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Full-time RVers- Full-time Friends (Married over 20 years, TO EACH OTHER!)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Weeks is WAY TOO LONG to Stay in One Place!

Dean (the husband)
Shalane (the wife)

Since arriving at our mountain retreat about 3 weeks ago, we have stayed within a 15 mile radius of the RV park.   We did take that one overnight trip to Beaver Dam State Park.  We have had friends from Vegas come and visit us, but we haven’t ventured out of the area much.   We’re not complaining though, we are staying in one of the most beautiful spots in Nevada.  However, both of us are getting a little restless for some new scenery.   Tomorrow we will be leaving for our first  “vacation within a vacation.”   We will be going to Idaho to visit some of our closest friends.  They have been down to see us a couple of times, but we have not taken the opportunity to travel to see them since moving to Vegas about 5 years ago. 

Granted, it is far easier to think of an excuse to go to Las Vegas than it is to think of a reason to go to Kimberling, Idaho.   Still, it’s high time we take the trip and renew our friendships.  In keeping with our character, we won’t be driving the 5 ½  hour trip straight through.  Tonight we will spend the night in Pioche. Tomorrow it’s off to Cave Lake State Park near Ely, NV.  Saturday, we will head on in to our friend’s, where we will stay until Tuesday morning.   We’re super excited to see Tina and Steve.  Tina is a friend of mine from high school, and when she married Steve, our husbands became instant friends.  Two of our children even shared their first kiss with each other while they were still in diapers.

Cave Lake State Park we actually discovered last year almost by accident.  We were driving to Ely and saw the sign for the state park and decided to check it out.    I remember it as the place where I caught only one trout, but it was my biggest fish of the summer.   I remember it as the place where I took about 100 AMAZING photographs.  I love taking pictures, and Cave Lake offers some spectacular scenery to shoot.   We will make sure to include a few pictures of each stop.  It truly is an incredibly picturesque place.

It has been over 40 years since I was last visited  the Twin Falls vicinity.   Hey!  It’s been over 40 years for me too!  Oh wait, I wasn’t even born then.  Lol  Sorry, Babe, I couldn‘t resist.  I do look forward to renewing my memories of the region.  Again, we will be sure to take advantage of all photo opps.   There should be quite a few!  Steve said he going to take us sturgeon fishing.  Yikes!  I‘m not gonna lie, I‘m a little freaked out.   Happy Trails!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gone With the Wind

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

Living in the mountains provides some of the most beautiful scenery that nature can offer.  However, as we found out last night, it can also provide some of the strongest straight line wind gusts.  We learned two valuable lessons from last night’s events that I would like to pass on to our readers.


Lesson #1:  As we crawled into the back of our truck at the free campground in Pioche last night, the wind was almost completely calm.  This wasn’t our first overnighter, so we always secure our portable outhouse to a couple of objects in case the wind picks up a little bit.  Also, on the inside, we place a couple of rocks to secure it in place.  However, just after midnight, we had a canyon breeze blow down off the mountain that sent EVERYTHING in motion.  I got up,  as tropical storm force winds raged outside, and took down the shelter.  Dean is such a good guy.  He didn't even wake me up to help him.  He just got up and took care of it. I slept through the whole thing. This is a fairly typical occurrence, though maybe not to the degree that it came last night.  Colder air at the top of mountains sink down into the valleys almost every night.  It is something to consider.   Our solution for the next excursion is to go ahead and Velcro in the entire flooring in the shelter and put more heavy objects down to secure it a little better.  My solution is to NOT leave the shelter up over night.  Hopefully, it will fair better the next time.

That's an understatement!

Lesson #2:  As the wind gusts raged on in the middle of the night, I noticed that the truck was not moving at all.  I can remember the good ol’ days camping with the family in a tent.   Winds like we experienced last night would have made for a miserable night of sleep under the canvas.  Especially if we had little ones that were afraid that we would blow away and end up in OZ.  Trust me, all Kansas kids know this movie and have this nightmare.  Our children spent a lot of their childhood in Kansas and watch Wizard of Oz many times, so a strong wind was a real threat.  We would have been worried all night about the stakes and poles would have held.  The noise would have been awful, as well as the wind whipping the fabric of the tent back and forth.  Been there!  I'm sure many of you have too!  It's not fun.

Overall, it was a very restful night of sleep, especially for my wife.  She had our young friend, who visited us yesterday from Las Vegas, pick up a foam cushion from Wal-Mart.  She put it on her cot and slept like a baby.  Even as I write this blog, early in the morning, she is still fast asleep.  I doubt that would have been the case in a tent.  Be back tomorrow evening with more of our adventures.  Until then, Happy Trails!  Bye!  :O)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Young Man vs. Wild

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

A young man from Las Vegas finds himself in the mountains.  It is so remote that his cell phone and internet access is non-existent.  What does he do?  Well, if he is visiting us, he goes fishing.   We woke up early so that we could make it to the lake as the sun was coming up over the mountain.  I thought that we would stay for an hour but we were there for over three hours.  We each caught six trout, and the day had just begun.   Michael had actually been ice fishing up here before and was anxious to fish the lake and see the area in warmer weather.   Later in the evening, we went to the lake at Echo Canyon State Park.  This time it was bass, and lots of them.  It was a constant state of casting and reeling in the fish.  We won’t discuss the size of the bass that we were catching, but we did get a few trout that were keepers.

Now, I’m sure that this young man, born and raised in Vegas, has always thought of us as a little unconventional.  However, over the course of the day, I think that he is finally understanding why we do what we do.   No he’s not.  He still thinks we’re nuts.  He says that he understands why we would want to travel around for three months each summer, but he can’t imagine living in an RV year-round.  It’s really hard to convince a person that this is a good idea.  People either get it, or they don’t.  Some people envy us, and some think we’re crazy.  Only one of our three children “gets it."  Hannah understands that our lifestyle is adventurous and liberating.  She keeps talking about doing what we do and wonders how she can do it NOW!    Michael has to leave tomorrow, but we‘ll fish one more time tomorrow morning.  I don’t think he is ready to move into an RV, but I do think that he at least has a better appreciation of why we live in one. 

There are so many fascinating things to see in rural America.  So many TV shows make a big deal out of going to “Vegas.”  I’ve lived there for the past 5 years, and I say, give me Lincoln County, Nevada any day.  Honestly, when we didn’t live in Vegas, we watched every one of those shows.  We lived in small towns and LOVED going to visit the bright lights of the city.    Okay, Las Vegas really is a fun and interesting place to visit.  It’s just that everyone knows about it.  Thank goodness few people know about all those awesome places within 200 miles of that city.  If they did, there might be a big population shift.  We hope to share our love of these hard to find places.  If we have to, we  will do it one person at a time.  One young man from Vegas saw a little of it today.  One down, 1,250,000 to go.  Hey, you gotta start some where!  

There are MANY people that live in the city but love the outdoors and rural America.  Unfortunately, jobs often keep us in the city.  Obviously, just the fact that Dean and I have been in Vegas for the past few years proves that not all people that live in the city are “city people.”  Many of them are reading this blog.  The good news is, that if you decide to, you can always make your way out, even if it’s just for the weekend.  For example, Las Vegas has a lot a great places to go outside the city.  Red Rock Canyon offers great hiking, as does Mt. Charleston.  Cold Creek is within 30 minutes and offers fishing ponds and wild horses roaming freely around the community.  Boulder City is a nice area to visit with its fun little tourist shops,  helicopter rides, Lake Mead and Boulder Dam.  So, you see, we can ALL, city people, or small town folks, take a minute to get away from the daily grind and enjoy the outdoors.  For those of us that live in RVs, we just can’t get enough of it.  Thus, the reason we do what we do.  There is just too much to see and do to be stuffed into a house that doesn't even have wheels on it.  That's just craziness! lol  :O)  Happy Trails!

Monday, June 27, 2011

How Do I Get Started; The Power of a Dream

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

Sometimes it is hard just to get started thinking about full-timing in an RV.  We had the opportunity to go over to a friends house last night for a game of hand and foot.  (For those of you that have never heard of it, it is a card game)   They are a wonderful family that we just love to be around.  This family consists of a couple in their 30’s and 5 children.  Every time we go there we are greeted with warm smiles and laughter.  I think one of the reasons why they like my wife and I, is that we are somehow strangely different then most people.  After all, were fairly young, not retired, not poor and live in a 26 foot travel trailer.  I really think the husband really wants to be a full-timer as well….someday.  

The question for most people is, when is that day?  For us, that day came when our youngest child left the house to strike out on her own.  We became empty-nesters, and for us, it was the perfect time to start our new lifestyle.  For a young family with 5 children and a large ranch, now just does not seem like the right time.  I am not suggesting that a family with kids needs to wait.  I read a fascinating story in an RV magazine about a family with 10 children in Hawaii that lived in a small campervan.  They had enough money to live in a regular home but wanted their kids to have the beach as their living room.  I believe they only used the camper as a place to change, sleep, and eat if it was raining.  My wife and I agree that if a miracle  happened and we were blessed with another child, we would not move back into a “sticks and bricks” house.  There are far too many blessings that come from our “mobile” lifestyle, and we simply would not want to change that. 
So let me tell you HOW we actually decided what the right time was for us.  First of all, when our youngest was a freshman in high school, we moved into a home that was right across the street from an RV dealership.  I count this as a great blessing and a MAJOR influence in our current lifestyle.  Dean and I LOVED going across the street to window shop.  We talked over and over about how much we would love to live and travel in an RV when we retire.  That spurred Dean to start doing research on work camping.  We discovered a whole world of income opportunities for full-time RVers.  This led to conversations about what kind of RV would be best for us, what we wanted out of the lifestyle, how early could we actually start and how would we get our finances in order in such a way that we could make this happen.   We finally came to the conclusion that we should continue teaching in Nevada for a few a little while longer until we can get in our ten years.  At that point, Dean will be 56 and will be able to take early retirement.  We purchased some rental properties and invested in some stock as long term investments.  Now, even though we still have five years to teach, we decided to go ahead and make the jump to the RV for a couple of different reasons.  First, to try it out.  Maybe we would live in it for a few months and hate it.  NOT!  We are loving it, and we don’t find it too small for us.  We like each other a whole gobby ton, so we are happy in such a small space.  Second, if we are living in our RV, we are not burning cash on rent or investing in a failed housing market.  We have been able to put quite a bit of cash into savings in preparations for our early retirement and over the road adventures.  I have to stress that the MOST important thing in being able to live the way we way to live is that we dreamed about it!  We visualized it!  We discussed it as if it was preordained, or inevitable.  You have to dream of what you want!  You have to believe in what you dream and know that it will happen! Whether it‘s traveling in an RV or owning your dream house.  You have to BELIEVE and move forward, KNOWING that your decisions will lead you to YOUR destination.   Corny?  Only if you think so, but ask anyone that is living their dream, and they will tell you the same thing.  You MUST believe in the POWER of your thoughts.

As you can see, there really isn’t a specific best time.  It really just depends on your situation.  I will say this, if we didn’t at least start the dream and know that it was going to happen, it probably would NOT have happened.    Everything worthy of doing, demands a little attention and planning.  So, if your wandering around in a life that is not what you want, stop, rethink, make a plan and start visualizing yourself  living your ideal life.  Happy Dreams, and Happy Trails!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Small Town, Back Yard Barbeque

Sometimes you really think that you know a person just by the way that you see them in a public situation.  All of that can change quickly when you put them in an informal situation like a backyard cookout.  Stories get told that make you see people in a whole new light.

My wife and I had a wonderful time over the weekend attending a backyard cookout at a friend’s house in Ursine, Nevada.  The evening started out innocently enough with hamburgers on the grill.  The fun part was figuring out what was going to be put on the hamburgers.  Enter the dartboard.  Yes, we were given 6 darts and asked to land them anywhere on the board.  Accuracy had nothing to do with it.  It seems that each of the 20 numbers was secretly tied to something that would be included on your hamburger.  #10-jalapeƱo peppers, #6-American cheese, #13-blue cheese, #7-chili, #12-green chili and #18 was bacon.  These are where my six darts fell.  Sounds appetizing right?  By the way, other things that I could have landed on included grilled cheese, coleslaw, turkey burger, Swiss cheese,  grilled onions, and of course, the standards, lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup and mustard.   Fortunately, in the end, it was all just for fun, and we were informed that we could put anything we wanted on our burgers.  A few of us chose to be brave and try our dartboard concoction. It was a unique and fun way of serving hamburgers. 

Next, everyone was asked to take their chairs and form a circle around the campfire.  Now, I use the word ‘campfire’ liberally here, as it was really just a couple of citronella candles, but you get the point.  A stack of cards came out that had conversation starters written on them like, “share your most embarrassing moment.”  What was really fun about this, was that it was just good small town memories.  Doing this game with our city friends, I believe would have brought about drastically different results. 

One of my favorite stories came from the category about practical jokes.   At told, one of the guys and  his buddies,  in their younger years, had come across a guy  passed out  in the drivers seat of his car outside of a bar with his engine still running.  A man that had had way too much to drink, came out of the bar, staggered around a little bit and then dropped to the ground, hitting his head on a parking block, completely knocking him out.  Carefully, these practical jokers drug the body of the drunken man in front of the tire of the idling car with the passed out driver.  Then the young man and his friend went to the window of the car and started screaming as loud as they could, “Oh, my gosh, you hit him!”  The startled driver woke up, got out of his car and saw the man laying in front of the car.  The practical joker said that the man freaked out.  He started running around like a chicken with his head cut off.  This young man and his buddies went inside and called the ambulance.   I asked, “Did you ever tell the driver?”  The answer was no.  I’ve heard of the TV show called “Scared Straight,” and I wonder if the driver of the car was ever guilty of drinking and driving again. 

Like I said, this was one of many stories told throughout the night.  It had been awhile since I had laughed that hard.  Good times, good times! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Would I Be Prepared If . . . .

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife :O)

I love watching movies and TV shows that really make one think about how humans will react in a high stress situation.  I have always been drawn to that sort of entertainment.   Don’t get me wrong, I love a good mindless comedy as well, it’s just that watching something that makes me think, stays in my mind for an much longer period of time as I think of how I might have handle the situation.  One of my favorite TV shows, that probably no one has ever heard of, was a show called, “Jericho”.  It was set in  a fictional small town in Kansas.   The premise to the show is how the people of Jericho interact with each other and those of neighboring towns after a series of nuclear detonations go off all around the United States.   Life for the people of Kansas (and the rest of the country) changes completely overnight.  Lawlessness, bartering (money no longer had value), and hoarding became the norm.  It was fascinating to see how the writers of the show envisioned how mankind might handled this situation. 

I promise there’s a point to my writing.  Today,  I want to express just how thankful I am that the material things that are  important to my wife and I can not easily be taken from us.  The bank or credit card companies have no claim on the things we own.   In the above situation, I do think that we would be able to survive for quite a while with the things we have.  Yes, I would miss some TV shows, my cell phone and of course the internet.  (We really do love doing these blogs)   However, my wife and I have had some great experiences living off the grid.  It is no longer something that we would be afraid of.   If something dreadful happens to the world as a whole, the nation, or the region where we live, we will be able to get by on the things that we already possess such as, our solar oven, solar electricity, and solar shower.  We’ve also made it a point to have a long term supply of food storage, which hasn’t been easy given that we live in such tight quarters.  There are no compartments or cubbies that are not filled with some sort of survival supplies.

Now, I am not saying that the scenario I described in the TV show is going to happen.  No one knows what the future holds.  In fact, I will be completely content if nothing major happens in the world;  no  great wars, no major earthquakes or tsunamis, no major weather events, and no more major economic downturns.  Yet, as I watch the news, I can actually see that these things ARE happening almost on a daily basis.   I guess what I am saying is that a certain peace of mind comes with knowing that we are more self-reliant than we’ve ever been and that we would be successful in living off of the land. Best of all, to an extent, we get to ‘practice’ this daily, as we do what we love to do.  Every day is a new adventure, and we look forward to it!  Sometimes, I think that our writings make us seem like anti-government fanatics.  :O)  We’re really not!  We just believe that preparation is so important.  For example, how lucky are our friends in Joplin, Missouri that had a nice storage of food, water, sundries and first aid supplies tucked away in their basement?  Not all of us are going to sell our “sticks and bricks“ and move into an RV, that’s not the point, but ALL of us can make some basic and smart decisions about disaster security.  We hope that your life is proving to be a safe, happy and great adventure!  Happy Trails!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wedding Veils and Converted Trucks

 Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

Wedding veils and converted trucks, I wonder how many people that follow this blog think, “Where in the world do they get these ideas?”  I can honestly say that I don’t know.  It seems as if they come to us by, as Nike would say, “Just Doing It.”  

Let me explain, as we formulated what we would need to convert our truck into a mini-camper, it occurred to us that there would be times that it would be too hot to sleep comfortably in the enclosed shell of the truck.  

Unfortunately, the windows on our shell don’t open, so there's no cross breeze.  That's on the wish list for our next truck.  We started going to different stores to see if we could find some mosquito netting that would work as a screen door for the back-end of the truck.  My wife and I had just come out of yet another camping supply store, and we were walking back to the car.  We actually found something in that store that would work perfectly, but it was over $50, which I just thought was silly for a piece of netting.  On the long walk to the car, down the plaza’s sidewalk, we were passing one store after another when suddenly, without warning, my wife stopped dead  in her tracks, turned and walked into a fabric store.  Now, I know many of the men out there reading this right now know exactly what I was thinking,  “Why do we have to go to a fabric store?”  I don’t even like to shop for the things that I do need, why would she ever think I would want to go into a massive craft store.  Now, to be honest,  there are times when I am amazed at her thinking skills, and I realize that she is more than just a pretty face.   What follows is a perfect example of this very thing.  It happens so often that I am surprised that he still gets amazed.  :O) 
She walked back to the fabric section, and started looking thru the material for what appeared to be the makings of a wedding veil.  I know that one of her favorite shows on TV right now is called, “Say Yes to the Dress.”  I was thinking to myself, “Why is she even  looking at this, neither of our daughters is even engaged.”   Though we’re waiting for the good news any day now!  Then she explained that the stuff used to make wedding veils would be perfect to keep the bugs out.  Genius!  As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention,”  so we bought four yards of it.  The total cost was around $10.  I don’t know why he questions my genius. :O)
Last night, even in the mountains it was a little too warm to keep us from having  a good night’s sleep.  We knew that it was time to bring out the wedding veil/mosquito netting.  The only question that remained was how to get it to drape across the back.  The answer is the greatest thing since duct tape…..bungee cords!  Dean has become obsessed with bungee cords.  I wasn’t sure that it would work, but he uses them every chance he gets just so he can stand back and admire his ingenuity.  As you can see from the picture, we used the bungees across the top corners of the fabric to hold it in place.  The bottom of the “veil” was anchored down by a couple heavier objects we have in the bed of the truck.  It worked to perfection!  I don’t know why I question his genius. ;O)
If there is one thing that we have learned in this conversion process, it is that “great ideas” come from just starting the process.  One by one, we have learned to invent new ways of putting it all together.  I know that a lot of the people that follow our blog have discovered the same sort of things in their camping adventures.  We would love to hear from you!  As I mentioned in a previous blog, we are in the process of putting together an eBook-like collection of the things that we have learned.   We would welcome your advice and/or ideas so that we can pass it on to others.   Tomorrow, we’ll tell you how to take a wedding DRESS and turn it into a new battery.  Nah, just trickin’, but until then, Happy Trails!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happiness comes from wanting what you have, not having what you want.

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

It seems as if everyone I know is in the midst of some sort of financial problem.  Home values have depreciated, unemployment is near 10%, the US dollar is quickly losing its value, and the price of a gallon of gas is much higher than the year before.  It also seems as if job security is becoming a thing of the past.  You may think that this is some sort of political advertisement.  I assure you that it is not.  As promised in the previous blog, I told you I would touch on the importance of financial security.

I titled this blog using a quote that I share with my students.  I honestly believe that the happiest  people in life are those who understand that everyone can’t have everything they want in this world.  They understand that they CAN find great joy in the things that they do possess.   I emphasize the word ‘possess’ because it implies that one actually owns it and not the bank or the credit card company.   I live in a 1999 travel trailer and own a 1996 truck.  I don’t owe anything on my home or my truck, and have no credit cards.  I completely understand that the lifestyle that we’ve chosen, is not for everyone, but the idea of living debt free SHOULD be a goal for everyone.  It's such a feeling of freedom to not have lenders breathing down your neck.  Again, I know that the way we live isn't for everyone, but I love the fact that my house has wheels.  It's awesome!  We can go anywhere we want, any time we want and never even leave our house.  In Las Vegas today the high temperature was near 110 degrees.  I moved my home to the mountains for the summer.  Today’s high temperature here was in the upper 80's. 

I guess what I am saying is that everyone should find what they really want in life.  People change over time and maybe their ‘wants’ will as well.  It doesn’t mean that you must have exactly what you want at the very moment you decide on it.  Sometimes, it is the struggle to obtain it  that makes the dream so rewarding.  However, as you're working toward your goal, it's vital that you appreciate and enjoy the things and the life that you NOW enjoy.  We let too much pass us by as we dwell too often on what we don't have.

I am proud to say that I knew a wise, older gentleman who served in WWII and lived during the Great Depression.   If fact, I had the honor of conducting his funeral.  Before he past away, about a decade ago, he offered a rather strange comment.  He said that he wished that all the people living in the United States at that time, would have had the opportunity to live during the Depression years.  I have to admit, I was a little surprised by his statement.  He was not a bitter man, if fact, he was very kind.  I never heard him speak ill of anyone.  When I quizzed him about his remark, he said that he merely meant that if people had lived in the 1930’s they would more fully appreciate all that they do have now.  Since that time, i have lived enough and seen enough to have a better understanding of what he meant. 

The recession of the last few years, has really brought this to light.  I am thankful that my wife and I have jobs when there are so many without one.  However, I am most thankful to be at the point in my life when I truly appreciate the things that I have, and that I don't owe any for them.  I just don't think it's worth it to worry about things that I don’t have or when I will be able to pay off the things that I do.  There is something to be said for the realization of knowing that no matter what uncontrollable thing happens in this world, I can and will be free enough to enjoy my life. 

Tomorrow, what do wedding veils and converted trucks have in common?  :O)   Happy Trails!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finally, The Secret to Happiness is Revealed!!!

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

Okay, actually the secret to happiness was revealed in a movie over 10 years ago.   I am sure a lot of you have seen it, it’s called, “City Slickers.”  I love that movie, except for the yucky part where he delivers a calf.  Slimy.  For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s about three men who leave the hustle and bustle of city life and use their vacation days to drive a herd of cattle on a Dude Ranch in Nevada.  In the end, they each find out a little about themselves, and the main character, Mich, played by Billy Crystal, finds what he was missing….his smile.  However, there is one line in the movie that I really treasure.  The rough trail boss, Curly, is talking with Mich and tells him that the secret to life is just one thing.  When he asked Curly what it was, the rugged cowboy simply says that it’s up to him to find out for himself. 

Now, I wish that I could tell everyone what their “one thing” is for their own individual self.  I only know that I experience it everyday.  I am a teacher, and many times my students have told me that I always seem so cheerful.  I just smile and say thanks.  My happiness has really thrown  a lot of people off.  About a dozen years ago, my father and I were talking about his six children’s lives.   He noted that a few of them were making quite a bit more money than I was making.  They had much larger houses, drove much bigger cars, and traveled the world.  He went on to say that despite all my sibling’s accomplishments, neither  my brother nor my sisters were happier than I.  That one conversation between my dad and I, I treasure as my favorite of all of the talks that we had together.

Now, as I have gotten older, I have tried to pinpoint why I feel like I do.  The “one thing” that ties in all of the blessings that I have received in this life is the word security.  I have security thru my religious beliefs, knowing that even better times are ahead for me after I leave this Earth.  I have the security of knowing that I have the love of a good woman, who I am happy to report is my best friend. :O)  I have the security of knowing that I have three wonderful children that I know we have raised to the best of our abilities.  They may not always make the decisions that I would have them make, but I know that we have taught them well.  I have the security of knowing that I have awesome friends, who I can turn to if I need anything, and hopefully know that they in turn can count on me.  Finally, I have financial security, which on a teacher’s salary is not easy to do.  If fact, since money seems to play such an important part in everyone’s search for happiness, I will make that the topic of my next blog tomorrow morning. 

I wish now that I could have explained this to my father while he was still alive.  Though, I do think that as he got older,  he started figuring it out for himself where my joy came from.   I truly hope that this is the case.  I also hope that those of you reading this post will be able to find that “one thing”  that enriches your lives.  Happy Trails!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Best of Both Worlds

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

Hey! Don't hate on the hat! It's perfect to keep out the sun and the bugs.
I think a lot of people assume that we are all about living as the Amish do.   One of our friends recently told us, that, in a national or regional emergency situation, she would want to go hang out with us.  We are constantly talking about going back to the most remote parts of the United States and Greendockin’.  (For those of you new to our blog, Greendockin’ is defined as living green while boondocking.)  While we do feel it’s important to be able to get by on the basic’s that nature can provide, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we try to distance ourselves completely from the rest of the planet.  Case in point, we are currently having a difficult time accessing the internet on a daily basis so that we can post our blogs.  This drive’s Dean nuts.  Not only does he like to post EVERY day, he also loves to read on the internet.  He’s constantly looking things up.  I don’t have near the patience on the computer that he does, so being without isn’t bothering me near as much as it is him.

Here is the entire story.  The RV park in which we are staying had wireless internet when we got here about 10 days ago.  Since that time, something terrible has happened.  The wireless capability of the resort quit working.  The owners of our campground called their internet provider on Monday of last week and they were told to call back on Friday.  They were not promised that it would be repaired at that time, they were merely told to call back. (This is, after all, out in the “boonies.”)   It is 8 days later and we still cannot get online here at the park.  In order to get access, we have to drive to Pioche which is 15 miles from here.  

Fortunately, we have found a solution to our problem.  Because our truck is set up to handle overnight camping, we will drive into Pioche every other day and spend the night.  (At least until the internet is back up and running again at our original park.)  Our plan is to post one night and then post another one the following morning.  We will then drive back to the RV park to spend the night  and come back again the  following day.   That way we will be able to post each day.  Sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening.  The nights in Pioche will be spent going on long walks around this beautiful old mining town.  The evening at the trailer park will be spent fishing at the lake.  Either way, it is a win-win situation.  I get to spend time with my best friend who just happens to be my  wife!   That’s me!  Thanks, babe! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends Roast Marshmallows!

Dean, the husband
Shalane, the wife

We had a couple of our “city” friends from Las Vegas visit us this past Sunday.  It was wonderful to see them again and catch up on what has been going on in their lives.  We were excited to show off the area where we are currently staying and decided to take them down by the creek to roast some hotdogs.  My wife wanted to start the fire and asked me for some paper.  I reached into my wallet and gave her some.  I told her that I wanted to be impressed by her fire-making abilities, so I gave her a little bit of a handicap.  Handicap?!  He gave me a one by two inch receipt and a handful of weeds.  To say the least, it took me a few minutes to get the fire going.  As a matter of fact, I finally told him to go get me some REAL paper, so he brought back a small wad of toilet paper.  Sometimes he thinks he‘s SO funny.

Eventually, lunchtime turned into dinnertime, and she was able to get the fire started. See what I mean?  Hilarious, Babe!   Once the hot dogs were cooked and devoured, it was time for dessert.  Now, we had chocolate chip cookies baking in the solar oven back at camp, but our friends (we’ll just call them Ginger and Gilligan to protect their identities)  decided that they wanted to roast some marshmallows.  ‘Ginger’ took the roasting fork and started working on turning the marshmallows a golden brown.   I was glad she wanted the marshmallows, because, even though I’m not a huge fan, it just doesn’t seem quite right to have a roasted hot dog and not follow it up with a roasted marshmallow.  At first, it looked as if the marshmallows where just too far away from the fire.  ‘Gilligan’ kept insisting that they were only going to get hot and never get toasted.  ‘Ginger’ then put them down next to the fire, and suddenly, one of the four slid into the fire.  This only seemed to make matters worse, as one by one the poor defenseless marshmallows met their demise.  Now, only one remained, and my wife had the honor of eating the only survivor.  By the way, my wife described the lone survivor as “perfect.”  No, I described it at delectable!  Nice work, Ginger!

Ginger now felt confident that she could try again and this time successfully transform these soft, white cubes of sugary bliss into to a treat of golden perfection.  She loaded four more onto the stick and started the task of recreating that magical combination of stick, fire, and marshmallow.  Gilligan was then given a plate by Ginger and instructed to catch any flying food coming off the roasting fork.   HA!  Okay, now he IS being funny! That‘s pretty much what happened, though.  Gilligan was poised and ready to rescue any unruly marshmallows.   Again, the same techniques were employed.  Alas, it soon became apparent that the same outcome was about to occur, so quickly, Ginger removed the badly damaged globs of goo from the fire and rested them on the awaiting plate.  (Note the picture that accompanies this post.)  I am happy to report that all ended well.  Every bit of sticky stuff that was not clinging to the plate was enjoyed, and our friendship continued.  (At least I hope so, after they read this blog. This is, after all,  the reason why we used fictitious names! lol)

Anyhow, this ended a perfect afternoon, with perfect friends, a perfect wife, and not so perfect marshmallows.  Hey, a guy can’t have EVERYTHING you know.  :O)   Hey!  That’s not how it ended!  We came back to camp, ate our chocolate chip cookies, drove out to Spring Valley, took a walk out to the dam and then came back and said goodbye so that Ginger and Gilligan could get back to Vegas.  THAT was the end of a perfect day. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Do Father's Day and eBooks Have in Common?

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife)
We have decided that it is time to start writing our first E-book chronicling our adventures into our new lifestyle as full-time rv’ers.  We came to this decision because we looked at our previous blog titles and they appeared to be so random in nature, as to make it difficult for someone to really know the specifics of what it takes to become full-timers.  This book is still in the early stages, but we do hope that we will have something in place by the end of the summer. 

This brings us to the topic of our blog today, “Father’s Day”.    Now you see what I mean about the random nature of our posts.  Anyhow, we have noticed that there seems to be a huge increase in the number of fishermen at our lake this weekend.  What is even more unusual is the number of children fishing with their fathers.  Friday night I witnessed the fine attributes of a dad with 3 young daughters.  After just a few minutes of watching their bobbers dancing on the water, these young ladies quickly lost interest in this sport and went off to play.  One by one, their bobbers would disappear into the water, and he would call to them with urgency but also with patience and love in his voice.   He really did want them to experience the joy that he found time day he reeled in a fish.   Of course, the little ones were excited to run back to the dock and reel in their catch.  He would just smile, take the fish off, bait their hook, help them throw the line back out, and then watch them run off again. 

I tell you this story because I have had a chance to reflect on my relationship with my father.  So many times in my life, I felt like my father was only on this earth to make my life as miserable as possible.   For instance when I was about 16 yrs old, my dad decided that he wanted to move out to the country.  I had a drivers license and it was only about a 1 ½ miles from the town I grew up in, so I was sure that it wouldn’t affect me much.  Oh, how I was wrong!  My parents decided that they wanted to purchase a new home, which again didn’t bother me.  However, I soon realized that they wanted to buy a home where the company built the basic frame of the house, but EVERYTHING else was to be done by us.  I still remember getting up early every Saturday to go work on another part of the house.  To make matters worse, my 15 year old brother loved working on the house, and since it wasn’t my “thing,”  I really appeared to be the lazy one. 

Now the good news, my dad really did do the right thing.  It took me a while, but, as I look back on it, I gained a lot of valuable experience that many youth never receive.   As I bought my own homes and needed to make repairs on them, so many times I found myself fixing things that I know, had I not had those experiences, I would have had to hire someone to do.    It seems as if he was teaching me something that he knew that I would someday need.  

That brings me to my next thought.  How am I doing as the father of my own children?  I know there must have been times when they thought that I was just trying to make their lives miserable.  This was made obvious by the rolling eyes, the huffy breaths and the slamming doors.  I’ve noticed, however, that as they have gotten older, they seem to have more of an appreciation of some of the things that I have taught them.  We still have a way to go, but we’re making progress.

The moral of the story is this:  HANG IN THEIR DADS, continue to do the right thing and your time will come.  It’s just  having to wait  a decade for the “enlightening” to occur that’s the hard part.  However, remember  that  anything truly worthwhile is not easy to accomplish.  After all, if it were easy, we probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much.  I wish that I would have told my father these things before he passed away, a little less than a decade ago.   I also hope that, by writing this blog, at least a few fathers will hear from their children, and that we will all take a moment to acknowledge the lessons that our fathers have taught us. 
Dean’s father was a writer and an artist, talents that Dean has acquired, as well.  I am lucky to have these men as part of my life.  I am also blessed to have a step-dad that taught me to love the outdoors and a father that loves me unconditionally and is always there for me.  Thank you, dads, and Happy Fathers Day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ya Learn Somethin' New Every Day

 Dean (the husband)
Shalane (the wife)

Yesterday was yet another great adventure for us.  We had decided to spend a couple of nights at a free primitive BLM campground called Meadow Valley.  It is a couple of miles south of Spring Valley State Park near Ursine, NV.   It is a beautiful campground located in a gorge, so it’s surrounded on both sides by steep mountains.  It really does provide some breathtaking views.  We always learn new things when we’re out camping, sometimes through experience, and sometimes through the quiet “think time” that comes when we’re out enjoying the peacefulness of our surroundings.   Here are a few things that we came up with this time around.

1)  Canyon breezes at night can be quite extreme.  We tried to put up our  portable shower/restroom shelter last night at about the same that the winds developed.  Needless to say, we decided we would wait until the next morning to do get it done.   Had this been video taped, it would have been worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos!  Related to this, is to make sure everything that can blow away in the wind is secured.  This is one thing that we do seem to be pretty good at.  For instance, it would make for an uneasy sleep, as the wind roars through the canyon, to wonder if your solar panel will be there in the morning. 

2)  Before crawling into the back of the truck for the night, it is a good idea to make a checklist of all items that you will need BEFORE closing the tailgate and back window.  As soon as we got nestled into the cots, we realized that the fan that we use to keep us cool before the nightime chill kicks in, was still in the front of the truck.  This wasn’t the first time this had happened.  We have decided that from now on we will make a checklist of the “must have” items  before crawling in for the night.  I’m not gonna lie.  It’s a pain in the rear-end to get out of the truck once you’re all closed up and tucked in.  I try not to drink too much before bedtime, because I don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night.  So far, so good.  ;O) 
3)  It is far less expensive to Greendock in the back of the truck than to take our entire trailer.  First of all, there is the difference in gas mileage.  Pulling the travel trailer to the Eagle Valley Resort, we got exactly 10 miles to the gallon.  We have had the chance to fill up one more time, since we unhitched the camper, and  I am happy to say that we got just a little over 15 mpg.  In previous posts,  we have mentioned the month long trip that we are planning in July to go back east.  We originally had talked about pulling the trailer, and it would cost in the neighborhood of $1600.  Without anything hitched up to the truck, it should only costs about $1070 in diesel.  That’s a difference of $530!   Another reason this is so great is that anytime I purchase something that Dean wants to complain about, I can just say, “Hey, we’re saving over $500 on gas!
4)  The other great thing about Greendockin’ in our truck, is knowing that we  can go just about anywhere we want. For instance, the campground that we are at now discourages trailers and motor homes due to the narrow roads leading to the campsites.   I have heard of other people converting vans into campers, however, they would still be limited on just how far back into the rugged countryside they could go and not have to worry about destroying their vehicle.  There is so much of the western United States that is owned by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).  This land is, more often than not, free to camp on (usually with a 14 day limit).  Cheap camping in a beautiful setting is an unbeatable combination, but, again, often times you need a good truck to enjoy these lands.    True.  Even Beaver Dam State Park, where we were at the other night, only allowed Rvs about half way into the park.  After that, the roads get even worse, and you REALLY need a good truck to get back into campground number three and to the waterfall trailhead.
5)  Being in love is even better in a secluded mountain setting.  ;O) 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do Solar Cookies Have Wings?!!!

Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)

Do cookies really fly?  If Dumbo the elephant can, why not a few cookies?  The answer will come shortly. Yesterday, we decided, spur of the moment, to drive out to the most remote state park in Nevada, Beaver Dam Start Park.  On a previous blog, we mentioned the freezing cold night that we spent there last year.  I froze my patooti off!  This time we were ready for it in our Greendockin truck.  We had our warm, cozy bed with an electric blanket and the solar generator to run it!  We went to sleep at 10 pm and woke up at 7:30.  I rarely get 9 ½ hours of sleep ever!  We feel like we have conquered that state park and its bitter cold nights. 
Now for the winged cookies.  Shalane decided that it would be a good idea to bake some chocolate chip cookies in our solar oven.  Remember, she is the inventive one, I never would have thought of it. I just used Nestle Toll House squares that you get in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  Anyhow, she put them on a black, non-stick pizza pan and placed them in the solar oven at about 8a.m.  We had the oven sitting on a small, black folding table, and it was a nice, sunny, calm morning.  I started cooking them so early because we are still new at using the solar oven, and I honestly believed it would take a couple of hours.  Oh, Shalane made some s’mores pie last night, but I’m sure she'll will write about it. I really wasn't going to mention it, but I probably should since it was AMAZING!  I just crunched up a bunch of graham crackers onto a plate, covered it with some fudge topping and broken pieces of Hershey's chocolate and blanketed all of that with perfectly toasted marshmallows.  Dean and I each got a fork and dug in.  It was as yummy as it was amazing.  :O)   Anyhow, back to the cookies, they were baking nicely and after an hour they were looking close to being done.  Actually, I didn't think they were looking done at all.  They had spread themselves out pretty quickly, so they were nice and round, but they still looked really "wet."  Then, suddenly, a wind gust from out of nowhere came through, sending the solar oven flying in the air with the cookies trapped inside.  As it turns out, the cookies were done, the wind was just natures way of letting us know that they were ready.  Yup!  It was pretty strange.  When the oven blown down, Dean and I just looked at each other, like, "Oh man, this is gonna be a mess to clean up," but when we picked it up and put it back on the table, we could see that there was no cookie dough slime, just broken cookies.  I couldn't believe it!  Not only were they done, but they were cooked PERFECTLY!

My favorite part of the trip was watching an episode of “Northern Exposure” that I had not seen before. We plugged the laptop into our solar generator and watched it while laying on our bed.  It just doesn’t get much better than this!  Northern Exposure is one of our favorite shows that we have ever watched.  I bought Dean the entire series off of Ebay for his birthday a few years ago.  We still love it.  :O)  MY favorite part of the trip was eating the chocolate chip cookies.  They were SO good!  :O)  

We're still Greendockin'.  Today we are heading out to a free, primitive campground over near Spring Valley.  We stopped in at the Pioche library as we were heading over there, so that's why we were able to blog today.  We'll for sure be off the grid for two or three days though, so we'll write again when we get back.  Until then, Happy Trails!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Have You Ever...?

Dean (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)
Have you ever been fishing, and you know, in the first 15 seconds, that you are going to have a good time?  That very thing happened to me last night.  I had been waiting all day to throw my line in the water.  We like to go out about 7 pm at Spring Valley State Park, because that’s the time when all the trout are feeding.  It usually last for about 60 to 90 minutes.  Actually, it lasts much longer than that, but it gets to the point that you can’t see the bobber.  Anyhow, I baited the hook for the first time, cast the line out about 40 feet off the pier, and within 15 seconds I saw the bobber go under the water.  One quick tug and I was reeling in my first fish of the year.   Nope!  He’s not telling fish stories.  His first cast of the season, and he got the first fish.  I didn’t have near as good a night as he did, but he was kind enough not to gloat.  We went on to catch  11 fish for the night, all of them were rainbow trout.   I’ll cook them up tomorrow, probably over a campfire, but I haven’t decided yet.

 We were fishing off the pier with a young family that had driven all the way up from Panaca, NV, about 30 miles away.  When we got there we heard them say, “That’s number 9,” as they pulled in another fish.  Not long after that however, we heard one of the young ones announce to his mom that the line with all the fish on it had come undone and that they had lost all 9 fish.  We couldn’t quite replace all of them, but we did give them the first 7 fish that we caught before they had to leave to head back home.  Like I said, it was a good night, and not just because of the success that we had.  Somehow, knowing that we had helped this rather large, young family bring home a little feast of fish made us feel like we had been placed there at that place and at that time for a reason.  It was so cute.  The little boy was so excited each time Dean gave him another fish.

This afternoon, before going fishing, we spent a lot time getting the truck ready for our next big Greendockin’ adventure.  We have decided to go visit our family and friends in Kansas next month and take only the truck and not the travel trailer.   We plan on Greendockin’ every step of the way.  Our goal is to NOT stay in a single hotel or campground.  We’re looking for back roads and small towns.  We have limited room inside the truck, and wanted to make sure that we could get all of our Greendockin’ supplies in there.  After all, Greendockin’ is not about going without!  It’s not about revisiting the stone ages.  No way!  Greendockin’ is about enjoying back-road, low-cost adventures in reasonable comfort and with a few frivolous amenities.  :O)   It was a success!  In fact, we plan on leaving the trailer here within the next couple of days and finding a nice, secluded spot to boondock.     If you have never done this, you HAVE to try it.  There’s no way to describe the beauty of the starlit night, the solitude, the peace, and even the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are completely self sufficient and self sustained.   It is SO gratifying, and if you have the opportunity to enjoy it with your best friend, like Dean and I do, it is all the better.  This means, of course, that we may not be blogging for a couple of days, as we don't plan in being real close to civilization.  Check in on us though.  We'll for sure be back on the grid by the end of the week.  :O)

One quick note on the solar generator.  We had used it last night and got it down to about 40% full, so I decided to recharge it this morning at 9 o’clock.  By 11 a.m. it was fully charged.  This is good information to know as we head out across the United States next month. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Too Secluded, or Just Right?

 Dean  (the husband)
Shalane  (the wife  :O)
(The internet is not working well tonight, so I'll have to post pictures tomorrow.  :O)

I’m back!  I am writing this blog looking at a beautiful little mountain.  The sun is behind the clouds.  All I can hear are the birds singing and a light wind rustling through the leaves on the many trees in the area.  I can smell a hint of campfire smoke as well.   My wife made me some hot oatmeal for breakfast, and I am a full, happy, content man again.  I told you I would take good care of him.  Dean worked really hard yesterday and was exhausted, but, we’re here now and all set up.  This picturesque morning is a reminder of why we are full-time Rvers.  While others are stuck in the heat and the rat race, we have escaped and are soaking in the good life.

I had almost forgotten just how wonderful life is without the hustle and bustle associated with the city.  Even in our last RV park, the Las Vegas RV Resort,  as quiet and as safe it was inside the park, the sirens and the impeding view of the casinos were an ever present reminder that we were in the middle of the city.  Don't get us wrong, it's a GREAT place to vacation!  Here, however, there is peace and quiet.  Actually, it may be TOO quiet for some people, but we are loving it!

Now we are getting ready to drive 15 miles into the town of Pioche, NV to go to church.  It will be great to renew our friendship with the people in that congregation.  Fifteen miles might seem like a long way to go to church, but remember, it will be 15 miles of pine trees and beautiful mountain scenery.  

We hope to get some fishing done pretty soon, and we will try to get some photos of the area around the lake.  Also, Shalane and I will be battling it out to see who will get  the honors for “First fish of the year.”    Now, she does have the best opportunity to win this coveted title because, after all, she refuses to put the bait on her own line.  She doesn’t even want to hold any bait.  Lol  That’s right, I don’t hold my own bait.  Worms are slimy and super yucky.  I’ll tell you what, after Dean baits my hook, I will wait until he’s ready, and we’ll cast at the same time.  Then we’ll see, fair and square, who gets to claim first fish of the year.  :O)

Last night, while setting up camp, we decided to put out the awning.  We’ve never done it before, so we kinda looked like the two stooges.  :O) We finally figured out how to work the awning.  It took reading the owner’s manual to get it done.  It was a last resort, but who can argue with success.   Please note that I suggested reading the instructions WAY before we actually did it.  Once we got those out, it was a breeze. 

Anyhow, for those of you that were worried about me after yesterday’s post, I'm all right.  In fact,  I am doing great!  I’m glad he’s back!  :O)  Join us tomorrow as the saga of “First fish of the year” continues.  Until then, Happy Trails!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Patience Pays

Dean (the hardworking husband)
Shalane (the wife of the hardworking husband  :O)

Ever experience your greatest day ever?….Well, we've had some pretty great days, but today was exhausting.  I feet great!  I watched as Dean got everything unhooked and hitched up.  He looked like he was having a good time.  I was providing cold water as he dripped with sweat, AND I told him if I felt that he wasn’t doing anything good enough or fast enough.  He looked VERY manly  doing all that hard work, and I thought he was having a good time! We have been looking forward to this day for months.   The fishing lake is now just 3 miles from our new resting spot.  We won’t be going there tonight though, because it’s free fishing day, and there are about a million people on the lake.  We came here to get away from all those people.  Yup!  We’ll just hang out here, and head out there once all the city folk are gone.  On a day where it is near 100 degrees in Vegas, the current temperature is 79 degrees here.  The mountains are so close, we can just about reach out and touch them.  What could possibly be wrong?  The answer is, the lloonngg drive.  I don’t know what he’s complaining about, I drove like 12 of those miles!

We got up at 5:30 this morning so we could get off to an early start.  We thought we did most of the prep work last night so that we could leave early.  As is often the case, we got out of there at 8:30 a.m., about an hour later that we wanted to.   The longer it took, the hotter it got.  I was bringing water.  I think he keeps forgetting that part.  :O)  The trip itself went as expected.  We would stop in Alamo, NV for a quick restroom break, then in Caliente for lunch at J & J‘s, and  then Panaca to top off the tank before making our way here to the Eagle Valley Resort.  Three impressive mountain passes had us crawling along at a snail’s pace, especially near the summits.  Once we made it to the RV park, we located our campsite.   Our  long truck combined with our 26’ trailer with the extra large hitch,  made backing into our spot nearly impossible.  Fortunately, our new neighbor, Jeff, helped us out by guiding the trailer into its new home.  Thanks, Jeff!

I am now so tired that I may not even go fishing tonight.  However, we have another 30 days here to enjoy that.  There are many “greatest days” that will occur shortly,  just give me a chance to recover.  He’s right!  There are a lot a of GREAT days to be had here.  The hiking and fishing is near endless in Lincoln County, and we’re excited to experience it and to share it with you!  Don’t worry about Dean.  I’ll take care of him tonight.  He did work REALLY hard today, so I’ll give him a good rubdown, and he’ll be good to go tomorrow.  (Hey, don‘t be getting any ideas!  This is a family blog.  ;O)  Until then, Happy Trails! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Two RV resorts in Las Vegas that I strongly recommend

 For the review on the RV resorts go to the second paragraph.  For those of you subscribers that read this blog just for the humor of my wife (Shalane),  I have some bad news for you today.  She is feeling a little under the weather, and so will probably not be joining me on this blog. (At least not on June 10th)  I suppose that there is a chance that she will add a few funny comments later in the week, so don't give up hope.  :o)  If you have read any of the previous posts you would know that me putting a nose on that last smiley face would certainly brighten her day, because she always seems to make fun of me for my normal one.  :)  Anyhow.....

About one year ago, we became full time RVers  while still working at our full time jobs in the city of Las Vegas. Our first task was to try to find an RV Park that we thought was safe and priced well based on the amenities offered.  We felt like we struck gold in finding not one but two in the city.

The first place we stayed was the Oasis RV park located on the south side of Vegas next to I-15 and across the interstate from Bass Pro Shops.  They have a guard at the front gate (the one and only gate).  This brings a certain amount of confidence that we could feel safe.  They also constantly have people patrolling the area.  (A huge plus in Las Vegas, the car theft capital of the USA)  Before we really got into  the idea of greendockin, we really liked everything they offered:  A miniature golf course with real (not carpeted) grass to putt on, two swimming pools (one for everyone, and the other for adults only), a hot tub, a little casino inside the general store, a clubhouse, and many other activities going on like family movie nights.

It wasn't too far from  strip.  (However, most people that live in Vegas rarely go to the strip)  It was priced a little more than the smaller, less secured RV parks, but I didn't feel like their monthly rate was out of the question based on what we got.

We did move to another RV park in February of this year.  We did so for two reasons.  One was that it was less than a mile from where I teach school.  The other is that it charged a lower monthly rate, and set a limit on your maximum electric bill.  This park is guard gated (again there is only one entrance) as well.  It is in a "rougher" part of Vegas, but we always felt completely safe at the park.  There were many times that we have gone on walks within the confines of the resort, and we honestly felt like we were back in a small Midwestern town.  Everyone at the resort is very, very friendly.  (I think they must fire anyone that doesn't smile and say hello)   This is an adult only park, so the noise level of little ones is almost unheard of.  No one under 21 is allowed to stay at the park permanently.  We did have our 18 year old daughter come visit a couple of times, and it was okayed for short visits.  They did have a nice office area, a swimming pool, hot tub, potlucks  (a great Super Bowl potluck), and wonderful laundry facility.  As much as we enjoy going to the mountains for the summer, we will really miss this park and all the wonderful people that we have met.  It is farther away from the strip than the Oasis, but it is within walking distance of Sam's Town Casino.  Sam's Town is a favorite place for the locals to gamble. 

The rest of the night, we will spend getting ready for the 4 hour drive to our RV park in the mountains.  I'm sure our trip up to these mountains will be the focus of our next post.  As my wife always says, "Happy trails to all!"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to avoid a COLD night in the wilderness

Dean  (the husband) 
Shalane  (the wife)

30 miles of gravel road leads to a state park so remote that I'm not sure if the park ranger even knows where it is!  Really!  We never saw him even once.  We never saw ANYONE!  I was just thinking of the good time my wife and I had last year at Beaver Dam State Park in Lincoln County.  So FUN!  Perhaps it was the most memorable because it was the most  remote place that we stayed last summer and the coldest.  Yup!  I froze.  We had to go to Vegas for a few months for me to thaw.  We decided early last summer to make sure that we visited all 5 state parks in the Pioche, NV area.  So one perfect summer day, we decided to check out the one park that was most difficult to reach.  We went ahead and took our tent and our car, because we weren't really sure if we our motorhome would even fit on the road to the park.  We didn't get out and measure the road, so I'm not going to tell you the size of vehicle that would fit, but I certainly wouldn't worry about a large truck and overhead camper.  I was glad, however, that we didn't take the motor home, and I would probably not pull Gertie, our current 26 foot trailer, on that road.   As soon as we got there, we picked out our site and set up camp.  We had plenty of sites to choose from, as NO ONE was anywhere in the park.  After setting up camp, we did a little exploring.  It was a BEAUTIFUL park.  We closed up the evening with some hobo dinners and roasted marshmellows.  We have a dome tent that can be covered with a protective outer shell.  Since it was such a nice, warm, summer day, and we wanted to be able to see the stars, we decided to leave it off. BAD idea!
That night the stars were incredible. It is so difficult to see any stars while living in the city, so it was a real treat to stare up at them while drifting off to sleep.  However, this is where the fun ended.  By about two oclock in the morning I was so cold, that I could hardly move.  It didn't exactly destroy the whole experience, but it did leave me wondering if I would ever do this again. NO!  I can't even describe how cold we were!  I don't know what the actual tempurature was, but it felt like 50 degrees below "freeze my butt off!"
Awhile ago, Shalane suggested that we go camping in the back of our truck.  At first, I thought she was crazy, after all, we live in a travel trailer.  But, having had a chance to reflect on that night at Beaver Dam, I look forward to taking her advice and making the trip out there in our truck this time.  He always looks forward to taking my advise.  :O) We are now set up for just about anything.  A solar generator for electric needs, a collapsible five gallon container for water, solar shower, solar oven,  portable toilet (to avoid the outhouse flies), etc., should make this adventure much more enjoyable.  However, the most important thing that we will have with us this time is an electric heating blanket!  This is the best way to guarantee a successful night to sleep.  It will run off the solar generator, so the noise won't keep us awake.  :)))  Dean, I don't understand this smiley face!  No nose?  A double chin?  Strange.

Thanks again to all of you who choose to read our daily blogs.  We'll let you know how our next trip  to Beaver Dam turns out.  It should be MUCH warmer.  Tomorrow we pack it all up to be ready to get on the road EARLY Saturday morning!  Until then, Happy Trails!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Does time slow down for You just before the FUN begins? We're Goin' Fishin'!

Dean (the husband)  Shalane (the wife)
I am about to reveal to you one the nation's best kept secret.  LINCOLN COUNTY, NEVADA.   Oh my heck, I'm getting so excited!

We are eagerly looking forward to this weekend as we switch locations to one of our favorite places to go, Lincoln County, Nevada. For the next month we will be staying a the Eagle Valley Resort near Ursine, NV which is 20 miles east of Pioche, NV. When we were there last summer, I took a bunch of photos of Pioche.  We love this town!  Anyway, I made a little slide show of it, and I'll try to figure out how to post the link for you. :O)  Now if you are thinking that you have never heard of these towns, it's probably because Ursine has a population of like 50, and Pioche has less than a thousand. People living within a few miles from there probably haven't heard of them.  Anyway, we really enjoy the fishing that we do there almost every day. That's an understatement! :O)  We love to hike in the beautiful mountains in the area. It's crazy how much diversity in the landscape there is.  Even within one short day hike, you will see SO many different kinds of trees and rock formations.  If any of you are ever out that way within the month of July, look us up, and we'll take you for a hike.   Also, the people that we have met are some of the nicest anywhere. I couldn't believe that within the first week that we were there last summer, the ladies at the gas station already knew us by name and were ready go get us some worms when we walked through the door.

There are a lot of things I enjoy about staying in Lincoln County. One of them is the sunsets. Living in Las Vegas these past 10 months, it has been rare to ever even see the sun rise or set. There, the views are unencumbered by casinos and bright lights.  My father loved to paint, and enjoying these breathtaking skies each night inspired me and my wife to start as well. I spent many a day last summer working on this craft, trying to perfectly capture what nature presents. This is not an easy thing to do, but we had so much fun trying.  I couldn't believe how talented I was when I saw my first painting.  I said to myself, "Self, that's not to shabby!" hehe  Okay, so I'm not THAT great, but I am WAY better than I thought I would be, and it just goes to show that you never know what kind of stuff you can do 'till ya do it!    

To prepare for our trip, there are so many things that must get done. This is a remote place, so we have been stocking up on supplies that we anticipate we'll need. Yesterday evening I had a couple of new tires put on the front of the truck.  We need this for all the great Greendockin' we're gonna do!  Oh my goodness, did I tell you that I'm super excited!  I feel like a kid that's getting ready to go to Disneyworld.  Actually, even when I was a little girl, I would have been WAY more excited to go camping than to Disneyworld!   Everyday, we add a few more things to the list of things to do and to purchase. On top of the list now are new NV state fishing licenses. I had no idea I could buy them at Wal-Mart. I guess that really shouldn't surprise me.  Dean wrote his part of the blog earlier today.  Since then we have gone to and come back from Wal-mart and have gotten our yearly license.  WE ARE SET!  Tomorrow I will post a few more pictures of Lincoln County.  Until then, Happy Trails! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NIFs46RNqI  (This is the Pioche, NV slide show that I made last summer.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The six reasons why we chose a Solar Generator over a Gas Generator

 Dean (the husband) Shalane (the wife)

Since our blog is all about going 'green', you are probably wondering why a solar generator would have 5 other reasons other than just that, going green.  There are a number of things that came under consideration, and here they are:

Although a gas generator with as much or more power can cost much less upfront ($300 to $1500), looking at the big picture, after adding the cost of gas, oil, spark plugs etc.,  the upkeep cost could really add up quickly if I were to use the generator often.  (I plan to use it almost daily.) The Powersource 1800 solar generator that I chose cost $1697 but has no costs to operate it.  (The batteries may need to be replaced after 5+ years, but that is all that I can think of for extra costs.)  

  I can use a solar generator indoors.  With a loud, pollution filled gas generator that would not be an option.

Tied to that, a solar generator can be used in virtually all campgrounds, because it doesn't smell or make any noise. (The only noise I hear is when a tiny fan kicks on sometimes to keep the generator coo.l)  There are resrtictions at many campgrounds about gas generator use.  

It will cut back on utility bills.  As full time RVers, we often stay in one place months at a time and pay a monthly fee for the site, but we pay a separate fee for electricity.  By plugging in our laptop, lamps, fan, etc., to the generator, it's a great way to save.

I will be able to use the solar generator in almost any emergency situation.  For instance, after an ice storm it can sometimes take a few days to get electric power back, but  I won't have to worry about conquering icy roads to get gas.   If the entire grid goes down, I won't have to worry about whether or not I have the fuel I need.

 It runs off of a renewable resource and it does not throw off pollutants, so I can feel good about going green and doing our small part in saving our earth's environment.  

Now, I do want to point out a couple of things that you should know.   If you plan on using it ONLY in emergency situations, don't just buy it and stick it in the closet until you need it.  I say this, not because it is difficult to set up, but because it must be charged using an electric current, and then depleted, at least 3 times before you plug in the solar panel.

Lastly, the time that it takes to recharge the solar generator is about 5 hours, so it's good to plan a little ahead of time when you're going to need it.  Obviously, this is just an average.  With more directly sunlight it could be less and with a cloudy day it could be more.  Overall, we have been VERY pleased with this generator.  I did hours upon hours of research before choosing this particular model and have not regretted the decision.  Again, if I've missed anything, or if you have any specific questions, please leave a comment, and I will be happy to respond.

I have to add that when Dean told me what he was buying and how much it cost, I wasn't so sure it was a great idea.  I didn't think a solar generator could produce much power, and I thought the panel would be too cumbersome and too fragile. I also couldn't imagine that it would be small enough or quiet enough to use in the RV.  I was wrong on all accounts.  My husband was right on the money with this one, and I'm so glad we have it.  I guess he's more than just a pretty face.  :O)  He's also good for baiting my hooks and cleaning the fish I catch.  He doesn't catch as many as I do, because he's too busy taking the fish off my pole.  As it turns out, he's smart, handsome and handy.  :O)  Oh, we did post a link for the Powersource 1800 if you want to check it out.  They should totally pay us for this awesome ad we just posted for them.  I don't know what our blog will be about tomorrow, but, until then, Happy Trails!