Posted in: Animal Sightings, Campground Review, Food, Frequently Asked Questions, Hiking, Internet, Maintenance, Newbie Tips, School, Sightseeing

How We Pick Out A Campground (Frequently Asked Questions)

There are a ton of campgrounds out there and it can be overwhelming trying to find the “best” one to call home! They range from independent places, chains (like KOA and Thousand Trails), city owned, state owned, and federally owned. Some only accept military/retired military, some only accept Class A’s, and some have age limits on the RVs or the people they let in. A lot of places also have dog restrictions based on breed.

We have a few things that we always look for in a campground: location to sightseeing, internet, full hook-ups, and a laundry room. Our biggest one is a good internet connection for school and work. There are a few different websites that I visit to check reviews: campgroundreviews.com, GoodSam, and Campendium are my first ones. After those, I will go to Yelp/Google Map reviews (make sure to type RV Campground or RV Resort, not just campground as you will get results that will not work with RVs or may not have hook-ups), and then to Facebook for the RV groups to see if anyone has stayed there before.

Our favorite RV Campground Review Sites

I always check multiple review sites, especially for internet issues, but sometimes you still don’t get it right. For example, the Garden of the Gods RV review stated that our 3 providers worked. However, when we checked in, there was a note with our paperwork saying AT&T did not work in the park. This wasn’t mentioned on the campground’s website at the time. (This is just one of the reasons why we have three internet providers!)

I also try to read about the general campground conditions (sites, roads, etc.). If a lot of reviews with bigger RVs say that sites or internal roads were tight or not well maintained, I will pass on that campground. We’ve even double checked the reviews on the way to a campground and changed our plans last minute based on the current conditions. Conditions of campgrounds can change frequently. For example, when we booked one Texas site, it had decent reviews. On the drive there, we were reading the reviews from the last week and it was filled with reports of sewage problems throughout the campground (eww!), so we frantically searched and found a new campground to stay in. The most recent one was a change due to a review saying the T-Mobile signals were weak. T-Mobile is where most of our working internet comes through. We have some hotspot data through our cell phones, but the T-Mobile hotspot is the workhorse.

Campground amenities can also be a big indicator for the nicety of a park, although not always. There doesn’t seem to be a regulation on who can call themselves a RV Resort vs a campground, so reading reviews are important! We had one Thousand Trails claim to be a resort and they only had a laundry room and a walking trail. Nothing else was available or was broken and the sites and roads needed some upkeep. On the other hand, we had a Thousand Trails in Orlando that lived up to the resort title with many amenities and things to do.

An on-site laundry is also a requirement for us, as we do not have a washer/dryer on our travel trailer.

We have learned to always check (recent) reviews across the different review sites. It can be worth spending the extra money to get a nicer campground, especially for longer stays.

Posted in: Food

Cooking In/Near RV: Foil Dinners

If our campground has a fire pit or a grill, one of the easiest dinners to make are foil packet dinners. As a bonus, it doesn’t heat up the RV!

You can throw almost anything in aluminum foil and cook it over a fire, a grill, or in the oven. (Just make sure to double wrap in foil to help protect from burning over any flames.) We’ve done sweet potatoes (off to the side in the warm ashes), meatballs and vegetables, chicken/potatoes/vegetables.

The dinners are pretty easy to put together. On a large sheet of aluminum foil, towards the middle, place a few small pats of butter, or spray with a non-stick spray. Add a layer of sliced onions and a few vegetables. Add your meat, Place a few slivers of onions on top. Sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice (we like Cajun seasoning). Wrap up tightly. If the flames are still pretty hot, I will add another layer of foil to help keep things from burning.

Will claims the mask helps with the onion smell. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Posted in: Food, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Gretel’s Candy House

Hi guys, it’s Nick and this is my blog about this candy place in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina so here is the story. My Dad and I were driving home when we saw this candy store. We had seen it before and thought it would be fun to go to, so we drove on over and got some pictures of it from the outside. Then we went in, well let’s just say the outside is the cool thing about this place.

Inside it had two things that looked cool: one was called a Goo Goo Cluster and the other was Devil’s Toe. There is a big fake tree in the middle but that is it. It was just about all the normal candy you get at a basic candy or grocery store. I would not most likely go back to this place, but it is good for pictures and there is an ice cream place across the street. People were using this places parking for it though. So that is our candy store adventure.

Video: Walking in Gretel’s Candy House

Posted in: Food

Shaved Ice or Snowballs: The North vs The South

When it’s hot outside, one of the boys’ favorite treats is a shaved ice. Back home in Ohio, we also sometimes get an ice ball. It is ice cream topped with a shaved ice. Shaved ice are pretty common, but only a few places offer an iceball.

I’ve noticed that down south, that a snowball is what we call a shaved ice and you can “stuff” it with ice cream. Topping it with a drizzle of sweet milk (aka condensed milk) is a common offering as well. I thought that sounded gross, until we tried it. It’s actually good! It adds a creamy texture to the shaved ice and a different type of sweetness.

The boys got a shaved ice with condensed milk in New Orleans. We tried a Hawaiian shaved ice in new flavors in Savannah at Hokulia. Hokulia had large servings, was on one of the main streets in Savannah, but also had a long line and was slow getting out orders. Everything had a nice flavor though. In South Carolina, I got a Mudslide (coffee and chocolate flavored) snowball from Pelican’s Snoballs. They had a nice outdoor seating area, was right off of Highway 17, had a ton of flavors, and the staff was very nice.

What do you call it (shaved ice, Hawaiian ice, snoball, snowball…)? What’s your favorite flavor?

Posted in: Food, Frequently Asked Questions, Newbie Tips

5 Best RV Meals

Cooking in a tiny RV kitchen is a lot like using an Easy Bake Oven to make a cake for an Army. Luckily I don’t quite have an army, but two teenage boys can certainly eat. Below are some of their favorite dishes. Most of these require few baking/cooking utensils, are quick to make and pack a calorie punch for the kids.

NOTES:

  1. One of the hardest down sizing activities for me was the kitchen. After 7+ months cooking and living in our travel trailer, I would recommend an InstantPot. These guys are amazing. I haven’t even explored all it can do, but it packs a lot of punch for the volume it takes up.

2. The boys rate all of these 10 out of 10. Teenage boys are generous with food ratings. I have my ratings below.

InstantPot Spaghetti

Quick and delicious; Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes My rating: 6 out of 10

How it is made:

You will need raw meatballs (frozen or fresh), a jar of spaghetti sauce (24 oz), spaghetti noodles, water, and grated Parmesan cheese (optional).

In the InstantPot, layer the meatballs on the bottom of the pan. Break the spaghetti noodles in half, and layer over the meatballs. To help the noodles not stick, crisscross the direction you lay the noodles down. (Some recipes also call for salt or olive oil drizzled over the top of the noodles. I haven’t used those extra ingredients yet, as the hatch layering seems to work.) Add a jar of spaghetti sauce and 3 cups water. DO NOT STIR! Add lid, set to Pressure: High, Time: 10 minutes. When time is up, do a quick release. Stir together. Plate and top with Parmesan cheese! (NOTE: I sometimes like to add a can of diced tomatoes as well, to make a chunkier/thicker sauce (14 oz). If using diced tomatoes, add with the spaghetti sauce.)

Instantpot Lasagna

All the lasagna taste, 10% of the time; Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15-20 minutes My rating: 8 out of 10

How it is made: Click here to see my post/recipe.

Cornbread Taco Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 19 minutes My rating: 8 out of 10

How it is made:

You will need: 1 lb. ground beef, 1 packet taco seasoning (or use homemade!), 1 box cornbread mix and its required ingredients (we like Jiffy), 1 large onion diced, InstantPot cake pan, aluminum foil. Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, sour cream.

Cook ground beef, taco seasoning, and onions in InstantPot on sauté setting with lid off, stir frequently. Drain off grease when finished and turn off InstantPot. Remove meat from InstantPot and set aside. Wipe out an excess grease inside the InstantPot. Mix together cornbread mix in a bowl. Line the cake pan with aluminum foil. Have several (3-4) inches of foil above the pan, but make sure it is smooth and flat all the way around. Add the cooked ground beef mix to the lined pan and press down. Evenly spread cornbread mixture over beef. Place a cup of water in InstantPot and add trivet. Place pan on trivet. Cover, set to seal, cook on High Pressure for 19 minutes. Let it sit/natural release for 5 minutes, then do a quick release. Use foil to lift from the pan. Plate, top, and serve!

Inside out Omelette

Best thing Tik Tok has shown us; Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5-10 minutes My rating: 9 out of 10

NOTE: If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can still get the Everything But the Bagel Seasoning online. It is amazing in a lot of recipes and Ben highly recommends it. I am not a huge everything bagel person, so I made my omlet without it.

How it is made:

You will need (per omelette): 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 tablespoon butter, 3/4 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is our favorite), seasoning of choice (pepper, salt, Everything, etc.), fillings (mushrooms, tomatoes, cooked meats/lunch meat, spinach, peppers, onions).

Whisk eggs and milk together. Heat butter in non-stick pan over medium heat. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the entire pan. Cook until bubbly. Slowly, and evenly, pour the egg/milk mixture around the pan. Add seasoning and fillings. Cover and cook for a few minutes, until egg is set. Flip one side over to cover the other side to form a crescent and enjoy.

Slop

Horrible name, 100% original, filling meal; Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 18 minutes My rating: 7 out of 10. I was throwing together things in the InstantPot and the boys were bugging me what was for dinner. I was a little irritated, so I replied “slop”, and the name has unfortunately stuck. It’s my catch-all meal that always has chicken and vegetables, but the other ingredients vary. Sometimes it has rice, sometimes it has beans, sometimes noodles, sometimes potatoes, seasoning added based on other ingredients (though it is frequently Cajun). Below is one of the versions I have made.

How it is made:

You will need: 3 boneless/skinless cubed chicken breasts (raw), box of Spanish flavored rice, 1.5 cups of water, can diced tomatoes (not drained), bag of frozen vegetables.

Add chicken, tomatoes, rice, and water to InstantPot. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release. Add frozen vegetables, close lid, cook on High Pressure for 3 minutes.

If you have a favorite meal, especially if you cook it while camping or in an RV we would love to try it out. Send us a comment and we will make sure to share it with others.

~Sarah

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Food, Hiking, Sightseeing

Sunshine, Water, Sand Dollars, and Crabs…Tybee Island, Georgia

Two words: Go early!

We had stopped at Fort Pulaski on our way to Tybee Island. We got to Tybee, parked, and was on the beach by 11:00 am. We really lucked out on finding a parking spot, as the small lot we were in filled up within minutes. Traffic is a mix of cars, bikes, and golf carts. All parking at Tybee is paid parking, with most spots being $3.50/hour. There was an app you can download to your phone (Park TYB). I was hesitant to download yet another app, but it did make it pretty convenient, as it sent you a reminder when your time close to being up and you could add additional time right on the app instead of running back to the meter. That turned out very helpful in our case, as we had been walking down the beach and were pretty far away.

We didn’t go swimming, just walked along the beach and waded for a little bit. The sun was nice and warm, but the water was very cold. We found part of a conch shell and a sand dollar. Nick was so excited to have found a larger whole one, but this one turned out to still be alive! It had little hair like pieces on it that we could see move, so he placed it back in the ocean.

Tybee was full of touristy shops, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants.

We ate lunch based on a recommendation (Thanks Pete!) at The Original Crab Shack. It was a little bit out of the main town, but on Tybee. It had a great atmosphere with an indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating was a large covered patio. Each table had a hole cut out in the center with a garbage can underneath. We ordered a few different things to share: Low Country Boil, BBQ park sandwich, and half a chicken. It had a really fun atmosphere with live alligators (small ones, born in captivity), alligator statues, baskets for light shades. The only downside was that based on location of the patio and the garbage cans at each table, we did get bit quite frequently by bugs. I would recommend wearing bug spray.

When we left Tybee, there were cars lined up for miles. I’m pretty sure there were not enough parking spots to fit everyone. I would definitely recommend going early and downloading the parking app.

Posted in: Food, Sightseeing

Pie Hunting in South Carolina: Carolina Cider Company

We are likely posting this a day late as Pi Day was yesterday on 3/14. But, really Pi day is everyday if you are living life well.

We first saw the Carolina Cider Company store while exploring the area around us. It was closed for the day, but that did not deter us. We came back the next day. It was super cute inside with several different types of cider, pies, and jellies.

It was close to closing time, so there were only 3 pies left. We got a pecan apple pie, a small blueberry cider, small Black Bing Cherry cider, and a Muscadine jelly (a type of grape). ($38.80 total)

There was also a coffee shop attached to it, Clockwise Coffee. Ben got a plain coffee and I got a mocha. Mine came with a nice design in it!

Everything was delicious and I am glad we stopped, it was definitely worth the trip.

Hope you had a great Pi day! If you did anything special to celebrate, post it in the comments. I can’t wait to read all about it.

Posted in: Food

Goose Feathers Cafe, Savannah, Georgia

We headed back down to River Street in Savannah. There were so many restaurants to try, that we decided to grab breakfast in the downtown area while exploring the city. We found a great parking spot right on the river and walked around for about an hour. We were pretty hungry and stopped at Goose Feathers Cafe for breakfast.

We got a coffee, a frozen mocha, a Baileys Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pie, a breakfast burrito (eggs, cheese, potatoes, turkey sausage), an “Eggetarian” (poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on a croissant), and a blueberry bagel with cream cheese. ($31.43, plus tip)

It was the boys’ first time trying a whoopie pie, so they thought it was a nice treat. The cake part was a little dry, but the flavor was nice. The Bailey’s and mint were a nice nod to Saint Patrick’s Day.

Everything was good, but Savannah has so many amazing restaurants, I wouldn’t go back instead of trying another new place. The Cafe did have a few tables outside and the tables inside were pretty well spaced out. It seemed they were doing the best they could with the pandemic, although I’m sure the ambiance was not quite the same as it used to be. The inside decorations were really cute with a glass display case and a tin ceiling.

If you have been to Savannah, what were your favorite restaurants?

Posted in: Food, Sightseeing

Disney Springs: Everglazed Donuts

The boys and I headed back to Disney, this time to Disney Springs. There were parking garages, which were free. However, many of the entrances from the garages into the shopping area were closed. We parked in the Orange garage and there was only one entrance available. They had you go through a metal detector and temperature screening in order to go in. Masks were required and they had a disposable mask vending machine there as well ($2).

One of the reasons we went to Disney Springs, was for Everglazed Donuts. They had huge, crazy donuts for sale. They were not cheap. Even the purple glazed donut (which tasted like a regular glazed donut, just dyed purple) was $4.50. We got a Brooklyn Blackout, Cookies and Cream, Peanut Butter Explosion, Purple glazed, and an iced mocha drink. The donuts were delicious and very sweet. The drink was ok, but for the cost I would go to Starbucks next time instead.

We also wanted to check out the crazy cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse. However, they had a huge line. We had at least a 70 minute wait, so we chose to skip it. Their cookies did look amazing though!

Disney Springs was huge and had lots of shopping and restaurants. It would probably be easy to spend at least half a day there.

Posted in: Food, Sightseeing

Disney’s Epcot: Food & Souvenirs

One of the things Epcot is known for is the World Showcase with its different countries and variety of foods. We wanted to try a few things while we were there.

¡Viva México!

Our first snack was in Mexico. Ben and I shared a strawberry margarita ($12.25), and we all shared a plate of guacamole and chips ($10). The margarita was nice, cold and very sweet. It was great for a hot day. They offered a tri-colored Fiesta margarita. However, the one layer was mango, which is not my favorite, and it was also more expensive ($12.75). It didn’t really make sense to charge extra for just layering the flavors. Mexico was only selling water bottles and they did not have cups of water available.

Let it snow, let it snow, long lines in Norway bother me.♪

Next, we walked into Norway and straight into the Kringla to try a Troll Horn. It looked delicious… but, it was just okay. It was filled with a chilled cream that had a slight citrus taste. Ben said he just tasted sugar, so maybe it was just me. ($4.79)

China Did It

Next, we went to China. I ended up getting a parasol ($23.43) to help with the sun. I did have sunscreen and a hat on, but it was 84F when we bought it and very sunny. Ben claims it was a good value to mitigate skin cancer. We stopped at Lotus Blossom to get Will some food. Their sit-down dinner area in the back was open, but empty. Will got chicken fried rice ($13.50), and a Diet Coke for Ben ($3.99). ($18.63 total). We all tried a bite of the fried rice, but Will ate most of it! We also grabbed a custom Epcot Ball with Disney Ears charm for the low low price of $15.

Engraver

Germany: Mr. Gorbachev, Take Down This Wall.

Onto Germany, where the soft pretzels are as big as your head, literally. For just $10 we indulged in warm, soft and hot bread from the Vaterland. It was a decent value for a Disney treat.

Italy: That’s a Spicy Meat-a-ball

Italy had a few fun items to offer, but we were only there for one, the Cannoli Cupcake. Unfortunately, COVID struck hard here. The shopkeeper informed us that their pastry chef was out because of the pandemic. Oh mio Dio salvateci.

Japan: Everything but Godzilla

We moved onto Japan where we got a rainbow shaved ice, drizzled with sweet milk ($5.79). I had never seen a shaved ice with condensed milk on it before until the we were in the South. It is surprisingly good (tasting, probably not good for you). Japan also had nice outdoor seating areas with shade and a koi pond. Super ambiance to enjoy this treat.

Morocco: ♪How Bazaar, How Bazaar

We walked checked out Morocco and tried some cookies ($5). We got the kataifi (similar to baklava in taste) and marble koulouria (butter chocolate twist cookie). The kataifi was the favorite.

French Toast

France, known for delicious desserts and laminated breads didn’t disappoint. They had a cute ice cream store called L’Artisan Des Glaces. We tried the seasonal macaroon ice cream sandwich (when we went it was raspberry with vanilla ice cream, $5) and the Croque Glace (Brioche Ice Cream sandwich, $7.50). For the brioche sandwich, we chose peanut butter ice cream and raspberry sauce. They cut a brioche bun in half, swirl on sauce (chocolate, caramel, or raspberry) and a scoop of ice cream, place it in a grill that looks like a circular waffle maker, and heat it for a few seconds. The process was so interesting we grabbed a quick video. https://tinyurl.com/EpcotBriocheIceCreamSandwich
The ice cream was delicious, but I don’t know that I would get the brioche sandwich again. Note: Will was delighted with the Macaroon sandwich, but he loves Macaroons, so this wasn’t too surprising. We also stopped at the bakery and picked up a baguette ($3.10), plain croissant ($2.90), and an almond croissant (almond and chocolate filling, $4.75).

Canada: Eh – What you talking aboot?

After we watched the show in Canada, we stopped at a booth to pick up some traditional poutine ($7.50). Poutine is french fries with cheese curds and gravy. I am not normally a gravy person, but poutine is delicious and there are a lot of varieties. Although it was good the curds were a little squeaky.

On our way out of the park, we stopped at one of the shops hoping to find some postcards specific to Epcot. We didn’t have any luck, but Nick did get to get a pressed penny. ($1. Remember when they used to be $0.51?)

~Ben & Sarah