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Thursday, October 27, 2011

What are you doing with that thing?

Happy Halloween!

Why do you want to a motor home anyway? My people are always getting asked that question - nobody ever asks me. Wonder why?

Well, I’m glad we have one because no matter where we go, we’re always home. In the truck or Scion, I get nervous because I know Mike and Dana will go some place without me and then I’ll be left in a strange place by myself - I don’t like that.

Guess what? Mike doesn’t like to sleep in strange beds. In the motor home, where ever he ends up at night, he always gets to sleep in his own bed.

Sometimes, we can do good deeds in the motor home, like when Dana’s grandma needed to go from one daughter’s house to the other’s. We picked her up and took her, about 350 miles. In the motor home she could lay down and rest whenever she wanted. When it was time to eat, she didn’t even have to get out if she didn’t want to. As for me, I prefer to eat in the motor home because, for some reason, restaurants are not crazy about big dogs.

Once Genie went to a conference and needed someone to babysit her baby girl. We were able to get an RV spot not too far from the conference and Genie could come over whenever she had the chance.

When we visit relatives, we always have our own place to stay - no one has to give up their room when we come to visit.

The best thing about a motor home? It’s easy it is to change the scenery. Need some fresh mountain air? Drive on up. Miss the feel of sea spray from ocean waves? Head on over to the beach. Want to view a desert sunset? Just get there before the sun goes down.

Our favorite thing? Hanging out at a campground or RV park where family and friends can come over and be with us.

See you on the road!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

California RV Show

Last weekend, we went to the 59th Annual California RV Show at the Fairplex in Pomona. It’s fun to check out all the different types of recreational vehicles - the ones you don’t think you’d ever be interested in and those you don’t think you could never afford.

There were trailers - folding camp trailers, travel trailers, toy haulers, and 5th wheels. Found the iconic Airstreams but didn’t see Teardrops or the relatively new R-Pods - we were told regular trailers are now built so light, there’s no need for this smaller category. All the motor homes were there, from Class A to Class C, including the mini-A’s and the converted vans/Class B.

We had a great time but RV shows used to be even more fun because of the other related displays. One year, some of the antique RV’s were on display. That was great fun, looking at what some people had put together out of necessity and the ingenious amenities that had been manufactured in those early models, like wall slides, making you wonder how they’d come up with something like that in the “olden” days. We enjoyed looking at them and imagining how it would feel to camp-out or travel cross-country in those early accommodations. Another year, someone brought in a huge, Class A that could also float and be used as a house boat - too cool!

Today, there are interesting activities going on at the side stages. Seminars included cooking shows, specific dealer demonstrations, RV adventures, RV maintenance and even new ways to find campgrounds. These programs would especially benefit new RV owners - before starting out with their new toy.

Being the gadget junkie that I am, I miss the “cool” vendors - those selling devices an RVer just shouldn’t be without. Used to be, you could walk through the vendor tent/s and see bed sacks, portable campfires, easy to fold/store hammocks and stand-up dryers that did their job leaving a minimum number of wrinkles while heating up the motor-home, a handy benefit if it's cold outside. Camping World used to show up, too, usually with some supplies you knew you better get while you were there. The vendor tent is still pretty full but it’s mostly with mechanical and maintenance products (boring to me), insurance brokers (yawn) and, of course, Good Sam’s Club - a good thing to know about, especially if you are an inexperienced RVer.

Maybe it was just me - we've been wrestling with the cost of RVing in our motor home, can we really afford it? So finances are on my mind. There seemed to be an air of resignation hovering around the exhibitors’ area. When the economy is bad, the RV industry is always hit hard. On the other hand, we don’t usually attend the RV show until near the end instead of when it starts, so that mood could be due to timing. But with gasoline prices sky rocketing, maybe there is just a general feeling of, “How much longer can we hang with it?” from the sellers and the buyers.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Wild Life

Had some technical troubles, so I’m a little late getting this out. Since I’m in a hurry, thought I’d just put out some of the wild life pics from our last trip.

Some of you are going to see just how urban we really are; most of you see more wildlife from your porch than we saw on our trips. Honestly, when we “camp” in the motor home, we like amenities, you know, like hook-ups. We are not “boon dockers” - not that there’s anything wrong with that. But camping the way we do, limits the wildlife interaction so, we get excited about it when we see any.

In Yosemite we saw a raven named Kevin. This guy was so tame and hung around the park tram so much they named him. (If an animal gets named, is it still wild?) We have a lot of crows at our house, but not friendly like Kevin.

While walking in the parking lot, my keen-eyed grandson spotted an injured butterfly, the tip of one wing was missing. Since was on the ground where many people were walking, Garrett put him in a bush. Not sure that was helpful but at least he didn’t get squished.

This was our top encounter. In Yosemite Village, we were sitting on a rock wall outside of one of the stores and this deer just walked right up...

...and started eating a bush.

On to Lake Tahoe and this osprey's pictures tell it's own story.

In Tahoe we took the gondola up to the top where we heard coyotes howling. Rangers told us they had just made a kill. The coyotes blended in so well with the landscape, I had a hard time seeing them. Finally, I spotted one lone fellow:

Well, the rest of the pics aren't downloading so will stop here. Have a wild week!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Archie by Truck

Now everybody knows, I’m a travelin’ dog. Mainly, I roam via motor home - sometimes referred to as the “dog” house. But every once in awhile, we have to take our car or truck, for instance, when we go to the Mitchell family reunions. Luckily for me, they’re held at a pet-friendly hotel.

We used to have another truck, but I didn’t like it. There was a shell covering the truck bed. Mike and Dana thought that would be a good place for me to ride - BY MYSELF! They said, “Oh Archie will love moving around back there. He can have all the windows open and get lots of air.” What?!! Why would I want to be stuck back there by myself, on that hard floor? There was a perfectly good, comfy seat just waiting for some dog hair.

So, one day, while we were driving down the street, I stuck my head through the window of the shell that opened into the back of the truck’s cab. I saw Mike and Dana each had a seat and there was a perfectly good seat I could have all to myself right underneath my head. I decided there must’ve been some mistake. I stuck my head through the opened window just a little farther. No one seemed to notice and that seat looked a lot more comfortable than where I was riding. So, I just raised myself up a little and, bam, went right through. I heard a loud crack and a bunch of crackling, but I was in that seat. There was a lot of crunchy stuff under me - the whole window was in the seat with me, seems my rib cage was wider than the opening. I looked out the window hoping no one would notice but I couldn't help but notice Mike and Dana’s expressions - surprise followed by, well, I’m not sure what those expressions meant.

(Surprise? This is a dog that won’t even use the pet door, which is plenty wide. Archie also refuses to push open a door that is just not quite open wide enough for him to go through without touching his sides. So, his going through a window was totally unexpected. All I can say is, he must’ve really wanted that seat! - D)
After that, we fixed the window and sold that truck. The next one had a bigger back seat and no shell and now, I always ride in the back seat.
So, we drove to the reunion in our truck. The people at this hotel are very nice to me - they always make a fuss when I arrive. Of course, everyone notices me when I make an entrance because I’m very big and very furry and very noticeable.

But when I went into the family meeting room, what did I see - competition! It was a new cousin from Las Vegas and totally opposite of me. I am big; this dog was little, not just smaller than me, I mean, really little. I am a guy; this dog was a girl. I have light-colored fur and a lot of it; hers was mostly dark and not much of it. What do you do with a canine that small anyway?

What's she going to do - sit on my nose?

And you want me to do what with this little dog?

Are you sure that's a dog?

Well, if she's related, she can't be too bad.
In spite of this new dog in attendance, the reunion was fun. I got lots of love pats from everyone around me because, luckily, I am in a dog-friendly family, too!