States visited: 49!

visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800

Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Final birthday of the week!

Happy Birthday DAVE!

We had awoken to rain overnight; I almost turned off the alarm anticipating a leisurely pack-up and drive home. Instead at 6:30am, a light snow was falling in the village. We caught a shuttle over to Sterling and realized the snow was still coming down and had clearly been falling on the higher ranges overnight - freshies! What a great birthday gift.

The lifties were still beating snow off the chairs and waiting for patrol to OK loading - yes, first lift = first tracks = happy Valentines!

The boardy boys disappeared. I love powder snow, but it doesn't always love's a workout.

After a few runs on Sterling, Caitlin and I managed a couple on Madonna before heading back to the condo to pack.

We were sad to leave the slopes, knowing it'll be at least nine months before we're back on the snow. Headed to 3 Squares Cafe in Vergennes for lunch, our favorite lunch was closed while transitioning to the new location! Thankfully a new suggestion popped up - thank you Waze and Yelp: Bake Shop & Deli in Ferrisburgh - yum!

Hay bale 'statues' appear all over Vermont; we look out for new ones each year - this was the version outside the Bake Shop.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Board and Play

The day started with a few flurries, but nothing stuck. Though the runs were skiable, they were definitely showing signs of ice after lunch.


The wind was pretty strong today - managed to snap a pic under the Union Jack as it blew.

Tonight was FunZone night:
Connect 4 - Becca, have I taught you NOTHING?! Victory by the self-proclaimed Connect 4 Queen (me!) in just four moves!

Jake was determined to beat Dave and took a game off him with a score of 21-18; he lost the next two.

Nate scored repeatedly.

Caitlin flitted over the mini golf course.

The girls battled on the inflatable slide.

A Smuggs visit would not be complete without a stop at Ben & Jerry's for a dairy overload.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Caitlin's 15!

We are in birthday week and for this family, there's nothing better than a day of skiing/boarding on your birthday!
The birthday boarders atop Madonna Mountain:
After a stint in the pool and hot tubs at the Tamaracks Community Center, it was time to try something new: airboarding at Sir Henry's Hill.


Flying down the hill in the dark - why yes, what a great plan! The four of them raced twice; Caitlin claimed victory both times.

The hydroflask made it to the slopes....... it's always important to keep the beer cold and check in with the Pigeon Peeps who reciprocated with a photo of cups lounging poolside in Florida!

Of course, the day must end with birthday cake:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Smuggs: Winter 2016 take two!

Due to a late night arrival on Jake's birthday and because Dave was recovering from a virus, we did not hit the slopes until the lifts had been running for a couple of hours.......totally unheard of for us. I am a first to last lift girl, so I was feeling a tad pained!

It was pretty bright, so I couldn't really see the screen - I thought I had everyone in.......sorry Nate!
Our fears that it would be a busy Sunday at the start of Spring Break week were not realized: no lines and great conditions. At the beginning of the day, not a cloud was in the sky, and the sun shone brightly.
Jake and Becca ahead: cloudless blue skies
Caitlin and Dave behind Nate and me
 I skied with Nate and Becca all morning; Jake sped off; Dave stayed with Caitlin.

Gorgeous weather; so glad we decided to return

Mount Washington clearly visible (with the naked eye!) in the distance from the top of Madonna: breathtaking views.
From Morse, looking out over Madonna and Sterling:
While the others headed over to Morse Mountain for the afternoon, I stayed for last lift on Madonna. This was my view skiing down Lower F.I.S. at the end of the day - no one left, had the slope to myself.

Dave and Caitlin caught the very last chair on the Village lift, followed only by the cone! What a GREAT first day.

This is the drying rack Dave should patent. It dries our boots and gloves with a small fan attached to the lower pipe which pushes air through each pipe - he's quite the ingenious engineer! It dismantles completely to make it fully portable. This condo had the perfect out-of-the-way spot for it too which our Sycamores condo does not.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Jake's 17!

While Dave took Jake and Nate to race in the Boy Scout's Klondike Derby (pulling a sled without any snow because the January date had to be cancelled due to the two feet of snow PA randomly received in one weekend!), Becca spent the morning baking for her siblings' birthdays.

Cake on the eight hour journey up to Vermont? YES please!

This Smuggs visit will be spent in Tamaraks 32 in the North Hill community: a 3 bedroom all to ourselves!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area

We were still taking good advantage of Dave’s early finish (he was still wishing the alarm didn’t have to go off quite so early each morning!) each day and decided to spend Wednesday afternoon at Whiskeytown.  We had hoped to attend the free kayak program, unfortunately we were too late calling to reserve anything – the down side of constant traveling is that I don’t tend to assess what’s available until the week we arrive, by which time it is often too late.  Regardless, in the Visitor Center the fantastically informed volunteers told us about the Waterfall Challenge.  If we hiked to all four waterfalls, we’d receive a prize.  Becca’s ears perked up!
We drove out to the Brandy Creek Falls Trailhead, crossing right over the dam and photographing the bizarre Glory Hole Spillway – similar to an enormous drain-hole in a sink – designed to ensure there will not be any overflow issues.
The uphill hiking began immediately we left the car park, no-one was especially thrilled except Dave who was quite buoyant compared to the rest of us!  We were walking along an old logging road – extremely hard to believe!  We crossed bridges, witnessed debris brought down in the winter of 1997, made it to Lower Falls and then onward to the Upper Falls.  It was a wonderful, just over three miles, hike, particularly toward the end as we had to climb the rocks to reach the Falls. 
At each of the four waterfalls in the challenge a bronze rubbing needed to be completed in a special book.  It was really a great idea and a fun way to encourage people to hike.
The return trip had us moving quite swiftly in an attempt to outrun mosquitoes and biting flies.  We discovered that in Alaska they do serve a purpose: they assist with blueberry pollination.  I almost feel that I could survive without blueberries in order to avoid being eaten by these book-sucking terrors!

Joshua joined us on Wednesday afternoon as we drove out to Whiskeytown Falls trailhead.  I swear Jake and Joshua could ceaselessly hike for miles as long as conversation did not run out…..they chat…and chat!

Of the four, this was probably the toughest (and longest at almost four miles) hike.  There was some shade but it was quite steep.  The trail leaflet said: hiking up the path, try to imagine the logging trucks that regularly drove up and down this former logging road.  Arthur Coggins, owner of the land and the Northern California Logging Company, selectively logged the area for Douglas Fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and incense cedar during the 1950s.
Undeterred though, we made it to the Falls, appreciating the beauty of the views as we hiked.  Given that it was a Thursday, we were surprised by how many people were hiking this trail.
Photographer’s Ledge was the lower vista, the kids climbed up along with Dave to the Artist’s Ledge while I sat and enjoyed the momentary peace!
I had remembered bug spray today although realized that evening that my neck obviously wasn’t well enough covered – little suckers!
Crystal Creek Falls were the most accessible of the four – an easy half mile paved trail.  These Falls were actually man-made when excess water from Carr Powerhouse was rerouted to Crystal Creek.  The creek was moved about 50 feet to the left to make a shortcut over the creek, creating this picturesque waterfall.

Our final destination was Boulder Creek Falls.  To reach these and ensure the shortest hike possible, we had to drive up the unpaved, 4-wheel drive only Mill Creek Road.  Those who know Dave realize that this was pure bliss for him, and those who know me, will realize that it was sheer terror for me! Unsurprisingly given the challenging drive up to the start point, we did not encounter many people.  It was a peaceful hike up through trees, over some rocks, and out to a lovely picturesque fall.

Before we left on Saturday, we stopped in at the Visitor Center to present the book with all the rubbings we’d completed at each of the four Falls.  Becca was especially thrilled by her new red headscarf – apparently that made all the hikes worth it!