance, follow entrance ramp past visitors’ center. You have arrived at your destination: Starbucks.” Hmmm, maybe… But maybe the monograms were left by Paleolithic frat boys… Actually and, more realistically, we’re getting close. It seems that the giant letters began being constructed in the early 1900s by college and high school students as a way to bring fame to their schools and sidetrack any testosterone-fed interschool rivalries that had led to violence in the past. See the “Deuce of Clubs” website’s... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Freewheeling Part 1 (Why We Sold Our House and Live on Wheels)

June 15, 2011 by · 9 Comments 

 I’m a “Baby Boomer.”  I have long teeth and even longer memories of a simpler, freer,  United States of America. It’s these memories, and a desire for a deeper connection with loved ones,  that motivated us to simplify our lives; that is, to sell our home, possessions, and hunker down to a 24 foot motor home. In essence, we have declared our independence.  Our Declaration of Independence, 2011: Given that we want to decrease the ways we’re impacted by governmental direction, and decrease the time and resources required to maintain a house, and given that we want to increase our freedom, and increase the time we spend with loved ones around the country… We have sold most (virtually all) of our possessions, including our home, and purchased the motor home we think works best for us. Thus, we declare ourselves official members of the full time RVing community. We’re delighted and quite pleased with ourselves. However, my beautiful grown-up girl frets, ”... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: The Glacier Institute, or “How to Really Experience Glacier Park.”

May 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: The Glacier Institute, or “How to Really Experience Glacier Park.”

Mountain Lion photo by Jim Peaco, NPS I had been gone a long time. Too long. Southern California has its charms, but Montana it’s not.  After my stint on the So Cal wild side (can’t share; wouldn’t be prudent), I returned to Montana longing to know Glacier National Park even better. Sure, I had gone on several hikes, taken visitors on Going-to-the-Sun road about a thousand times, and had day (and night) camped a few times over the years. I had read a lot, as well.  But I wanted to know more. I wanted to learn about the Park from experts. Then someone mentioned, “The Glacier Institute.”  Perfect for me, and I hope for you. I love the Glacier Institute’s motto, “Learning Gone Wild.” And it’s true. Photo by Bryan Harry, NPS I could go on forever about the “courses” I’ve taken in Glacier Park on Mountain Lions of Glacier Park, Grizzlies and Black Bears, and Wildflowers of Glacier. Suffice it to say, they were outstanding. The classes may have different names  now,... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Summer Secrets for Turning Teens Into Happy Campers

May 26, 2011 by · 13 Comments 

Let’s take a look at actual statements that  12-16 year old students wrote about family camping, taken from a teacher ( who shall remain nameless) who intercepted hundreds of notes over the span of her 25 year career:  “ They’re making me leave for, like, most of the summer. Like I want to live in the RV with them.” “Everyone will talk about me when I’m gone.” “They said I can’t play internet video games even if the stupid campgrounds have Wi-Fi. That stinks.” “Alex/John/James/Andy/Garth/Michael/Ian/Brenan/Juan/Gage will probably dump me. I mean,  I’m going to be gone half the summer. I would dump me, too.” “Ask your parents if I can stay with you for the summer; then maybe I won’t have to go.” “They said texting is out; that I’m supposed to act like I’m a member of the family when we’re RVing and not ignore them. I wish I were in another family.” This is serious stuff for adolescents. If you look closely, you’ll note the above quotes don’t... [Read more...]

Family travel on a budget…

April 6, 2011 by · 7 Comments 

Family travel on a budget…

Traveling with 10 kids, we should be pros at RVing on a budget.  I don’t know that we’ve arrived, but we have learned a few things along the journey.   I’d like to share a few of the ways that we cut costs, and are therefore able to do more things during our trips.  When it comes to saving money, a little planning goes a long way (though not manditory!LOL): Find the Chamber of Commerce or City Visitor’s Center.  If you are planning a trip, contact them and they are usually happy to send you a tourist packet – be sure to ask for a city map and any coupon books that they have!  Coupons are not just for grocery stores!   If you are just driving into town, stop by and ask for the same – also, don’t forget to ask what the locals like to do in town; the best eateries, attractions, parks…are not necessarily the most popular/advertised ones.  Free is Good!  Like the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Fort Worth Water Park, the Fort Worth Botanical... [Read more...]

RANDY’S RANTS – What is a RV?

January 6, 2011 by · 15 Comments 

RANDY’S RANTS – What is a RV?

Sometimes I feel like letting it all out and ranting about one (or more) of my pet peeves. One of these is the perception that only motor homes are RVs.  Maybe Robin Williams in the movie RV worked to cement this view? We were at a New Years Eve celebration with a group of friends.  Seating at the tables in the main ballroom of the hotel was assigned according to when we made our reservations.  With 12 seats situated around a large round table, there were several strangers situated with our group. The woman sitting to my left was at least my age, maybe a little bit older.  It was hard for me to tell since the make-up on her face was at least a 1/4” thick and filled in any wrinkles like Bondo does on a wrecked car.  She was “dressed to kill” with long black gloves and enough jewelry to require an armed guard.  Her companion wore a tuxedo.  Shucks, I only had on my Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Suit! Somehow or other in an effort to create a conversation I mentioned to her that Nancy... [Read more...]

REARRANGING CHRISTMAS – How We Make it Work for All of Our Children!

December 23, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

REARRANGING CHRISTMAS – How We Make it Work for All of Our Children!

Our children fit into the category of “Grown and Gone”. We have two boys and two girls that have gifted us with seven beautiful grandchildren.  They not only have us, but another set of parents commonly referred to as “in-laws”. (I have often wondered if that made us “out-laws”?) As many younger campers realize, having an expanded family can often create more than a little stress around Christmas.  Mom and Dad still want the kids to be at home Christmas Eve to wake up to gifts and filled stockings Christmas Morning.  The excitement and expectations displayed by the grandchildren bring pleasant memories back  to the grandparents. Our family gathered together for an "early" Christmas. When it is all said and done, it seems that the ones who feel the most left out are our grown children.  They want to establish their own Christmas traditions with their own children – and this does not necessarily mean going to one of their parent’s homes. We solved the problem... [Read more...]

Family Camping: How to Create a Fun Family Camping Vacation

June 1, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Family Camping: How to Create a Fun Family Camping Vacation

Family camping is a fun, economical way to spend time with your kids and grand children. Whether you’re an RV camper or a tent camper, family camping comes in all shapes and sizes.  Camping vacations do require pre-planning, however. Here’s what you need to know. Family Camping Tip 1: Choose a Destination Oriented Camping Spot Just like on any family vacation, kids enjoy doing things that are fun and active. Before you select your family camping vacation spot, decide on the top things that you and your family might want to do. For example, if you have a child who is a train fanatic, then taking the train from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon might be a perfect vacation for you. If you have a budding scientist in your midst then consider visiting an Exploratorium – this is a hands-on, kid friendly museum that will let your kids and grand kids be a scientist for a day.  If amusement parks are more your style, there are Disneyland Resorts, Great America Theme Parks, and Busch... [Read more...]

Road Noise…

May 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Having logged over 23,000 miles this past winter (I know, I should have alerted you so that you could have invested in Exxon stock!), we spent some serious time behind the wheel!  Traveling with 11 children (1m. to 20y.o.), for extended amounts of time, can be downright challenging.  I would like to think that I have learned a few tricks along our travels that made the trip go more smoothly the farther down the road we got.  I thought I would share one of our favorite things to do while we are making a long haul, or traveling through not-so-scenic areas: Listening to new books on CD!  While this may not sound very groundbreaking, we found that it took some major effort to track down kid-friendly CDs while on the road! A book on CD (or MP3), can be either a book being read aloud, or (our preference) an ‘audio drama’.  While we always enjoy a good book, we find well done dramas, or ‘theatres’ especially entertaining.  These are like the old radio shows... [Read more...]

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