A Retired, Single RV’er Travels

For some 30 years I practiced law in Mesa, Arizona. (Please don’t hold that against me. I really wasn’t a very good lawyer.) When I was about to turn 62 years old and collect social security I decided to quit my practice and go camping. I already owned a Coleman tent-camper and a small pick-up. My marriage had gone to hell and I had a bad case of the woe-is-mes. I decided that a few days or months on the road would be a treat.

I loved it immediately. I spent weeks and months in campgrounds around the Southwest. I fished in dozens of lakes and met dozens of people, most of whom were far finer persons than

those I had associated with in my practice. I enjoyed them all but found that most were either married or seriously mated. I was still in a couples society. I was not really a part of any social group. I missed sitting around the fire and telling lies to people with my own lifestyle. I loved the RVing lifestyle but missed a closer social life. Then I discovered Loners on Wheels, Inc.

I don’t know where I first heard about the Loners on Wheels (LoWs) but somehow I was invited to a camp-out sponsored by the Tucson chapter. I loved it! Here were a bunch of campers, just

like me, having the time of their lives. Card games every night. Happy hour each evening. Coffee together each morning. Hikes and fishing and doing nothing. It was great! I joined

immediately.

A few words about the LoWs. This is a club composed of thousands of single campers. It has chapters in every state and most of the provinces of Canada. To be a LoW, one must be legally single and have a desire to socialize and camp with other singles. It is not a dating service. If your sole purpose is to find a mate, you can do much better with Parents Without Partners or any one of a number of like organizations. The 3,000 or so members of this club plan camp-outs at least once a month. We band together simply because we are not comfortable with the couples only society from which we all came. In this club we can enjoy wonderful social activities and

yet retain our happy single lifestyle.

Many of us LoWs are retired. The RVing lifestyle was made for us. Most of my family are working their hearts out trying to get to the point where I now am! We still have loving family and friends “back home” but they simply don’t have the time to give us the love and affection we find in this club.

Come join me!!

Half Moon Lake Trail – Alpine, AZ

The Half Moon Lake Trail is located in the Williams Valley Winter Recreation Area of the Apache National Forest and falls under the jurisdiction of the Alpine Ranger District. The Half Moon Lake Trail is the longest in the trail system, approximately 10 miles and offers year around recreation for hiking and biking during the summer and x-country/back-country skiing in the winter.

Directions: Approximately 4.5 hours from Phoenix, Tucson or El Paso. From the intersection of US191 & US 180 in Alpine, Arizona. Travel north on US 191 approximately 2 miles to the Forest Road 249 turnoff. During the summer the sign reads “Big Lake” with an arrow pointing west and in the winter the sign is flipped down and reads “Williams Valley Winter Recreation Area”. Turn west and travel 3.4 miles to a wide spot in the road with a Forest Service kiosk just below the road berm (south side). This locates you in the middle of the Williams Valley Winter Recreation Area. The area is closed to motorized travel. N3351.760′ & W10913.205′ – Elevation 8675′.

Head due south across the meadow, climb a slight incline and head for the tree line. You will pick up a trail known as the Valley Loop. Head west on this easy to follow trail as it meanders through the forest, veers south, passes a gate and opens up into Lookout Meadow. N3351.615′ & W10913.775′ – Elevation 8800′. The Lookout Meadow Loop is a great short outing in itself, perhaps 1 1/2 hours and back to your vehicle. However, if you have a few extra hours, veer to the right (SW) and bust a move uphill for a half mile or so. You will come to a fork in the trail with a sign designating the right fork as Up & Over. There is no trickery here, the trail literally goes up and over and is only about 1/3 of a mile long. Once you are “over” – you will be on the Isolation Meadow Trail. N3351.430′ & W10914.155′ – Elevation 8770′. Take this trail to the southeast for a long uphill slog, you will pass a cool little water tank that’s a lot deeper than it looks! Continue uphill and you will arrive at a woodpile in the trail with a gate just beyond. Travel though the gate approximately 200 yards and to the northeast you will see a “blue diamond” as a trail designation attached to a large aspen tree. N3351.050′ & W 10914.055′ – Elevation 8980′.

For the next 3/4 mile you will be heading in an easterly direction and slowly climbing – the trail is established, but look for the blue diamonds in the trees to keep you on route. Eventually you will come to a two-track road. N3350.975′ & W10913.635′ – Elevation 9020′. Follow this two-track uphill to the northeast, the blue diamonds will still guide you along. Once you “top-out” the trail will begin to meander through the forest with the odd undulation and occasional meadow. You will pass a trail named Ya Hoo, this trail will drop you back down to Lookout Meadow if you’re running short on time. However, the next couple of miles is the best part of the day since you are now on the Half Moon Lake Trail! Within a 1/4 mile on your left (east) will be Half Moon Lake itself. N3350.765′ & W10912.840′ – Elevation 9200′. For most of the year the lake is dry and is pretty much a “mud hole”, but after the spring snow melt and during monsoon season the lake does fill up with water. This is a great camping destination and a favorite hang out for massive bull elk.

After leaving Half Moon Lake the trail is pretty easy to follow with blue diamonds in the trees every few hundred feet. You will stay on top of the mountain (part of South Mountain) for a mile and then the trail will drop off back west. You will come to an open area and for lack of a better term an “intersection”. There will be a blue diamond in a ponderosa pine with an arrow pointing west. N3350.560′ & W 10911.935′ – Elevation 9350′. This is now a two-track road again, follow it for 3/4 mile and it will make a gradual descent. To your left (SW) you will notice a meadow forming through the trees, it’s best to cut through the trees and into the meadow. However, if you stay on the two-track it will drop you midway into the meadow. This is the start of three “Hanging Meadows” that drain the north slope of the entire area. This is one of the most beautiful and remote location in Alpine… it is also the locals favorite area for skiing since there are numerous telemark ski hills and great sunny picnic areas.

Continue to travel to the west and follow the meadows edge (either side) downhill. You will come to another water tank, which is also deeper than it looks! N3350.805′ & W10912.535′ – Elevation 9200′. To the south and uphill of this tank is another large meadow which is fun to explore on skis or hiking – it’s also loaded with great camp locations. As you look downhill and to the west, you will see the last of the three Hanging Meadows. Continue downhill and go up and over a Forest Service berm. This trail is quite rocky with loose scree; it’s a great place for mountain bikers that prefer “rock gardens”. Within a half mile you will pass the lower trail head of Ya Hoo, another half mile and you will drop into the eastern edge of Lookout Meadow. N3351.275′ & W10913.425′ – Elevation 8880′. You will pass another gate and continue along the two-track road which is on the northern edge of Lookout Meadow – another half mile and you will recognize your original point of entry into Lookout Meadow a few hours before.

The route described is over 10 miles and will take 3-4 hours hiking or 2 hours to bike or ski. Keep a close watch on the weather, especially during our July-September monsoon season, it rains almost every afternoon with frequent lightening strikes.

Please visit my website: http://www.thetucsonhomehunters.com/

Luxury Travel on a Shoestring Budget – Money Saving Travel Tips

Love to travel but don’t have the thousands of dollars to do it?

You can get luxury travel on a shoestring budget by planning your vacation or trip just a bit more carefully.

Read a few of these tips, and then go on your well-deserved getaway without burning a hole in your pocket.

Always remember: When planning your trip, timing is key.

For example, school vacation weeks are the worst times to plan trips. Most parents have no choice but to travel at these high-peak seasons, so school vacation periods in any country are always going to be crowded. The airfare is always sky high – no pun intended.

If you’ve traveled during these peak seasons, you may noticed that coach seats during a school vacation week could cost you more money than a first class ticket during the off-season. So remember, unless you MUST travel during these peak periods, avoid winter and spring breaks at all costs.

Here’s another important tip: Regardless of how you decide to book your luxury travel arrangements – either through a travel agent or through an online travel website – make sure that you know exactly who you are working with. For example, your best bet to save on a hotel and car rental package is probably going to be with Priceline.com’s “name your own price” option. However, Priceline.com is not the best choice for international airline travel. You’d be better off with an agent. Either way you go, try to use the same travel agent or service. This makes sure that you build a solid relationship with the company you’re dealing with. If you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you. Always remember, they want your business.

Think about how frequent flier programs work: if you choose their airline consistently, they’ll reward you by giving you a free flight. Granted, you’ll need to do a lot of flying if you’re just going to earn points sitting on a plane, but with a little research, you’ll find ways to make loyalty programs work in your favor. When booking online or with an agent, make sure you always ask questions. You will never get anywhere from being silent.

If for some reason the company you’re working with makes an error, be sure to take advantage of it. Most companies want to keep up a high level of customer satisfaction, and they rely on their guests to provide them with information on how to achieve that. See if they could possibly upgrade an aspect of your trip. Your coach tickets could turn into first class, or maybe your suite could turn into a deluxe version. Don’t be scared to ask for upgrades. If they say no, then you’re no worse off than before. Your criticism will ensure that yourself (and other travelers) will have a satisfactory luxury vacation.

When you’re looking your vacation online, you should search travel review sites for agents or an agencies who have shown they willing to work with unhappy customers, an have proven that they excel at customer service. Many times, customer service representatives get aggravated with customers who complain, or the service reps are based in a foreign country and can only read from a script. And you probably already know that scripts don’t cover every possible customer service issue that a traveler may encounter.

You’ll find just about any travel service rated on a review site somewhere. Just keep in mind that people like to complain about bad experiences, so you’ll find many more complaints than good reviews for even the most well-known travel services. So take the complaints with a grain of salt. Look for the most commonly re-occurring complaints (like bad customer service). Most bad experiences are not usually the fault of the service. Rather the experience occurred because of the traveler’s misunderstanding of the travel site policies.

* * * Read your travel site’s terms and conditions BEFORE you book reservations * * *

You want to consider all aspects of your deal; not just the price tag. Quality wins over quantity in some cases. You find a rate online offering a room at $20.00 a night. It may sound appealing, right? Maybe you’re taking your family to Disney World and you figured you just need someplace to rest your head at night. But when you check-in, that’s when you discover the bathroom is shared with everyone on the floor, there’s police tape strung across the the door to the room next to yours, and you see prostitutes wandering in the parking lot. Maybe this deal WAS too good to be true.

Do your research. There’s plenty of information available to educate yourself on discounted travel mastery. Most of it is available for free; some of it you may have to pay for if you don’t want to do the research. Go to travel websites and forums specific to the type of trip you’re planning to take: Cruise, adventure tour, etc. If you are itching to take a trip that you don’t want to pay full price for, and you opt to pay for money-saving travel information online, I’d recommend that you only consider offers that give you a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don’t get great money-saving travel tips, at least you can get your money back.

Follow these simple practices, and you’ll have the luxury you want on a shoestring budget.

Why Should I Engage in Outdoor Recreation Activities?

More and more people engage in outdoors activities these days, as outdoor sports are becoming very popular. The top recreational activities include kayaking, jogging, walking, hiking, and camping.

This article is for the people who love to spend their time outdoors, enjoying new adventures in fresh air.

How can outdoor recreational activities be beneficial to you?

The foremost advantage of spending time outdoors is gaining a good mental spirit and healthy balance of your body. Not only will it help in giving you the liveliness that everyone should have, but it will also pump your life force and the love of living.

Activities such as walking, bird watching, kayaking and camping all make you feel happier while appreciating the beauty that we often forget during our busy hours at the office. Nowadays the stress level has increased so much in everyone’s life that everyone, without exception, deserves a small break to get rid of this stress. Sometimes a small walk in the park will do the trick and can lighten up your tensions and make you feel happy.

In today’s hectic life styles, we hardly find time to spend with our families and friends. Engaging regularly in various outdoor activities can help you create much stronger bonds with your family and friends. You can interact and talk more with your friends and family while sharing the astonishing experiences of a different outdoor activity each time you go out.

How can outdoor recreation help you in saving money?

Our lives are never smooth and secured; everyone comes across various difficult times in their lifetime. Taking the time to engage in simple outdoor recreations will not only help you mentally, but you will also find that it costs close to nothing. For example hiking does not cost anything when compared with cycling. All you need is a pair of good shoes and a mountaintop to hike to. Another example is simply playing outdoors with your kids. Nothing will beat playing soccer or tags with your kids, especially when you take time off from a stressful job.

While there is other activities like hunting that are somewhat costlier however they will provide you with a lot of thrills and great sense of accomplishment. If you can’t afford spending money on such activities then you still have many options that will definitely suit your pocket.

You should try to spend as much time as possible in these types of activities. You should also encourage your friends, family and kids to spend such a wonderful time together building good memories. Nothing can be more enjoyable and beneficial than gaining a good and healthy lifestyle by being in the outdoors.

Take full advantage of the beautiful world we live in and its alluring nature that surrounds us that we inheriting for centuries from our ancestors.

4 Easy Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Camping Tent

Your camping tent is not only the place you will sleep in when you’re outdoors, but it also protects you and keeps you safe from outside elements. Having said this, your tent deserves care and attention to help it extend its life.

Here are some ways on how you can care for your camping tent:

Protect the floor of your tent

The key here is the spot where you’ll be setting up camp. An ideal area would be a spot that is smooth and level. Clear the area of small debris like rocks, twigs, pine cones and the like as these might cause cuts to your tent’s floor. To further protect the floor, use a footprint, a ground cloth that will provide the floor of your tent an even smoother surface to be set up in. Lastly, don’t bring any foot wear inside!

Keep away from the sun

Not only are the sun’s UV rays harmful to your skin but to your tent’s surface, too. The UV rays would do damage to both the fabric and the nylon fibers. Your best bet is to set up camp at a shady area, but if you can’t find one, use a tarp to shade your tent. If you’re going to be out for a while (hiking, fishing or backpacking), remove your tent from direct sunlight.

Keep the food outside

Don’t bring food and eat inside of your tent. There are a multitude of insects out in the woods and food attracts many of them. You don’t want insects to be crawling all over your tent and trying to chew their way in through the fabric just to get to the food. And besides, camp food should always be placed in tightly sealed containers to avoid attracting bears and other wildlife to the campsite.

Keep your tent clean

While packing up, give your tent a good shake to get rid of any dust and dirt that may have accumulated both inside and outside. It’s ideal to wash it every after use to ensure that there’s no mildew on any surface and also to remove dirt in the zipper which will help prevent it from malfunctioning in the future. Don’t forget to dry your tent completely before storing it loosely in a bag at a cool, dry place.

Follow these easy tips to extend the life of your camping tent and you’re sure to enjoy its service for many years to come!