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S’mores Galore!

S’mores Galore!

S’mores – the yummy combination of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers that make up the camping favorite! For some, camping is synonymous with making and eating s’mores. In fact, many families won’t go camping without first ensuring they have all the ingredients to make this deliciously sticky dessert. While it is one of the messiest things you can make and eat while camping, it is a must for most campers, especially kids. Making s’mores is typically how we end the day while camping with our kids. We start the camp fire as it gets dark and pull out the extendable marshmallow roasting sticks. Then we let the kids go to work.  Some of us like our marshmallows lightly roasted while others allow their marshmallows to catch fire. Ideally, I like mine a bit crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.  Once the marshmallow is ready, we sandwich it between two pieces of graham cracker, complete with our favorite chocolate bar melted... [Read more...]

RVing In Canada

RVing In Canada

RVing in Canada is gaining in popularity as an affordable vacation. The scale and grandeur of this incredible country has to be seen to be appreciated. Jasper National Park is mountain getaway surrounded by towering peaks, untouched wilderness, and turquoise lakes tucked into alpine valleys. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Canada is a major RV travel destination renowned for its vast natural landscapes and stunning scenery. America’s northern neighbor offers visitors a truly unique vacation experience with a exceptional diversity of natural attractions. From the rugged Pacific coastline, to the ancient rain forests of British Columbia, across the majestic Rockies and the rolling wheat field plains of the prairie provinces, Canada has it all! You will never tire of RVing in Canada, because over every horizon there is something new and amazing to experience. Once you’re set on RVing in Canada, the challenge is deciding where to go and what to see and do when you get there.... [Read more...]

Fun Campground Activities

Fun Campground Activities

It can be simple to entertain kids at camp with the many games and toys available today, but when left to their own devices, you may not have much contact with them. There also comes a time in every family camping trip when the kids are bored and toys or games no longer appeal. Below are a few fun ideas for those times. They require minimal equipment, most of which is already found in a campground or RV park and they actually involve learning. Playing these games, your kids will absorb new information without realizing it! Set Up a Scavenger Hunt. This will require preparation ahead of time, but mostly involves making lists of items easily found in and around a campground. Campers should be divided into teams that will compete to see how many of the list items each can find. Some suggested list items include: a flashlight, a maple leaf on the ground (if there are maple trees in the vicinity), a marshmallow, an acorn (if there are oak trees about), 1 sheet of toilet paper, and the like.... [Read more...]

Getting the Most Out of Your RV Vacation

Getting the Most Out of Your RV Vacation

Bicycling is a popular family activity Sometimes you plan a vacation and once you get there, you find that the RV vacation you thought everyone was looking forward to, isn’t so appreciated. A surefire way of making sure everyone is onboard with the RV vacation before you leave is to make a check list of vacation destinations they might not have thought of. On this list include alternative environmental locales like beaches, mountains, forests, deserts, national parks, waterfront campgrounds, previously visited RV destinations, and specific venues like theme parks. Full service RV resorts with numerous activities for children, or Native American historic sites are good choices as well. Challenging activities keep kids engaged Then, tally up everyone’s choices and you should have a good idea what RV vacation matches the closest to all the criteria you just provided. The closest you can get to satisfying each family member’s wishes, the more successful your vacation will become. Follow... [Read more...]

The Teton Range

The Teton Range

The Teton Mountains are frequently referred to as America’s Alps due to their immense profile, glacial snow fields, and towering jagged peaks. Mt. Moran Reflection at Oxbow Bend (Source: wyomingtourism.org) The crown jewel of the Teton Range is Grand Teton, a 13,770-foot peak that challenges mountain climbers, engages hikers, and thrills photographers. Twelve other peaks reach above 12,000 feet elevation and adds to the impressive sky-high horizon. Framed by the massive Teton Range, Jackson Hole is a valley seven miles wide that stretches for almost 50 miles. There may be higher mountains than these in North America, but none more dramatic for sheer ruggedness. This is as a result of the Teton Fault at the base of the range on its eastern side. When the earth’s crust cracked along this fault eons ago, the Tetons rose into the sky. The exposed rocks give these mountains their dramatic appearance. The east slope of the Teton range rises sharply, from 5,000 to 7,000 feet above the... [Read more...]

Tips For RVing With Pets

Tips For RVing With Pets

RVing with pets gives you the ability to bring your entire family along for the fun. Pet friendly amenities often include a dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Bringing your animal companion along for the trip eliminates the anxiety of boarding your pet or asking a neighbor or friend to pet-sit. More and more RVers are traveling with their pets and finding that it makes camping even more enjoyable. It’s difficult to find campgrounds and RV parks today that don’t welcome pets. Even still, plan your trip with pet-friendly destinations in mind. Contact the campground ahead of time to determine their policies on pets and then plan accordingly. If your lifestyle or your pet’s lifestyle cannot adapt, find a different campground. Bring copies of vaccination records with you every time you travel with your animal. Carry a photo of your pet too. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying,... [Read more...]

Choosing Options For A New RV

Choosing Options For A New RV

So, you have finally selected a make and model of your next RV.  Ordering a new RV, as opposed to buying off the lot, allows for customization.  The color, trim and which options you desire can be individually picked out.  While colors for exterior and interior generally are non-financial decisions, the same cannot necessarily be said for trim levels and non-standard options.  So, how does one access which options that should be ordered?  Some of the selection techniques involve personal needs, necessities, resale value and just plain taste. All of these need to be weighed against the increase in the capital cost. But what if I’ve never gone through this process before? Custom ordering every item prior to a factory build can be mind boggling, given the number of available options offered today.  This led me to develop what I found to be an easier method of determining the final options that would be specified. Instead of picking out each item that I would like to have, I started... [Read more...]

The Five Best National Parks

The Five Best National Parks

For many years, our country’s beautiful national parks have been a favorite destination for camping trips. Below is a list of a few well-known national parks for RVing, based on scenery and activities, which we hope will aid in the decision of your next RVing trip. 1)     Glacier Hiking Logan Pass, Glacier National Park Located in northeastern Montana, Glacier National Park is one destination worth a couple visits. The North American RV Park & Yurt Village is a great place to stay and it’s not far from Sun Road, the most scenic road in America. There are activities abound as well, such as hiking Logan Pass, and Grinnell Glacier. 2)     Yellowstone Old Faithful alone would be enough to make this a top national park, but there are many other geysers, mudpots and natural features. All will be amazed at the natural elements in this park. Conveniently located just outside the park, Sierra Meadows RV Park is a great home base for exploring this region. 3)     Rocky... [Read more...]

Camping and RVing in Yellowstone

Camping and RVing in Yellowstone

Traffic often stopped by wandering wildlife in Yellowstone If camping or RVing in Yellowstone National Park is not on your Bucket List, you need a new bucket master. Yellowstone, the nations’ first national park, which Congress established into law on March 1, 1872, is one of the country’s most visited natural attractions, even with its isolated location in the northwestern corner of Wyoming. Yellowstone (as the cliché goes) has it all, except urban congestion and smog. The Rocky Mountain scenery is some of the most spectacular in the entire world, from lofty mountain peaks to thundering rivers roaring through deep mountain canyons. Vast forests of Engelmann Spruce, Lodgepole, Whitebark pine and Douglas Fir cover 80% of the park, with geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots are scattered about. Yellowstone excels in geothermal activity In fact, half of the earth’s geothermal features lie within Yellowstone, whose volcanic and seismic processes are not only a huge fan... [Read more...]

Tips for Family Camping

Tips for Family Camping

You’ve completed the planning and preparation for your family camping vacation and are ready to embark on the road trip―one you will remember for a long time.  Cajun Palms RV Resort in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, boasts a water slide, fully stocked arcade, and pool with inflatable toys, and a recently added Prehistoric Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Family campground amenities vary greatly, as do the prices campers pay to use them. Remember, the most visited places tend to be more comfortable, more sought after, and more expensive. Whether you plan to stay one night, a weekend, or longer, there are many family campgrounds throughout the U.S. and Canada to meet your needs. All are unique. No two parks are exactly the same. There are numerous ways to locate and research the best family campgrounds. A good place to begin is the online Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory. The easiest way to choose a destination is to reference our Top Family RV Parks for 2014. This... [Read more...]

Easy RV Cooking

Easy RV Cooking

One important consideration in planning any camping trip is the food and cooking supplies you take with you. This is especially important when camping with kids. One way to master RV cooking is to minimize your grocery items and you can do that by limiting the number of ingredients in the meals you cook to no more than four. If you are like me, your camper is stocked with a number of staples. We always carry several packages of pasta, cans of diced tomatoes and chicken broth, olive oil, onions and garlic as well as basic spices that we use regularly such as salt and pepper, basil and oregano. By combining these already stocked ingredients with a few items you have packed for the trip, you’ll eliminate any wasted space with unnecessary items. Furthermore, if you’re ever in need of a quick meal, these staples alone can be combined into a delicious meal. To do this, combine the pasta, tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil in a large stockpot (another staple I never travel without): 12... [Read more...]

Cleaning The Roof of Your RV

Cleaning The Roof of Your RV

RV roof cleaning, for many, is an overlooked maintenance item.  However, cleaning your RV’s roof should be one of the most frequent tasks.  Depending on your travel environment, this may vary from monthly to every three months.  Learning to do this correctly yourself will save you considerable amount of money. Preparation Let us start by saying this is not a job for everyone, as it takes some climbing and agility. If you don’t climb or move too well, having this done by a quality RV roof cleaning professional may be wise. If you decide your ready to take this on, remember there are many different products for roof structures made of fiber glass, rubber, aluminum and other coatings including some hybrid materials. Choose the best product for your roof according to what it’s made of. Inspect the roof for any issues. This is to assure the installed roof hardware is in good shape. Some people feel that all the screws holding these items should be checked for tightness,... [Read more...]

Exercising While Traveling

Exercising While Traveling

We all know the importance of healthy eating and daily exercising, yet too often we find excuses when it comes time to kick-start a daily exercise program. A busy life and choosing convenience over substance often sabotage our best intentions.    Between sitting in the RV while traveling or sitting around the campfire while at the campsite, laziness perpetuates laziness. So, in order to fully enjoy our vacation days, whether they are a weekend or extended travels, eating healthy and exercising while traveling will enable us to enjoy all the outdoor activities that come with RV travel. Eating healthy while traveling is easier than you might realize. You can seek out fresh, healthy foods by shopping at local farmer’s markets, roadside farm stands and U-pick orchards and farms. The local farmers can also explain which fruits and vegetables are currently at their best, how to prepare them and how to best preserve them as you continue traveling. Exercising while traveling doesn’t... [Read more...]

The RV Road Trip Planner

The RV Road Trip Planner

An RV road trip isn’t about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s about the people, places, and things you meet and experience along the way. Good Sam’s Trip Planner features tools and information designed to help you have the best road trip. If you are going on a family road trip, planning is essential. With some simple preparation, the road trip can be one you will remember for a long time. When you think of what you’ll need for a road trip, a common list unfolds. Food, beverages, (healthy) snacks, paper products, lawn chairs and recliners, maps, and Good Sam GPS are all items you might bring along. Using a checklist is an excellent way to ensure you have everything you need. Checking off items as you pack your RV will ensure you don’t find yourself in the middle of nowhere brushing your teeth with your finger. There are some items you CANNOT do without while RVing and these should be at the top of your list. It’s important to take sufficient drinking water, a well-stocked... [Read more...]

Adrenaline Rush: Take on the Wild Acres Aerial Adventure Park!

Adrenaline Rush: Take on the Wild Acres Aerial Adventure Park!

Adrenaline Rush: What it Feels Like to Take on the Wild Acres Aerial Adventure Park! Get a bird’s-eye view of this gorgeous Maine forest, located in the picturesque Old Orchard Beach area, and get in touch with nature in a whole new way as you wind your way through this awesome obstacle course that will test your balance, endurance and courage. Wild Acres Aerial Adventure Park is ideal for group outings such as team building, school field trips and other social gatherings. This experience is sure to create comradery among your group as well as lasting memories you can all share. This is one adventure you won’t want to miss. There are several courses with varying skill levels to choose from, so there is something suitable for all ages. Try out one of our two rope courses, take an exhilarating zip line through the towering trees, or partake in in all three courses for the ultimate challenge – test your mettle! This fantastic aerial adventure is conveniently located at Wild Acres RV... [Read more...]

Family Camping Destination – the Adventure District in OKC!

We have spent the last 2 weeks in Oklahoma City.  Even though we spent 3 weeks here last spring, we were volunteering with tornado cleanup efforts, and didn’t have a chance to explore the city much.  This year we have scoped out the best in family friendly stops here, and have found that OKC is a great place for a family camping destination! OKC has an area in town called the Adventure District, which is full of fun stops, all within a few blocks of each other. We had a great time visiting the OKC Zoo, where we spent 4 hours discovering the extensive grounds that house nearly 1900 animals.  In addition to large animal exhibits, the zoo offers several aviaries, butterfly and botanical gardens, and has great play areas as well as offering train rides and a carousel. The kids really enjoyed participating in a simple scavenger hunt which netted them some fun treats! Right next to the OKC Zoo, is Science Museum Oklahoma.  This incredible science museum is fun for all ages, and has... [Read more...]

Bighorn Sheep of the Rocky Mountains

Bighorn Sheep of the Rocky Mountains

Driving back down Hondo Canyon from the Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico after an exhilarating snowy mountain hike one Saturday in April, we encountered a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, standing in the middle of the road, nibbling something off the roadway. We slowed to a stop and while waiting, enjoyed the opportunity to see the sheep up close and snap a few pictures. When a van came around the corner, he lept gracefully up onto the hillside, looking down to see what we would do. Seeing this majestic animal in the road and on the hillside prompted me to do some research to learn more about bighorn sheep. Native to the United States, they numbered nearly two million at the beginning of the 19th century but less than 70,000 remain today. Hunting in the late 1800s, as well as competition from grazing livestock and diseases introduced to the area took a heavy toll on the bighorn population. Male bighorn sheep, or “rams” as they are known, are easily identified by their large spiral horns which... [Read more...]

Lunch on the Mesa

Lunch on the Mesa

Most often when we camp, we cook simple meals either over an open fire or in the kitchen of our camper quite comfortably. However, there are times when we do not feel like cooking or simply want to treat ourselves to a meal someone else has prepared. When camping in northern New Mexico, especially in the vicinity of the Monte Bello RV Park and Convenience Store (see post entitled “Camping on the Mesa” published April 26, 2014) look no further than the Taos Mesa Brewery for a delicious lunch or dinner. Outside venue and amphitheater Situated a mile west of the Monte Bello RV Park on State Highway 68, TMB as it is affectionately known to locals, has something for everyone. It is a restaurant, microbrewery and an entertainment venue located on the beautiful Taos Mesa. Situated in a Quonset hut built and finished by its owners in 2012, the brewery features hand-crafted beers on draught, wine, terrific homemade food, premier live music and the best mountain-view sunsets in Taos. The menu... [Read more...]

Camping on the (Taos) Mesa

Camping on the (Taos) Mesa

When looking for a place to camp in northern New Mexico, think about Taos Monte Bello RV Park and Convenience Store. Located on five acres of the beautiful Taos Mesa, Monte Bello is conveniently located for access to Taos, the many activities and attractions of the Taos Ski Valley or southern Colorado. The views can’t be beat as the part sits at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There is much to do in Taos, NM. Visitors are entranced by the 1000 year old Taos Pueblo, home of the Pueblo Native Americans. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a short five-minute drive from the park. Built in 1965, it is the second highest suspension bridge in the country. Another option is a hot air balloon ride to view the gorge in all its glory. In addition, Taos is filled with art galleries and museums to help you while away your vacation time. The park has something for everyone. In addition to security gates and a 24 hour host, the park boasts clean restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. There... [Read more...]

History comes to life at Old Salem!

Welcome center gift shop that included great kids’ historical gifts!w visiting the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area of North Carolina! Our tribe recently camped near Winston-Salem, in North Carolina, and loved the family friendly atmosphere of the area!  One of our favorite destinations in the area was the Old Salem Museum & Gardens.  Old Salem is a living history village, where original 1700s buildings, staffed with reenactors, are opened up to ticket holders. Tavern Kitchen tour and talk from a living history re-enactor. The visitor’s center offers 2 gift shops, a treat shop, and some exhibits.  The staff gave us maps, and were careful to point out stops that it might be easy to miss on the walking tour.  After we checked out the v.c., we walked through the covered wooden bridge that spanned the main roadway separating the visitor’s center and the authentic 17 and 1800s buildings that are featured in the tour.  Once across the bridge we came to the Frank L Horton... [Read more...]

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