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Month: June 2012

Part 3 – Big Trees State Park, Calaveras County, California – Exploitation of the Sequoias

June 30, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

My wife standing on top of the “Discovery Tree” stump.The photo really brings home what a massive tree it was. The “Discovery Tree,” top and bottom right. The “Mother of the Forest,” bottom left, as it appeared during exhibitions. Calaveras Big Trees State Park’s “Discovery Tree” is one of the first trees that were exploited to prove that this incredible grove exists. Located in the North Grove, the tree stump and what’s left of the its trunk have lain on the ground for over 150 years. The fallen trunk actually served as a bowling alley and bar during the 1850s. The stump of the “Discovery Tree” was used as a dance floor for a 4th of July 1854 cotillion. Felled in 1853, it measured 24 feet in diameter at its base and was judged by ring count to be 1,244 years old when it was cut down. The “Discovery Tree’s” stump, which is now bare, also once had a structure built on its flat surface. Used as a dance hall during the 19th... [Read more...]

ARE YOU READY FOR TOLLS ON I-95? (Virginia thinks so…….)

June 30, 2012 by · 5 Comments 

ARE YOU READY FOR TOLLS ON I-95? (Virginia thinks so…….)

I-95 runs all the way from Maine to  Florida.  It represents the major north-south corridor along the right-hand coast of the United States.   It is also a major route for RV travel as anxious vacationers head to either cooler or warmer destinations, depending upon the season. If you are one of the millions of travelers that use this major highway, you just might want to put a few extra dollars in your cup holder because the Commonwealth of Virginia wants to put toll plazas on I-95 in Sussex County – for both north and eastbound traffic coming from and entering North Carolina. The proposal calls for a $4 toll for cars and a $12 toll for large trucks.  While it has not been stated, this typically translates to $2.50 for each additional axle beyond two.  Thus, a travel trailer with twin axles being towed by a pick-up truck would pay something like $9 at the toll plaza.  If crossing all 178 miles of I-95 in Virginia, this would come out to about 5-cents additional per mile of travel. If... [Read more...]

Bears, Boredom and Bullies

June 29, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Bears, Boredom and Bullies

Each spring our family makes an annual pilgrimage into the wilderness. This year, like most, we selected a cozy campground that sits tucked away in a mountain forest as our base camp and settled in for a few days of hiking and exploring. Our campfire provides a relaxing atmosphere at the end of each day’s activities. Spring is the perfect time of year for our family. The weather is sunny and cool, wildflowers are blooming and showing off a thousand vibrant colors, and wildlife is out in abundance. The happy melodies of songbirds provide a wonderfully calming musical backdrop as we hike, stopping frequently to photograph the many splendors that the forest offers. Wild Animals Enjoy Springtime Too During the first day of our trip while hiking we enjoyed watching a pair of gray squirrels dancing to the music of a ruby-crowned kinglet as he roosted atop a lodgepole pine.  At lunchtime we made our way back to camp just in time to see a black bear lumbering his way through a nearby meadow,... [Read more...]

RV Fire Safety Guidelines

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RV Fire Safety Guidelines

Whether camping or just relaxing in your recreational vehicle, fire safety is essential. Fire safety seminars conducted at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved It is critical that every member of your party know what to do in an emergency or fire. If you are one of the millions of RV enthusiasts who love to take to the road and explore this great country of ours, ensure your family’s safety while traveling by following these fire safety guidelines. It’s crucial to know your location so emergency responders can find you in the event of an emergency.  Be aware of your location and surroundings and remember, SECONDS DO COUNT! Confirm the local 911 emergency numbers for police, fire, and ambulance is available in the area. Have at least two escape routes—one in the front and one in the rear of the RV. Test all escape windows, hatches, and door latches for smooth operation and keep all escape windows, hatches, and doors clear of any obstructions. As... [Read more...]

Where Cavemen Store Their RV’s

June 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Where Cavemen Store Their RV’s

Winterizing your RV is a lot of work with zero payoff. Basically, you are just spending time “preventing” problems from. Realizing that I was going to be buried in RV related activities for the rest of the week, I longed to get away and jumped at the chance to go zip lining and hiking through caves for a couple of hours at night. I looked forward to a lot of fun and a chance to cool off from the 95 degree weather I was experiencing at 5 p.m. in the evening. I wasn’t expecting to walk past RVs 50 feet underground. happening. Chalk that up with brushing your teeth, taking out the trash and other completely non-exciting things we do to make sure things don’t go bad. It’s not something most people long to do. So I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the non-winterizing option I saw while I was at the Rally in Louisville this week: Storing Your RV in a Cave. Sure enough, as I walked into the entrance of the cave to the Louisville Underground, I was passed by RV’s driving out.... [Read more...]

Part 2 – Big Trees State Park, Calveras County, California

June 27, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The Big Trees State Park contains two campgrounds with a total of 129 campsites, six picnic areas and hundreds of miles of established trails. Located in the Stanislaus National Forest, Big Trees S.P. has a water spigot near every site, but not close enough or compatible with the RVs city water connection (unless you have a “water thief” or serious plumbing skills to temporarily extend a hose over to the RV to fill the fresh water tank.). There’s also no electric or sewer hookups. Well, that’s not too much of a problem, you might be thinking, as long as they have a dump station, but they don’t (we were told that the dump station was “out of order.” It’s been that way for quite a while; coincidentally during California’s budget crisis, when parks were being closed to save money). We guess that it’s easier to tell campers that the dump station was out of order than to tell them that it was working, but no one was allowed to use it so that the... [Read more...]

Yosemite N.P. to Big Trees State Park, Calaveras County, California – Part 1

June 25, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Our home away from home After eight months of towing our trailer across the country and leaving the idea of reservations in God’s hands, we ran out of luck – again. We had decided during the planning stage for this trip that we wanted to be free to stop and stay at whatever place caught our interest and not have to be bound to the calendar; having to be in a certain place at a certain time. What we did, though, was call Reserve America hours or days before our expected arrival time and try to pick-up on any cancellations or open sites that might be available. This procedure had served us well so far, although we did have to patch together several different sites in order to lengthen our stays at the more popular parks, like Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys and the Grand Canyon. This procedure didn’t work this time, though. We lost cell phone service shortly after leaving Las Vegas, Nevada and were incommunicado for over 200 miles of desert along Route 95 to Tonopah, Nevada.... [Read more...]

The Monkey Feeders at Taos Plaza Live!

June 24, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

The Monkey Feeders at Taos Plaza Live!

A short time ago, I wrote about my visit to the annual summer Thursday night event, Taos Plaza Live. I write today to profile a local band that was appearing the last time I attended the Plaza event, the Monkey Feeders. The Feeders are not simply a summer band or event. We have seen them live whenever we have had occasion to visit Taos, which we have often done in our camper, staying at the wonderful and incomparable Taos Valley RV Park & Campground (www.taosrv.com). The name of the group is a takeoff on the name of a New Orleans band, the Funky Meters. The Feeders is comprised of lead guitarist, Omar Rane, bassist, Giles Shelton,  drummer, Norm Cutliff, Jr., but, by far, the star of the show is lead vocalist, Katy Palmier. When watching them on stage, it is impossible to take your eyes off Katy. Sorry guys, but singing, jumping and dancing around on stage, she is a riveting focal point. for any audience. Katy was also chosen in August, 2011 to fly to LA to audition for the TV show... [Read more...]

Deadly RV Crash Result of Tire Blow Out

June 23, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

Deadly RV Crash Result of Tire Blow Out

A deadly crash that involved several people in a recreational vehicle resulted from a tire blow out. Keeping tires properly inflated doesn’t just eliminate the practice of checking a tire’s air pressure and finding a tire pump and gauge that works. (Credit: thefuntimesguide.com) Seven people were inside the motorhome when the tire blew. The driver was killed and three children were injured. The RV was traveling west on Loop 202 in Phoenix (Arizona) when the front left tire apparently blew out, causing the driver Lee T. Holt to lose control. Holt, 36, was ejected from the RV when it slammed into light poles and hit the median, according to Bart Graves, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. A 9-year-old passenger, Hayden Holt, was in serious condition and may require surgery for internal injuries, said Jane Walton of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Five other passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Graves said. Holt was taken to the Maricopa Medical... [Read more...]

“Leaves of three, beware of me!” (Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac)

June 22, 2012 by · 9 Comments 

“Leaves of three, beware of me!” (Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac)

There are probably more stories, home remedies, and mistaken beliefs about Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac than any other plant found in the forest and surrounding countryside.  I want to take a few paragraphs and explore some of the myths and facts related to these plants and their common allergen – urushiol oil.  I hope you don’t mind if I tell a story along the way to get my point across. Jerry, Irene, there two children Kelly and Kenny along with their dog, Peaches, were camping near a wooded area.  Jerry, the 2 kids and the dog decided to go on an exploratory hike through the woodlands.  Irene stayed back at camp.  Upon returning, they stripped off the kids clothes, did a through examination for ticks on everyone that was in the party and each took a hot shower in the bathhouse – washing well with Dial soap and then rubbing dry with a clean towel. Later that night Kenny, the oldest child, began scratching a red spot on his left leg.  Before long, the itch and... [Read more...]

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