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Month: March 2013

Experiencing the Magic of the Alabama Gulf Coast

March 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Experiencing the Magic of the Alabama Gulf Coast

Geographically, the state of Alabama runs the gamut from the Appalachian Mountains in its northeast corner to the white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Is it the water or the sand that makes Alabama Gulf Coast beaches so spectacular? Everyone seems to have their own opinion. But with miles of sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand, you don’t have to choose. Squeezed between Mississippi and Florida’s extensive panhandle, Alabama only manages to dip its big toe into the Gulf of Mexico, but along its 57 miles of shoreline are ample opportunities for leisurely pursuits. Whether looking for a snowbird roost or a summer vacation escape, RVers will find what they’re looking for—and more—along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The southernmost part of the state borders Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Here, the scenery—sandy beaches... [Read more...]

A Winter Climb to William’s Lake–Part 2: Snowshoe Issues

March 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A Winter Climb to William’s Lake–Part 2: Snowshoe Issues

Downhill ski run near the trail In my last post (published March 24th), I had begun talking about a snowshoe hike we had taken on a beautiful late winter day up in the Taos Ski Valley. We were snowshoeing the William’s Lake Trail in sunny 60 degree temperatures with a trail depth of 69 inches. In spite of the wonderful “bluebird” conditions, I did have several issues with the new snowshoes I was wearing that I will discuss in some detail in a later post. Suffice it to say, they are bigger, both longer and wider than the snowshoes I have been wearing for ten years or more, which meant that I had to lift my feet up higher than I am accustomed to, especially since they are also heavier than my favorites and I tripped myself up more than a dozen times. As you can imagine, this did wonders for my disposition! Rock fields, winter Rock fields, summer But it was difficult to stay upset on such a lovely day. And, never having hiked this trail in the winter, we were constantly amazed... [Read more...]

Camping – a Gateway to the Outdoors

March 28, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Camping – a Gateway to the Outdoors

If I say the word camping to you what is the first thing that will come to mind?   For some of you it could be outdoors because like it or not when you are camping you will be definitively in the nature – unless you are camping in your backyard that is but then you would miss of lot of opportunities. But what do you do when you are camping?   Do you only camp or do you get involved in other types of outdoors activities?   According to the 2012 American Camper Report, 16% of the participants said they are only camping.   That leaves us with 84% doing another outdoor activity while camping.   Congratulations to these people because they are expanding their experience of camping. So it got me thinking about the kind of activities that you can do while camping.   I mean there are people who don’t know what else to do so I figure I could suggest some activities for them in order to engage with nature and have more fun while camping. One of the best activity I enjoy doing is photography.  ... [Read more...]

Iowa Senate OKs RV Registration Fee Tax Grab

March 26, 2013 by · 5 Comments 

Iowa Senate OKs RV Registration Fee Tax Grab

In a recent story I reported that the governor of a northern state has proposed a snowbird tax on residents who live 60 days to just under six months in the state. Lake Osprey RV Country Club on the Alabama Gulf Coast is a destination Luxury RV Resort designed for high-end RVs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota told snowbirds that since you’re rich, you can pay more. “It’s time snowbirds paid their fair share!” Now another northern state has declared war on the so-called rich. The Iowa Senate approved a bill intended to prevent tax evaders (their words, not mine) from using out-of-state shell corporations to avoid paying registration fees on million-dollar recreational vehicles and other luxury vehicles. Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, said violators will face criminal charges and penalties under the legislation, which now goes to the House, according to a report by the Des Moines Register. He said Senate File 364 will make it easier to crack down... [Read more...]

Biscayne National Park, FL…

March 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Biscayne National Park, FL…

Earlier this month, we were able to spend a couple of weeks in southern Florida visiting more of our favorite places – National Parks! On one beautiful day, we drove over to Biscayne National Park, Dante Fascell Visitor Center.  Located just south of Miami, Biscayne is unique in that 95% of the park is underwater! The park is touted for it’s great snorkeling and diving opportunities, but even if you don’t have a boat, it’s a lovely place to spend a day!  A little bummed, like us, that you didn’t tote along the kayaks?…the park also has a concessionaire that rents canoes and kayaks, and offers glass bottom boat tours. We chose to take a lunch and spend some time exploring the solid-ground parts of the park. There are nice, grassy areas around the visitor’s center that have picnic tables available. They are right off the water, and the view is quite nice! After we finished our lunch, complete with resident birds begging for us to share our sandwiches... [Read more...]

A Winter Climb to William’s Lake–Part 1

March 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A Winter Climb to William’s Lake–Part 1

A week ago we were up at the Taos Ski Valley watching the very impressive Salomon Freeride Championships. While we were there, we had checked out the trail to Williams Lake, one of our summer favorites, and saw that it was snowshoe tracked. We came home and ordered snowshoes for our northern New Mexico home (ours were safely ensconced in our cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin, doing us absolutely no good!) Our plan was to head up to the ski valley this Saturday (which would have been March 9th) to snowshoe that trail for the first time. However, the night of March 8th, the Taos Ski Valley was graced with an additional 17 inches of snow and it continued to snow throughout the day on Saturday. Snow on the shelter in the parking area There is great access to the Ski Valley for the downhill skiers who access the upper levels, where the Williams Lake Trail is located, via ski lifts. However, if you are not equipped with downhill skis and purchasing a lift ticket for $100+ the road up to the... [Read more...]

Visiting a Top Tier RV Park

March 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

For RV travelers, it can be a jungle out there on the highways. Fortunately, Rayford Crossing RV Resort near Houston, Texas, strives to take the rough edges out of being on the road, from check-in to the time you drive out of the park. With a perfect 10/10*/10 Good Sam Rating, Rayford Crossing qualifies as a Top Rated RV Park, according to the editors and consultants of the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory.  The high quality becomes evident to guests soon after they enter the park’s gates. After taking care of business at the front office, guests are led to their RV site by a crew member riding in a golf cart. Once the rig is parked, the staffer gives the campsite’s picnic table a wipe-down, hoses off the water spigot and removes the sewer cap. After settling in, guests can peruse a menu of concierge services, from firewood delivery to dinner reservations in Houston, just 15 minutes away. Did we mention the onsite dog-grooming service? Owner Gwen Craig says... [Read more...]

RV Around Texas

March 21, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

RV Around Texas

With 267,000 square miles of amazing opportunities and unforgettable destinations, an RV visit to Texas is always exciting. Our Texas RV Travel Bucket List continues. San Antonio River Walk The River Walk has grown to a stunning eight miles and will stretch to 15 miles by 2013. Each part offers a unique look and feel. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The famed San Antonio River Walk is 2½ miles of beautifully landscaped waterfront with hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping and is one of the main tourist attractions in the state of Texas. Historically, the waterway was used by Spanish explorers to provide water to their missions. In 1929, Robert H.H. Hugman submitted his design plans to turn the area into a beautiful urban park with apartments, dining, shopping, and boat rides. Since 1938 the River Walk has been a hub of culture for San Antonio. You can learn about San Antonio’s history aboard a river cruise, people watch as you enjoy delicious food on many of the restaurant’s... [Read more...]

Good Sam Added New Parks

March 21, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Good Sam Added New Parks

Seems like it’s a year of change for Good Sam – with their new ratings, a new campground engine, and now the fact that they have added hundreds of new parks which means that traveling has been made easy for every RVers around the US and Canada. We love to take our RV out of our permanent place and go on an expedition with our kids.   When we travel we always make sure that we try out new things as well.    For example, on a trip to Niagara Falls a couple of years ago, we had found a campground within Niagara Falls and stayed an extended period of time in order to discover the area.   Not only were we able to pick cherries but we also discovered the Welland Canal and went to make kazoos on the other side of the border. Our discoveries of that region was fabulous but the stay not so much.  Right in front of the camping grounds was a establishment which men would go to see dancers and drink.  The place was packed every day of the week at night.   It wasn’t ideal for the... [Read more...]

Boyd’s Key West Campground: 50 Years of Southernmost Hospitality in the Sunshine State

March 21, 2013 by · 6 Comments 

Boyd and Elsie Hamilton boarded their homemade camper and left Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1947. They arrived in Key West, Florida, in 1949. After a month on the beach, they decided to stay and they never looked back. Fourteen years later, they began building and operating a campground known as Boyd’s Camping, later changed to Boyd’s Key West Campground. The campground has been in a perpetual state of development, growth and improvements ever since. The Key West Chamber recently gave Boyd’s an award for their spectacular park entrance improvement. Today, Boyd’s is one of the most beautiful campgrounds in America. The family takes great pride in the park they’ve owned and operated for a half century. Boyd and Elsie had five children, and four of them—along with three of their spouses and four grandchildren—work at the park today. The family makes sure that their guests always feel welcome and have a wonderful camping experience. Boyd’s Campground keeps growing in popularity... [Read more...]

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