This is a Guest Post from Kyle Rutten. I will have more updates this week!
The United States has a wealth of world class travel destinations fit for any personality. There are stops with amazing history and culture, jaw-dropping protected wilderness reserves, and completely unique and quiet getaways spots. Whatever your sensibilities, you can find an amazing vacation without having to leave the country. In this article, we’ll break down some of our favorite spots of the year to help get your gears turning on your next adventure. Let’s dive in.
1. The Rolling Destination: Colorado RV Trip
If you want to maximize novelty, an RV trip is the perfect way to do so. In fact, putting ourselves in a novel environment trips a circuit in our brain that evolved to increase focus and creative thinking in order to improve survival when we’re on the move. It’s this effect that makes so many of us love travel, because of the “feeling” we get. The best way to maximize that feeling is to maximize the novelty we experience.
Hence, an RV trip. You can fly into Denver and rent a rig from one of the premier, privately owned Colorado RV dealers in the area. From here, head west for the trip of a lifetime. About an hour up I-70 you’ll find yourself surrounded by countless adventure options.
Hiking, camping, rock climbing, rafting, zip-lining, fishing, kayaking, and so on. If you are looking for the most action in one trip, this is the way to do it.
2. Take a Retreat in a Tree House
If you’re looking for some quiet time to recharge rather than nonstop action, go chill in a treehouse for a few days. Treehouse Point in Fall City, Washington is one of several tree house getaways in the United States.
There are yoga classes and numerous hiking trails to enjoy. Or you can cozy up with a book and let yourself decompress. The area is surrounded by pacific northwest greenery that will calm the worst of nerves. If you’re looking for a reset in your life, this is the place to be.
3. Rad History: Dry Tortugas National Park
On a tiny island off the coast of Key West Florida you can find Dry Tortugas National Park. Within the park is the extremely unexpected Jefferson Fort. A massive, 16 acre brick fortress that takes up the entire island it resides on.
The fort was a controversial build during the early days of our country, with some experts seeing the location as completely unfit for a naval installation. However, the decision was made to construct the base in order to secure the area for merchant vessels. It was believed that merchant vessels in the area were mission critical to the survival of the union at this time.
Whether you are into history, or just want a bit of the island charm, the Florida Keys are a must see.
4. Every Night’s a Party in New Orleans
If nightlife is your thing, it’s hard to find a better place than The French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Every night, Bourbon Street comes alive with jazz, blues, hip hop, folk and other genres of high-energy live music. Drinks are always at the ready, and the open container laws of the town make the place feel like the party simply never stops.
During the day, there is also plenty to take in here, including some of the best food you will ever put in your face.
Pro Tip: Forget about your diet in New Orleans and eat as much as humanly possible.
5. Nature’s Grand Finale, Autumn Colors in the San Juans
Every year as the Rocky Mountains make their preparations for winter, millions of Colorado aspen trees turn a vibrant gold. The spectacle attracts tourists from all over the world and is truly a sight to behold.
The perfect hidden gem for witnessing this phenomenon is taking a ride on the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Enjoy a charming ride in an enclosed rail car, with food and drink available. The train winds through 45 miles of some of the most stunning wilderness Colorado has to offer. Time the trip right, and you’ll get to see a sea of aspen trees bursting with their seasonal gold. It’s a ride you will not soon forget.
The United States is a difficult place to top in terms of travel options. No matter what kind of activities you enjoy, there is always a place you’ll love. Travel is an important way to gain a fresh perspective in life and touch that ever-elusive feeling of joy and meaning.
It’s for this reason that we are firm believers that you shouldn’t wait to “find” time to travel, but rather “make” it. Hopefully this article has inspired you to get out there and have an adventure, the world is waiting!
Kyle Rutten is a freelance content creator for B&B RV located in Denver, Colorado. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, exploring the wilderness and taking advantage of the active lifestyle that Colorado’s mountainous terrain offers.
We left Apache Junction, Arizona on Saturday after a winter season in the warm desert sun. We are now on our way west to Atlanta to visit family and spend some quality time with our granddaughter.
We will miss the vistas of Arizona, but it is time to move on. Usually after a few months in one place, we get a bit antsy and need to change things up a bit. While my job in Apache Junction was enjoyable for the most part, we met a whole lot of wonderful people and the resort was very nice, it was time for the job to end.
So here we are on the road again heading for our new adventure!
The demands of so many web-based jobs made it difficult for me to find the time to update The Traveling Sitcom. I will do my best in the near future to remedy that. In fact, I’m planning a post on the top 10 things to do in Apache Junction. Look for it soon!
In the meantime, we are traveling east, taking back roads and checking out some of the sights.
We made our way through Springerville, AZ, at 7500 feet above sea level in the high plains. This area is fascinating to me because we are above tree line and the wind is a constant. And there is nothing for miles and miles!
Ralph and Faith supervising the sandwich making during one of our breaks…
This is Socorro, NM. This is the Large Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Here they listen to outer space. It was placed here due to the fact that there are no nearby towns and the area is surrounded by mountains to keep sounds at bay.
The movie “Contact” was filmed here.
Really, you never know what you are going to come across when you take the back roads!
These are the high deserts just south of Albuquerque. For those of you that might have watched “Breaking Bad”, parts of the show were filmed here.
So..leaving NM and heading into Texas.
New Mexico:So sorry to see you leave! Hope you come again soon! We will have a hot beverage and a plate of nachos waiting on you. Take care and be careful on your travels. We will miss you!
And there were turbines! Miles and miles of turbines! Texas produces the most wind power of any other state. Farmers allow wind farms on their lands to create a second stream of income.
If you look closely in the photo, you can see cows meandering around the turbines.
A stop in Amarillo at Cadillac Ranch. You will see it just off I40 west of Amarillo. It is a public art installation and sculpture created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. It consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line.
Writing graffiti on or spray-painting the vehicles is now encouraged, and the vehicles, which have long since lost their original colors, are wildly decorated.
And of course a stop at the Big Texan. Known for it’s 72 oz. steak that is absolutely free if you can eat it and a bunch of sides within an hour.
Believe it or not. This is not the 72 oz steak! We had enough left over for several meals.
Totally bigger than my head.
We have now made it to Oklahoma City where we will spend a few nights and visit our oldest daughter. She loves to show us around, so stay tuned to some great sights in the Oklahoma City area!
Oh, and our current RV site even comes with our own personal tornado shelter. We feel pretty darn secure. That’s for sure. LOL!
It’s been a busy season here in Apache Junction and with my new Social Media Director job, and six websites to maintain, I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind here on The Traveling Sitcom. We will be here in Arizona for five more weeks and I hope to catch up on at least the highlights of this beautiful area over the next few weeks.
We are going to start with the amazingly beautiful Apache Trail.
Yes, we are finding the time to explore. After all, that is why we went into full timing in the first place. The Apache Trail and Tortilla Flat were first on our list of must sees. And apparently we liked them because we have driven this route several times now.
Named after the Apache Indians who once used this route, the Apache Trail, or AZ 88 as it is officially known, links Apache Junction with Theodore Roosevelt Lake, traveling through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest.
Known as one of the ten most dangerous roads in Arizona, we had to check it out.
But before we hit the actual trail, we made one stop…
Tortilla Flat was originally a freight camp, home to a small community for years. Only a small part of the town remains, but what’s left is touristy Old West.
The town, population six, is Arizona’s smallest town with a post office as well as a voter’s precinct.
Quite literally, Tortilla Flat is just a wide spot in the road. But we had heard a lot about it from those that visit here every year. We were told to try the hamburgers at the restaurant there. They were supposed to be epic.
Hamburgers, you say? Well, we certainly needed to check that out. I mean sometimes you have to make a few sacrifices in the name of tourism.
Walking into the Superstition Saloon and Restaurant is an adventure in itself. The first thing you see (besides the kitchy saddle barstools) are thousands and thousands of dollar bills on every single wall and ceiling in the place. According to our waiter, over 500,000 in dollar bills.
Interesting enough, this saloon was rebuilt after the 1987 fire which destroyed almost the entire town. At that time, the saloon had been blanketed with dollar bills that burned with the building.
The tradition has lived on.
Okay, I’m sure you are wanting to know about the burger. Yes, it was awesome. We will be back.
The rest of Tortilla Flat consists of an old one-room school house, an ice cream parlor, two gift shops and a post office.
We tried out the Prickly Pear Gelato before we left town. An interesting flavor, similar to strawberry, but not as strong. Not sure I’d get it again, but I can now say I had it.
And now to check out Apache Trail!
Armed with our maps and our sturdy KIA Soul, we ventured onward, determined to get a taste of this road that we had heard so much about. We had pavement for a few miles past Tortilla Flat until we got to mile marker #220.
And then our adventure began.
We passed a scenic lake, took a few photos and at this point were not too intimidated by the road ahead.
And then the hairpin turns and the switchbacks began. Our little KIA climbed and climbed. Rail guards were few and far between and in most instances as we climbed the narrow road, there was nothing between us and the edge of the cliff but a few feet of dusty road.
It may seem a little late to mention this, but your car should be in good working order before taking this trip. This is not an area that you want to break down in. There are also restrictions on size and weight of vehicles on the Apache Trail. It is not recommended for RVs.
Our little KIA was not informed of this ahead of time. We didn’t want it to freak out.
You see, there is no cell phone coverage here, and very little traffic. Which is good in a way because the road is so narrow and every blind corner is an adventure in itself.
But the amazing scenery is worth the journey! Every inch of it. The forty mile route took us about 4 hours. By the time we got to Roosevelt Dam, it was nearly dark. And our KIA was no longer silver. More of a muddy brown.
We have since taken this trip two more times. The Apache Trail is a definite must do if you are in the area. Put aside a day and check it out.
Motorcycling the Desert
Another thing that has been keeping us busy this season is motorcycling with a group from the resort. Turns out there are lots here that have motorcycles and about once a week somebody organizes a ride.
It’s the most use our motorcycle has gotten since we hit the road three years ago.
The desert offers so much to see. I honestly never get tired of looking at the beautiful vistas.
I have lots more to show you and hope to share it over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
Every year, I like to take stock of the year before, looking at both the good and the bad. As full time travelers, we get lots of questions about our life on the road. This post might answer a few of those questions as we look back on the happenings of 2017.
We get asked a lot if we will ever settle down again in a regular home. At this point in time, we have no plans for that. We have absolutely no regrets. We love our new roaming lifestyle and the fact that as we work-camp across the country, we get to actually experience each area as the locals do.
We have been on the road since the spring of 2015. If you would like to see reviews of our previous years:
The year 2016 brought us our first look at the state of Arizona. We arrived there at the beginning of the summer, with the idea of checking out the Grand Canyon, and then moving on.
Many ask about our financials, so I will go into that a bit, along with a few things we have learned and experienced as we traveled in 2017!
Total Mileage this year
We began 2017 working at the KOA in Tucson, AZ. Our job ended there in mid February. At the time, we didn’t have anything lined up for late summer, but planned on spending time in Atlanta, GA for the birth of our first granddaughter.
So, we took a scenic trip from Tucson to Atlanta.
Our route took us to the White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Both of them are must-sees! We then made our way through Texas with a nice stop in Galveston. Our final destination was my daughter’s home in Douglasville, GA. A total of around 2800 miles.
After the birth of our granddaughter, we managed to line up positions at the Boston Cape Cod KOA starting in July.
Here is where things went wrong.
Due to mechanical issues (that I will talk about later in this post), we ended up in Forest City, Iowa. Above you can see our convoluted route, adding a total of 1600 miles onto our commute.
Once the coach was repaired, we made our way finally to Cape Cod to work out the rest of the summer. We took a week or so on this route and actually enjoyed the scenery. We did a fun stop at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop too. Total mileage on this leg- 1,421 miles.
Our final two legs of the year took us from Boston/Cape Cod to Atlanta- 1200 miles, and then from Atlanta to Apache Junction, AZ- 1765 miles.
That’s a ton of driving in one year! A grand total of 8786 miles! Craziness!
Our favorite campgrounds for 2017
With all the traveling that we did, we stayed at over 30 different campgrounds this past year. Too many to list here. But we want to talk about 4 campgrounds that stood out this year. Our top four…
Our absolute favorite campground of 2017 is a tiny little RV Park in Mobile, Alabama called All About Relaxing RV Park. We only got to stay there one night, but they left such a big impression that both of us named them right off when I started putting together this list.
Check out the welcome chalkboard in front of our site! What a great way to start off! The campground is small with roughly 40 sites, but well laid out, big rig friendly, a nice pool and amazingly nice laundry and bath house.
Perched along Lake Martin in north central Alabama, Wind Creek State Park was another of our favorite places this year! We stayed in a brand new premium section of the park, right on the water. Each site was large, with amazing views! Definitely worth a return trip!
Located along near the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains in northern Virginia, Staunton Walnut Hills KOA has become a regular stop for us. We love the rolling green hills, the country feel and the huge lake! This year marks third stay at this campground!
Finally, we have to mention Waterloo KOA in Iowa. A big beautiful lake, surrounded by fields and fields of corn. We loved the walking trail around the lake and the beautiful setting. This is a definite stop if we end up in Iowa again.
Finances for 2017
The majority of our bills which include RV payment, health insurance, vehicle insurance, phone/internet bill, and all website overhead and taxes are covered by my websites, Suzy’s Sitcom and Daily Holiday Blog.
We use our work camping income to cover our food, gas and spending money.
This year, I was fortunate to take on a job for a group of campgrounds in Arizona who were needing a Social Media Director. I am handling their websites, Facebook pages and newsletters and can do it from my coach wherever we might be. They do require us to be in Arizona during the winter (their busy season). So, it not only gave us another source of income, but a place to park our home in the winter!
Aside from traveling expenses this year, our only other major expense was a new iPad and iPhone for Dave. Seems that after a few years, they seem to have a self destruct button in them. We finished paying off my phone a few months ago, so we are waiting for my button to go off.
I’d say LOL, but not really…
Mechanical and Coach Issues in 2017
Yep, it seems like every single year brings some mechanical issues for the coach, and 2017 was not different. We started out the year with a scheduled maintenance in Atlanta to the tune of $1800. Dave believes in maintenance in order to help avoid major issues.
Failed Full Wall Slide
But major issues can happen anyway. On our trip up to Cape Cod, our full wall slide failed for the second year in a row. After some research, we decided to take the coach to the Winnebago Factory in Forest City, Iowa for the repair. We wanted it done right and we had heard that they had come up with a new fix for this apparently common issue.
We spent about two weeks living in the Winnebago Factory parking lot. We have to say that they were extremely nice, gave us a place to plug in, and were able to fix the slide under extended warranty. The repair included a whole new slide mechanism which we hope is our final solution.
Dave busied himself with repairs that he could do on his own while we were there. Someone’s big butt broke the bed. That person shall remain nameless.
With the parts department right across the parking lot, things were quite convenient.
Water leak/Slide Cover Damage
While in Boston/Cape Cod, we experienced our first hurricane while in the coach. It was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it got to us, but hurricane Jose managed to stay around for a couple weeks over the Boston area, giving us lots of rain and wind.
And one morning I woke up to find all the carpet in the coach soaked and wet. We had a leak. As it turned out, a large limb had fallen down and tore the awning over our slide out, revealing the hole for the locking mechanism. And a river of water was coming through that hole onto my carpet.
It took weeks for me to dry out the carpet and several months for Dave to get all the parts he needed to make the repair to the awning. In the meantime, we had to pull the slide in everytime it rained. About $500 later, we now have a new slide awning.
Wiring Problem in the Steps
Driving down from Cape Cod to Atlanta, we stopped at a rest stop to walk the dogs and realized that the steps were out. We were lucky that Dave hadn’t ran them into anything. We could not get them to go in, so Dave had to crawl under the coach and disable them. I handed him my duct tape and we taped the crap out of them.
Climbing in and out of the coach was rather hazardous for a while until we managed a few days later to fix the wiring.
Oh, and now the rear view camera seems to have its good days and its bad days.
There is always something….
New Gadgets for 2017
Affiliate links to Amazon below:
Dave is a fan of gadgets and things that make our life on the road easier. Here are a few that he found and bought this year:
Adjustable Water Pressure Regulator The water pressure in Cape Cod was ridiculously high and they warned us about it when we got there. High water pressure can burst your pipes if you aren’t careful, and we certainly didn’t want any new issues!
We have seen many sights this year and had lots of great adventures. It’s pretty darn hard to narrow it down. Here are a few of the many that stand out this year:
It has been a good year all in all, with lots of great memories!
Looking at 2018
We will be living and working in Apache Junction, AZ until April 1. We are then going to take a trip across the country again to Atlanta to visit with the grand baby for a few weeks. Because we have to have some grand baby time, of course!
We will be working the summer in Polson, MT, right on Flathead lake near the top of the state. So another cross country trip will happen in early May from Atlanta to Montana. We are scheduled to work in Montana until mid September.
After that, things are up in the air and plans are being made.
We love Arizona and so far the winter has been typical for the state. Very warm during the day and chilly at night. We have not seen a drop of rain since we got here and word has it that they have actually gone over 90 days without rain. We really can’t complain about the weather, but I’m sure the farmers aren’t too happy about it.
We took a trip this week down to Casa Grande to the Wuertz Gourd Farm last week and stocked back up on gourds. Since we’ve been here, I’ve had some time to stock my Etsy shop and chicken gourds are my biggest seller. Keeping them in my shop especially this time of year can be daunting. Luckily my gourd source is right here.
Hundreds and hundreds of gourds to choose from. It is fun to go from basket to basket and imagine what that gourd could become. I actually tried to branch into other animals at one point, but the chicken gourds are what everyone wants. So there is that.
Back at the RV Resort, I’ve been following folks around taking photos of events, and making a nuisance of myself. Folks are slowly warming up to me. I have to say that the first few weeks were a little tough. People get suspicious when you are constantly taking photos of them.
Ralph, on the other hand, has no problem with it.
Last week, I covered the Golf Scramble, Bowling, went on another fun motorcycle trip, went to several dinners, and some great entertainment. Here is a short clip of the entertainment from last Friday night.
This week we are going on another mystery tour and I will be documenting a ladies shopping trip out. Lots of Christmas things going on too.
Which means that we cannot help but get in the Christmas spirit. We decorated up the inside of the coach. And I have Christmas music playing in spite of Dave’s raised eyebrows. (Normally our radio is set on all Ozzy all the time). It’s Christmas, so I win.
We finally made it back to Arizona! I have to say that since we have been on the road, Arizona is one of our favorite places. And it never fails to impress.
Since becoming full time rv’ers, we have found that many full timers establish a winter destination and return there every year. About half the RV parks in the US close down for the winter, leaving only those in the western and southern states available. We got into this whole thing to travel and really don’t want to be tied down to one place and so far have spent our winters in Florida and Arizona.
But it seems that the state of Arizona has us back again for the second year in a row. Back in early summer, I applied for a position as a Social Media Director for a group of resorts in Arizona. I didn’t really think that they’d consider me, but I like to always keep options open for additional income.
And what do you know? I was hired! This is a year-round position that I can do from my coach anywhere in the country as long as I have internet connection. They do require, though, that we spend our winter season in Apache Junction, AZ at the largest of the resorts.
We arrived at the resort the first week of November, after spending a little time with family in Atlanta. My job is to document all the activities, update Facebook and their websites, and create a weekly email newsletter.
Dave’s job? Well he is so far taking the winter off. That may change if he gets bored, but it is nice to know that between my websites and the two companies that I do social networking for, we can pay the bills and enjoy traveling.
Shortly after arriving, we noticed that about 2 dozen or so people in the park have motorcycles. They were happy to have us join them and so far, we have been on three long motorcycle adventures. Finally, the motorcycle is getting some use.
One of the first activities that I documented this season was called the “Mystery Tour”. Basically, everyone who wanted to go met at the entranceway where we were handed maps. We carpooled to the mystery location and then enjoyed a fun tour. Here is the movie that I put together afterward:
The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix were amazing.
If you ever get a chance to be in the area, we highly recommend a trip out to see them. Meridian RV Resort does a mystery tour once a month and we can’t wait to see where we will be going next!
My new job has me going outside my comfort zone in a lot of areas. I’m required to attend and document all functions and activities.
Things like the Shooters Club where we literally took our tiny KIA 4-wheeling through the desert to the local shooting range. No cell phone signal, lots of loud guns, and possibly snakes. Craziness.
We have been to lots of great dinners and have seen some great live entertainment! Oh, and I will also be covering lots of fun events outside of the resort! Things like the Tumbleweed Christmas Tree in Chandler, State Fairs, The Renaissance Festival, and much more.
And the season has just begun. Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Arizona. We will be here until the beginning of April.
I know it has been a while since posting and just wanted you all to know that we are still enjoying the RV lifestyle! Our jobs in Cape Cod were pretty strenuous. Working 40 hours per week at a very physical job, keeping my websites up and Etsy shop full, took a toll on me. Something had to go to the wayside.
We have completed our job in Cape Cod and are now on the road headed to our winter destination in Apache Junction, AZ. You can see where we are by clicking here.
So…I wanted to take time to create a few final posts of the Cape Cod area. We actually were able to take a few days off here and there and enjoy the area. And because we were both on diets, it seems that food was on our minds.
We took advantage of the Hungry in Hyannis Tour to not only see a bit of the town of Hyannis, but enjoy some of the great food they had to offer.
Hungry in Hyannis is a walking and eating excursion. The walk is about 2 miles long and takes you to seven different eateries where you sample food along the way. You get insight into the foods, history and culture of the port town of Hyannis.
We met our tour guide at the Brazilian Grill. The Brazilian Grill offers an authentic Brazilian dining experience as they serve you Churrasco a Rodizio, which means “Rotisserie Barbeque.” And the best part? It’s all you can eat!
They offer a wide variety of different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken that are slowly cooked over natural wood to preserve all their natural juices and flavors. Tender morsels are brought to you on skewers and carved at your table.
Our group of ten “foodies” were allowed to sample quite a bit of food before our tour guide moved us along. Frankly, we could have spent the afternoon there.
Our next stop was a short walk down the street to a Peruvian-Italian Kitchen called Tumi Ceviche. They are known for their Peruvian ceviche, housemade pastas and wood burned grill steaks.
Here we sampled the Peruvian Ceviche! The basic ingredient is raw fish, cut into bite-size pieces and marinated in the juice of an acidic fruit (usually lime), salt, and seasonings (usually chili peppers).
The citric acid in the juice changes the texture of the fish, without changing its “raw” taste. Ceviche is an old tradition in South America, dating back to the earliest inhabitants.
I have to say that it is totally not something I would normally order. But it was in fact, delicious!
Here is another little restaurant that we would have missed if we had been off on our own. At Pizza Barbone, they bake their pizza in a beautifully handcrafted oven, which was built from scratch out of rock and ash from Mt. Vesuvius and covered in hand painted glass tiles before being shipped from Naples, Italy.
The oven is so hot that this pizza took only a few minutes to bake. And as pizza experts (after our Pizza and Beer Tour in Boston), we give their pizza an A+! Just wait for it to cool before you take a big bite…
Ocean Street Café & Deli offers a diverse array of Mediterranean and Eastern European food, from Russian crepes and borscht to a salad bar featuring tabouli, stuffed grape leaves, Greek olives, roasted red peppers and lukanta antipasto, a Bulgarian salami.
Here, we tried the Baba Ghanoush. It is a dish consisting of cooked eggplant mixed with tahina (made from sesame seeds), olive oil and various seasonings.
It was quite good! To this day, Dave does not know he ate eggplant. (Let’s keep it to ourselves…)
The bakery is located in an old, historic warehouse in Hyannis, just 1/2 a block south of the east end of Main Street. Upon entering, it’s like inhaling a little piece of heaven!
Here we sampled “Kayak Cookies“. Born as a hearty snack for kayaking trips, they took a classic cookie and give it some depth. Rolled oats add texture, while the raisins and salt combine beautifully to give a perfect blend of sweet and savory.
Our final stop in the Foodie tour took us along the docks in this pretty fishing town.
The Black Cat Harbor Shack is located next to The Black Cat Tavern on beautiful Hyannis Harbor. Here we finished off our tour with a sample of their clam chowder!
We loved the Hungry in Hyannis Tour! It was a great one-on-one experience. They limit the tours to 12 at the max which gives you the opportunity to ask questions, learn the history of the restaurants and the area around them.
Well, we’ve been in the Boston Cape Cod area for about a month now. Life has been busy and with a full time job at the campground, we are still managing to get out once a week to see the area. The beaches are incredibly crowded this time of year and we will have to wait until September to truly check them out.
In the meantime, we decided to get a first hand look at the City of Boston with a fun Boston Pizza and Beer Tour. Because I simply can’t think of too many things better than pizza and beer. What a great way to check out Boston!
According to the locals, the best way to get around Boston is by subway. The rail system through the city is quite extensive and is a great way to avoid traffic, honking cars and irate drivers.
It may be my imagination, but it seems like everyone here is a very aggressive driver. Stop signs are just suggestions, cross walks mean take your life in your hands, and they just love to honk horns.
So with that in mind, we took the red line into Boston. Our destination was North Boston, the oldest part of the city. Parking at the subway station was just $7 for the day and two round tip tickets was about $11.
Our destination? The North End!
The North End, Boston’s oldest neighborhood, was settled in 1630. It is also known as Little Italy, and Italian is still spoken in the streets. Visitors flock to the North End largely to eat. Within the 1 square mile of The North End, there are around 100 restaurants and bakeries to choose from.
There was a huge Farmers Market which made me instantly wish I had brought the car rather than taken the subway. Prices were amazing and the fruits and vegetables were beautiful.
We would definitely be back another time with the car.
We were told to check out Bova Bakery. And of course had to buy a couple of Cannolis. I mean, how can you walk by a bakery and not stop?
Bova Bakery is actually open 24 hours, so if you get a hankering for a Cannoli or baked good in the middle of the night, they have your back.
The North End was beautiful. Not only was there lots of historic buildings to see, but a new park with fountains and a carousel.
After looking around a bit, we met up with our guide for the Pizza and Beer Tour.
The Boston Pizza and Beer Tour is a walking tour that takes you through the North End, Charlestown Navy Yard and the Blackstone block.
On the tour, we would get to eat pizza at three different pizza places and stop at three different historic taverns. A scenic ferry ride across the harbor is also included. The walk would be about 4 miles long, and our guide, Nicole, would fill us in along the way on local history and fun facts.
We spent the past few weeks on an unscheduled trip to Forest City, Iowa and the manufacturing facility of Winnebego. While Iowa was cool and all, we were excited to be back on the road in a fully working coach again.
After contacting our new employer at the KOA in Boston/Cape Cod, and given the go-ahead, we were on the road again heading to our end of summer job in New England.
But we had to make one final stop before we left the state of Iowa. You see, on the eastern edge of Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River, is the World’s Largest Truckstop! We had seen it featured on several travel shows and we certainly couldn’t drive right by it without checking it out!
The Iowa 80 Truckstop, established in 1964, features eight restaurants, a convenience store, gift store, Super Truck Showroom, barber shop, chiropractor, dentist, movie theater, workout room, laundry facilities, gas islands, diesel fuel center, truck service center, Truckomat truck wash, Dogomat pet wash, CAT Scale, 24- private showers, trucking museum and more!
Yep. It’s a small city in one truck stop!
The truck stop itself is set on 220 acres, which is four times larger than the average truck stop. They receive nearly 5,000 visitors daily in the main building, have parking for 900 trucks, and 150 fuel pumps.
And the store is simply Disney Land for truckers and those that love the industry! You name it, they had it.
Need a back massage? They have a Chiropractor for that! Tooth hurts? There is a Dentist on call! Doggies dirty? Step up to the Dog-O-Mat!
Need a cup that is bigger than your head? They totally have your back!
Don’t miss the chance to check out the Iowa80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa. It is well worth the time. Craziness!
In Indiana and Pennsylvania, we traveled through quite a bit of Amish Country. This gentleman in the photo above was driving into work. He apparently worked at the KOA that we were staying at in Mercer/Grove City Pennsylvania!
We are huge fans of Amish cooking. It’s pretty amazing. So, of course we stocked up. Those packages of noodles? Well they were made in Middlebury, Indiana. There were several noodle factories, run by the Amish, right nearby!
Soon, our trip took us to our final destination!
This will be our spot for the next several months at the Boston/Cape Cod KOA. We will be here until just past Columbus Day weekend, as work campers.
We love our tiny spot tucked into the woods!
And finally we can add a little cash to our suffering checkbook!
Our new jobs are in housekeeping!
Dave has always done the laundry, so I used to pride myself in saying that I haven’t done laundry in 25 years. That is no longer something that I can say. LOL!
Stay tuned for lots of great photos and sights to see in the Boston Cape Cod area! We are so excited to finally make it here!
Well, we’ve spent the last three weeks hanging out in Forest City, Iowa waiting for repairs to our coach. Arriving just before the July 4th holiday meant that we would have to wait with about 30 other coach owners for our turn and hope that somehow we would get in before all the employees left on holiday.
We watched our name move up on the waiting list, but unfortunately it did not move up fast enough. We were going to be living in the Winnebago parking lot for the holiday weekend. And maybe quite a bit longer…
So what to do?
Dave busied himself with repairs that he could do on his own. Someone’s big butt broke the bed. That person shall remain nameless.
With the parts department right across the parking lot, things were quite convenient.
I did a bunch of Face Timing with my little granddaughter…
And a bunch of wash…
And we both drove down to Clear Lake to catch the Fourth of July parade. It was a beautiful day for a parade and a perfect way to make the best of our current situation.
So I did a bit of research to see what else is in the area. I mean, you can’t go to Iowa without checking out the sites, right? And about an hour north, just past the Minnesota state line, was something that we definitely needed to see.
The SPAM Museum!
Yes, SPAM is the undisputed king of mystery meat. Made of pig parts and secret spices, cooked in its own cans right on the assembly line, SPAM is an American institution! And SPAM has its own museum right in Austin, Minnesota.
As you walk into the museum, you are met by a towering wall of SPAM, rising to the ceiling in the lobby. Very impressive for mystery meat.
SPAM is made by the Hormel company, whose headquarters is also in Austin. Spam was introduced by Hormel in 1937. At the time it was introduced, it was the only canned meat product on the market that needed no refrigeration. That made it quite popular during World War II as a staple for the soldiers.
In the museum, you can find displays of vintage cans. Did you know that Dinty Moore stew was created simply as a way to fill 500,000 empty cans?
A small theater, its doors shaped like the face of a grinning pig, screens a 15 minute SPAM video.
Or you can do what we did and read all the displays. Lots of great old photos and anything and everything you ever wanted to know about SPAM.
The SPAM museum also has another claim to fame: It’s apparently a great place to get married! On April 25th, 2017, Mark Benson (who legally changed his name to Mark “I Love SPAM” Benson) married Ann Mousley at the SPAM Museum. They traveled all the way from Liverpool, UK to live out their dream wedding.
And I thought I was a bit strange.
Of course, we had to stock up on many flavors of SPAM. We found them in the gift shop along with most any kind of SPAM souvenir that you could think of.
If you get a chance to get to Austin, Minnesota, be sure to check out the SPAM museum. Admission is totally free. And the SPAM, well it is worth the visit.
And finally the coach is repaired! We are a bunch of happy campers! We hit the road a few days ago, and are now heading to our job in Boston/Cape Cod.
Stay tuned for lots more! Who knows. Maybe they have weird food museums in New England too.