The Biggest Full-time RVing Drawback is a Virus


For thirteen years full-time RVing has given us so much joy and adventure. My husband and I couldn’t imagine living any other way. Through all the pros and cons of the nomad life, we never encountered one big full-time RVing drawback so powerful it altered our ability to enjoy this offbeat lifestyle. And then the pandemic happened.

A Full-Time RVing Pandemic Reality Check

As my fingers tap away on the keyboard to write this, my steadfast RV-driving husband commandeers us into another state. A generous friend has offered us a full-hookup spot on her gorgeous mountain property. Knowing that we could be there a while, she insisted. And as independent and self-contained as we are, my husband and I agreed to her generous offer. We would be fools not to.

The pandemic fallout has hit the full-time RVing community hard, and we are only seeing the beginning of it. For starters, thousands of full-timers like my husband and I are competing for ever-shrinking numbers of long-term RV campsites at parks across the U.S. Also, the many RV travel resources we count on as boondockers are dwindling.

Apparently, the biggest disadvantage to full-time RVing is a global pandemic.

The UnWelcome Mat is Out

The welcome mat for full-time RVers like us has been pulled right out from underneath our feet. For example:

  • The list of public campground closures is getting longer by the day.
  • Many private RV parks are also shutting down to newcomers.
  • Public land boondocking access is more limited.
  • Dump station access is more challenging.
  • Small tourist towns are telling visitors to stay away, amid growing reports of sentries standing guard to keep visitors out.

The weather isn’t helping.

Following the seasons has always been one of the biggest advantages of the nomad life, but now it’s also one of the biggest full-time RVing drawbacks. It’s the reason we left our previous location. Temperatures at our favorite Southern California snowbird getaway, Fountain of Youth, are slowly climbing into the 80s. The weather is perfect now, but triple digit heat is just around the corner. Our Arctic Fox is well insulated, but with just one air conditioner, even 110-degree temperatures are too much for it.

Is Home Still Where You Park It?

We had to accept that the global pandemic hit home and something needed to be done. In a blur of packing and prepping the fifth wheel, we fled to our friend’s property. We will be there tomorrow and hopefully, the people in her small town will not come at us with pitchforks when they see our out-of-state license plates.

The saying “home is where you park it” has always rang true for us. And while we still believe that a “home” isn’t a necessarily a physical place but a mindset, the advantage of being a property owner is now quite apparent.

The biggest full-time RVing disadvantage is clearly, not having a spot to call your own during a pandemic. Are the current circumstances enough to make me want to become a property owner again? Not yet. But as this growing pandemic proves, nobody ever really knows what the future holds.





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Groceries While RVing – Grocery Delivery During COVID-19


As full-time RVers, it’s no big deal to restock groceries when we start to get low. Whether we’re in Eugene, Oregon, Revelstoke, BC, Galveston, Texas, or anywhere, it’s just not a problem. There are grocery stores everywhere and for the most part, they’re pretty much the same, even if the brands and store arrangements are different.

Grocery shopping no longer a familiar full-time errand

It’s a process we’ve all done repeatedly with little or no stress, but now everything is different. With the COVID-19 virus in every state and province in North America, restocking groceries suddenly took on a whole new dimension, especially for full-time RVers since many of us are in the over 60 high-risk category.  We are suddenly aware that a simple trip to the grocery store could result in a serious illness or possibly death.

Many of us are hundreds or even thousands of miles away from our primary health provider.  We certainly don’t want to get sick on the road and leave our spouses to deal with all the uncertainty of an unfamiliar location, the obligations of our rigs, and the ambiguity of where to stay and for how long.

Therefore, we decided to try out a grocery delivery service rather than risk going in a grocery store.  We reasoned that at least we would only have brief contact with one other person, and we should be able to maintain a safe distance.

Should you get your groceries delivered? Photo by Joe Goldberg via Flickr Creative Commons

The downside of grocery delivery

It seemed like a good idea, but there’s a downside.  We were preparing to leave our site in Palm Desert when we first made this decision.  Our first effort to order groceries from Whole Foods was a time-consuming process of finding the items on their website, choosing what size, brand, and quantity of each item and adding it all to our cart.

The process probably took 45 minutes.  Once we got to the check-out screen, we needed to pick a delivery time, and at this point, we learned that there were no delivery times available. That information would have been helpful to know before we spent 45 minutes filling up the shopping cart.

Thinking that Whole Foods might be temporarily short of drivers, we tried to change the order to curbside pick-up, just to learn this store didn’t offer curbside service. We tabled the whole grocery idea for a few days to see if things would improve, and a few days later there were a few limited delivery dates, but none before our departure date.

Delivery availability only revealed at check-out

At that time, we gave up on Whole Foods and switched to Ralphs. Of course, we had to start all over, and the process took another hour. Again, we couldn’t access the delivery options until we were in the checkout process and sadly there were no delivery dates available before our departure.

We were tempted to just chuck the whole idea, and go to a grocery store to buy our supplies, but we recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic was redefining everything, and we were determined to embrace the new normal.  If TV hosts can broadcast from their homes, we certainly could figure out how to get groceries delivered.

We left Palm Desert a few days later with whatever groceries were in the rig and we started on the final leg of our 6-month around the country journey to get back to Oregon. We weren’t concerned about our food supply, we needed a few things, but we had enough to eat. Even though the process had been frustrating, we weren’t worst for wear.

empty grocery store

The right time to shop may give you access without the crowds. Photo by Pixabay

Planning ahead

As we got closer to Oregon, we decided to try the online grocery delivery one more time.  This time we were planning ahead. In fact, we were near Sacramento, CA when we placed the order.

Instead of trying to get the groceries before leaving a location, we were anticipating our arrival and scheduling the order for the arrival date.  But now we were obliged to order from Fred Meyers because we’d be leaving Ralphs behind in California, and the Whole Food Markets in Eugene, Oregon, did not offer delivery or curbside pick-up.

A new store meant a new order… new brands, sizes, quantities, etc. The process was becoming familiar, but not faster. Again, during checkout, we learned that the Eugene Fred Meyers store only offered curbside pick-up, which we surmised would be almost as safe as delivery. We finalized our order for over $230 worth of groceries to be picked up, in Eugene, four days later.

By the time we arrived in Eugene, supplies were getting low, so we decided to throw caution to the wind and go to the Whole Foods Market before stopping at Fred Meyers to pick up our main order.  As it turned out, we’re grateful for that decision.

We arrived at Whole Foods right before the dinner hour and were encouraged to see very few people at the store.  The store was well stocked and it was easy to maintain social distancing. Since we were not sure what to expect from Fred Meyers, we fortunately decided to purchase most of the items that were on our original list.

The plan and the reality differ

To make a long story short, we went to Fred Meyers to pick up our original order. The order was not ready (they were short-handed) and many of the items we had ordered were not available.

Out of the 89 items we’d ordered they could only deliver 15, which included, ironically, three packages of taco sauce mix, but none of the ingredients for the tacos. All in all, our $230 worth of groceries cost $26, which took another phone call with the pick-up manager, and 4 more days to get the charges straightened out in our bank account.

If you must go to a grocery store, go during non-peak hours. Photo by Jens Hemblach via Flickr Creative Commons

Our experience might not be typical

Perhaps our online grocery shopping experience was unique and many of our readers have found this option to be a real blessing. After all, the stores have been under immense pressure during this pandemic, short on supplies and staff, and are dealing with a massive spike in demand.

Will we use the online option again in the future?  Maybe. Online grocery shopping is relatively new, and in the future, it may become the new normal. But for now, I believe we’ll continue to shop for groceries in person and just try to do it as safely as possible.





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AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, & T-Mobile Policies COVID-19?


The top four wireless carriers in the U.S. are stepping up to ease the pain caused by COVID-19. Not the physical symptoms of course, but the additional strain put on wireless data plans by so many people spending time at home, both the sticks and bricks crowd, or those in their RV. Many RVers rely exclusively on mobile internet or hotspot connectivity for their internet access and streaming video. Carriers have addressed this need specifically. 

Whether you are using your wireless services to play games, watch the news, work remotely, or connect with other quarantined family members, it’s a good bet you are maxing out your normally allotted data allowance. All four major carriers; AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are offering special considerations during these difficult times. 

wireless carriers

Wireless carriers are doing their part to help RVers affected by COVID-19. Photo courtesy of DPP Law via Flickr Creative Commons

AT&T

For wireless users that find themselves overrunning their data, AT&T will keep your service connected, waive any late payment fees, and waive data, voice and text overage charges for any wireless customer experiencing hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Those using AT&T’s home internet services, as well as fixed wireless internet will have the use of unlimited internet data. As in their wireless service, AT&T will waive any late payment fees that any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information on AT&T’s COVID-19 response, please visit AT&T.

Verizon

For wireless customers, Verizon is automatically adding 15 GB of data across nearly all of their plans, to be used between 03/25/2020 and 04/30/2020. Wireless customers should note that you will not see the additional allowance in your My Verizon account online, in the Verizon App, or on your bill. To be eligible, you must be on a qualifying postpaid (unlimited or shared), Jetpack or prepaid plan.

Those struggling to make their Verizon payment are getting some relief as well. If you are experiencing hardship because of COVID-19 and cannot pay your bill in full, Verizon will not charge you a late fee or terminate your service during this difficult period. This policy is currently in effect through May 13, 2020. To qualify, you must let them know that you are experiencing hardship by signing in to your account and completing their form.

For updates to the Verizon information, please visit their COVID-19 FAQ page.

T-Mobile

All T-Mobile customers with data plans as of March 13, 2020 were given unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming). T-Mobile customers on plans with smartphone mobile hotspot can add 20GB of smartphone mobile hotspot (10GB per bill cycle for the next 60 days) via myT-Mobile.com or the myT-Mobile app by adding the COVID-19 Response High Speed Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature for each voice line. (T-Mobile Connect excluded).

T-Mobile understands that paying your T-Mobile bill could be difficult right now. If you are past due, you can set up a payment arrangement with T-Mobile online.

T-Mobile is also helping you stay connected to family and friends abroad, by offering free international calling for all T‑Mobile and Metro by T‑Mobile customers to landline (and in many cases mobile) numbers in many countries.

For more on T-Mobile’s COVID-19 response, visit their update page

Sprint

Sprint is stepping up too, providing unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans and giving 20 GB of free mobile hotspot to customers with hotspot-capable devices. Sprint will also provide 20 GB Mobile Hotspot per month per line to any customer that has a capable handset and does not have Mobile Hotspot today for 60 days (or a minimum of 2 bill cycles).

Sprint is also waiving per-minute toll charges for international long-distance calls from the U.S. to CDC- defined Level 3 countries.

For more information visit Sprint’s COVID-19 response page.

See also: What The RV Industry Is Doing To Help In The Coronavirus Crisis





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COVID-19 Update: RVing Is The Safe Way To Travel


I saw a “staycation” ad on the TV today which brought back memories of both the Great Recession along with 9/11 and how people dealt with the aftermath of those two disturbing times in our country and abroad. As I pondered the advertisement and the knowledge that the current COVID-19 outbreak will eventually pass, I began to think about what the post public response was to both those events and how the RV industry will most likely be the preferred mode of vacation travel in the months to come.

Here are 8 reasons why I believe the RV lifestyle will be widely embraced post-COVID-19.

COVID-19

Camping season will come again soon. Photo via Spartan Motors/iRV2 Forums

1. Just like we witnessed after 9/11, people may be reluctant to return to the confined space of an airplane after practicing the safety of social distancing for so long and opt for RV travel instead.
2. People that may have planned to take a cruise are likely to opt for an RV vacation as an alternative as they will not be confined to a small enclosed space with thousands of others where the virus may still be lurking.
3. The thought of traveling abroad to foreign countries may still be a concern for many.
4. Traveling by RV allows people to prepare their own meals consuming them in their own space or outdoors, not in restaurants where they were banned from during the outbreak.
5. You can camp out in the boondocks where you don’t have to interact with others during the check-in process, touch hard surfaces like water faucets and electrical hookups, and minimize the risk of encountering any lingering virus.
6. Sleeping in your own bed every night and using your own bathroom is always preferred over the alternatives, especially after an infectious outbreak when you questioned every surface you came in contact with.
7. RVs lend themselves to outdoor activities where crowds are nonexistent like hiking, biking, fishing, geocaching, photography, off-roading, rockhounding, exploring back roads, kayaking, etc.
8. You know when the interior of the RV was last sanitized and by who (you)!

 

There are potentially many more reasons that haven’t come to light yet but are likely to emerge as this crisis passes. In the meantime, feel free to share the reasons you are likely to RV after COVID-19 and the adventures in RVing you have planned.

See also: Here’s What Is Open And Closed Due To COVID-19

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Full Hookups Save Lives. Help Keep RV Parks Open During COVID-19.


Full-time RVers are feeling the effects of COVID-19 shelter in place laws. A new awareness campaign needs your help to keep RV parks open during the pandemic fallout.

Let Lawmakers Know RV Parks are Essential Businesses

Most states around the country have implemented shelter-in-place laws to protect the public against community spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 requirements are impacting full-time RVers who live on the road and the communities where they travel.

An estimated two million Americans live in their RVs by choice or necessity, but government leaders seem to be unaware of this demographic. And right now, thousands of full-time RVers are being forced to violate shelter-in-place laws to find a place to stay.

Under the new COVID-19 community health restrictions, RV parks and campgrounds are considered “non-essential” businesses. The new restrictions require all non-essential businesses to shut their doors.

Although implemented with good intentions, the shelter-in-place laws are creating hardship and personal safety problems for communities and thousands of RVers. With nowhere to stay, full-time RVers are hitting the road and competing for a limited number of campsites. In places where there are none, they are spilling into big box retail store parking lots and creating public health problems. And each time they move to find a new spot, full-time RVers are potentially spreading COVID-19 to new communities.

Keep RV Parks Open, Prevent COVID-19 Spread!

Full-time RVers are at huge risk contracting and spreading the disease if they are forced to find new locations to stay put. As a result, the Escapees RV Club is diligently working with political and RV industry leaders to build awareness of RVers with no place to go. And now they need you.

In a news release from Friday, March 25, 2020, Escapees representatives write:

Reach out to your elected officials

Every day that passes, Federal and State campgrounds are continuing to close their gates. And, with the potential for more states and counties to mandate private RV park and campground closures, we need to act now. In addition to working as an association with our political leaders and our fellow industry leaders, we feel it is time to encourage each individual to reach out to their elected officials and explain to them why is it critical that they consider RV parks as essential businesses.

We have composed three samples to help you with ideas.

You are welcome to use any of them as you wish, but it may be considered more earnest if you modify the examples to better fit your opinions and circumstances or write your own words.

Full Hookups Save Lives. Help RVers Shelter In Place.

Whether you are a full-time RVer or not, if you want to do something  to 1) prevent COVID-19 from spreading, and 2) help like-minded people who love RV travel as much as you do, please consider taking a few minutes to reach your local lawmakers and help keep RV parks open.

Encourage your representatives to exempt RV parks from COVID-19 shelter-in-place laws. Not only will you make it easier for RVers to stay put and stay healthy, but you will do your part to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from getting worse in the United States.





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Ways To Get Outside During Quarantine – COVID-19 Lockdown


For those living in their RV right now, whether by nature of being a full-timer or simply to inhabit a safe space and get away from the COVID-19 hysteria, being trapped in your RV is probably not exactly what you had planned.

We tend to associate RVing with the great outdoors and all of the wonderful things you can do outside while RVing. Being cooped up for an extended time inside the RV was not expected. Hopefully, you’ve found a safe place to stay where you can quarantine yourself and ride out the coronavirus.

Some outdoor activities are safe, as long as you practice good social distancing. My hope is that the three activities here provide inspiration to get outside, and perhaps a much-needed chuckle.

Fishing

This one seems fairly obvious and not a particularly lofty goal, but I must ask, does anyone ever catch anything when fishing? I feel like I’ve used multiple equipment setups and a variety of bait types only to arrive home with no fish and half the hooks, weights, and bobbers I started the day with.

At least I returned to the RV smelling like I went fishing, mostly due to the stink bait that somehow spilled onto the bacon I was using for bait…the week before. Turns out bacon that has been in your tackle box for a week smells a lot like stink bait.

Once, in a small boat on a Louisiana lake, I did land the big one, 160lbs worth. I pulled a fishing lure firmly through my own index finger. Having a medical professional remove it was only mildly embarrassing. Explaining the insurance claim to my then boss in the days before PHI was far worse. Looking back, I don’t know what I miss more, the simplicity of youth or only weighing 160lbs.

Gone fishin’. Photo by U.S. Air Force via Airman 1st Class Nicolas Z. Erwin

Regardless of your fishing acumen, this can be a fairly solitary activity. Whether you are on the shoreline, at the end of a dock or pier, or on some type of watercraft, few would argue that fishing is a great activity for RVers. Many local campgrounds have private lakes that supersede the need for a fishing license, but you should always check for license requirements no matter where you fish.

Paddleboarding 

I have always wanted to paddleboard. As a skateboarder and snow skier in my younger days, I feel like I could master paddleboarding immediately. Not only does paddleboarding look fun, it must be a great workout. Every paddleboarding photo seems to exude fitness and health as an attractive man or woman effortlessly navigates a tranquil body of water. A waterborne activity such as this would also be great for social distancing as watercraft tend to avoid getting too close to each other anyway. 

Green Lake paddleboard. Photo by dbsteers via Flickr Creative Commons

Somehow, I imagine my experience will be different than those dreamy photos portray. I see myself opening up the storage bay door of our diesel pusher and gently taking out my new paddleboard. I quickly notice that one end has been chewed by one of our little dogs. Resolving to repair this later, I try not to let it dampen the mood.

As I grab my new paddle, I notice that it feels shorter than I expect. Locating the sticker that says “For ages 8-10” I quickly figure out that I was given the wrong paddle, and understand I may have to bend over farther than anticipated to actually reach the water. Realizing that this might now simply be a test run until I resolve the equipment issue, I head to the water to give it a quick try. 

Getting on the paddleboard and standing comfortably proves to be reasonably easy. After a silent thanks to Tony Hawk, I begin the process of paddling, albeit with my junior paddle. Bending over to reach the water with the short paddle proves to be a detriment to both my balance and my back.

Having to stop frequently and stand erect, I think I may have done better to tape two spoons together rather than use a paddle more suited for Dora the Explorer. My day ends in shame as I finally acquiesce to the discomfort and lay flat on my stomach and paddle back to the RV.  Though looking like a surfer ready to ride the tube, I shower and change and simply end up watching one.

Hiking

Hiking is universally synonymous with camping and is not limited to any one specific genre. It is for all ages and is an ideal social distancing activity.

The health benefits of walking are well established. Hiking kicks that up a notch by adding varied terrain, elevation, and surface footing. Hiking in nature is an activity that can be enjoyed nearly anywhere, from our greatest national recreation sites to the smallest local community park. In parks that have not temporarily closed, the day-use areas including hiking trails are still open for use.

get outside

Snake River hiking path. Photo by Good Free Photos

RVers love hiking. It gets you out of the RV, it’s great exercise, and allows you to experience the local environment firsthand. Most state and national parks have trail systems that are well defined and mapped. Many private campgrounds are often adjacent to a trail system or have something equitable on their own property.

Hiking with pets, primarily dogs of course, is a great way for both of you to get some much needed fresh air and exercise while sheltering in place at your current campground. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I often have great aspirations of taking one or more of my little dogs hiking.

What starts as a veritable dog-sled of enthusiasm wanes quickly as their little Dachshund legs generally give out before we reach the trailhead. More often than not, hauling them somewhere in the Jeep to a more doxie-friendly locale is a better choice, but one not without its own pitfalls, as a recent trip to Elephant Butte Lake State Park in New Mexico proved. 

I start by loading up the Jeep with six of the seven miniature Dachshunds. The oldest of the pack simply ignored me as I called their names, seasoned with enticing verbs like ride, walk, treat, and outside. A veteran of many RV trips and not his first rodeo, the eldest buried his nose in a blanket and pretended not to hear me.

The rest of the gullible crew piled into the Jeep like kids going for ice cream. As a first-time Jeep owner, I was intrigued by the possibility of being able to drive right down to the shoreline in the park and do some very mild four-wheeling. The hard-packed beach is also an ideal surface for those with short legs that are four in number.

get outside

Once in the park, the first stop is the drive-through check-in station. Like most state parks, we’ll pay a small fee, get a sticker for the windshield, and enjoy nature’s bounty. Unlike most state parks, the attendant has little to do during this off-season time and proves to be very friendly, and a dog lover.

No doubt after we got through with her, she regrets being both. Below is a transcript of what took place. Bear in mind that the dog portion has also been translated into English. The actual sound that emanated from the back seat of the Jeep was about what you’d expect from six little dogs that have just met a complete stranger right outside the window I had just rolled down.

Attendant: Hi, Welcome to Elephant Butte Lake State Park, have you ever been here before?

Me: No, we’re just visiting. We’re staying at a nice RV park just down the road.

Dogs: Who the heck is this lady? Why is she stopping us? Is she mean? Is she dangerous? Let’s bark at her! In fact, let’s bark and howl as if our very lives are at stake. Let’s bark uncontrollably like we are being injured. 

Attendant: Are you staying all day?

Me: (Thinking…seriously, do you hear this behind me? I’ll be lucky if we make it an hour). No ma’am, just a couple of hours.

Dogs: She’s not taking the hint. What’s wrong with this lady? Ok, new strategy; Nutmeg, you need to howl like you do when you accidentally get locked out. Meg, whine like you do when you see a squirrel. The rest of you continue barking. Bandit should have come with us, he can’t see well and barks like mad at anything, that could be useful right now.

Attendant:  Do…get…car…pass…drive….?

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t really hear you.

Dogs: Don’t stop, I think it’s working.

Attendant: Nevermind. I see you have some dogs.

Me: (ya think! What was your first clue?) Yes, ma’am. They could use some exercise.

Dogs: Almost there…final push now. Bark like an idiot. If someone could growl like they have untreated rabies that would really add a nice touch. Cappy is too quiet, someone bite his tail.

Attendant: That will be three dollars.

Me: What?

Attendant: Three dollars!

Me: Ok, great thanks…here you go.

Attendant: (This guy is an idiot) Thank you, and here’s some dog treats too. Good luck.

Dogs: Hey, did she say treat? I think I see treats? Don’t you guys smell treats? I’m sure she gave him treats. Treats, treats, treats, treats, treats. This might not be so bad after all. What do you say after this, we all get back to the RV and chew on the paddleboard some more?

Just get out there

Regardless of what outdoor activity you pursue while living in your RV during the COVID-19 crisis, just get out there. Try and do something physical outdoors for at least an hour, even if it’s nothing more than walking around the campground waving to your neighbors instead of stopping and greeting them up close. Your presence will encourage others and remind them that they are not alone during this time. 

Whether you define yourself by RVer, Texan, American, or all three, we need to stick together and lend a helping hand where possible. Get outside and let folks know you are there, you’re just six-feet away or more.





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Dogs & Working From Home During The COVID-19 Crisis


As an RVer, I was already familiar with the concept of working remotely. My job working for an internet media company that caters to the RV lifestyle affords me the opportunity to do so as frequently as I wish. I have the luxury of working from the road or even working from home, if desired.

With that being said, I still cling to my more corporate roots and tend to go into the office daily when we are not RVing. COVID-19 has changed that. I am quickly learning the difference between working during those extended RV trips and working from home. Working from home has gone to the dogs.

Working in an RV

As any RVer will tell you, life exists in a 200-400 square foot living space, depending on the size of your camper, travel trailer, 5th-wheel or motorhome. If you are a dog owner, your K9 companions share that space with you.

Life revolves around meals and taking the dogs out, whether for an invigorating hike, or a nice walk to the dog park. It’s a fairly structured existence, and your furry friends generally know what to expect.

working from home

Dog fence panels make relaxing outside a little easier

Working from home

It’s quite different at home. At home, the little furballs are on their turf. They have free reign in the house and yard, traversing between the two, courtesy of a well-worn dog door. Despite the extended square footage my home provides, I’m finding it harder to work from home than I did in the RV.

In essence, working from home has gone to the dogs, as an outline of my day will show. You should know now that my wife and I have seven miniature dachshunds, so I’ll understand if you don’t fully trust my judgment. 

4:30am – For some reason, this is the approved time our pack of little dogs seem to have mutually agreed that I should wake up. I was not privy to the vote that must have occurred, nor was I given a chance to appeal. I suspect the younger dogs may have bribed the oldest one with a dog biscuit, as I’m quite sure he had no intention of getting up this early either.

4:45am – The pups have all had a morning treat, went outside to do their business, and are firmly ensconced in their beds and sound asleep again. I, on the other hand, have just managed to get coffee poured and made it to my office for some quiet time. Looking around I see the three youngest pups layered upon each other as they inhabit a large dog bed in my office.

dogs

Meg, Cappuccino, and Marble share a cozy bed

6:30am – Having had plenty of time to wake up and get my day started, it’s time to work out. With the gym closed due to the coronavirus, I’ll have to do so from home.

I have a nice set of barbells, courtesy of my dear wife and a highly celebrated December holiday. I also have a pair of those spinning push-up disc things that cut your palms when you use them. 

The workout goes well, as long as I’m standing. Once I hit the floor, however, it rapidly decays. Somehow, doing push-ups has triggered an instinctive response for the dogs to surround me. Some go underneath me, some climb on my back, and still, others are attempting to lick my face. The push-ups are over barely after they begin. I’ll have to remember to go to a different room or shoo them out before I start next time.

6:52am – After my failed workout, I opt to work for a bit before grabbing breakfast and a shower to officially start my day. The experts say that keeping a normal routine at home helps you feel better and makes you more productive. Those same experts have little to say about being productive with a pack of weiner dogs circling your feet every time you get up and move. 

8:00am – My wife makes her first appearance. As an R.N. working on her Master’s Degree and a work-at-home pediatric triage nurse, she keeps unusual hours. On this day, she has worked overnight and had quietly secluded herself away in her office, unbeknownst to the pack. At the sound of her office door opening, twenty-eight little feet start their cartoon scramble out of my office towards hers, assuring themselves of their second treat of the day.

10:15am – I’ve been working hard, so much so that I didn’t realize it had started raining. Our short-haired Doxies have a strong aversion to rain. Our little long-haired beauty however seems to be unfazed by it, probably due to her extra insulation. I realize why I have suddenly lost my focus…she’s barking. Barking is a strong word here, it’s more of a squeaky yelp similar to the one you hear when you accidentally step on her tail. 

As I listen to her continued “barking”, its frequency and pitch tell me what I need to know, squirrels. I’m fairly convinced that the local squirrel population around my yard, courtesy of the pecan tree growing in it, are playing their own version of truth or dare. Apparently one young squirrel, having refused to divulge the location of its secret stash of nuts, has opted for the dare. In this case, that dare seems to be to run along the top of the fence to the pecan tree and back. This does not go unnoticed by my little long-haired girl affectionately named Meg. 

The sound has now escalated to a “report the neighbor’s dog” level, so I opt to intervene. It appears that the young squirrel is taking the dare to a new level, teasing my poor little dog by bouncing around on the branches above her head.

Now oblivious to the rain and to the mud she is trouncing through in her efforts to get to this little creature, Meg is running on pure animal instinct with a non-stop string of what surely must be dog obscenities. She’s like a canine version of Ralphie in The Christmas Story, beating up poor Scut Farkus.

dogs

Meg relaxes on the pool deck after terrorizing the squirrels

11:30am – I’m back to work. I’ve lost over an hour cleaning up the dog and blocking the section of muddy yard off from the pack. Fortunately, we have plenty of dog fence panels we keep in the RV, which is parked here at my home. In fact, I contemplate moving to the RV to finish my day, but that would leave the pack unbridled for my wife to deal with. That’s not a good plan.

The dogs love the RV. Whenever I exercise the generator or start up our diesel pusher for a trip, they go crazy. If they hear the clank of the gate that leads to the RV pad they all come running out, wondering if this is a real RV trip or not. For the most part, their reaction is tempered. However, if they see my wife start to carry supplies to the RV, their doxie-sense kicks into high gear, knowing that a trip is imminent. 

1:00pm – I had lunch while I worked, feeling it necessary to diligently account for my time and put in an honest full day of work. I prepare for a conference call. If there is one good thing about everyone working from home, it’s that the dog excuse is now universal to all. The dog excuse, or we might call it the dog disclaimer, is that statement you make at the beginning of a conference call.

 “Hi everyone, thanks for joining me on this call today. Let me say ahead of time that I am stuck working from home today, so my apologies if you hear the dog bark.”

During times such as these when so many are working at home, some for the first time, this seems like a benign and plausible statement. However, it can also be a thin guise, a fabrication if you will.

What goes unsaid here is that the claimant often works from home and that they have several dogs that they can’t control in the slightest. I foresee being part of that latter group for the near future, and resolve to fine tune my own dog disclaimer.

2:03pm – I curse the inventor of the Ring doorbell for the third time today. Each time we receive a delivery or some child that can’t be in school right now walks across my lawn, the little chime from this clever invention dings.

At the first tones, dogs from all corners of the house scramble and converge on the front door ready to assault an invisible intruder. I have no doubt that any criminal dumb enough to enter my home would leave on their own accord rather than risk getting annoyed to death by their barking and howling. I really need to tweak my dog disclaimer.

3:11pm – To loosely quote a popular TV commercial, the squirrels are back. At the sound of the first chatter, the cartoon feet are off and running again as they charge through the dog door one after the other. Swoomp, swoomp, swoomp, swoomp, swoomp, swoomp. My mind registers the count as I hear them burst outside and add their various howls, barks, and whines to the squirrel’s cacophony.

While the cognitive portion of my mind immersed in an email reads that another RV manufacturer has shut down due to COVID-19, the back of my mind registers that there were only six swoomps. I poke my head out of the office and see the oldest dog slowly heading out to join the fray. The look on his face seems to say, “I’m too old for this.”

My ad-hoc work at home desk for occasional use isn’t cutting it during the coronavirus

4:30pm – I realize now that my idea for a permanent standing desk was a bad idea. With the intent of only occasionally working from home and reasoning that standing all day would be good for me, this great idea has backfired.

I’m ready to sit down, but the minute I grab my laptop and change locales, the dogs seem to take this as a sign that I am done for the day and it’s now their favorite time….dinner time. Those old enough to recall Snoopy’s suppertime dance will have a good idea what I am about to experience, sevenfold.

4:35pm – With some kind of sixth sense, or in my case seventh, the pack begins to circle me. On days when I go to the office, they don’t eat until after 5:30pm. With me at home however, they sense my vulnerability. Like a pack of wolves circling helpless prey, I’m unable to resist.

Rather than trying to fend them off for an hour, I give in to their demand and head for the kitchen. Those with small dogs that are easily stepped on can relate to what I call the Doxie Shuffle. Reminiscent of Tim Conway’s old man character, I shuffle my way to the kitchen, trying not to pick my feet off the floor too much for fear of stepping on one of those twenty-eight little feet or seven tails.

5:00pm – With the dogs fed and settled again, I take one more stab at work. Although I’ll wrap up quickly and call it a day shortly, I never really shut everything down until bedtime. With the flexibility of working at home, comes the responsibility of dealing with issues that come up late or answering customer questions during nearly any waking hour. It’s a pretty decent trade-off, and I know our four-legged crew appreciates it.

6:20pm – I make my last of many sweeps around the yard cleaning up after the dogs. While not the most glamorous part of dog ownership, it’s necessary. As an RVer, we are meticulous about cleaning up after our pups when traveling. 

I am amazed at how this simple courtesy is often completely ignored by many RVers, despite the signs and warnings every RV park displays. It’s not uncommon for us to completely pick up everything in a small dog park, lest the blame be pointed to us. Granted, we’ve put that target squarely on our backs ourselves.

dogs

Beautiful and peaceful, Marble closes his eyes on my lap

7:30pm – With our dinner eaten and cleaned up, my wife and I relax together for a little chat and TV to close out the day. Dispersed on and about our two laps, several of the pups are contentedly sleeping. They’ve had a tough day barking at the squirrels, the mail carrier, and the Amazon delivery folks. Much like we did when the children were sleeping, we look upon their cute snoozing faces and are thankful we have them.

9:30pm –  Anticipating another early morning, I get ready to head for bed. No doubt the squirrels have a big day of torment planned for tomorrow, so I need my rest. Being able to work from home is a luxury, and a blessing. Nevertheless, as I begin to nod off I am praying for an end to the coronavirus, or at the very least, an end to the rain.

See also: Full-Time RVers Share Wisdom In Their New Book ‘Be More Dog’





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RV Industry News On COVID-19 – Coronavirus 2020


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, RV manufacturers and industry organizations are fighting to maintain the recent growth and stability of the RV industry. Notable campground associations are also doing their part against coronavirus to make sure RVers have a place to take their RVs, both for service and as a rolling retreat for self quarantining and flattening the curve.

RV industry giants like Thor and Winnebago had taken steps recommended by the CDC to protect their workforce, before recently halting production. Truma Corporation, well-known in industry circles for their RV heating and cooling solutions, already has some experience with the current CDC mandates through their team in China and is strongly implementing them in the U.S.

RV industry

2013 THOR Challenger 37DT. Photo by TxSkye via iRV2 Forums

The Recreational Vehicle Association or RVIA as it is known, has been working diligently with the United States Congress to have the RV industry included in any economic stimulus packages. Working closely with the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), the RVIA is pushing hard for inclusion in the $1-trillion third stage stimulus package.

In addition to their help in the congressional realm, ARVC has launched a series of emergency webinars to help campground owners and operators manage the current health situation. The webinars will provide tools and strategies from industry experts to help campgrounds get through this crisis. ARVC was recently part of a larger initiative that helped reverse a decision in several states intent on closing campgrounds. Again, along with the RVIA, RVDA and others, Florida, New York, California, and Pennsylvania all opted to keep campgrounds open as an essential service.

State campground associations are doing their part as well. Two of the largest campground associations, the Pennsylvania Recreational Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA) and the Florida Recreational Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA) are both pushing back at the state and national levels. The PRVCA, along with the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association have been fighting to keep campgrounds open. Together they have pleaded with government entities to support campgrounds, even in the face of lockdowns and shutdowns. 

Aided by KOA and ARVC, the PRVCA and PCOA argue that campgrounds serve a multitude of needs during this COVID-19 crisis. In addition to the obvious effects of social distancing and quarantining, campgrounds are a natural solution to the shelter in place mandate and dually support local campground businesses. Campgrounds also serve their local market with fuel, propane, and a few essential groceries. For the one-million or more full-time RVers, campgrounds are vital to have a landing place to camp, replenish supplies, and take care of RV necessities such as dumping tanks and refilling water resources.

For full-time RVers, campgrounds are vital to have a landing place to camp, replenish supplies, and take care of RV necessities such as dumping tanks and refilling water resources. Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

The Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association has been busy as well. Working with many of the groups previously mentioned, the RVDA helped push a letter to the governors of all fifty states strongly urging them to recognize the RV industry and campgrounds as essential businesses. The letter also reminded the governors that the $114-billion RV industry is often called upon to provide RVs for local command centers, portable offices, temporary housing and other critical uses.”

Citing a recent purchase of 1,300 RV trailers by the state of California to use for emergency isolation cases, the letter goes on to say that RVs can serve as “mobile clinics, operating rooms, testing facilities, medical providers’ sleeping quarters, laundry facilities, quarantine units or vending, and kitchens.” 

The RVDA, along with many RV dealers argue that RV dealerships must be exempt from a mandatory close order to be able to perform RV repairs and service for those whom their RV is their home. If a sticks and bricks homeowner is allowed to have a plumber or electrician make emergency repairs to their home, an RV owner must be allowed the same if the RV is their current residence, whether by choice or circumstance. While many are also fighting to keep the sales portion of the dealership open, most are losing that battle.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, the RVIA pledged “to donate 20 RVs to the most critical health care settings in the country, as determined by the Task Force; and….provide an additional 100 RVs, at below-market cost, to the settings deemed most critical by the Task Force.”

The private sector is getting involved as well. RV dealer, industry veteran, and RVACA founder Gigi Stetler recently pledged to supply RVs to healthcare workers and public servants through the non-profit RV Advisor Consumer Association’s coronavirus assistance fund. 

While many RVers are seeing their state parks close, the National Park Service has vowed to keep as many of our national parks and resources open as possible. Choosing to modify operations to curtail the spread of COVID-19 rather than shut down parks completely, the NPS sets a standard that all states should follow, but few are. In addition to reemphasizing current coronavirus recommendations made by the CDC, the NPS will close visitor centers and other gathering places to prevent community spread. Of course, things can and do change rapidly as we have seen, so be sure and check with any park or destination you intend to visit for specific details and operation information.

It has been noted that RVing is not just a hobby for many, it’s a lifestyle. It’s clear that the industry as a whole is taking the preservation of that lifestyle very seriously. 

See also: Here’s What Is Open And Closed Due To COVID-19





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Ways To Use Your RV Other Than Traveling – RV Uses


As the coronavirus has escalated worldwide, residents are forced to quarantine themselves and their families. Those with a healthcare worker in the family are often looking for an additional quarantine location for additional safety, in hopes that they don’t bring their work home with them.

An RV is a perfect solution, and provides a variety of other great uses as well. An RV is, in effect, a small apartment on wheels that can be used in several creative ways. The RV sitting in your driveway or local storage lot has suddenly become a valuable resource.

uses

Use your RV as a remote office. Photo via LSC9901 on iRV2 Forums

Help the elderly

The elderly are particularly susceptible to coronavirus. Providing a comfortable alternative to a relative in a senior living facility is a great use of that parked RV, and offers secluded protection to a loved one.

You may simply decide that secluding yourself is safer for those around you, if you have an elderly parent at home and wish to mitigate the risk of them getting infected. 

A great dorm room or apartment

As a pandemic-free quarantine zone, your recreational vehicle can serve as housing for those wishing to be secluded and safe. As schools and universities consider closing or taking extended spring breaks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, your RV can become that dorm away from home your college student might need.

Remote office

Let’s not forget one of the key components of the recreational vehicle, the vehicle part. Using your RV for vacationing or business travel instead of ride-sharing, hotels, and airlines means you are decreasing your exposure to public sources of infection.

Have you always wanted to try boondocking or living off the grid? Now is a great time to give it a try. Anyone with the luxury of being able to work remotely or take extended time off from work can take advantage of the resource you already have, your RV. 

Simply a hangout

You may simply need a place for the family to hang out for a day or two while you clean and disinfect your home periodically. A little driveway camping is good for the soul and offers a bit of a respite from the daily grind. Too often we have a narrow view of an RV’s function, not fully realizing all of the other practical uses it may have.

Now is a great time to buy an RV

Don’t own an RV yet? Now is a great time to buy one. With low gas prices, low-interest rates, and good dealer stock, this is a great opportunity to buy a small camper, travel trailer, 5th wheel, or motorhome.

The RV Industry has reported brisk sales for 2020. There will likely be a surge in sales related to the spread of COVID-19 as people decide to abandon cities for less dense locations. People 60 and over are at higher risk and like most, are avoiding air travel. Hotel rooms where the health of the previous customer is unknown will be less desirable as the virus progresses.

Those wishing to learn more about the RV lifestyle can visit www.rvlife.com or join the discussions at iRV2.com, a fantastic RVing forum and a wealth of knowledge.

See also: Here’s What Is Open And Closed Due To COVID-19





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National Parks Virtual Guided Tours Are Now Available


Whether you are stuck at home, daydreaming, or trip planning, there is an exciting new way to explore the National Parks without leaving your couch.

As part of the US National Park’s 100th birthday celebration, Google and the National Park Service have teamed up to bring an interactive documentary-style tour option of some of America’s natural treasures.

national parks

Stunning views of Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park (Photo via King of Hearts, Wikipedia)

Using Virtual Reality and 360-degree video technology, Google Arts and Culture has created an online option for exploring different National Parks to get a sense of what the wonders and natural environment of each park is like.

Each tour experience is lead by a knowledgeable park ranger.  The tour allows you to see the park in a way you wouldn’t otherwise be able to—like exploring a hidden room in a cavern, climbing down a glacial crevasse, and flying over active volcanoes.

Park rangers know where to look, what to see, and how to better explore their park systems.  Interactive buttons and menus lead virtual visitors to areas that interest them and unique information about the park.

Guided tours of Kenai Fjords (Alaska), Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii), Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico), Bryce Canyon (Utah) and Dry Tortugas (Florida) National Parks are currently offered.  Virtual 360-degree views of over 113 National Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites and Museums are also offered as an unguided option.

While nothing beats the real thing, these virtual tours are a great way to get a feel for a park, get some insider information, and to learn more about the environments and natural aspects of some of the most beautiful natural areas in the US.  Hopefully, additional tours will be available in the future.

See also: Here’s What Is Open And Closed Due To COVID-19





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Campground Closures Due To COVID-19 Coronavirus


Please note this page will be updated as more information is available. Let us know in the comments or on this iRV2 Forum thread if there are any private campgrounds or RV parks that have closed that are not on this list.

Many businesses are closing indefinitely to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, including several campgrounds and state parks. Here’s what will remain open and temporarily closed in each state, but since things change quickly, be sure that you check their website and call ahead if you do plan on visiting.

campground closures

Gulf State Park campground will remain open (until further notice). Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

Alabama

Alabama State Parks will keep their campgrounds and trails open until further notice. However, both private and public beaches will be closed, including all the beaches in Gulf State Park. The pier will still remain open at this time.

COE campgrounds and recreation areas in the Mobile District that are open for the season will not be accepting any further reservations and allowing those with existing reservations to stay the length of their reservation period. Those campgrounds not open for the season will be delaying opening indefinitely.

Alaska

No state park or national park closures have been reported due to the virus (though many are still closed for the season). This list provides more information on local impacts by COVID-19.

Arizona

The 30+ Arizona State Parks will remain open across the state including the campgrounds and trails. This includes over 1,500 campsites for both tents and RVs. Historic parks will limit visitors in the building to 10 people or less at a time. All park-sponsored events have been canceled at this time, including Family Campouts.

All Navajo National Tribal Parks and facilities have closed until further notice.

Grand Canyon National Park remains open, but with precautions and limited operations. This includes closures of all Grand Canyon Park Lodges, and the Grand Canyon Bus Shuttle Service has been suspended. Trailer Village will only be open for full hook-up sites; the restrooms and partial/non-hookup sites will be closed. The RV and camper services including laundry, showers, and food service will also be closed.

Entrance fees will be temporarily waived at the Desert View and South Entrance stations. All visitor centers are closed and park ranger programs are canceled.

Arkansas

Arkansas State Parks will remain open and free to visit at this time. This includes their campgrounds, as well as lodges, golf courses, restaurants, marinas, visitor centers, and museums. All COE campgrounds in the Vicksburg District will be closing by March 22.

In Hot Springs National Park, the visitor center and museum will be closed indefinitely as well as the Bathhouse Row Emporium, located in the Lamar Bathhouse. Outdoor areas of the park, including the trails, the Grand Promenade, and the park campground will remain open.

California

All California State Park campgrounds are temporarily closed, however, other areas such as hiking trails and beaches will remain open.

Several regional and city park campgrounds have closed, including the following:

 

California National Parks
  • Yosemite is open, but all services including the campgrounds, visitor centers, and shuttles are closed.
  • Joshua Tree remains open, however, visitor centers are closed and park programs are canceled. Entrance fees are waived, but camping fees still apply.
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP is open with limited facilities. The Visitor Center, Giant Forest Museum, and the parks’ Wilderness Office are temporarily closed. However, three campgrounds remain open: Azalea in Grant Grove, and Potwisha and Buckeye Flat in the Sequoia foothills.
  • Redwood National Park – The park remains open, but campgrounds and visitor centers will be closed until further notice.
  • Death Valley National Park – All visitor centers and campgrounds are closed, including Furnace Creek, Mesquite Spring, Texas Springs, Emigrant, Stovepipe Wells, and Sunset campgrounds.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park – The national park is open, but the visitor center will remain closed. Their 24-hour vestibule remains open and offers restrooms, water, and backcountry self-registration.
  • Pinnacles National Park – All nature centers and visitor centers will be closed.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore – All campgrounds and visitor centers will be closed until at least April 7, 2020.
Private park closures

Colorado

Currently, all Colorado Parks and Wildlife Areas will remain open, however, the visitor centers and offices will close. All fees will be waived if you need to change and/or cancel any existing camping reservations until further notice.

National parks in Colorado
  • Rocky Mountain National Park – Campgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed until further notice, and all scheduled ranger programs have been canceled.
  • Mesa Verde National Park is open, but the visitor center and museum are closed. The facilities, including Morefield Campground, has a new opening season date of May 1st (though it is still subject to change).
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park – The visitor center is closed as well as the park store. The seasonal campground is currently closed.
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison – Road closures including the South Rim Road beyond the visitor center, North Rim Road, and East Portal Road are all closed for the winter. The visitor center is also now temporarily closed. The South Rim Campground Loop A is open but water is not currently available.
  • Curecanti National Recreation Area has one campground that is still open (as of March 19): Elk Creek Campground is open but water is not available. The remaining campgrounds are closed: Lake Fork, Stevens Creek, Cimarron, Red Creek, Dry Gulch, Ponderosa, and East Portal.

Connecticut

Most Connecticut Parks and beaches are still open until further notice.

Delaware

Delaware State Parks will remain open, and will not be charging entrance fees until April 30. This includes all campgrounds, cabins, cottages, and bathhouses. The visitor centers and nature centers will be closed and all programs and events will be canceled.

Florida

All campgrounds in Florida State Parks will be closed for the next 60 days. Most parks will remain open for day-use, however, the hours will be reduced to 8 am to 5pm. The following parks will be closed in order to balance necessary resources:

 

Due to county ordinances closing adjacent public beaches, the following state parks will be closed:

 

All Forest Service Campgrounds in Florida are closed as of March 20. See this document for a complete list of closures. In addition, several Fish and Wildlife Management Areas will be closing campgrounds and prohibiting camping. Check out their website here for more information on all of the individual areas.

Everglades National Park in Southern Florida will remain open, but visitor centers and entrance stations are closed until further notice. The frontcountry campgrounds will be closed. Ranger-led programs and other visitor activities are canceled. Entrance fees are waived during this time.

City and County Parks
  • Brevard County Parks are still open, including Manatee Hammock, Wickham Park, and Longpoint Park Campground. All community centers, nature centers and EEL education centers are closed. Beachside public parking and beachside parks are also closed.
  • Broward County Parks are closed, including C.B. Smith Park Campground, Easterlin Park Campground, Markham Park Campground, T.Y. Park (Topeekeegee)
  • Jacksonville City Park campgrounds are closedKathryn Abbey Hanna ParkDutton Island PreserveHuguenot Memorial Park
  • Miami-Dade County Parks remain open: Larry & Penny Thompson Park
  • Monroe County (Florida Keys) Board of County Commissioners ordered the cancellation of all short-term (28 days or less) RV park reservations starting March 22. This applies to both public and private campgrounds. More information.
  • Pinellas County: Fort De Soto Campground is not accepting new reservations, but remains open for existing reservations.  Visitors can receive a full refund for reservations upon request.
  • Port St. Lucie County Parks is no longer accepting new reservations for Savannas Recreation Area Campground. All existing campers are encouraged to stay put through March 30.

 

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has suspended camping on all District-managed lands for 60 days, as of March 19. Public access for other recreation purposes (aside from camping) still remains open at this time.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) closed all of their campgrounds throughout the 16-county region for 30 days, effective March 18. Recreational activities are still currently allowed.

The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) is closing each of its reservation campsites and developed recreation areas beginning Monday, March 23, for the next 60 days. This includes picnic areas, swimming areas, and other developed recreation sites.

COE campground closures include three in the Jacksonville District: Ortona, St. Lucie, and W. P. Franklin N.

Individual parks

Georgia

All Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites will remain open. This includes their hiking trails, campsites, fishing docks, golf courses, and other accommodations. Some of the ranger-led programs have been modified in accordance with public health recommendations.

The follow COE campgrounds in the Mobile District have closed:

 

The Savannah District has closed campgrounds at its Savannah River reservoirs:

  • All existing reservations at Petersburg Campground will be honored at this time. No new reservations can be made.
  • Campers with reservations at Watsadler Campground and Twin Lakes Campground (SC) who have already arrived or who arrive on March 18 will be allowed to remain through the end of their reservation. All future reservations will be canceled.
  • Campgrounds that have not yet opened for the season will delay opening until further notice, including Coneross Campground, Georgia River Campground, Oconee Point Campground (SC), Paynes Creek Campground, and Springfield Campground (SC).

Hawaii

All Hawaii State Parks and campgrounds will be closed until further notice.

Idaho

Idaho State Parks will remain open for day-use and most camping, but hands-on activities, programs, and premium cabins and picnic shelters are closed. This will last throughout April unless further updated.

All Idaho Power campgrounds are closed and they are not accepting new reservations at this time. Day-use parks and boat ramps will remain open.

Illinois

Illinois State Parks and IDNR-owned sites are temporarily closed. COE campgrounds in the St. Louis District are now closed. Reservations between March 20 and April 3rd are canceled and refunds will be provided.

The Louisville District managed facilities are closed including day-use of recreation areas and campground openings have been postponed until further notice.

The Rock Island District has delayed opening their seasonal campgrounds until further notice. They have also closed all day-use areas, beaches, and visitor centers. The boat ramps and trails will remain open and available.

Indiana

All Indiana DNR properties are open, including state parks, forests, wildlife areas, nature reserves, and recreation areas. Campgrounds, cabins, and inns also remain open.

All Corps-managed recreation areas in the Louisville District and public facilities like beaches, picnic areas, and restrooms will be closed. Campground openings in this district will be postponed until further notice.

Iowa

Iowa State Parks remain open at this time. If you have an existing reservation but would still feel safer at home, they are waiving all cancellation fees for campsites, cabins, and lodges through April 30. All park programs and events are postponed until April 30.

Polk County will keep their campsites and trails open, however, the Jester Park Equestrian Center, Nature Center, Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center, and rental facilities are closed to the public.

COE campgrounds in the Rock Island District is delaying opening their campgrounds, including these subdistricts:

Kansas

Kansas State Parks remain open, but have several facility closures, including nature centers and education centers. It is highly recommended that you call ahead before visiting for the latest information.

COE campgrounds in the Southwestern Division that are currently closed for the season will not reopen until further notice. Campgrounds that are currently open will remain open and now require reservations and paid fees in advance.

Kentucky

As of March 19, all Kentucky State Park campgrounds remain open. Golf courses, marinas, and hiking trails will still be open as well. The park grounds will be also remain open for hiking and picnicking.

COE campgrounds in the Louisville District are closed and will be postponed opening until further notice.

Louisiana

Most Louisiana State Park campgrounds remain open, but some parks are closed for use as possible overflow isolation facilities. These include Bayou Segnette State Park, Chicot State Park, and Lake Bistineau State Park.

COE campgrounds in the Vicksburg District has closed all public recreation areas, including these campgrounds: Bonnet Carre Spillway, Old River Lock, Columbia Lock and Dam, and Ouachita-Black Rivers.

Maine

Maine State Parks are open with limited services. All park events and programs are canceled. Day-use areas remain open during normal hours of operation (9 am to sunset).

Acadia National Park remains open but no in-person visitor services are available. The campgrounds are seasonal and will not be open until May unless further noted.

Maryland

Maryland State Parks remain open for camping. The Maryland DNR is implementing enhanced cleaning protocols in all cabins and restrooms. All planned park events and gatherings of more than 10 people through the end of April have been canceled.

Massachusetts

While Massachusetts State Parks will remain open, several facilities will close, including many visitor centers and campgrounds. These include Beartown State Forest Campground, Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground, Scusset Beach State Reservation Campground, Daughters of the American Revolution Campground, and Savoy Mountain State Forest Campground.

Michigan

Michigan State Parks, recreation areas, state forests, wildlife areas, and trails remain open, but they have closed common public contact areas such as restrooms and visitor centers. They are currently waiving the need for the Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations.

Minnesota

Minnesota State Parks, recreation areas, campgrounds, and other public lands will remain open, however there will be limited services. This includes closure of visitor centers and contact stations (visitors will need to pay through self-pay and informational kiosks located at each facility). State park restrooms, vault toilets, and shower buildings that are currently open will remain open, with increased cleaning protocols.

Mississippi

Mississippi State Park bathhouses and primitive camping areas are closed until March 31, but RV camping will remain open. Lakes and wildlife management areas will also remain open for fishing.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission has closed casino RV parks including Boomtown Casino RV Park in Biloxi and Hollywood Casino RV Park in Bay St Louis.

COE campgrounds and recreation areas in the Vicksburg District have all been closed.

Missouri

Missouri State Parks remain open, however, they have temporarily closed visitor centers and offices. Campgrounds and lodging remain open as well as day-use areas, boat ramps, and trails.

COE campgrounds in the Southwestern Division that are seasonally closed will be delayed in opening. Campgrounds that are open now require reservations and fees must be paid in advance, and campers with reservations will need to pre-print passes.

Montana

Montana State Parks will remain open, however, visitor centers are temporarily closed.  Camping is not affected yet as many roads and campgrounds are still closed for the season.

Glacier National Park is open all year, but facilities including the campgrounds have not yet opened due to winter weather. Yellowstone National Park is open, but most facilities are closed as well. Most roads and facilities are not typically open until April 17 through early June. As of today, the park still plans to maintain the regular opening schedule.

Nebraska

Nebraska State Parks and Recreation Areas are currently still open for day-use as well as camping, fishing, and other activities. All group events and programs will be canceled through May 31.

Nevada

Nevada State Park campgrounds are closed, but the parks remain open for day-use. All state park museums, visitor centers, gift shops, and offices are also closed.

Las Vegas KOA Journey at Sam’s Town will be closed until April 18.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks and Historic Sites are open and operating on normal hours for this season. Cannon Mountain Ski Area in the White Mountains is now closed for the 2019-2020 season, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

New Jersey

All New Jersey State Park and Forest campgrounds will be closed through April 30. Restrooms, park offices, nature centers, and historic buildings are also all temporarily closed. All existing reservations during this time period will be refunded.

New Mexico

New Mexico State Parks are closed until April 9th. This includes day-use in addition to the campgrounds, dump station use, and special events. Carlsbad Caverns National Park remains open, however, the elevator is temporarily closed, so visitors will need to access the caverns via the steep Natural Entrance Trail.

Hidden Valley RV Resort in Tijeras, NM will be closed March 19th – April 13th.

New York

New York’s year-round State Parks and Historic Sites are currently still open for outdoor recreation. All entrance fees are waived during this public health crisis. Nature centers, visitor centers, and historic houses will be closed indefinitely.

North Carolina

North Carolina State Park campgrounds are closed as of March 17th; trails and restrooms will still remain open. Refunds for upcoming camping reservations will be given by calling 1-877-7-CAMP-NC (877-722-6762).

County and city park closures
National park closures

Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor centers and campgrounds are closed, including Oregon Inlet Campground. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed their visitor offices, but at this time, seasonally open campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails, and restroom facilities remain open.

COE campgrounds in the Wilmington District has delayed opening and closed all campgrounds.

Cape Hatteras KOA Resort will be closed for the foreseeable future.

North Dakota

North Dakota Parks and Recreation has closed all state parks and recreation buildings effective March 19. This will include campgrounds, and those affected will have the option to cancel or change their reservation. Day-use facilities at the state parks, including trails and boat ramps, will remain open to the public as of this time, and recreation and natural areas continue to remain open for day use.

Ohio

Ohio State Parks currently remain open but park offices will close to visitors. State park and lodge cabins, campgrounds, and day-use areas including golf courses are still open. State Park Lodges will be closed indefinitely as of March 19.

COE campground openings in the Louisville District are postponed until further notice.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Parks have no planned park closures and campgrounds remain open at this time. Nature centers are temporarily closed while special park events are canceled or postponed.

COE campgrounds in the Southwestern Division that are not open for the season yet will be postponed. Campgrounds that are currently open will remain open and require reservations and fees paid ahead of time. Campers with reservations will also need to pre-print passes prior to arrival.

Some of the Tulsa Division Campgrounds have closed, including Canadian, Big Bend, and Fairview.

Tulsa NE / Will Rogers Downs KOA will be closed until April 15.

Oregon

The year-round campgrounds in Oregon State Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Areas will be closing after April 2nd. This includes all tent and RV campsites, yurts, and cabins. The many seasonal campgrounds will not reopen until further notice.

Trails and forest roads will still remain open to the public. The wildlife areas will remain open for day-use for activities such as fishing and wildlife viewing.

Oregon’s iconic National Park, Crater Lake, still has winter road closures, although you can still enter year-round from the west or south on Highway 62. The Visitor Center is closed, and the guided snowshoe walks have been canceled.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument has temporarily closed their Visitor Center as of March 20, and camping is not allowed within the three units of the monument.

Pennsylvania

Visitors can access trails, lakes, roads, and parking for recreation such as hiking in Pennsylvania State Parks; however, all facilities in the parks and forests will be closed for 14 days as of March 17. This includes campgrounds, cabins, and all overnight accommodations, as well as restrooms and visitor centers. Refunds will be provided for all of the reservations for the next two weeks.

Most PennDOT rest areas and welcome centers across the state will be closed as of March 17 as well.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island State Park campgrounds will open on April 10. They are currently monitoring the situation and will reevaluate on April 1st if the campgrounds will open as scheduled. If there is a delay in opening, those with reservations will be notified.

South Carolina

Campgrounds and cabins are open in South Carolina State Parks. They are encouraging all visitors to pay fees by using the website or call center to minimize contact. Restrooms in these parks will be closed periodically for disinfecting and cleaning. All park programming and tours and temporarily canceled until April 1. Indoor spaces such as nature centers, retail locations, and visitor centers will be closed.

COE campgrounds by the Savannah River in the Savannah District that have not opened yet for the season will delay opening until further notice. This also includes the day-use areas. Campers with reservations at Watsadler Campground (GA) and Twin Lakes Campground on Hartwell Lake who have already arrived will be allowed to stay through the end of their reservation. Future reservations will be canceled. All existing reservations at Petersburg Campground on Thurmond Lake will also be honored at this time.

Campgrounds at Congaree National Park will be closed effective March 20. This includes the Longleaf and Bluff Campgrounds. The visitor center is also closed indefinitely.

South Dakota

South Dakota State Parks have not reported any closures due to COVID-19. Be sure to call and check their website prior to visiting.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open, however, the Information Center is closed and all educational programs are canceled. The Presidential Trail and Nature Trail are both currently closed because of ice.

Tennessee

Tennessee State Parks remain open including the campgrounds and day-use areas. Public visitor facilities such as the offices may be closed on a park-by-park basis. Guests in self-contained RVs may prefer sites with sewer hookups at certain parks to help reduce the need to use or interact with public facilities. TN Golf Trail golf courses will also remain open at this time.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will be delaying opening five campgrounds until April 15th (at least), including the Douglas Dam Headwater Campground, Douglas Dam Tailwater Campground, Melton Hill Dam Campground, Cherokee Dam Campground, and Watauga Dam Campground. Visitor centers will also be closed.

All COE campgrounds in the Nashville Division will be closed. Those with reservations at Defeated Creek Campground before March 19 will be allowed to stay at the campground until March 23. Campgrounds that have not opened yet will be delayed in opening until further notice.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed their visitor offices, but at this time, seasonally open campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails, and restrooms remain open.

Texas

Most Texas State Parks remain open with limited facilities. Visitor centers and park stores are closed as of March 19.  Visitors are encouraged to use the self-pay stations, online reservation system, and credit card transactions at this time. Other reduced services include the suspension of equipment rentals and interpretive programs.

Pedernales Falls State Park is closed until further notice. Mustang Island State Park has suspended beach camping due to health and safety concerns. Other campsites remain open.

COE campgrounds in the Southwestern Division that have not opened for the season yet will be delayed in opening. Campgrounds that are already open now require reservations and fees paid in advance as well as a pre-printed pass. Fort Worth District campgrounds remain open at this time.

Texas National Forests and Campgrounds have closed some campgrounds, including Cagle Recreation Area and Double Lake in Sam Houston National Forest and Ragtown Campground in Sabine National Forest.

County and city park closures include:

  • Cameron County (South Padre Island): Andy Bowie County Park, Isla Blanca County Park, Edwin King Atwood Park
  • Lewisville Lake Park campground is not accepting new reservations. The campground is now closed, while those who are currently in the campground are permitted to stay in place.
National parks in Texas

 

Many private RV parks across Texas have reported they are still open for business. Call ahead and check their website prior to arrival for the latest updates.

Utah

Utah State Parks are open or closed on a case-by-case basis. Campground closures include:

National parks
  • Zion National Park is open with reduced services. All Zion Lodge operations will be closed until May 21. The entrance fees will also temporarily be suspended. The shuttle is suspended at this moment but visitors are still welcome to drive up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive until the limited parking in the main canyon has filled. Camping fees will be accepted via the deposit envelopes.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park remains open 24 hours a day. The park road is fully open to Rainbow Point. All visitor centers will be closed and ranger programs are canceled. First-come-first-serve camping remains available at North Campground.
  • Arches National Park is open with similar precautions. Park entrance fees are temporarily suspended. Devils Garden Campground will not accept any new arrivals in March. Campers already in the park will be allowed to complete their current reservation. April reservations are subject to change as new guidance develops. The Visitor Center, and park bookstore, are closed until further notice.
  • Capitol Reef National Park is also open with limited visitor services. The Visitor Center, and Gifford House, will be closed at this time. Campsites are still available by reservations only.
  • Canyonlands National Park remains open but has closed all park visitor centers and book stores.

 

Green River KOA will be closed until April 15.

The area around Moab is closed. This includes all RV parks and camping on public or private lands within Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties. Only essential visitors (those working in the county) and primary residents are currently permitted to utilize public lands for primitive camping. No camp shall be located within 200 yards of another camp and no camp shall consist of more than 10 people.

Vermont

Vermont State Parks are free and currently open for people to enjoy. All parks are still set to be fully operational during the busy summer camping season.

COE campgrounds in the New England District have closed, including Winhall Brook Campground.

Virginia

Virginia State Parks are open including their cabins and campgrounds. COE campgrounds in the Wilmington District have delayed opening and closed all of their campgrounds.

Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) campgrounds will be closed until May 31. This includes Bull Run Regional Park and Pohick Bay Regional Park. Fairfax County Park campgrounds are also closed.

Some private RV parks are closed and restricting access to new arrivals, including Stoney Creek Resort.

Washington

Washington State Parks, including their campgrounds, remain open. However, all visitor and interpretative centers are closed and special activities are canceled through April 30. They are also taking additional measures such as limiting the number of visitors inside an office and providing electronic options for purchasing passes and making reservations.

National parks
  • Mount Rainier remains open but has closed the Jackson Visitor Center, Longmire Museum, the Paradise Snowplay Area as well as the Paradise Winter Group Camping Area. Visitors can still enjoy other winter activities in the park at this time.
  • Olympic National Park has closed all visitor centers, but most campgrounds and trails still remain open. Visitors are asked to purchase their park passes online ahead of time.
  • North Cascades is mostly still closed for the season, including the main North Cascades Highway (Highway 20).

 

Grant County Public Utilities (GPUD) has closed its campgrounds: Crescent Bar, Rocky Coulee, Sand Hollow, Priest Rapids Recreation Area and the Jackson Creek Fish Camp.

West Virginia

West Virginia’s State Parks and Forests are still open to visitors.  Gauley River National Recreation Area also remains open with an RV campground.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Parks and trails are set to remain open to the public, however, park campsites are closed through April 30 (refunds will be issued to all of those with reservations). All state park offices, visitor centers and non-essential buildings will be closed as well.  Park bathrooms will remain open with increased cleaning protocols.

Wyoming

Wyoming State Parks have not reported any closures due to COVID-19. Yellowstone National Park is open, but most facilities are closed for the winter season. Most roads and facilities are not typically open until April 17 through early June. As of today, the park still plans to maintain the regular opening schedule.





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Pandemic 2020 – COVID-19: How To Stay Safe In Your RV


I have always advocated that RVers keep their RV minimally stocked and ready for occupancy at a moment’s notice. Minimally stocked means being able to survive for a few days which should include items like bedding, towels, canned goods, some potable water in the tank (unless winterized), basic toiletries, propane in the tanks, camping clothes, etc. The reasons I typically cite are:

  • Natural disasters that might leave your home uninhabitable like an earthquake or tornado.
  • Predicted natural disasters that your home is in the path of, and you are forced to evacuate like a flood or hurricane.
  • Manmade disasters like a fire or natural gas explosion that might render your home uninhabitable before you have an opportunity to extract any supplies.

 

epidemic

Basic supplies

Having your RV minimally stocked as listed above allows you to quickly vacate into your RV and/or away from an approaching storm when needed providing you with a couple of days to figure out a more long-range plan if needed.

However, I never considered an epidemic or sudden outbreak of a communicable illness like the COVID 19 pandemic that the world is currently experiencing that might require an RVer to flee their home or city.

While I don’t advocate anyone abandoning their home and/or city and start living in their RV, there are those that are more at risk where this might be a prudent and appropriate action. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • If your RV is stocked and has been sitting idle, you know the surfaces and items within the RV are free of any viruses, as viruses don’t survive long outside of a carrier. The inside of your RV has now become a safe refuge in which to self isolate yourself.
  • Your RV, being mobile (and virus-free), allows you to distance yourself from the outbreak.
  • If a friend or family member was exposed to the virus, the RV could serve as a place for them (or non-exposed members of the family) to retreat to.
  • If nothing else, you will have a ready source of reserve supplies in the event the public panics and overbuys basic supplies like toilet paper!

 

pandemic

Social distancing in the boondocks

If you choose to get away in your RV, the question now becomes where to go as some government agencies are closing campgrounds during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Why, I don’t understand, as this seems to be one of the best ways to socially distance yourself from others. Even here in Washington State (the epicenter of the current COVID-19 outbreak in the United States), the Governor has specifically listed camping as an approved activity.

Where would I go in my RV if I were forced to leave my home or state (which I am not)? I would head to the boondocks, of course. The boondocks are always open, there are rarely hard surfaces to harbor viruses left by others, and you can distance yourself a long way from others. This is yet another valid reason to become a better dry camper.

Take care during this unprecedented time and may all your adventures in RVing be safe!





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SoftStartRV Air Conditioning Soft Start Kits For RVs


Sponsored by SoftStartRV

As an RVer, you dream about those rugged campgrounds in national parks and forests. You yearn for the remote campgrounds of yesteryear during the heydey of Route 66 lore. As alluring as that may be, enjoying those places during their seasonal peak is often a trade-off between sweat and nostalgia. As is often the case, the power stalk at those campgrounds is also from yesteryear and only provides 30-amps. The more authentic the experience, the less likely you are to have the power you need to keep cool. 

While most newer private campgrounds offer a 50-amp hookup, older and more traditional campgrounds often provide only 30-amps to power your rig. Additionally, those that do offer 50-amp connections tend to fill up first, leaving the 30-amp power to latecomers and last minute arrivals.

The majority of campers only need 30-amps for most functionality, leaning on that 50-amp burst to start up a second A/C unit, often a must to keep cool during the most popular travel seasons. 

soft start kit for rv air conditioner

Stay cool while boondocking with SoftStartRV air conditioner soft start kits

Perfect Soft Start Kit For A/C For Dry Campers

When boondocking or dry camping, a single small generator is all anyone really needs for full-featured camping. Unfortunately, most portable generators won’t start your RV’s air conditioner, making it tougher to enjoy those warm days.

RVers can now start and run their 15k or 13.5k air conditioner using SoftStartRV with their Honda generator. Now you can keep cool and focus on the fun, even in those free camping sites with no hookups. 

SoftStartRV Air Conditioning Soft Start Kit Means A/C Freedom At Any 30-Amp Site

Now, you can take your motorhome, 5th-wheel, or travel trailer equipped with multiple air-conditioning units virtually anywhere and enjoy camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, or just hanging around the campsite, knowing that when the day is done you can relax in the cool comfort of your rig, even on a 30-amp connection. No more hunting for the relatively few 50-amp sites at state parks. 

SoftStartRV A/C soft start kits have made this possible. The SoftStartRV A/C soft start kit reduces startup power demand by up to 70%. Installing one for each A/C unit not only helps when plugged in, but it makes life easier for your generator too. Now, your motorhome, 5th-wheel, or travel trailer can take full advantage of both of the RV air conditioner units your rig came with. 

soft start kit for air conditioners

SoftstartRV A/C soft-start reduces startup power demand by up to 70%

Great Air Conditioner Soft Starter For Class A Rigs

SoftStartRV is for big rig owners too. Even when hooked up to 50-amps, SoftStartRV A/C soft starters for air conditioners reduce the need for your power management system to shed power from an induction cooktop, hairdryer, or any other high-draw device to start an additional air conditioning unit.

Motorhomes with three or even four A/C units benefit greatly by having an RV soft start installed for each A/C unit. That startup power savings is handy when boondocking or running the generator while driving. 

ac soft start kit

SoftStartRV A/C soft start kits are great for diesel pushers as well

Easy RV Soft Starter Installation

Installation of the SoftStartRV A/C soft start is a snap for any handy RVer. Installation instructions, a wiring diagram, video links, and great tech support are all available, as is a Bonus Install Kit. Not feeling up to it? SoftStartRV A/C soft starters are a breeze for any professional RV tech to install, typically in under 45 minutes per unit. 

Great Air Conditioner Soft Starter Value

SoftStartRV A/C soft starters sell for $299 each, but there is a $50 off limited time offer with free shipping and discounts for multiple quantities. SoftStartRV is so sure you’ll love the difference that SoftStartRV A/C soft starters make for your camping experience, they offer a 90-day 100% full refund guarantee, and a 1-year warranty extendable to 2-years free, with online registration. 

Enjoy modern camping to its fullest, no matter where you camp. Keep cool and order SoftStartRV A/C soft starters for your rig today. Order SoftStartRV A/C soft starters at https://www.softstartusa.com/rvlife 





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Trip Planning Makes Us Happier, Research Shows


While the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping many people at home right now, it’s a great time to get a head start on your RV spring cleaning and planning your next road trips and adventures. In fact, research has even shown that vacationers are happier from planning a trip and looking forward to it more than when they return from their travels.

trip planning

Planning a trip will bring you more happiness than the post-trip happiness. Why not start mapping out your next RV road trip today? Photo via Joshua Noble via Flickr Creative Commons

The study, published in Applied Research In Quality of Life (ARQOL), consisted of over 1,500 respondents, and compared several variables, including the length of stay, days passed since their return, and how much stress they experienced on the trip.

Statistically, the most dramatic difference was between pre-trip happiness and post-trip happiness, indicating that there is more happiness from looking forward to a vacation rather than when you get back into the same old routine. Essentially, people who anticipate a vacation feel better off than non-vacationers, and once the trip is over, that post-trip happiness does not last long.

According to the study, post-trip happiness levels generally decrease over the following eight weeks after returning, with the highest happiness levels in the first two weeks.

“Generally, once the holiday is over, vacationers are no happier than non-vacationers, because the holidays are over and vacationers are, in that sense, equal to non-vacationers.”

The study also found that the length of a trip is not necessarily associated with post-trip happiness. People tend to derive more happiness from two or more short breaks throughout the year, rather than just a single longer vacation once a year.

RVers know this to be true already—camping trips throughout the season are usually much more preferable than just one road trip every year. Not to mention, there have been several other studies that have already shown that camping is good for your health. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation discovered that immersing yourself among the forests, trees, and other greenery has multiple health benefits such as boosting your immune system, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, increasing your ability to focus, improving sleep, and it can even increase your energy levels.

trip planning

People derive more happiness from short breaks throughout the year, rather than just one long vacation once a year. Photo via Joshua Noble on Flickr Creative Commons

Of course, spontaneous camping trips can be fun as well, with the freedom of hitting the open road and no particular destination in mind. But, as this research has shown, there is even more happiness from travel planning and the anticipation leading up to the trip.

RV Trip Wizard users can attest to this, as there is nothing more exciting than knowing you have the perfect route planned out, with the best campgrounds to suit your needs, and getting to look forward to all of the attractions, or friends and family, that you will get to see along the way. Take this review for example:

“We have used RV Trip Wizard for several trips. We use it to find parks of our choice and budget our trips. It is fantastic and after a small learning curve it is easy to use. In 2017 we designed and made a trip across the northern tier states in the West and visited 22 RV parks. A great trip and many old friends visited along the way. We highly recommend this app to anyone that travels full-time.” – Jean John Brown, Facebook recommendation, RV Trip Wizard user

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be planning my summer road trips right now rather than staying glued to the latest news on the new coronavirus. Get a head start on your trip planning with RV Trip Wizard today and enjoy the happiness and anticipation of later travels during a much-needed time. More information on the study can be found here.

Nawijn, J., Marchand, M.A., Veenhoven, R. et al. Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday. Applied Research Quality Life 5, 35–47 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-009-9091-9





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These RV Travel Hazards Kill More People Than a Pandemic


Global pandemics are nothing to laugh about, but it pays to keep things in perspective. Be safe but always remember these top five travel hazards that actually kill more people than a scary pandemic like COVID-19 (at least, so far).

These RV Travel Hazards Are Always Present

Infectious disease is a fact of life on Planet Earth. From the earliest recorded pandemic in 165 AD to the Coronavirus of 2019/2020, catastrophic infectious disease has taken millions of lives. But before you panic about the current pandemic, stop and look at the big picture. Life has many more circumstances responsible for killing far more people than any virus ever has. These RV travel hazards are just a few.

Highway wrecks.

RV travel hazards

Image: iRV2 Member KrankyKoot

In the U.S., 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes that happened in 2016. That’s an average of 102 per day according to the National Transportation and Safety Board. Worldwide, nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes every year, on average 3,287 deaths a day, according to the World Health Organization.

RV fires.

RV Travel Hazards

Most fires happen in the RV engine compartment or refrigerator. Image: iRV2 Member Mr. Belvedere

About 4,000 RV fires happen each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The number two cause of a fire is the RV refrigerator. The number one? RV engine fires.

National park hazards.

RV travel hazards

Many people die in National Parks too. Image: irV2 Member 5DCanonman.

Each week, about 6 people die in America’s national parks. We’re talking about 312 deaths a year, or just under one death per million visitors according to park service chief spokesman Jeremy Barnum in an article on CNN.com. How they die ranges from getting lost in the wilderness to car accidents to heart attacks, but fatal wild animal conflicts rarely happen.

Domestic pets, insects and farm animals.

Based on data from 2008 to 2015 1,610 animal-related fatalities happened in the US. “Importantly, most deaths are not actually due to wild animals like mountain lions, wolves, bears, sharks, etc., but are a result of deadly encounters with farm animals, anaphylaxis from bees, wasps, or hornet stings, and dog attacks,” writes Jared A. Forrester, MD, Department of Surgery, Stanford University and lead director of a study in the science journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.

Forrester goes on to caution that the majority of animal related deaths do not happen in the wilderness. “So, while it is important that people recreating in the wilderness know what to do when they encounter a potentially dangerous animal, the actual risk of death is quite low.”

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

RV travel hazards

Unvented heaters also cause many deaths. Image: Image by Hye-youngJung, Pixabay.

Each year, carbon monoxide poisoning claims the lives of more than 400 Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Over 20,000 emergency room visits and 4,000 hospitalizations occur, and many of these incidents are the result of campers using unvented propane heaters.

Keep Pandemic Fears in Check: Go RVing!

In these perilous times, it’s easy to forget that when danger is real, fear is a choice. You can choose to sit in front of the television all day and worry about the “what ifs” of a highly infectious pandemic. Or, you can take command of your thoughts and remember that life always has more RV travel hazards coming at us than one global health crisis. Keep washing those hands to avoid illness, and for better mind and body health, get out and get remote during the COVID-19 pandemic.





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New RV Owner Advice – Tips For New RV Owners


As an RV owner, enthusiast, and industry member, I follow the RV world very closely. I do this through a variety of print magazines, digital magazines, email newsletters, forums, blogs, television, social media, and trade or industry shows. Making sense of the advice and tips for new RV owners can be daunting. 

To say there is a ton of information out there would be a vast understatement. The RVing lifestyle is at the forefront of the American consciousness right now, as evidenced by this year’s early RV show attendance numbers. For a new RVer, this deluge of data can be quite overwhelming. Some of that overload is of our own doing.

In our quest to round up as much advice and tips as we can harvest, we sign-up for newsletters, and subscribe to YouTube channels. We also read blogs, join Facebook groups, and otherwise try and saturate ourselves with data through any source we can find. Here is a collection of tips and advice designed to help the novice RVer make sense of all that data.

New RV Owners Looking for tips and advice attend the Florida SuperShow in Tampa

New RV owners looking for tips and advice attend the Florida SuperShow in Tampa

New RV owners need good tips and advice

For those just entering into the RVing lifestyle, exercising discernment about the advice they find or receive can be difficult. Good advice is commensurate with the amount of effort it takes to give it. This can be seen in the case of social media. One of the quickest ways to give or receive advice is through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Because these platforms are more “in the moment”, advice tends to be quick and shallow, often without anything to back it up. Such responses are usually interspersed with jokes and irrelevant comments, making it tougher to locate valid answers. Good advice can be dispensed on these platforms, but it takes a greater level of patience and determination to extract it.

As a newbie, you have the added burden of discerning the validity of that advice as well. Social media content tends to disappear quickly as fresh content continually replaces the data in your current feed. It can be difficult to locate an answer you saw even just the day before, let alone a week or two ago, depending on how active the group or page is.

Forums, videos, and blogs offer advice and tips for new RVers

You’ll usually find more reliable advice and tips for new RV owners in deeper context platforms such as forums, videos, and blogs. iRV2.com is easily the most popular RVing forum, with decades of experience and over ¼-million members.

The extra effort you take to learn to navigate a forum will yield greater results in the form of detailed answers that are backed by other RVers and can be located and referenced easily at any time.

Marc and Tricia Leach’s YouTube channel ‘Keep Your Daydream’ dispenses vast amounts of great advice and tips for new RV owners.

Marc and Tricia Leach’s YouTube channel ‘Keep Your Daydream’ dispenses vast amounts of great advice and tips for new RV owners.

The popularity of YouTube has created an entirely new genre of informative and entertaining RVing videos and personalities. Well-known YouTubers have sought not only to hit the road and make a living while full-time RVing, they have found a way to take us along for the ride.

The majority of them share their trials and tribulations on camera and provide one of the best ways to learn about the RV lifestyle. They regularly dispense excellent advice and tips for new RV owners through their channels. Discerning the good from the bad is usually easier when peering directly into someone’s life through the camera lens.

Many good blogs still exist and are often the preferred format for those less inclined to spend time in front of a camera. Blogs can be reasonably easy to validate if backed by good photos and reference links, where applicable. 

A new RV owner should use all of the tools at their disposal to make an informed decision, whether trying to discern the pros and cons of a particular RV or simply figuring out which grill to buy for their trips.

Try before you buy – Renting makes a savvy new RV owner

The recent rental market explosion has yielded new rental opportunities from the likes of RVShare and others. Additionally, there may be rental options offered by local RV dealers in your area. For a new RV owner, there should no longer be any excuse for buying the wrong type of RV, especially a brand new one where depreciation rates might be as much as 30% or more the first year. You can look at RVs all day long, but you may not learn which type of RV you need or which features matter to you and your family until you have rented a few times.

Many motorhome owners will tell you to buy your third RV first, realizing that by your 3rd RV you know exactly what you want and won’t suffer the aforementioned depreciation. That can be scary territory to navigate for folks buying their first RV. Here again, renting several times can provide the same kind of insight. 

There are several RV types for the new RV Owner to choose from

There are several RV types for the new RV owner to choose from

A great example would be the neophyte couple that knew they wanted a Class A motorhome.  The wife had no desire to sit in a pickup truck all day, or sitting in the RV’s passenger seat. Instead, choosing to sit at either the couch or the dining table to relax and get some work done during the drive.

After a couple of years of renting and participating in the Gas vs Diesel debate, it came down to purchasing a diesel motorhome. The loud V-10 engine in the front of the gas motorhome prohibited conversation from the driver back to the living area. They never would have discovered this without renting a variety of RVs first.

Prospective new RV owners should shop ‘til you drop

Once you have a pretty good sense of what you are looking for in an RV, start shopping. Not only do you want to have a strong sense of the true value of what you are looking for, both for a new or used RV, but you can start to iron out some of the nuances of your selection.

In addition to Camping World, local RV dealers, and all the standard online sources, be sure and take in any RV shows that are within reasonable driving distance. Remember too that many RV dealers will have an in-house RV show with a bit of local fanfare and less sales pressure, affording a great opportunity to kick the tires on several RVs.

Here’s where you can decide on some of the less obvious but ultimately important features. Jack-knife sofa or fold-out? Outdoor kitchen or not? Booth dinette or table and chairs? Sliding storage trays or room for a kayak? You will typically find several floor plans in the type and model of RV you have decided on. Take your time and choose the one that fits your needs the best.

Remember to never be in a hurry or feel pressured to close a deal. There are plenty of RVs out there and plenty of dealerships. Decide ahead of time whether you will be a candidate for an extended warranty. Most RV dealerships will suggest them enthusiastically.

Warranties can also be purchased from outside sources if you end up purchasing an RV from a private seller and would like to have a little extra peace of mind. Extended warranties can be as high as 5% of the total cost of your RV. Having a plan means you won’t get caught off guard and can make an informed decision.

Understand the cost as a new RV owner

It’s important to understand the total cost of your RVing experience. Make sure you understand the monthly cost of your RV payment, the cost of the frequent maintenance it will require, and trip costs such as fuel and campground fees.

We’ve often heard that RVing is cheaper than a similar vacation utilizing fights, hotels, rental cars, and meals. While that may be true for a short vacation, the monthly RV and insurance payments occur every month, all year long. Some insurance companies will let you pay only for the months used, but your banknote for the RV will still occur every month. You’ll still be paying during those cold months when you aren’t using your RV and it’s sitting in your driveway or a storage facility that you are also paying for. 

Covered storage for your RV during the off-season is a nice luxury

Covered storage for your RV during the off-season is a nice luxury

RV loans tend to be in the 10, 15, & 20-year variety. Make sure you can afford the proposed monthly payment before you commit. While you can always sell the RV if times get tight, bear in mind this is where depreciation rears its ugly head. You’ll potentially be upside down if you change your mind in the first few years.

Unless you are a boondocking pro, which most new RVers are not, you’ll have to contend with campground fees that are escalating due to recent demand. Nightly campground costs can easily run from $25 to $125 per night. The more elaborate the campground and the amenities offered, the higher the cost. You can save some money on camping costs by utilizing clubs, such as Thousand Trails, to reduce those campground fees.

Fuel cost expectations

You need to also understand your potential fuel costs. At worst, with your motorhome, large travel trailer, or 5th wheel you’ll get 7-mpg. At best, perhaps 10-mpg depending on your vehicle.

Obviously, the smaller the truck and trailer and the more efficient the engine the truck or motorhome has, the better those numbers will be. Even at a generous 9-mpg, a trip from Chicago to Yellowstone and back could cost as much as $1000 in fuel alone.

Keep notes while gathering tips and advice

With such a plethora of resources available, keeping track of it all can be difficult. As a new RV owner, you will be exposed to a wealth of tips and advice. Often, you’ll see an important bit of information that you sense is important, but it’s not currently relevant or you simply don’t understand it enough to know its importance. One trick is to utilize a cloud storage device, such as Google Keep, OneDrive (part of Office 365), or DropBox. You can usually access these with any of your computers or devices. 

When you run across a video, website, forum thread, or some other pertinent note that you feel might be valuable, simply save that link to a folder on your cloud drive. Most of the data you save will be links to those other resources. You can also have a catch-all document that you can paste in snippets and tidbits you might see on forums or social media that aren’t direct links. 

New RV owners asking advice about tire pressure will want to weigh a new RV

New RV owners asking advice about tire pressure will want to weigh a new RV

Here too is a great place to keep any campground or tourism information you have collected. You can also keep technical data such as results for any truck scales you have visited to weigh your rig, tire pressure notes, and a list of manufacturer’s phone numbers.

It’s also a great location for emergency procedures and checklists for breaking down camp. The goal is to have a single place to go to when you have an RVing question or emergency.

New RV owners should manage expectations

RVing is more of a lifestyle than a vacation and can be a lot of work. That work is often rewarding in ways you just can’t experience in other vacation scenarios, but it’s work nonetheless. You can’t just hop into the RV and throw your suitcases on the bed and wait for room service. 

The RV must be prepared and packed. The route must be planned, campground reservations made, and at least a modicum of groceries stocked. You’ll need to plan for those fuel stops ahead of time as well, you can’t just take your 40-foot motorhome through the nearest 7-Eleven for fuel. 

New RVers will learn about unique components

As a new RV owner, you will want to make sure you learn how to operate all the special components your RV is equipped with. Much of the equipment is not native to most homeowners and will require some initial training. You’ll need to understand things like filling up the fresh water tank, dumping black and gray tanks, running a generator, and hooking up electricity to your rig. 

A typical wet-bay arrangement for dumping tanks will be high on the new RV owner's list of things to learn

A typical wet-bay arrangement for dumping tanks will be high on the new RV owner’s list of things to learn

You will need to carefully manage your travel time and arrival expectations. You should reduce your expectation to driving no more than five or six hours per day. You’ll discover that you need time to pull into the campground or RV park and get everything set up before you can have that idyllic glass of wine in front of the sunset or campfire. That’s assuming you arrived before the campground office closed, traffic wasn’t too bad, and it isn’t pouring rain. You must set your expectations accordingly. 

Advice and tips for traveling with children and pets

One important piece of advice that a new RV owner should remember is that with children and pets, everything takes longer. You can count on more frequent stops, which will cut into your driving time and must be accounted for. For kids, motorhome owners have it made, in that they can attend to the kid’s snack, entertainment, and potty needs right inside the rig, stopping only as needed by the driver. The travel trailer and 5th wheel folks typically require a full stop in a rest area for their breaks, in order to access the accommodations in their RV.

If traveling with pets, you’ll need to allot time to take care of their needs, including cleanup. You’ll want to plan ahead to try and coordinate planned breaks with rest areas and other facilities that are pet friendly. You’ll also need to review campground policies to ensure they allow pets and if there are any breed or quantity restrictions. 

It is estimated that over 60% of RVers travel with their pets

It is estimated that over 60% of RVers travel with their pets

Depending on the location and duration of your camping trip, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with local hospitals and veterinarians, just in case. This can easily be overlooked, however, when you plan all year for that one opportunity to see Yellowstone or Mt. Rushmore, you’ll want your bases covered. Knowing when or where facilities exist could sway your campground choice, or alter your driving day if needed. Knowing the location of these important places in advance is simply good preparation that you will hopefully not need.

Be prepared for the worst

Despite all of the advice and tips you have collected, things can still go wrong for the new RV owner. There is nothing you can do to prevent the unexpected. Your best bet is simply to prepare. With an RV, you are driving or pulling a living room and bath on wheels. Things will go wrong, given enough time or enough miles. Assuming nothing catastrophic happens to completely end your well-earned vacation time, here are a few things you can do to try and minimize any negative impact.

  • Make sure your truck or toad (towed vehicle) both have plenty of fuel at all times.
  • Ensure that tire pressure is checked frequently throughout the trip for all vehicles.
  • Have a contingency plan, such as an app for finding alternative campgrounds, should the need arise to settle down in a hurry. 
  • Use an app or a weather radio to keep track of the weather in the areas you are traveling.
  • Trust someone with a detailed account of your planned journey with phone numbers of each campground or location, as well as license plate numbers for your vehicle and/or RV or rental RV. 
  • Locate pertinent hospital and veterinary information as previously mentioned.
  • Be sure your RV has a provision of water and food for at least a couple of days.
  • Have adequate road emergency gear packed, such as flares, hazard triangles, flashlights, even rain ponchos.

 

Hopefully, the new RVer will never need the services of a tow truck

Enjoy the journey

RVing, more than any other form of vacation travel demands that you enjoy the journey as much as the final destination. A carefully planned RV trip, using a tool such as RV Trip Wizard, will include exciting or interesting campgrounds that are a part of the journey, not just a place to sleep. 

For adults, enjoying the scenery that you may have previously flown over many times offers a respite from the mundane. For those with kids, the excitement of being in the RV is as much of a vacation as the destination itself. When RVing, you should make every attempt not to try and make “good time”, but rather plan carefully enough to make sure you have a good time.





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Best Cactus Garden In The US


We’ve been traveling through the sunbelt, from Florida to California, for the past several months and have had the delightful experience of seeing many types of cacti and desert plants in their natural setting.

For us and many other RVers who are not originally from the south, this unique foliage is half the fun of traveling south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  Our first sighting of a Saguaro Cactus was almost as exciting as seeing our first bear in Canada.

barrel cactus in bloom

Barrel cactus in bloom. Photo by Peggy Dent

We’re from the Northwest, and yes, we miss the dense Northwest forests, but this unique desert foliage including Joshua Trees, Barrel Cacti, Jumping Chollas, Aloes, Agaves, and of course, the Saguaro Cacti, are just as amazing (in their own way) as the majestic stands of Redwoods along the Northern California coast, or the graveyard forests laid down like pickup sticks by the Mt. St. Helen’s volcanic eruption over 30 years ago.

Close up of a very sharp cactus

These spikes are as sharp as they look. Photo by Peggy Dent

I believe that one of the reasons so many of us have sold our homes and committed to a full-time RV lifestyle is to have an opportunity to travel to new communities, to experience regional foods, to see sights we had only seen in books or movies, and to immerse ourselves in a different environment.  Traveling through the immense stretches of open country in Texas and other southern states gave us a unique opportunity to see foliage and fauna not found anywhere else in the country.

I’m particularly interested in the geology and natural features of new regions.  I can skip the famous man-made attractions, like Disney World and Graceland, but even the sighting of an armadillo along the road in Texas was of great interest to me.

Moorten Botanical Garden sign

It’s a little rustic but amazing! Photo by Peggy Dent

Moorten Botanical Garden

While driving across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California, we were excited to see so many different types of succulents, but when we got to Palm Desert, we discovered the motherlode of cacti at a private garden called Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium, located in Palm Springs.

Path through the cactus garner

The path through the cactus garden. Photo by Peggy Dent

This garden brings together the regional cacti from all across the US, Mexico, South America, and Madagascar, into a full acre of unique garden displays.

The privately-owned garden was first established in 1939 as a nursery and later reorganized into a touring garden in 1955, during Palm Spring’s heyday, when it was THE glitzy getaway for Hollywood’s elite.

adobe wall

This was part of the original Palm Springs Hotel. Photo by Peggy Dent

Garden tour

The garden tour only cost $5 per person to walk the self-guided pathways, where you will find over 3000 different varieties of cacti and desert plants, as well as petrified logs, large gemstones in their raw form, ancient dried cacti skeletons, twisted old snags, and artifacts from the days of the California gold rush.

old wagon wheel

Artifacts from the days of the California gold rush. Photo by Peggy Dent

The foliage is grouped by region and well-marked by signs along the paths. The diversity and scale of the plant life on both sides of the path are literally breathtaking, but be careful not to back up too much to get a better picture, because everything in this park has some kind of wicked spine, hook, or barb.

You will also see hummingbirds, doves, pigeons, tortoises, and an occasional small lizard inside the garden to add more authenticity to this unique environment.

old wood snag

There are many unique features like this one in the garden. Photo by Peggy Dent

If you want to take a cactus back to your rig, they sell a wide variety, priced from $6 to $45 along with many different pots.  I personally didn’t buy one because I haven’t met a cactus yet that I didn’t put through the slow and tortured death of too much water. Additionally, we’re headed back to Canada and you can’t take plants, dirt, or firearms of any kind across the border.

Hairy cactus

There are over 3000 varieties of cacti in the garden. Photo by Peggy Dent

Other attractions of Palm Desert & Palm Springs

You may never get to Palm Springs in your travels, but since this is such a popular snowbird destination for so many RVers in the western half of Canada and the US, I thought I’d point out this historic living garden so you can put a pin in it if you ever get a chance to visit Palm Springs or Palm Desert.

Like so many of our fellow RVers that we’ve met here in this oasis in the desert, we are learning that there are too many activities and attractions to get done in one visit. This area consists of numerous little cities, all joined together like a string of pearls, nestled between two raw mountain ranges.

There are several excellent RV parks right inside these little cities or traveling just a few miles outside the metropolitan area, gives RVers many opportunities to camp, hike, bike, or boondock, in regional, state, and national parks. You can learn more about all of the different options by doing a quick search on CampgroundReviews.com, RV Trip Wizard, or on the RV LIFE App.

There is also a breathtaking tram ride to the top of the Jacinto Mountains, or you can stay in town and do the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, where celebrities have their stars embedded in the sidewalk.

Palm Springs also has two weekly street fairs, one in downtown Palm Springs on Thursday evening and the other on the campus of the College of the Desert every weekend. There are golf courses in abundance and a stop at Shield’s Date Farm will inform you about one of the region’s oldest and most unique crops.

But while you’re making your list of places to go and things to do, if and when, you get to the Palm Desert area, don’t forget to put Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium on your list of must-see attractions. It’s a very sharp place, and I mean that in every sense of the word.





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Reduce Risk of getting COVID-19 – Go Remote & Enjoy Nature


With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the allure and excitement of big city life is giving way to fear and uncertainty.  For all the great things that city life offers, isolation from public exposure to virus strains such as coronavirus, isn’t one of them.

Our tax dollars help provide public amenities such as subways, buses, public libraries, and grand theaters. Now those same public spaces are emptying as city dwellers retreat and isolate themselves in multi-story petri dishes, hoping the building’s air system is up to filtering the exhalations of hundreds of their closest neighbors.

Getting out of the big city has never been easier. Avoid being trapped in a metropolis with millions of others closeby. Pack up and go camp out in some of our country’s great remote places and avoid virus and disease by putting some space between you and your neighbors. 

For now, RVs remain available.

Springtime is peak season for RV sales.  Usually dealerships stock up during winter, knowing that spring will bring booming sales. RV Industry news reports brisk sales in 2020. It is possible the COVID pandemic could mean a short supply of RVs as folks retreat from the big cities.

For the time being, RVs are still available for sale and low interest rates and cheap fuel make this an optimal solution for bugging out to warm and safe locales.  If you have not seen how nice modern RVs are, take a few minutes to check them out online.

Since it’s forecast that the Pandemic could be around for quite a while, the realization that you can take your own clean hotel room with you as you travel to beautiful locations, is sure to spark an already strong boom in RV travel. Traveling by RV is literally the opposite of traveling on a cruise ship.  Never get trapped in tight spaces with thousands of others. Instead, take your own mobile hotel room with you, one that you know is safe. Camping in an RV offers you access to great places with separation from others.

What are the best places to buy an RV?

There are thousands of dealerships across the country where you can buy an RV.  Some have great reputations, others not so much.  Here are some dealers that get great reviews from their customers.  If you want to get out fast, give them a call to get things arranged.

Want to Get Remote Fast?

Motor Home Specialist (phone 866-844-0551) in Texas is one the largest motorhome and most respected dealerships in the world. So much so, they have a fleet of drivers that will pick you up from DFW airport. They are known for their unbelievable prices and exceptional service.  Escaping the big city starts with a cheap, one-way flight to Dallas. A day later you can be in your brand new motorhome headed to warm and sunny west Texas.

Close to New York City & Boston

If you are from New York City and looking to “get out” there is a reputable dealership in Albany called RV ONE (phone 518-459-4695).  They have another RV ONE location in Buffalo (phone 716-652-4500) , and many more throughout the East coast and into Florida.

Remote Camping & Stay Connected

With today’s modern recreational vehicles, you have all the comforts of a high-rise apartment with none of the nasty side effects. Take your new RV to thousands of great open spaces and enjoy fresh air where the deer outnumber the people. Head somewhere warm and leave the sniffling, coughing, and bacteria-filled sneezing behind. Find a beach to camp on, or a forest to camp in.

New RV’ers will find that mobile cell service is quite good throughout the majority of the country. You can stay connected online, while avoiding crowds of people. Even with modern campgrounds on improved properties, you’ll have plenty of separation from others. Feeling especially adventurous? Check out the thousands of BLM and COE campgrounds. Need help finding one of those? Head over to Campground Reviews and find your safe space. 

High Tech Makes RV’ing Easier

RV’ing has traditionally been a vacation solution. With the advent of modern technology, increased campground Wi-Fi, and that great cell service all across the country, full-time RV living has seen a massive increase in the last few years. Whether you go full-time, part-time, or just until-coronavirus-blows-over time, you’ll discover a healthier more active way of living, and give your mind and body a break from your communicable city connections.

Have you been putting off that cross-country trip you always wanted to take? Tired of telling the kids that “someday” you’ll see the Grand Canyon, Devils Tower, or Mount Rushmore? Have you always wanted to try snorkeling or paddle boarding but couldn’t find the time? Now is the time. Grab that new RV and hit the road. Replace fear with FUN and go get an RV.





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How To Determine The Conditions Of Back Roads


In the last two entries, we shared how to determine the conditions of back roads leading to boondocking campsites using both satellite and street view.

In this entry, we will share how and where to find information from other RVers that have traveled the back roads to places you may want to boondock.

Read reviews

First, check one of the many websites/apps like Freecampsites.net and CampgroundReviews.com to see what others have experienced and the type of RV they traveled the back road with. This will give you a good idea whether or not the road is suitable for your RV. Be sure and take note of how long ago the review was posted as road conditions can change over time.

Second, follow the blogs/websites of other likeminded outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy exploring the backcountry. Many of you reading this blog know I like to explore old ghost towns, forgotten mining camps, slot canyons, ATV/motorcycle riding, and other back road adventures. Many times I will find references concerning the road conditions to these places providing me with insight on how far I might choose to drive my RV down the same road to secure a boondock campsite.

back roads

One example is a blog I follow called Watsons Wander. This couple lives full-time in their RV, and enjoys boondocking and exploring the same types of remote places my wife and I do. One of the places I have wanted to camp/explore is the Little Grand Canyon located in Utah’s San Rafael Swell. The canyon is located many miles from the nearest paved road and there are multiple routes to choose from to take you there. The Watsons camped near the canyon and wrote a blog post about it.

While they didn’t discuss road conditions in their blog, I just clicked “Contact Us” and wrote them a short message asking about the road conditions and which of the several access roads they had used. Luckily they had spent some time there and knew the conditions of all the routes and were able to recommend the best one for RV access.

Join Facebook groups

Finally, there is Facebook, which has groups dedicated to about every interest imaginable. I follow multiple boondocking/free camping groups along with those that enjoy adventures in the backcountry. Again, while a Facebook post may not include road conditions to the place featured in their post, it is very easy to reach out to Facebook users to inquire.

This concludes my three-part series on determining back road conditions to boondocking sites, I hope you found it informational.

Now get out there and enjoy an adventure down a back road near you! Start planning your trip today with the RV LIFE App With RV-Safe GPS and on RV Trip Wizard.





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Tips for RVing with Oxygen Therapy


The RV lifestyle is for everyone, even if you have a health condition that requires supplemental oxygen. Here’s what you need to know about RVing with oxygen therapy equipment.

What If You Need Supplemental Oxygen?

Many people of all ages need supplemental oxygen therapy. Often it’s because of health issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia and asthma. These conditions force the body to work harder to take in oxygen obtained from ordinary breathing.

When someone is prescribed supplemental oxygen, their quality of life gets better. Sometimes the need for extra oxygen is a temporary thing, sometimes it must be used forever. However long one relies on it, the payoff is getting to enjoy a relatively normal life.

But can you go RVing with oxygen? And what’s the best way to carry the equipment on the road? Is it dangerous to carry oxygen in the RV? I wanted to find out for a friend of mine, and here’s what I discovered.

Tips for RVing with Oxygen Therapy

Yes, you can enjoy a full RVing life when you need oxygen therapy!

I’ve been on 02 for four years now and using bottles in a backpack, portable Phillips Respronic machine, and a 110v concentrator that goes to 5 lpm. The past 3 years we have camped in a 17 ft TT but have moved up to a 35 ft class A with a toad. We have spent winters and up to 7 months traveling with my 24 hour need for supplemental 02. — iRV2 Member Lihue

But the question is, how do you carry oxygen in an RV? For starters, it’s not like the old days. Forget relying solely on bulky oxygen bottles. RVers who need oxygen therapy will tell you that for everyday use, portable oxygen concentrators are the way to go. These units basically turn air into oxygen.

Portable oxygen concentrators have two settings for receiving oxygen: pulse dose and continuous flow. The pulse dose mode is usually used for daytime use, as it delivers air via the cannula when you inhale. Concentrators with pulse dose technology also are more compact in design and offer a longer battery life.

The continuous flow mode delivers a constant air flow via the tubes. For people who need oxygen while they sleep, this mode is the best option. — the OxygenConcentratorStore.com

Portable oxygen concentrators are lighter than a traditional house unit, and can even be plugged into your RV or tow vehicle’s 12-volt outlet.

Oxygen concentrators are so safe, you can even take them on airplanes. Here’s a video that describes how oxygen concentrators work:

RVers provide real world portable oxygen tips:

Do a search in the iRV2 Forums for “oxygen” and you’ll find tons of expertise from people who go RVing with oxygen. Here’s a snapshot of the best advice given to users:

  • Look for a unit that provides both pulse and continuous oxygen flow.
  • Before buying a unit, check to see if your oxygen concentrator requires a true sine wave inverter for operation. If so, you’ll probably need to upgrade your existing RV inverter.
  • Know your RV power needs before committing to a concentrator unit. That’s because your RV batteries might need upgrading, depending on the unit you want to buy. Here’s a great discussion about boondocking with oxygen.
  • You should also have a good generator as a backup power supply, especially if you expect to do a lot of dry camping.
  • Get a backup oxygen source. If the concentrator fails, you’ll want to make sure you have enough oxygen to tie you over until the concentrator is replaced. This is when bottles can come in handy.

As you can see, RVing with oxygen requires a bit of research and up-front costs. But ask any RVer who uses oxygen and they’ll tell you that it’s worth the effort.

My DW uses oxygen. We carry a light duty concentrator that she plugs in at night and runs the hose to the bedroom. We also carry several “B” cylinders that she uses when out and about. We have traveled this way for 15 years with no problems whatsoever.  — iRV2 member boondocking with oxygen

Do you have experience RVing with oxygen? If so, tell us more in the comments section below. We want to know more.





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Bat Outflights: Best Places In The US To Watch Bats


Bats are one of the most misunderstood mammals.  They are the only mammals capable of true flight and are more maneuverable than birds.  Bats are a very beneficial group of animals; they pollinate flowers, control insects, and disperse seeds.

Nearly all the bat species found in the United States are insectivores, except for some flower-eating species that come in from Mexico. Bats reproduce slowly and are rapidly declining in numbers due to environmental factors, loss of habitat, hunting, guano mining, and new dangers such as wind farms. Currently, there are 77 bat species that are listed as endangered or critically endangered and over 100 additional species that are considered vulnerable.

bats

An outflight of Brazilian free-tailed bats at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico (Photo by Nick Hristof, NPS)

Bats are nocturnal and spend their daytime sleeping in sheltered roosts to protect them from predators and the elements. Bats need different roosting conditions at different times of the year and will relocate to find a roost that meets their needs (i.e. raising young).  Roosts can be caves, mines, bridges, underpasses, hollow trees, or even in buildings.  Sometimes favorite roosts will house a number of bats or a colony.

Each evening, the bats emerge into the night sky in a spectacle known as an “outflight” which generally initiates at civil twilight and can last up to three hours, depending on the number of bats in the colony.  Watching the thousands of bats flying out of their roost in the twilight for a night of feeding on insects is a magical lifetime experience.

You should be very cautious around bat colonies that you do not stress them or introduce potential illnesses to their environments, such as the fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome.  It is better to view outflights in a controlled location to avoid inadvertently harming the bats.  Fortunately, there are some great places you can observe a bat outflight in the US.

Please note that evidence by bat researchers have shown that sounds and light from electronic devices (cell phones, cameras of any kind, computers, iPads, tablets, etc) can be detrimental to the flight navigation of bats—special photography permits may be required.  Here are some of our favorites.

 1. Orient Mine, Orient Land Trust, Colorado

The Orient Mine is the summer home to a bachelor colony of nearly 250,000 Mexican Free-Tail bats that spend the summer in this roost in the San Luis Valley. This is the largest bat colony in the state of Colorado.

The Orient Mine is an old iron mine that was active in the late 1800s-early 1900s.  The bats that live in the mine are now part of the chemical and pesticide-free agriculture practices in the San Luis Valley.

The mine, the Everson Ranch, the Valley View Hot Springs, and the old town of Orient are all part of the non-profit Orient Land Trust that was established to protect the 2,200 acres of land encompassing the area.  Ongoing tours and talks include the Bat Hikes as well as astronomy, geology, and wildlife hikes.

The Valley View Hot Springs is described as a “clothing-optional hippie hideaway where native fireflies float over naturally warm pools.”  They have 23 vehicle campsites with no hookups, dump stations, or use of generators. Reservations are highly recommended.

Camping is also available nearby at San Luis Valley Campground and Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa.

2. Bracken Cave Preserve, San Antonio, Texas

The largest known bat colony is northeast of downtown San Antonio in the Bracken Cave Preserve.  The cave serves as a maternity roost, where 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost and raise their young before the bulk of the colony hibernates or flies south to winter in Mexico.  This makes the Bracken Cave bats one of the largest concentrations of mammals on earth.

 

bat outflights

The entrance to Bracken Cave during daylight hours. (Photo by Daniel Spiess, Wikipedia)

The site is owned and managed by Bat Conservation International (BCI).  You must have a BCI membership and reservations to visit, but visitors will be treated to one of the most spectacular outflights in the world with only a few other visitors.

There are several places to camp in the San Antonio area. Some of our recommendations include Hill Country Cottage and RV Resort and the San Antonio KOA.

3. Millie Mine, Iron Mountain, Michigan

Located near the border between Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Millie Mine is an abandoned iron mine that is home to a large breeding bat colony.

The 360-foot-deep opening to the mine shaft is protected by a bat grate—a special covering that allows resident bats to come and go, but keeps larger animals from falling in.  A self-guided interpretive program guides visitors through a short hike, and an observation deck uphill from the mine offers a fantastic view of the outflight during the summer and fall evenings.

Park your RV nearby at Rivers Bend Campground or Lake Antoine Park.

4.  Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

The Carlsbad Caverns were discovered around the turn of the 19th century when a cattle rancher saw bats swarming out of a hole in the ground.  Carlsbad Caverns National Park has a free bat flight program with an evening ranger talk at the Bat Flight Amphitheater each evening during the summer and fall months.

Thousands of Brazillian free-tailed bats emerge during sunset from the cavern’s entrance.  As a bonus, you can pair your bat viewing with a Night Sky Program to watch meteor showers or enjoy the full moon.

RV camping is not permitted inside the national park, but there are some great options nearby such as Carlsbad RV Park and Campground, and Buds Place RV Park.

5. Yolo Basin, Davis, California

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, located between Davis and Sacramento, is home to California’s largest colony of migratory Mexican free-tail bats.  The Yolo Causeway provides a man-made roost.  The Yolo Basin Foundation manages the wildlife area and offers guided tours, including Bat Walks.

This is a great chance to see bats fly from their roosts to hunt for insects over the nearby rice fields and wetlands of California’s Central Valley.  Many other species call the wildlife area home as well.

Camping is available just five minutes down the road at Sac West RV Park and Campground.

6. El Malpais National Monument, Grants, New Mexico

The lava tube caves of El Malpais is home to tens of thousands of bats that use the tubes as day roosts.  Several bat species live at El Malpais including the Brazilian free-tailed bat, big brown bat, western small-footed myotis, long-eared myotis, California myotis, Townsend’s big-eared bat, canyon bat, and pallid bat.

Outflights can be observed at Bat Cave in the El Calderon Area during the summer evenings.  Viewing outflights can be done on your own, or on some Saturdays, there will be a Ranger-guided tour starting one hour before sunset at the El Calderon parking area.  There are many inter-connected caves in the park that bats can use and many factors (such as weather) that may affect their activity, so be aware that the number of bats emerging can vary.

Stay nearby at Lavaland RV Park or at the Grants KOA.

Start planning your trip today on RV Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App





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Recreation.gov – How To Find Campsites On Recreation.gov


Sponsored by Recreation.gov

Pursuing outdoor adventures and recreation usually involves camping and RVing. For the outdoor enthusiast, camping is often secondary to great outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, and tours of your favorite national landmarks, national parks, and national forests. 

Like most campers and RVers, you probably use tools like Campground Reviews or the RV LIFE app to find a campground. While you will always find the campgrounds you need with those great tools, you won’t understand the full breadth of amazing facilities and recreation activities offered by Recreation.gov, or be able to make reservations for national parks, forests, and other federal recreation sites unless you visit Recreation.gov yourself. 

Bring home a story

Outdoor recreation is not only about seeing some of this country’s great natural resources, it’s about bringing home a story. Whether you’re hiking, teaching your children how to fish, or just toasting s’mores around the campfire, you want to create lasting memories and bring home a story of the experience that you’ll remember for decades. 

Recreation.gov

Plan your next incredible trip with Recreation.gov: Assateague Island National Seashore

All of those memories begin with a visit to Recreation.gov. From camping to cultural tours to white water rafting, Recreation.gov offers a range of outdoor adventures at over 3,600 federal recreation facilities and more than 103,000 individual locations, including over 74,000 RV campsites.

Recreation.gov partners with over a dozen federal agencies to deliver information and reservations for camping, RVing, backcountry adventures, historical tours, ranger-led experiences, hunting and fishing, boating, and so much more. 

Search for activities and recreation sites

Visitors to Recreation.gov can find locations or activities by using the search bar on the homepage and typing in the name of a campground, tour, or destination. You’ll also be able to search for national parks, national forests, and other federal recreation sites. Search for activities using keywords such as “camping”, “RVing”, or “rafting.”

Finding location-specific resources is easy as well. Simply type the name of a city or state, or using a phrase like “camping near Denver” for more specific results. 

A quick search for Camping near Colorado” yields a map with associated Recreation.gov campgrounds, bordered by an informative panel showing recreation areas, points of interest, camping, and day-use areas, all of which can be booked right on the web page.

When booking a campsite, planning a tour, or applying for a permit, visitors can also read ratings and reviews from other visitors to help inform their travel planning.

Recreation.gov

Find & reserve campsites at federal campgrounds: camping near Colorado

Tours and tickets

Clicking the Tours & Tickets link will take you to a map of exciting and educational tours at national parks, forests, and other federal recreation sites like White Sands National Monument, Independence Hall, Carlsbad Caverns, and Joshua Tree National Park. Once you’ve decided on your tour adventure, you can reserve your tickets directly from the information panel.

Recreation.gov also provides a link for permits that are required for some activities. Here again, all of the tools and resources are conveniently located right on their beautifully designed, easy to navigate website.

Recreation.gov

Participate in tours & special events: Mammoth Cave National Park

Find your next adventure

Finding your next adventure is made even easier with the Recreation.gov app, available for iOS and Android. The Recreation.gov app helps you find and reserve campsites and tours, review points of interest and location details, and quickly access information on past and upcoming reservations. 

If pursuing national parks, forests, activities, and recreation at our nation’s top outdoor facilities and resources is for you, then so is Recreation.gov. The team at Recreation.gov has done an outstanding job of putting together a rich and attractive resource for finding your next adventure. 

Find information and inspiration, book your next trip, and bring home a story by visiting Recreation.gov today! 





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Camping At Lake Pueblo State Park


About 40 miles south of Colorado Springs sits the sun-drenched city of Pueblo in the heart of Colorado. Nestled on the banks of the Arkansas River, Pueblo offers a delightful setting and plenty of activities and attractions.

Before parking your rig at Lake Pueblo State Park, or any Colorado state park for that matter, you’ll need to make a reservation beforehand. As of January 1, 2020, all Colorado state parks now require a reservation prior to occupying a space. Campsite reservations may be made by calling 800-244-5613 or by reserving online.

Lake Pueblo State Park is a well-known fishing destination with a swimming beach, two marinas, and miles of hiking trails. The park also offers 401 sites at three different campgrounds. Those three campgrounds include Arkansas Point Campground, Juniper Breaks Campground, and Northern Plains Campground. Amenities include 20/30/50 amp electrical, a central water spigot, restrooms, showers, dump station, picnic shelters, some pull-through sites, and more.

Pueblo

Lake Pueblo State Park. Photo via Off-Road Girl on CampgroundReviews.com

The city of Pueblo offers two quality municipal golf courses: Elmwood Golf Course and Walking Stick Golf Course. The 18-hole Elmwood track recently underwent a $2 million renovation and now features hundreds of its namesake trees lining the fairways. The par 70 course measures 6,624 yards from the longest tees. Elmwood’s executive nine-hole course is a par-30 at 2,119 yards. The course also offers a putting green, pro shop, and restaurant.

Walking Stick Golf Course has garnered numerous awards over the years and still offers a quality golf outing. The par 72, 18-hole course measures 7,147 yards from the tips and serves as host of the local U.S. Open qualifying round.

The 32-acre picturesque Pueblo Riverwalk is the centerpiece of the town. There are regular activities and events, along with restaurants and other options to explore.

For more information about the vibrant town of Pueblo, check out their website, pueblo.us. You can also learn more about Lake Pueblo State Park on CampgroundReviews.com.

Start planning your trip to Lake Pueblo State Park today on RV Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App 





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Non-Smoking Campgrounds And RV Parks


One of our readers recently asked,

“Please write about RV campgrounds that have sites in a non-smoking section of the campground, for those of us who are allergic to or upset by cigarette smoke. We are allergic, and our RV traveling has become limited by all the smokers around our RV site in campgrounds.” – Joan F.

Smoking in campgrounds has been a widely debated topic for years. Although there are not many campgrounds with smoking bans, some RV parks and resorts have stricter non-smoking policies. It’s always a good idea to check each park’s official website and Campground Reviews before visiting to learn more about their specific rules and regulations. These are some of the non-smoking campgrounds and RV parks where visitors cannot light up anywhere on the property.

1. J & H RV Park, Flagstaff, Arizona

This award-winning resort is conveniently located off Highway 89 near Flagstaff, at an elevation of 7,000 feet. They are an age-qualified resort for those 55 and older with a secondary age limit of 21. They are Flagstaff’s only non-smoking RV park—it is not permitted anywhere on the premises.

Level, beautifully landscaped RV sites with full hookups are available, as well as WiFi, picnic tables, and clean restrooms and showers. Stop by the outdoor community fireplace to socialize or by their on-site store for RV supplies.

non-smoking campgrounds

J & H RV Park – Photo via Kona Boy on CampgroundReviews.com

They offer peace and quiet far away from airport, railroad, and interstate noise, yet they’re still within a day’s drive of the many area attractions.  Check out the many points of interest around Flagstaff, or take a trip to Sedona or the Grand Canyon.

2. Tippicanoe Campground, Goshen, New Hampshire

Tippicanoe Campground in small-town Goshen, New Hampshire is tobacco-free as it is very family-oriented. A variety of campsites are offered including shaded sites, wooded sites, and some with water frontage along Rand Pond. Their facilities include a camp store, game room, laundry room, boat launch, sandy beach, and a stage for live music.

There is even a playground right on the beach! Tippicanoe Campground (Photo via website)

Go swimming or fishing in the pond or visit the game room for a game of pool or foosball. Nearby, take a day trip to Mt. Sunapee State Park or Mount Sunapee Resort for skiing, ziplining, hiking trails, mini-golf, and Segway tours.

3. The Tiffany RV Park, Mesa, Arizona

The family-owned and operated Tiffany RV Park is in a great location along Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. It is a smaller, U-shaped RV park with only 25 spaces, all with full hookups and some can also accommodate big rigs. Studio and one-bedroom apartments are available to rent as well.

The Tiffany RV Park & Apartments. Photo via RV park

The RV park caters to the senior snowbird crowd and is more run-of-the-mills without all the extra amenities like a pool, bingo room or dance hall. Without all the bells and whistles, the RV park is able to charge lower rates (at only about $39 a night, or $34 per night if you stay longer than two days). In addition to their non-smoking policy, they also prohibit Class Bs, campers, pop-ups, very small or old RVs, and motorcycles.

4.  Glacier Haven RV and Campground, Essex, Montana

Glacier Haven RV Park is easily accessible off Highway 2 just a short drive from Glacier National Park. They are also a smaller RV park with only 19 full-service RV sites, including some pull-thrus with water, sewer, and electricity. In addition to RV camping, tent sites, comfortable rooms and cabins are also available.

Glacier Haven RV Park. Photo via website

Showers and laundry facilities are within walking distance of the campsites. The Healthy Haven Cafe is on-site as well and serves a breakfast buffet and homestyle dinners.

5. High Plains Camping, Oakley, Kansas

High Plains Camping can be found in northwest Kansas along Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 83. The family-owned campground strives to make it feel more like a home away from home with resort qualities, including an adults-only pool, a large pool, and a spacious pet area. While visitors are free to smoke inside their own RV, they do not allow it anywhere on the grounds or around their facilities.

non-smoking campgrounds

High Plains Camping. Photo via website

Between campsites for small RVs and long pull-throughs for the big Class A motor coaches, there is a little something for everyone here. Everything you need is also right at your fingertips—there is fuel just across the street and a new restaurant on-site, Cap’n Jack’s Pub.

Start planning your trip to these campgrounds (and more) on RV Trip Wizard and using the RV LIFE App With RV-Safe GPS. You can also learn more about all of the campgrounds on CampgroundReviews.com.





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Back Roads RV Navigation – How To Check Back Road Conditions


In our last post, we shared how to utilize Google Earth satellite view to analyze the conditions of back roads leading to boondocking campsites on public property. By learning how to analyze road conditions before leaving the asphalt, you can have a pretty good idea if the road is suitable for your RV and if you are comfortable navigating it with the RV.

This saves the time and energy of walking it first or spending time unhooking the tow vehicle/dinghy, unloading a bicycle or motorcycle to drive it first. Until you become comfortable using the methods I am sharing or whenever you are in doubt, I encourage you to travel the road first without the RV. Trust me, you will become more confident as you put the tips I am sharing into practice.

In this entry, we will look at using Google Earth street view to give us even more information in helping to determine, in advance, if the back road we want to travel is suitable for your RV.

back roads

Lots of information can be found on Street View

Things I look for where the back road departs the main road (typically the asphalt):

  • Is there a gate? If there is a gate, is it signed as private (no trespassing, do not enter, etc) or is it there to keep cattle or wildlife on the appropriate side of the gate? If you have done your research and know that where you are headed is on public land, there will often be a sign confirming the government land agency that has jurisdiction.
  • What are the conditions where the asphalt transitions to dirt/gravel? Is there a swale, ditch, or curb that might prove difficult to navigate with my RV?
  • Looking “down” the back road, does brush encroach along the edge or low limbs that might damage my RV?

 

Google Street View

Easy access

  • Does the road receive regular maintenance (grading/resurfacing with gravel)? Signs that it does include ridges along the edge where a road grader blade has passed. Or does the road have a crown of loose rock or low growing vegetation down the middle that indicates it hasn’t seen the blade of a road grader for years?
  • Can I see other RVs parked down the road that can provide me with information on the size and type of other RVs that gained access via the road? Some sites are so close to the main road that I can view the entire path from asphalt to campsite.
  • Is there any signage that will provide additional information such as “Camping Prohibited”, “Dispersed Camping Allowed”, “Private Property”, “Not recommended for RVs”, etc?

 

While Google Earth street view doesn’t supply as much useful information as satellite view does, it will likely give you enough information to help you make an informed decision whether or not to drive down the back road with the RV. Simplifying traveling to a boondocking site, just another adventure in RVing!

See also: Get RV-Safe Directions Using The RV LIFE App 





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Chalk For Kids At Campgrounds Is A Bad Idea


Stimulating creativity in kids is not a bad idea, but doing so with colorful packages of outdoor chalk in an RV park or campground has more downsides than we may realize. Additionally, the use of outdoor chalk does require close supervision, and it always presents a teachable moment.

Fall leaves showing color in an RV Park

Small children sitting down and drawing in the roadway may be hard to see. Photo by Peggy Dent

We know better than to give kids a package of permanent markers, then let them turn the sides of our RV into a blackboard, and we should show the same restraint with other artistic tools like paint and chalk.  But, I think we apply a different standard of supervision to chalk because we think, “well, no worries, chalk is water-soluble.”

Unsupervised use of chalk can be messy—and dangerous

We may think we don’t have to supervise their play if the only pigment they have to play with is chalk.  But chalk, in little unsupervised hands, can get out of control in a hurry.  One minute they are drawing large abstract figures or hop-scotch squares on our RV pad and the next minute all the surfaces of the picnic table are covered with scribbling and the whole street in front of our RV is grotesquely covered in unidentifiable characters.

Then we realize that our kids had to be crouching in the middle of the street for some time to get that much of the public thoroughly defaced, and with a shudder, we remember watching hurried RVers driving well over the recommended 5 MPH speed limit, as they fly through the park looking for their perfect campsite. It’s certainly not an intentional carelessness. They’ve been driving at 60+ MPH, for hours, and subconsciously they’re acclimated to higher speeds.

With a shudder, we realize, our kids are so small anyway, but squatting or kneeling to draw on the roadway makes them even smaller and to a distracted driver (with dusk settling in around them) they’d look more like a rock or a small animal, than a human.  It concerns me whenever I see kids in the roadways, but when they are distracted by their artistic activities, and they are crouching down unwittingly making themselves smaller and less visible, it is an even bigger concern.

Defacing the campgrounds

Unfortunately, their art makes the park look trashy and unmaintained.  Park staff work hard to maintain their parks. They rake fallen leaves inside the sites and roadways to keep them clear, just to have our kids deface it all, with an ugly trail of haphazardly drawn figures, words, hopscotch squares, and lots of abstract marking, the meaning of which, only they understand.

Pink bits of chalk still in our site after two months

Chalk bits do not dissolve quickly. Photo Peggy Dent

Not very soluble

The problem goes beyond the drawings. Another even bigger concern is the broken and crumbling chalk bits that are scattered everywhere. Yes, chalk is water-soluble, but it takes much longer to dissolve than you might imagine. Even heavy rain and brisk traffic on the roadway will not erase this mess or dissolve the bits.

I know this because the kids left a huge swatch of the roadway at Mt. Hood Village RV Resort covered in their “art” and it rained for days afterward, but the markings in the street were still visible.  The only reasonable way to erase this mess is to get a stiff-bristled broom and a hose and get to work, brushing and rinsing it off.

RV park roadway

Too lovely to deface with chalk, and too dangerous for kids to be crouching down in the roadway. Photo by Peggy Dent

If we don’t clean it up, not only is it visually unpleasant, the chalk may get stuck to our shoes then tracked into our cars, and tents, and RVs, where it inevitably will be ground into the floor mats and rugs.

It may be water-soluble, but chalk is like honey. Once you get the honey jar out of the cupboard, it seems to instantly be stuck to everything; the kid’s hands, the spoon handle, your jeans, their shirts, the placemats, tabletop, everything.   Honey and chalk are uncontainable.  So even though chalk may not be as damaging as paints or permanent markers, we can’t just disregard it because chalk, as it turns out, creates a much bigger mess than it’s worth.

picnic table seat covered in chalk markings and bits

We need to teach our kids that all the chalk has to be cleaned up before we can leave. Photo by Peggy Dent

A teachable moment

The upside of chalk, however, is that every time the kids play with it there is a new teachable moment.  When our kids deface a public roadway, or even just our own RV pad, they need to be involved in the process of cleaning it up.  Give the kids the broom and the hose. It will help them realize how hard it is to remove these markings. We need to help them understand that every mark must be completely erased before we can leave our campsite.

If there are chalk bits scattered around the park, the kids should be responsible for picking them up.  After all, we want to teach them not to leave a mess for other campers, and we certainly don’t want to raise up a generation of future taggers.

Maybe the only redeeming quality of outdoor chalk is this lesson, that we can share with our kids about respect for other people’s property, leaving a site cleaner than the way we found it, and the recognition that all our actions have consequences.

Alternative creative expression

Finally, I suspect that after the kids clean up their chalk mess once or twice, they will probably be looking for some paper and crayons the next time they feel like being creative.

Another great solution for kids (and creative adults) is the Buddha Board, which only requires water.

See also: Basic Etiquette That Every RVer Needs To Know

 





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San Diego, California – Best Campgrounds And Attractions In San Diego


With mild temperatures in the mid-60s and mid-70s, San Diego makes a great destination all year long. A great home base while exploring the area is La Pacifica RV Park, offering 179 sites just a stone’s throw away from the Mexico border.

Centrally located between the heart of San Diego and the border of Mexico, La Pacifica RV Park is set on five well-manicured acres. Loaded with amenities, La Pacifica offers full hookups with 20/30/50 amp electrical, water, sewer, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, picnic tables, a clubhouse, and a year-round heated pool to soak in after a day of exploring. This pet-friendly park also offers military discounts.

San Diego

La Pacifica RV Resort – Photo via resort

Balboa Park

Outside of the comforts of La Pacifica RV Park is a whole world of history, culture, sand, and sun. One of the must-see attractions is Balboa Park. This pride of the city offers a combination of culture and nature, as well as the San Diego Zoo. Within the massive grounds of Balboa Park, you’ll find 17 museums, bucolic gardens, and a variety of restaurants, playgrounds, and performing arts.

San Diego

Botanical building in Balboa Park. Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

With San Diego being a big navy town, the San Diego Air and Space Museum is very popular, as is the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. One thing is for sure: everybody will find something appealing at Balboa Park.

With roughly 90 golf courses throughout greater San Diego, finding a place to tee it up is not difficult. In fact, you can find a terrific course right within Balboa Park. The 18-hole Balboa Park Golf Course celebrated its 100th year in 2019 and is the oldest course in San Diego. This challenging par 72 is located about five minutes from downtown San Diego. The course measures 6,281 yards from the tips, and also offers a driving range, pro shop, coffee shop, and practice putting greens. For those who just want to fine-tune their short game, there’s also a nine-hole executive course at Balboa Park. The par 32 executive course stretches to 2,175 yards.

More to explore

For an unparalleled view of the area, visit Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial. Located north of San Diego in La Jolla, the memorial sits atop the 822-foot-high Mount Soledad. It offers 360-degree panoramic views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean, clearly one of the best views in San Diego County.

On a clear day, you can see downtown San Diego. If you squint your eyes hard, you can also see the bridge to Coronado Island and the mountains of Mexico in the distance. It’s a great place to watch a sunrise or sunset.

San Diego

The view from Mount Soledad. Photo via Ken Lund on Flickr Creative Commons

Make sure you spend some time exploring the historic Old Town Market. There is free parking and lots of stores to browse. Stroll through numerous specialty shops, or relax and absorb the local history, as San Diego’s Old Town Market area is known as the birthplace of California.

Endless opportunities in downtown S.D.

Downtown San Diego also offers its share of entertaining options. Take in a major league baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres who play their home games in Petco Park, right in the heart of downtown. The new Children’s Museum is quite popular with the family crowds. Open seven days a week, its mission is to stimulate imagination, creativity, and critical thinking in children and families through inventive and engaging experiences with contemporary art.

The historic Gaslamp Quarter offers a little bit of everything, including shopping, dining, nightlife, and more. The waterfront Embarcadero features a boardwalk adjacent to San Diego Bay. This is a wonderful place for a stroll. The Embarcadero (which means “landing place” in Spanish) is home to the cruise terminal, the Navy Pier, and Seaport Village.

San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter – Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

Don’t miss San Diego’s most popular family attraction—the historic aircraft carrier USS Midway Museum. There are plenty of harbor cruises that will give you an entirely different view of San Diego.

Seaport Village is a charming little oasis definitely worth exploring. You’ll discover while strolling along its promenade more than 50 diverse shops, 17 unique eateries, and 4 bayside restaurants.

You simply can’t discover all the San Diego treasures in a day or two. But to get started planning your trip, check out www.sandiego.org and RVTripWizard.com. You can also read reviews from fellow RVers of La Pacifica RV Park and other area resorts on CampgroundReviews.com.

See also: 5 Amazing Places To Camp Off Interstate 5 In California





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Motor Home Specialist – Top RV Dealer Near Dallas


Sponsored by Motor Home Specialist

Shopping for a motorhome or towable RV should be an exciting time. Finding that perfect home on wheels to live in or simply spend weekends enjoying should be an adventure, not a grueling ordeal that finds you ultimately settling for something that’s “good enough” just to avoid trips to multiple dealerships that have a limited selection, limited purchasing power, and higher prices. 

Largest selection – Over 1,100 RVs

What if you could travel to one ultimate retail location and check out approximately 1,200 new and pre-owned motorhomes and towable RVs? Where you could grab a golf cart and peruse hundreds of beautiful, top-branded RVs? A place where you could hop inside the motorhome of your dreams, grab a cold bottled water from the fridge, take your time and enjoy the process, never once worrying about having to pack up and head to the next dealership?

Motor Home Specialist

Motor Home Specialist has hundreds of motorhomes and towables

Motor Home Specialist of Alvarado, Texas has made purchasing your next motorhome, travel trailer, or 5th wheel something to look forward to, not dread. Located just south of Fort Worth, Texas in Alvarado, Motor Home Specialist has been doing this very thing since 1999 and recently won their 7th consecutive award as the largest new motorhome dealer in the United States. 

Fly and drive

True to its name, Motor Home Specialist provides second to none pricing and selection on motorhomes and is the number one volume-selling motorhome dealer in the world. Keeping with the theme that everything’s bigger in Texas, Motor Home Specialist has turned their dealership into a sprawling 200-acre destination for RVers from around the country.

Their vast selection and prime location near DFW airport have borne the practice of fly-and-drive. Motorhome buyers from around the country fly in to DFW and make their way 45 minutes south to Motor Home Specialist where they choose from approximately $165,000,000 in inventory and then drive home in the motorhome of their dreams. 

Motor Home Specialist

Motor Home Specialist offers 200-acres of RV shopping, much of it covered. 

The savings are that dramatic. It’s not just the minimum of 25% off the original factory M.S.R.P. that draws folks in from around the country. It’s the allure of being treated right, and working with true professionals in the industry.

Whether you are spending $15,000 on a travel trailer or $2,000,000 on a high-end diesel pusher, you want to know you are doing business with someone that appreciates it, deserves it, and has earned it. 

Exclusive models, top brands

In fact, Motor Home Specialist’s clout reaches far and wide, so much so that they are the exclusive dealer of the Foretravel Realm F56, a luxury motorhome that they specifically designed themselves. In addition to Foretravel, you’ll find plenty of other big-name motorhome manufacturers.

Thor Motor Coach, Coachmen, Dynamax, Fleetwood, American Coach, Entegra, Nexus, Forest River, Sportscoach, Prevost, and Holiday Rambler are some of the brands represented on the vast, well-manicured property. 

Motor Home Specialist

MHSRV is the exclusive dealer of the Foretravel Realm F56 

Towables brands include Forest River, Heartland, Coachmen, Cruiser RV, and the incredibly luxurious DRV Mobile Suite and Full House toy hauler 5th wheels. You’ll also find a wide selection of hand-picked pre-owned RVs

Motor Home Specialist has made online shopping for all motorhomes and RVs easier with pictures and videos accompanying most units, making it your number one internet destination as well. Motor Home Specialist backs their renowned sales record with quality service and parts departments. Need to sell your high-end motorhome or trailer? Motor Home Specialist has a great consignment program too. 

Trusted RV dealer

Treating customers right is how you stay in business for over two decades. Creating an exciting purchasing destination and offering the finest products available at the best possible prices is how you become number one. Go online today and find your new RV, then head to Motor Home Specialist to browse the property and take it all in. It’s time you enjoyed buying again. 

Visit Motor Home Specialist at www.MHSRV.com or call 800-335-6054 to find your new RV. 

See also:

 





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See the World’s First Automated RV Park


The world’s first automated RV park is now open, all because Jim Turntine knows that free RV Parking is never really free. There’s always a price to pay for avoiding a one-night stay at RV parks.

It’s the “Hotel” of RV Parks with everything you need.

World’s First Automated RV Park Opens

Anyone who stays in big box retail store parking lots for a night understands the hassles. Some areas are sketchy, others are loud and busy with traffic all night long. It’s a terrible way to get a night’s rest. That’s why RV Self Park in Sullivan, Missouri was created.

Jim Turntine is a serial entrepreneur and long-time RVer who understands the stress of searching for safe overnight RV parking–without success. “You don’t know who’s coming and going all night all around you. They’re not set up for you to be there,” he says.

The Turntines have patented the concept.

As a dog parent and frequent RV traveler who rarely stays overnight at RV parks between destinations, Turntine wants to eliminate the stress involved in finding free camping places to park. He always hoped that someone would build an affordable, turnkey overnight RV parking lot with full-hookups, but nobody did. In 2018, his wife convinced him to take the plunge. That’s when he decided to build an easy in / easy out RV park with fully automated hookups on property he already owned.

Located at mile marker 223.4 off I44 in West Sullivan, Missouri, the turnkey, fully-automated RV parking spot is located about 45-50 minutes southwest of St. Louis.

What to Expect at the Park

RV Self Park is not a “campground” in the traditional sense. It’s a practical, safe and legal way to park for a night, two nights or a little longer when all you want is a safe place to park. Each site is completely automated and controlled by computers connected to a secure off-site monitoring station.

  • Extra long pull-through sites open 24/7, 365 days a year
  • 30/20 or 50 Amp electric at each spot, with water and sewer too
  • A pet walk
  • All-night lighting, for safe and stress free navigating
  • Security cameras recording 24/7 with guest access to view all security cameras

Even with the new high-tech hookups, guests will still have access to Turntine’s crew if they need assistance.

Automated RV Park Instructions

Call to reserve your affordable place to stay.

When Turntine decided to do develop the parcel, the local town government was happy to help him. The spot isn’t as ideal as Turntine wants it, he wishes it was closer to Saint Louis. But that’s OK. Right now it’s a test model for the other locations he wants to see developed. To make it easy for RVers on the move, future RV Self Parks will be located closer to large metropolitan areas. “It’s an unfolding, new concept, until I get more data and make sure everything works like we want it to work,” he says.

Guests can see everything going on in the park.

Now that he’s patented and trademarked the first “coin-op” RV park in the nation, investors are flocking to his business model. Turntine is no stranger to coin-op businesses. He’s ready for the attention, since he’s already owned several of these types of business solutions, from laundromats to juke boxes. His goal is to take the stress out of finding affordable RV parking spots. We think he’s succeeded. Check it out for yourself.





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See the World’s First Automated RV Park


The world’s first automated RV park is now open, all because Jim Turntine knows that free RV Parking is never really free. There’s always a price to pay for avoiding a one-night stay at RV parks.

It’s the “Hotel” of RV Parks with everything you need.

World’s First Automated RV Park Opens

Anyone who stays in big box retail store parking lots for a night understands the hassles. Some areas are sketchy, others are loud and busy with traffic all night long. It’s a terrible way to get a night’s rest. That’s why RV Self Park in Sullivan, Missouri was created.

Jim Turntine is a serial entrepreneur and long-time RVer who understands the stress of searching for safe overnight RV parking–without success. “You don’t know who’s coming and going all night all around you. They’re not set up for you to be there,” he says.

The Turntines have patented the concept.

As a dog parent and frequent RV traveler who rarely stays overnight at RV parks between destinations, Turntine wants to eliminate the stress involved in finding free camping places to park. He always hoped that someone would build an affordable, turnkey overnight RV parking lot with full-hookups, but nobody did. In 2018, his wife convinced him to take the plunge. That’s when he decided to build an easy in / easy out RV park with fully automated hookups on property he already owned.

Located at mile marker 223.4 off I44 in West Sullivan, Missouri, the turnkey, fully-automated RV parking spot is located about 45-50 minutes southwest of St. Louis.

What to Expect at the Park

RV Self Park is not a “campground” in the traditional sense. It’s a practical, safe and legal way to park for a night, two nights or a little longer when all you want is a safe place to park. Each site is completely automated and controlled by computers connected to a secure off-site monitoring station.

  • Extra long pull-through sites open 24/7, 365 days a year
  • 30/20 or 50 Amp electric at each spot, with water and sewer too
  • A pet walk
  • All-night lighting, for safe and stress free navigating
  • Security cameras recording 24/7 with guest access to view all security cameras

Even with the new high-tech hookups, guests will still have access to Turntine’s crew if they need assistance.

Automated RV Park Instructions

Call to reserve your affordable place to stay.

When Turntine decided to do develop the parcel, the local town government was happy to help him. The spot isn’t as ideal as Turntine wants it, he wishes it was closer to Saint Louis. But that’s OK. Right now it’s a test model for the other locations he wants to see developed. To make it easy for RVers on the move, future RV Self Parks will be located closer to large metropolitan areas. “It’s an unfolding, new concept, until I get more data and make sure everything works like we want it to work,” he says.

Guests can see everything going on in the park.

Now that he’s patented and trademarked the first “coin-op” RV park in the nation, investors are flocking to his business model. Turntine is no stranger to coin-op businesses. He’s ready for the attention, since he’s already owned several of these types of business solutions, from laundromats to juke boxes. His goal is to take the stress out of finding affordable RV parking spots. We think he’s succeeded. Check it out for yourself.





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Route 66 RV Resort Near Albuquerque, New Mexico


Though Route 66 officially disappeared from road maps in 1985, the legendary 2,500 mile Mother Road lives on in the hearts and minds of many today who travel the highways and byways of America.

In its heyday, Route 66 ran east to west, from Los Angeles to Chicago, and through eight states including New Mexico. Just outside of Albuquerque there’s a nod to the past: Route 66 RV Resort.

Route 66 RV Resort

“My back-in site. It is spacious with a fire ring, picnic table, and a level concrete pad.” – via ArmandV on CampgroundReviews.com

This is one very nice park! A few have complained about road noise from Interstate 40, but how many RV parks offer 100 amp electrical? In addition to 100 sites, Route 66 RV Resort offers additional 20/30/50 amp electrical, water, sewer, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, pet area, clubhouse, picnic shelter, a pool, playground, rec room, a gym and workout facilities, a nice putting green, and Wi-Fi.

A short walk from the park is Route 66 Casino, which offers gambling, dining, entertainment, and more.

Route 66 RV Resort. Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

If you’re looking to play a round of golf, one of the best public courses in the state is the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course in Albuquerque. Opened in 1967, the par 72, 18-hole course stretches to a whopping 7,555 yards from the championship tees and sits at an elevation of 5,300 feet. The university also offers the nine-hole North Course that measures 3,305 yards. It’s also open to the public.

For a spectacular view of the expansive Albuquerque area, take the Sandia Peak Tramway to the 10,378-foot crest of the Sandia Mountains. The 15-minutes tram ride to the top unfolds a panoramic view of the surrounding area. While at the top, you can hike trails, have lunch, take innumerable photos, and even snowshoe or ski in the winter.

Take the Sandia Peak Tramway. Photo via Mike McBey, Flickr Creative Commons

Albuquerque is one of the cultural centers of the Southwest. There are many museums to visit, including the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, National Atomic Museum, Albuquerque Museum, University of New Mexico Fine Art Museum, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.

A fun fact about the city: Albuquerque was the home of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle who wrote, “If we could have only one house, then it has to be in New Mexico, and preferably in Albuquerque.” Pyle’s home in Albuquerque is now a memorial library.

For more details about the greater Albuquerque area, check out visitalbuquerque.org. You can also learn more about Route 66 RV Resort on CampgroundReviews.com.

See also:

 





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Route 66 RV Resort Near Albuquerque, New Mexico


Though Route 66 officially disappeared from road maps in 1985, the legendary 2,500 mile Mother Road lives on in the hearts and minds of many today who travel the highways and byways of America.

In its heyday, Route 66 ran east to west, from Los Angeles to Chicago, and through eight states including New Mexico. Just outside of Albuquerque there’s a nod to the past: Route 66 RV Resort.

Route 66 RV Resort

“My back-in site. It is spacious with a fire ring, picnic table, and a level concrete pad.” – via ArmandV on CampgroundReviews.com

This is one very nice park! A few have complained about road noise from Interstate 40, but how many RV parks offer 100 amp electrical? In addition to 100 sites, Route 66 RV Resort offers additional 20/30/50 amp electrical, water, sewer, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, pet area, clubhouse, picnic shelter, a pool, playground, rec room, a gym and workout facilities, a nice putting green, and Wi-Fi.

A short walk from the park is Route 66 Casino, which offers gambling, dining, entertainment, and more.

Route 66 RV Resort. Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

If you’re looking to play a round of golf, one of the best public courses in the state is the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course in Albuquerque. Opened in 1967, the par 72, 18-hole course stretches to a whopping 7,555 yards from the championship tees and sits at an elevation of 5,300 feet. The university also offers the nine-hole North Course that measures 3,305 yards. It’s also open to the public.

For a spectacular view of the expansive Albuquerque area, take the Sandia Peak Tramway to the 10,378-foot crest of the Sandia Mountains. The 15-minutes tram ride to the top unfolds a panoramic view of the surrounding area. While at the top, you can hike trails, have lunch, take innumerable photos, and even snowshoe or ski in the winter.

Take the Sandia Peak Tramway. Photo via Mike McBey, Flickr Creative Commons

Albuquerque is one of the cultural centers of the Southwest. There are many museums to visit, including the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, National Atomic Museum, Albuquerque Museum, University of New Mexico Fine Art Museum, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.

A fun fact about the city: Albuquerque was the home of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle who wrote, “If we could have only one house, then it has to be in New Mexico, and preferably in Albuquerque.” Pyle’s home in Albuquerque is now a memorial library.

For more details about the greater Albuquerque area, check out visitalbuquerque.org. You can also learn more about Route 66 RV Resort on CampgroundReviews.com.

See also:

 





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Cross-Country Road Trip To Buy A New RV


It takes a lot of courage and the right tools to go from Vancouver Island, BC to Winter Garden, FL to buy a new RV. We looked for one closer, but it was not meant to be.

1999 33' RexHall Rex Air nice but we need to buy a new RV

The old rig looked & worked ok but it was 20-years-old with 117,000 miles. Photo by Peggy Dent

We loved our Rex Air, but we knew it was time to upgrade now that we were using it as our primary residence.  Engineering had always been our top priority and after talking to RV repair techs, we settled on the Newmar line of RVs as the best-engineered rig in our price range. So we began in earnest to look for the right floor plan that would meet our specific needs.

As luck (or providence) would have it, the best rig for us was in a dealership in Florida, 3,500 miles away. Nothing closer would do.  So, we wired the down payment and started on an unforgettable journey across the country to pick up our new RV.

bought this new RV - 2019 Newmar Canyon Star 3710

Unfortunately, the new rig was 3500 miles away in Winter Garden FL.

In our comfort zone

Even before going full-time, we hoped to travel around North America to see the sights, meet the people, and experience regional cultures.  But after we started on the full-time adventure, we shrunk back from this ambition and just stayed in the northwest (the pretext was our 95-year-old mother, but the real reason was, we were scared to leave our comfort zone).

We knew the Northwest, but the South and East were foreign, different, and scary. Every time we talked about going east, we had a reason not to: the age of the rig, gas was expensive, it would interfere with work, and of course, there was the mom thing.

History of rolling trips

When we were just weekend warriors, we had a long history of “rolling trips.” On a long weekend we’d pick a direction, with no specific destination in mind and we’d see where the road took us. These were some of our best RV memories. We loved the freedom and discovery that came with a rolling trip and some of our favorite campsites were discovered in this way.  We were even bold enough to embark on longer trips to San Francisco, Glacier National Park, Reno, Banff, Vancouver Island, and Yellowstone.

Back then, there was no internet, or cell phone, or apps.  All we had was a huge Woodall’s directory, (like the old yellow pages) where RV parks crammed a little information into tiny ad spaces roughly ½” x 2”. How much information can you put in an ad that small?  There were no links to websites, no pictures, no park reviews, no interactive maps to help you find the park. The Woodall ad usually just listed the park name, address, and phone number.  Our navigation, back then, consisted of the Woodall’s book, an atlas, and a state map. How did we ever find RV parks?

But going full-time caused us to become more timid. We were nervous about where we would stay during peak seasons and holidays, and we stopped going on rolling trips. Instead of expanding our horizons, and adding freedom to our travels, going full-time slowly eroded our adventuresome spirit. We found ourselves, camping in familiar campgrounds, and traveling the known, rather than the unknown roads. Timidity crept in. We weren’t even aware of it.

Shot from a cannon

When we decided to buy a motorhome that was 3,500 miles away, it was like being shot from a cannon. Suddenly, we were forced out of our comfort zone, and in mid-October, we embarked on the most extensive rolling trip of our lives. Yes, we knew the destination and the exact time we needed to arrive, but not the route, what we would encounter, where we would stay, or for how long.

on journey to buy a new RV we camped at Emigrant Springs Campground sign

Wagon trains stopped here to prepare for the dangerous descent out of the mountains. Photo by Annette Dusa

Brave pioneers

It’s not a coincidence that the first leg of our journey tracked along the exact terrain our ancestors traveled on the Oregon Trail. On the first night of this cross-country journey, we camped at Emigrant Springs at the summit of the Blue Mountains, where westbound wagon-trains stopped in preparation for the dangerous descent down the western side of the Blue Mountains.

The irony did not go unnoticed. Sleeping in our heated RV at Emigrant Springs, in the exact place where our weary ancestors slept on the cold, rocky ground, highlighted by contrast, their courage against our timidity.

Along the Oregon Trail enroute to buy new a RV - antique wagon

Old wagons, like this one, have been abandoned along the Oregon Trail. Photo by Peggy Dent

They walked over 2,000 miles in the blistering heat and dust, following ruts etched into the prairie by oxen hoofs and wagon wheels.  We were traveling in the opposite direction, over paved interstate highways in an air-conditioned RV.  They had to locate water for themselves and their livestock, daily.  We were carrying enough fresh filtered water to last for days. They had to fix meals from scarce dry goods. We pulled dinner out of the refrigerator or went out to eat.  The more we thought about their courage, the more we realized how timid we had become.

They put their trust in scouts and wagon masters to get them to the new frontier. We put our trust in RV LIFE’s mobile app and GPS. From day to day, they never knew what they might encounter. We could do research, read reviews, link to websites, and call for reservations, with one-touch dialing.

This trip has taught us that people everywhere are decent, caring, gentle, and kind, and it’s safe to boldly travel among them. It’s restored our courage, helped us relax, taught us to enjoy our adventures, and to trust our resources and the other travelers who have gone before us. After all, we’re all connected, from our courageous ancestors to our fellow RVers who candidly share their RV park reviews online, we’re all just one big traveling family.

See also: This Boondocking Spot Reminded Us Of The Old Days





Source link

Cross-Country Road Trip To Buy A New RV


It takes a lot of courage and the right tools to go from Vancouver Island, BC to Winter Garden FL to buy a new RV. We looked for one closer, but it was not meant to be.

1999 33' RexHall Rex Air nice but we need to buy a new RV

The old rig looked & worked ok but it was 20-years-old with 117,000 miles. Photo by Peggy Dent

We loved our Rex Air, but we knew it was time to upgrade now that we were using it as our primary residence.  Engineering had always been our top priority and after talking to RV repair techs, we settled on the Newmar line of RVs as the best-engineered rig in our price range. So we began in earnest to look for the right floor plan that would meet our specific needs.

As luck (or providence) would have it, the best rig for us was in a dealership in Florida, 3,500 miles away. Nothing closer would do.  So, we wired the down payment and started on an unforgettable journey across the country to pick up our new RV.

bought this new RV - 2019 Newmar Canyon Star 3710

Unfortunately, the new rig was 3500 miles away in Winter Garden FL.

In our comfort zone

Even before going full-time, we hoped to travel around North America to see the sights, meet the people, and experience regional cultures.  But after we started on the full-time adventure, we shrunk back from this ambition and just stayed in the northwest (the pretext was our 95-year-old mother, but the real reason was, we were scared to leave our comfort zone).

We knew the Northwest, but the South and East were foreign, different, and scary. Every time we talked about going east, we had a reason not to: the age of the rig, gas was expensive, it would interfere with work, and of course, there was the mom thing.

History of rolling trips

When we were just weekend warriors, we had a long history of “rolling trips.” On a long weekend we’d pick a direction, with no specific destination in mind and we’d see where the road took us. These were some of our best RV memories. We loved the freedom and discovery that came with a rolling trip and some of our favorite campsites were discovered in this way.  We were even bold enough to embark on longer trips to San Francisco, Glacier National Park, Reno, Banff, Vancouver Island, and Yellowstone.

Back then, there was no internet, or cell phone, or apps.  All we had was a huge Woodall’s directory, (like the old yellow pages) where RV parks crammed a little information into tiny ad spaces roughly ½” x 2”. How much information can you put in an ad that small?  There were no links to websites, no pictures, no park reviews, no interactive maps to help you find the park. The Woodall ad usually just listed the park name, address, and phone number.  Our navigation, back then, consisted of the Woodall’s book, an atlas, and a state map. How did we ever find RV parks?

But going full-time caused us to become more timid. We were nervous about where we would stay during peak seasons and holidays, and we stopped going on rolling trips. Instead of expanding our horizons, and adding freedom to our travels, going full-time slowly eroded our adventuresome spirit. We found ourselves, camping in familiar campgrounds, and traveling the known, rather than the unknown roads. Timidity crept in. We weren’t even aware of it.

Shot from a cannon

When we decided to buy a motorhome that was 3,500 miles away, it was like being shot from a cannon. Suddenly, we were forced out of our comfort zone, and in mid-October, we embarked on the most extensive rolling trip of our lives. Yes, we knew the destination and the exact time we needed to arrive, but not the route, what we would encounter, where we would stay, or for how long.

on journey to buy a new RV we camped at Emigrant Springs Campground sign

Wagon trains stopped here to prepare for the dangerous descent out of the mountains. Photo by Annette Dusa

Brave pioneers

It’s not a coincidence that the first leg of our journey tracked along the exact terrain our ancestors traveled on the Oregon Trail. On the first night of this cross-country journey, we camped at Emigrant Springs at the summit of the Blue Mountains, where westbound wagon-trains stopped in preparation for the dangerous descent down the western side of the Blue Mountains.

The irony did not go unnoticed. Sleeping in our heated RV at Emigrant Springs, in the exact place where our weary ancestors slept on the cold, rocky ground, highlighted by contrast, their courage against our timidity.

Along the Oregon Trail enroute to buy new a RV - antique wagon

Old wagons, like this one, have been abandoned along the Oregon Trail. Photo by Peggy Dent

They walked over 2,000 miles in the blistering heat and dust, following ruts etched into the prairie by oxen hoofs and wagon wheels.  We were traveling in the opposite direction, over paved interstate highways in an air-conditioned RV.  They had to locate water for themselves and their livestock, daily.  We were carrying enough fresh filtered water to last for days. They had to fix meals from scarce dry goods. We pulled dinner out of the refrigerator or went out to eat.  The more we thought about their courage, the more we realized how timid we had become.

They put their trust in scouts and wagon masters to get them to the new frontier. We put our trust in RV LIFE’s mobile app and GPS. From day to day, they never knew what they might encounter. We could do research, read reviews, link to websites, and call for reservations, with one-touch dialing.

This trip has taught us that people everywhere are decent, caring, gentle, and kind, and it’s safe to boldly travel among them. It’s restored our courage, helped us relax, taught us to enjoy our adventures, and to trust our resources and the other travelers who have gone before us. After all, we’re all connected, from our courageous ancestors to our fellow RVers who candidly share their RV park reviews online, we’re all just one big traveling family.

See also: This Boondocking Spot Reminded Us Of The Old Days





Source link

Wanderful Life RV Guide Book Gets Beyond the Basics


There’s more to transitioning into full-time RVing than the logistics.  To chase your wanderlust successfully, a mindshift needs to happen. A new book called “A Wanderful Life: Your Guide to RV Living” helps you do exactly that. You will learn how to wrap your head around the new lifestyle and gently ease into life on the road with less stress and more fun.

Go Beyond Logistics with Wanderful Life RV Guide Book

When we decide to take a leap into full-time RVing, we get so caught up on the hard costs. From researching the obvious aspects of RV trip planning, like deciding on a rig, to figuring out how to pay for the lifestyle, we focus on factors that are easily calculated and measured.

And while those practical matters are important, so is our state of mind. But few of us pay attention to it, because you can’t put a number on mental health. That’s too bad, because the nomadic life is full of uncertainty and emotional upheaval. How we handle those challenges on the road can make or break our adventure. That’s where “A Wanderful Life: Your Guide to RV Living” can help.

Barbara and Arnie took four years to research the book.

Embracing the Uncertainty of Nomadic Life

Author Barbara Wentzell Jaquith wrote this one-of-a-kind full-time RVing guide book to help travelers wrangle their emotions when coping with the transition from a traditional life to the one they dream about. She and her husband Arnie know about it from firsthand experience. They both embrace the wanderlust in their souls, but the uncertainty of chasing it down on a full-time basis left them feeling uneasy.

“Arnie and I were in our mid-sixties when we made our decision. The world was calling out to us and we were longing to hear its voice. We were ready to restore legitimacy to our lives through a connection made to nature and a penchant for learning. But we understood that this life wasn’t just carefree. During the planning stages, we tried to be brutally honest with ourselves and with each other.

We wanted to determine if the tradeoff between the travel we longed for and the realities of a full-time traveling life were worth it to us. We needed to be sure that we weren’t just tired and burned out from years of high-stress jobs. We needed to be sure that we weren’t just lookin for an escape. We also needed to know that we were dreaming of a fulfilling lifestyle that would be realistic for us to execute.

We asked ourselves if this was the right lifestyle and the right decision at the right time fr us. Jumping from the frying pan into the fire may be temping, but long term, you’ll probably get burned. Ultimately, we decided to fine-tune the plan and then put it into action.”

Dig Deeper into the Ups and Downs of Full-time RVing

The couple spent four years on the road researching the topic. They had deep conversations with other full-time RVers. Their aim was to uncover how people manage the self-discovery process of leaving a traditional lifestyle and leaping into the alternative.

Jaquith writes from the perspective of a retiring baby boomer. But anyone who’s dreaming of the lifestyle will love it too. She touches on all of the practical aspects of full-time RV planning, but goes way beyond it for the benefit of readers. By diving deep into the feelings, thoughts and actions that accompany the switch, you’ll learn about things like:

  • How to give up our attachments and reap the rewards of letting go
  • Managing the frustrations of giving up reliable services, like Internet and cellular connectivity
  • Ideas for making friends on the road and building your sense of community
  • Nurturing your nomad instinct in a world filled with settlers
  • Why pets make great role models for learning how to wander mindfully

This is essentially the story of one couple who hit the road. But what’s especially appealing about A Wanderful Life is how the author interjects fascinating background information into the narrative.

Jaquith backs up her tips and suggestions with interesting research published in scientific journals that look at human behavior in regards to possessions and travel. People she encountered the road also share their full-time RV stories. You’ll get interesting perspectives from people of different backgrounds. Jaquith shares how they made the switch, whether by choice or necessity, and the challenges they faced.

If you’re thinking about becoming a full-time RVer, this book is a one-of-a-kind, must-have manual for a successful journey. Don’t hit the road until you read it.





Source link

Wanderful Life RV Guide Book Gets Beyond the Basics


There’s more to transitioning into full-time RVing than the logistics.  To chase your wanderlust successfully, a mindshift needs to happen. A new book called “A Wanderful Life: Your Guide to RV Living” helps you do exactly that. You will learn how to wrap your head around the new lifestyle and gently ease into life on the road with less stress and more fun.

Go Beyond Logistics with Wanderful Life RV Guide Book

When we decide to take a leap into full-time RVing, we get so caught up on the hard costs. From researching the obvious aspects of RV trip planning, like deciding on a rig, to figuring out how to pay for the lifestyle, we focus on factors that are easily calculated and measured.

And while those practical matters are important, so is our state of mind. But few of us pay attention to it, because you can’t put a number on mental health. That’s too bad, because the nomadic life is full of uncertainty and emotional upheaval. How we handle those challenges on the road can make or break our adventure. That’s where “A Wanderful Life: Your Guide to RV Living” can help.

Barbara and Arnie took four years to research the book.

Embracing the Uncertainty of Nomadic Life

Author Barbara Wentzell Jaquith wrote this one-of-a-kind full-time RVing guide book to help travelers wrangle their emotions when coping with the transition from a traditional life to the one they dream about. She and her husband Arnie know about it from firsthand experience. They both embrace the wanderlust in their souls, but the uncertainty of chasing it down on a full-time basis left them feeling uneasy.

“Arnie and I were in our mid-sixties when we made our decision. The world was calling out to us and we were longing to hear its voice. We were ready to restore legitimacy to our lives through a connection made to nature and a penchant for learning. But we understood that this life wasn’t just carefree. During the planning stages, we tried to be brutally honest with ourselves and with each other.

We wanted to determine if the tradeoff between the travel we longed for and the realities of a full-time traveling life were worth it to us. We needed to be sure that we weren’t just tired and burned out from years of high-stress jobs. We needed to be sure that we weren’t just lookin for an escape. We also needed to know that we were dreaming of a fulfilling lifestyle that would be realistic for us to execute.

We asked ourselves if this was the right lifestyle and the right decision at the right time fr us. Jumping from the frying pan into the fire may be temping, but long term, you’ll probably get burned. Ultimately, we decided to fine-tune the plan and then put it into action.”

Dig Deeper into the Ups and Downs of Full-time RVing

The couple spent four years on the road researching the topic. They had deep conversations with other full-time RVers. Their aim was to uncover how people manage the self-discovery process of leaving a traditional lifestyle and leaping into the alternative.

Jaquith writes from the perspective of a retiring baby boomer. But anyone who’s dreaming of the lifestyle will love it too. She touches on all of the practical aspects of full-time RV planning, but goes way beyond it for the benefit of readers. By diving deep into the feelings, thoughts and actions that accompany the switch, you’ll learn about things like:

  • How to give up our attachments and reap the rewards of letting go
  • Managing the frustrations of giving up reliable services, like Internet and cellular connectivity
  • Ideas for making friends on the road and building your sense of community
  • Nurturing your nomad instinct in a world filled with settlers
  • Why pets make great role models for learning how to wander mindfully

This is essentially the story of one couple who hit the road. But what’s especially appealing about A Wanderful Life is how the author interjects fascinating background information into the narrative.

Jaquith backs up her tips and suggestions with interesting research published in scientific journals that look at human behavior in regards to possessions and travel. People she encountered the road also share their full-time RV stories. You’ll get interesting perspectives from people of different backgrounds. Jaquith shares how they made the switch, whether by choice or necessity, and the challenges they faced.

If you’re thinking about becoming a full-time RVer, this book is a one-of-a-kind, must-have manual for a successful journey. Don’t hit the road until you read it.





Source link

Safe Waste Disposal For RVs


No one really enjoys thinking about the sewage holding tanks in RVs, but everyone is aware of them when they are not acting properly.  A lot has been written on the proper day-to-day maintenance and options for RV black tanks, but have you given much thought as to what happens after you dump those tanks?

waste

RV dump stations aren’t the end of the waste story. What you use in your system can impact the ability for the waste to break down after it is out of your RV. (Photo by Mandruss, Wikipedia)

Many dump stations, particularly in rural areas where connections to municipal sewer systems are not available, are effective septic systems.  These systems contain a septic tank and an absorption field or leach field.  The septic tank separates solids from liquids and begins the breakdown of material through bacteria and microbes naturally present in the wastewater.  The leach field continues to treat the liquid wastes through physical, and biological processes before absorbing into the surrounding soil.

What you may not realize is that adding chemicals to your RV tank system can affect the ability for the dump stations to effectively treat the waste in them.  Many cleaners and odor control products on the market contain chemicals like formaldehyde (or formalin) or para-dichlorobenzene (commonly found in urinal cakes and bowl fresheners) that are not only known carcinogens but can inhibit proper decomposition, produce toxic fumes, corrode pipelines, and pollute the soil and groundwater.  These chemicals cause the bacteria in the septic treatment system to die, so the system cannot breakdown the waste.

An easy way to prevent chemical damage to dump stations is to know what is in the products you use by carefully reading the labels.

  • Avoid products containing formalin or formaldehyde, para-dichlorobenzene, heavy metals (such as zinc), benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), perchloroethylene (PCE), sulfuric acid, and caustic soda.
  • Never dispose of household chemicals, gasoline, motor oil, pesticides, paint, or antifreeze at dump stations.
  • Clogging items such as cat litter (even the ones claiming to be flushable), coffee grounds, diapers, and grease should also not be disposed of at dumping stations.

 

There are a number of great alternative products on the market that do not use harsh chemicals to treat black tanks and control odor.  Look for products that are biodegradable and septic-safe.

You might also want to investigate alternatives to having a black tank at all.  Composting toilets do not require water (save it for another use) or a holding tank (so long dump stations!).  It may seem initially weird to let your waste sit around composting rather than flushing it away, but since they separate liquids from solids, it produces fewer odors.

waste tank

Composting toilets don’t require water or a black water holding tank. They are easy to install and use. (Photo by Stranman, Wikipedia)

Incinerating toilets are another waterless option.  They use a special chamber to incinerate waste.  They are a very low-maintenance system producing a small amount of ash and almost no odor.  It takes about 10 minutes to incinerate urine, and about half an hour to reduce solid waste to ash.  As you might imagine, incinerating toilets require electricity and/or propane to do their magic.

Considering that the reason we all enjoy getting out in our RVs is to enjoy the beauty of the natural world, taking some time to consider how we can keep the beauty of our natural resources safe for future enjoyment is a small price to pay.

See also: The Magic of Microbes Holding Tank Treatments





Source link

Safe Waste Disposal For RVs


No one really enjoys thinking about the sewage holding tanks in RVs, but everyone is aware of them when they are not acting properly.  A lot has been written on the proper day-to-day maintenance and options for RV black tanks, but have you given much thought as to what happens after you dump those tanks?

waste

RV dump stations aren’t the end of the waste story. What you use in your system can impact the ability for the waste to break down after it is out of your RV. (Photo by Mandruss, Wikipedia)

Many dump stations, particularly in rural areas where connections to municipal sewer systems are not available, are effective septic systems.  These systems contain a septic tank and an absorption field or leach field.  The septic tank separates solids from liquids and begins the breakdown of material through bacteria and microbes naturally present in the wastewater.  The leach field continues to treat the liquid wastes through physical, and biological processes before absorbing into the surrounding soil.

What you may not realize is that adding chemicals to your RV tank system can affect the ability for the dump stations to effectively treat the waste in them.  Many cleaners and odor control products on the market contain chemicals like formaldehyde (or formalin) or para-dichlorobenzene (commonly found in urinal cakes and bowl fresheners) that are not only known carcinogens but can inhibit proper decomposition, produce toxic fumes, corrode pipelines, and pollute the soil and groundwater.  These chemicals cause the bacteria in the septic treatment system to die, so the system cannot breakdown the waste.

An easy way to prevent chemical damage to dump stations is to know what is in the products you use by carefully reading the labels.

  • Avoid products containing formalin or formaldehyde, para-dichlorobenzene, heavy metals (such as zinc), benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), perchloroethylene (PCE), sulfuric acid, and caustic soda.
  • Never dispose of household chemicals, gasoline, motor oil, pesticides, paint, or antifreeze at dump stations.
  • Clogging items such as cat litter (even the ones claiming to be flushable), coffee grounds, diapers, and grease should also not be disposed of at dumping stations.

 

There are a number of great alternative products on the market that do not use harsh chemicals to treat black tanks and control odor.  Look for products that are biodegradable and septic-safe.

You might also want to investigate alternatives to having a black tank at all.  Composting toilets do not require water (save it for another use) or a holding tank (so long dump stations!).  It may seem initially weird to let your waste sit around composting rather than flushing it away, but since they separate liquids from solids, it produces fewer odors.

waste tank

Composting toilets don’t require water or a black water holding tank. They are easy to install and use. (Photo by Stranman, Wikipedia)

Incinerating toilets are another waterless option.  They use a special chamber to incinerate waste.  They are a very low-maintenance system producing a small amount of ash and almost no odor.  It takes about 10 minutes to incinerate urine, and about half an hour to reduce solid waste to ash.  As you might imagine, incinerating toilets require electricity and/or propane to do their magic.

Considering that the reason we all enjoy getting out in our RVs is to enjoy the beauty of the natural world, taking some time to consider how we can keep the beauty of our natural resources safe for future enjoyment is a small price to pay.

See also: The Magic of Microbes Holding Tank Treatments





Source link

Using Google Earth To Find A Boondocking Camping Site


A reoccurring question during my boondocking seminars and responses to some of my blog posts is, “Do you physically survey (walk/drive) road conditions leading to a boondocking site before heading in with your RV?”

I typically reply that I am so comfortable with what I have researched in advance concerning road conditions that I rarely walk or drive the road (without the RV in tow) before proceeding with my travel trailer.

In this and the next several posts, I will be sharing the items I look for online before ever leaving the asphalt and heading down a “less improved” road to a boondock site.

Google Earth

User-posted photo showing road conditions – Photo via Google Earth

In this entry, we will share what to look for using the satellite view on Google Earth.

I start by locating a boondocking site near the location/activity I want to enjoy. These sites show up where the natural vegetation has been disturbed (on public land) from years of vehicle use/parking and most often you will also be able to discern a fire ring made of rocks.

From the boondocking site, I work back towards the asphalt where I will be turning off the main road. Things I look for along the route are:

  1. Sharp curves in the road that would be difficult to navigate.
  2. Gradient—I run the cursor along the road to watch the elevation listed at the bottom of the screen to determine what the gradient of the road is and if there are any major dips or humps that might challenge the clearance of my truck or travel trailer.
  3. The distance I will have to travel to get to the boondocking site from the main road using either the “Ruler” found in Tools or the scale located in the bottom left corner.
  4. The width of the road using the scale as noted above.
  5. How well the road is maintained or maybe isn’t maintained. Signs that it is maintained include lack of grass and/or weeds growing down the center of the road tell me it is most likely graded on a regular basis and well-traveled. Uniform shoulders and width also serve as indicators that the road is graded regularly.
  6. What are the options for turning around along the route (if needed)?
  7. Drainages/creek crossings/washouts/swales.
  8. Initial access—I look at the turnoff from the asphalt to see if there might be a gate that will be indicated by a line across the road with a parallel shadow, which tells me the line is elevated above the road (as it is casting a shadow). Note: If on public land, it may only be a cattle gate keeping livestock on leased grazing lands often found in the West. The universal rule concerning gates is leave the gate as you found it (or leave all gates as found) is an important rule of courtesy in rural areas throughout the world. If a gate is found open, it should be left open, and if it is closed, it should be left closed (after passing through).
  9. Is there brush encroaching the road or are there trees overhanging the road that might damage my RV?
  10. Does the road start out as surfaced (chip sealed or paved) and then turn to dirt/gravel farther along the route?
  11. Are there any user-posted pictures, indicated by blue circles, along the back road I plan to travel that depict the actual road?

 

Gradient & turns – Photo via Google Earth

As you can see, a little advance research can provide a wealth of information concerning road conditions to a boondocking site long before you ever arrive to navigate the road in your RV.

Please note that I have been towing trailers before I was old enough to obtain a driver’s license and I have more ground clearance than most RVs, so I might be more confident than other RVers. If you are in doubt about access road conditions I encourage you to survey the road before proceeding with your RV.

In the next installment, we will look at using Google Earth street view to provide us clues to access road conditions. Traveling a back road to a boondocking site with confidence, just another adventure in RVing!

See also: Satellite Imagery Isn’t Always What It Seems





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Using Google Earth To Find A Boondocking Camping Site


A reoccurring question during my boondocking seminars and responses to some of my blog posts is, “Do you physically survey (walk/drive) road conditions leading to a boondocking site before heading in with your RV?”

I typically reply that I am so comfortable with what I have researched in advance concerning road conditions that I rarely walk or drive the road (without the RV in tow) before proceeding with my travel trailer.

In this and the next several posts, I will be sharing the items I look for online before ever leaving the asphalt and heading down a “less improved” road to a boondock site.

Google Earth

User-posted photo showing road conditions – Photo via Google Earth

In this entry, we will share what to look for using the satellite view on Google Earth.

I start by locating a boondocking site near the location/activity I want to enjoy. These sites show up where the natural vegetation has been disturbed (on public land) from years of vehicle use/parking and most often you will also be able to discern a fire ring made of rocks.

From the boondocking site, I work back towards the asphalt where I will be turning off the main road. Things I look for along the route are:

  1. Sharp curves in the road that would be difficult to navigate.
  2. Gradient—I run the cursor along the road to watch the elevation listed at the bottom of the screen to determine what the gradient of the road is and if there are any major dips or humps that might challenge the clearance of my truck or travel trailer.
  3. The distance I will have to travel to get to the boondocking site from the main road using either the “Ruler” found in Tools or the scale located in the bottom left corner.
  4. The width of the road using the scale as noted above.
  5. How well the road is maintained or maybe isn’t maintained. Signs that it is maintained include lack of grass and/or weeds growing down the center of the road tell me it is most likely graded on a regular basis and well-traveled. Uniform shoulders and width also serve as indicators that the road is graded regularly.
  6. What are the options for turning around along the route (if needed)?
  7. Drainages/creek crossings/washouts/swales.
  8. Initial access—I look at the turnoff from the asphalt to see if there might be a gate that will be indicated by a line across the road with a parallel shadow, which tells me the line is elevated above the road (as it is casting a shadow). Note: If on public land, it may only be a cattle gate keeping livestock on leased grazing lands often found in the West. The universal rule concerning gates is leave the gate as you found it (or leave all gates as found) is an important rule of courtesy in rural areas throughout the world. If a gate is found open, it should be left open, and if it is closed, it should be left closed (after passing through).
  9. Is there brush encroaching the road or are there trees overhanging the road that might damage my RV?
  10. Does the road start out as surfaced (chip sealed or paved) and then turn to dirt/gravel farther along the route?
  11. Are there any user-posted pictures, indicated by blue circles, along the back road I plan to travel that depict the actual road?

 

Gradient & turns – Photo via Google Earth

As you can see, a little advance research can provide a wealth of information concerning road conditions to a boondocking site long before you ever arrive to navigate the road in your RV.

Please note that I have been towing trailers before I was old enough to obtain a driver’s license and I have more ground clearance than most RVs, so I might be more confident than other RVers. If you are in doubt about access road conditions I encourage you to survey the road before proceeding with your RV.

In the next installment, we will look at using Google Earth street view to provide us clues to access road conditions. Traveling a back road to a boondocking site with confidence, just another adventure in RVing!

See also: Satellite Imagery Isn’t Always What It Seems





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Picnic Table Health Hazards – How To Use


How many times have you pulled into a campsite and gotten set-up before you discovered that the picnic table was not as sanitary as you would have liked?  It’s unfortunate, but many campers just don’t respect the campsite’s physical property.

The electrical, water, and sewer connections often bear the brunt of the abuse, but picnic tables are frequently misused and that poses a special hazard because we’re not going to eat dinner off the electrical connection or serve our kid’s lunch on a sewer hook-up.

Flies are unsanitary vermin anywhere but especially on a picnic table

Where else has this fly been? Now it’s on my picnic table. Photo by Peggy Dent

Wooden surfaces are just not sanitary

If you’ve ever been involved in a health inspection for a commercial kitchen, you know that porous wooden surfaces and food just don’t go together.

Wooden cutting boards, butcher blocks, and wooden spoons are forbidden in commercial kitchens (places where there’s a diligent effort to keep things clean).  So how much more unsanitary is the porous wooden surface of a picnic table when campers treat it like it’s everything but a place to eat?

A picnic table is not…

Let’s re-examine what a picnic table is not.  It’s not a grooming table for our pet’s care. It’s not a DIY handyman’s workbench for a greasy project. It’s not a substitute blackboard for our kid’s outdoor chalk art. A picnic table is not a place for the kids to play king on the mountain or a place to clean and fillet a salmon. It’s not a place to chop kindling. It’s not a clothes rod, or a bike rack, or a place to change a diaper, and this next example is so bad, I still can’t believe I saw this with my own eyes.

In fact, this last misuse of a picnic table is so horrific, it made me rethink every time I’ve ever used a picnic table while camping.  I remember as a kid, setting my flimsy paper plate on the picnic table, overloaded with mom’s potato salad and piled high with potato chips but when I put my newly roasted hot dog on the crowded plate, the top chips tumble off onto the tabletop. But no worries, I snatched ‘em up, way before the 3 second rule, and stuffed them into my mouth, without another thought of sanitation or safety.

In the past 23 years, while camping in all kinds of parks and campgrounds I’ve seen all of these misuses of a picnic table. But this last example, just about made my head explode.

A couple weeks ago, in a nice campground in Palm Desert, I saw a man put a dripping sewer hose on the picnic table while he was breaking down his campsite, and it was this unthinkable affront to basic sanitation and hygiene that prompted the writing of this article.

A picnic table is…

We’ve pondered what a picnic table is not, now let examine what it is.  It’s an expensive asset that belongs to the campground, and it’s a courtesy for the park owners and management to provide one in every campsite. They are a useful addition, and some can be quite elaborate.

I’ve seen picnic tables in provincial parks in Canada that are beautifully crafted, permanent fixtures in each site. Their bases and benches are made of concrete with exposed aggregate surfaces, and the tabletops are 4-inch-thick stained planks.

Each table represents a significant investment and damaging one of these beautiful campground features would be like having a guest in your home, use a hammer or ax on your dining room table.

Canadian Provincial Park picnic table

A picnic table in a Canadian Provincial park. Photo by Peggy Dent

In fact, all the provided assets in any campground are someone else’s property, provided for our convenience and enjoyment, but just because we get to use them for a short period of time doesn’t give us permission to abuse this property.  The fact that the picnic tables belong to someone else should make us even more careful in the way we use them.

Simple precautions

But even if we all treated our picnic table like it was our own dining room table, it would still not be a sanitary place to eat. Outdoor amenities naturally attract insects, rodents, birds and vermin that walk on the tables with their dirty feet, leaving an unsanitary trail of droppings and bacteria.

Even if we clean the picnic table and spray it with cleaners, it’s still wood, it’s porous, and it’s just never going to be clean enough for food prep or service.

picnic table with tablecloth

Tablecloth with clips covers a campground picnic table. Photo by Peggy Dent

So how can we use and enjoy this outdoor dining asset?  I recommend covering it with a tablecloth and pinning that cloth down with clips or weights. But don’t just put a tablecloth on when you arrive and leave it in place for the duration of your stay.  If we do that, insects, rodents, and birds will just walk on the tablecloth instead of the table, but they will still be tracking all kinds of unwholesome debris onto a surface where we eat.

I suggest that we fold our tablecloths in half and anchor them in place as soon as we finish a meal.  The underside of the tablecloth is already contaminated by the table, so folding the top surface (where we eat) to the inside of the fold, will protect it and leave the underside of the tablecloth exposed to the camp critters.

A picnic table is a nice added feature at any campsite. We need to respect and care for this asset as though it belonged to us even if we only get to use it for a spell, and we should always endeavor to leave it (and the campsite) better than the way we found it.

See also: Basic Etiquette That Every RVer Needs To Know





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Picnic Table Health Hazards – How To Use


How many times have you pulled into a campsite and gotten set-up before you discovered that the picnic table was not as sanitary as you would have liked?  It’s unfortunate, but many campers just don’t respect the campsite’s physical property.

The electrical, water, and sewer connections often bear the brunt of the abuse, but picnic tables are frequently misused and that poses a special hazard because we’re not going to eat dinner off the electrical connection or serve our kid’s lunch on a sewer hook-up.

Flies are unsanitary vermin anywhere but especially on a picnic table

Where else has this fly been? Now it’s on my picnic table. Photo by Peggy Dent

Wooden surfaces are just not sanitary

If you’ve ever been involved in a health inspection for a commercial kitchen, you know that porous wooden surfaces and food just don’t go together.

Wooden cutting boards, butcher blocks, and wooden spoons are forbidden in commercial kitchens (places where there’s a diligent effort to keep things clean).  So how much more unsanitary is the porous wooden surface of a picnic table when campers treat it like it’s everything but a place to eat?

A picnic table is not…

Let’s re-examine what a picnic table is not.  It’s not a grooming table for our pet’s care. It’s not a DIY handyman’s workbench for a greasy project. It’s not a substitute blackboard for our kid’s outdoor chalk art. A picnic table is not a place for the kids to play king on the mountain or a place to clean and fillet a salmon. It’s not a place to chop kindling. It’s not a clothes rod, or a bike rack, or a place to change a diaper, and this next example is so bad, I still can’t believe I saw this with my own eyes.

In fact, this last misuse of a picnic table is so horrific, it made me rethink every time I’ve ever used a picnic table while camping.  I remember as a kid, setting my flimsy paper plate on the picnic table, overloaded with mom’s potato salad and piled high with potato chips but when I put my newly roasted hot dog on the crowded plate, the top chips tumble off onto the tabletop. But no worries, I snatched ‘em up, way before the 3 second rule, and stuffed them into my mouth, without another thought of sanitation or safety.

In the past 23 years, while camping in all kinds of parks and campgrounds I’ve seen all of these misuses of a picnic table. But this last example, just about made my head explode.

A couple weeks ago, in a nice campground in Palm Desert, I saw a man put a dripping sewer hose on the picnic table while he was breaking down his campsite, and it was this unthinkable affront to basic sanitation and hygiene that prompted the writing of this article.

A picnic table is…

We’ve pondered what a picnic table is not, now let examine what it is.  It’s an expensive asset that belongs to the campground, and it’s a courtesy for the park owners and management to provide one in every campsite. They are a useful addition, and some can be quite elaborate.

I’ve seen picnic tables in provincial parks in Canada that are beautifully crafted, permanent fixtures in each site. Their bases and benches are made of concrete with exposed aggregate surfaces, and the tabletops are 4-inch-thick stained planks.

Each table represents a significant investment and damaging one of these beautiful campground features would be like having a guest in your home, use a hammer or ax on your dining room table.

Canadian Provincial Park picnic table

A picnic table in a Canadian Provincial park. Photo by Peggy Dent

In fact, all the provided assets in any campground are someone else’s property, provided for our convenience and enjoyment, but just because we get to use them for a short period of time doesn’t give us permission to abuse this property.  The fact that the picnic tables belong to someone else should make us even more careful in the way we use them.

Simple precautions

But even if we all treated our picnic table like it was our own dining room table, it would still not be a sanitary place to eat. Outdoor amenities naturally attract insects, rodents, birds and vermin that walk on the tables with their dirty feet, leaving an unsanitary trail of droppings and bacteria.

Even if we clean the picnic table and spray it with cleaners, it’s still wood, it’s porous, and it’s just never going to be clean enough for food prep or service.

picnic table with tablecloth

Tablecloth with clips covers a campground picnic table. Photo by Peggy Dent

So how can we use and enjoy this outdoor dining asset?  I recommend covering it with a tablecloth and pinning that cloth down with clips or weights. But don’t just put a tablecloth on when you arrive and leave it in place for the duration of your stay.  If we do that, insects, rodents, and birds will just walk on the tablecloth instead of the table, but they will still be tracking all kinds of unwholesome debris onto a surface where we eat.

I suggest that we fold our tablecloths in half and anchor them in place as soon as we finish a meal.  The underside of the tablecloth is already contaminated by the table, so folding the top surface (where we eat) to the inside of the fold, will protect it and leave the underside of the tablecloth exposed to the camp critters.

A picnic table is a nice added feature at any campsite. We need to respect and care for this asset as though it belonged to us even if we only get to use it for a spell, and we should always endeavor to leave it (and the campsite) better than the way we found it.

See also: Basic Etiquette That Every RVer Needs To Know





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Lost Dutchman State Park Camping near Apache Junction, Arizona


Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona offers a laid-back setting that’s relaxing any time of year. Though located less than 40 miles from Phoenix, Apache Junction is an oasis of calm, and many RVers use the 138-site state park as a home base while exploring the area.

Half of the sites offer 20/30/50 amp electrical service and water, while the remaining non-hookup sites are set on paved roads for tents or RVs.

Lost Dutchman State Park

Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park. Photo via RagTopDay on CampgroundReviews.com

Other amenities at Lost Dutchman State Park include restrooms, showers, a water spigot, picnic shelter, dump station, and numerous recreational trails. Regardless of your fitness level, there is a trail to fit everyone’s skill level.

The variety of Lost Dutchman trails range from a quarter-mile to four miles, roundtrip. To get your feet wet (not literally!) try the Discovery Trail. This short hike connects the campground and day-use areas where you’ll find various information signs, a wildlife pond, bird feeder, and a viewing bench.

Before heading out on any trail, no matter the distance, don’t forget to bring water, wear proper footgear, and the trail map that is provided with your entrance fee.

Other area attractions worth exploring include Superstition Mountain Museum or nearby Goldfield Ghost Town.

Roughly eight miles from Lost Dutchman State Park is an excellent golf course—Apache Creek Golf Club. This desert course recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The 18-hole, par 72 track measures 6,541 yards and is completely devoid of homes. The well-manicured Apache Creek Golf Club, nestled at the foot of the majestic Superstition Mountains, also offers a large driving range, putting green, pro shop, and The Grill at Apache Creek.

For more information on area activities and other things to explore, visit the Apache Junction Chamber website. You can also learn more about camping at Lost Dutchman State Park on CampgroundReviews.com.





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Lost Dutchman State Park Camping near Apache Junction, Arizona


Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona offers a laid-back setting that’s relaxing any time of year. Though located less than 40 miles from Phoenix, Apache Junction is an oasis of calm, and many RVers use the 138-site state park as a home base while exploring the area.

Half of the sites offer 20/30/50 amp electrical service and water, while the remaining non-hookup sites are set on paved roads for tents or RVs.

Lost Dutchman State Park

Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park. Photo via RagTopDay on CampgroundReviews.com

Other amenities at Lost Dutchman State Park include restrooms, showers, a water spigot, picnic shelter, dump station, and numerous recreational trails. Regardless of your fitness level, there is a trail to fit everyone’s skill level.

The variety of Lost Dutchman trails range from a quarter-mile to four miles, roundtrip. To get your feet wet (not literally!) try the Discovery Trail. This short hike connects the campground and day-use areas where you’ll find various information signs, a wildlife pond, bird feeder, and a viewing bench.

Before heading out on any trail, no matter the distance, don’t forget to bring water, wear proper footgear, and the trail map that is provided with your entrance fee.

Other area attractions worth exploring include Superstition Mountain Museum or nearby Goldfield Ghost Town.

Roughly eight miles from Lost Dutchman State Park is an excellent golf course—Apache Creek Golf Club. This desert course recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The 18-hole, par 72 track measures 6,541 yards and is completely devoid of homes. The well-manicured Apache Creek Golf Club, nestled at the foot of the majestic Superstition Mountains, also offers a large driving range, putting green, pro shop, and The Grill at Apache Creek.

For more information on area activities and other things to explore, visit the Apache Junction Chamber website. You can also learn more about camping at Lost Dutchman State Park on CampgroundReviews.com.





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Get RV Education and Safety Training from the Experts


RV driving completely different than cruising in a passenger car. That’s why RV education classes make sense. They build your confidence and enjoyment of the lifestyle, and are a critical safety investment for you and your loved ones. If you haven’t taken classes yet, the RV Technical Education and Safety Conference is one place to get started.

4-Day Conference Gives Hands-On Training with RV Experts

Whether you own a towable, a van, truck camper or motorhome, getting into the RV lifestyle requires a learning curve. You can shorten it by registering for the RV Technical Education and Safety Conference, a four-day gathering that happens each spring in Elkhart, Indiana. This year in 2020, it’s taking place May 13-17.

“To fully enjoy these vehicles it is beneficial to spend time learning about how to operate them properly and the best place to get this understanding is from the folks in the industry who create and maintain them.,” says Trey Sellman, a representative of the RV Safety & Education Foundation that runs the event.

“The conference provides attendees a unique opportunity to have extended time with RV technician trainers, industry specialists, and lifestyle authorities who will be available to teach classes and discuss personal situations one on one.”

The conference isn’t just for newbies. It’s for everyone from the wanna-be RVer to the long-time owner who wants to improve their lifestyle knowledge. “About 40% of the attendees do not yet own an RV, new RVers and full-timer RVers all attend and each group greatly benefits from the specialized training. Many return year after year to continue their ongoing education and support the conference,” says Sellman.

A full-time RVer himself, Sellman says the RVSEF event gives attendees the best chance to have extended face time with the country’s most well-regarded RV technician trainers, industry specialists, and lifestyle authorities. These experts come together in an intimate setting for engaging teaching sessions and one-on-one consulting with attendees. “We try to provide a wide range of specialty and lifestyle courses,” he says.

RV driver education Elkhart Indiana

Shorten the learning curve to better RVing.

RV Driver Education, Lifestyle Learning and Dozens of Important Topics

Spaces are going quick. One look at the agenda and it’s easy to see why. A quick glance at the event training session includes important topics like:

  • Behind the Wheel Driver Training
  • Buying, negotiating and closing the RV deal
  • Battery Maintenance
  • CPR / AED Certification
  • Driving Safety
  • Electrical Systems
  • Exterior Care
  • Fire Safety
  • Full-time RVing
  • Hitches & Brake Controllers
  • Internet Connectivity
  • Personal Safety
  • Propane System and Carbon Monoxide
  • Properly Matching Trucks and Trailers/5th wheels
  • RV Walk-Throughs of Attendee RVs
  • Tire Maintenance and Safety
  • Working on the Road
  • Cooking, Pets and much more

As the event draws near, the schedule and course description updates can be seen here. Many classes are limited to small groups and repeated throughout the day, so attendees have more chances to get into every class they want.

Learn to Love the RV Lifestyle and Get a New Career Too

Stay for the eight week training and get certified as an RV Technician.

The RV education conference takes place at the brand new RV Technical Institute (RVTI) in Elkhart, Indiana. The RVTI is the brainchild of the RV Industry Association and the RV Dealers Association. The two groups recently joined forces to create the industry’s first certified RV Technician Training program in response to the industry’s dire need for properly trained, qualified RV technicians with talent.

The RVTI is partnering with the RVSEF to give a significant tuition discount for any conference attendees who want to obtain a Level 1 and Level Certification Training to become an RV Technician. Normally, the seven day Level 1 training session costs $1000 and the eight-week Level 2 costs $8000. RVSEF attendees who embark on this career path will only pay $750 for Level One, and $5000 for Level two.

Whether you choose to make a career out of RVing or just want to enjoy the benefits of this laid back lifestyle, it’s a wise choice to get better acquainted with a type of vehicle that’s unlike anything you’ve ever driven before.

“RVs are unique vehicles designed to live in and enjoy travel across this wonderful country,” says Sellman. “However, there are some significant differences from the passenger cars we usually operate.” The country’s biggest RV education conference is a unique opportunity to get more confident every time you hit the road.





Source link

Get RV Education and Safety Training from the Experts


RV driving completely different than cruising in a passenger car. That’s why RV education classes make sense. They build your confidence and enjoyment of the lifestyle, and are a critical safety investment for you and your loved ones. If you haven’t taken classes yet, the RV Technical Education and Safety Conference is one place to get started.

4-Day Conference Gives Hands-On Training with RV Experts

Whether you own a towable, a van, truck camper or motorhome, getting into the RV lifestyle requires a learning curve. You can shorten it by registering for the RV Technical Education and Safety Conference, a four-day gathering that happens each spring in Elkhart, Indiana. This year in 2020, it’s taking place May 13-17.

“To fully enjoy these vehicles it is beneficial to spend time learning about how to operate them properly and the best place to get this understanding is from the folks in the industry who create and maintain them.,” says Trey Sellman, a representative of the RV Safety & Education Foundation that runs the event.

“The conference provides attendees a unique opportunity to have extended time with RV technician trainers, industry specialists, and lifestyle authorities who will be available to teach classes and discuss personal situations one on one.”

The conference isn’t just for newbies. It’s for everyone from the wanna-be RVer to the long-time owner who wants to improve their lifestyle knowledge. “About 40% of the attendees do not yet own an RV, new RVers and full-timer RVers all attend and each group greatly benefits from the specialized training. Many return year after year to continue their ongoing education and support the conference,” says Sellman.

A full-time RVer himself, Sellman says the RVSEF event gives attendees the best chance to have extended face time with the country’s most well-regarded RV technician trainers, industry specialists, and lifestyle authorities. These experts come together in an intimate setting for engaging teaching sessions and one-on-one consulting with attendees. “We try to provide a wide range of specialty and lifestyle courses,” he says.

RV driver education Elkhart Indiana

Shorten the learning curve to better RVing.

RV Driver Education, Lifestyle Learning and Dozens of Important Topics

Spaces are going quick. One look at the agenda and it’s easy to see why. A quick glance at the event training session includes important topics like:

  • Behind the Wheel Driver Training
  • Buying, negotiating and closing the RV deal
  • Battery Maintenance
  • CPR / AED Certification
  • Driving Safety
  • Electrical Systems
  • Exterior Care
  • Fire Safety
  • Full-time RVing
  • Hitches & Brake Controllers
  • Internet Connectivity
  • Personal Safety
  • Propane System and Carbon Monoxide
  • Properly Matching Trucks and Trailers/5th wheels
  • RV Walk-Throughs of Attendee RVs
  • Tire Maintenance and Safety
  • Working on the Road
  • Cooking, Pets and much more

As the event draws near, the schedule and course description updates can be seen here. Many classes are limited to small groups and repeated throughout the day, so attendees have more chances to get into every class they want.

Learn to Love the RV Lifestyle and Get a New Career Too

Stay for the eight week training and get certified as an RV Technician.

The RV education conference takes place at the brand new RV Technical Institute (RVTI) in Elkhart, Indiana. The RVTI is the brainchild of the RV Industry Association and the RV Dealers Association. The two groups recently joined forces to create the industry’s first certified RV Technician Training program in response to the industry’s dire need for properly trained, qualified RV technicians with talent.

The RVTI is partnering with the RVSEF to give a significant tuition discount for any conference attendees who want to obtain a Level 1 and Level Certification Training to become an RV Technician. Normally, the seven day Level 1 training session costs $1000 and the eight-week Level 2 costs $8000. RVSEF attendees who embark on this career path will only pay $750 for Level One, and $5000 for Level two.

Whether you choose to make a career out of RVing or just want to enjoy the benefits of this laid back lifestyle, it’s a wise choice to get better acquainted with a type of vehicle that’s unlike anything you’ve ever driven before.

“RVs are unique vehicles designed to live in and enjoy travel across this wonderful country,” says Sellman. “However, there are some significant differences from the passenger cars we usually operate.” The country’s biggest RV education conference is a unique opportunity to get more confident every time you hit the road.





Source link

Dry Camper Tips, Boondocking Tips


In our last post, we reviewed why you should become a better dry camper. In this post, we are going to look at how to become a better dry camper.

Now, if you have never extensively dry camped or you’re just looking to join the RV lifestyle, here is the list of resources that you will need to learn to manage to become a better dry camper.

With rare exceptions, the order of importance for most RVs and RVers is as follows:

  1. Conserving and recharging your house batteries – managing power needs
  2. Conserving/maximizing your potable water supply
  3. Minimizing the amount of grey water that enters your grey tank
  4. Obtaining potable water when you run dry
  5. Finding somewhere to dump your tanks when full (black & grey)

 

A very distant 6th is conserving propane, which is rarely an issue for most RVers, so it won’t be addressed in this entry.

dry camper

Become a better dry camper and enjoy campsites like this. Photos via author

I have covered most of these subjects in previous blogs, so to save you the time and trouble of going back through the past 12 years of entries, I have gathered together the links by topic for your convenience.

Please keep in mind these were written for those just learning to dry camp/boondock for short periods of time. Seasoned dry campers that stay somewhere for weeks or months employ more advanced techniques than I am sharing here.

Conserving and recharging your house batteries, along with other electrical tips:
Conserving your potable water supply:
Minimizing the amount of grey water that enters your grey tank:
Obtaining potable water when you run dry:
Addition useful dry camping tips from past blogs:
  • If you are looking to buy an RV and plan on doing a lot of dry camping, here are 5 important features you should consider.
  • Have a backup plan for when systems fail

 

By employing and practicing the tips shared above, you will become a better dry camper and can start enjoying the freedom that comes with it. Becoming free from hookups, just another adventure of RVing!





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Dry Camper Tips, Boondocking Tips


In our last post, we reviewed why you should become a better dry camper. In this post, we are going to look at how to become a better dry camper.

Now, if you have never extensively dry camped or you’re just looking to join the RV lifestyle, here is the list of resources that you will need to learn to manage to become a better dry camper.

With rare exceptions, the order of importance for most RVs and RVers is as follows:

  1. Conserving and recharging your house batteries – managing power needs
  2. Conserving/maximizing your potable water supply
  3. Minimizing the amount of grey water that enters your grey tank
  4. Obtaining potable water when you run dry
  5. Finding somewhere to dump your tanks when full (black & grey)

 

A very distant 6th is conserving propane, which is rarely an issue for most RVers, so it won’t be addressed in this entry.

dry camper

Become a better dry camper and enjoy campsites like this. Photos via author

I have covered most of these subjects in previous blogs, so to save you the time and trouble of going back through the past 12 years of entries, I have gathered together the links by topic for your convenience.

Please keep in mind these were written for those just learning to dry camp/boondock for short periods of time. Seasoned dry campers that stay somewhere for weeks or months employ more advanced techniques than I am sharing here.

Conserving and recharging your house batteries, along with other electrical tips:
Conserving your potable water supply:
Minimizing the amount of grey water that enters your grey tank:
Obtaining potable water when you run dry:
Addition useful dry camping tips from past blogs:
  • If you are looking to buy an RV and plan on doing a lot of dry camping, here are 5 important features you should consider.
  • Have a backup plan for when systems fail

 

By employing and practicing the tips shared above, you will become a better dry camper and can start enjoying the freedom that comes with it. Becoming free from hookups, just another adventure of RVing!





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How To Make Money While Full-Time RVing & Traveling


The idea of being a full-time RVer used to be something people dreamed about after they retired if they could save enough money and stay healthy. But they had very few opportunities to earn money once they retired. Today, opportunities to monetize a traveling lifestyle abound and younger people are enjoying the benefits of travel while they earn money along the way.

Work from the comfort of your own RV. Photo via marknpeg on iRV2.com

Only a few decades ago, work required your physical presence on the job, and of course, there are still many jobs that depend on you showing up every day to (hypothetically) punch a proverbial time clock.

After all, you can’t fly a commercial jet and not show up at the airport. You can’t be a grade-school teacher or bank teller and never go to work. But that’s not the whole story. There are many opportunities today to earn money remotely.

The digital age has opened doors that our parents could only dream about and it is this digital opportunity that allows people to realize their dream of becoming full-time RVers.  It’s the same way people can choose to be stay-at-home parents and earn a livable wage, while others with limited mobility can still perform key roles in industry, education, and commerce.  In the world today, if you have an internet connection, own a computer, and have a skill, you don’t need to show up at a physical location to earn a living.

Gasparilla Island State Park where campers earn money as staff

Both state and federal parks and campgrounds hire full-timers as camp hosts and on-site workers. Photo by Peggy Dent

In fact, in today’s world of work, you don’t need to be employed by someone else.  You can be an entrepreneur, own your own business, work in the gig economy, be a consultant or coach, photographer, writer, designer, musician, blogger, or stock trader.

Alternatively, you could work remotely; doing data entry, transcription, billing, be a virtual assistant, or even support yourself by answering someone else’s emails and correspondence.  You could be a researcher or get paid to write reviews.  I know of many RVers who create online content, earning money from written and video content and Amazon affiliate website.

Additionally, there are many on-site work opportunities for full-time travelers.  Amazon actively recruits campers for their distribution centers. The oil and gas industry hires full-time RVers to man security posts. Both state and federal parks and campgrounds hire full-timers as camp hosts and onsite workers. Private campgrounds employ RVers for office work or light maintenance work.

And every year, a small army of full-time RVers show up in many northern states from Oregon to Minnesota to harvest the thirty-two million tons of sugar beets grown in the US.  It’s temporary and often cold, grueling work, but every year full-time RVers show up at the beet processing plants, like flocks of migrating geese, to get the work done. For a more comprehensive list of work opportunities check out these websites:

 

make money

Work wherever you travel. Photo by RVHive via Flickr Creative Commons

Finally, there are many medical professionals that enjoy all the benefits of a traveling lifestyle and earn money working as temporary nurses, radiologists, or other medical specialists. These people travel from one medical facility to another, where their specialized skills are needed for weeks or months, at a time. Additionally, some full-time RVers work on a job site, in the building trades.  When the project is done, they take time off to travel, move to a new location, and begin earning money on a new project.

The days of working for the same firm for 30 years, then retiring on the company pension are from a bygone era.  Back then, our parents could only dream and wait for retirement, to be full-time travelers. But money earning opportunities now are more fluid, short term, and variable. According to Career Change Statistics, the average person will change careers between 5 and 7 times during their working life.  If you’re going to change careers anyway, why not incorporate full-time travel into your plans?

That’s what I did.  In my lifetime, I have had three long-term careers, and now, my business and traveling partner and I, own our own thirty-year-old business which we manage from our RV. Additionally, I am a writer and author, and she is a designer.  We earn money from all of these activities while traveling throughout the US and Canada.

In conclusion, if you’re just dreaming about a full-time RV lifestyle but don’t know how you could earn enough money to pay for it, I suggest you start planning the steps you’ll need to make your dream a reality.

Every day, dozens of people trade in their big house for a mobile one and hit the road as full-time RVers.  You may need to take care of some loose ends before you realize your dream; maybe you need to retire some debt, gain additional training, finish school, or get the last kid off to college, but be assured that you don’t have to wait until you’re 67.

There’s work to be had, opportunities to seize, and new adventures waiting. Come on out and join us!





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How To Make Money While Full-Time RVing & Traveling


The idea of being a full-time RVer used to be something people dreamed about after they retired if they could save enough money and stay healthy. But they had very few opportunities to earn money once they retired. Today, opportunities to monetize a traveling lifestyle abound and younger people are enjoying the benefits of travel while they earn money along the way.

Work from the comfort of your own RV. Photo via marknpeg on iRV2.com

Only a few decades ago, work required your physical presence on the job, and of course, there are still many jobs that depend on you showing up every day to (hypothetically) punch a proverbial time clock.

After all, you can’t fly a commercial jet and not show up at the airport. You can’t be a grade-school teacher or bank teller and never go to work. But that’s not the whole story. There are many opportunities today to earn money remotely.

The digital age has opened doors that our parents could only dream about and it is this digital opportunity that allows people to realize their dream of becoming full-time RVers.  It’s the same way people can choose to be stay-at-home parents and earn a livable wage, while others with limited mobility can still perform key roles in industry, education, and commerce.  In the world today, if you have an internet connection, own a computer, and have a skill, you don’t need to show up at a physical location to earn a living.

Gasparilla Island State Park where campers earn money as staff

Both state and federal parks and campgrounds hire full-timers as camp hosts and on-site workers. Photo by Peggy Dent

In fact, in today’s world of work, you don’t need to be employed by someone else.  You can be an entrepreneur, own your own business, work in the gig economy, be a consultant or coach, photographer, writer, designer, musician, blogger, or stock trader.

Alternatively, you could work remotely; doing data entry, transcription, billing, be a virtual assistant, or even support yourself by answering someone else’s emails and correspondence.  You could be a researcher or get paid to write reviews.  I know of many RVers who create online content, earning money from written and video content and Amazon affiliate website.

Additionally, there are many on-site work opportunities for full-time travelers.  Amazon actively recruits campers for their distribution centers. The oil and gas industry hires full-time RVers to man security posts. Both state and federal parks and campgrounds hire full-timers as camp hosts and onsite workers. Private campgrounds employ RVers for office work or light maintenance work.

And every year, a small army of full-time RVers show up in many northern states from Oregon to Minnesota to harvest the thirty-two million tons of sugar beets grown in the US.  It’s temporary and often cold, grueling work, but every year full-time RVers show up at the beet processing plants, like flocks of migrating geese, to get the work done. For a more comprehensive list of work opportunities check out these websites:

 

make money

Work wherever you travel. Photo by RVHive via Flickr Creative Commons

Finally, there are many medical professionals that enjoy all the benefits of a traveling lifestyle and earn money working as temporary nurses, radiologists, or other medical specialists. These people travel from one medical facility to another, where their specialized skills are needed for weeks or months, at a time. Additionally, some full-time RVers work on a job site, in the building trades.  When the project is done, they take time off to travel, move to a new location, and begin earning money on a new project.

The days of working for the same firm for 30 years, then retiring on the company pension are from a bygone era.  Back then, our parents could only dream and wait for retirement, to be full-time travelers. But money earning opportunities now are more fluid, short term, and variable. According to Career Change Statistics, the average person will change careers between 5 and 7 times during their working life.  If you’re going to change careers anyway, why not incorporate full-time travel into your plans?

That’s what I did.  In my lifetime, I have had three long-term careers, and now, my business and traveling partner and I, own our own thirty-year-old business which we manage from our RV. Additionally, I am a writer and author, and she is a designer.  We earn money from all of these activities while traveling throughout the US and Canada.

In conclusion, if you’re just dreaming about a full-time RV lifestyle but don’t know how you could earn enough money to pay for it, I suggest you start planning the steps you’ll need to make your dream a reality.

Every day, dozens of people trade in their big house for a mobile one and hit the road as full-time RVers.  You may need to take care of some loose ends before you realize your dream; maybe you need to retire some debt, gain additional training, finish school, or get the last kid off to college, but be assured that you don’t have to wait until you’re 67.

There’s work to be had, opportunities to seize, and new adventures waiting. Come on out and join us!





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Pahrump, Nevada – Best Places To Visit Near Las Vegas


The charming small town of Pahrump, Nevada is an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas and features an excellent RV resort and more. Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages offers 150 luxurious sites, wine tasting on the adjacent property, and a host of other activities.

The pet-friendly Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages offers 50/30 amp electrical at all sites. Other conveniences include concrete patios, laundry facilities, bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, a computer lounge, picnic area, pool, a renovated clubhouse, reception area, a billiards room, fitness center, pickleball courts, a retail store, an RV and vehicle wash, and more.

Pahrump

Wine Ridge RV Resort- Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

Right next door to the resort is Pahrump Valley Winery where visitors can taste wine or dine by the vines at the upscale Symphony’s Restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, Symphony’s is named after the winery’s gold medal-winning wine of the same name.

Award-winning Pahrump Valley Winery and 5-star cuisine Symphony’s Restaurant adjacent to Wine Ridge. Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

If working on your short game is the plan, check out the 18-hole Lake View Executive Golf Course a few miles from Wine Ridge RV Resort. This par 59 measures 3,518 yards and opened in 1979. Lake View Executive Golf Course has been voted the best “Executive or Midsize Course in Nevada.” With lush fairways, fast greens, five par 4s, and 13 par 3s, it’s a great challenge, and the mountain views live up to their billing.

Of the 112 courses in Nevada, Pahrump’s Mountain Falls Golf Club was voted the number three course in the Silver State. This 18-hole championship course, just 10 minutes from Wine Ridge RV Resort, is known for its exceptional playing conditions. Measuring 7,082 yards from the tips, the front nine was designed by the Nicklaus Design Group while the back nine was groomed by Cal Olson Design.

For more information on the Pahrump area, check out visitpahrump.com. You can also learn more about Wine Ridge RV Resort on CampgroundReviews.com.

You may also like: 10 Casino RV Parks Where You Can Stay & Play





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Pahrump, Nevada – Best Places To Visit Near Las Vegas


The charming small town of Pahrump, Nevada is an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas and features an excellent RV resort and more. Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages offers 150 luxurious sites, wine tasting on the adjacent property, and a host of other activities.

The pet-friendly Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages offers 50/30 amp electrical at all sites. Other conveniences include concrete patios, laundry facilities, bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, a computer lounge, picnic area, pool, a renovated clubhouse, reception area, a billiards room, fitness center, pickleball courts, a retail store, an RV and vehicle wash, and more.

Pahrump

Wine Ridge RV Resort- Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

Right next door to the resort is Pahrump Valley Winery where visitors can taste wine or dine by the vines at the upscale Symphony’s Restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, Symphony’s is named after the winery’s gold medal-winning wine of the same name.

Award-winning Pahrump Valley Winery and 5-star cuisine Symphony’s Restaurant adjacent to Wine Ridge. Photo via CampgroundReviews.com

If working on your short game is the plan, check out the 18-hole Lake View Executive Golf Course a few miles from Wine Ridge RV Resort. This par 59 measures 3,518 yards and opened in 1979. Lake View Executive Golf Course has been voted the best “Executive or Midsize Course in Nevada.” With lush fairways, fast greens, five par 4s, and 13 par 3s, it’s a great challenge, and the mountain views live up to their billing.

Of the 112 courses in Nevada, Pahrump’s Mountain Falls Golf Club was voted the number three course in the Silver State. This 18-hole championship course, just 10 minutes from Wine Ridge RV Resort, is known for its exceptional playing conditions. Measuring 7,082 yards from the tips, the front nine was designed by the Nicklaus Design Group while the back nine was groomed by Cal Olson Design.

For more information on the Pahrump area, check out visitpahrump.com. You can also learn more about Wine Ridge RV Resort on CampgroundReviews.com.

You may also like: 10 Casino RV Parks Where You Can Stay & Play





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Be More Dog: Learning To Live In The Now Book Review


As full-time RVers for over a decade, Rene Agredano and Jim Nelson have done a lot, seen a lot, and finally have released their much-awaited book, Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now.  This book came about from their time spent with their beloved dog Jerry, and the valuable life lessons he shared with them.

Be More Dog

Jerry, Rene, and Jim at the top of Engineer’s Pass, CO in 2008 (bemoredog.net)

The truth of the matter is that Be More Dog is a beautiful love story.  A love story about a dog and his love for the world and his people.  A love story about two people who would do anything and go anywhere for their dog with a terminal cancer diagnosis.  A love story about leaving a world of meetings and deadlines and entering a place where your soul can drink in the beauty of landscapes and cleanse your mind with clean air and sunshine.  Be More Dog is a gift to those who want to create a more fulfilling life and live fully in each moment.

Before they became RVers, Rene and Jim owned their own graphics and marketing business.  Like many people, they were very busy working hard to be successful with their business.  In 2006, their beloved German Shepard, Jerry, was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer at only eight years old.  Rene and Jim were crushed.  They didn’t know much about cancer or treatment options.  After Jerry’s front leg was amputated and the doctors warned his time was limited, Rene and Jim made the promise to give Jerry the “road trip of a lifetime”.

Be More Dog

Rene and Jim share life lessons learned on the road from their beloved dog, Jerry in Be More Dog (bemoredog.net)

They sold their business, sold most of their belongings, bought an RV and hit the road in 2007.  Along the way, they decided to start blogging and making movies of Jerry and his adventures to share with other pet owners facing canine cancer diagnosis or amputation.  They may not have known it at the time, but their website quickly became hugely popular and evolved to become the Tripawds Nation with Jerry at the helm as the official Spokes Dog.

During the two years after his diagnosis, Rene and Jim had traveled with Jerry over 30,000 miles in their RV.  Jerry outlived all the doctor’s expectations and had taken Rene and Jim on countless adventures they would not have otherwise experienced.  More importantly, through their travels together, Rene and Jim were able to abandon a work-centric lifestyle and create some mental space and the breathing room that they desperately craved.

By not being tethered to one place, they found they could better focus on the experiences they were sharing with Jerry.  They were having fun and they were, in fact, living much more like Jerry lived.

Rene says, “I want people to understand that dogs are more than pets.  They are wise teachers and can make us better humans if we just take the time to listen.”

Through Jerry, the couple learned how to adapt to any circumstance and embrace it as a positive thing; to accept it and make the most of it.

Jerry passed away from his cancer in October 2008.  His loss rippled through the entire online Tripawds Nation.  Jerry and the website had become a guiding light and an incredibly useful resource for people across North America who were facing difficult diagnosis with their pets.  There was more work to be done, and Rene and Jim felt that their love for Jerry needed to extend beyond Jerry’s life and continue on to help others.

As full-timing RVers, their time was more fluid which facilitated their ability to write, as well as a multitude of other creative endeavors that has helped serve as an income source for the couple.  They started working on Jerry’s book shortly after his death, trying to ensure that each lesson Jerry taught them was captured and conveyed in just the right way.

Rene and Jim are still RVing, now traveling with their 3-legged dog, Wyatt, who continues on in Jerry’s 3-legged footsteps as Spokesdog for Tripawds everywhere.  Wyatt is also teaching his own lessons in his own way—very different from Jerry but important lessons none-the-less.

After 13 years as nomads, their advice for the rest of us is, “Don’t wait for tragic situations to create the life you want to create.  There is no better time than NOW!  NO EXCUSES!!”

“Be More Dog: Learning To Live in the Now” is available on Amazon for $14.95. You can follow Rene, Jim, and Wyatt at tripawds.com or liveworkdream.com.





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Be More Dog: Learning To Live In The Now Book Review


As full-time RVers for over a decade, Rene Agredano and Jim Nelson have done a lot, seen a lot, and finally have released their much-awaited book, Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now.  This book came about from their time spent with their beloved dog Jerry, and the valuable life lessons he shared with them.

Be More Dog

Jerry, Rene, and Jim at the top of Engineer’s Pass, CO in 2008 (bemoredog.net)

The truth of the matter is that Be More Dog is a beautiful love story.  A love story about a dog and his love for the world and his people.  A love story about two people who would do anything and go anywhere for their dog with a terminal cancer diagnosis.  A love story about leaving a world of meetings and deadlines and entering a place where your soul can drink in the beauty of landscapes and cleanse your mind with clean air and sunshine.  Be More Dog is a gift to those who want to create a more fulfilling life and live fully in each moment.

Before they became RVers, Rene and Jim owned their own graphics and marketing business.  Like many people, they were very busy working hard to be successful with their business.  In 2006, their beloved German Shepard, Jerry, was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer at only eight years old.  Rene and Jim were crushed.  They didn’t know much about cancer or treatment options.  After Jerry’s front leg was amputated and the doctors warned his time was limited, Rene and Jim made the promise to give Jerry the “road trip of a lifetime”.

Be More Dog

Rene and Jim share life lessons learned on the road from their beloved dog, Jerry in Be More Dog (bemoredog.net)

They sold their business, sold most of their belongings, bought an RV and hit the road in 2007.  Along the way, they decided to start blogging and making movies of Jerry and his adventures to share with other pet owners facing canine cancer diagnosis or amputation.  They may not have known it at the time, but their website quickly became hugely popular and evolved to become the Tripawds Nation with Jerry at the helm as the official Spokes Dog.

During the two years after his diagnosis, Rene and Jim had traveled with Jerry over 30,000 miles in their RV.  Jerry outlived all the doctor’s expectations and had taken Rene and Jim on countless adventures they would not have otherwise experienced.  More importantly, through their travels together, Rene and Jim were able to abandon a work-centric lifestyle and create some mental space and the breathing room that they desperately craved.

By not being tethered to one place, they found they could better focus on the experiences they were sharing with Jerry.  They were having fun and they were, in fact, living much more like Jerry lived.

Rene says, “I want people to understand that dogs are more than pets.  They are wise teachers and can make us better humans if we just take the time to listen.”

Through Jerry, the couple learned how to adapt to any circumstance and embrace it as a positive thing; to accept it and make the most of it.

Jerry passed away from his cancer in October 2008.  His loss rippled through the entire online Tripawds Nation.  Jerry and the website had become a guiding light and an incredibly useful resource for people across North America who were facing difficult diagnosis with their pets.  There was more work to be done, and Rene and Jim felt that their love for Jerry needed to extend beyond Jerry’s life and continue on to help others.

As full-timing RVers, their time was more fluid which facilitated their ability to write, as well as a multitude of other creative endeavors that has helped serve as an income source for the couple.  They started working on Jerry’s book shortly after his death, trying to ensure that each lesson Jerry taught them was captured and conveyed in just the right way.

Rene and Jim are still RVing, now traveling with their 3-legged dog, Wyatt, who continues on in Jerry’s 3-legged footsteps as Spokesdog for Tripawds everywhere.  Wyatt is also teaching his own lessons in his own way—very different from Jerry but important lessons none-the-less.

After 13 years as nomads, their advice for the rest of us is, “Don’t wait for tragic situations to create the life you want to create.  There is no better time than NOW!  NO EXCUSES!!”

“Be More Dog: Learning To Live in the Now” is available on Amazon for $14.95. You can follow Rene, Jim, and Wyatt at tripawds.com or liveworkdream.com.





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Dry Camper Tips – How To Become A Better Dry Camper


I recently visited a Washington State Park and was greeted with a sign in the window of the closed attendant’s booth that said: “There Are No Utility Sites Available.”

Now, through the years, I have traveled miles to a campground hoping to find a campsite only to be discouraged when I encountered the “Campground Full” sign posted at the entrance. But would an RVer drive miles to reach a first-come, first-serve campground just to turn around and head elsewhere because there are no utility sites available?

For me, I am happy to find a spot, any spot, available when I pull into a campground these days. After talking with others, and reading online posts and surveys, I learned that I’m in the minority when it comes to utilities not being a necessity, especially electricity, as some surveys reveal nearly 75% of RVers feel they must have an electrical hookup.

Yes, even I, a dyed in the wool boondocker, would prefer an electric site, especially in cold or very hot weather, but I would never head down the road if one were not available.

That is why I am writing this blog entry to encourage you to become a better dry camper and avoid the disappointment you must experience when arriving at a campground and discovering there are no utility sites available. Trust me, most any RV will operate a night or two without hookups in moderate weather conditions.

dry camper

Be prepared to dry camp anywhere, any time. All photos by author (Dave Helgeson)

By becoming a better dry camper, you have much more flexibility on where you can camp. With flexibility comes freedom, allowing you to pretty much go where you want when you want. Isn’t that what RVing was meant to be? Surveys show that thousands of designated (non-utility) campsites remain vacant every night, even in the busiest season, due to RVers perceived need of utilities.

On top of the thousands of non-utility campsites that remain vacant, tens of thousands of other potential sites (dispersed camping locations, boat launches, city parks, points of interest, fairgrounds, and other legal places to camp) remain underutilized due to the fact they require RVers to dry camp.

camper

I have shared with you the “why” part of becoming a better dry camper, but for the “how” part, you can search online, especially through my older blog posts where I have shared how to determine your power needs, conserve water, how to recharge your batteries, find potable water, and other useful dry camping skills.

How about you? Will you accept a a non-hookup campsite when you arrive without reservations at a campground or RV park, or will you try your luck elsewhere in the hopes of finding a campsite with utilities? Please share why (or why not) in the comment section below.

See also: Boondocking Checklist: 10 Essential Items Needed For Off-Grid Camping





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RVing in High Winds Doesn’t Have to be Scary


The RV lifestyle gets us closer to nature. But sometimes, it gets us a little too close, like when we’re RVing in high winds. If you’re not sure what to do when it happens in a campground, here are three lessons I’ve learned during thirteen years of full-time RVing.

Three Lessons Learned About RVing in High Winds

Out of all the weather that we’ve experienced on the road, RVing in high winds is the most annoying. If you’re new to the lifestyle, it can also be terrifying. I used to think that high winds flip RVs all the time, but based on my experiences, that rarely happens.

It seems like even the biggest, heaviest RVs might blow over during a bad wind storm. Our own Arctic Fox fifth wheel trailer is heavier than most, but in the early days living in ours, I wasn’t sure if we would survive the rocking, rolling and relentless wind pummeling in places like New Mexico and the Southern California desert. Clearly, we did, because I’m here to tell you about it. And this is what I do when we get caught RVing in high winds.

Know the weather forecast.

Keep an eye on weather conditions so you know what to expect in the coming hours. If the forecast calls for winds over 20 miles-per- hour, it’s best to take the following precautions:

Acknowledge that you can’t change the weather.

There’s no doubt about it, bad weather sucks. As my husband says, “wind steals your chi,” and leaves you feeling tired and oftentimes, cold. But complaining about the wind, or any weather, doesn’t change the fact that Mother Nature is having a bad day and you’re part of it. Overcome the mental beating that high winds deliver, then focus on what you can change about your situation.

Park facing into the wind.

If you are able to move before the wind picks up, point the front of the RV into the oncoming wind. This will help avoid getting broadsided by wind, which causes your RV to rock side to side as if you’re on a ship at sea.

Stay hitched up if you’re towing a trailer.

Many times we arrived at a campground knowing that high winds were forecasted. In those cases, it always pays to stay hitched up to to our Dodge RAM 2500. Keeping the fifth wheel in contact with our truck helps the RV feel more stable. Since our Dodge has air bags, releasing a bit of air helps create more stability too.

Retract the awning and put your patio junk away.

This should go without saying, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen flying lawn chairs and broken awnings in high winds.

Keep your stabilizer jacks down.

Stabilizer jacks are a godsend when RVing in high winds. Keep them down to give your RV more contact with the ground.

Retract the slides if the wind is really bad.

If wind is broadsiding your RV and creating lots of bounce, chances are that your slide-outs are making wind effects worse. Retract slides if you can still live inside the rig, then see what happens. As a general rule, I only bring in our slides when wind is hitting us sideways or they’re projected to be over 40 miles per hour for extended periods of time. Our fifth wheel feels much more stable when we do.

These are simple precautions you can take when RVing in high winds. RVing during a tornado warning is an entirely different situation so you need to know what to do there as well if you’re going to survive one.

Windy camping days are never a good time, but thankfully they don’t last forever. For example, on one occasion we endured three days of a bad desert wind storm and thought it would never end. It did, and skies were clear and beautiful when it was over. Like everything in life, there’s a silver lining for even the most annoying or terrifying situations. You’ll likely survive all of them!





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Roadmaster Active Suspension For Fifth Wheels, Travel Trailers


Sponsored by Roadmaster Active Suspension

More and more RVers are hooking up a camper, travel trailer, or fifth wheel to their trucks and hitting the road. Unfortunately, many of those RVers are experiencing the poor handling characteristics often seen with towing, such as flattening, bottoming out, sagging, bounce, and rear-end squat.

Increasingly, RVers are discovering and turning to a fantastic solution, the Roadmaster Active Suspension. Often simply referred to as RAS, each unit bolts to the rear half of the rear leaf springs. The RAS engages and works like a muscle to strengthen the existing leaf springs, proportionate to the force applied. The more weight or force applied, the more the Roadmaster Active Suspension works to stabilize and keep the leaf springs from flattening and bottoming out.

The RAS tackles the all too common issue of the tail wagging the dog that white knuckle drivers might feel when pulling a trailer. It eliminates excessive bounce and rear sag that many RVers experience at the back end of their truck when towing.

There are other great benefits to the RAS, such as improving your truck’s handling and driveability for the other 90% of the time you are not towing. 

Not only is stability increased, but the RAS effectively reduces bounce, axle wrap, and wheel hop by absorbing the added force of increased torque. The emergency braking response is increased as well.

The Roadmaster Active Suspension will provide similar benefits as an air-bag system to reduce squat, but doesn’t require the additional adjustments and maintenance an air system might require. Additionally, the RAS will have a minimal effect on vehicle ride height, retaining a close to stock stance when unloaded.

Roadmaster Active Suspension

Designed specifically for many of the most popular 1⁄4, 1⁄2, 3⁄4 and 1-ton pickups and vans on the market, the Roadmaster Active Suspension will, on average, increase the strength of the rear suspension by an additional 40%. 

Scaling from smaller vehicles like the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, all the way up to the big trucks with diesel and dualies, there is a RAS system for you. Each piece of every RAS kit is engineered with the unique specifications of the most popular truck models, and once the initial tension is set during installation, it never needs adjustment.

The Roadmaster Active Suspension kit is made in the USA using high-grade alloys, epoxy and zinc coatings, and oil-tempered steel to ensure long life and durability against road salts and other corrosive materials.

Providing unparalleled performance and ride quality, the Roadmaster Active Suspension can be installed in roughly one hour with no welding, drilling, or cutting on nearly all RAS kits.

The Roadmaster Active Suspension lives up to its middle name, “Active”, by utilizing a variable rated, heavy-duty coil spring that adjusts proportionately as weight or force are applied to the back end of the vehicle.

Roadmaster Active Suspension

With prices ranging from $469 – $589, this suspension upgrade will give you the comfort and peace of mind to help you enjoy the journey, not dread it. For more information, check out the FAQ, Blog, and Video Gallery on the RAS website. Go see a RAS dealer today, or visit the Roadmaster Active Suspension website for more information. 





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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina RV Resorts That Are Family Friendly


Myrtle Beach, South Carolina plays host to nearly 20 million visitors annually. On par with Las Vegas, sensory overload is a key element with many visitors to Myrtle Beach.

Featuring an average temperature of 73 degrees, this mid-Atlantic coastal town is the centerpiece of arguably the most popular stretch of beach on the Eastern Seaboard, dubbed the Grand Strand. Stretching in a 60-mile arc on either side of Myrtle Beach proper, the Grand Strand offers several quality campgrounds right on the beach.

One of the most popular is the legendary Lakewood Camping Resort, the first family-owned campground on the Grand Strand. Founded by Carl and Marion Perry in the early 1960s, Lakewood Camping Resort is nestled along a half-mile stretch of sandy beach and offers a host of luxurious amenities throughout its 200-acres of prime oceanfront real estate, along with more than 1,300 sites.

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds recently named Lakewood Camping Resort its 2019 Park of the Year in the Mega Park category. Photo by Labomb on CampgroundReviews.com

Featuring a plethora of amenities, this is one of the most popular RVing destinations for those visiting the South Carolina coast. Consider some of its offerings: A full-sized water park, a gymnasium, an indoor pool, beachfront playground, beach volleyball courts, beachfront basketball courts, free bike rentals, golf cart rentals, several restaurants and food trucks that can deliver to your site, multiple watercrafts at your disposal, and much more. Technology is also employed for ease of accessing various amenities throughout the park making your entire experience here a cashless one.

Lakewood Camping Resort also includes full hookups at all sites including 20/30/50 amp electrical, free Wi-Fi, free cable with 62 channels, a picnic table, water, sewer, and daily on-site trash removal service. Additional camping amenities include full-service bathhouses, laundry facilities, The Trading Post, which is a full-service store, a coffee house, a dump station, and propane refills.

Myrtle Beach

Spectacular view from atop the water slides – Photo by Carolyn M. (Motorhome Madness on CampgroundReviews.com)

While Lakewood Camping Resort offers plenty to keep you busy for weeks on end, including a half-mile of sandy beach, the city of Myrtle Beach offers excellent shopping and dining opportunities, amusement parks, entertainment, great nightlife, water sports, and lots of golf.

In fact, the area offers more than 1,800 restaurants of all categories and ethnicities. With seafood playing an important role in the area, Myrtle Beach has a longstanding reputation as a major seafood destination. Many visitors enjoy one or more of the 170-item grand seafood buffets. There’s also a variety of fine dining or beach bar seafood restaurants to please every pallet.

Golfing in Myrtle Beach

If golf is your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Myrtle Beach features more than 90 golf courses and about 50 mini-golf options, too. From luxury tracks to municipal courses, there’s a golf option to fit your desire. In Myrtle Beach you can tee it up at courses designed by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones, and Greg Norman, to name a few.

Whispering Pines Golf Course. Photo via website photo gallery

One stellar track that’s located a few miles from Lakewood Camping Resort is Whispering Pines Golf Course. The 18-hole, 6771-yard course is less than a half-mile from the heart of Myrtle Beach. Tree-lined fairways, carefully placed lakes, and undulating greens are what you can expect at Whispering Pines. In 1998, Whispering Pines was designated a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by Audubon International. To this day, it is the only course in the Myrtle Beach area to earn this honor.

In addition to popular activities like golf and fishing, Myrtle Beach is also known for its variety of amusement parks, which will keep kids of all ages entertained. The first of its kind in the U.S. is the SkyWheel Myrtle Beach. Soaring to 187 feet tall, the SkyWheel offers 42 glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas, and operates year-round.

Broadway Grand Prix features seven go-cart tracks and two mini-golf courses, and guarantees non-stop family fun!

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Photo by Danielle Golon via Flickr Creative Commons

Explore the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

One of the most happening places in Myrtle Beach is the area’s 1.2 mile-long Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade. During the summer months, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is continually alive with festivals and events, including Ocean Boulevard’s Hot Summer Nights located at Plyler Park in the heart of the downtown area. A true family favorite, the boardwalk provides oceanfront views of the endless beach, and numerous shops and restaurants to explore along its path.

For a comprehensive overview on things to see and do in the Myrtle Beach area, check out visitmyrtlebeach.com. You can also learn more about Lakewood Camping Resort on CampgroundReviews.com.

Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a weekly golf blog, The 19th Hole, for RV LIFE. You can reach him at rstedman@gmail.com.





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Campground Etiquette – Campground Courtesy


Courtesy is simply defined as behavior marked by respect for others.

It seems simple and obvious, but please don’t shrug this off thinking these will be angry tirades written to scold people about leaving trash in a campsite or playing music too loudly. In fact, I’m not pointing any fingers or scolding anyone. I need these reminders as much as anyone, which is probably why I’m motivated to write them.

After all, we all just want to have fun, enjoy our camping experience, and get along with each other when we’re RVing and camping. We can all benefit by observing these occasionally overlooked campground courtesies and thereby we may all enjoy our camping experiences that much more.

campground courtesy

Pet owners must be sure their pets are not stealing the neighbor’s peace. Photo by Peggy Dent

Two examples of basic courtesy

It begins with me. I need to remember to close my RV door quietly when I take my dogs out at midnight, so my neighbor who is sleeping in his fifth wheel, just a few feet away from my front door, won’t be disturbed. I might want to close the door a little harder than necessary just to make sure that it’s completely closed before I head off to bed, but if I do that, it’s likely that my 83-year-old sleeping neighbor might not be sleeping once I close the door.

On the flip side, when my neighbor leaves in the morning, in his diesel truck, before 7:00 AM, I deeply appreciate his courtesy of not idling his truck outside my bedroom window for any longer than he needs to exit his site and get on the road.

Courtesy goes beyond park rules

These courtesies are not posted park rules, but behaviors marked by our mutual respect for each other. This respect begins with a perception that we’re not alone in the campgrounds and we need to be aware that all our actions could have an impact on others. We need an awareness that everyone has an equal right to an enjoyable camping experience and to be afforded basic campground courtesy.

campground courtesy

Boondockers need to be very mindful not to disrupt or damage the beauty of the natural environment. Photo by Peggy Dent

Boondockers not exempt

Even when we’re boondocking and there isn’t another camper within miles, our behaviors can still impact others. If, for example, we leave our trash out and it attracts local wildlife like raccoons, rats, cougars, or bears, these animals may become habituated to checking the boondocking site, which could put future boondockers, with pets and children, at risk. Campground courtesy applies to boondocks too.

campground courtesy

Courteous pet owners ensure that their pets don’t damage fragile habitat. Photo by Peggy Dent

Another example

Here’s another example. We frequently camp in and among Canadians and we have observed that as a group, they spend more time outside than inside, regardless of the size and type of their rig and regardless of the weather.

Last year, for example, we spent several months camping on Vancouver Island and the weather was wet and foggy for most of that time, but our Canadian neighbors were undaunted by this cold, damp weather.

a gray day with campsite protected with tarps

Even with no solid anchors, these Canadians made their tarps functional and cozy. Photo by Peggy Dent

As a side note, I have to say that our Canadian neighbors who love the outdoors, have made campground tarping an art form, and some of their elaborate tarp constructions literally took my breath away.

But back to the example. When I observed that our campsite neighbors spent most of their time outside, I needed to be more mindful of the direction of the wind. To apply basic campground courtesy, if the wind was blowing directly across our site into their site and they were outside, it would have been discourteous to start a smoldering smoky fire in my fire pit.

Certainly, they didn’t expect me never to build a fire, but I needed to make sure that it was not the kind of fire that just smoldered and made a lot of smoke particularly when they were outside.

Tarps over a campsite

The campsite was mostly tarps but still looked cozy. Photo by Peggy Dent

Common courtesy would say that the smoke from my fire shouldn’t be a reason my neighbors couldn’t enjoy their camping experience. In a similar vein, loud music from my neighbor’s radio, shouldn’t diminish my enjoyment of a quiet place to relax or read.

But here’s the basic problem

It’s too easy to get lost in our own thoughts, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and completely miss the fact that our behaviors impact others. We’re usually so wrapped up in what we’re doing that we never give others around us another thought, and campground courtesies get lost in all the distractions.

campground courtesy

Everyone just wants to enjoy the beauty and serenity found in camping. Photo by Peggy Dent

It is, therefore, my hope that writing these posts about a few overlooked behaviors will raise everyone’s awareness and help us form habits of thinking about the people who are around us now, AND the ones who may follow us later, into a particular campsite or boondocking hideaway and these thoughts will lead to a habit of campground courtesy.

See also: 5 Things You Should Never Do At A Campground





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Snowbird Destinations – Best Winter RV Resorts For RVing Snowbirds


Sponsored by Thousand Trails

Are you sick of freezing cold this winter while your expensive RV is sitting in storage collecting dust? Why not head south to beautiful destinations like Arizona, Florida, South Texas, or Southern California, where the sun shines all year round?

winter

Crystal Isles RV Resort. Photo via Thousand Trails

A Thousand Trails Camping Pass is the Golden Ticket for RVers seeking warmer weather. As a Pass Holder, you can access any of their RV resorts and campgrounds across regions such as the Southwest or Southeast without having to pay nightly fees. And if you opt to include their Trails Collection, you can also access over 70+ Encore RV Resorts located across the Sun Belt region. These popular RV resorts provide all the amenities you need to stay comfortable all winter and many are age-qualified for those 55 and older.

Their locations include: