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Month: November 2011

Fort Lauderdale and Miami’s South Beach

November 30, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

After leaving the Florida Keys, we returned to CB Smith’s County Park just outside Fort Lauderdale for a few more days so that we could visit with some old friends and experience Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami’s famed South Beach. It had been years since we had seen either of our friends: Mark, who attended high school with our daughter, and his partner Andy, and Steve, once married to the now-departed and much missed Eva. Their beautiful homes, hospitality and gracious entertaining left Maureen and I with more fond memories of them and Fort Lauderdale. There are other memories of Fort Lauderdale and Miami that come to my mind, although they happened many years ago. I last visited the Fort Lauderdale-Miami area with a high school friend some 45 years ago, in celebration of our graduation and the purchase of my brand new Corvette Stingray. Since then, much has changed. Once Easter-Break-Central for much of the east-of-the-Mississippi high school and college students crowd, we found... [Read more...]

Valdez is for Campers, RVers, and Adventurers!

November 30, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Photo by Michael De Young/ATIA Are you planning a road trip to Alaska? Are you thinking of traveling to and camping in America’s Last Frontier next summer? If so, then I would like to suggest adding Valdez to the itinerary. I must admit that I haven’t been there myself, but it was on my “to do” list when we lived in Anchorage about five years ago.  Unfortunately, we got sidetracked with other destinations that summer, but when I was at the Alaska Media Road Show in Santa Barbara about a month ago, I was fortunate to meet with Colleen Stephens while I was there. Colleen is from the Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau. She seemed to know exactly what I was interested in! Colleen explained that Valdez caters to campers! I was really happy to hear this because camping in Alaska can take a fair amount of initiative and organization. I know this because I’ve done it many times myself! Colleen explained that Valdez has many RV sites around town and that many... [Read more...]

Kingman, AZ to Las Vegas

November 29, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Kingman, AZ to Las Vegas

We left Kingman, Arizona, on the 21st of July, after having to put down our beautiful, loyal Australian Terrier, Rocky, the day before after he put out is back for the second time in 5 months. We were very depressed and really not in the mood to go on at that point. But we did. We planned to visit the Dam and the Lake Mead NRA. When we got to the dam, traffic was all backed up due to construction and anti-terrorist inspections of all vehicles. The large construction project included the creation of a separate bridge to carry non-dam-compatible (or will it be all?) traffic between Nevada and Arizona. Our RV was stopped and searched inside and out by a friendly officer. The dam seemed a lot smaller than we remembered, based on the many movies we’ve seen it featured in. It was crowded with tourists. We remain amazed by how many European tourists are over here; on the other hand, everything in the States is on sale due to the continued weakness of the American dollar, so it shouldn’t... [Read more...]

The Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T GPS Made for RVers – Part 1

November 29, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

The Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T GPS Made for RVers  – Part 1

Having a reliable GPS riding shotgun with you in a large RV is probably the best way to keep your rig out of trouble. Note the word “reliable” – it is absolutely the key to avoiding dead end roads and low bridges with a rig that is 3 times (or more) the size of an average four-wheeler. Conventional GPS units simply do not suffice for RV use. They have no setting to determine routing based on your width, length, weight, or height.  My “conventional” GPS will direct our RV to weight restricted bridges, low tunnels, narrow streets and advocate U-turns that are impossible with our rig. Rather than suffer through all of these obstacles and possible traffic tickets or damage to your RV, many of us have elected to purchase GPS units specifically programmed for commercial truckers.  These units do an excellent job of avoiding weight, height, or width barriers.  But, the POI (Point Of Interest) or  information database contained in a trucker GPS doesn’t necessarily concern an RVer. ... [Read more...]

Remembering Lake Ronkonkoma…

November 29, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

We were recently on Long Island in New York, visiting friends and family, when we passed an exit for Lake Ronkonkoma, a place of many childhood memories. I’ve crafted a short story about one of our family’s trips out to the lake one Saturday morning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together. ***** It was early Saturday morning and we were going to Lake Ronkonkoma! Well, actually we might be going to the lake; if only the sky would clear. We kids had waited all week for that morning. And so had several of our friends and cousins who lived on our block and were lucky enough to be invited to go along with my family to the lake for the day. Mom had made sandwiches, cucumber and potato salad and her famous cupcakes — chocolate, with the centers scooped out and hand-filled with homemade-whipped cream. The cone of removed cake was then placed back on top of the cupcake like a hat and dusted with powdered sugar. Yummy! Old blankets, towels and a table cloth were neatly... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Christmas Eve Salad, Tlaquepaque style…

November 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Mexico is enduring its share of challenges; the border conflicts are terrible , and it may seem at times as if the bad guys are winning down there. I pray this all changes, for I love Mexico. I have been there over 25 times, mostly alone, always safe, always cared for, always adopted by the people (I once toured the mainland with my parents in a huge Class C: it almost spelled the death of familial love but that’s for another blog). While I can’t fix Mexico’s problems (or our own country’s, for that matter), I can tell you about a Christmas salad I had in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, and why I loved it even though it was nowhere near Christmas, as in June. First, you have to be able to say Tlaquepaque. Work with me people: Tah- lah -kay -pah kay. See, wasn’t that easy? Tlaquepaque is a little artists’ enclave about 10 kilometers from Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. It has a cool “vibe” and a wonderful market-style center with a Spanish colonial feel: we’re... [Read more...]

A Most Remarkable Man (and his family story of overcoming HHT)

November 25, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

A Most Remarkable Man (and his family story of overcoming HHT)

CAMP – verb Definition of CAMP: to live temporarily in a camp or outdoors —often used with out It can be a hobby, lifestyle, passion, escape, or a way to bring family together.  You can enjoy it with just a bedroll and fire, a tent or a RV. It really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference how you enjoy camping because you will always discover new adventures and people that otherwise might never come into your life. I had never met Allan, though we had exchanged comments on our club forum.  As far as I knew, he was just like anybody else that enjoyed camping. I had just come back from a walk around the lake shore of our campground when our paths crossed.  He was wearing hiking boots and had on a backpack.  There were signs of perspiration around his temples.  He had obviously been walking with the pack for some distance.  But, a backpack at this particular campground was out of place.  I mean, it was not as if we were next to the Appalachian Trail or something – it just... [Read more...]

Underground Wonderland: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

November 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Underground Wonderland: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Below the arid mountain and desert landscape of the southeast corner of New Mexico lays an underground world of awe-inspiring and dazzling proportions. It’s a magical world of mysterious passageways, colossal rock formations, crystal-clear pools of water, and giant subterranean chambers. This is the renowned Carlsbad Cavern, one of the caves protected in the nearly 47,000 acres of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Welcome to Carlsbad Canyon National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The enormous subterranean caverns, located 755 feet beneath the Chihuahuan Desert in southeastern New Mexico, provide a stunning glimpse into the geological evolution of a cave system that is more than 600,000 years old. Carlsbad Cavern’s painted grottos, giant domes, soda straws, helictites, stalactites, stalagmites, and other remarkable rock formations make it one of the most renowned cave systems in the world. Carlsbad Caverns National Park preserves at least 113 separate limestone caves, including... [Read more...]

On Giving Thanks…

November 23, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

On Giving Thanks…

At this time of year, while the hustle and bustle of the holiday and end of the year celebrations create more tasks and responsibilities for us, it is appropriate to take a few moments to give thanks for those things for which we are most grateful. Along the lines of Oprah’s Gratitude Journal, in which she suggests we daily list the top three, five or ten things for which we are most grateful, the practice helps us to more fully appreciate those things most important to us. So, following my own advice, something which all good therapists should do, here is my current list: My children: Kate, Meghan and Ryan 1. Family At the top of my list, similar to the top of most of yours, I assume, is my family. My children mean more to me than life itself. I give to them more than I have ever given any other and I want more for them than words can express. While all parents love and care for their children, I am also prouder of them than I ever imagined. And even more than people to be proud of,... [Read more...]

UFO Capital: Roswell, NM

November 20, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

UFO Capital: Roswell, NM

Sixty-three years ago, a rancher named W.W. Mack Brazel checked his sheep after a thunderstorm and found debris made of a strange metal scattered in many directions. He noticed a shallow trench cut into the desert floor. The UFO Museum and International Research Center is located in the old Plains Theater on North Main in downtown Roswell. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved As the story goes, Mac Brazel drove his rusty pickup down to the county seat of Roswell to inform authorities that something had crashed and scattered metallic debris across his ranch land. Figuring it must have come from the nearby Army airfield, officers accompanied him back to the ranch, and what they witnessed in the desert has, in the decades since, mushroomed to become the most widely publicized event in UFO lore. There had been 16 reported unidentified flying object sightings reported that year during the several months preceding what would be known as the Roswell Incident. The Air Force issued a press release... [Read more...]

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