Sign, Sign Every Where a Sign…our Visit to Las Vegas-Photo Tour

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We headed to Las Vegas, the City of Sin, Vegas, the 26th largest City in the US and largest in Nevada and also the Mojave Desert. I had a long list of photography goals for this City and it did not disappoint. The one thing we didn’t get to do was the Fremont Experience, not that we need an excuse to go back but this gives us just one.

This is going to be a different type of blog post. Enjoy some of the pics of our visit to Sin City.

THE HOTTEST, DRIEST, LOWEST PLACE ON EARTH-DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK!

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While we were staying in Pahrump, Nevada we headed to the hottest, driest, and lowest place on earth, Death Valley National Park. This park straddles the California-Nevada border, just be sure to get gas in Nevada before entering or there is a nice hefty price tag to getting it in California. We were sure what really to expect to see because the name alone doesn’t even sound inviting but we figured since we were this close we might as well to check it out. I did my research prior and knew where I wanted/needed to go to get the shots I wanted to get, but all and all we were thinking it would be a half day event at best and certainly just a driving event. Well we were blown away with its beauty and all there is to see and we got all our steps in for the day. Since we went after a dry winter there were very few desert flowers blooming. Despite the awful name of the park there is some much life that survives in this place, it is amazing. It is extremely diverse consisting of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons and mountains. Death Valley was established on February 11, 1933 as a National Monument and became a National Park on October 31, 1994. For obvious reasons the best time to visit is in the fall and winter months.

Death Valley received its name from some European Americans being trapped in the valley in 1849 while looking for a shortcut to California. There were some short lived “boom” towns created in the late 19th and 20th century. They came to find gold and silver, even though the the long-term profitable ore was borax. The borax was transported out of the area by a 20 mule team. The 20 Mule Team was actually 18 mules and two horses pulling large wagons out of Death Valley from 1883 to 1889. In the 20’s there were resorts built around Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek.

As far as hot goes, it was hot while we were there (April 4, 2022) and at one point we saw 99 degrees but the highest recorded is 134 degrees. As far as the lowest the Badwater Basin is -282′ (that’s right, negative 282 feet) below sea level.

Since I had sort of a photography agenda we looked at the map and figured out what we “needed” to see and what we “wanted” to see and left home at 8:00 a.m., leaving Eris at home to guard our air conditioned castle. This place is no place for pets, we would not have been able to go on the hikes we did go on (while they were short they had some challenges if nothing else but the heat) and certainly could not have stayed in the truck even for a few minutes.

Coming in from the east the first stop was the 20 Mule Team Canyon scenic road. It is a dirt/gravel scenic drive that took us on narrow roads with plenty of bends and ups and downs gullies. Some scenes from Return of the Jedi were filmed here.

Next stop for us was Zabriske point. Even though we didn’t get there at sunrise when we did get there it was still amazingly beautiful. There is a paved walkway up to the top about 1/4 a mile each way with a little bit of elevation. So worth the walk, just for the views.

On our way to the visitors center there was the Inn of Death Valley which truly is an oasis in the desert, so lush and green. We stopped there to check it out and we would love to stay there sometime, this wasn’t the time however. So on we went.

Of course no national park visit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the visitor center. We headed into Furnace Creek to get the information we wanted and needed to make the day the most productive. There is a video and displays as well and a great stop to get the national park pass stamped (and only place in the park). We showed our pass and received the newspaper and the Death Valley map and backcountry and off-road map. We always suggest stopping at the visitor’s center first thing to get the lay of the land and find out what is open and closed and road and trail conditions. It was nice to see that the park is fully open, with ranger programs and everything.

After receiving the map we were ready to head out for the rest of the day. Next stop was Harmony Borax Works. Borax was the most profitable resources mined in the park. At this spot there is an original 20 mule team wagon and some ruins of the mining operation. This also has a 1/4 mile loop, paved trail with information signs to read.

The next stop was down another dirt/gravel road to Keene Wonder Mill and Mine where gold was discovered by accident. While borax is what makes Death Valley famous, Jack Keane and Domingo Etcharren discovered real gold by in 1903. It was mined until 1942 with the peak years being 1907-1012. Keane Wondering Mine produced $625,000-$682,000 during the boom years. We hiked up the steep incline to what remains of an aerial tram where the gold was taken out in metal ore buckets loaded to the top with about 70 tones of order and transported each day, moved to the mill about a 1.6 miles from the top. There are still some of the original structures that can be explored, however the mines are closed with a fence for safety reasons. We sat in the truck and had our lunch before beginning our journey to the base of the aerial tram.

After we had our fix with the mining tour we headed to see some more natural places so off to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes we headed. These sand dunes rise 100 fee from Mesquite Flat. We were able to just step out of the car and take some pictures. As it was near 100 degrees we really didn’t have the need to go walk through the sand. Not to mention we had other places to see.

We stopped at Stovepipe Village. Which consists of some lodging, general store (where we proceeded to get ice cream) also gas was much cheaper here if needed then at Furnace Creek. While there we did stop and get some ice cream but nothing else.

Next stop on our tour was to the lowest place in North America-Badwater Basin. It was pretty amazing to think we were 282 below sea level. There is a sign that shows where sea level is. We walked out a little bit but since it was 99 degrees we could feel ourselves baking from the bottom up. Took some great pics and moved onward as we wanted to get to Dantes View before sunset and had other places to go.

We made our way to Artist Drive which is a paved, 9-mile one-way scenic loop drive through multi-colored hills. This drive did not disappoint as the views were spectacular.

Our final destination for the day was Dantes View, which is viewpoint at 5475 feet. It’s a way to get to the view point and the last 1/4 mile was a 15% grade to the top. Down at the bottom we were near 90 degrees by the time we made it up to the top it was 68 degrees. The views here did not disappoint as well. We could see Badwater Basin down below and were able to see the sunset.

While the season for Death Valley is earlier than we were there our trip was still magnificent. We highly recommend this as a destination. If we make it back to the area we will go again and plan on doing some of the amazing hikes and to see some more of this park. Don’t let the name of this park deter you from going, it is not dead at all it is full of life. Here are some shots from our time we spent there. Until next time, keep on keeping on….

20 Mule Team Canyon
Zabriske Point
The Inn-truly an oasis in the desert
Harmony Borax Works
Keane Wonder Mill and Mine
Natural Bridge

Artist Drive
Dantes View

Oh My, Just Like That it’s 2022

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Time sure does fly and a ton has happened and so many sites have been seen since I last blogged from Seattle. I will just give a run down of what we did since Seattle and catch up to today, where we are sitting until next month in Florida. I will also talk about all the things we learned while on the road, so stay tuned.

After Seattle we headed to meet our friends in Olympia, where we stayed for nearly a month. We went to the San Juans, and Olympic National Park. We also participated in our first in post Covid road race in Olympia. One of the best things of being rootless is that we got to see our friends across the country where any other normal summer that would not have been an option. After Olympia we headed down to Cathlamet, Washington, a cute little town on the Columbia River, to see Mike’s cousins. We spent a few days there, hanging with family and seeing the sites. We went to Astoria, Oregon while there, where we climbed the tower and went through the Goonies’ Museum. After spending a few days we needed to head towards our next “rock-destination” which was the Xscapers Convergence in Driggs, Idaho.

First stop was a casino in Pendleton, Oregon. Well we weren’t going for the casino we were there for the campground. The campground was Wild Horse Casino and was clearly set up by a Rv’er as the all the sites were easy to get into and spaced perfectly. While in Pendleton we did the underground tour. Which was a great tour about the history of Pendleton. The campground had it’s own pool but we were able to use the pool and all the other facilities at the casino. There was an indoor pool, there was a gym, movie theater, bowling alley, and game room, not to mention the actual casino. Mike and I don’t gamble but decided to “blow” $10.00. We had no idea how to even play the slot machines. We left $166.00 richer. We stayed there for a few days and headed onward toward Driggs.

Next stop was in Idaho at a campground, Green Canyon Hotsprings, that had some natural hot springs. Which we did not use as they were really crowded. It was just a stopping point as we were getting ready to boondock for the next month. Our first stop after the hot springs was Driggs, Idaho where we were doing the Xcapers Convergence. We had such a great time there, even when the weather wasn’t great or when the smoke filled the sky. We met some new people who we will have as friends for lifetime. We volunteered to set up, park and knock down the event. Which I think volunteering makes it even more fun. We went kayaking as a group, ski lift and hiking as a group. All of it was fun and it was sad to leave but I am sure we will see these folks down the road.

After we left there we headed back to Yellowstone where we had reservations in the park for 3 nights, then it was on to the Tetons. Of course Yellowstone was amazing. I did a photography tour where I got some amazing shots. I will do this tour again when we go out in May. After Yellowstone we had a week in the Tetons, at Gros Ventre. After spending 8 glorious nights there and seeing alot of Moose we headed back up to Atherton Creek. We we spent another week up there and met our friends from the convergence. Then it was time for us to go our separate ways as we had a lot more we wanted to see and we had the next big boulder in Savannah that we had to get to, plus the weather was changing daily before our eyes. It was getting colder and the trees were literally changing colors daily. We haven’t seen fall before at least not like this so it was really cool.

Next stop was Colorado as we made our way east. First stop was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I could live there. We stayed for a few days and did things like laundry, dog grooming and just basic normal household chores. We spent over a month boondocking so it was nice to have full hookups for a few days. After Rock Springs we headed down the road to Dinosaur National Monument via the Flaming Gorge passes, where we found a great campsite in the Monument to boondock. The sunsets were amazing. We did some touring. Half of the park in in Utah and half of it is in Colorado. I will go into more details about the park in another blog.

After a few days there we headed to Delta Colorado (Grand Junction), where we went to Colorado National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Colorado National is one of my favorite parks. It has a little bit of everything. After we spent sometime there we lucked out and got a campground in Ouray. Where we spent 4 days there. The campground was in town. Ouray was an amazing little town, with history, sites and views. To head to our next destination we had to drive the Million Dollar Highway. It was a scary pass but not the scariest I think I have ever driven. That being said, I don’t have any need to do it again. There is no shoulder and at times we were at something like 15,000 feet in elevation. To say I was happy to see the town of Silverton is an understatement. While staying in Ouray we did a day trip to Telluride. Another amazing ski town that has a free ski lift to take you up and down the mountains. Like a bus but a ski lift instead. We also watched people doing the Via Ferrata. Mike became hooked and couldn’t wait to try this himself. A Via Ferrata is basically rock/wall climbing, on ledges. That is a big NO for me.

While we did not stop in Silverton we may return some day, we had a destination and that destination was Durango. Where we stayed at a great campground right on the narrow rail train tracks. We took the shortened train ride. We both loved it. So beautiful, however it was cold and drizzly all day but that was ok we brought stuff to keep us warm and know what to bring next time. While there also went to Mesa Verde National Park. It was ok, that’s all I can say. After a few days there it was time leave and we really wanted to boondock for a few days.

As we were headed east we stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park. Where there is some amazing boondocking opportunities right outside the door. We did a hike while there but there was no way I wanted to climb the sand dunes. The one thing we love about this lifestyle is you never know who you may come across again. While boondocking we ran into someone we met the month before in Gros Ventre.

Then we made it to Colorado Springs, where we did a Harvest Host one night and did a couple nights at a KOA. We went to Garden of the Gods, which was really cool and the dog got to hike with us as well, so the always makes us happy.

Onward we headed and made our way to Kansas. Two nights later we were in Kansas City. While we stayed on the Missouri side that didn’t stop us from enjoying the Kansas side. Totally surprised as to the beauty that was there. We wish we would have had more time to spend there.

Next stop was St. Louis. The Arch was on my bucket list. Friends told us about the casino to stay at, while it was no Wild Horse like we had in Pendleton it was good. The view was the arch and a short walk away over the Mississippi River via the Eads Bridge, which was the world’s first steel truss bridge. The campground was in Illinois and there was a state border sign on the bridge. Well we were officially east of the Mississippi, where things just got damper or so it seemed. We had to drive over on the day for our tour at the Gateway Arch National Park because of weather. After we toured the Arch, (again I will dedicate a full blog post to all the parks we went to) we met my sister-in-law for lunch. Again it is so cool, getting to meet family on the road.

As I said we are now east of the Mississippi. so it is a good time to say good bye and I will tell you all about the rest of our Season One in the next blog, which I promise will not be months away. Stay tuned for all the eastern states we stopped at and Mike’s first Via Ferrata.

Black bear in Olympic National Park
Colorado National Monument
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Dinosaur National Park
Ouray
Durango
Garden of the Gods

Here we go to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Kanab, Utah and the Favorite Addition of the Week We Added to our Camper…

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After leaving Glen Canyon we headed to Kanab for our free boondocking spot and to explore the area.  Actually, the campsite we chose was called Kitchen Wash BLM in Grand Staircase Escalante.  It was a very peaceful place that was near some hikes we wanted to do.  The three nights we were there we were the only ones.  It was super windy and a couple of the mornings we woke up to below freezing temps, one of those mornings to 15 degrees, however it warmed up quickly.  

We scored some permits to do a hike in Wirepass/Buckskin Gulch. The permits can be scored at Rec.gov  for $6.00 each.  If you are in the area we highly recommend doing this hike.  It was so beautiful and made us feel like we didn’t miss anything by not being able to go to Antelope Canyon.  There were some people but for the most part it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been.  The drive up there however is much to be desired.  It is an 8 mile horrible road to get to the trailhead.  The trailhead shares the same parking area as if you were doing the Wave.  We had a nice day and the views were great.  We could have brought Eris, however we decided she would be happier at home, after all it was a 5.6 mile hike and we had to go down this sketchy ladder.  Ok maybe it was sturdy but it had a huge boulder in the middle of it.  Anyway, that was the only sketchy part.  I am glad we did this hike.  Basically, we did what we wanted to and turned around.  If we were to hike the whole thing it would have taken us to Lees Ferry. Of course that would have been 4 days later and 40 miles more.  Mike, being the smart man that he is, did not tell me that Backpacker Magazine rated this as the most dangerous hike in the United States as there is no escape in certain/most of the trail. After that hike we felt bad about leaving Eris at home so we took her to Box Canyon.  Short easy hike.  There were many other hikes but we were ready to move on, so move on we did.  

We went into Kanab a couple times. One was to do laundry.  What we also found was the headquarters for Stampin’UP.  It was fun to see where a good portion of my money went.  Beautiful facility, however, when I went in there wasn’t anyone at the receptionist desk.  Oh well, still sort of neat.  As we were only there for a few days we didn’t do much else.  

Oh and the other thing that happened we got stuck in a cow jam. But look how cute.

This is a short post this week, however, next week is all about our time spent in Zion, so be sure to check in next week.  

This weeks favorite addition to the camper is our door mat.  We got this at the recommendation of my sister inlaw at the Tampa RV Super Show.  It is a little spendy coming in at $50.00 but is worth every penny. It is handmade in Florida and the name of the company is Florida Outdoor Mat Company, their phone number is 727/258-8162.  We love this thing so much it is the very first thing to go down when we set up camp and also, when we may plan on getting another one when we return to Florida for our cabin.  Anyway, if you need a good, durable mat, give them a call.  

So enjoy this weeks pics and we will check in with you next week from Zion, and remember to like and follow if you find these interesting and useful or at least entertaining.  

Remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming and keep asking yourself whatrwewaiting4…

Stay safe,

Hope, Mike and Eris

Loma Paloma RV Park in Presidio, Texas and Big Bend Ranch State Park

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After we spent a glorious 5 days boondocking in Amistad National Recreation Area we were due for some clean laundry and some a/c, even though now as I sit here writing this in Tucson, Arizona I have a heater down by my feet. But that was then and this is now.  We headed down US 90 from Amistad a little sad to be leaving that beautiful area, but the drive on 90 did not disappoint with the views either. 

 We made it down to Presidio after a long drive to a wonderful welcoming campground called Loma Paloma. For $22.00 a night it comes with free wifi, and full hookups.  Just an FYI they only take cash.  Their address is 17138 FM170 Presidio, Texas, their phone number is 432/229-2992. We were invited to happy hour which started shortly after us checking in. The laundry room has  3 machines of each washer and dryer and it is $1.50 each. Also, this is paid in cash in a honor system. This was a perfect place to get into Big Bend Ranch State Park and for the more ambitious you can drive through it and get to the west side of Big Bend National Park. We were told to take the beautiful ride through the State park and don’t underestimate it. Beautiful sunsets were a daily occurance.  

Presidio itself is a quant border town.  Doesn’t really have much of anything but it is cute nonetheless.  

We were at the Visitor’s Center of the State Park at 8:30 in the morning. Fort Leaton State Historic Site/Visitor Center, where we paid our entry money to get in the park and we went through the Fort and our daily pass gave us access to all the hikes we wanted to do. The reconstructed  Fort served as a trading post in the old Chihuahua Trail from 1848 to 1884.  It was interesting.   

We have a dog, so that limited us to the hikes we could do, but honestly the four we did do was enough.  We did not feel like we missed anything.  We did the short nature hike at the visitor’s center and then got in the car to drive the scenic road through the park and stop and see what we wanted to see.  We did a slot canyon hike and a hoodoo hike, which was a first for all of us. The Hoodos Trail is a 1.1 mile loop trail.  Has some elevation but not too terrible.  We got down the Rio Grande where the moutains on the other side were in Mexico.  Eris got to drink water out of the Rio Grande.  The Closed Canyon Trail (slot canyon) is about 1.4 miles long (round-trip).  It is a narrow slot canyon that divides Colorado Mesa in two. The Colorado Mesa was created about 28 million years ago.  The canyon leads to the Rio Grande but is unpassable without climbing gear. I had a hard enough time trying to climb over the boulders so when a sign said end of trail, I was good, I did not need to see what was beyond the sign.  If here be sure to do the Hoodoos trail first as it is exposed and the Closed Canyon is cool due to the canyon walls.  

The views on the scenic road were truly amazing.  This road is one of the scenic drives in the US and should not be missed if in the area.  Of course I was extremely grateful that it was just us and our truck, I would not want to have been towing the camper.   We did the short nature trail on the other side at the other Visitor’s Center and decided to head back through because the thought of driving the scenic drive at night was not overly thrilling.  We saw a moutain goat and some deer.  By the time we returned home it was after 7:00 p.m.  

So if you are in the area and can’t get into Big Bend National Park don’t underestimate Big Bend Ranch State Park it is so very much worth it and should not be overlooked.  

If you enjoyed this please like it and consider following us as we travel on to our next destination, Carlesbad, New Mexico.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

 

Month¬† 1-Louisiana-Texas and the Must To Dos¬† in San Antonio

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As I sit here and write this we have officially been on the road for one month today.  Did it start out as planned?  The short answer is a big fat NO!! Today was the first day since we left St. Pete that we had any sun. Besides the lack of sun and basically crap weather, we got sick, got stuck in Louisiana because of the worse weather in Texas. We were grateful for Bayou Segments State Park for their hospitality while we were forced to stay.    However, we were finally able to leave our Louisiana home of 2.5 weeks and venture west. After a long, uncomfortable ride we made it to our home for the night in Beaumont, Texas.  I will never complain the roads in Florida again. I don’t think it would hurt them to  use a little concrete or asphalt every now and then. I digress, we stayed our first Harvest Host, Pour Brother’s Brewery. The beer as well as the hospitality was great and we spent the night in a level lot. Beaumont is a very cute little town and is home of the largest fire hydrant the is spotted like a Dalmatian.   We got up early and headed to San Antonio where we had reservations at and RV park.   We spent 4 days there.   

Honestly the weather was not great but for the most part it rained very little so we made due.  The first two nights we needed AC and the last night we needed heat.  The campground was interesting With its miles of trails and even had some elevation. The neighbors were horses, cows and chickens. On Sunday we met Deb and Larry (#gettin_there) and we went to Government Canyon State Park where we did a nearly 7 mile hike and saw dinosaur prints.  We highly recommend doing that if you are in the area. Then on Monday the weather was cold and blustery but we went to do the Missions anyways.  We went to all 4 that are run by the park service and went to Alamo. There was no charge to go in the Alamo like we heard there was, because We didn’t do the guided tour. We did not find the Alamo as impressive as all the others. After the Alamo we walked down to River Walk. We decided to do the river boat tour.  There was one other couple on the boat plus our guide.  It was so worth the $ 13.50 each we spent on it. 

 So the musts of to dos while visiting San Antonio are the Missions, take the cruise on the river boat and go to the Government Canyon Stare Park and check out the dino prints.  

Come back next week where I tell you all about Amistad National Recreation Area. Until next week give me a like and follow me. 

Till then,

Hope

Week Two of our Fulltime Adventures-NOLA, the Mardi Gras that Wasn’t, Record Cold Weather, and a Cold

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Week  two of our fulltime living has found us heading to NOLA for what was supposed to be our trip to see Mardi Gras but what we found is little festivities, record cold weather and one of us getting a cold. Where I left off last week was that we were heading to NOLA for Mardi Gras, where we knew that it would be different but would make the best of it anyways.  So off we headed from Mississippi in the rain and ended up at our campground just has the rain has stopped for a brief moment.  We are staying at Bayou Segnette State Park.  This is a beautiful park, with level, asphalt sites, some (like our first one) have a deck and the picnic tables are all on concrete slabs.  If the weather would have cooperated with us we might have taken our bikes off the back and ridden them, but that has yet to happen.  Being that the roads are asphalt we are able to walk around and not get muddy so that is a huge plus.  We are after all right on the bayou so trails off the asphalt will have to be eiher boardwalk or plan on getting muddy and soaked.  We settled in for our week here and to get some needed chores done.  The first priority was that Mike had an appointment to get the truck’s ac fixed, which he was there for a couple hours only to have to bring it back on Monday for an appointment when he could get to it as it was going to take 5 hours to fix.  Meanwhile, I started doing our weeks plus worth of laundry.  Two laundry rooms, each with two washers and two dryers in it.  

One nice warm, semi-dry day we went to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.  Jean Lafitte was a pirate that interrupted his pirating career to fight for the United States in defense of New Orleans in the War of 1812. They have hiking trails  but as we are seeing in the southern states most of the trails were either damaged by the summer’s hurricanes or were under water due to the current non-stop rain, however, there was one trail that we could do.  The ranger told us no dogs allowed.  We left Eris in the truck and headed on this short boardwalk trail, that was basically just decking over the swamp, like maybe a foot above the swamp.  That is where we encountered a fairly decent sized alligator.  We were happy that Eris remained in the truck. After getting my NP passport stamped we went to the little community of Jean Lafitte.   In this little town they had a really nice hiking trail (all boardwalk) and a cute museum.  There was a movie in the museum that talked about the people of the area.  It was very reasonable and at the time of this writing it was $6.00, and worth every penny.  

The next day we dropped Eris off at doggie daycare so we could go to the French Quarter.  The weather turned cold and was still gray out.  We got a ferry card which is good for 5 days and was $18.00 each.  We took off from Algiers Point and got dropped off at Canal Street.  Walking distance to everything we wanted to go to.  The $36.00 we paid for the passes would have been one day’s parking price in the Quarter so worth the money and parking at Algiers Point is free and unlimited time.  It was definately a different vibe than years in the past where we went (we went after Mardi Gras too), buildings weren’t nearly as decorated and the crowds were thin.  While there we went to the Louisiana State Museum, another reasonably priced thing to do, at the time of this writing was $7.00.  The downstairs display was dedicated to Katrina. It was a  great depiction of what happened during Katrina and to see the destruction and the loss and all of the inequities that came out of it was heartbreaking.  (FYI Katrina came in as a catagory 2, then increased to a 3 and then a 5, honestly if we were here we wouldn’t have evacuated either for a 2).  After seeing that we went upstairs for some fun-that display was all about Mardi Gras, so it was a nice way to end our tour at the Louisiana State Museum.  

The following day we took Eris to the Doggie Daycare again.  We asked them to cut her nails while they had her and of course they said no problem.  Not only did they cut them but they were bored so they painted them purple to get her her ready for Mardi Gras.  We highly recommend Shampooch. Reasonable prices and they love their guests we could tell.  Since we took her there we headed back over on the ferry, it was a dry day, which came far and few between, still ugly looking but at least it was dry, cold but dry.  We headed to Mardi Gras World.  Upon arriving at Mardi Gras World we were greeted with King Cake.  We learned more of how the floats were made and more history. We had no idea that a good portion of the accessories on the floats, ie the Scooby Doo’s etc. are made out of styrofoam.  It was worth the $20.00 we spent on it.  (If you go look for groupons).  After our great tour we headed back to the French Quarter for lunch and a stop at Cafe Du Monde for some beignets.  Again I got to say it was weird to see no bars open and less decorations and less people for what has become Mardi Gras 2021.  

Sunday our first nomadic Valentine’s Day was spent driving over the longest continuguas bridge over water in the WORLD-Lake Pontchatrain Causeway.  It is nearly 24 miles long over water.  Honestly, it was boring.  Not much to look at, especially since it was cloudy and gray.  However, we did have some fun on the other side, we went to 2 state parks, Fairview-Riverside  State Park and Fontainbleau State Parks.  Both are beautiful.  What I find weird is when hiking, you are clearly in swamp country yet the trees in the woods are all hardwood.  

On Monday, Mike left on this frigid morning to get the ac in the truck fixed.  Hard to believe that it is so cold and we were ever going to need the ac again.  The day started off cold and got colder.  While he was sitting in the frigid garage for 5 plus hours waiting on the repairs to be made it was sleeting outside.  I was not there to nag him so of course he did not put a hat on his head and now he has a cold.  (Side note-we did go and get Covid testing done just to be sure it is just a cold).  Honestly we were really ready to leave here after 4 days and if we didn’t have the appointment to get the truck fixed we would have left, but am grateful we did not as the big storm was coming and really bad where we are heading.  We attempted to get some insulation for our underbelly for the impending freezing temps and none was to be had.  So we just put on our electric heaters and opened our kitchen cabinets and hoped for the best.  We did fill our water tanks.  While it was freezing out we were toasty inside as the weather deterioated around us.  Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) there was nothing happened.  Staying off the streets is what was best for everyone.  It was super cold, so if there was a year that the parades didn’t happen it was good that it was this year.  

Due to the continuing impending doom (the bad upcoming weather) we have changed our plans and asked to stay until Friday, we had to move sites but they are very accommodating, we had to empty our tanks anyway so it was good.  As I write this we have another bout of crap coming our way but by Friday it should warm up to the upper 40’s and hopefully we will be free to move about the country and should be in the 70’s by next week.  If we have to be stuck someplace at least this is a nice campground to be stuck in and we still have electric and water.  

All and all we are trying to make the most of it and are happy to be just together and enjoying this crazy adventure together.

So until next week, take care, stay warm and stay safe…..and we will hopefully come to you from Texas.

Hope and Mike

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7 DAYS Till Freedom

As I write this there is only 7 days to our take off date. When this posts the countdown will say 5 days. We will be ready. We have reservations at our first campground on February 4. Eris the lowrider camping hound and I have been adjusting well to my retirement. Mike is finishing up one last job and then we will be moving his shop up to our part-time homestead. We will have to make a few trips up and back to get the job done. But we are thinking the last possible night in St. Pete will be Monday. Maybe earlier but we do have a few trips to the cabin to make for his shop.

We will be down to one vehicle as I am sitting here watching my Kia get it’s last oil change from me at least and she will be going to a new home on Thursday.

Another surreal feeling is that this Wednesday will be our last “run” night from 3 Daughters at least until November. Prior to Covid we used to run with Fit to Run the last Wednesday of the month. We would meet with our friends. After the world stopped spinning that was one of the big things we missed. So our friends, who we were quarantining with, would meet us at 3D and we would walk and do nearly 3 miles every Wednesday.

Another thing we will miss is our family nights held each week at my uncles. Of course these all started after it was safe to get together in small groups. Our last one will be on this Thursday until at least the end of November.

This month started with a mini trip to Atlanta to see Shan and Christian and went up with Jes and Chris and grand pups. While up there we celebrated Jes’ 30th birthday and went sightseeing of course. Went to Helen, Anna Ruby Falls, Nora Mill Granary, Fernbank Museum and Atlanta Botanical Gardens. While the weather was cold, it was beautiful out. The gardens were beautiful and I can only imagine how beautiful it is in March/April when everything is in bloom.

Needless to say we are getting excited. No more alarm clocks and new adventures coming our way.

Enjoy the pics below…

Until next time,

Hope

Let me tell you about my home town/Part or should I say Park 2-John Chestnut Sr.

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This is another great Pinellas County Park that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen. Deer, alligators, racoons and many birds call this beautiful park home. This 255 acre park is situated on Lake Tarpon, it has a boat ramp and canoe launch and landlocked canoe trails. It has miles of nature rails, including many boardwalks. This park was built with cooperation of the US Army Corp of Engineers and it is located near Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. There is plenty to do in this park. Between the softball fields, the 13 picnic shelters, dog park, horseshoe pits, boatramp, canoe launches with a canoe trail and and two playgrounds, nature trails and of course the chance to see deer, alligators and birds, and many more wildlife and foliage you will not be bored.

The location of your next adventure is 2200 East Lake Rd., Palm Harbor, Florida, bring a picnic lunch and plan on spending the day being surrounded by beauty and if you are lucky you may spot a deer. So be sure that if you are in the Tampa Bay area to add this location to your bucket list.

Until next week,

One of the beauties

Hope

Let’s Me Tell You About My Home Town/County Parks…Part 1-Florida Botanical Gardens

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Pinellas County is the location of my home town, St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve been calling St. Pete my home town for 44 years now. St. Pete was put in the top 10 of large cities ( even though I would consider it medium). Pinellas County consists of many towns/cities and 20,000 acres of parks and preserves, 4 preserves, 2 botanical and historic parks, and 15 county parks.

Shortly we will be on the road and have really cool locations and experiences to talk about, but while I’m still here I should talk about the beauty of what exists in the place I currently call home. While I can’t wait to leave I realize that we have some of the bests all within miles of our home. We have some of the best breweries, the best bicycle friendly city, a great rail trail, the best city and county parks and the best beaches, of course I’m a little biased. However, hopefully this will spark you to check out the places I talk about or maybe add them to your bucket list.

I’m gonna start with Florida Botanical Gardens. This place is so beautiful and I can’t believe I haven’t been there before. I may have been there before but this was the first time going with friends to just take photos.

Florida Botanical Gardens is 182 acre garden. The address is 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. The hours are M-F 7-5. They have annual events of course this is 2020 so some may be cancelled. There is a gift shop and visitor’s center, however they are closed on the weekends. Dogs are welcome. While we were there there was quite a few.

Where we entered the garden we started out on the boardwalk and the first thing we said was how we couldn’t believe that we were still in the city. We continued on to a bridge going over the water with little overlooks. There are sculptures that are pretty cool.

One of the many boardwalks
One of the sculptures
The priceless moment when you get to hang with your besties:)

The weather on the day we were there was one of those perfect days, the ones that sells real estate in Florida. There was a yoga class happening in one of the gardens. What a zen place for that. There are benches all over to relax and take in the views and to ponder life. While we don’t have geysers there were a few fountains in the most beautiful setting.

Nancy chilling in one of the beautiful areas.

There are some fun areas as well. Trees decorated with faces.

Fun trees

Gardens wouldn’t be gardens without flowers. So enjoy seeing what I saw through my lens.

I hope you enjoy my view of the gardens and add the Florida Botanical Gardens to your bucket list. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it is totally free.

One more thing if you like the article it would be appreciated to like it and subscribe to my email list and you will be notified of my blogs as they come out.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next week where I will show another local park.

Until next week,

Hope