Friday, March 24, 2017

Finally did some fishing

This must be the latest in the year I have ever gone until I went fishing. Today I got out and did some trout fishing. I can't say the weather was springlike since I spent most of the time fishing in a hail squall (not sure if that is a real thing, but that was the weather).

Surprisingly, the fishing was pretty good. I assumed the trout would hit Powerbait, but didn't have any confidence they would hit lures. I fished one rod with Powerbait, while I casted a Yellow Coachdog Roostertail with the other. Usually, when the water is really cold I have absolutely no luck at all with lures.

So I was mildly surprised when on my second cast I felt a solid bump on the spinner. On the next cast I landed my first fish of the year, a foot long rainbow. Not only did I hook it on the lure but it even jumped once.

To make a boring story short, I ended up with six trout today, all about a foot long. Four on the spinner and two on the Powerbait. Both fish caught on Powerbait were hooked in the lip, henceforth they were released. I only fished for a little more than an hour. Considering the sky was dropping ice pellets on me and into the water, I was thrilled with the production. I was even happier the fish were willing to chase lures

Monday, March 20, 2017

The King at the Canal

It's funny how some things that you are looking forward to can end up being average while unexpected things can become highlights of your whole week. As I said yesterday, I went the Dropkick Murphys and it can best be described as "okay".

After work today on a whim Laurie and I went to the Cape Cod Canal. There has been a King Eider there for a few days. A King Eider is a big ocean going duck. This species breeds up in the tundra and winters along the coast of Alaska and Newfoundland.  They do not live around here. Usually one will show up somewhere on the North Shore of Massachusetts every year. Going to Rockport and Gloucester to see a possible duck really isn't a good gamble. Also, they usually seem to be way out and only a speck in a spotting scope.

This duck that has been at the Cape Cod Canal has been hanging out with Common Eiders right in the Herring Run. I've seen some great pictures of the duck all week and I was envious. I obviously
couldn't look for it the last couple of days with my concert plans. Today, Sunday, we were supposed to get between 2-4 inches of snow. So I really didn't have any plans to go see it after work. At the last minute, the forecast changed. Although we might get a flurry the actual storm was going out to sea. Nantucket took the brunt of it.

After work today, I checked and the bird had been spotted in the morning. Then I got a note from someone as I was just about to leave the house that read "just so you know, the bird has been leaving the area around 2:30". By the time I got there, it was going to be 3:30. I decided to go anyway.

When we got there, the snow was coming in sideways. The wind was howling, although the temperature was around 38 degrees and the snow was melting on contact. We dressed for it, so the weather was of no concern. The issue would be if the bird was still there. The nice thing about ducks is they are easy to spot. They don't hide in bushes or in tall grass. They are big, so they are eider there or not (pun intended). Also, it doesn't get much easier than the Herring Run. The walk from the car to the outflow is a couple of minutes.

I am thrilled to say I say the King Eider. It was a lifebird for me. More important to me than just checking it off of a list, it is a bird I have wanted to see since I started birding years ago. Even with the wind and snow I stayed and watched it for 45 minutes. The King Eider was an adult male. It was beautiful.  Laurie was happy to see it for fifteen minutes and went back to the car. I found it difficult to pull myself away from it. So if you're asking yourself if I enjoyed watching a duck during a snowstorm more than going to a concert in Boston, the answer is yes. It was a terrific forty five minutes.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dropkick Murphys- not really my style

I got Laurie tickets for her birthday to see the Dropkick Murphys at the Agannis Arena in Boston. The Dropkick Murphys are a Boston band that made it big. They mix Irish music and punk rock. Their biggest hit by far is Shipping up to Boston. No matter where they go on tour, they always schedule the week of St. Patrick's Day to come home and do a show or two. This year, they did a couple shows at the House of Blues and last night's show at Agannis. Tickets weren't bad. I think our seats were $35.

The time on the ticket said the show started at 4:30 pm. I knew from what I read that after the concert the band would be at the House of Blues later where there would be boxing. This lead me to believe the Murphy's would start at 4:30 and be over around 6:30-7 pm. Although this is a weird time for a Saturday concert I liked the idea of being back at my house at 8 pm. Because we drove to the red line subway station then took the subway to the arena, we had to leave my house at 2:15 pm. This worked perfectly since we walked into the arena at 4:10.

So I was a bit disappointed as we were walking around we overheard people say there were two opening bands and the Murphy's would not be going on until 6:30. I had no desire to see the opening acts and it just added two hours to our two hours to get there. None the less we were stuck. We watched the first band. During the second band Laurie and I walked through the arena. We bought a bucket of popcorn and found an open spot to eat it. The Boston University hockey team plays at Agannis Arena. Along the walls are murals of past players that played in the Olympics, NHL and the BU Hall of Fame. I got some pictures including the two most famous guys on the 1980 team, goalie Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione. The stadium is only twelve years old, but it is beautiful, it looks twelve days old.
Finally 6:30 came around. I knew going in I wouldn't know a lot of songs. I figured the energy of the Boston crowd along with their prodigal sons would just be fun. The punk rock band has a huge following and I understand why. They are very talented and mix in a lot of instruments including bagpipes and accordion. For me personally, they play too fast and the vocals are a lot of screaming. Also the instruments are so loud, it was tough to follow the lyrics unless I knew the song anyway.

My favorite songs during their set were covers of Taking Care of Business and a Just What I needed. After 90 minutes they went off stage. When they came back I knew what was coming and was the sole purpose of me being there. They played Shipping Up to Boston and two other songs during the encore. This was by far my favorite part of my night. After the encore we took the crowded Green line back to Park Street and took it back to our car. We ended up getting home about 10:15, which wasn't real late anyway.

Usually when I go to a concert, when I leave I feel it is the best one ever. That didn't happen tonight but I knew what I was getting myself into. The Dropkick Murphy's just aren't my kind of music. They are a great band for their style, just not mine. That said, I did get to cross them off my bucket list. Seeing the Irish rockers play Boston during St. Patrick's week is something I always wanted to do.
Mission accomplished

Cool pics from Agannis Arena below

Friday, March 17, 2017

Violin Femmes

I haven't wrote anything lately because quite frankly, I haven't done anything worth writing about. With my "retirement" from skiing, this snow pack and skim ice has left me with little to do. Throw in the fact that I had been without hot water for two weeks and had to buy a hot water heater, well, you can see, it has been a rough March. When your biggest plans are to find a place to take a shower, things aren't going good.

This is of course ironic since two posts ago I wrote about how fun March was going to be. Okay, enough complaining, because tonight I had fun!

I went to one of those things I wrote about in the March blog post. I went to the Violin Femmes concert at the Stadium
Theater in Woonsocket. I tried to take a lot of pictures but they jumped around so much on stage only a few came out clear.

This is a group of women violin players that rock out to classic rock and metal. If it sounds like nothing you have ever heard of, I agree. That is why we bought tickets to it.The show started at 8 pm and with intermission lasted until 10 pm. It was extremely entertaining. They only played for one night but if they come back again or you get to Vegas where they seem to have a residency, you should check them out. As for tonight, my ticket was well worth the $26 I spent on it.

The women played songs from AC/DC, Zepplin, Eagles, Billy Joel, and many many more. The lead
violinist is married to the (male) drummer. He was awesome also. She did all
 of the talking. She explained the origins of the band along with how they came about a couple of the songs. All in all, one could tell she lives and breathes music. She seems like the type that has notes and arrangements are always running through her head all the time(like I suspect Clapton and Prince do/did)

I am not sure if I can say any moment was a highlight although they did get a standing ovation when they sat down and played to the sheet music of Queen's Bohemian Rapsady.

On a completely different note, I have come to realize that a small percentage of my species (men) are absolute pigs. Yes these musicians were absolutely beautiful. Dana Carvey refereed to them as hot when they opened for him. A couple of them were gorgeous. However, why would any guy think it is okay to whistle at them? This happened multiple times throught the night. Probably the same guy. I heard one guy yell" you look great" from the back section. Guess what dumbass? She's not going to sleep with you, so stop being a douche bag!!! Have your dirty thoughts, I don't care, but have enough respect for these musicians to not be a pig!

Below is a 53 second video I took of them playing Bohemian Rhapsody. I only video taped them this once since I wanted to enjoy the show. I can play it on my computer, so I am hoping whoever clicks on it will be able to see it on your device. It is well worth the 53 seconds of your life. It will give you a quick idea of how talented they are. You might have to click it twice


Friday, March 3, 2017

Why I would hate to take a Guided Vacation

Nobody on a paid tour gets to see this.
The backside of the Grand Tetons
Today I went to the AAA Travel Show. If you have never been, the show has many vendors from cruise lines, all inclusive resorts, and travel agencies. All of these people are happy to book you to a vacation. AAA also books vacations. There were at least 150 AAA travel agents there with computers that will set you up on a vacation. I can only imagine the amount of money that changes hands.

There are also seminars. These seminars are done by the companies that want you to use them. For example the Alaska Cruise seminar was done by Holland America Cruise Line. Many of the tours were done by (not surprisingly) tour companies. I went to multiple seminars today. I started my day going to one on national parks. From there I went to a seminar on Scotland/Ireland. I also went to one about Eastern Europe and Alaskan Cruises. Since I found out today that I need a new hot water heater, none of these things are in my budget. However, since I had the shitty news that I needed a new hot water tank, I figured I'd go to the show and dream.

Here is what I realized. I would hate these trips. Most of these tour companies will tell you the reason you should book with them is "piece of mind". You don't have to plan anything because they take care of it for you. You don't have to carry your luggage. The accommodations are included in your itinerary. Most of the trips include many but not all of your meals. Of course, other than getting to the meeting point (usually an airport) you do not have to worry about transportation.

These trips would be positively actual torture for me. Let me give you an example. The first seminar I
If you choose to do your ow driving, stop at
Cedar Breaks National Monument. You will only need a
few hours there, but it is gorgeous!!
went to was western national parks. It was put on by CIE Tours. These people (and many other touring companies) pick you up at an airport such as Scottsdale, Vegas, or Salt Lake. For the next 7-14 days they will bring you to national parks. One of their tours was called the "Canyons Tour". It starts in Scottsdale, goes to the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce. Each day is planned out on where to go, where to eat, and where to sleep. Usually the hotels are very nice three to five star places. Other tours include Yellowstone, Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore.

The tour spends the better part of a day in a national park or a cool town like Jackson Hole. I'm sure they cover the highlights from the seat of their very luxurious coach buses. At every seminar I went to, they all spoke of "free time" where you can go off for a few hours some days and do your own thing.

 I have tried to make a case why someone would book this trip. Now let me tell you all of the reasons I would absolutely hate doing this. First off, I enjoy planning my own trip. I will go to seminars, and I will gladly take advice from anyone that wants to tell me about a hidden waterfall or cool art museum. However, I want to work it into my itinerary. Following someone else's plan would not only make me feel like I cheated, but I'm sure I'd be annoyed when I had to move on to the next thing before I was ready.

Secondly, When I plan a trip, I like to have a plan. I do not need to know where I'm going to be every second of every day. I do want to at least have a sort of "outline" and prioritize what I want to do. I like doing this research. There are people that just wing it, and there are those that need to leave a museum at exactly 3 pm so they can eat lunch for precisely 14 minutes. I fall in between those two extremes.

 Also, on a trip, nothing ever goes perfectly as planned. It is those improvisations that are memorable. Can you imagine having your one day in Yellowstone getting rained out? Imagine not seeing Artists Point because it is so fogged in. Unfortunately, you can't stay an extra day to see it because you have to be in Jackson Hole tomorrow! Holy shit, that would kill me! Imagine driving past a huge bull elk and not stopping to get any pictures because Old Faithful went off twenty minutes later than expected and you have to be at the motel for dinner by 6 pm. I'd choke on my own puke!!! Now, if I was on my own vacation we could improvise. If that day got rained out, we could stay an extra day. Maybe we would have to cut a day short at Grand Teton. Maybe we would only go to Little Bighorn for a few hours instead of a day to make up that time. It's these give and takes that make your vacation your own.
Lower Falls from Artist Point

My next complaint is really just because of my personality. These tours only take you to the highlights. I suspect a day in Yellowstone will take you to Artists Point, Old Faithful, Lake Village and Lamar Valley. These are all amazing places. There are probably a few stops at other scenic overlooks. However, I am not a highlights guy. I want to see EVERYTHING. Of course in a park the size of Connecticut that isn't going to happen. Still, I gave it my best shot. We stayed six days in Yellowstone. The day we went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, we did not just go to Artists Point. We did all the trails in the area including Uncle Tom's Trail which included 600 steps. As I've said before I'd rather see everything in one park instead of the highlights in five. Also the more you get to know a park, the intimate it becomes and the more you appreciate it, then fall in love with it.

Lastly, and again this is just because of my personality, these trips are a little too luxurious for my taste. Do not get me wrong, the buses are very comfortable. I also assume the food is delicious. However, I don't want anyone carrying my bag. I can do that myself, thank you. I also would prefer to camp outside than be in a five star motel every night. If I am at a campground I live for the campfire programs. I would rather go to one than watch Jeopardy (no offense Alex T). Also since I have to stay with the tour and we have to be at certain places at specific times, there is no chance to get a backcounty pass and sleep in the wilderness.

I knew all of this before I even went to the show. You might ask why I even bothered? Truth is, I just wanted ideas of new places to go someday and do a little dreaming. I have always wanted to go to the Scottish Highlands. So when I went to the Scotland/Ireland seminar I took notes. As they were explaining their itinerary, I took I wrote down important details. When they showed a picture of an interesting castle  I jotted down the name. If they said food was delicious at a certain pub, I wrote that down too. Of course, if a tour company takes you from place to place over a week, they do not explain the transportation system in that country. They do not tell (because they don't know) of the best hiking trails in the Scottish Highlands or if camping or backpacking is allowed.

I have questioned myself and looked inward and wondered: if I only feel this way because these trips are out of my price range anyway? Would I secretly want to go on one of these trips if money was no object? I can assure you, and myself the answer is no. If I won Powerball, I'd travel, and I'd travel a lot. Yet, I would still plan my own vacations. As I said, I enjoy that.I have over fifty guide and hiking books to prove it.  I'd probably eat more steak and less mac and cheese for supper, but truthfully, I love the way I vacation. I love eating supper on top of a mountain or stopping for lunch by a mountain lake.

If I were to go on an international vacation, I can't argue that the planning is so much  easier when you pay someone five thousand dollars to drive you around. Then again, if you told me I only had four hours to go to the Louvre in Paris, I just couldn't do it. If I went alone, I'd park my ass on a bench in front of the Da vinci's for hours because I'd be in such awe. I would need at least two days in that museum and a solid week in Paris. If not, I'd be sick missing out.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March is Going to be a Hell of a Month

Took this picture in March two years ago. Spring is
finally here
I was hoping to go to Plum Island birding today. I haven't had a full two days off in a few weeks. However, the wind is howling, so there won't be many birds to see. Because of this sad fact, I put off getting my car inspection until today. So that is what I did this morning.

Despite this setback, March is going to be an awesome month for me. I already have so many things planned, that I have a waiting list of things to do as back up plans. I haven't wrote any posts about what I have done lately, because nothing was that special. I'm going to write about my plans, just for the hope of giving readers ideas. Maybe you may want to see a concert that I'm going to of a band you like.

March 3   AAA Travel Show

AAA is doing there annual travel show at Gillette Stadium this weekend. If the weather would have been nice I would have done something outside. Since the temp around here is dropping forty degrees in the next 18 hours I'll be there.

March 3 night  The Man Who Saw Snoopy

This is a one night only play at the Arctic Theater in Warwick. All proceeds go towards a family that lost everything in a fire. The play is about Charles Schultz the creator of Peauntus

March 10   RISAA Show

The large saltwater fishing show goes on next weekend. If I go, it will be Friday late afternoon after hopefully a fun outdoor daytrip fishing or birding

March  11  Aquideneck Island Duck Tour/ Seal Cruise Cuttyhunk Island

I have to make a choice. I could go on a waterfowl tour of my bird chub in the Newport area.There will be experts and I will see birds I would normally miss The other option is something I've wanted to do for a while, go on a seal cruise to Cuttyhunk Island. The cruise circles seals around a small island, then docks at Cuttyhunk for a little while. I've never been there.  The cruises only go twice a winter March 11 and March 25.

March 17    Violin Femmes

I was scrolling through the Stadium Theater events and I came across the Violin Femmes (not to be confused with the Violent Femmes). They are hot women that play hard rock and metal on Violins. It seems like nothing else in entertainment. I am really looking forward to this show. I know it sounds weird, feel free to click on the link and watch the three minute promo.

March 18    Dropkick Murphys

Literally the next day we are Shipping Up To Boston to see the Dropkick Murphys at the Agganis Arena. This concert is my birthday present to my best friend Laurie. I only know a few songs but I think the place will be rocking for the show. The Dropkicks are playing a few nights at the House of Blues also. They always come home to Boston for St. Patrick's Day. So for a night, we will all be Irish, even this Pacelli

March 24    The Nether

This is a play my brother got me tickets for. It is at the Gamm Theater, a place I have never been. It is a little futuristic and science fiction. It should be a fun night.

March 25    Another Decision-  Connecticut Surfcasters Striper Event or the Seal Cruise

If I don't go on the seal cruise on March 11, this will be my other chance. On the other hand, there is a free Surfcasting event. There will be good deals on gear, free food, and seminars by some big name fishermen including Toby Lapinski, Steve McKenna, and Dave Pickering

March 31  Midsummer's Night Dream

Another play at the Stadium Theater in Woonsocket. I am not the Shakespeare type, but I am going to this and looking forward to it.

Besides all these ticketed events, I have a few daytrips I want to do. I plan on going to Race Point again to see the whales offshore. I will combine that trip with some trout fishing down the Cape (maybe an overnight trip). I also want to get to Plum Island once during the month. It would have been today if not so windy.

Although not a daytrip, I have a few other things I want to do during March. I am going to spend a lot more time carp fishing this March than I did last year. I boiled up some corn, checked my alarm batteries andI am ready to go. At least one evening during the month I will have to step away from fishing and see the woodcock dance.

Lastly, I enjoy going to vernal pools and watching wood frogs. This is the time of year they are breeding. The frogs are very curious and if you are still, will come right up to you. However any movement within fifteen feet and they will bolt.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Being frugal

Okay, I do a lot of fun things. When I go back to work after two days off, sometimes I feel guilty. I have so much fun, that I am a little embarrassed  to tell coworkers. It feels like bragging. One person said to me last year "your going to New Hampshire AGAIN???" to which I replied "the mountains aren't going to hike themselves". Truth is, I do a lot of things that I enjoy. Rarely, do I waste a nice day if the weather is nice. However, in many respects, I live my life in such a way I can do tons of stuff without making or spending a lot of money. I thought that if I wrote some of these money saving tips, maybe one or two could come in handy for the reader. First, three disclaimers

1. I have a lot of time. My son is grown up. So I pretty much can do what I want. When my son was little he played sports all year. I tried to get him to try different things, not just things I loved. However his love and best sport was baseball. From April until October we were at baseball 4-6 days a week for almost ten years. I loved it! When I was a coach, we would get there 45 minutes early and I'd hit ground balls. If any other kid got there early from either team, they were welcome to join in. Baseball took a lot of time. I know other parents that live and breathe baseball, cheerleading etc... One is at a cheerleading comp in Atlanta as I write this. These passions take a lot of time. No way could someone hike the mountains in New Hampshire when their kid goes from summer traveling team to Pop Warner football. So if you are a mother of two kids reading this, I do not think my life is better than yours. I loved making memories with my kid growing up, so although I love fishing and hiking, life is not better...just different.

2. I compare everything I do to a weekend in New Hampshire. The reason is, going to New Hampshire is my favorite thing I can do on a day off. This is a double edged sword. When I go to New Hampshire alone it only cost me about $40 for a weekend (that's my secret on how I get there so much). The only expenses I have are gas and food. Hiking is free, and if I fish, I buy my license in the winter. The problem with this is, I compare everything to this. Sometimes I can't justify concert tickets knowing I could go to New Hampshire for two and a half days, for less money than two and a half hours of live music.

3. Given the choice of doing something fun after work every day or saving up and doing a grand thing once a month, I choose the former every time. Luckily for me, my favorite things to do (hiking, fishing, and birding) are free. Other than the gas, it doesn't cost me anything to do these things almost everyday. Obviously, the closer to home I stay, the less money I spend. Which is why last summer was one of the best of my life. Stripers stayed in Narragansett Bay all summer only twenty minutes from my house. Other people might choose to go to a nice restaurant or get great seats to a concert once a month instead of going fishing every night. Again, how I choose to live life is not better, just different.

How I live at home

Now that I got that out of the way I have to be a little upfront about how I live-

1. I don't smoke
2. I don't drink
3. I don't gamble
4. I do not have any debt except car payment, One of my biggest fears is credit card debt, so I do not charge anything.
5. The better the gas mileage of your vehicle, the more places you can go for the same amount of gas money. I had a Santa Fe for eleven years. It got very good gas mileage for an SUV. When it was time to buy another vehicle I got a Corolla. I don't love it, but I can drive to and from Jamestown on three gallons of gas.

I get it, sometimes you want a beer. Sometimes, you want to have a few beers. For me personally, I do not like the hangover, so drinking isn't really for me. I had a quite a few on Aug 11 and woke up feeling like crap on Aug 12. So I am purposely going one year without a drink. I go weeks at a time anyway, but I decided to abstain for one full year for no other reason just to say I did.

As for the other things above, they are not for me. If you like gambling at Twin River so be it. Some people really enjoy it. For me, if I lost forty dollars in fifteen minutes (or as I said above, the amount of money I'd need to go to NH hiking) I'd be sick. Just by not drinking or smoking, I save a lot of money that I can use as disposable income.

Lastly, I rarely go out to eat. It's not to say I never do. When I do, it is to eat something specific, and not "as something to do". I love chicken wings and prime rib. I have favorite places to go for those things. I don't go often. As anyone reading this knows, for two people to go out to eat these days is no less than $35-40. It is certainly much more if you buy drinks or have kids.  And we have already established I can have two and a half days of hiking for the price of a meal.

Ways to save money doing fun things.

1. This will only save money on shipping but it is easier to swallow- I buy my supplies in the winter. If I need a new fishing rod, replacement gear, or a new tent, I buy them in the winter. This way, I don't need to buy an expensive piece of equipment when I could be using the money on fun. If I had to buy a new rod in July, it is safe to say, I wouldn't be going to New Hampshire for a couple weeks. The one way this does save money is- many online stores have free shipping in December. It feels a little weird ordering stuff for myself right before Christmas, but I do save money.

2. Ask for stuff for Christmas. It sounds selfish, I look at it as money in the bank. I make everyone give me a Christmas list and they ask for one from me. If I want a guide book, map, or small order of fishing gear I put it on the list.

3. My brother taught me this one. Instead of buying gift cards to stores, buy presents that are a night out. His wife will buy them tickets to a stand up comic, while he might get tickets to a musical. I have a hard time justifying the price of Red Sox tickets. But I can easily justify spending eighty dollars on  one of my son's big Christmas gifts growing up. So a couple years in a row, I got us tickets.

4. Buy carp bait when it is on sale. I use a lot of corn and oatmeal for carp fishing. When there is a ridiculous sale, I stock up.

5. Buying food on sale is another easy money saving tip. Why spend two dollars on a gas station Poweraid when you can get them for 69 cents at the grocery store? This is obviously a money saving tip in  general. During the summer I go through a lot of sports drinks and snacks.

6. When I go camping I tend to eat the same few foods each time I go. For breakfast I eat pop tarts. Lunch is usually a can of ravioli or sandwiches. Snacks are usually candy bars, fruit snacks, fruit, granola since I burn a ton of calories hiking. Suppers are soup, pasta, stove top, or mac and cheese. Again, when they are on sale I stock up.

7. Go to second run movie theaters. My brother runs a theater and I love going to the movies. However sometimes there is a movie I want to see but missed it. Yesterday I went to see Underworld at a second run theater. Cost- $3.

8. If you have been reading my blog, you have seen I have gone to a lot of plays. However, the most I have paid for a ticket was $26 and that was for second row seats. There are so many small theaters out there, and I really enjoy going to them. I'm sure I'd like the Lion King at PPAC, but to spend a hundred dollars for two hours isn't worth it to me. At least I haven't found a play I want to spend that kind of money on. Until then, I will support local theaters.

9. Camping is way cheaper than motels. State run campgrounds are way cheaper than private campgrounds. Camping isn't for everyone. Some people hate it. However, if you like it, camping will save you a ton of money. State run campgrounds in state parks and White Mountains will only run you $15-25 a night. Private campgrounds are closer to fifty. Private campgrounds offer pools, arcades, volleyball and many other activities. I spend almost the entire day off hiking or fishing, so my tent is really just a place to sleep.

10. If you can find places to camp for free, do so. I sleep in the woods sometimes. This means my "lodging expense" is zero.

11. When we go on vacation, we do not go out for three meals a day. We rarely go out to breakfast. Instead we prefer, fruit, pop tarts, oatmeal, or canned fruit. The meal we usually do is lunch if we are around tourist towns. In South Dakota we bought a burger and fries most everyday for lunch. Going out to lunch is way cheaper than supper. I prefer to eat supper at camp or looking at a beautiful view anyway. Obviously, if I'm hiking all day, and eat supper at camp, then I am not going out to eat at all saving more money.

12. Take care of your gear. If you take care of your gear, and you bought good quality stuff it should last for year. I have freshwater reels that are fifteen years old. My tent is five years old and like new. I've had my backpacking backpack (long trips) since DJ was five years old. This goes for many other things. I just had to buy a new lantern after fifteen years. My daypack which I love and use a lot is
showing its age with some thin spots, I'm going to keep using it as long as I can, I don't ever remember a time I hiked before owning it.

I hope some of this helps. I try to enjoy every afternoon after work and all of my days off. If you try to have fun five or six days a week, obviously you need cheap entertainment. Luckily for me, even if I were a millionaire my favorite things would still be hiking, fishing, and birding. I'd just be doing them in more exotic locations.