Travel and Tourism

Maple Syrup Festival

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Enjoyed a busy day at the Maple Syrup Festival in Southern Indiana!  Anyone nearby can still drop by LM Sugarbush next weekend and visit this family run farm to see the syrup making process and an old-fashioned outdoor festival.

Listening to some live music
Listening to some live music

Buddha’s eye view

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Last night the latest wave of storms delivered what looks like a beautiful cover of 5″ of snow, but what is truly 5″ of crusted ice and sleet that I walked out on without even leaving a trace.  Inside and wanting to take photos, I found the view of some friends.

An icy Buddha's eye view
A peaceful Buddha’s eye view

Joe’s eye view of the birds … and the bird’s eye view of Joe!

Atlanta’s World of Coca Cola

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I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but Austin is a Coca Cola fanatic. At just 12-years-old he has the impressive starts of a lifelong memorabilia collection. That said, here are some pictures from our most recent trip to the World of Coca Cola in beautiful downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

Favorite RV Travel Apps 2013

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Traveling fulltime requires a constant stream of preparation.  In the old days that meant pulling out a road atlas, an enormous campground directory and a CB radio.  But these days, apps are a traveler’s best friend. Not only are the databases much larger than the printed directories, but the good ones are updated regularly with comments and more information than one could possibly use.

Two things are most important to me when finding and using any app:

Firstly, I want it to be either free or only have a one-time nominal fee.  I won’t pay high prices or monthly subscriptions.

Secondly, I want the location-based apps to be map based.  This means that when I click on one, the first screen I see is a map with my current location flagged and with flags of whatever I’m searching for surrounding it.  There is nothing worse than having to work your way through lists to only find that there are none of what you’re looking for in the direct area you are searching.

My favorite RV travel apps in 2013
My favorite RV travel apps in 2013

1. WeatherBug: I absolutely love this app.  I have the free version yet it keeps me up to date on multiple locations with active weather alerts and can be enabled to keep a constant watch on “My Location” as one is traveling.  I keep alerts active on my home base, my close family locations, my current location and wherever I happen to be heading to next.

2. We Camp Here: This is the best all-inclusive campground directory I found that is also map based.

3. Scanner Radio: This app allows one to listen in on local emergency radios.  It is more useful in larger metro areas and I liked to use it when in extreme weather.

4. Fandango: Who doesn’t need a good movie break every now and then?  This app works nationwide and I could always find the chains that I prefer.

5. Allstays CRV Military: There are many categories of Allstays apps.  The military app lists campgrounds and areas open to military and DOD civilian personnel.  These locations usually have required identification and specific affiliation for use.

6. Allstays Walmart: Lists all Walmart and Sam’s Club locations and whether or not they have allowed overnight RV and/or semi-truck parking.  There are often notes for individual locations, and app users can add notes about where to park, friendliness of staff, noise, lighting, etc.

7. Allstays RV Dumps: Lists both free and fee-based RV dumps, including campgrounds that allow specific services on a fee basis.

8. Allstays Rest Stops: Lets one know where state rest stops are located and often has notes about allowed length stays and whether overnight parking is allowed.

9. Domino’s: Our favorite pizza chain with all of our favorite pizza and order combinations saved in one place.  Simply enter your current location.  If there is a Domino’s in your area you’ll be able to find out if delivery and/or pick-up services available.

10. History Here: Ever wonder what there is to do or go see where you are?  This app can be set to automatically alert you to nearby sights.  A similar app that many roadschooling families(homeschooling families rv’ing fulltime) use is “Field trip.”  Be careful with these though, if you turn on he automatic alerts you might get more of an earful in notices than what you would prefer.

11. WordPress: My favorite place to write about traveling tUUsome!

12. myPilot: This app lists locations for both Pilot and Flying J travel stations.  Especially great are the Flying J stations with dedicated RV lanes.  These lanes normally provide unleaded gas and diesel, propane, dump stations, air and longer windshield cleaners in easy in-and-out lanes.  With a free myPilot card for rv’ers, one can also get gas and store discounts and half-price dump station use.

So what are your favorite travel apps? 

Share them here or on our Facebook page.  We’d love to try them!

Sharing for survival

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The feeder out the dining window is always our first view each morning.  On this day, the suet feeders were frozen in the subzero temperatures so I put out a tray of wild bird seed.  At first the mighty tried to keep it to themselves, but after several dive bombs for seed, all of the usual fighters gave out to peace-and-love in the face of survival. 

The first brave soul to approach the new tray.
The first brave soul to approach the new tray
Looking for intruders
Looking for intruders
Breakfast at last
Breakfast at last
Not sharing
Not sharing
Not too happy
And, not too happy
Cardinals in a tizzy
Boys in a tizzy
Finally taking turns
Peaceful resolution in a shared space with everyone taking turns!
Peaceful resolution in a shared space with everyone taking turns!

Usually there is one more on board–a particularly grumpy Blue Jay that honors his expected behaviors by hoarding and chasing all others away.  Maybe today the cold kept him home and left the females to reign supreme over those that dared approach!

Ready to rumble!

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Back on the blog and writing again feels so good!  I’ve got a busy schedule ahead, beginning on Monday when (Arctic blast willing!) I begin the Purdue University Master Gardener Training Program.

Washington County, Indiana
Washington County, Indiana

Deer have been passing through the woods behind us every day so in preparation for the weather a salt lick is out, the bird feeders are full, and we’ve got some loose seed ready to put out during the negative temperatures expected this week.

Jeep is ready and packed with emergency supplies for the heavy snow expected tomorrow and I’ve got lots of UUA reading to catch up on.  Putting on a slow cooker with homemade soup and baking some bread.  Hopefully we’ll all make it through warm, cozy and well fed!

To learn about the Purdue University Master Gardener Program, visit:

The Midst of Icepocalypse

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Austin and I find ourselves in the midst of Storm Cleon, or as friends have titled it, “Icepocalypse.”  Following a full inch of sleet and freezing rain throughout the night, we now have about six inches of fresh, wet snow and still more falling.


Noisy neighbors

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A quick pic of my newest (noisy) neighbors! 

Woodpecker and friend

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in a 2’x4′ RV Kitchen

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Cooking a multi-course meal in a tiny kitchen can be a bit daunting, but last year our meal was a success.  With only two of us and a tiny oven, I wanted to make just the right serving sizes to have for our dinner and few leftovers.

My first plan was for the turkey.  I decided on crockpot cooking and a 3# Butterball turkey breast.  The breast comes in a plastic bag with the turkey wrapped in a string net along with a bag of gravy starter.

I started by taking the turkey out of the string net.  There were two large pieces and a few small chunks.  After cleaning the pieces, I set them aside and cut a red onion into 8 chunks and readied two garlic gloves.  I layered the ingredients in the crock pot as such: 1/3 stick butter, 1/2 of the onion chunks, 1 diced garlic clove,  1/2 the turkey, spices, 1/3 stick butter, 1/2 bag baby carrots, the second 1/2 of the onion, second clove of garlic, all topped with the second 1/2 of turkey, skin side up.  At the very top I added the last 1/3 stick butter and spices and 1/2 cup water.

Next I went about making the side dishes.  With only two saucepans, I had to cook, clean, and cook and clean again.  I first made the cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries (the only way to have it!)  Easy to make for two in a small pan with 1/2 bag fresh cranberries and 1 cup sugar boiled with 1/2 cup water until the berries open and the sauce thickens just a bit.  I then put the sauce in a bowl in the refrigerator to cool and thicken, washed the pan and started on the gravy.

At first I tried the gravy that came with the turkey but my son and I both agreed that the gravy just did not meet up to our standards.  I then tasted the au jus and it was perfect as-is so we decided on using it.  The last two dishes to be made were the stuffing and mashed potatoes just before ready to serve.  I always make my mashed potatoes with skins on and a bit too much butter, and I usually make the stuffing homemade but with limited space and time, I opted for the boxed variety cooked with turkey drippings.

And although in an RV, we had a delicious homestyle Thanksgiving dinner made just for two!

This blog updated from last year–just in time for those needing it this year!

If facing a Thanksgiving dinner emergency, you can call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line® at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372) for help.