Posted in: Animal Sightings, Exploring Kentucky, Food, Hiking, Parks, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Experiencing Red River Gorge

It seems crazy the number of things in a three-hour radius from our home that we have not gone to yet. One of these was the Red River Gorge. We know people who had gone, people who had loved it, but we had never been there. As part of our quick summer vacation, we decided to stay a couple of days and see the Gorge.

One of the nice things about Red River Gorge is that is free to enter. There are of course things to spend your money on: local stores, souvenirs, the Sky Bridge, and adventures like rock climbing or kayaking.

Our first day there we drove through the park. Our pathway from our cabin took us through Nada Tunnel. It was a really neat tunnel, rough-hewed, single lane, without any lights. You could see water dripping. We stopped at the Gladie Visitor Center to check out the souvenirs and to get a park map. The Visitor Center had a nice selection of souvenirs, clean restrooms, friendly staff, and fun interactive exhibits. They had different animal pelts that you could touch, as well as a video of the park.

(NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.)

Nada Tunnel

We ended up at the Sky Bridge. It was a nice little hike. It had a couple of different sets of stairs, but a clearly defined path. It was a very hot and muggy day, but there was plenty of shade along the trails. We walked across Sky Bridge and then took the path that led us underneath the bridge. It was very neat to see it from a different perspective, as when you are up top, you don’t really notice the arch shape. There were several spots that had dripping water, which made a very cool and unique sound.

Day two of our Gorge adventure led us to the Sky Lift. It was $17 per adult for a round-trip ticket. Tickets could be bought in the gift shop. They had an interesting video and a pressed penny machine (Nick was very happy) in the outside booth. The ride up was enjoyable and we had a nice breeze. The steep uphill (or downhill for the return) can give you a jolt when you first see it). There is a nice trail nearby as well that gives you a nice overlook of the area. TIP: Secure your items! If they fall you will not get them back. Nick’s new pocket knife was lost to the wilderness as it fell out of his pocket halfway up to the top. (YouTube: link to video.)

From the top of the Sky Lift, we went to see the Natural Bridge. This was also a neat bridge that you couldn’t really see well unless you were underneath it. Nick and I decided to adventure through Fat Man’s Misery, a narrow gorge in the rock that leads you to the bottom of the Natural Bridge. Ben and Will stayed behind.

We stopped for some pizza at Miguel’s before driving up to Chimney Top for a picnic. The pizza was really good and they had so many different topping options! (Thank you for the recommendation, Mindy!) I froze when presented with so many options and went with a really boring pizza, but it all looked delicious as it came out. After lunch, we took another short hike and really enjoyed the views. There were several caution signs about not getting close to the edges. We watched the river and a hawk floating on the breeze.

The main attractions at Red River Gorge seem to be rock climbing, kayaking, and primitive camping. Due to Will’s restrictions from surgery this summer, we kept to the easier trails. It was pretty empty, as we were late in the summer vacation season. Compared to some other places we have been to, it was tough to tell it was a gorge due to the abundance of trees and other plants. It must be gorgeous in the fall. I’m glad we went, but as we are not rock climbers or really even kayakers, I don’t know that we would go back.

Red River Gorge Rating: 2/5 hitches (For us. If you love rock climbing and kayaking, I’m sure it would be amazing!)

Posted in: Exploring New York, Food, Newbie Mistakes

Eating New York: Tomato Pie

We were at Wegman’s grocery store and saw something called a tomato pie. It was in a cardboard box, so we couldn’t see it very well, other than it had crust and a tomato based topping. We thought we would give it a shot.

We got home, unpacked, made dinner, and thought we would try the “pie” for dessert. Did you catch the quotes there? Yup, it was a pizza pie, as in a pizza with no cheese. What?! Who in their right mind makes pizza without cheese.

You would have thought I had learned my lesson that New Yorkers, who are supposed to have great pizza, are weird and don’t always put cheese on their pizzas. Nope. A few days later, I was ordering pizza online from a restaurant down the street from the campground. I ordered a few different things, including and “Old Fashioned Pizza” with half pepperoni. Guess what? No cheese! The other specialty pizza we got had cheese listed, so I just assumed that cheese came on all their pizzas (like it should).

So, if you are in New York and ordering pizza, make sure you ask if it comes with cheese (no matter how ridiculous you feel asking, because pizza without cheese is just sauce bread.

Posted in: Food

Hamburger Pizza (Papa John’s Inspired)

We love Papa John’s Double Hamburger Pizza; even Ben likes it and he does not normally like pickles! Unfortunately, it’s a regional/seasonal thing because we haven’t had any luck finding it since California. We tried in Williamsburg, but they did not have any pickles.

We decided to try to make our own version! We managed to find all of the ingredients. However, we had to get creative with fitting the pizza crust in our tiny oven, as the store did not have a lot of crust size options.

We grabbed ground beef, 2 Roma tomatoes, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, Thousand Island dressing, and pickles (hamburger dill chips).

I browned the ground beef, diced the tomatoes, and had Will shred the cheeses. Once the ground beef was cooked, I drained it. I also blotted the pickle slices with a paper towel so that there wouldn’t be too much moisture on the pizza and then cut each slice in half. After placing the crust on the baking sheet, I used a pastry brush to add a thin layer of the Thousand Island dressing to the pizza crust. Next came a layer of the mixed cheeses, the ground beef, diced tomatoes and pickle pieces. I added a little bit more cheese to the top and baked according to the crust’s directions.

It turned out pretty well and was gone quickly! I can’t wait to make it again!.

Posted in: Costco, YouTube Video Link

Costco, Rain & Hail

We drove to a different Costco (they’re like Pokemon, gotta try them all!) This one had a liquor store in a separate room in the front of the store. Other than that, most of the stuff was pretty similar to what we have at home. I have found a raspberry pastry/danish in Montana and Colorado that I am becoming addicted to. It is so good! I didn’t see it back home, but maybe it’s there now. (It’s with the cookies!)

First time I’ve seen dividers at the sinks

We grabbed a pizza for dinner (I love the self service order stations they have out here.) on our way out and packed up the truck. A thunderstorm rolled in, so we thought we would wait it out. It was about a 30 minute drive back to the campground, so we sat and ate the pizza while watching the rain.

This is where it started to get a little dicey. (And unfortunately I did not have the dash cam running.) The wind picked up and a severe thunderstorm warning went out. We started getting hail. The truck was pretty exposed in the parking lot. The one thing we do know about Colorado is that they must get a lot of hail damage from storms, because there are signs and shops everywhere to repair hail damage. We noticed all the trucks hightailing it out of the parking lot to find shelter, so we followed suit. The wipers were on high and we could still barely see out the windshield. Our fellow trucks had stopped at the nearby strip mall and jumped the curb to wait under some trees. We joined in the crowd. The truck was mostly covered.

Once the hail stopped, it was still raining pretty hard, but our phones were still going off with weather alerts. We decided to head back to the RV. The roads were insane. Flash Flood Warnings and Emergency Alerts were going off almost constantly. Storm drains couldn’t keep up with the deluge of water and roads were covered in gushing water. The normally dry culverts were rushing like rapids. I am so glad we were in the truck and sat higher up. If we were in a car I would have been terrified.

We made it back to the RV safely and we luckily didn’t any damage to the truck or RV.

I do have a video of the rain and hail we got on the cell phone with a few still photos.

Posted in: Exploring Colorado, Food, Hiking, Sightseeing

Laundry, Burritos, Gardens

We worked on laundry in the morning. There is a breakfast food stand/truck in the campground, so once we got the washers going, we walked over and enjoyed pancakes and breakfast burritos. Nick ran a burrito back to Ben so he could enjoy it while he was working.

We spent a little time playing in the arcade after folding the laundry.

We decided to drive to Garden of the Gods. We decided to take a hike around the park. After 2.5 miles, the kids were done. It was hot and very, very sunny, not a lot of shade. We took a shortcut back and ended up with a 2.8 mile hike.

Family picture and Kissing Camels (the rocks, not us)

We were all dehydrated by the end, even with the water we brought.

We drove to Manitou springs and walked around. It was about 5:30pm when we got there, and the summer hours posted showed most of the town closed at 6:00.

We found a couple of the spring fountains that Manitou is known for. Each spring is supposed to have a slightly different flavor. We only tried one today, and it tasted just like fizzy (carbonated) water! The fountains are located throughout town and are free for use. There were people walking around filling up their water bottles to try the different waters.

We ordered a pizza from Hell’s Kitchen to bring back to the RV for dinner. It was a long wait for the pizza, but the taste was pretty good! It had a nice crust, not heavy on the sauce.

Manitou Springs had several more large objects for Will as well, so those pictures will be coming soon! 🙂

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