First Time Having Parents at the Campsite

This weekend was a fun four-day weekend because my youngest daughter graduated from high school.  Huge plus of a seasonal site is we had somewhere to take my Dad and Step mom during down times to just hang out and the lake was great for the teenagers to lay out and have some fun with the boat.  Thursday night when my dad came in we all hung around the campfire and Lee and I made chicken, corn on the cob (wrapped in bacon), and crunchy cole slaw.  It was an inexpensive way to feed 7 people and my dad got to see our camper.  He was very surprised as he is not internet savvy at all and has only heard me talk about it over the phone.  I don’t think he had any idea how luxurious it is and he was duly impressed 🙂   Here’s some pictures.

 

Carol, Katy, and Lee

Carol (my beautiful step mom) , Kay, and Lee

Kay's graduation cake

Kay’s graduation cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake hanging out by the fire

Jake hanging out by the fire

 

Friday was the graduation so we hung out closer to home, but on Saturday we all went out and spent some time by the lake then had a great dinner in town in the evening.  The kids had an awesome time boating, swimming, and diving…and I finally swum out to the diving platform myself.  Was a little chilly but I made it!!

 

Katy and Jake

Katy and Jake

Katy was definitely in charge of this twosome!!

Katy was definitely in charge of this twosome!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad, Katy, and Jake..they kayaked the entire lake

Dad, Katy, and Jake..they kayaked the entire lake

Dad helping Katy up...the dock is pretty wobbly

Dad helping Katy up…the dock is pretty wobbly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyrston and Jake on the diving platform

Kyrston and Jake on the diving platform

Doing flips!!

Doing flips!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great weekend…although light on the actual camper time due to other commitments…but it was great getting to show my dad what I’ve been talking so much about.  Plus all my kids are now graduated!!!!  Hooray we made it

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Paddling on the Ashuelot River

This weekend the forecast said bright and sunny but it changed a bit and we were back to some rain.  It’s funny how the camping experience changes on rainy days and one of the drawbacks of a seasonal site is you can’t plan your camping tips around the weather.  When we went into the camper thee was a definite rotten food smell.  This was new as the camper has still maintained its “new camper” smell this whole time but we could smell it.  After checking the fridge we discovered the smell was coming from the sink.   During the week, Lee came out and drained and flushed the tanks and although he had put some water in the black tank (you must do this to avid hardened pyramids of poo) he did not put any water in the grey tank.  I put some chemicals down it and once we took our showers Saturday morning the smell finally dissipated, but definitely a lesson learned is to leave some water in BOTH tanks.  Part of the problem with being parked seasonally is there is no motion to agitate the water and clean the sides of the tanks.  The sensors in the grey tank say 2/3 full even when its empty so there is definitely residue of some sort stuck to the sides.  We do the best we can not to let any food particles go down the sink, but seriously this is next to impossible.

We were able to grill out burgers Friday night though and after 25 years of marriage I have finally gotten Lee to watch the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.   For those who are fans getting him through Season 1 was a challenge, but we finally hit season 2 and he likes it better.  This was the thing my girls and I did together growing up and we are all huge fans of the show, so it’s nice to be able to finally share that with Lee.  So far that’s been our rainy night activity 🙂

Saturday we woke up and it was cool and overcast.  Lee put the boat in the truck, but I wasn’t thrilled about paddling in the weather…but we waited it out and around 12:30 drove down to the Ashuelot River.  We put into the river by Matthews Road i( right by one of the 7 covered bridges in Swanzey) and although there isn’t an official boat launch there we managed to navigate the mud and get it into the water.  Our plan was to paddle upriver until we got tired and then turn around and float/paddle back.  I will say I love going downstream, but not as big of a fan of going upstream 🙂  That’s work!!  IT was absolutely beautiful though and although somewhat overcast we had a wonderful time.

 

The covered bridge by the river entrance

The covered bridge by the river entrance

Pretty view of covered bridge through the trees

Pretty view of covered bridge through the trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View of the bridge from the river

View of the bridge from the river

As you can see from the construction its old old

As you can see from the construction its old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The water was muddy from the rain

The water was muddy from the rain

We paddled right under this tree hanging out over the water

We paddled right under this tree hanging out over the water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC01862

We saw a turtle on this log but it jumped off before I could get a picture

We saw a turtle on this log but it jumped off before I could get a picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back we decided to get a little adventurous and went into a couple of alcoves and side streams.  It’s fun but you couldn’t really see how deep it was so we had to really communicate in order not to get stuck .  We also saw along the river bank some mussel shells.  I had no idea the river had muscles in it…so I looked it up when we got back and they are Eastern Elliptio Mussels  .   The animals apparently know because there were lots of shells along the river bank.  We went over to the bank at one point so I could get a rock for my collection and we saw many of them.   All in all it was super relaxing and after two paddling trips I am definitely hooked…although my arms and shoulders are sore again today 🙂

We went down this side stream to the left as far as we could go

We went down this side stream to the left as far as we could go

Who new the river had elliptio mussles?? The animals apparently

Who new the river had elliptio mussles?? The animals apparently

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got back to the campsite and I started to get things ready for dinner for our friends Mark and Cricket.  As you know if you’ve been reading I like to try out new recipes, especially foods made over the campfire, but I have only subjected Lee to the results of those experiments.   Mark and Cricket are the mellowest couple we know  so I thought I would try out some new items on them.  I did warn them though that usually I only had a 50% success rate 🙂  Cricket and Mark came about 6pm and Cricket brought me some flowers from her yard as a housewarming gift.  So sweet and very beautiful.  Plus the little flower holder does two things…looks pretty and doubles as a small vase.

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Housewarming gift from Cricket and Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took them on a tour and Lee and I watched the food until finally everything was done.  Turns out I had some good karma coming for being adventuresome because they liked everything!! Chicken, Baked potatoes, Grilled Carrots, and Bacon wrapped corn on the cob all were declared winners!  The bacon wrapped corn was particularly interesting.  It had some kick because of the chili powder and the bacon flavor enhanced rather than drowning out the taste of the fresh corn.  I am a corn purist being brought up in the heartland but this was really good.  If your interested in the recipes I have them below.

Mark and Cricket eating

Mark and Cricket eating

Chicken, Corn on the cob, carrots, and baked potatoes 100% cooked over the fire

Chicken, Corn on the cob, carrots, and baked potatoes 100% cooked over the fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner we stayed up talking for a long time.  One of the things I don’t like about our seasonal site is we are surrounded by VERY loud neighbors.  On the nights they are in sounds like they have 20 people at their sites.  The conversation is pleasant not obnoxious but they are loud.  One of the coolest things about having people over to visit is it helps tune out what they are doing…although we all know how to use an appropriate level outside voice lol.  Again, one of the downsides of a seasonal site.  When we had loud neighbors last summer we shrugged it off for just one weekend and moved on, but these folks are for the summer.  They are nice people don’t get me wrong, but we like to camp for the nature and relaxation and they are definitely in the camping to socialize/party group.   All in all it was a another great weekend though and it was so nice that Cricket and Mark came out to share it with us.

 

Lesson Learned

  • Do not empty the grey tank completely or you will get a rotten food smell

 

Bacon Wrapped Corn

  • 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 2 TBL chili powder

1.  Husk the corn and place on a large piece of foil

2.  Wrap corn in a piece of bacon

3.  Sprinkler with chili powder

4.  Close the corn in foil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.  Flip once after 10 minutes

Preparing corn for the grill

Preparing corn for the grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Potatoes Baked in Foil

I’ve tried several recipes to make baked potatoes on the grill and this one actually worked.  This is how we’ve always made potatoes in the oven and it works equally well over a campfire

  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes
  • butter

1.  Scrub potatoes and poke with a knife to create a steam release

2.  Place on large piece of heavy-duty foil folded over to double thickness

3.  Rub potatoes with butter or margarine (use your hands it’s fun and makes your hands soft)

4.  Wrap potatoes completely

5.  Place potatoes directly on coals on the outside edges of the campfire

6.  Cook for 1 hour turning every 15 minutes

 

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First Time Paddling in our Sea Eagle Kayak

Finally a weekend without rain…hooray.  Absolutely beautiful 80 degrees and we got to pull out the Sea Eagle Kayak we bought after the rally that has been sitting in a box mocking me 🙂  It absolutely lived up to its press.  VERY easy to blow up and relatively light weight.

Lee pumping up the Sea Eagle Kayak

Lee pumping up the Sea Eagle Kayak

Lee putting together the Sea Eagle

Lee putting together the Sea Eagle

 

The Boat all blown up!!

The Boat all blown up!!

Lots of space for two in the boat

Lots of space for two in the boat

 

We put it in the truck and drove down to the camp office.  I posted my sign with our two kayaks for sale $100 each or $150 for both.  The owner of the campground came right out and wanted to know if her husband could go look at the,  Absolutely they have only been used twice and although they are short are in great shape.  We went down to the lake and immediately two women said “I want one” and “Where did you get that?”   Inflatible Boats 4 Less .com is the answer. 🙂  The lake was gorgeous with some absolutely beautiful views.

Swanzey Lake Views

Swanzey Lake Views

Swanzey Lake Views

Swanzey Lake Views

 

Four golden retrievers playing in their space of lake they looked so happy :)

Four golden retrievers playing in their space of lake they looked so happy 🙂

 

 

The lake has an inlet that goes to a small waterfall

The lake has an inlet that goes to a small waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee paddling...look at that smile

Lee paddling…look at that smile

I was lounging :)

I was lounging 🙂

 

 

Homemade NH diving board on a rock...this cracked me up

Homemade NH diving board on a rock…this cracked me up

Close up of diving board

Close up of diving board

 

By the time we got back from our boating trip the owner of the campground came out with check in hand to buy the kayaks!!  Fantastic and $150 is exactly what we need to buy the sail that goes with the Sea Eagle we have.  Super excited!!!  Here’s a link to what the sail looks like.  Since we had worked out our arms we decided to take a bike ride and work on our legs a bit.  It didn’t last too long…I am definitely out of biking practice.  I was making spaghetti for dinner and realized I didn’t have cherry tomatoes for the salad so we jumped in the truck and ran to the store.  On the way we stopped at the liquor store which I have been in 1 time in 13 years.  I am not making that up…I am not much of a drinker often a month or two can go by without me having a drink, but Lee had bought some alcohol and I thought why not.  Turns out the only thing inexpensive in New Hampshire is booze lol.  The liquor stores are state-run and the prices were really good.  So now we own more booze than we have owned in one sitting in 25 years of marriage.  This is not an exaggeration.  Plus I am trying the boxed wine because Lee doesn’t care for wine and I won’t drink a bottle by myself so I thought I would give the boxed wine a try. (Update:  Never became a fan of boxed wine.  Never found one that tasted good.  So I keep a few bottles in the liquor cabinet and one in the fridge.  Space is limited but some things are worth it!!)  Here’s some pictures proving that apparently I have decided to become a heavy drinker 🙂

Lots of Liquor

Lots of Liquor

DSC01850

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The funniest thing was when we bought beer at the grocery store…oh yes there is beer also.  The kid at the checkout looked at me and carded us.  I haven’t been carded in a really long time and of course had no purse with me.  But Lee grinned and pulled out his driver’s license.  I asked him how long it had been since he had been carded and he said “About 50 pounds ago,” which cracked the kids up and made me laugh.

Dinner that night was great.  I like to make my spaghetti sauce in big batches and freeze it.  Perfect for the camper as I thawed out a small bag full and we have a lovely dinner of salad, spaghetti, and garlic bread.  The carbs really hit the spot after today’s workout.  The spaghetti I make is a family recipe that is in its fourth generation..my grandmother, my mom, myself, and now my girls all cook it.  Having this meal in particular really made the new RV feel like a home and both Lee and I really enjoyed it.

 

Spaghetti Sauce

These are the single batch recipe quantities (feeds a family of five).  I always triple the batch and freeze it.  Now with the two of us 5 ladle fulls in a Ziploc bag is perfect for one meal.

  • 1 pound of hamburger
  • 1 can tomato sauce (32 oz)
  • 1 can tomato paste (12 0z)
  • 120z water
  • 1 TBL onion salt
  • 1 TBL garlic salt
  • 1 TBL oregano or Italian seasoning mix
  • 1 TBL parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp pepper

1.  Brown the ground beef

2.  While browning beef place tomato sauce and tomato paste in large pot

3.  Fill empty tomato paste can with water and let stand

4. Add all seasoning

5.  Add water and any remaining tomato paste from can

6.  Drain beef well and add to sauce

7.  Mix thoroughly with a large slotted spoon

8.  Bring sauce to a light boil then simmer.  (Stir frequently to ensure sauce does not burn)

9.  Remove from heat and let sit over night

10.  Separate enough sauce for dinner, freeze remainder.

Spaghetti Dinner

Spaghetti Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Year Camping Anniversary

One year ago this weekend, Lee and I had our very first camping adventure here at Swanzey Lake Campground.  It’s been an amazing year so I thought I would take a second and recap what we have done.  If you looking for the full read…check out the Key Moments tab.  In one week we decided to buy a camper, found one, bought it, and had our first camping experience.  Last summer we went camping over 13 weekends and visited 9 states.  We saw our daughter in Wisconsin, went to the ocean in Maine, and saw the Olympic village in Lake Placid…just to mention a few highlights.  What we knew by the end of the summer was that we love camping and being together just the two of us.  The summer allowed us to reconnect to one another.

At the end of the summer we decided we wanted more (including longer trips and more boon docking), so we went to Hershey RV show for two days and found the perfect 5th wheel for us.  We ordered a new truck, ordered the new 5th wheel and endured a VERY long winter waiting to get out there again.  Finally the 5th wheel came and we attended an amazing rally and met so many other people who are as passionate about camping as we are.  So it’s been a year and we sit in the same site (this time as a seasonal) grateful for the many gifts last year brought us.   Because we are selling our house and getting our last child to graduate HS we intentionally picked a campground 20 minutes from the house.  I am going to wait a few more weekends before I compare seasonal camping to going to different sites.

One thing I can say is whether you are moving around or staying put camping is a really great way to spend the weekend.  Because I have been traveling so much, I absolutely had to go into town this morning and run some errands and I went from super relaxes to stressed in no time at all.   The lights and noise in a super store are jarring after the stillness of the campsite.  Everyone waves in the campground…no waves out in the “real world” plus I saw some pretty rude behavior in a couple of stores you just don’t see in the campground.  It’s funny because these are the same people who live in town but there is something about nature that seems to bring out the best in people.  So how do I feel after a year…pretty darn awesome about the whole thing 🙂  It just gets better and better and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

One of the really fun parts of camping for me is trying out new recipes.  Cooking was a chore with three kids but now I can really explore different foods and God love Lee for being willing to eat just about anything.  So this weekend I had menus that were all new items.  Most of them were a bust unfortunately…either didn’t taste that great or waaay more trouble than it was worth, but I did discover two winners and have listed the recipes below.  It’s a lot of fun even if the experiments don’t turn out that great and it’s a good way to kill time on a rainy day.  I love old cookbooks and found the following in one of the church cookbooks that people put out as fundraisers.  The recipe was written by Ruth Arledge and I thought I would pass it along.

A Happy Home Recipe

  • 4 cups of Love
  • 2 cups of Loyalty
  • 3 cups of Forgiveness
  • 1 cup of Friendship (I add a second cup because I think it’s so important)
  • 5 spoons of Hope
  • 2 spoons of Tenderness
  • 4 quarts of Faith
  • 1 barrel of laughter

1.  Take love and loyalty, mix it thoroughly with faith.

2.  Blend it with tenderness, kindness, and understanding

3. Add friendship and hope, sprinkler abundantly with laughter

5.  Bake with sunshine

Serve daily with generous helpings.

 

Sesame Scented Snow Pea Pods

Super easy and delicious

  • 1/2 pound fresh snow pea pods
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  1. Steam snow pea pods for 3 minutes.  If you have a steamer for the microwave this works well.  If you don’t have a steamer, blanch the snow pea pods in water for 1-2 minutes until bright green.
  2. Drain peas and pat dry.
  3. Place in bowl and toss lightly with sesame oil.  If you have spray oil this works great.  Squirt 3 times then toss then 3-4 times more to taste
  4. Serve right away

DSC01821

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon-Seared Pound Cake

Simple to make and REALLY good.  The grilled cinnamon flavor goes great with the strawberries and the bread has a little crunch.

  •  1 16oz bag frozen strawberries (thawed)
  • 1 10-1/2 oz package frozen pound cake – thawed  (Sarah Lee is pretty yummy)
  • 2 TBL butter (softened)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Whipped cream
  1. Place undrained strawberries in blender and blend until smooth.  Chill in refrigerator
  2. Blend softened butter and cinnamon
  3. Cut thin slice off each end of pound cake
  4. Cut remaining cake into 6 slices
  5. Spread butter on one side of each piece of pound cake
  6. Place cake, buttered side down, on grill.  Cook for one minute then flip and cook for two minutes
  7. Place cake on plates with strawberry mixture and top with whip cream

DSC01828 DSC01829

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Time Having Guests at the Seasonal Site

 

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks since we got back from the rally.  I have worked out-of-town both weeks and the weekend in between we finished getting our house ready to sell.   We definitely did NOT want to miss the Memorial Day weekend house hunting traffic, so we scheduled two open houses; one on Saturday, and one on Sunday.  The downside was no camper time while we got it ready for that.  Lee snuck out a couple of times and setup some basics and he put the new reclining love seat in and removed the original couch, but there was still lots of work waiting us when we hit the campsite Friday night.  The first day and a half was spent squaring things away and it was weird unpacking for a seasonal stay versus moving around all the time.  When you’re on the go everything is placed for ease of packing up and making sure it’s secure.  When you’re stationary you can put anything you want wherever you want, which is nice, but totally different from the rally arrangement.  While I situated things Lee worked on the support box under the couch.  In the pictures below you can see we bought a love seat with zero clearance so each side can tilt back and out.  It’s SUPER comfortable but does look pretty weird in that small a space.  That being said I don’t regret the purchase at all and until we can get to Amish country and buy a custom couch I am super happy.   I started down the path of thinking where would guests sit…how it looked etc, but as Lee quickly mentioned guests will mainly be outside and “Do you want to be comfortable or not?”  The man had a point and once I sat in it I was sold…slightly weird looking or not.  One last note Lee built a box for below the couch because the new one sticks out a little farther than the old one, so it needed something to rest on. The box didn’t look very good until he removed the padding and leather from the old couch and used it to upholster the new base. It looks great.  The man is a genius!! (It’s true. I am a genius. – Lee)

Here's the wooden box he built

Here’s the wooden box he built

Finished box on the bottom

Finished box on the bottom

My daughter Kay curled on the couch

My daughter Kay curled on the couch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was the other thing..my daughter who is 18 gave up her Friday night and came out to visit us right after work.  It was so fun, we had hot dogs and marshmallows and she kept us entertained all night with weird facts from an app her phone has. She’s a good girl and it was sweet she came to hang out.  The lack of wifi was a bit of a bummer for her though.

One of my other favorite things was I got my rock collection sorted out.  I like rocks and have collected neat ones in all my travels.  I really thought I was going to have to give up my rock collection…partly for weight and partly because vision of rocks flying around the camper was giving me nightmares.  Lee and my in-laws all threw themselves behind solving my rock problem though (so sweet) and helped me find these very nice plastic containers at The Container Store.  I will be able to strap these in when we move and I now have three different rock carriers with plenty of space for more to come!!  I don’t know about you, but it’s the little things in life that give me true joy…so thanks to Lee, DeDe and especially Denny for helping me make this happen. (If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend The Container Store. It’s my personal mecca. The have anything you need for putting anything into anything. They even have little boxes you can put littler boxes into. – Lee)

My rock collection...left to right Gold...Black...Red

My rock collection…left to right Gold…Black…Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally on Saturday Lee hung my Audrey Hepburn picture (which I fretted would not work and make the room smaller and turned out to be perfect) and covered the cabinet mirrors with Artscape Window Film.  I really hated the fact that the cabinets across from the bed had mirrors for a variety of reasons…not the least of which is that I am not that crazy at looking at myself all the time. (I am not nearly as happy as she is about it. Who doesn’t want a wall of mirrors facing the bed???  Bow chicka bow bow, baby. – Lee) So I did some research and found a window cling at Home Depot.  We weren’t sure what it would look like on a mirror since it’s made to go on a window, but Lee, ever practical, said buy one roll and if it doesn’t work you’re only out $22.  Not only did it work…it completely surpassed my expectations…LOVE LOVE  LOVE it.   And, again, the room does not look smaller which was a concern.  So here’s my updated bedroom thanks to my great handy-man hubby. (The Artscape window film is really easy to work with, and looks great on windows, and apparently, mirrors, although the more colorful and detailed patterns probably wouldn’t look as good on a mirror as a simple etched or frosted glass look. All you do is rough-cut it to fit, spray the glass with water that has just a few drops of liquid soap in it, and then position it and squeegee it until there are no air bubbles or water left. There’s no adhesive, it just works based on the laws of fluid mechanics. Or magic. Then you use a very sharp razor knife to trim the edge, and sit back and enjoy the adulation and kisses from whoever you did it for. Hanging a picture is even easier and hardly ever requires squeegeeing anything, so the work-to-kisses ratio is more in your favor. – Lee)

 

My Audrey Hepburn poster

My Audrey Hepburn picture

Before and after with mirrors

Before and after with mirrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee at work

Lee at work

Finished product looks so much better

Finished product looks so much better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday night we had our friends Georgia and Jim over.  They had not seen the campsite yet and we were happy to be ready to share it.  I went with hot dogs and chips but I did make my Mom’s amazing potato salad.  Usually I’m lazy and buy a vastly inferior product at the grocery store, but making a small batch for just the four of us was super easy and it lasts well in the fridge.  I have the recipe at the bottom if you want to try it out.  It’s truly yummy delicious.  I also have been looking for years for that hot dogs that mimic those of my childhood memories and I finally found them.  Jordan’s Ball Game Treats are very inexpensive and taste just like the hot dogs I ate when I was a kid.  I am sure they are terrible for you…but I’ll take a good ole basic hot dog over one of those fancy ones any day. (Fancy hot dogs??? What the hell are fancy hot dogs? I don’t think she knows what hot dogs are made of. – Lee)

Oh I also keep forgetting to mention Lee put up a bird feeder on the window that Dede and Denny gave us and a hummingbird feeder.  We have had friends in both along our travels and since they are right outside my desk window I can sit and watch without scaring them away.  I included the hummingbird feeder mixture in the recipe section because it’s easy to make but I keep forgetting the ratio.

 

Bird feeder and hummingbird feeder outside my desk window

Bird feeder and hummingbird feeder outside my desk window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia and Jim (two of our best friends) came over and we had a great time.  Their son worked for Lee and he is the son we never had.  He chose the same career field as Lee and is doing very well in it so we had a very enjoyable night talking about our kids, our plans for the future, and of course showing off our new camper 🙂  It was also cool that despite having intermittent rain all weekend it was perfectly dry all night.    Thanks so much Georgia and Jim for helping us kick off our seasonal summer!!  Look forward to many more nights by the fire.

Speaking of the campsite here are the pictures of the campsite and our friends Georgia and Jim.

Campsite at night

Campsite at night

DSC01811

 

 

Kay and Lee hanging out by the fire

Kay and Lee hanging out by the fire

Big rock on our site

Big rock on our site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very well wooded love that...we have neighbors but can barely see them through the tress

Very well wooded site.. love that…we have neighbors but can barely see them through the tress

 Connie’s Best Ever Potato Salad

1.  Peel potatoes and cut into 4-5 pieces

2.  Boil covered until you can easily cut through with a butter knife but remove before mushy.  Rinse with cool water

3.  Boil eggs and allow both eggs and potatoes to cool

4.  Use a fork to mix egg yolks, mayo, mustard, and good seasons

5.  Mix potatoes, green onions, and egg whites

6.  Mix dressing into potato mixture gently stirring.

7.  Refrigerate until served (best if made the night before)

Connie's Best Potato Salad Ever

Connie’s Best  Ever Potato Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hummingbird Feeder Solution

  • 1 part sugar (must be the real deal)
  • 4 parts water

Stir well prior to filling up the feeder

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First Time Closing Up for the Winter

So it’s the last camping weekend before we have to close up the camper and since we are planning on buying a new one in February not only does it need to be winterized, but also completely cleaned out and ready to sell.  In order to winterize, you need access to water, sewage, and power so we went back to Swanzey Lake Campground for out third visit.   While we were hanging out and relaxing, we realized this was definitely the location that we wanted to try as a seasonal camper.  Seasonal campers buy a year-long pass and stay in the same site, which eliminates the need for the constant tear down and set up of the camper…a huge plus!!  Also, you don’t have to pay for storage through the summer months because you keep the camper at the campgrounds.

We had the opportunity to stay at 13 different places this summer (more activity in a summer than we have ever had in our married lives:) ) and it’s funny that we actually came full circle.  We booked a seasonal site at the very first place we camped at, Swanzey lake Campground.    Although it wasn’t either of our overall favorite for the year (mine was Tree Farm Campground and Lee’s was Oxbow Campground), it is the closest to our house and offers a little bit of everything…wooded sites, a lake, a beach.  Plus the folks here have been very helpful to us newbies.

Lee went to the office to get a packet and found out there were only 4 available seasonal sites left…yikes!!  We walked around to see them and luckily one of my favorite n sites 102 was on the list.  Sold!!  I am particularly fond of the big rock at the back of the site.   So this is our new camping home for 2014.  The cost for a seasonal site is $2700 from April 15th – Nov 1st which is pricey, but in New England they are all pretty expensive so it is in line with prices we got from other campgrounds and still way cheaper than a one week vacation.

One thing that was very interesting was as soon as Lee paid the deposit, the entire campsite experience changed.  The women at the office/store started introducing him to other seasonals and the security lady, Vicky,  who drives around and keeps an eye on things, stopped by and introduced herself.  Apparently there are lots of activities for seasonals only…who knew.  Definitely going to be a different experience and I am looking forward to trying it out.

Once the fun stuff was done it was time to get down to business.  Although we have been sharing most of the chores Lee is definitely taking the lead on the tear down and winterizing.  He did a lot of research online and learned that the tanks have to be flushed multiple times (he’s done it five times so far as i am writing this).  Once they are completely flushed, an air compressor is used to blow out any remaining water and then a special RV/Marine antifreeze is put in the lines.  Luckily our local Walmart carries it or it would be another trip to the camping store.  In addition ALL the food must be taken out of the camper.  He thought canned goods would be fine, but apparently they can burst if they freeze solid then thaw..so that’s good to know.   And of course all cloth of any kind must come out.  Essentially if a rodent could use it for food or a nest …must be removed.  Finally, you put Bounce dryer sheets  everywhere!!!  Don’t skimp and buy an off brand… rodents and spiders don’t like the smell so you put them absolutely everywhere.  The batteries are disconnected, but the propane tanks can stay.. they just need to be turned off and covered.  The camper is also swept on the top and sprayed off the get some of the grime off.   It is going to take Lee a couple of days to do all of the tasks and thankfully I get a pass and get to work on other things 🙂 

It’s sad that we are done, but what a terrific summer.  We camped for over 40 days in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.  We  bought our first RV, went to our first RV show, and picked out our second RV.  We bought our first truck and have picked out our second, a diesel.  We stayed at a farm, a casino, and on the ocean.  We took a magical hike, tried tons of new recipes, and learned so much, not the least of which was how much we enjoyed each others company.  It was a great time and I can’t wait until next year to see where the journey takes us.  You won’t be hearing much from us until February when we start the process of buying our Open Range, so talk to you in the spring.

 

Lessons Learned

  • Don’t leave canned foods in the camper in the winter because they can explode
  • Take all cloth and food out of the camper for the winter
  • Use an air compressor to blow out the water in the lines before putting in the antifreeze
  • Put Bounce Dryer sheets EVERYWHERE.
  • The bathroom sink is connected to the black water tank

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