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Month: August 2013

July 4th: Appreciating the Unspoiled Beauty of Our Country

August 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

July 4th: Appreciating the Unspoiled Beauty of Our Country

Last year on July 4th, Terry and I were living half a country apart. I had made the move to New Mexico in May; he had moved me out, then returned to Wisconsin to finish up a few weeks of work and time up loose ends before jointing me in Taos on July 7th.  Neither of us did much over that holiday. This year on July 4th we wanted to celebrate the birth of our country by enjoying some of its unspoiled beauty. We were headed up toward the Taos Ski Valley to catch the 4th of July Parade in Arroyo Seco, NM, an event not to be missed which is the subject of another post. We decided to hike for an hour on the Yerba Canyon Trail, then turn around and head back to give ourselves time to get to the parade. As Arroyo Seco is a very small town, we knew we would be required to park along the side of the highway outside of town; the only unknown was how far away we would have to stop and hike in as this unique event draws thousands of spectators. We ultimately changed our hike-in time to 45 minutes to... [Read more...]

Campground Review: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina

August 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Campground Review: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina

The resort is set on it’s own bay   Recently, I was…”compelled” to go to a family wedding in Newport Beach, CA. If you have ever been to Newport, you know it’s where the rich people in Orange County park their yachts. So it surprising to me that tucked between five star hotels and multi million dollar condo’s was a beach front RV resort called Newport Dunes. Maybe it’s just me, but a name with “Dunes” denotes a windy, dusty, sand in places you don’t want it type of experience. That was NOT what I found. Instead I discovered a top rated resort circling around what amounts to it’s own private bay. Located in an area of Newport Harbor known as the “Back Bay”, it’s a little slice of quiet fun right next to pretty much everything. While the main harbor is busy just about any time of day the back bay and the river feeding into it has been set aside and preserved from any development. The resort itself circles it’s own little inlet and when we visited, it... [Read more...]

Hurricane Primer for RVers

August 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Hurricane Primer for RVers

Hurricanes can have an impact anywhere along the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and even thousands of miles inland. Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Hurricane Wilma was a category 5 hurricane and one of the costliest storms in history. Hurricane Wilma’s highest sustained winds was at 185 mph. Lowest pressure point measured at 882 mbar. (Credit: hurricane-facts.com) During the 2012 hurricane season, Sandy led to Presidential disaster declarations in 13 states, sweeping from Maine to West Virginia. Now is the time to prepare for the start of this year’s hurricane season A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. Parts of the Southwest United States... [Read more...]

Smarter Ways to Hit the Road

August 26, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Many people find that one of the most enjoyable parts of a road-trip adventure is the planning. Daydreaming about new routes and destinations, discovering unusual activities, and putting together a full, exciting day – or a relaxing one – can be almost as fun as the trip itself. In the past, we felt ready to go if we had a folded paper map showing little tree-and-tent icons to indicate opportunities for camping. But now, technology helps make road trips better, even before we’ve left the driveway. Microsoft Streets & Trips is travel planning software designed for planning the perfect road trip from start to finish. The 2013 edition features an updated design for easy viewing, adds 150,000 more miles of roads in North America, and includes more than 2.5 million points of interest with online ratings and reviews for restaurants and other businesses. Travelers might choose to customize their trips by planning to avoid main highways, dine at seafood restaurants, or visit as many national... [Read more...]

Zion’s National Park for RVers

August 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Zion’s National Park for RVers

While on our road trip this summer we made it a point to go to Zion’s National Park. With breathtaking views, it was a brief but impressive stop that we would recommend to anyone driving through southern UT. Will My RV Fit? Epic views are everywhere but the canyon floor is very narrow and hard to navigate During the peak season (translation: When there is no snow) Zion’s seeks to minimize traffic by forcing everyone onto trams that run through the park. This is a great idea for environmentalists, but part of their idea didn’t involve expanding parking very much. Hence, for the entirety of Zion’s RV park there are about 20 RV parking spaces, only half of which are pull through. In fact, parking in general is very limited. This meant that some of those precious RV spots are taken by tiny desperate cars. We were not happy about this, but since those people come from foreign countries, we couldn’t voice our complaints. We ended up lane hogging until we were able to fight for a spot... [Read more...]

We Did It!

August 25, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

We Did It!

We actually did it—ran up a mountain and back down. Well, to be quite honest, we hiked up, not ran, but we did run most of the way down. A few weeks back I wrote a post about Taos Ski Valley’s annual Up and Over 10K Run, in which participants run up a mountain for 3 miles, gaining over 2600 feet of elevation, than run back down. My husband Terry thought it would be a fun thing to do; I thought he was crazy, but eventually agree to do it with him. The start (and finish) line chute. Runners ran up the chute and turned at the orange cones. We arrived at the Taos Ski Valley about 8:30 pm on Saturday, August 3rd, in time to pick up our packets containing our numbers and tee shirts and to use the restroom. Once that was completed, we milled about awaiting the start, chatting casually with other runners waiting there, most of them noticeably younger than we were. Some regular racing types were taking “warm-up” runs up a mile or so of the ascending trail. I figured I had one run in... [Read more...]

Fires Destroy 7 RVs

August 24, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Fires Destroy 7 RVs

Whether camping or just relaxing in your recreational vehicle, fire safety is essential. Propane blast destroys RV in Oklahoma (Courtesy: Dylan Goforth/Muskogee Phoenix) It is critical that every member of your party know what to do in a fire or other emergency. If you are one of the millions of RV enthusiasts who love to take to the road and explore the country, ensure your family’s safety while traveling in your RV. Recent media reports detail seven separate fires involving recreational vehicles. Florida: Garbage Truck Fire Destroys RV The News-Press reports that a garbage truck fire spread to an RV and destroyed it at Red Coconut RV Park in Fort Myers Beach. The garbage truck caught fire as the result of a mechanical failure. According to Dale Reisen, Chairman for the Lee County Arson Task Force, the fire started low, behind the cab and worked its way up very quickly. When the garbage truck went to pick up a dumpster, a fuel or hydraulic line broke and sprayed liquid onto the truck’s... [Read more...]

Free National Park Entry This Weekend

August 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Free National Park Entry This Weekend

Enjoy the beauty in our national parks such as such as Yosemite Falls for free Each year on August 25, the National Park Service celebrates its birthday by opening up the gates to the park and allowing entry for free.  This year, that date falls on a Saturday, and the park service is celebrating it’s 96th birthday in style. Connect With Others The National Park Service works together with its charitable foundation, the National Park Foundation to celebrate what they call “Founders Day” by sponsoring different activities in parks across the country. They also encourage you to share birthday wishes, post videos, photos and stories on their website http://www.npsbirthday.org/. If you can’t make it to a National Park on short notice, the Travel Channel is celebrating by playing episodes of Best Parks Ever throughout out the day. Other Free Days As it turns out, most national parks will be having more free days this fall. On September 28th, most parks will be open free for National... [Read more...]

Small Town Americana: Made in the U.S.A.

August 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Laura M. Kidder, Rand McNally Rand McNally, a Good Sam travel-planning information partner, loves to celebrate small towns. During Rand’s summer Best of the Road contest, folks discuss and vote for their favorite communities across the country. In a series of articles created just for Good Sam, Rand highlights the Americana that makes small towns fun, friendly, flavorful, beautiful—and patriotic. Supporting small regional farmers and ranchers, patronizing mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, and “buying American” are not only trendy acts, they’re also patriotic ones. And those entrepreneurs we patronize? Well, they’re patriots, too. They often employ local workers; use local, or at least, U.S. materials, as much as possible; and keep both American craftsmanship and the dream alive. Many of them also happen to be in small towns; here are just a few. To see what people are saying about other patriotic communities and to vote for your favorite, be sure to visit Best of the... [Read more...]

Exploring North Bay

August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Exploring North Bay

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we recently attended a family reunion in Northern Ontario.   We knew well in advance of this trip and decided to stop at a campground in North Bay so that we can cut the trip in two while we drove there.   So we reserve at a local campground – Dreany Haven – for a night and went to explore the town were my husband lived a few years while growing up.   The tradition is to show the places my husband lived/worked to our kids whenever possible when we go to places like this.   So it was a given to drive around that afternoon with them.   We saw the houses where he lived, the place where his parents owned a butcher shop (now a marketing business), and the structure of the old Burger King (now gone unfortunately) where he used to lived.  In the end, he decided to bring us to the waterfront so we can walk a bit before going back to the RV. Before we headed to the playground that was spotted immediately by our kids, my husband led us toward the marina... [Read more...]

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