Copenhagen has been fun

We enjoyed our visit to Copenhagen.  It is a lovely city with warm and friendly people.  Everyone rides bikes.2018 copenhagen bike 5x7 netWe rode the hop on hop off bus around the city and saw the distinctive brick architecture; 2018 copenhagen tower 5x7and the dome of the marble church.2018 Copenhagen marble church 5x7Of course there is water everywhere, and the canals are a lovely way to see the city by the water.2018 Copenhagen canal 5x7Now we are getting ready to board our ship, the Regal Princess,  with our family for a  Baltic cruise.  Oslo, Norway is our next port of call.  Bon Voyage.

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We fly to Copenhagen today

We are off to Copenhagen today from LAX.  Our dear son and his love will be taking care of the house and doggie.  We will be on a family cruise to the Baltic states starting next Saturday.  So excited about going back to this part of Europe.  Because we will be on a cruise ship and there is very little internet I will be posting when I can.  I am sure I will have lots of photos to post of our adventures.

 

After the cruise we will be going to London to begin to pet and house sit in England for 3 months.  It will be fun to meet new people and to resit for 2 of our families from last year.  Bon Voyage and I will be posting soon.

Our RV relocation experience; what you need to know

We met a lot of very nice people, particularly in connection with our flat tire the first morning, which happened to be a Saturday.
After our first night on the road we woke to this flat tire.  RV flat tireRVs nowadays don’t have spare tires, which came as a surprise to the RV service support line you’re supposed to call if you have a problem. Practically, this matters a lot, as service trucks are equipped to change tires, not repair them. As it happened in our case, we were only two miles from town, so the driver took off the tire, took it to his shop and repaired it, and brought it back in under two hours. If we’d been a hundred miles farther west in the middle of South Dakota, this would have been a very long delay.  Between the late start and having to deal with the flat tire we lost one day of our time to drive to Las Vegas.
The screw we found in the tire was identical to a couple we found loose in the RV. Just sayin’ it could have been “supplied” in the pickup lot of the factory.
When I booked this adventure, and again when we picked up the RV, I asked if roadside assistance was included, and was told that it was. So I didn’t extend our AAA coverage to include RVs. Turns out, “it’s included” means “we arrange it, but you pay for it.”
Apollo ( the rental company that purchased the RVs and for whom we were locating them) has a great business model for preventing giving you a credit. They collect $1000 as a deposit, not just a hold but an actual charge, and refund it at the end. So you have to pay for the tire repair, and there is no way they’re gonna give you any credit for that, or the loss of the extra day you bought. In fact, their logic about the latter was “Well, you got 10 days for $1 each and 2 days for $145 each. That’s $25 a day average, I can give you that…”
We picked up the RV on a Friday. Although we arrived at 11am, there were dozens of parties also picking up their RVs and we didn’t get done until about 4pm. The briefing was … brief. The water tank had never been filled or tested. You know, the one they say to sanitize and flush before use. The sewer hose was stuck in the carrier, and without fittings. The holding tank valves hadn’t been closed, so when we tested the drains, water ran out. But the A/C and heater worked, the slides didn’t get stuck, and 90% of the cabinet and drawer hardware was correctly installed and stayed shut.  Sometimes going around corners the fridge door would suddenly open and the contents would crash to the floor.
The RV was a Winnebago Outlook 27D, which uses a Ford E450 base and got about 7.5 mpg overall. Driving it varied from very smooth, on a good road with no wind and under 60mph,  to a highly stressful experience when all those conditions were reversed and you’re being passed by a semi at 80mph, in which case it feels like you’re driving a 27-foot sail.  There are a lot of roads in the midwest with 80mph speed limits. I never felt safe much above 72, so there were lots of times when those semis were charging past.  Plus if you have 3 people as we did, the third person is seat belted behind the table.  The seat is very uncomfortable for an adult as you are tossed around a lot and cannot see out the front window.
Wal-Mart is everywhere, and a great resource to RVers, because they sell EVERYTHING in one place (except, oddly, alcohol in Wyoming, for which you have to go next door), there’s always easy parking for huge vehicles, and the price is right.
Here’s our summary opinion of the RV experience: it was nice for a national park experience when you’re planning to spend a few days, and the alternatives are tenting or $350 lodge rooms.  Wow, at $14.08 a night, the senior rate in Yellowstone is unbeatable, even without any hookups. But driving it is kind of a pain, so it’s not so great for the road-trip experience, where you have to move 300 miles a day. We could also see that this mode would be stressful during summer, when RV parks fill up. Even in mid-May, it isn’t “the season” yet in Yellowstone, and places weren’t too hard to find along the way.

A cross-country relocation RV trip

We have always wanted to take an RV ( recreational vehicle) to see if we would like to purchase one.  An opportunity came up to relocate a new RV from Iowa to Las Vegas for $1 a day plus gas in 10 days, sounded like a dream come true.  We took this trip from May 4 to May 16.   We include my sister Sandi in this trip. We flew into Minneapolis and drove to Forest City, Iowa to pick up the RV.  RV photo I will not talk about the particulars of how the trip went as David has promised to deliver one of his data packed posts to fill you in on the details and the actual costs of the trip.  What I will say is that we had a great time in the places that we stayed, but there was way too much driving for me inspite of the fact that we purchased 2 extra days at $150 per day to extend the time.

The first place we stopped at was Mount Rushmore.  It was quite inspiring.  None of us had been there before and we enjoyed the spectacular mountain carvings.mt rushmore heads 5x7We then drove to Yellowstone National Park.  This was my favorite part of the trip.  The park was still snowy in places and the animals had just had babies.  The hot springs and geysers were stunningly beautiful.  Here are some photographs.

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Moma buffalo and baby Red dog

 

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Dave on right checking into Madison Campground

 

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Yellowstone hot pool

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Sandi and David

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Old Faithful

We spent 3 days here and it was wonderful.

We then moved South through Jackson Hole.  It was so cold and rainy there we only stayed overnight and then headed south to Bryce Canyon.

Jenny lake Tetons 5x7

Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons

Bryce was sunny and warm.  It is hard to capture the magnificence of the rock formations in photographs, but I tried.

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Bryce Canyon

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Linda Sandi Bryce canyon 5x7

Linda & Sandi on the Bryce Canyon Lodge porch

We drove to Las Vegas the next day , spent the night and returned the RV in the morning.  Rented a car and drove home.  I was so happy to sleep in my king size bed with my honey that night.

Free tutorial: how to prepare a travel journal before you go

When I am traveling, there is never enough time to make entries in my travel journal.  I want to do at least a bullet journal of what I did that day, tape in some receipts, and stash any brochures in my journal.  I find I cannot remember specifics even with the photos of the events.  Where did we eat, how much did it cost for that museum, and how did we get there?  These are some of the questions I will want to remember and to share with my family and friends when I return home.  The way I have learned to take care of this is to prepare my travel journals before I leave home.  I thought I would share how I do that with you my dear blog readers.

I buy a large blank page notebook whenever I can find them on sale.  I found these at Walmart for only $2 each (a stunningly low price) and purchased 3 of them.travel journal 10Since the paper is kind of thin, I glue 2-3 pages together to make a strong base to paint and to eventually staple and glue the memorabilia from the trip.travel journal 11Then I make the cover using mixed media products, stencils and paints.travel journal 1Now I am ready to start painting or using watercolor pencils to prepare the blank pages to write my journaling, and to attach other items I want to save from the trip. I normally add stickers and colorful borders to the pages as I prepare them.  I sometimes draw light pencil lines since that keeps my writing easier to read later.travel journal 2

travel journal 4

travel journal 7I will add some envelopes and glue two pages together to make a large envelope to stash larger items.travel journal 8Finally, I will put together a traveling art kit that includes; pens, water coloring pencils,  a ruler, tape, double sided tape, a paint brush, a stapler with staples, a big glue stick, liquid glue, and a small pair of scissors. [Use short, blunt scissors and omit anything liquid if you plan to put the kit into your carry-on.]journal supplies

Now I am ready to quickly journal by either writing out a narrative or using bullet points to summarize my day. Here is a bullet journal sample from a day that we spent in Paris last year.

  • went to the Louvre  (got there early and there was not much of a line)
  • saw the Mona Lisa, so many people around it, hard to get close
  • went to dinner at small outdoor cafe at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (romantic)
  • back to the apartment by the metro

I also will purchase postcards, cut up the photos  and add them to the pages.  I also leave some blank pages to add my photos when I get home and have them printed.

I hope this tutorial helps you prepare for your next travel adventure and makes it easier and quicker to write down some precious memories from these fleeting moments in your life.

 

Doing some Pet sitting in California

We took care of two sweet kitties last month for a week near La Jolla, California. Here is a photo of Eddie. _DSC0597 It was a nice break from the house and the routine.  The sea lions, seals and cormorants were all having babies in La Jolla this February.  We drove down to see them.  Here are some sea lions who are lying on the rocks in the sun.  sea lions la jolla Feb 2018 netsea lion nursing feb 2018And here is a mom still nursing her pup.

Here is a photograph of a cormorant sitting on her just hatched babies.  I love seeing new born  animals in a natural environment. bandt cormornds nest feb 2018 netThis is an interesting adjunct to pet sitting in Europe.  There are people in the USA who want pet sitters too.  We have another pet sit lined up for Portland next month for 6 days with 2 sweet kitties.

I am lining up our summer pet sitting schedule and it is almost finished.  We have two people that we sat for last summer who we will sit for again.  Plus 4 other new people to meet and some new pets to love.  We will go on the Baltic cruise then pet sit until the beginning of Oct.  It should be another fun summer.

We are home and getting ready to go back to Europe

I have not posted in a while because being at home is not that interesting.  We have gotten around to all of our doctor appointments and we are healthy and ready to hit the road again.

We have been doing household improvements since we have decided to keep the house for a while.

The new plan is a family Baltic cruise in June and then to stay on in Europe until October or November of 2018 and cruise home.

I am so excited.  I will keep you informed of our progress. Mac our dog is very happy that we are home. destination England 2 I have been working on some travel journals to sell in my etsy shop ( www.etsy.com/shop/LDphotography)  and I will probably post some information as I prepare my travel journal for this summer.  I make up my travel journal ahead of time so all I have to take with me is the journal,  water color pencils, glue, tape and scissors. destination Scotland 2