Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp

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Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp in the Ouachita National Forest is a hidden gem for horse enthusiasts looking for an unforgettable camping experience in Oklahoma. Nestled in the scenic Ouachita Mountains of southeast Oklahoma, this camp offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region on horseback.

Located on the shores of Cedar Lake, the equestrian camp offers 45 miles of beautiful trails for horseback riding. The trails range from easy to challenging, with some of the most stunning vistas in the area. You can ride along the lake, through the forest, and up into the mountains, all while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

The camp has 30 campsites with electrical hookups and water, as well as a group camp area that can accommodate up to 20 people. The camp also has shower facilities, restrooms, and a dump station. Whether you are camping with your horse or just looking for a place to pitch your tent, Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp has everything you need for a comfortable stay.

Other Activities

In addition to horseback riding, the camp offers a variety of other activities. You can go fishing in Cedar Lake, hike the trails, or relax on the beach. The Ouachita National Forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turkey, and black bear, so keep your eyes open for a chance to spot some of these creatures in their natural habitat.

One of the unique features of Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp is its proximity to nearby attractions. Just a short drive away is the town of Heavener, known for its historic attractions and the nearby Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, which offers exhibits on the prehistoric Native American culture of the area.


To make a reservation at Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp in Oklahoma, you can visit the website of the U.S. Forest Service’s Recreation.gov website, where you can book your campsite or group campsite up to six months in advance.

On the website, you can search for Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp and select the dates of your stay. You can also choose the type of site you want, such as a standard electric site, a tent-only site, or a group site. After selecting your site and dates, you can complete your reservation by providing your personal information and payment details.

Alternatively, you can call the Recreation.gov customer service center at 1-877-444-6777 to make your reservation over the phone. They will assist you in booking your preferred site and dates, and process your payment.

It is recommended to make your reservation in advance, especially during peak season, to ensure availability of your preferred campsite.

Overall, Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp is a wonderful place to experience the beauty of the Ouachita Mountains on horseback. With its miles of scenic trails, comfortable campsites, and proximity to nearby attractions, it is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a memorable camping experience in Oklahoma.

Rescuing a Dutch Sheperd

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Firstly, meet ‘Boone’. He’s a Dutch Sheperd and the latest addition to our pack. How did this happen? Let me tell you. It’s a Friday night and we’ve had an exhausting week. My beautiful wife and I are talking about going to bed early and she turns to me and says “Look at this poor baby!”. She had made a friend at a horse desensitization clinic the weekend before and one of the other participants had found an abandoned and emaciated dog in the woods near the back of her property. I took a look and immediately was concerned. This dog was days from being in real bad shape physically.

Poor Boone

My wife and I have a soft spot for hard luck cases and I have an affinity for Sheperds. Within minutes we were in the car and on our way to try to save him and bring him home.

The woman who found him picked him up and met us half way. As soon as she got there she got out of her truck Boone hopped out willingly albeit apprehensively and easily was led by leash to some grass. Afterwards we talked briefly about him, how she found him and his general temperament and before I knew it my wife had him in our car.

This young man estimated around 3 years old is exceptional, eager to please, quiet and non-challenging to our elderly matriarch German Sheperd Hilde. He’s become obsessed with our Australian Shepherd Willow and is carving his place out in our lives. I think if we’re being transparent our hopes for Boone is that he is a formidable addition to the horse trail pack and goes out with us on the new Oklahoma property. That said, he has been here less than a week and we don’t know what his future will be, but we do know it won’t include starving to death or being abused. So far, he’s had all the right answers and keeps shining in the face of adversity.

If you’re considering a rescue or fostering there are a lot of things to know about ‘Dutchies’. Here are a few things we think you should know.

Dutch Shepherds are highly intelligent and versatile dogs that are renowned for their athleticism, loyalty, and protective nature. They are a working breed that has a long history of serving as herding and guard dogs in the Netherlands. However, they are also excellent companions and make great pets for families and individuals who are looking for an active and devoted companion.

There are several reasons why rescuing and fostering a Dutch Shepherd can be a rewarding experience. Firstly, Dutch Shepherds are highly trainable and eager to please. They are quick learners and excel at obedience training, agility, and other canine sports. Their high energy levels and natural athleticism make them well-suited for a wide range of activities, including hiking, running, and playing fetch.

Moreover, Dutch Shepherds are incredibly loyal and protective of their families. They form strong bonds with their owners and will go to great lengths to protect them. This makes them excellent watchdogs and guard dogs, as they will instinctively defend their home and family from any perceived threats. Additionally, their protective nature means that they can be trained to work in law enforcement and search and rescue operations.

Another great quality of the Dutch Shepherd is their adaptability. They are able to thrive in a variety of environments, including urban and rural settings. They are equally comfortable living in an apartment as they are in a large house with a backyard. However, it is important to note that Dutch Shepherds require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy, regardless of their living situation.

Rescuing and fostering a Dutch Shepherd can also be a fulfilling experience because it provides an opportunity to give a deserving dog a second chance at life. Many Dutch Shepherds end up in shelters due to no fault of their own, whether it be because of a change in their owner’s living situation, behavioral issues, or simply because their owner can no longer care for them. By adopting or fostering a Dutch Shepherd, you are providing a loving home to a dog that may otherwise be at risk of euthanasia or spending their life in a shelter.

Additionally, Dutch Shepherds are known for their longevity and overall good health. They have a lifespan of around 12-14 years and are relatively free of major health issues. Of course, as with any breed, there are certain genetic predispositions to certain health conditions that potential owners should be aware of. However, overall, Dutch Shepherds are a relatively healthy breed.

It is also worth noting that Dutch Shepherds are not as well-known as other breeds, such as German Shepherds or Labrador Retrievers. This means that they may not be as popular in shelters and rescues, and as a result, may have a harder time finding a forever home. By adopting or fostering a Dutch Shepherd, you are helping to raise awareness of the breed and promote their adoption.

In terms of their physical appearance, Dutch Shepherds are medium-sized dogs that are well-muscled and agile. They have a short, dense coat that comes in a variety of colors, including brindle, fawn, and black. Their ears are usually erect and pointed, and their tails are long and tapered.

One of the most distinctive features of the Dutch Shepherd is their expression. They have an intelligent and alert look that seems to convey their eagerness to please and protect their family. Their intense gaze can be intimidating to strangers, but to those who know and love them, it is a sign of their unwavering loyalty and devotion.

In conclusion, rescuing or fostering a Dutch Shepherd can be a rewarding experience for a number of reasons. Their intelligence, loyalty, and protective nature make them great companions and working dogs. They are also highly adaptable and relatively healthy, which means they can thrive in a variety of environments. By giving a Dutch Shepherd a second chance at life, you are providing a loving home to a deserving dog that may otherwise be at risk of euthanasia or spending their life in a shelter. Additionally, by adopting or fostering a Dutch Shepherd, you are helping to raise awareness of the breed and promote their adoption.

It is important to note that while Dutch Shepherds have many great qualities, they are not suitable for everyone. As a working breed, they require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. This means that they may not be the best fit for someone who is unable to provide them with the attention and exercise they need.

Additionally, because of their protective nature, Dutch Shepherds may not be the best choice for families with young children or other pets. They can be trained to get along with children and other animals, but it is important to socialize them from a young age and supervise their interactions. In our case Boone is fitting in well. We recommend you take your time an introduce your animals carefully or get professional help.

Our diverse Shepherds.  Australian, Dutch and German

In terms of training, Dutch Shepherds respond best to positive reinforcement methods that emphasize praise and rewards for good behavior. They do not respond well to harsh or punitive training methods and may become fearful or aggressive if they are subjected to them.

Overall, if you are looking for an intelligent, loyal, and versatile companion, a Dutch Shepherd may be the perfect choice for you. By rescuing or fostering a Dutch Shepherd, you are providing a loving home to a deserving dog that will repay you with unwavering loyalty and devotion. So, consider adding a Dutch Shepherd to your family today and enjoy all the benefits that this wonderful breed has to offer.

What kind of horse if Merlin?

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Merlin is a Drum Horse! For those who are unfamiliar with the Drum Horse, allow me to introduce you to these magnificent beasts. A Drum Horse is a type of horse that is trained to be used in military ceremonies and parades. They are typically tall, strong horses, often of the Shire or Clydesdale breeds, and are adorned with elaborate harnesses and plumes to create a visually impressive display. The name “Drum Horse” comes from the fact that they often accompany military marching bands, leading the procession while drumming is being played. These horses are chosen for their size, strength, and elegance and are typically ridden by a uniformed military member.

From the moment I laid eyes on my first Drum Horse, I was enchanted. These magnificent creatures embody all that is grand and beautiful about the equine species, and I cannot help but feel a deep sense of adoration for them. The Drum Horse is more than just a horse – it is a symbol of strength, grace, and professionalism, and it is a true joy to behold.

It is not just their appearance that sets these horses apart, but also their personality. A Drum Horse is a true professional. They have been trained to remain calm and steady, even in the noisiest and chaotic of environments, and they do it with grace and dignity that would make any equestrian proud. The training these horses undergo is no small feat, and it requires a great deal of dedication and hard work on the part of the trainers and riders. But, despite all of their training and responsibilities, these horses are kind and gentle, always willing to please and eager to work.

Their grace and poise are truly awe-inspiring. As they lead the procession of military marching bands, they carry themselves with pride and move with the precision and coordination that is required for the ceremonial duties they perform. The sight of these magnificent creatures, with their heads held high and their plumes waving in the wind, is a sight that will take your breath away. They command respect and admiration from all who witness it, and they bring a touch of grandeur and elegance to every event they attend.

The regalia that these horses wear is equally impressive. Their harnesses are adorned with elaborate decorations, including plumes and other decorative elements, that serve to highlight their strength and beauty. The intricate details of their harnesses are a testament to the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into every aspect of their training and presentation.

But, despite all of their training and responsibilities, these horses remain gentle giants. They have a kind and gentle nature that makes them a joy to work with and a pleasure to be around. They are always eager to please and are quick to form a bond with their riders. They are truly gentle giants, and they embody the qualities of strength, grace, and gentleness that are so often sought after in a horse.

In conclusion, the Drum Horse is a magnificent equine specimen that deserves our adoration and respect. From their impressive size and strength to their grace and professionalism, these horses embody all that is grand and beautiful about the equine species. They are a true joy to behold, and they bring a touch of elegance and grandeur to every event they attend. They are a true testament to the hard work and dedication of their trainers and riders, and they are a true symbol of strength and grace. I, for one, cannot help but feel a deep sense of adoration for these magnificent creatures, and I hope that others will come to feel the same.

What Is A Percheronner?

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A Percheron-Quarter horse draft cross, also known as a “Percheronner,” can be a good choice for trail riding and fox hunting due to its combination of the Percheron’s strength and size and the Quarter horse’s agility and versatility. The Percheron is a draft horse breed known for its strength and stamina, making it well-suited for heavy work and long rides. The Quarter horse, on the other hand, is a versatile breed known for its agility and speed, making it well-suited for a variety of tasks, including fox hunting. The combination of these two breeds can result in a horse that is strong and capable of carrying a rider for long distances, yet still agile and responsive enough for hunting. Additionally, Percheronners are often known for being docile, easy to handle and train, and easy to work with, which could make them a good choice for trail riding and hunting.

Quarter Horse on the left in comparison with the Percheronner on the right.

Percherons are known for their calm and docile nature, which can make them a good choice for trail riding, especially for those who are less experienced or less confident. They are also known for being easy to handle and train, which can make them a good choice for riders of all skill levels. Additionally, Percheronners are known for their strength and stamina, which makes them well-suited for carrying a rider over long distances and through challenging terrain. They are also known for being sure-footed, which can help them navigate rough or uneven terrain with ease.

Fielding and Leviticus both Percheronners on the hunt

When it comes to fox hunting, the Quarter horse side of the cross provides the agility and speed necessary for chasing down and catching a fox. The Quarter horse’s versatility also allows it to adapt to different hunting conditions, such as jumping over obstacles and maneuvering through dense brush. Additionally, the Quarter horse’s strong hindquarters provide the power and speed necessary for quick turns and sudden stops, which can be important when hunting.

The Percheron-Quarter horse cross is also known for its athleticism, which can make them suitable for a wide range of activities, such as jumping, dressage, and even as a working horse. They are also known for their good conformation, which makes them an attractive horse to look at, and their strong and muscular build, which can make them suitable for carrying heavy loads.

They certainly can be ‘docile’

In summary, a Percheron-Quarter horse cross is a strong, versatile, and responsive horse that can be a good choice for a wide range of activities, including trail riding and fox hunting. They are known for their strength, stamina, and sure-footedness, as well as their agility, speed, and versatility, which make them well-suited for both trail riding and fox hunting. Additionally, they are known for being docile, easy to handle, and train, which can make them a good choice for riders of all skill levels.

Top reasons to travel to Costa Rica?

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Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America that offers an array of activities and experiences for tourists. From lush rainforests and pristine beaches to adventure sports and cultural immersion, there is something for everyone in Costa Rica.

One of the main reasons to travel to Costa Rica is its natural beauty. The country is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and over 900 species of birds. The country’s many national parks, such as Manuel Antonio and Corcovado, offer visitors the opportunity to see these animals in their natural habitats. Additionally, Costa Rica is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, such as Tamarindo and Hermosa, which offer visitors the opportunity to relax and soak up the sun.

Another reason to travel to Costa Rica is for the adventure sports. The country offers a wide range of activities such as zip-lining, rafting, and surfing. The Arenal volcano area is a great place for adventure enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, bungee jumping and hot spring soaking. Costa Rica is also a popular destination for eco-tourism, as it has a strong commitment to preserving its natural environment.

Costa Rica is also known for its friendly and welcoming people. The country has a strong culture of “Pura Vida” which translates to “pure life” and represents the country’s laid-back and relaxed way of life. Visitors can experience this culture by visiting local markets, trying traditional foods, and learning about the country’s history and customs.

Lastly, Costa Rica is a relatively safe and stable country, making it an easy destination for travelers. The country’s infrastructure is well-developed, with good roads and public transportation, making it easy to get around. The country is also relatively affordable, with a wide range of accommodation options for all budgets.

In conclusion, Costa Rica is a wonderful destination that offers something for everyone. The country’s natural beauty, adventure sports, cultural immersion, and safety make it an ideal destination for travelers. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, an adrenaline-pumping adventure, or a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, Costa Rica is a great choice.

One of the main draws of Costa Rica is its incredible biodiversity. The country is home to a wide variety of ecosystems, from tropical rainforests to cloud forests to mangrove swamps. This diversity is reflected in the country’s wildlife, which is some of the most diverse in the world. Visitors can spot monkeys, sloths, and over 900 species of birds in their natural habitats. The country’s many national parks, such as Manuel Antonio and Corcovado, offer visitors the opportunity to see these animals in their natural habitats.

In addition to its natural beauty, Costa Rica is also a popular destination for adventure sports. Visitors can go zip-lining through the rainforest, white-water rafting on the Pacuare River, or surfing on the Pacific coast. The Arenal volcano area is a great place for adventure enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, bungee jumping, and hot spring soaking. The country also offers a variety of eco-tourism options, including guided nature walks and bird-watching tours.

Another aspect that makes Costa Rica a great destination is its culture. The country is known for its friendly and welcoming people, and the “Pura Vida” philosophy, which translates to “pure life” and represents the country’s laid-back and relaxed way of life. Visitors can experience this culture by visiting local markets, trying traditional foods, and learning about the country’s history and customs. Costa Rica has a rich indigenous heritage, and visitors can learn more about the country’s indigenous peoples, including the Bribri, the Maleku, and the Cabécar, and their traditional practices, arts and customs.

Costa Rica also offers a wide range of accommodation options, making it an affordable destination for travelers. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly hostel or a luxury eco-lodge, there is something for everyone. Additionally, the country’s infrastructure is well-developed, with good roads and public transportation, making it easy to get around.

Lastly, Costa Rica is a relatively safe and stable country, making it an easy destination for travelers. The country has a low crime rate and a stable political environment, so visitors can feel at ease while exploring the country.

In conclusion, Costa Rica is a country that offers a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors, from its natural beauty and adventure sports, to its culture and traditions, to its accessibility and safety. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Costa Rica is a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

How We Travel On The Cheap

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You’ve asked and now I’m answering… these are the things I’ve learned and do to get us the most bang for our travel buck.

1 – Travel in the off season and be flexible on your dates. We got a great deal on our last trip to Mexico because we went in January. We were there with mostly older people, snowbirds, and very few families. This is because most people are broke after the holidays and the kids school schedule is back in swing so the resorts are basically giving the rooms away for 1/4 of what they would be in the summer. Take advantage and do your research. For example, Costa Rica is cheap in November but high season starts in December. Santorini was basically our own private island in late November costing us only $68/night for a cave house with a hot tub and patio overlooking the ocean but all the businesses leave and shut down in December which would leave you without much for food or entertainment. Don’t go to tourist locations at high times or you will pay top dollar. It’s also the busiest times and over run with people which is something else we try to avoid. Any time you can book your airfare on a Wednesday, do it! Fights are cheapest on Wednesdays. Tuesdays are a close 2nd. Thursdays through Mondays cost more with weekends being the most expensive.

2 – Plan ahead. Can not stress this enough. We plan most of our trips 1 year in advance according to the airline. For example, American airlines will book up to 1 year out but South West airlines will usually only book 6 months out with exceptions around holidays. We get the best prices and are able to make our plans and arrangements by booking so early. It also gives us plenty of time to research the other things I’ve already mentioned like off seasons, weather conditions during off season, average prices per night, and sights/things to do and safety of area.

3 – Be flexible where you travel. This builds-off of number 2. We never have just 1 place in mind of where we want to go. We usually have about 10 places in mind and will end up settling on a place based on research and how much of a deal we can get. We really enjoy finding new places and seeing the world together so vacation for us is about all different kinds of experiences and places. Maybe a beach, maybe a mountain. Possibly a city or we might end up in a quaint village. They all have their pros and cons but when traveling on a budget, we are all about seeing how far our dollar can go and that requires flexibility on your part. You won’t be in Ibiza during the summer but you could have it to yourself in February. On the other hand, if you want the beach during beach weather, try less popular places like Portugal. Fabulous beaches without the price tag and you can take a train to Spain for $25 US dollars.

4 – Learn to use the public transportation. This is not something that comes naturally to me so thank God for my husband being so willing to take the lead in this area. Most places we’ve been have Uber or a low cost driving service of some sort but many places have public transportation which is usually super cheap. For example, using Uber and taxi’s in Athens, Greece would have easily cost up up to $100/day. We found the subway station instead and traveled everywhere our hearts could dream of (and all of the tourist stops) for $4 US dollars each per day, unlimited rides. Look, I get as a woman this can be seriously scary. It was for me anyway so here’s my advice; get yourself google translate, ask people who work there and are in uniform for help, leave your purse and fancy jewelry at home and keep money & valuables out of site, carry a tactical pen (in case ish gets real), and walk with some confidence. Go live your life and explore. If you get lost, uber back!

5 – Learn which holidays are more expensive and which holidays are less expensive. Guess who doesn’t care about Thanksgiving??? Everywhere except America. We get some of our best international deals during this week. However domestically, it’s one of the most expensive times to travel. Christmas is always expensive, everywhere with the exception being travelling on Christmas day itself. People want to travel the day before or after Christmas but most airfares will drop drastically on the actual holiday if you’re willing to travel on it. Summer time is usually expensive unless you go to an off season location. Basically if you’re slave to your kids school calendar for vacation times, I can’t help you much. Spring break weeks will always be 1/3 to 1/2 more costly then just the last week of February or 1st week of April. Other holidays like Marthin Luther King day don’t matter in Mexico. So if you get this day off already, it’s an easy way to make a long weekend a holiday or extend that weekend into a Wednesday and fly back on the cheap.

6 – Take the long layover and learn where the airlines fly direct. Anywhere the airline flies directly (no layovers) from your local airport will usually be cheaper. So for us leaving from DFW, we can get direct flights to Puerto Vallarta all day long, it’s only 2 1/2 hours away and the credit card points go far (I’ll get to that). Internationally we can fly direct to London, Tokyo, Liberia, Sydney, or Hong Kong as well as many others. Check out flyfrom.com to see your local airports direct flights. If the direct flight is not an option or for some reason more expensive, take advantage of the layovers. This is something I just recently started integrating into our travel. When I got our round trip flights to Iceland for only $170 total (not each) this was in large part because we were willing to have a 24 hour layovers in London on the way there and the way back. They offered other layover options but I picked that one and would happily do it again because it was enough time to get some sleep, a nice shower, not feel totally jet lagged and we got to explore a “bonus location” for free. We’d never been to London and now we can cross authentic fish and chips as well as a visit to Windsor castle off our bucket list. Make the most out of a cheap flight with a long layover in a “bonus” place. As a side note, this layover only worked because we do carry on luggage only. If we had checked bags, our luggage would have been stuck in airport limbo until we got to our final destination. So, my personal advice is to travel light and take less stuff. It makes getting around a breeze and I promise you don’t need half that crap anyway. More experiences, less stuff.

7 – Go where the economy is worse. Look, I’m not trying to be politically correct so if you’re offended by my opinion and statements, well honestly I don’t care… America is the greatest country in the entire world and the more you travel, the more you’ll know that! If you want to travel cheap, go to safe places where the dollar goes farther. In Mexico we got a 1 hour couples massage for $60 and paid a $20 tip just by walking out of the hotel and across the street. They were so thankful and kind and told us to come back everyday we were there. In Greece our penthouse over looking the Acropolis was only $72/night with a hot tub on the balcony. You get great service also because tourism brings them money so you’re helping them financially and their economy. A private full day tour of 8 hours with our own driver all over Santorini cost us $80. The more socialist leaning countries will be more expensive like Denmark or Sweden. In London I kicked myself for not realizing the conversion rate and paying $37 for a crappy stuffed Christmas decoration which would have only cost $5 in the states. Iceland was stupid expensive, like $45 for a T-shirt and $32 for a bar of soap expensive. Portugal was inexpensive by European standards and South America is always a win. Again, do your own research and know conversion rates as well as food and entertainment and transportation prices.

8 – We don’t travel “well”. What I mean by this is that we don’t fly 1st class and stay at the four seasons. I like to say we don’t do 5 stars but we like to keep it between 2.5-4 stars. To be honest, I’d ride in a luggage compartment for a free flight. Right now I’m young enough and just trying to make the memories and experiene new things so if we can take 4-5 moderately priced trips per year vs 1 really nice or expensive trip per year, we choose more trips. That will probably change over time and it doesn’t mean we travel badly.

9 – Credit Card Points – The Game! We didn’t write the book on this, but we definitely subscribe to it at a low level. At the core there are 3 major credit cards that provide points sign up bonuses. Each of those credit cards have an amount of time that has to pass after the credit has been closed before you qualify for a sign up bonus again. There are people that dive much deeper down this rabbit hole, there are reddit groups dedicated to squeezing every travel dollar they can out of credit card companies. One of our favorite sites for these techniques is www.thepointsguy.com. If you’d like to help us out and get 15,000 extra bonus points for yourself use the link below!

Earn 80,000 bonus points with Chase Sapphire Preferred. Plus, earn $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases. I can be rewarded, learn more.

Traveling Local

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This February my wife and I went to visit my family in Arkansas. It was the first time my Little Rock family had an opportunity to meet my wife and it was over the long Valentines day weekend. Normally I would just stay with my Aunt “B” in her spare bedroom but this time the spare bedroom wasn’t available. So we got creative, we wanted to stay close enough to be there quickly but not so close they felt like we were on top of them. So we searched in AirBnB.com and found a couple options between Benton and Little Rock. It was cheaper than a hotel, included breakfast (read frugal) and had amazing views of Lake Norrell (read Amazing).

Cindee and her husband were great hosts. They made us feel so welcome, catered to our dietary needs but best of all we were refreshed and relaxed which made our visit with our family wonderful

Balcony View From the Upstairs Master Bedroom

Little Rock Getaway!

Don’t worry if you aren’t a member of AirBnB, we want to help you out. Follow our referral link here and you’ll get $40 off a home booking of $75 or more or $15 off an experience of $50 or more. Now we want to be clear AirBnB is going to give us some credit if you use our referral as well.

Stunning Balcony Room King Bed on Lake Norrell B&B

Finding Hidden Gems Is The Key

The Stay Is Even Better If You Love Dogs!

Anniversary Trip to Puerto Vallarta

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Last year Shana and I were talking about our trip to Greece and I said what about our anniversary that is coming up? At first she said it was too close to the trip to Greece and that we should not worry about it. Well I pushed a little farther and found an all inclusive in Puerto Vallarta that I could book completely with credit card points. Then my wife found direct, round-trip tickets we could get using her credit card points. We stopped ‘fighting’ about it and just booked it. I’ve gotta say I’m glad we did. This has been the best year of my life and I’m very blessed to be sharing her. Here are the highlights.

A Place To Go

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My wife and I like to travel, but we like to travel ‘on the cheap’.  I like to say in my most Daniel Tosh smugness that “I’m a baller on a budget”!  To keep it cheap we use credit card points and plan ahead, way ahead.  We like to get a good idea of several places that we want to go and start planning about 13 to 14 months out.  This gives us time to find the essentials.  These will be first of a 4 part series:

  • A Place To Go
  • A Way To Get There
  • A Place To Sleep
  • Something To Do

Generally speaking we try to have at least six places that we want to go to at any given time.  Our schedule is a bit dynamic in the sense that we have different time periods that we’d like to go to.  We fit them into 2 basic categories;  quick trips or long trips.  A quick trip is something that is a direct flight from our hometown and our stay generally is o 4 – 7 days.  Usually we extend a long weekend that has a national holiday so we don’t eat into too much vacation time.  Long trips generally are international trips and will run for 7 days or more, you don’t really want to travel to spend half of your vacation on a plane do you?  For ‘Quick’ trips we feel it’s essential to go places you can get to without plane changes.  We live in the Dallas / Forth Worth area so that means direct flights from DFW and Love Field.  I like to use flightsfrom.com to see what the possibilities are.  By looking at the routes we can get keep our flight times below 5 hours so for places like Barbados we can get there in time for afternoon drinks and the sunset.  Our current lists look something like this (my wife may have her own list) and how they break down.

  • Barbados – Quick or Long
  • Puerta Vallarta – Quick
  • Monaco – Long
  • Marseilles – Long
  • Portugal – Long
  • Malta – Long
  • Mazatlan – Quick
  • St. Kitts / Nevis – Quick
  • Bermuda – Quick
  • Curacao – Quick or Long
  • Italy – Long
  • Spain – Long
  • Japan – Long
  • London – Long

You’ll see some could be both, typically those are on the edge of length of travel we like to go for 4 – 7 day trips.  In these cases a lot of time we’ll chain together a couple place that make sense and make a long trip out of it.  In fact on long trips we’ll usually do this.  For example we probably will go to Monaco, Spain, Italy on the same trip.  You basically turn your stops into 3 to 4 day excursions.  You’re going to find that getting there can be the most expensive part (until my wife finds out that you can fly on points, more on that later).  So why not capitalize on being on that side of the world and knock a few out all at the same time.

Now we look at our calendar.  For us in odd numbered years we have opportunities to travel (alone, sorry kiddos, most of our ‘long’ trips are going to happen during these windows of opportunity) during spring break and Winter break.  On even numbered years we have Thanksgiving and Summer vacation.  The key is to plan ahead, anticipate opportunities for travel and know when your windows are. At the moment we’re looking for Winter break trips 12 months from now.  Now we use the google machine for what it’s good for and search for tips for where to go on the country or continents you’re interested in for the time period you want to go.  For example “Best Places to travel in Europe in December“.

I follow my search to Best Winter Destinations in Europe 2019, and after a cursory look Andalucia Spain looks like my jam.

Mild Climates and Bargain Accommodations Makes Andalicia a Hit!

It is described as “Parts of Andalucía are further south than the African coast so expect mild temperatures in winter. Accommodation is cheap, and crowds are smaller at standout attractions like Granada’s Alhambra or Seville’s cathedral. Plus tapas and nightlife in the cities are as enticing as ever.”  What makes it my jam is that it has mild temperatures and reasonable accommodations. At the end of the day you’ve gotta put yourself places you’re going to enjoy being. I know I like warmer destinations.

Now I have “A Place To Go”. The next entry in this series will be “A Way To Get There”. Thanks for taking the journey with us.

Kilynn & Shana Weber