Helllloooo Big Bear Lake


As we passed through the seemingly never-ending desert of Arizona and New Mexico we entered the great state of California. For the first 150 miles I was not impressed, it seemed like the same baron dessert of states past however, once we passed a near scare for sparse gasoline in our tank we entered the San Bernadino National Forest. Upon entering the forest there was a ginormous sign flashing “steep grade 8-18%” me and my husband simultaneously developed high blood pressure and the white nickel syndrome that I had been developing since our trip to Mesa Verde National Park in Cortez, Colorado. This was going to be stressful to say the least. We beared down and headed up an almost impossible grade with our 50 foot truck and camper. It felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life. However, we made into Lake Arrowhead which is just under the mountain of Big Bear Lake, within minutes we are cruising on the road aptly named “Rim of the World”. Big Bear stole our hearts instantly, it is the ideally humble alpine village with cabins, ski resorts and a wonderfully magnificent fresh water snow-fed lake.


This picture is of the entrance to the cutest little shopping village in downtown Big Bear. It screams tourist, but I personally like a place that can cater to it’s guests ; ). Any who, the next day after our arrival we we’re able to visit Snow Summit, which is the most famous attraction here in Big Bear (besides the snow of coarse). My husband, myself and Adventurous Baby headed to the slopes, it was nerve racking (good thing my white knuckle techniques has been perfected) but exciting and incredible. The lift you sit on is no larger an a park bench and has only a small bar across the front and is the only thing between you and a long fall to the mountainside. These are some pictures of our trip up and down the summit. While on the top there is a cute little lodge where you can order light snacks and sandwiches. We ordered a gourmet cheese platter with a whole bottle of Pinot Grigio, it was incredibly delicious and at an incredible price I might ad at $18.95.





After our visit to Snow Summit we had a few more days to explore this incredibly beautiful area. We had lunch a few times at a local pizzeria which was great and toured an open house to see what a local home can accommodate. This is a picture of our campground it was really serene and quiet, we felt that we could unwind and really relax here.


Alas after four wonderful nights in Big Bear we must push on to the great city if Los Angeles, but I am happy to know that this alpine playground will be waiting for me to return…..soon I hope.

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Stunning Mountain Views……We Got ‘Em

And on the tenth post we went to Telluride, Colorado for a day trip. The In-laws, my husband, myself and Adventure Baby set out for the quaint mountain town of Telluride, about a 100 mile trek from our cabin in the woods. Now to give you some perspective on the landscape in this area of the country, where my in-laws live is at an elevation of about 7,000 feet. There are green trees, grass and grazing cattle on their property, but it is pretty rugged and mountainous to say the least with rocks, cliffs and blustering winds. Put it this way, on the third day we were there (the day we went to Mesa Verde National Park) I invested in some touch-as-nails boots, a must have. Also I want to put it out there what no one told us about elevation before hand, it makes your body act crazy. In the west our hair and skin dried out almost instantly like we were in a toaster oven, then our sinuses runny and slight nose bleeds. Doing anything physically strenuous will knock the wind right out of you, but it is all worth it (hope I didn’t scare the crap out of you, it happened over a couple of day period, not all at once).Image

This is a picture of a pretty flower that grows naturally there by their cabin, I thought that it was an excellent symbol of the foliage and greenery of the region.

Anyway, the drive through the mountains towards Telluride was incredible, I could not have imagined something so beautiful. This photo was taken about 40 miles outside of Telluride, on the side of a quiet mountain road. Image

One thing to know about when you drive to Telluride is that you are guaranteed the best seat in the house while driving, no matter what part of the car you are sitting in. Once again Mother Nature has put her works of art at our feet, truly an applause is earned. Upon our arrival we immediately shuffled to the closest trendy lunch spot and settled in for a treat.


Telluride is first and foremost a ski resort town, the park benches are made from recycled snow skis (they have so much flexibility that when you sit on the bench you think you are going to fall through) and there is a snow board/snow anything on every other corner, not to mention Mountain Village (off to the far  upper right in the picture below).Image

Mountain Village is at the tippy top of Telluride, literally. The only way to get up to this secluded mountain resort is to take “the lift”, basically a snow lift that operates not only for the seasonal skiers but for the residents that live in Mountain Village as well.


This area is at the far end of the town, there is a serene small park and picnic area and this bridge crosses over the San Miguel River, completely snow fed. As you can see we are pretty bundled up with pants and boots, but there were people tubing down the river there. I was shocked, I would freeze to death! The temperature was really nice but those cool mountain breezes is what made it cold for us Floridians. Image

After some must have shopping for Beauregard and Adventurous Baby, we bid farewell to sweet Telluride, hoping we will see her again soon. Visit, Visit and Visit!

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Dramatic Dwellings Indeed

After spending a few relaxing days with family, we set out to Mesa Verde National Park, which is just outside of Cortez, Colorado. Adventure Baby stayed with her Grammy and Grandbob and off we went. I am not really one for heights, so the 20 plus mile upward climb throught the San Juan Mountain range was very difficult for me (yes, part of the Rockies). It was very steep and the cliffs were high, some nearly two thousand feet. But I powered through it despite the laughter of my husband in the background ( I was mad at him then, but it’s funny now).  This is just one of the spectacular views from the roadway up to the park and cliff dwellings. 

This is Hopi, Navajo and Ute (Youte) Indian territory and all of these tribes has deep culture and history that runs through these mountains. The name of the Indian tribe who build the dwellings and structures you will see we called the Anastasi Indians, the Hopi indians are their living descendants. The museum in the park showcases pottery, artwork and traditional dress of the local Indian nation. Below are pictures of Cliff Palace, the most well preserved of the cliff dwellings.

The round cave like holes you are seeing are called kivas, they were for storage and living space. Each of the kivas was perfectly round in shape when built, only over time have they become more oval-like.  

This panoramic shot gives you more of an idea of the area surrounding the dwellings. It is a step walk down through a narrow path and an even steeper climb up, literally a ladder, shown below. When I realized that the ladder was going to be the only way back out of the canyon and onto some safe ground(behind a guard rail preferably), I turned limestone white. I couldn’t tell my husband because we had just had this discussion about me loosening up a little and enjoying the fruits of height in general. So, I gritted my teeth and climbed the ladder of doom. 

If you look behind me at the top of the photo you can see how narrow the path through the mountain side really is. 

To the right of me in this photo is the valley floor, a couple thousand foot drop, and no there are not any guard rails to keep you from hurdling to your death.

This is the entrance/exit to the Park, as you can see it has a skyline worth driving for. Please consider traveling to this national treasure, it needs support to preserve its precious history.

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I’m running down the road trying to loosen my load, got Colorado on my mind

It is bittersweet to leave beloved family members behind in search of adventure. After a week of making priceless memories, we hit the road from southern Indiana towards southwest Colorado, the point of interest is my in-laws home among the mountains. This picture is of Adventure Baby and her great grandfather, in Indiana, it melts my heart every time I see it.

This go round we have about 1,500 miles to cover, which will take us three full days to accomplish. Driving through downtown St. Louis, Missouri was great, we got to see the gateway to the west up close and personal. The first night we stopped in A KOA campground in Claremore, Oklahoma called Will Rogers Downs, it was neat because we woke up to the serene sounds and sights of horses being trained on the race track. Horses are absolutely incredible and to watch them Gallup down the track just as the sun was beginning to rise was an unexpected treat.

20120702-122916.jpg The view from the back of the camper.

On our second night we were officially in the desert, stopping for a nights slumber in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This picture was taken At our campground.


We arrived safely in Colorado, this is the view from the back window of the camper.




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Davy Crockett and Jimmy Stewart did it too!

Did you ever hear of a little place called Cave-in-rock?? Well you may have seen it in some famous Hollywood movies and not even known that it was tucked away in southeast corner of southern Illinois, on the banks of the Ohio River. The cave itself is quite spectacular, deep and large. There is only about a 20 foot easement between the mouth of the cave and the edge of the river, which made a perfect spot to lie low if you were a pirate or lone thief. I visited this cave a few times throughout my youth but was nothing short of thrilled to have my husband and daughter see it for the first time. The Walt Disney movie Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_and_the_River_Pirates, was filmed here as well as Warner Brothers How the West Was Won, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_West_Was_Won_(film) starring Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and more!


Over the river onto the other side is the state of Kentucky. This particular area of Kentucky is home to a large population of Mennonites and Amish. We ventured into Kentucky, through the quaint back country roads stopping to pay patronage at an Amish Bakery and General Store. Driving leisurely through the countryside my Grandfather (our tour guide for the day) leads us into Old Town Shawneetown. This place has a sad air about it, I have been here before but it brings back fond memories of my Grandfather from years ago. We listen about the tale of the great Chicago fire and how Chicago (a non-name town at that point) had suffered the tragedy of the fires and came to the Shawneetown Bank, the one you see here, for a loan to rebuild it’s losses and they refused saying that “Chicago would not amount to anything”. Well that was a poor choice of non-investment if I ever heard of one, but it is the only claim to fame for this currently less than one-horse town. None-the-less a good story and piece of Illinois history.


During our day trip we ventured to the Garden of the Gods, which was a unique place filled with rounded rock formations that no one knows how they got there.
We climbed through the rocks to the top (ok, so there were walking paths that led to the top) and saw a most spectacular view.


Adventure Baby and her Daddy nearly giving me a heart attack.
We had an incredible day full of adventure and new experiences, isn’t that what vacation is all about?

Adventure Baby and her Mommy safe from the protruding cliffs below

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Pardon me while I wait

On our two day trek from our campground about 15 miles north of Washington, DC in College Park, MD we come upon the Cumberland Pass which is an incredible sight. Here is a picture of it as we drove through it. Beyond this picture the rest of the day was dark, cloudy and raining, try that towing a 30 foot camper with an infant, a doggie and driving through the most mountainous state in the lower 48.

We arrive safely in the Hoosier state of Indiana, where I called my summer home through my early adolescent days visiting family. We have a saying that says “Where the Wabash and the Ohio meet is were I call home”, and it’s the truth. This is the heartland where there are wheat, corn and soy bean fields as far as the eye can see.

Our Corn Dog!
Our Adventure Baby and her Daddy (well his nose and chin anyways)!


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Dr. Buzz Aldrin in the Hizzle!


My husband is a space fanatic, clear and simple. He attended a presitgious masters degree program in France in which he eardned his Masters of Space Science degree, he has themed businesses and business models around it and even deocrated our home in Hubble Deep Field South motif. So, when we heard that the ISDC Space Conference of 2012 was going to be in DC we signed up. Now there are typically four days of conferences and meetings to show of the new products and ideas of the industry and then they have the Gala Dinner. In which my husbands not-so-into-space wife could tag along for all of the glitz and glam. My husbands sister flew in from Florida to stay with Adventure Baby and Beauregard and we were on our way to the big city for a whole night by ourselves (the first one away from the little one). We got gussied up and took a taxi from our downtown hotel to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, where the event was being held. It was incredible. As we enter the main area of the museum I see the Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindberg’s plane hanging above me, then Space Ship One, the first plane to win the X prize within the private space industry. Amazing!! As we are standing around and mingling amoungst ourselves my husband says, “OMG Buzz Aldrin is standning right behind you!” I quickly turn and there he is!! I am shocked! Wearing a tan linen suit to a black tie event is a statement in my opinion, a man who knows the he runs this show. We continue our evening with the award ceremony, where John Glenn and Scott Carpenter are receiving their respective lifetime achievement awards. I am dying to get a picture with Buzz, but am way to nervous. After dinner Buzz is standing near our table, my husband jerks me up and says ” It’s now or never” I jump up so incredibly nervous, we slink throug the crown and I find myself standing next to him. My husband says ” Dr. Aldrin may my wife have a picture with you”, he gives an accepting grunt and we took the picture. I still can’t believe that I got it but Whot Whot for me!!! Definitely one for the Wall of Fame!!

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Rolling with the Big Dawgs, DC style!

As we made our way into Washington, DC it became apparent that I was in way over my head (but not my husband the world renound traveler). I realized very quickly that a new baby and a big city (and traffic) don’t usually go well together. However, my little Aventure Baby came through and we were able to see all of the amazing sites that DC and the local area have to offer whithin a few day period. Here we are at Ben’s Chili Bowl, it was good but don’t make a day trip out of it (P.S. Its always super busy).ImageAfter this picture she threw a fit, but a bottle and some comforting and we had a smooth ride home.  Unless you happen to have children, you do not realize that going anywhere can be a challenge, let alone setting out on a 5 thousand mile road trip. Be thankful and content when they are quiet and revel in the moments they are not. Image

Adventure Baby needed an emegerncy diaper change at the Washington Monument, we decided that she wanted to crap on Washington but didn’t quite know why. Below is a picture of our visit to Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home with Martha Washington, his wife, until his death in 1799. He was later buried and a great monuent build around his remains on the proeprty. Savanna proceeded to make a mess of her outfit and diaper on George Washington’s lawn as well (conicidence? perhaps). If you have never ventured to this amazing place, then you must!! It is just saturated with our nations history. Many famous, pivotal and ingenious men have walked the cooridors of Mt. Vernon and you can do the same. It was incredible to see the actual bed that Washington breathed his last breaths in and to touch the board above the stairs that led to his room and know that because he was freakishly tall for that time period (sorry George) that I was touching the board that he must have hit is head on hundreds of times.(Long sentance much–jeez! ) Check it out! http://www.mountvernon.org/

Our Little Family at George Washington’s home in Mt. Vernon, VA, May 2012

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In the beginning there was a Mommy, a Daddy and a Beauregard


Here is a photo of me about 8 months pregnant with our little girl in our little beach front community. She was a big one, 8lbs. 6oz, 21″ long. I am telling you this not because she is our daughter but because she has been an adventure from the very moment we knew edge was coming. She was conceived, carried and born in Key West, FL. Most people have ever even been to Key West, let alone be born there. After her birth we went back to our home near Tampa, Fl and settled down for a few months. Now we are back at it and have been throughout about 17 states and 1 district (Washington DC). Savanna has done so much in her 6 month old life, she went to Fantasyfest in Key West last October (pretty crazy, of you don’t know what I am talking about you need to google it right now!) and Disney World last June and now this incredible road trip! Here are some photos of our trip that have give you an idea of where we have passed through.



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I am not letting my so called “infancy” hold me back!


Welcome to our first official blog post!! My name is Shay and me and my little family are traveling across the United States in a pull behind RV camper. We are originally traveling from a little town outside of Tampa FL, Spring Hill. Our little family includes my husband David, my six month old daughter Savanna (the Adventurous Baby) and our dog Beauregard. My daughter is not afraid of anything (she must have gotten that from her father) these are stories and tales of our adventures together. Starting with our ride in a ski lift in Big Bear Lake, CA here is Savanna looking out onto the lake (this experience made me white knuckle nervous to say the least). Pretty crazy heights up here! The ski resort is Snow Summit you should go it’s incredible in the summer too!!

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