23 February 2014

Hosting and Tent Camping

So it has definitely been awhile since our last post. So much has been going on. We did officially come off the road as a "full-time family" back in the late summer of 2012. During the time since, we purchased a new home and sold our original home that we leased when we left to travel full-time.

We began to partnership with Project 143 soon after arriving back home. This organization pairs families with orphans from the Ukraine, Latvia and now China. We spent part of the summer and this December hosting a young girl from Latvia. We met her through another hosting family in December of 2012. Our first meeting with her was not all that smooth. She was very reserved and did not want to speak with us or communicate in any meaningful way.

After a few more visits, she began to communicate a slight bit more than she previously did. So we decided to host her in the summer of 2012. We all had a great time and enjoyed having her as a part of our family.

This past December, she returned for another visit and we got to celebrate her birthday with her. For many of us here in the U.S.A., a birthday party of some sort is a regular occurrence. However for an orphan, it does not happen. So we were really excited to give her this gift of celebration. She really enjoyed the attention and the gifts.

Over the past several months we have been gathering equipment to begin traveling again. However this time, it will not be in an RV, but a tent. It has been quite a transition from the luxuries of our 37 foot motorhome, but the girls really like camping again, minus the bathroom situation.

This past weekend, we headed to the mountains of north Georgia for a few days of camping near Blairsville at Vogel State Park. The weather was not ideal for the first night, but the other two days were very pleasant.

Our first night we experienced a heavy rain with thundershowers.The winds were very strong and really whipped through the mountain trees. Our tent is a Cabela's Alaskan Guide Tent. This tent is made for this type of weather. The tent held its ground beautifully and did not budge in the high winds.

Overall, we really like the tent and look forward to more camping in the coming weeks and months ahead. We still need to invest in some good all weather sleeping bags, our cheap sleeping bags did not keep us warm enough in the 20 degree temperatures. Also, I am instructed to find a better solution for the bathroom situation. We have a small shower tent that we used when we owned a folding camper, so I think that will be the answer. I just don't like having to haul around more equipment than is necessary. But I am told this issue is a priority.

We ate breakfast in the cold morning air and got an early start to a forest road in the mountains for some off-road trail riding. We have had a 2001 Jeep Wrangler TJ for about 6 years. The girls and I have done some light off-road travels, but this trail would be a much greater challenge due to the rains that soaked the trail the night before.

The ride was great fun and rattled the teeth out of everyone. The mud was not as challenging as I had imagined, but nevertheless the Jeep was covered with mud.

The girls got in some target practice with their air rifle and I got schooled in marksmanship. I suppose I could take credit for instructing them in the fine points of handling and shooting a firearm:)

We visited Helen a small town on the way to and from our off-roading adventure. The town is nice but isn't our style. We much prefer Dahlonega just 30 miles from our campground. We spent Saturday afternoon visiting the small town square and ate some delicious BBQ for lunch. There are many small boutique type stores and quite a few small cafes and restaurants.

We look forward to our upcoming trips. One of the trips on our bucket list is a trip to Alaska. We are working on the logistics, however that won't be for another year.

Project 143 December 2013
Vogel State Park 2013
Alaskan Guide Tent
Bailey waking up 2013
Sisters still having fun
Trey Mountain Rd 2013
small stream crossing 2013
Heading up Trey Mountain Rd 2013
Having fun on Trey Mountain 2013
Posing with her "bullseye"
dead center
Dad giving instructions
Another great shooter
Vogel State Park 2013
Hiking in Vogel State Park
Dog treat from Dahlonega GA


21 May 2013

Jackson Hole, WY

Having once lived in Jackson Hole,WY in the mid-1980's, I really wanted to visit the area again and explore some of the beautiful sites. Darla and the girls weren't quite sure what to expect, but really loved the area after we arrived. Jackson Hole offers so much, we could have easily spent our entire summer there.

We stayed at the Jackson Hole Campground near the Teton Village. The campground was undergoing some cosmetic upgrades during our visit, but it was only a minor inconvenience, mainly because the hot-tub was getting a make over. As far as convenience and location, it seemed to be the best option. We really enjoyed the bike paths that covered a large portion of the greater Jackson area. There must be close to a hundred miles of paved trails available. In addition to bike paths, there are plenty of trails for hiking. One of our favorite hikes was Jenny Lake. This 7 mile hike is very nice and offers several side trails that offer spectacular views and beautiful waterfalls.

One of the highlights of the hike was "chasing" down a male (bull) moose. We were nearly trampled by a female moose (cow), at the beginning of the hike. Both were beautiful, but the "bull" was a must see. We were given information about him by a fellow hiker resting on the main trail. In order to see him, we would have to start a steep climb up the mountain range of the Tetons. I wasn't so sure we were going to be able to see this elusive beast without exhausting ourselves first. We had already spent most of the day hiking the perimeter of Jenny Lake and still had a ways to go. Darla was really excited about the moose and pressed on despite her recent knee surgery. The effort was well worth it.

He was a beauty Jackson Hole, WY 2012
He's back behind the girls eating....

We really liked all there is to do in the area, the climate is mild with cool evenings and a rodeo every Wednesday and Saturday. The girls and I went to the Wednesday evening event and it got chilly after the sun set.

One cool place we spent several hours just "hanging-out" was at a local indoor rock climbing studio. Is that the right word? Is it called a studio or a gym, not sure. Anyway, it was lots of fun. When we checked in, the young gentleman that helped us get settled evidently thought the girls would lose interest and only stay a short while. Over three hours later when we checked out, he made the comment that he thought we had really gotten our monies worth:)

So yeah, Jackson Hole, WY was a great experience for us. No doubt, it is one of our most favorite regions of the USA. I'm sure we will visit again, the sooner the better.....

17 September 2012

How We Finished Cont.......

So, our last post did not quite highlight our reamining time on the road. So instead of writing a long post, we will just post photos and make comments about the pictures and where they were taken.

The photos below were taken during our time in Sequim, WA. This was a great little town. Our highlights were of course the concert we mentioned in the last post and our 11 mile hike along the beach to visit the New Dungeness Lighthouse

Believe it or not, we were able to take our motorhome on a ferry from Port Townsend, WA, a short drive from Sequim, WA where we were staying, to Coupville, WA near Whidbey Island, WA. The cost was about $80.00 for two (2) vehicles. Much cheaper than driving south then north. The photos below are actually from our trip to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA. The girls loved the ride and enjoyed hot cocoa and we enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee. Very relaxing and a beautiful day.

Did you know, we almost went to war with Great Britain over a PIG !!!

After our fun time in the Anacortes, WA area, we headed further north past Seattle,WA to a little town called Monroe. Our main reason was to stay outside the busy Seattle area, but close enough to see the sites. It worked our nicely.

Here is a band we observed playing at the Pike Market Place


Beyond the Pike Market Place, we really just drove around and enjoyed the beautiful weather and sampled some foods. Mostly we enjoyed the nice swimming pool and hot tub back at the campground.

Our next stop, was Coeur d' Alene, ID, the city by the lake, established in 1887. On the way, we were able to stop by and visit with the Holford's. We met them a few months earlier during our stay in Las Vegas, NV. They were a blessing to us while Darla had her knee surgery. We spent a nice few hours visiting over a wonderful bar b que dinner. 

The next day, we arrived at one of the two state parks we spent the next few days visiting. Both were very nice and had beautiful lake views. But our most memorable event of the two was our new found friend.

What a gift that our girls got to befriend this wild bird and hand feed it. Totally an awesome time.