Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I don't know how we avoided an "Into the Wild" ending...

This past weekend, we strapped on our hiking/snow boots for a night of (mis)adventure at Ricketts Glen State Park in Benton, PA. State parks are our new favorite thing, so we expected to have a grand time. And we did, of course...but with all of the mishaps that went down, we probably qualify to star in our own RV-centric sitcom.

Without further ado, here are the five major lessons from this trip:

1. There's a reason why not many people (or no people) camp in the winter.
On our first camping trip back in March, it was fairly cold. But we did have heat and electricity and there wasn't snow on the ground. We expected to have our fair share of neighbors in the campground owing to the fact it was the last day of hunting season, but there wasn't a camouflage hat in sight. Or any hats, or humans. We were the only people brave (or stupid) enough to be camping.

Nothin' but us and the forest
We both thought this was pretty cool. By the time we arrived for 3 p.m. check-in, daylight was already on its way out, but evening at Ricketts Glen was really something to see. With the snow blanketing the ground and the trees and the full moon glowing overhead, it was actually pretty bright outside. According to Steve, who ventured out there far more often than I would agree to, the nighttime scene was so spectacular that you could see for "miles and miles."

2. So, our battery is shot...
Things were a little bit TOO easy at first. I mean, sure, the ground was covered in snow and patches were quite icy. But Steve managed to maneuver the RV in our spot pretty quickly (it also helped that no one else was around, so I didn't feel as self-conscious about yelling out directions). Once he deemed his parking job adequate, he set about getting our heat turned on.

Before we even attempted this trip, Steve informed me we'd be going without electricity for most of it (save for what was left in the battery) but heat was a definite, thanks to the propane. Well, his surefooted optimism was shot to hell after I walked in the trailer to prepare some post-drive refreshments and the light wouldn't turn on. Even though we'd been driving for three hours and change, the trailer battery hadn't charged at all. And apparently, because the electricity wasn't on, the heat wasn't coming along for the ride either. We were SOL.

While I was sending up fervent prayers that we wouldn't become a cautionary tale for future winter campers, Steve turned the car's engine back on, which did the trick. But the last thing we wanted was to have the car running all night for us to have heat. Unfortunately, that's exactly what we had to do. We did shut it off from time to time, including at night while we were sleeping. But, um...yes. I realized how much I like heat. Especially when it's 15 or 20 degrees outside and the only thing sheltering you is an aluminum box. Needless to say, we packed on the layers and went to bed hoping for the best.

3. Steve needs to listen to me more often.
When the heat first kicked on, I mentioned, "So, we have to leave the car running to get heat in here?" Steve brushed me off and said about a dozen times, "I think you're missing the point" and went on to drop some fairly technical lingo that I tuned out. Well, wouldn't you know it, every time we turned off the car, off went the heat and the lights with it. Obviously the two things were related. I also suggested that this was a pretty good way to use up whatever gas we had left. He said it wouldn't, but tell that to our near-empty gas tank the next morning.

4. Lola isn't allowed near frozen lakes.
Because we aren't registered ice climbers or in possession of ice axes and crampons, we weren't allowed to attempt the Falls Trail, the most famous (and difficult) of Ricketts Glen's trails. There were other trails with varying degrees of difficulty, but we decided to play it safe. We ambled along the short Beach Trail on Sunday afternoon, which offered beautiful views of the beach and the ice-covered lake, and took turns taking pictures with Lola next to the lake.
All's well at first...
Lola springing into freak-out mode
When it was my turn to pose, Lola got spooked by something, started lunging away and I lost control of her leash. Before we could grab her, she had skittered out onto the FROZEN FREAKIN LAKE. OMG. She may have realized this was a bad decision because after gingerly making a couple more steps on the ice, she inched onto an equally-slippery log, where Steve was close enough to grab her leash. I have no idea how we got out of this one. We were sure that the ice would break as soon as she hit it. Steve assures me he would've jumped in after her if this had happened, but even that sounds like what nightmares are made of. Now that I've aged about 20 years in that one second...

5. When the temperature falls below freezing, stuff freezes. Like our tanks, for example.
Our one goal for this whole trip? Dump our tanks. I guess we should've known this wasn't going to go our way, either. We both knew we should've done it earlier in the season. Neither of us realized things would freeze that fast. File this one under "common sense isn't so common," I guess.

When it looks like this outside, camping isn't a breeze
Despite all the problems, it was still a fun time. The campfire Steve built was lovely and despite not having much to do other than that, we really enjoyed the feeling of total seclusion and privacy.

Creating our own heat...the way nature intended!
We even used our oven for the first time -- I baked some butternut squash and Steve whipped up a scrumptious dessert of apple crisp. (The things we'll do when we can't watch TV!) And our ice-skating pup got to sleep with us in bed because of the lack of heat, but we'll probably never allow that again after she woke us up about 13 different times with pawing and readjusting. (And every time we woke up, we just realized how much colder it was getting.)

As Steve says, our winter camping days are just beginning. It wasn't the park's fault that our battery went on the fritz (in fact, it's probably ours, but I'm hoping it's something we can blame on the manufacturer). This was one of those trips where you learn what you really need and what you can live without. And as much as I love camping, I love being warm even more.

Stay tuned for more of our battery woes...

Oh, and our rankings! Here we go:
Pros: beautiful scenery, large and spacious campsite
Cons: not much to do, most hiking trails closed (not really the park's fault -- so we'll update these rankings when we return during the summer)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hitting the Road Again...3 days!!

Well, it's been a while! We've definitely had our minds on other things, some good and some not so good. But I'm pretty sure nothing cures a case of the winter blues like planning a trip. We're ready to get back into camping again -- falling temperatures be damned.

Last night we started searching for a year-round campground within several hours of us. This turned out to be not so easy. There doesn't seem to be a good selection of campgrounds that keep their doors open all year long. We knew it was going to be difficult, though, so we pressed on. Steve checked out PA's awesome state parks website and found out about Ricketts Glen State Park, which is about three hours away from us. It's supposedly one of the "sights to see" in PA and offers plenty of trails for hiking and exploring. Waterfalls are also a big draw (although I'm not sure if they'll be viewable right now). There weren't any sites available with electricity so we decided to rough it and go for one without it. According to Steve, we'll still have heat and electricity thanks to the propane, but we'll just have to use it sparingly.

It'll only be a one-night trip (our main priority is dumping our tanks), but I'm so excited. It seems like it's been forever since the last time we hitched up with our big, beautiful RV in tow. Definitely looking forward to all the joys of the outdoors -- the smells of the forest, gorgeous scenery and s'mores! It's been a long three months and we deserve it!

If any of you fabulous RV bloggers have any tips/advice on winter camping, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Steve!

In honor of Steve's birthday today, I want to show a bit of wifely appreciation. These past few months have provided us a real crash course in RV ownership, and we've definitely had to take the good with the bad. Not everything can be rosy when you're taking on a new car-sized loan, dealing with mechanical glitches and trying to figure out the best way to maneuver a 26-foot trailer through a narrow, construction-ridden highway. Fortunately for us though, Steve keeps his head on straight.

He's a pretty happy guy
So I'm going to take a walk down memory lane (thank God I blogged about most of these things so the remembering part isn't too hard) and catalog the top six (started with five and came up with six) most impressive RV-related achievements Steve can lay claim to:
1) Figuring out how to rig up a standalone air conditioner in our hot-as-hell trailer when we discovered the central air wasn't working the first day of our Holly Shores vacation
2) Safely getting us through the Beltway in both directions, even though the lanes were narrow, there was ongoing construction everywhere and we ended up in a high-capacity carpool lane that sent us into downtown DC
3) Becoming a complete pro at hooking it officially takes me longer to unpack our clothing/necessities than it does for Steve to get all hitched up. Not so long ago, I had to stand by and yell out directions while Steve put the car into reverse and tried to edge the car into the perfect hitch position. Now, my services are no longer needed, as apparently my inability to tell left from right was more of a hindrance than anything.
4) Always being game to dump the tanks and alert me to almost-full gray water tanks. Thank God Steve knows his way around those pipes, and the dump station is a breeze.
5) Installing the Hensley hitch entirely by himself (I handed him parts and read out instructions) after our RV shop mechanics expressed reluctance at carrying out the job. Only took about five or so hours on a blustery March day, and yeah, afterwards we set off for the hour-and-a-half-long journey home without having the slightest idea whether we'd done it correctly. But we're still alive, so clearly he did something right.
6) Learning how to back into campsites, haul a 26-footer up and down steep hills, and generally drive that thing like it's no big deal. Sometimes, I forget we're even pulling it.

It's been a great year, and I have my awesome husband to thank. Happy birthday Steve, I love you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Road Warriors

God, I love the South
 By the time we set off for home, we felt like pros. Hitching up, clearing off the tables and couch and dumping our tanks -- no biggie, at least anymore. Before we left, we also got one last visit in with Joey, this time on River Street in Savannah's tourist district (my fave!).

Right before we left
I wasn't super excited about the drive home, but at least I had South of the Border to look forward to. The last time we were there was in late 2006 on our last GA trip, so I was hoping things had cleaned up there somewhat. As a child, a SOB visit was the highlight of any I-95 trip -- everything just seemed brighter, happier and more exciting (kinda like Disney World) in that tiny stretch off the highway. I must've romanticized the crap out of it because when I returned five years ago, it was like an eerie pallor of gloom had settled over the place. The colors and decor were still as bright and in-your-face as I remembered, but they only made the contrast to the lack of visitors and activity that much more striking.

I took a pic of pretty much every sign on the way home...but I'm sparing you the rest!
I remember us sitting down to eat a quick meal of enchiladas or tostadas or something we ended up regretting later, browsing through the near-empty stores, hoping to find a cute knickknack or two to bring home but instead deciding the dust-covered items on the shelves were a little bit too sad, outdated or expensive even for my tastes. (This coming from someone who once had a spoon collection. Oh, and a sugar packet collection too- don't ask.)

So I was hoping there was a bit more spirit, life, vitality at South of the Border this time around.

Well, there's certainly a lot of statues to pose on!
 The verdict: Well, it's still a bit of a ghost town, and I still wasn't willing to fork over money for the selection of souvenirs that I swear haven't been updated since the last time. But we had a delicious meal at the Sombrero Restaurant, shockingly enough. If you read the reviews people write about SOB in general, you'd expect to see roaches crawling out of your chimichanga. That wasn't the case with us (and if there were roaches, they were safely hidden from view). So if you go there, I recommend the Sombrero Restaurant. You won't be putting your digestive system at risk!
The pilot gets a much-deserved break
I won't give up on this place no matter what, dammit!
Thoroughly sated, we took a few minutes to walk around and snap some photos.

On the overlook bridge
I'm imitating the growling bear if you can't tell
Should I regret not buying this?
We returned to our trailer, which we'd left parked in the convention center lot, seeing as there didn't seem to be any other designated trailer/truck parking. Pretty weird for a tourist destination. I guess they think that if you have a trailer, you'll be staying in their campground anyway. In any case, nobody got mad at us for leaving the car/trailer there (we were only gone for 45 minutes at the most).

In no man's land
We got back on the road pretty quickly and driver-of-the-year Steve got us into Virginia by a little after midnight. This time we boondocked at the Pilot Travel Center in Colonial Heights, VA. (From my research it appears Pilot and Flying J have merged, so we were expecting the same standard in quality.) Our stay was nice and very quiet, actually- considering we were parked right by the gas pumps, so you'd think we'd be disturbed by the constant in-and-out of travelers. But, nope. We settled in from some snacks from the travel center and went to sleep.
The view from our sleeping quarters
 The next morning came the hair-raising part. My dad had given us directions for an alternate route through 301 (the old 95, I think) so we wouldn't have to brave the Beltway again. Ah, the scenic route - now we'd finally get to see what exists BEYOND 95 (well, from what we saw of Richmond, it wasn't pretty). The only problem was that there were traffic lights pretty much every five feet. Speeding up only to have to downshift quickly for a red light equaled a jerky, unpleasant ride. So with much consternation, we decided to tough it out for the Beltway.

Ahh! Abort mission!
All was going well at first. Somehow we came upon a high-capacity commuter lane, which apparently nobody else knew about because we were sailing through there, not a care in the world. Well, there's a reason nobody else was on it. It ended up taking us through downtown D.C., which, lovely place but you couldn't pay me enough to drive in that. So THAT was fun. Beltway, you win again.

That sums up the trip, I think...aside from those few hours we had to battle the Beltway, it was a complete success. Especially 'cause we don't feel like such newbies anymore! I-95 turned us into a couple of road warriors.

Now for the ratings:
Pros: beautiful scenery, spacious and private campsite, gorgeous trails and plenty of areas to explore
Cons: no dumping station on our site (but let's be honest, that's a bit of a luxury), the 30-minute drive to Savannah was a little inconvenient

All in all, our best trip so far! And it's only gonna get better, and easier. Thanks for reading -- we appreciate it so much!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Georgia's still on my mind a month later (I'm a slow blogger, sorry)...

Georgia, come back to meeeee
WOW, so sorry about the lack of posts! When Steve starts getting on my case about my apparent blog neglect, you know there's a problem. I guess it's just hard to get into that whole vacation-mindset when you've been back in the land of the real world/work for so long. Plus, the days have been gray and rainy for a century, so it's really hard to conjure up thoughts of palm trees and sticky-sweet humidity when you're stuck in this drab mess.

Summer is over, of course (*sob*) but we're still trying to plan one last trip of the season. It would be a short one, an overnighter just so we could dump our tanks. We'd like to get it done before it gets too cold, and also a lot of campgrounds around here close after October anyway. It's just a matter of picking the right weekend so hopefully we can squeeze one in before the end of this month.

That being said, I still have some ground left to cover from our Savannah trip, so to avoid another Steve-freakout ("You're NEVER gonna update the blog again!"), I'll get right to it.

Yay! Visitors!
We had, as I've mentioned before, the absolute nicest campsite ever. So we were thrilled when one of Steve's friends from Savannah, Joey, came over to join us for a barbecue. He lives about 15 minutes away from Skidaway and had no idea the place even existed. And because he's awesome, he brought his own charcoal grill, not to mention some crazy-huge Georgia sausages, a couple bottles of wine and some fancy lights to brighten up the place.

The whole mess of BBQ stuff
We couldn't be real fancy with the light-rigging
Joey and Steve tending to the fire
 It's always so fun to get visitors because I don't think people really grasp what it's like to travel in a trailer if they've never done it before. Even people who don't like camping, I think, would be surprised how enjoyable it is. Heck, I spent a large portion of my teenage years hating the great outdoors (well, mostly bugs, and I still hate those) and now I'm writing a blog about RVing. I'm a changed woman!

Nature walks
At home when I take Lola for walks, I might worry about her freaking out over the occasional dog or squirrel. Here, the danger was a bit more ominous. What would she do if she was faced with a gator? We were (sort of) hoping to find out, because how often can you say you've encountered a real gator in the wild? Skidaway's teeming with trails and marshy areas, so it wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility.

Nice view, eh?
Awkward shot of me #2,938
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), no gators crossed our path during any of our walks. We did, however, spot some neat stuff near the marshes:

Swampy swamp
He blends in, but he's the little brownish-green fiddler crab on the right
Cool looking bird in the distance (can you tell I'm a real avian expert?)
And this thing wasn't so cool 

Our trip was pretty much wrapped up at this point, so we just had a lovely 13 hours of driving to look forward to. And per Steve's promise, a stop at South of the Border along the way. Woohoo! I can taste the quesadillas right now (you'd be surprised how good they were...). I swear I'll get to that part tomorrow, you can hold me to it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Water Conservation is Important...

One of the most exciting parts about setting up camp is pulling out the awning. I don't know why, but it instantly lends a homey touch to the campsite. We do need to invest in some cute lights, though. I was thinking it would be too much trouble to have to string them up and then take them down for every trip, but I think it'll be worth it. Especially if we're staying for a few days somewhere.

All settled in for the night...gotta love our patriotic chairs (so comfy!)
Tybee time!
Going to Tybee Island was one of our first priorities upon arrival. Unfortunately, we couldn't bring Lola, but she had a date with the couch and the AC anyway. Tybee was about 45 minutes away and well worth the trip. For one thing, there are no open-container laws on the beach (or in Savannah either), so you can basically drink alcohol while you're swimming, tanning, playing beach volleyball or whatever you want. We opted to stay sober and alert for the most part but still, it was nice to have that option (considering you can't get away with it in either Jersey or PA!).On the second day we went, we packed our own lunches and refreshments, as we're slowly but surely learning to be frugal.

Long view of the pier in the distance
This bar was a popular spot (apparently not when I took this picture)
There was a lot of seaweed and grass on the beach...guess that beats rocks and broken bottles!
By Friday, we were facing a serious problem with our water tanks. See, at every other campground we either didn't stay long enough to require the dump station facilities or we could unload the sewer pipe right on the site itself. This time we didn't have that luxury, so those tanks filled up FAST. And how did I discover this? Well, I dropped my toothbrush in the bathtub only to have to retrieve it from two feet of water. Lovely! I was seriously afraid this was a major plumbing issue, which meant either Steve was going to have to work some magic or we'd have to call a plumber out (since he didn't bring his tools). Luckily Steve said all we'd have to do was make a visit to the dump station. Good thing it was around the corner and we're getting pretty good at hitching up quickly!

Even the dump station is pretty!
Doncha just love how Steve is dressed for this? This kind of thing really doesn't faze him
Overall, it only set us back about 25 minutes or so, and most of that time was spent putting things away so they wouldn't fall/scatter everywhere during the short ride to the dump station and back. It was annoying, though, because only about a day later, the tanks were full again. Yeesh! I guess I really need to watch my water usage. It's so hard to remember that. I think when you have a motorhome, it must be much easier to dump tanks because you can just get in the front seat and drive. When you have to worry about towing, it becomes more of a pain. Yet another reason we're considering a motorhome next time we upgrade...but that's another story for a different day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Palm Trees + State Parks = Heaven

A long day of driving makes us slightly nutty, which is why we planned to make a couple of stops along the way. The first was JR's in Selma, NC, a large discount warehouse-style place with pretty much everything you could possibly want, all in a true southern atmosphere.

Outside JR's
Mixed in with all the kitchen supplies, bedding essentials and food items, you've got Nascar souvenirs, hunting and camping gear and an expansive selection of religious literature. Yep, we're in the South now. After getting Lola set up in her crate, we headed in for a very brief shopping spree. I had been hoping for more RV-related appliances, but we did manage to pick up at least one exclusively-RV item, a nice stainless steel pot. I also bought some nice-smelling soaps, which officially makes our trailer bathroom more well-stocked than our home bathroom.

Steve was anxious to get back on the road, so we departed after a quick lunch of soft pretzels. Our next stop was about an hour and a half away, my childhood happy place where my parents were able to get a brief respite from my brother and my constant backseat squabbling. I'm talking, of course, about South of the Border. Times have changed, and even though I know it's not quite as magical as it seemed from my five-year-old perspective, I still love to stop there for nostalgia's (and picture-taking) sake.

By the time we got close enough to start seeing the ubiquitous signs dotting the landscape, Steve's energy reserves were a bit depleted. I decided to be magnanimous and offered to take a pass on SOB this time, since we'd be stopping there on the way home anyway. I'm such a good wife. Well, really I was just worried he would get too tired to drive and I'd be forced to take over. SOB would still be there in a few days in all of its neon-lighted kitschy glory.

Tough life...
Destination Skidaway
Five Red Bulls (Steve) and a nap (me) later, we finally crossed the bridge into Georgia. Since neither of us had ever been to Skidaway, we had no idea what to expect. It was about 25 minutes from downtown Savannah, so we certainly didn't think it was going to be the swampy, palm tree-swathed paradise it turned out to be.

At the camp office, a friendly staffer handed us maps and parking passes and told us we had our pick of the land. In other words, we could choose whichever campsite we wanted. What!! So we drove through all four sections of the campground, taking in the damn near-palatial sites and discussing advantages/disadvantages. The sites closest to the wooded areas looked promising, as heavy greenery separated them from neighboring sites. Even better: we could pull right in and our trailer door would face the woods. Our own private slice of this paradise? Don't mind if I do! It didn't take too long for us to find our perfect match:
Not a soul around to bother us...yay!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Boondock Saints

When we first started looking into visiting Savannah, we thought about what it would cost to drive there versus flying. Of course we wanted to drive, but with gas prices being the jerks they are, you just never know if that’s going to be the most economical choice. When we found out the cheapest flight would be around $600 per person – and that’s not even accounting for accommodations – we knew we were doing the right thing.

However, you’re never going to appreciate the value of a gas-efficient car until you’ve driven an SUV towing a trailer. There’s just no comparison to that, because if we were able to get seven miles to the gallon we were lucky. It seemed like every time we turned around (pretty much every hour and a half or so), we were either filling up or looking for a place to fill up. 

Still, all things considered, it WAS cheaper to drive. It also helped that we found such a reasonably priced state park to stay at. Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll start at the beginning!

Free parking's where it's at

Originally, we planned to leave Tuesday after work, drive a few hours and then spend the night at a Wal-Mart along the way. We were making fairly good time and around 10:30 that night, Steve asked me to start calling Wal-Marts in the Richmond area. Apparently, though, either nobody who works there knows about overnight RV parking or it’s not a question that gets asked often, because I couldn’t get a straight yes-or-no answer from three stores I called. 

I did, however, luck out when I researched online and found out most travel centers have dedicated overnight parking for RVs and trucks. When I called the Flying J in Carmel Church, VA, I was greeted with a warm southern accent saying, “We sure do offer overnight parking.” Which was as good as a reservation as far as we were concerned!
Boondocking in style
I'm a big fan of you Flying J
I was a little worried about sleeping soundly after we pulled up next to a truck that apparently was going to leave its engine running all night. But I managed to convince myself the sound was like a white-noise machine designed to lull me into a deep sleep. Wouldn’t you know it? That mind game worked. And I actually appreciated the hustle and bustle of the travel center. It made me feel safe -- much better than the time we were the lone RVers in an empty Wal-Mart parking lot.

A little close for comfort, but we made it work
The next morning my alarm went off at 6 a.m. and we were out the door about 15 minutes later. There was a long day of driving ahead, but thankfully we were past all the congested metropolitan areas of the East Coast.

'Let's get this show on the road!'

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


We did it! Our first long distance trip is officially in the books. I gotta say, we haven't been doing this for long, but it feels like we're old pros already. Switching lanes on the highway, getting in and out of gas stations, braking, merging and all that fun stuff...most of these things used to at least give me pause, if not completely terrify me. I guess hauling a trailer up and down I-95 for around 26 hours total is kind of like a crash course in everything you'd need to know.

Trip details
Mileage: 1500 total
States: PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA
Destination: Skidaway Island State Park
Boondocking spots: Flying J, Carmel Church, VA (on way there) and Pilot Travel Center, Colonial Heights, VA (on way back)
One seriously long trip
There is so much to say, but first I have to thank my hubby, the true MVP of this vacation. From the minute he hitched up last Tuesday evening to the very last reverse into the storage spot, he stayed cool, collected and in control. He expertly maneuvered the car/trailer out of numerous situations that could have easily shaken another driver. During the 1500 miles we were on the road, we faced traffic jams, narrow and under-construction highways, brazen drivers weaving in and out of lanes, confusing signage, iffy bridges, constant gas station searches and that monstrosity known as the Beltway. That last one may be the only spot where I saw his nerves starting to fray. It was by far the most stressful part of the trip. They certainly don't make that area very friendly to trailers of any kind.

My hero!
My job during this whole excursion involved keeping an eye out for low overhead signs, speed limits and gas stations and keeping a constant supply of cash for tolls (still cannot believe just ONE of our tolls was $23). I also tried my best to be non-annoying, awake and on alert for Lola misbehavior in the backseat. But there's still no comparison to what Steve did. Maybe someday soon you'll see me in the driver's seat with a trailer tagging along behind, but it'll probably be in a deserted parking lot and not one of the most well-traveled highways in the U.S. For now, I'm happy with my copilot seat.

Now that it's all said and done, I'm still in awe that we managed to pull this off. It takes a special kind of person to even attempt this drive in a car, let alone with a trailer in tow. About a dozen times we must have said along the way, "I can't believe we can actually bring our home anywhere we go." Just having our trailer along with us makes us feel like we are already at home, even when we're not (kinda stole that from an RV dealership sign en route: 'You're always at home in an RV').

OK, I think I'm done being corny for now. Just wanted Steve to get a turn in the limelight. The trailer may have made this trip possible, but his many talents are the reason we made it out alive.

Joking about the being alive part. Well kinda.

More to come!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


On the eve of our first wedding anniversary, we had plans to head off for a Lola-free night at a nearby campground. Steve's parents had graciously offered to take her for the night. Unfortunately, we decided to postpone that mini trip because of the intermittent storms. The fact that our Mountaineer is also showing an ABS light on the dashboard didn't exactly help matters. Steve is nervous enough about pulling the trailer in rainstorms, and a glitch in the anti-lock brake system wouldn't make that any easier.

Either way, we need to get this checked out before we head down to Savannah. I'm hoping it's nothing major -- after all, it just passed inspection (a really cheap one, in fact) two short months ago. But as it happens, we're in the middle of a streak of bad luck as it relates to our vehicles. Our other car, a 1998 Buick Riviera (Steve's baby), just came out of the shop after a four-figure inspection/repair job. Before that happened, we were thinking of taking the Mountaineer in for its absolutely abysmal air conditioning, but that had to take a backseat. I would blame all of these problems on buying used vehicles, but as we can see from our issues earlier in the summer, even new vehicles aren't perfect.

We did take the opportunity to do some decorating in the RV, though. We've had these little accoutrements for a while now, but we finally got some special sticky-hooks to hang them up. They may be made especially for RVs, but I love those little hooks. I'm thinking of ordering some from Camping World and sticking them all over my house!

We ended up having a lovely anniversary even though we weren't able to go ahead with our original plans. On Saturday night, we cashed in on our wedding venue's gift to us -- dinner for two (including appetizers, entrees, desserts and nonalcoholic beverages). And the next day, we continued the food extravaganza at my parents' and in-laws' house. Because it was our anniversary, the main thing we ate, of course, was our delicious (still) one-year-old cake!

I'm happy to say that to Steve's chagrin, I *finally* got to shove cake in his face (he refused to let me on our wedding day for reasons I still don't understand...I was all for it, and who was the one wearing the white dress?!). Anyway:
Open wide!

Heh heh heh
 Then came revenge.
The trick is to keep your head up so the crumbs don't fall on your lap

Yum! Good look for me