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Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm Back!

My turn - finally - here’s some more stuff about ME!

By now, you know what I look like - big, golden and very fuzzy. Dana calls me her fuzz-muffin.

Furry is good, kids like it, but I do get hot. Even when everyone else is cool, like when it’s foggy or overcast, I’ll still heat up and start panting. Dana worries my brain might explode - she read that somewhere about dogs’ brains. So, I got a K-9 Kool Coat Ó - made in the USA! The material is a special mesh fabric that blocks UV-rays. If it’s super hot, Mike or Dana can soak it in water before they put it on me. I haven’t had it long, but I did try it a couple of times and it really does seem to help. Another thing, look how slim I look in it!

(Hope you like this pic of Archie in his Kool Coat; it sure was hard work to get it to appear for some reason. - D)

So high temps - not my friend. But then, when it gets too cold or damp, I limp because my front legs hurt. My vet says I have arthritis, which feels like a lot of needles stabbing into my joints. DeramaxÓ to the rescue! It helps a lot - I can walk without limping! It’s kind of expensive so, after experimenting, we found I can usually get by on ½ a tablet daily but every once in awhile, when it’s really wet and damp, we gotta boost it back up to a full one for a few days.

Dana says I’m like those people that are never happy - either too hot or too cold. Until next time - Archie

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Take a Look Around

The problem with RV parks and campgrounds now days - some of them have so many things to do, you might not want to leave and see what else is in the area.

For example, the first time we were in Sedona, we stayed in the campground the first two days. Imagine our surprise when we finally ventured out and saw stunning landscape:

After our daughter’s family got their own rig, they let the kids decide where we would take our first big summer trip - they picked Mt. Rushmore, again. I was a little disappointed because I was anxious to add a new state or two to my USA sticker map. Besides, I thought we’d seen it all the first time around: visited the monument at night where we saw the patriotic lighting ceremony, rode the 1880 train out of Keystone, and visited the Crazy Horse monument. There was no talking them out of it, the kids had their hearts set on returning to the KOA we’d stayed at last time because they’d had so much fun and probably wanted to spend most of their time in the camp. I figured, since we were traveling from home this time, we’d came in from the west, so at least the drive itself would be new.

If we hadn’t gone back, I would have missed the hike around Mt. Rushmore (President’s trail) and getting caught in a rain storm that drove us inside where we got to hear “President Lincoln” give a speech. This time we visited the Rushmore Cave where we heard tales of its history while we walked through designated areas. Then there was the chair lift; a whole new perspective on the monument. We took an ATV ride - got up close and personal with the Black Hills who also got up close with us; we were so dirty. We also visited Bear Country, where we saw more wild life in one drive through that park than all our other trips put together. See, we didn't spend so much time in the camp ground after all.

Another trip that illustrates the hazards of not driving around a little when you get some place, was our first time in Tahoe. We came in from the east and after a beautiful drive along the south-side of the lake to get to the campground, we felt like the direction we came in was the only way to go - that all the action was to the right. My husband decided to hunt for bear, the carved kind. So, every day when we left the camp ground - we turned right. We never found what he was looking for. Then we headed home and had to actually turn left. What did we see? A huge assortment of carved bears. This place was so close, we could have walked from our motor home - if we’d only gone the other direction!

So, when you take a trip, whether you stay in a camp ground, hotel or a relative’s house, make time to see some of the surrounding area. If you don’t, who knows what you’ll have missed!

And if you can - take your dog with you! Archie

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Leave Home Without It

The most used “gadget” on our motor home is the awning. How can anyone go RVing without one? Depending on the direction we’re parked, one side of our rig always stays shady.

Awnings are handy for hanging things, too. People tend to use it to hang ornamental lights, wind chimes and other decorations from it. I used to do that until one night in Mitchell, South Dakota. It was around two a.m., when the sound of the awning bouncing up and down woke me out of a deep sleep. I waited to see if it was a “jump out of bed quick” sound because, after all, Mike had spiked it into the ground. Another hard shudder and I knew it was a husband-waking worthy moment. On our way out, to save the awning, lucky for me, my son-in-law, who was along this trip, woke up and took my place in the awning brigade; I got to stay inside. Since this spot was a one-night stand, I hadn’t put our lights or any other decorations out but it still took them awhile to get it safely secured. After fighting the wind for awhile, they were finally able to roll it up. The guys looked around before they came back in and felt bad for the tent campers who were trying to sleep with their tents flat against their faces. After that night, I don’t hang a lot from our awning.

Another time, as we checked into an RV park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a couple pulled in with their awning hanging down from the side of their trailer. Their story - the winds picked up speed as they drove along the 40 and blew their awning so hard it extended itself out. Before they could get their rig pulled over, it had ripped partly away. I felt bad for them but got to experience it for myself on another trip as we headed up the 5 to visit my folks. My husband suddenly veered to the side of the road. When I asked what was wrong, he told me to look in my side-view mirror - our awning was flapped out, waving at passing traffic. We pulled over, jumped out and tried to get the awning to roll back into its cylinder but the wind kept catching it. Mike jumped back in the motor home while I walked beside it holding on to the awning trying to keep it from getting damaged. Mike pulled up onto the side of the road so he could park it out of the way of traffic but still use it as a wind block - scary. That maneuver enabled us to roll the awning back up and drive to the nearest Camping World, which actually wasn’t too much farther, where we bought an awning lock - don’t leave home without it!

Then there was the time we were parked at a casino RV park. On our walk the evening before, we had noticed a couple of rigs with torn and ripped awnings. We figured the owners had been having too much fun gambling and hadn’t noticed the wind’s increase in velocity. This time, we hadn’t used our awning because of a bad storm but it still got wet. Once the rain passed and the sun came out, we decided to unwind the awning and let it dry out a little. Since we were sitting right there in our chairs, enjoying the sun and weren’t going to leave it out too long, we didn’t bother with the de-flappers or to stake and anchor the awning. We were just watching the clouds go by, when I noticed how fast they were moving and said, “Mike, I think we should put the awning away.” He looked up at the sky and then at me and said, “I think it’ll be all right for a little while longer. The awning really needs to dry out.” At that very moment, it was like two, large invisible hands reached down from heaven, lifted the awning up and pushed the opposite ends up into a V-shape. This emancipated the awning and slammed the now free flying arms into the motor home before the whole thing flew up and landed on the roof! Our jaws dropped and we just stared. It had happened so fast, neither one of us even moved out of the way, so I was glad none of the free-flying aluminum had headed our way. Some of our camping neighbors came over to assist and Mike was able to get all the pieces off the top of the motor home and in a nice pile.

So, an awning is a necessity in my opinion but it can add excitement to your trip!