General info, Remodel, Tiny Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Our Latest RV Project

So it seems that we can never get away from a project. We admit it, we love bringing something old back to life again. First with our Georgie Boy Class A and then our Lance Truck Camper.

But this time we have something special. REALLY special!

Introducing “Armani” – a shiny and soon to be restored vintage 1979 Avion 28J travel trailer!

1979 Avion 28J “Armani”
1979 Avion 28J

No, this is not an Airstream. Yes they are similar but definitely not the same. Airstream aficionados would argue that Airstreams of that era were better quality. Avion enthusiasts would disagree. As you can see, we fall into the latter category. No offense to all our Airstream friends! We really love Airstreams and nearly went that direction. But our friends Doug & Denise changed our minds with their purchase of their 1978 Avion “Ava”.

Doug, Denise, Zoey & “Ava”

We located Armani via Craigslist in Phoenix, AZ. After a quick drive down there (well, 8+ hours one way) we determined that while Armani needed major interior work, the external skin, frame and “bones” were sound!  A quick stop at a tire store for some new “kicks” and we were back on the road by 3pm! We decided to drive to Flagstaff and stop for the night at a motel considering that Armani was not camp ready. 

That’s when we hit traffic on I-17 headed north. Some DUMB ASS had thrown a cigarette butt out his window and caused a wildfire! We crawled along for nearly 5 hours only going 43 miles!!  Please, people – if you smoke so NOT throw your butts out your window!! It’s beyond stupid!!

Stuck in traffic

All of this happened very quickly. We had looked at other Avions and had even driven miles upon miles to view them only to be disappointed. I guess everything happens for a reason!

We didn’t tell our friends of our purchase. They knew we were looking but that was all. We made the decision to get Armani camp ready (well, we could sleep in it and use the bathroom lol) by June 12 as we were meeting our friends at our favorite spot – Ojo Caliente!

Armani at Ojo Caliente! Notice the lack of awning and AC shroud! 🙂

To say they were surprised is an understatement. Look at Denise’s face!

Surprise!!

After the initial surprise we let them get set up while we prepared lunch and champagne to celebrate. 

Only the best!
And of course the cheese & meat plate for lunch!

We had a great time at Ojo Caliente and now we are off enjoying the beautiful mountain air of Pagosa Springs for the next month. We will also be putting Doug to work to get this beauty back to its former glory – you see, Doug is a master carpenter and has already renovated their Avion! The renovations have begun and we will be doing a blog post on those soon.

Cheers to the future!

Cheers to the new endeavor!
Eats & Drinks, ID, Travel

Idaho Winery Tour

Saturday, July 11, 2015

After spending the week with my mom and getting caught up with family, Mark and I decided to take a day for ourselves and hit some of the local wineries that have popped up here in the last 30 years.

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The beautiful Snake River
The beautiful Snake River
Sunflowers and wheat
Sunflowers and wheat

Our first stop was at the beautiful Koenig Winery & Distillery.  Set up on a hill overlooking the beautiful Snake River Valley, this winery and distillery has been producing some of the top wines in the region.  It was established in 1996 by Andy & Greg Keonig, two brothers who learned the art of making wine and spirits in their fathers home country of Austria.

Koenig Tasting House (photo courtesy Koenig Winery)
Koenig Tasting House (photo courtesy Koenig Winery)
I think this says it all...
I think this says it all…

We sampled a variety of wonderful whites & reds, including an Ice Wine that blew my socks off!  Needless to say we left with a few bottles. 🙂  They also offer a wonderful selection of fruit brandies, vodka and whiskey!

Koenig award winning wines!
Koenig award winning wines!
Beautiful distilling equipment!
Beautiful distilling equipment!
Old fashioned wine press!
Old fashioned wine press!

Our next stop took us to a relatively new winery in the area – Hat Ranch Winery.  Established in 2014 by Tim Harless, Hat Ranch Winery is producing some outstanding young wines.  Their reds are fabulous and there is definitely great things in their future!  Tim is very knowledgable about his wines and was a fabulous host in the tasting room.  We purchased a wonderful bottle of red and we look forward to future wines from this up and coming vineyard.

The tasting room at Hat Ranch Winery (photo courtesy of Hat Ranch Winery)
The tasting room at Hat Ranch Winery (photo courtesy of Hat Ranch Winery)
Hat Ranch's vineyard - a storm was brewing
Hat Ranch’s vineyard – a storm was brewing

Up the road from Hat Ranch is the Bitner Vineyards.  Established in 1981 by Ron and Mary Bitner, this winery is producing some of the best Tempranillo wines in the area!  Spicy and herby, this wine pairs well with so many spicy food!  We left with a few of these bottles.  Another wine I loved from this vineyard was their High Desert White Blend. Perfect on a summers day!  There are so many exciting wines from this vineyard it would be too long to post how many we picked up! 🙂

Bitner Wines (photo courtesy of Bitner Winery)
Bitner Wines (photo courtesy of Bitner Winery)
Bitner Winery
Bitner Winery

On our way up to the last winery of the day, we were ran into a road block – of goats!  🙂  They were taking them down to another pasture and the only way was to herd them down the road.  We stopped and let them go by.  It was great seeing the kids out helping (human kids, not the goats).  Busy day for them!

Goats in the road!
Goats in the road!
The Snake River in the background
The Snake River in the background

And our final stop of the day was the Ste Chapelle Winery.  One of the oldest established wineries in the region (1976), Ste Chapelle is the largest producer of wines in the area with 130,000 cases a year.  Their Sauvignon Blanc was a huge hit with me!  A wonderful wrap up to the day.

The Tasting Room at Ste Chapelle (photo courtesy of Ste Chapelle Winery)
The Tasting Room at Ste Chapelle (photo courtesy of Ste Chapelle Winery)
Ste Chapelle Winery
Ste Chapelle Winery

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Complimentary glasses with the wine tasting
Complimentary glasses with the wine tasting

On our way back home I took Mark into some of the country side I grew up in.  Out driving around we ran into Chicken Dinner Road!  I had totally forgotten about the road but when I saw it I knew I had to snap a picture of it.  Only in Idaho! 🙂

Chicken Dinner Road - only in Idaho!
Chicken Dinner Road – only in Idaho!

It was a fabulous day, lots of delicious wine was had and bought and we came home and crashed!  But we were lucky that a nice Russian tourist was kind enough to take a picture of us both to commemorate the day.

Happy wine drinking day!
Happy wine drinking day!

Up next is our trip up to Idaho City!  It is a “living” ghost town and has a LOT of history from the Gold Rush.  We also found the camp site I used to camp at when I was a kid!  So much has changed in Idaho but so much has stayed the same.

Here are some other photos of highlights of our day!  Enjoy…

 

NC, RV Park Reviews, Uncategorized

Park Review – Carrollwoods RV Park & Grapefull Sisters Vineyard

Well, we finally did it!  We hit the road full time!  Woohoo!  We’ve been waiting and planning for this day for nearly two years.  So where did we go for our first trip?  Well, since the holidays were upon us, we decided to visit our daughter who is attending university in Myrtle Beach, SC.  That is approximately a 4 hour trip from where we were originally.

When we had made the decision on where to go, the next thing was to plan where to stay.  We wanted to be close by our daughter, but all our research of the local RV parks showed they were *really* expensive – even for a month’s stay.  We are on a budget and decided to look further out.  Mark did a little research and found Carrollwood’s RV Park & Grapefull Sisters Vineyard!

Welcome to Grapefull Sisters Vineyard & Carrollwoods RV Park!
Welcome to Grapefull Sisters Vineyard & Carrollwoods RV Park!

Located about 30 minutes from North Myrtle Beach just across the state line in North Carolina, this little (22 space) RV park sounded perfect!

Map link to Location:  Carrollwood’s RV Park

We stayed here for the month of December and while we enjoyed ourselves, I think it would have been nicer to be here in warmer weather! 🙂  Here is some info to help you make an informed decision about this park.

  • Location
    • Pros: Located only 30 miles to Myrtle Beach, this little RV park is situated on a local Muscadine Vineyard which is owned by the family.  Surrounded by beautiful farm land with all sorts of local wild life.
    • Cons: The closest real grocery store and gas station is 20 minutes away over the border in South Carolina.  It’s an easy drive through some pretty farm land.  It is out in “the boonies” (which was a PLUS for us) but if you want close by amenities then this is not the park for you.
  • Sites/Spaces
    • Pros:  Monthly rates are reasonable at $350 plus tax & electric (.12kwh) at time of writing.  Daily rates are listed on their website and they accept many of the RV clubs for a discounted rate (Passport America, etc).  The spaces are very large, wide and (fairly) level with all being pull throughs for big rigs.  All sites have 30/50 amps and water/sewer hookups.  They have basic cable (you must get a box at the office) which they charge an additional $24.99/mo for (no thanks).  We got about 10 solid channels on our digital antenna just fine.  All spaces include a fire ring and picnic table and some have bbq’s.
    • Cons:  It rained (a LOT) while we were here and there are a lot of low areas that filled up with water.  Drainage could be better but for the most part the sites are very nice.
Our site #66 at Carrollwoods RV Park.  Very large with picnic table and fire ring!
Our site #66 at Carrollwoods RV Park. Very large with picnic table and fire ring!
Other spaces in the park
Other spaces in the park
Looking down the "main" road (there are only 3 little roads through the park).
Looking down the “main” road (there are only 3 little roads through the park).
  • Amenities
    • Pros:  Lots of shady tree lined areas and trails to walk, bike & hike. Very pet friendly! Laundry room has only two washers/two dryers but it is a small park ($1.50 to wash/$1.75 to dry) so that’s understandable.  There is a bath house and a POOL!  Also, there is a little general store with some basic RV needs and some food (expensive as you might imagine but handy).  **They do have wireless internet but honestly it doesn’t work well at all.  Goes out frequently and the signal strength is lacking and we were parked right across from an antenna.  So don’t rely on their internet for work, etc.** They have propane on site for fill.  There is a park host on duty.
    • Cons:  They sell firewood to the guests here at $4/bundle.  There are probably about 6 pieces of wood in each bundle.  They do not allow you to bring in wood from outside locations.  At the time of this writing they do not offer larger bundles at a discount.
General store!  Mail delivery here as well as a propane filling station.
General store! Mail delivery here as well as a propane filling station.
Bath/shower house and laundry room.  Also a covered deck to the right of the photo.  Pool is behind the bath house.
Bath/shower house and laundry room. Also a covered deck to the right of the photo. Pool is behind the bath house.
Swimming pool - would be great in the summer!
Swimming pool – would be great in the summer!
  • Pets
    • Pros:  Pets are very welcome at this park!  They have a doggy park with a picnic table to sit at while the dogs play.  Pets are to be leashed at all times (except in the dog park) and you must pick up after your pets.  Only common sense of course. 🙂
    • Cons:  Not too much on the downside here.  Just remember, even in North Carolina, this is still a southern climate and with that you could have alligators in the ponds here – do not let your dog swim in them!  Do not approach alligators for any reason.  Also, when walking in the woods be mindful of snakes.  There are many poisonous varieties here.
To the dog park!
To the dog park!
The rules!
The rules!
Tank wanting in!  His favorite part of the day was his walk to the park to "run free"!
Tank wanting in! His favorite part of the day was his walk to the park to “run free”!
  • Other thoughts:  This IS a “kid friendly” park – there is a playground and pool though this time of the year (December) there were only long term people here.  The beach isn’t far and there are tons of things to do within minutes of the park and the owner has three young children that I’m sure would enjoy playmates.  There is a lovely duck pond and one big fat mother goose who looks after them all!  Of course, the winery is a nice treat and they have wine tastings of their wine and have a cute little gift shop.  Also, at this time of year there were mainly long term retired couples here.  We were the youngest in the park by 20+ years! Everyone was very nice and welcoming though as RVer’s usually are. 🙂
Playground for the kids!
Playground for the kids!
Koi pond
Koi pond
Mother Goose with her ducks!
Mother Goose with her ducks!
  • AT&T & Verizon – the AT&T signal is very poor here and non-exisitant in certain areas.  Unsure of Verizon but according to my Coverage? app it shows a decent Verizon LTE signal.

Overall, this is a beautiful little park with a great location close to Myrtle Beach that won’t break the budget.  The owners are very friendly, it’s a well laid out park and the rates are reasonable if you plan to stay for an extended period.  We really enjoyed our stay and would be happy to return! Below you will find some more photos in and around the park and winery – enjoy!