Most Recent RV And Camping Blog Posts
As we continued our much-too-short tour of Louisiana, our final stop was New Orleans (also known as NOLA). We spent a couple of days in town visiting new to us destinations.
Our first stop was the Audubon Zoo where we spent a lovely day touring the well laid out grounds. The Audubon Zoo is part of the Audubon Nature Institute, which has 3 separate locations in New Orleans; those include the Zoo (which also includes an IMAX theater), an Aquarium, and a newly opened Butterfly Garden & Insectarium. While we were at the zoo, we enjoyed seeing the wide variety of animals that the zoo had on display. We were able to see everything from engaging sea lions to an orangutan that was working the crowd in an attempt to acquire forbidden handouts.
We especially enjoyed the Louisiana Swamp area of the park with it’s fun Cajun restaurant and baby gator tank with a viewing tube; of course there were big alligators here also.
This zoo is great for adults and children alike. The zoo... [Read more...]
Alabama’s Gulf beaches and Gulf State Park are the largest tourism attractions in the state, overwhelmingly so, according to the new attendance figures released last week by the Alabama Tourism Department.
Sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand await the RVer on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The state’s largest stand-alone festival events, located about 20 miles apart, are also located in the Gulf Coast region. The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival (March 14-16, in 2014) and National Shrimp Festival (October 9-12, in 2014) in Gulf Shores come in at the top two spots among event promotions staged over a single weekend. The relatively new Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival (June 13-14, in 2014), which takes place in between the other two in Foley, is also rising up the state’s annual top 10 festival list.
According to the 2013 annual report, Mobile’s three-week long
Mardi Gras celebration draws the largest attendance... [Read more...]
In a recent post, I have been talking about planning; planning your trips for next year, selecting campgrounds you want to visit and planning attractions you want to see. This past fall, I also included a number of events and attractions for your consideration. But this post concerns an event in a place that everyone should experience, at least once in his or her life: the Arroyo Seco Fourth of July Parade.
One kind soul brought hotdogs for everyone in the crowd!
For those unfamiliar with it, Arroyo Seco is a small village on the way to the Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico. Known simply as “Seco” to locals, and boasting a mere 1,149 full time residents, the population swells to thousands each year on July 4th. I wrote a post detailing this picturesque village that published on September 8, 2013. But the time to visit Arroyo Seco is on the Fourth of July as it boasts a parade like no other event in this country.
The NSA made their presence known as well!
Locals and tourists alike begin... [Read more...]
February 28, 2014 by Rex Vogel · Leave a Comment
Mark Twain once wrote that a traveler “has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”
On horseback and in flatbed trailers, participants and musicians sing, dance, and beg for chickens. (Credit: Terri Fensel)
Of the thousands of festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada, none tops Mardi Gras. Spectacular parades, unbelievable costumes, music, dancing, food, drink—take your pick of places to indulge and enjoy. The largest celebration occurs in New Orleans, but nearly every community from Pensacola, Florida, to Galveston, Texas, has its own version of the annual party.
Wherever you go, you can find the style that best suits you, including tons of family-style celebrations.
From rollicking Wrecks at Pensacola Beach to catching MoonPies in Mobile, communities all along the Gulf Coast have their own way of marking Mardi Gras season.
The revelry in New Orleans tends to grab the spotlight, but how about dancing for a chicken at a Cajun Country Courir... [Read more...]
In this day and age, it’s easy to have devices that allow you to stay in contact with your family and friends as you travel. Think of all the tablets and cellular phones used throughout North America and you’ll know what I’m talking about. However, in this blog post, I will share the advantages of having a laptop as well as a small printer available in the RV when you are on vacation.
What? You might wonder why I’d like to bring a laptop and a printer with us when we travel. Well, it’s true that we are business owners and having such a device will help us if a client contacts us. But apart from the business side of things, I seriously think that traveling with a computer and a small printer has advantages.
The main reason why we have a laptop with us is for the ability to watch movies—without relying on shaky Internet connections—when the kids are in bed. How can we do this? It is quite simple, really—with the help of headphones and the DVD player included... [Read more...]
February 25, 2014 by Rex Vogel · Leave a Comment
Do you know the meaning of krewe? Or the origin of Mardi Gras? Here you will find 10 things to know about Mardi Gras to make your Carnivale the best!
Think you know Mardi Gras?
Spectacular parades with beautiful and creative floats begin parading approximately two weekends prior to Mardi Gras Day.
1. Carnivale is a season; Mardi Gras is a day
Sure, we all do it. “Yea, I’m going to Mardi Gras!” we say, when we’re actually going to see parades the week or two leading up to Mardi Gras. Technically, “Mardi Gras” is the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which ushers in Lent, a period for 40 days of fasting, and Carnivale is the season that begins on January 6, the Feast of Epiphany.
Mardi is the French word for Tuesday. Gras means fat. Thus, Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday. The day is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning confess.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic church indicated that during Lent no meat was to be consumed. Only fish was allowed. So, on... [Read more...]
February 24, 2014 by Dana Ticknor · 2 Comments
While we were checking out Louisiana, we wanted to stop in Baton Rouge to see what they had to offer for fun and interesting stops. While we didn’t have much time to explore, we did find a couple of fun stops that fit into our schedule and interests.
Our first stop was at the Bluebonnet Swamp, which is a county park located in the eastern part of the city of Baton Rouge. This 103-acre park is an ideal location to get out and explore the swamp, and it’s an exceptional stop if you are a “bird nerd.”
Located just a short walk from the parking lot is a 9,500-square-foot exhibit building that houses a small gift shop and numerous animal habitats including many snakes and other reptiles. Outside are several walking trails that lead along the swamp edge and through woods; the walks vary in length from 1/3 of a mile to 1 and 1/2 miles long. Bluebonnet is a great place to spend an hour or so learning about and exploring, Louisiana swamp habitats. It’s also... [Read more...]
One of our favorite hiking trails in the Taos Ski Valley is the Bull of the Woods Trail, which leads hikers up to the Wheeler Peak Trail, that hikers take to summit the high point of New Mexico. Those not heading to the summit may follow the trail up to the Bull of the Woods Pasture, a lovely mountain meadow that makes a great spot for an impromptu picnic lunch. Up until this month, however, we have only experienced this trail during non-winter months.
Last weekend, up for a new adventure, Terry and I headed up to the Ski Valley with the goal of conquering a snow-covered Bull of the Woods Trail. Much of it was firmly tracked and serene, just as we had imagined. It was a lovely day and a pleasant hike. The YakTrax I had on my hiking shoes prevented me from slipping and the solitude we found on the trail was regenerating.
Ski runs are visible from the trail in winter
However, it was not without peril. On several sections of the trail, most of which were about six to ten feet in length and... [Read more...]
February 21, 2014 by Rex Vogel · Leave a Comment
Your RV is your home, your vehicle, and a valuable investment; however, it can be very costly to repair if it is not properly maintained.
Preventative maintenance can be the difference between arriving safely at your destination and a costly roadside problem. Pictured below is the beauty of Valley of Fire at Atatl Rock Campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
This is why preventive maintenance is so vital to the long-term health of your RV and to your overall ownership experience.
There are two basic types of maintenance for your RV: preventive maintenance and scheduled maintenance. Often these two terms are used interchangeably.
Preventive maintenance is maintenance you perform on your RV before a problem exists and consists of cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, adjusting, and servicing your RV. Preventive maintenance is really nothing more than common sense maintenance. It could be the difference between a safe and enjoyable trip and a costly disastrous one.
Scheduled Maintenance or... [Read more...]
The drive is long, the kids are getting restless, your level of patience is diminishing by the minute and you wonder how you can entertain the kids until you reach your destination. No problem, because this blog post will provide some interesting books available at Dorling Kindersley.
It’s snowing quite a bit here in Eastern Ontario. On Valentine’s Day, we gave a little surprise to the kids—brand new sticker books from Dorling Kindersley. Our oldest son is not into stickers anymore, so for him we have a brand new Star Wars t-shirt. But we let the three youngest selected the sticker book they wanted on this special day. I had received six of them for the purpose of a review on my regular blog.
Jasmine—the youngest—was the first to select hers and she quickly picked up the new Lego Movie book. Jérémy selected the Superman book while Dominic chose the Batman book. Yes, I do have comics fans, though both boys were a bit disappointed that they little sister selected the Lego... [Read more...]
We are always on the lookout for a unique day-trip destination that’s fun and interesting, and this winter, while we were spending some time in Florida, we found such a treat of a day-trip in Orlando.
We spent a morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando, checking out their Discover Center. Wycliffe is a non-profit organization that translates the Bible into languages that do not currently have the Bible available to them in their “heart language” (your heart language is the language that you think, dream and naturally speak in). Named after John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, the Wycliffe Discover Center focuses on informing people of the need for Bible translations and the works that are in progress. The Discovery Center is a very engaging, interesting, and informative place; you can either self-tour the facilities, or the center offers 20 minute guided tours on the hour, every hour, from 9 to 3. They also have a special talk every... [Read more...]
February 17, 2014 by Rex Vogel · Leave a Comment
It’s Mardi Gras time!
Mardi Gras. Two little words with an infinitely large explanation. For different people it’s different things—an event, an idea, a day, a way of life, piece of history, state holiday, or a million parades and countless memories. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Are you ready?
There are a few terms you will hear throughout Mardi Gras. Familiarize these terms before you embark upon the revelry and you will understand everything going on around you and know how to converse like a true resident during Mardi Gras.
Laissez les bon temps rouler — Let The Good Times Roll
Carnivale — The carnivale season officially begins each year on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, ‘King’s Day’, with traditional balls occurring in the weeks that lead up to the big event.
Mardi Gras — Fat Tuesday
Lundi Gras — Fat Monday which is the day before the Mardi Gras holiday.
Mardi Gras Colors — The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.... [Read more...]
February 16, 2014 by Diane Berry · 1 Comment
The time has come to being planning for our 2014 travels. Actually, the time came about three months ago, but I have managed to put it off until just now with the convenient excuse of being too busy. As a therapist, I can rationalize just about anything, but the time is now to plan our travels for the year.
With that as my task, I sit down to look over our camping goals for the New Year, set at the end of December. I note that Terry and I decided we want to focus on several areas: getting our camper out for at least one trip, traveling together as a family, hiking a few more 14ers, getting out hiking near our home and traveling to Des Moines for Ryan’s college graduation in May. I am hoping to be able to accomplish three of the five with this trip.
My first step is to sit with my Road Atlas and page through it, conceptualizing our potential travel areas. When mapping out our destination and the time it will take to get there, I turn to online tools such as MapQuest, but when just beginning... [Read more...]
Take your pets with you for snowbird adventures when you travel to these RV parks in the southwest United States.
At Good Life RV Resort, a Cal Am Resort in Mesa, Arizona, pets can run loose in a new, fenced-in dog park equipped with ramps, hoops and other dexterity equipment designed for exercise and fun. Two other Cal Am Resorts—Sun Life RV Resort in Mesa Sunflower RV Resort in Surprise—also welcome pets.
To the east, American RV Park in Albuquerque features a dog park located conveniently near the center of the park, making it easy for guests to give their pooches some much-needed exercise.
February 15, 2014 by Good Sam Team · 1 Comment
Southern hospitality extends to dogs, too, at these pet-friendly parks located below the Mason Dixon line. In Sunseeker’s RV Park, Fort Myers, a 1,600-square-foot dog run features benches for dogs’ owners as well as obstacles to keep Fido in shape.
Head to west to Texas, where leashed, well-behaved canines are welcome throughout the Northlake Village RV Park in Roanoke. San Antonio’s Travelers World RV Resort, a Carefree Resort, hosts a Planned Pethood Adoption and Charity Drive to raise money for local animal shelters. The event is a hit among the pet-owning guests, who are welcome to the amenity-rich RV park.
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