Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random Acts of RV'ing Version 7.0

More untold stories of surviving the full-time RV lifestyles filled with behind the scene musings of the people and sights of this journey over the past ten days in Colorado.

I must have missed the Camping World "Renaissance Era Clothing Sale".

Recall the previous post of our Johnson & Johnson gauze pad insulation in our rig that guarantees at least a 2 degree temperature spread between inside and outside temperature. Well, as we travel in Summer temperatures, I have found a benefit of this poorly insulated rig--open up that cabinet right there at about 8pm on a June evening and those store brand cookies taste just like Nestle's Toll House morsels exiting the oven.

Campground signage that sent me into a deep depression. Next thing you know someone will tell me the tooth fairy is a hoax. Oh well, there is always Santa Claus.

Some of our Colorado friends who stopped to visit drove a different type of sedan...

SCORE! Met up with a wonderful friend and former co-worker of 20+ years who gifted us with one of these. She also bought lunch. See, I can resemble a "good friend" at times.

As she strolls down the marina dock in her best pageant stride, these were some of our 7 year old niece's observations who spent two days with us at Chatfield State Park in Littleton, Colorado--"Can you kill this ant for me"..."This dragon fly is annoying me"..."It is boring time"..."It is so hot walking, can you give me a piggy-back ride"...and my favorite---"I love camping".

We just returned from the annual Narcissists Convention-- how we doing? Actually, we got this idea from another blogger who we met in Idaho who struggled with the common plague of "Campground Shyness". So, it is merely a conversation starter, like a big pimple oozing from one's forehead.

WOW-- a new record for us, 3 weeks in a single state--Colorado. After reuniting with many friends, co-workers and family, it is time to bid farewell to the Centennial State (and the record heat). We arrived in Loveland, CO. where the 2nd largest fire in the state's history was 6 miles from us. When we moved to Chatfield State Park, we were 40 miles from the Colorado Springs blaze. All coincidental, we are not traveling arsonists.

Where to next? The Lady Eagle's (the most boring RV name evah--can I get a suggestion or two folks?) air conditioner has informed us she needs a rest. Our blog subtitle is "In search of an 80 degree forecast"--guess God has a sense of humor or I needed to be more precise 'cause 80 degrees was pretty much the NIGHTLY LOWS! Did I mention we were in Colorado? Back north we must go, more precisely northeast from here. It looks like the mecca vacation state of Nebraska for a few days, then the 360 heading to Sioux Falls, SD.

Day # 86-- a number I want to see on the 5-day forecast.....the journey continues...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Random Acts of RV'ing V. 6.0

More intriguing observations from this lifestyle we call full-time RV'ing. An inside look to give you better insight on making the plunge that we did.

RV'ing on a budget. Feel free to donate so we can afford a handle.

How do you select your favorite campground site? Trees? Pool? Kids' activities? Remoteness? Well, if you are a loser like me, "Proximity to Wi-Fi tower" would be the correct answer. This was the view from our window.

When Mr. Can't Fix-It packed for this full-time journey, I must have had been burdened by some subliminal thoughts that indicated I was proned to losing hammers.

Nothing adds more to the ambiance of camping than a couple pair of rubber ducks permanently attached to the pond bottom. I was tempted to walk up to the office with a stoic face and inquire, "Do you sell duck food?". You know, just to get a reaction.

May I share a "first world" camping problem with you. Why is it water bottle manufacturers can't thicken the base of their containers to prevent "empty water bottle tip-over" syndrome? It tips my attitude over the edge each time this occurs.

Our junior flip-flops, Cameron (tallest) and Austin (almost tallest), were able to join us over Father's Day weekend in Denver--first time all 4 of us have been gathered for this special weekend in 3 years. Yes, their height comes from me (weight to arrive later), the rest of their fine attributes from their mom.

A story of grandiose plans gone awry. He was parked right across from us in Golden, CO.the day they announced the journey was on a new path (6-14-12 entry). There is probably not a single full-time RV'er that has not been near this intersection. Unlike ours,they have a very well done blog site and one I hope they can resume a together-life that is amicable to both.

Being we have 3 weeks in the Denver area with plenty of resources, the Jr. Ark went in for some preventative maintenance work--oil change, fuel filter and new air filter--everything else checked out fine. The Lady Eagle went in for 4 new tires as they had reached their 5 year RV life expectancy. The wallet is now broken down.

Our time in Denver is now about half over with 10 days remaining. The next destination is still up in the air, although after suffering through record heat for a week (yes, in Denver it can touch a 100), I do believe the heading indicator will be set to "360". It is the time of the year where full time RV'ers change their preferred RV park amenities to: 1) Electric 2) Shade 3) Pool.

The journey continues hopefully towards cooler weather 76 of 365....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Good to be back in the state we called home for over two decades. Nothing competes with a Colorado summer.

Our spot at Riverview RV park just west of Loveland, CO. When the sister-in-law and her kids came up to visit, the office indicated "your relatives are in spot #138, designated for the handicapped". WHAT THE HECK?? See, I can't let the wife's Iphone out of my sight, always calling the reservations line on me when I am not looking. Hey, I wasn't about to move, so I randomly limped around and reached for my lower back and winced a few times while I was outside. It worked out.

A Colorado summer snowstorm? Well, not really. Those are the sheddings from cottonwood trees at our park. Allergy specialists and big-pharma rejoice!

Brynn, our 7 year old niece, joined us for a night and enjoyed grillin' her first Smore. I so wish I would have had a single Black Cat firecracker to insert into that marshmallow when she wasn't paying attention. Okay, stop with the collective "oh that's so mean" whine. This is the girl who often wants to challenge her old, decrepit Uncle to a race, so I call this strategy "creative training". You know, like you see on The Biggest Loser and such.

Eight glorious days camped along the Big Thompson River 5 miles west of Loveland, CO. In a 4 hour time span in 1976 along this stream, a stationary thunderstorm dumped 12" of rain and brought down a 20 foot wall of water originating near Estes Park. Sadly, 143 people died in the aftermath. Not sure about you, but I am thankful for the advances of Doppler radar and Reverse 9-1-1. This RV'er does not climb trees well.

Water was not our concern during our stay, the High Park fire that ravaged 40,000 acres west of Ft. Collins, CO. was. In this photo, the south perimeter of the inferno was only 6 miles from our campground. Coming from a 22 year background in 9-1-1 emergency services, got me to thinking about a midnight evacuation plan in the event the winds switched and it started marching toward us. I agreed to secure the tube of Pringles and the Folgers coffee can and Teri would wake me up when she was done hitching. I would then drive us out. Masterful plan went unneeded.

This is the sign that appeared on the door the day after 40,000 acres had been gobbled by fire, 14 different aerial tanker had done low "fly-bys" and our campground smelled like a chimney sweeper's van. I think the manager's name was Captain Obvious.

Leaving the forest of northern Colorado, headed into suburbia where we meet up with friends and family for the next couple of weeks. Chances of being engulfed by a forest fire will be significantly less. The journey continues, day 69.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Random Acts of RV'ing V 5.0

Yes, more random musings from this full-time, RV journey and sabbatical from the rigors of a real job often mixed with "what were they thinking" moments.

At a general aviation airport near a campground: "No unauthorized persons beyond this point"-- is suggesting a fence too much?

As I trekked to my nightly visit to the shower facility, I thought it was a cool sight seeing the full moon climb between the RV Park sign. It's also a good business decision to not put your name on the sign to save the revolving door of RV ownership parks the expense of elevating a new sign 80 feet into the air.

An RV rant-- why do campgrounds insist on putting rigs in side-by-side spaces when they have numerous to choose from, many shady, on a day with temps in the 90s? Furthermore, they face us with the neighbor. Finally, they claim we are in a pull-thru slot, when in reality, it will work if my tow vehicle is a VW bug. The next shift employee then promised not to occupy the spot behind us so we could back out--2 hrs later it was filled. A planned 2 day stay became 1. End rant.

Begin new rant. Exterior wall insulation in a traditional home is rated in "R" values. I believe R15 is the industry standard. For 5th wheelers in our price range, I don't know if the alphabet ever reached "R". More than likely, our insulation is the Gauze Pad by Johnson&Johnson. So, when we were toasting in our green house effect RV on the day I described above, we hustled up the quilts, sheets and even a sweatshirt and hung them using the ever trusted push-pin technology. I rated it at a R(edneck) value of 10. End rant, again.

When this type of driving is what you stare at out the front windshield most of the day complimented by 20mph crosswinds, it becomes easy to---------

---------justify the purchase of a lil Ben &Js from the campground store. Oh, and the reason my wife stores Eggo waffles upside down is-------dunno.

I enter the campground restroom and I see the toilet, a sink and this sitting bench---huh? I know their value in a shower area as a place to towel off and change. I am a proponent of campground etiquette so I become deeply concerned. Well, probably not deeply. Am I to disrobe before sitting on the pot, seems a bit much to ask. Was I suppose to bring the wife to spectate, encourage and toss M&Ms? RV parks have more rules than a pastor watching his twin, teen daughters walk out of the house on their first date and I just want to make sure I am in compliance.

There you go, Round Five of "firsts to me" is complete. Hope you enjoyed wasting as much time reading this as I did preparing it.

Journey continues, day 65.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


 Hello Utah.....

Howdy Wyoming....

Goodbye to both. Pretty much how I feel about those 2 states. Actually, they each have their attributes, just seemed we were pretty determined to be mobile for a few days for the first time during this journey. We skirted the Great Salt Lake, it's big and still there. Salt Lake City/Ogden are notorious for their museums, but I get to see an aged relic each morning I shave, so really not much interest in it for me.

Wyoming, what can you say--- "Where men are men and sheep are afraid". It is the least populated state in the USA with only half a million country folks. Wyoming is cowboy speak for wind--relentless. We had to hunker down second night in Rawlins due to 50 mph forecasted gales along our route. When we finally did leave, it was a 630 a.m. departure and a gorgeous ride, all be it 37 degrees at daybreak. Yes, another Flip Flop flop.

We are now tucked away along the Big Thompson River between Loveland, CO. and the Rocky Mountain National Park. We weren't even unhitched when wifey commented, "Oh yeah, I could stay here for a month". Teri and I lived 20+ years in Colorado and we know June is the time to be here. We will be here for over a week. No museums, no wind---just great memories brought back to life of our 2 decades in the best Summer state in the USA.

We have family close and our youngest son and my mother-in-law will be flying in next weekend from Austin, Tx. so we can mingle. And eat. So, there will be some significant down-time, which may result in less blogging. You're welcome.

Time to cogitate on our first two months of RV'ing. Nearing 4,000 miles and having traveled from Austin,Tx-Grand Canyon-Monterey Beach-Portland-Boise and now Colorado, we treated it like a whirlwind vacation. For a combination of reasons, this past week (driving 800 miles), and more so, the past 24 hrs , were not Hallmark relationship moments. I wasn't sure after I awoke from my 45 minute nap (I hadn't slept in 26 hours), whether I would be greeted by Dr.Phil or some guy asking what size straight jacket would work best for me. Ah well, a little fresh mountain air, light breezes and birds cooing goes along way to restoring the soul.

I do believe now we are going to discern the "best of the best" strategies we have enjoyed and deploy those after our 3 week visit here. Driving 4K miles in the next 60 days will not make the list.

Day 62, the journey continues rests and reflects in Colorado.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Idaho, You Were More Than A Potato....

State number eight on this journey- Idaho. While the plan was to initially log 1,000 miles per month, with less than 2 months in, we have already eclipsed 3,000 total-- woopsy. We will begin slowing down the pace significantly. We have 600 miles to go before we reach Denver and about 10 days to get there, a pace we and our wallet can live by. This puts us staying at places for at least a week, which reduces your campground fees by about 20%. Also, we will be in states where diesel fuel prices will be about 10% less than the northwest.Relief.

"Clueless, party of 2, your table is ready". That would be us. How many times have we loaded up our grocery cart with some Ore-Ida frozen spuds of some sort and never thought twice of their name's origination. What's that tater tot smell? Oh could it be we are passing their manufacturing plant at the OREgon- IDAho border? Ding-dong, the bell rang.

A nice surprise falling from the sky above the Caldwell, ID airport. Although aviation has been a passion for a few decades, jumping out of a perfectly good airplane 15,000 feet above the ground did not make Dave's Bucket List.

Where's Waldo Gordo? I am on the bridge over the Boise River. One of the strategies we deploy when coming into a "new to us" area is checking and clicking on their Things To Do tab. The #1 item for Boise, ID. was cycling the Boise River Greenbelt in the downtown area of the Idaho capital city. It's a 10 mile stretch that parallels the river and a very level trail, inviting to my aging knees.

For those of you who have never seen doggie heaven, I snapped a picture for ya. What a sweet retriever, and smart. The owner was tossing a ball from the shore of the Boise River and this pup figured out the current and paddled at an angle to meet up with her floating trophy. I know many of you travel with your animals, but I haven't quite gotten there yet, mostly because I like king-sized dogs and we only have a queen-sized bed. But if the wife keeps misbehaving.

Boise State--"The Other Broncos!". (Yes, we lived in Denver for 22 years). Although many of you may not follow sports, you will probably recognize the Boise State Bronco's home turf-- it is the one when you walk by your HDTV at night and ask your husband, "What's wrong with the color on our TV?"...yup, their grass is BLUE!

 A picture of our neighbor 50 feet away-- AT 10PM in Idaho. Ah yes, Summer Solstice is approaching the Northwest. It has definitely been different laying down to go to bed for the night with dusk still on the horizon. On the bright side (pun intended), it beats trying to sleep in Alaska.

Spanning the Snake River in Twin Falls, ID., the Perrine Bridge is the ONLY location in America where base jumpers are allowed to take flight every day. They arrive from all over the world. We parked in their Visitor's Center free for one night and watched about 15 jumpers refill their adrenaline. Yup, 486 feet straight down, about 483 feet too many for me--heck, I get nervous stepping onto my 3rd step of my RV.

Our little Canon camera did a fairly good job of capturing several jumps. We originally thought this was a female jumper that was with a group, but it was a male showing his feminine side all decked out in his hot pink parachute. A pair of pink leotards would have really brought it together--you know, that "matchy-matchy' thing. But who am I to question when you can strike the target like he does.

Update: Well, the Google+Blogger marriage has failed me. So you won't get to see Pink Male Chutist-Tutu defy death. Our video would not load, probably due to our campground Wi-Fi. Let me just put it this way, if there was a 3-way race between a dinosaur, a tortoise and RV park wi-fi, the wi-fi would win bronze. So,  here is a link to a YouTube video. Let me guess, now you are going to think we were actually never there. You pay for the polygraph.

And this is what it looks like when you miss the target. Wait, what is this, the first dude in a pink chute and this one flying a rainbow--maybe we were at the Golden Gate bridge. I digress.

Update: While I digress, uploading the video regressed. Trust me, the rainbow feller survived, missed the target by 100 feet and skimmed some brush. I am sure a more brilliant mind than mine (not a big leap) will appear and guide me thru my video loading obstacles.

When you get good, you can do a full gainer before releasing your cord. You can go here for a short 30 second video. Funny enough, most of these rush junkies were wearing helmets. Guess in the event of any parachute failure, they just want to make sure their brain remains intact.  And because I am here to quench your blood thirst keep you highly informed, I did some research on that Gurgle search engine thingy on the Intraweb. In its history, looks like 14 suicides and 3 accidental deaths. I chose not to become a statistic. Fun to watch, but like skydiving, did not make the Bucket List. Besides, Teri's not checked out to drive the big rig.

Obligatory signage for the despondent at the outset of the bridge. Oh wait, maybe that's the phone number to the White House. You know--hope, change, failed, bridge, jump--I really do need some meds as my digression really has been flaring up.

Our final night was spent in Declo, ID., population I think was "Don't Blink". It had a very nice campground--in the trees. Folks, trees and RV parks aren't as common as you would think, almost like there are City ordinances that ban shade. This was a full stop, all amenities RV park--fuel, rest, pool, homemade pizza from the grill delivered to your door step, ice cream from the store and cappuccinos. I didn't even unhitch for the 2 days we stayed here. And we confirmed another "small world" story--one of only about 10 bloggers we follow who hail from NJ was camped 100 feet from us--their great blog is here. Great meeting Debbie and Scott!

As the sun says goodbye to the Snake River Valley, we say adios, as well, to the state of Idaho. The state nickname is the Gem State, and that it was.

After traveling east for the past 600 miles, today we point our rig to the south, so I can work on my left arm's farmer's tan. Heading to Ogden, UT, for a couple of days, rumors of some sort of large body of water nearby abound.

Thanks for following us on this journey, now at day number 58.