Friday, January 24, 2014

RV Show

This weekend the Hamlin family decided to go to the Cincinnati-Dayton RV Show.

One morning I caught a commercial advertising "The only RV show in Southern Ohio. In its 46th year the show is one of the best around."

To determine if we are willing to venture out for family fun we use a simple check list. It must check off at least two of the criteria listed below.

1. Free stuff......... check
2. Food............... check
3. Lumberjacks....check

Well hot damn it hit all three.

Some features of this exhibition are:

Wicked Tuna Cast- apparently you fishermen out there will know what this means. Some guy called "Sneaky Dave" was there signing autographs. In addition, he was generously giving pointers.

Now, I am not trying to knock on fishing but what kind of "pointers" does one really give.

Ok listen... what you really need to do is sit on your ass better while fishing. Try watching your line with your eyes a little wider. Good... good... now open your beer with your left hand, I find it beckons the fish to the hook instead of just floating there in the water looking at it. Remember that you will need a minimum of 8 hours sitting on your ass, watching completely motionless water, in complete silence. The best tip of all is to know that sometimes you catch fish and sometimes you don't... because they are fish... in water... with nothing better to do but mess with you.

Maybe this is a sport that requires some type of skill set that I just wasn't born with. Maybe I am taking the wrong approach to fishing. If I look at this as a time to lounge in the sun then I guess fishing isn't really that bad. Next time I want to lay in the sun I am going to grab my suit, towel, latest edition of US Weekly, and let everyone know I'm going fishing....

The main reason we decided to check out the RV show was to see the RVs. There were hundreds of RVs. Travel Trailers, pop-up campers, Fifth Wheels, Motorhomes, Trailer Park models. There was something there for everyone. The best part for Dan was the free stuff!

You all know Danny looooves to get some free stuff and when I mean free stuff I am talking about free nights of camping.

We collected lots of brochures on various campgrounds or as we like to call "opportunities". One in particular that is now the #1 campground on my list is the Myrtle Beach Travel Park, Ocean Front.

This place boasts a large swimming pool, a heated indoor pool, 300ft. lazy river, playgrounds, cable, onsite restaurant and snack bar, complete grocery store, wireless internet, a recreational room, 17 acre freshwater lake stocked with bass and bream (or as I like to call it... the sunning deck) and oceanfront camping sites.
Check it out for yourself.

We are definitely checking this place out. It has "Hamlin" all over it.

After collecting lots of misleading colorful brochures on new perspective campgrounds we headed into the main showroom to tour what I like to call "fantasy campers". You know, the ones that are nicer than your house and cost about as much.

Here is what I would look like in one. Swapping out my Kool-aid and Twinkies for fresh fruit and wine??? Yeah... I guess I could live with that. 

These campers were insane! My favorite part was critiquing these campers...

"yes but I feel as though the 15 by 12 bathroom feels a little oddly shaped. It would have been better suited to have the washer and dryer towards the front of the trailer don't you think? I really think we need one and a half bathrooms, that way guests don't feel like there are imposing on our personal space... honestly an island seems like it would be better than a peninsula....the color seems all wrong here... darling fetch me a sparkling water would you?"

It wasn't until Dan returned saying, "you get a choice between Mountain Dew or Orange Crush, they were all out of sparkling water..." that I returned to reality.

We weren't the only ones in search of the perfect RV. We were joined by many. My pregnant sister and her family came out. After about 10 minutes of touring she decided to hit the concession stand, reserving a front row table for the lumber jack show.

That's right I said lumberjack show.

What is it about men in flannel shirts and an ax?

They seem so manly hacking away at large pieces of lumber for our entertainment. 

Our table with a great view of the show.

This lumberjack wasn't so lucky during the logrolling competition. Ouch! 

The Barnes and the Huff joined us too! We love our camping families!!! We even ran into Allen and Kathy, our new friends from Poor Farmers Campgound. 

Look! It's Noah and Jack hanging with Grandpa.

 Well done lumberjacks! We like the way you carve!

If you've never seen a lumberjack show I highly encourage you to go. It is family fun for all. This happens to be my second lumberjack show. The first one was in Gatlinburg, TN. It was a "dinner and a show" kinda place. We paid a little more to get in but they did not let us down with the sawing and cutting of tree after tree. Using both speed, accuracy (which is very important when using a chainsaw or ax), woven with the right amount of hillbilly humor; you almost don't notice how much of our precious renewable resources they were wasting to wow the audience. Wherever those loggers get their timber I imagine to be a gigantic, newly built, lumberjack mall, selling all things available in flannel.

Lastly, we were able to take part in a Marlin Fishing Simulator.

My niece and nephew needed no tips from tuna guy. They are pros! Check out what they caught!

The guy "driving the boat" asked their names and when they said "Williams" he said "well that's my last name too!" Then he turned around to show them the back of his shirt and said, "see.. Williams".

Look kids, it's your real daddy! You just never know what you will find when you go to an RV show.

Just kidding Kris.

All in all we had a wonderful time perusing the RVs and hanging with some of our favorite people. It just makes me all the more excited to get our camper out of storage and explore America's campgrounds.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Auld Lang Syne....

2013 was a very good year for the Hamlin family. The memories made, miles traveled.... and no visits to the ER... what could be better than that?!

Let me give you a recap on the major events of 2013 and why I think it was an awesome year.

1. We traded in our old crappy camper for a bigger, better, and shinier camper.
2. We camped the hell out of that camper all over America. 
3. Our marriage survived a 3 week vacation in a car with two boys, a dog, pulling a camper that, looking back, should have be pulled with a semi truck when traveling through the mountains. 
4. Kip Winger

Why 2013 sucked (just a little).
1. Don Dokken
2. Selling our house (it's still for sale)
3. Leisure Oaks
4. Blowing the gas budget during our trip out west about 9 days in. You're welcome Visa. 

Also I want to give a shout out to Christmas. It was awesome. It was nice to visit with family. Well... I thought it was. Dan's comment made me think otherwise, "How many times do you need to see your sisters and your mom?  You are on vacation..." 

After much soul searching Dan decided to make a New Year's Resolution for 2014. He usually doesn't make them because "resolutions are ridiculous" and "you are just setting yourself up for failure" and "this has been working for me for the past 46 years"..... but this year while standing in the kitchen he said, "I think I want to make a resolution to be more social, like do more with people, especially around holidays."

Yeah right. My guess is if any of you call Dan to meet for a drink, or play a round of golf, or anything at all he's going to shoot you down. I love you Danny with all my heart but "social" is not a word I would use to describe one of your hobbies. You once told me, very seriously, that you were thinking about weeding out some of your friends. 

My first thought was, "ummm like who? I think you are down to family..."

I think this could be partly my fault, not the weeding out of the friends, but the social part. My all time favorite thing to do is transition into yoga pants and catch up on the many shows I have on DVR. I think this is why I love camping.... I spend it in my yoga pants. What can I say? There is something about those unattractive stretchy pants that just gives me comfort... and you never know when I might break into downward dog... or warrior pose... or more realistically take a nap. 

So this year, 2014, the Hamlins, will be showing up to more social functions and hosting more soirees. I promise to leave my yoga pants at home.. unless I'm going to Lindsey's, Buffy's, or Jen's... we have an unspoken pact on yoga pants. 

I'm super pumped to see how all of this will play out. 

I haven't decided what my resolution is going to be. I could go with the traditional "eat better, exercise more", or "eat out less" but you all know that's not happening. 

This year Max will be turning 14. For some reason that kinda hits me hard. Fourteen. I look at him and am astounded that he will be in high school next year. I can remember walking through the door of our apartment for the very first time with him. I get four more years with him. That's it. Hypothetically speaking. 

I guess my resolution is to make all of my moments count. Regardless of what type of moments they happen to be, I want to take time to really be in the present and not hurry them away. 

Except winter... that shit can just keep on moving. 

I think one thing this family can agree on is that our newly acquired camping adventures, both near and far, have really enhanced our family's quality time together. I think being placed outside our comfort zones helps us grow as people, builds character, and opens our minds for new possibilities or ideas. 

For example, Dan's resolution. 

To all my family, friends, and acquaintances made along the way. Thank you for the memories of 2013. 

Should old acquaintance be forgot 

And never brought to mind 

Should all acquaintance be forgot 
And auld lang syne 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne