Reviews

5 Reasons to Rent a Screen Shelter at Lake Livingston State Park

The setup of our shelter #4

The weather in our area has been crazy to say the least so we got a “screened shelter”. My eldest daughter is a bit of a princess and I could just see how this camping trip would go if it rained on our tent. So here are the top 5 reasons why I think you should do what I did, and rent a screened shelter for your next camping trip at Lake Livingston State Park in Livingston, TX. (For reference, we stayed in shelter #4)

1. It really does keep the bugs out. Ok, maybe not spiders, but by being mindful of the door it did a good job in limiting the flying bugs from invading our space. That was nice as we were sleeping. Plus the shelters are raised so it seemed like there was very little issues with ants as well. You can also eat bug free and in the shade.(sorta) There is a picnic table inside that you can sit at and so you can eat without having to worry about the sun hitting you. Just move the sides, if needed. Plus, if everyone is shutting the door, you don’t have to worry about ants crawling up in your food and any other flying insects. We tried to eat at the table by the firepit one time and a squirel came up and stole a piece of one of my daughters gram cracker. He had no fear. We were even at elbow length to it!

2. It comes with electricity. There is one light outside by the door and one inside. Both have switches that you can turn on and off. There is a also a GFCI outlet inside as well. This was nice to keep my cellphone charged and on the super wet days, I was able to plug in my electric skillet to make pancakes. (Don’t laugh! It worked!) My only suggestion is that you bring a surge protector as there were times when the rain would hit that area and it made me a bit nervous to plug stuff in, but we never had an issue.

4. The sides adjust for privacy. Each side has a large block of wood that you can roll back and forth to cover parts of the shelter. This was really nice if we wanted to get dressed. Although you can stand up in the middle of the loft and get dressed assuming your under 6ft. Plus this worked well when we had rain coming in. I was able to keep at least HALF of the bottom of the shelter from getting too wet.

3. You can sleep in a loft. You can climb the stairs and sleep in the loft. There are rails at both ends so you don’t have to worry about rolling off in your sleep. I would say two adults and two children could sleep up there. There is also a screen window up top to help ventilate so depending on the direction of the wind you could keep cool. The way the wind went in our shelter, the bottom was very chilly from the wind and my kids were toasty uptop. Plus, when the storm came pounding through, they were dry as a bone and I ended up getting soaked from the spray of wind. (yah. not fun) If you really want to make it a treat, there are strong beams that you can hang a hammock from. I did this to give my kids more room in the loft. It was great in the cool breeze and even for being lazy in the middle of the day. Some sites will allow you to pitch a tent if you still want to tent camp and just use the shelter for eating and storing your goods. There is a latch on the outside so you can padlock it. Most of the time thought I never saw anyone and it was always quite.

5. It’s the closest you can camp to the lake in the park. Each shelter is right off the lake so you can fish, cook, and eat all from right at your campsite. Some shelters where in areas that had their tables close to the shore line that you could even swim a little. Not to mention wonderful views of the lake. Very cool!

As of this writing they were only $30 a night which I thought was a pretty good deal vs the local KOA. Be sure to check their website for the most up to date information.

-Gin

 

 

 

 

 

Airport Anger

I now remember why I quit working at the airport.

I guess I was getting at the burned out stage. Even now I watch passengers walking around either like lost sheep or they are on the other end of the spectrum as self-intitled jerks. Nothing urks me more when I see business men rolling their eyes at a woman trying to juggle her luggage and all her small kids. ALONE.

We’ve all been there.

I think the biggest thing I don’t miss is the baggage situation. As employees we hated it as much as the passengers. Do you REALLY think we wish to watch you rummage thrrough all your dirty chonies? Um, no!

“Baggage Nazi”. That is what I heard from one passenger today. Trust me, he was being nice. There are phrases I have heard that I don’t even think a sailor would dare repeat. He is write though. Each and everyone employee at the airlines has been told over and over again by their employers to watch the weight and not waiver. They threaten our jobs, post photos of injured baggage handlers who handle a bag that was not properly marked (the guild method), and I’ve even had supervisors HOVER over employees. What is even more distgusting is employees report other employees if they see them waive baggage fees or ignore the weight. Do you think that promotes a healthy work environment?

See the gate agents faces I saw the tired and burned out looks, and it was on 930am. How long must the rest of their day be?

This trip, as quick as it is, just help me reconfirm, reconnect, remember, why we decided to have me stay home.

Best choice ever.

`Gin

 

Carnival Triumph Wedding Review

Hello, 2014! I know I’ve been putting off this blog post, but I figured the best time would be now. How many of you have just gotten engaged over this holiday? Well, whenever you got engaged, CONGRADS! Weddings can be either fun and exciting to plan or a true testament of your sanity in each other. My biggest advice in planning your wedding, don’t forget to include the person your marrying in the decision making process. Even if its something like small like, cloth vs paper napkins.

We decided to do our wedding on board the Carnival Triumph. Carnival is one of our local port cruise lines and were one of the few choices we had for the time and date of our choice. (My first choice was Princess, but they didn’t sail during my dates in our area.) If you are thinking of doing your own wedding, check all the lines. They all do weddings, but prices will vary for all of them.

When we first arrived, we were placed in a special waiting area and were even allowed to go through security and board before everyone else. The bride and groom will be seeing each other. You can ask to see if they can try to prevent that but it might be difficult depending on the port you are leaving from.First, cruise weddings are good for small weddings. For 50 people or less and a max of 100. Thing is you are limited on your guest list based on how many guest are sailing and not sailing. Typically the max non-sailing guest I could have was 50. This will work out for you if you get a group together to sail with you. With a group rate your travel agent can get it so that your own cabin will be free (minus taxes and fees). This was something I did not do, but many brides do.

Once on board the brides room is your own cabin. When we arrived we had this lovely floral arragement with little chocolates on out bed that was so beautiful. The picture just doesn’t do it any justice. (We gave to the chocolates to our neices and my kids.)

If there are any guest list items or decorations that you have already discussed with the coordinator, this is the time you would give them to them. My husband got dressed quickly and then went up to the Lido to get me and my girl friend some drinks and food. We basically, hung out in the room until ‘showtime’. Which is good if you have to do more hair and makeup. Plus, just to help you relax. My husband entertained everyone in the LIDO and most guest walked around to check out the ship as they had never been on one.

Couple of things about getting married on a cruise ship:paper flowers

1. You can not bring your own flowers on board. They will give the bride and groom a small bouque, which we found was not bad. It was generic and I personally went with my own touch by doing a paper flower bouquet.

2. You can not bring food, your own photographer, rice, bubbles, etc. on board.

Solutions: For the ceremony we placed fan programs (handmade) and made paper wands with bells on them to ring when we kissed. (We had a paper theme, but you could use ribbon wands in lue.)

*Our “guest book” was a mod podge Paper mailbox complete with miniature postcards for them to write their well wishes.

 

We let Carnival take our photos, which didn’t come out that bad. BUT we created a website on Shutterfly Spaces with a guest account for them to download them to. Then we used these cute little paper cameras to place business cards of picshare_boxeswhere they can post and share their photos with everyone else. Including camera phone photos. We did not purchase a package before hand and in the end we ended up paying just over $4k for ALL our photos, the DVD slideshow, the wedding book, digital rights of the photos with CDs, and three of our photos on canvas. All which we received before we left the ship.*Our gift was little anchor and wheel keychains. Many of the party traveled with us so we gave them an on board survival kit.

 

I would say that I enjoyed my experience. The personal touches that I wanted were there and I was very happy with the experience that I had. Please feel to message me if you have any specific questions about the Wedding Experience.

~Gin

 

A Family Review of Chichen Itza

cruise082013-26copyChichen Itza, located in the Yucatan Peninsula, is a ancient Mayan city smack dab in the middle of the Yucatan. In fact to get there from either Progresso OR Cancun you are looking at about 2 hours worth of driving. I would say its not worth it, but I can’t. Being so close to something so ancient is just something you must see before it goes away. In fact El Castillo, located in the center of Chichen Itza is what is typically photographed for photos on the Mayans. At night there is a light show to see the snake that runs down the pyramid but we didn’t stay that long there. (We were on an excursion and had to get back to the ship.

Now, for anyone who has ever seen Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (2006) you probably are already familiar with the image of the step pyramids. No, you won’t be able to walk any of the steps, but you will get darn close.  You can also walk through ball courts known for the brutality in ancient days.

With that being said, if you are traveling with children to this site I highly recommend that you educate them first on what they are going to be seeing. Since I home school my son, we did Mayan part of Hand’s of A Child Lapbook for some hands-on experience. Here are some books I also recommend to help get your little one interested:
1.The Ancient Maya (True Books) This is a good intro to all the Mayan cities and touches a bit on their culture.

2.The Hero Twins (Graphic Myths & Legends) If you have boys, this will help get them interested in learning a bit about Mayan myths and also give a bit of information about the culture. (My son loved it as I never let him read graphic novels and this was part of homework. lol)

3. Amazing Maya Inventions You Can Build Yourself (Build It Yourself series) This was my son’s FAVORITE book on the Mayan’s as it left us with MANY activities to do to help recreate our Mayan experience at home.

4. Travel With Kids Mexico: The Yucatan This is also a great video for you to watch to help your family get ready to travel there as well, as another person’s point of view. (Their kids were MUCH smaller than mine, too.)

Now, if you would like a map or something to help get your a familiar with the landscape, Time Tours has an app you can download. It does require an internet connection, and we went when it was so sunny that seeing the virtual buildings just didn’t turn out that well. I leave it up to you to buy. Some love it, it just didn’t work for us.

 

So some tips.

►Bring bug spray and something to keep you cool. Its hot. I only saw drinks sold at the entrance.

►Hats with brims are a must as there is virtually NO shade anywhere.( I was able to smuggle in a decorative shade umbrella, but it looked like something a vendor sold, so that is probably why.)

►Be prepared to be inundated by vendors. They are EVERYWHERE inside and outside the park.

►If you buy something with wood. Smell it. Many times they treat the wood with gasoline.

►Vendors will take US Dollars.

► Try to stay on the path to avoid animal life. We saw snakes and even an iguana. Very cool.

► Take lots of pictures and clap. (You’ll see when you get there. lol)

 

Would I do it again? Probably not unless I stayed at the nearby hotel. I think a couple hours is good to get a taste, especially if your on an excursion. However, as the history nerd that I am, I would of wanted at least two days to just explore plus see the extra stuff at night. It was really spread out, hot, not much fun if your in a hurry. Take your time. Explore. Imagine being there.

Cheers!

~Gin Nixon

 

Navigator of the Seas

Photo Courtesy of RCCLSince I’m here in Houston, I’m going to start by looking at just one of Royal Caribbean’s ships that sail out of Galveston, the Navigator of the Seas. Coming up in 2014 it will get some refurbishment and upgrades that I think it’s a good reason to start looking at this ship!

Some innovations will be:
*New Staterooms with virtual balconies.Photo Courtesy of RCCL These will show real time views and sound of the sites outside the ship. This is great for those with an interior budget but don’t want to feel claustrophobic.
*Panoramic ocean view staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.
*New Dining venues such as Govanni’s Table (Italian), Izumi (Asian) and Cupcake Cupboard.
*FlowRider is now on the ship.
* A 220 sq. ft. outdoor movie screen
* Royal Babies & Tots Nursery
* Diamond Lounge, exclusively for Diamond Members
* Wi-Fi available throughout the ship to provide better connection in staterooms.
* Flat-panel televisions for an updated look.
*Digital way-finders onboard so you can find your next hangout and see what’s lined up for the day

As always there is:
* a Rock-climbing wall
*an Ice-skating rink
*a Mini-golf course and Basketball court
*Jogging and in-line skating tracks

The Navigator is a Voyager Class ship on RCCL. Check out their video.

Also if you would like to see a virtual tour of the Navigator. I’m looking forward to the new changes!

Cheers!

Gin Nixon

Cruising Royally with Royal Caribbean

Perhaps, you all KNOW you want to go on a cruise but you just aren’t sure of WHICH Cruise line to go on. The next few post will be with some about some of our popular cruise companies to help you decide WHICH line you would like to take your group on.

Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines is a Miami based company but has 21 ships and travels into over 269 ports in 75 countries on 6 continents. (WOW!)

They are the cruise line with the FIRST:

*Rock Climbing on sea on Voyager Class ships

*Ice skating on the sea on Voyager Class ships

*Surfing simulator on the FlowRider ® on Freedom Class ships

*Zip lining through the ship on Oasis Class ships

*First in line to lease land to be used as a private destination

*First cruise line to feature Broadway at Sea

 

As you can see there are also different TYPES of ships. Each with a different Feature to keep you and your guest entertained.

 

Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines has so many options on things to do, dining options, shows, activities for kids and teens, and services. . Like the chance to learn Italian, salsa dancing, or the recipe for a perfect martini. To conquer the rock wall and ice skate on the equator. Or slow things down with a hot stone massage and duty-free designer shopping. You and you guest will see, do and learn more at sea than they ever thought possible.

 

Photo Courtesy of RCCLDining isn’t a bore either. From cupcakes to California rolls, finger foods to a five-course gourmet meal, a Royal Caribbean cruise is a journey of culinary discovery. Once onboard, you and your guest are free to explore many complimentary dining options or specialty restaurants (for a small fee) that are rich in flavor and ambience. There are dining and beverage packages that will work with any group that will even include alcohol. A typical beverage package that includes all wines by the glass, beers, fountain sodas, call and premium brands of liquor and frozen drinks is $55 per day per person. Kids can get unlimited soda package for just $6.50 per day!

RCI_DW_AQUA_LIVE_031_V2Speaking of kids, children young and old can sail with one of their favorite DreamWorks* character from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and other DreamWorks animation films at:

• Character dining

• Ice shows, aqua shows and character parades

• 3D movies

• Photo opportunities

• Surprise appearances

*Available on (Allure, Oasis, Liberty, Freedom, Voyager, & Mariner ships)

And DreamWorks is the only one to partner with Royal. In fact, you can find anyone of these companies on board your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

• Fisher Price

• Guess

• Coach

• Starbucks

• Johnny Rockets

• Britto

• Coca-Cola Freestyle- Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line currently offering Coca-Cola Freestyle as part of their unlimited fountain soda package. Offering over 100 of your client’s favorite brands, from sparkling to diet to caffeine-free. Now on Allure, Oasis, Freedom, Explorer, Majesty and will be on Enchantment by end of year. Currently limited to these particular ships who sail domestic itineraries.

Photo Courtesy of RCCL

With so many destinations, there are so many choices for you to choose from.

Cheers!

~Jennifer Nixon

Wolf Creek Park -Livingston, TX Review

wolf creek park livingston lakeSo I will start off with saying that we enjoyed this park. There is a playground, showers, clean restrooms, full RV hookups, and a friendly staff. I would recommend that you do not come down without a reservation though. This place is popular! You can call or make reservations on their website. I would recommend calling as sometimes their website can glitch in terms of availabilty. They also post last minute openings on their facebook page, too, so I would follow them if you are interested. They have sites that are both next to the lake and even nearby the lake so youu still get a nice view. They have them for both tent camping, as well as full hook ups for RVs. There is swimming, however, it does appear to be seasonal as it was closed during spring break in early March when we went. (Although that could of been mostly due to the gloomy weather we were having that weekend.)

wolf creek park livingstone storewolf creek park livingston campsite viewYou can catch fish here in the lake and many people near us did. (We didn’t have any luck, but we are terrible fishers.) You can buy bait, tackle, and even all different kinds of fishing licenses at the store. I was even surprised that they had RV supplies! The kinds of fish you can expect seemed to be the Crappies, bass, and catfish. Catfish seems to be the predominate fish, but you can check the TX fishing website for more info on that.

For the kiddies

There is a playground and even mini golf for those who don’t feel like fishing. I saw many kids riding their bikes around the park as well. I have to say the playground was really popluar, even with our kids. We were lucky enough that our campsite was nearby enough that they could easily play while I stayed by the fire and watched them. Next to the Playground is a volleyball court and basketball court. This appeared to be another popular spot but for teens.

wolf creek park livingstone campsiteThe sites

At this time I can’t speak about the tent sites as we stayed in a RV site. My only annoyance was that the water was in the front of the site and the electric was in the back. For our 30′ this required us to park it in a position that they would both reach, only to find that the sewage hose just barely reached. However, we found them all to be paved and leveled. A MAJOR plus and they were all CLEAN! Another plus. I’m sure this has to do with site trash pick up in the morning. canopy

They are set up with 50/30/20. So that was nice so that we could plug our lights for the dining canopy as well and not take away from the 30amps were were using for the RV. Speaking of dining, each site had a picnic table, with a grill very close by, and a fire ring pit.

camping with dadFinal thoughts…

I can’t wait to go back and maybe even stay longer. The staff was SO nice. At first we were going to be on a hill pretty far from the action, but I called back a little closer to our time and found out a cancelation opened us up to site 13 which ,even though it was not next to the water, we still got a good view of the lake from our campsite and the lake looked BEAUTIFUL at night by the fire with all the lights by the lake in the distance. ::sigh:: Plus there was a wide enough space behind and around us so we weren’t cramped by other campers. If I were to do it again, I would choose the same or similar sites 11-13 as they seem to have the best distance.

~Gin Nixon

lomo cruise america pinwheel

One Way Cruise America Rental

lomo cruise america pinwheelThis was my first experience with RVs and let alone a rental. The ride has been bumpy (even literally speaking) I finish the writing from the warm comforts of an airport restaurant. I’ve got my pink margarita in hand and I’m ready to lend my experience and wisdom from the last 6 days. For some background, I am rented a 30′ RV from Cruise America for their “Cruisin’ into Arizona. It was to go one way from Houston to Mesa, AZ. Oh, and did I mention, I’m an RV virgin. I’ve never been in one let alone drive one.

Some tips:
1. Before you leave, check EVERYTHING OUTSIDE. In fact that is what your only signing off on in terms of condition. This surprised me since most of the insides seem to get torn up from what I read on other feeds. My reason is this, when we got our tire fixed the tire man told Cruise America call center that I tore up the entire side walls of the vehicle! FURIOUS I assured them NO its was not me and that it was documented as a preexisting condition when i picked it up. Well, they apparently DIDN’T believe me and it took the nice man at the Mesa Cruise America people about 30-40 minutes on the phone with them to remove the bogus charge as he saw no new damage. Only what was already marked! OMG!

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ok, I watch that orientation video twice and even read the manual and I still wondered what I did wrong with the heating. (see below)

3. In the future, I will make sure the heater is working PRIOR to leaving the city and during normal business hours. I did eventually get the furnace working after a few minutes on the phone with Cruise America assistance. I was up for an hour when it finally starting to toasty up. AHHHHHHH.

4. Just cause it says it will fit 7 people doesn’t mean you should. We had that limit and with the couch pulled to a bed and the dinning table turned into a bed, at breakfast time it was a bit scrunched. That was with 2 adults, 2 teens, and 3 children. Squishy!

5. Cook outside and only cook indoors for small meals or boiling water. I would love to see Martha Stewart cook in these conditions for this many people. the convection oven did work nice, however in microwave mode the popcorn either didn’t cook all the way or got burnt and the stove was slow to boil water.

6. You will have blind spots. pick a side of the road that has hug the side with no drivers. (like the empty median)

7. That truck you see getting ready to pull out in front of you and cut you off, will. He’s not intimidated by your size. He can accelerate faster. You can not. He can stop faster when the breaks are hit. YOU CAN NOT so keep your eye on the road for such dare devil lunatics. You will see them.

8. Don’t drive more than 300 miles a day. I repeat, DON’T! It’s very tiring and you don’t want to drive in the dark. Those blind spots get harder to see.

9. Try to stay a day in a planned spot or even two if you can. I wish now I had been able to use the 6 days entirely on getting back to AZ but oh well, next time.

10. Plan you gas. I typically got 8mpg going an average of 75mph on the rig. Made the whole thing shake but we needed to be there at a certain time.

11. Watch check in and check out times at your planned RV parks. If none are posted, plan to get there before 4 or 5. I had one call me at 350p wondering if I was still coming. When I arrived I found out that I was taking the last spot and I’m guessing they were probably going to give it away to a drive up if I had not confirmed.

12. Another tip before you leave. Try hooking up your water and electric before you leave the house by hooking up to your house. This will help you become familiar with the basic stuff and you will find out sooner if you water hose is leaking. This is good incase you stop somewhere they don’t sell hoses and they sell you one at double the price you would pay at Walmart.

13. Bring DISPOSABLE gloves. The sewage connections come loose and sometimes hold water and , well, at one point I felt like I was in that Robin Williams movie. ewwwww…My husband was proud of the fact that I was willing to do the ‘shitty’ job, though. I say disposable, because you wont want to keep those stinky things around until the next dump. TRUST ME!

14. Get over whatever issues you have about Walmart because they will have your supplies for cheep AND may even house you for the night. So be nice to Walmart. (my teen took of picture of me in a Walmart cause he was so shocked i was even stepping foot in one. if i can get over it, so can you.)

15. Personalize you RV. If you didn’t see my post about this before, I recommend going back and checking it out.

16. Rinse and Repeat. Go home, take a shower, relax for a day or two and DO IT AGAIN! I’m so ready to do this again. I’m already plotting my next adventure. Just need to convince the hubby!
😉

~Gin

Not starting off well, Cruise America.

As you know, I rented a one way rental and it wasn’t in the greatest shape, but that wasn’t going to deter me from having a good time with our new home on wheels. So the day of departure I have everything loaded up and now I’m just waiting for the kids and hubby to get home from school/work when I walk one last time by the RV I see it. Part of the wall of the passenger wheel tire was peeling off. So much that I could see tread! How did I miss this in all the excitement of picking it up? (I think I just answered my own question.)

So I promptly called the 800 number listed in the little manual that was in the rental and was told someone would be contacting me shortly. So I waited, but not too long. In about 5 minutes a Cruise America rep was asking me questions about the tires. At that time I also informed her that it appeared the front tires were also losing their tread and might cause some problem on the way from TX to AZ. However, the agent wasn’t really concerned about the front tires. Only about the one that was peeling. She then gave me a commercial tire dealer’s address and asked me to drive it there. So I unplugged it from my house (I was hooked up to the garage GFCI) and slowly made my way there. It was just 5 miles away so I wasn’t worried about it blowing.tire

I was happy that I found this before everyone got home. Once I got there, they only change the damage tire and then sent me on my way. Later the rep called me up and said that the tire dealer had told them that the sides were all scratched up. A little annoyed she was possibly accusing ME of doing this damage, I quickly advised her that I was aware of that and that it was clearly documented on my rental slip about the damage prior to my pickup. She then said ok and that was the last I heard of her.

And we’re off…

So like I said the 30′ is HUGE. However, I was doing much better and my hands were not gripping the steering wheel so hard this time. We did stop off on the way at a Walmart to get some more toliet chemical. They only gave me one. I’m going to have this sucker for 6 nights/7 days with 7 people using the bathroom and they gave me only one when I’m suppose to add it after every dump?!? Not cool! However, the chemical was not that expensive, I think we paid less than $10 for the non-formaldehyde enzyme version. So far, nothing smells.

Gas mileage…

Ok. So this little trip is a good way for me to see what I’m looking at in terms of gas mileage. It was approximatly 100 miles here and 40 miles from the dealer home. So assuming I took 150 miles, I’m already at half a tank. :/ Not feeling good about that. So I’m looking at refueling a 55 gallon tank about every 300 miles and that is ONLY if we don’t turn on the generator. (The generator uses gas from the fuel tank.) That’s a lot of stop on the way from Houston to Phoenix. 🙁

At camp…

So I get the campsite and I’m totally ready! I’ve watched the orientation video TWICE and read that entire manual. I’m ready. So I hook up the electric. All is good. Check the fridge. We are level. (Sweet!) then I go to hook up the water. Not working! In fact there is a leak at the connection behind the part that we tighten. ARG!!! Luckily, they sell hoses at the camp store! YAH! We hook up the new hose and all is well.  Next the gross part, the sewage. It was rather easy. I hooked it up just like it says in the video and worked well. The only probably we had was making sure we parked in a position to reach all the cords. My suggestion: Preview where all your hook ups are going to be first, then position it so that your sewage tube is just shy of sitting in the hole. Just remove it and only take it out when your ready to dump, and just have someone hold it down while you dump. Frustrating, but it should work.

More Detail of kitchen area.
More Detail of kitchen area.

As you can see from the pictures, the kitchen is small. You WON’T want to cook much but boil water in there. I did however use the convection microwave oven and made some brownies today. Came out YUMMY! Kids loved it, too. For the rest of the trip though, we are cooking the main meal outside over the grill or fire. Just as if we were tent camping. The kitchen in this 30′ is not supportive for a party of 7. Although using my camping skillet for the pancakes was easy since it covered two burners evenly.

Next, Review of Wolf Creek Park  and more of our RV trip…

http://www.desertsunsettravel.com

Step one: Pick up RV and Redecorate

rv-0So yesterday I picked up the rental from Cruise America and for the record the guys at the west Houston Cruise America office SUPER nice! But back to business, the rental I have is a one way because typically it is going back to be sold or refurbished. With that in mind, it means that it will not be in the ‘best’ of shape. What I ended up getting met most of my expectations. The sides were all scratched up and it looked like it had seen better days. My only thought was “please don’t leak if it rains!” (We will find out this weekend if that happens.) The interior was seriously worn and there was SO much dust and dirt. My guess is that it has been sitting for the winter because there were cobwebs in places that would of seen heavier traffic had it been rented recently. So my first thought was to clean this sucker as soon as I got home. The nice man gave me a quick tour and advised to me how everything worked and answered any additional questions I may have. Then I was off on my own.

On the way home I was a little surprised how big it was. I thought this would be similar to my rental with Uhal or even Budget. Of the two I would say this 30′ Large RV from Cruise America was much like driving the larger Budget rental moving trucks. Luckily, I just drove one of those 6 months ago when we moved from AZ to TX. (Now I’m driving back to AZ to TX for a visit. Crazy!) So even though I was white knuckling it most of the way, I started to get back into the grove of driving a larger vehicle. I-10 here I come!

Decorating

After a quick wipe down of the interior, including dusting, and a LOT of 409, I began to fill our home for the next 7 days with a bit of ‘home’. To cover those worn out cushions I used sheets. I had a love seat cover that worked perfectly on the couch however it covered the seat belts and I was not about to make holes in the love seat cover. So I settled for some blankets and one of my knitted throws.

Next I added some ‘personal touches’ with pictures. To hang the photos I used 3M poster/picture tape. Its reusable and is even safe on the RVs wooden paneling. For the heaver round pictures that I have by the sink I used Quake Shake. It’s a strong removable museum putty that does not damage. This worked well to also put my little glass for holding my cooking utensils. They didn’t move a inch on the drive! I also added them to the bottoms of the toothbrush holder  and soap dish. The pictures really made the area shine, I think.  (as with all adhesives, prolong use or in high temperatures may cause permanent attachment and cause damage upon removal.)

For the shower, I placed the trash bin here as well as the bottled water (because if it spills it will just go down the sink anyways.) Luckily, they come by every morning to pick up trash so no need to worry about it spelling the place up. The only thing is that shower cover was kind of icky looking and I didn’t want to see the trash bin all the time, so I used a wrap I got from a friend and hung it to cover that ugly part of the space. The color was a nice touch.

The other bit I added was area rugs. There is a hallway rug in the walkway, and at the top of the stairs a welcome mat (although I’m thinking of putting it outside now at the campsite), one in front of the stove/sink area and then a small square bath rug in the bathroom. (I hate cold bathrooms)

Finally

I think that all these touches help make the rented space feel more comfortable. Yah, what I put in I have to take out so then why not make it enjoyable. At first my husband was apprehensive about me putting so much work into decorating, however, I can see he enjoys the personal touches. Especially seeing familiar photos that we have around the house displayed in the RV. So even if it’s just a little, DO IT!

Next…Set up camp and our review of Wolf Creek State Park

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