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The Silver Gypsy: Mission Trip - Part 1

The Senior Youth Group from Peakland United Methodist Church out of Lynchburg, VA, worked on all aspects of the Dominican Republic Mission Trip Project for nine months or so before leaving.  Six out of the 18 were returns from the Mission Trip in 2012, including my daughter, Tracey Norvelle, and my grandson, Will.  The funds for their flights, on-site mission food, and supplies, were furnished by fundraising, donations, and individuals, plus the church paid a portion of the cost for individuals who were part of it. 

The group was scheduled to fly United Airlines from Raleigh, NC, to Newark, NJ, on June 14, then on to Santiago, Dominican Republic.  United Airlines cancelled the first flight segment.  Frantic calls went out to all the participants the evening of June 13 to immediately meet at the church, with suitcases packed and ready to go.  In four quickly rented vehicles, they left church and drove throughout the night to Newark, NJ.  They landed in Santiago around noon on Saturday and were driven in vans to the Mission’s camp near Luperon, the Dominican Republic.
                                                                                                        

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Adventures in RVing: Boondocking With Gators

While our RV travels currently take place primarily across the western United States, I am constantly adding places to my database that allow boondocking (aka dispersed camping) for that day when my wife and I can expand our horizons.  I recently came across the following on the "RV the South" blog.
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Respect the Baby Alligators When Using One of Louisiana's New, Free, Primitive Campsites

Question: What's the name of the largest wetland in the U.S.? Answer: The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. If 'you'all is not from around heah," then a few intriguing terms might be new to you. Bayous, bald cypress swamps, and of course, one everyone knows, "alligator." 

Now the good folks of Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources would like folks to become more familiar with the basin. To prove it, they've opened up a project that provides free primitive camping sites on state-owned property along the Atchafalaya Basin. 

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Great Escapes: Golden Brewery Tour

Water, hops, barley and yeast are the main ingredients in any beer. But it’s also the processes of steeping, germination, kilning, and brewing that provide the myriad of beers styles we enjoy today. To learn how MillerCoors makes some of the most popular brands on the market, take a FREE brewery tour in Golden, Colorado. The self-paced tour showcases the company’s history, and highlights their malting, brewing and packaging processes. Using a hand-held audio wand, you’ll stop at various numbered “stations” along the tour route to read signs, watch brewery workers, and hear stories. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to sample quite a few beverages in the hospitality lounge, and take home a souvenir from the Coors & Co. gift shop.

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Why Medevac Insurance for Fulltime RVers is Smart

Do you love visiting remote places far away from civilization? Is meandering down a lonely dirt road in search of the perfect camping spot your idea of a good time? If so, then you could be putting your life in jeopardy if you don't carry emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage. Here's why: 

My husband and I also love journeying into the wild, miles from population centers. We never considered that wanderlust is a somewhat risky and potentially financially devastating thing to do – until I had a scary emergency in the outback that made me think about what could happen if one of us needed to catch a ride on a medevac helicopter. 

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The 19th Hole: Featured Golf-RV Resort: The Links of North Dakota

The Links of North Dakota is one of the top golf courses in the country and arguably the top course in the Peace Garden State. The Links of North Dakota presents golfers with an authentic links-style golfing experience on the bluffs overlooking Lake Sakakawea. The course is located in the heart of the area’s Bakken Oil Formation just 28 miles outside of Williston, N.D. and 16 miles from the small town of Ray. It is the area’s only 18 hole championship golf course with bent grass greens, fairways, and tee boxes which allow a true “Links” ground game experience.

Though water doesn’t come into play on this par-72 championship course, 82 sand bunkers do. Wind will almost always factor into your round at The Links.

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RV Travel Tales: Tribute to Ray Johnson, the Bladesmith Poet in Silver Dollar City

Some years ago on a fall day when the park was closed, I visited with Ray Johnson, a master bladesmith at Silver Dollar City.  Mountain Outfitters where Ray practiced his craft was empty of guests. We sat on stools in his workshop and he told me the intricacies of knife making, exhibiting his knowledge of metals. You see, Silver Dollar City had first heard about Ray Johnson back in 1986 when a local newscaster initially discovered him where he lived in Oregon County, Missouri. He worked as a welder, making knives and writing poetry in his spare time. The news reporter aired a story about Ray’s unique skills and his combination of talents. When CNN picked up the story, the world learned of the Bladesmith Poet from Missouri.  

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The Healthy Traveler: Treat Yourself Well on the Road

Living the RV lifestyle has as many benefits as it does challenges. Many full time RVers agree that besides a lack of space, staying healthy on the go is one of the biggest challenges. It's hard to focus on your health when you're always exploring new locales or putting in the hundreds of miles to get there. Don't let this unique way of life deter you from staying healthy! 

Don't Drink Your Calories

When most of your day is spent in the driver's or passenger's seat, you probably spend a lot of it staying hydrated. Don't pack on pounds because you're drinking sodas or juices. Instead, prepare a big pitcher of fruit infused water to keep your taste buds happy and your waistline trim. Save your extra calories for something fun! 

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The Silver Gypsy: Manta Ray Water Ballet

Dear Readers:  Once again I take you South of the Border to the tip of Baja for an adventure I wrote about in 1987. 

I am on the beach.  There are no footprints behind me, nor footprints ahead of me.  No one has ever walked here before me.  I am the first.  I am woman.  The ocean sprays salt on my face.  I lick my lips.  It tries to mesmerize me with the rhythm of the waves and make me forget the dangers of the undertow.

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Adventures in RVing: The Running of the Bulls

There is a national restaurant chain whose most recent marketing campaign features the slogan: "No rules, just right". That slogan pretty much sums up the appeal of boondocking for my wife and I. While there are regulations regarding boondocking on public land, they are not presented to you each time you "check in" nor are you required to sign a document acknowledging them like you would in a private RV park. Boondocking allows you to check in when you want, check out when you want, run your generator when you want, let your kids be kids, hang towels from your awning to dry and even perform maintenance on your vehicle if you like.  Plus, there is no cancellation fee if you show up and don't care for your surroundings.  So when we recently checked into a well kept private RV park in Eastern Washington and were handed the "list", I was quickly reminded on why we hadn't stayed in a private park for many months. However, wanting to be a good tenant and neighbor, I read the list of park rules.  Most of the standard items were present (quiet hours, bag your garbage, pet waste, etc.), but when I got to number 10 I took notice. It stated, "Use only access gates provided for park guests. DO NOT enter the bull pasture. They do not play well with others." Well, I have to admit that in all my years of RVing I have never read or seen that stated in any other campgrounds’ rules.  Being gored by a bull is one adventure in RVing I can do without!

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Great Escapes: LeMay Family Collection of Vintage Vehicles and More

Sixteen years ago, the Guinness Book of World Records listed the LeMay family collection as the "Largest Antique & Vintage Vehicle Collection" with more than 1900 vehicles. For an opportunity to see at least 500 in all makes and models— Ford, Chevy, Studebaker, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Vespa, sedans, convertibles, roadsters, limos— head to Tacoma, Washington. You’ll also find vintage fire trucks, a double-decker bus, tractors, wagons, as well as antique toys, cash registers, gas pumps and other Americana from bygone eras. The oldest original car in the LeMay Collection is an 1899 Baldwin Steamer. Surprisingly, quite a few cars on display date to the early 1900s.

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