Most Recent RV And Camping Blog Posts
December 11, 2014 by Cynthia Baum · 2 Comments
RVing is proven to be the “Greenest” and most environmentally friendly way to vacation, so why not learn how to go Green RVing to make it that much “greener?” RVing beats (and generates less carbon dioxide than) flying in an airplane, renting a car, and staying in hotels.
Here are some ways to go Green RVing:
Use an RV or tow vehicle that is diesel, and therefore promoting greater fuel efficiency.
Use an RV that is lighter weight (hence being lighter to tow and uses less gas) that is made out of eco-friendly composites. Some of these compact RVs have even been known to have MPGs that rival those of large trucks and SUVs, making them more efficient.
Use a smaller RV that is creatively designed to give you the feel of a larger RV and one with a more aerodynamic front end to help with wind resistance that larger, more boxy RVs battle.
Use power-saving LEDs, renewable woods, green textiles, as well as other eco-friendly options throughout your RV.
Go Solar! Use... [Read more...]
December 10, 2014 by Rex Vogel · 2 Comments
Thousands of snow-weary northerners flock to Texas for the winter.
The colorful green jay is usually seen in brushy areas anddense woods in the lower Rio Grande Valley.. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
In Texas—a state famous for adding its unique flair—migrating snowbirds have been affectionately dubbed Winter Texans.
Most congregate in one of two areas: Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley.
The majority of Winter Texans flock to “The Valley”, an area near the Mexican border that stretches from Brownsville and Harlingen in the east to Mission in the west—a distance of about 65 miles.
The Valley lies at nearly the same latitude as Miami, Florida. Winters tend to be mild and a bit breezy; however, the weather can be unpredictable. The Valley enjoys a year ’round sub-tropical climate with an average temperature of 74°F. The average rainfall is 23.2 inches.
The Valley is arguably the best bargain in the U.S. for wintering in a warm climate. While the area offers everything... [Read more...]
December 7, 2014 by Peter Mercer · 1 Comment
Cold weather prompts issues that need attention to recreational vehicles. Let’s look at some of the most common RV issues during winter. One of the first things, and very obvious, cold weather RV issues is tire inflation. While oxygen molecules escape through the tire’s structure slowly over time, ambient temperatures also add to the pressure loss. This requires topping up the tires at a greater frequency than that of the summer.
The next important thing to check is the antifreeze, or glycol. For this we will need to verify that the fluid level is up to, or near, the full marker on the expansion tank. A glycol gravity test should also be carried out to determine the actual lowest temperature that the mixture can safely operate at. This reading should be below that which the area of storage or use would ever fall to.
However, if you have a diesel powered vehicle, a glycol especially designed for diesel engines is required. These contain additives necessary... [Read more...]
December 5, 2014 by Rex Vogel · 1 Comment
Every winter thousands of Canadians and Americans from the northern climes head south to the U.S Sunbelt. The snowbird hotspots include vast stretches of the Florida coastline, a variety of popular Arizona desert locations, and Palm Springs.
Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Imagine instead going to more obscure tourist destinations. Like the popular hotspots, you’ll find a variety of shopping, quality restaurants, excellent golfing, bird watching, fishing, outdoor recreation, entertainment, top rate medical facilities, friendly people, and much more.
Following are three obscure snowbird destinations in the U.S sunbelt.
Gold Canyon, Arizona
Gold Canyon is adjacent to the Superstition Mountain Wilderness and at the foothills of Superstition Mountain, which offer thousands of square miles of public land for hiking, off road trails, bike riding, photography, and other outdoor sports. Gold Canyon offers a wide variety of activities and attractions:... [Read more...]
The holiday season is upon us and with the holidays comes lots of fun holiday parties in the RV, featuring tons of yummy food, treats, and exciting games! To host a holiday party that is both spectacular and successful, you need a few necessary ingredients.
To start, you need:
a warm and cozy location (your RV),
some yummy eats,
and maybe a game or two.
Set the scene in your RV. You are going to want to decorate accordingly to achieve the right ambiance (think lights, music, and candles). This touches on three out of the five senses.
Yummy eats can come in many forms, from baked goods to store-bought items, or consider having a potluck-style party, where each guest brings something yummy to share. There are scrumptious finger foods – think pigs in a blanket or yummy meatballs – as well as delicious holiday drinks: eggnog and rum, or hot spiced apple cider.
For one of the games, you can hold a gift exchange with an fun edge to it, such as a White Elephant gift exchange.... [Read more...]
For the last two years we have chosen to spend our winter holidays on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida with its sugar white sand beaches. With depths of snow measuring in multiple feet already burying some northern states, our choice seems well advised. We have experienced during our time in this beautiful holiday destination that the really cold weather seems to generally stop just north of Tampa, so we looked for an RV park within a 50-mile radius of Sarasota. A quick check of the Good Sam Travel Guide and Campground Directory online lists over 75 parks to choose from within minutes from Gulf Coast beaches, Sarasota Bay and the Manatee River.
While sun and sand may not sound like your usual holiday visions of Thanksgiving’s colored leaves and turkey dinner or a crackling fire with Santa arriving on a snow covered roof, the festive atmosphere here will surprise you. There are decorations galore and holiday themed entertainment is abundant no matter what genre you prefer.
When... [Read more...]
Make sure your RV’s climate is regulated correctly with this simple and quick Tech-Tip. This RV Tech Tip is brought to you by Good Sam Roadside Assistance!
Experience a desert oasis for birds in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. Nestled along a 120-mile stretch of historic river road is a network of nine separate birding sites from Roma to South Padre Island that make up The World Birding Center. Habitats in this area range from coastal wetland and freshwater marshes to lush riverside thickets and dry shrub land, drawing almost 500 different species of birds to this major migration corridor.
Located at the convergence of two flyways, or migration paths, the Rio Grande Valley is home to many tropical bird species found nowhere else in the United States. There is also an abundance of northern species migrating north to avoid the cold winter or north to take advantage of the northern breeding, so this area gets a great variety of birds coming and going throughout the year. Popular species include a large selection of waterfowl that include swans, geese and ducks. You can also spot birds of prey like falcons, eagles, hawks and owls or delight in colorful... [Read more...]
December 1, 2014 by Bob Difley · 10 Comments
Do you have a checklist of things you need to pack, load, or check your on-board inventory for whenever you take an RV trip? Most of us RVers do, even if that checklist is only in our heads. And, of course, those of us that rely only on our minds sometimes fall a bit short of remembering the complete list.
But whatever method you use to pack your RV, there are seven things that you should hardwire to memory, no matter if your mind goes into a temporary freeze or the dog eats your checklist.
The Essential Seven Must-Haves For RVers
Toilet Paper - Unless you have a supply of corncobs or old Sears catalogs, make sure someone in your family didn’t use up the last roll. Always check your supply – then double what you think you will need.
Peanut butter – Bring each of your family member’s favorite foods or snacks. These comfort foods are important so camping doesn’t present so much of a disconnect from daily life to induce uncomfortable cravings.
The co-pilot... [Read more...]
November 30, 2014 by Peter Mercer · 2 Comments
RV Mountain Driving
In addition to navigating steep grades, RV mountain driving comes with a few unique hazards. Let’s take a look at some.
While wildlife can be encountered on many highways, some mountain roadways have an additional animal, the mountain goat, that often wanders on the road. Rugged terrain can also make the road edge an appealing passage for wildlife on the move. Combine this with the twisty roads and reduced forward view, a shorter warning of wildlife is to be expected.
Rock slide warning signs are common in the mountains. While a rock slide is highly unlikely, the possibility of encountering some small rock pieces on the roadway can be very real, particularly after a heavy rainfall. These rock fragments are jagged and can damage or destroy a tire. Reducing speed when such warning signs are posted can increase your maneuvering and stopping ability.
When operating in mountain ranges that are snowcapped, precipitation can be encountered even on a clear day. ... [Read more...]
November 29, 2014 by Peter Mercer · 5 Comments
RV Mountain Driving
Perhaps the most white-knuckle experiences during RV mountain driving occur while descending a steep grade. The heavier the rig, the more daunting it can be. But it does not have to be if you follow a good plan.
When approaching a grade that is descending, slow to the speed, or slightly lower, that you intend to descend at prior to reaching the crest. Select a lower gear to maximize engine RPM and driveline resistance. Maintain any excess speed by short, hard applications of the service brakes. Remember, the wind resistance is now working with you, and can aid you to keep a comfortable speed.
If equipped, engage the exhaust brake or single speed Jake. Observe both speed and engine RPM during the descent and control same, if required, with short, firm service brake applications.
Tip: Get to know your speed in each gear when the engine RPM is at the optimum braking speed; for a diesel, about 90% of the maximum governed loaded speed. If you can’t always remember this... [Read more...]
November 28, 2014 by Peter Mercer · 6 Comments
RV Mountain Driving
RV mountain driving can have its challenges. This is the first part of a series of three dealing with some of those challenges.
The Climb: Before venturing up into the mountain range, be sure you have adequate fuel for the run. You will be burning more fuel per mile and gas stations are all but nonexistent in the mountains.
The ascent up long, steep mountain grades takes a lot of power. It places a heavy load on your engine and transmission, which can cause their temperatures to rise quickly. You must keep the engine RPM towards the high side. This includes even diesels that attain the highest torque at a fairly low engine speed. The higher speed helps cooling of the transmission and also increases the efficiency of the motor cooling package.
Accomplishing this with the transmission selector in “Drive” would require holding the throttle wide open. Otherwise, an upshift can occur. So, you must manually select a lower gear appropriate to the speed you... [Read more...]
November 27, 2014 by Peter Mercer · 11 Comments
Boondocking in Commercial Parking Lots
Boondocking in commercial parking lots has become very common for RV travelers in all areas of the country. These are establishments such as Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, casino locations and the likes. The majority of these dry camping stays are only for a short overnight period, arriving late and leaving early. In many cases, the RV traveler shops or at least spends a few dollars at the business at that location.
Because these businesses are so RV-friendly and supportive, it is only fitting that we give them some of our business, as well as not abuse this offering. Unfortunately, there are people that do not adhere to that model. These people will spoil it for all as has happened in some areas. Let’s look at some of the do and don’ts of RV dry docking on private property.
Do: Confirm with the management of the property that your overnight stay is allowed.
Do: Park in a safe area away from the busy section of the lot.
Do: Patronize... [Read more...]
November 26, 2014 by Peter Mercer · 12 Comments
Wi-Fi at the campsite has become a necessity.
There are very few campgrounds today that do not offer wireless internet, or Wi-Fi. In some cases they rely on a third party’s service for which the camper must subscribe and pay for. But rest assured, even for those free Wi-Fi offers, you still are actually paying. The service costs money and is built into your daily camping rate. Here the old saying “you only get what you pay for!” really applies.
One of the more current issues faced today when using Wi-Fi in campgrounds is very slow and sometimes no service. This issue does not seem to happen, or at least happens far less, on a third party’s subscriber-based package.
In some RV resorts, they offer a choice of Wi-Fi or wired modem. A small rental fee normally applies to the modem, but it may be well worth it. Generally, the modem plugs into the service pedestal, and then to your computer via Ethernet cable, or direct to a wireless router. The advantage here is usually... [Read more...]
The thought of Thanksgiving and the holidays conjures up so many wonderful ideas – turkey roasting, falling leaves or snow, spending time with family and friends. These days, though, many of us are spread out across the country or even across the world. That means we may be spending time before the holidays traveling to be with our loved ones, and we all know that holiday travel isn’t always as easy as (pumpkin) pie. With that in mind, we’re sharing a few tips to help make your holiday travel a bit easier so you can arrive in a festive rather than frazzled mood:
Allow extra time not only after you get to the airport, but also to get to the airport. To make sure you have plenty of time despite heavy traffic and slow security lines, be there at least two hours early. If you live in a busy metropolitan area, be sure to account for congested roads in your travel time.
Put your essentials in your carry-on. This includes an ample supply of necessary medications. Increased volume at the... [Read more...]
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