Friday, June 22, 2012


Four more days until we leave Houston for Tennesee...Sparky is feelin' The LOVE from her little grandson, visiting him almost every day, and smooching on his little cheeks, which are amazingly resilient from all grandma's smooching, and show no signs of a rash yet. :-) Kerry has asked me not to post photos publicly on the blog to respect her and the baby's privacy, but if anybody wants to see the latest photo of my sweetest little baby grandson, email me or friend me on Facebook! I can post generic photos on the blog though...So here's one attempting to be artsy....Ancient weathered hands with 14 day old tootsies. He is shedding! Pretty amazing how babies lose their outer layer of skin, I didn't remember that about my girls when they were born. No matter how much lotion you put on them, they still peel.

It's official! We finally decided what direction to head out and what destination to pick for a visit from Eldy's grandkids, Cate, 12, and Trevor, 8. You wouldn't believe the planning that Eldy has been doing the last four days! Out come the maps, the iphone, Mapquest....endless calculations, guessing how far cities are from one stop to the next, how much fuel costs will be, calling campgrounds to check availability for the July 4th week, which made planning a little harder with TWO weekends to deal with a holiday in the middle of the week, etc.

First, we were going to Rocky Mountain National Park...but after phone calls checking on the status of the air quality in the back country, and the progress of the forest fires being fought, we decided against a visit at this time. Rangers were reporting haze and smoke in some areas. Nix that idea. Out came the maps again, and next decision was to head to Custer and Mount Rushmore. We found out that Mount Rushmore is NOT doing fireworks this year for the July 4th celebration. We were having difficulties finding campgrounds with availability AND activities to help keep rambunctious grandkids entertained in the area. No fireworks at Rushmore? Phooey! Let's try something else...How about....and off we were on a R & D (research and development) trip plan again.

Back to the drawing board. This week we are trying out the RV Trip Wizard program. We saw this at the Tampa RV show and thought it looked interesting. It has some features that are really dandy, but the program appears to be in its growing stages. It's a program that was designed by RVers for RVers. Here's what it offers:

The "Wiz” lets you:
       Have access to over 17,500 campgrounds in the US and Canada
       New Parks are added as fast as we can find them!
       Include campgrounds of every affiliation (Passport America, Good Sam, 1000 Trails, etc)
       Plan using your own camping preferences, not what the “book” suggests
       Highlight your preferred campgrounds, or see them all
       See information for any campground at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger
       See photos of selected campgrounds or the area around them
       Have the ability to add your own points of interest (POI's)
       Be able to see distances between campgrounds to plan miles to drive
       Choose the miles you want to drive, or hours - choose either one, or neither
       Automatically update daily & total trip cost estimates
       Automatically save and easily recall trips
       Simple "what if we…" trip planning
       Plan unlimited trips
       Find a pet hospital
       See bicycle trails from your campground
       Use while driving IF you have a wireless connection
       Have complete data security
       RV Trip Wizard is the ONLY system that allows owners to update their RV Park information
They have a new feature where you can enter specific data like how many miles you want to drive a day and how fast you drive. It puts a definitive mile radius on the map according to what you specified in the "trip preferences" so you can zero in on some specific places to stay within your daily travel plan. We are still trying to figure out how to use this feature, but it appears very useful. We just can't figure out some more things about it, like how to get the radius to shift as you travel each day. The developers have been very prompt with getting back to us when we have questions. The little green triangles are campgrounds, but the map expands more to show ALL the many campground memberships you belong to that you checked in the trip preferences section--many, many campground choices to pick from, from Passport America to COE parks to a ton of others. They welcome suggestions and are improving and adding stuff often. Check it out and see what you think!
Here's a link to the demo video:

Using this program along with Eldy's fantastic researching skills, we have mapped out our travels from Spring, TX all the way to Sevierville, TN-our final destination that works all the way around--not too far for Eldy's kids to drive to meet us to drop off the grandkids, not too far for us to drive to get to the destination, saving on fuel. We are going to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee! Yippee! Time to give our eyes a rest from all the computer work and paper work. Same place, same time tomorrow.....Until then.....


  1. It is going to difficult to leave that little one. Aren't babies just a huge bundle of love.

    Paul and I know exactly what you two are going through. We have been doing the planning thing since March. It is starting to get OLD. We spend so much time several times a week planning our next week stops it is getting on our nerves.

    Smoky Mts. are a wonderful place the kids. Lots to do and see.

  2. All I can say is...... priceless picture. Hope you are going to enlarge and frame it.

  3. Have you used Microsoft Steets and Trips? If so, how do you think it compares? I'm finally learning to use that program a little better (thanks to the Geeks on Tour), so I'll probably not purchase another one....unless of course you decide it's too great to pass up. :)

  4. Great info on the trip wizard. I ususally wit until they've got all the kinks out of things before I jump in but then it begins to have so many features you have to take a class to understand it. SIGH.......

    Sevierville. I went to a rally there once. LOTS of traffic. Dollywood and Gatlinburg. Hope the kids like the Great Smokys. There will be a lot of folks there in July for sure. Can't wait to find out where you decide to stay.

  5. Yaaaa. . .so excited to finally have enough internet power to catch up on all your doings. . .

    The picture of your adorable grand is priceless. . .and the kiddos should love Pigeon Forge. . .although as I told you in email. . .all that love can get pricey. . .plan on spending lots and lots of time at the pool. . .that'll wear those little angels slap dab out. . .in fact have Mom bring their floaties and such!

    Have a great and wonderful time,