Views Out the Big Back Window

I’m taking a brief break from documenting our West Coast National Parks trip with two or three miscellaneous posts.  Our friend Patty recently commented that I should do a blog post about the myriad of things we’ve seen out our “big back window.”  The...

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The Amazingly Wonderful, Incredibly Exhausting and Exceptionally Memorable Wedding Weekend!

On a warm and sunny summer afternoon over the Fourth of July weekend, our son, Ryan, and his long-time girlfriend, Anya, were married.  The date was exactly one month following the ninth anniversary of their first date.  Anyone who knew these two young people in their early years of dating knew that it wasn’t a matter of if they would get married; it was simply a matter of when.  The when was 4:30 p.m. last Saturday afternoon.  You’re invited to come along and share the joy with us, if you’re so inclined.

It’s way too soon to have any photos back from the official wedding photographer, and I was without my camera until we got to the reception.  So thanks to family members and friends who passed along a number of photos that I’ve shared here in this post.  I couldn't have pulled this off without them.  Note that I didn’t request permission to use these specific photos.  If any of them are replaced in a day or two with pics of flowers or clouds, you’ll know that I should have.

It was a dark and stormy night.  No, really, it was.  Despite a sunny and sweltering day on Friday - the day of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner - it poured almost all night long following a rain-free evening.  On Saturday morning, the weather forecast looked somewhat promising, with the chance of rain diminishing hour by hour as the day went on.  There were many fingers crossed on Saturday prior to the wedding ceremony, which made it awfully difficult to knot the boys’ ties and tie the sashes on the girls’ gowns.  (Yup, it’s definitely boys and girls throughout the post; the words ladies and gentlemen are way too formal for this crowd.)

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Ding! Ding! Customer Service, Please!

I’m not even sure where to begin.  Lately, it seems like life at our house has been one long story after another.  Our kitchen stove that was purchased in February hasn’t worked in a month (long story).  My beloved 2007 Tahoe didn’t pass inspection (long and ongoing story) and the sale of a rental property required the rescheduling of the closing date five times (long wait AND a long story).  Apparently, the sixth time's the charm.  Plus, we’re in the final countdown to our son’s wedding which is adding an additional layer of complexity to our lives right now.  Joyful complexity, but complexity nonetheless.  So, it’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog; I just haven’t been able to scrape together enough minutes to do it.

I’m taking a brief break from the series documenting our 2017 West Coast National Parks trip.  Why?  Because I’ve been spittin’ sparks over a couple of really poor customer service incidents.  I feel the need to vent about those and recognize some wonderful individuals who truly know the meaning of good customer service.  The photos in this post are from a recent two week trip to the coast of South Carolina, central North Carolina and the mountains of Virginia.  I’m hoping a few relaxing nature photographs might calm me down after my exasperating experiences.

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Historic Route 66 – Enjoying its Delights Along the Way (National Parks Trip #3)

This post represents another installment in the series documenting our West Coast National Parks trip in the summer of 2017.  Alan and I, along with our 18 year old daughter, Kyra, logged a total of 8,513 memorable miles of adventure over the course o...

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Strike Two! (National Parks Trip #3)

This post represents another installment in the series documenting our West Coast National Parks trip in the summer of 2017.  Alan and I, along with our 18 year old daughter, Kyra, logged a total of 8,513 memorable miles of adventure over the course o...

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Born Lucky

Wow!  You guys must think that I’ve fallen asleep at my keyboard!  Truth be told, blogging has taken a back seat to a couple of more pressing matters over the past few weeks.  We are up to our ears in planning for our son and future daughter-in-law’s s...

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I Failed Michigan Travel Planning 101

This post is the final installment in the series documenting our trip to the states of Minnesota and Michigan back in the summer of 2015.  Our daughter, Kyra, was 16 and out of school on summer vacation, so she joined us on our two week whirlwind tour...

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My Bucket List is Overflowing

Hey!  Didja miss me?!  I have been in Technology Hell, struggling with internet, modem, cell phone and wireless carrier issues for almost a month.   Each was having an impact on the others making this a frustrating, tail-chasing repair job of the gran...

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The Secret Santa Run

Despite the fact that our travel trailer is safely tucked away for the winter, Alan and I continue to embrace adventures, large and small, whenever we have the opportunity.  We’ve been tackling them together since day one when we set out on a month-lo...

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Introducing Jim – the Best Campground Host Ever!

The photos in this post were taken in and around the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho.  Since it’s an area of such exceptional beauty, don’t be surprised if they turn up again in future posts.

When you camp at privately owned RV parks, there is often an office on the premises that’s staffed by the campground owners, managers or paid staff.  Frequently you’ll find a small store on site and, perhaps, a laundry room and recreation room.  Various staff members are usually available to direct you to your campsite, take charge of campground activities and keep public areas like pools and playgrounds clean.

When you camp in public campgrounds, you don’t usually find a campground with staff or services like that unless you’re camping in a well-funded State Park.  Often all duties fall to a Campground Host, especially in federal facilities like those under the U.S. Forest Service or Army Corps of Engineers umbrellas.  Hosts are typically hired by the public agency that operates the campground or by a concessionaire that's responsible for staffing and maybe operations.  In exchange for a list of chores and a specified number of “on duty” hours, hosts may receive compensation in the form of actual pay, a free campsite for the duration of their tenure or some combination of the two.  As a result of this arrangement, the Campground Host is often the only contact the camping public has with the “owners” of the public campground – meaning the state or federal agency, city, county or region that operates it.  Just as a single server in a restaurant can make or break your dining experience, a Campground Host can positively or negatively impact your camping experience.

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