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Traveling During the Holidays

Traveling During the Holidays

Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a special time. This holiday season presents special challenges for those who travel in a recreational vehicle, but the benefits and rewards of traveling during the holidays are numerous. During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic Make the most of your holiday by celebrating with family and friends—new and old. And remember how blessed you are to be able to live the RV lifestyle. To ensure your RV camping holiday is as fabulous as possible, take some time to brainstorm ways you can adapt your at-home rituals to the camping environment. Can you re-create your Thanksgiving dinner with dishes made over the campfire or in a Dutch oven? Maybe this will be the year when you hearken back to old-fashioned Christmas traditions including baking apples, roasting chestnuts, and decorating with paper chains rather than lights. You can sing carols over the glow of your lantern, take a hay ride at Thanksgiving, or sleigh ride during Christmas or... [Read more...]

The Perfect Weekend RV Trip

The Perfect Weekend RV Trip

When it comes to planning the Perfect Weekend RV trip, many things come into play. Driving distance, location, food and drinks, and activities, to name a few of the factors that can make or break the perfect weekend RV trip. Since the plan is for a weekend, so 2-3 nights max, I like to stay closer to home. The ideal distance is under 60 miles to drive for a short weekend trip. From where I am located, that leaves a lot of options for ideal locations. From lakes to beaches, mountains, or desert; I can choose from any of these and be there in under 60 miles. Depending on the weather and the season, each has its pluses and minuses. For example, if you are looking for nice, sunny days in the early fall, you are likely to find the beach around here will be hot and gorgeous (not to mention amazing sunsets at this time of year).  Whereas if you are looking for some fall foliage and slightly cooler weather, head for the mountains. Another factor to consider when thinking of location, is the activities... [Read more...]

It’s Snowbird Season

It’s Snowbird Season

What Black Friday is to retailers, the coming of November is to RV parks. RV communities count on snowbirds each year to make the difference in their bottom line. The first arrivals begin heading south after the leaves fall in the north and the season continues until April 1, perhaps a week or two later if Easter is late that year. If you want to head out when the flock is the thickest, February is the month when the most snowbirds take flight. It is not even the end of Daylight Savings time yet! It probably was at the Madison Square Garden auto show in 1910 when the Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau was the first motorhome ever introduced that somebody thought, “I could use that to escape the winter and head south where it is warm for a few months.” Florida has always been the most popular destination for snowbirds but since the 1960s the migratory route to the Southwest has been well traveled as well. The Census Bureau does not track migratory habitation but Arizona is thought... [Read more...]

Storing Your RV For Winter

Storing Your RV For Winter

When Old Man Winter threatens to make an appearance, it’s time to consider storing your RV until the buds appear on the trees in Spring. The best place to store your RV is in a warm and popular snowbirding location like Arizona, Southern Texas, or Florida – and with you in it, of course. But if that is not in the cards, choosing a storage facility close to home will be your probable choice. If you do not have adequate storage facilities at your residence, you will have to select a commercial storage facility. Indoor heated storage is worth the added cost when you consider the possible damage that can be caused to your RV by heavy snow collecting on the roof, freezing and broken pipes and water pumps, damaging water leaks from blowing rain – and the added security of not parking on the street. If you live in a more mild climate covered or even uncovered storage may be adequate providing you have properly prepared the RV for storage. When choosing a storage facility select... [Read more...]

Famous RVs

Famous RVs

The RV lifestyle has been adopted by people involved in a variety of different professions. From entertainers and professional athletes to sports commentators, some of the best known and famous celebrities make use of RVs for a variety of reasons. The Madden Cruiser at the Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, LA., on Sunday February 3, 2002. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect) John Madden, the football and broadcasting legend, is famously afraid of flying. In order to travel to NFL games to call, he got around in “The Madden Cruiser,” a tour bus that doubled as an RV with all of the comforts of home. Oscar winning actor Matthew McConaughey worked and lived in his tricked-out International CCD 28 Airstream trailer, nicknamed the Canoe, which he kept on a Malibu lot near prime surfing terrain. Action star Vin Diesel of The Fast and the Furious fame has a customized and insanely over the top, two-story, 1100 square foot mansion-on-wheels. Once on location, the roof pops up and walls slide... [Read more...]

Mouth of the South (Largemouth, that is!)

Mouth of the South (Largemouth, that is!)

Surrounded by saltwater and an abundance of freshwater inland lakes, the state of Florida is well known for its fantastic fishing, luring thousands of fishing fanatics to its many shores each year. Inland lakes are particularly popular because they have some of the best bass fishing in the world, with largemouth bass being the most popular freshwater game fish in Florida. Largemouth bass are not only one of the most sought after freshwater fish in Florida, it’s also the official state freshwater fish. This popular species is in season all year, so they’re always a sure bet for the snowbirds and visitors that Florida reels in year after year. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and Lake Okeechobee are always popular choices for bass fishing – both ranking in the top 25 of Bassmaster’s top 100 bass lakes of 2014. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes consists of eight lakes with Lake Tohopealiga, Lake Cypress and Lake Kissimmee standing apart as the cream of the crop of this chain. Boasting a... [Read more...]

Understanding Shore Power

Understanding Shore Power

RV Shore Power Service Understanding shore power is essential to properly manage your electrical usage in camp.  Motorhomes, depending on size, may be capable of using a 30 amp or a 50 amp service maximum.  With adaptors all will operate on a 15/20 amp, albeit a minimum service. There are three basic service sizes provided in campgrounds in North America. 15/20 Amp Duplex will provide 15/20 amps at 120 volts or about 1,800/2400 watts of power. 30 Amp RV receptacle will provide 30 amps at 120 volts or about 3,600 watts of power 50 Amp RV receptacle will provide 50 amps at 240 volts or 100 amps of 120 volts or about 12,000 watts. You will notice that going from a 30 amp to a 50 increases the available power by 333%.  That’s over three times more power.  This is due to the 50 amp service has four contacts.  These are ground, neutral and two 120 volt hot lines.  Providing these two hot lines, L1 and L2 are out of phase, they will deliver 240 volts when used on a 240 appliance, like... [Read more...]

RVing In Freezing Weather

RVing In Freezing Weather

Motorhome Camping in Freezing Weather RVing in freezing weather can have its challenges.  Not only do you have to keep the inside at a comfortable temperature, but you must also provide some heat to the basement to prevent any fluids from freezing in the tanks, lines and related components.  Additionally, the engine may require heating several hours prior to departing camp. So let’s look at some of the things you may face while traveling and camping in winter like temperatures.  Obviously there are slippery road surfaces and winter driving hazards, but we will only look at dealing with the temperature issues related to your coach.  Winter driving is a separate topic we can examine at a later date. Interior heat in motorhomes is provided by an RV furnace or a hydronic heating system. The RV furnace is generally a propane fired unit that blows heated air into the living area.   A hydronic system may be propane or diesel fired.  The hydronic unit heats both the household hot water... [Read more...]

Halloween at the Campground

Halloween at the Campground

Host a Haunted Halloween Party, Harvest Party, or Trick or Treat your way through the RV Park; there are countless spooky ways to spend a freakishly fun Halloween at the Campground! Host a Frightfully Spooky Halloween Party (dress-up, of course!), have a Pumpkin-Carving (and/or painting) Party, or just call it a Harvest Party (with some fun games included, of course).  All are fun ways to celebrate with your friends and family the night of Halloween at the Campground! Activities can include Face-Painting, Bobbing for Apples, Mummy Wrap (Teams race to wrap their mummy up the best with toilet paper or crepe paper), What’s under the Box? (Jell-O guts! Spaghetti brains! Grape eye balls!), Pumpkin Bowling, and Pin the Wart on the Witch! These are all easy-prep, easy clean-up games that can be fun for all ages, but obviously more so for kids.  You can also hold a Costume Contest with categories such as Best Homemade Costume, Scariest Costume, Best Group Costumes, Funniest Costume.... [Read more...]

Tips for Keeping Young Children Occupied During Long Trips

Tips for Keeping Young Children Occupied During Long Trips

To maintain your sanity and arrive safely, here are 10 Tips for Keeping Young Children Occupied During Long Trips in the car or RV. Are we there yet? Those four words can drive parents crazy, especially on long road trips. Not only can kids start to grate on your nerves on long road trips, it is also a safety issue if the driver is constantly turning around, checking the rear view mirror, or having to pass things back to the children. Did you know that nearly 40% of all accidents are caused by distracted drivers? Check out these tips for staying safe (and sane!) while on a long road trip with young children. Bring fun activity bags—these can be in the form of yarn with uncooked noodles to string on (to make necklaces), paper dolls, or anything else that can be stored in a large zip lock bag (for when not in use). These can be simple or complex, depending on the age of your child. *Make sure not to give a young child small pieces that could pose a choking hazard. Put on a movie—this... [Read more...]

Meals That Travel Well

Meals That Travel Well

There are many meals that travel well on the road.  Plus you can create balanced meals and avoid eating out too frequently.  My motto is to grocery shop more often and purchase smaller sized packages that store easily in smaller cabinets.  Plan meals ahead and try to use ingredients that can create more than one meal or carry over from one recipe to the next.  Freezing also allows for variety in your meals and ease of preparation on the days fun activities are planned. Breakfast is the meal where egg dishes shine from simple poached or scrambled eggs to elaborate baked egg casseroles that freeze well for a quick warm-up in the microwave.  Fully cooked bacon slices are an easy option – just reheat.  Fresh fruit is the star in our coach with an orange, apple, peach or banana cut up every morning.  Preserved “as they come” and sitting handily in a bowl, these travel easily. Cereals and oatmeal store well in airtight, plastic containers you can pickup at Camping World.  Prepare... [Read more...]

Traveler Gets Injured on Beach Vacation

Monica and her husband Victor decided to take a much-needed vacation to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Unfortunately, their morning swim went terribly wrong when Monica felt an excruciating sharp pain in her ankle. She had been stung by a stingray. Victor managed to get the attention of a lifeguard, who arranged for a ground ambulance to a small clinic near the beach. Monica was unable to walk and in severe pain, and both she and Victor were feeling uneasy about the quality of care at the clinic. They decided to contact Good Sam TravelAssist for help. TravelAssist conducted a medical consultation by phone with the treating doctor at the clinic, and decided to transport Monica to a nearby facility that was better equipped to handle her injuries. After coordinating the transfer, Good Sam TravelAssist stayed in touch with Monica, her husband, and the local medical team. A few days later, it was determined that Monica needed to return home for extended care as the sting had damaged a tendon. Good Sam... [Read more...]

Turn Your RV Into A Haunted House

Turn Your RV Into A Haunted House

Take your Halloween decorating up a few notches this year and Turn your RV into a Haunted House for some spooktacular fun! It’s really quite simple and there are zero things to store for next year, since you will do all or most of your shopping at dollar or thrift stores. Think of fun places to park your RV if you aren’t planning to be at a particularly festive campground. There are lots of places, such as “Trunk or Treats” or Block Parties that would love to host a mobile Haunted House for the night or weekend of Halloween. Once you figure out where you are going to spook some trick-or-treaters, you can slide right into your decorating projects. There are lots of options for how to turn your RV into a Haunted House! One option is to transform your RV into a mummified monstrosity! Purchase A LOT of toilet paper (perhaps Costco would offer the best price or try your local Dollar Store). Then wrap your whole RV with it, turning it into a Haunted Mummified RV! Or... [Read more...]

New To Pop-Up Camping?

New To Pop-Up Camping?

Pop-up trailers are a blend of RV and tent, combining the best of both types. They give you the comfort and security of a travel trailer and the openness of a tent. Viking Epic Pop-Up Trailers Consumers Digest Best Buy Pop-up trailers, which are also known as pop-up campers, folding tent trailers, and folding campers are lightweight trailers with collapsible (usually canvas material) sides that fold for aerodynamic towing by a motorized vehicle. When set up, they provide cooking, dining, and sleeping facilities for up to eight people. Pop-up trailers are an affordable way for the budget buyer to get into RVing, a viable first step of RV ownership. They are lightweight and make a lot of sense to campers especially young families and those looking at upgrading from tent camping to an RV. Also, purchase prices are much lower than a conventional RV. They provide a wonderful camping choice. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is forecasting the industry will ship 10,900 pop-up units to retailers... [Read more...]

Photography On The Road

Photography On The Road

Remember not so long ago when you would come home from an RV road trip with five, eight, maybe ten rolls of film and get 200 pictures of your memories? It was expensive to buy and develop film. The digital age has changed all that. Even novice photographers can click off a few thousand photos on an RV trip. So how to you best meld Rving in the digital age? Plan. When photographing your RV trip you inevitably become a slave to the light. That is not just adjusting your schedule to be in the right place at the right time for sunrises and sunsets but also knowing the best time of day to shoot the spectacular rock formations of the West or catching the perfect angle for monuments and landmarks. Scout the internet before you go to find subjects you want to shoot on your trip. Use an app like Sun Seeker that is ideal for letting you know where the best light or length of shadows will be for any location. Don’t forget that service may be unavailable in many places you are going so develop... [Read more...]

Mark My Words, Mark Nemeth October 2014

Mark My Words, Mark Nemeth October 2014

      Hi, all! Many folks successfully use their RVs in cold weather, but it takes a bit of preparation to stay toasty when it’s freezing outside. This month’s column will address some issues surrounding winter camping. Hi, Mark: I am spending four months this winter skiing at Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe and Breckenridge, Colorado.  Two of the RV resorts include electric in the monthly rental.  The RV resort in Colorado charges a monthly rate plus electricity.  My question: Is it cheaper to heat my RV (29-foot Winnebago Minnie) using propane or electricity?  Thank you. Tom Hi, Tom: Manufacturers of electric resistant heaters generally claim that the input of one kilowatt/hour produces about 3,400 BTUs, assuming 100 percent efficiency. Most electric heaters come fairly close to that. Each gallon of propane contains about 91,700 BTUs of heat energy. A typical RV forced-air furnace is probably only about 75 percent efficient, so a gallon of propane burned in the furnace... [Read more...]

Tech Tip: Give me a Sign

Tech Tip: Give me a Sign

GIVE ME A SIGN After seeing the safety benefits of turn signals mounted under side-view mirrors, I decided to install a pair on my motorhome. I purchased two sealed amber LED lamps complete with pigtail wires. I removed the sideview mirror assemblies and drilled the necessary holes in the bottom of the arm, then mounted the lamps. I added crimp-on terminals to the pig tails and fished a set of wires through the firewall. I spliced onto the existing turn-signal wires, connected the crimp-on terminals at the mirrors and re-installed the mirror assemblies. John Theobald, Des Plaines, Illinois

Travel Tips: How To Protect Yourself From Food Borne Illness

Travel Tips: How To Protect Yourself From Food Borne Illness

One of the best things about traveling to another country is trying local, authentic cuisine. However, it pays to know a few basic rules so you don’t become one of the 10 million overseas travelers to suffer a bout of traveler’s diarrhea or other foodborne illnesses each year.  Luckily, you can protect yourself from food borne health problems (and spending half your trip visiting restrooms) with these easy-to-follow travel tips: 1)      Know before you go: Understand that the food you eat at home isn’t necessarily “safer” than food abroad; it’s often simply that your body just isn’t accustomed to foreign fare. According to Independent Traveler, one important difference between home-grown and foreign foods is the use of more “natural” fertilizers abroad, which can carry bacteria that could cause intestinal distress. One of the most important measures you can take to avoid getting sick overseas is to research the quality of food in the specific region you’ll... [Read more...]

How to Make Chili, Texas Style!

How to Make Chili, Texas Style!

I hear a lot of different ways to make chili. People try white chili, chicken chili, they add pasta, they add beans. But as a pure bred Texan, I like to think I know a little bit about how to make good chili. After all, we start feeding chili to our kids in baby bottles. I grew up on the stuff. It’s spicy, delicious, and just about the easiest meal to make on the road. And I know without a shadow of a doubt, no person in their right mind would ruin chili by adding beans! That ain’t Texas, and that ain’t happening in my RV. Actually, I know a lot of people love adding beans in their chili. It’s perfectly normal, we just aren’t bean people. If you’re a fellow RVer, probably not a bad idea to skimp on beans anyhow since you’re in a confined space. To make our family recipe, all you need is a crockpot and you’re golden. It’s definitely a fall meal, and if your RV is hooked up to electric it’s the perfect meal to have cooking while you’re out and about. Plus when you come... [Read more...]

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