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Month: August 2011

Chill-out on Utah’s Patchwork Parkway

August 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Chill-out on Utah’s Patchwork Parkway

Weather alert: “A heat warning for daily high temperatures above 100 degrees has been extended for all desert areas.” At an elevation of 10,350 feet above sea level, Cedar Breaks National Monument is the highest national park in Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Sweltering heat is typical for the Southwest desert region this time of year. With triple digit temperatures the Southwestern standard, how do you deal with this incessant heat? Load up the recreational vehicle and escape the scorching summer temperatures with a road trip to the cool mountain air of southwestern Utah. Utah’s Patchwork Parkway (Scenic Byway 143) beckons travelers to enjoy a change of scenery and a drop in temperature. This scenic byway serves as the western gateway from the arid Great Basin of western Utah to a breathtaking route across Utah’s high plateaus, connecting to Heritage Highway 89 and Scenic Byway 12, Utah’s first All American Road. This dramatic 55-mile scenic course links the historic... [Read more...]

Viva Las Fiestas de Taos!

August 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Viva Las Fiestas de Taos!

In my last post, I explored the New Mexico and Spanish tradition of cities and towns celebrating patron saints’ feast days with a weekend of celebration. We had the opportunity to enjoy such an event, known as the Fiestas, while visiting Taos a few weeks ago celebrating their patron saints of St. James and St. Anne (Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana). While the event lasts an entire weekend, from noon on Friday, to Sunday at 7 pm, the actual preparation begins long before. Jewelry Vendor, Fiesta Weekend The town has a Fiesta Council which is at work for much of the year making plans for the big event. In June, the young women who are vying for the coveted role of La Reina, Queen of the Fiestas, participate in the Taos Royal Pageant at which she is chosen. Remaining contestants make up her court, La Princesas. La Reina and her escort The pageant begins with an introductory speech by each contestant in which she discusses the importance of the fiestas to her and personal recollections of... [Read more...]

KATY’S KITCHEN – A Piece of the Story about our Country’s WWII era “Secret City”

August 20, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

KATY’S KITCHEN – A Piece of the Story about our Country’s WWII era “Secret City”

If you read the July 2011 issue of Highway’s, the official publication of the Good Sam Club, you most likely noted a short article near the back of the magazine about “The Secret City”, now incorporated as Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Current history books used in most of our public schools now tell some of the story about this secret city built almost 60 years ago.  There is an increased awareness and interest about the role Oak Ridge played in bringing World War II to an end and how it propelled our nation into the “Atomic Age”.. If you can imagine for a moment our government building a city complete with houses, roads and services that no one outside of a circle of selected officials knew anything about or even where it was –  a city to initially house 13,000 families and 30,000 permanent residents – a city costing millions and millions of government dollars –   and citizens outside of this selected circle knew absolutely nothing about what the project was... [Read more...]

From Tacoma to Nashville, RV Repairs Slowed Us Down, But Didn’t Stop Us From Having a Great Experience

August 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

(Guest Blog Post by Bob Kasprzak) My trip from Tacoma to Nashville has been plagued by repairs that have cost us a months delay. But the people who repaired out vehicle were excellent, cost efficient and timely. We traveled from Tacoma to Zion to Albuquerque to Nashville, TN in our 1986 Mini Winnie. We stopped at 1000 lakes Campground in Torre, UT to get a leaky tire fixed. The owners brother, ‘Biggie’, operates an RV repair service next to the campground. He repaired our problem, a frozen wheel axle quickly and at a very reasonable price. Just outside of Memphis an passing motorist notified us that we had a trailer problem and I pulled over to find the tire in shreds. Our road service insurance took us to a local Walmart where I bought two new larger tires and changed them in the parking lot at 10PM. Once we arrived in Nashville, our transmission quit working and ‘Mr. Transmission’ came to our rescue, fixed the tranny in one day again at a decent price. We found... [Read more...]

Sally’s Revenge and the Bear that came to Dinner – Part 2

August 17, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

(Continued from “Sally’s Revenge and the Bear that came to Dinner,” Part 1) Well, that big pile of hair that Sally pulled out of the bag wasn’t a wig; which was my first guess. As both families stood around that first morning; deep in the forest in Matthew’s Arm Campground at beautiful Shenandoah National Park, I might have grumbled a bit. We had been waiting for forty-five minutes while Sally finished her morning preparations for taking a short hike on the Appalachian Trail. She primped, painted and brushed. But it was the amount of time and effort that she was taking with that huge mass of hair that she was pinning onto her head that finally got to me. “Is she ever going to be finished with that wig?” I whined (yes, I whined, but I was at my breaking point, okay?). It’s not a Wig; it’s a Fall!” my wife hissed, “And keep your voice down!” “Well,” I hissed back, “I’m going to go berserk if she decides that she needs a pedicure before we... [Read more...]

Hilton of RV Parks

August 17, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Hilton of RV Parks

The same guy who helped to bring the NBA to Memphis is now driven to shake up the RV Park and campground industry with his fledgling enterprise, RVC Outdoor Destinations. RVC Outdoor Destinations' Catherine's Landing park in Hot Springs includes restrooms, showers, a lodge with Wii, laundry room, and wireless Internet. (Credit: Camprate) Andy Cates is eager to show RV owners and outdoor enthusiasts how different Catherine’s Landing, one of RVC’s five upscale developments, is from typical RV parks and campgrounds, reports Memphis Commercial Appeal. Three-month-old Catherine’s Landing is nestled on 400 acres of a former dairy farm along the banks of Lake Catherine near Hot Springs, Arkansas. The entrance is a long, gently curving ribbon of asphalt that eventually reveals the modern and striking welcome center/headquarters lodge, a stone, metal, and glass building, perched on a rise overlooking the campground and Lake Catherine. Cates refuses to label his developments... [Read more...]

Viva Las Fiestas!

August 17, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Viva Las Fiestas!

One of the last weekends each July, the large Spanish community in the small town of Taos, NM engages in a weekend long celebration of the Feasts of Santiago and Santa Anna (St. James and St. Anne to you and me). As it is more eloquently put in their Fiesta publication each year: Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana. They are a tradition passed from generation to generation, a way of preserving the rich cultures that have developed in Taos over the last four centuries. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary to do during your RV trip to New Mexico, schedule a stop at the Fiestas. The traditional Catholic feast days of St. James and St. Anne, the patron saints of Taos, July 25 and 26, respectively, are celebrated in over the weekend nearest those days every year. The Fiestas have evolved over the years as a way for the Spanish to honor their faith and these representations of it. The first day of the fiestas weekend honors Santiago; the second, St. Anne.  St. James, patron saint... [Read more...]

Clamming on The Oregon Coast with Kids

August 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you taken your children clamming, fishing, or foraging lately? If not, seriously consider it on your next camping trip. It can be delightfully and deliciously rewarding. Ever since our children were little, we have taken them fishing, foraging, and exploring.  They still  love poking through tide pools at low tide. And,  the thrill of catching a wild salmon never seems to subside. Last spring, my husband took our two sons down to the Oregon Coast for spring break. While staying with friends at a beachfront cottage, it occurred to the boys that clams might lurk on the beach below. Indeed, there were lots of clams. Hence, a spontaneous clamming adventure evolved that week. I reaped the rewards when my husband brought home some clam chowder, cooked clam meat,  and a baggie full of empty clam shells. I was so excited by their adventure that I wrote an article about it for The Oregonian’s FOODday section. Published in May, it is a comprehensive article that gives links, tips,... [Read more...]

Camping in Brooklyn!

August 16, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Okay, fellow campers, you know that camping is really going mainstream when a campground grows in Brooklyn!! Yes, that’s correct, there is now a campground in Brooklyn. I chuckled in disbelief when I was sitting at breakfast reading The Wall Street Journal last week. I was tired of reading about the world’s financial carnage, but an article by Barry Newman ignited my enthusiasm. The article is entitled  ”A Campground Grows in Brooklyn, Bringing a New York Edge to Roughing It” and reports on the new campground at Floyd Bennett Field near Jamaica Bay.  Floyd Bennett Field is on the National Register of Historic places–it was New York’s first municipal airport. The National Park Service recently added forty campsites. Most of the sites are for  tent campers, but six are suitable for recreational vehicles. There are even fire rings, grills, and picnic tables at each site. I was born and raised on Long Island only a stone’s throw from Brooklyn.... [Read more...]

Keys to A GREAT RV Park/Campground Restroom!

August 14, 2011 by · 20 Comments 

Keys to A GREAT RV Park/Campground Restroom!

We spent many years tent camping. When doing so, you are entirely dependent on the campground or RV Park to meet and satisfy your restroom needs. Even now that we have “graduated” to a small 18” trailer that does contain a modest toilet/shower combination, we tend to make use of the “facilities” provided by our hosts whenever we are able to do so. Due to my rather extensive experience in enjoying the restrooms provided for campers’ use at a large number of facilities, I have become what I would consider a “connoisseur” of these accommodations. I write this post to share my ideas of what campers can look for, but also for those running, remodeling or designing campgrounds or RV parks to help win over the largest number of travelers. While we were traveling last month, we paid a return visit to the Holiday RV Park in North Platte, NE and I got the idea for this piece. We had first visited the park last summer on our journey west and it left a very favorable impression. This... [Read more...]

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