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Category: Family Day Trips

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...]

Shreveport, LA… discovering Louisiana…

January 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, LA… discovering Louisiana…

During our recent time in Shreveport, our whole goal was to hit the best of the best in the area.  We tried to find a variety of destinations and activities, and here are a couple more sure-to-please-stops to add to our previous post Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park…  This 160 acre park, located just west of Shreveport, is a haven for birds and other wildlife.  The park sports extensive walking trails through wooded areas, and there are bird and deer enclosures on the property.  The park has a visitor’s center with multiple rooms filled with interesting and educational displays, including a room with local reptiles in it (some of them were venomous snakes).  There were a lot of hands-on activities for the kids, and interesting exhibits for us bigger people. The park holds numerous naturalist-led programs, for all ages, throughout the week; the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.  We signed up for a ‘slithering snake’ talk, and the naturalist that was... [Read more...]

Shreveport, LA – full of good clean fun!

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, LA – full of good clean fun!

We just finished up a visit to Shreveport, Louisiana.  While we have been through Louisiana several times, we have always taken I-10 and never really stopped and explored.  This is the first time that we have ventured north, and we sure are glad we did! During our 3 days in Shreveport, we found all sorts of fun things to do, so whether you are a snowbird, or a family on vacation, here are a couple of our favorite local picks… One of our very favorite destinations was Holiday Lanes – a fun, clean, smoke-free bowling alley in Bossier City (NE Shreveport)!  Not your typical RV destination to be sure, but definitely added a fun and memorable aspect to our Shreveport visit!  We loved Holiday Lanes! The lanes were very well maintained, and even the settee area was classy and comfy with leather couches!  The alley has an enclosed adult lounge complete with large screen tv and pool table, and a pro shop.  The alley is both adult, and family friendly! We were impressed by how... [Read more...]

The Houston Zoo – Fun for Everyone…

January 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Houston Zoo – Fun for Everyone…

This past week, we enjoyed a lovely day spent touring the Houston Zoo, enjoying their varied exhibits, and getting to see and learn about animals from all over the world.  The park has an area devoted just to unique and tropical birds, and another to different kinds of primates.  There is everything from Asian Elephants to African Kudu, Grizzly Bear to Cheetah.  We all had favorite areas in the zoo – Caleb, our 2 year old, loved the aquarium – it was all we could do to get him to move on to check out the other animals.  The reptile house, with it’s albino alligator, and extensive collection of poisonous snakes was popular with our boys and Peanut (our 6yo girl), while the other little girls liked everything in the Children’s Zoo! The zoo is a great place to visit whether it’s summer or winter - with plentiful shade in the warmer weather, and climate controlled buildings to visit in the cold (or a/c when it’s hot out), there is always a place to... [Read more...]

A Must See Fall Event: The Taos Balloon Rally

January 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A Must See Fall Event: The Taos Balloon Rally

One more event to add to your travel planning calendar for this new year is the annual Taos Balloon Rally. Balloons in the air over our home During the last weekend in October every year, Taos, NM hosts an event that should find its way onto every traveler’s calendar, at least once: The Taos Balloon Rally. While there are a number of balloon rallies that take place each year, and the rally in Albuquerque is larger and more widely attended than Taos’, this is one not to be missed. Many pilots and attendees find Taos their favorite place to fly, owing this to the air quality, causing the balloon to respond in just the right way.  Others find that, due to the air up in Taos being colder, the balloons will fly longer. Still others add that the scenery and weather here are unbeatable. This year’s event was Taos’ 31st annual balloon rally. It kicked off at 8:15 on Friday morning with a mini ascension. Then, as is typical, at 8:30 pilots offered tether rides for elementary school children... [Read more...]

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