Welcome to the New Year! Most people make New Year's resolutions in some shape or form. But by the time December rolls around, 99% of any and all resolutions made earlier in the year are now forgotten, and a "new" resolution is made in January, albeit the same resolution from last year. So instead of looking continually forward, what if we look back and learn from the past? That's what I'll do in this post.
Seven months ago, when we left Georgia to start our shakedown trips, we dreaded travel days. Each of us was tense about doing our jobs correctly. We were the inexperienced folks who were just beginning to learn the ropes of RVing. I think that a few people in the campgrounds were secretly laughing at us from behind their RVs. Nevertheless, we jumped the hurdle of "free entertainment for the rest of the campground", and learned to trust each other to do their jobs and move much more efficiently.
Another example of a skill learned is doing my schoolwork on the road. When we travel, I bring schoolwork with me in the car. Sadly, some states' road quality is disappointing, and with a truck with rigid shocks, it makes it worse. My car hand writing is not a good indicator of my regular hand writing. I've learned not to bring certain subjects in the truck with me. While in the RV, I have an easier time about it, but sometimes it becomes difficult to do school without being distracted by something. For example, at the time of me writing this, my background noise is a movie that Nate is watching. Putting on my noise canceling headphones during these times helps a lot.
These past 12 months have been a real mind-changer on how much stuff we had at our house versus how much stuff we actually need. If any of you have moved before, you'll know how this feels. But think about moving into a 300 sq. foot space. You really don't need that much 1990s memorabilia, the same photo from 10 angles, or the old baby toys that you'll never use again. You know what I mean? I had the job of "trash man" before we left, and every Monday during the last 2 months in Georgia, the curb was piled with trash. But now we've lived on minimal stuff for 7 months! (I know, 7!)
I'll challenge all of you to think about what you'd need on a trip like ours, and comment your top 3 things. Here are some ideas: pots and pans, books, toys, favorite clothes, cameras. Put down anything that is not included in the RV when you buy it, for example, furnishings.
We’ve been to a fair amount of campgrounds over the few months on the road. Most of them are pretty family-friendly, and I have a compilation of things to look out for when searching for them.
Your best campgrounds will most definitely be KOAs. These are more expensive, but you can count on a well kept campground. Their play area for kids is normally great, as well as their pool. Clean bathrooms are always a part of the KOA experience.
Another type of campground is the Good Sam endorsed campground. This kind of campground can really vary in cleanliness, levelness of sites, friendliness of staff, etc.. You’ll want to do your research before you book a Good Sam endorsed campground. We've been to Camp Lake Jasper and Big Texan RV Ranch, both Good Sam campgrounds, and we liked them both. On goodsam.com, they review each campground based on facility, restrooms and appeal.
The last type of campground is privately owned and not endorsed by a large organization. These campgrounds can also vary in quality, so take a look at reviews before you book a campground like this. Note: You can look at reviews for KOAs and Good Sam campgrounds as well, but especially look at them with this kind of campground.
Here are some reviews that you will see that will be a clue that you should probably not go to this campground.
Comment 1: Yikes. We heard coyotes all night while we stayed here. Don’t go here!
Comment 2: I’ll never go here again! The sites were very uneven, and our automatic leveler couldn’t do it’s job.
Comment 3: The bathhouse is awful here! They were smelly, dirty, and outdated. Also, the staff was unapologetic and had a “Just man up” attitude about it.
The warning signs for bad campgrounds are listed here:
Dirty Bath House
Bad Customer Service
Again, these are warning signs to look out for. The reviews are a good indicator of the quality of the campground.
I’m writing to a mainly south-eastern audience who probably don’t visit Denver on a regular basis. However, having spent a while here, I’ve compiled a travel post for your use if any of ya’ll are going there soon.
We’ve gone to many parks, so here’s a list of our top 3:
1. Westlands Park- This park has 2 climbing walls, a great playground area, an outdoor instrument area, skatepark, observation tower, and a huge green space. This is definitely my favorite park.
2. Wheat Ridge Park- Another family-friendly park, this has a climbing wall, a toddler play area, playground for 5+, a skatepark, and a nice trail around it. This is situated on a hill, so be prepared for some exercise!
3. Prospect Park- While we were staying in Denver, our RV park was right next to this park. This has 2 playground areas, a lake, and a bike path that leads you to the city of Golden.
Here are our favorite 3 places to eat in Denver:
1. Snooze- This great breakfast place hosts a ton of great food, from cinnamon roll pancakes to corned beef hash to avocado egg toast! This is definitely a must eat in Denver.
2. Woody's Woodfired Pizza and Watering Hole- Apparently it's a Colorado thing to put honey on your pizza crust. Woody's Woodfired Pizza has great pizza with a nice sweet ending to each slice!
3. Zig Zag Smokin' Burger- This burger place has amazing food all around. With the Triple Pig sandwich with fries, grilled Brussel sprouts and a house made root beer, I was perfectly happy.
Here’s our top 3 favorite Denver attractions:
1. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science: This museum is great for all ages. We went 3 times, and 2 of the 3 days we went, they had a special program going on: looking at the sun through a highly sophisticated telescope, and watching the Mars rover, Insight, land on Mars. Also, their regular exhibits, such as their health and space exhibits, are superb and interactive.
2. Defy Thornton- This trampoline park meets American Ninja Warrior place is really amazing for those who want some extreme fun. From 2 obstacle courses to a wipe-out machine that spins 2 foam logs to try and knock you off a small pedestal, this indoor house of fun is amazing!
3. Pikes Peak- America the Beautiful was written on this awe-inspiring stand alone mountain south of Denver. We took a bus up to the top, that was guided by a superb guide. And while you’re up top, don’t forget to eat the world famous donuts (that aren’t so good) in the gift shop! They figured out how to cook them at 14,000 feet.
If you’re a sports fan, Denver is definitely a place to go, from the Broncos football team, to the Nuggets basketball team, this city is highly supportive of their sports teams.
Welcome to Denver!