Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle

Many will be on the road traveling today and throughout this Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle (Photo: kparis.buzznet.com)

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle (Photo: kparis.buzznet.com)

Thanksgiving is the biggest travel weekend in America, and RVers are out in force, back on the road, crossing the country in their RVs to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends.

And many Snowbirds are traveling south to their favorite Sunbelt roost to avoid the rigors of another northern winter.

I have so much to be thankful for! I give thanks to my partner—my wife Dania, my co-pilot—and our family and friends.

With a lifelong love of travel, a condo-on-wheels has always been our destiny. Yes, we’re living our dream! We’ve wintered in Southern CaliforniaArizonaTexas, Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Our RV travels have taken us to over 40 states and four western provinces.

I am thankful as Canadian Snowbirds that we have the opportunity of celebrating Thanksgiving in October (Canadian Thanksgiving) and again in November.

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good Wi-Fi.

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle

We’re thankful that RV travel is so popular in our own vast and wonderful countries. We are fortunate that the RV industry has rebounded and that RVing is supported coast-to-coast!

I’m thankful for our continued health and safety while traveling. Any time you venture onto highways, you are rolling the dice. So far we’ve enjoyed over 140,000 miles of safe and mostly carefree travel as we cruise the highways and byways of our two great nations!

I am thankful for our freedom. As Americans and Canadians we take so much for granted when it comes to freedom. We have freedom of speech, expression, the right to vote, and so much more that others across the world only dream of. That freedom came at a price—and that is the lives of many of our servicemen and women.  So, I also would like to give thanks to our troops.

Oh yeah … and I give thanks to the Internet which has given me the opportunity to share my thoughts on RV Travel.

Stay tuned, friends…the best is yet to come!

What are you thankful for?

Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend from our family here to you and yours.  We hope it will be full of amazing food, love and laughter and of course–great wines!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels…and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good WiFi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good WiFi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanksgiving Day Stats

Key to any Thanksgiving Day menu are a fat turkey and cranberry sauce.

An estimated 254 million turkeys were raised for slaughter in the U.S. during 2012, up 2 percent from 2011’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service.

About 46 million of those turkeys ended up on U.S. dinner tables on Thanksgiving—or about 736 million pounds (334 million kilograms) of turkey meat, according to estimates from the National Turkey Federation.

Minnesota is the United States’ top turkey-producing state, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, Indiana, and California. These “big seven” states produce more than two of every three U.S.-raised birds, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

U.S. farmers also produced an estimated 768 million pounds (348 million kilograms) of cranberries in 2012, which, like turkeys, are native to the Americas. The top producers are Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

The U.S. grew 2.6 billion pounds (1.18 billion kilograms) of sweet potatoes—many in North Carolina, Mississippi, California, Texas, and Louisiana—and produced more than 1.2 billion pounds (544 million kilograms) of pumpkins. Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio grow the most U.S. pumpkins.

Worth Pondering…

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

—Edward Sandford Martin

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EverGreen RV Introduces Bay Hill 369RL Designed For Full Timers

The newest addition to EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC luxury fifth-wheel lineup is the 369RL Bay Hill.

EverGreen RV Introduces Bay Hill 369RL Designed For Full Timers

EverGreen RV Introduces Bay Hill 369RL Designed For Full Timers

Residential features abound in the fifth wheel providing a more affordable option in the full-time market. An island kitchen floor plan allows for an open living area in the rear of the coach with plenty of seating to accommodate all guests. With a variety of optional upgrades, the Bay Hill 369RL is as affordable and luxurious as you choose.

Every aspect of full-time living has been considered to design the 369RL. In the kitchen a 12-cubic foot refrigerator is standard along with a 30-inch over-the-range microwave. A residential refrigerator is an upgrade rarely found on similar coaches.

There is plenty of cooking prep room with a 72-inch island and the hutch, both with Corian countertops. The large pantry with drawers provides more food storage for added convenience. A freestanding table with chairs is another touch of home.

“The 369RL model takes luxury full-time living to a much more affordable level,” stated General Manager of EverGreen fifth wheels, Dymon Farrer.

“All the features you’d expect in a coach designed for year-round use, like a separate wardrobe with washer/dryer prep, coat closet, residential stairway, and large refrigerator, are incorporated into an affordable package.”

The Bay Hill 369RL offers a variety of options, including:

Residential refrigerator adds a homey feel while providing additional food storage.

88-inch hide-a-bed sofa, in place of the 92-inch recliner sofa, is a comfortable place for guests to sleep and turns the living area into a semi-private sleeping area.

EverGreen RV Bay Hill 369RL floor plan

EverGreen RV Bay Hill 369RL floor plan

King size bed truly makes the bedroom feel like home but still allows plenty of room to maneuver around the room.

50-inch TV upgrade in the living room turns the space into a home theatre.

Fireplace under the entertainment center brings the cozy, comfortable element other full-time coaches lack.

The EverGreen Bay Hill fifth-wheel line was introduced in late 2012 with the concept of providing consumers high-end fifth-wheel value at a mid-range price point. Since that time the Bay Hill has won numerous awards including the RV Business Top Debut, Best of Show from RV Pro Magazine, and a Dealer Satisfaction Index Award (DSI) for one of the highest quality products rated by dealers nationwide.

The EverGreen Bay Hill family of products has grown to eight floor plans ranging from 34 to 41 feet.

Details

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC

evergreen3EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC was founded in December of 2008 with the premise that the recreational vehicle industry needed a new generation of innovative, sustainable, eco-friendly, green travel trailers and fifth wheels built like none before.

The vision of EverGreen is to use sustainable eco-friendly, recyclable, composite materials to replace wood and produce higher quality, longer-lasting products that are fully equipped, yet lightweight.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is the first RV manufacturer to achieve the TRA Certified Green Emerald Rating for its eco-friendly Ever-Lite travel trailers and fifth wheels.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC currently offers six lines of travel trailers (Ever-Lite, Sun Valley, i-Go, Ascend, Element, and Amped), four lines of fifth wheel trailers (Bay Hill, Tesla, Lifestyle, and Alfa Gold), and two lines of toy haulers (Amped and Tesla).

Of the top 15 towable RV manufacturers, EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, along with its Lifestyle Luxury RV fifth-wheel division, was the fastest growing company in the industry for both registered retail sales and total increase in market share for the year 2013.

Today, with the addition of the Skyline RV brand, EverGreen is the fourth largest recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America.

Address: 10758 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-4298

Website: www.goevergreenrv.com

Worth Pondering…

Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.

—Roy Goodman

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A Perfect Week in Lodi

Lodi Wine Country is one of California’s major winegrowing regions, located 100 miles east of San Francisco on the eastern edge of the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, south of Sacramento, and west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

There are over 80 wineries, hundreds of Lodi-labeled wines, and approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are over 80 wineries, hundreds of Lodi-labeled wines, and approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It is named after the most populous city within the region. Lodi is characterized by a rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th – and 5th generation families operate along-side a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting-edge technology to the region.

Lodi has been a major grape growing region since the 1850s when prospectors drawn by the California gold rush began to settle the area. Today, Lodi comprises 18 percent of California’s total wine grape production―more than Napa and Sonoma counties combined.

Twenty years ago there were eight Lodi wineries. Today there are over 80, hundreds of Lodi-labeled wines, and approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes.

Lodi is predominately a red wine-producing region, with approximately two-thirds of the acreage dedicated to red varieties. However, with over 75 varieties in commercial production, Lodi offers a vast portfolio of interesting and unique wines.

After settling into Flag City RV Resort, a 5-star RV park, we started our seven-day tour. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After settling into Flag City RV Resort, a 5-star RV park, we started our seven-day tour. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World, producing over 32 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel. Many of the region’s most distinctive wines come from the thousands of acres of “old vines”—some dating back to the 1880s. An estimated 2,000 acres are unique pre-Prohibition own-rooted vines.

Cabernet Sauvignon is prevalent along the eastern edge of the Lodi appellation. Although a part of the local landscape for over a hundred years, Petite Sirah has seen a recent rise in popularity. A relative newcomer, Lodi Syrah has quickly become more prominent.

Winemakers have also begun to explore the broad range of emerging varieties originating in similar climatic regions of the Europe, including Spain, Italy, Southern France, and Portugal such as Albariño, Tempranillo, Verdelho, Sangiovese, Viognier, Carignane, and Touriga Nacional.

Life is slow and easy in Lodi. The locals not only make you feel welcome, they appreciate you being here. After settling into Flag City RV Resort, a 5-star RV park, we started our seven-day tour by driving to Galt about 8 miles north of Lodi on Highway 99 for their large outdoor market (weekly, Tuesday and Wednesday).

The Galt Market covers ten acres of great deals with fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seafood displayed along ‘produce row'. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Galt Market covers ten acres of great deals with fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seafood displayed along ‘produce row’. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From its roots as a farmer’s market at the old Sacramento County Fairgrounds in the 1950s, the Galt Market of today is an expansive open-air mall with diverse products available. With over 400 vendors offering merchandise for sale, the quantity of items available is staggering. The Galt Market covers ten acres of great deals with all the adjacent parking lots reserved for customer use.

Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seafood are displayed along ‘produce row’―an aisle 100 yards long with spaces on both sides of the aisle overflowing with offerings from both local and distant farms.

Returning to Lodi we oriented ourselves to the area briefly exploring the historic downtown area and stopping at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center situated on the picturesque grounds of the Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant, & Spa , and wine-tasted at the nearby Abundance Winery, a family owned and operated boutique winery.

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi's intimate Visitor’s Center focuses on its family tradition and pours several small lot, winery exclusive wines. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi’s intimate Visitor’s Center focuses on its family tradition and pours several small lot, winery exclusive wines. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our following day began with a delightful wine tasting experience at Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi where roughly 30,000 cases of wine are produced in eight hours. Despite its capacity, Woodbridge’s intimate Visitor’s Center focuses on its family tradition and pours several small lot, winery exclusive wines.

The seven wines we tasted are available only at the winery. The staff were friendly and informative enhancing the experience. The $5 tasting fee was waved as we purchased a bottle of petit syrah.

We drove to Hutchens Street Square Performing Arts Theater and Conference Center, home to the weekend’s 18th Annual Sandhill Crane Festival (November 7-9, 2014). The cranes winter in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta wetlands west of Lodi.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Exploring Lodi Wine Country

Worth Pondering…

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.
―Ernest Hemingway

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Valterra Offers Sniff ‘N’ Stop To Rid RVs Of Pests

Mission Hills, California-based Valterra Products is now offering Sniff ‘N’ Stop, a neutral smelling, all natural pest deterrent product line to address the specific needs of the RV industry.

SniffNStop-213x145Sniff ‘N’ Stop is made up of essential oils that are encapsulated, amplified, and time-released from inside a negatively charged polymer. The negatively charged molecules are drawn to positively charged “pests” like a magnet. Confused, the pests release pheromones to warn others of their same species to STAY AWAY.

Successfully sold into the electric utility industry for the last 25 years, the patented “negative ion amplifying polymer technology” is available in a number of different products to keep all types of rodent, snakes, and insects out of your recreational vehicle, according to a company news release.

V23600 – Sniff ‘n’ Stop Personal Protection Spray, 1 oz.

Tired of using chemicals to keep mosquitoes away? This all natural spray product can be used on skin or clothes to keep you bite free and if your pet picks up some campground fleas, a light spray is all that’s needed to make them flee.

unnamed (1)V23610 – Sniff ‘n’ Stop Odorant Pouch, 6-pack

Rid your RV of all troublesome pests. These simple to place pouches keep ants/insects and rodents away for up to a year. Made of all natural essential oils, they are safe and effective for people and pets. To use, place or hang them inside RV engine/storage compartments, under sinks or inside closets—anywhere there’s a problem or risk of infestation.  6 individual pouches per box.

V23615 – Sniff ‘n’ Stop Odorant Pouch, Single

Rid your RV of all troublesome pests. These simple to place pouches keep ants/insects and rodents away for up to a year. Made of all natural essential oils, they are safe and effective for people and pets. To use, place or hang them inside RV engine/storage compartments, under sinks or inside closets—anywhere there’s a problem or risk of infestation.

V23620 – Sniff ‘n’ Stop RV Kit

The perfect RV kit to eliminate insects and rodents—they simply stay away. No harmful or dangerous chemicals, long lasting protection saving you time and energy over traditional pest killing baits and sprays. Includes two different products for specific uses. Contains 1 large pouch that you can hang or place in a large storage area or any place that may be subject to insect or rodent intrusion.

Also contains 6 small pouches that you can place in small interior storage areas, under sinks, in food cabinets, or drawers. In addition, a spray product is included to stop ants from invading through every ground contact—tires, connecting hoses, or jacks/stabilizers.

Lightly mist the RV interior at floor level and interior/exterior storage areas prior to placing unit in storage.

unnamed (2)V23625 – Sniff ‘n’ Stop Deterrent Granules, 16 oz. Bottle

Coarse granules that are great for outdoor use to deter pests. Sprinkle around RV tires or picnic bench legs to keep ants and other pests from invading.

Details

Valterra Products, LLC

Since 1981, Valterra Products, LLC, has been a leading supplier of brand name product lines to the RV, pool and spa, and plumbing industries worldwide.

Address: 15230 San Fernando Mission Blvd. #107, Mission Hills, CA  91345

Phone: (818) 898-1671

Website: www.valterra.com

Worth Pondering…

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol

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RV Camping During the Holidays

Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a special time. This holiday season presents special challenges for those who travel in a recreational vehicle, but the benefits and rewards are numerous.

Newport Beach Boat ParadeMake the most of your holiday by celebrating with family and friends—new and old. And remember how blessed you are to be able to live the RV lifestyle.

To ensure your RV camping holiday is as fabulous as possible, take some time to brainstorm ways you can adapt your at-home rituals to the camping environment. Can you re-create your Thanksgiving dinner with dishes made over the campfire or in a Dutch oven?

Maybe this will be the year when you hearken back to old-fashioned Christmas traditions including baking apples, roasting chestnuts, and decorating with paper chains rather than lights. You can sing carols over the glow of your lantern, take a hay ride at Thanksgiving, or sleigh ride during Christmas or New Years.

Be prepared for the unexpected. RVers should always carry an emergency kit on board including items such as blankets, fully stocked first aid kit and manual, LED flashlights, emergency flares, spare batteries, matches, and an ample supply of drinking water. But, it’s even more critical during the holiday season, when poor weather is common throughout much of the country. Check your carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm for proper operation before leaving home and change the batteries as needed.

To make your RV feel more like the holidays, you can decorate the exterior and interior of your RV. You can also make your RV more festive with garlands, wreaths, holiday lights, and smaller decorative touches. Opting for a 12-foot tree just isn’t going to work in an RV. However, you can put up a small, tabletop Christmas tree inside your RV and decorate simply—hang some of your favorite ornaments from home or collect RV Christmas ornaments on your travels.

Fantasy in Lights

Fantasy in Lights set amidst the wooded landscape of Callaway Gardens, sets Pine Mountain, Georgia, ablaze from November 21-December 30, 2014

If you’re heading to a southern campground for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, you can enjoy the sunny weather while you check out the local display of lights or join in the campground’s potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Nearly all campgrounds that are open for the holidays host special holiday events and put on a special meal.

Many use their RV during the holiday season to escape the cold weather and snow. They follow the sun to snowbird hotspots in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. Less familiar snowbird roosts attract others to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Nevada.

There are numerous unique ways to celebrate the holiday season and create lasting memories.

More than 100 years in the making, the Newport Beach (California) Christmas Boat Parade is an event not to be missed. Held annually from the third Wednesday to the third Sunday in December (December 17-21, 2014), you will see hundreds of boats including multimillion dollar yachts, fishing boats, kayaks, canoes, and other boats of varying sizes.

Even the homeowners and dock owners get involved, decorating all along the shore.  Holiday Season Cruises are also available December 4 through 16 and December 17 to January 4.

This holiday season marks the 23rd anniversary of the Fantasy in Lights—named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler—at Calloway Gardens. The Southeast’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, Fantasy in Lights features eight million lights stretching more than five miles creating 15 larger-than-life holiday scenes.

Fantasy in Lights set amidst the wooded landscape of Callaway Gardens, sets Pine Mountain, Georgia, ablaze from November 21-December 30, 2014. The resort’s onsite Christmas Village features shopping, dining, and Santa.

During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic

During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic

You’ll never forget Nights of Lights in St. Augustine on Florida’s Historic Coast! Nights of Lights traditionally begins the Saturday before the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, Nights of Lights “turns on” November 22, 2014, and continues through February 1, 2015. During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic—from the ground to the rooftops.

Selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” in the world, St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights feature millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s oldest city.

Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting reflects the city’s 449-year history and illuminates the beautiful setting for lasting holiday memories. Enjoy the sights on foot, by bicycle or pedicab, on the Old Town Trolley or the Ripley’s Red Train, or by horse and carriage.

Worth Pondering…
Too many get caught up in the noise of everyday life to hear the symphony of what life is really all about.

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Omega RV: New Kit On The Block

Omega RV announced the start of its RV manufacturing venture in Caldwell, Idaho.

Omega RV logoOmega RV has purchased the intellectual properties along with all equipment and materials on the old KIT Manufacturing plant in Caldwell.

Production and office buildings on the property are under lease with an option to buy, according to a company news release.

The LLC’s joint membership includes Don Day, who will be acting general manager, and Scott Thorpe, vice-president of sale and marketing.

Omega RV has reassembled a management team, as well as staff and production employees from KIT, Extreme RV, and Extreme Warrior.

Former KIT and Extreme RV Purchasing Manager Terry LaMasters, and Engineering Manager Paul Forstie will resume these positions for Omega RV.

“Omega RV intends to offer the Western United States and Canadian Dealerships an innovative, quality-built product. Our manufacturing facilities located in Idaho will reduce freight costs and provide easier access to our sales staff and servicing center for faster product support and repair,” said Don Day.

“Scott and I have waited for the right financial partner,” he added.

“Now we have the funding and support to back this exciting new venture, along with a proven and talented management team and work force.”

The company will focus on travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy-haulers reviving the Road Ranger, Companion, Sportsmaster, Monterey, Megalite, and Extreme name brands. A brand new Toy-hauler product line will be introduced next month.

“We look forward to what we believe will be an exciting time for the new company,” said Thorpe.

“We benefit from a strong heritage, skilled workforce, and a legacy of quality and innovative products.”

More information and the launch of the company’s interactive website will be forthcoming.

Worth Pondering…

First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.

—Aristotle

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RV Destinations For Cold Weather Camping

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

Preparing Your RV For Winter

Preparing Your RV For Winter

Cold weather months can be a great time to travel and camp in a recreational vehicle.

Spending the winter in an RV where the temperature plunges down to 20 degrees below zero is not everyone’s idea of a good time. But, for some, snow-and-ice-related recreational activities and the beauty and serenity of a winter landscape make it worthwhile.

A camping trip to a ski area; football, basketball, or hockey game; hunting or snowmobiling; cross country skiing, snow tubing, tobogganing, or ice fishing are some of the ways you can continue to enjoy your RV during the winter months. An RV provides an excellent base camp for winter activities with heat, a kitchen, bathroom, and other comforts of home.

Winter camping in your RV can be a lot of fun if some simple preparations and precautions are observed. Much of it has to do with the RV or camping unit. However, the mind-set of the RVer is also important.

winterrvtipsWhen using your RV in the winter make sure you have a show shovel, window scraper, brush, and an ice chipper (i.e. an axe). Also pack a bag of rock salt (sand or kitty litter) to sprinkle on walkways and to put around your tires in the event you get stuck in snow or end up on slippery patches of ice. Be sure to pack plenty of blankets, at least a gallon of bottled water (per person), and a cell phone.

It is advisable to check the weather forecast for the area you are traveling through and to call the Highway Patrol or AAA for any road condition or weather alerts. Before leaving, make sure your RV is properly prepared for the cold you may encounter.

You should anticipate driving in icy, snowy, and windy weather. Make sure your windshield wipers are functioning and that the wiper blades are in good condition. Check the condition of your tires. Check your antifreeze protection level to make sure it is low enough for the area you plan to visit. Fill your propane tank before departing.

Batteries do not function well in cold weather.  Replace batteries as necessary before starting your trip.

When purchasing an RV for use in cold weather, make sure it has cold weather features including heated holding tanks, dual pane windows, adequate LP capacity, an enclosed underbelly, and heated bays.

Having an RV designed for cold weather use is an advantage, but not a necessity. There are many things that you can do to improve your ability to stay warm in most RVs.

Check your carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm for proper operation before every trip and change the batteries as needed. Do not use your range burners or oven as a source of heat. Do not use a gas or charcoal grill indoors. Do not sleep with the generator operating. Remember that carbon monoxide can be deadly. You cannot see it, taste it, or smell it. And never leave a space heater unattended.

Cold weather months can be a great time to travel and camp in a recreational vehicle.

Cold weather months can be a great time to travel and camp in a recreational vehicle.

With a little planning and the right equipment, winter outings in your RV can be a fun way to experience all that Mother Nature has to offer.

When the snow flies it’s time to grab your skis and snowboards, pack the RV, and hit the road. Consider Good Sam campgrounds near Breckenridge, Colorado; Cedar City, Utah (near Brian Head); Mammoth Mountain (California); Lake Placid, New York; Lake Tahoe (Nevada); Whistler, British Columbia; Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper (Alberta).

The Gunflint Nordic Ski area in northern Minnesota offers some of the best cross country skiing in the Midwest. Trails meander through the various landscapes of the highlands covered with stands of old growth white pine, spruce, aspen, and balsam fir. Gunflint lake offers excellent lake trout ice fishing. Neighboring lakes also offer walleye, splake, and rainbow trout. Sliding, snowshoeing, and old fashioned sledding is also available.

Winter can be a spectacular time to go camping, even in the more severe climates.

With careful planning and preparation, your RV can be an enjoyable way to live in or visit the many beautiful winter areas accessible by RVs. Drive safely and enjoy.

Worth Pondering…

Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old,
Their beards of icicles and snow…
—Charles duc d’Orléans, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Take Your Time When Taking Delivery

Taking delivery of your just-built motorhome can be an incredibly exciting experience for you, your family—even a handful of your friends.

2015 LondonAire

2015 LondonAire top of the line luxury diesel pusher from Newmar.

At the same time, because of the amount of premium technology and long list of features you’ll find on your brand new motor coach you may feel a bit overwhelmed the first time you step inside, even if you consider yourself to be an experienced RVer.

No matter if your brand-new motorhome was bought off the lot or you special ordered it from the factory, it is essential that you plan to take considerable time examining your RV before you drive off on any trips or adventures.

Take the time to make sure everything on your new coach is in working order and all of your questions have been answered. You’ll be glad you did.

A quality dealer will usually invest a full tank of fuel, a filled LP-gas tank, and 24 hours of operating and testing all the major systems, appliances, and functions of the RV during inspection and delivery.

2015 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 38DBT

2015 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 38DBT Diesel Pusher Class A motorhome

Better dealers will also provide new buyers with essential items not provided by manufacturers, including an electrical adapter plug, potable water hose, water pressure regulator, holding tank chemicals, RV toilet tissue, and a sewer hose with adapter and clamp. If not, the buyer should be certain to purchase these items himself before taking delivery of the rig.

Following are some helpful tips on what to do before you finish taking delivery:

Do not schedule pick up on a day before the dealer will be closed. This way, if fixes need to be made, you won’t be waiting several days. This is especially important if you’re taking delivery far from home.

The Tuscany line of luxury diesel pusher Class A motorhomes

The Tuscany line of luxury diesel pusher Class A motorhomes from Thor Motor Coach

Make sure you receive all documentation and owner’s materials, as well as serial and model numbers related to your RV’s warranties.

Test everything including awnings, engine and basement storage compartments, hydraulic jacks, slide outs, generator, sewer hose connection and storage, mirrors and lights, stove top and oven, microwave/convection oven, refrigerator, water heater, water pump, toilet, shower, washer/drier, air conditioner/heat pump, furnace, lights, entertainment center, and smoke, propane, and carbon monoxide detectors.

If you’re unsure of how to operate something, do not hesitate to consult with your sales associate.

Do not leave the dealership until all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. A quality dealership will make sure you leave knowing everything you need to know to enjoy your new RV.

Don’t skip the test drive. Make sure you are fully comfortable with how your new coach handles out on the road. New questions will almost certainly arise during your time behind the wheel.

When test-driving a coach, it’s a good idea to take it on the types of roads that it normally will be driven on, whether those roads are mountain passes, freeways, or back roads.

Whether you’re just beginning to consider the purchase of a new RV or are anxiously awaiting taking delivery of your new motorhome, remember to take your time and enjoy the opportunity to learn. An informed purchase is almost always a wise one. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be throughout the entire buying process and the better you’ll feel once you’re out on the road enjoying your shiny new motorhome.

2015 King Aire 4553 luxury motor coach with Florence Interior and Sable Maple Cabinetry

2015 King Aire 4553 luxury motor coach with Florence Interior and Sable Maple Cabinetry

Take the time to make sure everything on your new coach is in working order and all of your questions have been answered. You’ll be glad you did.

Please Note: This is Part 5 of a 5-part series on Tips For Purchasing a New RV

Worth Pondering…

Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than they expect to get.

—Nelson Boswell

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Quartzsite: Woodstock of the Snowbird Set

During our last visit to the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in January, we reminisced about how Quartzsite has changed over the last 16 years since our first visit and what future years might bring.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you pass through Quartzsite in the summer, not much happens. You will see flat desert, some roadside businesses, tumbleweeds, and that’s about it.

But come winter, it’s quite different. The flat desert bustles with activity. Something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! RVs by the tens of thousands camp in somewhat primitive desert conditions.

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Just where is this gem of a town? Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

Quartzite swells in population to over a million visitors, most of whom converge on the small town in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February.
So what is the attraction?

Well, it’s relatively warm in Quartzite during winter. And it also offers pretty inexpensive camping. But there’s another more important reason people descend on Quartzsite in droves. And it has more to do with geology than anything else.

Quartzsite has been a rock-hound’s paradise since the 1960s.

Today, over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. You can find everything from geodes to GPS devices, and frying pans to dream catchers.

If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When we first went to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in ’99, the RV Pavilion was packed with big-ticket items like RV satellites, tow hitches, and companies offering to install a solar array on your vehicle.

Since then, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show has boomed and last year alone it drew more than 150,000 attendees. It draws snowbirds from around the US and Canada; it’s now the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Looking ahead to future years, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show will continue to grow and attract a more general crowd. Thanks to items like cheaper flat screen TVs, smart phones, and affordable solar arrays with charge controllers to power all your gizmos, it is easy to have all the comforts of home while you’re camping.

As RVing gets easier and more comfortable—and more boomers retire—even more people will dip their toes into the RV world, and what better place to do it than at Quartzsite?

Surprises await as you wander from vender to vendor

Surprises await as you wander from vender to vendor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As Quartzsite continues to grow and evolve, it will still be a wonderful place for RVers of all types to gather and relax with near perfect temperatures during the day and clear starlit skies at night.

Quartzsite is just 17 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. From Phoenix, the trip to Quartzite is about two hours. It is also easily accessible from Los Angeles.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015.

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!

The Woodstock of the Snowbird set is an experience not to be missed—and we think you’ll like it too!

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Posted in Camping, RV Accessories, RV Lifestyle, RV Show, Snowbird | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Reasons To RV Full Time

The number of people living full-time or part-time in a recreational vehicle continues to grow every year.

Live it well! Enjoy today! Do your dream! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Live it well!
Enjoy today!
Do your dream! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many are retired or plan to retire soon. Others are part of an expanding group of working age folks who are embracing a location-independent lifestyle.

Have you considered making the leap from a traditional home to an RV? Do you dream of life on the open road, but are not quite sure if you’re ready to make the commitment?  If so, this article is for you.

DoItYourselfRV offers nine reasons why living in an RV is better than living in a house.

1. More Time Outdoors

Living in an RV encourages you to spend more time outdoors. In part because of the smaller interior living space, but also because most campgrounds and RV parks are great places to enjoy the outdoors.

Crank out the awning, set out your chairs, grill up some burgers, read a book, go for a hike or bike ride, or gaze at the stars while enjoying the great outdoors.

2. No Lawn To Mow, Yard Work To Do, or Snow To Shovel 

Ever feel like you spend all your free time mowing, weeding, raking, or shoveling show? No time to enjoy your yard because you spend so much time maintaining it?

Farmers market

Visit a farm market or u-pick orchard and discover the country’s harvest bounty. Pictured above a market in Holmes County, Ohio. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s none of that when you’re on the road in an RV.

3. Follow The Weather (Or Run Away From It)

One of the great advantages to living in a condo-on-wheels is the ability to go where you want, when you want. This is especially convenient when the weather turns ugly. If it’s too hot, too cold, too humid, too rainy, or too dry then drive the RV to another location.

4. Less Cleaning

A smaller space requires less time to clean. Do you want to spend hours vacuuming, dusting, and scrubbing? Or would you rather spend 30 minutes cleaning your RV and move on to more interesting activities?

5. If You Don’t Like Your Neighbors…Then Move

It’s a fact of life that you’re not going to like everyone you come across. As much as you may try to be friendly with others, some people are just impossible to get along with. The beauty of living in an RV is that when you encounter annoying neighbors you can simply move to another camping site or another RV park.

6. A Million Dollar View

Camping at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park south of Mission.

Camping at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park south of Mission. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you desire an ocean or mountain view? The full time RV lifestyle gives you the opportunity to live virtually anywhere you want with any view you can imagine. Freedom is a large part of the RV lifestyle, and the freedom to choose your location and move as often as you like.

7. Less Stuff, More Experiences

Minimalism is a necessary part of living in an RV. It doesn’t take long for most people to realize just how little stuff they actually need to live, and enjoy life. An incredible thing happens when you shed all that extra stuff. Inevitably you start to focus less on things and more on experiences, which leads to a happier, more fulfilled life.

8. Make New Friends

RVing tends to be a social lifestyle. It’s easy to meet people while walking around the campground or as you chat with your neighbors. These casual meetings often turn into long lasting friendships as people bond over the type of RV they own, or the activities they like to pursue.

9. Easier To Visit Friends and Relatives

The raucous Plain Chachalacas are just one of the very common birds you can find congregating at feeding stations placed throughout the nature centers in the Rio Grande Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

The raucous Plain Chachalacas are just one of the very common birds you can find congregating at feeding stations placed throughout the nature centers in the Rio Grande Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

In addition to making new friends, full time RVing makes it easy to visit friends and relatives in varied locations around the country.

No costly air flight to visit Aunt Sally and Uncle Jake. And, you’re always an excellent house guest who brings along your own kitchen, bathroom, and bed.

10. Cost of Living

The typical costs for owning a home including your mortgage, property taxes, more insurance than you know what to do with, and your basic utility bills adds up anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000+ per month depending on your mortgage principle, location, and other deciding factors. In an RV, $1700 per month is generous luxurious living.

Comparing the cost of a home and the cost of an RV really comes down to your lifestyle, your pros and cons, and what you desire your life to be.

Worth Pondering…

The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

Posted in Road Trips, RV Lifestyle, RV Tips, Snowbird | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment