WEEK FIVE: MORE MILE HIGH


CONTENTS
Rearview Mirror
- Summary of the past week: Deer, snow, and mountains
Pups Across America! - Our latest canine encounters: New marketing campaign
RV Gourmet - Jan shares her on-the-go culinary secrets: Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
Favorite Photographs - Pick pics, pointers, and ponderings: New photo albums plus video
Travel Tools & Toys - Gadgets for fun and productivity: Skype
Camper’s Corner - Thoughts on were we stayed and other RV topics
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading

REARVIEW MIRROR
Start: Cherry Creek State Park, CO
Stop: Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground, Golden, CO

Sunday
Mother’s Day Action
Just a gorgeous day, and I believe every person and every dog in Colorado was out enjoying the weather. Early afternoon we visited the Little Man and his parents, sitting outside and watching the round, shiny outputs of Austin’s three bubble machines. Later we went down to “Old Parker” for a meal we consumed outside. After this late lunch, Jan and Kelly chatted, while Aaron and I took Austin down to the park to slide, swing, and explore.

Monday
I worked in the morning culminating with my noon marketing call. Overall a good, but not too exciting day, until the wee hours of the morning that is. Our deep sleep was interrupted by a coyote chorus coming close to the coach. No kidding, the wails from this pack seemed to be coming from within a football field’s length. What they lacked in harmony they made up for in volume. Man, I wish I’d have recorded it :’<<<.

Tuesday
Spent the day in camp chained to my desk and glued to my phone. Late afternoon, as Jan and I were playing our daily game or two of gin rummy, the Little One’s Alerted us to intruders. Slowly, a herd of about a dozen mule deer grazed their way across the campground, traversing within twenty feet of our motor home, BALY. We all had fun watching them, and I got a couple decent photos out of it to boot.

Wednesday
Snow
One of our reasons for leaving Florida was to escape the heat, and I can definitely say that we have accomplished that objective. Twenty-eight degrees and snow on the ground. I took the Little Ones out for a walk in the morning, but I almost had to drag them—ten minutes and they were dog-sled pulling me back to the coach.

White Walk
After breakfast, Jan and I bundled up and went for a long walk, enjoying the white patterns created by the weather.

Molly Brown
Mid-afternoon we loaded up the Kids and drove to downtown Denver, where we took the tour of the Molly Brown house. You know, the one from the play “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” This remarkable woman did much more than survive the sinking of the Titanic. This ditch digger’s daughter from Hannibal, Missouri, spoke five languages, traveled the globe, and spoke out for women’s causes, miner safety, and legal rights for the poor. Remarkable.

Thursday
Another workday writing proposals, preparing presentations, meetings on the phone—not good content for a travel blog!

Friday
Social Media
Spent an hour and one-half in the morning via Skype learning more about social media from Kathy, my virtual advisor from Nova Scotia. I’m trying to figure out Facebook and Twitter for both our for-fun travel/dog photography venture and my for-money consulting practice.Thank goodness for Skype! This call to Canada would have been $40 or more, yet by using Skype on the computer it was free. Gotta love the technology.

Time to Move
Late morning we left the Cherry Creek State Park campground in the SE side of metro Denver and drove to a campground outside of Golden in the NW part of the Denver area. In the mountains at 7,800 feet it is just gorgeous. Once again I spent most of the day on consulting/training stuff with a series of phone call from California, Canada, and Ireland.

More Snow
Late in the afternoon the rain started, then turned to snow. The flakes were as big as nickels floating down. Fun to watch from inside our cozy home on wheels, making us quite thankful we are not tenters.

What a Meal
About 7:00 p.m. our grandson Austie arrived along with his dad, Aaron. Grandma Jan served the perfect comfort food for this chilly night, Italian spaghetti and meatballs. Check out the RV Gourmet for the details. It was just wonderful. After dinner, Aaron and I talked about RVing, travel, history, and my hero, Winston Churchill. All the while Janny was cleaning up, making Smores on the stove top, participating in our conversation, and setting up YouTube cartoons of Mickey Mouse (some in Spanish) and Tom & Jerry. A fun, family evening.

Saturday
As expected, the morning was a chilly 35 degrees. Jan and I had made a good plan: that of taking the Little Man to a dog park and doing some dog photos, but it was just too cold for us Floridians.

We went out for breakfast and ordered Mickey Mouse pancakes for Austin. We went for a drive, and Jerry spotted two coyotes. Next stop was Blockbuster where we armed ourselves with four DVD to help keep the Little Man occupied as the weather wasn’t the best. Early evening Kelly and Aaron showed up and we had a nice dinner and a card game of Hearts. Another great week.

PUPS ACROSS AMERICA!
I am excited. We have changed our value proposition, business model, and approach in how we go about the pup shoots. People can still book a shoot for the great price of $49.95 or they can get a free color print—no other charge—just for participating. However, I’ll post several photos from the shoot on a private site where they can purchase electronic photo versions if they wish. What a deal!

Take a look at the changes on the Pups Page (www.PupsAcrossAmerica.com) to see what you think.

We will be in Golden, Colorado (NW of Denver), until May 27 and available for private pup shoots on May 17, 21, 22, 23, and 26. Either at our campsite or a nearby location.

Please e-mail me at alex@PupsAcrossAmerica or call me at 239-671-0740 to set up a shoot or to share your ideas or suggestions.

Pass the Word
Know other Pup Parents who might enjoy this blog and the Pups Across America event? Please spread the word.

RV GOURMET: Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
Ingredients
MEATBALLS
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten

SAUCE
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup fresh mushrooms
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry red wine

Directions
  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 12 balls. Store, covered, in refrigerator until needed.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more. Serve.

I love spaghetti and meatballs, and this recipe is one of my favorites. I think three things help to make this one special. (1) Whole wheat noodles, (2) Substituting one half of the ground beef with the Italian turkey, (3) Adding the red wine late in the sauce creation process. Remember Jan’s motto: “I like cooking with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food!”

FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHS
Click on the new Photo Albums page and you can down see larger, higher-quality versions of the photos embedded in the blog. Plus, you can view them in slide show format as well. This has been done for all five weeks so far so check them out and let me know what you think.

Also new this week (see below) is a 35-second video of a bellowing male gator taken from some footage I took during Week Two at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.

TRAVEL TOOLS & TOYS: Skype
I’ve used Skype off and on for years, as I’d bet that many of you have also. However, don’t take it for granted; Skype is an amazing tool—one that allows you to talk to people all over the globe for free. Depending on the countries, this computer-based technology can save you big bucks as well. And of course there are grandmas and grandpas across the continent who not only speak to their grandkids for free but can actually see them via small, inexpensive video cameras ($30 or so). In addition there are apps for iPhones and other smart phones that make using Skype even easier. Sign up at www.skype.com.

CAMPER’S CORNER
Cherry Creek State Park campground is just wonderful. Right by Denver and all the action of this great city is a scenic park with a lake and trails and a herd of mule deer (don’t forget the coyotes) and a full-service campground complete with WiFi. Highly recommended.

HEADLIGHTS
We will be in the Denver area at the Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground near Golden till May 27. We will announce more details on future travel once plans are confirmed. However, the big picture is to start heading SW to southern California.

Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions? We are open. Know a Pup Parent in the vicinity? Pass on this Web site and have them give me a call to schedule a shooting of their best friend.
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