Sunday, June 20, 2021

Camping in Hot Temperatures at Lake Milford Near Junction City, Kansas

Camp Site at Lake Milford State Park
Thursday we spent the morning running errands and checking lists to make sure we had everything for a two night stay at Lake Milford just outside of Junction City, Kansas. Carrie and I actually drove in to check our reservation the week before just to see where we would be and good thing we did as we ended up changing spots. The previous camp site we had we could not see the lake and there was not any shade to protect from what we knew was going to be an extremely hot couple of days camping. So, we changed spots and are happy with the new camp site.

Erin, Greg, Carrie and I on our Camping Weekend
We are going camping with Greg and Erin for the first time. I am beyond excited to spend a few days around the water and Friday we rented a boat although there will be more on that later in this update. Greg, Erin, Carrie, and I got together Monday night to go through our provisions, who was picking up what, and who was taking what in our cars. We already knew we would have to take two cars as Carrie and I fill up our Honda Pilot with no problem just the two of us camping. 

Thursday

Camp Site in the Evening with Lights
We had a wonderful first night. Spent the afternoon/evening around our camp site. We have a very shady spot, so even though it was hot, it was not bad at all. We had to move our chairs around to avoid the sun, but it was not a problem. We cooked dinner late so that we could avoid the heat of the day which worked out well as we did tacos. They were excellent! We did them on the Firedisc along with the tortillas and we all ate well the first night. 

We stayed up late… I am not even sure what time we went to bed, but I know at one point I looked at my watch and it said 1 am. A perfect first night where we ate well, drank, laughed, and told stories.

Friday

Ducks on the Lake Early Friday Morning
The first night in the tent sleeping came with mixed reviews. Erin, Greg, and Carrie all did not sleep well. We had set up the tent to have each couple sleeping against the ends so we were sleeping at either end of the tent leaving the middle section completely open. I do not recall putting my head on the pillow before I woke up the next morning. Erin, Greg, and Carrie all were hot from the start and remained hot through the evening. Through the day on Friday, we discussed how we would adjust the sleeping to see if it made it better.

This day we had a boat rented and would be on the lake from 11:45 to 3:45, so we started the day with a light breakfast. We had to run to get ice for the boat before heading to the marina. The Acorns Resort where we went to get the boat had a nice set up. We rented a pontoon boat which was only about two weeks old the guy told us as we were getting set up on how to use the boat.

I really enjoyed our time on the water. Carrie had the idea the week or two before our camping dates as she wanted to surprise Greg and Erin with getting a boat to use for the day, but I think I was the one most excited about having the boat. Lake Milford is the largest lake in Kansas and although it had been a long time since I had driven a boat, I remembered everything like it was just yesterday.

Relaxing Time on the Water and We Are on a Boat We wanted to find a spot where we could sit, float in the water, and chill, but we realized soon that not many spots on the lake were calm with the winds gusting through the day. There were white caps and no anchor in the boat we rented, so we ended up driving to one end and then floating. It was great! We tied off some life jackets so we could have a line to hold on to as we floated with the boat. Enjoyable day on the water and we are already talking of doing it again at the next site we go to camp.

Following the day on the water, we decided to drive around looking at various camp sites. We saw some sites we would like to book in the future. We also saw the log cabins that are available to rent and we want to do that sometime too. We got back from driving around looking at camp sites and decided to take some drinks down to the water, took our chairs, and wade out into the water. 

Brats and Fried Tators… Yum!
Dinner Friday night everyone was anxious to eat the meal. We were cooking bratwursts and fried potatoes which we did on the Firedisc. Our first time doing bratwursts on the Firedisc as well as the fried potatoes, but well worth the wait.

The evening was much more low key than our first night. Full from dinner, feeling good from drinks, we listened to the Royals game (won the game and snapped a losing streak), and played some games as we relaxed. Erin, Greg, and Carrie were concerned about going to bed and being warm, so Carrie and Erin made changes to our beds to move them to the center of the tent and changing how our bodies were positioned to move them away from the tent ends and into the middle of the tent.

I was in bed by midnight and sound asleep not long after. A fun second night and we packed a lot into our second day of camping. 

Saturday

Sailboat on the Water
Erin and Greg woke up early and started consolidating coolers. I got out of bed about 8 or 8:30. We did not have much planned for the day as it was packing up and heading back home day. We decided not to do breakfast and grab something on the way back to Topeka. 

As we packed, we saw other RVs and campers arriving for the weekend. So far after three camping adventures for Carrie and I, it is still a sad feeling as we begin to pack up and know that are camping is coming to an end. This is likely our last camping trip for the summer and we will resume again in the fall.

Wrapping Up

Our time at Milford State Park was a success and we had a great time. I think we have two more fans of camping in Greg and Erin. It was fun to have them on our camping adventure and to share in our stories. 

Large Spider as We Were Taking Down the Tent We did learn as we were cleaning up on Saturday morning that with our camp site in the woods, we had a lot more spiders than Carrie and I had seen at our previous two camp sites. One spider we saw as we were taking down the tent as on the tarp we put our tent on. Erin pulled back a corner and made a comment about what she saw. The picture to the left is the spider that was hiding out under our tent. Erin threw the package of crackers to give perspective of the spider. I will just say that Erins’ reaction to seeing the spider to what I would have done was much more civilized. The spider lived as no one wanted to message with it and it was really fast on the ground.

While our camping might be done of the summer, we did talk about going back to Milford State Park as there was a beach that was near our camp that we liked a lot as it felt like we were the beach with waves crashing into the shore. We might do a trip into the lake one weekend to enjoy the water.

The rental of the boat was perfect. I think we all had a great time with the boat, seeing the lake, camping, and the eating. We could all do without the spiders, but I think Carrie and I learned something about where to select for a camp site. This was in heavy tree line, so that appears to have increased the likelihood of spiders. The good news is that we have not seen any ticks, but the search continues. 

We also learned that when we can park the car is to offload and load the car is important. We were able to change camp sites which we are so happy we were able to do. The camp site we wanted was next door to the one we had for this weekend, but it was already taken. 

Until next time, happy camping and I leave you with some more pictures from our weekend…

Carrie and I Selfie

Floating in the Water Enjoying Life

Greg and I Posing for the Camera Enjoying Life

Erin and Greg Posing for the Camera


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Peloton Update with Review of June Half Over

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

It has been a few weeks since I posted anything about biking or exercise. I continue to bike about three times a week on the Peloton. I am fast approaching 200 cycling rides since owning the bike back in November 2020. I am currently at 194 rides. Three rides a week is about right for me as I mentioned in previous updates that I had tried doing more and I could feel it in my legs to the point where stairs and walking were difficult. I enjoy the three rides a week approach.

I am still riding Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the week. If I have to adjust, I do so and it has been working well. Tuesday and Thursday typically are shorter where I ride for twenty or thirty minutes with Sunday being my long ride days and usually live rides which I enjoy. Sunday rides are usually in the morning at 11 am and go for anywhere from 45 - 65 minutes. Tuesday and Thursday rides are usually scenic routes or recorded sessions from earlier days and following a work day.

My Peloton Stats

I had planned to start running again as the summer months started, but as you can see, I have not started that again. I was only planning to run one day at a week which was going to be Saturday mornings, but so far, that has not happened. I also still want to do a bike bootcamp, but have not done one of those either.

I had plans to start eating healthier June 1, but that did not happen. I was not going to go crazy, but do a month of eating healthy, reducing breads, drinks, etc., but other things seem to grab my attention and cannot focus on doing the process. 

For now, I enjoy riding our bike three times a week and eventually working in a run at least once a week. I figure if I make this a normal routine for me then I can introduce healthy eating and watch the pounds disappear.

What do you do for exercise, healthy eating, and staying focused on your end goal of health?


Sunday, June 06, 2021

Camping Trip to Lake Crawford in Southeast Kansas

Maps Capture of our Location for Lake Crawford

Carrie and I went on another camping adventure. This time we visited Lake Crawford in Farmington, Kansas. We left on Thursday and headed back home on Sunday. A day longer than our last camping trip. Unlike our first camping trip, this was a much busier campground. It gave us another perspective on camping and while we were concerned with how it would work out, I think we both enjoyed this experience with with more people in and around the lake.

Thursday

We left a little later than we had planned. We were hoping to be on the road by noon but instead left Topeka about 1 or 1:30. A two hour trip to Lake Crawford put us into our camp site late afternoon. When we arrived, there were lots of open spots. Most spots were reserved Friday through Sunday. Carrie and I liked our spot and the view was excellent looking out over the arm to the RV’s across the arm from us.  We decided to set up in the grass rather than on the gravel. A good choice I think as it put us a little farther back under the trees and keeps us cool through the night. 

There were a lot of motorcycles that were pulling trailers that they used for their tent. We ended up speaking to one of the motorcycle travelers as we were walking Oliver. His name was Jim and he was so nice. He tried to pick up Oliver but gripped Oliver under the armpits which sometimes causes Oliver to yelp. Jim told us that he and his other buddies were traveling to New Mexico. They left from Indiana and traveling to Roswell, MN. They went to bed early and got up Friday morning early to get on the road.

Shrimp Scampi in the Firedisc

We cooked in our new Firedisc Shrimp Scampi and Linguine. We thought for sure we would have some of the motorcyclists over to see if there were any leftovers but they would have been sad because we ate it all. Following dinner, we planned on doing a fire pit but decided we would relax and listen to the Royals. We were using a radio that Carrie’s dad loaned to us that works great. Bonus that it has a weather radio on it too so we can check the weather without running down our cell phone batteries. Note, our cell signal went in and out while we were at this camp site. We both tried to keep cells off or in airplane mode to conserve battery, but I am so glad we had the radio to listen to the Royals.

Sunset on Thursday Night at Lake Crawford

I had a few glasses of Scotch and water to end the evening. We went to bed about midnight and both read in the tent until we were sleepy. It was a good first day of camping.

Friday

Friday morning I woke up early. Carrie nor I slept very well the night before. I felt as though I was awake most of the night. I know I read a lot that night and I was awake before the sun started to rise. I recall I was watching planes flying over in a regular path above our tent and I could see the stars while this was happening. Pretty soon as I was going through chapters, I saw another plane lights flashing and realized the stars were gone. Oliver was already awake because I was reading, so I got up about 6 am and went out of our tent to sit in a chair and read. It was a beautiful morning but it would have been nice to be able to sleep well through the night.

Oliver and I up Early Friday Enjoying the Morning

This is our second time camping and both times the first night neither of us slept well. I am not sure if it is because are someplace new, excitement, sounds, etc., but hoping when we camp again this is not the case. While I did hear trains this time, they did not keep me up. The trains here blow their whistle once and not multiple times, so that was helpful. I did use ear plugs but by morning and frustrated with not sleeping, I took them out and noted the whistles were not bad. Sorry, Dina, no stories to make you roll with laughter on this trip.

We cooked breakfast on the Firedisc which consisted of eggs, bacon, and cheese on ciabatta bread. A good way to start our first full day of camping. We finished breakfast and went on a trail hike which was close by the dam. Spider Leg Bridge Trailer is a short route (half a mile) through the woods. Throughout the trail, they had boards providing history of the location. The trail told the “forgotten activities of the Civil War and has a story to tell” (Billboard to start the trail). It was an easy trail and we even saw a deer although when we tried to take the picture it leaped over the brush and bounded away. 


Pano Shot of Our Camp Site

We stopped by the marina to pick up ice and more beer. I forgot to mention that the camp host at the lake has firewood and ice for sale, but if you are like us and do not carry cash, we were able to pick up ice and beer from the marina. Following our venture away from our camp site, we returned to camp where Carrie and I played Battleship. Carrie beat me but it was close as I was tracking her last ship.

Chicken Stir Fry on Firedisc

Friday night, we cooked chicken stir fry on the Firedisc. It turned out really good! Again, I was expecting the other campers in the area to stop by to ask what we were cooking. Which reminds me that I did not mention all of the new campers that showed up during the day today. Every spot was taken as the afternoon progressed. Again, we were not sure what to expect after our first camping experience where we were the only ones in the area. We have enjoyed this experience a great deal. The two sites across and next to us are all one large group, but they have been fine. I think Friday night they were in bed well before us.

Playing Battleship

Friday night following dinner, we listened to the Royals game and enjoyed some after dinner drinks. Both Carrie and I talked about how mid-afternoon we both wondered what we were doing. It was hot and had that feeling where I was not sure could make it another day… but I think it is because I did not apply sunscreen, had too much sun, and probably drank a little too much. 

After the Royals won, we decided to turn in for the night. We have seen a number of ticks on Oliver the past day or two. So, it was time to do a full body scan of Oliver. I think we ended up pulling off eight to nine ticks from Oliver. They were all dead which means his flea and tick medicine is doing the work, but still, hate to see the little guy have so many ticks. After checking Oliver, we checked one another, but found none which is good. He’s quite the “tick magnet”. We knew that camping would open us to ticks and other bugs, but still hate to see them knowing their dangers.

Saturday

We both slept very well last night. I could slept most of the morning although the sun started coming through our tent and soon warmed us up in the tent. I think we got up about 8 or 8:30 today. I am not sure I woke up once during the night, but I know that is not true as I recall waking up at least once seeing Oliver sound asleep, so it was good to know he was getting some good sleep in too.

Getting Coffee Ready Each Morning

We had coffee to start the day and then yogurt with bananas, apples, and granola. Simple breakfast, but we had planned to do a little longer hike. Following coffee and breakfast, we spent some time reading for about an hour and then packed up to head out to hike, get ice, maybe some IPA, and see what we could find while driving around the area.

The hike we were doing is right by the dam of the lake and simply a nature trail. Longer than the Spider Leg Bridge by just a little although we got lost a little bit and wondered around a while finding how to get out of the trail. We found more ticks on Oliver following the trail. We were at the car ready to get in and leave when I spotted a few on his back and sides. Carrie and I saw one or two on each of us that were crawling, so certainly another evening of checking for ticks. 

Hiking a Trail

Following the hike, we decided to travel to the town of Farlington, KS to visit their liquor store, maybe get some gas, etc. Um, the population of Farlington is 150 so it took about three seconds to drive through the town. No problem, we decided to drive to Fort Scott (about twenty minutes away) to get gas, ice, and more beer. Stopped in at Casey’s to get gas and a slice of pizza for lunch. We wanted to find a liquor store to get some IPA and found a wonderful little shop called “Hole in the Wall Liquor”. Had a good selection of beer, wine, and other varieties. The cashier told us that it used to be an actual “hole in the wall” and recently moved. I got a few IPAs and Carrie found some cocktails premixed for us to have later in the day when we are cooking.
Relaxing in the Hammock Before the Royals Played

With an afternoon game for the Royals, I spent the afternoon sleeping in the hammock before first pitch at 3:05. Drinking beer and enjoying the weather while Carrie read, hung out in the hammock, and snoozed. We had a good afternoon and mentioned various times how grateful we are to both be able to go camping, having nice weather, and enjoying our new experiences. We are both sorry we did not start camping years ago… other than the ticks, we are having a wonderful time.

We used the Firedisc again Saturday night to grill kielbasa sausage, peppers, melting cheese over the top, and then on ciabatta bread. Turned out great and we each had two to eat, but neither of us could finish the second sandwich. A lot of delicious recipes we did on the Firedisc and looking forward to using it many more times as we camp and tailgate.

Cocktails and Tent

Saturday evening was our first time using the fire pit. We had a nice fire we started while dinner was being prepared. I had some nice IPA beers I was drinking we had picked up in Fort Scott earlier in the day. We also picked up some cock tails that were better than some I have had in restaurants. Carrie had a Mai Tai she said was really good and I had an Old Fashioned. They were pre-made in their bottles and pour over ice. Wow, I wish we would have bought more of them to have more drinks. We did keep the bottles and actually kept about half of each of our cocktails so we would have some at home. 

The camp sites was very busy Saturday night. Just about every spot was taken and a lot of activity. There was a 20% chance of rain and about 9:30 or 10, it started to rain. Carrie and I rushed to put rain fly on the tent as we were not sure how much it would rain. As it turned out, it only rained about 20% as the weather had predicted and did not rain again after 10:30 or 11. We stayed up until about midnight as the fire started to dwindle

Sunday

We slept late again on Sunday. We knew it was a day to pack up and head home. I think we both wanted to delay that as long as possible. Many of the other campers in our area, and across the lake, packed up and were out by 10 or 10:30. We got the car ready, took off the rain fly, removed the tent poles, consolidated various items from one cooler to another, and finally took down the tent. We decided to cook breakfast one last time instead of getting something on the road. We again used the Firedisc where Carrie did an egg scramble with sausage, potatoes, and cheese. First attempt at doing so on the Firedisc and it did not disappoint. Carrie said as we were finishing that could have used some hot sauce or ketchup with it, but it was good and hit the spot.

Tent from Across the Arm
Tent from Other Side of Arm

We decided instead of doing dishes at the camp site that we would load everything and do dishes back home. Finished loading up the car, took Oliver for one last walk, and left the camp ground about noon. A sad feeling sweeps over me as we pull away from our second camp site. Sad that it is ending but looking forward to new adventures to occur in the future. Oliver slept the whole way home. I took a nice long nap when we got home and after unpacking the car. It is exhausting to lounge around every day while we camp.

Oliver in Front of Tent and Ready to Relax
Last Words of Our Camping to Farlington, KS

We thoroughly enjoyed camping at Lake Crawford in Farlington, KS. The site is clean and they provide bathrooms with showers. The camp sites are well maintained. We would go back there again in the future. A nice experience. We did have a lot of ticks that we pulled off of Oliver that I mentioned earlier. We have one last check of him today after getting home. Carrie and I were lucky with ticks where I was the only one to have a tick. We did not find it until after we got home today. It was on the left side of my stomach which seems like an odd location, but I guess ticks don’t care… where ever they can latch on and start getting to your blood is where they go.

We have found that we enjoy searching out trails to hike. Although, we do not want crazy trails or long trails as we are novice hikers. We would like to one day be able to take our bikes so we could ride the trails or around the campground. Granted, we would need bikes with a basket to take our little Oliver with us. 

Walking in the Woods with Oliver

We are searching out our next camping experience and still bummed that we have not been doing this for years. Better now then never. We love the experience and disconnecting from everything. If you have sites or experiences to share, please be sure to comment.


Reading Books While Taking Days Off and Planning for More Books to Read

I go through times where I read a lot and times where I read very little or not at all. The current month is one where I am reading every day. I look forward to bedtime as that’s when I usually read, but it does not work well because I am tired and fall asleep while I read. So, I am in my new mode of reading once again. I continued a book I had started earlier this year, stopped, and resumed reading again. The book I continued reading is “News of the World” that Carrie had read and recommended. It is also a movie on Apple TV I believe that we plan to watch after I am done with the book.

While reading “News of the World” I had another book become available for me to read which I had heard about a few months ago. John Grisham wrote “Sooley”. I read “Sooley” in record time for me. I just checked it out last week and finished it on Saturday. Granted, it helped as we have been camping since Thursday and I have read a lot while doing nothing, relaxing, and drinking. It has been a really nice experience. 

I plan to finish “News of the World” as I am at 60 percent done in the book. It is taking me longer to read “News of the World”. I like the story, but it is written where there are not quotes in the book but rather it simply builds into the dialog of the book that someone is speaking. It took me a few chapters to get used to how it was written. I am enjoying the book, but unlike “Sooley” I have not spent focused time reading “News of the World”.

I like to read books where chapters are about 10 - 15 minutes to read as that makes for good stopping points and time for bed stops. “News of the World” has long chapters which means long times for me to read or stop in the middle of a chapter before going to bed. I do have my next book that I will start following “News of the World” which I s “Open Season” by C.J. Box which was recommended to me via Carrie through her boss. It is a series and sounds like it will be good for me.

What are your favorite books? Anything you recommend for me to read, please post a comment and let me know.