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Category: Holidays on the Road

Czeching Out La Grange

January 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Czeching Out La Grange

We headed to the Central Texas town of La Grande to “Czech” out what might just be the “Best Little Day Trip in Texas.” Texas Quilt Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The events of La Grange’s famous Chicken Ranch inspired the stage play, movie, and the lyrics of a popular song, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Then there’s the ZZ Top song that still fuels Texas folklore. The brothel is no longer around—it was officially closed in 1973 after operating for more than 130 years. The building was sold and hauled to Dallas where, for awhile, it served as a restaurant that served—what else? Chicken. Later, the building burned to the ground. All that’s left these days is the legend and some fading memories. However, there’s still plenty to do in this town. For starters, we Czeched out the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. This museum gave us a feel for the culture and early days of Fayette County when thousands of Czech immigrants populated the area. The... [Read more...]

Top 6 Birding Hotspots in Southeastern Arizona

January 27, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Top 6 Birding Hotspots in Southeastern Arizona

Southeastern Arizona is an ecological crossroads, where the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is home to 260 species of birds including the vermilion flycatcher. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The abrupt rise of mountains like the Huachucas from the surrounding arid grasslands creates “sky islands” harboring rare species and communities of plants and animals. If you are a birder, Southeastern Arizona is the place to go. Birding enthusiast are attracted to this unique region with many arriving in recreational vehicles. The following are our suggestions for where to find the best birding spots. Generally, they are located along streams and rivers or in forested mountain canyons. Some will have nearby RV parks or forestry campgrounds but will require a drive in your toad/tow vehicle. 6. Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve Between the majestic Santa Rita and beautiful red Patagonia... [Read more...]

Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Florida Gulf Coast Paradise

January 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Florida Gulf Coast Paradise

Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is nestled along Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast, between Sarasota and Naples, about 100 miles south of Tampa. Palm Island Resort marina (Source: charlotteharbortravel.com) The area covers a diverse landscape of cities and towns. Choose from four island escapes: the barrier island community of Boca Grande; Palm Island, with its serene beaches accessible by ferry; secluded Don Pedro Island; and Little Gasparilla Island. Set on Gasparilla Island, the historic village of Boca Grande offers old world charm, quaint shops and restaurants, and gorgeous beach views. Seven miles of white sandy beach and crystal clear water await you on this retreat away from the world. A car ferry to get there adds to the remote feel of this island getaway. For a small city experience, visit historic Punta Gorda, Englewood, or Port Charlotte. The city of Punta Gorda is a historic town that lies along beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Streets lined with huge royal palms,... [Read more...]

Havasu Balloon Festival Partners With Good Sam

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Havasu Balloon Festival Partners With Good Sam

Join Good Sam Club for high-flying fun at the fourth annual Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair, January 17-19, 2014. Good Sam members can join tens of thousands of spectators watching hot-air balloons soar high above London Bridge, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Havasu, and beautiful desert landscaping. Like Albuquerque’s renowned Balloon Fiesta, the Havasu Balloon Festival turns the Southwestern sky into an airborne parade with the world’s oldest flight technology dressed up in fanciful colors and contemporary shapes. Beyond experiencing the thrill of more than 60 thermal-powered aircraft aloft above Lake Havasu, members will get a lift knowing their camping fees support deserving charities. One of the biggest events in the region, the Havasu Balloon Festival was launched by the Lake Havasu City London Bridge Lions Club and the London Bridge Rotary Club as a way to fund local charitable groups. Four years later, that’s still the mission, with the 2014 festival operated by volunteers... [Read more...]

2014 Camping Goals

December 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

2014 Camping Goals

As some of you know, my family and I have a tradition that we engage in each New Years Eve in which each family member lists her/his accomplishments over the past year (a taking stock as it were) and then sets a number of goals for the New Year. For the past few years, I have also set specific camping and travel related goals which I have traditionally shared with our readers in my final post of the year. My husband and I initially developed this process as a way of helping ourselves to look at the progress we have made over the past year when it seemed as if there was none (i.e. transitioning from two children in diapers to only one, for example!); then involved the children in the process as they became old enough, initially writing their goals as they dictated them to us. In 2012, we made a major move from our home state of Wisconsin to our new home in New Mexico. As a result of this major transition, our camper has been parked for the second summer. Ryan celebrating atop Mt. Shavano The... [Read more...]

Fires Destroy 5 RVs, Pickup & Fatality

December 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Fires Destroy 5 RVs, Pickup & Fatality

Whether camping or just relaxing in your recreational vehicle, fire safety is essential. A build-up of propane inside a motorhome sparked an explosion at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. (Courtesy: WLOX-TV) It is critical that every member of your party know what to do in a fire or other emergency. If you are one of the millions of RV enthusiasts who love to take to the road and explore the country, ensure your family’s safety while travelling in your RV. Recent media reports detail seven separate fires involving recreational vehicles. California: Unattended Cooking Fire Destroys RV & Pickup Santacruzsentinel.com reports that a cooking fire in an RV destroyed the RV and a Chevy pickup. A man was cooking in the RV but was outside the vehicle when the fire started said Zayante Fire Chief John Stipes. The man tried to extinguish it and was burned on his hand, firefighters said. He was not transported to a hospital. The fire spread to the Chevy and briefly threatened trees and a... [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Avid Outdoorsperson in Your Life

December 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Avid Outdoorsperson in Your Life

As some of you know, every December I follow up my St. Nick Stocking Stuffer ideas of inexpensive gifts for the outdoor lover with a post about Christmas gift ideas. The time has come, so here are my suggestions for your outdoors-lovers: 1)      The High Gear Altimeter/Barometer/Compass. As someone who routinely hikes at elevation, I find an altimeter invaluable when engaging in outdoor recreation, whether it is driving the camper to a new location (it is very helpful to be aware of elevation when moving the camper) or heading out on a hike. This model from L.L.Bean.com provides not only your elevation but also a barometer for weather changes, which are also important to know and a compass. A handy little tool, it sells for a mere $50. The L.L.Bean website indicates this item is currently sold out so you may want to put it on your list for next year, but it would be very helpful to have. The website suggests an alternative, the Touchkey Weather Station for only $39.95, which does not... [Read more...]

RVing ’round Texas

December 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RVing ’round Texas

Even those of us who visit Texas frequently and spend a big chunk of our time traversing it leave most of the Lone Star State untouched. Our Texas RV Travel Bucket List continues. Goliad At Goliad State Park, tour the beautiful reconstructed Franciscan Mission Espíritu Santo, home of the largest ranching operation in Texas in the 18th century © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Goliad is one of the few places in North America where you can visit both an 18th-century Spanish-Colonial mission and presidio (fort) complex, to understand the roles of the Catholic Church and the Spanish military in settling the New World. At Goliad State Park, tour the beautiful reconstructed Franciscan Mission Espíritu Santo, home of the largest ranching operation in Texas in the 18th century. Enjoy the serenity of this Spanish colonial church and view exhibits that explore the history and daily life of the missionaries and Indian converts—including some of the original artifacts they used. Across the river,... [Read more...]

It’s St. Nick Time Again!

December 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s St. Nick Time Again!

Well, it’s that time of year again: time for all good parents and partners to think about St. Nick surprises for camping and RVing friends and family members. Here are a few neat ideas for stocking stuffers this year to get you jump-started on your shopping. Remember, according to tradition, at least in the Midwest from where I hail, St. Nick comes the night of December 5th and leaves his goodies in stockings hung from the mantel. Or, if you are mantel-less, he leaves a simple pile of goodies or stuffs them in a sock or stocking left somewhere near the front hallway or front door of your home or RV. And, while lighting accessories are always a good stocking stuffer, I have profiled nice solar and hand crank flashlights and efficient headlamps in years past, so I will not add them again here. But they are always a good St. Nick’s gift. But for new ideas for this year, here goes: A colorful mini-emergency radio. Listed at only $29.95 from LLBean, this handy radio is 2.5 inches high by... [Read more...]

Our favorite Travel-Friendly gift ideas…

November 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Our favorite Travel-Friendly gift ideas…

Being a travel savvy family, we wanted to share our favorite travel-friendly finds that fit in with our on-the-move lifestyle.  Here we’re sharing some of our favorite travel-friendly products that would make great gifts, whether you live in a stationary house or one that moves about… FOR KIDS: Magformers: These fun, educational, colorful building toys are super for all ages!  These construction toys are unique; they are very powerful magnets that are encased in brightly colored, durable plastic.  Magformers come in 14 geometric shapes in 9 bright colors.  There are 65 different components available, which range from simple shapes to remote controlled wheel sets.  Magformers have won several awards for their ingenuity and are great for free play. Magformers are super for both in the house, and on the road; the pieces stick together so they don’t take up much space and don’t get lost under the seat.  They are durable, and you can use them anywhwhere;... [Read more...]

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