Roaring River March 2014 (Part 2)

Welcome back for part 2 of the Roaring River State Park trip report. We spent most of Friday and Saturday at the Roaring River Trout Hatchery and around the nearby streams. This area is awfully nice and the kids really enjoyed it. I’ve added some pictures to the Roaring River State Park Gallery showing the kids feeding the fish and enjoying the hatchery. The river is fed from a spring near the hatchery. You can see the spring pool and gorge in the video below. Like most of the videos we post, this one was taken with a GoPro Action Camera using a DJI Phantom quadcopter. The video is uploaded to our YouTube Channel and embedded below:

 

This area is pretty awesome for kids as they have trout food vending machines near the hatchery and the trout just go nuts when the food is thrown in. The kids truly didn’t want to leave. I ended up waiting for two to fall asleep in the radio flyer wagon before putting them in the car.

I did not get a chance to fish with the kids, but there were plenty of people there to fish. The state park seemed to be a popular campground for trout fishermen. As the sun was going down on Friday we did get a chance to watch them stock the river after 7pm. I was amazed at how many and how big the fish are that they release around the hatchery. The ranger doing the stocking was releasing full nets of trout at intervals along the river. The kids enjoyed watching that as well.

The kids enjoying a local playground.

The kids enjoying a local playground.

On Friday, we also had a chance to spend a little time in Cassville, MO. We had to make an unexpected trip to Wal-Mart. This was our first trip of the season, so I guess forgetting a few things in ok. I desperately needed some snacks for the kids. Since our site was near a water faucet I grabbed a longer water hose as well. To be honest, since Mom did not make the trip, I cheated and fed the kids there as well. Popcorn chicken comes in handy some times. I also took the time to take the kids to a local park in Cassville. It was a little cool, but there was energy to burn after dinner. They enjoyed themselves and it was just what we needed before heading back to camp for the night. It didn’t take long for everyone to just fall asleep where they were laying once we got back to the trailer. That is how I know it was a good day.

Well, please check back with us in a week or so. I’ll final report will be on our half day trip to the Promise Land Drive-Thru Zoo in Eagle Rock, MO. I did not use the quadcopter there, but we did have the GoPro on the truck windshield for a great point of view thru the zoo. Hope to see you back soon and enjoy your camping adventures!

Chris

Roaring River March 2014 (Part 1)

This will be part one of what will be at least a three part post. I have a few pictures and videos to post, but it just too much to post at one time. All in all this was a great trip for late March in the Ozarks.

We arrived at Roaring River State Park in Cassville, MO on March 26th and the weather was not  cooperating. First and foremost it was cold.

Our New ThermostatBefore leaving, I replaced our analog thermostat with a digital model. I was extremely glad that I did. Our old thermostat would swing the temperature by at least 6 degrees and I had tons of trouble trying to get the climate in the RV just right. This model performed much much better. It was very close to accurate and the temps didn’t swing nearly as much as they had. Maybe 2 degrees or so.

That wasn’t the end of our weather woes. On day two of our trip we found ourselves in a tornado warning. Thunderstorms are common here in the early spring. We were prepared and knew where the storm shelter was at the campground, but since we were only 45 minutes from home we decided to take a quick trip home to wait it out for a few hours. It did turn out that most of the thunderstorms went around the park and the campgrounds, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

As soon as the weather cleared up we went out and flew the quadcopter to get some aerial footage of the campground. The video below is primarily of the campgrounds 1 and 3. We have other videos but they will be posted later. The DJI Phantom and the GoPro camera are truly becoming two of my favorite things. Enjoy the video.

As you can see by the video and the photos in the picture gallery, this is a beautiful state park and this is beautiful country. Even with most of the trees being bare you can see that beauty. The park has three campgrounds. Campground one is where we were which is a across the highway from the trout hatchery and the trout streams (more on those later). There were many many people camping for the fishing. We were just there to enjoy the sights and have some fun.

On a Morning WalkWe quickly got into a routine of waking up in the morning, having a good breakfast, cleaning up while the weather warmed up, and then hitting the road. We’d walk down to the trash drop off and then just enjoy the park on foot. For the first couple of days, Ziva drove her dune racer most of the time on our walks, but then we found that the park rangers were a little nervous about her not wearing a helmet, so we confined usage to just the campsite. As far Asher and Gracie, they spent time in our bike trailer converted to a stroller or their Radio Flyer Wagon. Each morning Asher would make his case for wanting to walk and I would try to get him to ride just for the wind protection of the stroller, but eventually he convinced me that walking was best. So he would join Ziva and we would walk along the campground paths and enjoy the morning. After lunch we would venture out and see the local sights, but I’ll be sharing those experiences in later posts. Dinner was at that camper and we were inside before it got too cold. After dinner we would have a nightly game time. Ziva loves board games and she has many in the trailer for us to play. Some of her favorites include Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, War Card Game, and Pop & Race. We have tons of fun with these games and the experience of just having quality time with Ziva is awesome. I look forward to the day when Gracie and Asher can join the fun.

Well check back in a week or so and I’ll have some more pictures and videos posted. We have some footage of the trout hatchery, the streams, and a local drive-thru zoo. All part of our excellent camping adventure at Roaring River State Park.

 

Chris

Videos are finally here!

LakeBVWell after a very busy week at work, I’ve finally had time to take some video using the DJI Phantom and the GoPro3 Camera. These videos are posted on our newly created YouTube Channel. We’ve had a great deal of fun making these videos and it only intensifies the anticipation of our upcoming camping trip. There will be many many opportunities on our trip to record footage of the kids on their various adventures. And we’ll definitely do a few fly overs at the campground, including a overhead shot of the river.

Speaking of camping. The trailer is being washed at and serviced at Camping World as I type this. I was in their service department and couldn’t resist buying a set of patio lights. I’ve been holding out on buying a set just because I thought the cost was a little high, but today I found what I’ve been waiting for… Clearance! They had a set of teardrop shaped awning lights on clearance for under 9 bucks. I couldn’t find a set online anywhere to link to, but I will take pictures of them when we use them at the end of the month.

Soon we will be in packing mode for the upcoming trip and the anticipation is unbelievable. Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy the videos!

This first video is our first flight with the camera attached. Really just having fun in the neighborhood. I was amazed at how high the Phantom could fly and how fast it was. Even this close to home we had a blast.

Next video has some great shoots of the water at the Bella Vista Lake walking trail in Bella Vista, AR.

Here is a night time video that we had to take, because I do not like storing the batteries fully charged. I’d rather charge them fresh when I need them, so the kids and I had a little fun flying at night. Not much to see, but the lights make it interesting.

And finally just a few short clips of the kids getting into the GoPro action. I even got action footage of Ziva in her Dune Racer and the other kids in their favorite wagon. They really enjoy watching themselves after we take the footage. It’s a family fun event.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy your next adventure!

Chris

We Have a New Photographer!

Introducing the DJI Phantom 1. Once we add a GoPro Camera, it will be our preferred method of taking campground aerial and action videos. Although I’m still getting used to it (we’ve only had a few test flights) I am thoroughly impressed. It goes higher, faster, and is more stable than I would have ever imagined. It’s really going to make my favorite things list pretty quickly.  Of course the kids really love watching the flights and the fly by’s. I’m really looking forward to flying it and taking some great videos when we camp at the end of the month. I’ll be sure to post them here after I take them. I’m also looking forward to strapping the GoPro Camera to the kid’s Dune Racer and getting some action videos of them having a blast. This is going to be a pretty cool trip, so cool it’s growing into a  longer weekend as I’ve extended our reservations!

We also have two new pages up as of last night. The first is a quick guide to Scavenger Hunting. It’s a few ideas to help get you started when the kids are looking for some fun at the campground. Our kids love scavenger hunting and the photo scavenger hunts are a new twist on the old favorite. Most parents carry cell phones with cameras, so it’s an easy way to get pictures of your trip as well as have fun with the kids. The second new page is another living document under Helpful Information on things we consider to be The Essentials. Some of the items listed may seem basic and a some of them may seem to be a luxury, but we really consider them to be essential.

Well, the countdown has begun and the campers are preparing! Our first trip of the season is getting close. Thanks for visiting and see you on your next adventure!

Chris

 

Finally Made Reservations!

Ziva'a CarI’m excited about the fact that we finally made reservations for our first camping trip of the season. We are going to Roaring River State Park in Cassville, MO at the end of the month. The site we have reserved will be easy to get into which is a plus for me on the first trip of the year. It will also provide plenty of room for the kids to ride their Dune Racer. From the pictures it looks like there will be enough space for them to ride a nice big circle within eye site. Which is a big plus for mom and dad. There is also plenty of trails, creeks, and a fish hatchery. Now we just have to hope that the weather will hold up and we won’t get anymore snow or ice. Really looking forward to a nice long weekend. See you on your next adventure!!

Chris

Day Trip Adventure

Well, what do you do when you can’t go on a camping trip? You go on a day adventure!! Today Asher, Ziva, and I made a trip to Springfield, MO. I was very pleased to see so many travel trailers and motorhomes on the road. A true sign that the Spring is on it’s way! I don’t think I realized how much there was to do there until today. We didn’t have the whole day so we limited ourselves to a few stops, but everyone really enjoyed themselves and we are definitely planning a return trip.

Lambert's EntranceAfter going to a couple shops and driving around a bit, we decided to have lunch at Lambert’s Cafe, home of the throwed rolls. Let me try to explain the atmosphere at Lambert’s. The decor is like an old hillbilly shack, there is John Cougar-Mellencamp song’s playing overhead, waiters and waitress are walking around doling out black-eyed peas, fried okra, pasta tomato salad from big pots family style, and rolls are flying over head like beads at Mardi Gras. That’s right, rolls! and They’re great hot and tasty rolls too. I know the quality of this video isn’t great, but I just have to post the roll throwing in action!

 

I think I ate three more rolls than I would have just because we were having so much fun catching them! The food here is outstanding. I had the fried catfish and it is at the top of my list for the Ozarks. Of course the kids had hamburgers, but they enjoyed them as well. All of the staff were very friendly and professional. They go out of their way to create a family friendly atmosphere that is fun and sort of whimsical.

As for the icing on the cake, we shared some of our pictures with the folks from Lambert’s and they posted them on their blog at Lambert’s Faces in the Crowd. Such a great experience, I know we will be returning soon.

Bass Pro Shop!!Ready to go fishing.Our second adventure was to the Bass Pro Shop and the kids loved that one as well. All of the natural exhibits at the Bass Pro Shop are great eye candy for the kids. They really enjoyed the numerous waterfalls, fish tanks, and especially the turtles. I mean, who doesn’t like turtles?? They both walked away with free Bass Pro Shop Adventure Club memberships, so when we go back to they can show their membership cards and get free fact cards on various animals to add to Loving the natural exhibitsNew ATV toytheir collection. What a fun way to get the kids interested in all types of animals and enjoying the outdoors. Of course they each walked away with treats as well. Ziva picked out the Disney Fairies Fishing Kit, which comes with the foam pieces that will allow her to practice her casting. Asher picked out the BPS 6×6 ATV Toy Set, which will come in handy on our camping adventures and will probably eventually find it’s way into our camping toy box. Mom could not make the trip, but she did get some salt water taffy out of the deal. Dad just likes to window shop. I didn’t walk away with anything, but I did make a small wish list including the Adjust-A-Grill, Coleman LED Quad Lantern,  and the Basic Kitchen Table. Most of the things on my list are just nice to haves or upgrades, but it’s nice to window shop and that place was perfect for it. All of the pictures from today are posted on our gallery page under Day Trip to Springfield, MO.

For a quick update on TheCampingDad.com, we are still working on our scavenger hunt piece. We are truly almost finished, but need to put the finishing touches on it. Look for it in a few days. We are also gearing up for a road trip so to Arizona(no camper) to visit family. That will be fun and I’m sure we will get plenty of pictures and some camping related stories. I’m anxious to get a look at the only class A motorhome in the family and get some pictures. Thanks so much for stopping by and please leave feedback or comments if you have them. Thanks and let’s go find our next adventure!!

Chris

Our Favorite Things

Once again, thank you very much for joining us at The Camping Dad! We continue to strive to become a premier family camping blog. We’ve added a new section under Helpful Information and it is called Our Favorite Things. It’s a page dedicated to the things that we appreciate the most on our camping adventures. We currently have a few things listed that have helped us camp as a family and enjoy our adventures. Plans are to continue to post items in a wide variety of categories like “For the Kids”, “RV Favorites”, etc.

Also, here are a few of the places we are considering a visit to this camping season:

We are still looking at the calendar and trying to decide best way to maximize camping time, but the anticipation of hitting the road is building. We are definitely looking forward to the season and will be making reservations soon. The spring can’t get here fast enough!!

Chris

Bitty’s Treasure Hunt

We have put together some resources for a great treasure hunt called Bitty’s Treasure Hunt. It’s our latest post in the Fun and Adventure section. Okay, it’s our only post in the Fun and Adventure section, but we are working on more and we are excited to share. Chantal did a great job with this piece and I personally love her story telling in the treasure hunt document. We really hope your kids enjoy the treasure hunt as much as ours do. It’s one of our “go to” adventures to create excitement and fun mixed in with a little bit of exercise for us all. Thank you so much for stopping by and we hope you enjoy Bitty’s Treasure Hunt.
Chris

Adding Content Everyday

I’ve been trying to add content to the site as fast as possible. It really is giving me something to focus on, and taking my mind off of the cold weather! There is a new post on the Helpful Information page called The Three Basics that has information for setting up sewer, water, and electric. Several links have been added to the Useful Links page including one to www.modmyrv.com, a site dedicated to offering interesting and helpful modifications you can do to your RV. And finally, I’ve added to new images to the Gallery page.

I plan on making reservations this weekend for our trip to Hot Springs, AR. I’ll be posting information on those plans when they are finalized. The anticipation of future camping trips is growing as winter comes to an end.

Thanks for stopping by, hopefully you found something interesting and useful. Now let’s go find our next adventure!

Chris

And this is how it all began…

As I said in my post on the “About The Camping Dad” page, my childhood memories are filled with fun times on camping adventures. I grew up in South Louisiana and some of my fondest memories involved family camping at Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, LA. We started as tent campers when I was very young, eventually moving up to a Coachmen pull behind travel trailer. My dad pulled that camper all over the south. Our summer vacations were never boring and I was always eager to go on an adventure.

Now that I have three kids of my own, my memory was sparked and the camping bug got me! Our home base is Northwest Arkansas and there’s a reason it’s called the ‘Natural State’. There are too many camp sites to list but, we spend a good deal of time at around Beaver Lake and  Devil’s Den. One search on Recreation.gov showed me there were miles of adventure waiting for my family just hours away, so Chantal and I headed out to the local Camping World to see what they had to offer.

We looked at several new and used models. I was nervous about towing something too big, but it was important to both of us that we have enough room for the five in our family plus our two very large dogs. (Grom a Great Pyrenees and Thrall a Hound Mix). We had one other very special requirement, our son Asher, is 2 and has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He currently needs a bed on the floor due to paralysis. Most of the used models either didn’t have the features we needed or the just didn’t  have the space.

When we walked into the 2013 Keystone Springdale model 303BHSSR we realized that the floor plan was perfect for all of our needs.

303bhssr

Two additional features made this the trailer for our family; the rear bedroom/play area, and an outdoor kitchen. The interior play/sleep area is the perfect nighttime entertainment area for our kids. It includes two futon type chairs on the floor that fold out to beds, two bunk beds, and an entertainment center that holds books, a tv, etc. The outdoor kitchen includes a small fridge, a sink, two burner stove, and enough counter space for a coffee pot. We walked into this trailer and felt right at home, any reservations I had about pulling and parking such a long trailer were going to have to be dealt with because this was the one.

We signed papers, had my tow vehicle prepped and we were off to find adventure. No instruction book, very little information, not even a hose to connect the water! We parked our home away from home it in storage, and thought, “what do we do now!?”

That was a almost exactly one year ago and we had 2 months to prepare for our first adventure. I spent those months searching, studying, reading, and plotting anything that would help me create memories for my family and I. I’m no expert, I have exactly one year experience. I have created this site to pass along my lessons and share our adventures. I will be adding links, checklists, pictures, and any other information we have found helpful along the way. I’ve have begun with one of my first lessons, How to Level Your Travel Trailer, which you can find on the Helpful Information page. I will do my best to post regularly, and once spring arrives I will be off to find new adventures so look for new posts. I will post reports from our trips including information and reviews on campground, activities for the kids, recipes we have tired and enjoyed and lots more helpful information.

I want this blog to be where Dads and Moms can talk about their adventures and share ideas with one another. A place to find everything from how to level your trailer and trouble shoot common problems to activities for every age. Informative, fun, inspirational and family oriented.

I am glad you have found our little home on the web, please make it your own as well. Feel free to comment and interact on subjects that interest you. If you have a request, idea, or feedback please mail it to me at thecampingdadmail@gmail.com. Thank you again, and now let’s go find our next adventure!

Chris