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Month: December 2011

Join the Christmas Bird Count

December 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Join the Christmas Bird Count

With their binoculars, scopes, and gazes turned to the skies, birdwatchers are often far easier to spot than the feathered friends they search for. Join a Christmas Bird Count at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge on Monday, December 19, 2011. Pictured above Green Jay at Laguna Atascosa. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Birds have a unique ability to inspire and delight us. They connect us with nature, with the passage of seasons, and with each other. Birding is one of the most popular activities in the country. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 48 million Americans go birding each year. How about you? It is also one of the few activities open to all ages and levels of ability. The 112th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is scheduled for December 14, 2011 to January 5, 2012. It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the United States, Canada, and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, go out over a 24-hour period to count birds. Tens... [Read more...]

Hunting and Camping go together like Bacon and Eggs.

December 16, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Hunting and Camping go together like Bacon and Eggs.

For some, I am sure, the mention of deer hunting as Santa is readying his sleigh for his Christmas journey is in poor taste.  But, rest assured, Rudolph and the other eight reindeer are perfectly safe in their indoor, heated stalls at the North Pole.  Besides, Santa retired the reindeer in favor of rocket engines fused to his sleigh’s runners years ago as the world population began to explode. I grew up with what has come to be known in my family as the “Bambi Syndrome”.  This was largely fueled by my dear mother that preferred to impose upon my impressionable young mind the belief that those poor, defenseless, big brown-eyed critters that ravaged local apple orchards when their food supplies became low should not be harmed.  Thus, I never hunted as a youth. It was in 1968 – right after graduation from college – that I moved to a rural south-western community in Virginia and began teaching in the public schools.  I had never experienced the fanatic energy that virtually... [Read more...]

One Sweet Stop…

December 15, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

One Sweet Stop…

One of the reasons that we love to fulltime RV is that it gives us the chance to visit all sorts of places that we wouldn’t be able to see if we were just on a 2 week vacation.  One of the places that we visited last week, here in northern California, was the Jelly Belly factory.  I loved the Jelly Belly factory!!!  Not because I love jelly beans, because, to be honest, I don’t much care for them – I’m an organic chocolate kind of girl  ;)  .  But, I am more than happy to buy all sorts of jelly beans for my family, who does love them, because they are made right here, in the US, from start to finish, and I love to support American Made (and I will admit to picking out a few pineapple ones for myself ;)!  When we checked into our last campground, they gave us a flyer that highlighted local area attractions.  One of those attractions was the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, CA – it’s address, for future GPS reference, is 1 Jelly Belly Lane  :). ... [Read more...]

Our Lady of Good Help–A Vision in Wisconsin

December 14, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Our Lady of Good Help–A Vision in Wisconsin

Many of you know that, on our travels, my family and I love to visit sites of historical significance, as well as shrines and locations of significance to our faith and culture. Most of the ones we have seen have been located in the western part of our beautiful country. However, we recently learned of a significant site right near our home in a small corner of northeastern Wisconsin. This is the location of the only site in these United States that the Vatican has sanctioned as an official appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. An investigation was begun by the Bishop David Ricken of the Green Bay Diocese in 2009 to review the historical information of the Marian apparitions at this location, as well as the life of Sister Adele, the Belgian immigrant to whom Mary appeared in 1859. One year earlier, the Virgin Mary appeared in Lourdes, France, to a young woman named Bernadette. On December 8, 2010, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Bishop gave official Church approval of the... [Read more...]

Spending Christmas at the RV

December 14, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Spending Christmas at the RV

Last week-end, my son Jérémy asked his dad if we could go spend Christmas at the RV this year.   My husband likes the thought of it considering the weather we have in Ontario, Canada since we closed the RV for the winter season back in October… To be honest, it is almost tempting to drive up that day just to say we were there on Dec 25th.  Tomorrow, which will be Dec 15th by the way, the temperature announced for Ottawa, ON is about 9 degree Celsius which is about  48.2 Fahrenheit. I know we won’t drive to our campsite that week and deep down I am hoping to have a white Christmas but this year waves of temperature made us seriously think about the fact that all campground in our province closes during the long week-end in October which is our Thanksgiving week-end.     We could have spent more week-end at our “cottage” like my mother-in-law calls it. We could have fish more, explore the woods more, see the wildlife slowly going to sleep…  So many opportunities that... [Read more...]

The beautiful Redwood National Park, CA

December 12, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

The beautiful Redwood National Park, CA

One of the places that we really enjoyed visiting the first year that we were on the road was the redwoods on the coast of northern California.   That first winter out, we drove through the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, and were completely enraptured with the redwoods – both the trees themselves, and the surrounding flora that looked like it was straight out of Jurassic Park (and actually, Jurassic Park IS straight out of the northern CA redwoods, with parts of the films being shot in the parks!).  Did you know that there is actually a network of FOUR parks that protect 40,000 acres of giant redwoods – that is approximately half of the redwoods remaining of an estimated 2 million original acres).  There are 3 California state parks, and the Redwoods National Park, established in 1978; and in some instances the parks overlap.  That first trip we took a loop that included traveling east on Highway 199 and back west on the Howland Hill scenic road. ... [Read more...]

A Little Aeration for The Great Outdoors

December 12, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Once you have parked the RV or set up your tent for the night, do you like to sit down and indulge in a great dinner and nice glass of red wine?  If so, then you might be interested in the new Vinturi Travel Aerator. Like its big sibling, The Original Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator, the travel aerator is designed to enhance the bouquet and aroma of the red wine at hand.  The benefit for RVers and campers, however, is that the new product comes with its own swivel case and  is remarkably compact in size. We own and use the original aerator, but when we received a sample of the new Vinturi Travel we were immediately impressed with the design and the compact size. In essence, the aerator will easily fit in our compact travel trailer kitchen and will take up less space than a can opener or a corkscrew. I think this is a great way to add some elegance to a delightful evening in the great outdoors. How many times have you been traveling to and camping in a remote location and found yourself... [Read more...]

Planning Your Next Big Adventure!

December 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Planning Your Next Big Adventure!

If you are like me, the winter months represent prime time to be planning our escape(s) for the next camping season. But where to start? Below are a few ideas we typically use to discover a place where we will enjoy traveling and visiting the following year: My well-loved atlas! 1. I start with an atlas…or a map of the country. Generally, we first need to pick a direction. Sometimes this is easy. Many of you know we generally head west from our Wisconsin home. After doing so for a number of years, in the mood for something different, one year we decided to head east. That started one of our all time favorite two week summer RV trips; one we still talk about today! If you are like us and generally head for the same or a similar location, pick a new one, either exactly opposite of the usual or some variation of this. Sitting down with a map or an atlas can help you peruse attractions along the various routes and at least get headed out in a general direction. 2.  Choose a time frame. Where... [Read more...]

Get ‘em While You Can!

December 9, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Get ‘em While You Can!

My guess is you are probably not associating the holiday decorating items displayed on merchant shelves with your summer camping adventures. STOP!  Think about this a minute – many desirable items will not be as inexpensive or available later on as they are right now. Most all of us enjoy putting “patio lights” on our awning, screen room or around our campers during the summer.  They not only give off a welcome light on a dark night but also give our camp site a distinct personality. What better lights to use than colorful LED strings of Christmas tree lighting?  LED lighting is not only energy efficient but it is also cool to the touch and less likely to “burn out” than conventional incandescent light strings.  Decorative lights are also available as rope lights in clear, red, blue, or mixed colors.  These store away easily and are extremely durable – not to mention waterproof. Those fancy ice-sickle lights with LEDs that chase up and down are great camping lights.  Who... [Read more...]

Red Rock Country: Sedona

December 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Red Rock Country: Sedona

Sedona is an Arizona destination not to be missed—a must-see wonders. Sedona has developed into a center for traditional and contemporary arts and offers a variety of galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Sedona easily makes the “A” list of RV destinations in the U.S. due to its rugged western appeal and colorful rock formations. Tourists come from around the world to absorb the natural wonders of Red Rock Country and Sedona, its centerpiece. Located at the base of Oak Creek Canyon, another scenic destination, Sedona is renowned for its stunning rock formations such as Coffee Pot Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Courthouse Butte, as well as its surrounding lush forests. Sedona is located in both Coconino and Yavapai Counties and is surrounded by Coconino National Forest. Sedona has developed into a center for traditional and contemporary arts and offers a variety of galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops. In 1950, surrealist painter Max Ernst moved... [Read more...]

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