- Pet Blues April 6, 2017
We had to stop writing this post because as we were writing, our little dog Piper had horrible belly issues and we had to stop what we were doing and tend to her. It was disgusting. Gag reflexes were met (hi, gag reflex!). We have seen it before (little miss likes getting into the cat food despite the doggie traps we’ve created) but with elderly pets, it is never pleasant.
Luckily we found a good vet in our current area who knows the pets well. They’ve already nicknamed Piper “Pipey”. She tends to win over every vet practice we enter due to her size and coloring. She uses her big bat ears as weapons to woo them in and charm them.
How did we find our vets? Well, first Yelp comes in handy because without any other context, it’s the best we have. You will find that Yelp is subjective. That’s a nice way of saying “Yelp lies”. When arriving in a place that we’ll be for more than a week, we usually like to bring the dogs to a vet we want to use to get a nail trim and laser treatment (for Ally). We give them the pets’ records so they have them on file. It helps to go over their histories in a non-emergent time, because when there is an emergency (and during a time of stress), we don’t have to remember every single important item. It is much easier to discuss their histories when everyone (us and the pet) are calm.
But you can’t always establish the relationship. We find a vet for every night stop we make via Yelp, but if you’re staying a day it doesn’t make sense to try to establish a relationship. This is where decisioning needs to be made.
Once we were in an area where it was suggested that “pet care” equaled “bring them in the back yard”. Knowing this, we opted a day for what we thought was important but not emergent. You have to trust your gut. Also don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion. We found this with Sommer. We knew that kitty seizures are BAD NEWS. A day after we had to euthanize Nala, Sommer had a seizure. Our hearts sunk. We previously had a cat with brain cancer, saw what kitty seizures meant, and brought her in the next day. The practice we went to seemed to brush off the seizures and couldn’t provide good definitive guidance as to what was going on and kind of questioned their own feedback. So we went to a cat hospital where they looked at her history. What they saw from her bloodwork and her demeanor was that she was a hyperthyroid kitty who wasn’t being medicated properly. They altered her dosage. Immediately her numbers normalized and no more seizures.
You’ll also find that area makes vet care better or worse. We’ve found excellent care in areas, terrible in others. Sometimes it’s the area (competition keeps the level up up up), sometimes it’s luck of the draw. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your pet and do what you feel is right. Yelp and Google can only do so much. The rest is up to you.
- Campgrounds March 31, 2017
This will be a breathing list because we’re always moving! That said, here are the ones that top our “best of” list and why. Full disclosure: This is completely subjective. There is no point system, no scientific method. It’s all whim.
Best Area: Tiger Run Resort, Breckenridge CO – For us the location was perfect. You’ll be a stone’s throw from bike/running paths, near everything and tons of local flavor in both Frisco and Breckenridge. Pros of this campground are nice wide, paved roads. Lots of greenspace for the dogs. Amazing views and prime location. Breckenridge, for us, was a place unlike any other. Tiger Run kind of knows this so they have not improved some key pain points yet, such as allowing constant construction from owners improving their sites (they have rules to dissuade this but they aren’t enforced). Staff needs a serious overhaul. It is the location that makes this place so great for us.
Best Layout: Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort, Las Vegas NV – The best layout of park we’ve seen for big rigs. Spots are gorgeous, lots of greenspace for the dogs. Easy in-and-out location. Cons is that there is no enclosed dog park and because this resort is 100% owned, your spot may be sold while you’re staying there (not fun to move). That said, the lots are really something, complete with shade, grills, fireplaces and outdoor refrigerators on some sites. There are events about once per month so you can get to know your neighbors (although there is some exclusion of owners versus renters, such as the gym hours). Staff is really great. The residents are hit-or-miss, some are very friendly, others are friendly to only certain residents (read: of a certain age-group).
Best Dog Park: Portal RV Resort, Moab UT – The dog park in the resort section was the highlight of our dogs’ day! It is large, grass is spongy, and there’s a place for owners to sit on a bench in the shade. The park itself is very nice, although the resort section is hit-or-miss. Some lots have gazebos while others don’t. Ours didn’t, but did back up to a horse field where we were visited by guests daily.
Best Hosts: Mountaindale RV Resort – Colorado Springs, CO – The owners/hosts take great pride in this park and there’s a reason. The hosts love their park and love their guests. Also, this is a resort that caters to big rigs and the owner actually took another campground and combined two spots into every one spot. The spots are HUGE and the wireless is the best we’ve seen at any campground. Our only issues were that AT&T was completely dead (a known issue, make sure you forward calls to skype, the wireless will help you along) and there wasn’t much grass. The people, wireless and the spot sizes more than made up for it.
Best Wireless: Mountaindale RV Resort – Colorado Springs, CO – Again, they are the best of the best in wireless. You wouldn’t believe how good it is. The best internet of any campground we’ve ever seen and as a result connectivity (which could be an issue) wasn’t an issue at all. They are one of the only campgrounds we’ve seen that recognized an issue and while they had no control over the issue (AT&T being blocked by a MOUNTAIN!), they compensated by getting the best wireless access out there. We wish more campgrounds did this.
Best Events: Elite Resorts, Clermont FL – Every Monday, Tuesday and Sunday there are get-togethers hosted by the resort (happy hour, snacks and ice cream). As a full-timer, it’s a great way to meet your neighbors and make some great friends. The staff and the residents make this place amazing. Spots are very large. A ton of greenspace for the dogs. The spots don’t really have much to them, very little privacy, but very nice park. We didn’t visit the mouse that often, but there are a lot of Disney fans who live here. Cons are constant construction within the park.
Best Newbie Campground: Raleigh Oaks RV Resort, Four Oaks, NC – This was a Christmas holiday stop for us, not necessarily where we’d choose to go on our own, but it is very close to the east side of Raleigh, the spots are paved, lots are grassy and large and the people are beyond compare. These were the folks who didn’t charge us for a no-show because they knew the rain was horrible, and wanted to promote “safety first”.
The skinny is we’d love to put Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort’s layout in Breckenridge, hosted by the owners of Mountaindale with their wireless, with a dog park built by Portal RV Resort and events held by Elite Resorts. That, friends, would be the perfect RV resort!
- Highcastle March 25, 2017
If you happen to have an extra 80 million dollars laying around, buying the Castello Di Amorosa winery might be a good investment. If you don’t, spend the $50 each person for a tour and reserve tasting. It’s a good second place, perhaps.
This is the place you want to be in the time of a zombie apocalypse. First, and most obviously, you have WINE. They have lots of places to store. Even though the 2007 and 2008 (or was it 2012/2013?) batches were “trashed” because the owner didn’t like the product, they still have them all corked and ready to go in a pinch. So if you need to take a break from zombies, you can forget some snobby tendencies and drink that Cabernet if you are *forced* to. There are private areas with locks, but in times of desperation locks can be broken! Our guide did tell us that during the wildfires that some winery staff took refuge here.
Then, you have food. They host events monthly along with a dining area suited for meals. Better. Also? A drawbridge and bars to keep the zombies out. If they get in, you can use the iron maiden they have laying around, just in case.
But if you aren’t in a zombie apocalypse, it is still a pretty neat place. Their wine is pretty good, too. The owner also owns V Sattui. To say it is “sprawling” is an understatement. It’s 121,000 square feet with 107 rooms with four separate levels underground and four levels above. It was built with the intention of making it as close to a 13th century Italian castle as possible. That meant handmade bricks, pavement stones, built by hand. All murals are hand-painted. This is not the Disney-ation of a castle, for sure.
The tour is informative and as people who previously worked on Saturdays at a winery about 20 years ago, we geeked out for a bit. We asked questions from our previous lives even though the memory of winemaking was a bit cobwebby.
The tasting was a bit confusing and hurried. The group was large-ish and you have about 25 wines to choose from. Everyone with exception of one couple decided to do the Reserve experience so that meant more wines per person. The glasses were recycled which meant mixing of reds and white and if you decided to share with your partner, a lot of handprints, lip prints and mixing/matching. No bread in front of us and the chocolates were trombone wah waaaaaahhhhh. It would have been better if they changed out glasses or rinsed them out between each wine. Also, one tour guide with that many people doing so many tastings? While our guide was excellent, it was a big ask.
At the end of the tasting, our guide also mentioned the wine club. Okay, so truth time. You mention a club to us, we will probably want in, particularly when membership means “just buy some wine.” Of course, in the tastings, we found we liked the most expensive wines. The club (for full-time travelers) could be good or bad. You have a discount. It can be sent anywhere. If you are more local or happen to be in the area at the time, you also can attend the monthly events. Gotta admit – Halloween in a 121,000 square foot castle with wine does not sound like a bad deal.
We ended up buying a dozen bottles, a corkholder (just what every RVer needs!) and a rooster wine stopper/pourer. We argued with ourselves between the rooster (we like roosters, met one at our house once!) and gargoyle (we like gargoyles, never met one!). We chose poorly, as the rooster looks like he’s vomiting blood. For a gargoyle that would be cool. For a rooster it’s a little off-putting.
We’d go back just the view the grounds and the castle. But the wine isn’t bad either.
Details: Castello Di Amorosa