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Category: Outdoor Recreation & Hiking

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...]

Pickleball…Does it have anything to do with pickles?

January 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The first question you may ask yourself if you’re unfamiliar with this sport might be: does it have anything to do with pickles? The short answer to that is no. Originated in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, a congressman from Washington, Pickleball got its namesake after the family dog, Pickles, who would run off with the ball whenever it would come his way. The ball was affectionately nicknamed Pickle’s ball, which eventually turned into the current name of Pickleball. This up and coming sport has been gaining popularity in recent years and is a fantastic activity for all ages. Pickleball is very similar to tennis, but everything is on a smaller scale. The court is about one-third the size of a tennis court and has a net mounted two inches lower. The equipment used to play this game includes a hard paddle a whiffle-like ball. Hidden Ridge RV Resort, MI Sun RV Resorts features several properties, such as Hidden Ridge RV Resort, an all ages resort in Hopkins, Mich., that offer multiple courts... [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...]

Shreveport, Louisiana – hold a gator!!!

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, Louisiana – hold a gator!!!

For our last stop in Shreveport, Louisiana, we went to Gators & Friends.  G&F is a combo petting zoo and exotics park.  You purchase your admission in a cute gift shop that offers everything from stuffed alligators to dried alligator heads.  In the gift shop, you can also buy large cups of animal feed for $2. (the food is for hand feeding some of the domestic animals)  Immediately out the back door will be your first glimpse at gators.  Lots of gators.  The alligators are grouped based on size so they don’t eat each other! A little farther behind the gift shop, there is a big walking loop that is bordered by pens of animals.  Everything from ring tailed lemurs to kangaroos, camels to goats, chital deer to capibara.    The kids enjoyed feeding the geese, ponies, and goats (they had The Cutest new kids in there too!); personally, as a mom, I loved the container that the animal food came in! LOL!  The food came in large hot beverage containers, and the kids could just... [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...]

Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Florida Gulf Coast Paradise

January 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Florida Gulf Coast Paradise

Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is nestled along Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast, between Sarasota and Naples, about 100 miles south of Tampa. Palm Island Resort marina (Source: charlotteharbortravel.com) The area covers a diverse landscape of cities and towns. Choose from four island escapes: the barrier island community of Boca Grande; Palm Island, with its serene beaches accessible by ferry; secluded Don Pedro Island; and Little Gasparilla Island. Set on Gasparilla Island, the historic village of Boca Grande offers old world charm, quaint shops and restaurants, and gorgeous beach views. Seven miles of white sandy beach and crystal clear water await you on this retreat away from the world. A car ferry to get there adds to the remote feel of this island getaway. For a small city experience, visit historic Punta Gorda, Englewood, or Port Charlotte. The city of Punta Gorda is a historic town that lies along beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Streets lined with huge royal palms,... [Read more...]

Havasu Balloon Festival Partners With Good Sam

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Havasu Balloon Festival Partners With Good Sam

Join Good Sam Club for high-flying fun at the fourth annual Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair, January 17-19, 2014. Good Sam members can join tens of thousands of spectators watching hot-air balloons soar high above London Bridge, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Havasu, and beautiful desert landscaping. Like Albuquerque’s renowned Balloon Fiesta, the Havasu Balloon Festival turns the Southwestern sky into an airborne parade with the world’s oldest flight technology dressed up in fanciful colors and contemporary shapes. Beyond experiencing the thrill of more than 60 thermal-powered aircraft aloft above Lake Havasu, members will get a lift knowing their camping fees support deserving charities. One of the biggest events in the region, the Havasu Balloon Festival was launched by the Lake Havasu City London Bridge Lions Club and the London Bridge Rotary Club as a way to fund local charitable groups. Four years later, that’s still the mission, with the 2014 festival operated by volunteers... [Read more...]

Welcome the New Year with a New Tradition

December 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Welcome the New Year with a New Tradition

For most of us, New Year’s traditions revolve around indoor activities—eating and watching football. Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona, offers three First Day Hikes of varying length and difficulty. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved However, an outdoor activity could make your holiday rituals even more fun and an invigorating way to kick off the New Year. America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family. State parks nationwide have added First Day Hikes to their January 1 program schedule. All 50 states are participating in the third annual event that invites families and friends to celebrate the New Year amid the sights, sounds, and wonder of our natural world with fun, guided hikes. “Last year, First Day Hikes hosted 22,000 people, who covered... [Read more...]

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