Starling Travel

May 31, 2012

Kevin and Sherri Parsons: 50 States in 50 Weeks

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 8:22 am

The negative of having a teardrop trailer (and most tent trailers) is that you have to use the bathrooms and showers at the campground. The cold and windy trek in the middle of the night to empty a nagging bladder is a far different experience than just stumbling out of bed and using the bathroom in a behemoth trailer. I’ve even been known to hold my water until I’m nearly bursting just to avoid that freezing walk.

Then again, a benefit of having a teardrop trailer is that you have to use the bathrooms at the campground. Take, for example, my encounter with Sherri Parsons. I was getting ready in the bathroom when she walked in and the awkwardness of the situation made my mouth take over.

“Were you guys cold last night?” I asked uncomfortably. The wind in Cheyenne was over 30 mph and was bone-chillingly cold.

“No. We stayed in one of the cabins. It was warm.” She answered with friendly voice.

“We have a heater in our teardrop, so we weren’t cold at all. I was surprised this morning when I opened the door. I kind of thought it had warmed up.” I laughed.

“I’m glad I didn’t have to do my midnight potty run. I slept all the way through ’til six this morning.” She replied.

Kevin and Sherri Parsons MotorcycleI knew how she felt. I am always so grateful when I don’t have to leave the security and warmth of my trailer (or tent) to use the facilities in the middle of the night. Her first sentence finally hit me. She was sleeping in that cabin near us with the cool motorcycle. I asked, “You’re in the cabin? Are you the 50 States in 50 Weeks guys?”

She smiled. “Yeah, but the wind was so bad last night that I couldn’t deal with the tent flapping, so we got a cabin. Both of us are so cheap that we didn’t really want to do it, but I’m sick of being cold. It snowed on us in Denver.”

I replied, “I totally understand. That’s the whole reason we got the teardrop. We’re from Utah and those mountain nights get cold.” We both laughed and I asked, “So, did you get sponsors for this trip?”

She shook her head, “No. We’re just doing this on our own and he’s blogging every day.”

I shrugged. “That’s cool. You can earn money from advertising on your site as long as you keep blogging.”

She smiled wickedly. “Yeah, we’ve earned TWENTY dollars so far.”

We both laughed and lamented the slow burn of blogging for a living. I finished with my makeup and we separated.

Before we left, I knocked on their cabin door and asked to take their picture and link to them on my own blog. Both Kevin and Sherri came out and talked to Mike and me. I realized later that Kevin and Mike had already talked together about the teardrop trailer, comparing weights. They are hauling a tiny tent trailer.

Kevin and Sherri Parsons Motorcycle Tent Trailer

Kevin and Sherri are from Las Vegas and are doing this for their mid-life hurrah. We talked about how hard it is to do an epic trip like this and he showed us the route they’ve taken so far.

50 States in 50 Weeks Route May 2012

After looking at their website for this journey (50 States in 50 Weeks), I’ve been entertained and even a little jealous. When Mike and I traveled through Nebraska, we really wanted to see Carhendge in Alliance, but it would have added three hours to our already long day of driving. Kevin and Sherri were more adventurous and saw it in all its glory: 50 States Day 27: Minden to Alliance, NE.

Meeting Kevin and Sherri was a wonderful highlight of our epic journey (more on that later).

Kevin and Sherri Parsons 50 States in 50 Weeks

And just think. We never would have met them if either of us had a bathroom in our respective trailers.

May 14, 2012

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Brochure from 1950

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Tennessee,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love the site, They Kept Everything. He not only shows all the memorabilia that his grandparents had kept their whole life, he gives some explanation of what he’s showing. This brochure for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for example is a wonderful glimpse into the past.

He says,

This brochure on one side totes all the benefits of visiting Great Smokey Mountains National Park, while the other side is classic boosterism. This propaganda offers some interesting insight into life 60 years ago.

Click on over to his site to see all the pages of the brochure:

Via: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Brochure, 1950 | Retronaut

May 12, 2012

World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure

Filed under: Amusement Parks,California,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Mike and I have been to Disneyland three times since they started the World of Color show at Disney’s California Adventure. We never quite understood it. Once, we were kicked out of the boardwalk area because the show was going to start. We had the vague inkling that we needed to have tickets to watch it, but had no idea if there was a charge for the tickets. Honestly, I really didn’t want to spend an hour in a huge crowd of people.

So we skipped it. Apparently, we shouldn’t have. If this video is any indication, it’s spectacular.

It appears to be a dramatic amalgam of light, fire and water show, but those words don’t entirely describe it. If Las Vegas took the Bellagio fountains, added ever-changing colors and perfect musical choreography, they might get a close approximation of what the Imagineers at Disney have achieved.

For all my questions, the Disneyland Website had answers:

  • There is NO charge to watch Disney World of Color, but you do need a ticket. They are distributed on a first come, first served basis.
  • You get the FastPass Disney World of Color ticket at the FastPass machines near the Grizzy Run ride. I remember seeing the kiosks there, but I didn’t know how cool it would be to see the show.
  • The show is 25 minutes long and we are meant to stand while watching it, so if you have issues with standing for long periods of time, this might not be the show for you.

Next time we go to Disneyland, I’m going to make sure that we get tickets to see the show. I can’t believe I missed it THREE times in a row!

May 11, 2012

Teardrop Trailer in Mojo Nixon’s Classic Video

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

If you had asked me a few days ago when the first time I ever saw a teardrop trailer, I would have said less than a year ago, but I would have been wrong. I was watching this video from Mojo Nixon called Elvis Is Everywhere yesterday.

It’s a funny little video that I remember from my teen years. Imagine my surprise when I see an Elvis Impersonator come out of a teardrop trailer at the 2:32 minute mark.

They’re also dancing in front of the trailer at the 1:38 minute mark.

Somehow, teardrop trailers seeped into my consciousness in my formative years and I equated them with coolness, all thanks to Mojo Nixon. I find it ironic that Mike and I will be taking our teardrop trailer to Memphis and staying at the campground right across the street from Graceland this month. Can’t wait!

May 10, 2012

The World According to Charles W. Cushman 1938-1969

I love to travel and see parts of the world that are different than mine, but the photography collection of Charles W. Cushman allows me to travel not only all around the world, but through the past as well.

Charles Weever Cushman, amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater. The photographs in this collection bridge a thirty-two year span from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries.

It was so lovely to look at all the old photographs! Here are some of my favorites. (Continue Reading…)

May 9, 2012

Yellowstone in 3D

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

While we were in Yellowstone, I took the time to play with the 3D Camera App [iTunes link] on my iPhone. I really wanted a 3D picture of Old Faithful, but since the geyser is spewing water, it was very difficult to get a good snap. Here are my attempts:

You need 3D glasses to view these or really good eye-crossing skills to see the stereograms. The wigglegrams (created with Picasion) might be a little irritating, but allows you to see the 3D effect without glasses or eye-crossing. You can click on any of these to see them full-sized.

The Wigglegrams of the first and second 3D photos looks more like an animation.

Here are a couple of photos of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

As a kid, I loved my Viewmaster and one of the sets of reels I had was from Yellowstone. It makes me so happy that I can create my very own 3D images of Yellowstone and remember it in even more detail than just a picture.

May 8, 2012

Yellowstone: Unchanged

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

Mike and I went to Yellowstone last month. Every time we visit there, I’m shocked at how much has changed and how much is EXACTLY the same as it was when I was a child.

For example, Old Faithful looks exactly the same to me as it did when I was a kid. In fact, based on this photograph by Ansel Adams, it’s the same as it was in the 30’s.

Photograph of Old Faithful Geyser Erupting in Yellowstone National Park

It looks very similar to my photo taken in April.

The Yellowstone Falls in another timeless place. Here is a photo also from the 30’s by Ansel Adams.

"Yellowstone Falls," Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 1933 - 1942

My photo from last month looks very similar.

Even the snow clinging to the side of the mountain is similar.

Part of me loves Yellowstone because it is the same as it was when I was a child. I can walk the pathways and remember how I felt doing the same thing when my grandparents took my sister and me there. I am surprised at how different it feels to see the geysers, hot pots and terraces. As a kid, I was so bored, but as an adult, I’m entertained, not only by the natural beauty, but by the memories of my past visits.

Perhaps Yellowstone looks so unchanged to me because I have changed so much.

May 7, 2012

Teardrop Camping at Utah Lake State Park

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 7:10 am

After weeks of restoring the Teardrop American Outbacker, Mike and I took her on her first camping trip. We are still a little worried about the windows leaking, so we camped VERY near home at Utah Lake State Park. She looked lovely at the campsite.

It was a sunny weekend, but the wind was bitterly cold and relentless. Fortunately, the trailer kept us warm throughout the night. Mike said that he had never slept as good camping as he did in our new little trailer.

When he said that, all the work that I had done to perfect the trailer suddenly felt worth it. Every layer of paint I sanded off, every turn of a bolt or screw, and every time I had to cut a cam shorter with a hack saw felt like time well-spent. All that I had hoped for in a trailer came true this weekend. It made camping easier, but it didn’t ruin it by turning it into just a home on wheels. It still felt like camping, but the two of us were able to sleep the night through despite the ragingly cold wind outside.

The camping fees at Utah Lake State Park were $20 a night, which included electricity and water at the site. There was a dump station for RV’s, but no sewer at each site (not that it mattered to us). They allow dogs on the campground, but not the beaches or in the water. There were clean and up-to-date bathrooms and showers onsite as well. Each site had asphalt for campers and plenty of room for pitching your tent on nice, soft grass. There were also shade pavilions at each site, but it was so cold that we didn’t want to be in the shade. We had to stay in the sun to keep warm.

The lake itself was a dark and scary mass of water with waves caused by the wind last weekend, so Mike and I didn’t go kayaking on it. There were many people there on speed boats and along the shore fishing. I was so surprised at how big the fish were and how many people caught some. We passed this man at the end of Saturday and he looked so happy at his catch.

Despite the cold, we had a lovely time camping at Utah Lake. It was just one of many trips camping in the teardrop that we’ll have. I’m so excited for the adventures to come!

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