An excerpt from Our Travels

… I had not read any of the “Twilight Saga” while we were in Washington, so I had no idea that when we visited the town of Forks that we should be looking for vampires and werewolves instead of Bigfoot. Although, looking back at my photos of the Forks Timber Museum, it is possible I saw a werewolf. Or could it have been a hairy lumberjack?

The Hoh Rainforest is one of my favorite parks. The area receives over one hundred inches of rainfall each year. An interesting thing about this region is the Bigfoot sightings. We joked about stepping in Bigfoot poo along the trail (although it was more likely from some elk we spotted) and I purchased some Bigfoot souvenirs from a shop located just outside the park.

Our next adventure took us to Cape Flattery in the northwestern most point of the Continental U.S. – located on the edge of Neah Bay. It is a beautiful day-trip through the Makah Indian Reservation. The hike along the Cape Flattery Trail can be slippery if it is raining, but well worth the effort. Tatoosh Island Lighthouse is three miles from shore and can be seen quite clearly from the end of the trail. The hardest thing is taking photos from the observation platform at the Cape. There are sea tunnels eroding away underneath you and giant waves shake the tunnels and, of course, you! An informational sign read that the area you are standing will be gone in 100 years from the constant erosion. Definitely one of the most memorable stops we had in Washington…

It was a lovely day to get in the Chevy and find some new roads…

Excuse me, Mother Nature but this is supposed to be the Sunshine State! 

A foggy Friday morning commute on the highway.

A New Year reminder to change your smoke detector batteries and test your carbon monoxide detectors in the RV! And if you are a Full-Timer, don’t forgot to schedule those yearly rig check-ups that usually get overlooked while you are on-the-road.

 Hope 2016 brings you safe travels! :)

During the summer we were visited by the Grinch, not once, but twice. This Grinch had attempted to take items we had stored under our rear slide. Fortunately each attempt resulted in us waking from the clatter of the cable-lock being pulled. The Grinch didn’t realize our stuff was securely locked to the underside of the fifth-wheel. And it wasn’t just us; other Campers had a late-night visit from the Grinch. Lucky for the Grinch other Campers were more trusting and woke to find their Yeti coolers and other items missing.

Imagine our surprise when the other night we had yet another visit from the Grinch! Thankfully our items were secure and the Grinch ran off when the scare lights were turned on.

What can you do to deter the Grinch? First of all, lock all your outside compartments when you leave your site or go inside for the night. And if you aren’t near your RV, don’t leave your compartments wide-open. Don’t consider it a hassle to lock everything; consider it assurance that your stay won’t be ruined by a Grinch!

Another thing to do is secure your items when you go away for the day or plan to be gone longer. If you have bicycles, lawn chairs and other items scattered all over your site, who is going to notice if one just disappears? Take time to gather your items and put them in a secure spot – such as under your fifth-wheel hitch or by a picnic table. If you have bicycles, coolers or other loose items, consider locking them to your RV hitch, bumper or a picnic table. And if you know you are going to be gone a while, ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your site.

With camping toys being so expensive these days, don’t reward the Grinch! Take a few minutes to secure your stuff.

Not in the holiday spirit yet? It’s not too late to visit your local museum or historic site. Many locations decorate for Christmas and some even host special holiday tours. When we are in Florida, we love to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation during the holidays. They have an area called Homefront, USA (it depicts a hometown during WWII) which they decorate for Christmas. So if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed this holiday season load your kin into the old Family Truckster and plan on visiting a local museum. It’s what Clark would do. ;)

If you have been putting off a trip to your local U.S. National Park, mark your calendar for with the 2016 fee-free days. On these dates, entrance fees to the parks will be waived. In addition, some other special offers may apply. So what are you waiting for? Unwrap that new 2016 calendar and start planning!

January 18, 2016
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

April 16-24, 2016
National Park Week

August 25-28 2016
National Park Service Birthday

September 24, 2016
National Public Lands Day

November 11, 2016
Veterans Day

For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website.

Looks like Santa will be saving on fuel this Christmas! ;)

Once again we put up two trees in our fifth-wheel. I blame it on all the souvenir ornaments we buy. Well, that’s my excuse anyway! ;)

Although it was cloudy today, we were happy to see the Blue Angels put on a show!

We had a chance to see the El Galeón today. The ship is an authentic replica of a 16th century galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. At 170-foot and 495 ton – it is pretty impressive!

The first of several fee-free days scheduled for 2016 is just around the corner. So consider visiting your local U.S. National Park on Monday, January 18th. Entrance fees to the parks will be waived that day. In addition, some other special offers may apply.

For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Three Modern Nomads!

In honor of Veterans Day the entrance fees to Florida State Parks (except the Skyway Fishing Pier SP) will be free on November 11, 2015.

The last of the U.S. National Park’s fee-free dates for 2015 is almost here! On November 11, 2015 entrance fees to the parks will be waived. So grab a picnic basket, field guide, some hiking poles and head to your nearest national park this Veterans Day.

This campground seems to be operating with a skeleton-crew…

If you are in an area that observes Daylight Savings Time, don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour Sunday, November 1st!

After a harrowing trip across country, we finally arrived back in sunny Florida. Only our first trip to the beach was a bit of a surprise. Where are all the snowbirds? Not that I’m complaining! ;)

On this date seven years ago…

We were exploring scenic Highway 391 in the Eastern Sierras (California). Our first stop had us camping just outside Bridgeport, where we were fortunate to visit Bodie State Historical Park.  That morning we woke up to a rather chilly 19 degrees. In fact, in all our travels it was the first time our water hose had ever frozen!

Later that day we were on the road again, traveling from the chilly ghost town to the hellish landscape of Death Valley National Park, where the temperature was near 100 degrees. It was certainly one of the most memorable trips we have had to date.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Warning in LA

A few days ago, while driving along the back-roads of Louisiana we came across several of these “Warning: Speed Trap Area” signs. Not sure if someone just wanted to slow down traffic for a few miles or if they were warning drivers of a potential speed trap. Whatever the case, it certainly kept traffic under the speed limit!

It also reminded us of the signs we saw while traveling through Pennsylvania a few years ago. They warned that you were traveling through an “Aggressive Driver High Crash Area”. In addition to the warning signs, some areas had dots painted on the road so that drivers would stay the proper distance from other vehicles.

Regardless of where you’re traveling, remember to slow down – you never know what you’re going to miss driving in the fast lane!

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Aggressive Driver signs in PA

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Chevy and USS ORLECK (LA)

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Chevy and USS ORLECK (LA)

We had an interesting “visit” to the USS Orleck in Lake Charles (LA). You can read more about it in the Our Travels section.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © The Silverado following the Silverback

Took some time out to visit the big beaver in the sky… For those not familiar with the toothy critter, Bucee’s is a travel center with locations throughout Texas.

We left Padre Island (Texas) today and are starting another leg of the “big” journey. Although I think someone better clean those bugs off the windshield at the next stop! ;)

Sunday morning we were surprised to see three waterspouts forming in the Gulf of Mexico (Texas). By the time I went back to the RV to get my camera two of them had dissipated.

 Took a break to enjoy the amazing view as the sun rises over the Gulf of Mexico ~ Mustang Island (TX).

Photo taken by H.S. Cooper ©Gulf Islands National Seashore - Fort Pickens (FL)

Photo taken by H.S. Cooper ©Gulf Islands National Seashore – Fort Pickens (FL)

If you haven’t visited your local U.S. National Park recently, don’t forget that September 26, 2015 is a fee-free day! In celebration of National Public Lands Day, most parks will be free. To find a park near you, visit NPS’s website and click on “Find a Park” in the top left corner.

National Public Lands Day is the largest volunteer event to help clean up public lands. Want to lend a hand on that day and earn another free day (coupon)? More information about NPLD can be found at the Public Lands Day website.

The last of the summer holiday weekends is just a few weeks away. For most folks, this is the last time they will head to that favorite camping spot until next summer. Except us Full-Timers – everyday is a camping holiday! :)

Eagerly awaiting IN MY SITES: Campground Mystery #4? It won’t be long now! Meanwhile, the first three books in my Campground Mystery series, A ‘CLASS A’ STASH, THE PROPANE GAME and DYING TO WORK CAMP are available in softcover, hardcover and PDF format. And don’t forget my book A THOUSAND WORDS: Photos from life on-the-road is available in softcover from Amazon.com!

Don’t forget to visit your local U.S. National Park on August 25th in honor of Founders’ Day (the National Park Service Birthday). To celebrate entrance fees to all the parks will be waived. Already have plans? Well, stop by the National Park Foundation’s website and sign the birthday card.

August 25, 2015
National Park Service Birthday

Fulton Mansion State Historical Site is located in Rockport (Texas). At the time of our visit the mansion was closed for renovation, but we enjoyed a walk through the gardens and around the grounds. The visitor center located behind the mansion consists of a small museum, gift shop and film area regarding the history of the mansion. During the renovation, admission to the site is free. Parking is limited so only take a tow vehicle.

If you find yourself in Corpus Christi (TX) and have already toured the USS Lexington, make sure to plan a trip to the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. The museum is situated on the scenic waterfront and offers visitors a glimpse of everything from dinosaurs to coastal ecology.

The museum has several great exhibits. One worth noting is the mudéjar-style dome ceiling in the Cultural Encounters exhibit. It was originally in a building in Spain – around 1535. So don’t forget to look up! ;)

Parking in front of the museum is limited as well as the parking area across the street. So make sure you leave the rig parked in a local campground and just take the tow vehicle. Current admission is $9 for adults and $7 for seniors/children.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

If you are camping this holiday, please be mindful of the campground rules. Many campgrounds have zero tolerance regarding fireworks on their property. And with dry conditions in many parts of the country right now, there is a high fire risk. Consider visiting the local community fireworks show(s) and have a “fire-free” Fourth with your family.

Looking back…

In the summer of 2013 we planned a day-trip to Mansfield (MO) in search of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homestead.  The drive itself was rather memorable as we found ourselves alongside Amish buggies.

The farmhouse that Laura and Almanzo built still stands – frozen in time. A calendar on the wall from the 1950s is a reminder that although times have changed, somethings should remain the same for posterity. Learning about their life and struggles makes you appreciate American willpower. They crossed the country in a wagon with a hundred dollars stashed in a box and made a new life for themselves in Missouri. That very box can be viewed at the museum located on the property.

Most people have heard of the “Little House” series, either through the books and later TV show. Yet most do not realize that Laura Ingalls Wilder did not begin writing down her stories until her daughter Rose encouraged her to. A little corner nook by their bedroom contains a small writing desk where she wrote her stories on paper tablets.

Now, a few generations later, we are reading her stories on electronic tablets. :)

If you find yourself in Rockport (TX) make time to visit the Texas Maritime Museum. The museum’s permanent exhibits focus on maritime history, boat and ship building, commercial and sports fishing, as well as modern-day oil and gas exploration. The second floor also has an incredible display of artwork devoted to Texas lighthouses. And the third floor is actually an observation tower with a great view of historic Rockport and Rockport Beach. There are a few larger exhibits outside. The museum also has a small library and gift shop.

Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors. Parking is limited, so take your tow vehicle. And while you are there, don’t forget to visit the Rockport Aquarium (free) and Bay Education Center (free) – all within walking distance.

We ran out of road so the Chevy Silverado took to the High Seas! ARRR!

Memorial Day Weekend is… HERE! That means it is officially camping season. So if you haven’t already dusted off the camping gear, packed the RV or made cabin reservations at your favorite park… you are a little late.

But don’t fret! Some parks still have openings for the holiday – just call ahead and check on their availability. And don’t forget to take along and proudly display The Flag!

No matter where you are spending this holiday, please have a safe one and remember those who have fought (and still are!) for our freedom.

The Chevy Silverado on our recent visit to King Ranch.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © The USS LEXINGTON

If you are in Corpus Christi (Texas), plan on visiting the USS Lexington. The Lexington, an Essex Class aircraft carrier, was commissioned in 1943. She was nicknamed the “Blue Ghost” by Tokyo Rose because of several reports of being sunk. At the time of her decommission in 1991, she was the oldest working carrier in the U.S. Navy.

There are five self-guided tours, each beginning and ending on the hangar deck. From aircraft, exhibits, movie theater, cafe and gift shop, be prepared to spend a day on board. One of the hidden gems we found was a ball cap (of the Lexington) worn by Commander Jerry Linenger on board the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994.

Admission is $14 for adults and $12 for seniors. Gated parking across the street is $3.50 and requires a token at exit (which you pay for at Admissions). There is no RV parking, so only take your tow vehicle. There is free shuttle service from the pier to the hangar deck.   The tour consists of a great deal of walking and climbing – sturdy shoes are recommended. And don’t forget your camera!

 

Who knew shopping for souvenirs could be so dangerous? ;)

If you find yourself near Corpus Christi (TX), plan to visit Padre Island National Seashore. The park consists of 70 miles of coastline, sand dunes and tidal flats. In addition to being the nesting grounds for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the park also boasts over 300 species of birds.

At the park you’ll find the Malaquite Visitor Center (consisting of small museum, gift shop, camp store, restrooms and pavilion), campgrounds, boat ramp, picnic shelters, nature trails and windsurfing/kayaking rentals. There is plenty to do – from beach-combing and birdwatching to bicycling and fishing.

It can be windy along the beach and can be buggy at times near the marshes. And don’t forget to watch out for Portuguese Man-O-War and jellyfish!

Admission to the park is $10 per vehicle (7 day pass) and an additional $5 if you want to use the Bird Island Basin area. Be forewarned, the park is not all paved. A short drive after the visitor center you will find yourself driving on the beach! And four-wheel drive is recommended for travel beyond the first couple of miles. However, we did see a handful of folks with their RVs along the first section. You might ask at the entrance gate about current road conditions before taking your own Big Rig beach driving though!

Finding new roads in Texas… although this one leads straight into the Gulf of Mexico!

DYING TO WORK CAMP: A Campground Mystery (Book #3)

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HS Cooper

HS Cooper

Full-Time RVer - Writer - Blogger

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