Croatia – Any advice is welcome!!!

Sometimes a break is in order and I found that the case this October.  I got caught up in planning a dream vacation which is almost as much fun as the vacation. Next summer we will take a 2+ week vacation to Croatia and I am so excited. We have been talking about this destination for a few years now and finally all our stars aligned.

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Our traveling companions are 3 other couples that we normally camp with so finding accommodations was a challenge. Villas for 8 with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms is not common place in this historic country but after many hours on the various booking sites we found it. Who knew how complicated it would be to book trips outside of Expedia. Wire transfers and PayPal are new to us but I think we have managed.

I can now get back to my blog but not before asking if any of you have visited or live in Croatia, I would love to hear from you. Any tips, tricks or recommendations are very welcome. We will only be there a short time and want to see as much as possible.

I hope to hear from you but for now back to camping!

Campsite Correspondent Shannon Gibbs

I have linked up with http://www.thecampsiteblog. Here is my introduction but check out their full blog. It is full of great information.

Beyond the Campsite

We’re excited to introduce another Canadian Correspondent.  Shannon lives the next province over, in beautiful BC.

We look forward to sharing adventures with you Shannon!  And feel we’ll probably meet face to face as time goes on, seeing as you’re so close!

Here’s a few words from Shannon:

My name is Shannon Gibbs and I am the organizing member of a camping family of 4. We started 16 years ago in a pop up trailer and recently moved to an RV as we enter the “Empty Nester” stage of our life. Although we enjoy hiking in the back country, we always return to the comforts of our trailer for a glass of wine and a campfire. Camping is our time to unplug and reconnect as a family. We use the time to explore this small part of our word and create amazing family memories while doing it. My main goal…

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Why I agreed to freeze? My best anniversary of all time!

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One of the main reasons we camp is to have the chance to reconnect, away from the distractions of everyday life and routine. ManningWith this in mind it would only seemed fitting that I would be excited when my husband suggested we return to our wedding spot for a weekend camping trip to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Now I can hear many of you sigh at his romantic gesture and in theory I agree. You can now shake your head in confusion when you hear I was a bit reluctant to accept the idea. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the thought, it’s more that we were married at a mountain resort and it can be very cold in the mountains in September.

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Weeding2We were married at Manning Park Resort which is a lovely mountain hotel in the center of EC Manning Provincial Park. The ceremony was held on the shore of Lightening Lake with the majestic mountains providing the background. The memories that the pictures did not capture were that of our flower girls shivering themselves to tears as they waited for the photographer and the bridesmaids wearing the groomsmen’s tuxedo jackets to keep warm while creating a fun wedding shot. It was a beautiful wedding but I wasn’t sure I wanted to recreate it in an RV. Maybe a stay at the resort would be more fitting I thought?

Manning9Having a camping blog I realized I should be more willing to participate and that I was sounding like a whiner towards his romantic gesture. I decided to embrace the idea and prepare for a cold weekend. If you follow my blog you will know we are rural campers and usually pick campgrounds with cell service and often electricity and water. Manning Park has none of these, so as we drove out of town leaving our kids behind I was a bit nervous about not being able to reach them. My loving husband reassured me they were fine as he continued to drive off into the mountain without a second thought.

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As usual he was right. We had a wonderful weekend hiking the trails, enjoying evening campfires and toasting our 19 years of marriage.IMG_2364 Yes it was cold, zero degrees at night, but by the last night I had it figured out and prepared for the evening campfire dressed like an Eskimo. We enjoyed a morning breakfast at the resort as a memory back in time and returned for a photo opportunity at our wedding shore. Although I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t want to go, I can say I am on board to make it an annual trip. Who has the chance to spend their anniversary celebrating in the same spot they started their journey. Thank you Blair, it really was a great weekend.

The Power of Power! How we survived 2+ days without electricity.

imageLast Saturday morning  Vancouver had one of the worst wind storms in our history and the city and surrounding areas came to a halt. You would think a city that is located next to the San Andres Fault would be prepared for a small setback like a power outage but I can tell you, that is not the case.

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Over 500,000 people lost power at one time. Trees were scatter on the ground like children’s toys in a playroom and traffic lights brought vehicles to a slow crawl seeing drivers who can normally navigate a four way stop with ease forget all common sense and rules. Twitter and news feeds were filled with people complaining about the lack of power, showing little regard or appreciation for the hard working men and women fighting the elements to get us all back to the comforts we take for granted.

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Surrey Night Market from Global News

We assumed this power outage would be like ones of the past and that we would have power back in a few hours. We spent the day playing games as a family, arranged dinner out with friends and then returned home to a night of candlelight Trivial Pursuit.

imageIt was when we woke up Sunday morning to no power that we realized  this was not your ordinary power outage.  At that moment I was glad we were campers. We quickly moved all our food to the RV and set up camp. Tea and french toast were on the breakfast menu and we were up and running in no time. Our neighbors were not as lucky and we quickly heard stories of 1 hour line ups for coffee and muffins. Restaurants that were open saw line ups all day long and if you could find an open grocery store or gas station you were faced with crowds of unhappy hungry shoppers.

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To accommodate the number of people without power cellular companies slowed  their feeds to allow for more users making my blogging  near impossible  and streaming movies a pipe dream for my family.  We enjoyed another afternoon of games and family time. Teenagers arrived to play pool, monopoly and commiserate in their loss of internet communication. Preparation for another evening without power started and we settle in for a dark night.

imageAfter 2+ days without power we all cheered when the lights returned. As fun as it all started out, it did get old after a while and we were pleased to see it end. It was a great lesson for us all and we will make sure our RV batteries are charge at all times,  the propane tanks are filled and  the earthquake water is rotated.

But for now the power is back on so I am catching up on my  blogging, my kids are back to their video games and social media and my husband is back at work.  It is nice to have normal back but the memory of a dark weekend reconnecting like campers in our own home will always make me smile.

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Bring on Summer vacation!

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imageToday I head out for my last day of work until September. One of the many great things about working in the school system is the summers off. I get to enjoy a long break during the hottest months of the year and spend both quality and quantity time with my family. As my kids get older the quantity of time decreases so quality becomes more important.

imageNow in saying that most of our camping trips this summer involve leaving the kids at home but it is still time off and I can’t wait.  We also plan to make hiking a bigger priority this summer so I hope to start a hiking tab on my blog. We will see if the wine gets in the way of that plan.

So for now we say goodbye to some friends who are moving on to other schools. It’s a sad day for that reason but I know I will see all these people again at some point and I hope it is at a campground in the near future.

Good luck today

RI, TG, WC, DM, LC,

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Girls camping weekend! The difference a family makes 

IMG_6006This weekend I am heading to a local campground with a few coworkers for a girls weekend. We all work in an elementary school so as we wade into June this weekend will be a great way to celebrate the end to another school year and help us recharge as we work through the last crazy month of school. Don’t get me wrong, I love camping with my family, but getting away for a girls weekend is an entirely different kind of trip.

How is camping with the girls any different than camping with your family? That question would only come from a husband or child, but if you are wondering, let me summarize.

OK Park1. Food: First, we need a lot less of it. Second, not having steak or bacon on the shopping list is the first sign there is no testosterone attending. We prefer to graze (code for eat all day) on appetizer type foods. Dips, cheese, crackers and fruit are the main features on the menu.

2. Clean up: When camping with family it often feels like you get one meal cleaned up in time to start the next.   With “the girls” the dishes just magically disappear every time someone gets a drink.

IMG_59983. No pets: Because the family is staying home, so are the dogs. This makes the biggest difference to the level of relaxation. No barking every time a fellow camper walks by, no early morning pee walks and no leash dances while trying to untangle them from around camp chairs.

4. Games: On girls weekends the games are all about laughs and socialization. Heads Up, Taboo, and Cards Against Humanities replace crib, Risk and other competative type games. Everyone participates and each game ends when the wine bottles are empty.

IMG_0166I would never change any of my family camping trips. If you are familiar with my blog you will understand that camping is our one real chance to connect as a family. It allows us to get away from the chaos of our everyday life and enjoy time together. Having said that, I am looking forward to some time with my friends, where I don’t have to be a mom or a wife and can just think of me. That sounds selfish I know, but I can’t wait.

My wine is chilling, the sunscreen is packed and my my chair is at the door. Bring on the weekend and I know my family will be excited to hear all the crazy camping stories when I get back.

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A Summary of my A to Z Challenge!

imageFor the month of April I took on the A to Z Challenge.  I wrote a post each day (except Sunday’s) that corresponded with each letter of the alphabet. This was a fun and challenging task. I thought I would take a page out of Travels With Choppy’s blog and do a summary list with links to each of my post.

A – Alice Lake

B – Beaches, Top 5 Beach Campgrounds

C – Camping Coffee – The Best Time of the Day

D – Down with Dogs!

E – Post Secondary Education, the Stress!

F – Favourite Family Attractions When Camping in BC

G – Golden, BC

H – 5 Hammock Styles for your next camping trip!

I – Ice Cream

J – Julie the Cruise Director

K – Kelowna’s Kettle Valley Railroad, BC

L – 5 Top Lakes to Camp at in BC

M – Motion – The Face Of Emotion.

N – Nehalem Bay State Park, Manzanita, Oregon

O – Outdoors, get out there and enjoy it!

P – Playoffs, enough said!

Q – Quality Time with your Family

R – Recipes for Camping.

S – Seaquest State Park, Castle Rock, Washington

T – Travel: The Three Stages Of.

U – Camping in the USA

V – Versatile Blogger Award

W – Westerbay Marine Village – Victoria, BC

X – X – Marks the Spot!

Y – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Z – Zzzzzzzzzz – I’m done

Thank you to the organizers of the A to Z Challenge for putting together such a great event. I had a fantastic time, learnt a lot and found many great blogs to follow and learn from. Now I need to find another challenge to help me stay motivated and focused.

Goodbye is Never Easy

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“How lucky am I

To have had something

that makes saying

goodbye so hard”

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As our daughter makes the transition into the life of university she has made the very adult decision to say goodbye to her childhood friend. She knows he needs more time and attention than she will be able to give him but it is still very difficult. He will be loved in his new home but he will always be her first love.

Goodbye Ike

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“We will never have to tell our horse that we are sad, happy, confident, angry or relaxed. He already knows – long before we do.”  Marjike de Jong

Why it’s Hard to Find a Campsite

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How often do you have trouble booking a campsite?   Ever wonder why?  Our rough research shows that there are indeed far more campers than there used to be, and the number of camp sites hasn’t grown to meet the demand.

Some interesting numbers

1) There are probably 3 times more campers than when I was a child

To start with, there are twice as many British Columbians now than back then.

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2011 RVDA Study

Further, camping is relatively more popular than it used to be. In 2011 over 18% of British Columbian households owned an RV.  As recently as 2005, the Canadian average was just 12% of vehicle-owning households. Continue reading

My Unexpected Benefits of Blogging

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Our first tent trailer bought in 2002

Campthatsite has been up and running for almost 3 months now. About 2 months longer than most of my friends and family thought it would last. I talked about doing a blog for over a year before I actually started it up. Each trip, while making our campground notes, I would ramble on about how it would be great to write a camping blog. Finally, in December 2014, I took the leap. I think what kick started me was a friend from work had a popular parenting blog, “Discovering Parenthood” and after watching her for a few months I felt inspired. She was also there to provide support and answer questions while I got started.  Thanks Tamara! Now after 3 months of blogging I have leared a lot, both about blogging and the unexpected benefits.

What I Expected
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When I started out I thought it would be great to share my notes and experiences with other campers. I was hoping other campers would email me or comment about site number they like or campgrounds they have been to. That has happened a bit but not as much as I had thought. In BC it is very difficult to get a good campground during the peak summer season and my thought was to help others get the perfect site on their first trip. I also hoped that if my blog became popular I might have an easier time booking a site of my own. The campground would benefit from a review and I would benefit by being able to book a site. At this time I am still working on building my blog so I have not tried to use it as a booking advantage but maybe some day.

What I Have Learned

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It’s a small world after all! I would say the coolest thing about doing this blog is seeing how many countries you can reach without ever leaving your front door. To date this blog has reached readers in over 40 counties and all the continents. Starting a blog has also forced me to learn, link and navigate many of the social media tools out there. I have set up a Twitter account, Facebook page, email address, Instagram account, WordPress blog and then linked them all together. This part has been a steep but fun learning curve. I started with 1 lonely Twitter follower, thanks to my daughter, and have watched it grow to over 600. My kids have had many good laughs as they have watched me log on and off several times each day, checking as my followers and views grew. It has been interesting to learn what people like to read, who opts to follow me and what they respond to. I have been surprised how the “personal blogs” have been some of the most popular posts I have done, followed by cool gadgets and tips.

The Unexpected Benefits

Blairs Iphone 258Both my husband and I have loved reliving our 12+ years of camping trips. This blog has given all our memories a permanent scrapbook to share with our family and friends. We have laughed at the photos and memories that were filed away in albums collecting dust or stored in computer files rarely being looked at. The kids have liked hearing camping stories from years they could not remembered and laughing at the crazy thing we have done together as we learned how to become “campers”. It has also renewed my interest in camping, that along with the new 20 foot trailer we bought.112_1241
I have also been surprised by the sheer number of fellow bloggers out there. It has been great getting to know other campers. I have loved reading and learning about their experiences as well as communicating with people from so many different places and walks of life. Blogging is a world I never knew existed and have enjoyed learning about. I will keep posting as long as I am camping and I hope to hear from fellow campers as I continue this journey.