Thursday, June 22, 2017

Loon Lake Minnesota 09.09.16

We have camping fever. In the words of our Scamp friend Jeff, we "camp entirely too much." That may be the best compliment a new, happy camper could ever receive.

About two weeks after returning home from the big Westward trip, we decided it was time to add another state to our cute camper map. We chose Minnesota, since it's only about 35 miles away, and there were lots of places to choose for a campsite.

There I am! Putting on the official MN sticker. (Please, hold your applause.)  This map is great. It comes with the blank US map, and all 50 state stickers to add as we travel. We figure somebody must use it for some reason other than camping cuz they include Hawaii. LOL! Wouldn't be too easy to get there towing a camper! :) Anyway, we got this on Amazon. Here is a link to The RV State Sticker Travel Map if you're interested in getting one.

Our campsite was a walk-in only site at Robertson Park, part of the Jackson County Minnesota park system. Just a few minutes into MN, it took us no time to get there, choose a spot, and get set up. The park is beautifully shaded with lots of large trees. We were able to hop into a lakefront campsite, our favorite.

We continue to marvel at how many lakefront sites we've been able to find, and you just can't beat the price! I think we paid $20/night for this one. It was a huge site, and nobody at the campsite on one side of us gave us lots of space to enjoy.

The weather was cool, calm, and of those fall days you read about in stories. We took advantage of the firepit and sat down with some beverages to help warm us from the inside. :)

Andy, fireside, working on breaking our found firewood in two by burning it in the middle.

Here I am with my cool new "Camping Hair Don't Care" tshirt my sister bought me for my birthday, and (shocker!) I'm drinking wine from my new silicone yellow wine glass. The glass itself is very...well...weird. It's awfully flexible, and has a small rim. Takes some getting used to, but certainly is NOT breakable, which makes it camper-friendly. The wine inside was fantastic! It was from one of my most favorite places on the planet, Little Swan Lake. Go to their website, or their Facebook page here. They even have a B&B that is wonderful.

This was one of the most relaxing camping trips to date. On Saturday, we drove to the Okoboji area and did a little shopping.  One of the places we stopped at is a closeout store, and we found a cool Coleman brand dome, 12x12 for CHEAP. It was even yellow, like the camper trim, so we had to have it. We bought it, brought it back to the campsite, and I quickly realized there was something broken. Andy on the other hand, took much longer to admit that it wasn't going to work. I sat down and watched the comedy show. :)

The conversation that took place during the dome-raising attempt.

A-"Why won't it work?"
P- "Because it's broken."
A- "It's not broken, we just need instructions. Why won't this lock into place?"
P-  "Because it's broken."
A- "Ok, This is broken."

We returned it on our way home Sunday. LOL!

That night, we were treated with yet another spectacular sunset. I will never tire of these!

I love all the colors and textures that are included in a sunset, especially a sunset over a body of water.

I'll leave you with that beautiful image until next post when I tell you all about camping in eastern Iowa near West Union.

Happy Camping!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Go West! Part 6, The Final Post

How am I still talking about a trip we took last August? Time to finish up this trip and start talking about all the other cool stuff we've seen and done.

After leaving our campsite in Wyoming, we drove for 9,736,846 hours through Nebraska and finally stopping at a campground in Kearney, Fort Kearney State Recreation Area. You never truly appreciate what a looooooong state Nebraska is, until you're at the end of a wonderful vacation, and are just trying to get home. No offense, Nebraska. I still like you. :)

So, here we are, on our last night of our BIG Westward trip, so we decide to set up all of our stuff! Lights, rugs, awnings, candles, etc. We sure looked good!

The lights on the awning tie-downs are brilliant! They keep us from tripping over the tie-downs in the dark, and they give a nice ambiance to the campsite. I bought these at Big Lots, for super cheap, and each strand runs off of 2 AA batteries. They are designed for indoor/outdoor use, so they're perfect for camping! No cords, and since they're battery powered instead of solar, I don't need to get them in the sunlight while traveling.

Normally, on just a quick overnight, we wouldn't go to the trouble of setting up the awning, but since it got used so little during the trip, it was worth it!

We were pretty tired and just ready to be home, so we just hung out at the campsite, doing a whole lotta nothing! :)

Well, clearly not "nothing." We must have had OK phone service!

One of my favorite things to do while camping is take in the scenery of wherever we camp. Kearney SRA didn't disappoint. Got a beautiful sunset!

That pretty much marks the end of our Westward trip! We had a great time, really fell in love with the T@b, and are ready for the next adventure!

Happy Camping!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Go West! Part 5

Following our Utah stay, our next stop was Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming, and our first ever "rustic" (no water or electricity) camping experience.

Let's face it, I'm a proud "glamper." I like the camping experience, but I like it a whole lot more with the amenities of A/C or heat as needed, electricity, running water, kitchen amenities, and a flushing toilet. When we reserved the spot at Curt Gowdy SP, I knew I'd have battery power and propane for cooking, but I knew we wouldn't be able to run the A/C if it was a hot night! Luckily, the weather was fantastic, and we were able to sleep quite comfortably with the windows cracked open.

We chose a campsite that was a good distance from all the other sites and near the vault toilets (bleh! They were NOT as clean as the ones at Sibley Lake!)  The space around us was so lovely to have...nobody walking through our campsite, no noisy neighbors either. Nice!

See what I mean? I took a walk to see the sights while Andy rested next to the fire we had built. This pic is taken from the road in front of all the other campsites. Space, and lots of it.

We stocked up on firewood and ice from an on-site seller, who also let us fill our fresh water tank with a hose they had. This took away the worry that we might run out of water, so we really appreciated the kind people there. 

The park is truly wonderful. It has lots of walking/biking trails, gorgeous lake views, and lake access for water sports. We were only there overnight, so we didn't really take advantage of everything, but we did manage to walk on one of the trails for a bit.

Here are some sights from our walk:

If you look way in the background to the left of the rock, you'll see our camping setup!

Pretty lake!

Our cute selves with our cuter camper in the background.

We walked towards another campsite that had an R-Pod camper, hoping to meet its owners, but they weren't around. These campers are similar in shape to the T@B, but they're a bit bigger and heavier, and many include slide-outs too. We thought it would be fun to compare, but no luck.

When we got back to the campsite, we had a fellow camper come visit us! She saw our little rig when she went to the bathroom, and really wanted to see what it had. We had fun giving her a tour and watching her delight when she saw the full bathroom facilities inside. This might be one of my favorite things about owning such an adorable, well planned camper. :)

As I stated above, it turned out to be a very beautiful night. We cooked and enjoyed the fire and sunset. We even budgeted some battery life to play some music late into the evening, since we were so separated from other campers. What a lovely experience!

It was really pretty in person...the gold in the sky matched the gold of the B@R T@B!

Camping is most fun when there's a campfire to enjoy.

We packed up again in the morning (I don't think we ever even unhooked the car!) to head to Kearney, Nebraska, our final stop before returning home. Guess that will be Part 6 of our Go West! series. :)

Happy camping!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Go West! Part 4

It was time to go our separate ways. Andy and I were headed to Utah, Kathy and Jeff to Montana. We each chose a different route to get home as we had different schedules to keep, so we said our goodbyes in Idaho, and headed out.

One of the reasons I was excited about Utah was that our campsite was about 40 minutes away from some friends in Salt Lake City area. We agreed to meet for dinner in Park City, and if we all felt like it, they'd come back to camp with us and meet the camper.

Driving into Jordanelle State Park was spectacular! I have decided I'm a sucker for mountains and lakes in the same view. Jordanelle was wonderful.

Our cute little B@R T@B nestled in its spot. Lots of space, beautiful trees and scenery, and a quick walk down to the lake. Aaaaahhhh...

Little things excite me, like getting to add a new state sticker to our camper for camping in Utah!

Having only owned this thing about 6 weeks, we felt like we were doing pretty good on state visits!

Did I mention mountain views?

Yeah, we got those!

We met up with pals Candice and Shaun and their two lovely boys, and they were so excited about meeting the camper, they came back with us to the site!

I now know our camper is kid tested and approved! They loved it. The two little guys hopped right on in with me, and looked at every nook and cranny they could find, and they were fascinated that something was stored everywhere! LOL! I think in their kid-like way they were appreciating that everything had a purpose and there was such a good use of space without making you feel cramped!

Happy bunch!

El even brought his guitar and played some songs for us. Hands down, one of my favorite nights ever.

Once again, as this was a stopover trip on our way to a destination, we only got to stay the one night. This campground is absolutely on my list to make a destination in the future. There are so many things to go do and see in the park, and we didn't even begin to touch on them. 

Happy Camping!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


This will be a relatively short post, and will mostly include pics of us in Yellowstone National Park.

These pools were beautiful. Vibrant blue, and horribly smelly. :)

Kathy and Jeff in front of the same stinky pool.

Yellowstone was rather crowded, though not as crowded as I expected. I liked how easily we could navigate to different sights we wanted to explore, but parking was pretty much a nightmare everywhere. Once we were parked though, we could easily walk on boardwalks and paths to see what we wanted, and for the two of us in the group that are less sporty, it was appreciated!

Random geyser spewing makes for a good selfie!

Our next stop was none other than Old Faithful who proved to be somewhat less than faithful... It did finally erupt in a glorious hot water fountain, but it took a good 50 minutes longer than predicted. Many people who had gathered to wait had gotten up and left, but we stuck it out. We'd come this far, right?

We knew we were in the right place at least.

THAR SHE B-- WAIT! Is that a bear?! :)

Geyser selfie!

After witnessing history, we took a break for a picnic lunch we'd brought along. (Personally, I was hoping to have lunch with Yogi Bear and BooBoo, but they didn't seem to be anywhere near by...) We found a spot near the visitor center with some rocks and trees, so we ate in nature. We enjoyed the sunshine, warmth, good food, and company. After about an hour, we were cleaning up, and lo and behold...we watched Old Faithful erupt a second time! Heh. Back on schedule!

Next, we drove toward the north entrance to see Mammoth Hot Springs. Oh wow! Was that worth the trip!

Lots of massive sulfur fields, and hot springs all throughout. This was a little more difficult to navigate. The boardwalk was fairly steep, and included many, many stairs. Andy and Kathy decided they wanted to go all the way to to the top. Jeff decided he was fine at the bottom, and I ended up on my own somewhere in between. I enjoyed the time to myself as I took in the scenery, and of course, chatted with my fellow tourists. I took pics for people, and even managed to find some fellow Iowans, from Okoboji area! That was a hoot! When I told them I was from Emmetsburg they said, "Oh! I think we met your husband and friend up there somewhere." We are a social bunch, aren't we?

We were pretty tuckered by this time, so we left and decided to go back to camp.

The next day, Andy and Kathy went hiking in the Tetons, while Jeff and I went to West Yellowstone, MT to take in the touristy side. We met back up in the evening back at camp, and watched a movie as it was too cold and windy to enjoy outside time. (FYI, you CAN get 4 people on the T@B bed!)

Our final day in camp, we all went back into West Yellowstone to shop for souvenirs. My favorite part of the day was finding a million yellow things we could put in the camper:

Seriously. A whole section of yellow Yellowstone stuff! 

My other favorite part happened to be a bench we found to wait for members of the group:

Retro campers RULE!

Finally, after all the hype about bears, I did have a close call with one. I even managed a pic:

Dudes. I'm lucky to have gotten out alive. Look how he almost grabbed me!

That's all for Yellowstone! What a fabulous experience, and so glad we were able to go with friends. In my next post, I'll take you to Jordanelle State Park in Utah, where we will definitely, DEFINITELY get back to some day...

Happy Camping!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Go West! Part 3

On our way to Yellowstone!

Yellowstone was our ultimate goal when we first started our trip. While we were enjoying the sights along the way, it was exciting to realize that we were about to arrive at our destination, and we'd get to stay for four whole days!

We saw some cool spots and pretty scenery along the way.

I don't know why, but I'm fascinated by tunnels in mountainsides. I think they're cool. :)

We drove through Yellowstone to get to our campsite in Idaho. It was a nice way to view the park before deciding which parts we wanted to really explore more the next day.

These are the trees that had been burned out by the previous year's wildfires. There was quite a bit of damage over large sections of the park, and it made me a little sad.

This moose was wandering down the road as we drove by. Sure brought traffic to a halt!

We decided to keep driving through, to Henry's Lake Campground in Idaho. We thought it might be a good idea to get to our sites, get set up, spend the evening relaxing and planning our days in the park.

Henry's Lake did not disappoint! The only drawback was absolutely no trees for shade, and unfortunately we had an extremely windy week, but wait til you see the views!

Here was our sweet little B@R T@B and its proximity to the lake. The campground was quite empty, likely due to the extremely windy weather, but we enjoyed the space and peacefulness of a less than full campground. Our spot was next to the campground host, Charles, who was fantastic. He kept us informed of closures, wildfires, and gave us good info for activities and photo ops. He spent quite a bit of time with us as there wasn't much going on, and we enjoyed his company.

Isn't it lovely? I walked down to the lake several times during our stay because I couldn't get enough of that view! Kathy and I strolled down with some happy hour beverages and explored the campground a bit. We were pleasantly surprised by clean, modern bathroom and shower, very close to our sites, and at host Charles's suggestion, we took leftover firewood from a few sites that had left them behind. This gave us enough to last the week, so we appreciated his offer!

We did have one day that the wind died down enough that we could set up a complete campsite. Take a look:

Here's our setup! The awning is one we ordered from, and is made to fit the T@B specifically. The yellow doesn't quite match the B@R T@B, which is a little bit of a bummer, but the additional shade will come in useful!

Notice Fred and Lucy, our flamingos, greeting visitors to our campsite. :)

Jeff and Kathy had quite the display too!

The little flower catches the wind and twirls! How sweet! We had these up for about 2 hours before the wind picked up again and we took it all down. At least we got them out for a little bit!

Kathy and I managed to even dress alike, so we made sure to grab a couple pics in front of each camper.

Sporting our "Happy Camper" tshirts from Life Is Good. Pretty much a wardrobe necessity. :)

Jeff even managed to get comfy and relax:

Chilly, but comfortable.

Andy was here too, honest!

I'll leave you with a final sunset pic, taken from inside the camper.

As usual, the pic doesn't do it justice. This was amazing.

In my next post, I'll show you pics from our day trip into Yellowstone!

Happy Camping!