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.

Time and Space

In a recent video I watched from a great couple that I follow there was a discussion on how far or how long are you comfortable driving when traveling with your RV.
I thought this was not only a timely subject as we are planning our big cross country adventure, but it was a discussion that we have had repeatedly.
The video got me looking into our plan for June and as a result we actually added a day to the trip to accommodate our limitations on how far and long we like to be in the truck pulling the trailer.
I am typically ok within a five hour circle from home.  What ever that distance is, typically about 400 miles, we are comfortable with traveling.  It does require a stop or two to stretch our legs and take a bio break.  The nice thing about having the RV is that you bring your comfort station with you.  Bathroom, kitchen etc. is all just a rest stop or view point away.  I can stretch that to ten hours if we need to, and we will on our trip, but those days need to be spread out and have a great destination when we arrive.
One of the other things that we consider when planning is our arrival times.  Whether that has to do with check in times for camping near us or the time and distance that we travel, arrival times is a factor.  If we want to arrive and be able to see some sights we need to get into our camp site before 3:30 PM.  So that is what we usually plan around.  Again, when planning for our June trip and knowing that we are only staying in most places for one night, if we want to see anything we need to be in by 3:30.  So we back out our distance and the time it take to cover it and come up with our departure times so as to arrive by 3:30.

Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 7.57.39 AMLike I said based on the time and distance and looking at how much I am comfortable with we added a day.  The spreadsheet above is the tool I use to plan.  It does not reflect the added day which will be at the beginning of the trip on the 16th.  That will cut the 10:45 drive in half and that way I won’t have to do two back to back long days.  We also through in a floater day (30th) the grey block that will allow us to either go home for a night in the way to LL Stubb Stewart or spend another day en route from Butte.
Without taking a look at the plan we would not know to make changes.  I know that some people don’t plan as much, but I like to know what I am getting myself into.  I also like to know that it’s doable.  On this trip we have not allowed for too much flexibility, but that is because we have places and people that we need to see and get to.  The fact of the matter is that we do have a few days in the middle that we can shift, move, or do nothing with.
Planning for us is key.  When we look at space and time, we want to fill it with how we are comfortable and keep it safe for our travel.  Its all about having fun and so we feel the need to plan to make it that way.
What are you comfortable with?  How do you plan? Let us know.
Be sure to check out one of our favorite YouTube Channels, You,Me, and The RV!
While you are it.. pay a visit to our channel!
Have a Happy Day!

4 month review

analyticsI would like to start this by saying Thank you to everyone that has paid us a visit, left a comment, and started following this Blog.
We started this blog at the end of October 2018.  The intent was to document our Journey.  I was quickly approaching my retirement date and wanted to have a place to share our Journey as we started a new chapter in our lives.
It’s been 4 months since we started.  This is the 56th post and the numbers are in.
65 of you are following the blog via WordPress.  but it looks like we are gaining some traction with the blog views.
In 2018 we had 626 views from 337 visitors.  134 of you liked what you saw and 5 even left a comment.
In the two months of 2019 we have already seen some growth which leaves us motivated to keep it up and share away!
507 views so far from 309 visitors with 58 likes but already 6 comments.
Ok.. why share those numbers?  I don’t know.
Seriously.  It is not about money or fame, it is about sharing.  We don’t make money on this site and even though we became an Amazon Affiliate and encourage people to visit Amazon using our link.. that money..when we make some will all be going to charity.
So what’s with the numbers.  It’s about exposure.
The more numbers the higher you rank on the internet search engines and thus, more traffic is driven your way.  If we are going to share.. we want to share big!
So, while it’s not about the numbers.. it helps when we know that we are in fact reaching an audience that is along with our Journey.
I just thought it was interesting to see our blog grow in just a few months.  I am curious to see how it grows over the next 2 months as we reach our 6 month mark.. and then again at the end of this year.
Just like the blog we are watching our Youtube Channel as it grows… Extremely slowly.. but from 4 subscribers to 24 (at the time of this post).  Not monumental, but hey at least some one is watching.  I am sure at some point it will get traction also as we get better with our content and production.  Either way.. it’s about sharing our story and having some fun with it.
Thanks again for coming along.
If you are new here.. consider following the blog and check out our Youtube Channel.  And join the community by leaving us a comment.
Thanks again.
Have a Happy Day!

 

 

 

Upgrading the Camera- Canon M 50

img_0209Recently we have been learning how to make better videos and as a result trying to learn to shot better photos.  Thank goodness for Youtube, there is a lot of information out there.  Now that I am on a fixed income… camera gear has to fall into a serious budget and so we needed to find bang for our buck.  After doing a lot of research we decided to go with a camera that shoots fantastic video and takes good to great pictures.  I still have a lot to learn about the set up and mechanics of photography, but this camera is set up to make it a fantastic entry level camera.
I am still learning, but there are some great tutorials out there.
Here are my impressions of the camera after using it for the last few weeks.
First.  The size. Unlike the DLSR camera’s this camera is a lot less bulky.  It fits well in the hand and still has lots of fantastic features.
Second.  It has a nice flip screen on the back which is also a touch screen.  This feature is nice as you can control the camera by touching the screen.  Focus, menus, and camera settings are all right there at the touch of the screen.  For a beginner, it is nice to see the changes in the picture as you make them.  This has really helped me learn what the camera and settings do.
Finally.  The price.  Yeah, the price was a big factor in getting this camera.  I picked it up on Amazon for $599.00 and got free shipping.  The value is certainly worth it in my opinion.  I think that a combination of the size, ease of use, and quality help me learn and actually use the M 50.  It is very convenient to haul around and use.  I am liking this camera a lot.
So here are the specs for the M 50.

Specifications

Key Specs

  • Maximum Video Frame Rate- Up to 60 fps
  • Wi-Fi Enabled
  • Lens Mount Compatibility- Canon EF, Canon EF-M, Canon EF-S

Dimension

  • Product Width- 4.6 inches
  • Product Height- 3.5 inches
  • Product Depth- 2.3 inches
  • Camera Body Weight- 0.78 pounds

Compatibility

  • Remote Compatible- Yes
  • Memory Card Compatibility- Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)

Display

  • Display Type-
    LCD touch screen
  • Varying Angle Screen
  • Folding Display Form Factor

Connectivity

  • Number Of Memory Card Slots -1
  • No Internal Memory Included
  • Output(s)- HDMI
  • No Integrated GPS
  • Tripod/Monopod Mountable

Included

  • No Memory Card Included
  • Batteries Included
  • Number of Lenses Included- Kit Lens 15-45mm
  • Lens Series- Canon EF-M

Performance

  • Not Shock Resistant
  • Records Audio
  • Self Timer

Power

  • AC Adapter Compatible
  • Battery Model- LP-E12
  • Removable Battery
  • Rechargeable Battery

Feature

  • Digital Camera Type-  Mirrorless Camera with Lens
  • Integrated Flash
  • Slow Motion Recording

Imaging

  • Lens Type- Standard Zoom
  • Image File Format(s)- JPEG, RAW
  • Face Detection
  • Low Light/High Sensitivity
  • Brightness Control
  • Number Of Images Per Charge- 235

Exposure Control

I hope you enjoyed this review.  I like the camera and am learning so much about photography by using it.  Hopefully the quality of our videos and the pictures that we take on adventures will get better and better.

What camera do you use?
Thanks again for stopping by our Happy Place.

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!

Two Months and all is well

retiredIt’s been two months since my last day of employment.  My retirement day and “ceremony” was nothing special other than the drive home when I realized that waking up every morning was going to be different.  I would have to find a new purpose for getting out of bed.  Life was no longer about waking up and providing for the family, the retirement plan would now take care of that.  For the first week I spent time realizing how life would be different.  I created task lists and to do’s.  I spent time thinking about future direction and the projects that I would be taking on, we established our goals for 2019 and beyond.  And low and behold I became busier that I ever have been.  A good kind of busy though, a busy that is driven by me and what I want to do, when I want to do it.
I have mentioned before that I am very active in Scouting.  Scouting has taken a large amount of my time.  It is time that I love giving as I know and have seen the benefits of the program in building up youth and leading them to be good people that will one day assume leadership in our communities.  That is a subject for another time, but I share this to say that being retired has allowed me more time to give to Scouting.
I was asked a few months before my retirement if I would entertain the idea of leading a major project for the local Scout Council.  Taking on the Committee Chairman position to lead the Contingent to the 2021 National Jamboree.  I accepted this position with the understanding that it would essentially become a full time job (not paid).  And so far it has lived up to that expectation.  There is almost something every day that I have to dedicate to this effort.  Don’t get me wrong.. I love it and it has been a ton of fun…. so far.
But today marks the two month mark since my retirement.  Teresa and I had discussed as we were planning for the retirement what the first few months would look like.  How the money would be budgeted, what to do with my time, and of course, how much time we could spend in the RV.  So with the holidays right on the heals of the retirement, the kids house burning, and the birth of our grandson, it has been a real busy two months.  We did manage to get our in the RV once in November, but it soon became a temporary home while the insurance found a place for the kids to stay.  That is all working out just fine now for the kids and it looks like their house will be ready to move in around April or May.
So in the first two months all things considered all is well.  We are not worried about the money, we are keeping busy, going to gym every morning, and then there is the blog and the Youtube Channel.  Which we have taken on as a project to share our happy life.
The blog is… well you tell me… doing well?  I am not sure what that means or how to measure it.  I see the number of views and subscriptions have gone up, but in the two months since we started it we are not certain that our goal of establishing community has moved the needle.  We have not received feedback and our comments sections are extremely quiet.  So I assume that just takes time and time is something that we have for sure.
The Youtube channel relaunch also has been real quiet.  While our effort thus far has been in getting our plan together as to what our channel is going to look like and we are creating content and plans for future content, the growth of the channel is pretty non existent… but that too takes time and with more and more content we hope hope that it will grow.  For us it is about sharing the story.  We understand that there are millions of options on Youtube, but as we watch other channels we get the idea that there is something for everyone and a place for everyone’s story to be told.  So we will be hanging in there and will continue to create content for both the blog and the Youtube Channel.  It’s only been two months, the reality world that I live in knows that all good things need to grow and that simply takes time.  Time that we have.
It’s been two months to the day… and All is well.
Thanks for coming along with us on our journey.
Can I ask that you if you like what we are doing.. share it with a friend.  Check out our Youtube channel… and again, if you like what you see, share it.  If you don’t like it today.. check back.. the future looks fun for us and what we are trying to do.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness

Happiness1Lets talk about happiness.  I am sure that happiness is on a huge sliding scale and means something different to everyone.  We call our site the Happy Place Diaries, a reference to our RV by and large and the happiness that it has brought to us.  But the sub text of our site is a “Journey to Happiness” and that is where we need to define or shed some insight as to what Happiness means to us and what being on a journey to “find” it means.
First of all our journey to happiness should not imply that we are not happy and we are in search of being happy.  On the contrary, we are very happy with our lives, what we know however by observation is that happiness can be fleeting and change by life circumstances.  Our journey to happiness essentially is an effort to mitigate those circumstances and find happiness and joy in how we live our lives.  I think that we can distill that down to a few ideas or ways that we choose to live our lives.
Number 1.  Money.  Money is the number one stressor in most peoples lives.  We have achieved some financial freedom and have made decisions that allow us to reduce the stress that money could have on us.  We have conceded that we will never be millionaires and that we can live comfortably on what we have.  To us it comes down to an understanding that at the end of the day it is not a bunch of stuff that matters.  Rather it is how we use that stuff to make life better for us and others that make a difference.  Now would I love to be a millionaire?  Sure.. it would open a few more doors, but the trade off is the question.  What is the cost to have all the money and still not be happy.  One of the biggest decisions of our lives was for me to retire.  It came down to can we live comfortably and can we take care of ourselves and our family.  The answer was yes.  It would mean that we would have to make some sacrifices, if you want to call it that, in that, not moving into a new house and getting real good and our budgeting.  But working together we have come to a happy place in our money and that stressor of our lives.
Number 2.  Stuff.  How much stuff do you need.  We have our hobbies and interests, but when a serious inventory is taken of stuff… how much do you really use and what do you need.  Over the past six months or so we have really been taking a look at our stuff and what we need and use.  Many trips to the Salvation Army, Good Will, and the dump has reduced the amount of stuff we have.  Combined with selling off some good used stuff we really have a better understanding of our stuff.  Society dictates that we need more and more and encourages clutter, the by products of to much stuff.  We still have more work to do to reduce our stuff and declutter, but what we know for sure that less has become more.  I think that is one of the wonderful things about the RV.  Everything has a place, everything is in its place, and everything has a function or we don’t need it.
On the journey to happiness reduction of stuff has actually made us happier.  We have learned to use what we have and not get bogged down by what the “Jones’s” have.  It really does not matter in the grand scheme of things.  What I discovered after I retired is that when it comes to clothing for example, I have more than I need and use.  When I was working I was always in uniforms or casual clothes.  Now that I have quit wearing uniforms I am only wearing cloths that fit my life style.. casual.  Yeah, I’m holding on to a suit or two and keeping some nicer clothes in the closet, but really it’s all about comfort and practical use clothing.  The rest can go.  Kind of like going to a restaurant that has too much on the menu.  To many choices apply a little more stress and less happiness.  I know what I like and that is what I do.  That makes me more happy than wading through the clutter of stuff.
10900246_10204119814730465_1618872015724708408_oAnd Finally, number 3.. Family.  While it is last on this list, it certainly is first in what makes us happy.  Keeping our family first has made us very happy.  We have three kids that are all grown and almost gone.  They are the joy of our lives, not without frustration and concern at times, but that’s called parenting, our kids have grown to become good adults.  They all have good jobs, staying focused on their goals, and are good citizens.  They are responsible and loving.  They are caring and kind.  Our oldest son just gave us the gift of a grandchild.  The best of our family is that they value the family.  They understand that the family is most important.  It is the foundation of who and what we are.  Our whole family from our parents to now our Grandson is the most important thing in our lives.  It brings us great joy and happiness.
Family, Reducing Stress, and taking inventory of stuff.  A simply formula for happiness and three things that through focus and work have made us happy and contribute to our happiness.  We have a Happy Life, we want to keep it that way.. and this is our journey. Always staying focused on the reduction of anything that does not make us happy.  I was listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast one day and he summed it up pretty well.  “If it doesn’t make you money and it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.”  It doesn’t do us much good to do things that move us away from happiness.  So we don’t.
We are happy to share… how about you?
What are some things that you do in your life to make you or keep you happy?
Leave us a comment and share happiness with us.