What Do Campers Want?

Families are camping mostly for recreation and are taking camping trips to spend quality time together as well as engaging their kids in outdoor activities.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a recent survey conducted by Aramark’s leisure division, a food and hospitality partner for national and state parks, 56 percent of the respondents camp with children under the age of 18.

Being intimate with nature and enjoying outdoor recreation is a huge impetus to planned camping trips.

In releasing the survey results, Aramark said 76 percent of survey respondents placed a high value on proximity to hiking and biking trails and 83 percent valued water recreation. Thus, camping in national and state parks is an ideal way to ensure plenty of scenery and access to outdoor activities.

In addition to the importance of outdoor recreation, other things families often consider when selecting a campground include:

Amenities: While some enjoy traditional camping in tents with limited amenities, others are evolving with more modern tastes, placing a large importance on the availability of retail stores, showers, bathrooms, washers and driers, free Wi-Fi, or even zip lines and heated pools.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Proximity to Recreation: Many campers take part in activities such as boating, fishing, ATV riding, and mountain biking.

Safety: While camping is meant to be stress-free, safety should always be considered when selecting a site or area. For example, the presence of animals, falling rocks, troublesome plants such as poison ivy, or an area that is a target for lightening are all things families think about when planning a trip.

Scenery: Since being outdoors is the main reason families enjoy camping, selecting a scenic location can make it that much more enjoyable. Properties around lakes, mountains, or colorful trails are desired locations for camping excursions.

Proximity to Water: Although some don’t mind dry sites and they tend to be more secluded and quiet, it is important to consider how far away the site is from a water source. Being close to water is helpful for cooking as well as providing fresh water for drinking.

Destinations and Cultural Attractions Managed by Aramark

Almost 22,000 campgrounds exist across the United States. Below are examples of sites with a large variety of outdoor recreation making for great options for family vacations:

Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona, Utah: Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Bullfrog RV Park & Campground, Halls Crossing RV Park & Campground, Hite RV Park & Campground

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado: Morefield Campground, Fairview Lodge

Lake Tahoe Basin National Forest, Nevada: Zephyr Cove RV Park & Campground

Olympic National Park, Washington: Log Cabin Resort Campground, RV Park at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort

Olympic National Forest, Washington: Lake Quinault Lodge

Details

Aramark’s Leisure Division

Aramark’s Leisure division delivers authentic and memorable experiences at national and state parks, national forests, conference centers, specialty hotels, museums, and other tourist destinations throughout the United States.

In partnership with its clients, Aramark seeks to enhance the guest experience by offering industry-leading hospitality, environmental stewardship, recreational and interpretive programs.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Address: 2850 E. Camelback Road, Suite 240, Phoenix, AZ  85016

Phone: (602) 331-5200

Website: www.aramarkleisure.com

Worth Pondering…

Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes — every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.

—Orison Swett Marden

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Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

Jayco’s line of Jay Flight travel trailers—including the Jay Flight, Jay Flight Bungalow, and the Jay Flight SLX— has spent ten consecutive years as the top-selling recreation vehicle worldwide.

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

The Jay Flight brands have earned success because of a commitment to a quality product enjoyable by all since the product launch in 2001, according to a company news release.

Many of the employees have worked with the Jay Flight line since this time.

Through the years, over 160,000 families have chosen the Jay Flight family of travel trailers.

Amy Duthie, senior director of product development of Jay Flight Travel Trailers, has worked closely with the Jay Flight family.

“It’s exciting to see how Jay Flight has transformed over the years and to be a part of it.” Duthie said.

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

“We have strived to remain true to the original goal of bringing the best in livability, features, and value to the retail owner.”

“Derald Bontrager, president and CEO, has always said ‘We build campers one at a time for one family at a time,’” added Duthie.

“This is what we have always done, and will continue to do every day. It is this principle, along with our great dealer partners, which has helped Jay Flight reach and remain at the top of the RV industry for 10 years.”

Key updates and new features for model year 2016 Jay Flights include:

  • All-new exteriors
  • Interior décor upgrades
  • Upgraded technology features
  • Power awnings (SLX models)
  • Digital remote control for slide rooms, awnings, and lighting (available in Jay Flight).
Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

The 2016 models will be available in mid-May.

In honor of this achievement, Jayco has launched a website commending the Jay Flight (SEE link below)

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.

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

Jayco Jay Flight Celebrates Decade of Family Fun

Address: 903 S. Main, Middlebury, Indiana 46540

Phone: (800) RV-JAYCO (toll free)

Jayco Website: www.jayco.com

Jay Flight Website: www.jayco.com/about/jay-flight

Worth Pondering…

I dream of southern skies.

Cajun cookin’.

Tee offs in Tijuana.

Juleps in Jacksonville.

My reality is a daily commute that begins each day at six a.m.

Road rage.

Traffic tie-ups.

Cranky commuters.

The pathos of Dilbert’s world.

—Lisa Paradis

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Is Your RV Ready For The Holiday Weekend?

This weekend marks the start of the camping season and that means getting your RV road ready for new adventures.

One of over 2,000 arches in Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of over 2,000 arches in Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

AAA travel projects 37.2 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home for Memorial Weekend. That’s the highest travel volume for Memorial Day in 10 years.

To make sure you have a safe journey to your destination, there are several things you should do before heading out on the road.

The first is to make sure your RV is in working order.

This is the time to give your RV a bath. Washing the rig will allow you to get up-close and personal with areas that are often out of sight—and thus—out of mind.

Always start on the roof. Exercise care when walking on the roof, especially if wet. Pay close attention to the rubber membrane for any cracks or deterioration of the white surface coating.

Look carefully for any deterioration in the caulking around vents, seams, antennas, and roof-mounted satellite dish. Also inspect the plastic vent lids and skylights for sunlight
deterioration and cracks.

Washing the RV and rinsing thoroughly around the windows will help locate possible leaks. Carefully inspect window seals and caulking around compartments and accessories.

Discover Okanagan Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Now, let’s go RVing to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Routine tire inspection is a critical part of regular maintenance as well as an integral procedure during the spring checkup. Check the date of manufacture from the D.O.T. code that is located on the outside tire sidewall. Every tire contains the week and year of manufacture.

The general rule of thumb is that motorhome and trailer tires will age-out after seven years, regardless of tread condition. During inspection, check every tire for cuts, cracks, or bubbles — including the inside sidewall.

Inflate tires to the correct air pressure. To determine the proper pressure, either refer to the RV manufacturer’s weight label (assuming the RV is not overloaded) or weigh the wheels individually and consult the tire manufacturer’s load and inflation tables.

Check the LP-gas, smoke, and carbon-monoxide warning detectors. Start by replacing the battery in the smoke detector (which should be done once a year). Push the test button in each device to check for proper operation. Most of these detectors will not last the lifetime of your RV; check with the manufacturer, or look on the back of the detector to see if there’s an expiration date.

And don’t forget the fire extinguisher. It should be tested and replaced according to the manufacturer’s timeline as well.

Historic Mesilla © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Historic Mesilla, near Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Test the microwave oven. Using a glass of water, run the microwave for two minutes and be sure the water reaches a point of near boiling.

Using a flashlight look for signs of moisture inside your cupboards and closets. Also be on the lookout for mold and mildew. Check under the galley, and open all drawers and inspect behind them with the flashlight as well. Look for mice nests or dead critters.

If you don’t have one already, pack an emergency kit with non-perishable food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and drinking water.

Once your RV is ready to go, make sure you have all the equipment you will need. The smaller battery operated vacuum cleaners take little storage space and are available for that quick cleanup when needed.

This is also the time to update and add some new features to your RV. There are many new accessories on the market to add to the experience. Big this year are LED lights. They are popular in the RV industry simply because they hardly use any energy.

Taking the time to give your RV a thorough spring checkup will make for much more enjoyable travels. And finding the little problems before they become big headaches also keeps more money in your pocket.

Getting out with your family, hitting the reset button, going camping, unwinding and relaxation, and spending quality time with your family—that is what it is all about.

Bisbee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Historic Bisbee in southeastern Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And the golden rule: don’t pass up the opportunities along the way to explore and see something new.

Worth Pondering…

The journey not the arrival matters.

—T. S. Eliot

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What is the Value of Your RV?

Whether you plan to buy or sell a recreational vehicle, you need to know it’s value.

Keystone Montana fifth wheel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone Montana fifth wheel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Knowing the value of an RV you plan to sell or the value of one you are interested in purchasing is the best way to ensure that you are getting a fair deal.

However, determining the value of an RV can be a difficult and complicated task.

A new tool to help owners and buyers find information on new and used prices and determine the value of an RV is the NADA website.

NADAguides.com is the perfect place to start when researching RVs.

It is important to have this information when shopping for an RV.

Using the NADA guide can be a huge resource to RV shoppers.

What is NADA?

NADA offers consumers a guide that provides information about vehicle pricing for new, used, and classic automobiles in addition to motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, and manufactured homes.

Camping at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park south of Mission.

2007 Newmar Kountry Star Class A Diesel camped at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park, Mission, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

NADAguides.com was launched in 1998 to provide consumers with values, tools, products, and services to assists automotive, marine, powersports, recreation vehicles, and manufactured housing shoppers during their research and decision making process.

In addition to providing prices and values of new and used RVs, NADA guides also includes specs and photos.

NADA guides is known as being the leading provider of vehicle pricing and services to consumers, but in addition to that, it is also the largest provider of vehicle data and information to the nation’s leading banks, credit unions, fleet and lease organizations, dealers, insurance companies, government agencies, and financial institutions.

How To Use NADA To Sell Or Buy an RV?

The NADA RV pricing guide allows you to enter the make, model, year, and other details of the RV you are interested in selling or buying.

After all the information is inputted, NADA guides will provide the suggested list price, and the low and average retail price of the RV.

NADA will base the price of the RV on age, condition, options, mileage, and whether or not it is motorized. All NADA prices assume that the RV is in good condition and in proper working order.

2012 Newmar Dutch Star Class A Diesel motorhome camped at Leasburg Dam State Park, New Mexico. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2012 Newmar Dutch Star Class A Diesel motorhome camped at Leasburg Dam State Park, New Mexico. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When selling an RV to a dealership, you should expect to get a price near the low average. Since dealerships need to make a profit when reselling the RV, this is the price point they will most often reference.

When purchasing an RV you will probably pay somewhere between the low and average price depending on the vehicle’s condition. Also, keep in mind that some RVs are in more demand than others. If an RV is in good condition and everything is in proper working order, the fair price will likely be somewhere between NADA wholesale and retail price.

Key Definitions Used By NADA Guides

Suggested List: The value listed reflects the approximate price of the unit when it is brand new. The prices listed are furnished by the manufacturer and are assumed to be correct. The list price does not include freight charges.

Low Retail Value: A low retail unit may have extensive wear and tear. Body parts may have dents and blemishes. The buyer can expect to invest in cosmetic and/or mechanical work. This vehicle should be in safe running order. Low retail vehicles usually are not found on dealer lots. Low retail is not a trade-in value.

Average Retail Value: An average retail vehicle should be clean and without glaring defects. Tires and glass should be in good condition. The paint should match and have a good finish. The interior should have wear in relation to the age of the vehicle. Carpet and seat upholstery should be clean, and all power options should work. The mileage should be within the acceptable range for the model year.

Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you are buying or selling an RV, NADA is a great place to start. When selling or shopping for an RV, be sure to check the NADA guide before negotiating a price. But remember that this is only a guide, RV prices vary depending on condition, demand, and location.

Worth Pondering…

Owning an RV is not cheap; but, it’s a terrific lifestyle!

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EverGreen RV Introduces New Ever-Lite Travel Trailer Floor Plan

Middlebury, Indiana-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles’ flagship Ever-Lite travel trailer, increases floor plan choices with the newest 292FLBS.

EverGreen RV Introduces New Ever-Lite Travel Trailer Floor Plan

EverGreen RV Introduces New Ever-Lite Travel Trailer Floor Plan

As with all Ever-Lite models the 292FLBS is built with ComposiTek construction. The Ever-Lite brand remains the only composite travel trailer on the market today.

The ComposiTek construction isn’t the only feature that sets the 292FLBS apart from other travel trailers. There are plenty of standard amenities throughout and opportunities to customize that make the Ever-Lite brand a popular choice among savvy campers in search of a coach that will last a lifetime.

An entry door at the front of the trailer opens into the large living area. The 90-inch horseshoe lounge with freestanding table sits in the 42-inch deep slide opposite the entrance. An optional sofa with two end tables is available in place of the lounge. At the front of the living area is another sofa with valuable overhead storage above. This sofa can also be replaced with two optional swivel rockers. Natural light fills the room from the skylight above making the space feel even larger.

A spacious kitchen full of cabinets and a huge pantry provide plenty of food storage. The 292FLBS features a unique slide-out wardrobe/pantry that is strategically located for optimal functionality. The wardrobe slide is next to the kitchen, across from the bathroom and outside the bedroom for food, linen or clothing storage in the hallway.

2015 EverGreen Ever-Lite 292FLBS interior

2015 EverGreen Ever-Lite 292FLBS interior

“This bedroom slide model offers people more interior living space without the added length,” said Vice President of Sales and Marketing Doug Lantz.

“Our new 292FLBS is as much as 1,600 pounds lighter, and two to three feet shorter than other bedroom slide models on the market today.”

The bedroom has more than just a residential style closet with mirrored, sliding doors. Nightstands on both sides of the bed, under bed storage with gas-assisted struts, a large dresser and overhead storage provide more than enough room for camping essentials.

A generous sized bathroom also has a large amount of countertop space, uncommon in similar travel trailers. Above the curved front shower a skylight floods the room with natural light.

The Ever-Lite remains EverGreen’s innovative, composite flagship brand. The up-front investment in composite materials, and the complexity of manufacturing with composites, are just two of the reasons the EverGreen Ever-Lite remains the only composite travel trailer built to this day.

Details

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC

EverGreen 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.

2015 EverGreen Ever-Lite 292FLBS interior

2015 EverGreen Ever-Lite 292FLBS interior

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), two lines of toy haulers (Amped and Tesla), and a Class B motorhome (Imperial).

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 with its Lifestyle Luxury RV division is one of the five largest recreational vehicle manufacturers in North America

2015 EverGreen Ever-Lite 292FLBS interior

2015 EverGreen Ever-Lite 292FLBS interior

Address: 10758 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-4298

Website: www.goevergreenrv.com

Worth Pondering…

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

—Ayn Rand

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Prep Your RV For Summer In 5 Easy Steps

The weather is getting warmer and summer will soon be here.

Ramblers Rest RV Resort, Venice, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ramblers Rest RV Resort, Venice, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Now is the time to start planning your summer vacation. But prior to booking a campsite, owners of recreational vehicles should perform some basic and routine maintenance to ensure that their road trip goes smoothly. Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems.

It is a much better to take care of any problems while at home rather than having to deal with costly repairs while on the road. Trouble-free camping makes for happy camping.

Plug it In – Turn it On

After taking the RV out of winter storage, plug it in to shore power, turn on the LP gas, and connect to city water to ensure that all electric and propane appliances function normally and there is no evidence of water leaks. Also run the air conditioning units and furnace, turn on the refrigerator and freezer, start the water heater, and power up the generator and run with a full load.

Check and Double Check

Top off the fluid levels in your batteries, check all hoses and belts for cracking, and all fluid levels on a motorized RV. Also check the converter and/or inverter for proper voltage. Check the headlights and turn signals. Take a look at all your hitch and towing equipment. Check fire extinguisherssmoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and propane sensor.

North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping at North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kick the Tires

Check the age of the tires—RV tires usually age out before they wear out.

Check that all tires are properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires means more money for fuel. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure and blowout.

If you have a travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer you may need to pack wheel bearings.

Clean the tires and rims and inspect them for evidence of any splits or cracks in the sidewalls and weatherization damage.

Jack it Up

Regardless of your RV type, check the jacks and leveling systems, the awnings, crank and run the generator and service if required.

Open awnings and check for frayed or ripped material. Remove stains and mildew with special awning cleaner and allow awning to dry before rolling back up. Check hardware for functionality and replace as needed.

Tips For Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Products For Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Keep it Clean

Regular cleaning of a recreational vehicle is essential for its maintenance and to ensure the longevity of your RV especially after a long winter in storage. Cleaning starts with your RV roof, because whatever lands on your roof eventually ends up everywhere else on the RV. Always exercise extreme care when working on the roof of an RV, especially when wet.

When inspecting the roof look for tears or holes. Beware of small slices that can allow water intrusion. Get any holes or slices repaired immediately.

Look for peeling, cracking, or openings in the sealants and if found should be cleaned, dried, and resealed.

Next clean the front of the RV including side mirrors, the side walls, and back using a quality RV wash such as McGuire’s. The safest and easiest way to reach the upper part of the RV is with an extension pole system.

Pay special attention to the seams where the wall joints, storage bay doors, marker lights, and appliance outlets are found. Remove dirt, bugs, tar, and other road residue from the surface of your RV.

Inspect the side walls and around windows and doors for cracks or voids in the seams and seals. Scrape and reseal any affected areas with the appropriate sealant.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After a general clean with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast with a quality product such as McGuire’s Wash and Wax.

Worth Pondering…

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.

—Ben Stein

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More Americans To Take Summer Road Trip

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and kicks off summer vacation planning season. More Americans will take to the roads this year as they benefit from the low fuel prices.

travelocity-road-trip-infographicAccording to a recent Travelocity survey of 1000 Americans, 65 percent of those polled stated that they were more likely to take a road trip this summer compared to last summer.

While it’s clear that low fuel prices are likely driving Americans to take more road trips, Travelocity’s survey also looked at why road trips are still popular when it comes to travel.

While the majority of those surveyed replied that the destination is what they most look forward to, a full one-third of those polled felt that the best part of a road trip is the journey itself.

This sentiment was echoed by a number of Travelocity customers who were asked what they loved most about going on road trips. According to one veteran Travelocity customer, sharing and enjoying their favorite music on the road by “making road trip mixes” is the best part of a road trip, while another noted that it is “…fun to pull over to random roadside attractions. Those usually create long lasting memories and stories that will forever commemorate the trip.”

When asked about what person with whom they would least want to undertake a road trip, 35 percent of those surveyed responded that it would be “the fussy child”, followed by “the one who needs frequent bathroom breaks” (20%) and “the backseat driver” (16%).

Scenic Byway 12 travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scenic Byway 12 travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When asked how long they could go without needing to stop for a break, the average across those surveyed was five hours. However, when broken down by gender, the difference turned out to be substantial. While on average, women feel that they could go just over four hours between stops, while men claim that they can go almost an hour longer before having to pull over.

The Road Trip

The tradition of taking a road trip dates back about 3,000 years.

The first road trip likely occurred in ancient Egypt around 1200 B.C., when Ramses II hit the road in his chariot.

Similar ventures—using the well-loved automobile—began in Germany in the 1880s.

As the car’s popularity grew, so did the practice of taking to roadways for a carefree holiday.

The road trip became an easy, breezy travel idea that’s affordable and accessible—and in America today there is no shortage of highways, byways, and back roads.

Answering the call of the open road is practically an American rite of passage—and today more and more are taking to the open road in a recreational vehicle.

Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park.

Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Scenic Byways

So put the pedal to the metal, crank up those tunes, and roll down those windows to gaze upon America the beautiful as it rolls by.

Indulge your wanderlust on wheels while exploring the following National Scenic Byways.

Scenic Byway 12 (Utah)

Scenic Byway 12 travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. It runs through Utah’s Garfield and Wayne Counties and is home to Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks; Kodachrome Basin, Escalante Petrified Forest, and Anasazi Museum State Parks; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the 1.8-million-acre Dixie National Forest.

Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia and North Carolina)

The Blue Ridge Parkway provides spectacular mountain and valley vistas, quiet pastoral scenes, sparkling waterfalls, and colorful flower and foliage displays as it extends through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. Connecting two national parks—Shenandoah in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountainsin North Carolina—the Blue Ridge Parkway traverses 469 miles through blue-misted Appalachian highlands.

Red Rock Scenic Byway (Arizona)

Red Rock Scenic Byway winds through Sedona’s Red Rock Country, often called a “museum without walls.” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Rock Scenic Byway winds through Sedona’s Red Rock Country, often called a “museum without walls.” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Rock Scenic Byway winds through Sedona’s Red Rock Country, often called a “museum without walls.” Travelers are amazed by the high desert’s power, diversity, and sense of intimacy with nature. Inhabited for thousands of years, the stunning red rocks are alive with a timeless spirit that captivates and inspires.

El Camino Real (New Mexico)

New Mexico’s El Camino Real passes by missions, historic sites, and a national wildlife refuge.

Cultures along El Camino Real De Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road of the Interior Land), are as diverse as its history and scenery. Pueblos reveal artisans crafting wares using centuries-old methods. First traveled by Don Juan de Onate in 1598, the route provided news, supplies, and travel to the first capital of the New World.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

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Camping & National Parks: Best RV Destinations

Families across the country are planning their summer vacations and taking their RV out of winter storage.

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) joins the two parks of Jasper and Banff in one of the most breathtaking, beautiful drives that anyone can travel in the world. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) joins the two parks of Jasper and Banff in one of the most breathtaking, beautiful drives that anyone can travel in the world. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canada’s network of national parks offers must-see destinations for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. As the summer camping season quickly approaches, Parks Canada prepares to welcome campers to national parks across the country.

Some of the best RV destinations where campers can escape from the city and connect with nature at found at Canada’s national parks. Full-service camping with water, electric, and sewer hookups are available at the following national parks:

Banff National Park (Alberta)

UNESCO World Heritage Site and Canada’s first national park (1885), Banff National Park is a not-to-be missed symbol of Canada. Valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows, and rivers make Banff National Park one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. The campsite is located 10 minutes from the village of Banff. Tunnel Mountain Campground offers 321 sites.

Who doesn’t dream of seeing the turquoise waters of Lake Louise. Big-rig friendly Lake Louise Campground offers RV 184 sites with water and electric service. Sani dump available nearby.

Jasper National Park (Alberta)

Jasper National Park combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with ease of access

Jasper National Park combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with ease of access and less crowded conditions than Banff © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

UNESCO World Heritage Site and Dark Sky Preserve, Jasper National Park , the grandiose, icy jewel of the Rockies offers unlimited hiking trails, incomparable wilderness, and the second most extensive dark sky preserve on the planet. Whistlers Campground (781 sites) is located on the Icefields Parkway, a short distance south of the town site of Jasper.

Waterton Lakes National Park – Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (Alberta)

At Waterton Lakes National Park, the term “majestic” makes perfect sense. The prairie grassland quickly gives way to the windswept, steep mountains. Several different ecological areas coexist in a landscape shaped by wind, fire, and water where all kinds of plants and animals can be found. Townsite Campground offers 90 camping sites.

Kootenay National Park (British Columbia)

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kootenay National Park features a varied landscape and ecological environment that not only includes glacier-topped peaks along the Continental Divide, but also semi-arid open grassland forests in the Rocky Mountain Trench where you can find cacti, and hot springs. Located a short distance from the hot springs, Redstreak Campground offers 242 sites.

The newly opened Glacial Skywalk over the Athabasca Glacier (Jasper National Park, Alberta) lets you experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils, and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The newly opened Glacial Skywalk over the Athabasca Glacier (Jasper National Park, Alberta) lets you experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils, and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cape Breton Highlands National Park (Nova Scotia)

Breathtaking landscapes welcome you as they shape Cape Breton Highlands National Park. High, steep cliffs and deep river valleys dissect the forest-covered plateau bordering the Atlantic Ocean. One-third of the famous Cabot Trail runs through the Park along the coast and dominates the Highlands. Located near the charming village of Ingonish, the 74-site Broad Cove Campground is in a forest bordered by a long sandy beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

Prince Edward Island National Park (Prince Edward Island)

Surrounded by landscapes where dunes, archipelagos, sand spits, beaches, red sandstone cliffs, and forests endlessly follow each other, dive into the history of the people who lived there, whether Aboriginal, French, or Acadian. Offering 73 sites the Cavendish Campground is located next to a secluded patrolled white sandy beach.

Fundy National Park (New Brunswick)

The spectacular force of the tides in Fundy National Park, is a marvel in itself. Hike the magnificent trails lined with river valleys, lakes, coastal forests and beaches, and relax and admire the wonders of star clusters at night. The 248-site Chignecto North Campground is located on a large wooded lot, 10 minutes by car from the Bay of Fundy; un-serviced and fully serviced are available.

Rocky Mountain Sheep. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rocky Mountain Sheep in Jasper National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Riding Mountain National Park (Manitoba)

Visiting Riding Mountain National Park is the first step in the discovery of extended hills and valleys extending eastward from a dramatic rise known as the Manitoba Escarpment. The 86-site Wasagaming Campground provides access to the main beach, restaurants, golf course, hiking and cycling paths, a horse-riding trail and many other services.

Prince Albert National Park (Saskatchewan)

Discover a preserved northern evergreen forest, home to abundant wildlife including one of the few populations of wild plains bison. Magnificent scenic routes criss-cross the Park. The 161-site Red Deer Campground is located a short walk from hiking trails, a beach and a wide range of services.

Worth Pondering…

I always thought of this as God’s country.
—Jack Granatstein

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KA-PING! What Was That Sound?

KA-PING! What was that sound?

Our Newmar Dutch Star parked at Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our Newmar Dutch Star parked at Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A stone had been thrown from a medium sized car as it accelerated and merged onto the interstate in front of our motor coach on I-5 in central California. Not an extra loud ping as the rock hit our one-piece windshield and not our first rock chip. And NOT a big deal.

We’ve had small windshield chips before and knew the basics of that.

No crater and no cracks spreading out in all directions.

No need to panic, turn to social media, or contact our insurance company.

If I had turned to social media I’m sure the feedback would run the gamut ranging from Holy Cannolli! to use clear nail polish or bubble gum it.

Later in the day we pulled into big-rig friendly, Durango RV Resort, a 5-star park located on the Sacramento River in Red Bluff.

Most sites are pull-through 70-90 feet in length and 30-35 feet wide. In addition there are 11 riverfront sites and 21 water-feature spaces (fountains); these sites have utilities on both sides of the concrete pads enabling fifth wheels and travel trailer to back onto the sites and motorhomes to drive forward maximizing the view and water features. In addition, there are a number of buddy sites.

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The park is well laid out and designed. Utilities including 20/30/50-amp electric service, water, sewer, and cable TV (63 channels) and centrally located. Interior roads are paved, pads are concrete. A beautiful RV resort with friendly and courteous staff. We would return in a heartbeat. But I digress.

We woke up in the morning of April 1—and it was no April Fool’s joke—to a crack in the middle of the windshield two to three feet across. We didn’t think too much about it when the rock hit the windshield the previous day as a car accelerated to merge onto the interstate. The brutally rough California freeways may have may it worse. In the whole scheme of things it’s not the worst thing that could happen.

Windshields really are amazing things. They must meet US DOT standards to withstand an incident like this, and hold up in one piece until you can get them replaced. Windshields are required to be made of safety glass comprised of two pieces of glass with a laminated plastic layer in between that keeps everything held together.

Henry Ford actually started using this style of glass for windshield as early as 1919 when ordinary glass windshields were causing needless deaths from glass fragments.

Insurance policies can vary widely. You may have windshield coverage on your RV insurance policy. For some, it’s an add-on rider, for others it’s included at zero deductible with comprehensive coverage as mandated by state law. Check with your agent or company to know and understand your coverage.

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re a Florida resident and have a Florida policy with comprehensive coverage, here’s a bonus for you: State law mandates that there is no deductible applied to windshield repairs or replacements. The replacement won’t cost you anything but time!

Glass replacement can range in cost depending upon the shape, size, and availability of the windshield. Total cost of replacement might be less than your deductible, if it applies, and not worth filing. For others, it may be well worth filing a claim.

There was no need to alter our travel plans as we were staying several days at the delightful Durango RV Resort.

We started coordinating the windshield replacement by contacting our insurance company and Midtown RV, our Newmar dealer in Penticton, British Columbia, where we had previously booked a service appointment.

We opted to file through our insurance company, as we knew the windshield replacement cost would exceed our $2,500 deductible.

Midtown RV, Newmar and Airstream dealer in Penticton, British Columbia  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Midtown RV, Newmar and Airstream dealer in Penticton, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We had Midtown RV order the windshield replacement and set us up with an appointment at nearby Sunshine Glass and Mirror to coincide with our service appointment.

Sunshine Glass has many years experience replacing motorhome windshields and understands that RV glass is not the same as passenger vehicle auto glass and is treated differently. We have used them on several previous occasions and found their service to be prompt and efficient. Following the replacement we are advised not to extend the hydraulic jacks or drive the motorhome until the following day. It’s okay to extend the slides.

The following day we’re on the road again.

Worth Pondering…

The only aspect of our travels that is interesting to others is disaster.

—Martha Gellman

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The Appeal of Pop-Up Trailers

Pop-up trailers are a blend of RV and tent, combining the best of both types. They give you the comfort and security of a travel trailer and the openness of a tent.

Viking Epic Pop-Up Trailers

Viking Epic Pop-Up Trailers Consumers Digest Best Buy

Pop-up trailers, which are also known as pop-up campers, folding tent trailers, and folding campers are lightweight trailers with collapsible (usually canvas material) sides that fold for aerodynamic towing by a motorized vehicle. When set up, they provide cooking, dining, and sleeping facilities for up to eight people.

Pop-up trailers are an affordable way for the budget buyer to get into RVing, a viable first step of RV ownership.

They are lightweight and make a lot of sense to campers especially young families and those looking at upgrading from tent camping to an RV.

Added to the fact purchase prices are much lower than a conventional RV, they provide a wonderful camping choice.

The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is forecasting the industry will ship 10,900 pop-up units to retailers this year and will remain unchanged in 2015.

TrailManor SilverTrail Edition

TrailManor SilverTrail Edition

Although the market for pop-ups has been eroded somewhat following the recession, there are still new pop-up trailers coming out that will continue to attract new customers who have decided that tent camping just isn’t fun anymore. And today’s pop-ups have some definite advantages over their predecessors.

They’re definitely not your dad’s pop-up. Early pop-up trailers were bland—not much more than a wheeled box with a bed and table. They have become a lot easier to set up and take down. Today’s pop-up trailers are much more automated with more power lifts that reduce setup and take down time. When you add to that the incredible number of new features—everything from updated floor plans and fabrics to extra storage and power points, their appeal has been broadened.

SylvanSport GO

Lightweight and easy to manage, the SylvanSport GO can be pulled by even the smallest of cars.

Today, they are much improved and offer more appeal. There are even off-road models with dirt tires and a deck on which to carry an ATV.

Setting up a pop-up trailer is relatively simple and should take about 20 minutes.

Park your pop-up in a level spot. Secure the wheels with a tire locking chock. Raise the trailer tongue high enough to disconnect the tow vehicle. Pull the tow vehicle away and level the trailer.

Release the roof latches, and raise the roof using the crank handle or winch extending the telescoping poles on each corner of the box.

Next, bunks at the front and the back of the trailer are pulled out by hand. Then, the tent material (which is fastened to the box and to the roof) is unfurled, pulled over the ends of the bunks, and attached. Interior support poles for the bunk and the entry door are then installed.

Depending on the configuration and included equipment, several additional set up steps may be required. These steps include hooking up to utilities (electricity, water, sewer), reassembling the dinette, unfolding the sink, turning on systems (water pump, water heater, etc.), making beds and unpacking belongings.

Earlier articles on Vogel Talks RVing have featured several brands of pop-up trailers, each boasting unique features.

Bunkhouse Pop-up trailer

Bushtec Products’ Bunkhouse Pop-up trailers has introduced a new pop-up travel trailer.

The Bunkhouse Camper manufactured by Jacksboro, Tennessee-based Bushtec Products features pop-ups weighing less than 300 pounds that are popular with motorcycle riders.

The TrailManor is a low-profile hard wall trailer that opens and closes with the touch of a remote control. TrailManor’s “tow low/live high” concept appeals to campers desiring comfort and luxury beyond that offered by the typical pop-up trailer.

The Viking Epic Series of pop-up trailers offers eight floor plans in the $9,615-$13,401 price range. Manufactured by Coachmen RV, a division of Forest River Inc., the Viking Epic Series was named a 2014 Consumers Digest Best Buy in the “midrange” category.

Billed as “Mobile Adventure Gear” rather than a trailer, the SylvanSport Go is an 800-pound pop-up trailer that can carry extra outdoor equipment such as canoes and trailers and can be towed by a small car.

Worth Pondering…

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

—James Dean (1931-1955)

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