Posts Tagged With: Fulltime RV’ing

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: 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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! 😉

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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. 🙂 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. 😉

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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. 🙂

 

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

On the Road Again

We have big news! We have a new RV and we are so excited to be back on the road. First I will assure you that our new RV is definitely NOT a Heartland. After our Heartless Heartland disaster we did lots of research and listened to lots of feedback. We decided to go with Grand Design, a company that I know is not perfect because nobody is, but from what I hear they are a company that stands behind their product. So far we are very happy with our choice.

So please allow me to introduce you to our new home on wheels… umm, I don’t really have a name to call this RV. You know what? We never named our old Heartland either (at this point I think we would call the old one “the big rolling turd” — a joke from the Robin Williams’ movie ‘RV’). 😉

I think the new one needs a name; I’m open to suggestions, so please feel free to send any name ideas along. I will do another post later with a tour of our new home.

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Grand Design Momentum

After moving into our new home we headed back to our home state of Florida. We still had annual passes to Disney so we went back to our favorite campground Ft. Wilderness before the passes expired.

Then we went to a new-to-us location, the Florida Keys. Even though we lived in Florida for many years we had never been to the Keys. It was so amazing and beautiful and such a wonderful place to reconnect as a family and de-stress after all of the stress we went through with the stupid Heartland experience.

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Key West

It’s very difficult to get a campground reservation at any of the state parks in the Keys, which is why we hadn’t made it there until now. I was blessed to come across a cancellation for a week long stay at Curry Hammock State Park. Our campsite backed up to the water and it was a beautiful place to spend the week.

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Boys playing ball in the water behind our campsite

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Next we moved to Fiesta Key which is included in our Thousand Trails (Trails Collection) membership. We loved it there! The pool was fun, the onsite restaurant had delicious seafood, and the sunsets were glorious.

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Fiesta Key

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Walking to dinner at the campground.

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Cute Tiki huts for dinner.

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But those sunsets!

We thought it was so cool to see so many iguanas roaming around the campground!

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One day we even got to see 2 manatees swimming in the marina.

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One evening we went to the Sunset Grille for dinner. They have a pool at the restaurant which our kids enjoyed while waiting for our dinner.

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Sunset Grille

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Sunset over the Seven Mile Bridge from the Sunset Grille

We drove down to Key West to do some sightseeing one day.

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Seven Mile Bridge

Jake and I went snorkeling at Sombrero Reef with Spirit Snorkeling. That was lots of fun!

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We loved visiting the Keys and hope to return again someday.

But more than that we are so happy to be back on the road. After our Heartland fell apart we talked about whether we should settle down and buy another house. All 4 of us agreed that we are not ready to stop traveling. We love this lifestyle so much and we were not about to let a bad RV experience stop us from living our dream.

I will have another post to share about Heartland. Unfortunately they have been horrible and absolutely refuse to help us in any way. Since many people reading this might buy RVs I feel I have an obligation to share our experience to hopefully educate others on the dangers of buying from Heartland. In my next post I will share with you the results of Heartland and Lippert’s latest inspection report. It has actually given us a reason to find humor in this otherwise awful situation. The inspection report is so ridiculous that it’s actually funny. It’s hard to believe it was written by “experts”. I’ll share it with you soon and give you a good laugh.

Until then, we’ll be enjoying time with family for the holidays. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Categories: Florida, Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

We’re Going to be on a Radio Show

This is just a quick post for anyone who is interested in updates about our RV disaster. We still have no resolution from Heartland, but we are being heard by the RV community. The RV Show USA invited us to be on their show to tell our story. RV consumers are getting pretty tired of the poor quality of RVs that are being manufactured these days and the lack of customer service. This show is calling the manufacturers out on that.

If you feel like tuning in to listen to the show, here are the details. The show airs live Wednesday night, October 10th at 8pm EST. It’s a 2 hour show and we will be on during the 2nd hour which starts around 9pm EST. It will also be recorded so you can listen at another time if you would like. To watch the show visit the RV Show USA Facebook page or the RV Show USA website  or the RV Show USA YouTube Channel.

This is a quick video promo for the show.

 

Categories: Fulltime RV'ing, Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Learning Family History in Nova Scotia

My Dad is from Nova Scotia so we had a great opportunity to learn some family history on his side of the family while we were there.

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Dad has a very interesting history that makes me think about how if certain events hadn’t happened in his past, my sister and I wouldn’t exist and therefore neither would Jake and Jesse. It’s kind of mind boggling when you think about how past events determine what today looks like.

My grandfather was a coal miner in Springhill, Nova Scotia. He was one of the survivors of the 1958 Bump. My sister wrote a really good book about it if you are interested in the story: Song of Springhill. This is actually a 2-book set, one is the non-fiction historical account and the other is a fictionalized story.

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After surviving the bump, my grandfather (known as Dado to us grandkids) decided he was done with coal mining so he moved with my grandmother and father to Boston, MA. If he hadn’t moved to Boston my dad would not have met my mom and I wouldn’t exist. Isn’t it weird to think of stuff like that? We had a great time showing the kids the Springhill Miners Museum and the plaque honoring their great-grandfather.

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It’s a tradition whenever we’re in Springhill… someone has to sit on the Liars’ Bench

Going back a little further in history we visited the town of Pictou, the birthplace of New Scotland. We toured the museum of the Hector which is the ship that sailed from Scotland to what is now called Nova Scotia. One of my great great (not sure how many greats) grandfathers sailed over on that ship.

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Jake is pointing out one of the passengers whose last name was MacKay. At some point the family name was changed to McKay.

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While visiting this area we stayed with my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Gerald at their beach cottage.

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We had our own private bunk house!

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Fat Cat liked chasing the birds.

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The beach and sunsets were beautiful!

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My parents kissing in front of the sunset

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Skipping rocks at high tide

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We had a great time hanging out with Joyce & Gerald and relaxing at the beach. Chris misses his early morning coffee talks with Joyce and I’m missing our evening happy hours.

This last picture was not taken in Nova Scotia, but I just don’t know where else to include it. This is my cousin Janet and her husband Steve. While we were stranded in Calais, ME we drove up to visit them one evening in New Brunswick. They showed us such wonderful hospitality and gave us a much needed break from the stress we were dealing with in Maine with the RV. I was hoping to see them again while we were in Nova Scotia but it didn’t work out. I’m glad we were able to at least have this time with them.

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Categories: canada | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nova Scotia: Peggy’s Cove

We visited so many places in Nova Scotia that I will have to split up my posts so they are not too long. We started in the town of Tantallon near Peggy’s Cove. While we were stranded in Maine with RV troubles I knew we needed to get to Canada before my parent’s planned arrival so I began searching for hotels to stay near Peggy’s Cove. I reserved a pet-friendly hotel online only to have the owner call me 30 minutes later to let me know we could not stay there with a cat. However, she was the most helpful and friendly hotel owner ever! She told me she thought we would be happier in a house than a hotel room and she told me she would find me a vacation rental home for us to stay in with a cat. The next morning, true to her word, she got me in touch with a property manager who had a VRBO home we could stay in. I was so amazed by this woman’s generous and helpful spirit! And the property manager was just like her, he was so nice and accommodating and was so excited for us to stay in this rental home that they had just finished renovating.

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Our VRBO home in Tantallon, Nova Scotia

This rental home was so cute and we loved our stay there! Considering we live in an RV this was way too much space for us. There was a 3rd bedroom that we did not even use. The property manager was so nice to us and called me a few times while we were on our way there, asking how our trip was going. He also wanted to let me know the house is ready and he left us a bowl of fresh fruit. The next day he came by and gave us lots of advice about local places to visit and he brought us a bag full of mussels twice during our stay! In addition, the property owner (not the same guy as the property manager) who makes his own wine brought me several bottles of wine during our stay. He was a true Italian and just loved Chris since he’s Italian as well. I could not believe the excellent hospitality we experienced while we were there.

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Our back yard!

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Next door was a church and cemetery. Chris thought that was creepy but I thought it was so interesting. I enjoyed walking around reading the gravestones and imagining the life stories of each person buried there.

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The reason I mention so much about how kind and generous people were to us is because it seemed we were experiencing the most unusual “above and beyond” customer service. Since we were going through a very difficult time with the loss of our RV home and the uncertainty of our future travels, I was in a very emotional state. I mean the littlest thing could set me off to crying. I felt like God was placing just the right people into our lives at just the right time to bless us and show us that He is still there and He is taking care of us. The kindness and generosity of strangers during this time just meant so much to me.

Peggy’s Cove was a place I really wanted to visit and it sure was beautiful! First we drove a little past Peggy’s Cove and parked by a trailhead on the side of the road. We followed this trail to a rocky coastline and enjoyed the views and climbing on the rocks.

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This hiking trail was so gorgeous and uncrowded. After that we drove to the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse where most of the crowds go. We were there in the evening so it wasn’t too bad.

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We met a super nice couple there who offered to take a family picture for us. They were so sweet and I wish we could have spent more time with them.

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Once my parents flew into Halifax, they stayed with my cousin Peter and his wife Cindy. They came out to see us the next day and we all visited the cute little town of Lunenburg.

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Afterward they all came back to our place and Chris made everyone a delicious dinner. We loved our time in that cute little rental cottage and so appreciated the excellent customer service we received there.

Next we moved onto my aunt and uncle’s place on the beach in Port Howe. I’ll write about that next.

Categories: canada | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Acadia National Park

If you missed my last post about how our travels came to an end after Acadia, you can view that here: The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless. That happened 2 months ago and we’re still going back and forth between Heartland and insurance, trying to get some resolution. Anyway, I thought it was about time I get my blog caught up on the travels we did in Maine prior to our disaster.

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Acadia National Park was incredible! It was so nice to get back to hiking in a national park. Our east coast travels have been fun, but we sure are missing the abundance of national parks out west. Acadia was a little like being back out west, but with a New England vibe if that makes any sense.

The Mount Desert Island/Bar Harbor side of Acadia is the busiest so we tried to plan our sightseeing on weekdays and early mornings. One day we drove the main park loop road and stopped off at several viewpoints.

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This would have been impossible on a weekend since there is very limited parking. On the weekend you can ride a free shuttle around the park, but those are also very crowded.

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Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole is supposed to be really cool during high tide. Unfortunately it was low tide when we were there, but still pretty.

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We loved walking and climbing on all the rocks and checking out the little tide pools.

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On the weekend we drove to one of the quieter sides of Acadia to see the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and do a couple of hikes.

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Bass Harbor Lighthouse

After visiting the lighthouse we parked at the Ship Harbor Trail Head and began a short hike to the ocean where we walked on the rocky coast for most of the day. We hiked back on the Wonderland Trail that ends back at the road just about a quarter mile from where we parked making it a loop.

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Jake put together a pile of seaweed on a rock and then made a home for some snails. He carried that around for a good part of the afternoon and named it “Fly, Poop and Eat”. He came up with that because he flew the “snail home” around with his hands, watched them eat seaweed, and later noticed their poop on the seaweed. 🙂

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I loved these colorful rocks!

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The next day we rode the shuttle from the campground to Bar Harbor. From there we took the shuttle to Sand Beach and hiked one of our favorite hikes ever, the Beehive Trail. This trail is a challenging uphill hike, with lots of climbing up ladders and steps. It is not recommended for small children or anyone afraid of heights as it can be very steep and some narrow pathways with steep drop-offs. If you like that sort of thing though, you will love this hike!

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Climbing the side of a cliff

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I was a little nervous about crossing this thing!

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How about a family picture on the side of a cliff?

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More climbing

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The climb was worth this view!

After that hike we took the shuttle over to Jordan Pond for a hike around the pond.

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A long stretch of this hike had a wooden walkway that the kids thought was fun to walk on.

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Lots of people told us that we must have popovers at Jordan Pond House while we were there. I know it must be popular because you have to have a reservation to have tea and popovers. We didn’t have a reservation so we didn’t get to try the famous popovers — maybe next time!

In Maine there are lobster pounds everywhere and if you buy them live they are pretty cheap. Chris got a couple of lobsters for Jake and me (Chris and Jesse don’t like them). He brought home these 2 live lobsters and set them on the floor to see what Fat Cat would do. She walked in the room and walked right by them, not even noticing them at first. Suddenly she looked down and then jumped in the air as she realized they were alive. It was so funny to see her reaction, I wish I had a video.

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So, the hard part about buying live lobster is you have to cook them. I know, that seems pretty obvious, right? Well I’m not a fan of killing animals. I’m not a vegetarian or anything, but if I’m going to eat meat, I guess I prefer not having to see the animal alive first. I felt so bad having to put these things in the boiling pot of water. I did what my aunt said she does, I pet each one on the nose and thanked them for sacrificing their lives so Jake and I could eat. I know, I’m weird, but I think from now on I’ll let someone else do the cooking. That was a little traumatic for me, not to mention what it was like for the poor lobsters. At least they tasted good!

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After a couple of weeks in the Bar Harbor area, we moved to another quieter side of Acadia, Schoodic Peninsula and stayed at the Schoodic Woods Campground (the campground that will be forever etched in my memory as the last place we stayed in our beautiful home on wheels before it fell apart on us).

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Schoodic Peninsula is so beautiful and it definitely is quieter. I rode my bike along the bike trails and the park loop road. I don’t usually like riding on main roads, but this road was not busy at all. I think only about 5 cars passed me the whole time.

Hanging out at Schoodic Point in the evenings was lots of fun.

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I loved watching the waves crash against the rocks!

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We loved our time in Acadia, and had planned to return after Canada. There were a few other things we wanted to do there including watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain (the first to see the sunrise in the U.S.), and hiking the Bar Island Trail at Bar Harbor at low tide. Unfortunately the rest of our northeast plans had to be canceled so we will just have to put all of those things on the itinerary for another time.

Next I will write about all the things we did in Canada after we left the RV in storage.

Categories: Maine, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

I was born in Massachusetts and lived there until I was almost 14. Coming back to my birth state was really fun. Our first stop was Cape Cod where my family used to go for vacations in the summertime.

While visiting Cape Cod we got to visit with some friends and family. My aunt Jackie came to see us a few times. The first time she brought her 2 boys (who are not so little anymore!), and Jake & I joined them for a deep sea fishing trip.

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I would say I enjoyed it, and I did until the seasickness kicked in. Oh boy, I was so glad when we finally made it back to land! Anyway, it was fun for awhile and we caught lots of fish!

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Plymouth is not far from Cape Cod so we went to see the famous Plymouth Rock. I remember going there on a field trip when I was a kid and I seem to remember the rock being bigger than it is now. I also seem to remember being able to stand on it. I think that it was eroding too much so they had to enclose it so people can’t stand on it anymore, and now it looks so small!

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Plymouth Rock – you can just barely make out the year 1620 engraved on it.

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The rock is enclosed under those columns.

Jackie met us there for dinner. I had some wicked good lobstah and started working on trying to get my Boston accent back. 😉

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While at the cape we also got to visit with Robert & Trudy a couple of times. They used to come to see us in Fernandina Beach, but since we moved away we haven’t seen them in a long time. It was wonderful to catch up with them when they visited us at our campsite.

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We met up with them again another evening in the town of Dennis where Trudy lives. She and Robert treated us to a fabulous dinner where I had some more wicked good lobstah.

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And then Trudy gave us a tour of the town of Dennis which was so beautiful!

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Scargo Tower in Dennis

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View from Scargo Tower

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View from Scargo Tower

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We also had the chance to visit a childhood friend who lived across the street from us in MA. Jessica suggested we meet at Gillette Stadium to see Patriot Place. If you know Chris, you know that this would be the LAST place he would want to go. 😉 He is a die-hard NY Jets fan and according to Chris Jets fans absolutely do not like the Patriots. In fact, when we got married he made it a house rule that I cannot be a Patriots fan, lol! Anyway, he shocked us and went along with the idea to meet Jessica and her daughter Olivia at Patriot Place.

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Notice the photo bomber in the background with the thumbs-down gesture.

We stayed at Scusset Beach State Park right near the town of Sandwich. This park was lots of fun since it had the beach on one side and the canal on the other.

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I especially loved the 7 miles of paved bike trail along the canal! I rode one day down to the end and back, and another day I broke out my rollerblades that I haven’t used in quite awhile. I didn’t go quite as far with the rollerblades. There are some beautiful bridges to see along the bike trail.

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The canal was also pretty at night during a full moon and seeing the lights across the water.

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Fat Cat loved this site since she found lots of chipmunks.

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Fat Cat thinks she’s the queen of the RV!

We had a great time visiting friends and family while we were in Cape Cod. Next we moved to my childhood hometown of Billerica where we had lots more fun times with friends and family. Stay tuned for that next.

Categories: Massachusetts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Quick Visits to 4 States

My purpose for keeping this blog is so that we have a journal of all of the places that we have visited in our travels. Visiting the northeast means we’re passing through several states quickly, unlike when we travel out west and it takes so long just to get from one state to the next. I feel like I just don’t have enough to say about some of these places to justify an entire post, but I don’t want to forget about this part of our trip either. So this post is just a place to record what we did in 4 states where we did not spend much time.

Delaware

After a very busy week in Washington D.C. we spent a weekend relaxing at Lums Pond State Park in Delaware. We didn’t do anything else in DE except just rest and enjoy the state park. Our site backed up to Lums Pond which looked more like a lake to me. We had a fishing dock behind us and Jake & I took the kayak out on the lake pond.

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This was the perfect spot to rest after such a busy few days in DC.

New Jersey

We actually spent a week in New Jersey, but did not get out much during the week. Besides the fact that the weather wasn’t that great, we needed some downtime for work and school. I know it may look like we’re always on vacation, but in reality we have real-life stuff to do during the week. This was the week after we took time off work to visit D.C. so it was nice to just get back into a “normal” routine, whatever that means. 😉

Once the weekend rolled around we had a nice sunny day and decided to go check out one of the boardwalks along the Jersey Shore. We walked along the boardwalk in Ocean City, the kids got to ride one ride (because the rides are not cheap), they played for a bit in an arcade and then had some ice cream.

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This store reminds me of a certain Fat Cat, also known as Bad Kitty.

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After NJ, we spent some time in Pennsylvania and New York which I already blogged about previously.

Connecticut

After NY, we had a quick stop in Mystic, CT. Are you old enough to remember the Julia Roberts movie Mystic Pizza? I thought it was fun to eat at that pizza place even though the movie was not really filmed there.

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The town of Mystic is super cute!

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Rhode Island

I saved the best for last. After CT, we had another quick stop in Narragansett, RI where we stayed at a beautiful state park called Fishermen’s Memorial State Park. I loved Rhode Island, especially the Cliff Walk! We went to Newport to hike along the Cliff Walk that I had heard about from some other Fulltime Families. This was gorgeous and made me excited to eventually get to Maine where I think we’ll see lots more beautiful ocean views over rocky cliffs.

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This is called Forty Steps and is where we started our hike.

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Newport, RI is known for some really extravagant mansions. You can see some of them along this Cliff Walk. I was thankful to have such a beautiful day to see this.

That wraps up my recap of our quick visits to these 4 states. On to Massachusetts next.

Categories: Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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