tagged Scamp, travel trailer and united states
tagged Scamp, travel trailer and united states
tagged Colorado, fishing and united states
This looks like it’s going to be a victorious tale about man vs. fish. But it’s not…
Mike and I had been attempting to catch fish for the last 6 weeks without success. We were so desperate that when a 6 year old boy told us about salmon roe and powerbait, we ran out to the store the next day and bought some. For those who don’t know, salmon roe is obviously fish eggs that are baited to a hook. Powerbait is glitter covered playdoh in neon colors with a fishy scent. Trout have keen eyesight, and know to avoid a hook if they see one (according to Wikipedia or some other internet source we read from). By molding the powerbait over the hook, the trout swallows the glow-in-the-dark bait whole.
Well, let me tell you…powerbait works. After only a few minutes Mike almost had his first catch ever! He caught a fish, but just as he almost had it reeled in, the line broke. So, technically he hasn’t caught anything. I threw my reel in and fairly quickly caught this fish pictured above. This is where the tragedy comes in…
Once we got the fish out of the water, we weren’t sure what to do. We weren’t going to keep it, it looked too small. Because the fish was flapping around, Mike couldn’t get a grip on it, and now Mike’s hands are flapping around, and were both looking panicked about what to do next. And he says accusingly, “I thought you knew what to do once you catch a fish. You’ve been doing this all your life.” My thought was, “Dad, can you unhook my fish?” I’ve never unhooked a fish in my life, that’s what dads do for their little girls growing up. So, even with with Mike flapping his hands and all jittery, we finally get the fish on the ground, but can’t see the hook. The rainbow trout swallowed the hook so far that it’s in the back of its throat. I can’t seem to get my fingers down by the hook, the fish is now starting to bleed, and so we decide to cut the line, and toss the little guy back in the water. But it floats to the top. OH, NO. It’s dead. And now on this beautiful lake, there is a dead fish floating on the water.
So we decide to try to hide the evidence of our killing. Using the end of our fishing pole, we try to bring it back to shore. But some how the fish gets submerged, and stays underwater. We wait for it to float back up, but it doesn’t. After a while, we resume fishing, but are afraid. We are afraid our dead fish might reappear, and we are afraid we might catch and kill another fish. After 20 minutes the stress becomes too unbearable, and we head back to our camper– we might have had vegetarian curry that night.
tagged camping, Colorado, Cottonwood Pass, Crested Butte, Lake Irwin, lake irwin campground and united states
From Leadville, we drove on smaller roads through a few mountain passes to get to the Crested Butte region. It was a beautiful drive, green pine and aspen filled mountains littered with wildflowers. It’s green everywhere except at the peaks where the mountains snow has yet to melt, like at the top of the Cottonwood Pass. Eventually, the peaks, pines and flowers give way to a peaceful, serene Lake Irwin. It kind of feels like you discovered something or stumbled on a little treasure. I should keep this little place to myself, but it’s too good not to share. There is a campground here, with about 20 campsites (a few are right on the water). This by far was my favorite place to stay this whole trip.
tagged Colorado, family, gartners, leadville, molly brown campground, turquoise lake and united states
We met my brother and his family in Leadville, Colorado (about an hour south of Vail, Co.) for a few more days of camping. Molly Brown Campground is a nice, shaded campground with plenty of tall pines, and lots of privacy. Although our campsite wasn’t right on Turquoise Lake, there were plenty of spots that were.
While there we went canoeing on Twin Lakes, tried our hand (unsuccessfully) at fishing, grilled on the open fire, and ate roasted smores. Two days of camping is the max. limit of days for my brother, at which time we split up. They headed north towards Denver, and Mike and I headed west in search of a shower. I guess you could say our one limitation without a shower in our Scamp, is that every few days we have to figure out how we are going to get clean.
tagged ancestral pueblo people, Bandelier National Monument, cliff dwellings, new mexico and united states
It’s hard to tell in this photo, but essentially this is a cliff dwelling, where the Ancestral Pueblo people lived. They carved into the porous volcanic rocks to construct rooms used for sleeping, cooking, and storing food. The Ancestral Pueblo people hunted the land for game, such as bison, deer, rabbit, but mainly they were farmers, relying on rains for successful crops. As the region fell into a drought, these dwellings were abandoned for better water resources along the Rio Grande sometime around 1550AD.
tagged Arizona, collared lizard, petrified forest, petrified forest national park and united states
tagged Arizona, bell rock, france, new mexico, sedona, united states and vortex
The red rock formations of Sedona are stunning to behold, but there is much more depth to the rocks than meets the eye. There are special spiritual vortexes that exist in Sedona. These energy centers are located around Sedona, and can be more intense at the actual site of each vortex (4 main vortexes in Sedona) where a person may feel uplifted, inspired, or a strong positive sensation.
The above is Bell Rock, where the “balance” of masculine and feminine vortex is located. I’m not sure if it was the vortexes I felt, but in a place so beautiful, how can you not feel good??
tagged Scamp, united states and zion
tagged Arizona, france, gartners, north rim grand canyon and united states
In the early summer of 1993 after graduating from university, my mom and I drove my little Honda Accord out to Los Angeles to start my first job. Our drive out to LA was an adventure. Remember when there were no safety nets like cell phones or the internet. Driving across the country, you were on your own. If you ran out of gas, you were walking to a gas station. If your tire needed to be changed, you hoped a pay phone was nearby to call AAA. Cross-country travel was still considered dauting and exciting.
Aside from sleeping at night, my mom and I drove straight from Michigan to California with the exception of making one stop– at the Grand Canyon. The allure of the Grand Canyon took us off the highway, turning us into tourists, if not for just one hour. That was the first and only time my mom and I ever did anything so adventurous, just the two of us. It was a fun trip. Thanks mom.
When I get home to Philadelphia, I’m going to see if I can find the photo that was taken in 1993 with my mom and I (rather than Mike and I, as above) standing in the exact same place in front of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
tagged Arizona, colorado river, horseshoe bend, page arizona and united states
tagged antelope canyon, Arizona, navajo nation, slot canyon and united states
tagged fishing, Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, the chains, united states and Waheap
From Arches NP we headed down to Glen Canyon to visit beautiful Lake Powell. We based ourselves at Lake Powell’s Waheap campground, and checked out several different sites around Page (the main town).
There is a turn-off right next to the dam, where you can park and walk down vermillion sandsone rocks to a small fishing/swimming spot called The Chains. We were told frozen anchovies were good bait for catching bass or rainbow trout. The water is so clear we could see the fish swimming just below us. These fish were probably 14″ or more. But they wouldn’t bite. Finally I caught a fish, but it was only a 5″ rainbow trout that we sent back into the water. After 4 hours fishing, all we got were strange sunburns where we mis-applied our sunscreen.
tagged delicate arch, united states, unofficial symbol of utah and Utah
tagged arches, arches national park, fiery furnace walk, united states and Utah
While at Arches NP we took a hike through the canyon fins in search of arches. There are no marked trails on the Fiery Furnace walk, nor are there any trail maps to lead you through the sandstone labyrinth. We took a 3 hour guided tour with a ranger, and although it wasn’t a tough trail, it was enjoyable.
tagged arches national park, camping, devils garden campground, united states and Utah
tagged camping, Colorado, rifle falls and united states
tagged camping, Colorado, mountain pine beetles, steamboat springs lake and united states
The above photo was much of our view of the lake. Sadly, the mountain pine beetles have done their damage on the pines at Steamboat Springs Lake. The park is in the process of cutting down the dead trees, and are planning to replant 18o0 trees this year. The loss of the trees also means, there is little shade or shelter. We stayed two nights; our first evening we got drenched in a hail and rain storm, and the temperature dropped to 36′F.
tagged Big South Campground, Cache La Poudre River, Colorado, france, Ft. Collins, Poudre River and united states
Before we officially set off for our camping adventure, we stopped off in Fort Collins, Colorado to visit with my brother’s family. It was filled with non-stop activities that Kyra and Aiden are involved in…swim meets, tennis practice, soccer games and baseball games. The week culminated with a pinata party, as Kyra also turned 8 years old and celebrated with 10 of her closest girlfriends.
We wrapped up our visit with family by camping in the Poudre River at the Big South campsite, a small campground, about two hours northwest of Ft. Collins. The Big South is situated between the Cache La Poudre River on one side, and the main road on the other. Eventhough camping road-side doesn’t sound appealing, this campsite still offers a good amount of privacy once it got dark.
tagged camping, Scamp, Southwest and united states
It’s hasn’t been that long since we’ve been back home following out trip around the world, but we’ve gotten the summer travel bug. So we’ve decided it’s time to start our next adventure and explore the great American Southwest. Concentrating on the Four Corner States, we’re planning on hitting Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico over the next few months. We’re looking forward to seeing some of the U.S.’s best national parks like Zion, Bryce, Arches and the Grand Canyon.
We were planning on tent camping until Christine found these great little Scamp travel trailers while browsing eBay. Neither of us had ever seen one of these before, but aparently they were quite popular in the 70s. Check out the Fiberglass RV website to see some cool pics of all kinds of small vintage RVs. Only 13′ long and made out of fiberglass, they weigh just over 1000 pounds and are very easy to tow. We found a guy in Illinois who renovates these little guys and are now the proud owners of a vintage 1978 Scamp travel trailer. Fitted with a small stove, fridge and AC, we won’t exactly be roughing it, but we’re looking forward to being self contained as we go back on the road.
tagged earth class mail, mail forwarding, po box, tech tips, united states and virtual office
This is a review of Earth Class Mail.
Click here to visit the Earth Class Mail website.
Update 08/04/09: Earth Class Mail is going to a totally monthly subscription service. The base prices are now $19.95 & $39.95 per month. Scans are now charged per mail piece and are offered in B&W or Color. So depending on how much we scan, we should be paying around the same amount as the old plan.
Earth Class Mail is now also offering check depositing for $34.95 a month for the Professional plan, which also includes a bunch of new features like character recognition for scans and legal proof of receipt.
Earth Class Mail also has a brand new interface with easier access to all it’s features
One question that keeps coming up when people find out we traveled for a year is “How do you get your mail?” Initially, this was a big concern for us. When we went on vacation before, we would have a neighbor come by and pick it up for us or have it temporarily held at the post office until we came back.
This time, neither of these options were going to work for us. Being out of the country for an entire year, we knew there would be important mail that we needed to see. Bank statements, IRS tax information, investment notices, birthday cards from long lost aunts. We really needed someone to open and sort our mail for us.
We briefly considered having our mail forwarded to our parents. But we thought of the amount of mail we got in 1 day. Not just the important stuff, but the junk mail, the catalogs, the magazines. We multiplied that by 365. Did we really didn’t want to dump all of that on them? Plus, even though they may be able to tell us when something important arrived, we wouldn’t be in any one place long enough for them to send it to us. Having them try and figure out the scanner to upload copies over their dial up connection? Forget about it.
Luckily Christine found Earth Class Mail. Earth Class Mail is a brilliant solution for the problem of what to do with your mail while traveling. In a nutshell, they set up a virtual address for you which is a PO Box in one of 20 different cities. You have all of your mail forwarded there. They scan the front and back of each item and send you an email when you have new mail. You login to their site and browse through scanned images of your mail and decide which items you want to read. They open them, and scan the contents into a pdf file. You can then either archive it for when you get back, or have it shipped somewhere. You can also have it shredded or recycled. Here’s an example of the interface.
So how did it work for us?
On the road it was a life saver. The need for access to physical mail really is sometimes necessary. When tax time came around and we were in the middle of Africa, we just had all of our forms and year end statements forwarded to our accountant. When we needed to see the receipts our property management company was sending us for managing renters in our house, we just logged in and downloaded the pdfs. When we were called for jury duty, we were able to respond that we couldn’t attend rather than get in trouble. We even got to see birthday cards from our relatives. It really couldn’t have been any easier.
One complaint I do have is that when we signed up in July of 2007, they were promising a check depositing service. It took until sometime in 2008, but they do have one in place now,
Unfortunately, it is only for business use, not individuals. The Earth Class Mail check depositing service is currently available for Professional account users for an additional fee of $34.95/month. This would have come in handy for me, since I was doing freelance work and receiving checks. Having the the ability to have them direct deposited into my bank account would have been the icing on the cake. Not a deal breaker, though. I just had the checks shipped to my folk’s house to deposit. You still have to pay the shipping, but still better than having them sit at the post office for a year.
What about security? After all, strangers are opening your mail with credit card numbers and SSNs. Take a look here. On their website, Earth Class Mail goes into great detail about all of the security measures they have in place to prevent identity theft, including no recording equipment or even a pencil in the mail room. So far we haven’t had any issues. To make myself feel better, when I see something that I know I don’t need opened that has sensitive info in it, like your Social Security statement, I don’t have it scanned and just archive it for a later shipment.
I read other reviews that complained about the price. I admit, things do add up, but I personally don’t mind paying for convenience. The pricing structure is a bit confusing. Basically, the advertised price is for 2 years, paid up front. I think most travelers only need a year, so that makes it a few dollars more a month. We went with the “Value Plus” plan which is $22.95/month for 1 year. That gives us 5 recipients and 100 pieces of mail a month. You get get the cheaper plan, but keep in mind this only includes 1 recipient and 35 pieces of mail a month. This might work for an individual, but not for a couple, like us
Our plan includes 100 pages scanned per month, which has been fine. We’ve never gone over it. But just know that you can’t scan tons of stuff, or entire magazines or you will be charged $.20/page extra. I’ve read some people complain about that not being clear, so watch out There’s also a $25 setup fee and something new that’s a bit annoying, a monthly storage fee for items archived more than 1 month. This is a recent addition for 2009. I guess they are running out of storage space. We trash a lot of mail now, but while we were traveling, we archived anything that seemed remotely important and didn’t have it shipped until we got back. Storing 200 pieces of mail would have been another $10 a month, so if you get lots of mail and plan or archiving it for a while, factor the storage cost in too.
We actually like Earth Class Mail so much that we’ve been back in the US for 6 months now and we are still using it. I personally love being paperless. I no longer have filing cabinets full of paperwork that I keep “just in case”. I just have anything I want to keep scanned and save the pdfs on my computer. It takes a bit of time to get used to the security of not having a paper copy somewhere, but I am all for it now. My favorite part though, is that the pile of junk mail has gone to zero. I was surprised at how much mail I just shred or recycle. It’s like a delete key for your postal mail. No more credit card offers and catalogs all over the coffee table.
This is just one of the cool tech things that made our lives easier traveling around the world. I’ll review some more of them later.
If you are thinking about trying Earth Class Mail, you can click the link below and get the first month free.
Earth Class Mail: Sign up for your First Month Free!