Tag Archives: dogs

Autumn in Northern Arizona

We we planned our move to Arizona for the summer, the last thing I was expecting was to see beautiful leaves in the fall!  It’s a desert, right?

Wrong.

autumn in northern arizona

Depending upon the altitude, Northern Arizona is a mix of tall pines and hardwoods such as Aspens.  So with Fall in full bloom, we took advantage of a few days off and checked out the local foliage at the San Francisco Peaks.

A perfect way to say goodbye to this beautiful part of the country.

autumn in northern arizona

You see, we will be heading out of Williams this week and on to our next destination.  Time flies when you are having fun, right?

bear-warning

And there appears to be bears in the vicinity!  Who knew?

All this time we have been here, the only wildlife that we have come across besides those animals at Bearizona and the petting zoo was the occasional Abert Squirrel!

autumn in northern arizona

Luck was with us and we actually got photo bombed!

autumn-in-northern-arizona

But seriously.  It has been an amazing experience here.

williams-circle-pines-koa

Lot’s of things are happening at the Circle Pines KOA as we finish out the season.  They erected  a new huge sign for the entranceway.  Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

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We spent this past week telling all of our friends and coworkers goodbye.  Starting a season can be exciting, but finishing one out can be sad. We may run into some of our friends again along the road.  It is a small world after all.

But part of being a seasonal worker is making new friends along the way.

So what have we been doing these past few weeks besides checking out leaves and saying goodbye to our friends?

plumbing-problems

Well, there were plumbing issues.  Seems that we should have named our coach “Always Something”.  Fortunately, Dave and Ralph had it handled in no time.

canine-diabetes-cataract-surgery

And speaking of Ralph.  His diabetes has not been under control. About 3 months ago, he suddenly lost his vision.  The local vet recommended a specialist down in Phoenix.  We had to mull it over a bit as the cost was pretty high.

One of Ralph’s favorite past times is sitting in the window watching the squirrels.  When his eyesight deteriorated, not only was he running into things, but his demeanor changed.  He became depressed and not his normal self.

We were told that we had to get the diabetes in check before they could do anything about his eyes.  So, we spent the last few months keeping him on a strict prescription diet and having his glucose levels checked weekly.

canine-diabetes-cataract-surgery4

On October 5, we finally were able to get the surgery done.  Ralph had two new lenses put in his eyes.

Yep.  We bit the bullet and spent the money.  Ralph is one of the family after all.

canine-diabetes-cataract-surgery3

Recovery from the surgery takes about 6 weeks total.  And for many of those weeks, we had to keep him in the “cone of shame” full time.  This meant that I had to hand feed him.  And he had to learn how to get around with that huge cone on his head.

canine-diabetes-cataract-surgery6

A few weeks ago, we finally got to see his big brown eyes again.  I think he is really enjoying the fact that he can see his old nemesis  the Abert Squirrel.

He has a few more weeks of recovery, but he can already see better than I can.

sunset-in-williams-arizona

So that has been our last month in Williams.  Saying goodbye, fixing problems with the coach and helping Ralph recover from surgery. Oh, and I’m putting together a video of our season here.  I should have it ready this week.  So stay tuned.

We will be leaving the area this week and heading onto Laughlin, NV and Lake Havasu City for a short break before we go to our next job in Tucson, AZ.  I have to say that we will both miss the Williams area.

And who knows, maybe we will come back one day!  It totally could happen.

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An insiders look at Campground Etiquette

As full time campers and work campers, we have come to the conclusion that for the most part, other campers are awesome!  We all have so much in common.  We love the outdoors, we enjoy cooking on the grill, we enjoy the stars at night.

But there is always one bad apple in the barrel.  Isn’t there?

rv life camping etiquette
Circle Pines KOA, Williams, AZ

The problem is that most campgrounds this time of year become very full.  A larger campground such as the one we worked in St. Petersburg, Florida has nearly 500 campsites.

Filled to capacity, you are looking at the very least, 1000 people crammed into one campground!  St. Petersburg KOA was full to capacity the entire winter season that we were there.

The closer people camp together, the grouchier they become.  It’s just a fact.

rv life camping etiquette
St Petersburg/Madeira Beach KOA, FL

That is why campgrounds have the need to post rules.  Usually you will receive a pamphlet of rules along with a map of the campground upon arrival.  Some of those rules may seem a tad restrictive, but I have to tell you that there is a reason for every one of them.

As campground workers, we are more than aware of some of the biggest pet peeves of those that camp around us.  Here is our list of the top 10 complaints that we receive at the campground and how to avoid being the bad apple.

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Top Ten Rules of Campground Etiquette

life at the campground
Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA, Maine

10. Quiet time is not just a suggestion

Many of the campgrounds that we have worked at post quiet time as 10:00 PM at night until 7:00 AM.  Why?  Well, some folks want to sleep at night.  Common courtesy is at play here.

Yes, we are all on vacation, but do respect your neighbors and keep the noise down after 10:00 PM.  Most campgrounds try to enforce quiet time as best as possible, but we cannot be at all places at all times.

Click here for the rest of the list!

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Our experience dealing with Canine Diabetes

We are finally back on the road, heading to our summer destination, Williams, AZ.  I wanted to talk a bit about some of the things that have been going on behind the scenes.  Traveling with animals is a joy, but keeping them healthy while doing so can sometimes be a challenge.

I firmly believe that if we hadn’t been traveling that I would not have noticed Ralph’s symptoms so quickly.

dogs at carrabelle florida beach

You see, one of the things about the RV lifestyle is that we are all well aware of each other’s daily routines.  Walking the dogs three times a day, along with extra potty breaks here and there had become routine after a year on the road.

We knew what was normal.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

And then suddenly, Ralph couldn’t hold it any more.  He was dribbling everywhere.  He had to go every 2 hours, day or night.  We were alarmed at the change.

At the time, we were in St. Petersburg, FL, so we inquired about a good vet in the area and then took him for an exam.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

He was diagnosed with bladder stones and Diabetes.  They preformed emergency surgery to remove the stones blocking his urethra and those in his bladder.

After recovery, they put him on insulin.  Two shots a day.  And I’m the chosen one to give them to him.  Me.  The person who has never given a shot before.

But I drew short straw because neither has Dave and he doesn’t do poop, yak, or apparently shots either.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

The vet says it’s easy!  (As he pokes Ralph with a needle numerous times while Ralph just sits there looking like he’s thinking about his next milk bone).

So that evening, with our new supply of syringes and insulin, I made my first attempt at giving Ralph his shot.  Dave held him, I grabbed a fold of skin and injected him.

Ralph screamed.

I screamed.

Ralph very nearly bit Dave.

OMG.  I don’t think we can do this!  I turned into a blubbering idiot, while Ralph hid under the table.  I didn’t want my dog to be afraid of me.  But twice a day for the rest of his life, I was going to have to do this.

I called my oldest daughter, who just happens to draw blood for a living.  She talked me through how to hold the needle and give the shot quickly.

It would take some practice.  Lots of practice.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

I’m a night owl, and can go back to sleep in a heartbeat, so I ended up with night shift duties.  Ralph still was dribbling, was drinking tons of water, and losing weight.

Consistently for 6 weeks, Ralph had to go out every two hours.  He was now down nearly 5 pounds.  His ribs were showing.  Despite increasing the insulin dosage about every week under the vet’s direction, Ralph’s health was deteriorating.

Click here to continue reading…

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8 Things we do not love about RV living…

We get asked a lot about what it is like living full time in a RV.  I talk about how much fun our adventure has been so far, and really it has.  It is so exciting to enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful country.  Our new lifestyle has resulted in better health for both of us, much less stress, and excitement around every corner.

bar harbor rv

But in an effort to keep things real for those of you that might be considering this particular lifestyle, Dave and I wanted to point out a few things that are not so great about full time RV living.

Granted, we have only been full timers since April of this year, and I imagine in another year, our priorities may be different and our list of things we love and do not love might change.  But for right now, here is our top 8 things that we do not love about RV living:

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The Poop Issue

When living in a RV, one has to deal with poop on a much more personal level.  Both our poop and the dogs poop.  While the bathroom in our RV is definitely several steps above a port-a-potty, I have to admit that it is still a toilet situated over a poop holding tank.

A poop holding tank that is full of…well… poop.

rv black and gray tanks

We have two holding tanks.  The gray water tank holds leftover dishwater, shower water, etc .  The black water tank has the job of holding the poop.  Every few days, Dave flushes out the black water tank with water from the gray water tank.  He then adds a bit of water and a tank treatment which helps keep odors at bay and breaks down things.

In general, the bathroom smells fine.  But dealing with poop is much more labor intensive than simply flushing a toilet.

This is coming from someone who goes on eight hour plane flights and never uses the bathroom once due to the fear of accidentally getting locked in there with all that blue water and the potential of turbulence.  Heck, I can’t even use the public restrooms without having to run some water in the background!

The hubby says, “Then just use the woods!”  But I pee on my socks every time…

Too much information?  Ha! Sorry…

life at the campground

Walking the dogs

While we are talking about poop, we cannot leave out the dogs.  I have to say that I do miss the days when we could just put the dogs out the back door and let them do their business.

Granted, walking the dogs is good for all of us.  But they do need walked several times a day, rain or shine.  Waking up in the morning with rain pelting the roof and knowing that I have to go out in the pouring rain and stand while Ralph takes ten minutes deciding what area he would like to pee in definitely puts a damper on my morning.

walking dogs bar harbor

Unlike Faith, Ralph took a while to get comfortable going to the bathroom on the leash.  And to this day, he has to circle an area for a while before he finds the perfect spot.

And whatever you do, do not watch him.  He will quit in mid-poop.  And then we will have to start all over again!

Oh, and then there is the fun bit about carrying fresh warm poop bags to the dumpster.

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Washing dishes

Yeah, I knew about this going in.  Working full time at the campground, running several websites and crafting in between, leaves me not so much time to do those things I really do not like doing in the first place.  As a perpetual procrastinator, I tend to leave dishes until the last possible moment.  Resulting in emergency dish washing in order to get dinner on the table.

Problems with the RV

Currently, the steps to the front door go up on their own accord.  Which could be a potential issue when we are ready to go to the next campsite, and they choose not to go up that day.

Two televisions turn them selves on occasionally without our help- usually coinciding with the slamming of the front door.

We called out the local repair guy and both  the steps and the televisions worked seamlessly.  Of course!

traveling sitcom rv living

The awning goes in on its own.  Granted, it has a sensor that will pull it in when it gets windy.  Apparently, it’s definition of wind is different than ours and if we do not shut the motor off, it rolls itself in quite dramatically while we are trying to sit in the shade with our iced tea.

Last week, I went to take a shower and we had no hot water.  The electric hot water heater decided not to work.  We are fortunate to have a gas alternative and switched to that.  When we called the RV repair guy out, the electric heater started right up.

He thinks we are crazy.

bar harbor oceanside koa maine camping

Mosquitos and other pests

Uggghhh!  In this part of the country, mosquitos are pretty darn plentiful.  And much to my dismay, they absolutely love me.  The scent of mosquito repellant is now my new perfume.

While working at the front counter the other day, an errant mosquito flew in and bit me right on the nose.  Much to Dave’s enjoyment,  I ended up looking like Broom Hilda the rest of the evening.

Ultracamper

Unfriendly and inconsiderate campers

There I said it.  There are those that have absolutely no camping etiquette.  They are the ones that park their car in the small area that you call your front yard.  They take short cuts through your campsite, dropping trash and making tons of noise along the way, setting off both dogs into a noisy bark-fest.  And then complain that your dogs are barking.

Tyler Kealey plays “Mama’s got a Squeeze Box” by The Who as part of his video a day challenge in 2014.

They play loud music past midnight.  Sit outside playing an accordion, electric guitar, or drum set (yes, all the above has happened in the past few weeks alone!).   Who the heck brings an accordion while camping?  Well, somebody did last week.

Not sure what they were playing, but Dave and I both had The Who’s Moma’s Got a Squeeze Box stuck in our heads for a week.

Now you do too.

You’re welcome!

Lack of Space

Again, I knew this going in.  There is not much space for crafting and I spend more time looking for my supplies than actually doing the craft.  Really!  I tried to be organized.  I labeled many containers and stored them all over the camper.  But when I am looking for one particular tool or paintbrush or fabric swatch, I spend the next hour searching all compartments until I finally run across it.

rv life camping traveling sitcom

Bumpy Roads

Coming up to Maine from Atlanta, we encountered lots and lots of terribly maintained roads.  In a car, you do not notice them as much, but when driving a huge motorhome, each bump and ridge is magnified ten-fold.  Dave said that I need to mention in particular, parts of I-85 North and the entirety of I-84.

Our coach shook so much over I-84 that when we finally reached our destination, not only was our bedroom door entirely off it’s hinges, but only one of the televisions would come on.

Unless of course, we slam the front door.

cadillac mountain bar harbor maine

So that is our top 8 gripes for right now.  I have to say that for every gripe, there are ten things we love.  I mean, just check out this view.  How could you not love that?

Living in a RV full time is not for everyone, that is for sure.  But for us, I think it just might work!

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and life on the campground…

Our youngest daughter is getting married in November.  Since Dave has to walk her down the aisle, it was necessary this week to take a trip back into civilization and get measured for a tuxedo.

fitted for a tux

So we made the two hour drive south to Augusta, Maine, where the closest Men’s Wearhouse was.  We were not looking forward to the drive and the fact that it would take up a whole day off to accomplish.  A two hour drive for a fitting that took all of ten minutes…

Now what to do?

We decided that since we were in the general area, maybe we should check out Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.  After all, on the map it was just east of Augusta, and a trip up the coast would be beautiful!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

And the lighthouse was beautiful, of course.  We arrived after hours, so were not able to tour the inside, but were able to spend plenty of time enjoying the scenery.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was originally commissioned in 1827 by John Quincy Adams and built that year. Due to poor workmanship (salt water was used in the mortar mix), the lighthouse began to crumble and was replaced in 1835.

Most lighthouses in the US were converted to the Fresnel Lens in the 1850’s, and Pemaquid Point received it’s lens in1856. The lens is one of only six Fresnel lenses still in service in Maine!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park is managed by the Bristol Parks Commission.  And…it is the lighthouse on the Maine State Quarter, making it the first lighthouse to be featured on a piece of US currency!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Coincidentally, this particular lighthouse is a top destination for weddings with its beautiful rocky cliffs and crashing waves.  The lighthouse is one of the most photographed on the Maine coast.

pemaquid lighthouse maine

While taking photos, the whole scene seemed very familiar to me.

pemaquid lighthouse maine

And then it occurred to me that I had painted the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse back in 1998 in a series of lighthouse paintings for a calendar!  It had hardly changed at all!

pemaquid lighthouse maine

Beautiful rocky shores, deep blue waters and a setting sun make this trip totally worth it.  We were very glad that we decided to make the stop.

Our boring trip to Augusta turned out to be pretty fabulous.

life at the campground

…and then we had to go back to work.  The park at Oceanside is full to capacity and has been so since the beginning of July.  The boss says excitedly that this is a record year.

We are just tired.  LOL!

life at the campground

Of course, the campground still has it’s beautiful scenery to enjoy.  On our days off, we can wander about the rocks at low tide with the dogs and look for shells.

…and rescue tiny crabs from Ralph’s mouth.

life at the campground

The summer here is nearing it’s end and the wild apple trees on the campground are just full of apples.  I was told that they make great pie, so I am waiting for them to ripen.

life at the campground

One of our guests had a dog that could have been Ralph’s twin.

life at the campground

Ralph thinks he looks much younger and cooler, though.

eating a huge sandwich

Oh…and in our down time, we apparently enjoy taking uncomplimentary photos of each other.  This is Dave’s take on my humongous BLT courtesy of one of the local restaurants…

eating a huge sandwich

….and a little morning scariness to keep it real.

Because life is a sitcom, right?

Living life as a Work Kamper

We are smack in the middle of the busy summer season here at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA.  With 50 to 70 check-ins a day, Dave and I have found ourselves working long hours.  Granted, it will slow down in about a month, but in the meantime, our schedules are pretty busy.

living full time in a rv

We eat when we find a moment… and some meals are just plain peanut butter and jelly.

Work Kamping this time of year means dealing with crowds, tired campers, children on sugar highs, problems with guests not getting along, occasional backed up toilets, and all around craziness.  I work the office and it seems that everyone shows up all at once and dealing with 10 checkins at a time, with RVs lined up as far as you can see, can be quite intimidating.

bar harbor oceanside koa maine

Dave and I both work hard to keep the guests happy.  Sometimes it is as simple as helping their children learn how to use the rental bikes, or directing a guest to our favorite restaurant.  Sometimes it is much more difficult than that.  There are some folks that just won’t ever be happy.  We just do our best.

living full time in a rv

Working long shifts means that I often end up working in the evenings and early morning on my websites.  Of course, there are worse things than sitting by a campfire and writing on my website.

14 tips for traveling with dogs

The dogs have been doing well.  Of course one main thing we had to all adjust to was the fact that we have to regularly take them for walks rather than just put them in the backyard.  Yep, living full time in a RV means that you are quite familiar with everyone’s daily routine.

Sometimes a little too familiar.

living full time in a rv

So I learned something new this week.  Never wrap the leash around your finger.  You see, when a 20 lb. Chihuahua/Pug happens to notice a squirrel in the distance and accelerates from zero to fifty in less than two seconds flat, the finger has a bit of problem keeping up with it.

I ended up with a badly dislocated finger, and torn tendons.  Oh, and my wedding rings didn’t fair very well either.  Someday when I can get a ring back on my finger, I’ll have a jeweler reassemble them.

Let’s just say I finally got a day off.  LOL!

living full time in a rv

Work Kamping isn’t for everyone, and there is definitely a lot of work involved.  But, there are good things too!  Like getting off after a long tiring day and being stopped by the Lobster Guy on site who just so happens to have a couple lobster dinners ready for you!

(Ignore the dirty dishes in the photo- dirty dishes are a common occurrence during the busy season! )  LOL!

living full time in a rv

There are the times we get to enjoy a good dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants in the area with our friends and coworkers!

living full time in a rv

…trying out new and delicious meals.  (Crab Cakes courtesy of The Burning Tree Restaurant in Bar Harbor).

living full time in a rv

…and the fun of exploring this beautiful area of the world!

living full time in a rv

This season at Bar Harbor KOA has been very exciting for us.  It is our first taste of working at a campground.  While not everything runs as smoothy as we would like, we wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

living full time in a rv

The beautiful sights of Mount Desert Island are something we will remember always.  Last week, we took a break on one of our days off and hiked one of the trails along the shoreline of Acadia National Park.

living full time in a rv

Rock Climbing?  Well, maybe that is something we just pretend to do.

living full time in a rv

The vistas are amazing here.  And the journey to get here is worth the effort.

living full time in a rv

We are half way through our Work Kamping experience here and will be moving on in October to our next destination.  Where that is, we currently do not know.

That is the thrill of the journey, right?

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14 Tips for Traveling with your Pets!

I get asked often how our dogs have taken to traveling.  Because we are full timers, we had to work up a routine for them that keeps them happy, entertained and healthy, while at the same time allowing us to do what we want to do.

For those that do not travel full time, traveling with your pet is becoming more and more common.  After all, if you are like us, you just may consider your pet one of the family.

dogs at carrabelle florida beach

This is the first time Ralph and Faith had ever seen a beach.  They were a bit confused at the time as to what this might be, but warmed up to it quickly when they both discovered that there were fish in the water.

Finding a pet friendly beach can be difficult and I have to say that we visited quite a few before we found one that we could bring the dogs to.  It is important to always follow the rules of the area so that you don’t ruin it for others.  Faith and Ralph loved the opportunity to see this beach in Carabelle, FL, and hopefully many other dogs will too!

Here are 14 traveling tips that we learned along the way:

  • Consider the trip from your pet’s point of view.  Will they actually enjoy the trip or will they be cooped up the whole time?   If you do not think you will have the opportunity to spend time with them, then maybe this particular trip might not be the best one for them.  Don’t take them just because you can.
  • Does your pet suffer from motion sickness, or get ill when routines are disrupted? This should be considered.  Are they just going to be miserable?  

14 tips for traveling with dogs

  • Does your pet have issues with other people or animals?  Socializing an animal can be as simple as taking them to the dog park now and then and getting them used to the fact that there are more people in their world than just you.  Our dogs were not socialized before our first trip, but we have been surprised at how quickly they have adjusted to a new world around them.  Just be sure to be aware when new people come up on you and allow your dog to get used to the idea of other folks wanting to pet them.  

14 tips for traveling with dogs

  • The health of your pet is a huge consideration especially when traveling.  Be sure that all vaccinations are up to date, and that you carry the shot records with you.  For airline travel, health certifications are required.   Be aware that  there are germs and parasites in other areas of the country that your pet may not encounter in your own yard.  Personally, I like to be sure they are both up to date on flea meds too. Certain areas of the country have larger numbers of ticks and mosquitoes which may be a threat to your dog’s health.
  • When traveling, a crate is a good place for your pet when riding in a car or RV.  It is actually safer for both of you.  It prevents your pet from becoming a projectile if you have to stop fast, reducing the chance of injury to both you and your pet.

14 tips for traveling with dogs

  •  Be sure that your pet has ID tags with your phone number on them and a sturdy leash and collar.  Consider a permanent form of identification such as a microchip.
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car, especially if it is warm out.  It takes no time at all for the inside of a car to heat up and become very dangerous to a small pet.  That said, keep in mind that a RV is basically a vehicle.  The same rules apply!
  • Going out in a boat?  Don’t forget flotation vests for your dog.  Sure he can swim, but there is the possibility of drowning even for the best of swimmers.

14 tips for traveling with dogs

  • Does your pet have a favorite blanket or toy?  Be sure to bring it along!  Sometimes just having something familiar nearby is enough to calm any fears.

14 tips for traveling with dogs

  • Take a lot of breaks while on the road.  We try to stop every few hours to walk our dogs.  Usually, we hit a rest stop and find the dog walk area.  It is good for everyone to get out and take a small walk and the dogs love to get the exercise.
  • Be sure to provide plenty of water during your trip, but limit the food while traveling.  You never know when a bout of car sickness might pop up, so hold off on feeding too much until you get where you are going.  If the animal is prone to nervous stomach, you may want to stick to bland food until they calm down a bit once you arrive.
  • Be a good pet owner.  Follow the rules of the area.  Do not take your dog where he is not allowed, and pick up after them.

14 tips for traveling with dogs

  • Dogs love healthy routines.  Once you are at your destination, provide regular walks, access to fresh water, and regular companionship.
  • Include activities in your trip that are pet friendly such as hiking or maybe an off-leash dog park.  Check the available local activities in areas that you will be visiting to ensure that they do allow pets.

Having your pet along on your trip will be very enjoyable as long as you prepare them for it, and allow them to enjoy the ride!  And if you never know, they just might show you something you might have missed along the way!

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