Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winterized

An easy way to winterize your RV is to keep it out of any freezing temperatures, so that is just what we are trying to do this winter.  Well sort of.  We decided to head down to Tampa, FL to spend some of the winter and also visit family and friends that live in the area.

Our son Jered and cousins Mike and Nancy both live just south of Tampa and so it seemed like a good place to say to visit all of them.  One of my work counterparts also lives south of Tampa, but unfortunately, we did not get a chance to visit with each other, but there is always next time.

We ended up staying on MacDill AFB in the FAMCAMP which is a very nice RV park.  They have a 14 day limit during the snowbird season, but we were lucky to get an extension of 14 days, so ended up being able to camp there for 28 days before we had to pull out.

They will let you stay in dry camp until a full hook up lot comes open again, but we decided that we would head north since I have to be in DC later on in the month for some business.  We are not really looking forward to being that far north during the coldest times of the year, but will just pray that no storms come in during that week in DC.

Hopefully after I get done in DC we can had south again for the rest of the winter.
Sunset in Tampa.
The beach on MacDill AFB.
Avery, Ian, Courtney, Chloe, and Tia on the beach at MacDill AFB.

Watching a cruise ship sail out from port.
The sun setting over Saint Petersburg, FL.

While in Tampa we went to go see the manatees at the Manatee Viewing Center.  It was just across the bay from MacDill AFB, but since you have to drive around the bay to get to there, it was a good forty minutes away.

Unfortunately we could only see the backs of the manatees but did see some rays jumping out of the water.

Manatees' backs.
A ray jumping out of the water.
Tarpon swimming by.  The one in the middle is a good five feet long.
We had a great time visiting with all our family while in Tampa with them coming to us on base and us going to their homes.  It was a shame that we had to leave so soon and could not visit a lot more.
All of the family posing with Jered and Hannah for our Christmas picture.

Jered and Hannah with the sun in their eyes.
The kids with cousins Mike and Nancy.
Jered an I also got some fishing in while in Tampa.

A little catfish we caught while fishing one night.
We are not sure where we will end up after the week in DC, but it will surly be a southern state where it will be much warmer than in the north.  We do not mind the cold but it is so much easier if it does not get below freezing or only does it once in a while.

On the last visit with Jered we went to Manasota Beach to look for shark teeth. 
On the beach looking for shark teeth.

Tia, Chloe, and Jered looking for shark teeth.

Everyone looking at what Jered found.

Jered's first shark tooth of the day.

Courtney's find for the day.

Ethan's find.  He only looked for a few minutes though.

All the shark teeth Jered found.
Jered and his shark teeth.
We also took a day trip to visit Misty's family, Steve and Mary Winters Smith north of us while in Tampa.  We had a really good time visiting with them.  We would have loved to have had more time to visit, but a short visit is better than none.
Mary Winters & Steve's family with Misty and our family.
Mary Winters & Steve's family with Don and our family.

So all in all we had a great time while staying in Tampa and visiting all the family.  It was great to see Jered, Hannah, and all her family along with Mike, Nancy and all of their family, and then Steve and Mary with their family.

Also while there my sister Brenda, my nephew Devin, and their friend happened to come to FL for a short vacation and came over for dinner one night.  It was really great to see them while we were there.

We are so blessed to be able to live this lifestyle and have the option to visit family all across America.  God has been and is good to us.

If you follow us on Facebook you can see where we are and so probably try to link up with you while in your area.

God bless!

Thanks!
Don, Misty, and Kids...
Twenty five states visited so far.





Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yellowstone National Park


Since Yellowstone National Park is in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, we will do a blog just on the park itself.

We actually visited it from the west while staying in Idaho, and from the north while staying in Montana and did not go into it at all while staying in Wyoming even though 96% of the park is in Wyoming with 3% in Montana, and 1% in Idaho.

For the blog map though, it will be listed under Wyoming, not that it matters.
North entrance into Yellowstone National Park.
This is one of those places that we always wanted to visit and it is well worth the trip.  We got to see just about every part of the park but had to double back a good bit since parts of the road were closed for maintenance or the season.  It would have been nice to do the full circle of Yellowstone and not have to double back, but at least we got to see most of the park.

We really wanted to come into the park on the Beartooth Highway that starts at Red Lodge, Montana and ends up in Yellowstone by its Northeast entrance.  We missed its opening by a week while staying in Montana so will have to travel it some other time.

So we will not have any pictures of that scenic drive, but will have plenty of Yellowstone pictures.  Each entrance of the park offers different views which are all beautiful.

I'm not going to try and list the pictures in any order but will try to keep them together for each area we visited.  If I showed you every picture we took, this would be a very long blog, so to keep it short and sweet, I will just put in the pictures I think are the most interesting.

Bubbling mud at Artist's Paint pots.

Here is a little joke to help you remember what is the real name for a buffalo:

"What did the mother buffalo say to her son while he was leaving for college?  Bye Son!"  Funny, right?!?
Buffalo or Bison standing in the road.  They are everywhere in the park.
More bison in the park.  Sometimes you had to stop because they block the road.
A bull elk feeding on the side of the road.
Dragon Mouth Spring.
Excelsior Geyser viewed from the boardwalk.
Excelsior Geyser from the parking lot.
Looking into the Excelsior Geyser.
Excelsior Geyser.
Runoff from Excelsior Geyser into the Firehole River.
Fountain Paint Pots Red Spouter.
Fountain Paint Pots Silex Spring.
Fountain Paint Pots Spasm Geyser.
Fountain Paint Pots at the start of the boardwalk.
Bubbling mud at Fountain Paint Pots.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.





 Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Lower Falls.

Grizzly bear warning.

Misty, Ethan, Ian, Chloe, Tia, Courtney, Don, and Avery at Fountain Paint Pots.
Old Faithful Geyser.  Click HERE for YouTube video of eruption.

Avery, Ian, Tia, Courtney, Ethan, Misty, and Chloe at Old Faithful Geyser.
Courtney, Chloe, Ethan, Misty, Ian, Tia, Don, and Avery at Porcelain Springs at Porcelain Basin.
Sheepeater Cliff.

Explanation for Sheepeater Cliff.
Steamboat Geyser.
Sulphur Caldron. It really stunk here.
Valley view from West Entrance into Yellowstone.
Another view of the drive coming into Yellowstone from the west.
One of the two Black Bear we saw in the park.
Another shot of one of the two Black Bear we saw.
A view of the drive from Roosevelt Lodge back to Mammoth Hot Springs.
A view of Yellowstone Lake.
We were hoping to also see a Grizzly, a Moose, and a Wolf, but no such luck.  Also the above pictures are just a glimpse of what there is to see while at Yellowstone.  We visited the park two days and saw about 90% of the park which was rushed.  You really need a good week to see it all and even more time to really take it all in and do any hiking and such.

Planning your visit is the best way to see everything since you can learn the park before you come and plan what you want to see.  

This page has a bunch of maps for the park.  If you study them then you will know where everything is and can plan your visits accordingly.  They will also give you a map when you enter the park and will have which roads are open and closed.

If all the roads were open when we visited we could have seen more sites a lot easier because we would not of had to backtrack so much.  Yellowstone is very large with lots of miles between locations.  Here is a link to an interactive map on the Travels with the Johnsons web page that shows the distances between attractions.

Probably my favorite site was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and its Lower Falls.  Somehow I did not get any pictures of the Upper Falls, so will have to do that next time we go back.

Yellowstone is one of those places that you could visit over and over again and see something different every time.  We are so happy that we finally made it there and hope to get back one day so we can explore it in greater detail plus drive over the Beartooth Highway.

We hope you enjoyed what little bit of Yellowstone we shared and will come back to read more of our posts.  

God bless and may He keep you and yours safe.

Thanks!
Don, Misty, and Kids...
Twenty Five States Visited So Far.