October 11, 2009

We're back, and wishing we weren't.

Hey all, we're back from our Florida Keys vacation. Saw and did a lot of cool things.

Here's some things to keep in mind on your Keys vacation:

1) Go to Sloppy Joe's. Yes, this is a name of a place, the source of 'the' Sloppy Joe. I had one, and it was the best I've ever had! This was one of Ernest Hemmingways haunts before he moved to Cuba. Plenty of pictures of him on the walls, and stories. Thinking that 'The Old Man and the Sea' was penned there.

2) Rent scooters. A lot less headaches, and parking is free (car parking is .25 for 10 minutes).

3) Take a sunset cruise. A very relaxing way to end a day.

4) Schooner Wharf. Have a drink, a cigar and enjoy the view. Throw crackers to the waiting tarpin.

5) Mallory Square at sunset. Didn't get a chance to see The Flying Cats, but saw some other impressive performers (and some not so impressive).

6) NEVER EVER SPEED! There is a ton of police presence, and there is only 1 road in and out. They'll git ya! Speed limits change a lot from 55 to 45 to 35 back up to 45. So be careful!

Just starting to peel now from the huge amount of sun we took in on this adventure. Ouch.

October 4, 2009

Day 3: Scooter go vroom vroom!

Just another beautiful day in the Keys. We learned our lesson in trying to walk around town to see the sites, just too blazing hot! We gave up and rented scooters, and what a difference! We tooled around town, until Jen had to stop in the pits for a last minute flip-flop repair (sadly, it wasn't repairable, had to get new ones). She almost wiped out in a parking lot, into a brandy-new Lincoln Town Car.

After the flip-flop exchange was made, we zipped around for hours. This was Jen's first time on a scooter, (she's quite the evil knievel) and she had a blast (as did I). Made parking much easier, and more cost effective as parking a scooter is always free, and a car is .25 for 10 minutes. Yowsas.

Stopped by Schooner Warf for some refreshment. (Cold Coke for me, another Pina Colada for Jen. Hmm, is this beginning to be a problem?! "Pina Colada Intervention" here we come.) If you like cigars, you can get one there. Hand rolled, made fresh. Haven't tried one yet, thinking about getting a box, though.

We took a sunset cruise on the Jolly Rover 2. A very relaxing way to end the day. It's an authentic four square sail schooner! Nothing like getting power from sails. Arrrr matey.

When we arrived back in port, we had to stop by The Conch Republic Seafood Company. Wow, had a great dinner. I had the Seafood Wellington, and Jen had the Sea Scallops. And another fruity frozen drink. The truly upsetting thing for us is that we haven't had the Key Lime Pie yet. Must rectify that today!

Plans for today: snorkeling followed by a sunset catamaran back into town. I introduced Jen to this a few years back, and she is hooked. Looking forward to getting up close to the fish of the area, and maybe finding the missing part of the pirate ship Atocha with the half billion worth of gold with it. If we do, in fact, find the missing spanish gold, you will likely not hear from us again as we'll resort to a life of debauchery, jetsetting and full time Airstreamin'. Just sayin'.

October 2, 2009

Day 2: What our trips should always be like

We got into our site late last night (as usual) at Blue Water Key RV Resort and were astounded at it,even in the darkness.

What we are about to tell you about is the best kept secret RV campground in the world, if not the universe. It has the usual ammenities (water, electric, sewer, cable, Wifi). But there are a few things it has that need mentioning.

The size of each site is HUGE. The site we are on is 35' wide by 80' deep. That's a chunk of real estate. The pad isn't that entire size though. You see, on the water bound side (oh yeah, did I mention that we have an easterly view of the Atlantic?) there is a tiki hut. You heard right, a genuine tiki hut. Well, more like a cabana. This "hut" has a wetbar. Two ceiling fans to keep things cool. Lights. Comfy chairs. Floating dock. The water! The moon! The view! The view! The view! Have we sold you yet? Actually, don't come here. It's terrible. (If you don't come then we won't have to fight you for a reservation again next year. Muuaahhh haaaa haaa haaaa.)

More tomorrow as we explore both this campground and the local attractions.

September 30, 2009

Valdosta, GA is almost in Florida! (But not quite.)


True to form, we left home base 2 hours later than we had hoped. That's OK, we're on vacation...finally. Nevermind the fact that we had ambitiously planned to get as far as Orlando...riiiiight. We've hunkered down in a Cracker Barrel parking lot for the night, eager for the morning to come. We'll get a decent breakfast (thanks Mummie) and then head further south on "lovely" (and endless) I-75. Looking forward to getting past the Florida expressway and seeing the sights, as well as our campground in Shangri-La. Stay tuned! Time for Zzzzz's.

August 27, 2009

Boiled Peanuts!

Boiled Peanuts! from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

So simple, yet so ridiculously delicious! I like to call it the caviar of the South. (That's right, you heard that one here.) Growing up, my family used to go to Destin, FL every year (before it became overrun with mini-putts and t-shirt shops) for summer vacation. Like clockwork, we'd stop at a roadside produce shack somewhere in Alabama or northern Florida and pick up a hot, steaming bag of boiled peanuts. And I do mean STEAMING. They would be so hot you could barely touch the shells but were compelled to anyway because of the promise of salty, mushy peanuty goodness inside. The juice would run everywhere and it was a total mess but we didn't care. The salt would make your fingers prune and dry up like you'd been sitting in the bathtub for an hour.

We're not sure the exact way that boiled peanuts are made, aside from, well, boiling water. Oil? Definitely salt. And how long do you boil them? We suspect a long time. What we do know is that it is by far, the best snack food ever. Pairs quite nicely with a Moonpie and an RC Cola.

August 3, 2009

RI Here we come!

So yet another adventure awaits us. A surprise 80th birthday party for my mother, and a chance to get back in touch with people we've left behind up in Yankee territory (affectionately coined, of course.) But first, the trip planning!

View Trip to RI! in a larger map

We'll be ambling north up to North Carolina Tuesday night, after we're done with work. Makes for a long day but there are some advantages to driving at night. We'll be heading for a Cracker Barrel for the night. Next morning, we start our trip to New Jersey. We'll be again staying at another Cracker Barrel.

So you may be asking yourself, why Cracker Barrel? Well, they are very RV friendly. Just let them know you'll be staying overnight. They will let you do it, as long as it doesn't go against local ordinance. So a call would be a good thing to do before you try it. Also, it doesn't hurt to get a good breakfast before you start your driving day! Be warned...we have been startled in the middle of the night by trash dumpster people. THAT is a fun noise at 3 a.m. outside the Airstream window.

OK, after breakfast Thursday, off to Colonial Airstream to get some work done. I'm hoping it won't take more than a couple of hours. Then, to Normandy Farms in Foxboro, MA.

We've been hearing a lot of great things about Normandy Farms. Great location, nice pools (note the plural, there 4 onsite, including 1 indoor heated),and a recreation lodge (indoor pool, double jacuzzi, sauna, arcade, and an adults only loft. Wait. Adults only? Is that weird? Like, an RV swingers club? Eeek. Let's hope not.) Hopefully we'll have some free time to enjoy all the amenities.

24 hours, and we'll be on the road! Woot!

See you on the road!

July 13, 2009

REVIEW: Best Holiday Trav-L-Park, Chattanooga

Don't let the antiquated name fool you into thinking this place is best left alone. Kind of reminiscent of a tacky 60s trailer park, right? Wrong. It is one of the best places we've stayed at! While it isn't flooded with nature or particularly quaint or picturesque, it was clean, easy in and out, well-maintained, and best of all, just a short hop from downtown 'nooga. (That's Chattanooga, folks.)

We showed up at our usual time (10:30 PM, waaaay after sundown and far too late to hope for any sort of daylight to illuminate the area). Fearing the worst, we got to the office and picked up our site info. Pull-through. Nice.

We breathed a sigh of relief to find our site well marked and easy to navigate, with ample room for our sweet little aluminum adventure cottage-on-wheels. Actually, it's big enough for even far larger rigs. Pulling into our site was easy, and all sites had some sort of light to make it easier. We pulled in and hooked up with minimum muss and fuss.

The RV sites all had electric (some up to 50 amp), water, sewer, and cable hookups. Of special note, we were overjoyed (ok, maybe overjoyed is a strong word) that the sewer connection was situated a little lower than the pad, making a nice gentle slope from the Airstream to the connection. That would mean no messing around (literally...ewww) with the sewer hose on disconnect. The less time that thing is in your hands, the better. Nothing turns a good day bad when you've got, um, you-know-what running down your hands. Bring on the Purell. As for the cable, a fair amount of channels to be had. I don't think we watched more than a couple of minutes of TV, with good reason. We're not ones to sit around and watch the clouds roll by, as we're primarily using the site as HQ.

Location, location, location: Best Holiday Trav-L-Park is smack dab in the middle of tourist central Chattanooga, TN. And yes, there is such a thing as The Chattanooga Choo Choo. We've seen it. We stood where the engineer would stand, if this train still moved. Currently, the cars behind the Choo Choo were converted to (rather tourist trappy, overpriced with aging bad 80s decor) dining facilities, and some of the other cars at the station were converted to be guest rooms for the Holiday Inn that adjoins the museum. That actually seemed kind of cool, although we didn't recall them feeling particulary clean. Maybe we're just used to Wally and prefer our own germs to others'. If you're into toy trains, the museum has a toy train car collection, which should be enjoyed for those that are into that. All aboard.

Next up: Rock City has been a tourist trap for decades. However, it still is an enjoyable place to visit. The view from Lover's Leap is fantastic; get your cameras ready. No picture could ever adequately describe the view. When we finally got to the "top" we were pleasantly surprised to hear a bluegrass band playing some old timey tunes with a nice crowd gathered around. It was nice to sit down for a bit and enjoy the breeze.

4th of July evening fireworks found us, once again, heading to where the crowds wouldn't be. There are a good many overlooks if you wind your way up Lookout Mountain, and we settled on a nice view near the Incline Railway station. Speaking of the Incline - yep, another heavily populated tourist trap, but still neat. The Incline is the steepest passenger train in the world, boasting a 73% grade near the top of the mountain. That's downright almost vertical, people. The ascent (or descent) takes about 10 minutes and is truthfully a little lackluster until you get to the steep bit. The "station" at the top is a bit of a disaster: an outdated building with bad carpet, a snack bar that needs a good deep cleaning, and all the magnets, shot glasses and keychains you could shake a stick at. Not our scene.

Finally, one of the more interesting tours is that of Ruby Falls. Best thing: it never rains on Ruby Falls, nor does the temperature get above 58 degrees. Why? Because the Falls are underground inside Lookout Mountain! During the day, there are normal tours with plenty of artificial (and some call...errr...tacky) light. However, we chose to do a nighttime lantern tour. Why? Less crowds, and just a cooler, off the beaten path experience. So all lights were turned off, and the only available light was from our flashlights. This definitely added a bit more adventure. The most incredible thing was when we finally arrived at the falls, the tour guide ran a lantern up more than 200 feet of rope to illuminate the falls. They were completely inside a large cavern, collecting in a large pool on the ground. Interesting fact: they know where the waters end up, but still cannot figure out where the source is coming from.

Bottom line – we'd recommend Best Holiday Trav-L-Park, and the city of Chattanooga makes a lovely weekend jaunt from lots of places in the Southeast.

Until next time...happy travels.

June 25, 2009

Campfires, Yes or No?

A forum I frequent (Air Forums) brought up an interesting point. An individual posted that they hated campfires, and would actually NOT stay at a state campground due to excessive smoke from other campers.

Now, I believe that individuals can legitimately be allergic to the smoke, and that would definitely be a hinderance. Also, another line of thought is that smoke will eventually get into the fabric of their RV, causing it to, well, smell like smoke. However, I personally do not subscribe to that line of thought for many reasons!

Smoke is good. It will help keep away the nasties flying around waiting for a quick meal.

It also serves as a gathering place for everyone to sit down, relax, and enjoy each other's company. When the campfire is lit, the discussions start. S'mores. And scotch. They taste even better when you dunk 'em.

The problems come from people that were not adequately instructed on starting a campfire, or the 'ancient art' of fire tending.

Here's a couple of things to keep in mind when learning about campfires:

If you don't buy seasoned wood, gather only old stuff you find, preferably if you find it above ground where it's dry. Try to break a stick you think you want to burn. It should give a nice snap when you do. If it doesn't break, or if it bends, it's going to burn very smoky. Also, never try to burn anything with green leaves on it. This is where the term 'green wood' comes from. It's gonna smoke if it's green. Cough cough.

Burning leaves is a no-no. So are styrofoam coolers. You may laugh, but I've seen it happen.

When you've worked the fire up to where it's time to put fuel (the largest type of wood) into the fire, make sure it can handle it. If the fire's not hot enough, it may take some time to get it to it's kindling point, which may make for some smoke, especially if the wood hasn't quite aged enough. Artificial accelerants (meaning gasoline, kerosene, Jack Daniel's, napalm, dynamite...ok, so those last two or three are a little excessive) are generally a bad thing. Ok, it's always a bad thing, unless you are in a survival situation, which you won't be.

So go out an enjoy a relatively smoke-free fire. Get out the drinks, make some s'mores, and don't forget to dunk 'em.

See you on the road!

June 18, 2009

Sheriff Spiffy Came to Blogtown.

we can do better and we knew it.

perhaps it's a late case of spring cleaning taking effect, but we decided it was time for a major blog overhaul. see the new graphics?! new palette!? and from here on out...better content, like:

more stories that actually do happen on the road (and beyond!) but never quite seem to make it to the page. also, more pictures that i am constantly taking of our travels but don't make it off the camera card. (shameful, right?)

we are gearing up for another weekend trip, albeit close to home, to the north GA mountains. just a few nights away can be such a nice change of pace from the same four walls you face during the week. hot, juicy topics of conversation around the house regarding the coming trip include:

- biscuits and egg beaters for breakfast (regular style or southwestern? hmm. these are serious decisions. )
- will the AC stand up to 96 degree temps this weekend?
- will miss pickles (our boston terrier) ever stop having anxiety attacks everytime we travel?
- the "fishtail": our new secret weapon for maneuvering the trailer out of some tight spots and campsites. (try getting a 27" trailer into a back-in...takes some practice.)

oh, yes. i told you the content was going to be better. (tantalizing, even.)

we hope you'll love the love we're putting into sharing the airstreamin' life with all of you.

happy travels,

{new blog airstream image courtesy of steven myers photography, design courtesy of miss pickles press design + paper goods}

June 16, 2009

Review: Table Rock State Park, SC

Review: Table Rock State Park from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

We spent yet another 'interesting' weekend in Wally. Started off scary (got there late at night) and got much nicer as the weekend progressed.

The park is nice, very rustic. Most of the original building we built by the CCC's in the '30s and '40s. There are a few cabins (some being renovated) that are available for renting, as well as the campground of course! The Lodge was currently being rented out for a wedding,as it's a beautiful place for it. The view of the mountains was just fantastic.

The town has a lot of local flavor. We had a surprisingly good meal at Aunt Sue's in town (just look for the giant inflatable gorilla). Also were some small shops nearby.

Note to self: Leave early enough where you are not attempting to set up in the dark!

June 3, 2009

A bad day camping is better than..

Well, you know the rest...a good day anywhere else.
Made it out to Destin RV Resort, in the middle of a rainstorm. And of course, it didn't get much better until the afternoon the day before we were leaving.


Destin is one of our person places we love to go. Hit the beach, have some great seafood, walk around town. Couldn't do much walking in the rain, it downpoured way too much for a Memorial Day Weekend.
Need a do-over, a mulligan for this trip.

May 17, 2009

3 Days and a wake up!

Our First Issues with the Airstream from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

Finishing off cleaning Wally for the trip Memorial Day Weekend. Just need to wash the floor, and some other things packed like outside rugs (keep the outside outside!). Learned a bunch of things about what to do (and not to do) on our last trip.

May 10, 2009

Are we there yet?

The anticipation of a trip. Preparing, making sure all things are ready, and packing up. And the inevitable return home. Beginning, middle and end of a cherished memory. What else can I say?

Wally (our Airstream) is sitting at Carolina RV, getting some work done. The converter/inverter/charger met the great bit bucket (in other non geek words, it ain't working) and needed replacing. That explains why the battery wasn't charging. Ah, the joys of warranties! After we pick it up next weekend, we'll be getting ready for a trip to Destin, Florida. We'll be staying at Destin RV Beach Resort. Just a quick walk from Wally to the beach! Nice. Definitely need some down time this Memorial Day Weekend.

So here's the list:
1) Get Wally (you did name your rig, didn't you?)
2) Spruce it up, spring cleaning.
3) Pack some stuff, clothes, beach towels, etc
4) Before leaving, fill the fresh water tanks, gas, cool down the fridge.
5) Fill fridge with snack packs!
6) Get out of dodge!

April 23, 2009

Top of Georgia WBCCI Park

Willa: Winter Host at Top of Georgia Airstream Park WBCCI from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

Stayed here for the first trip of the season, this is nice! Full hookups, sewer, and a babbling river right behind us.

To be able to camp here, you have to have:
1) an Airstream
2) a membership in WBCCI

To get here, we had to go through what I call "Lil Bavaria". Meant to look like a German village, we ate at a restaurant in town that had seating outdoors, which was great as we didn't need to leave Miss Pickles in the truck while we ate. They even brought her a bowl of cool water with ice in it. Nice! And the bratwurst was good too (just a little too much sauerkraut for my taste).

They had just dewinterized the campground, so we had our choice of locations. We met Willa, the winter host there, and had a great conversation about the campground and WBCCI in general.Check it out!

April 20, 2009

Product Review - XChock

Review: X-Chock and Lynx Levellers from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

This is the product I was looking for! Easy to use chocking system for trailers with multiple axles. A lot better than a wedge of plastic bought at Wally World.

Easter at Lake Lanier

Easter on Lake Lanier from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

A bad day camping is better than a good day..you know the rest. Even if there's a ton of rain, your campsite is on a hill, not level, and consists mostly of gravel and mud, it's still better than being in front of a PC. Even with tornadoes looming. And you're stuck in the aforementioned gravel and mud, sliding ever closer to the lake.
Well, it wasn't all bad. Friday was the worst, Saturday was the best. After it dried up, and the backhoe towed us out of the campsite, we got another more level, drier, and all around nicer campsite.

March 29, 2009

It's April!

Well, almost.
First 2 trips planned. First one will be to Top of Georgia Airstream Park. This is a WBCCI only park. We finally got our numbers in, so this first trip may be the one to place the numbers on Wally!

Top of Georgia's a nice little park! Nested in the mountains, there is a nice little stream running through it, a clubhouse, and full hookup (including sewer) hookups for $7 a night. WiFi available, and cable (7 channels). Good place to make sure Wally's up for the summer.

Next trip will be a family affair at Lake Lanier Islands Resort Campground. It will be for Easter, having our family out to enjoy (hopefully) a nice day at the lake, good burgers, an Easter Egg Hunt, and some other activities for the kids. Good Times!

See you on the road y'all!
Team JuJuMagoo

March 23, 2009

Aluminitis setting in!

Just sitting here waiting for the first week in April when we can get to start our adventures. Stopped by storage to check out Wally, the batteries are dead. ARGH! Not a problem, plug it into the truck and let it set for 20 minutes or so, will be good to go. Lots of adventures planned. Cannot wait!

March 5, 2009

Alive and well in GA!

We're finally here, and almost completely moved in. Boxes still hanging around, but thier numbers are slowly dwindling. Can't wait to explore my new piece of America!
Wally is nestled down in a secure storage area, but would feel better if it was in our front yard, solely for a place to temporarily escape to, outside of the house. Wouldn't hurt to be able to 'mess around' with it either, pack it up and have it ready on a moment's notice.

Still looking for a campsite in Florida(beaches,Gulf) for Memorial Day weekend, and not coming up with much. Maybe coastal Georgia? Or maybe the mountains?

Joined WBCCI, perhaps we'll go the the clubhouse this weekend to check it out.

February 13, 2009

On the road again...

Gearing up for the move to Georgia! Woot! Much still needs to be done, packing wise. One of the beautiful things about having Wally is..
1)Packing space! We'll be putting some stuff in Wally to make sure we have what we need the day we arrive.
2)A place to stay on the road. We'll be CrackerDocking on the trip down there. Nice to have a queen bed where we need it, when we need it.
3)We had to get a truck to tow Wally, and we'll be making use of the space there too. Anything that can stay outside safely (meaning it won't matter if it gets wet) will be in the back of the truck.

Did I mention the forecast the day of our move is rain/snow showers/high wind?
The adventure begins!

February 6, 2009

Rode Videomic!!

Well, USPS finally got their act together, and I now have the Canon Mini Advanced shoe adapter to plug my brandy new Rode VideoMic in. Now people will actually be able to hear me in all my glory.

February 1, 2009

First Trip Success!

Lake Lanier Islands Christmas 2008 from Richard Mageau on Vimeo.

Wow, why didn't we do this sooner? Our maiden voyage with Wally was to Lake Lanier Islands Resort Campground. Being Christmas, there were only 4 sites booked, the place was wide open! We had a spot reserved, but we didn't like it, so we changed it to something a bit more agreeable (1 spot over).

Campfire and cocoa was a success! Had a bunch of friends over, made burgers, had a big ole campfire, and never once turned on the TV!

Things we learned:
1) As long as you have chocks in place, the trailer "ain't goin' nowheres". My biggest fear is that the biggest toy investment I have ever made is going to wind up in a lake somewhere, or rolls down a hill and hurts someone.
2) Digital TV is an all or nothing compromise. Either you get a channel or you don't.
3) Grey tanks fill quickly when you take showers. Next time opt for a full hookup site if it's available.
4) WD 40 is your friend. Make friends with the magical powers of WD40.
5) The dinette converta-bed is indeed comfortable.
6) The TV mounted on that really neat arm mount will swing all over the place when it's not restrained. It will stop swinging when it makes contact with aluminum blinds on the windows. Side effect of this are big creases in the blinds, causing many vulgarities to come out of your mouth when you see it, and realize that it was your own darned fault.
7) Campfires are best experienced with friends. And cocoa. And marshmallows.
8) Sway controler hitches can withstand an enormous amount of weight. Just one half of the hitch managed to suspend Wally for about 2 seconds before gravity took over and Wally rolled from the inertia. Note to self: always restrain the hitch before cranking down, lest you go chasing Wally. wiki Potential vs. Kinetic energy.

Happy Trails!