Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

Middlebury, Indiana-based Entegra Coach introduced the 2015 Cornerstone Class A Diesel Pusher in three 45-foot models, the 45B, 45J, and 45K and provide a variety of slideout options.

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

The exterior includes flush-mount slideouts and frameless tinted dual-pane safety-glass windows.

The 2015 Cornerstone diesel pusher has a 15,000-pound towing capacity. It comes standard with a Spartan K3 tag axle chassis and a Cummins ISX 600 HP turbocharged engine that features an Allison GEN 4 4000 MH six-speed transmission and electronic shifter.

It is built on Entegra Coach’s X-bridge frame.

Under this coach are two carpeted, lighted, and powered slideout cargo trays with side-hinged baggage doors that provide storage space for luggage, sporting gear, outdoor furniture, grills, coolers, or anything else.

Other exterior extras include a 40-inch Samsung LED HDTV with Sony CD/DVD player and speakers, and a convenient exterior slideout tray that stores a powerful 12,500-watt Onan diesel generator.

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

The Cornerstone’s cockpit features Villa Natural Leather power adjustable driver and passenger seats with integrated seat belts, color back-up camera and monitor and side cameras with turn signals, a Trip-Tek information center, Spartan Message Center, and a touch-screen AM/FM/CD/DVD with GPS navigation, which can be projected on the 32-inch Samsung LED HDTV, Bluetooth, and four speakers.

The Cornerstone also has an Ultra-Vision one-piece wrap-around tinted windshield with powered front and side window roller shades.

Cornerstone standards include an electric fireplace, natural leather furniture, 46-inch Samsung LED HDTV in living area (50-inch in the 45B) with Bose CineMate digital home theatre system, decorative satin nickel lighting throughout, raised-panel hardwood, stackable washer and dryer, central vacuum system, and hidden safe.

In the kitchen area, the Cornerstone features a flush-mounted electric two-burner touch control range, a Samsung convection microwave oven with carousel, a Samsung 23 cubic-foot residential refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser, a dishwasher drawer, solid quartz residential-grade countertops with undermounted stainless-steel sink, solid quartz sink covers and cutting boards and a porcelain tile backsplash with glass design inlays.

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

The kitchen is completed by the satin nickel high-rise single-lever faucet with pull-out sprayer, silverware drawer, under-sink sink cover storage compartment, pull-out cabinet extension with countertop, large deep drawer with waste basket, and two chrome overhead slideout baskets.

The Cornerstone’s bedroom has a King Select Comfort air mattress, cedar-lined wardrobe, 32-inch Samsung LED HDTV home theatre system with Bose Solo sound bar. An in-bed remote secure coach locking system is there for additional convenience and safety. The bathroom boasts solid quartz countertops with integrated sink, porcelain tile shower with integrated seat, satin nickel fixtures, skylight in the shower and medicine cabinet with mirror.

Along with the standard Aqua-Hot 450-D water and heating system with in-floor radiant heating throughout, the 2014 Cornerstone also features Multiplex lighting to control the lights throughout the coach.

Some options include a desk in lieu of a lounger, free-standing table with four chairs and sofa, exterior freezer in slideout tray, power slideout cargo trays and iPad remote control.

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

Entegra Coach Introduces 2015 Cornerstone Class A in 3 Models

The Cornerstone is also backed by Entegra Coach’s industry-leading 2-year warranty.


Entegra Coach, Inc.

Entegra Coach manufactures and markets luxury Class A diesel motor coaches (Aspire, Anthem, and Cornerstone).

Entegra Coach became a member of the Jayco family of companies in the spring of 2008. Jayco is the world’s largest privately-held manufacturer of recreational vehicles.

Address: 903 S. Main Street, PO Box 460, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-5861 or (800) 945-4787

Website: www.entegracoach.com

Worth Pondering…
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.
—Eartha Kitt

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Obscure Snowbird Destinations

Every winter thousands of Canadians and Americans from the northern climes head south to the U.S Sunbelt. The snowbird hotspots include vast stretches of the Florida coastline, a variety of popular Arizona desert locations, and Palm Springs, the always fashionable playground of the rich and famous.

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona

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

Imagine instead going to an undiscovered winter retreat. Like the popular hotspots, you’ll find a variety of shopping, quality restaurants, excellent golfing, bird watching, fishing, outdoor recreation, entertainment, top rate medical facilities, friendly people, and much more.

Following are three obscure snowbird destinations in the U.S sunbelt.

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Gold Canyon is adjacent to the Superstition Mountain Wilderness and at the foothills of Superstition Mountain, which offer thousands of square miles of public land for hiking, off road trails, bike riding, photography, and other outdoor sports. There are five 18-hole championship length golf courses within Gold Canyon and dozens more within a 30 minute drive—something for most every skill level and budget.

Gold Canyon offers a wide variety of activities and attractions: arts events, baseball spring training, the Renaissance Festival, museums, swap meets, state parks, and so much more.

The views of the Superstition Mountain, along with evening sunsets, makes Gold Canyon one of the most picturesque areas in all of Arizona. It is a great place to call your winter home.

Numerous 5-star RV parks and resorts are located within the immediate area including Canyon Vista RV Resort (2014 Good Sam rating: 9, 9.5*, 9), our home for several weeks last winter—and yes, we would return in a heartbeat.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico, after a day of safe travel.

Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nestled in the fertile Mesilla Valley between the majestic Organ Mountains and the meandering Rio Grande, Las Cruces, New Mexico, is becoming a popular southwestern snowbird destination.

Las Cruces is an ideal central location to explore and experience the best of New Mexico’s past, present, and future. Ideally located at the crossroads of Interstate 10 and 25, “The City of the Crosses” is a blend of culture, museums, historical sites, scenic beauty, and superb weather with 320 days of sunshine per year.

The area offers spectacular year-round golf, unique special events, world-class New Mexico cuisine, and two national monuments—White Sands and Organ Mountain Desert Peaks.

Memorable excursions include historic Old Mesilla, several living ghost towns, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and Spaceport America, home to the world’s first commercial passenger spaceline company, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Numerous 5-star RV parks and resorts are located within the immediate area including Hacienda RV & Rally Resort (2014 Good Sam rating: 8.5, 9.5*, 8.5), our home on several occasions.

Alabama Gulf Coast

The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While Alabama’s shoreline may not be the first place that pops to mind when planning a winter getaway, don’t overlook it. With miles of sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand, Snowbirds will find what they’re looking for—and more—along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Our RV travels have taken us through the area on numerous occasions as we drove I-10 from Florida to Texas. Several years ago we decided to check out the Alabama Gulf Coast for ourselves and it did not disappoint.

Fresh seafood is the standard along the Gulf Coast. Seafood markets offer shrimp, oysters, crab, and snapper. There are numerous seafood restaurants with an endless assortment of dishes.

Small towns on the Alabama Gulf Coast including Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Foley, Daphne, and Fairhope welcome RVers and offer outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, canoeing, and birding.

Numerous 5-star RV parks and resorts are located within the immediate area including Lake Osprey RV Country Club (2014 Good Sam rating: 10,10*, 10), our winter home along the Gulf Coast. Another prime destination park, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores (2014 Good Sam rating: 10,10*, 10) is an upscale Class A motorhome resort community.

With so many great Sunbelt destinations, snowbirds have plenty of options. Visiting several different areas may help you choose the snowbird destination that is best for you.

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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Truma AquaGo Offers Instant Hot Water Comfort

Truma has developed a new generation of instant water heaters offering hot water comfort in recreational vehicles.

aquago_campagne_teaser_final_704The Truma AquaGo sets new standards in terms of technology, operating ease, safety, and easy maintenance and is available in three models: basic, comfort, and comfort plus, according to a company news release.

The Truma AquaGo supplies hot water reliably and constantly for showering, rinsing, or hand washing in the RV. The device is connected between the vehicle’s fresh water supply and its hot water plumbing system.

“The burner starts automatically as soon as any hot water valve is opened in the RV and the water flow is greater than approx. 0.4 gallons per minute,” said Elden Wood, vice president of sales and marketing.

“Thanks to its 60,000-BTU burner, the Truma AquaGo is the most powerful water heater on the market and offers instant hot water around-the-clock.

“The Truma AquaGo comfort and comfort plus models provide first-rate convenience through an integrated circulation pump that automatically maintains a water temperature of approximately 120 F inside the unit or, with the comfort plus model, even in the whole hot water plumbing system. In this way, rapid availability of hot water directly from the faucet is guaranteed.”

A further benefit is the “eco on mode,” which ensures maximum energy efficiency as the appliance—unlike standard tank water heaters—only consumes LP gas when hot water is being tapped. This gas-saving eco mode is the standard setting for the AquaGo basic version.

Truma AquaGo Offers Instant Hot Water Comfort

Truma AquaGo Offers Instant Hot Water Comfort

The Truma AquaGo ensures constant water temperatures at low and high flow rates. A stepless burner control adjusts the heater output based on volume flow and inlet water temperature, thus holding a constant water temperature of approx. 120 F. A temperature stabilizer minimizes outlet temperature fluctuations.

“This patent pending technology allows for a pleasant and comfortable showering experience: no scalding, no temperature variations, no running out of hot water,” said Wood.

“A constant water temperature is maintained even when turning the water off and on. Simply adjust the temperature like in your shower at home—and enjoy unlimited hot water.”

The Truma AquaGo runs on propane gas and uses an energy-efficient technology which contributes to saving propane and electricity. In addition, the burner switches off automatically when the faucet is closed to reduce LP gas consumption.

“Efficient and safe operation of our products is key for us,” said Gerhard Hundsberger, CEO of Truma Corp.

“Therefore, the Truma AquaGo comes with various safety features like overheat detection, overcurrent protection, or automatic shutdown at low voltage.”

Additionally, maintenance is simple and intuitive. Before winter or extended storage, a distinctive valve mechanism specially developed by Truma simplifies the process of draining the product. Just press the “Easy Drain Lever” on the front side of the AquaGo—and the water lines are opened and the appliance completely drained. The lever serves as a chute and guides the water away from the vehicle, thus preventing water stains on the exterior of the RV.

Simultaneously the reusable, stainless steel filter cartridge is ejected and can be cleaned if necessary. The filter protects the device from dirt or scale particles in the plumbing system, he added.

The innovative device is manufactured at Truma’s headquarters in Germany where high-tech testing equipment ensures a 100 percent quality control of every product and traceability of key components at the production line, Hundsberger noted.

Certified for immediate sale to the United States and Canadian markets, the new Truma AquaGo instant water heater is found on vehicles from RV manufacturers, and in the aftermarket through Truma dealer partners.


Truma Corp

truma_en logoTruma, the leading European RV component supplier and recipient of the award “Top 100” most innovative medium-sized companies in Germany, has entered  the North American market and now offers “more comfort on the move” in US. In August 2013, Truma opened an office in Elkhart, Indiana.

Address: 825 East Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46516

Phone: (855) 55-TRUMA

Website: www.truma.net

Worth Pondering…

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.


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Top 7 Christmas Gifts For the RVer in Your Life

It’s the time of year when Christmas carols fill the air, the smell of fir trees (or cactus or palm trees, depending on your location) waft through the RV, jolly thoughts of eggnog and food—and gifts are exchanged.

Following are 5 gift ideas on what to give the RVer in your life or even add them to your own Christmas wish list.

  1. Good Sam Club

Camping World Good Sam1.5 million RV owners are members of the Good Sam Club.

Membership benefits include 10 percent discount on the regular night camping rate at 2,100+ Good Sam RV parks and campgrounds, up to 30 percent discount at Camping World; discount on fuel purchases at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers, and four free issues of MotorHome or Trailer Life magazine. Also, you may join a local chapter, attend Samborees, and enjoy RV caravan tours to a variety of destinations such as the Rose Bowl Parade and Alaska.

A Good Sam Club membership is $25.00 per year. Two and three years memberships are also available for $45.00 and $60.00 respectively.

  1. Passport America

passport-703775Passport America, a family-run business, is the “original” 50% Discount Camping Club. They invented the concept in 1992 and have continued to improve upon it. 1852 participating campgrounds across the Canada, United States, and Mexico currently participate in the Passport America Program.

If you are currently a Passport America member you can purchase a gift membership for the regular rate ($44.00) minus your $10.00 referral commission. You will receive three extra months ($11 .00 value) free to your current membership with a new ID card.

  1. Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory

Big-Rigs-2013-Cover_x-200x300Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory includes a blend of 1150 upscale resorts, overnight stays along the interstate, destination parks, and suitable public parks. Serving the RV community since 2001 with a user friendly spiral bound guide—506 pages, lays flat, quality paper, and large print. All parks personally visited by the authors.

The user friendly guide includes forty-nine states, eight Canadian provinces, a separate Alaska Highway section, selected diesel fuel stops, and notable restaurant tips. The Directory is also available in an online version—detailed park listings with GPS physical addresses, color maps, fuel stops, restaurant tips, and more.

The 15th edition of the spiral bound book is available for $24.95 + shipping/handling; on-line version is available for $24.95 with a $15.00 annual renewal option with updates thereafter; spiral bound book and online version with a $15.00 renewable option with updates thereafter is available for $40.00

  1. Emergency Kit
A first aid kit readily available in an emergency isn’t just a good idea—it’s a necessity for every RV adventure.

A first aid kit readily available in an emergency isn’t just a good idea—it’s a necessity for every RV adventure.

Buy a pre-assembled emergency kit or assemble one yourself. Be sure to include an American Red Cross First Aid Guide, a variety of adhesive and non-adhesive bandages, butterfly wound closure, gauze dressing pads, gauze roll, triangular sling, antiseptic towelettes, alcohol cleansing pad, antibiotic ointment packs, flashlights with spare batteries, light stick, candles, matches, flares, emergency blanket, a small pillow, scissors, tweezers, gloves, rope, and duct tape, whistle with neck cord, emergency poncho, and hand warmers.

A variety of first aid kits are available from the American Red Cross

  1. Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

Gift cards and gift certificates make great gifts for RVers. They don’t take up any storage space (always at a premium) and can be redeemed for all kinds of handy things.

RV favorites include Amazon.com, Walmart, Costco, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, LL Bean, Bass Pro Shops, and Camping World; and gift cards from a chain restaurant including Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, Applebees, IHOP, Ruby Tuesday, Subway, and TGI Fridays.

  1. LED Flashlights

RVers often need a flashlight—and many times the batteries are nearly dead. A LED flashlight, due to its low power draw, is the answer. These little powerhouses are small and incredibly bright, and you can never have too many of them. Keep one in the dash, another on the nightstand, one in the toad, and a couple in various bays of your RV. And they are available in a variety of sizes and at all price levels.

  1. A Hug

christmas-bird1A hug is a great gift—one size fits all!!!

Worth Pondering…

I have a list of folks I know, all entered in my computer,

And once a year about this time, I go and take a look.

And that is when I realize that these names are a part

Not of the computer they’re entered in, but of my very heart.

For every name stands for someone who has crossed my path sometime

And in that meeting they’re become the rhythm of the rhyme.

And while it sounds fantastic for me to make this claim,

I really feel I am composed of each remembered name.

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Fleetwood RV Introduces Storm 26P & F-21 Advantage

Decatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV recently introduced a new floor plan for the Storm.

Fleetwood RV Introduces Storm 26P

Fleetwood RV Introduces Storm 26P

The Storm 26P is a crossover motorhome, delivering the size efficiency of a Class C with the amenities and living and storage space of a Class A.

Spacious bedroom with complete walk-around queen-sized bed and side-wall ward units.

The bed in the Storm 26P raises to the ceiling with the touch of a button, revealing a walk-in closet where owners can store clothing, shoes, and other necessities for their adventures.

When the bed is in the raised position, it creates ample storage space at the rear of the Storm where bicycles, a grill, lawn chairs, or other gear can be safety stowed.

When owners arrive at their destination, they can unpack the storage area, and then lower the bed for sleeping accommodations.

Storm 26P features the Hide-A-Loft Nesta, a patent-pending bed-lift mechanism which converts a raised bed into a full-wall walk-in closet with dual-mirrored wardrobe doors and dressers.

Hide-A-Loft Nesta

Storm 26P features the Hide-A-Loft Nesta, a patent-pending bed-lift mechanism which converts a raised bed into a full-wall walk-in closet with dual-mirrored wardrobe doors and dressers.

The new Storm 26P also features many of Fleetwood RV’s F-21 Advantage proof points.

The F-21 Advantage is an industry-leading approach to motorhome engineering, manufacturing, and materials that exceeds the standard, according to a company news release.

The “F” in F-21 stands for Fleetwood RV and the “21” stands for 21st-century motorhome materials and construction techniques.

The F-21 Advantage is demonstrated by 21 key proof points that deliver unique benefits to Fleetwood owners. While not all 21 proof points are found on every Fleetwood model, every Fleetwood motorhome, regardless of its class, features some or all of these points.

F-21 Advantage proof points include features like the Five-Point Build System. It is comprised of a jig-built steel structure bridge; precision jig-built, welded aluminum framing; vacu-bonded walls; interlocking ceiling wall and floor joints; and weather-resistant materials and coatings.

Storm 29P MSRP starts at $101,000.


Fleetwood RV, Inc

Fleetwood RV, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles.

The Company has one of the best and longest standing distribution networks in the industry and boasts some of the industry’s most recognized and iconic brand names such as American Coach, Discovery, Jamboree, Southwind, and Bounder.

Storm 26P floor plan

Storm 26P floor plan

Headquartered and manufactured in Decatur, Indiana, Fleetwood RV is an Allied Recreation Group company and a division of Orlando based Allied Specialty Vehicles.

Factory Tours: Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m.

Address: 1031 U.S. 224 East, Decatur, Indiana 46733

Phone: (800) 322-8216

Website: www.fleetwoodrv.com

Allied Recreation Group (ARG)

The only recreational vehicle manufacturing company with the stability, singular focus, unmatched integrity, and revolutionary vision to be the steward of the most trusted, iconic American RV brands, proudly leading them into the next generation.

Allied Recreation Group is a collection of some of the world’s most recognized and admired RV brands. Each brand—American Coach, Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler and Monaco—remains distinct, while together the group is a celebration of the rich heritage and future promise of the greatest manufacturers in the RV industry.

Address:1031 US 224 East, Decatur, Indiana 46733

Phone: (800) 854-1344 (toll free)

Website: www.alliedrecreationgroup.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

—Henry David Thoreau

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North-South Snowbird RV Routes

As refugees from the frozen north, snowbirds escape winter at home by migrating southward each year.

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino at Redding, California,

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino at Redding, California, is a great travel stop on I-5. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Selecting a balmy snowbird roost is when all the fun begins. Choice is in rich supply.

Many snowbirds are north-south creatures, meaning those from the Northwest tend to settle in Arizona, Nevada, and California; those from the Midwest flock to Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana; and those from the Northeast head for Florida.

Are you planning on heading directly south from your home location? Or will you cut across the country in a diagonal direction, exploring a whole new longitude?

Choice of route is also subject to your own inclinations. Do you want to sightsee along the way, or—as might be the case in mid-winter—do you prefer to go hell-bent-for- leather to the Sunbelt?

A successful—and stress free—trip requires a little homework  before you leave.

Regardless of your journey, factor in the drive times and travel expenses.

While you’re at it, be sure to account for the changing weather conditions you’ll encounter on your travels. If you haven’t given yourself enough time to avoid the first winter storm, plan accordingly. Allow yourself sufficient time for cold-weather driving, and bring ample warm-weather clothes to get you through the journey.

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 of the Lodi (California) wine area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since the interstate highways are generally well-maintained and have priority for snow clearing and sanding, they’re a good bet for safe winter travel.

With many interstate highways in America, the price one pays for fast speed convenience is a lack of variation in the scenery one passes through. North-south interstates are different, partly because they are north-south routes and therefore pass through varying climatic conditions and altitude changes.

Interstates 95 and 75 are the two preferred north-south travel routes from the northeast to Florida because they are direct and provide a wide range of service facilities.

“Along Interstate-95″ and “Along Interstate-75″ are two popular spiral bound mile-by-mile guidebooks with practical information on these two major north-south routes.

I-95 is the longest north-south interstate in the US, traveling through 15 states. It is the main highway on the East Coast of the U. S., paralleling the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Florida and serving some of the best-known cities in the country including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

Whiskey Flats RV Park (Hawthorne, Nevada) is conveniently located mid-way between Reno and Las Vegas

Many snowbirds from the Northwest use US Highway 95 for their north-south travel route. Whiskey Flats RV Park (Hawthorne, Nevada) is conveniently located mid-way between Reno and Las Vegas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Snowbirds who RV south for the winter from the northwest have a choice of several routes with most opting for I-5 or 1-15 for a major portion of the journey. But many RVers ask, “Isn’t there a better route?” That seems to be a common question on RV forums.

Although friends have shared little short-cuts with us (such as leaving I-15 at Dillon and going 41/55 to Whitehall and 69 into Boulder, avoiding the big climb to Butte), the result of our conversations and research have shown few strong alternatives to the I-15.

It’s winter, we’re not interested in the icy scenery and we just want to get out of the cold. Getting there is not half the fun. All of this points to the I-15 as the best Snowbird path south from Alberta, Montana, and eastern Idaho.

Snowbirds from the Midwest often use Interstate 35 and a combination of several other interstates and secondary highways to reach their Sunbelt roost.

Plotting a route in common mapping software or relying exclusively on a GPS generally produces the fastest or shortest route, which isn’t necessarily the best winter driving route for RVs.

Orange Groove RV Park, off US-99 in Bakersfield

Orange Groove RV Park, off US-99 in Bakersfield is a popular overnight stop for snowbirds. It’s a 40-acre orchard where you park your RV between row after row of beautiful orange trees. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Watch the weather and road reports. Leave when you have a three-day window of good weather and clear roads.

Mountain driving, with its steep grades and hairpin turns, can be scary enough in the summer especially for those accustomed to gunbarrel-straight highways. However, it’s really the ice and snow that are the big concern.

If you get caught in a winter storm, wait it out and give the road crews time to clear the highway.

Drive carefully leaving extra room between vehicles and allow extra time to stop.

If the weather looks like it will be getting bad, or becomes terrible overnight, then stay put. Much better to spend an extra day in a campground than in a cold RV stranded on a snow-bound highway.

Worth Pondering…

When Robert Frost declared his intention to take the road less traveled in his 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” who could have guessed that so many people would take the same trip?

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Starcraft RV Introduces 2015 Travel Star Trailer With Redesigned Floor Plans

Topeka, Indiana-based Starcraft RV, a division of Jayco Inc., introduced the 2015 Travel Star travel trailer line with redesigned floor plans.

2015 Starcraft Travel Star exterior

2015 Starcraft Travel Star exterior

The new model years offers seven floor plans to choose from and the optional Galaxy Black Pearl upgrade package.

Several floor plans feature bunk beds while another features a 60-inch shower with dual shower heads and a queen bed.

The Travel Star travel trailer ranges from 26 feet to 34 feet in length and offers seven-foot ceiling heights in all of its seven models.

Sleeping capacities range from three to 10 people in the Travel Star travel trailer. The 309BHS includes a set of 300 pound rated bunk beds and area for the kids, while the 286RLWS is smaller.

In the 299BHU floor plan, the double bunk is rated at 600-pounds. This model includes wider entry doors at 30-inch by 72-inch and a starmaxx pass-through storage area, complete with a light and tool hooks.

Starcraft’s construction is built with four bolted stabilizer jacks, and vacuum-bonded laminated sidewalls. The walls combine welded aluminum framing and fiberglass sidewalls and metal backers.

The exterior boasts a spare tire with carrier, exterior speakers, an outside shower, an outside kitchen with bumper mount grill (select models) and a six-foot awning.

2015 Starcraft Travel Star Galaxy

2015 Starcraft Travel Star Galaxy

The Travel Star travel trailer also comes with a Denver Mattress pillowtop mattress, LED accent lighting under kitchen countertops, range cover, security lights with interior switches, and roof ladder.

The 309BHS features an outside kitchen with bumper mount grill and six-foot awning.

The inside of the Travel Star includes a multi-media sound system with AM/FM/CD stereo and MP3 input jack, sleeper sofa, residential Shaw carpet with stain and soil resistance, sliding pocket doors in front bedroom (select models), wood trim around the windows, and decorative lighting package.

The Travel Star Galaxy is the luxurious Travel Star series with the optional Galaxy Black Pearl Edition, which offers additional upgrades.

The Travel Star Galaxy is the luxurious Travel Star series with the optional Galaxy Black Pearl Edition, which offers additional upgrades.

The kitchen offers a three-burner stove and oven along with a microwave, a deep, oversized sink with an upgraded faucet and pull-out sprayer, sink covers with an integrated drying rack, spice rack storage, integrated trash can storage, and a storable kitchen cutting board, while the bathroom features a porcelain toilet with foot flush, radius shower (select models), and tub surround.

The upgraded Galaxy Black Pearl offers a 22-inch LED TV in the bedroom, aluminum rims, bedroom carpet, Equa-Flex axle equalizer, frameless windows, glass shower doors, hardwood refrigerator door inserts, headboard with integrated shelf, keyless entry for the main door, remote controlled awning, front and rear jacks, security lights, porch light and slideout in addition to solid-surface kitchen countertop with undermount sink and covers, upgraded graphics and wallpaper border in the living room.

The 2015 Travel Star travel trailer has redesigned full slideout floor plans.


Starcraft RV

Topeka, Indiana-based Starcraft is one of the oldest and most respected names in the RV industry.

In fact, the company has been around since 1903. Back then, they made their name building livestock tanks and other metal farm equipment.

286RLWS kitchen with Stainless Steel Package

286RLWS kitchen with Stainless Steel Package

In the 1920s, they added a variety of boats to their product lineup.

And in 1964, Starcraft entered—and revolutionized—the modern camping industry.

Starcraft RV manufactures and markets towable RVs under the Starflyer, Comet, AR-ONE, AR-ONE WideBody, Launch, Launch Ultra Lite, Travel Star EXP, Travel Star, and Autumn Ridge brand names.

Starcraft RV is a Jayco, Inc. company.

Mailing Address: 903 South Main Street, P.O. Box 460, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (800) 945-4787 (toll free)

Website: www.starcraftrv.com

Worth Pondering…

Each journey we take represents a passage, whether it be a trip through an unknown land, an outing among new friends, or the minutes, days, or years spent seeking a specific goal.

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Tamales Are Red Hot at Indio Tamale Festival

Some residents and snowbirds who winter in the Coachella Valley look forward to this time of year to enjoy holiday lights, Christmas trees, and warm winter weather, but others wait year-round to feast on an array of delicious tamales.

Tamale Festival

What’s not to like? Tamales everywhere! So many tamales, so many vendors, so little time. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Being a foodie who loves tamales, I headed down to Old Town Indio last weekend (December 6-7, 2014) for the 23rd Annual Indio International Tamale Festival.

What’s not to like? Tamales everywhere! So many tamales, so many vendors, so little time. The festival featured outrageous, unique, and tasty tamale recipes bound to satisfy every palate. There wasn’t enough time in the fest, or room in my stomach, to try them all.

Each year the festival draws over 130,000 from all over the valley and the Inland Empire anxious to bite into rich tamales in flavors some have only dreamed of. Snowbirds also attend in large numbers anxious to sample this south-of-the-border holiday treat.

The fest, founded in 1992 by Dave Hernandez, has become one of the city’s signature events, and one that has helped brand Indio as the “City of Festivals.”

The popularity of the tamale festival continues to soar and gain national interest. Recently, the Food Network-TV showed its 70 million viewers Indio’s International Tamale Festival, and ranked the festival in the top 10 “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation.

Celebrating the rich heritage of the tamale, the festival offered tamale booths, a tamale-eating contest, an opening parade, the 2nd annual Car Show, an art and wine garden, a beer garden, Kiddieland, over 200 vendors, sponsor displays, family-friendly activities, and arts and crafts exhibits geared for all ages and interests.

Tamale Festival

Tamales are judged on flavor, texture of masa, appearance, filling, and aroma. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Live entertainment was featured on five stages. This year’s festival also featured an “artisan’s corner,” in which vendors sold a variety of handmade crafts including Christmas decorations, handmade soaps, and Christmas trees made of tamale husks.

Festival activities took place between Highway 111 and Indio Boulevard, winding through the streets of Miles, Towne, Smurr, and Requa. Easy to find. Easy to park even at mid-day. As in past years, admission into the festival was free to the public.

Free parking was available on numerous streets surrounding Old Town Indio, and free shuttle services were provided to festival visitors from the Larson Justice Center at Highway 111 and Oasis Street.

The festival began with the annual City of Indio/Tamale Festival Parade, featuring boxing champ Randy Caballero as Grand Marshal, riding with Indio Mayor Lupe Ramos Watson.

For the vendors—who each made anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 tamales for the two-day stretch—there were no limits to their creativity.

Tamale Festival

My favorite—the spicy brisket tamale from Texifornia. So freaking delicious. The next best thing to Texas BBQ. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Texifornia Tamale Co. returned to defend its Best Overall Tamale contest win in 2013. Tamale recipes are often passed down from one generation to the next, but Jeff and Micki Smith of Texifornia Tamale Co. have concocted their own from Texas tradition.

Since the Smiths grew up in Texas on Texas style tamales which are more filling and less masa, they have our own unique little style.

My favorite—the spicy brisket tamale from Texifornia. So freaking delicious. The next best thing to Texas BBQ. And maybe, even better!

“The spicy brisket tamale is by far our best seller,” Micki shared with us. “We smoke the brisket for 12 hours and make an ancho chile tomato sauce and mix it together, so you get Texas BBQ and Mexican flavors in one tamale.”

Lots of other obvious things to find here such as tacos, pupusas, champurrado, and much much more. Lots of carnival food such as funnel cakes too.

The longest line was for Grandma Lupe’s but after braving the line for an hour and facing another hour plus before placing an order, I bowed out.

Tamale Festival

Always held the first full weekend in December, the dates for the 24th annual festival are December 5 and 6, 2015. Plan now to attend. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tamales are judged on flavor, texture of masa, appearance, filling, and aroma.

2014 Tamale Festival winners include:

  • Nana Chuy’s Handmade Tamales for Best Commercial Traditional Tamales
  • Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales for Best Commercial Gourmet Tamales
  • La Luz Del Mundo for Best Non-Profit Traditional, Best Non-Profit Gourmet, and Best Overall Tamales.

Tamales have been traced back to the Ancient Maya people, who prepared them for feasts as early as the Preclassic period (1200–250 BC). Mayans called their corn tortillas and tamales both utah.

Always held the first full weekend in December, the dates for the 24th annual festival are December 5 and 6, 2015. Plan now to attend.

Worth Pondering…

Hot Tamales (They’re Red Hot)

Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale
Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale
I got a girls, say she long and tall
She sleeps in the kitchen with her feets in the hall
She got two for a nickel, got four for a dime
Would sell you more, but they ain’t none of mine
Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale
I got a letter from a girl in the room
Now she got something good she got to bring home soon, now
Its hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got em for sale, I mean
Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale
Yes she got’em for sale, yeah

—lyrics and original recording by Robert Johnson (1936); also recorded by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991) and Eric Clapton (2004)

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Jayco introduces 2015 camping trailers

Last year, Jayco Inc. introduced an A-frame, hardwall addition to the Jayco camping trailers.

2015 Jayco Jay Series 1209SC exterior

2015 Jayco Jay Series 1209SC exterior

For 2015, bath/shower versions of those models join the Jay Series Sport hardwall camping trailer lineup.

The Jay Series Sport hardwall combines vacuum-bonded walls with a two-piece hardwall roof to create an A-frame design.

One person can set up the unit in less than one minute, and the two-piece roof folds down, according to a company news release.

The roof features three skylights and a power fan option. An 18,000-BTU Cool Cat heat pump is standard in this entry-level camping trailer, while a 16,000-BTU furnace option is available.

On the outside, the Jay Series Sport Hardwall features electric brakes, aluminum rims and a cargo deck.

2015 Jayco Jay Series 1209SC interior front to back

2015 Jayco Jay Series 1209SC interior front to back

The Jay Series Sport hardwall joins two other camping trailer series—the Jay Series Sport and the Jay Series. With a variety of floor plans to choose from, ranging from 11 to 22 foot lengths, each series can sleep a minimum of six with 1,050-pound rated bunk ends.

Today these camping trailers still use the lifter system that Jayco founder Lloyd Bontrager designed 46 years ago. This system is fully enclosed (n/a Sport) to protect against debris, while each tent end sports water-repellent DuraTek tent material. This material comes with a 5-year warranty.

The entry-level Jay Series Sport is available in three floor plans. The Sport has dual bunk ends and convertible dinettes.

For 2015, this series features an optional Deluxe Plumbing Package including a six-gallon water heater and outside shower.

Meanwhile, Jay Series continues with their fold-down option with four floor plans, a power roof lift, swing-level kitchen galley, a king-sized bunk end, and a stainless-steel, carry-out stove. A stepper door doubles as an entry door and swing-down step.

2015 Jayco Jay Series 1209SC interior back to front

2015 Jayco Jay Series 1209SC interior back to front

The 1001XR model, formerly known as the Baja, is built for off-road adventure, including a utility deck and 15 inch Dunlop Mud Rover tires.

The deck, rated for 1,500 pounds, can hold up to six bicycles, three dirt bikes or an ATV.

On the inside, it includes a king-sized tent to standard water filtration.

For over a decade, Jayco has offered a two-year limited warranty. This warranty is not an extended dealer warranty; it’s a manufacturer’s warranty that comes from the people who build Jayco RVs.

Each Jayco is warranted to the original purchaser against defects in materials and workmanship.


Jayco Inc.

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

2015 Jayco Jay Series Sport exterior

2015 Jayco Jay Series Sport exterior

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

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

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

Address: 903 S. Main, Middlebury, Indiana 46540

Phone: (800) RV-JAYCO

Website: www.jayco.com

Worth Pondering…

What will you begin today?

Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today.

Let us begin.

—Mother Teresa

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RV Boondocking Capital of the World

Quartzsite, Arizona, a Sonora Desert community 18 miles east of the Colorado River, on I-10, is the RV Boondocking Capital of the World.

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

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The term boondocking, also known to RV enthusiasts as dispersed campingdry camping, or coyote camping, is used to describe camping in the midst of nature without the use of commercial campgrounds and hookups.

As you approach Quartzsite from any point on the compass, you begin seeing them approximately 20 miles away from town: clumps, groups, and temporary communities of RVs circled around common campfire rings like wagon trains of old. Many solo units also are scattered among the sagebrush. In early morning and late afternoon you will see tall, straight fingers of campfire smoke pointing upward from these campsites.

Hundreds of thousands of RV owners, enthusiasts, and dreamers descend on the flat, rocky desert fields surrounding the town. Folks come from all over the US and Canada to behold the wonder that happens in Quartzsite every January and February. They come for the warm sunny weather, and great deals—what more can you ask for?

As you enjoy your time at Q, you can also prepare for your next boondocking trip by getting tips on techniques and hotspots from all the new friends you’ll make. Plus with so many RV experts around if something does go wrong, help is just a short walk away.

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

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!

The desert landscape is transformed into make-shift RV parks, little cities within a city. The streets have no name, but the purpose is the same—to boondock in the desert, rendezvous with old and new friends, visit the rock and gem shows and flea market vendors, participate in the Sell-A-Rama, wander the RV show under the Big Tent, and soak in the wonder of it all.

Quartzsite has become a mecca to visitors and exhibitors for rocks, gems, mineral specimens, and fossils during the town’s famous two-month-long gem and mineral show and flea market meet every January and February. From its humble beginnings the now-massive Quartzsite show has grown to epic proportions with vendors offering everything under the Quartzsite sun.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be warned, though. Don’t come in the summer when nothing much happens. The gypsy-like encampment will have long disappeared. Vendors start packing up in mid-February and are long gone before the snowbirds migrate north and the intense desert heat becomes unbearable.

But come winter, everything changes as the small desert community bustles with activity. RVs by the tens of thousands camp helter-skelter on the BLM land.

Originally built by Charles Tyson, Quartzsite began in 1856 as Fort Tyson, then became a stagecoach stopover called Tyson Wells and this name still echoes in the annual Tyson Wells Rock and Gem show. A mini mining boom led to its renaming as Quartzsite.

What started as a small-town mineral show in the late 1960s in western Arizona has developed into a phenomenon that peaks in January by bringing more than 1 million people to the town of Quartzsite, where a huge RV show greets them.

The 2015 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show will run January 17-25. In 32 years, the event has evolved into the largest consumer RV show in the US.

The show is heaven on earth for RVers. It’s a ton of fun with hundreds of exhibits, live shows, bargain products, and fellow RV enthusiasts. The fact that the desert is gorgeous and the temperature is in the low-to-mid 70s in mid-January doesn’t hurt either!

Quartzsite is a popular destination for snowbirds on its own but many come for a week or two during the RV Show. When the gates open on the first day, people are lined up for a quarter-mile at each of the two main entrances to get in. It fills the tent and creates gridlock.

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

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Add to that the Pow Wow rock and mineral show and the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama and Quartzsite becomes the third-largest city in Arizona for a brief time.

If you’re an RVer, Quartzsite in January is on your bucket list.

Quartzsite is a phenomenon, a gathering place.

Let the shows begin!

I’ll see you at the Q!

Worth Pondering…

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

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