Sunday, April 20, 2014

Progress as the Countdown Continues

Hi Friends,

Still getting things ready for our little get-a-way in May. Just a few days but we can't wait to get on the road and away from the rat race. This weekend we worked at getting the camper ready. The cover is off and she got a nice wash and wax. We have started wiping things down on the inside as well. Just making sure everything still works and there are no little leaks or hitchhikers hiding in the dark places. So far we have found nothing at all.

We are so excited, we have a countdown going on the calendar in the kitchen and we decided to add one to the blog as well. We sometimes feel like the shoppers from the old Mervyn's commercial. They were standing outside the store looking in and saying "open, open, open" over and over.

Back to work tomorrow, but we will keep doing little things at night after we get home.


www.MyVacationCountdown.com Ticker

Monday, April 07, 2014

Spring Fever

Hi Friends,

It feels like Spring in the Nevada desert finally,  and I am pretty sure that last snow storm that blew through last week was the last of the strong storms. From here on out we are hoping for Sunny skies and great camping weather. Of course more storms will come from time to time but we think they will be small ones. So it looks like it is time to uncover the camper and get her ready for some Spring and Summer fun.


Still Sleeping From Winter Rest
We have a Anniversary trip planned in May to the Lake of the Springs Campground by Marysville, but I am thinking we need to sneak away sooner. So I have been considering going just a few miles away to Virginia City. They have a little RV Park there and we can take in the rustic old town and listen to the steam train whistle.

During the Winter we picked up a few things we wanted to make our adventures more fun. I wanted (and bought) a nifty portable gas fire ring. We thought it would be fun when we visit campgrounds that don't have fire rings or that don't allow wood fires because of the fire danger. We also picked up a gravity lounger for my times of rest. Pretty sure I will be falling asleep in that from time to time.

Happy camping everyone. Let the Spring camping season begin!

Don & Brenda

Monday, March 24, 2014

RVillage .. Making The Journey More Interesting

Hi Friends,

We found this great RV community online called RVillage. It was referred to us by the Living the RV Dream Podcast.  Facebook is fine and Google+ has plenty to offer but what is so nice about RVillage is that it is specific to people that enjoy seeing the Country in RV's.

If you are so inclined and want to find new friends or just want a place to swap camping stories stop by RVillage and see what is happening. If you decide to make a spot there for yourself, be sure to friend us so we can keep in touch.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Stampede Reservoir, Logger Campground Review

Hi Friends,

I thought I would share a brief review of the Logger Campground at Stampede Reservoir, one of our favorite places to hideout. If you are considering this campground maybe this will be helpful.

We got our camper pretty late in 2013 so our trips out were few before the cold of Winter set in. Luckily we found the Logger Campground just across the state line in California. Because it was close to home we were able to get our camping skills down without getting too far from the security of civilization.  And it is close to stores in Truckee (10 miles) if you forget anything.

Situated in the pines above Stampede Reservoir, the Logger Campground has over 200 sites for camping. We saw tents and car campers as well as all sizes camping rigs. There are no hook ups in the campground but there are vault toilets that are clean and water faucets sprinkled around. There is also a dump station just outside the entrance that you can use as you leave. All the campsites have a very sturdy picnic table and a fire ring with a grate on it. The campsites we saw were all clean and cared for by the camp hosts.

Just inside the entrance is a camp store that has things you might need like ice and ice cream or sodas. They also have little keepsakes that will help you remember your trip like stuffed bears and such.

It is a very short walk down to the water from the campground. The water was low when we were there but it didn't stop the power boats and paddle boards from having fun. Our campsite didn't have a real view of the water but there are some that back up with an unobstructed view of Stampede. Maybe next year we will try one of those spots out. As it was we woke up every morning to a view of the woods and a beautiful meadow below us. At night we watched deer as they made their rounds o the campsites seeking snacks and handouts. They seem to love marshmallows.

The camp hosts were great and very friendly. They managed to keep the toilets clean and the campsites picked up regardless of how hard the campers seemed to try and leave messes. We enjoyed our conversations with them and look forward to seeing them again in the Spring.

We walked around all the campgrounds and

noticed that some looked better than others. Logger Campground is divided into 6 different loops, all with unique and interesting names. Of the 6 campsite loops we found that we liked "Iron Ox" and "Steam Donkey" the best. We loved site 120 in Steam Donkey and that is where we stay every time we come back now, but those 2 campgrounds seem to be the best maintained and the cleanest. They also looked to be the best laid out.

The roads in the campground are paved and the sites are paved as well. We found it pretty easy to navigate through the maze and found that even big rigs were able to get around with ease. We did need to level our camper with a couple blocks but nothing too extreme. A short drive from this campground is a boat ramp if you are dragging you boat along with you. There were plenty of sites that had room for your camper and your boat if wanted to keep it close at night but use it during the day. There are some sites that are even large enough for three campers at a time, if you are bringing a group.

We saw people running, biking and kayaking as well a some that were doing the stand up paddle board thing with their dogs along for the ride. At night campfires come to life and conversations last until the wee hours of the night, but most are not too loud and after they end it is quiet and very dark. Bring a flashlight as you don't want to walk into a deer during your late night bathroom trip. The deer wander the campground looking for anything you may have dropped or forgot to put away. Some find a nice spot in your campsite to get some sleep or rest for the night.

We are looking forward to returning to this wonderful place in the Spring. Unfortunately the season at this campground is pretty short. Just a few months in the late Spring and Summer before it starts getting cold and they button it up for the Winter. But it is beautiful and affordable when it is open (just $21.82 for a single campsite).

We give this campground at least 5 marshmallows out of 6. We probably would have given it more but we ate them and shared some of them with the deer. If you are visiting Stampede enjoy and wander by spot 120 and see if we are there.

Happy Camping

Don

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Our Oroville Adventure

Hi Friends,

What a trip!

With Summer turning into Fall, and our camping adventures quickly running out of days to explore before Winter hibernation, we headed West to the annual family reunion.  This year the family was gathering in Magalia, California in the Northern part of the state. We searched all the usual sites for a nice place to park our trailer for the weekend and decided we would stay in Oroville.


Space #37
As this was our first stay longer than just one night in the camper, we were really looking forward to spending the weekend relaxing and enjoying all that our little trailer had to offer. Actually it was 4 days and 3 nights by the Feather River at the River Reflections RV Resort and Campground. We really picked the perfect rv park for this trip. The River Reflections RV Park was beautiful and very park like. Lots of trees and grass and the wonderful Feather River made all the hopes we had for a perfect trip come true. Even a neat little fire pit was provided so we could make s'mores and toast marshmallows.

The first evening we walked the 100' or so down to the river to get the stress reduction weekend under way.  Right away we were taken by the huge salmon swimming right next to the shore. They were beautiful and we totally enjoyed sitting and watching them swim right next to where we were standing. The rv park is beautifully cared for and is nature at it's best. We wondered and chatted and then came back to the shore to watch the sunset that evening. Beautiful!

On Saturday we joined the rest of the clan in Magalia for the family festivities. After a slow start on our part,  and a full day of family fun, we made it back to the campground just after sunset. Oh well we still managed to make some s'mores and roasted marshmallows and got to spend some time connecting with some good conversation.
Brenda makes an awesome campfire and there is something completely magical about conversations around a good warm fire.

On Sunday we decided to explore some fun spots around Paradise. I lived around Paradise until about
1970, so it was like going back home again. I was really surprised at the amount of local lore and streets that I still held in my memory. Navigation was a breeze and we enjoyed the adventure. We made it to Noble Orchards, a family owned apple orchard that has been in Paradise since 1929. It was really cool and we bought some fresh off the tree apples and some apple butter, yum!
Then we drove over to Billie Park and explored a bit. I wanted to take in the view of the canyon I remembered from childhood. I can still clearly remember Grandma taking us on a short walk to see the beautiful canyon. It is commonly called the Little Grand Canyon because of it's size and beauty. It was a little testing of Brenda's fears as all over the park were posted signs warning of a mountain lion in the area. We didn't see any but Brenda was on the lookout just in case.
We stopped at Foster Freeze on the way out of town. Again this was a place I remember eating at when I was a kid and it still pretty much is the same place, with a couple changes. It was delicious and fun to spend a few minutes here before we left town.
I did manage to find a place to buy a Paradise t-shirt before we left. We stopped at the Golden Nugget Museum to see if they had any for sale or if they could recommend a store to buy shirts and other goodies.  This is a small town and it deserves one of those small town/World stories. I started chatting with the nice folks at the museum and well one thing led to another and... As it turns out the one guy that was working at the museum once worked as postman in our little valley here in Nevada. He knew all the folks that we see most all the time and wanted to know how they were doing and how Washoe Valley looked now. He left the valley to retire in Paradise, and where I had left Paradise to live in Washoe Valley it made for a nice conversation. It is really a small World.
Brenda made a nice dinner on Sunday night, and again we finished the day with a sunset and s'mores.

Monday was time for us to head back to Nevada. Brenda decided that we should take highway 70 back as she really didn't remember going that way during the day before. It was a wonderful colorful trip. Thanks to the Fall leaves popping all over the Feather River canyon, it was both beautiful and refreshing to travel down this road again.

All in all our first multi day adventure was a huge success and we are looking forward to more travels that will both refresh our spirits and take the stress of life away.

See you in the campground...

Don

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our First Camping Adventure

Hi Friends,

So we took off on our first camping trip. Sure it was a short trip, just one night and only about 50 miles from home. But we were excited and it was new and we had a blast. Sure we still didn't know that much about camping or really much about working anything on the new camper... but when did we ever let that stop us before. And what fun is anything new if you already know all the rules and how it will turn out.

Our Wonderful Camp Spot.

We made reservations for a spot at the Logger Campground at Stampede Dam near Truckee California. I made the reservations and quickly regretted the decision I made. It seems that rule number one when making a campsite reservation is, "don't pick a site right next to the restrooms." Well I didn't know that rule, or that there were any rules at all. I picked a really nice spot, just a few steps from the restroom.  As it turns out the campground map was a little mis-leading and we think we had the most beautiful spot in the whole park. It was quiet and spacious and did not have neighbors right next door.

Hey whats for breakfast?
One of the best surprises was a group of deer that came through the campground every evening just about the time folks were getting dinner ready. Smart deer and I am pretty sure you are not supposed to feed wild deer. But as it turns out the whole park seems to have something to share with them. They are beautiful and fun to watch as they meander down to the lake and then later wander from campsite to campsite just in case anyone left something lying around. It will be fun to come back in the coming years to see how the small ones have grown up and the families have changed. Most of the deer we saw were does but we did catch sight of one buck just hanging out a bit farther away from the group.

I managed to back our rig into our spot the first try and we set up the trailer without much confusion. It was a steep learning curve even with the dealers training class. Un-hooked the truck, extended the stabilizers and chocked the tires. Even the generator fired up on the first turn...it was going to be a great weekend. And it was!
Relaxing and taking it all in.

We joined in the festivities Brenda's employer was having. Good food and good conversation made the afternoon and evening fly by.

I even managed to find one of my, "it's a small World" moments when I found out one of the employees of Truckee Meadows Water Filters is the grandson of one of my mentors from the airport days of my life. I love those moments when you meet someone that you have known or talked to sometime in the past. They remind me that this is a very small world and we are all somehow connected.


We ended our trip with a wild Hummer ride up into the hills and looked out over the valley from an old fire lookout. This is really an amazing place, so much beauty it seems to go on forever. We are looking forward to exploring many of the campgrounds close to home next Spring and Summer. That should
Looking out over the Valley.
keep us busy for many weekends to come.

But for now we have more things to learn about this new part of our life. We are just not in too much of a hurry to do it.

Don


Saturday, September 28, 2013

So We Are Campers

Hi Friends,

Well we have turned another page in our life and have become campers. To be honest I think we have both wanted to do some kind of camping for quite a while. but have finally pulled the trigger on this adventure.

Our first weekend camping trip.
In the past either Brenda or I would make some comment to the other that it might be fun to go camping in our spare time. Then one day Brenda came home and said, "let's go look at travel trailers." Actually we were pretty excited about a particular little travel trailer that was really light and cost just a tad more than $13,000. It seemed to us to offer all the basics for camping plus we could pull it with our truck (a GMC 1500). So off to the dealer we went to check this baby out. It was easy to find, sitting right in front of the office and it was open so we walked around and kicked the tires. It was cute as a bug and we were excited. Then we talked to a nice couple that was also looking at it. He mentioned some build concerns to us and told me we would not comfy in this rig. For one thing I would not be able to stand up all the way inside. Oh, and the bed was lightweight and poorly designed if we both wanted to sleep at the same time.

All hooked up and ready to roll.
While pondering our now slightly less desirable dream trailer we wandered around the lot.  Eventually we found a row of bigger rigs that seemed pretty nice so we checked them out. By now we had been joined by a sales person that showed a great deal of patience as we jumped from trailer to trailer asking questions and pulling out drawers. Finally narrowing our dream trailer down to just 2 different models. After a bit more pondering and drawer pulling we had our new trailer. A Jayco 19FB, 19 feet long and as we were informed, it would be fine behind our current truck. We would be back in a week to pick it up as they needed to make sure everything worked and was bright and shiny for our first camping trip.

Time seemed to drag along like molasses in Winter, but a few days before the big camping shin dig Truckee Meadows Water Systems was having for their employees we were hooked up and ready to roll.  This whole camping adventure is like learning a new language. There is so much to learn, but there are also endless new memories to be made in this chapter of our life.