Happy Trails to you …


Until we meet again …

Camping season at our Thousand Trails Nature Preserve comes to an end this month. We won’t visit Horseshoe Lakes in Vermillion County, Indiana, again until April.

“King of the Cowboys” Roy Rogers and his wife, “Queen of the West” Dale Evans, sang Happy Trails to sign off their television show in the 1950’s. They owned Happy Trails Resorts in conjunction with the Thousand Trails Organization. A large corporation now maintains over 80 Thousand Trails/NACO preserves throughout the United States.

Our 290-acre home preserve is named for its large horseshoe-shaped lake, surrounded by 10 smaller spring-fed lakes. We take our golf cart on “bunny” trails through the wooded landscape to get to the best spots for fishing and taking photos of the flora and fauna.

My best friend and I tried tent camping in August 2003 during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota before trading up to a  toy hauler RV in Spring 2004. We have been happier campers since, and now own a 32-foot Salem toy hauler so we can take along our Harley-Davidson or golf cart and still comfortably sleep 4 to 6 kids, plus our personal body guards Pooch and Lola.

We try to go camping every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend at different campgrounds within a 1 to 3 hour drive. For summer vacations, it’s cheaper to leave the fifth wheel at home and reserve a getaway cabin in another preserve several states away.

In 2009 we found a campground near the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. Those who embrace the RV lifestyle will appreciate the museum. There we found a Terre Haute connection to the RV industry’s humble beginnings.

Fall landscape


I had no idea the pea gravel we used to landscape our home was so colorful until I got down on my hands and knees for closer inspection.

“Pea gravel provides a unique appeal to a space,” according to PeaGravel.org. “The location where it was excavated will determine its undertones. There are reddish ones, rose-colored ones, egg shell colored ones and beige to gray colors. You can play with a variety of colors and tones of pea gravel to create depth and a unique look …”

Another blue ribbon winner in 2009. Judge’s comments: “Very pretty. Looks good. Like the colors.”

Below, the fall countryside at our place is even more vibrant. Our house is off the beaten path, tucked behind a tall stand of trees with corn and bean fields for blinds ~ privacy is only vulnerable in winter.

Take Life to the Matte ©