Starling Travel

January 19, 2012

Felicia Day’s Trip to Belize

Filed under: Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love this video of Felicia Day’s Trip to Belize. All of us take a lot of video and photos while we’re on a trip, but her audio commentary is what makes the video so entertaining.

I’ve never been to Belize, so it was nice to see how it looked. When you’re feeling trapped at work and in need of a vacation, take a few minutes and watch this video. It will make you feel refreshed and ready to get back to the daily grind.

January 18, 2012

Do You Have Cell Coverage? Find Out With Coverage?

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Last November, when Mike and I were planning our trip to Nevada, we really wanted to stay at a campsite in Valley of Fire State Park. It had electricity and water at the campsites. More importantly, the landscape looked gorgeous. We tried to see whether there was coverage for our cell phones on AT&T’s website, but they are not very complete. The only indication that we might NOT have coverage was a spot on the Valley of Fire brochure with a symbol with the words, “Possible cell service at this location.”

Valley of Fire Big Horned SheepWe wanted to stay in Valley of Fire, but planned on checking our phones before we settled on a campsite. The minute we drove into the campsite, however, our phones showed No Service. Even our trusty Verizon iPad, which seems to get coverage EVERYWHERE was without coverage. We ended up enjoying the day at Valley of Fire, and enjoyed the animal life there, but we moved on before the evening and camped at Lake Mead.

Coverage? appCoverage? Shows NO coverage in Valley of FireHow I wish we had known about the Coverage? app [iTunes link]. If you look at the map on the right, you can CLEARLY see that there is a big white hole in the middle of Valley of Fire State Park. This is the beauty of the Coverage? app. You can see immediately how likely it is that you’ll have coverage on your travels. Here are some good things about the app:

  • Easily know before you go: Avoid having to check each provider’s coverage map individually to know where you’re most likely to keep connected.
  • No internet needed: All maps are stored locally, so you can see where coverage next is most likely even when you have none.
  • Urban and rural maps: Maps cover the entire continental USA for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
  • Know where to roam: view 4G, 3G, 2G and roaming areas as separate overlays, focus on the coverage type you need.
  • Universal App – iPhone, iPod Touch and IPad, OS 4.2 and higher.

Here is a video explaining it:

Coverage? in Quartzite, AZThis time, Mike and I are embarking on a trip to Quartzite, AZ for the big RV show there. Now, we know that we’ll have coverage, even though it will be just on EDGE. It’s a great little app that let’s us check for both AT&T and Verizon to know how much we’ll be able to get online.

If you travel frequently and your cell phone is your only access to the Internet, Coverage? might be a good app for you, no matter what provider you use.

January 17, 2012

A View from Cape Disappointment

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Washington — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love this video recording campsite number 104 at Cape Disappointment in Washington State.

How did Cape Disappointment and Dismal Niche get their name? According to Wikipedia, it was named by a member of the Lewis and Clark team in 1805. They were trapped there by a storm and called the place a dismal niche. The name stuck, but it was not a fair assessment. The place looks like a dream!

Here is a video of the lighthouse at night:

Here is a video of Beards Hollow at Cape Disappointment. It’s better if you mute the audio because the music is rather intrusive.

Next time you’re planning a trip in the Pacific Northwest, take a look at Cape Disappointment. It promises not to live up to its name!

January 16, 2012

Camp Cooking: Bacon Curry

Filed under: Camping,Food — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I usually don’t like watching cooking demonstrations. My idea of camp cooking is opening a can of beans or cooking meat over the fire. Matthew Cashmore is absolutely adorable, so watching him for twelve minutes cooking at a camp kitchen was so entertaining.

Here are the ingredients for the Bacon Curry. All of them are approximate based on what I saw in the video:

  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 large onions cut up roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped or crushed
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 6 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder (more recommended)
  • 2 vegetable broth cubes
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 pound bacon sliced

If I were going to do this while camping, I would chop up the items BEFORE leaving and put the ingredients in a ziploc bag in the cooler before leaving. I’d have the onions and garlic in one bag, and the tomatoes, celery and zucchini in another. I might even replace the tomatoes with a can of tomatoes.

The thought of putting bacon into a curry is unique and it appears that Matthew is really just experimenting. After watching this video I wanted to run to the store to buy a bag of fresh produce and a packet of bacon to try to make this curry. For us Americans, courgettes are zucchini. Not quite as exotic as he made them sound, but YUM!

If you don’t really want to watch this video, just fast forward to the 9:12 minute mark to see how gracefully he handles Pink Helen’s interruption. It just made me smile to see him look at the camera!

Matthew Cashmore Bacon CurryIf you want to see him taste his creation for the first time, fast forward to the 11:30 minute mark. He deems it not spicy enough because the salt in the bacon toned down the kick of the chili powder, but despite that he likes it. “That’s really good!”

Mike and I made this recipe with beef and it was absolutely delicious. If we ever find ourselves in a pinch and need to use bacon, I’m sure it will be just as good as long as I remember to add more chili powder.

Next time you’re planning your camping menu, skip the cans of chili and try cooking up this bacon curry. It sounds delightful!

January 15, 2012

Costa Concordia: The First Cruise Ship To Sink in 100 Years

Filed under: Cruises,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:55 pm

Costa Concordia SinkingI’ve been on a few cruises over the years. My first cruise was on a ship with broken stabilizers, so every other cruise has felt smooth as glass. During that bumpy and lilting first cruise, I kept reassuring myself that we could not possibly sink because the last ship to sink was the Titanic. I had convinced myself that it was impossible for the modern cruise ships to sink.

Then I heard about the Costa Concordia sinking just off the coast of Italy last night and all my fears resurfaced.

Here is a video from Sky News in Great Britain:

Just short of the one hundred year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, we are faced with the vision of another cruise ship in dire straits. I had just calmed my nerves enough to feel that going on a cruise was a perfectly safe method of travel, but all of that is gone.

Here is the panicked video of someone on the ship:

Here’s video from the air as the rescue was happening:

Here’s a video of the ship the next day:

The difference between this sinking and the Titanic tragedy is the death count. Even though the listing of the ship disabled many of the life boats, they were able to get many of the passengers off the boat and onto the island. As of this writing, only five people have been confirmed dead and 17 people are missing. That is a far cry from the hundreds who died when the Titanic sunk, but I can’t help feeling that I should just keep on camping instead of luxury cruising for my vacation.

More Info:

Update 07-13-12: Seven months after the sinking of the Concordia and it still sits stranded on the rocks.

The captain of the ship has been charged with manslaughter. He admitted that he was distracted with a phone call that had come in shortly before the crash.

January 13, 2012

Campfire Cooking at Lake Mead, Nevada

Filed under: Camping,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I absolutely adore this video of a camper showing his friend how to cook stir fry while camping.

The cameraman is laughing his head off, so I immediately assumed that they were high. The more I thought about it, though, I have found myself being just as silly and laughing over the simplest things while camping at Lake Mead while stone cold sober.

They are using the exact same pan set that Mike and I have. I can’t even remember the brand of those pots, but they have been the BEST for us. It’s obvious that these guys like them as well.

These guys don’t have a huge camp kitchen setup with a table. Instead, they just cook on the ground and put their plates on the cooler. Whenever I am camping, THIS is the feeling that I usually get from cooking, sleeping and just relaxing in the outdoors. It’s so lovely that they were able to capture that emotion on camera and brought it to me in less than two minutes!

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper Cookset at Amazon.comUpdate 02-20-12: I took a good look at my camping pans and they are the Bugaboo set from GSI. I tried to find them on Amazon, but it looks like they’ve been replaced by this set:

It includes cups and plates, which my set didn’t have. It was just a set of six pans (three pots and three frying pans). The beauty of my old set is that they were sized to nest so that they take the space of only one pot. They also sit so that the frying pan can be a lid for the similarly sized pot and vice versa.

Most importantly, they have lasted us for YEARS. The non-stick surface has stayed scratch-free and has not flaked off into our food like a cheap pan from Kmart. I love how the new set nests the pans AND the dishes in one convenient package and I’m tempted to upgrade, but since our pans have lasted so long and so well, there really isn’t a reason to change.

January 12, 2012

Adventure Campers: Australia Really Knows What They’re Doing

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I never really understood tent campers. If I have to pitch a tent, why not just pitch a tent?! If I have to haul a trailer, I want to be WARM and protected from the bears. A thin layer of canvas really isn’t any protection whether it’s on the ground or folded out of a camper.

After seeing the Adventure Campers from Australia, however, I kind of understand a tent camper much better. When I watched this overview video, I wasn’t very impressed. I thought, “Meh, so it has power. So it has water. So it packs up small. I still have to pitch a tent.”

When I saw this video, however, I was blown away. He shows how long in REAL time how to break camp and he does it all by himself with no help.

He was able to pack up the tent, awning and kitchen in less than ten minutes! I was shocked! I’ve seen people with motorhomes take longer to pack up to leave! Now, I realize that he has had a lot of practice with this trailer, so he’s making it look easier than it would be for a beginner. Mike and I however, have just as much practice setting up and breaking camp. We’ve timed ourselves breaking camp and the fastest time to date is just over forty minutes.

Too bad these campers are only available in Australia right now, because they marry the light weight of a teardrop camper with the utility of tent camping.

January 11, 2012

Portable Washing Station

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

The simplicity of this portable washing station is genius. I absolutely love it!

He took a gallon jug filled with water hung from a tree and turned it into a gravity-fed washing station. SO SMART!

January 10, 2012

Full-Sized Teardrop Trailers

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When I realized that the reason I hated the A-Frame trailers is because they were so very ugly, I knew that I had to stick with the teardrop design. Since a tiny teardrop was out of the question due to my husband’s claustrophobia, I started looking at the full-sized teardrop trailers.

The first I found was Heartland RV’s MPG trailers:

I like that they are aluminum framed, so they are really light. Of course, I still couldn’t tow it with my Prius. I didn’t care about the “amenities” like the TVs and all of that chestnut cabinetry, but I was attracted to the bathroom and shower. Even though they have the retro design, the graphics on the side look so modern that they look a little wrong.

Then, I found the R-Pod Trailers from Forest River. I fell in LOVE with this model because of the rear “garage”.

I love that I can still have the benefits of a classic teardrop trailer with the kitchen outside the trailer with the luxury of a bathroom and shower. The exterior graphics are STILL a problem, however. The design is so retro, but the graphics look so out of place.

RPod 181G

What DOESN’T look out of place are the graphics on the side of the Serro Scotty trailers. These brand new trailers look EXACTLY like what I was hoping for in a trailer. I could have a completely modern interior with the PERFECT exterior design.

Serro Scotty HiLander

Here is a tour of the HiLander:

The Serro Scotty is eerily similar to the trailer that started this entire journey:

Click to embiggen: Retro Camping Style

So, why don’t I own a Serro Scotty HiLander right now? It’s EXACTLY what I wanted in a trailer. Why wasn’t I rushing to the midwest to pick up my ideal trailer? I have enough money saved that I could actually BUY one. Why wasn’t I buying one?

That was the day when I realized that I didn’t want a trailer. No matter how obsessed I was, I still preferred tent camping.

The whole process took me a couple of months of SERIOUS obsession to get past. Honestly, I still catch myself looking at used trailers online. When I do, however, I remind myself of the Serro Scotty HiLander. It was the absolute PERFECT trailer for me and I still didn’t buy it.

January 9, 2012

A-Frame Trailers

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When I gave up on the Wild Goose, I came across these A-Frame Trailers. They are made by quite a few manufacturers and they all seem to have similar features. The best feature is that you can set them up in less than a minute. Here is a video showing an Aliner being set up.

These kind of trailers are available from the following manufacturers:

My personal favorite is the Chalet XL trailers. Here is a video of the XL 1935:

The Chalet XL 1938 is the only folding trailer with a full sized bathroom.

Chalet XL 1938 floor plan

My problem with the A-Frame trailers is that they are so UGLY when they are all folded up and going down the road. I know I shouldn’t care about that because they are lightweight and easy to tow, but, honestly, I do. Part of the reason I’m attracted to having a trailer is having a cute dollhouse that I can personalize and decorate. These trailers are so very utilitarian that I can’t envision any enjoyment in making them my own.

« Previous Page« Previous Entries - Next Entries »Next Page »

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2005-2017 Michael Moncur, Laura Moncur, and Starling Studios