What is a shelter belt, and why are Dakotans so obsessed?

During our 2018 summer trip, we rolled across the hills of South Dakota. As we summited each hill, we saw boundless green land against vivid blue skies. Imagine Tolkien’s Shire minus the Hobbit holes.

It was spectacular. Shamrock green grasses lined emerald rows and were dotted with greenish-yellow mustard flowers. 

In the midst of sprawling green farmland stood modest farm houses with big red barns. One might assume that the barns cost more than most of the houses.

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Here is how I unintentionally creeped out a small family.

In 2017, we were north of San Francisco, where we had just seen an old farmhouse that was used in WWII to watch the coast for enemy ships. The gem of history was amazing.

Then, we decided to continue further up to an overlook that supposedly had amazing views of the ocean. So, we meandered up the curved highway.

As we drove, my mind wandered. I felt my leg itch, so I reached down and scratched the scrapes I’d gained so far on the trip. As we neared the area of the overlook, we entered a heavily treed area — normally a source of comfort. But, at the start of the woods, there was a disassembled van. The engine was removed and tilted against the car like a lazy thief decided it was too much work. It had clearly been there for some time. Clearly cleanup crews didn’t often this way come.

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Why is our travel name “MacBeTrippin”?

When I was 17, I got my first job at a movie theater. That job came with an amazing uniform — a fluorescent vinyl hat, apron and bowtie. I won’t ever forget that gig.

Over time, I worked my way up to Assistant Manager Trainee, and ultimately passed the exam to become an Assistant Manager. My boss for a season, Delibra Wesley — a woman with a gentle smile — affectionately called me Mac.

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My first camp hack was a redneck air conditioner that went horribly wrong…

It was our first camping trip. We had planned for weeks, and we were getting ready to take Addie and Emmie on a quick trip down to the state park in Glenn Rose, TX.

LaShera had borrowed a family tent from a friend. The temperatures were warm. And we didn’t relish being in a tent during a Texas summer without some sort of insurance against the heat.

So, I decided to tackle my first, cheap, DIY camping project — a redneck air conditioner for $25.

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Video: Maiden Voyage of our New (Used) Pop-up Camper

It is always exciting to take a new pop-up camper into the wild. We upgraded our pop-up back at the beginning of January. After a few modifications and fixes here and there, we took a long President’s Day weekend to get use to the new digs.

Watch this special video for a look at the inside of our camper and a taste of how we kick it. In particular, watch to learn how Libbie’s first experience with Kayaking went. (Hint: not well.)

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9 Tips for Buying a Used Pop-up Camper

If you are new to pop-up camping, buying a used camper to save money can seem a bit intimidating. There are a wide range of things to consider. But, it isn’t nearly as confusing as it may seem.

You do want to know what sorts of things to look out for to know what you are getting into and also to leverage the best deal possible.

Problems or repairs can generally be categorized as simple ($15-$75), intermediate ($75-$200), or major ($200-$3,000). With that in mind, it makes negotiating a suitable price manageable if you know what to look for.

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