Ready for 2013 Camping Season

We took a year off and now we’re back! The family was not happy that we did not get out to camp in 2012, but it was necessary for us to focus on other areas. Boy how we missed it!

We have our first trip planned for Memorial Day and I still need to finalize the rest of the summer. The family is EXCITED to get back into the groove of camping!

Our annual (minus 2012) July fourth trip will be in Pittsburgh, PA this year. My best friend since 2nd grade is getting married. And it’s too expensive for a family of six to stay in a hotel for 4 nights and although my sister is in that area, there’s just not enough room.

We plan on hitting up Kennywood on July 4th with the bride and groom! I’ve not been to Kennywood since 1991! 

OK…enough about July (I’m so exited)! I just wanted to share that we are on like Donkey Kong for 2013!

 

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Finding a Home

I was talking to a fellow mommy about my daughter’s upcoming birthday party when the conversation turned to one of my favorite subjects, camping. Fellow-mommy shared they have a seasonal site at a nearby campground. I immediately started my questions. What made you decide to go seasonal? How did you decide on a campground? How often do you drive out to the site?


Fellow-mommy says they had been camping a long time. I think she said nearly 8 years. So here I am in my eleventh year of camping and I have no idea where I would like to be seasonal. I don’t know what it is. I think I may miss out on something. I still like traveling and I want to drive cross-country one day!

While writing this post, Will and I started talking about what would need to happen for us to become seasonal. As in real estate, the first three things you learn about in the business is location, location, location. The question is, does that apply to camping? You can have a great location and bad neighbors. Or you can find great neighbors but it’s a bad location. Right now, I haven’t found a location that feels like home or neighbors that make me forget about the location.

The drive is part of camping.

The price is another factor. With any seasonal location, what do you really get besides the site? Is there amenities exclusive to members? Are there special member-only events? Are day and overnight visitors free? Will the owners get to know me and my family or will I be another expected check in the mail?

Some people decide to become seasonal to avoid packing prep before each trip. I don’t mind the prep work. Our RV has most of it’s own supplies. All that’s left for us to get is sleeping bags for the kids. Yes, we’ve been camping all these years and they do not have sleeping bags. All other necessities are stored in the RV, carpets, cookware, towels, soap, etc.

To ease my perceived frustration around the seasonal versus non-seasonal dilemma, I Googled campgrounds in Western New York and found some places I’ve not looked into. So I have some visiting to do. I guess that means we’re not ready to be seasonal members. What about you?

2010 Memorial Day Weekend

Shawnice Cooling Off in the Master BedroomThe first camping adventure of 2010 was a blast. The weather was a wonderful 84+ degrees each day which allowed the children to swim several times a day. Sun screen was a must-have that weekend.

Frost Ridge, formerly known as Lei-Ti, is in it’s second year of new management. The changes to the campground are noticeable. The bathrooms were remodeled and a laundry facility is being built.

The camp sites were clean, but could have used a little raking after the grass was cut. And, the schedule of activities could have been better. The comfy lounge was great and served as a safe place for teens to hangout during the evenings.

It was fun to see the campground get involved in the wet-n-wild wagon ride on Saturday. Sites where there were no children had spray guns and buckets of water ready and waiting. Imagine, an hour of screaming and yelling. It was great. A rematch was scheduled for Sunday.

As with previous years, the campground was packed and children were everywhere. There were two nights of live music. The live bands played mostly country music. I asked myself several times why the live bands at campgrounds mainly country bands. It’s one thing to be the only black family at a campground, but to have to listen to songs about living in a hick town and being a red-neck is a bit too much for me.

The Morgan TwinsLuckily, the Morgan Twins from the second season of American Idol, honored us with a great rendition of Fallin’ by Alicia Keys.

I was not thrilled the campground was open to the public for the music. There was a lot of drinking, smoking, and partying. That led to the need to keep the kids close by and I started thinking about changing our Memorial Day camping spot. A plus was the campground made sure the partying was done right when the curfew began.

We ended each night around the campfire with s’mores and hot dogs. You can see photos from this trip here.

Overall, I do recommend this campground!

Feel free to share your camping experiences with us! Use the comment section below.

New Toy For The Camping Season Chills Beverages in One Minute

Last July I purchased a wine and beverage chiller for my husband. It can chill cans and bottle in minutes by spinning the beverage in cold water and ice. The chiller continuously sprays cold water on the beverage while it spins. There’s also a setting for extra chilling. A 12 oz soda can will chill to 43 degrees from 77 degrees in about 1 minutes. How cool!

A good insulated cooler will save you some money. I like to have one cooler each for beverages, meats, and food containers that don’t fit in the fridge. You want a cooler that will keep ice for 5 days in temperatures up to 90 degrees. You’ll save money on ice. Ice may be inexpensive in your local grocery store, but ice from the campground general store may cost you double.

When a good insulated cooler keeps your beverages cold, the drinks go faster. Depending on the size of your camping party, you can go through a lot of beverages. Say you’re in the mood for a super-cold Pepsi and the cooler is empty because no one replenished the cans. There’s a case of warm Pepsi on the ground. What do you do? Most likely, you would go to the campground store and buy an over-priced bottle of Pepsi. But if you have a beverage chiller, you place the can in the chiller. One minute later, you have a cold one.

I’ll be using my chiller for soda and bottled water. What would you use yours for?

Camping and Critters

Field Mouse

RV clean? Check. Inventory list made? Check. Reservations made? Check. Critters gone? Check.

We are almost ready for our first camping trip of the season. We pulled the RV out of storage and did a little dusting and wiping. I left a bag of nuts in the camper and guess what? A critter found it and went to town! If you read this and know my kids, please DO NOT mention the critters. They may not want to walk into the camper. My kids are finicky like that.

I have no idea how this little critter got into the camper, but this was our first break-in. I think it was a field mouse. No damage was done to the camper. Only empty peanut shells – everywhere. The positive side of this is that we helped one of God’s creatures eat good for the winter! But I know one thing is for sure; it won’t happen again. I’ve made it my personal battle to scour that RV before it’s put on lock-down this fall.

But having to only to do a little prep work makes camping so much easier. Last year, we purchased items for the RV. We only have to pack the food, clothes, and linens.

Speaking of linens, this year I plan to pick up some towels and sleeping bags specifically for the camper. Then, it’s simply wash what’s dirty and throw it back into the RV. Yes. I love camping and look forward to a great season.

Happy camping!

Joining A Camping Club

The cutest picture.Have you ever made a decision and then you’re itching to get things moving? Well, that’s how I feel about joining the camping club called The National African American RV Association (NAARVA). What does a girl have to do to be down with the club?

Okay. So it’s been only one day and I need to slow my jet. You see…I’m just excited about being able to connect with some cool campers. I don’t know them, but I have a close friend who has hung out with this group. If she says they’re cool, they must be. Right? Yes. And that’s that. So I’m going to relax and be patient.

This camping club, NAARVA, was formed in 1993. Their first outing consisted of 165 RV’s. Can you imagine? The club is nationwide and broken into four regions. Each region has between 5 and 17 chapters.

I really wanted to avoid an official membership club, but this seems to be the way to go for now. No matter how much my friends hear about me and my family camping, it’s still just ‘us’ out there. So I’m thinking joining this group will support our statements that black people do camp.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. In the meantime, feel free to check out NAARVA here.

I can mix camping with Star Trek

Friday is our first day out for the season. But Star Trek comes out on Friday. I’m not big on seeing movies the day they come out – unless it’s Star Trek.

Because it’s Mother’s Day weekend, my wonderful hubby asked me to take the entire day off from work. Why? He’s taking me to see Star Trek while the kids are in school.

What a way to start the camping season!