Posts Tagged With: camping

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 9

I feel a little whiney today.  I didn’t sleep so well last night.  My privacy shades didn’t keep out the bright security light so I couldn’t find that deep, delicious REM sleep I need.   I was anxious for daybreak so I could get organized and hit the road.  Yesterday I decided not to head north to Kilispell, Montana as planned to visit Glacier National Park but to stay on I-90 West that would eventually take me right into Seattle.  I’ve never been in this area of the country so it’s all new and beautiful to me and although I swore I would have no deadlines, I feel ready to get to my final destination.  My husband is flying to Seattle to meet me for his 70th birthday with his children and grandson.  My well-planned itinerary feels like its unravelling around the edges a bit but, so what?  I’m gonna follow my nose and keep going left — west.

I’m not sure if I was tired and zoned out or was involved with my murder mystery audio book, but when I noticed a bunch of people at an overlook I joined them.  Whoa!  Welcome to Idaho.  I’ve met some incredible people at these overlooks.  We’re all visitors and every one has a story.   I had to pull into a rest stop to make absolutely sure I was where I was supposed to be.  When I did, I realized I was hungry so  I took a box of crackers and peanut butter over to a picnic table with my maps, etc.  I thought the critters were squirrels.  But, they weren’t.  They were prairie dogs.  Hungry prairie dogs.  They were adorable but I still didn’t share my peanut butter crackers.

You single girls out there – let me tell you the easiest way to meet nice men.  Forget Match or eHarmony, just sit down and look at a map.  They can’t resist – if they’re gentlemen they want to help. Whether you need assistance or not you will meet some really nice people.  So, these two guys who were also laughing at the prairie dogs joined me at the picnic table to see if I needed help and we began talking about Idaho.  They  were headed south to the Tetons after spending the night in Couer d’Alene and highly recommended a stop there.  I was only a couple of hours away and very tired so I decided to take a break, have a hot meal and find a motel for the night.

I had an hour to kill before I could check into my motel room so I stopped for lunch.  I whipped out my atlas while I had a glass of wine waiting for my meal.  A nice older (than me) gentleman came over to see if I needed help.  See, I told you so.  Anyway, we had a nice chat about his dream of visiting Florida and he gave me some information about Idaho. When I checked into my room I took a wonderful hot shower, set up my computer to try to catch up on blogging, emails and messages and took a long nap.  When I got up I was hungry and lazy.  I didn’t want to get dressed up to go to a restaurant so decided to look for a fast food place in the neighborhood.  I found a Panda Express nearby and thought, why not?  Live life large, right?  Try something new.  Not.  By morning my hands were so swollen I couldn’t make a fist and my face was puffy.  Unless you can tolerate loads of MSG, don’t do it.

But, I was clean and comfortable and fed and getting organized.  I’m excited to explore Couer d’Alene tomorrow.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 8

I slept amazingly well considering I was on bear alert and a little on edge.  I waited for daylight so I could go across to the restrooms to get cleaned up and ready for the day. I was hyper-vigilant walking on the path through the bushes and carried my pepper/mace spray in the ready position.  With my quick reflexes and physical acuity I’m sure if I ever had to press the nozzle of the mace it would be pointed in the wrong direction and I’d get it in the face instead of the bear.  At least I wouldn’t be able to see him eating me.

I was reluctant to leave the grandeur of the bay but will savor the beauty and plan to return to Grand Teton National Park as a destination with my sister, hopefully, next year.

Yellowstone National Park is only 18 miles up the road from Coulter Bay Campground.  That was a pleasant surprise and, again, I saved the $30 entrance fee thanks to my Senior Pass.  My plan was to visit Yellowstone then head north to Glacier National Park but cell reception in the Tetons had been patchy to non-existent.  I even had trouble with my GPS so I’m a little anxious about driving to Glacier on secondary roads without any type of cell service in case of emergencies.  A girl’s got to be careful and aware when traveling alone, especially if she can’t call Geico or dial 911 if she’s in trouble. I decided to not think about it until I finished at Yellowstone, having already established a beautiful alternate route to Seattle if needed.

On the way to Yellowstone I passed the Continental Divide for the first time this trip.  An elevation of 7,988 feet may not seem like much to most people, but I’m from Florida where the elevation of my home is 6 feet.  I checked Wikipedia for a refresher on the “Continantal Divide” since it’s been about 100 years since my last geography class. If you’re interested, America’s Continental Divide:

is the principal, and largely mountainoushydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean

Of course my first stop in Yellowstone was to see Old Faithful.  I only had to wait about 10 minutes for its eruption and it looked exactly like the old newsreels and pictures you’ve seen.  What made it especially exciting were the hundreds of people from all over the world waiting with me and the “oohs” and “aahs” as the geyser took off.  I stopped in the Travel Center to get my National Parks Passbook stamped, wrote some postcards to the grandkids and continued my exploration.

So I  moseyed and meandered through Yellowstone for a couple of hours observing waterfalls, geysers and hot springs.  So beautiful.  It’s funny …  I packed my clothes and equipment for kayaking and hiking adventures but my heart led me to continue driving and exploring, observing the beauty around me.  I entered Yellowstone from Wyoming and exited the park to West Yellowstone, Montana.  I had a late lunch at the Bullwinkle Saloon.  An adorable restaurant but $18 for a cheeseburger?  Oh wait, that included a Blue Moon and the tip. I finally had a wi-fi connection so I called home to let everyone know I was OK, caught up with emails and messages.  Wait, maybe I had two Blue Moons.  OK, $18 isn’t so bad. I checked my Allstays app (don’t leave home without it) and my atlas and decided it would be foolhardy to attempt Glacier National Park this trip.  I did not feel prepared or comfortable continuing without cell service or warmer clothes that were stored in my rooftop carrier and I’d rather be beaten than try to get the duffel down from there after the fiasco with my kayak. So, on to Plan B – just keep driving west.

I passed through Billings and Bozeman looking for a place to stay and finally gave up and decided to boondock at a WalMart in Butte, Montana.  I had a leisurely dinner at a local restaurant and spent a comfortable night tucked away between two giant RV units. Unfortunately, I parked under a security light and gave up a little bit of comfort for the safety of the big boys parked on either side of me.  It was a long day filled with wonders.

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Baby Wants to be an 18-Wheeler

baby-casita-2

Categories: Camping, Daily Prompt, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sisters Camping Trip # 3 – Preparation

Casita

So, the Princess and I survived our first two camping adventures without hurting each other.  I always try mightily to back my Casita travel trailer into our camp site but I echo Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” when I fail miserably.  My job is to sweat and cuss and try and try again to back the camper in the right direction.  Yes, I know you have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction from where you want the trailer to go. The Princess’ job is to stand around looking adorable with an an imploring look & pleading smile while nearby campers rush to volunteer to back the trailer in for us.  I guess it takes a village.  Whatever.

sa4

This time we’re heading to St. George Island State Park in the Florida panhandle.  We’ll camp on the beach and explore Apalachicola and other coastal towns.  We’ll eat lots of seafood — shrimp, oysters, mullet, etc.  It’s going to be cold (30’s-40’s at night) so walks on the beach may mean bundling up in several layers. Picture two female Pillsbury dough boys and pray we don’t trip.  “We’ve fallen and we can’t get up.”

I’ve prepared and frozen two meals, chili one night and chicken cacciatore for another night.  I plan to store them in the freezer compartment to help keep the refrigerator cold, then use my slow cooker to defrost and heat up our dinner when we’re ready.  I’m buying steaks & Idaho potatoes for our first night. Since we don’t have a very good track record with grilling on an outdoor fire, I’ll buy New York strips instead of rib eyes just in case our dreams go up in smoke (again).  The Princess is responsible for cocktails and appetizers for the trip and local restaurants and bars will fill in the gaps.weenie

I live in southwest Florida and the Princess lives in central Florida so we coordinate our departure times and meet at the confluence of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike in Wildwood.   Her husband transfers her luggage (matching pieces of course) to my car and off we go.

I’ll let you know when we get there.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Of Course I Love My Family But …

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pride and Joy.” What’s your most prized possession?

Of course my family and their love is my most prized possession – that goes without saying.  But if you want to know my most prized material possession, it’s my Casita travel trailer.  It was my retirement gift to me, from me, with love. I am eager for every camping adventure, especially when I go solo.

My 17-foot Casita Freedom

                                                              My 17-foot Casita Freedom

On Long Key, near Key West, Florida (Paradise)

                                                On Long Key, near Key West, Florida (paradise!)

I always wanted to be a cowgirl so that's how I decorated my Casita

I always wanted to be a cowgirl so that’s how I decorated my Casita

Bathroom behind door #1, closet behind door #2

Bathroom behind door #1, closet behind door #2

Dining table drops down, cushions flatten to form a queen size bed

Dining table drops down, cushions flatten to form a queen size bed

Inside dining for two - granddaughter & Grampy

Inside dining for two – granddaughter & Gramps

Just big enough on a rainy day to stay inside & watch movies

Just big enough on a rainy day to stay inside & watch movies

camper1

Getting ready for take-off

I took my sister with me to Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL for a girls' weekend

I took my sister with me to Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL for a girls’ weekend

Girly repairs with pink duct tape

Girly repairs with pink duct tape

My happy place

    My happy place

Good night

                          Good night

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Daily Prompt, Family, Life, Retirement, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Who is Oscar Scherer and Why Is There a State Park Named After Him?

Because it’s one of our favorite camping sites and just 30 miles from home and since we’ve spent some fun camping trips there and I’ve often wondered who Oscar Scherer was, I finally googled (that’s a verb?) “Oscar Scherer”:

In 1955, Elsa Scherer Burrows bequeathed 462 acres of land to the state of Florida for use as a park. The land was donated in memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, an inventor who developed a process for dyeing leather for shoes in 1872.

After a year of preparation, Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area was opened to the public in 1956. In 1991, an additional 922 acres were purchased as part of the P2000 initiative. This increased the parks total acreage to 1384 acres.

It appears that Elsa and Pinnochio had a lot in common, famous fathers involved in shoes.  Now we know and “knowing is half the battle” according to GI Joe.

Oscar Scherer State Park is where I often go when I need to run away from home for a couple of days.  I particularly love this park because the campsites feel private and wild although you are only 20-30 feet from your neighbors and have access to water and electric and the showers & restrooms are clean –   which is about as wild as I want to get.

My last escape from reality I was joined by my husband and we had a good time although things do tend to get a little bizarre when you have two 60-somethings escaping reality together:

front sign oscar

Bobcat on the Red Trail

Bobcat on the Red Trail

 

 

oscar6

 

Eagle nest

Eagle nest

 

oscar1

 

Would you go swimming?

Would you go swimming?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delightful camping site

Delightful camping site

 

 

No, I didn't hit him ... clunked himself on the trunk's hood!

No, I didn’t hit him … clunked himself on the trunk’s hood! But that’s what first aid kits are for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses Their Weenie

We’ve all seen the movie where a man builds a fire by rubbing two sticks together to create a life-saving blaze when he’s lost in a frozen wasteland.  Think Buck, the sled dog, and John Thornton in the Call of the Wild.  They’d both have been frozen popsicles if that blaze had been my responsibility.

casitanite

My sister, the Princess, and I arrived at the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida mid-afternoon.  By the time we got the Casita backed onto the site (don’t ask), unhooked and set up we were starving.  So, we had cocktails and appetizers and discussed starting a campfire to cook hotdogs.  Grilling hotdogs on an campfire is the epitome of “roughing it” according to the Princess and something she’s always wanted to try. She brought kosher hot dogs, buns from the bakery, charcoal and lighter fluid, long expandable forks and a Bic lighter.  I was supposed to provide the expertise.

We must have erased from our memories our previous attempt to start a fire.  The Princess and I were having cocktails (notice a common theme?) by the fire pit at my cottage.  We gathered leaves, twigs and some pieces of wood and made a teepee of them in the pit.  It smoldered and smoked.  We didn’t have any charcoal lighter so we threw rum on the smoldering mess.  Embers started floating through the air and the leaves around the fire pit caught fire.

firepit

A successful fire built by my husband, The Man.

I ran to get the hose from the side of the house but it was about 20 feet too short. I was running in such a panic that I landed on my hands and knees when the hose suddenly played out.  I ignored my scraped and bleeding knees and palms, jumped up and ran to help my sister stomp out the burning leaves around the pit.  I yelled at her to stop stomping because she was wearing my purple Crocs and I didn’t know if they would melt onto her feet. I visualized purple plastic webbing fusing her toes together.  Actually, there was no danger of setting the woods on fire.  The whole sodden mess was due to damp leaves and wood.

Back to the present and oblivious to our miserable history, we put charcoal in the campfire pit, sloshed it with lighter fluid and lit it.  Then we waited for the coals to turn white hot while we had another cocktail.  The Princess speared the hotdogs onto our new forks and after a few minutes of holding the forks over the hot coals she began complaining that her back hurt from bending over the campfire.  I told her to just put the hotdogs on the grill and turn them occassionally.  You guessed it.  One fell into the coals and one flipped into the dirt. I told her to rinse them off.  weenie

When she returned to the fire, she said, “I don’t think that was such a good idea.”  Huh?  Turns out she rinsed them in the dishwater bucket that had Dawn soap in it.

I gathered up the surviving weenies.  “You make us another vodka tonic and I’ll plug in the microwave.”

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses Their Weenie

We’ve all seen the movie where a man builds a fire by rubbing two sticks together to create a life-saving blaze when he’s lost in a frozen wasteland.  Think Buck, the sled dog, and John Thornton in the Call of the Wild.  They’d both have been frozen popsicles if that blaze had been my responsibility.

casitanite

My sister, the Princess, and I arrived at the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida mid-afternoon.  By the time we got the Casita backed onto the site (don’t ask), unhooked and set up we were starving.  So, we had cocktails and appetizers and discussed starting a campfire to cook hotdogs.  Grilling hotdogs on an campfire is the epitome of “roughing it” according to the Princess and something she’s always wanted to try. She brought kosher hot dogs, buns from the bakery, charcoal and lighter fluid, long expandable forks and a Bic lighter.  I was supposed to provide the expertise.

We must have erased from our memories our previous attempt to start a fire.  The Princess and I were having cocktails (notice a common theme?) by the fire pit at my cottage.  We gathered leaves, twigs and some pieces of wood and made a teepee of them in the pit.  It smoldered and smoked.  We didn’t have any charcoal lighter so we threw rum on the smoldering mess.  Embers started floating through the air and the leaves around the fire pit caught fire.

firepit

A successful fire built by my husband, The Man.

I ran to get the hose from the side of the house but it was about 20 feet too short. I was running in such a panic that I landed on my hands and knees when the hose suddenly played out.  I ignored my scraped and bleeding knees and palms, jumped up and ran to help my sister stomp out the burning leaves around the pit.  I yelled at her to stop stomping because she was wearing my purple Crocs and I didn’t know if they would melt onto her feet. I visualized purple plastic webbing fusing her toes together.  Actually, there was no danger of setting the woods on fire.  The whole sodden mess was due to damp leaves and wood.

Back to the present and oblivious to our miserable history, we put charcoal in the campfire pit, sloshed it with lighter fluid and lit it.  Then we waited for the coals to turn white hot while we had another cocktail.  The Princess speared the hotdogs onto our new forks and after a few minutes of holding the forks over the hot coals she began complaining that her back hurt from bending over the campfire.  I told her to just put the hotdogs on the grill and turn them occassionally.  You guessed it.  One fell into the coals and one flipped into the dirt. I told her to rinse them off.  weenie

When she returned to the fire, she said, “I don’t think that was such a good idea.”  Huh?  Turns out she rinsed them in the dishwater bucket that had Dawn soap in it.

I gathered up the surviving weenies.  “You make us another vodka tonic and I’ll plug in the microwave.”

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sisters Camping Trip … Get Ready!

My sister has never been camping.  She’s somewhat of a princess.  Just kidding … she IS a princess.  She puts on makeup and fixes her hair to take the garbage out.  Just kidding … she NEVER takes the garbage out.  That’s what husbands are for.

She’s beautiful, I’m a tomboy.  She has an outfit for every occasion; I borrow her clothes.  She enjoys shopping, I borrow her clothes.  She has beautiful jewelry to match every outfit; I borrow her jewelry to match my borrowed clothes.  She is a fantastic cook and hostess and loves to entertain; I love to attend her parties.  She vacations at beautiful condos and cute cabins in the mountains; I go camping with my travel trailer and get stuck on the top of mountains.  She is funny and effervescent; I am, ummm – droll?

10492002_10202337261581396_4174609948372119634_nWe are opposites in so many ways but adore each other and have fun adventures (although we did almost kill each other in Costa Rica a few years ago).  She’s an “un-packer”; I’m a “throw your suitcase on the bed and let’s go” traveler.  We had great adventures on our road trip last October but this camping trip could be a game changer.  Setting up a campsite can be hard physical work, not to mention having to back the camper into the site.  I told her I absolutely forbid flip-flops with wedge heels at the campsite.  I don’t care if she did just get a pedicure and a new toe ring.  I warned her that camping means a minimum amount of outfit changes, little or no makeup and flat shoes or sneakers.  She thinks I’m bossy.

I explained to her that the most important thing when camping is to pack light and consolidate your belongings.  So, we agreed that to save space we will forego her bottles of rum and coke and my bottles of red wine.  We figure one large bottle of vodka, a couple of bottles of diet tonic water and a half dozen fresh limes should do it.  See how nicely we play together when we compromise?

Tomorrow I’m loading up my Casita and Saturday will drive 150 miles to Orlando to pick up the Princess, then we’ll leave for three days of camping on a beach on the east coast of Florida.

Pray for us.

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

You’re Never Alone if You Have a Smart Phone

If you are going to travel solo, I suggest you run, don’t walk, to the nearest store to get a smart phone if you don’t already have one.  This one small device is all you need to:

  • Communicate with family & friends your whereabouts & your plans  via phone, text, email
  • Use as a GPS
  • Find the nearest WalMart, Starbucks or Subway
  • Call for help
  • Locate the next rest stop
  • Take photos & videos of your adventures and send them to family & friends to make them jealous via text or email
  • Post your adventures to Facebook, your blog, etc.
  • Locate the nearest gas station
  • Determine the weather where you are & where you’re headed
  • Surf the Internet to research highlights along your route, identify snakes/spiders/poison plants (just kidding or maybe not)
  • Find the correct time
  • Call for road service
  • Set an alarm to wake you up (why???)
  • Check your calendar for appointments
  • Map out your route
  • Listen to music
  • Play games
  • Follow the news (why??)
  • Follow other bloggers
  • Take notes
  • Calculate stuff
  • Use as a flashlight
  • Google, Facebook, Twitter
  • Orient yourself when you’re on a trail using the built-in compass

If you think this handy, dandy little device is too expensive or too frivolous, you’re wrong!  When traveling/camping alone I use my phone as my GPS to locate state & national parks, to make camping reservations, to check the weather and road conditions, to stay connected to my family so they know where I am and where I’m going and so I know that everyone is OK at home, as a phone of course, to listen to music, to make notes for future blogs, as a camera (takes better photos than my cameras), to check my bank balance & even pay bills if necessary, and when I wake up in the middle of the night I play Solitaire.  If you activate the locator on your phone you can be found if you get lost as long as you have your phone with you.

I also have applications on my phone for siren/alarms (hope I never need it), my bank, exercise journal, motivational radio, flashlight, Cracker Barrel (sometimes I boondock in their parking lot – did you know you can do that?), dutch oven meals, travel deals, national parks, games and much more.  Everything I need fits right in my hand.

So do some comparison shopping (I love my iPhone) and then find a 10 year old to show you how to use it.

 

Categories: Camping, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: