Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our First Trip To Colorado Springs Bass Pro Shops

     We finally made it to the new Bass Pro Shops store in Colorado Springs last Sunday. As you can see, it was still pretty cold and snowy. The area around the store is still under development so it will be exciting to see who else comes into the area in the next few years. I was very excited to see that my new favorite sandwich shop is going to be opening a store. WOOHOO for Jimmy John's!
View From I-25
      I love the entrance sign. I was kind of disappointed that there wasn't a goodbye message or anything on the back for you to see when you leave.

Entrance to Parking Lot - windshield was a little dirty.

     We showed up a little before opening so the parking lot was pretty empty. We drove the truck up that day so right away we noticed that the parking lot was not designed for large vehicles. The other stores we've been to have areas that are a little tight but there are areas of the parking lot that you can park a large truck, motorhome or truck and trailer pretty easily. It could have been that the snow was covering up the lines and people weren't parked correctly so we'll have to re-review the parking when it's not covered in snow and ice.

Getting Closer!
     The new store has the amazing entrance that all of the other stores we've been to have. This store has a cute bridge and some fountains near the entrance. I can't wait to see the fountains when the weather is warmer and they aren't frozen.

We're Here!!!!
     I LOVE the entrances into every Bass Pro Shops I've been in. There is so much to look at and the Colorado Springs store did not disappoint us. I love how it looks like there's a real balcony up there.

Looking Up
     My most favorite part of the entrances are the fireplaces. We didn't get a very good picture of the fireplace because everybody else was trying to get pictures of the fireplace, too.

Nice Warm Fireplace
       Before you walk into the store, the buffalo have to size you up a little bit.
Above The Turn Styles
     One of the first things we HAVE to go look for in any Bass Pro Shops is the fish tank. Above the fish tank is a great display with some smaller waterfalls. (Sorry for the blurry photo. The camera wasn't liking the lighting that day and there were a lot of people trying to get the same photos we were.)

Above the Aquarium
     There were a lot of fish swimming around. My niece will be very excited to find out that there are 2 large Blue Catfish (she calls them whales). There were brown trout, rainbow trout, bass, wiper, walleye, blue gill and crappie.

The Aquarium!
     In the atv area, there was a great display up high. I think this is my favorite atv display ever!

ATV Area
     Our God son picked out what he wants for Christmas while we were in the atv section going into the Christmas Village.

Silly Boy
    We didn't take any pictures of the Christmas Village because there were so many people in the small area. We did get to go check out the bowling alley and restaurant. We are SO going to have a Girls In The Outdoors bowling party!! Maybe that is what we'll do for our 2nd Anniversary party! When you remember that all of the murals are hand painted, you will be even more amazed. The restaurant is located in the bowling alley and is everything we ordered was really good.
Ball Returns In The Fish Bowl Bowling Alley
     We were sitting in front of the aquarium while we were waiting for our buzzer thingy to go off for our turn in the restaurant and we were able to enjoy the architecture of  the building and look at all of the animal mounts.

Fish Support

Great Architecture
     All of the employees we spoke to were friendly and knew their departments well. It is a small store which makes it hard to get around when they are busy. We will make another trip after the newness wears off and the Christmas rush is over and be able to check out everything we missed during this trip.
     I have also decided on my new dream job during this post. I decided I want Bass Pro Shops to hire me to travel all over and tell them what I think of all of their stores. The would have to hire my husband, too so that he can drive me to all of the stores and help me with photos. I wonder where we can apply for that job?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Santa Came A Little Early!

     I can finally tell our secret!!! After 3 years of searching, we finally found THE boat!! We needed something the entire family can fit on so we originally started looking for a pontoon boat, but then this was listed on Craig's List.
      The 200 horse power engine should be enough to pull a tube or two.

      We really wanted a rear entry for tubing and we got it!

      Kaos did her inspection and said she'd prefer if there was some carpeting on the floor. I told her there is some carpeting that snaps on when we want to put it on and she was happy with that.

     Sasha says there needs to be some cleaning done. I told her once the weather gets warmer I'll get on that.

      Look at all of that seating in the back!!!

      The captain will be very comfy while he's taking us to our fishing spots and pulling the tubes.

     Another photo of the back of the boat:

 The front of the boat has lots of seating, too. We also love that all of the seats have their own covers which will be nice when we get off the lake right before a rain storm and don't have time to get home or to camp to put the main cover on before it rains.

      Under every seat is storage plus there's storage in the floor for skis and probably a few other things we put in there! I LOVE storage!

      The table will be nice for family lunches on the boat.

      The "dressing room" unfolded.

      The dressing room folded up and stored away will make a nice fishing platform or a place for small kids to lay in the sun and warm up.

 A toy ring will come in very handy.

      The captain trying out his seat.

    We are very excited for next spring. We can't wait to get back to fishing from a boat, tubing and enjoying some time on the water.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Something I Said I Would Never Ever Do...

     I have always said I would never ever go ice fishing....ever. Last winter, our ice fishing guest post kind of got me to rethinking it but I kept focusing on the cold and kept saying "noway." This winter my husband and a friend decided they were going to go ice fishing so this weekend we went to find some ice fishing gear for him. HIM, not me. All day long when my husband would jokingly hold up an ice fishing rod and ask if I wanted it, I would say no. It kind of became a fun game to find silly reasons why I didn't like the rod and/or reel. Some of my favorites were: it didn't have red, it didn't have a cork grip, it's too expensive and it wasn't cute enough. ALL day I did this until...
 until he held up "Cherry Apple." When my husband held this rod and reel up this argument happened in my head:
Voice 1: It's Pretty!
Voice 2: Uh...NO!
The color is so perfect! It's cute! It has a cork handle! It's the perfect price! AND it has a cute name!
If you buy it, you will have to go ice fishing!
I could do it.
You freeze easily, you won't have any fun because you'll be frozen solid!
I can do it! I have plenty of warm clothes than I can layer, plus if I get too cold I can go sit in the vehicle for awhile.
You are seriously thinking about doing this?
Okay, but only the rod and reel for now. Nothing else!!! If you like it, then you can get lures later.

      Remember My "Cuz It's Red" post? Well, here's more proof to support it. The ONLY reason I'm going ice fishing this winter is because my husband showed me "Cherry Apple" and I fell in love with it.

    Isn't it pretty? Looks like I'll be going ice fishing at least once this winter and be able to write my own ice fishing post...or 3.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Attempt At Fly Tying

    I decided that since I am hard on flies, I should learn how to tie flies. I pulled out my handy fly-fishing handbook (I love this book) and turned to the fly tying chapter.....and then I got on YouTube and watched a bunch of fly tying videos.

     The first line of Chapter 8 says "Tying flies is an utterly fascinating and relaxing pastime..." Awesome! Tying flies will be relaxing? That's great!

     The chapter starts out explaining the equipment, hooks and then it explains how to do this:

The above picture does not look relaxing.
     We bought this small tool kit with an extra bobbin for me to start with. Most of the advice about fly tying says to buy a good vise and make sure you don't get one that doesn't attach to the table. I ignored that piece of advice and went with this one. I didn't want to buy an expensive vise and then get frustrated and not use it ever again. I really like this little vise. I can bring this visze with me if I want to and it stores away very nicely in my overly full craft room. I will buy a nicer one later, but for now this one works great.

     The Woolly Worm was a great fly to start off with. It was a pretty easy pattern and was a great one to learn all of the basics to fly tying. The first step is to put the hook in the jaws of the vise.

     Next step is to wrap the thread up to the hook eye and then back down to the hook. This makes a good surface to attach the rest of the materials. It is very important to remember that tiny point of the hook is there. I kept catching my fingers on that little point when I wrapped the materials around the hook shank.

Time for the fly materials! The first material was the tip of the hackle feather. I made this tail too big but for my first fly I was focusing on making sure it didn't unravel and fall apart.

     Next, the rest of the hackle was attached. I've learned in fly tying it is important to plan ahead. The rest of the hackle is going to hang there for awhile but it is important for it to be added now for it to wrap around the next material.

     Next, chenille makes the body of the Woolly Worm. It is very important to leave space near the eye of the hook. I did not do this on my first fly and later when I tried to tie this fly on my line, I couldn't get the line in the eye.
     I forgot to take a picture of fishing the hackle, but you can see by making my tail too long I ended up with a lot of the fluffy part of the hackle and that isn't good. The fluffy part soaks up the water and doesn't work very well, BUT I am still pretty proud of my first fly even though he is fluffy and the eye is closed off.

     My second fly turned out a lot better. I made about 5 total before I had to stop to finish getting ready for our last camping trip. I was very excited about trying out my self tied flies and couldn't wait to catch a fish on them.

     Most of you know how frustrated I've gotten with fly fishing this year. In my backyard I can cast really well but as soon as there is water in front of me, nothing goes right and I end up frustrated. Not on this trip! I got tangled in a bush behind me a couple times, lost my strike indicator a couple times (found it once) and cracked the whip a few times, but then I took a deep breath and I was casting really well. I was even casting into the wind and was still doing pretty good. I was very proud of myself. I wish I had caught a fish on my flies but I think this was the first time I actually had fun casting with my fly rod so I was pretty happy.

       I'm excited for fly fishing next spring. This winter I will tie more flies and figure out how to add red to my fly rod and then next spring I will hopefully be ready to catch a bunch of fish on my fly gear.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Product Review For Mosquitno Products

You may remember from my Bug Off!! post that I REALLY hate bugs. I have another anti-bug product to share! Mosquitno asked me to try out a couple of their products and do a review. I haven't been able to try them against the annoying bugs yet, but so far I can already tell I love both products they sent me!
Mosquitno Products
      Mosquitno (pronounced "Mos-keet-NO") also sent me a bunch of information about their company. One of the coolest pieces of information I found was that they recycle the Bandz. You send them 10 used Bandz with a form found on their website and they will send you 2 free Bandz! They send you 1 as a thank you gift and 1 to help cover your shipping cost! The fact that they recycle the silicone bracelets is great but then there's the bonus 2 free Bandz that make it even better! They use Natural Insect Repellent so you don't have to worry about irritating your skin with chemicals plus they smell like citronella (I love that smell!).

     The first product is the Bandz. They come in adult size and kids size in a resealable pouch! The Bandz last for about 150 hours which is about 6 days. I like that I can give each niece and nephew one at the beginning of a long camping trip and I won't have to worry about giving them another one (unless it gets lost) until the next trip. If they put them back in the pouches, they might for the trip plus the rest of the month's weekend trips, helping in the yard and playing outside times. The Bandz come in bright colors, camo, tie-dye and glow-in-the-dark and are waterproof.

Mosquitno Bandz
      If we don't want to wear the Bandz, Mosquitno also has Spotz. Spotz stick to your hat, bag, shirt, jacket or anything else you want to stick them to! They come in 5 different themes (I have the Sports Shapes pack) and there are 6 Spotz per package. Spotz last around 72 hours which is 3 days and you can put them in a baggie when you're not using them so they will last a little longer. I can't wait to try these on my hat or visor on those fishing trips that the gnats and mosquitos insist on flying around our faces.

Mosquitno Spotz
      For more information about Mosquitno products visit their website at: Their online store is closed for the winter, but they will reopen in the spring. Once I am able to test them out in the field, I'll do another post. I can't wait to try them out during our camping, boating, fishing, geocaching and atving trips next year. I can already tell I'm going to like them a lot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Bandz and Spotz for free from Mosquitno as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Retailer Public Relations ( Company in consideration for review publications.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Only 2013 Camping Trip

     Last weekend we went on our one and only camping trip for this year. It was a little cold but we still had a lot of fun. It was also close to my birthday so my husband let me have my gifts early so I could try them out. He got me a rod holder for my float tube and a life vest so I didn't have to wear my tubing lifejacket anymore on the tube. I had gotten my waders, wading boots and fins at the end of the summer so I was ready to try out my full set up.

     The rod holder was great for "trolling" and having the life vest that is flat until you need it made sitting in the tube a lot more comfortable. I love fishing from my float tube!

     The water was really cold so I only lasted abut 20 or 25 minutes before I had to get out of the water. Getting in and out of the water is a little different with full gear than it was with my snorkel fins and swimsuit this summer. I didn't fall over into the lake when I was trying to get in and out of the water. See my new fins in the photo below? I was letting my legs float a little to warm my legs in the sun.

     On this trip we found all but 1 of the geocaches located around John Martin Reservoir. The one we couldn't find is missing so hopefully we can go find it once it has been replaced. We have been to this lake many times and have never stopped to look at the signs or walk the trails. Geocaching took us to all of the signs and trails and to a few spots we've explored before.

     My husband took this photo. You have too look really close but you can see we saw a heard of does and instantly his hunter instincts kicked in and he took off to "shoot" the does with my camera. I didn't have time to switch lenses for him so it's a little hard to see them.

          We also enjoyed some great views of the lake from one of the geocache areas.

      I love taking photos of dams. I think they are interesting and am amazed at their construction, but also they usually make for some really pretty pictures.

     We didn't get to drive across the road because the dam road was closed. (That sign makes me laugh every time I see it!)

Since it was so cold outside we had to get creative with drying my waders and float tube. The shower in the new camper is the perfect size to dry one float tube and gear.
     Here is a view of our campsite. We really didn't do much outside at camp because of the temperatures. The new camper worked great! We were able to go exploring and not have to reset once we got back to camp like we did with the motorhome, but we did miss having a bathroom with us while we were exploring.

     The girls love the new camper, too. They especially like having a couch to crash on after a long day of exploring.

We didn't catch any fish during the trip and we didn't see any fish jumping or fish shadows in the water. The pelicans that are usually fish catching machines weren't even trying to catch anything either.

     I took some time to do some fly casting practice and since my husband also got me a case to carry my fly rod and reel in, It was pretty easy to pack it down to the water with us. When I am in my backyard I can cast to the exact spot I want to and make the line do what I want to. Put some water in front of me and nothing goes right. I tied some flies (that post is coming soon) so I had plenty of flies to practice with and surprisingly, I kept the same fly on the entire time! I did lose 1 strike indicator and the 2nd one flew off but I was able to find it on the hill behind me a little later.

     I was pretty proud of my fly casting on that day. I even had to deal with some pretty strong winds, but I only got tangled up in a bush once and I only cracked the whip once. The fly landed close to where I wanted it to almost every time so I was really pleased with that, too.

     I got a little creative with my camera and fly rod during a break. I think once I figure out how to add some red to my fly gear, I'll get more comfortable with it.
          Next summer we are hoping to do a lot more camping, fishing and riding. This was our transition year and now that the transitioning is over, we are ready to play. It has been hard to write posts about the outdoors when I wasn't doing many fun outdoor activities. Next summer hopefully I am having so much fun with outdoor activates and have so much information to share that I will have a hard time narrowing down what to post about and when to post it.