Best Kept Secret in Camping: Maricopa County Parks & BOGO

One of the best kept secrets in the World of RVing is campgrounds located in county parks!

A delightful end to another day in paradise at Usery Mountain Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But where are they, and how do you find them? Sometimes they’re located in Woodall’s and Trailer Life Campground Directory. Often times they’re not.

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, 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 all are within a 45-minute drive from central Phoenix. And unlike Arizona State Parks, no Maricopa County park has been closed or has suffered cutback in services.

With 10 regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres, Maricopa County Regional Parks feature the nation’s largest county park system. So many local attractions and the great variety of outdoor recreation are sure to keep you coming back over and over.

The park system 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.

Enjoy the beauty of sunrises and sunsets at Cave Creek Regional Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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 and visiting snowbirds with an opportunity to enjoy “Natural Arizona.”

Please note: Not all parks have developed camping facilities.

All trails within the Maricopa County Park System are for non-motorized use only.


Cooler weather brings great opportunities for those campers and RVers who enjoy the outdoors.

Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department is offering free camping. Park visitors who pay the camping fee for one night at a desert mountain county park will receive the next night of equal or lesser value for free.

The offer is good at Usery Mountain Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, and White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

The buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promotion applies to camping stays between October 1 and November 11.

To receive the free night, contact the Parks call center (see below). Reservations booked online or before July 1 are not eligible.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a scenic water recreation area in the northwest Valley. The breathtaking views offer visitors a great place to relax, whether it is from a boat or shoreline picnic or camping site. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


Maricopa County Regional Parks

Phone: (602) 506-2930


Cave Creek Regional Park

Cave Creek offers 38 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electric hook-ups. Group camping available.

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

Phone: (623) 465-0431


Estrella Mountain Regional Park

Estrella Mountain offers seven developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

Location: 14805 West Vineyard Avenue, Goodyear, AZ 85338

Phone: (623) 932-3811


McDowell Mountain Regional Park

McDowell Mountain offers 76 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

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

Phone: (480) 471-0173


Usery Mountain Regional Park

Usery Mountain offers 73 developed camping sites suitable for RVs of all sizes, with water and electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

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

Phone: (480) 984-0032


White Tank Mountain Regional Park

White Tank Mountain offers 40 semi-developed sites with no water/electrical hook-ups. Group camping available.

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

Phone: (623) 935-2505


Worth Pondering… 

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.

—Frank Tyger

Read More

Don’t Skip the Fine Print

When Virginia Vail made a reservation at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls last month through a website called National Park Reservations (NPR), she assumed the $252 room rate would be the price she actually paid.

She also thought she was dealing with the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), as the name of the website implied.

Turns out she was wrong on both counts, writes author Christopher Elliott on

National Park Reservations is a privately-owned company that charges a 10 percent non-refundable fee on all of its reservations.

Since Vail was booking a block of 10 rooms for her extended family, NPR sucked an additional $758 from her credit card.

“I should have read the terms more closely,” she says.

“I should have checked the online reviews.”

NPR is one of several travel businesses that aren’t what they appear to be.

Are they fraudulent?

Probably not, at least not in the legal sense.

But they sure are frustrating to deal with, writes Elliot.

Vail, for example, experienced some trouble completing her NPR reservation; in the end, she called the Yosemite Lodge directly to finish the transaction.

It didn’t matter to the company; it charged the 10 percent fee, even on the room tax.

“It was an outrageous sum of money,” she says.

When she asked for an explanation, NPR sent her a form letter.

“The fee is not refundable,” it said.

“You agreed to our terms and conditions, which explain our fee as we are a privately owned booking agency. Thank you.”

In travel, what you see isn’t always what you get. Yet another reason to alwaysalways read the fine print.


Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is consumer advocate and journalist.

Elliot is the author of “Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals” (Wiley), a manifesto for empowering consumers and encouraging corporate responsibility.

Elliot is also the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for travelers.


National Park Reservations

National Park Reservations is a reservation service providing lodging and activity reservations both inside as well as in the gateway communities of the United States National Parks.

National Park Reservations is not an authorized concessionaire of any National Park nor are they in any way affiliated with the National Park Service of the Federal Government.

National Park Reservations provides the ability for its customers to make reservations through a toll-free telephone number or by submitting an online request form.

For this service, National Park Reservations charges a 10 percent non-refundable reservation fee based on the total dollar amount of reservations made.

This reservation fee will is billed separately to your credit card under the memo “National Park Reservations”.

By using National Park Reservations, the customer authorizes National Park Reservations to charge their credit card the 10 percent non-refundable fee.

Phone: (866) 875-8456 (toll free) or (406) 862-8190 (outside the U.S.)


Worth Pondering…

Make your choice, adventurous stranger.
Strike the bell and bide the danger.
Or wonder ’til it drives you mad,
What would have followed, if you had.

— C.S. Lewis, The Magicians Nephew

Read More

Restoring the Shiny Hiney & Other Vintage Trailers

Spend a few miles of road time following this vintage travel trailerand you’ll soon see why it’s nicknamed “The Shiny Hiney.”

Orbie Mungall stands outside his 24-foot 1965 Barth travel trailer at his home in Willard, Oregon. (Source: Kera Williams/Standard-Examiner)

The glare off the silver aluminum exterior is nearly blinding, explains Orbie Mungall having spent countless hours polishing the 1947 Boles Aero to its glowing state. Mungall also refers to his old-style round-shaped trailer as “The Spud” or “The Canned Ham,” reports the (Ogden, Oregon) Standard Examiner.

Whatever they’re called, classic trailers from the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s are rolling back into popularity.

“They’re more artsy than your new trailers now … they have a character, a style,” says Mungall who likes nothing better than to clean the trailers out, shine them up, and get them back on the road again.

Mungall has seven trailers on his one-acre home site, ranging from another 1947 Boles Aero now being restored inside his new workshop, to a 1952 homemade trailer created from a kit by a family living just up the street.

A retired seismographer, Mungall picked up his first vintage trailer, the 12-foot Boles Aero, in 1995. His second purchase was a 1952 Silver Streak Clipper, a missile-shaped trailer he found for sale alongside a road in Nebraska, the Standard Examiner reports.

“It looks like something out of ‘Buck Rogers,’ ” Mungall says, standing outside the 22-foot trailer nicknamed “The Wedge.”

Orbie Mungall’s 1947 Boles Aero sits in his yard in Willard. (Source: Kera Williams/Standard-Examiner)

“The front and back are identical; it just has that alien look.”

The Silver Streak is a relative of the well-known Airstream: “It’s very aerodynamic; all these guys (who created them) were aircraft engineers so they thought aerodynamics,” Mungall says.

Across the yard sits a 1965 Barth, a 24-foot long trailer that Mungall says was “top of the line” in its day, even equipped with a full porcelain bathtub.

Inside the 1947 Boles Aero, Mungall points out such vintage touches as the birch wood cabinetry and the old-fashioned-looking white icebox.

Carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills are needed to tackle a fix-up job on these old trailers, Mungall says.

Some of the techniques are learned by trial and error, like exactly which type of polish to use to get the exterior to shine like a mirror. Aircraft-grade polish turns out to be the thing that gives the best results, but Mungall says, “I’ve spent maybe 300 hours learning the wrong way.”

Yes, the restoration is a slow process, but Mungall quips, “I’m a Southerner, I’ve got patience — I can sit and listen to my beard grow.”

The price tag on Mungall’s trailer purchases runs from $600 to $1,500. Although he has kept his restored pieces, some models might sell for as much as $13,500 in the United States, or up to $37,000 in Europe.

“The Europeans have a fetish about Western cowboys, mountain man relics and now, vintage trailers,” he says.

Anywhere he takes his vintage collectibles — a campground or a stop at the grocery store — Mungall says the trailers attract curious onlookers, reports the Standard Examiner.

Mungall and his wife, Mary Jane, camp in their vintage trailers with what some might see as an old-style approach. They like to stick to the back roads — “You can’t see (the world) at 80 miles per hour,” Mungall says — “and they set up camp to play cards, read books or “talk to each other, by golly.”

In contrast, many folks nowadays don’t seem to camp to get away from home, Mungall says.

“They camp to see how much home they can take with them,” with their generators and portable DVD players and the like. Why, if someone were to give Mungall the key to a brand-new monster motor home, he says he’d take it out and put the thing up for sale.

Orbie Mungall’s shiny 22-foot 1952 Silverstreak Clipper travel trailer — complete with pink flamingos — sits in the yard of his Willard home. (Source: Kera Williams/Standard-Examiner)

“These new ones serve a purpose — but not my purpose,” he says.

As he travels, Mungall says he enjoys meeting people and seeing their reactions to his rolling pieces of nostalgia.

“If that gets them back to camping or something, all the better,” he says, “Get them away from the push buttons and videos.”

And if those folks were to acquire a “Canned Ham” or “Shiny Hiney” of their own, that would be fine by Mungall, too.

After all, he says, as he walks through his trailer collection, “These are keepers.”

Worth Pondering…

The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition.

—Dave Barry

Read More

Magellan Introduces RoadMate GPS with Expanded Safety Features

Santa Clara, California-based Magellan, a leader of innovative GPS devices for vehicles, fitness, outdoor, and mobile navigation, announces the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB vehicle navigation GPS to provide consumers with a complete safety and convenience solution featuring Bluetooth ‘Safe Texting’ and an extra-large 7-inch display designed for large vehicles and people who need a larger screen for more comfortable viewing.

The Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB GPS includes a 7-inch high-resolution touch screen that gives drivers the highest level of viewing comfort when reading maps and other content on the GPS.

Included with the RoadMate 9250T-LMB is a fully adjustable, heavy duty extension mount for positioning the GPS on or below the dashboard or off a windshield, making the GPS convenient to view especially in RVs and other larger size vehicles.

When paired with a compatible Bluetooth cell phone, the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB GPS serves as an in-car speakerphone, and also gives drivers the ability to quickly and safely respond to callers with a pre-written text message telling them they are driving.

When a driver receives a call, they press a single button on the ‘Safe Texting’ screen to select from five pre-written text messages that are automatically populated by the GPS with vehicle location data. Pre-defined text messages include ‘I’m driving. I’ll call you back.’, ‘I’m on (street name).’, and ‘I’m driving in (city name)’. Drivers can also create their own custom text messages in the two open spaces in the menu.

Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB vehicle navigation GPS provides consumers with a complete safety and convenience solution featuring Bluetooth ‘Safe Texting’ and an extra-large 7-inch display for more comfortable viewing.

The Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB GPS also includes ‘Portrait Mode’ viewing, a unique new feature that gives drivers a choice between viewing their navigation details in landscape or portrait viewing mode.

In the portrait mode, drivers can view expanded roadway details including the conditions ahead, which is valuable information when on road trips or in unfamiliar locations. Conversely, in traditional landscape viewing mode, which is most suitable for city driving, the GPS displays roadway details that are around the vehicle.

“As part of our safety series, we are incorporating the newest features into our line of large-screen GPS devices for drivers of large vehicles or those who need a larger GPS display to see content better,” said Stig Pedersen, Associate Vice President of Product Management for Magellan.

“We are including a heavy duty extension mount so drivers have the flexibility of viewing their RoadMate 9250T-LMB in any position—even below the dash, without interfering with their view of the road.”

An ideal safety companion for the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB is Magellan’s Wireless Back-up Camera ($149.99 MSRP), a 2012 CES Design and Engineering Award Honoree. The combination of compatible Magellan RoadMate vehicle navigation GPS models and the Wireless Back-up Camera gives motorists an all-in one solution for increased safety.

When the vehicle is placed in reverse, the Magellan RoadMate GPS will automatically switch from navigation mode to become a rear-view monitor that allows the driver to see what is behind the vehicle including children, pets, and toys or assists in fitting a vehicle into a tight parking space.

The Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB also includes Magellan’s suite of new features:

  • ‘Landmark Guidance’ gives drivers an easier way to navigate to their destinations by telling them to turn at familiar landmarks such as gas stations, stores, or other large, easily-seen places instead of only street names that may be hard to locate and read
  • ‘Traffic Camera Alerts,’ powered by PhantomALERT, warns drivers about upcoming red light and speed cameras on their route
  • ‘Junction View’ displays a realistic image of the road and highway signs, and shows drivers the correct lane that the vehicle needs to be in for safe merging and exits during their trip
Magellan Wireless Back-up Camera
Magellan Wireless Back-up Camera helps drivers quickly locate parking locations as well as the street to enter them and hours of operation. ‘OneTouch,’ another Magellan-exclusive feature, enables drivers to bookmark and assign a button to their favorite destinations or searches for faster access.

Included with the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB GPS is the AAA/CAA TourBook which provides drivers with instant access to listings and descriptions of AAA Diamond-rated restaurants, accommodations, attractions, events, and campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada, as well as Show Your Card & Save locations for member discounts, approved auto repair facilities, and AAA branch office locations.

Available in late September from and Best Buy, the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB, including the heavy duty extension mount, is $229.99 (MSRP).



Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, MiTAC Digital Corporation, manufacturer of the Magellan brand of portable GPS navigation consumer electronic devices, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MiTAC International Corporation. Recognized as an industry pioneer, Magellan globally markets its award-winning portable navigation devices including the Magellan RoadMate series for autos, RVs, fleet and commercial vehicles, and GIS, the eXplorist PRO for mobile GIS applications and field data collection, the eXplorist outdoor series for hunting, fishing, hiking, and geocaching enthusiasts, Magellan Fitness Switch series of crossover GPS watches, and mobile apps and accessories for smart phones.


Worth Pondering… 

I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.

—Daniel Boone

Read More

Ten RV Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Australian Max Anderson, traveling courtesy of Flight Centre and Apollo Motorhomes, gets his kicks on an all-American motorhome tour with his family from Los Angeles to Las Vegas via San Francisco.

Said to be one of the most complex highway interchanges in the world, the Orange Crush (as it’s known to locals) is where the I-5 meets the CA-22 and CA-57 just south of Disneyland and Anaheim’s Angel Stadium. There are 66 lanes of travel over 13 bridges. (Source: Google maps)

“American horror has many faces,” Anderson writes in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Exorcist. The Thing. The Kardashians. None, however, is as terrifying as the Orange Crush. It looms overhead, howling, waving its arms, drawing us into its spinning vortex. Thirty-four roads and ramps—the world’s largest intersection—all bisecting and splicing overhead, on stilts.”

Continuing to describe the Orange Crush, Anderson says, “I’m gaping through the windscreen but I’m driving through the looking glass: right is left, left is right, and my vehicle is the size of the Queen Mary. My father’s sagest advice for life was ‘if in doubt, slow down and stop’—but there is no stopping on an exit ramp of a 12-lane freeway in Los Angeles when it wants to feed you into another 12-lane freeway.”

Anderson concludes the article with his ten motorhome lessons learnt the hard way.

1. If you’re new to driving in the US, start somewhere where the traffic’s sane, such as San Francisco; by the time you reach Los Angeles you’ll be ready for it.

Los Angeles freeways and skyline. (Source:

2. If you have to drive in LA, stick to the freeway truck lanes. And remember, there’s no such thing as “Sunday traffic”; it’s the same as Monday traffic.

3. Be smart — take at least 24 hours to recover from your flight before taking the wheel.

4. Be smarter still — take another 20 minutes to figure out your satnav. It’s a terrific resource but it plots the quickest route, not necessarily the easiest. (That’s how we ended up under the Orange Crush.)

5. Insurance is your friend; don’t skimp on it. We collected a stone to the windshield: no charge.

6. Beware, your vehicle roof is not insured. Low-hanging branches will cause damage without you knowing it. I kissed goodbye to $US500 ($477) for a tree-scored awning.

7. Plan and book as much as possible before arrival in the US. Popular RV parks such as Yosemite fill up.

8. Allocate driving days and non-driving days. Despite good intentions (“Oh, we’ll drive in the morning and see the sights in the afternoon”), they don’t mix. Pull up, make yourself at home and enjoy more.

9. Less driving means more holiday. Australians have a better appreciation of distance than Europeans, but I guarantee you’ll still underestimate the time it takes to get anywhere.

10. The Lonely Planet Guide to California ($38.99) is a glove box necessity.

LA is a great big freeway, a shameless one. The energy is steroidal, the self-love is bonkers. It’s a perfect introduction to California.

Fast Facts

Getting there

Qantas has a return fare to Los Angeles from Sydney (from $2017) and from Melbourne (from $1984).

Driving There

Motorhome rental varies by vehicle availability, the season (June to September is peak in the U.S.) and the point of collection and drop-off.

Our six-berth Wanderer vehicle was arranged by Brisbane-based Apollo Motorhomes; a nine-day hire in May would cost $US1500 ($1429) including satnav, mileage, insurance, pick-up in LA, and drop-off in Las Vegas.

It pays to explore the online booking system; being flexible can get costs down. (If you’re flexible, you can take a new vehicle that needs to be relocated for as little as $10 a day; see Phone 1800 777 779, see Also see

Worth Pondering…

Travel is not about getting from point A to point B. At best that’s tourism—at worst transportation—across a more or less sterile landscape. Real travel is about soaking up the local flavor, getting a sense of other people’s lives, and their history.

Read More

Winnebago Re-introduces Minnie Winnie

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc. has re-introduced the iconic Winnebago Minnie Winnie name in a big way with the launch of a new value-priced Class C product line with a targeted MSRP starting around $60,000.

The Minnie Winnie debuted with the 31K at Winnebago Industries Dealer Open House event held last week in Elkhart, Indiana.

The Minnie Winnie will be available in four floor plans in lengths ranging from 25 to 31 feet.

The 31K floor plan displayed offers a large u-shaped dinette, full-featured galley, a 32-inch LCD TV, flexible sleeping options, and impressive storage including a large rear trunk.

“We’re providing an introductory peak at the 2014 Minnie Winnie to our dealers at both our Open House and the upcoming RVDA Convention. This product will also be available in the new Itasca Spirit line,” said Scott Degnan, Winnebago Industries’ vice president of sales and product management.

“The new 31K Minnie Winnie and Spirit are value-packed and perfect for entry-level buyers or for rental applications.”

“I love the Minnie Winnie name and it’s great to see it back on a product that looks great, even better than I expected at this price point,” said Steve Jung, Colerain RV, Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Winnebago Industries is right on target with the product and the price. WOW!”

2014 Minnie Winnie 31K

“Everything about the Minnie Winnie says Winnebago quality with a great looking product with a lot of features for the price,” said Steve Flagg, Flagg RV, North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

“In fact, I just picked up a 2011 used Class C at auction for the same price the Minnie Winnie comes in at brand new! As an Itasca dealer, I’m looking forward to getting the new Spirit on our lot.”


Winnebago Industries, Inc.

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc., The Most Recognized Name In Motor Homes, is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities.

The Company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheel products under the Winnebago, Itasca, Era, and SunnyBrook brand names.

Winnebago Industries has received the Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association every year since the award’s inception in 1996.

Postal Address: P.O. Box 152, Forest City, IA 50436

Street Address: 605 West Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436

Phone: (641) 585-3535

Winnebago Website:

Itasca Website:

Worth Pondering…

Stuff your eyes with wonder…live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

—Ray Bradbury

Read More

RV Insurance Claims: Driver Inexperience & Forgetfulness

First party insurance claims involving recreational vehicles can often be traced to driver inexperience and forgetfulness.


The majority of claims occur within the first 90 days of ownership or at the beginning of the season, according to International Insurance Group, Inc., an independent Arizona RV insurance agency.

“This is due to the nuances and size of RVs. Most drivers aren’t accustomed to the wide angles, required clearance and space required to maneuver their rig.”

Gradually, as RV drivers gain experience, the claims associated with RVs change, reports

Lenny Richileau, director of the specialty vehicle claims unit for Allied and Nationwide Insurance Companies calls them the “I forgot” claims.

“Experience does not eliminate claims, but it seems to change the nature of the claim. With experience, claims are less about hitting the post at the gas station, taking out the top of the rig, trying to fit under an underpass with low clearance and become what we call the ‘I forgot’ claims,” the agency stated.

RV owners tend to be in a hurry, leaving parts open and jacks down, Richileau said.

Other “I forgot” claims include not unhooking the utility and plumbing connections and not locking the awning.

Did you remember? I thought you did! (Source:

RV owners tend to be in a hurry, leaving parts open and jacks down, Richileau said.

Other “I forgot” claims include not unhooking the utility and plumbing connections and not locking the awning.

According to the agency, while the claims may not be catastrophic, they often exceed the deductible and increase insurance rates.

Richileau used to see RV owners start out small, working their way up to larger vehicles; however, that’s changed in recent years. He now regularly sees a new RV owner jump into a 38 to 43-foot motorhome full-time.

Because no special license is required, anyone can purchase a 40 foot diesel pusher and drive it off the lot, he said.

Richileau said new RV owners often damage street lights and posts because they are unaware of the limited turning radius associated with driving such a large vehicle.

He said adjusters unfamiliar with handling RV claims need to recognize that the vehicles are unique.

He said adjusters unfamiliar with handling RV claims need to recognize that the vehicles are unique.

“They’re really a combination vehicle…a moving house. In general, a large RV has all the amenities you’d expect in a house, washers, dryers, big screen TVs; all made in a package that’s designed to go down the road at highway speeds,” the claims director said.

Adjusters should be aware that the time it takes to repair an RV will be considerably longer than an average vehicle, Richileau said.

Arrival and departure checklists can prevents “I forgot” claims. (Source:

Because of the extended time to repair, the company offers a policy with built-in additional living expenses (ALE) for full time RVers. Rental RVs are also available.

In addition, there are substantial differences in estimating RV damage, Richileau said.

While there are several types of estimating software for autos, RV estimating tools are not as sophisticated. As a result, adjusters have to be knowledgeable in the materials associated with the manufacture of an RV. For instance, door materials in an RV are fiberglass and typically obtained through the manufacturer directly.

Related Stories

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

Read More

Winegard Introduces Carryout Anser Portable Satellite Antenna

Burlington, Iowa-based Winegard, the pioneer in television antenna design and development, introduces the Anser, the newest member of the Carryout family of portable satellite TV antennas.

Winegard Carryout Anser Satellite TV antenna

The Carryout Anser sports a one-of-a-kind design and is ideal for RVs, tailgating, picnicking, family outings, and other outdoor activities.

Users simply set the elevation provided by the receiver and plug it in. After the antenna automatically finds the satellite, unplug the antenna power cable and start watching TV.

“We’re introducing the Anser to provide consumers with a simple satellite TV solution at a very affordable cost,” said Aaron Engberg, Director of Mobile Products for Winegard.

“In today’s hyper-mobile world, we like to be entertained and in touch with our favorite sports teams and shows constantly. The Anser is highly portable and requires no assembly.”

This hybrid automatic portable satellite antenna receives DISH HD programming from a single satellite, 72 degrees, without toggling between several DISH satellites as on some other automatic antennas.

The Anser also pulls in DIRECTV standard programming from satellite 101 degrees.

The Carryout Anser is also compatible with Bell TV in Canada.

The Carryout Anser comes with an easy grip carrying handle and a security eyelet that is molded into the base.

A 25-foot 12-volt power cable and a 25-foot coax cable are included for easy outdoor positioning. An optional 12-volt to 110-volt converter is available, as well as a Carryout tripod mount, all sold separately.

For a limited time, new DIRECTV customers can take advantage of a Winegard new customer $150 mail-in rebate.

The Anser will be available at retailers and RV dealerships nationwide in September and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $449.

Technical Specifications Dimensions: 15 inches stowed height, 20.75 inches fully deployed height x 21 inches diameter

Weight: 16 pounds Eyelet attached to base provides ability to lock-up antenna for added security

Easy grip handle for effortless carrying Supports 2 receivers (single satellite viewing)

Stationary use only

A pioneer in antenna, auto signal acquisition and tracking technology, Winegard has designed more than 1,000 different antenna models with more than 60 U.S. patents granted.


Winegard Company

Burlington, Iowa-based Winegard Company is a respected world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative antenna products for satellite and terrestrial communications.

Since its founding in 1954, Winegard’s pioneering solutions have shaped the industry for home, recreational vehicle, truck, marine, medical, and automotive antennas.

The company’s 2-way VSAT antennas provide real-time broadband solutions for extreme and remote environments in support of the oil and gas industries, as well as military and emergency response teams.

Winegard is a privately-owned company that designed the first residential antenna for the U.S. It has designed more than 1,000 antenna models and does custom antenna design and development work.

Address: 3000 Kirkwood Street, Burlington, IA 52601

Phone: (800) 288-8094


Worth Pondering…

We owe a lot to Thomas Edison—if it weren’t for him, we’d be watching television by candlelight.

—Milton Berle

Read More

Michigan Recreation 101 Receives National Recognition

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division has been honored by the National Association of State Park Directors.

The association recently gave its 2012 President’s Award to the agency in recognition of its Recreation 101 program—a popular and growing series of instructional events and workshops that encourage residents and visitors to get out, learn new recreation skills, and enjoy the outdoors.

The award honors statewide organizations that have made an extraordinary contribution to the goals of a state park system.

According to DNR Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson, the Recreation 101 program, which is currently in its second year, has proved to be an excellent example of a successful collaboration between many sectors of the recreation community.

“Recreation 101 has grown from 87 events in 2011 to more than 300 introductory programs in 2012, offering almost everything from archery to windsurfing, that have led people into our parks and recreation areas, and also into a healthy, more active lifestyle,” Olson said.

He added that the program has reached thousands of people in the last two years and has involved a successful partnership between volunteer instructors and nearly 100 Michigan outdoor recreation businesses.

The award was presented during the National Association of State Park Directors’ annual conference that took place September 4-7 in Lexington, Kentucky.


Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.


Recreation 101

Michigan is rolling out the “green” carpet to welcome everyone to the woods and waters! Recreation 101, or “Rec 101,” is a series of intro-to format classes taught by DNR staff or expert volunteers from organizations, guide services, outfitters, and more.

These volunteers offer their time and knowledge at no charge to the DNR or the participants. The program began with state parks in 2011, and is offered statewide in 2012 in Michigan State Parks as well as community recreation agencies through collaboration with the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.


Recreation Passport

The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan.

By checking “YES” for the $10 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate, Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, nonmotorized state trailhead parking, and state boat launches.

In addition, Recreation Passport holders can enjoy real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program.

The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date.

Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store.


Worth Pondering…

Another thing I like to do is sit back and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. It’s very special to me.
—Larry Wilcox

Read More

Ultra-Fab Introduces Eliminator for Rock Solid Stability

“Rock’n Roll” is great when taking a nostalgic journey back in time to the teen years, but it’s probably not what most people dreamed about when they decided to purchase their travel trailer or fifth-wheel.

“It’s unsettling to be sitting in your RV at the campground after a long day of traveling or sightseeing to feel that swaying feeling every time your spouse or children move around inside the RV,” said Chad Vannauker, Ultra-Fab Products national sales manager.

“But don’t despair, Ultra-Fab Products has a solution for you.”

The Eliminator , as the name suggests, eliminates that rocking and swaying motion and gives any RV rock-solid stability by eliminating front-to-back and side-to-side motion, he explained in a news release.

The Eliminator is the perfect complement to manual stabilizer jacks, helping eliminate front-to-back and side-to-side motion and comes with all mounting hardware for use on travel trailers and fifth wheels.

The Eliminator is boxed in packages of six and can be set up in minutes once it is permanently installed by bolting them on.

Ultra-Fab Eliminator

They attach to the RV frame and jack for maximum stability.

The Eliminator is the perfect complement to manual stabilizers, said Vannauker, noting it comes with all mounting hardware for use on travel trailers and fifth wheels.

The Eliminator’s features include:

  • Universal design fits all travel trailers and 5th wheels
  • Bolt on permanent installation
  • Fits most types of manual jacks
  • Easy to set up, telescopes into place
  • Struts lock into place when extended
  • Attaches to RV frame and jack for ultra stability
  • Eliminates front-to-back and side-to-side motion
  • Provides rock-solid stability for your towable
  • Black powder coat finish resists rust

“So let’s put “Rock’n Roll” in its place—your radio or stereo—but not inside your RV,” said Vannauker.


Ultra-Fab Products, Inc.

Ultra-Fab Products is a world class manufacturer of innovative top quality products committed to making life easier and leisure pursuits more enjoyable.

The Eliminator is available at most RV dealerships and RV parts and accessories stores.

The Eliminator Stabilizer by Ultra-Fab

-Fab’s The Eliminator is available through Arrow Distributing, Keystone Automotive, StagParkway, NTP, Bell and Northern.

The Eliminator Mfg. No.: 48-979007

Address: 57985 SR 19 S, Elkhart, IN 46517

Phone: (574) 294-7571


Worth Pondering…

There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe.

It has symmetry, elegance, and graced—

those qualities you find always in that which the true artist captures.

You can find it the turning of the seasons,

in the way sand trails along a ridge…

—Frank Herbert, Dune

Read More