RV Short Stops
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

The ‘Precious Moments Complex’ Is Second To None

Our first visit to this incredible place in the early 90’s is deeply etched into our memory. We discovered it by accident, but it has become one of our most 'moving' stops during our 22 years of Fulltime travels. The complex has expanded since our impressive first visit – now it even includes Cubby Bear's Campground.

Artist, Samuael J Butcher was inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome. He designed, created and constructed the Precious Moments Chapel as his way of sharing the joy of his faith with the world; it has become his crowning work. If memory serves me well this picture includes many real life physically challenged children that visited the Chapel during the early days.

The Chapel is so much more than just a building, it has touched the lives of those who enter its doors with a sense of peace, hope, and promise since it opened in 1989.

Peruse the website for a moving experience and if your travels take you near Carthage, Missouri, be sure to explore this one of a kind stopping spot.

Click here for more info about this unforgetable place.

Click here for info about Precious Moments Cubby Bear’s campground.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Moaning Caverns - for the adventurous

468 steps down and back up. It was either that or rappel down. George and I chose the steps to go to the bottom of Moaning Caverns, the largest vertical chamber in a public cavern that you can see in California. My legs paid for it the next day but it was worth it.

Last year Workampers Jim and Marcie Cumberland invited us to see the Moaning Caverns where they were working. Marcie worked in the gift shop, Jim gave tours. They have moved on to new caverns but we finally got there since it is only about an hour from Stockton where we were attending the Escapee RV Club’s Escapade.

It was a rainy day so this "wet cave" was actively dripping—on our heads—as we descended. The formations in a "wet cave" are still growing while a dry cave (like Grand Canyon Caverns or Mitchell Caverns in the Mojave) are not. Moaning Caverns has all types of cave formations, known as speleothems, such as stalactites and stalagmites, popcorn and helictites. The largest formation is a type of travertine flowstone called the Chocolate Waterfall. It looks chocolate-colored because the water flows over terra rosa clay with iron oxide, incorporating it into the flowstone.
Bruce, the manager and our guide for the morning, gave us a history of the caverns and told us how it got its name. Standing at the bottom, we were able to hear noises rather like the playing of a timpani drum. Before the caverns were developed, people would hear that sound, blended together into a moan, coming out of the opening.

For the more adventurous, you can don equipment and rappel through the original opening of the caverns to the bottom of the main chamber— 165 feet down. Or you can take a 3-hour adventure tour to explore one of the deeper chambers with an optional rappel. Equipment is provided for both.
The tour was fascinating. Because of the geology of this region, a number of caverns were created in this area millions of years ago and this Sierra foothills country is where miners combed these hills for gold during the California Gold Rush. We were wishing we had more time to explore Angel’s Camp and the surrounding location. That will have to happen another visit. Jaimie


Monday, April 23, 2007

Little Grand Canyon Is RV Unfriendly

Providence Canyon State Park in Georgia is also known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” This is misleading because this small canyon does not compare to the real Grand Canyon by any stretch of the imagination. It is however a pretty spot for a picnic or a nice hike.I do not recommend taking your RV into this small park because you will have difficulty turning around once inside. I recommend only using your towed vehicle or your towing vehicle when you visit. It has an interpretive center, playground and picnic area. Click here for directions and more information: Providence Canyon State Park


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Georgia’s Little White House Holds A Secret

This is a short stop thas has the potential to become a longer visit. Jimmy Carter wasn’t the only President to call Georgia home. Franklin D. Roosevelt bought some property and built a house in Georgia in 1932 just prior to becoming President of the United States. He suffered from polio and used the natural warming springs of this area to treat his condition.
Photo Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Little White House State Historic Site

Georgia’s “Little White House” is open to the public to explore the grounds, house, servant's quarters and Secret Service guard house.You'll enjoy the exhibits in the 11,000 square foot museum that include a short film narrated by Walter Cronkite describing the Great Depression and how the FDR administration responded to it. Over 100,000 people visit this historic site each year. Admission is $7.00 adults, $6.00 seniors, $5.00 for kids 6-18 under and 5 an under are free. Yes, the little White House holds a secret, several in fact, but you’ll have to visit to find out what they are. Check out the website here: Little White House

If the museum is not crowded, you'll find ample parking for your RV in the parking lot.
The small town of Warm Springs, Georgia is a charming little burg near FDR’s house. Main street is filled with shops and restaurants and around the corner is a gift shop called Singing Saw Farm – you’ll definitely find something different here. Also located in this area is Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park with great hiking trails and 140 tent and RV sites. Whether you’re fishing, boating, horseback riding, swimming or just relaxing you’re sure to find this park refreshing. Other nearby attractions include Pine Mountain Wild Animal Park and Callaway Gardens.


Wallow in mud!

While most people go to Napa Valley to taste wine, we go to the north end of the valley to play in the mud. Calistoga, long known for its healthful mineral water and spas, is also home to mud baths. We like Golden Haven because we can relax in the mud in adjoining tubs rather than go to separate baths for men and women.

We met our RV friend Betty in Calistoga well before our appointment so we'd have time to look around and have lunch. After lunch at the restaurant and brewery at the Calistoga Inn we headed to the spa so we could have time in the mineral pool and hot tub, included in the package.

The basic package includes a mud bath, blanket wrap and hot mineral Jacuzzi with options for massages or facials. The rooms have two or three tubs so you can share the experience with a companion. Suits are optional in the mud rooms.

The mud is actually a mixture of volcanic ash clay and peat moss mixed with mineral water. Like an air mattress, the mud conforms to your body and supports you evenly, allowing your body to totally relax.

After about twelve minutes in the mud, we hosed off, then stepped into a sunken Jacuzzi for another ten minutes or so. Next we were then led to a darkened room and wrapped in a warmed sheet and wool blanket. Soothing music with ocean waves in the background played as we relaxed, cooled off and almost fell asleep. (Actually George did.) We were so relaxed, it was hard to get up. We declined the massage since we driving back to our RV and figured that would truly put us to sleep. We skipped stopping at wineries for the same reason.

Golden Haven offers mid-week specials and other packages. The Chamber of Commerce lists spas in the area.

This was my third visit to the mud baths at Golden Haven, George's second. There are many other things to do in the area but put this unique activity on your list. Like us, when you make the trek through Northern California, you'll detour for a relaxing soak in the mud. Jaimie

Casitoga is a special place for author Jaimie Hall. She is co-editor of RV Traveling Tales: Women's Journeys on the Open Road. In its "Heart Places" section, women share destinations that are special for them. Available at RVBookstore.com


Sunday, April 15, 2007

World’s Smallest Police Station Is In Carrabelle, Florida

Ten years ago John and I spent a glorious week in a laidback fishing village nestled along highway 98 on Florida’s panhandle. At that time the only place to shop was a small convenience store – box stores and large grocery stores were non-existent. Carrabelle worked hard to remain a little known utopia for boaters and fishermen.

Their one claim to fame was they were proud of the ‘World’s Smallest Police Station’ – a telephone booth complete with a police beacon on top situated on main street in town centre.

Early April, John and I took a trip down memory lane and we are happy to see that Carrabelle is still a picturesque laidback fishing village and their tiny 'Police Station' continues to stand watch.

These days there is a second beachfront campground, plus the beautiful one we stayed at has expanded. It ‘s enlightening to find that there are still parts of this world that have managed to resist change to maintain their community image.

More details click here.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

A date shake pick-me-up on a windy afternoon

Today was a long day of driving, more than we usually do in one day. We drove 320 miles from San Dimas, California to Delhi, off Route 99. It was quite windy. Fuel mileage dropped.

South of Fresno, around 2 p.m. as I was napping, George saw a sign for date shakes. And another. And another. Traver, basically a truck-stopping place right off the highway, was the spot. We pulled off for a break and a shake. On a long driving day like today, Bravo Farm's date shake tasted wonderful. Besides date shakes and burgers, you could talk to Pancho the parrot, buy a souvenier and fuel up. What more can you ask for in a break?

My favorite date shake, actually the date-banana shake, is at Hadley's Fruit Orchard in Cabazon, 16 miles west of Palm Springs. Anytime we make the trip from Arizona to Los Angeles, we stop at Hadleys.

Now that we are set up at the Merced River Resort in Delhi, windy as it is, I need a walk. Othewise, I'll be carrying around that date shake for a long time! Jaimie

Jaimie edits the "Working on the RV Road" blog and is the author of Support Your RV LIfestyle! An Insider's Guide to Working on the Road, 2nd ed. See RVBookstore.com.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Plant City Strawberries Are Sweet, Tasty And Huge

Parkesdale Farms in Plant City, Florida serve the most decadent Sundae you have ever eaten. Service is fast even if the line is long. Customers order these fresh, huge, sweet, tasty treats by number. Do you want cake, berries and whipped cream or are you in the mood to add ice cream or a milk shake today? It is all here. No sugar added entries are also available.

Happy Birthday John

Visitors to Central Florida should not miss any opportunity to enjoy a Plant City Strawberry Sundae. It is open year round but very popular during snowbird season. More details here.


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