Saturday, July 27, 2013

Are you choosing RV Parks this summer or fall?

Wow, did I ever travel this month. My husband and I purchased our first travel trailer seven years ago. We've taken three trips to Ruidosa, New Mexico, and one trip to Vallecito Lake, Colorado. We've traveled to the Texas coast at Rockport, to the hills of Central Texas at Fredericksburg, and numerous sites within a couple of hours from our home in Wichita Falls. We were ready for long trip.

Or, were we?

We both longed to see the beauty of Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton mountains. Little did we know we would end up staying in 9 different RV parks in 16 days. We came home exhausted, having stood in awe at the beauty provided by God in the states of Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, but also having experienced some of the worst and best RV sites available in that part of the country.

We prefer parks with full hook-ups. I'm a city girl, bred and born in Dallas, Texas. I don't do camping unless it's the easy way. Still, we love to be out with nature and sit near our trailer soaking in the closeness of God while amongst His wonders.

In case you're planning a trip with an RV to that part of the country this summer or fall, or even next summer, I thought it might be helpful to post my list, to give recognition where it's due and to warn future RVers of difficulties in some places.

I divided the list into 1)good 2)Great 3)Necessity only and claimed one park as 4) the worst. Here's my list:

the good

Summerlan RV Park in Raton, New Mexico
                Our GPS got us lost by sending us in the wrong direction for this park, but the lady there
         guided us safely over the phone to the right spot. She was friendly and kind.
               Not fancy, but it had wide lots where you could sit outside, and it had nice showers. We got in
                        only 3 TV stations and we did have WiFi.
               An unexpected bonus - on the back of the receipt was the salvation message. I thought that
                       was unique and sweet.

Loveland RV Park, Loveland, Colorado
               Very nice park, new club house, grassy area for tents, big trees
                They were surrounded by many nice restaurant choices which was helpful at that time.
               Cable TV, WiFi
               The biggest problem was the RVs were jammed in there. We did sit outside but the lot
                          was small; only had a view of roadway with many people passing

Okay, drum roll please, my choices for the GREAT ones



Sleeping Bear RV Park, Landers, Wyoming

 
The first place we stayed that we loved was Landers, Wy. The strange thing was we thought it would be a quick stop-off because online it didn't look like much, but the view was super. We were on top of a mountain looking down on the city. The area had several things to do, and it's only 200 miles from Yellowstone, if you're headed there.
Wide lots, cable TV, WiFi


 
\Montpelier, Idaho KOA Campground
 
 
This is a view from the Montpelier nature hike, which we liked and walked along twice while  were there. We looked out over a mountain.
 
  This was another wonderful, unexpected pleasure with large lots, the gravel was heavy and even for easy parking. The pool enticed many to swim. Cable TV, WiFi (You can tell that was important to us.)
  The friendly staff gave us free hash browns to try. This was the only place where we could have a campfire or grill easily which was good because there's few restaurants in the town 2 miles away, mostly just Subway. There was a nice grocery store where we could refill our supplies. Bear Lake is a huge, blue lake nearby which is super for fishing.
 
United Campground, Durango, Colo.
    Wide lots, big trees, nice view of Animas River and Silverton train comes through the park.
      Nice pool, good club house
      Cable TV, good WiFi reception, fair cell service
A note of my own: If you have several days to spend in this area, we loved the Blue Spruce RV Campground up above Vallecito Lake, which is up the mountain and to the northeast of Durango. The cool air and gorgeous scenery is worth the trip up, but only if you stay several days.
    
 
KOA Campground, Amarillo, Texas
     Cool nights for sitting outside even in summer
     View of gorgeous sunsets over flat plains that stretch for miles
     Pool and showers are new/nice
     WiFi, cable, good cell service
     Wide lots, plenty of gravel
     Nightly tractor/hay wagon rides for kids/ Very friendly but professional staff
 
and the Necessity Only, as needed, for camping
 
  KOA Campground, Green River Utah
      Nice pool, Fair restaurant within walking distance
      Very limited WiFi, 3 local TV stations only/no view
      Little gravel, some patches of grass, mostly sand (that gets in your sandals when you walk)
      Nice pool
  Note: If you go Green River in the summer, buy one of their local, delicious watermelons
 
Fishing Bridge RV Park, Yellowstone National Park
            This picture shows how our trailer was crammed into a pine tree where we couldn't see out. The trailer on the other side, we could reach and touch. The view from our doorway was our neighbor's truck.
 
       This is the only campground in the park with electricity, water, & sewer hook-ups
       Staying outside the park might be advisable if you need cell service because there is none at all
             at the RV Park. They tell you in case of emergency to come to the office about 1/2 mile away
            and dial 911 on the pay phone, but we, most times, were not able to get the pay phones to
            work. (Thankfully, we never had to try the 911).You still have a long way to drive to see any
            of the sites in the park because they're so spread out and it's a big park. We could get to the
           Yellowstone Lake and Yellowstone River quickly, but that was all. That would be important if
           you want to fish.
      No internet, no TV, no radio, no outside communication. 
      RVs are crammed into tiny spaces
      The only place we could sit outside was almost on the roadway. A pine tree blocked our big
             window which made our trailer dark.
       One nice touch was wooded areas were interspersed between every 2 rows of RVs which helped
             a little & gave kids a place to play.
 
That brings me to my vote for worst of the 9   ****WORST***
 
Golden Eagle RV Park, Eagles' Nest, New Mexico
       Trailers jammed on small lots. Our back view was a mud hill.
      Though it wasn't their fault that we arrived in a rain storm, the campground should be 
                    manageable  in all kinds of weather. The only gravel was where you drove down to your
                     site, but we backed into boggy mud. My husband's tennis shoes sunk into the mud just
                   to get us hooked to electricity and water. My sandals were coated with mud to walk into
                   our front door. We slipped in, took off our muddy shoes, and didn't leave until the next
                  morning when we got muddy all over again leaving.
       They had a planned event that night but we didn't go because of mud.
       Limited WiFi, 2 TV stations, PBS & CBS
        No sewer and dump station was difficult to get to & very muddy around it.
 
I hope my list helps you, or at least gives you food for thought. If not, I hope you found the article entertaining.
 
Do you have any kudos for RV parks you'd like to offer us?
Do you have any horror stories?
Leave a comment. I, for one, would like the info for our next trip.
Where are you going this summer?




Thursday, July 25, 2013

IT'S HERE!!! Melanie Dickerson's cover for her new release

You can pre-order NOW.


Happily Ever After …Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke’s son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.
 
 

Captive Maiden releases on October 22nd, but as I said, it can be preordered now.

 

I've read some of Melanie's other books, and she's an excellent writer of sweet, inspirational, YA romantic suspense. Along with me, check out this new one.

 

I last read "The Fairest Beauty." My favorite part was the 7 men (dwarfs). I loved the kindness of different people.

 

Have you read any of Melanie's books? If you have, leave a comment about which one and tell us your favorite part.

 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Are You Standing on Level Ground?

Writing is writing. Any who enjoy writing and persist in the improvement of the craft join the ranks of writers. We face the same challenges and limitations. Someone once told me when you seriously write your first paragraph, you're a writer. When your words are published, you become an author. I can accept that, and I did call myself a writer before I was published. Writers speak the same language. We stand on a level playing field of understanding. Only a writer has characters running through their heads at inopportune moments, or waking them from a sound sleep.

Recently, I attended and graduated from an Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson. Six ladies participated.

Ages ranged from seventeen to seventy.

Left to right ,front Renae Brumbaugh, Katie Meyers, Diane Gates, Lori Freeland
Peeking in from the back; Margie Lawson and Lisa Wells
Genres we represented include science fiction, romance, YA, middle grade, and women's fiction, both Christian and secular.

We all had the same prerequisite: we had to be serious about improving our writing and we had to have completed Margie's online classes prior to the Immersion.

One woman met Margie in person for the first time, I met her once five years ago before then, one went to another Immersion class last year, and one (Lori Freeland) serves as Margie's assistant, so we shared different relationships with the teacher, but we'd all been affected by her teaching prior to this intense study.

Same group with me added on end and Lisa Wells took the picture.
 
While we were there, we discussed our diversity. Though our writing journeys were uniquely our own, we learned in different ways, at different paces, for different reasons, and yet, we were the same The craft of writing, like a bright and shiny trophy glimmers and beckons us to finish our race and accelerate our pace. The class hammered home that ideal. What we do with what we learned is up to us, but we all started with the same spark of enthusiasm.
 
***********
 
 
As a Christian, I likened that to the cross. The foot of the cross is a level ground. God's grace flows for everyone despite our differences, our problems, our sins. Thank you, Jesus. Whether we live in China, Russia, Israel, or America, we can bow at the cross and trust Jesus to save us. He prepares a heaven where we can forever live with Him if we choose to accept His sacrifice. He gives no advantage to any particular person or class of people. His mercies are new every day and available to all.
 
 
 
 
 
What we do with the salvation that comes from the cross is up to us, but we begin at the same place on level ground..
 
Have you come to the cross today?