Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

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Monday, April 24, 2017

A *FREE Vacation

*Free - nothing is free :)
You will need to trade some hours of work for this *Free vacation

What does work-kamping mean to you?

Why do I "work-kamp"? 


This is a breakdown of my Cody, WY/Yellowstone "vacation in 2014"
May 5 to August 5, 2014
I left San Antonio,TX on May 5th and arrived in Cody on May 14th
archived blog posts can be found on the right side of the blog

                                                                            


Total Gross Wages...$3488.00   Travel Expenses*...$1496.00
Net  $1992.00

*Travel expenses are RV fuel and all RV campsite fees from
the time I started out in Texas in May until the time I left Cody in August
this includes the "job site rent" and trips on my days off 


I worked approx. 55 days/11 weeks
An 11 week working "vacation"
Note: this is the lowest paying workamping job I have had
I wanted to visit Yellowstone, so I agreed to it
My job: phone reservations
Bonus: meeting other work-kampers 


Where did I go and what did I see during these three months...

underlined titles will link to my blog posts

A benefit of working in Cody is that most of the attractions were free or discounted

Seasonal employees start with a tour from the Visitor's Center and then receive
 discounts/free passes to the attractions, including river rafting

I enjoyed all of these free attractions:
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Trolley Tour of Cody
Rafting the Shoshone River
Old Trail Town
Heart Mountain Museum
Concerts in the Park
Music Revue


The Rodeo was a $10 annual pass, less than a single day admission


Along the way, or on my days off, I visited these towns and places

Texas
Wyoming
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway
Yellowstone National Park
Casper, Cody, Wapiti, Lovell
Wind River Scenic Byway
Shell Falls in Shell Canyon - Bighorn Mountains

Buffalo Bill Dam
Wapiti Ranger Station
Shoshone National Forest Campgrounds
Pahaska Tepee - Buffalo Bill's Camp
Shoshone River Trail

Montana

Red Lodge, Nye
Beartooth Highway - National Scenic Byway
Devil's Canyon Overlook
 Chief Plenty Coups State Park - National Historic Site
Cooney State Park, MT




As you can see from my list above and from the photos in my blog posts during the summer of 2014, this is a beautiful area of the country to visit. My RV is easy to setup/move and I would usually pack up and go camping on my days off of work.

If you plan to visit this area, you will need a week or more to see everything in Cody, you could easily spend 2 days at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.


Depending on where you stay in or near Yellowstone, you will want at least a week, if not more time, to explore Yellowstone.  The park is huge and it takes a long time to get from section to section. This is one of the reasons that I opted to take a bus tour while in Yellowstone.


It took some time to set up this list, looking back and reading my blog posts from 2014 to make the links.


I miss the big beautiful blue skies and open prairies of Montana. I plan to return to this area.




If you don't need to get paid, and don't mind kicking in $$ for some of the expenses, you can "google" - Volunteer Vacations - and find some great places to visit.







Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Lighthouse Lakes Park - Texas

It's Tax Day!
Just a few more hours of work
and then time to travel
and take a break

Here is a post that never made it
to the blog last year.



April 2016



Wandering around the bay on a day off work. 





Time to get a kayak, it would probably have to be an inflatable because I have no way to carry a kayak with my RV.

There are several places around here that offer kayak tours or that rent kayaks.  I have no way to transport a rental, so a tour is probably the best way to get out on the water.






Kayak Trails
This area is the launching point for kayakers to enter the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trails, which take visitors through the back lakes behind the historic, 1857 Lydia Ann Lighthouse. 

Aransas Pass Light Station

Lydia Ann Lighthouse

The lighthouse was on the other side of the channel and difficult to photograph


The lighthouse from which the trails take their name figured in the Civil War,
 and its original Fresnel lens still lies buried somewhere in the surrounding marsh.




The Lighthouse Lakes Park is ecologically important because of the great diversity of coastal habitats in this geographic area.  

This park is located on Harbor Island which contains one of the densest populations of black mangroves on the Texas Coast.


The park offers kayaking, fishing, birding and nature watching.  Home to the largest kayaking paddle trail in the State of Texas. Established by Texas Parks & Wildlife, it is 6 miles south of Aransas pass along the Aransas Channel on the Redfish Bay Causeway.










Lots of industry near the water, this rig is"parked" near the ferry terminal

"Port Aransas is about to become the home of another offshore production rig, to be put in storage on Harbor Island."
"The massive structure is expected to be towed from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island around July 15, said Burt MoorhouseSouth Texas operations manager with Gulf Copper, the firm that leases the Harbor Island property where the rig will go."


Love to watch the changing light at the end of the day


Part of the reason that I am so far behind with posting to the blog, is a problem with getting pictures from my iPhone to my computer.  My old iPhone stopped working and I purchased a new iPhone in September 2015.  In the past, I would plug the iphone into the laptop and photos would automatically transfer to Picasa.  But with the changes to iPhone and iCloud and Picasa not being supported by Google, I was not willing to struggle with all of this. 

I still do not totally understand all of this and I am not so sure that I want everything to be in the cloud, but then again, I am putting my life out there with this blog.

I do want to record these moments and photos here.  I have printed my 2011 blog posts to a book and plan to print all of the years. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Birthday and Holidays 2016

November and December 2016



My birthday is in November and Sophia loves to help in the kitchen.





Sophia helped to bake a delicious chocolate raspberry cake. We had a tea party to celebrate and eat cake.



She wanted everyone to wear party hats and found some things in her toybox and dress up box to use as hats.




Thanksgiving is all about the food, we didn't have to do a lot of cooking. We went to Colorado Springs to spend time with my son-in-law's family.  We took a few things along, the stuffing from our family recipe and a sweet potato pie.




We had a special visitor on Christmas Eve, my daughters village sends the Fire Dept out with Santa Claus, to surprise the kids. Sophia was excited, baby Grace was not happy.

We were so happy that they did this, with everyone being sick, we never made it out to the mall to see Santa.







Christmas was at home. Everyone seemed to be coming down with some type of virus.
We only made 2 batches of cookies, but that was enough since we were not going anywhere. It was nice to stay home in our jammies and not worry about traveling.







Christmas is all about the kids, Sophia is 3 and loves music - singing, dancing, making up songs.
She received several musical instruments.






Grace is just 7 months old, her 1st Christmas. Lots of learning toys for her.








Monday, March 27, 2017

Links, Updates and Pages

Have you noticed the pages listed under my header picture?


2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
Work Kamping
National Parks
Travel Books
More Books
RV Stuff 



These pages make it easy for you to find information about the places I have visited.

I have updated these pages to add links to websites.


I will try to add links for just about everything that I mention, making it easier for you to get additional information. 

Check back often, as I continue to update these pages.

I also hope that you will check out the Amazon links on my pages. I have become an Amazon Affiliate, hoping to earn a few dollars to offset the cost of internet service while traveling.


There is also an affiliate link, under my header photo, for Drake Tax Preparation (1040.com) this link is for those who want to self-prepare their Income Tax forms. I have used the tax professional's version of this software for many years.

I feel that Drake Tax Software is better than other tax software companies and they are a very professional, reliable company.

If you are looking to hire someone to prepare your tax return, you can contact me at www.tlstaxservice.com or through the email at the top of my blog page.

I must still work while traveling.  I am not old enough to draw on a pension at this time and will probably work for a few more years, and then I will be traveling and volunteering more. 

Alaska is still my ultimate traveling goal................

So many places I have not been to yet - Maine and the North Eastern coast including Canada - then eastern coast of the U.S. - the Pacific Northwest - the desert in the winter, etc.........

I have traveled around the Great Lakes a little, but not in my RV.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wheat Ridge, CO - Clear Creek Trail

October 27 - December 27, 2016


 Nana's home

I stayed at Prospect RV Park in Wheat Ridge, CO for 2 months. The park is adjacent to the Clear Creek Trail and Greenbelt area.


Clear Creek Trail is a concrete path along Clear Creek connecting the City of Golden with the City of Wheat Ridge. There are also several other paths closer to the creek and around the small lakes.

I liked the location of the RV park, the owners and managers are very nice, it is a laid back, quiet park. The drawbacks are that it is a very tightly spaced park, popular with travelers and residents so it is difficult to get a reservation. Many of the sites do not have full hookups, my site had electric and water. They have several private shower rooms and a nice laundry room. Luckily, I spent most of the time at my daughters and only had to move the RV two times to use the dump station.

A city/suburban bus stop is a few steps from the park, the bus will take you downtown, to different areas around Denver and also connects to the light rail system.

All of your usual suburban conveniences are nearby and there is a small produce market across the street. 






I tried to get out for a walk most mornings and afternoons when I was at the RV park.



The first month I was here, we had glorious fall weather. 

After Thanksgiving, the weather turned colder than normal and snowy. I unhooked the water and eventually ending up winterizing the RV.




I stayed overnight at my daughter's house for most of the month of December, only returning to the RV on the warmest days.

The sun, at this elevation, can make the days feel warmer than the number on the thermometer. The sunshine helps with the decision to get out and walk, even on a cold day.




An area near the trail, under the highway on the west side of I-70, you are allowed to "pan for gold". Curious, I headed that way one afternoon and there were at least a dozen people in the creek, they had carts full of equipment, shovels, buckets, screens, pans, etc. Wonder if they had any luck?





 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Digital Clutter

S.O.S.

I'm drowning in digital clutter!



All this week, I have been sorting and categorizing photos on my computer. This all came about after moving the photos from my phone to my computer.

I found that most of the photos are grouped by date, some just have a file name created by the phone app.

I tend to stay in one place for several months at a time, so I have been creating folders with names/locations and moving the photos into these folders.









This is not fun, but necessary, especially if I am going to continue to update my blog. I've had this computer since October 2011 - so that is a lot of photos. 

After creating the named folders and reducing the number of folders, it will be time to go through and discard duplicate photos and the photos that are "not so good". 






Why did I wait so long to do this?  When the photos were stored by date and I was posting to the blog on a regular basis, it was easy to find the photos - but now, after 6 years, it's a mess and needs to be better organized.

The other clutter is email.  For some reason, I was not deleting emails on a daily basis.  I think it was because I was using my phone, so did not "see" how many emails were piling up. I am going through and marking a lot as spam and also deleting several thousand emails.  Such a waste of time.  






I've also deleted some apps from my phone - Facebook, Feedly and Amazon plus a few others.  I've kept RV related apps for now - for navigating, for finding RV spots and fuel, etc.


All of today's photos are from my 1st winter along the coast of Texas, 2011-2012

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Prairie Museum - Cooper Barn

October 26, 2016
Colby, Kansas


After leaving Cedar Bluff State Park, it was time get on I-70 and make my way to Denver.

Since I would be driving west on I-70 most of the way, I needed to find rest stops and diversions from interstate driving.

I decided to stop in Colby, KS "The Oasis on the Prairie" and visit the Prairie Museum and the Cooper Barn.

In addition to the museum building with several galleries, you can walk around outside to see the Cooper Barn and other buildings that have been moved to the site. Historical houses, a schoolhouse, a church and a smaller barn.


48 feet tall, 66 feet wide and 114 feet long
What makes the Cooper Barn, said to be the largest barn in Kansas, even more fascinating
 is the fact that it was moved in one piece to the Prairie Museum complex in 1992.

The massive building was built in 1936 and was once part of the Foster Farms operation, headquartered 16 miles northeast of Colby in Thomas County, Kansas. The structure was built by men in the area using lumber from the Foster Lumber Company. Diagonal undersheeting was used for increased support and insulation. House siding was used on the outside rather than regular barn siding because it was more attractive and served as good advertising for Foster Lumber Company.



Benjamin Butler Foster, owner of the vast lumber yard empire based in Kansas City, Mo., had begun buying land in western Kansas and eastern Colorado between 1908 and 1938 during the Dust Bowl period. But Ben Foster was a man of vision and faith and after buying up these large tracts of land, he introduced improved farming methods seeking to hold the soil in place.

a beautiful fall day in Kansas


High & Dry: Agriculture on the High Plains: Focusing on the rich agricultural history of northwest Kansas, the new exhibit is on display in the Prairie Museum's Cooper barn.





I tool photos of several paintings, by Jennifer O'Meara











I stopped for the night at the Goodland KOA. I arrived early enough to walk around town a little.  The Van Gogh Sunflower is a short walk from the campground.

One of the world’s largest Van Gogh Sunflowers paintings is in Goodland. The reproduction of Van Gogh’s classic stands on an 80-foot tall easel. Canadian artist Cameron Cross chose Goodland for his “Big Easel Project" The artist spent six weeks in Goodland, painting the huge fiberglass "canvas," with the help of some Goodland elementary students.



Next up: visiting with family in Denver for 2 months
              and getting my steps in along Clear Creek







Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kansas State Parks - Cedar Bluffs

October 25, 2016   Salina, KS to Ellis, KS







Cedar Bluffs State Park is on the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. The state park looked like a good stopping point for the night.


I approached the park from the south, I had read that the southern area of the park was more scenic.  I turned off the highway onto a washboard, gravel road. It was a 5 mile drive to the entrance of the park. With plans to stay for one night, I quickly decided that I did not want to drive on this rough road for 5 miles today and again in the morning.

I turned around and headed for the north entrance of the park. When checking in, I was told to park in any spot I wanted, even a premium site.

There are several camping loops, I drove all through the park and decided on a nice long concrete site, in a new section of the campground, facing the reservoir.


There were only a few RV's in the entire park, everyone was settled into their own loop.



Fall colors in the Midwest





I did a lot of walking at this park, around the reservoir and to an overlook,
 but I don't seem to have many pictures.




Next Stop: Colby, KS
then Denver




Note: It appears that the exclamation points on my photos, is iPhone's way of marking a photo that is saved in a way to save storage space on my phone. From what I have read, the photos are to be saved in the cloud in high resolution, but remain on my phone in a lower resolution.  Whenever I transfer photos, I always check the box to remove them from my phone, so I will have to play around with the settings and see what I come up with. It appears that I am posting low-quality photos, I may have to replace the photos in the blog posts that I have been publishing. I have to figure out how to access the photos while working on the blog.




Sunday, March 5, 2017

Seminars and Notes - Mother Earth News Fair

October 22-23, 2016                   Topeka, Kansas
Mother Earth News Fair

These are the notes, scribbled on the back of the fair schedule, from the seminars that I attended.

These notes may not interest you or make sense, but I want to keep them for reference.

I have included links to websites and Amazon  links for the books.



Wildlife Friendly Gardening
Tammi Hartung, author
I have been following her blog, she lives/farms on 5 acres in Canon City, CO
newest book: Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine
Bats - night pollinators, Passion Flower
Deers eat bindweed
"OMRI" products - organic for pest control


A Tiny Home to call your Own: Living well in just-right houses
Patricia Foreman
She has built tiny houses and she talked about her business and about how to get your tiny house built where you want.


How to Produce Half Your Food in Less Than an Hour a Day in a Backyard
Marjory Wildcraft
Listened in a little after the tiny home seminar, but she talked about raising rabbits, chickens, etc and I will not be doing that. I plan on growing plants - fruits, veggies, flowers.


Grow, Create & Inspire
Crystal Stevens
CSA Farmer (7 acres) and herbalist
A great seminar, by a young mom, hoping to make a difference
* Refuse-Reuse-Reduce-Recycle
* Share with others
* Reach out to kids
* Basis in volunteering
* "Slow Food Chapter"
* author Grow Create Inspire



The Road to Health is Through Your Stomach
Dawn Combs, M.A. - Ethnobotanist & Author mockingbirdmeadows.com
author of Heal Local
author of Conceiving Healthy Babies
nervines and bitters for digestion
nervines are hops, chamomile, lavender, oat tops
headache relief tincture
sage, gingko for memory loss
mugwort is a moth repellant

"Our Heal Local Mentorship is a year-long program that involves two week-long stays at the farm along with homework oversight and hands-on volunteer opportunities during the months in between. The design is intended to provide an immersive study experience while being practical for those who will need to travel to the farm."          2017-2018 SESSION DATES  July 17, 2017 – July 22, 2017 and  June 18, 2018 – June 23, 2018
"The curriculum covers the foundations of herbalism, wild plant identification, physiology and pathophysiology of the human body, medicinal herbology, herb gardening, herbal preparation, natural cosmetics, medicinal formulation, native connection to the land, traditional foods preparation, the techniques of harvesting, drying and storing plants and much, much more."



Making a Living on 1.5 Acres
Jean-Martin Fortier
Grow Better - Not Bigger
author of The Market Gardener
"Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized micro-farm known for its high productivity and profitability using low-tech, high-yield methods of production."
Located in Quebec, an area that my maternal grandfather's family has farmed.





Saving Resources and Money by Intentional Living
Aaron Murphy and Dan Durica
Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage
interesting concept to living with shared facilities, everyone has their own little, solar powered house, but they share - cars, kitchens, tools, etc.


Extending the Season at Both Ends
Eliot Coleman, author - Maine
Four Season Harvest
The Winter Harvest Handbook
The New Organic Grower



The 7 Hour Business to Fund Your Family Farm
Red Rock, TX - Marjory Wildcraft, author - Grow Your Own Groceries
THE GROW NETWORK


Benchmarks of Truth
Joel Salatin, author - I listened to the audio online during my lunch break
 Permaculture - Amassing Natural Wealth
1. model scale resistant / up or down
2. appropriate in developed and undeveloped countries
3. principle consistent: spiritually, ecologically & economical
4. easy to enter, easy to exit, lower capital, portable
5. everyone can do it ie:permaculture, pond building, irrigation
6. "Innovations" should be easier, rather than harder (no franchises) (don't be a Tyson chicken farmer)
7. Equity is in management, information & service, not infrastructure
8. Builds "self'-reliance" instead of Dependence
9. Child Friendly - transparency, open source, charitable
10. Building carbon onsite and not depleting carbon in the soil



Creating Healthy Soil for Healthy Food and People
Dale Stricker is an agronomist for Green Cover Seed
No-till Farmer - avoid the problems of the "Dust Bowl"
follow the "pattern of the Prairie"
plant cover crops
Barley, Crimson Clover, Buckwheat - attract pollinators
Mycorrhizal Fungi inoculated in plants increases minerals in the soil
excellent information, the last seminar of the event, a great end to the weekend



Posting this information here, helps to keep my RV clutter free, now I can recycle my notes and the brochures and business cards that I collected at this event.















Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb