If you are in an area that observes Daylight Savings Time, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight before you go to sleep. Let’s just hope Mother Nature springs forward too!
Doing a little Spring cleaning (okay, someone is really optimist for Spring around here!) and came across a collection of glittery vials from the summer we panned for gold along the South Yuba River.
Bridgeport covered bridge across the South Yuba River, just outside Penn Valley (CA), is definitely a must see when visiting Gold Country. Gold panning (“pans and hands”) is allowed along this stretch of the river. A wonderful place for a relaxing day trip, the South Yuba River State Park offers visitors hiking trails, visitor’s center, picnic area and restrooms. A short walk from the main parking area you will find an old cemetery and barn exhibit (with old wagons).
While you are there, stop in to the visitor’s center and pick up a gold pan kit and try it yourself! The volunteers and park officials will be happy to provide you with information on the technique. You will be amazed to see that the water under the bridge is literally glittering with gold flakes! Of course, it’s not enough to buy a new RV, but you’ll find your day at the Yuba priceless.
Earlier today we made a trip to see the Niña and the Pinta docked in Perdido Key (FL). Unfortunately between the heavy rain and limited over-sized parking, we weren’t able to visit the ships. I did manage to get a photo of them as we crossed the bridge off the island. We saw the Niña several years ago along the Atlantic coast, yet we thought it would be fun to see it again.
The Niña is a replica of the ship Columbus sailed to the New World in 1492. The Pinta, a newer ship, is actually larger than the original design.
For more information on the ships and their port schedule, visit their website: http://www.thenina.com/
Maybe we will cross paths with them again as we travel the U.S.
Despite that ice-age loving Groundhog’s predictions, the weather had been pretty nice here. But wait! Another night of cold temperatures made its way to Florida. Thankfully it was no where near the freezing temperatures we had just a few short weeks ago. Imagine our surprise yesterday when we were traveling on eastbound I-10 only to be diverted off the interstate near Milton because of ice. Fortunately Highway 90 parallels the interstate, but traffic was still very slow and it took us an additional hour and half travel-time.
When they started forecasting snow on the local weather, I turned the TV off. We are in Florida, it doesn’t snow in Florida. It’s the Sunshine State, after all! And millions of Snowbirds flock here every winter to get away from the snowy North. So I thought those weather folks were just a little nuts.
Then the temperature dropped… and the rain came… the ice cold rain… and then it turned to sleet… and while we were sleeping, it turned to snow. Yes, snow in Florida. And it’s not melting… it’s staying around for a while according to our frozen thermometer. And everything is shut down for a couple of days because of icy conditions.
I sure hope that Groundhog comes popping out wearing a Speedo on February 2nd (Groundhog’s Day)!
If you plan on visiting one of the many beautiful Florida State Parks* the Sunshine State has to offer this year, there are a couple of dates to keep in mind.
September 8, 2014 is International Literacy Day. On this day, admission is free to anyone who shows their library card or donates a new/gently-used family-appropriate book at the park.
November 11, 2014 is Veterans Day and admission is free at all the parks.
For more information or to locate a park near you, visit the Florida State Park website .
*Skyway Fishing Pier State Park does not participate in either of these dates.
If you don’t have a yearly pass to your local U.S. National Park, then mark your calendar for at least one of these fee-free dates. During these times, entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.
January 20, 2014
(Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
February 15-17, 2014
(Presidents Day Weekend)
April 19-20, 2014
(U.S. National Park Week Begins)
August 25, 2014
(National Park Service Birthday)
September 27, 2014
(Public Lands Day)
November 11, 2014
For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
And please don’t forget to support some of your local and non-profit attractions in 2014!
Fort Morgan State Historic Park is just west of Gulf Shores (AL) and overlooks Mobile Bay. The fort was completed in 1834 and was occupied during several wars including the Civil War.
Although most folks might not be familiar with the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864, they have probably heard Admiral Farragut’s famous quote, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” From Battery Thomas (near the fort) you can see where the U.S.S. Techumseh sank after it struck a torpedo (mine). A buoy marks its resting place.
This state park is definitely a must-see for history and military buffs. It offers views of the bay and Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a handful of natural gas rigs and Sand Island Lighthouse.
Admission to the park includes the fort, museum-gift shop, outside structures and beach. Current price is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. There is adequate parking; however to view some of the other structures you need to drive down a gravel road. So it would be better to take your tow vehicle. There is a ferry that can take you from Dauphin Island to/from Fort Morgan; however, weather and tide can effect whether or not they will allow RVs to board.
For directions and visiting hours, visit: http://fortmorgan.org/
1) Do you live in a RV for 12 months out of the year?
If you answered YES, continue below. If you answered NO… you must live in a house, apartment or condo for a portion of the year. Sorry, but you aren’t a Full-Time RVer. You are just a Seasonal RVer. But don’t worry, there is hope for you yet!
2) Do you have a rental storage facility or a place where you keep items too large or numerous to store in your RV?
If you answered NO, continue below. If you answered YES… then you are not yet ready to be a Full-Time RVer. You may think you are a Full-Timer and can tell people you are but deep down, you really aren’t ready to part with the holiday decorations, extra clothes, “cool” 70s furniture or stuff you bought from yard sales the last 30 years…If you sit down and calculate the current resale value of the items you have in storage and your monthly/annual storage bill, you may find yourself making a trip to the local flea market to sell those “costly” treasures. With the storage gone, you’ll have the money to get those wheels moving and be one step closer to being a real Full-Timer.
3) If you made it this far, CONGRATS! You are a Full-Timer! But let’s see how devoted you are to the lifestyle… Do you periodically find yourself wondering which state you are in?
If you answered YES, continue below. If you answered NO, it sounds like you may be a Full-Timer who is stuck in the same area. Don’t forget that RVs come with wheels!
4) Can you remember the last time you visited an airport, bus or train station and/or the last time you slept in a hotel?
If you answered NO, you are a real Full-Time RVer! CONGRATS! If you answered YES… don’t let any other die-hard Full-Timers know or they’ll tease you!
Just a quick reminder to change your smoke detector batteries and test your carbon monoxide detectors in the RV!
And if you are a Full-Time RVer, don’t forgot those yearly check-ups that usually get overlooked like cleaning propane regulators and draining the hot water tank.
Hope 2014 brings you Safe Travels!
Gulf State Park is a series of parks located in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach (AL). If the two miles of snowy white beaches along the Gulf of Mexico isn’t enough water for you, the park area also includes access to a 900 acre lake. From picnic areas to fishing piers and cottages to tennis courts, Gulf State Park is a great place to visit if you find yourself along the coast.
The park is located between Hwy. 180 and Hwy. 182, depending on which entrance/facility you are visiting. Entrances fees also vary per location. The beach access points in Orange Beach are free, yet the ones in Gulf Shores are currently $5 per vehicle.
For more information on Gulf State Park, please visit their website at: http://alapark.com/GulfState/
Trading the bumpy highways for some sun, sand and seafood for a couple months…
I took this photo as we were leaving the RV resort this morning. Hmm… that was a whole state ago! Not sure where we are? I’ll try to keep the TRAVEL section updated in the weeks ahead.
Left the Ozarks… went South for a bit… then West… and Southwest… a little North and then… oh, not there yet! But hey, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
When the temperature got well below 32 degrees (F) we decided to flee! Although never being fair-weather Campers, we decided we were overdue for some warmer weather. We had to chuckle when we saw this ICEE truck on I-30 westbound, since it was only 27 degrees at the campground we just left and there was ice on our slide-outs!
Last of the 2013 fee-free days is quickly approaching. So if you haven’t had a chance to visit your local U.S. National Park, mark your calendar for Veterans Day Weekend. From November 9 -11 entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply.
November 9-11, 2013
(Veterans Day weekend)
For more information, visit the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour this weekend… if you are in an area that observes Daylight Savings Time, that is!