All right, so I had this ready to go yesterday and somehow forgot to publish… so it’s a day late! But time for Midweek Sparkles! This week has been relatively relaxed on a personal front – some desk reorganization, a few little projects around the house, etc. But it’s been incredibly busy on the work front! My Monday through Wednesday morning were so packed with meetings that it was difficult to actually get work done. I feel like this afternoon I’m finally starting to catch up!
Today I had lunch with a friend – and it was not only fabulous to catch up with her but she had some awesome hand-me-downs for our nursery and Baby Sparkles! Always appreciated – especially because so many baby clothes/items are only used for a few months. I’m hoping we can finish the last couple of items in the nursery this weekend so that I can share a nursery tour next week!
We also had our third childbirth class, which included a tour of the Labor and Delivery floor and Mother/Baby floor of the hospital. It was great to get insight into what these areas look like, as well as some of the details on logistics (where to park, where to tell visitors to park, etc.). One more class left in this series! Then next month we have infant first aid/CPR and “Bringing Home Baby” classes.
So that’s a quick update on my week, but here are some fun Midweek Sparkles!
I’ve been thinking a lot about our household products and such as we welcome Baby Sparkles, I’m tempted to try this cleaning system… Anyone have any experience with it?
All right, well we’re home now! We actually managed to make it home a bit early from Colorado despite an unplanned late start (one word: tire), mostly due to G powering through more than 500 miles on Friday!
On Thursday, we went to Garden of the Gods in the morning, which was very beautiful but also VERY hot and sunny! I’ve determined that my skin really doesn’t like that much direct sunlight…. Although I didn’t get a sunburn, I actually got a sun/heat rash on my hands/forearms. I got a similar one in Hawaii (which at the time I thought might have been caused by a plant or algae…). So we hiked around the area for about 2 hours but then I had to call it. (I missed the trees/shade of the Midwest!)
After Garden of the Gods, we headed back to the campsite to start packing up/getting ready to leave. We dumped our tanks and filled up on water, planning to leave first thing Friday morning.
But about that late start… we noticed on Thursday evening that one of the tires in our RV was low. We took it to a gas station to fill up the tire but the tire wouldn’t take pressure. At this point, it was almost 6pm, which is of course when all of the tire places are closing. We called around to 5 or 6 places before we found Big O Tires in Golden, CO that A) could handle a 30 foot RV, and B) could fit us in the next morning.
So the next morning, we dropped off the RV at the tire shop (after driving there VERY slowly on the low tire…) and grabbed some breakfast. Then I headed to return the rental car at the airport and G hung out at Big O Tires until they could look at the tire. I drove through rush hour Denver traffic (not the best timing…) but managed to return the car without issue. I took a shuttle from the car rental place to the airport and then two trains to get back over to Golden. (Side note: Denver’s trains were very user-friendly and very clean! It was easy to navigate and saved $75 on an Uber!)
Luckily by the time I got to the Golden train station, G was done and the tire was fixed! I have to say, our experience with Big O Tires in Golden was fantastic! From the first phone call, they were professional and helpful. They talked us through the options when we arrived and made sure we kept up to date every step of the way. Not only that, but when they determined that our tire problem was caused by a screw we had picked up somewhere, they were able to repair the tire and refill it to our pressure specifications FOR NO CHARGE! That’s right – no charge for finding the problem, solving it and then getting us on the road. I hope we don’t have more tire problems, but if we did, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to a Big O Tires again. Thanks to the whole team there for helping us out!
Although our tire experience was great, it did set us back a few hours. Our planned 7am departure, became 1pm. However, G was on a mission, and we managed to cover about 550 miles by 10pm on Friday evening. We made a Wallydocking stop to sleep and then hit the road early Saturday morning. Despite some road construction, we made it to my parents by mid-afternoon to pick up the puppy and then headed home – making it home almost a full day early! Today, we’re unpacking the RV, getting things settled at home and prepping for the work week! But we definitely had an exciting first long-haul trip on the RV!
So at some time I’ll sit down and write more about our trip – but suffice to say it’s been wonderful. We’ve really been enjoying exploring Colorado and seeing the sights (as well as some wonderful friends!) Here are a few photos highlighting our trip….
Stay tuned for more photos from the Garden of the Gods and maybe Mt. Evans! 🙂
Another day and a half down on our way to Colorado and it’s been nice and relaxing! I think we figured out our ideal pace for long road trips (~350-450 miles per day). We made it to our KOA yesterday around 3:30 , set up, did some cleaning, took a shower and then relaxed, watched TV and played some board games! This morning, we got up, packed up quickly and hit the road. We had to get a new coffee maker for the RV (more on this later…!) and now we’re heading down the road through Nebraska. Side note: western Nebraska seems very barren, almost eerie…and not a lot of great scenery. We should be in the state of Colorado later today, making a stop at another KOA and then on to our campsite tomorrow morning!
But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some photos of the inside of our Class C RV so that you can see what it’s like. On to the RV Tour…
Overall, we really like the RV so far! It’s fun and comfy and nice… and unlike hotels, we only live in our own germs! We’ll likely adjust our set-up a bit but for now, we’re pretty organized. And looking forward to this and many more trips in the RV!
PS: I think we need to name the RV… any suggestions?!
So, yesterday was Day 1 of our Colorado adventure! We left about 2 pm from our house, Buddy in tow, to head to my parents house. We drove through truly horrible Chicago traffic (not even through the city!) and then a subsequent rainstorm… all within the first 30 miles. An ominous sign for the trip ahead? We didn’t think so! But we were glad when we finally made it to my parents house, were able to stretch our legs and eat some delicious pizza that they had for us!
My parents house was also the point where Buddy’s adventure stopped – or at least his adventure with us – he will be staying with my parents and getting incredibly spoiled for the next week while we continue westward. (Trust me, he prefers it this way… he can bond with my parents dog, Teddy, get twice-daily walks, a daily trip to the dog park and chicken with every meal. Doggie. Heaven.)
G and I had a few more miles to go before we slept though… (I know not quite the song lyrics…). So we continued on westward toward Colorado. We were originally planning to avoid interstates and cut south to a highway to get west (we had a BAD experience driving the RV on I-65 in Indiana); however, we found I-80 to be quite pleasant to drive on so we decided to keep going straight west on that (a much more direct route!).
Just a little bit west of the Quad Cities is the I-80 Truck Stop – the largest truck stop in the world! Now, having grown up in the Quad Cities, I’ve driven by this truck stop countless times. But for G, it was new, and I had never done it in an RV. So of course, we decided to stop, get gas and take our RV through the truck wash! That was a fun experience (and I think the teenagers washing our RV were wondering why I was taking pictures….! 🙂 ).
All was going well, until we were about 45 minutes away from my parents and then, I swear, the sky opened up and just dumped all over us. The rain was SO strong, and by this time it was getting to be dark outside, leaving a reflective sheen all over the interstate. We were glad, at that point, that we were on a well marked and well maintained interstate (vs. a two lane highway). G was awesome and powered through the storm (at a very safe pace).
After making it through to the other side (although not escaping the rain – just a more reasonable amount of rain), we made it to our evening destination…. Walmart. Yep, we stayed last night in a Walmart parking lot. For those unfamiliar with RVing, it’s sometimes called “Wallydocking” and it’s really just a convenient/affordable way to stop to get some sleep while on an extended trip. Since we have a bathroom and bedroom (and kitchen) within the RV, we were able to just able to pull in to the back, put on our parking break and get ready for bed.
I think we actually both slept all right – not the greatest night’s sleep ever (it was a bit warm since we weren’t plugged in and didn’t turn on our generator) but definitely enough rest to get us ready for another day today!
A quick trip into Walmart to buy a few things (including muffins for breakfast!) and now we’re back on the road. And I’m trying out my Chromebook on the road work-station…. We’ll see how it goes. (So far typing isn’t too bad but the mouse is a bit tricky with all of the movement…). Onward to Colorado we go!
About a month ago G and I bought a (new to us) Class C RV! We had been talking about and researching RVs/campers for a while (more about our search to come in a future post!), and this weekend, we were excited to take the RV up to Lake Geneva for the weekend.
Our first trip on the RV was to Indiana a few weeks ago, mostly as a test-run/learning experience! And we were able to refine our set-up a little bit, so we were excited to take the RV up to Lake Geneva for our first real mini-camping trip.
Lake Geneva is about an hour or two north of Chicago and is a long time summer retreat for some of Chicago’s wealthiest businessmen who own lakefront property around Geneva Lake. The town of Lake Geneva is a super cute area with a nice beach, a marina with boats, and a downtown area with cute boutiques and restaurants.
We drove to Lake Geneva on Friday after work and checked in at our campsite in Big Foot State Park. One of the advantages of our RV set-up is that we’re able to save a lot of money on accommodations, especially in areas like Lake Geneva where hotel prices are high.
We had a nice campsite – fairly wooded and shady. There were several campsites pretty close to use, but luckily none were occupied this weekend! And I have to say – this state park had one of the nicest bathroom and shower facilities that we’ve seen at state parks. While we have a bathroom in our RV, the shower is pretty small, so we tend to use the facilities where we camp. Big Food State Park had nice, really new and clean, shower rooms and restroom facilities.
Friday was mostly spent setting up camp, trying out our new screen tent room (which actually ended up being a bit of a disaster to set up) and getting our dog Buddy acclimated to the RV. This is the first time Buddy came with us in the RV and, as we expected, it was not his favorite thing. He likes his routine and comfort zones – but due to no pet sitters available, he came with us.
On Saturday, we walked into town (it was a nice 45 minute stroll through town!) and met G’s parents at Simple Cafe, one of our favorite restaurants in Lake Geneva. Simple Cafe features organic and locally grown food, presented in yummy and creative dishes!
After lunch, we went back to the RV so that G’s parents could see the RV and so that we could check on Buddy. Then we headed out for the Ice Cream Social lake tour on Lake Geneva Cruise Line. It was an awesome mini-tour of the lake (we had tried to get tickets for the Full Lake Tour but they were sold out – lesson learned to book in advance!) and of course, anything with ice cream gets an A+ in my book!
It was wonderful to spend some time with G’s parents and then after they headed home, we walked back to the camp site to spend some time enjoying the great outdoors. We took Buddy for a walk and had some pizza delivered for dinner. While we normally love Gino’s East, we made the mistake of ordering extra sauce on our pizza. This is a normal thing for us – we both love extra sauce on our pizza – but we also don’t normally get delivery. So the delivery coupled with the extra sauce led us to a messy, slightly soggy pizza. Buddy enjoyed his piece nonetheless! (And no, he doesn’t normally get pizza for dinner, but it was a special occasion for him! 🙂 ) I think the pizza dinner and the walks around the campsite were the high points of the trip for Buddy!
We had a nice evening relaxing in our now-assembled tent room, enjoyed the breeze and catching up. While we obviously see each other every day, it’s not often that G and I have a few hours to do nothing but talk and hang out together. Usually we’re dealing with work, house cleaning, yard work, chores, tasks, etc. But that’s one of my favorite parts about going on a mini-trip together – getting time away from the grind to spend together!
Next week we’re heading to Colorado for a little over a week! I can’t wait!