Monday, August 25, 2014

Winter Travel Plans - 08/25/14

Monday – August 25, 2014
Winter Travel Plans
Chicago, Illinois

We’re about a month away from departing the Chicago area to begin our extended snowbirding adventure. Our plan is to leave in early October and spend eight months on the road exploring the southwest region of the U.S. The past three years we have spent the winter months exploring the southeast region of the U.S. We are looking forward to the change of scenery on this trip.

Our travel plans are to continue our tour of the National Parks and Monuments in Utah followed by a visit to the Grand Canyon. In September 2013 we visited the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. Then in early October the U.S. Government shut down, which disrupted our planned visits to the remainder of the National Parks in Utah. Weather permitting, we may visit Mesa Verde National Park and Durango, Colorado.

Since we both enjoy astronomy, we also plan to visit the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas. The observatory is a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin. It is one of the world's leading centers for astronomical research. The telescopes are located on the top of Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains of West Texas at an elevation of 7,000 feet. This region of Texas offers some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States. Perfect might sky conditions for novice astronomers such as ourselves!

We are still contemplating what routes we will travel to the southwest. Depending on the weather conditions, we will make a decision whether we take a northern or southern route. As is our style, we have no set timetable to be at a certain place at a certain time. Freedom from a set schedule allows us to stop and linger for a while whenever we see something of interest along the way.

We plan to spend the majority of our time boondocking for free on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) throughout the southwest. Most of our time for the winter months will be spent in southern Arizona. We also plan to visit Slab City in Niland, California: just one of many locations on our bucket list. We will decide when we get there if it is suitable for our camping preferences. Based on what I’ve read, this area appeals to quite a few winter snowbirds, however, some campers did not feel comfortable staying there. So we shall see!

Soon it will be time to start packing for our winter adventure.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Exercise - 08/13/14

Wednesday – August 13, 2014
Chicago, Illinois

We are fortunate to live in an area that has several forest preserves and nature areas nearby that have walking paths. We enjoy walking for exercise and walk four miles per day, five days per week.

Walking is reported to be the most complete form of exercise you can do to improve your health and well being. It is available wherever you are, at home, at work, on vacation. A good walking program is easy on your joints and provides a total cardio workout. It helps to control your weight, and it's good for the mind. What we enjoy about walking is that it really doesn't feel like exercise, rather it is just an enjoyable thing for us to do together.

It is important to us to keep up our schedule if we want to get the most from our walking program. Otherwise, we can lose momentum, the health benefits and overall well being. That's why we keep to a walking program regardless of the weather. On days with good weather we walk outside. On those days with nasty weather we will walk inside, such as an enclosed mall.

A good pair of walking shoes is very important if you are serious about beginning a walking program for your health. Your feet and joints will notice the difference. Wear a comfortable pair of tennis shoes that have plenty of cushioning in the heel to give your feet the necessary support. A good pair of walking shoes is a good investment. They protect your feet and provide support to protect your joints. We generally replace our walking shoes after six months or 500 miles, whichever occurs first.

We use a pedometer to measure our distances traveled. It is important to us to make sure we are meeting the number of steps and miles we want to accomplish on a daily basis.

A surprising benefit to walking is how it changes your eating habits. After a couple of weeks of walking you may find yourself selecting healthier foods and drinking more water during the day. We find that exercise helps us to want to eat healthier.

We hope this information is helpful to other campers.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

McKee Marsh is one of our favorite places to walk in DuPage County, Illinois.