Author Archives: Heather Gebbia

About Heather Gebbia

We are a family of 4 that have decided to simplify our life, sell our home and all of our possessions to live and travel around America in an RV.

Yellowstone National Park

In my last post about Grand Teton National Park, I mentioned that it snowed the last day we were there. As we drove to Yellowstone the next day we noticed a lot more snow on the drive and saw that Yellowstone got even more snow than we did the day before. It’s amazing that this was June!

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Driving to Yellowstone from Grand Teton

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Amazing snow in June!

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Okay, so I guess I went overboard on taking pictures of the snow on our drive, but it was so beautiful, and after our winter in Breckenridge I just can’t get enough of snow.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about Yellowstone. This is another park that we are repeating this year because it’s just so awesome and definitely worth repeating.

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Old Faithful

This time of the year it’s so nice that it stays light so late at night because we can easily go for a hike in the evenings after work. The night we went to Old Faithful we hiked the trail from there to see several other geysers.

One of my favorites is Artemesia Geyser. We saw this one erupting last time we were there, which was good timing since it doesn’t erupt as regularly as Old Faithful. We didn’t see it erupting this time, but it was still beautiful.

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Artemesia Geyser

Another favorite is Morning Glory. Even though the colors in this one are beautiful, sadly the colors are the result of visitors throwing items into the geyser. That’s just not a good thing to do.

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Morning Glory

The river walk was beautiful with little spots of steam coming up everywhere.

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I forget what this one was called, but it started erupting just as we walked by. That was pretty cool!

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Another view of Old Faithful erupting again as we finished up our hike.

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I couldn’t believe how many bison we saw this time. It was weird when we were there 3 years ago with my parents, we hardly saw any bison. This time they were everywhere! Several times blocking traffic.

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Another night we went to Grand Prismatic Spring, another one of my favorites. On the hike to the overlook we saw this aggressive bison. We know he was aggressive because we saw him chase 2 ladies that had just walked by. We stood back and waited until he was well off the path before we continued on.

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Grumpy bison

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Grand Prismatic Spring from the overlook

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Grand Prismatic Spring up close

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Hiking along the boardwalk next to Grand Prismatic Spring

A few more pictures from the Grand Prismatic area.

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Another evening we went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This area is so beautiful and the hike along the canyon offers some amazing views.

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Artist Point

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I see that Jake is now taller than me ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

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Lower Falls

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I was disappointed to find that Uncle Tom’s trail that takes you down over 300 steps to get a closer view of Lower Falls was closed. That turned out to be a blessing though because we went around to the other side and went down a trail to see it from the other side. This is something we didn’t do last time so it was cool to see it from a different perspective.

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Top of Lower Falls

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Another view of the canyon

Lastly we went to see the Artist’s Paint Pots. This is something we did not get a chance to see last time.

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We stayed at the Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, MT again. We love that park and the little town of West Yellowstone is so much fun. We also got to spend some time with 2 other Fulltime Families that were there.

Now that we’ve been to Yellowstone twice, would I go there again? Most definitely! This is one of those places I could visit over and over again.

Categories: Montana, National Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Grand Teton National Park

After traveling for over 4 years, it was inevitable that we would eventually start repeating some favorites. Grand Teton National Park is one of those favorites we repeated this year, and it was just as awesome as the first time. If you’d like to read my post from our first time at Grand Teton you can see it here:ย Grand Teton National Park.

We tried a new hike this time to Taggart and Bradley Lakes. The views along the hike and the picturesque lakes were incredible.

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Starting our hike to Taggart Lake

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Waterfall along the way to Taggart Lake

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Gorgeous Taggart Lake

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Enjoying a snack break at Taggart Lake

Then we continued on to Bradley Lake which was a lot of uphill hiking making for a very good workout.

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Another snack break at Bradley Lake

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Bradley Lake

We also repeated some favorites like visiting the Chapel of the Transfiguration which is stunning!

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Chapel of the Transfiguration

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View from inside the Chapel of the Transfiguration

Another repeat was the hike halfway around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls, but it was a little different this time. Last time the hiking trail was down by the lake, but this time that part of the trail was being repaired so we ended up hiking a different trail that was up much higher over the lake.

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Jenny Lake

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Hiking to Hidden Falls

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Hiking along Jenny Lake

Seeing Hidden Falls was also new because the last time we were there the trail to the Falls was closed. I’m so glad we got to see it this time! It was a beautiful and powerful waterfall, we could hear it long before it came into view.

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Hidden Falls

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Hidden Falls

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It started to look like stormy skies on the way back

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Another view of Jenny Lake

One evening we hiked along Jackson Lake from the campground and saw a beaver come out of the water, then he chewed down a little tree and started to swim away with the tree. It was so cool to watch this!

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Beaver getting back in the water with the little tree he just chewed down

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Beaver swimming away

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Hiking along Jackson Lake

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Jackson Lake

We stayed at Colter Bay RV Park which is inside of the national park. We stayed there last time and had Verizon access from our campsite so we could work, but this time Verizon didn’t work from our site at all except in the middle of the night. Yikes! How are we supposed to work like this? We had to get creative that week, that’s for sure. Sometimes we got up in the middle of the night to get some work done while Verizon worked, sometimes we worked at the campground laundry room or the Jackson Lake Lodge where the internet worked great, and other times we worked at the Colter Bay marina and enjoyed this view.

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Not a bad office view, right?

It’s not often we get to a place where we have no cell coverage at our site. Usually I know about it ahead of time and we plan our vacations around lack of cell coverage areas. This time we were surprised to have no coverage especially since it worked last time we stayed there. Another surprise was waking up to snow one day while we were there, in June!

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A snowy day at Grand Teton in June

Grand Teton National Park is such an incredibly beautiful place, and my pictures definitely do not do it justice. You just have to come and see it for yourself.

 

Categories: National Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Back to Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park is my favorite Colorado State Park, and probably my favorite state park in America. We stayed there back in 2016, and I was so excited to stay there again this year.

Ridgway State Park has 3 different campgrounds. We started out at the full hookup campground called Pa Co Chu Puk. Interesting name, right?

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View from our campsite at Pa Co Chu Puk

Can you believe that view? It was incredible. Last time we stayed there I made some notes about which campsites I would like if we came back, and that was one of them.

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Uncompahgre River at Ridgway State Park

Fat Cat loved this park the last time we went there because there were so many chipmunks for her to hunt. She loved it again this time, but didn’t catch any chipmunks; she must be losing her touch!

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She loves to hide in the grass and wait for critters to pass by.

While we were at this campsite Jake and I went for a beautiful bike ride on the Enchanted Mesa. Last time we stayed there I had to go for bike rides by myself; this time it was so nice to have Jake join me. I’m sad he’s growing up so fast, but at least there are some benefits.

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Enchanted Mesa bike trail

This bike trail is really hard to get to. We had to push our bikes up several switch backs, stopping frequently to catch our breath, until we finally made it to the top where we could ride and enjoy these incredible views.

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On the other side of the trail, Chris and Jesse met us to give us a ride home. But first the boys (all 3 of them) had to try out the giant slide.

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One of my favorite mountain towns in all of America is Telluride. We went there twice before, and while staying at Ridgway we went there for a third visit.

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The funny thing is there was a snow storm the day we visited Telluride in late May!

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The last 2 times we visited there we went for a hike, but not this time. It was a little too cold, but we still enjoyed the scenic gondola ride.

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The view from the gondola wasn’t quite the same during a snow storm. But I actually enjoyed seeing what it looked like in the snow. Below is a picture of the view from the gondola on a clear day, the first time we went back in 2015.

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I could never get tired of visiting this beautiful mountain town.

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Beautiful Telluride

During our stay at Ridgway we moved to a second site at the Elk Ridge Campground. Like I mentioned before, there are 3 campgrounds at Ridgway, and even though it’s a pain to move, we love staying at the different campgrounds in the state park.

On moving day it happened to be snowing, yes in May!

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Elk Ridge Campground

A few days later it cleared up and we were able to see this amazing view from the campsite that we couldn’t see the first day.

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I was glad the weather warmed up while we were there so Jake and I could go on another bike ride. This was my favorite bike ride in the country, and I was glad to do it again and share it with Jake.

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Start of our bike ride and the amazing views

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Riding along the Uncompahgre River

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Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, a stop along our bike ride

Another one of my favorite mountain towns is Ouray. One thing I love about Ridgway State Park is that it’s close to both Telluride and Ouray.

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Ouray, Colorado — Switzerland of America

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State parks only allow us to stay for a max of 2 weeks. It’s too bad because I could stay in that area for much longer. Can you see why it’s my favorite state park in the country? If you are interested in reading my first post about this park from 2016 you can see it here:ย Ridgway State Park.

We thought we were done with snow when we left Breckenridge, but we were surprised to have snow a couple of times in this area in late May. Do you think that would have been the end of it? No! We had more snow in June at Grand Teton National Park. Stay tuned to hear about that next.

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Glenwood Springs and Rifle Falls

After our Epic Winter in Breckenridge, we headed west towards Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Fat Cat was so happy to be back outside again in the warm sunshine!

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Jesse was also happy to be done with snow and be able to play ball outside again with Chris.

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Rifle Gap State Park

I was happy to be back at a state park again. I just love the spacious campsites and beautiful views we have at state parks. We stayed at Rifle Gap State Park where we had an amazing view from our campsite!

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Fat Cat was in heaven; finally back outside hunting for critters.

There was a lot to see and do in the area. We went into Glenwood Springs to see Hanging Lake and take a soak in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Hanging Lake is a beautifully clear, turquoise-colored lake situated high up on a mountain.

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Hanging Lake

Too many visitors to this precious gem resulted in damage to the fragile eco-system; therefore, starting May 1st of this year visitors are required to purchase a permit and ride a shuttle to the trail head (May 1st-Oct 31). When we visited, it was $12/person and we needed to reserve a spot in advance. There is now a limit of 615 people per day, and each shuttle accommodates 44 people. The nice thing is the trail was not overly crowded. Hanging Lake is such a popular spot that I could see how it would have been frustrating sharing the trail and lake views with hundreds of other people at the same time.

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The hike starts in Glenwood Canyon on a flat, paved trail running along the Colorado River.

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Colorado River

Soon you will arrive at the start of a steep uphill climb. The hike up is a little over a mile, but it’s difficult because you climb over 1000 feet in elevation. Once you arrive at the top and catch your first glimpse of Hanging Lake you realize it was worth the climb!

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Just a little further up and you can see Spouting Rock, a magnificent waterfall!

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Behind Spouting Rock

On our way to Glenwood Springs we ran into a little traffic jam. We thought it was hilarious to come upon a huge herd of cows wandering down the highway like they own the road!

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Iron Mountain Hot Springs was incredible! It is surrounded by Rocky Mountain views and sits alongside the Colorado River. There are 16 geothermal soaking pools as well as a larger family pool. We enjoyed an afternoon trying out several of the pools.

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Iron Mountain Hot Springs overlooking the Colorado River

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Jesse lined up rocks along my arm, maybe to make it more like a spa experience? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Our campground was just down the road from Rifle Falls State Park which was yet another beautiful spot.

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Rifle Falls State Park

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Rifle Falls also has caves to explore that the kids enjoyed climbing.

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This is another one of those areas in Colorado that I would love to visit again someday. Colorado certainly has no shortage of incredible places to visit!

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Skiing at Beaver Creek and Vail

Beaver Creek and Vail Mountains were a little further away from where we were staying in Breckenridge so we only went to each of those one time. We loved Beaver Creek and wished we had made time to go there more than once. We didn’t love Vail as much but that was because we went the day before they closed for the season when the snow conditions were not the greatest and it was pretty hot for skiing that day in late April. Anyway, we would like to go back and ski at both of those areas another time.

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It was snowing the day we went to Beaver Creek. The visibility in the morning was pretty bad and there was so much new powder that it was challenging to ski on, although I love skiing on fresh powder.

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By late morning it cleared up and the views were incredible!

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They had some fun Kids’ Adventure Zones that we loved like this one.

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I knew once Jake saw this double-black diamond sign that I was in trouble!

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I should have said, “4 Get About It!”

This trail was so hard, but the kids kept saying how much fun it was. I just don’t get it, are we on the same trail here?? I mean, I don’t think I’d say this was fun. I was just happy to make it down alive.

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The beginning of 4 Get About It

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Me trying not to run into too many trees on 4 Get About It

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Chris going over a jump at the end of 4 Get About It

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And the result of Chris’s attempt at the jump at the end of 4 Get About It ๐Ÿ˜‰

I took so many pictures that day because the views were so beautiful!

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Doesn’t it look like a painting in the background? The mountains almost didn’t look real!

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The views from Vail were also very beautiful, I just wish we had gone earlier in the season because the snow was so slushy the day we went it was very hard to ski.

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Well, I should clarify that last statement and say that it was hard for me to ski, not the kids. Here is Jake going down something so steep I could barely see over the edge.

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I had heard the Legendary Back Bowls were the best but most of them were closed for the season. We did get to experience some of it though, which only made us want to come back again someday when it’s not springtime.

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We had gotten so spoiled with the soft, powdery snow at Breck all season that I found this so tiring. Slushy snow is very different and I was so sore the next day! I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a little more tiring to ski on this type of snow.

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Just taking a little rest.

That wraps up my posts about our winter ski adventures in Colorado. If you missed the first 3 posts you can see them here:ย An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1,ย An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2ย andย Skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.

What an amazing winter it was! In our 4+ years of traveling I think I can safely say that this was our favorite thing we’ve ever done.

I’ll end this with some fun statistics. With my Epic Local Pass I was tracked all season and can see my stats on the Epic Mix app. In 3 months we spent a total of 38 days skiing, rode 347 lifts and went 466,736 vertical feet. The # of lifts and vertical feet do not include A-Basin since they are not included in the app, but I did include that resort in the # of days skied. I’d say we got our money’s worth out of our Epic passes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone

Besides Breckenridge, we did a lot of skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. A-Basin is where the kids took lessons. We took a Monday off work for their lessons in the hopes that it would not be crowded and they would have a smaller class. I was also praying that they would not need to take too many lessons because the lessons are expensive, and I wanted them to be ready to ski with us as soon as possible. Chris and I had our own ski date for the whole day while the kids were in lessons.

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It turned out they had a private lesson that day since it wasn’t crowded at all, and I was thrilled at the end of the day when their instructor told me they are naturals. By the end of the day she was taking them up on the lift and they were going down green (easy) slopes. We still had about 30 minutes before the lifts closed, and Chris & I were able to ski with them for a little while to see just how well they were doing. I couldn’t believe it! In one day they learned to ski so well!

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Their instructor was so awesome and the kids couldn’t stop talking about her and how much they loved skiing. My prayers were answered!

Arapahoe Basin is the highest elevation of the 5 ski areas we went to and had some amazing views!

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We eventually started getting brave enough to try some tougher terrain like this trail through the woods complete with lots of moguls. I may or may not have run into a tree or two skiing through here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Eureka was the kids’ favorite. I tried it once and hated it. So the other times they wanted to go down this one I told them to go ahead and I would see them at the bottom. However, by late April after Jake had challenged me with lots of double-black diamonds at Breck, I started going down Eureka with them and I no longer hated it.

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The boys loved the jumps at the terrain parks. This is Jake going over a jump. I did not get a good picture of Jesse doing it, but I did get him on video at least.

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I don’t have nearly as many pictures from Keystone because most of the time we skied there at night. They are the only resort that has night skiing which we loved! Most of the time we skied on weekends except for a few days here and there when we took a day off work. But with Keystone having night skiing we were able to go there after work to ski several times. That was awesome, but the pictures don’t always come out great in the dark.

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Keystone has a super long easy green trail… 3.5 miles.

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Night skiing is so beautiful and peaceful!

We had a great time skiing at Keystone with the Biles family.

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You know what’s funny is I used to love when Daylight Savings Time started, but I did not this year. Once the time changed, night skiing at Keystone just wasn’t the same. It didn’t get dark early enough! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, Keystone’s night skiing ended for the season by late March so we had to find something else to do in the evenings, which is when we took up sledding.

Breck was my favorite ski area, but with the Epic Pass it was really nice to be able to go to these other mountains to ski sometimes. If you missed my first 2 posts about wintering in Colorado you can see them here:ย An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1ย andย An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2

As much as we loved staying at Tiger Run RV Resort in our own comfy home on wheels, sometimes it’s nice to stay even closer to the slopes. I’m talking ski-in/ski-out type of close. We had the chance to do that twice during our time in Breckenridge.

First, we stayed in a slope-side condo at the base of Peak 7 in Crystal Peak Lodge. We did this to celebrate my birthday. Not just any birthday mind you, but the big one. The big 50! Believe it or not, I turned a half a century in March. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate that milestone than to spend it at a slope-side condo and ski as much as my heart desired.

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Crystal Peak Lodge at the base of Peak 7

In addition, I had the pleasure of a friend from New England come out to stay with us. Unfortunately her original flight was canceled because there was a huge “bomb cyclone” blizzard going on in Denver that day (Google it, I had never heard of a bomb cyclone). Anyway, she was persistent and thankfully made it to our rental place at 1am on the morning of my birthday.

Like me, she grew up skiing in the northeast and really wanted to try out some Colorado skiing. I don’t think she was disappointed!

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While Lauren was with us we enjoyed the best weather and surprisingly light crowds, especially considering it was spring break. Maybe the canceled flights to Denver had something to do with that.

We also got more adventurous while she was with us and went up to the highest point, Imperial Express which is also the highest lift in North America.

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Top of Peak 8

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Top of Peak 6

One of the expert lifts at Breck is the T-Bar. We hadn’t tried that previously either, but with Lauren we must have felt braver for some reason. The funny thing is that back in New England the T-Bar was on the easy slopes, typically called the “bunny slopes”. It was funny to see that the T-Bar here at Breck is for experts only and goes up to some very advanced trails.

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T-Bar

We have a very funny story about riding up this T-Bar. Jake and I were riding up together and Lauren was behind us by a bit. Jake and I noticed some people a few T-Bars ahead of us fell off (that is not unusual on the T-Bar, it’s difficult to stay on that thing the whole way up). There are signs all over the side instructing you to move off to the side quickly if you fall off. So Jake and I assumed they had plenty of time to get out of the way before we caught up to them. Wrong! They started rolling down the hill towards us! They took out the people in front of us, then continued rolling and crashed into us as well. Once we finally got ourselves under control and got out of the way of the other oncoming T-Bar riders, Lauren rode by and saw a mess of people and skis all over the place. I so wish I had that on video! It was really quite funny and we laughed about it for a long time afterwards.

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Jake started to get really brave when Lauren was visiting and that’s when he wanted to start trying some double-black diamond trails. Lauren pointed out some interesting sounding trail names on the map like Devil’s Crotch and Pergatory. None of those sounded even remotely like something I wanted to try, but we did try a couple of double-blacks with names like Cucumber Bowl and Southern Cross. Those names don’t sound nearly so intimidating, right? About a week after Lauren left though, Chris and Jake found Devil’s Crotch and decided to give it a try. Not me though!

You know, turning 50 is not so bad. I can honestly say that was one of my best birthdays ever!

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A few weeks later we had the opportunity to spend a whole week at another ski-in/ski-out lodge. I joined an RV club called RVillage a few years ago. They gave out gift certificates to some of us who joined way back when they first started. The gift certificates were for a Dream Vacation Week at certain hotels around the country for a greatly reduced price. I thought it was a scam or too good to be true when I first received it, so I discarded it and forgot about it. I received a reminder that it was about to expire in April, so out of curiosity I checked to see if there were any hotels in Breckenridge included in this deal. There were a couple, but I still thought it was a scam so I contacted someone at RVillage to confirm it was legitimate. It turns out it was for real and we enjoyed a fantastic week at Grand Timber Lodge.

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Heated outdoor pool at Grand Timber Lodge

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One of the indoor/outdoor pools at Grand Timber Lodge

The pools were awesome! You could swim under the flap to go to the outdoor part of the pool, and even though it was cold and snowing outside, the pool was so warm. They also had several hot tubs to enjoy!

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Swimming outside while it was snowing!

The lodge has private family movie theaters so we reserved one for an evening and watched The Greatest Showman. What a great movie, and also a great time having this theater all to ourselves!

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We also enjoyed playing some pool.

There were 2 moose hanging out at the lodge that we saw often. Once they were hanging out right outside our window!

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I could have reached out the window to touch this cutie, but of course I did not.

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Sadly, they were taken away by wildlife control while we were there. Apparently there was an incident between the moose and a guest staying at the lodge. I was sad to see them go. They didn’t seem to be bothering anyone as far as I could tell.

I did a lot of skiing with Jake that week and he really challenged me on the double-black diamond trails. By the end of the week I think my skills had improved.

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This trail was so steep! It’s hard to see how steep it is in this picture, but trust me!

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We had a snow storm that week also which was pretty cool to see in April!

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I mentioned in my previous post that we skied at 5 ski areas included on our season pass. We bought the Epic Local Pass which includes the ski areas we went to as well as several others that were too far away including Park City, Whistler and even a ski area in Vermont and Japan! The Epic Local Pass was perfect for us since we were planning to be in the area for 3 months.

I will write about the other ski areas in my next 2 posts, but first a few helpful hints for anyone planning to winter in Breck at some point.

The town of Breckenridge is at 9600 feet. Some people can be affected by altitude sickness. It’s important to drink plenty of water before heading to Breck and while you’re there. We didn’t suffer from altitude sickness, but I did feel out of breath frequently. Sometimes just walking from the truck to the slopes carrying skis felt like such a workout! Everything seems harder at that altitude.

Another way to help prevent altitude sickness besides staying well hydrated is to climb to that elevation slowly if at all possible. If you are flying to Denver and heading straight to Breck you wouldn’t have that option, but if you are driving or RV’ing, take your time with the climb. We stopped in Denver for 3 nights before continuing on to Breckenridge which I think helped a lot.

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It was also nice to stay in Denver for a few days to take care of getting all of our ski equipment. Epic Mountain Sports sells inexpensive kids equipment on a buy-back program. We were able to get the kids skis and boots for $99/each and at the end of the season trade it back in for 50% store credit. Chris and I got seasonal rentals from Breeze Rentals. It was about $225/person for the season which was a lot less expensive than buying equipment, and we were able to return the rentals to the store in Breckenridge rather than take them back to Denver. We really don’t have room to carry around ski equipment year-round, so rentals and the kid’s trade-ins worked perfectly. Also, we learned that by the time we were heading to Breckenridge they no longer had any seasonal rentals so it was good to get them in Denver. Another tip: if you need any other equipment like helmets, goggles, etc., get them in Denver. Everything is more expensive in Breck.

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A small preview of snow in Denver at Cherry Creek State Park

Incidentally, while staying in Denver we met the nicest couple! It just so happens they were dealing with cracks in their RV just like we dealt with last year. We were able to share our story with them about how Heartless Heartland refused to help us. Thankfully their story had a better ending. Their RV was manufactured by Forest River who apparently cares more about their customers than Heartland does because Forest River took the RV back to Indiana and repaired everything for them. It didn’t hurt that they also had a lot of help from their dealer, unlike our dealer (Dick Gore’s RV World in Jacksonville) who did not help us at all. This is my shameless reminder to you to not buy a Heartland RV and be very careful about the dealer you purchase from. It’s so important to have a dealer who will back you up if you need it.

One last tip for getting to Breckenridge. This website was very helpful in planning our travel days: https://cotrip.org/home.htm. We watched the weather and the road conditions to make sure we traveled on a day when the roads would be clear.

I hope you find these tips helpful if you ever plan to make the trip. I’m also happy to answer any questions so feel free to email me.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1

It has been a long time since I posted anything here, I think it’s about time I catch up on what we’ve been up to lately. We just spent a fabulous 3 months in Breckenridge, Colorado skiing and playing in the snow. RV’ing in the snow is a novelty to us being from Florida. We weren’t quite sure what to expect and if we would be warm enough in the RV. I am happy to report that our Grand Design RV was plenty warm enough and we had the most amazing 3 months ever!

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Chris and I have skied before, but it had been 11 years since we last skied. Also, we have only ever skied in New England so skiing in Colorado was a totally new experience. The kids have never skied so they took lessons the first day. I’ll talk more about their lessons in a later post, but suffice it to say they had an excellent instructor. By the end of the season they were taking us down double-black diamond trails (if you’re not familiar with ski terminology, those are the hardest for sure!)

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We skied at 5 ski areas that were all included on our season pass (more about that later as well). After 3 months of skiing, I’m sure you can imagine I had tons of pictures to sort through. I can’t possibly fit everything into one post as that would be way too long, so I’ll try to organize this into a few smaller posts. This first post is about skiing at Breckenridge and also includes where we stayed.

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The Breckenridge ski area is huge! There are 5 peaks and so many lifts and trails, it was several visits before we had explored most of it. At first we stuck to the easier green (beginner) and blue (intermediate) trails, but eventually our kids wanted to venture onto the black (expert) trails.

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I’m glad they advanced in their skills and enjoyed it so much, but I have to admit there were times I wish they would have stuck to the greens and blues. Those black trails were quite challenging for me. I got better as the season went on, but there were times I was praying I would make it down alive! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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There were some trails called Kid’s Adventure Zones which were basically trails through the woods with fun props along the way. We loved those! I was glad we had kids with us because the sign states adults must be accompanied by a child. ๐Ÿ™‚ At Breck our favorites were the Haunted Forest and Ripperoos Forest.

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We stayed at Tiger Run RV Resort. It was a great place to call home for 3 months. It was a 10 minute drive to Breck, 15 minutes to Keystone, 25 minutes to Arapahoe Basin and about 40-50 minutes to Vail and Beaver Creek. I’ll write about those other ski areas in a later post. There were several other Fulltime Families staying at Tiger Run. In fact, we learned all about how to winter RV in the snow from a family that we had previously met at a couple of FtF rallies. That family was staying at Tiger Run also, and we had so much fun hanging out with them.

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Home Sweet Home

Fat Cat was not crazy about this snow thing. She loves to go outside, but she did NOT love it here. I think she was mad at us for staying so long in a place where she did not enjoy going outside. By late April however, most of the snow at our site had melted and she was happy to be back outside again.

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The kids loved playing outside in the snow with their friend Jacob.

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I also loved playing in the snow! The snow was so soft and there was so much of it!

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The whole bottom half of my body is buried in snow!

The RV park has a really nice indoor pool and hot tub which we enjoyed frequently.

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Not all Fulltime Families fly south for the winter!

One day we even saw a moose wandering through the campground!

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Another fun thing to do in Breckenridge is sledding at Carter Park.

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Chris being his usual silly self. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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View of the ski slopes at Breck from the sledding hill.

I can’t even describe what an incredible 3 months this was, it was a season I wish could have lasted forever. However, I don’t want to give the impression that life is always perfect like social media tends to portray. We had our share of challenges — RV’ing in the snow is not the easiest thing to do.

There are a lot of preparations necessary for RV’ing in the cold and snow. We had to put up foam board skirting along the outside of the RV to keep the underneath part of the RV from getting too cold. We had to use heated hoses and heat tape to keep the outside water and sewer hoses from freezing, but that didn’t always work which is why we sometimes had no water in the morning.

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In addition to the preparations, it seemed like our RV home was in a constant state of chaos and mess for 3 months. We were always tracking snow into the house when we came inside, and there were jackets, boots, ski pants, hats, gloves, etc. always taking up space because there is just no extra space for that kind of stuff in an RV. I am one of those people that is very organized and likes everything neat and in it’s place. The mess of those 3 months could have driven me crazy if I let it, but I had to remind myself that it was worth it, the memories we were making far outweighed any of the inconveniences!

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I’ll admit we were nervous about how we would survive spending 3 months in an RV in the cold and snow. Many times we came close to canceling and going someplace warmer. But I’ve come to realize that if we didn’t do things because of fear of the unknown, we would have missed out on some amazing experiences. This is one of those amazing experiences I’m so glad we didn’t miss out on due to fear of trying something new.

So, is there something in your life that you want to try but are letting fear hold you back? Please allow me to encourage you to give it a try. Don’t let fear prevent you from experiencing something new. It’s possible it may turn out to be a mistake, but it’s also possible it may turn out to be something amazing and incredible. You’ll never know until you give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fourth Nomadiversary

Today we celebrate 4 years since we left our home in Fernandina Beach, FL to travel the country in an RV. Four years ago I never imagined we would make it this long, but this lifestyle seems to agree with us so we keep going.

Most of you know this was not exactly our best year since we hit the road. The first half of the year was good, and then on July 8th everything fell apart, literally. We made it to Calais, Maine on the Canadian border where we ended up leaving the worthless Heartland RV and continuing our journey to Canada with just our truck. Eventually we made our way back down south where we purchased our new Grand Design RV.

I wasn’t sure if I would bother with a Nomadiversary video this year, but with the help of my super-talented brother-in-law, we put together a great video which tells the story of our year, the good, the bad and the ugly. I love how it turned out and I hope you do too.

Our first 3 years of travel consisted of visiting lots of national parks, this year we visited lots of friends and family as I’m sure you can see by all the people in our pictures.

Each year I put a lot of thought into the song I choose for the video. This year I chose 2 songs, 1 for each half of the year and my brother-in-law came up with some great sound effects for the scary intermission part. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the first song (Home by Phillip Phillips), I love the phrase about not paying attention to the demons that will fill you with fear. I thought that was so appropriate as I was filled with a lot of fear and anxiety this year when our RV fell apart. I had so many worries about what we were going to do and where we were going to live. God is so good to us and He is our Provider. I hope I learned this year to rely on Him more and not to fear. The second song (There’s a Light by Todd Smith) perfectly sums up how I feel now at the end of the year. Yes, there was a light at the end of the troubles and there definitely is hope for those who believe.

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Green = 2015; Red = 2016; Blue = 2017; Purple = 2018

We had to get a new state sticker map since the old one was still stuck on the Heartland. No we did not visit all these states yet in the new RV, but we decided we did not need to start over on the sticker map.

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We are so excited to be back on the road and ready to continue traveling this beautiful country and making memories with our family! Lord willing, we are trying something different this year… instead of flying south for the winter like most RVers do (including us usually), this year we are headed west for some snow skiing.

If you would like to see our Nomadiversary videos from the first 3 years you can see them here:ย One Year Nomadiversary,ย Second Nomadiversaryย andย Third Nomadiversary.

 

 

Categories: Our Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Heartland Stands by Ludicrous Lippert Report

There is a famous quote by Mark Twain that says something like “Tragedy + Time = Humor”. Now that 6 months have passed since our Heartland RV fell apart (The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless), we are finally able to find some humor in the whole thing, thanks to a silly inspection report we received from Heartland and Lippert (the frame manufacturer).

We found this report so ridiculous that it gave us something to laugh about in this otherwise sad situation. It doesn’t seem like Lippert was able to find a root cause for the RV frame failure, so instead they pointed out ways in which they think we didn’t maintain it very well. Considering we spent a lot of money every year having the annual maintenance and inspections performed I was surprised to hear we didn’t maintain it. It sort of seemed like they were just looking for a reason to blame us like the previous Heartland inspector did.

What do you think? Are these valid reasons for an RV to fall apart?

  • Lippert pointed out that the surface of the couch fabric was worn. Well, we do have a cat who has left scratches on it at times, and we also like to sit on it. We didn’t realize the couch is only for show and we shouldn’t sit on it. By the way, what does that have to do with the RV frame falling apart?
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Don’t let your cat sit on the couch — the RV might fall apart.

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Don’t let kids lounge around on the couch — the RV might fall apart.

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Don’t let cats or people use the couch — the RV might fall apart.

Hopefully using the couch in our new RV won’t lead to a disaster like this, but unfortunately Lippert made that frame as well! Sadly, RVers have very little choice when it comes to the frame manufacturer of RVs we purchase. Most are made by Lippert.

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Who knew using the couch could lead to this?

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  • Lippert noticed that the driver’s side fender had evidence of being taped at one time. One day while driving down the road Chris noticed the fender coming loose. Instead of taping it back on until we could have it repaired, I guess we should have let it fly off and hit the car next to us? And what does that have to do with the RV falling apart? By the way, they also mentioned there was evidence that the large hole in the wall had been taped and re-taped repeatedly. That would be because this unit has been inspected several times and every time someone needs to take pictures, the tape has to be removed. But since we didn’t want water to get inside, it was necessary to re-tape it. Not sure why I need to explain that piece of information, but I guess it’s not obvious to the folks at Lippert.
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Taping the fender led to this hole in the wall by the roof?

  • Lippert mentioned that some of the interior trim had been glued back on. I think most RVers can relate to this — trim and molding tends to come loose on travel days since they don’t build these things well enough to stay together driving down the road. What else are we supposed to do with these loose pieces besides glue them back on? Again, what does that have to do with the whole RV falling apart?
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Re-attaching the interior trim led to this crack near the roof?

  • Lippert mentioned they were unable to climb the ladder due to safety concerns. Really? Chris and I as well as other inspectors climbed the ladder to take pictures. We didn’t know we weren’t supposed to climb the ladder. Is that just there for show?
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Don’t climb the ladder — that’s just for show.

  • Lippert mentioned that we used the RV to travel back and forth across the country. Isn’t that what RVs are for… Traveling? We didn’t know this RV was intended to remain stationary. Why does it have wheels?
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Lots of RVers have these sticker maps — just don’t use this if you have a Heartland. That shows proof that you traveled in the RV and you’re not supposed to do that.

  • Lippert mentioned the RV looks worn. The pictures below were taken the last day we were at the RV before we left it in Maine. My definition of “worn” must be different from theirs because I honestly thought it still looked beautiful (except for the holes and cracks in the walls of course).
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Maybe I’m biased since this was my home, but I always thought it looked really nice.

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So, in summary if you buy a Heartland RV make sure you don’t sit on the couch, don’t travel with a cat that might scratch the couch, don’t tape or glue anything that falls off, don’t climb the ladder and don’t travel across the country. Heartland RVs are not made for that sort of thing.

Chris sent an email to the folks at Heartland to let them know just how ridiculous we found this Lippert report. We didn’t expect a reply but we did receive one from Heartland’s General Counsel. She said: “I would like to discuss with you potential resolutions to this situation. As Heartland’s general counsel, I am in a position to assist resolving this matter amicably.”

Based on that, I naively got my hopes up that finally Heartland was going to do something to rectify this. Once again I was wrong, but I shouldn’t have been surprised because this is so typical of how Heartland has treated us from the beginning. Telling us one thing only to turn around and disappoint us time and again. We were told that Heartland has decided to stand behind this Lippert report and the Heartland report that claimed we hit a tree.

You know, this all could have had a much better ending if Heartland had only cared about a customer needing help. I’ve said before how I used to speak highly of our experience with them. Early in 2018 we had discussed upgrading to a toy hauler by the end of the year, and we were seriously considering a Heartland Cyclone. However, when our Heartland Gateway fell apart and we reached out to them for help, all we got were lies and excuses. Instead of maintaining good customer relations with us and keeping us in the Heartland family, they showed us why we should never own another Heartland. They have also turned us into consumer advocates who will let others know why they should never own a Heartland.

Based on the hundreds of comments and emails I have received in response to our story, I can say for certain that we have spared others from purchasing from this heartless company. Those responses have also opened my eyes to the fact that we are not the only ones to have such a terrible experience with Heartland. Many who reached out to me mentioned how they also have had major issues such as frames cracking, and their rigs are newer than ours. Since Heartland won’t help them, why would I think they would help us?

Remember when American automobile manufacturers had to step up their game once consumers started purchasing Japanese-made vehicles because they were selling a higher quality product? Maybe it’s time someone from Japan started building RVs. Perhaps that would convince American RV manufacturers to step up and build a better quality product. We can only hope!

 

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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