Farewell to Our First Pop Up

After four years with the pop up we decided it’s time to upgrade. The pop up is in need of some work and I’m just not into home remodel projects. Also, we don’t have room at our house to work on the pop up so any pop up project has to be done at someone else’s house. That definitely makes it hard to even want to attempt a remodel. Sadly, the pop up got the short end of the stick and we upgraded for a shiny new one with all kinds of fun upgrades. It’s soooo nice and I can’t wait to share it with you but I’ll save that for a different post. 🙂

We have had so many good memories in the pop up and selling it is bittersweet. I thought I would take a few minutes to share all of the places it’s been and some of our favorite memories.

We picked up the pop up in Phoenix on our way home from dear friends’ baby shower.

Headed home with the pop up!

The pop up has been from Arizona to Montana and everywhere in-between. We slept near the Mexican border at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

And near the Canadian border at Glacier National Park.

Fish Creek Campground in Glacier National Park

One of our favorite trips was to the Idaho/Montana border in the Bitterroot Mountains so we could ride the Route of the Hiawatha Mountain Bike Trail. The camping was eerie – we were literally in the middle of nowhere and did not see a single person the first day, but the trail made it worth it.

Camping in the Bitterroot National Forest on the Idaho/Montana border

If you’re ever in the area this trail is a must ride. It’s not technical but the scenery is breathtaking.

Route of the Hiawatha

I just love this picture and wanted to post it again. Tall trees, bikes, and two of my favorite people. There is nothing better. ❤️

Route of the Hiawatha

We’ve been to countless national and state parks and learned some important lessons along the way.

Right after we purchased the pop up we went down to the Dragoon Mountains for the weekend. That night it got down to 18 and we learned that pop ups are really no warmer than a tent. Needless to say, we packed up the following afternoon and did not stay for the second night.

Triangle T Guest Ranch

Our second trip in the pop up was to Catalina State Park where we learned two important lessons. The first being to pay attention to which side of the camper the door is on when booking a site and the second that not all campsites have electricity. We were very disappointed to learn that our coffee pot would not work because I did not book a site with electricity. Thankfully we were not far from a store and went on an instant coffee run. Crisis averted!

Catalina State Park

At one of our favorite campgrounds outside of Ouray, Colorado, we learned that the bunk ends are not meant to hold four people. During the middle of the night a thunderstorm rolled in and the lightning and thunder was right on top of the campground. It was scary and we all huddled in one bed. A couple days later when we went to break down the camper we learned we had exceeded the weight limit and bent one of the rails and had an incredibly hard time bending it back into place. Just for clarification sake, when I say we I really mean the husband. My job is to supervise and I am darn good at it. 🙂

Amphitheater Campground

We’ve spent the most time camping on Mt. Lemmon and once we even camped with our pop up twin!

Camping on Mt. Lemmon

One of our favorite pastimes while camping is playing cards around the table every night before bed. I cannot count the number of Uno, Skip-Bo, BS, Pass the Pigs and Go Fish games we’ve played on that table over the years.

Games around the table

The pop up has been so good to us and rolled through so many incredible places. It took a ride on Highway 550 in Colorado. If you’ve been on this highway you know it’s incredibly beautiful and not for the faint of heart. Here we are at the top of Red Mountain Pass on our way to Ouray.

Red Mountain Pass

The kids learned how to crank down the stabilizers in Bryce Canyon National Park. (They’re pros now!)

North Campground in Bryce Canyon National Park

And then there was that one time where we thought it would be a good idea to visit Arches National Park in the middle of June. We had the most epic view from the camper…

Devils Garden Campground in Arches National Park

But after spending the day hiding in the shade, visitor centers, gas stations and our car, we called it quits and headed to Colorado.

Hiding in the shade at Arches National Park

The pop up even made it up to 10,000 feet to spend a couple nights at the Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park. We all were feeling the elevation but the view from our site made it all worth it. Literally, this was the view from our picnic table. Epic.

Wheeler Peak Campground Great Basin National Park

We had so many good times in the pop up. I feel like we should have named her but I guess it’s too late now. Thanks for all the good times, old pop up! We hope your new owners continue to take you to all the epic places this country has to offer.

Goodbye, pop up!

Traveling With A Broken Foot Including Going to Disneyland

Well, the title says it all. I broke my foot earlier this year and it’s been a very slow recovery. I had a trip planned to Disneyland to watch Little Miss and her band play in California Adventure and had the unfortunate pleasure of traveling out of state with a broken foot. I was very nervous preparing for this trip. I can walk very short distances (in a walking boot) but am basically at the mercy of other people in my current state. It’s rather unnerving….at least for me.

Flying was easy once I figured it out and this is what I learned. Don’t be afraid to get a wheelchair. I’ve had a hard time with this…probably because I don’t want to admit that I can’t get around on my own. I want to just suck it up and make it all go away. Turns out the latter does not work. I requested a wheelchair when purchasing my ticket so the airline had one ready for me each time the plane landed. What I didn’t realize until after doing the airport the wrong way initially is that the stands outside the airport entrance are for passengers that need special assistance. Like me! You check in there…leave your bags there…and get a wheelchair there. It is so easy. And quick! We flew Southwest and someone in our party was able to push me around the airport. Not sure if that is the case with other airlines. We had a run-in with a Delta employee who thought we stole a Southwest wheelchair and where going to do who knows what with it. He didn’t believe us that Southwest would allow a non employee to push the wheelchair. It’s funny now but at the time not so much. You can also have an attendant push you but there always seemed to be a shortage of attendants so I was happy to have my own pusher.

Going through the security line was fine once I had the wheelchair because I didn’t have to stand. I did have to walk through the body scanner but I was able to keep my boot on. At the gate I was able to pre-board due to a medical issue, so that’s a plus. I eventually had to let go of whatever feelings were bothering me and own the wheelchair life. It really made my trip so much better.

The next big hurdle was getting around town. Instead of renting a car we used Lyft and Uber so we didn’t have to deal with parking and walking and such. On a couple of occasions the driver wanted to drop us farther than we wanted so I played up the broken foot card and was able to get a closer drop off every time. Don’t be afraid to use your injury to your advantage if needed. 😉

And now what you’ve all been waiting for…visiting Disneyland with a broken foot. Almost every time I told someone I was going to Disneyland with a broken foot they responded with, “at least you won’t have to wait in line.” Let’s clear up that thought because it’s incorrect. That used to the case back in the day but apparently too many people took advantage of the situation (by faking injuries or “renting” the use of an injured person) so Disney had to change the rules. Here’s what I learned after spending time in Disneyland.

First up, you can rent a manual wheelchair or a motorized wheelchair called an electronic conveyance vehicle (ECV) to assist in getting around the parks. I spent the extra $38 for the ECV and am so thankful. There are actually a lot of hills in Disneyland and the poor soul pushing you will have to endure that torture if you’re in a manual wheelchair. The ECV was $50 for the day where a regular wheelchair was $12. The wheelchair/ECV can go anywhere within security, including Downtown Disney, but you first have to get through security. We arrived around the time the park opened and there were literally hundreds of people in the security line. I was in a walking boot but there was no way I could stand for the 30 – 60 minutes it would take to get through that line. We learned, after asking several employees, that there is a no bag line. I left my purse with my party and took my debit card and ID and headed for the no bag line. I was through quickly and headed to the wheelchair/stroller rental store. Renting an ECV was easy and took only a few minutes. And then I waited for everyone to get through security.

My Disneyland ride

Getting around Disneyland in the ECV was fine except that you are constantly dodging people that think you can stop quickly. Word of advise to anyone walking in front of an ECV – they don’t have brakes and it takes a couple seconds to stop. Another word of advise: don’t take an ECV in an elevator. They don’t really fit, there’s no room to turn around and the backup beep is crazy loud in the confines of the elevator. If your injury allows, park the ECV downstairs and take the elevator up in your boot. We learned this the hard way. I didn’t think twice about pulling into an elevator as soon as the door opened. It wasn’t until the door closed that I realized we had to figure out how to get it out. Everyone watching thought it was rather comical though.

Until now all references to Disneyland refer to both Disneyland and California Adventure. There are a couple difference between the two parks when it comes to rides. California Adventure is better equipped to handle wheelchairs/ECVs as all of their lines were made to accommodate the chairs. So, when in California Adventure you get no special treatment. Just get in line with your friends. Disneyland is a different story because the lines were not built to accommodate wheelchairs. In Disneyland you enter the ride through the exit but during busy times you will have to wait. I didn’t ride many rides because it really wasn’t enjoyable. You still have to get yourself into the ride, which often requires getting down into something and then getting back out of said car/log/train/boat/ect, but your foot is also flung around on the ride. Not the best if your injury is still painful.

All of the Disney employees were incredibly helpful and went out of their way to make sure I was able to enjoy my visit as much as possible. I wouldn’t recommend going with an injury but if you already have a trip planned it’s possible to still have a good time.

For more information on services for Disneyland guest with disabilities visit their website.

Lastly, I want to send a huge shoutout to my Disneyland adventure buddy. This trip would not have been possible without you. Thanks for all the wheelchair pushes and for getting me unstuck in the elevator. 🙂

After Vacation Update to Dehydrated Food and the YETI

I should probably get around to updating from our last vacation before our next vacation. I currently need to finish our taxes, get caught up on some treasurer duties for an organization I belong to, and I’m a little behind in work. What better time to get caught up on blogging than when I have a list of things I don’t want to deal with! Read more

Fall Break in Sedona

When I started this blog I wanted to give a voice to the less popular national parks and to write about family friendly activities. It’s easy to find information on the most popular parks but that’s not always the case for the smaller parks. I kept running into this issue when planning and decided to do my part to build out the content. What I did not expect is the joy I would get in looking back and reading about our trips. As time goes on memories fade. I am so glad I decided to start this blog to capture some of our memories in written form. Now, my blog is part for the world and part for me. This post, however, is all for me because I want to remember the last several days forever. (I wrote this post mid-October and never got around to hitting post. I’m not changing anything because I like the way it was written.) Read more