• Gov’t Surprises July 24, 2017

    You sometimes don’t know what to expect until you actually are doing it. Sure, you can plan and prepare but even then, you come across unexpected good surprises and unexpected bad ones. We will be reviewing what those are, based on subject.

    The first round is about government-run campgrounds.

    The Good

    1. COE Campgrounds. You may be wondering “what does COE mean?” We’ll tell you. “COE” stands for “Corps of Engineers”. They are usually located near water and you won’t generally find camphosts greeting you and showing you to the non-existent pool, but what bang you get for your buck! These are usually the cheapest stays for a paid campground (anywhere between $12-$18 per night), albeit there weren’t any sewer hookups at the ones we’ve stayed at. The sites are usually large. We knew people raved about them but this was still a pleasant surprise. If available we’d definitely stay again.

    Aux Arc, AR COE

    2. State Campgrounds. Ok. These can vary state to state. We admit it. We were surprised that unlike many national parks, many state-run parks and their campgrounds are big rig friendly. They’re all over the board with maintenance and such but we haven’t been disappointed yet. One of our most favorite campgrounds happened to be one that was a state campground.

    Cherry Creek, CO neighbors

    3. County Campgrounds. These are even more diverse so generalizing is dangerous. They are 100% dependent on the county maintaining them, but we’ve stayed at ones with huge sites and amazing internet. The ones we’ve stayed at were big rig friendly and really well-maintained. This was surprising to us.

    Boardman Marina, OR

    The Bad

    1. COE Campgrounds. If you have a big rig, not having sewer readily available may be a problem if you don’t want to unhook and find a place to dump. We didn’t realize that it was no sewer when booking (surprise!) but we were only here for two days. Okay, okay, we’re stretching here. You do get a ridiculous bang for your buck.

    2. State Campgrounds. Reservations. Oh my, reservations! Some states are more cut-throat than others. If you are a full-timer, you are competing with locals who go to state campgrounds as a vacation spot on the weekends for a relatively cheap price. You can’t technically stay for more than 14 days, but the easy workaround is having more than one email address and booking with it. Forget holidays. Weekends are crazy as well. Some are not well-maintained as far as trees, so while your rig may meet the length requirements, there is an unspoken height requirement as well (we have met many a tree).

    3. County Campgrounds. Many don’t allow reservations less than three days in advance and reservations aren’t posted until three days before arrival. This means, upon entering, if the camphost isn’t available, you need to guess which site to park at where someone isn’t about to make a reservation. It’s common in national parks as well, but man it’s confusing. We had no idea about this.

    You’ll notice that we didn’t list national parks. That’s because, being a big rig, we haven’t had the opportunity to find a park that will fit us. Maybe that’s a negative for us but we have friends who love them.

  • Purrfect Circle July 14, 2017

    So this isn’t really an RV issue. It’s a pet owner issue. Pet owners – no matter where you live – understand this. We had a lot of loss over the last six months. We lost Nala in December 2016 and six months later we lost Ally. Starting as far back as Bailey who passed away in 2009 (our first adoptee, our first loss), we always had the internal struggle of “Should we adopt another?” We always opted against it since there were so many pets already, so many personalities to meld and age.

    When you have a pet with special needs, after they pass away there’s not only  hole in your heart but there’s also a kind of hole in your brain. The constant thinking of “I-have-to-give-her-pills-and-then-take-her-to-the-vet-and-then-have-to-keep-an-eye-on-her-eating-and-make-sure-she-doesn’t-do-something-that-will-hurt-her” is no longer needed. On the one hand, the constant worry is gone and you have to retrain your brain to stop it. On the other, you didn’t mind it so much because they add so much to your life.

    The pill daily routine for one elderly pet

    We thought about adopting another pet after Ally died. There was a hole in our hearts when Nala died but with Ally, we knew there’s no way she’d accept any new kitty. When Ally died, the hole became bigger. We hadn’t had only two pets in over 18 years and it was a bizarre feeling. So we looked. Y’all! If you are just thinking about getting a pet, do NOT go to petfinder. It will break your heart. You will want to adopt 50 animals. There’s a reason why rescue groups have high standards, to stop the bleeding hearts like us from adopting them ALL. We were binge watching Leverage at the same time, and as fate would have it, there were three cats who fit our criteria (older, special needs in some way) in our area with the names of characters from Leverage: Nathan, Sophie and Parker. Kismet, right?

    Nathan, found here:

    Notice we kept talking about us during this time. We wanted to adopt. We wanted to give a needy pet a home. But what about our other pets? We knew Piper would be fine. She’s kind of a lil’ thing, small enough for a cat to ignore or care for. Sommer, on the other hand, was trying to figure out the order of the household still and she is also a special needs kitty. She has hyperthyroidism, a heart issue and because of the latter has a history of seizures. We didn’t want to adopt and give her a heart attack.

    Stripes never clash

    So we asked the vet. At first, he gave us the line of “Well, all kitties are different and you can’t predict their personalities.” Then he looked again at her records and said, as if realizing her age for the first time (as she looks pretty darned spry for her age) “This cat is 18 years old. Unless she is showing that she wants someone else, or is trying to walk with you in a pack, or seems to be looking for something she can’t find, let her just live in the status quo.” Sommer played, slept, ate, drank, talked, living her life happily. She even learned some new tricks by jumping up on the bed (this hasn’t happened in years) and making a new sleep nook there. She seemed to be kind of enjoying the new world order. Nope, she didn’t want it. And being 18 years old, we can respect that. Without introducing anything new, we’re happy.

    A cat can never have too many toys

    So we will continue life as we know it. We love our pets and will continue to be content with them. They are both our joys. Every day they make us smile. A flick of the tail, the look of wonder, a peep of joy…these are things we get simply by entering a room, or holding a ping pong ball, or simply stating their names.

    With that, if you are looking to add to your own brood and you think “it’s time”, we recommend Nathan or one of the many other adoptable kitties looking for a loving home. There are so many of them and there is so much love just waiting for you…at the right time.

  • Big Beers July 2, 2017

    The summer is festival time for the Breckenridge area. Who knew? We aren’t ones to be “food” tourists. You know what we mean – you ask people to list places to see in the area and 99% of what they list are restaurants. We aren’t those types, but you add the word “festival” to the end of that? We’re game.

    Attack of the Big Beers (and Grilled Cheese)

    After the Frisco BBQ festival, we kind of expected it to be a madhouse, although we’d never been to Copper Mountain so didn’t know what to expect. “Big Beers” was defined as beers brewed in “high gravity”. Perhaps it was the location, perhaps it was the attendance, but it wasn’t nearly as warm and didn’t seem as packed. The vendor attendance was “meh”. Like the BBQ festival, you paid with tickets and had to guess how many you’d need.

    View from the lift.

    One word of advice – do NOT order tickets for anything off of your iPad. Dropdowns are tricky on the iPad, and you may accidentally purchase 60 more tickets than you intended. Because there weren’t a ton of vendors, there weren’t a lot of places to spend tickets. Luckily for us, we’re never ones to turn down an opportunity to purchase a coffee, t shirt or jacket, and local Copper Mountain vendors accepted tickets.  We attempted to skip the lines for tickets by ordering online but had to pick tickets up at Will Call anyhow. Save yourself the accidental purchase and just go to the event and purchase there. It also helps to see what the festival is all about – we aren’t HUGE beer drinkers so there’s only so many samples you can drink.

    Beautiful day!

    One thing many locals have told us is that the area has really marketed the area as a Destination Wedding area. Low and behold, there was a wedding event at the top of the mountain. We saw it because we took the ski lift to catch some nice views (the lift was free to attendees of the festival…and the wedding). Admittedly we wondered why on earth anyone would wear a suit to a Big Beer & Grilled Cheese festival.

    The wedding

    Good luck kids!

    Turns out the suit-wearers were going to the wedding. It turns out the bride and groom were named “Emily and Randy” as per the ski lift sign. Congrats Emily and Randy Whateveryourlastnameis!