Starling Travel

June 3, 2015

Maps Encourage Boldness

Filed under: Places To Visit,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 7:46 am

I found this quote on The Quotations Page and it made me so excited to travel.

Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible. Mark Jenkins from The Quotations Page

It reads:

Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.

  • Mark Jenkins

I have the same feeling about maps. Whenever I was riding in the car on the way to or from my grandparents’ house in Billings, Montana, Grandpa would throw the map in the backseat and tell me to navigate. It helped me so much to learn how to find ourselves on the map and to plot where we would be going next. We always went the same route from Salt Lake to Billings: through Idaho Falls, over to West Yellowstone, up to Bozeman and over to Billings. Even though they were smaller roads that route, it was faster for us to go that way (unless West Yellowstone was snowed in).

Now, Google plots it all for me, assuming that I can go the speed limit, not knowing that my tiny trailer’s tires top out at 65 mph. So, I change the route. Smaller roads don’t slow me down because I can only go 65 mph anyway. I’m already slow.

The next time Google plots a route for you, try going a different way. Really USE your map and choose a route that has something to look at on the drive. And when your first instinct is to fly, suppress it. Take the car and actually SEE the places you pass by. Let the map give you boldness!

May 25, 2015

A Shaded Chair by the Ocean

Filed under: Photos,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 7:15 am

I took a picture on September 9, 2010. I have no idea where I was when I took it, but it looked like an ideal setting to me. It was two beach loungers with umbrellas right on the ocean’s edge. It was the perfect image of what I want from a vacation. Just a nice place to sit by the ocean with a little shade.

A Shaded Chair by the Ocean from Starling Travel

When it comes down to it, all I really need for a good vacation is a shaded chair by the ocean. Or the mountains. Or the lake. Or the forest. It doesn’t matter where in nature I am as long as I don’t have to hear the rush of traffic and the grind of construction.

There is a story by Ernest Hemingway called A Clean Well-Lighted Place. My whole life, I have been searching for this and I’ve only seen it in glimpses. Here is one of those glimpses: a shaded chair by the ocean.

May 22, 2015

Trailer Life Made Everything Better

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:24 am

I have maligned Trailer Life Magazine in the past. I am not the target audience of it, I understand, but it makes me angry when month after month they highlight massive fifth wheels and gigantic bumper pulls with barely a whisper about the diversity of trailers out there. If I were the editor, I would do one review of a huge thing and one review of a tiny trailer each month instead of relegating the lighter weight vehicles to a special magazine once a year. I’ve had problems with the magazine, but I KEEP them. On a shelf in our bookcase, they have been stuffed, out of order and random.

Trailer Life Made Everything Better from Starling Travel

Yesterday, Mike and I were discussing where we should go this summer. We didn’t want to spend a long time driving and we realized that the Oregon trip we had planned would entail a total of SIX days to get there and back, meaning that we would only have ONE day in Oregon to visit friends. We had to scrap that trip and had NO idea what to do instead.

I said to Mike, “How about we go random?” I walked up to the Trailer Life shelf on my bookcase and grabbed one of the magazines that had been stuffed into the nearly overflowing shelf. I ended up picking the September 2014 issue.

Trailer Life Made Everything Better from Starling Travel

“Okay, we’ve got Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee.” After calculating how far Oregon was, I KNEW we couldn’t do Michigan or Tennessee. Mike answered, “Colorado.” So I turned to the article and read to Mike about the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It sounded totally boring and I started to close the magazine halfway through the article, but Mike stopped me.

“If we drive there, we can go through Four Corners,” he said, showing me the map he had pulled up on his iPad. Sean and Mike had wanted to go to the Four Corners National Monument for a long time, but it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. In the middle of nowhere, but on the way to Great Sand Dunes. Michael cooed in an inviting voice, “We could put the New Mexico sticker on the camper…”

We have one of those United States maps on the back of the camper and he knows that really, the only reason I ever want to travel is to get another sticker on the camper. We keep visiting Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California because they’re close, but what I REALLY want to do is take the Tangerine Turtle to every one of the Lower Forty-Eight.

The States Map on The Tangerine Turtle from Starling Travel

“We can go home through Moab and it’s about the same distance,” Mike continued and now I am hooked because he KNOWS that I love to go in a circle so I don’t see the same things on the drive back as I saw on the drive there. I look on my KOA app, and by golly, there’s a KOA right near the park.

After harboring such animosity for Trailer Life Magazine for so many years, I really have to hand it to them. They saved the day and our summer trip. Trailer Life made everything better!

April 10, 2015

Larry’s Antiques in Cottonwood, Arizona

Filed under: Alabama,Places To Visit,Shopping,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 11:24 am

Nothing says road-tripping like an amazing antique store and Larry’s Antiques fits the bill! I visited there last weekend and it was a blast!

Larry's Antiques in Cottonwood AZ from Starling Travel

Check out all the cool stuff I saw and the zen moment I had after the break: (Continue Reading…)

April 8, 2015

Dead Horse Ranch Arizona State Park

Filed under: Arizona,Camping,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 8:50 am

For the first time, we stayed in Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Arizona. I love the Arizona State Parks. They are so organized. I love the emails I get about a week before the trip, reminding me of my visit.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Reminder Email from Starling Travel

We stayed in the Red-Tail Hawk Campground for the Popup Portal Rally.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Red-Tail Hawk Campground from Starling Travel

Our site was number 51 and it faced perfectly so that the afternoon sun was shaded by our camper.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Site 51 from Starling Travel

Here is a shot of site 57. The sunsets are beautiful here.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Site 57 from Starling Travel

Each site has a fire pit and some of them have BBQs as well. The camp hosts sell firewood.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Firewood for Sale from Starling Travel

While we were there, the campground was very windy. We had to take down our awning and thank goodness for the Martha Stewart grommet and bungee cord trick or our tablecloth would have flown away.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Windy from Starling Travel

There was a nice playground over by the lakes and my boy liked the swings a lot.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park AZ Playground from Starling Travel

It was a great place to stay and it was so close to Cottonwood and Jerome, so we were able to look at the shops and you could even taste the wines at the wineries in the area. Thank you for such a lovely weekend, Arizona!

April 7, 2015

The Tangerine Turtle Tour

Filed under: Arizona,Camping,Places To Visit,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 1:37 pm

I’ve finally done it. I’m finally done with my camper. My 1993 Jayco Eagle 8 has been rechristened The Tangerine Turtle.

The Tangerine Turtle from Starling Travel

Here is a video tour:

You can see some photos after the break: (Continue Reading…)

March 27, 2015

Bear Lake KOA: A Great Place To Stay

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 7:29 am

Bear Lake KOA August 2012 from Starling TravelBack in August 2012, we stayed for a few days at the Bear Lake KOA. It was such an idyllic visit that we still talk about that camping trip today. I can’t believe I never wrote about it here, so I am posting some of the photos we took on that trip.

Bear Lake is in Northern Utah and we had to go over the mountains with our Prius and the Duct Tape Palace for the first time. It handled it nicely, but we were anxious the entire trip. We were inexperienced towing anything bigger than the teardrop, so we were nervous the whole time. There was nothing to worry about, though, because we got to the campground easily and quickly.

Read on for more: (Continue Reading…)

March 26, 2015

The Duct Tape Palace at Night

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 9:24 am

I came across this in my old photos the other day. Our first tent trailer, the Palamino, was so trashed that the canvass was literally held together with duct tape. We didn’t actually call it the Duct Tape Palace until AFTER we gave it away to charity.

Seeing this old photo of it, though, made me miss it a bit.

The Duct Tape Palace at night from Starling Travel

This photo was taken on our maiden voyage of that camper at Wasatch State Park, before any duct tape was employed to keep the windows closed. It was a very good introductory camper that taught us that we really did like camping in a tent trailer. It made the cost of the Jayco that we have now seem worth it. I don’t miss the Duct Tape Palace, but I’m sure glad we had it for as long as we did. Totally worth the $300 we paid for it!

Other posts about the Palomino Tent Trailer:

March 17, 2015

Ramblin’ Rose Cafe

Filed under: Food,Places To Visit,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 7:44 am

I went to the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market in July 2012 and saw this AWESOME camper turned food truck. It’s called Ramblin’ Rose Cafe.

Ramblin Rose Cafe SLC Farmer's Market July 2012 from Starling Travel

Their camper is adorable and they were so friendly.

Ramblin Rose Cafe SLC Farmer's Market July 2012 from Starling Travel

The next time you are cruising around Salt Lake City, check out the Farmer’s Market. You might just find the Ramblin’ Rose Cafe.

March 15, 2015

The Old Sahara Hotel

Filed under: Lodging,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 12:39 pm

Back in March 2012, the Sahara Hotel was closed and we snapped a few photos of it while we drove past on the strip. I thought people might like to see them to remember for old times’ sake.

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

In its spot, they now have a hotel called SLS. They really just washed off all the personality and reused the building. They tore out the roller coaster and made everything white and boring. I really miss the Las Vegas of the Nineties and wish they would go back to the kid-friendly thing. Since I’m basically just a grown-up kid, all this “sophistication” is just lost on me…

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