Flat Anthony

Funny thing about kids, they grow up. We have 2 sons that are growing into such fine young men, we  are so proud of both of them. For Mother’s day a few years ago,our oldest gave me a pillowcase with his picture on it. Seems kind of funny, but I love it. I bring it with us when we travel.

We have been an RV family for about 6 years, and in that time we have traveled thousands of miles around the country. We have been from the Pacific to the Atlantic, summer and winter. Some of our favorite memories happened because of a chance to buy an old RV..As a parent, it has been rewarding to know that we have been able to give the gift of travel and love for our country to our boys.

Our oldest son is now 22 and, as a young man starting out, no longer has the time to take off for weeks or months at a time. When we travel now, I feel a sadness that he isn’t able to continue to share in our adventures. Our remedy? We call it Flat Anthony- the pillow with his picture on it.

Flat Anthony comes along with us whenever we travel, and this last trip, well, let’s just say he had some adventures.  How could we not take him along?

We didn’t want him to miss beach combing, or climbing on the rocks, the dune buggy ride, whale watching, 4th of July or the evening campfire watching the ships on the river.

It clearly isn’t the same as having him along with us, and I sometimes feel guilty having fun without him. We are so proud of all his accomplishments, and maybe some day, when he is older with a family of his own, he will remember his youthful trips and want to do the same with his family.

For Love of Trains part 2

 

As we travel in our Rv, our trips always include some sort of train activity.  It is a given, a necessity for survival when your autistic son lives for all things train.  As we plan our trips we include train rides or visits to train museums to ensure  harmony along the way.  These plans give us locations to see, and something for our son to look forward to, as he puts up with activities he might not otherwise enjoy.

In the small Northern California town of Dunsmuir, there is a small Amtrak stop, and the Union Pacific yard.  We happened to be camping in the area and decided to go to Dunsmuir for lunch and to watch for whatever train might arrive. Andrew brought his small video camera so  he could film the trains.

We parked nearby and headed toward the Amtrak stop. Looking at the schedule, we found that we would not be seeing Amtrak – it makes its pass through town very early morning.  Andrew knew, however, that other trains travel this route all during the day so it was only a matter of time.  As he set up his video camera  we noticed some workers on the other side of the track.  We didn’t have long to wait before the horn of a train could be heard, and the shout from Andrew “here it comes!”

Pulling in to the station was a Union Pacific train.  The train pulled in slowly and stopped at the small station.  As we watched, the 2 workers we had seen on the other side of the track  picked up their bags and headed to the cab. At the same time, the 2 workers that had just arrived on the train, grabbed their bags and climbed out. This  was a simple crew change,  exchange in a normal workday of some train employees. We didn’t speak to the workers but what came next was so kind- an act of generosity that  reminds me there are great people out there.

The new crew climbed in the cab and suddenly one of them leaned out of the cab and called to Andrew to come closer. Andrew walked  closer, and the employee  opened the side cab door and leaned out, handed him a  lantern!  As he handed it to Andrew, he claimed he didn’t need it anymore.   Just like that, this man gave a boy something he always wanted. As quickly as he came out of the cab he went back in, told Andrew to cover his ears, blew the train horn and they were off. Andrew calling for them to drive safely.

We watched as the train disappeared down the track, another day in the life of a train lover..

 

 

 

 

Summer 2016

For the past few years, we have been fortunate to take our summer RV trips. We have had some incredibly memorable times traveling around the country, seeing such wondrous sites.  It can be a challenge, planning just the right trip, with time and money constraints and the desire to see everything.  Somehow we manage to have just the right trip for us, at that moment.

Because we had already had a couple trips this year, our summer trip was not as long as some of our others have been.  We packed up the RV- a feat in itself- and headed out, just as the temperature in town heated up. We headed  to the Oregon coast, and to a climate I am more suited for.

We took our time heading north, and our first stop was a rest area in Canyonville Oregon. Nice big spot to stop for a night.IMG_2527

Next day, we continued to our destination of Seal Rock Oregon. We had the best spot- looking over the cove for great beach walking, tide pool searching, looking for shells and just an overall great week.

With Seal Rock as our base for the week, we had time to explore the coast.

I will say, I would certainly spend more time on the Oregon coast.  There is so much to see and do, all within an easy drive. More than anything, I found that being on the coast made me feel so refreshed.

Eagle Valley Campground rv park Saskatchewan

For our drive between Calgary and Winnipeg, we decided to make an extra stop about half way. While we have plans and reservations in different places, we truly have no reason to hurry. We looked on the map and figured Maple Creek Saskatchewan would be a good stop. Looking on-line we chose Eagle Valley rv campground.

As we thought, the drive was long; what we learned as we drove, Saskatchewan is not very scenic. Ok, it’s scenic if you like low rolling hills with no trees. For miles and miles. YAWN!

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We arrived at the park about 5:30pm. I was pleasantly surprised at what we found. There were trees and it was a decent size park. What we found interesting was how the park was set up. Normally you turn into the rv spots like in a parking lot, here the sites are more like a turn out on the road. I thought it was odd at first, but after being there I liked that concept. With the spots being on the side of the roads, the center space between the roads wasn’t as broken up

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This park also has a restaurant and an indoor pool. The restaurant is small, and serves Carribean/ cajun type menu. We did not eat there- though the food looked good, it wasn’t what we felt like having that day.

Andrew and I did take advantage of the pool- an extra charge of 5 dollars I think it was. After a long drive, it was well worth the cost. There is wifi, but not at the rv sites- it is avail in the restaurant area.
the park is near the highway but I didn’t find it overly noisy.

Overall, it was nice, good for a big rig like ours, and the pool was a plus.

Spring Hill RV campground. Cochrane Canada

 

After leaving the U.S.A. we entered Canada through the Roosville entrance station in British Columbia; in the North West corner of Montana. The crossing was uneventful and took only about 10 minutes. Our destination, Calgary Alberta Canada. The drive to Calgary was pretty, though long. We had light rain during the drive but nothing major. We reached the campground at about 7pm.

The campground is farther out of the city of Calgary than I thought, but it was ok. Large pull through site but they have post fencing on the corners of each spot, making it a tight turn for us bigger rigs. It actually took some patients and maneuvering to not hit the post.DSC_0386DSC_0385

The park has many full-time campers, people in the area working so they stay at the park. there was construction in the park for improvements. From what I gathered, they were building a new playground spot for kids.

The other campers. long-term and short were pleasant. There is a gas station, store and restaraun. There is a pond with a small dock, use at your own risk. The area surrounding the pond is gravel rocks, there was construction debris around. A few days before had been some heavy rain so much of everything was soggy.

The location is out of the area of Calgary, though close enough to travel into town. Also it is on the way to Banff.
I wasn’t impressed with the park, there was highway noise, though most parks have that.

We Have Become “Those People”!

When we bought our first rv, we were excited to discover a new way of travel, and another way to see this beautiful country

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Granted, our rv was not new, in fact it was pretty old, but we loved it and it served us well for 5 years.  We made several cross-country trips, and some short ones, each one had its unique experience or adventure. This was all new to us, but we embraced the journey and  enjoyed all the experiences we encountered.

I recall, driving down the road in our old rv on our first long journey, seeing the large rv’s pulling the matching vehicle behind.  We marveled at how big they were and that their pulled vehicle sometimes was a Hummer!. We could not imagine how much it cost to drive all that. We rattled on down the road in our little rv happy to join the other travelers.

Pulling in to a campground one evening, we plugged in and hooked up the water, ready to enjoy ourselves, when I looked a few spaces over and saw ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE! There it was, big with matching car- a Jeep, I think,  and matching lawn chairs and ground mat, a satellite dish and all things fancy.  I felt like we didn’t belong, maybe we were in the wrong park, we didn’t have the “right” rv.  I looked around and saw everything from the basic tent to pop up trailers to rvs like ours and the big guys with the matching everything.  I went back inside our little rig and commented to my husband about what I saw. I loved his response; ” they may have all that stuff, but we are all at the same park enjoying the same sights”

The next evening was July 4th, the park was in an ideal spot to see the towns firework show.   That evening, as all the campers brought their lawn chairs out to the grassy spot, I watched as everyone enjoyed a really great firework show. At the end, the group wandered back to their spots, happy with the evenings show. What I noticed then, was that most people went back to the fire pits to roast marshmallow’s and enjoy the rest of the evening, except for “those people”.  I noticed that those people had retreated back to their fancy rigs to watch tv or whatever they had in there.  We chose to join the group and spend the rest of the evening with conversation and meeting other people.

As time went on, and many of our trips concluded, it was time to sell our little rv.  For  a couple of years  after, we found that we really missed it and decided to buy another one.  After lots of saving and planning and searching we found one!  Funny thing was though, we have become ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!  We bought the BIG rig. We don’t have the matching car but we have some of the “stuff”

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I didn’t really realize we became those people until the first night in the campground with our new rig. We pulled in, hooked up and I l looked around at the few other campers already there. We were the biggest. I still didn’t feel like those people, we  are happy to talk with others, we like the campfire and meeting people from other places.  I kept noticing, people would walk by and we would get that sideways glance- like they were afraid to approach us.  Would we judge them because they were there in a tent? Absolutely not. We are nice, really.

After a little while  some people approached us and began chatting. How big is that? What kind of gas mileage do you get? Mind if we take a look, we’ve never seen one like that.  We are always happy to invite people in, we love to talk and share stories.  We may look like Those People, but we are here, just like everyone else to enjoy the beautiful country we live in.

For all you travelers out there, enjoy the countryside, but hang out at the fire pit, roast a marshmallow, share a story.

About Time

Day 1

DSC_0126   started very early, with still much packing to do, but with the days temperature climbing to 106 degrees, it was draining. Packing for a 2 month trip, through different time zones and climates, makes for a challenge to be sure we have what we need. I suppose if we don’t have it we will make do. We were able to get on the road by 3:45pm, later than I had thought we would but it was ok. We drove and by the time we reached Fallon Nevada, we were pretty tired. We found a rest area and pulled in next to the big rigs, for a night of sleep. Even with the low rumble of the big rigs idling, we were able to sleep quickly. When the sun began to peak, the big rigs fired up and began pulling out- that was our alarm clock for the morning,
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was not so exciting, long drive through the desert of Nevada and the blinding snow like landscape of the Great Salt Lake Basin of Utah. Nearing Salt Lake City, I called the campground to get the exit information. As I looked at our calendar, I realized I had made a mistake. Our reservation didn’t start until the next day. Somehow I got our travel days wrong. I called and they did have a spot for us, but not the one we had reserved, so for the first night we had one spot then would move to our reserved spot for the rest of the time. When we pulled in and I saw our reserved spot- occupied for that day- and the temporary spot- we would be in, we asked if we could just stay in the temp spot, it was nicer. Sorry, no , it’s reserved for the weekend, so we had to move. We settled in, and anticipated a good nights sleep; 8am, the train rumbled past and     DSC_0141

made its presence known by the mandatory whistle. Not long after, the campground was coming to life.
Day 3 Up with the train and Andrew was ready to head to Gold Spike National Historic Site DSC_0214 DSC_0148 We managed to have some breakfast, and explain to Andrew that we need to be back before 2pm to move the rv which meant this trip was just a check out. Our trip to Gold Spike NHS was fun. As we got closer Andrews excitement became electric. The joy for him to finally be here was magical to see. We spent as much time as we could before we had to leave, and Andrew, knowing we would be returning, was ok with that. Back to the campground to move the rig.
Back at the campground we moved our rv to its reserved spot, and got settled in. Andrew and I took Henry for a walk, and when we came back, Mark was on his knees wiping up a water leak from under the kitchen sink. Oh great! After some investigation we discovered it was the sink drain pipe connection. It’s accessible but in order to repair it will involve some work. For now we have it sealed and not leaking, but will need to keep an eye on it and get it repaired properly once we return. Andrew wanted French fries for lunch so we got out the fryer, Mark put the potatoes in, and the oil bubbled up and over! Great, a mess. We got that cleaned up and made lunch. Later we realized we had the wrong hose for the propane for the bbq grill, so the steaks we were going to have for dinner would have to wait, we had grilled cheese sandwich instead.
As the night wound down, Andrew went to bed,

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Mark and I sat outside talking and enjoying the evening, By midnight or so, we decided to get some sleep.
Day 4- started at 2:390 am and then 4:30 am with the trains making their pass trough town. We did wait until about 7 before we actually got going. Andrew was again excited to go the Golden Spike NHS, as this would be his day to spend as long as he wanted. We enjoyed our second trip the park, on the way back we stopped at Gold Spike Burgers. Andrew was so tired he was falling asleep. We had our lunch and headed back to the rv for a nap. After a nice nap, Andrew and I went swimming. The campground has a pool area with hot spring pools and a water slide. Andrew and I swam a bit then he went down the water slide. While he went on the slide, he had the Gopro camera, and took a video of his descent.
Day 5 Henry woke me at 430 because he had to go out. Ok, but I couldn’t find his leash anywhere! Finally found it, it had fallen on the ground outside the rv door. Took Henry out and came back to bed. We didn’t get up until 9am. We had some breakfast, then headed back to Gold Spike NHS for the hand car ride day. When we got to the park this time, they were doing the reenactment of the hitting of the spike ceremony. After that ceremony and Andrews ride on the handcar, we headed back to the rv. We made a side stop to a company called AtK that has a rocket display. This company recovers the boosters of the space rockets and refurbishes them for the next mission. They also test other missiles. Quite an impressive display of rocketry. Stopped at Wal Mart for some propane, for the grill. Back at the rv for the evening, it has been just a relaxing evening. We went for our evening walk, and will soon head to sleep.