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Been too busy to participate in National Park week? Don’t worry, there is still plenty going on at your local National Park Service this weekend! In addition to waiving park entrance fees, the park service has some other events going on. Click on the links below to find out more information on how you can participate.
April 22nd Earth Day
April 23rd National Park Instameet
April 24th Park Rx Day
To kick off U.S. National Park week, the National Park Service is waving entrance fees. In addition, some other special offers may apply this free-weekend.
April 18-19, 2015 (opening weekend of National Park Week)
For more information and trip planning links, visit the National Park Service’s website.
If you find yourself near Pensacola (FL) make sure you plan a day for Fort Barrancas. The fort is actually part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, however, it is located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Admission to the fort is free, although citizens need to show proper photo ID at the entrance gate.
Fort Barrancas has a fascinating history. A shot fired by a guard at the fort on January 8, 1861 is sometimes considered the very first shot of the American Civil War! The fort and other structures there were built by different groups over time. There is a great deal of history to step into… or see-through… did I mention the Confederate ghost? 😉
The area also consists of the Spanish Water Battery (Bateria de San Antonio) which has an underground passage from the fort. The tunnel section from the fort to the water battery is very dark and steep, so make sure you are wearing sturdy shoes. The fort itself is very dark in sections and you may want to carry a flashlight with you while exploring. The Spanish Water Battery has several steps going up (although you don’t need to climb them to appreciate the view).
There are also trails and a picnic area near the visitor center. And an additional treat is the view at the Overlook of Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island across Pensacola Bay!
A short distance down the road is the Advanced Redoubt. The Redoubt is unique for the time period because it was designed solely for resisting a land-based assault.
Parking at the fort is limited; however, there is a small area dedicated for RV/bus parking. The fort and visitor center is only open on Saturdays. The Advanced Redoubt has more parking and is open daily. Tours of Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt are scheduled on Saturdays.
We recently enjoyed a lovely day at Eden Gardens State Park. Located between Destin and Panama City Beach, the park is a charming retreat to “real” Florida.
Eden Gardens is an old historic homestead that includes a 1897 mansion, reflection pool, gardens and plenty of moss-draped oaks to transport you back in time.
There are also nature trails (although remember it is Florida and you should wear proper shoes and take some bottled water if you plan to hike) and a great view of Tucker Bayou.
Admission to the park is just $4 per vehicle and for an additional fee you can tour the mansion. If you plan to tour the mansion, check their website for current tour dates and hours.
Find a park near you at: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm
A number of folks think only retirees are Full-Timers and, of course, that’s not the case. There are many who families, younger couples and singles who enjoy the RV lifestyle. So what do we do when we aren’t workamping, volunteering or traveling? Pretty much anything people with stick-houses do!
One of the things we enjoy is hiking and walking. I make a point to take the digital camera along every time – I love to take photos. The photo above was actually taken on my walk along the river earlier today. You never know what you are going to see. The other day I saw my first Coypu, but it went under the water before I could snap a photo.
Of course, when you are staying in an area for a short or limited period of time, you have to make the most of it. I remember getting up one morning to a nippy 32 degrees and hiking through old growth forest to Sol Duc Falls (Olympic National Park). By the time we got back it was snowing and very slippery. We could have postponed the hike for another day, but if we kept doing that, we may not have gotten to see it and experience nature in such an amazing winter setting. So we always make a point to make the most of our time in an area. I have found this creates richer memories.
Bicycling is another popular hobby among RVers. We have folding bikes we purchased from a marine store. They only weigh about 15 pounds each and fold into a travel bag. They are great for around parks and designated bike trails. One place we workamped, I even road my bike to the entrance gate each morning (to unlock it). Although I was startled one morning when two coyote darted in front of me! I hit the brakes and looked up the hill to see them chasing two deer. I would have missed that if I drove the noisy company car down to the gate.
Reading is a big hobby and most campgrounds and RV resorts offer either a lending library or a place to leave books, magazines and directories. A few we have been to even have places to swap jigsaw puzzles, road maps, coupons and catalogs. We have made a lot of new friends just by sitting outside in our lawn chairs. There is just something about reading a book outside that attracts folks!
Larger campgrounds and RV resorts usually have a number of social activities – so there is always plenty of opportunities to make friends “at home”. We have stayed at parks with golf clubs (they had a golf course right there at the park), computer clubs, Red Hat Ladies, monthly or annual potlucks, choral groups, bingo, art and craft clubs, tennis clubs and other activities. One we stayed at had French classes (which I enjoyed) and even karate classes. So it is very easy to socialize – even if you are only staying a few days. I think I know more about Campers I’ve played bingo with than my friends!
Individual hobbies are the same for Full-Timers, except on a smaller scale because of the storage space and transportation issues (nothing too bulky or fragile). Personally, I collect travel-related items: postcards, pressed pennies and quarters (from a machine at an attraction – some folks refer to them as “squashed pennies”, “souvenir pennies” or “oblongateds”), campground maps (not as popular as collecting restaurant menus), souvenir tee shirts and unique travel mementos. In my free time, I enjoy origami, kirigami, making ningyo dolls and Sumi-e painting. These items take up little space and keep me out of trouble. 😉
Many RVers enjoy the internet and email. It not only allows us to stay in touch with friends and family, but interact with other RVers and plan our routes. A number of Full-Timers have blogs, websites and photo galleries to maintain.
There are numerous things to keep us Full-Timers on the move, even when we’re parked!