February 01, 2006

Eleanor's view on "full hookup camping"

I have to tell you, I absolutely LOVE having a full hookup camp site. It means I don't have to worry about things like taking a shower and washing the dinner dishes in the same evening because of the grey tank capacity. With water & electric only sites, we will use the showers at the park - if provided. I also tend to prepare "one pot" meals and use paper plates & bowls to minimize the dirty dish load. But with W/E/S I can let my culinary skills loose. Not just because I don't need to be concerned about the number of dirty pots, pans, & dishes, but because campgrounds that offer W/E/S are usually within or just on the outskirts of a major city. That means I can purchase local specialty foods and have a grand time cooking in the kitchen. With full hookup the Airstream truly is a house. (It's always a home.)

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"Campsites" at Bolsa Chica State Beach, near Los Angeles

What I don't like are those "RV Resorts" (and I use this term as loosely as the proprietors of said places) that offer the amenities of full hookup at the expense of nature. There isn't a tree or shrub to be found and the closest thing to wildlife is the dog in the Class A 10 feet to the right. The goal of these "parks" is to cram as many RV's as possible onto an expanse of asphalt next to a major highway near a major city and then throw in a laundry and club house so it can be called a resort.

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Is this a camping experience, or a resort? Neither.

Don't take what you just read in the wrong way. Some - albeit, too few - RV Resorts are what they claim to be - resorts. They offer restaurants, heated pools and spas, play areas for the children, some natural shade (though manicured and manipulated), a guest laundry, fitness center, gift shop and general store. They are basically a high end hotel where you provide your own "guest room".

The one we are at in Tucson offers all of the above plus patio furniture and a fruit bearing citrus tree at each of its 384 sites. Also a library, public restrooms & showers, propane grills, meeting rooms and a convention hall. The RV Resort we stayed at in Benbow, CA for Thanksgiving offered free WiFi, and its own 18 hole golf course. These are but two great places to stay with your Airstream if you desire what I call "the Ritz experience". It's obvious that for a lot of folks, this is exactly what they are looking for. But I don't need or want all that these real resorts have to offer.

What I desire is the convenience of W/E/S with the advantages of being in a natural setting. We have been to such places! There are some very lovely camping spots that offer full hookups and not at the expense of the trees. (not to sound like the Lorax) :-)

Cherry Creek SP, CO offers full hookup and maintains an air of dignity. It is a great place to camp, with a huge playground, and a reservoir that allows swimming and boating. It has miles of walking and biking trails. Wildlife is abundant - we saw great horned owls, jack rabbits, mule deer, coyote, and magpie. All this in Denver!

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Full hookups at Cherry Creek State Park, Aurora CO

When we camped near Santa Barbara, CA at Carpinteria State Beach, our full hookup site was less than 50 feet from the ocean and even though we were parked on asphalt, we were also parked under trees. We had shade, the sound of the waves and a view of the water.

In Anza-Borrego Desert SP, CA the Palm Canyon campground is in the desert. There we had the benefit of evening Ranger talks, fabulous hiking, tons of wildlife including Big Horn Sheep and hummingbirds, and our full hookup site had palm trees, desert flowers, cactus and an incredible 360 degree view.

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Full hookups at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Unfortunately, these fabulous campgrounds are few and far between. It is painful to acknowledge that more than not, the only full hookup campgrounds available are no more than a barren stretch of land with W/E/S. We have found ourselves in one or two of these places also, and having experienced both is why I think I abhor the latter so.

You see, I know we don't always have to give up the wonders that nature has to offer to be able to get the benefits that man can supply.

December 28, 2005

Pay No Attention

Pay no attention to "the man behind the curtain" or in this case the man under the quilt. I think Rich has taken too much cold medicine and he needs a nap. We are still going to Borrego Springs, not Hollywood, on Friday.

November 07, 2005

"Don't you miss it?"

Inevitably, I get the question… “Don’t you miss your house”? …
Invariably, the answer to the question has always been no. …
At least it was until this past Saturday morning. …

This blog has been posted in its entirety on Gather. You can read it there if you like. Click the link for "Gather" or visit

October 28, 2005

The best laid plans

The best laid plans… We have been trying to go to the Denver Zoo for a week and it looks like we just won’t make it. The first time I intended to take Emma to the zoo, traffic was so awful, we would not have been able to arrive at the zoo with enough time to see much of anything. I bagged the idea of going to the zoo and opted for Hammond’s Candies factory tour instead. That was a mistake too. It took us 70 minutes to travel less than 15 miles. We missed the last tour by 10 minutes. However, we managed to spend an hour in the candy shop. ;-)
Tuesday was slotted for the aquarium. We went and had a great time. We got to pet Sting Rays!! I’ll ask Emma to blog that one.
Wednesday seemed like a good day for the zoo, but we had car conflicts. Rich needed to use the car. We all went out with Rich. (Thursday had better weather in the forecast and I needed to catch up on things anyway.)
Thursday, Emma slept until 11AM – when I finally woke her up. She has been battling a bit of a cold and the sleep was well needed. However, the zoo closes at 4PM. Taking the time we need to get out the door and traffic conditions into consideration, once again, we wouldn’t have had much time to spend at the zoo.
Today, I promised to take her to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for the Grossology exhibit, and our weekend is already booked.
“que sera, sesa”

October 26, 2005

Strike when your kid is hot (to learn)

Home schooling doesn’t only happen on a schedule. It’s whenever you and your child are tuned in to each other and your surroundings. This morning Emma and I were sitting on her bed, playing tic-tac-toe on her white board. The markers were drying out and I suggested we make a list of the colors we needed to replace. I wrote the colors on the board and then asked Emma to sound out the letters to figure out the names of the colors: bl + ack, gr + een, br + ow + n, etc. (You get the idea.)

It’s been like this all along. Yesterday, I pointed out to Emma that being able to do the connect the dots in her coloring book meant that she was able to count consecutively up to 64 (the number of dots in that picture) and she was able to recognize the numbers when she saw them. (Now she doesn’t want to do the connect the dots anymore. Oh well.)

October 25, 2005

Living & Learning

Home-schooling while on the road gives a whole new meaning to the term live and learn.

Wherever we are, Rich and I try to make it a learning experience for Emma and ourselves. We visit local attractions and learn about local customs and people. We go to museums and parks, attend fairs and flea markets, visit the local library for different books, a story hour, and great people interaction. We always search out farmers markets and the local eateries – not the chains – to get the best of the local flavors.

Sunday, for lunch, we went to a Mexican restaurant and had a wonderful meal. We were very obviously the tourists in this eatery. It was packed with locals, the children of the owners and staff were there, playing among the tables. Not a word of English was heard except from our table. It was great.

After lunch, we went to the Children’s Museum of Denver. It’s completely hands on. Emma got to be a fireman and learn about fire safety, she and Rich were carpenters and learned something new about recycling in the process. There was a stage area where Emma dressed up, did a dance and played a toy drum.

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The nature area was set up in a way to discover different animal habitats. She also got to play basketball and be a line cook. I posted a bunch of photos from the museum in the photo album. (You can take a look.)

After the museum, we played outside at the playground and Emma made a new friend for an hour. Then it was off to a friend’s house for a homemade lasagna dinner and some great company.