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Category: State & National Parks

Prepare for Stormy Weather with Quick Exit Plan

August 6, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Prepare for Stormy Weather with Quick Exit Plan

Given the rash of severe weather that’s been striking the United States and Canada this spring and summer, it would be prudent for all campers and RVers to have a quick exit plan in place regardless of where you travel. Following heavy rains in the mountains a wash separating the campground from the entrance road at Catalina State Park near Tucson flooded stranding campers for several days. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Water is a major feature at numerous campgrounds and RV parks. Many state and provincial parks and other public recreation areas are in low-lying areas that are susceptible to flooding during periods of heavy precipitation. Access to current weather reports and related information—weather radio, mobile wireless phone, satellite radio—will enable campers to be on top of the weather and to take proactive measures in the event of high waters, flood, thunderstorms, or other severe weather conditions. Be Prepared  Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Make sure... [Read more...]

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

August 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas—often dubbed the Silent Killer— that is toxic and the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations and can be particularly dangerous in recreational vehicles. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with gas, oil, kerosene, or wood may produce CO. If such appliances are not installed, maintained, and used properly, carbon monoxide may accumulate to dangerous and even deadly levels in recreational vehicles, cars, homes, or poorly ventilated areas. The symptoms of poisoning are similar to flu or food poisoning and include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Although not always experienced, the initial symptoms of carbon monoxide are similar to an upset stomach or the flu (but without the fever). The symptoms include: Dizziness Fatigue Headache Nausea Irregular breathing It is critical... [Read more...]

Top 10 National Parks for Camping

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Top 10 National Parks for Camping

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved National parks provide the opportunity to explore nature at its best. From the diversity of beautiful wildlife to the endless possibilities in their miles of trails these parks have much to offer in new experiences, sights, and sounds. Camping in America’s national parks allows a visitor to more fully appreciate the beauty of America’s natural treasures. There are many opportunities for camping at national parks with several different types of camping from which to choose. This ranges from camping at full-facility campgrounds, to backcountry camping with limited facilities, to wilderness camping where you might find no facilities at all. From a planning standpoint, campgrounds can generally be divided into two categories: Campgrounds that accept reservations Campgrounds that operate on a first-come, first-served basis If... [Read more...]

National Parks without the Crowds

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

National Parks without the Crowds

RVers love national parks. Visitors can explore Congaree National Park by canoe, kayak, or on foot by using the over 25 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of the Boardwalk Loop Trail. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved From snow-capped glacial peaks to meandering coastal shorelines and from white sand deserts to steep gorges and canyons, some of America’s most awe-inspiring natural attractions are found within its extensive national park system. Most people know about the popular and most-visited parks including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Zion. Coping with crowds at national parks can get tiresome, especially during peak travel seasons. America is jam packed with national parks but the problem is that the most popular are just that—popular. They’re often crowded with loud tourists, littered with garbage people simply can’t seem to take home with them, or slowed down by traffic jams as tourists stop to take pictures of wildlife or search for... [Read more...]

Oklahoma City National Memorial…

June 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Oklahoma City National Memorial…

    Earlier this month, we were blessed with the opportunity to take a trip to Moore, OK, to help with the tornado cleanup relief efforts there.  While we were in Moore, we took a Sunday afternoon and went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  Since we travel with kids of all ages, I was curious as to how the National Park Service would handle such a tragedy – namely, if it would be appropriate for my littles to visit, or if it would be overwhelmingly sorrowful. We found out that, actually, this memorial isn’t officially a National Park, but the park service has a presence here; the park service is only an affiliate, and the OKC National Memorial Foundation owns and runs the grounds, all on private funding (no NPS monies). The outside memorial grounds are open 24/7, and the park service provides rangers (there are also onsite, armed, security); during the summer, the rangers are there until 10pm!      The Jr. Ranger books here are great for little ones! ... [Read more...]

Ancient Desert Water Hole: Montezuma Well

June 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ancient Desert Water Hole: Montezuma Well

Montezuma Well is a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument located approximately 11 miles north of the park. It’s not actually a well and has nothing to do with Montezuma but being wrongly named doesn’t detract at all from its serene beauty. It’s NOT a well and Montezuma was never here! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved This unique geological feature is a limestone sink formed long ago by the collapse of an immense underground cavern. This continuous flow of warm, fresh water has created a lush, verdant oasis in the middle of desert grassland. Such a reliable source of life-giving water has lured humans for thousands of years, although Montezuma was never one of them. Early settlers to the area believed that the exquisitely-preserved five-story cliff dwelling belonged to Aztec emperor Montezuma. In truth, the “castle” was built by the Sinagua and was deserted a century before Montezuma was born. Yet the name stuck to both the ruins and the beautiful pond which... [Read more...]

Raystown Lake

June 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Raystown Lake

As an avid camper I hate to admit that I have only had the RV out once this Spring. My oldest son was getting married so I’ve been a little busy.  The one trip I was able to take was over Mothers Day Weekend and our travels carried us to Raystown Lake, in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. Raystown Lake is by far one of my favorite camping spots especially before Memorial Day and after Labor Day because during those times, it’s first come, first serve and that means that you have the opportunity to camp right on the water! Raystown Lake has been referred to as the Crowned Jewel of Central Pennsylvania; 126 miles of shoreline on 28 miles of lake  and is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Raystown has beautiful campgrounds with electric hookups at every sight, hot showers, and if you get there at the right time of year you can step out of your RV and cast your line into the lake. Our campsite was located within the Point Campground Loop at 7-Points. We were lucky that... [Read more...]

Inscription Rock: El Morro National Monument

June 13, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Inscription Rock: El Morro National Monument

“Paso por aqui, el adelantado Don Juan de Oñate, del descubrimiento de la mar del sur a 16 de Abril de 1605.” El Morro is Spanish for headland or bluff. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Translated, the inscription proclaims: “Passed by here, the expedition leader Don Juan de Oñate, from the discovery of the Sea of the South the 16th of April of 1605.” While Oñate’s inscription is the oldest Spanish carving found on El Morro, he was not the first Spaniard to see the mesa. In March 1583, Diego Pérez de Luxan, chronicler of an exploring expedition led by Antonio de Espejo, recorded in his journal that the party had camped at a location he called El Estanque de Peñol (The Place at the Great Rock). However, no record of the expedition’s passing has been found on the mesa. People had been carving messages on Inscription Rock in the high desert of northwestern New Mexico for centuries before de Oñate, the first Spanish Conquistador to organize a colony in New Mexico, came... [Read more...]

7 Tips for Planning a Successful Camping Trip

May 20, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

7 Tips for Planning a Successful Camping Trip

If you are going on a camping trip planning is essential. Camping at Arches National Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Whether you are a retired senior planning the trip of a lifetime, a snowbird, family looking for an economical way to vacation, or a couple looking to get away from the stresses of the work week, camping provides the perfect alternative to the conventional holiday. It also allows you to experience the fresh air that camping in the countryside offers and to meet new friends. But like any getaway, whether it’s for a weekend, a month, or an extended period, camping requires careful preparation to ensure all goes smoothly. When you think of what you’ll need for a road trip, a common list unfolds. Food, beverages, snacks, paper products, lawn chairs, maps, and GPS are all normal items you might bring along. Packing List The night before leaving on the camping trip will be less hectic if you plan ahead what to pack. Be careful not to over pack, take only... [Read more...]

Beach Camping Must-Haves!

May 17, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Beach Camping Must-Haves!

Growing up mostly beach camping with my immediate and extended family, I can honestly say the beach is my all-time favorite destination for camping.  Two of the top reasons I prefer beach camping are the relaxing rhythmic sounds of the waves crashing on the shore that lull you to sleep each night and the countless recreational opportunities, in and out of the ocean, that fill your glorious days while camping at the beach. When camping on the west coast, you also have the added benefit of watching the sunset dip into the ocean, which is always the ideal way to end a fun day at the beach.  Many beach camping sites are right on the sand, which is preferable in my opinion (especially if you are tent camping).  Other beach camp sites can be on a rocky cliff, with paved spots overlooking the beach below.  Either way, you will want the exquisite ocean view from your camp and (hopefully) an easy walk to the shore. Wildlife viewing along the coast is also a fun pastime.  From the daily and... [Read more...]

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