Tumalo State Park

tumalo state parkAs we prepare the RV for another weekend get a way We want to share with you our last trip to Tumalo State Park.  A gem of a State Park in Central Oregon between Bend and Redmond.  It’s about a 3 hour drive from our home, but worth every mile and minute.  This is one of our favorite places to camp.  There is so much to do and see in the area that you could spend a week and have a great time every day.
The campground sits right along the Deschutes river which offers great kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and rafting opportunities.  The fishing is world famous along the Deschutes and something that you should try while your there.
If you are into hiking, the network of trails in and around the park are outstanding and great hikes are all within 15 minutes of your RV.
And then there is Bend and Redmond.  Two really cool cities that are wonderful to visit.  Brewery’s and nice shops make the day in either Bend or Redmond something worth the drive.
If you are ever in Central Oregon, pay a visit to the Tumalo State Park.. you will be glad you did.

Planning the big trip

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First leg of the Big Trip!

We have been planning a big RV trip for this summer for some time and this past weekend the plan finally came together.
The plan was originally to go out to LeesSummit, MO to visit my wives sister and brother in law and return.  Then we decided that while we had to pass through some great country to get there, we would stop and see some sights.  So the plan started to take shape.
We will be departing the Monday after school lets out for the summer, Teresa is still working at the school so we can take off as soon as the last bell rings.  The trip will end in mid July.  This will be the longest trip we have ever taken together and the biggest trip in the RV.  It will take us 4682 miles round trip from Troutdale to Lees Summit, up to South Bend and over to Chicago then the trip West through South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and then out to the Oregon Coast.
We have made all our reservations to camp along the way.  We were surprised to find just how inexpensive the trip is going to be.  As we looked into RV campgrounds along the way we wanted to make sure that we were staying in nice, safe, and around the path that we are heading.  Looking into the camping we used the Good Sam Club trip planning web site.  It is a great tool for planning your trip, unfortunately they are shutting it down in April.  The thing that we liked about the planner, and I am sure that there are others like it, is that you put in your destination and it shows you the route, gives campground suggestions, and allows you to filter to meet your needs.  What we found was that using the filters for campgrounds that have a good rating and met our needs of staying on route and around attractions that we wanted to see, the KOA camps kept moving to the Header-KOA-Logotop of the list.  So we purchased a KOA membership for the year.  It only cost $30 and we got one of our nights along the way free plus discounts at each site we are staying at. Over the past three years we have become masters of the discounts.  Using Military discounts where we can, Good Sam discounts, and other deals that we find, we have kept our camping costs as low as we can.  The KOA option may not be the best but looking at the web sites we concluded that they are all pretty well regulated and at least have a standard that has to be met to maintain the KOA franchises.  This means that for most of our one night stays we will be in campgrounds that are safe, clean, and offer the amenities that we need along the way.  Pretty much hook ups and a place to stay.  The cost was not bad either.  The most expensive night we have on the whole trip is only $56 a night.  Still cheaper than any hotel and I get to sleep in my own bed.
The second part of the plan is that we are going to do a daily VLog on our YouTube Channel of the Trip.  I am not certain as to the logistics and rhythm of a daily Vlog, editing, posting, etc.  But we thought it would be fun to share the journey.   The good, the bad, and the ugly of travel costs, places we stay and visit, and of course a month in the RV.  Stay tuned for that.
We look forward to hitting the Road on this great adventure.  June can’t come soon enough!

Have a Happy Day!

Maryhill

This last weekend.. which is why we missed the blog on Friday we took a trip to the other side of the Columbia River Gorge to Maryhill State Park in Washington.
Maryhill and Maryhill State Park sits right at the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge’s East side.  For those heading East across Northern Oregon and Southern Washington this moves you from the Willamette Valley into the high desert of Eastern Oregon and Washington.  The Gorge is amazing rock formations that were cut as the Columbia River was formed.  It is.. pardon the pun Gorgeous.
So last Thursday we loaded up the RV and headed East.  We arrived at Maryhill State Park in the mid afternoon, it is a one and a half hour drive, and discovered that the park was empty and covered in snow.  The check in station was closed but a sign directed us to do self check.  Since we had reservations, we just drove in to find our site.  When we got to our site, a pull through site looking out at the river we found that we could not get in there.  The park had plowed the snow but created snow banks that I just could not maneuver our 33 foot trailer and truck through.
So removing the urgency from the situation I saw a Park Rangers truck at the office and drove over there.  I explained the situation to him and he offered a group camp site to us.  Since we were the only ones in the park and the only reservation for the weekend he said we could go pretty much wherever we wanted.  He drove us over to the group site which had hook ups and a ton of space and we set up there and waited to the rest of our camping party to arrive.
This weekend was all about learning and playing with the Canon M50 camera that we have recently upgraded to.  When we first got it I followed some advice from the internet… yeah go figure…  and messed up the settings.  So I did basically a factory reset.. took a legitimate tutorial on the camera and the results I think are fantastic.  I thought I’d share some of the pictures we took here on the blog.
If you ever get out to Maryhill be sure to visit the Maryhill winery, they have some amazing wine and the testing bar is fun and you learn a lot.  Also you need to check out the Maryhill Stonehenge.  It is really neat and gives you a great view of the Columbia River Gorge.
Let me know what you think of the pictures.

How low will you go?

pcod5AE5iIt’s a balmy 32 degrees outside as I sit and click at the keyboard.  We have a reservation at the Mary Hill State Park tomorrow and the forecast is for cold.. real cold temps.  So the question is… How low will you go?
We have taken the RV out in some pretty nasty weather and cold temperatures, and yes we always have a great time.  But there may come a point where the temps are too low or the weather is too nasty that we will need to make that decision or determine just how low we will go.
Thank goodness we never have Minnesota temperatures and the weather tends to come and go here in Oregon, so most of the year is camping season.  Last January we camped around the Bend, Oregon area at a beautiful state park.  It was extremely cold and icy, but at least it was dry.  The Trailer handled it well, we have the four season package on ours so it is insulated well and the pipes are all covered so I have never really worried about freezing pipes or systems on the rig… not since the water heater broke.
Since we are not full time RVers, we do have the luxury of saying enough is enough and just going home if we need to.  But we tend to like to push it a bit.  As long as we can pull the trailer safely, we will go.
This weekend is going to be a test of that I think.  My only concern is pulling through the Columbia River Gorge.  It gets pretty icy out there so we will have to see how it goes.  Like I said, turning around is always an option, but we need see.  I am pretty sure that once we get out there and get set up its going to be fantastic.
As long as the heater works, propane is full, and we have a great view, the weekend will be fun.
wintercampingSo the question is… How low will you go?
Leave us a comment and let us know.
Thanks for hanging out with us.
Have a Happy Day!

Campers to RVers

img_0057This past weekend we spent at an RV Part in McMinnville next to the Evergreen Air & Space museum.  During our stay there we had many discussions with some “Newbie” RVers.  Among the discussions of our RV set ups and how to’s, we discussed the reasons why we started RVing.
For us it was something that was never really discussed until it was.  What I mean is we have never really considered buying an RV until camping in the tent stopped being fun.  That point for us was in September of 2015.  We were camped at Nehalem Bay on the Oregon Coast.  We have always been campers and avid outdoors types.  We have always loved to hike and explore and get away for the weekends and camp.  As we grew as a family, so did the tent sizes and the gear.  Needless to say, we have gone through many evolutions of how we have camped, but the constant is that we always have camped.  In September of 2015 we made plans, like every other camping weekend.  Head out to the coast on Friday night, set up camp, and enjoy the weekend.  We were camping with the usual group of friends and my parents, who were in there 17 ft. Jayco trailer.  We got into the State Park on Friday afternoon and set up our tent.  The tent was a big REI Hobitat. rei-hobitat-4-cabin-dome-tent-footprint A tent that you can stand up in and move around.  So big in fact that we put a queen size air mattress in it.  The weather started moving in on us throughout the day on Friday and by Friday night the winds were blowing pretty good.  Our puppy was going crazy as the tent flapped and popped with the wind.  The winds got so bad, that the tent was literally folding down us.  Around 5 in the morning on Saturday, we had had enough.  I went into my parents trailer and informed them that we were no longer having fun and we were packing up.  The winds continued to gust reaching 70 mph and trees were starting to snap around us.  So we packed up and went home.  All the way home we talked about our future camping and made the decision to go to the RV show.  In February of 2016, we purchased our Keystone Passport and it has been a wonderful journey since.
But the discussion this weekend was not about why we made that choice, rather, it was about the style of camping that we have embraced.  We concluded that in the RV we participate in two different styles or kinds of “Camping”.  The full RV Park destination camping and getting away into the woods camping.  They have one thing in common, the RV.  The Full RV park destination style takes you to places to go and see.  Like camping next to the museum and heading into town for a nice sit down meal.  Or wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.  Or the Trip to Disneyland and staying at the Anaheim RV Resort next to the Happiest Place on Earth!
Then there is the State Parks and KOA’s that offer the unplug and get away experience.  While we still may have all the hook ups, these get away’s off the out door camping experience while maintaining the RV amenities and comfort.  It gives us the best of both worlds when we have the ability to get out, but retreat into the comfort of the RV and all that comes with it.
The idea that we are always packed and ready for a trip.  The luxury of having the comforts of home while out in the woods and enjoying all that nature has to offer.  It is one of the best things I love about the RV.  It is always ready and waiting on us.  The transition that we made from “Campers” to “RVers” was an easy one for us.  It took us a bit to recognize what we were doing, but we have fully embraced the life style of the RV community.
We look forward to our longer trips that combine both the outdoor experience and the RV Park luxury.
Have you made that transition?  What does that look like for you?  What was your turning point?
Leave us a comment and share your story.

Evergreen Weekend

img_0154This last weekend we spent in McMinnville, Oregon at the Olde Stone RV Park.  The RV Park is right next to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum.  It’s been about 10 years since we have been to the museum and we were looking for a good “winter” outing so off we went.
The RV Park.  The Olde Stone RV park is a very nice park.  Spacious pads that are just about as level as you can get, I think we had to raise up the passenger side about half an inch.  The spaces are full hook up with cable.  At first they looked pretty close together, but once every one got there and set up, there was more than enough room on all sides. The park is very quiet and clean.  I was very impressed.  There is a swimming pool, but at temps in the upper 30’s and 40’s, it was not on our list of things to do.
We spent the better park of the weekend at the Evergreen museum.  This is one of the best Air and Space museums I have been to.  They have done an outstanding job with the collection.  The Air museum is the home to the Spruce Goose.  I remember when the brought it here, it was a huge event.  The literally built the building around the Spruce Goose.
The collection in the Space building is second only to the Smithsonian.  The collection is fantastic and tells the story of our journey to space.  The high light for me was the Apollo Soyuz exhibit.  It is out of this world (no pun intended).
If you are ever in the Portland area, take the hour drive out to McMinnville and pay a visit to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum.  It is worth the trip.

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Our Trailer at the Olde Stone RV Park

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Apollo

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A section of the Berlin Wall

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The Spruce Goose- Massive Airplane!

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The Spruce Goose

The BIG 5 List – Pets

44497060_10215972748805023_4616306690273312768_oThis weeks BIG 5 List is all about pets.  Yep for the most part our four legged friends that love to hop in the RV and head out for adventures with us.
We have two traveling companions, Sadie and Chunk.  They are campers through and through.  When it’s time to load up the trailer, they are first to the door and ready to go.  Our little family members are seasoned campers  They have their spot in the RV and the truck and seem to love being out for the ride.
This week we will list our BIG 5 things to consider when traveling with your pet.
Here we go!
1.  Treat them like family.  When we take out little ones with us, we include them in most if not all of our activity.  We don’t bring them so they can just sit in the RV.  We have pets for companionship.  Leaving them alone all day is not why they want to be with you.. or the other way around.
2.  Make sure to give them their space.  We throw a extra large dog bed on the floor of the trailer.  It is a place for them to nap, lay around, or delight in a treat.  But it is their space and they know that they are welcome when we give them that place to be a part of our journey.
3.  Take their favorite stuff.  We have a blanket they like, their bed and of course their toys.  Again, it is a part of making them welcome.. that and when you do have to leave them alone, they have their stuff to keep them entertained.
4.  Make sure their shots are up to date and bring along their medical record/shot records.  You never know when you will need them.  An unexpected trip to an out of town Vet or a trip to Petsmart for a special Spa Day.  You will need to have that documentation.  I have even heard of some camp grounds or RV resorts that want to know that your pets are current.
5.  Our Dogs love to take walks.  Help your dogs help you stay fit.  I see too many dogs just leashed (chained) up to a tree in the campsite while the people ignore them.  Walks on the beach are Sadie and Chunks favorite camping activity.  Chasing the ball on the beach is Chunks idea of heaven on earth.  So get out and active with your pets.

We love our pets and want them to be a part of our lives and our camping adventures!  If you bring them along have a great time with them.  They are special to all of us.
Oh.. a bonus item for the list…
If you have barkers… yeah ours tend to bark at times too.. but they typically bark when they are scared or lonely.  The more they know you are there for them, the less they bark.  At least that’s our experience.
Thanks for coming along with us… what are some things you do with your pets and hey… how about giving us a tip on your pet experience.  Leave us a comment.
Have a Happy Day!

The Journey

We just put a video up to talk about our journey.  We are looking at establishing direction with the YouTube Channel and as we study and learn what it takes to produce content for the channel we also are trying to refine our audience.  We don’t know what that looks like yet.  While one of our goals is to share our journey with everyone, we also want to maintain focus on the RV community and helping new RVers discover the joy that it brings.  It is our Happy Place!
So if you have not checked it out yet.. please consider it.  Subscriptions are totally Free!
Thanks for coming along the journey with us!

A Story to tell

16722865_10210896369138704_8453717804084474142_oWe all have a story.  It may not seem interesting or spectacular, in fact to you it may seem very ordinary.  For most of us we try to have as normal or ordinary life as we can, but still with that there is a story.
The story of your family, your friends, significant events in our lives all shape the story of our lives.  When I was young (as many of you) there was no such thing as an internet. You learned about someones story when they wrote a book or you saw a documentary or TV special about them.  Now we have blogs, Youtube channels, and anyone can Google your name and learn a bit about you and your story.  It seems that more and more people want to share their story with the world.  This is something that takes getting used to, especially for folks of my parents generation.  Us 50 somethings seem to be adjusting to this new found world of story telling.  I follow some blogs and YouTube channels of folks my age that are sharing their stories.  At first it was a bit strange that my generation was into this.  For about 7 years I had a blog that was specific to Scouting.  I have since taken it down for various reasons, namely I found it hard to respond to negative comments and online bashing.  Not to say I have a thin skin, rather, I have a low tolerance of stupid and wasting my time.  And so I shut it down to allow a bit of sanity to come back to my online experience.  So I can see why “Older” folks tend to maybe shy away from putting their stories out there.
With this blog, Teresa and I are willing to share our journey with the hope that a path to happiness will create that in others.  We want to share our experiences and the story that comes along with creating a happy life.
Look around, there is so much negativity and division in our world, telling our stories about the journey to a happier life may just change some of that.
I find great joy in watching other families share their stories.  They tend to keep it positive and it restores some hope that there are communities out there that seek a better life.  It is fun to watch as these amateur story tellers are refining “Movie making” and story telling.  It is great to watch and learn from them and yep.. copy their styles.
I initially got the idea to talk with Teresa about sharing our story from watching Mark and Trish from the Keep Your DayDream blog and YouTube channel.  They took us on some epic journeys in the last couple years and inspire a better style of living for what is most important.  And then there is RVDaydream, just a couple empty nesters that have made a decision to live simple, travel, and share their adventure with us.  I think that I really relate to this couple.  They are our age, common interests, and have an honest, non polished approach to their story telling.
Our story is a simple one.  We are at that age when life is good.  I have recently retired, Teresa has a flexible job, the kids are all grown, and we are now Grandparents.  We are simplifying our lives and focusing on what is most important to us.  Fun, Travel, and Adventure are a part of our lives because we can and want to.  And we want to share that story.  It may not be refined or polished, but it is ours and ours to share.
We hope that you find something in our story that will inspire you to share yours.  We hope that you share it and be apart of this growing community… event those of us on the edge of learning new technology and ways to tell and share our stories.
YouTube Channels that I subscribe to:
Less Junk, More Journey
Keep Your Day Dream
Long Long Honeymoon
You, Me, & The RV
I Love RV Life
Less House More Living
I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing
Most of these Youtube channels also have accompanying blogs and websites.  I encourage you to check them out and give them a like and subscribe to their channels. They put a bunch of work into their videos and sites.  And I get a lot out of their channels, you may also find some value in paying them a visit.
Let me know what you think.  Are you sharing your story?  Leave a comment and if you would..share our story with your friends.
Thanks for coming along!

The BIG 5 LIST-Place we MUST go to Camp

As we start planning for future adventures in our RV we have a “Bucket List” of places that we really want to go to and camp.
Places we have not been to and places that we hear so much about that we absolutely must go to.
Here are five of our MUST go places.
barns_grand_tetons1.  Grand Tetons.  This has been on our list to go to for some time.  Being in the Northwest it is not that far and all I hear is that the views are amazing!  Can’t wait to get to the Grand Tetons.
Photo Credit: Jon Sullivan, PD Photo. The John Moulton Barn on Mormon Row at the base of the Grand TetonsWyoming.
bryce-canyon-13928152.  Bryce Canyon.  Again a place that is not to far from home, but a location that promises to have lots to see and do.  The views are spectacular and I hear the entire area is majestic.  This makes our top 5 list as a must see and real soon.
pho_722008159_013.  Florida Keys and Disney World.  We are Disney People.. Love the Magic Kingdom and we have never been to Disney World.  We would love to stay at the Ft. Wilderness RV park at Disney and then travel down to the Keys.  Again, the scenery is amazing and the trip would take us from the Pacific Northwest to the Southern Tip of the Country.  This would be an epic journey and we can’t wait to get on the road for this one.  We are actually planning this Trip right now for 2022 to celebrate our 30th Anniversary while we are there.
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4.  New England in the Fall.  This is a place that offers a lot to see and do and a part of the Country that we have never really been to.  I have always wanted to venture in the New England area and see the wonderful landscape of the region.  I suppose one can see that our list is pretty much about the scenery.  We live in a Country that is absolutely gorgeous and we want to see it from the RV.
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5.  Alaska.  The Great Land!  I was stationed in Alaska while in the Army and fell in love with this monster of a State.  It is massive and wondrous.  We would love to travel up to Alaska and see the Denali National Forest, visit places I have been and then spend time in Southern Alaska seeing the amazing sites that fill the landscape.
Well there it is.. our Dream Sheet of places that we MUST go and see and camp in the RV. The Journey is the thing with this list and it will take us from one end of the Country to the other and see amazing vistas!
What are some place you would add to our list or places you MUST go see and spend time in your Happy Place.
Thanks for spending some time with us.