Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hungry Horse Dam: Highest in Montana

Hungry Horse Dam is the highest in Montana. My husband and I, along with several members of the mission team, stopped there today. It is a massive 564 feet tall! Hungry Horse Dam is on the Flathead River and is about 15 miles south of Glacier National Park.

There are a few places that you can pull off of the road as you approach the dam. A stunning view awaits you at the visitor center. We arrived after the 5:30 pm. closing time. The parking lot isn't large but there seems to be some roadside space.

Hungry Horse Dam has sidewalks along the roadway on the top of the dam. I suggest taking advantage of them (unless you are afraid of heights). The sidewalks provide the best views of the dam.

The visitor center is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week. We arrived after the visitor center closed for the day. Visitors need to know that the bathrooms at Hungry Horse Dam are locked when the center closes.

Hungry Horse Dam is about four miles off of Highway 2. The road is paved and scenic. Our crew stopped a few times on the way to the dam. Even with the visitor center being closed, we stayed over an hour. Hopefully, the visitor center will be open when we go back next. Hungry Horse Dam is worth the second visit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Disney World without tickets still magical

Being at Walt Disney World without tickets is still a magical experience. I had the opportunity to test the theory of doing Disney without tickets and had a great time.

Here is how we did it.

Dancers at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World offers lots of added perks for guests that stay in one of their resort properties. Staying on the property is the first step to the Disney magic. The trick is to choose well.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Van camper performance exceeds expectations

We just took from our first official camping trip in our Chevy Express. The van camper performance exceeded the expectations that I had. It is going to be a good tool for mission trips and for general travel.

Van camper
The first camping trip was to see friends at Walt Disney World. Comfort and gas mileage in the camper van were much better than I expected at this point in the conversion.

Gas mileage hovered around 15 mpg for the round trip. I had been warned to expect around 11 or 12 mpg and was pleasantly surprised.

However; filling the tank from empty should come with a health warning. We paid around $85 and up at today's prices. Ouch!

Traffic was heavy at times, bucketing rainfall and storms balanced out the times that we sailed through. Our Chevy Express held its own in every instance. Handling was what I expected in dry conditions but exceeded my hopes in the torrentional downpours that we faced.

Comfort is good as a camper van. It's still in the conversion process so not everything is installed. Right now, our temporary couch and bed is a metal framed futon. Wall storage is a hanging closet organizer and the plywood flooring should be installed next week.

The forward facing air conditioner is install in the rear of the van. A port-a-toilet serves as a less-than-ideal emergency bathroom that works for now. Our clothing and towels are stored below the futon in under bed storage tubs.

I was pleased at the space to walk around the futon. My daughter and I didn't need to open it fully. It may be crowded when John and Tomlin join us but we'll take it as it comes.

Flexibility as a van camper provided reassurance. The storms were bad enough that my daughter and I considered spending the night out. It wasn't in our budget but some stores will allow you to park overnight for free.

You can't do that in a car like you can in the converted Chevy Express. Comfort and reassurance are second to gas mileage and vehicle performance. Flexibility alone makes makes me happy with the van camper. Add the other factors in and it looks like the van camper and I will be friends for a long time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Packed for Walt Disney World

We are pet and on the road to go to Walt Disney World today. One of the things that I am at about frequently is what to pack for a Walt Disney World vacation.

I find myself packing differently for this type of vacation then I do for other destinations. You always want to take into consideration the time of year and weather forecast. Walt Disney World has a few other challenges in that you have to pack lightly and bring that you can easily carry.

Some of the things that I packed for Walt Disney World include
  • Layered clothing
  • Small tote bag
  • A rain poncho
  • Sunscreen wipes
  • Refillable water bottle and flavoring packets
  • Billfold with ID, a few $5.00 bills and debit card
  • Small umbrella for rain or sunshine
  • Snacks
  • Camera 
  • Plastic ziploc baggie

Everything goes into a small lightweight backpack. The water bottle and billfold with ID are probably the most important. You can buy everything else in the park if you forget something. 

Reusable bags are stronger than plastic bags from the shops. Foldable totes easilly fit into a bottom of the bag or backpack.

Rain ponchos aren't only for bad weather. A poncho can be spread onto a bench or seat to protect clothing or bare legs.

Wipes and pouches are perfect for reapplying sunscreen at Walt Disney World. They are small and easily tucked in between items in your purse or bag.

Take advantage of free water at Disney with a refillable water bottle. Wide mouth bottles work the best for ice water from concession stands. Try the new foldable bottles if you only want to take advantage of fountains and faucets.

A large ziploc bag can protect a camera in a rainstorm or be used for other items.

This is what I pack for Disney to take him to the park. It makes life easier to have these things. Plus they are lightweight and easy to carry.
Hopefully this will help you with what to pack for Disney. I hope you had a good time at the park and may even can see you there