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Month: April 2011

Camping and Great Food Go Together like Peas and Carrots!

April 22, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Camping and Great Food Go Together like Peas and Carrots!

Two things that go together so well are “camping” and “food.” It seems like our appetites are at their all time high because of the exercise and fresh air. And if kids or young adults are going along–be sure to pack plenty of extra food! After years of camping in the great Northwest, we have found several recipes and food stuffs that are a must for or outings and I thought I’d share then with you – who knows, one of them may become one of your favorites as well. We always take a large cooler and fill it according to the crowd size. If friends arrive, they have also done the same – the more variation in food, the merrier. Usually, we have hot dogs, and mild to spicy sausages that we roast over the campfire. This is a lot easier than traveling after work and having to create a large meal. We serve breakfast every morning – seems like those young’uns are always super hungry after their night of hibernation. We usually serve eggs, ... [Read more...]

Best of America

April 22, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Best of America

The backbone of American greatness is the contribution of each individual. From innovative and heroic people to compelling ideas and stories, Reader’s Digest celebrates the best. Image courtesy Reader's Digest Where can you find the best hot dogs in America? What are the best town names? Where are the best natural vistas in the United States? What are the country’s best eccentric competitions? RVing and imagination—both take you anywhere you want to be. Reader’s Digest reveals the “Best of America” Reader’s Digest, known for simplifying and clarifying the topics that matter most to its readers, dedicates its May 2011 issue to the “Best of America.” As Reader’s Digest celebrates the “Best of America,” the second phase of its “We Hear You America” online contest at rd.com continues through May 16, with a total of $7.5 million in financial and promotional support for towns and cities across the U.S. In a recent news release, Peggy Northrop, Reader’s Digest’s... [Read more...]

Woodall’s Allows Facebook Users to Search Eco-Friendly Campgrounds & RV Parks

April 21, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Woodall’s Allows Facebook Users to Search Eco-Friendly Campgrounds & RV Parks

To celebrate Earth Day, Woodall’s is excited to announce the creation of a searchable database of “Green-Friendly” parks at Facebook.com/Woodalls. The Woodall’s / ARVC Plan-It “Green-Friendly” Park Program, which rolled out last year, helps determine parks that are implementing eco-friendly practices at their campground or RV park.   Together, Woodall’s and National ARVC– with guidance from Leave No Trace (an organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment of the outdoors)–has developed “Green-Friendly” criteria that is applied to RV parks or campgrounds around the country. Some of the qualifications Woodall’s and ARVC look for to identify Campgrounds or RV Parks as “Green Friendly” are: Does the campground use energy-efficient light bulbs? Are there recycle bins for cans, paper, glass and plastic? Does the park use with non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products? Does the park have water saving showerheads and/or... [Read more...]

1015 Onions and Dancing Horses?

April 20, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

1015 Onions and Dancing Horses?

(Photo Caption: Onionfest Shirt) Of the many events that we attended here in El Valle this winter, the one we found most interesting was Viva La Onion! – the Weslaco, Texas Onionfest.  The Weslaco Onionfest celebrates the “world famous” Texas sweet 1015 onion that was developed here in Weslaco by Texas A&M.  The name comes from the recommended planting date, and the onion has an incredible sweet flavor that goes well with the local cuisine.  This year (2011) was the 22nd year for the festival.  We noticed that they were selling 50-pound bags of the 1015 onions for $12! There were a number of things to do at the festival; the events included live music (including a mariachi band and also an Elvis impersonator), kids areas, an onion-eating contest, a car show, food vendors, arts and crafts, and (the highlight of the day) the Andalusian and Azteca dancing horses.  This was my favorite part of the festival.  The riders were adults and youth from the local area; the costumes... [Read more...]

NPs near the Grand Canyon that are also worth the visit!

April 20, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

NPs near the Grand Canyon that are also worth the visit!

We recently drove through Flagstaff, AZ, and had the privilege of visiting the 3 National Parks that are located in the nearby vicinity.  While everyone knows where the Grand Canyon is, and lots of us travel south from the G.C. through Flagstaff, many do not stop at the other, lesser known, National Parks located hereabouts.  Our family decided to check them out, and maybe get a little bit further along on our quest to collect Jr. Ranger badges from every N.P. in the country that offers them.  The 3 parks that are located near Flagstaff are:   Sunset Crater National Monument:   Located just north of Flagstaff is Sunset Crater; a 1000 year old volcano.  This cinder cone volcano is located in an area of over 600 volcanoes.  Sunset Crater offers a fun visitor’s center complete with a station where you can create and measure your very own tremor!   A short drive to the volcano takes you through an area where there are extensive lava fields on either side of the road... [Read more...]

On the Road to Mount Rushmore

April 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

On the Road to Mount Rushmore

On our journey west a few years back we were anxious to summit Harney Peak, the high point of South Dakota, and since it is close by, decided to take in Mt. Rushmore in the process. Neither we nor the kids had seen it and we feel it is an important part of our history that you need to see to appreciate. Our first glimpse... After spending our first night on the road camped at the Arrow Campground, a cute and comfortable campground in Wall, SD, so we could spend some time touring the infamous Wall Drug (which is, by the way, not to be missed and the subject of an upcoming post), we packed up and continued our journey west. We had reserved a campsite near both the high point and Mt. Rushmore at Horse Thief Lake Campground in the Black Hills National Park. We stop first at our campsite to set up and remark that we could not have asked for a more beautiful spot! All set up, we move on to visit and admire our former presidents! It is quite impressive, walking up to the monument from the... [Read more...]

In Vancouver, Belly to Belly With A Beluga!

April 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In Vancouver, Belly to Belly With A Beluga!

If you are lucky enough to visit Vancouver, British Columbia this year, then by all means put the Vancouver Aquarium on your must-see list! Considered one of Vancouver’s premier attractions, the aquarium is also Canada’s largest marine science center. I first visited the Vancouver Aquarium in 1999 when I was writing an article for the Leisure and Arts page of  The Wall Street Journal.  I was participating in the Animal Encounter program that day and was destined to come belly to belly with a beluga in a Beluga Encounter! That amazing educational experience was great fun and you can read my article  here. If you don’t have the time or the resources to participate in such a unique experience at the aquarium, rest assured that there’s lots to see and do outside of the beluga’s arctic habitat ! Home to 70,000 animals,  the organization is dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life through display, research, and education. If you or your children... [Read more...]

ONCE IS ENOUGH! – Mistakes We Have Made so You Don’t Have to.

April 19, 2011 by · 12 Comments 

ONCE IS ENOUGH! – Mistakes We Have Made so You Don’t Have to.

Thankfully, the ten mistakes below were not all made by me.  Rather, these ten oversights were recently shared by a group of veteran RV’ers that had assembled around a community campfire. #1. While preparing the trailer at a National Park camping site for travel down the mountain parkway, I forgot to crank down the rooftop TV antenna.  This, of course, made the trailer much higher than the 13’ clearance of a tunnel up ahead.  As we entered the tunnel, I heard a crunching noise. Lesson Learned: Always check to be sure that your TV antenna is cranked down before leaving your campsite.  The result can not only be the replacement of an  antenna but some rather expensive repairs to your rubber roof membrane. #2. Once when coupling the fifth wheel to the truck I became distracted by a visiting camper that was curious about the characteristics of our tow vehicle.  I completely forgot to check that the jaws on the hitch had locked around the fifth wheel pin.  When I pulled out... [Read more...]

Be Prepared With Lodge Red Leather Mitts!

April 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Whew! Seattle had its first sunny day in ages today. All this sunshine is getting me excited for the summer months–camping, hiking, Dutch oven cooking, s’mores, and lots of good casual food around the campfire.  My husband and I have been crafting our own version of campground cookery for some time now. Over the years, we’ve cooked everything from frozen pizzas in the camper oven  to rib eye steaks over a campfire. Homemade cookies, grilled oysters, and local salmon have formed the backbone for many of our meals. Of course, we have an array of cookware in our camper, but without a doubt our cast iron pans and Dutch ovens are our favorite tools. We have five or six Dutch ovens and on any given camping trip, we load at least one of them with fruit and pastry in order to make a Dutch oven cobbler for dessert.  If you’ve ever cooked over an open campfire using cast iron Dutch ovens, then you know what it’s like to truly make a labor of love for your family... [Read more...]

So You’re the Group Leader?

April 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

So You’re the Group Leader?

By Karen Brucoli Anesi Do you like herding cats? Making camping arrangements for a group without first getting consensus or at least a flexible game plan will make herding cats feel like sand box play. Whether you are a wagon master making reservations for thirty friends or a grandma making arrangements for three families, the challenges are familiar and often similar. The bottom line is you are responsible for keeping everyone happy. That starts with making the campground experience satisfying for all, never mind the differences in individual wants, needs and expectations. Here are seven tips for making your job easier. 1. Know the physical and social needs of your group. That’s a tall order, but if you have a group member who needs 50 amp service for a 34 foot motor home, don’t expect that camper to be happy in a campground that offers only 30 amp service in 30 foot long sites. Likewise, families who camp with pets expect their pets to be accommodated. 2. Know the campground where... [Read more...]

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