Jayco Introduces New Class A Motorhome, the Alante

Middlebury, Indiana-based Jayco, Inc. introduced a new gas Class A motorhome, the Alante. Nationally advertised at $79,995 base price for the 31L and 31V models, the Alante Class A motorhome will initially be available in four floor plans and will be sold through authorized Jayco motorhome dealers.

2016 Alante Class A gas motorhome

2016 Alante Class A gas motorhome

“The new Alante motorhome is the perfect balance of style, Class A comfort, and value,” said Tadd Jenkins, president of the Jayco Motorhome Group, in a company news release.

“The success we’ve seen with the Precept was encouraging and we decided it was time to add another gas Class A to the Jayco lineup. We fully anticipate that the Alante’s appealing affordability combined with the quality craftsmanship of Jayco will raise the eye brows of customers and dealers.”

The Alante comes complete with several “must have” items for cross-country travel and priceless enjoyment including cab-forward thinking with the industry’s narrowest A-pillars and largest windshield for better sight lines along with six-way powered driver seat.

Other key features include a seamless front cap with LED lighting accents, fiberglass roof, frameless windows, pass-through storage with slam-latch baggage doors, power awning, and an exterior TV.

The striking interior features expansive layouts and high-end touches including Amish-crafted honey-glazed cherry wood cabinetry, a glass shower door, high-intensity LED ceiling lights, a fully-equipped kitchen, and two décor options from which to choose from.

2016 Jayco Alante 31L interior shown in grand tan decor.

2016 Jayco Alante 31L interior shown in grand tan decor.

The Alante is backed by Jayco’s two-year limited warranty.

Built on the Ford F53, 18K or 16K chassis depending on floor plan, the Alante boasts a 6.8L Triton V-10 engine with five-speed TorqShift automatic overdrive and tow haul transmission. Safety is top of mind in the Alante with a third brake light, safety belts in every seat, and back-up and side-view cameras and monitor.

In addition, its turning radius, cruise control, and antilock front and rear disc brakes make the Alante the ultimate in affordable drivability.

Specifications for the 2016 Jayco Alante gas Class A motorhome 31L and 31V models include:

GVWR: 18,000 pounds

GCWR: 23,000 pounds

Engine: 6.8L Triton V-10 362 HP gas engine with electronic fuel injection and 457 lb.-ft. torque

2016 Jayco Alante 31V interior shown in glorious gray interior

2016 Jayco Alante 31V interior shown in glorious gray interior

Exterior Length: 32 feet 2 inches

Exterior Width: 101 inches

Wheel Base: 190 inches

Fresh Water Tank Capacity: 71.5 gallons

Grey Water Tank Capacity: 41 gallons

Black Water Tank Capacity: 51.5 gallons

Propane Tank: 56-lb. 16.5-gallon

2016 Jayco Alante 31L floor plan

2016 Jayco Alante 31L floor plan

Details

Jayco Inc.

Jayco Inc. is the world’s largest privately held manufacturer of recreation vehicles.

Jayco began as a family business and is a family business today.

The company manufactures and markets RVs under the Jay Series, Select, Baja, Jay Feather, White Hawk, Jay Flight, Jay Smart, Skylark, Eagle, Pinnacle, Seismic, Octane ZX, Recon ZX, Greyhawk, Melbourne, Seneca, Embark, and Precept brand names.

Factory tours are conducted Monday through Thursday at 12 noon. Tours of the motorized facilities are offered by appointment only.

Address: 903 S. Main, Middlebury, Indiana 46540

Phone: (800) RV-JAYCO (toll free)

Website: www.jayco.com

Worth Pondering…

What will you begin today?

Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today.

Let us begin.

—Mother Teresa

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What’s Your Favorite Arizona Destination?

Could you choose just one?

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I tried, but found it impossible to choose just one favorite Arizona destination. Since every attraction has its own reason for making the list, it’s really like trying to compare apples to oranges.

I decided to create a top 10 list instead.

Even then, I had to settle on leaving the list in no particular order. Yes, I know, that’s a cop-out, but maybe being drawn to varied outdoor adventures and activities explains why I’m so attracted to the RV lifestyle.

Arizona’s most visited attraction is, of course, Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park

No other canyon can compare with the most visited Arizona destination. It’s hard to imagine a trip to Arizona that doesn’t involve at least a peek at the Grand Canyon. A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.

Visible from space, this massive gorge isn’t just a geological marvel, it’s a symbol of Western adventure and American spirit. Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. One look over the edge and it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

Sedona and Red Rock Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sedona and Red Rock Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sedona & Red Rock Country

Sedona is an Arizona destination not to be missed—a must-see wonders. Sedona easily makes the “A” list of RV destinations in the US due to its rugged western appeal and colorful rock formations. Tourists come from around the world to absorb the natural wonders of Red Rock Country and Sedona, its centerpiece.

Located at the base of Oak Creek Canyon, another scenic destination, Sedona is renowned for its stunning rock formations such as Coffee Pot Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Courthouse Butte, as well as its surrounding lush forests. Sedona has developed into a center for traditional and contemporary arts and offers a variety of galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops, and spiritual-energy vortexes.

Saguaro National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Saguaro National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Saguaro Cactus & Saguaro National Park

Native only to the Sonoran Desert, the saguaro cactus is practically synonymous with Arizona. Large and slow growing, saguaros can reach up to 70 feet tall and may not sprout an arm until they’re 100 years old.

Tucson is flanked on its western and eastern edges by Saguaro National Park, showcasing the giant cacti. Hiking is popular in both divisions of the park, but you can also drive the leisurely loop roads if you want to see the cactus forests from the comfort of your car. The park’s western division sprawls over the Tucson Mountains. In the eastern division, trails lead up from the saguaros into pine forests on the 8,000-foot summits.

Wildflowers & Picacho Peak State Park

Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The precise prerequisites for a banner wildflower season—an early “triggering” rain, steady precipitation, and mild temperatures—make it about as reliable as a Vegas slot machine.

The sere landscape around Picacho Peak gets a splash of vibrant colors come spring, transforming it into one of the best wildflower spots in the state. The ephemeral Mexican goldpoppy is the litmus test for wildflower season: you’ll either spot sparse individuals or be blinded by a field of electric orange blooms. The more reliable brittlebush resembles a shrub sprouting a bouquet of mini-sunflowers. Your best bet for both is March.

Other good places to enjoy wildflowers include Pinal Pioneer Parkway, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Apache Trail, Maricopa County Parks, Saguaro and Organ Pipe national parks.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take desert creatures such as prairie dogs and Gila monsters and put them in a nearly natural outdoor setting. Add a dose of natural history and you have the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden, all in one place.

The Desert Museum is unique among zoological parks for its focus on interpreting the complete natural history of a single region, the Sonoran Desert. The museum has two miles of paths covering 21 acres of desert and features hundreds of creature species and more than 1,200 varieties of plants.

Please Note: This article is one of an on-going series on Arizona destinations.

Worth Pondering…

Newcomers to Arizona are often struck by Desert Fever. Desert Fever is caused by the spectacular natural beauty and serenity of the area.

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February 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced four recall notices involving three recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers— Highland Ridge RV, Heartland RV, and Newmar Corp.

Highland Ridge RV

Open Range RV LogoHighland Ridge RV (Highland) is recalling certain model year 3x recreational trailers manufactured August 5, 2014, to November 17, 2014 equipped with recalling Latitude Awnings styles GX and G manufactured April 10, 2014, to November 4, 2014 manufactured by Carefree of Colorado. The affected awnings may have screws that attach the lateral arm brackets to the mounting brackets that were not manufactured to specification.

The screws could fail, causing the supporting bracket and the awning to fall and potentially injure a person beneath it.

Highland will notify owners, and dealers will replace the defective screws, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Highland customer service at 1-260-768-7771, or Carefree customer service at 1-800-621-2617.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Heartland Recreational Vehicles

HeartlandHeartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (Heartland) is recalling certain model year 2015 Heartland Big Country 3800FL vehicles manufactured October 22, 2014, to December 16, 2014 and 2015 Heartland Big Country 3900FLP vehicles manufactured September 23, 2014, to January 12, 2015, 2015 Heartland Big Horn 3750FL vehicles manufactured September 3, 2014, to January 14, 2015, and Landmark 365 Charleston vehicles manufactured on December 24, 2014. In the affected recreational vehicles, the axles may be placed too far forward on the frame resulting in improper weight distribution across the axles.

Improper weight distribution across the axles may result in poor handling, increasing the risk of a crash.

Heartland will notify owners, and dealers will move the axles rearward to help with weight distribution on the Big Horn, and 3800 FL Big Country, and will add a ballast to the pin box to improve handling the 3900 FLP Big Country, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 16, 2015. Owners may contact Heartland customer service at 1-877-262-8032. Heartland’s number for this recall is 99-01-19.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Newmar Corporation

Newmar Corp image001Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Newmar King Aire, and Essex vehicles manufactured December 9, 2013, to December 16, 2014, equipped with certain Wabco Quick Release Valves with Double Check. In the affected valves, the rubber diaphragm may be damaged by sharp edges on the valve seat ribs, reducing the available air pressure in the air tanks.

The reduced air pressure levels may reduce braking performance and/or the parking brakes could reapply, increasing the risk of a crash.

Newmar will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the valve, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Newmar Corporation

Newmar Corp image001Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 King Aire and Essex vehicles manufactured April 12, 2013, to October 18, 2013, and built on Spartan Chassis. In the affected vehicles, the steering linkage castlenuts may loosen without warning and the steering linkage may separate from the bell cranks.

If the steering linkage separates from the bell cranks, a loss of vehicle control may result, increasing the risk of a crash.

Newmar will notify owners, and Spartan dealers will inspect the steering linkage castle nuts and tighten them, as necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov

Please Note: This is the 49th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.

—John Wooden

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White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon

The White Tank Mountains rise west of Phoenix, forming the western boundary of the Valley of the Sun.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From Chandler to Buckeye, neat rows of beige roofs and asphalt streets turn to cracked desert dirt, a checkerboard of farm plots and residential communities, and the White Tank Mountains. Thousands of acres of rocky peaks rise steeply to up to 4,000 feet. They’re an icon in the westernmost part of the Valley, about 30 miles from central Phoenix.

Nearly 30,000 acres makes this the largest regional park in Maricopa County. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains. The range, deeply serrated with ridges and canyons, rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet.

Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floodwaters to plunge through the canyons and pour onto the plain. These torrential flows, pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, have scoured out a series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name.

In 1863, when gold was discovered in central Arizona, one of the first roads heading north into that region passed by the eastern side of the mountain range. This road stretched from the Gila River into the new towns of Wickenburg and Prescott.

The road followed an old trail that took advantage of an important source of water in the middle of the desert. In the northeast portion of the White Tank Mountains was a natural basin or tank that held water year round. Named the “White Tank” for the white granite cliffs surrounding it, this large watering hole appears on maps and in journals as an important watering place from 1863 and 1895.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The White Tank was the only water for 20 to 30 miles during those first few years of Arizona Territory history and gives the mountains their name.

The White Tank cannot be seen today as it was destroyed sometime between 1898 and 1902. Heavy rains caused the collapse of the cliff above the tank, filling it in. The exact location of the tank is now a mystery.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers approximately 25 miles of excellent shared-use trails, ranging in length from 0.9 mile to 7.9 miles, and difficulty from easy to strenuous. Overnight backpacking, with a permit, is allowed in established backcountry campsites. Day hikes can provide some breathtaking views of the mountains and panoramas of the Valley below. Horseback and mountain bike riders are welcome, although caution is stressed as some of the trails may be extremely difficult.

One of the most popular trails in the park is the Waterfall Canyon Trail which leads to a dark pool in a narrow box canyon. Right after a good rain there really is a waterfall. This trail also houses the “Petroglyph Plaza,” some of the finest petroglyphs in the park.

In addition, there are 2.5 miles of pedestrian-only trails. These include two short trails that are hard-surfaced and barrier free. Waterfall Trail is barrier-free for 1/2 of a mile. The handicap accessible portion now ends about 1/10 of a mile past Petroglyph Plaza. The short loop of Black Rock Trail, which is about 1/2 mile long, begins at Ramada 4.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers 40 individual sites for tent or RV camping. All sites are developed with a water hook-up and 30/50-amp electrical service, a picnic table, a barbecue grill, a fire ring, and nearby dump station. Most sites are relatively level and will accommodate big rigs. All restrooms offer flush toilets and showers. All sites in the campground may be reserved online.

Details

White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Address: 20304 W. White Tank Mountain Road, PO Box 91, Waddell, AZ 85355

Directions: When traveling south on Loop 303, exit at Peoria Avenue, west (right) to Cotton Lane, south (left) to Olive Avenue, and west (right) 4 miles to the park gate; when traveling north on Loop 303, exit at Northern Ave., west (left) to Cotton Lane, north (right) to Olive Avenue, and west (left) 4 miles to the park gate (Note: There is NO off ramp on Loop 303 for Olive Avenue)

Phone: (623) 935-2505

Website: www.maricopacountyparks.org

Entry Fee: $6/vehicle

Camping Fee: $30

Camping Reservation Fee: $8

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

When I walk in the desert the birds sing very beautifully

When I walk in the desert the trees wave their branches in the breeze

When I walk in the desert the tall saguaro wave their arms way up high

When I walk in the desert the animals stop to look at me as if they were saying

“Welcome to our home.”

—Jeanette Chico, in When It Rains

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Buy a New RV in 2015: You Deserve It!

A newly published study shows that RV vacations cost substantially less than other forms of vacation travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and the cost of RV ownership.

2015 Starflyer 10

Folding camping trailer: 2015 Starcraft Starflyer 10

For a four-person travel party, the study found savings of 27 percent to 62 percent; a two-person travel party saved 11 percent to 48 percent.

The research was conducted by PKF Consulting USA, and com­missioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). It updates previous vacation cost comparison studies done by PKF.

The PKF study provides a vacation cost analysis using two sets of hypothetical travel parties: a four-person travel party of two adults and two children, and a two-person travel party of two adults.

PKF analyzed major costs these hypothetical travelers would incur taking nine different types of vacations to nine popular vacation destinations. For each destination, researchers analyzed vacations that last three, seven, and 14 days.

2015 Ascend Cloud by EverGreen

Lightweight travel trailer: 2015 Ascend Cloud by EverGreen

The study compared different methods of travel, including a folding camping trailer, a lightweight travel trailer, a compact motorhome, a Class C motorhome, and a Class A motorhome. The Class A motorhome was used for comparison vs. first-class travel options such as flying first class, renting a premium car, staying in upscale hotels/resorts, and eating meals in restaurants.

RV travel emerged as having a clear economic advantage over other forms of travel, regardless of the RV type. Following is what a four-person travel party could expect to save:

  • Folding camping trailer – 47-62 percent
  • Lightweight travel trailer – 34-53 percent
  • Compact motorhome – 27-48 percent
  • Class C motorhome – 28-48 percent
  • Class A motorhome – 38 percent

Following is the what a two-person travel party could expect to save:

  • Folding camping trailer – 38-48 percent
  • Lightweight travel trailer – 23-36 percent
  • Compact motorhome – 19-32 percent
  • Class C motorhome – 15-28 percent
  • Class A motorhome – 14 percent
2015 Interstate Grand Tour

Compact motorhome: 2015 Airstream Interstate Grand Tour

As part of its analysis, PKF considered how fluctuating fuel prices might affect vacation costs. Their findings showed that fuel prices would have to reach more than $12 per gallon for a four-person travel party before RVing would begin to lose its economic advantage over other forms of travel. For a two-person travel party, fuel would have to reach $6 per gallon.

Buying a new recreational vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, so it should come as no surprise that choosing the right one for you is no small decision.

When contemplating the purchase of an RV, take your time, do your homework, talk to owners of similar brands and models, attend RV shows.

RV shows are a great place to begin exploring what’s out there. These events allow you to explore different RV manufacturers and models while providing you with an opportunity to speak with dealer and manufacturer representatives, as well as other owners and shoppers in an ideal setting where your questions can be answered. You’ll also be able to compare floor plans and features side-by-side.

Class A motorhome: 2015 Newmar King Aire

Class A motorhome: 2015 Newmar King Aire

When it comes to researching your new RV purchase, the last thing you want to be is hasty. It is important to consider your budget, wants and needs, future travel plans, and any other items you feel are important in making your decision, such as safety, quality, and reliability.

There are plenty of ways to do your homework online using sites like vogeltalksrving.com. Sites like these provide news on the latest and greatest in RVs along with reviews on many of the newest models available. Internet forums are a good way to obtain honest feedback from current owners and learn from their experiences.

Take notes on each RV you see, focusing on your likes and dislikes.

Do not underestimate the importance of selecting the right floor plan for your needs.

It is also important to locate a good reputable dealer who stands behind his products and provides quality service Best of all, there is a coach for just about every budget and every family. It just takes some time to find it.

Class C motorhome: 2015 Thor Motor Coach Citation

Class C motorhome: 2015 Thor Motor Coach Citation

Worth Pondering…

I enjoy the RV world. I will have one until the day I die.

—Bob Gibson, Hall of Fame major league pitcher

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Best Kept Secret in World of RVing: Maricopa County Parks

One of the best kept secrets in the World of RVing are county park campgrounds.

Cave Creek Regional Park  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cave Creek Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

County parks are often relatively small and off the beaten path. But if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, do some bird watching, photography, hike a near-by trail, or do some great sightseeing, it might be well worth seeking out some of these neat spots.

A county park system worth checking out is Maricopa County Regional Parks in Arizona. The parks circle the Phoenix metropolitan area and are within a 45-minute drive from central Phoenix.

We discovered these county parks almost 30 years ago when camping at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa while on a working travel sabbatical.

As well as returning to Usery Mountain several times, we have camped at or explored six additional regional parks—Buckeye Hills, Cave Creek, Estrella Mountain, Lake Pleasant, San Tan Mountain, and White Tank Mountain.

With 10 regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres, Maricopa County Regional Parks feature the nation’s largest county park system. More than 2.1 million visitors annually enjoy affordable outdoor recreation activities available in this diverse park system .

Lake Pleasant Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lake Pleasant Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Maricopa County Regional Parks began in 1954 to preserve the mountain areas for future generations to enjoy. A federal act in the 1970s called the Recreation and Public Purposes Act allowed Maricopa County to acquire thousands of acres of parkland from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at $2.50 an acre. A combination of leased and purchased land has allowed this department to develop a regional park system that preserves open space and provides the residents of Maricopa County with an opportunity to enjoy “Natural Arizona.”

Each county park has its own unique characteristics offering recreation to Valley residents and visitors alike. Some parks offer boating, picnicking, golf, archery and shooting ranges. Others have camping and recreational vehicle camping facilities. Most offer hiking, picnicking, and mountain biking.

So many local attractions and the great variety of outdoor recreation are sure to keep you coming back over and over.

The positive surroundings and the competently maintained facilities attract people from near and far including numerous snowbirds that have discovered this central Arizona gem.

Details

Maricopa County Regional Parks

Phone: (602) 506-2930

Website: www.maricopa.gov/parks

San Tan Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Tan Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adobe Dam Regional Park

Location: 23280 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85310

Phone: (602) 506-2930

Buckeye Hills Regional Park

Location: 26700 West Buckeye Hills Drive, Buckeye, AZ 85326

Phone: (623) 932-3811

Cave Creek Regional Park

Location: 37019 N. Lava Lane, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Phone: (623) 465-0431

Estrella Mountain Regional Park

Location: 14805 West Vineyard Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338

Phone: (623) 932-3811

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Location: 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd., Morristown, AZ 85342

Phone: (928) 501-1710

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Location: 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr., Fountain Hills, Arizona 85255

Phone: (480) 471-0173

Usery Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Usery Mountain Regional Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Tan Mountain Regional Park

Location: 6533 West Phillips Road, Queen Creek Arizona 85242

Phone: (480) 655-5554

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

Location: 44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Phone: (480) 488-6601

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Location: 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa, AZ 85207

Phone: (480) 984-0032

White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Location: 13025 N. White Tank Mountain Road, Waddell, AZ 85355

Phone: (623) 935-2505

Worth Pondering…
The vast emptiness and overpowering silence of the desert and surrounding mountains sharpens your senses, enhancing self-contemplation, and stimulating creativity.

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Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

The Bett Mobil carries a sliding pod inside a camper-in-a-box package.

Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

Last month’s CMT Stuttgart, an International exhibition for caravaning, motor, and tourism in Stuttgart, Germany featured the Bett Mobil, a versatile Volkswagen camper van based on a VW Multivan facelift Line 2010.

Reminiscent of the DoubleBack camper van, the Bett Mobil has an extendable living module sliding pod.

Extendable living modules are not new in the camper van world with each new sliding pod offering its own set of advantages. In the case of the Bett Mobil, the upper slide-out adds extra interior room while maintaining the classic Volkswagen camper van footprint. It also retains dedicated cargo space for camping provisions and sports gear.

The Bett Mobile consists of several modules.

The key component of the Bett Mobil is the second story bed module that turns the Volkswagon Multivan into a full-fledged camper van. The sliding, folding bed module fits neatly inside the tailgate and sets up in a matter of minutes then removes completely to give the owner a standard van back. According to Bett Mobil it will take the owner about an hour to convert from camper back to regular van.

Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

The simple screw-in system allows the interior fixtures to be easily rearranged or removed completely. With this set-up the owner is able to create a campervan with up to four seats and remove the camping modules altogether, giving users a camper van for camping holidays and a regular van to transport passengers the rest of the year.

After sliding the regular van unit out, one folds the side and rear walls out and secures them to the tailgate, which serves as the roof. The lower legs fold out to support the weight. This creates a 53.5-inch x 78.7-inch interior bed that provides clear views outside via a rear windshield skylight and the large rear window that opens. The lockable storage cabinet below the sliding module stores gear and tools.

A natural extension of the Volkswagen Multivan base platform, Bett Mobil’s sliding sleeping module uses floor rails to offer interior flexibility. Bett Mobil capitalizes on this defining Multivan feature to make its camper package fully modular and customizable. The bed and storage modules are secured to the vehicle by way of the floor rails, as are the kitchen and washroom modules.

The washing area module includes a sink hooked up to a 5.3- gallon fresh water tank, a 2.6-gallon waste water tank, a 13.2-gallon compressor fridge, and a storage compartment for a camping toilet.

The cooking and kitchen module includes a canister stove and storage space for knives, utensils, pots, and pans, and other cooking tools.

Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

Bett Mobil: Versatile Modular Campervan

An outdoor kitchen is available as an option, opening up room for four seats inside.

The van can be equipped with a high Polyroof with integrated storage cabinetry or a pop-up roof with built-in bed. Though Bett Mobil’s hardware is designed around the Multivan, the company can equip it to the Comfortline, Highline, Pan Americana, and California Beach models with a few additional modifications.

Rolf Hänle and his son David originally designed the Bett Mobil camper in 2009 as their own personal home away from home, Gizmag reports. Since their camper generated interest where ever they traveled and camped, they decided to bring the design to market, testing the waters at last year’s Abenteuer Allrad show in Bad Kissingen, Germany, before bringing it to the larger 2015 CMT Stuttgart.

Bett Mobil sells its modules directly, not as complete vans. They perform the original installation, which requires a few professionally installed parts. After that, the package is designed for the owner to remove and reinstall the modules as desired. The bed module costs $9,970, and a total camper package runs between $13,413 and $17,200, depending upon options selected.

Worth Pondering…

Far too late to understand many of the missed goals in life:

Joy, beauty of nature, health, travel and culture,
Therefore, man is, time wise!
High time is it! Travel, travel!

—Wilhelm Busch (1832 – 1908)

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts

Spring wildflowers, autumn colors, year-round birding, two miles of scenic walking trails, a picnic area shaded by Argentine mesquite trees are all available at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At 323 acres, this park is Arizona’s largest and oldest botanical garden, founded in 1925 by mining magnate and philanthropist Col. William Boyce Thompson.

In 1917 Col. Thompson served as co-leader of a Red Cross mercy mission to Russia, where he came to understand the importance of plants as the ultimate source of a large portion of mankind’s food, clothing, and shelter. It was then, that he determined to use his wealth to improve the use of plant resources. The Arboretum is one of his legacies.

Col. Thompson’s goal was to bring together plants from arid lands so that scientists and researchers could study, experiment, research, and investigate uses and attributes that made the plants unique. He also wanted the arboretum to be open to the public. By the time he died in 1930, the arboretum had already gained a reputation that extended far beyond the borders of Arizona.

Thompson’s home, the 8,000-square-foot Picket Post House, is immediately adjacent to the arboretum and is easily viewed from the far end of the main trail. It was in private hands for years, but in 2008, the state purchased it with Heritage Funds and it is now under park management.

The Arboretum features plants from the world’s deserts, towering trees, captivating cacti, sheer mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden canyon, specialty gardens and more.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cooperatively managed by the University of Arizona and Arizona State Parks, the arboretum sits at the base of the Picketpost Mountains and features a collection of 3,200 different desert plants in a unique series of botanical gardens, and a 1.5-mile main loop walking trail that roughly parallels the normally dry Silver King Wash.

The main trail begins at the visitor center and quickly enters the colorful Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden, with a collection of plants designed to bloom throughout the year to attract Arizona’s diverse hummingbird and butterfly species.

A 2.5-acre Demonstration Garden shows various plants in functional landscapes; an area complete with patios, walls, shade structures, vine arbors, walkways, and rockwork.

Several trails branch off from the first part of the Main Trail, so you don’t have to walk far to see the highlights, and much of the trail system is wheelchair-accessible.

The historic Smith Interpretive Center, a short walk down the main trail contains botanical exhibits and displays, and two display greenhouses feature cacti and other succulents that might not otherwise survive the winter cold at this 2,400-foot elevation.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shorter trails cut through three desert environments. Find native medicinal and edible plants in the Sonoran Desert; plants from desert landscapes in western Texas, southern New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico, in the Chihuahua Desert; and flora from the Cuyo, Monte, and Chaco regions of Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay in the South American Desert.

Look for the bizarre boojum trees from Baja California. The two specimens were brought here from Mexico in the 1920s and are the tallest ones on display in the U.S. The tall conical plants are related to the native ocotillo.

The Arboretum’s Australian Walkabout, Eucalyptus forest, South African collection, and herb garden offers more specific collections, colorful wildflowers, and varied cacti.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More than 270 species of birds have been recorded, including Gambel’s quail, Canyon wren, and black-throated sparrows, making it a prime spot for birders. A checklist of birds is available upon request. Ayer Lake and Queen Creek on the Main Trail are good places to watch for wildlife; and you may even see endangered species such as the Gila topminnow and desert pupfish.

Queen Creek cuts through the Arboretum’s bottomlands, and supports the water-loving trees that take root there, including Fremont cottonwood, Arizona ash, black willow, and Arizona black walnut. Take a look at the spiny branched ocotillo, the green-stemmed Palo Verde, the thorny acacias, the low-growing mesquite, and the golden-flowered agaves.

Visit the Arboretum and have your horizons expanded as to the value and use of plants and trees from arid lands for food, shelter, and livelihood, both in the past and the present.

Details

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Elevation: 2,400 feet

Location: U.S. 60 near mile marker 223

Directions: From junction Highway 79 and Highway 60, 12 miles east on Highway 60

Address: 37615 U.S. Hwy 60, Superior, AZ 85273

Phone: (520) 689-2811

Entrance Fees: $10; children ages 5-12, $5; age 4 and under, free

Websites: www.azstateparks.com and www.ag.arizona.edu

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Plants of the World’s Deserts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

When I walk in the desert the birds sing very beautifully

When I walk in the desert the trees wave their branches in the breeze

When I walk in the desert the tall saguaro wave their arms way up high

When I walk in the desert the animals stop to look at me as if they were saying

“Welcome to our home.”

—Jeanette Chico, in When It Rains

Posted in Birding, Road Trips, Snowbird, State Parks, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eagle Cap Truck Camper: Best New Innovation For 2015

Yakima, Washington-based Adventurer LP (ALP) manufacturer of the Eagle Cap brand of truck campers won Truck Camper Magazines Readers Choice Award for the “Best New Innovation of the Year.”

Modular face to face dream dinette in mystic

Modular face to face dream dinette in mystic

“We went completely through the Eagle Cap campers making many new industry firsts and innovative changes for 2015,” said Greg Tucknies, director of sales and marketing for ALP. “One of which was an RV industry first with Modular Furniture. Most truck campers come with a face-to-face dinette built in to their slide-outs and that is your only option.”

For 2015 Eagle Cap created the new Modular Dinette furniture. The dinette seating is now a modular design, meaning the seat cushion sections are designed to work as a face to face dinette or as a u-shaped dinette. To make into a u-shaped dinette you simple remove the table, add the modular insert and the u-shaped “D” style table and now you have a u-shaped dinette.

The engineering department designed the dinette areas so that the sofa or the optional Theater Seating will fit into this same area simply by unscrewing the dinette modular sections, remove the table and install one of the above options.

Want something other than that in your dinette area? Order without the dinette and add whatever you wish, free standing table and chairs, desk, bunk beds, you name it. Eagle Cap doesn’t offer those options as of yet but you could add them aftermarket.

Modular furniture offers the customer the ability to completely remove the dinette and even add their own options like a free-standing table and chairs or as one customer did a work station/desk, said Greg Tucknies.

“This has made the new 2015 Eagle Caps an extremely popular truck camper this year with this new innovation and it looks like the Truck Camper Magazine readers agreed,” said Tucknies. “We are very honored to receive this award and we are already working on more new innovations for next year so stay tuned.”

2015 Eagle Cap EC1165 interior with u-shaped dinette

2015 Eagle Cap EC1165 interior with u-shaped dinette

Also new for 2015 on all Eagle Cap models are molded bowl sinks to the galley solid surface counter tops adding an additional high end feature.

Eagle Cap truck campers are known for their industry leading features such as our one-piece fiberglass front caps. Eagle Cap has redesigned their front caps for 2015 to provide more contoured aerodynamic design featuring Eagle Cap exclusive two-tone gel coat finish, giving the new “Next Generation” Eagle Caps a bolder new look for 2015.

These new designer fiberglass caps are engineered to fit perfectly to the contour of the camper providing a perfect match to the TCC aluminum frame construction providing a tight secure fit to the camper. All attachment screws are covered with the new “3M Extreme Seal” tape providing  a second to none front cap seal.

A new option for Eagle Cap for 2015 is the new Coleman Mach 8 HE 13,500 BTU Low Profile A/C giving you more BTU’s, better cooling, and a much lower height over the standard A/C.

In addition to the above changes, upgrades, and features Eagle Cap will debut a new floor plan called the 960 later this year. Many of its features and more were also added into the new “Next Generation” Eagle Caps. This new model will feature a Truck Camper industry first the “California King 72″x84″ Bed” featured last year in our sister product line Adventurer.

Details

Adventurer LP (ALP)

ALP_logo-290x145ALP has been a premium RV manufacturer since 1969. ALP’s reputation has been built on a commitment to customer satisfaction in the RV, camper, motorhome, and truck camper industry.

Address: 3303 West Washington Avenue, Yakima, Washington 98903

Phone: (509) 895-7064

Website: www.amlrv.com

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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21 Tips for the Snowbird Asking, “Now What?”

Freedom is a wonderful thing. The kind of freedom offered by the snowbird lifestyle is the ultimate. What a life!

Mardi Gras parade

A Mardi Gras parade is a popular activity at many Sunbelt RV resorts. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Home is where you park it. You’ve settled into your destination resort, your new home for the winter months. You’ve introduced yourselves to your neighbors and met several new friends.

You can choose to do nothing in particular and simply relax, socialize with your fellow snowbirds, and enjoy your winter home. Or you can opt for a more active lifestyle.

Following are 21 tips for the snowbird asking, “Now what?”

1. Many snowbird parks provide a wide variety of resort amenities and organized activities designed to keep their seasonal guests involved and active.

2. Computer rooms, game rooms with pool tables, tennis and shuffleboard courts, a pickle ball facility, and an arts and craft room frequented by quilters and sewing enthusiasts may be available at your snowbird park.

3. Check out the area’s visitor information center and local papers for current happenings, flea markets, arts and crafts classes and workshops, organized hikes, farmers markets, fairs and festivals, parades, and other events and happenings.

San Xavier del Bac

Explore the cultural history of the area. Pictured above San Xavier del Bac. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Take time to savor the local culture and learn about the area’s heritage and cuisine. Attend lectures and seminars, plays, musical performances, and dances.

5. Natural beauty abounds in most locations. Check out national, state, county, and regional parks, national wildlife refuges, national and state forests, scenic byways, nature parks and centers, aquariums, wildlife and zoological parks, and game reserves.

6. Explore the cultural history of the area by visiting museums, historical and archaeological sites, and other significant landmarks where important events took place.

7. Take tours of churches, cathedrals, antebellum mansions, architectural and heritage sites, and other locations of historical significance.

8. Check out activities and classes offered by the local parks and recreation department.

9. Absorb the local culture by attending sporting events.

10. A visit to the public library makes for an interesting rainy day activity.

11. Give back to your snowbird community by volunteering at one of the many nonprofit agencies in the area.

green jay

Take up bird watching. Many of the colorful birds found in Sunbelt regions are tropical species, reaching their northern range limits. The colorful green jay is usually seen in brushy areas and dense woods in the lower Rio Grande Valley.. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Keep a journal/blog with photos of your snowbird activities to share with family and friends.

13. Make a start on sorting and organizing your photos; don’t forget to back up all digital files in case of a computer crash.

14. Take up a new hobby or sign up for a class to hone your current skills.

15. Take up bird watching. Many of the colorful birds found in Sunbelt regions are tropical species, reaching their northern range limits.

16. RVing can be even more memorable when it’s shared with other snowbirds at an RV rally. There are several different types of RV rallies including Good Sam Club National and Chapter rallies, manufacturer club rallies, and club rallies for RVers of similar interests.

17. RV shows are also scheduled with snowbirds in mind. There is no better way to shop for a new RV or upgrade your current one than by attending an RV show, where numerous dealers and suppliers come together to show off their wares. You’ll have an opportunity to check out a wide-range of recreational vehicles in one location, often at special “show prices”.

18. Dining comes in all shapes and sizes in the various Sunbelt locations including slow-cooked barbecues through to fresh-out-of-the-water seafood, Mexican and Cuban cuisine, Southern Cooking, Cajun and Creole specialties, fast foods, and buffets. Senior specials are available.

19. Walking, hiking, and playing golf are great ways to stay physically fit and to meet new people.

Tamale Festival

Take advantage of a festival near your snowbird roost. Pictured above the Tamale Festival in Indio, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

20. Take advantage of some of the celebrations, parades, and other special activities held near your snowbird roost. Whether you’re a foodie or sports nut, you’ll find a seasonal festivals or fun-filled event that will highlight your stay.

21. Consider mapping your return journey home into segments of several weeks.

Even after six months “on the road” you may not be ready to start the northern trek home. But before long you’ll begin planning your return to the Sunbelt next winter.

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day…

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”

Happy snowbird travels!

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