Goshen: The Maple City

Goshen is located in the heart of Amish Country.

A Goshen landmark, the Elkhart County Courthouse is a beautiful structure in the historic downtown Goshen. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Goshen landmark, the Elkhart County Courthouse is a beautiful structure in the historic downtown Goshen. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Almost all roads lead to this varied collection of beautifully restored turn-of-the-century buildings and tidy Victorian homes. Goshen is also laced with eclectic shops, specialty boutiques, and cozy cafés set throughout the historic downtown.

In 1983, the downtown Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Goshen’s downtown is one of the coolest around—hands down. Few towns this size (about 30,000 residents) can boast about a thriving downtown cultural arts scene, beautiful historic architecture, and intriguing places to eat and shop.

Admire the classic courthouse in the heart of town. Peek into the bunker-like police booth on the Corner of Main and Lincoln dating back to the days when John Dillinger was the bane of bankers.

Admire the artistry and talk with nationally known quilters, potters and sculptors at the Old Bag Factory.

Many residential streets are lined with stately maple trees, giving Goshen the nickname, The Maple City.

Just outside of town, walking and biking paths fan out along the Maple City Greenway and the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.

The Old Bag Factory

Since 1984, the century-old bag factory has provided a strong foundation for today's artists and shopkeepers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since 1984, this century-old bag factory has provided a strong foundation for today’s artists and shopkeepers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Built in 1896 the Old Bag Factory is home to producing artists, antiques, specialty shops, and cafes. The historic character of the complex provides a unique and charming setting for the specialty shops it houses.

In June 1896, J.J. Burns, an Ohio native opened the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company in Goshen. Inside, workers manufactured laundry soap, fine bathing soap, and toilet paper.

In 1910, the plant was renovated and purchased by The Chicago-Detroit Bag Company. A 1924 merger put the building under the control of the Chase Bag Factory, and the factory became part of a colossal enterprise. The range of bags extended from waterproof burlap sacks to the fine, sheer paper used in Hershey’s Kiss wrappers.

The term “bagology” was coined during this period, meaning “to elevate the production of bags to the level of science.” However, after many years of triumph and success, the churning wheels of baglogical science caused the building to become outdated; the Bag Factory closed its doors in 1982, after a long, slow decline.

Address: 1100 N. Chicago Avenue, Goshen, IN 46528

Phone: (574) 534-2502

Website: oldbagfactory.com

Olympia Candy Kitchen

The Olympia Candy Kitchen, “the sweetest little place in town,” has been welcoming visitors for almost a century in its unchanged location in downtown Goshen. Its tradition began in 1912 when Greek immigrant Nicholas Paflas began making his own hand-dipped chocolates and running the soda fountain.

From its humble beginning, the Olympia Candy Kitchen has remained a family business, passed down from generation to generation. And it still welcomes visitors with its old-world charm.

From the red and white awning to the original soda fountain complete with high swivel stools, Olympia Candy Kitchen is reminiscent of the days when the world revolved a little slower. Virtually unchanged for 75 years—since its conversion into a diner and candy shop—the dark polished wooden booths, soda fountain, and candy counter will take you back to an earlier time.

The downtown Historic District is an intriguing places to eat and shop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The downtown Historic District is an intriguing places to eat and shop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The candy counter is what made Olympia famous. Passing in and out of the diner, it is an attraction that is hard to walk by without at least a small purchase. It features seasonal selections, such as solid chocolate hearts at Valentine’s Day and Peanut Butter Eggs at Easter, as well as a large supply of candy that is sold throughout the year.

Among the most popular of the delicious confections and hand-dipped candies are the Turtles, which are made with their own home-made caramel, and Chocolate-Covered Cherries, so popular that they were served at the Inaugural Balls of both President Reagan and President Bush.

Address: 136 N. Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526

Phone: (574) 533-5040

Website: olympiacandykitchen.com

Please Note: This is Part 7 of a 7-Part series on Amish Country

Worth Pondering…

Our children are the only treasures we can take to heaven.
A sweater is a garment worn by a child when his mother feels chilly.
Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes”
If parents don’t train their children, the children will train the parents.
Good character like good soup is usually homemade.

—Amish quotes on Family

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

The Airstream Renaissance

Ah, yes. As soon as you invoke the word Airstream, people get the attraction.

Santa Rosa model at Santa Barbara Auto Camp

Light reflects on the wall behind the Santa Rosa model at Santa Barbara Auto Camp. (Photo Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

It’s a part of American culture that transcends time. Airstream, manufacturer of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, is the oldest and most recognized recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America.

It’s one thing to take a 40-foot-plus diesel pusher or 36-foot fifth wheel trailer on the road.

But being an Airstream aficionado can be quite another thing.

In 1936, Wally Byam stated that he is in business “to make people’s dreams come true.”

The enthusiasm for Airstreams that has always been with us has surged in recent years with everyone from stylish millionaires to young travelers wanting to own one of these design icons. This is a distinct subset of the RV crowd.

The only way you could experience the Airstream lifestyle on the open road was if you went all-out and bought the dream.

Enter Airstream campgrounds and motels as an alternative to owning the dream. Capitalizing on the retro-romantic image, Airstream parks or traditional RV parks with permanent Airstreams available for nightly rental have popped up with regularity across the American Southwest.

Airstream Bambi at the Metro Hotel in Petaluma

Airstream Bambi at the Metro Hotel in Petaluma (Photo Credit: Sam McManis/Sacramento Bee)

Previously featured in Vogel Talks RVing, the Santa Barbara’s Auto Camp offers five custom-designed Airstreams as part of a trailer park. The Auto Camp is so popular, its owners are planning to open similar sites soon in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ventura.

Nestled between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks on Utah Scenic Byway 12, the Shooting Star Drive-In Airstream and RV Park is the marriage of two iconic symbols of freedom and adventure on American highways. It’s a one-of-a-kind resort that combines Airstream travel trailers and vintage convertible cars with a drive-in movie theater.

Kate Pierson, the retro, beehive-coiffed singer from the B-52s invites visitors to “rocket through the wilderness” in a collection of six vintage Airstreams, the interiors of which riff off the kitsch of the band’s best-known material. Kate’s Lazy Desert Airstream Park is near Joshua Tree.

Nine lovely, fully restored vintage Airstream travel trailers await you at the Shady Dell in Bisbee, Arizona.

The Airstreams at Flying Flags RV Park in Buellton feature a porch with a barbecue and couch and lounge chairs.

The Airstreams at Flying Flags RV Park in Buellton feature a porch with a barbecue and couch and lounge chairs. (Photo Credit: Sam McManis/Sacramento Bee)

Whether it’s the 33 foot Royal Mansion built in 1951 and restored with leopard carpet, martini glasses, diner-style breakfast booth, and phonograph with a collection of 78 rpm records, or the 1947 Tiki Bus Polynesian Palace, complete with hand-carved outrigger bar and your own Tiki God, the Shady Dell’s individual trailers will surely send you back to a time when freedom was just another word for jumping in your aluminum house on wheels.

Flying Flags RV Park and Campground, in Buellton, California, a sprawling, upscale trailer park, rents nine Airstreams.

The quirky, French-themed Metro Hotel in Petaluma’s wine country has a couple of 16-footers in its parking lot.

Or experience the nostalgia and romance of an Airstream trailer at a spattering of KOA Campgrounds—Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay (California), Stockton/Delta (California), Eureka Springs (Arkansas), Mystic (Connecticut), Sugarloaf Key (Florida), Boston/Cape Cod (Massachusetts), Bar Harbor (Maine), Cape Hatteras (North Carolina), and South Padre Island (Texas).

It would be too easy to dismiss this Airstream revival as a fad, a traveler’s version of the horned-rim glasses by trend-seeking hipsters.

After all, celebrities such as actors Johnny Depp and Matthew McConaughey and rockers such as Eddie Vedder and Sheryl Crow own tricked-out “silver bullets”. Country crooner Miranda Lambert, owner of a 1954 Flying Cloud Airstream trailer she named “Wanda the Wanderer,” even penned a song about her trailer: The Airstream Song.

Miranda Lambert's 1954 Flying Cloud Airstream trailer, affectionately named “Wanda the Wander"

Miranda Lamberts’s 1954 Flying Cloud Airstream trailer, affectionately named “Wanda the Wander” (Photo Credit: Miranda Lambert facebook)

But Airstreams endure. They are vintage and iconic, not merely a passing fancy on the roadways.

Its factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, produces 50 trailers a week and, according to Investor’s Business Daily, enjoyed a 59 percent increase in revenue in 2013 over the previous fiscal year.

Perhaps more impressive, the company boasts that 60 percent of all the trailers it has produced over the past 80 years are still in use today.

Worth Pondering…

Airstream Song

Sometimes I wish I lived in airstream homemade curtains
Lived just like a gypsy.
Break a heart, roll out of town
Cause gypsies never get tied down
—Lyrics by Miranda Lambert, Natalie Nicole Hemby, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert; sung by Miranda Lambert

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

RVs In Popular Culture

Motor vehicles equipped with the amenities of home have been around since 1910 as more Americans became accustomed to owning cars and traveling around the U.S. by automobile.

The Long, Long Trailer

The Long, Long Trailer

Recreation vehicles and RV travel has been depicted in popular culture as a topic of much interest and yearning for over 60 years.

1953: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz starred in the movie, The Long, Long Trailer. The trailer gleams and the film is dedicated to a new phenomenon: the ability to move your house around the country whenever, wherever you want.

Nicky and Tacy are to be married. Nicky wants to save up money for a house, but Tacy dreams of starting off with their own home on wheels—a trailer. After the two are hitched, they hitch up their trailer and begin their honeymoon. The humor comes from several disastrous adventures the couple has while traveling including Tacy’s awkward attempt to cook dinner in a moving trailer, and a cliffhanging ride through the mountains that nearly destroys their marriage.

1960: Author John Steinbeck drove 10,000 miles around the United States with a poodle, a trip chronicled in the book Travels With Charley: In Search of America. Steinbeck bought a GMC pickup and built a camper cabin on the back and dubbed the vehicle Rocinante, named after Don Quixote’s horse.

His travels started in Long Island, New York, and roughly followed the outer border of the U.S., from Maine to the Pacific Northwest, down into his native Salinas Valley in California, across to Texas, up through the Deep South, and then back to New York.

Travels With Charley

Travels With Charley

1967: CBS TV correspondent Charles Kuralt drove off in a motorhome to document stories of life in America for On the Road. When he persuaded CBS to let him try out just such an idea for three months, it turned into a quarter-century project. On the Road became a regular feature on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite in 1967. Kuralt hit the road in a motorhome (he wore out six before he was through) with a small crew and avoided the interstates in favor of the nation’s back roads in search of America’s people and their doings.

1970: Recognizing the popularity of the outdoors, Mattel introduced the Malibu Barbie Country Camper, one of the most popular Barbie accessories of all time. The bright orange motorhome was equipped with outdoor furniture, kitchen, and pop-out tent.

Barbie’s camper has changed in both color and design through the years. Vintage styles include: Barbie Star Traveler Motorhome (1976), Barbie Mobile Camper (1988), Barbie Western Fun Motorhome (1990), and Barbie Pink World Glamour Camper (2009).

1985: Lost in America is a 1985 comedy starring Albert Brooks as a disgruntled adman, who “takes off to find himself in America.

Barbie Country Camper

Barbie Country Camper

David and Linda Howard are typical 1980s yuppies in Los Angeles who are fed up with their lifestyle. The Howards decide to sell their house, liquidate their assets, drop out of society, and travel the country in a Winnebago motorhome. They leave L.A. with nest egg of a hundred thousand dollars, but don’t get very far. The plan goes awry when Linda loses all their savings playing roulette at the Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas.

2002: About Schmidt is a 2002 comedy-drama starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. The film follows Schmidt as he retires from his pedestrian job, followed by the death of his wife for whom he had lost affection. He embarks on a road trip to his estranged daughter’s wedding only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected. When Schmidt gets into his 35-foot Winnebago Adventurer, which he and his wife Helen thought to use in his retirement, events compel him to reflect on his life with a sense of futility that lasts until the final moments of the film.

2006: Robin Williams starred in the 2006 family adventure-comedy, RV: The Movie.

RV: The Movie

RV: The Movie

An overworked executive, Bob Munro persuades his wife and children to give up their Hawaiian vacation for some family bonding on a cross-country RV trip to the Colorado Rockies. But it’s all a ruse. Bob is actually going there to attend a business meeting. Through a series of misadventures, including constant run-ins with an overly friendly troupe of full-time RVers, Bob inadvertently learns the true meaning of family.

2008: Breaking Bad is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time. This crime drama show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008 to September 29, 2013. By its end, the series was among the most-watched cable shows on American television. Breaking Bad featured perhaps the most notorious and famous Winnebago in recent years with meth lab in the back of the motorhome.

Worth Pondering…

Dad, the RV’s rolling away.

—Cassie Munro in RV: The Movie

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

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: Newest State Park In Texas

In earlier reports in Vogel Talks RV, I reported that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was proceeding with the acquisition of 3,331 acres in Palo Pinto and Stephens Counties for future development and operation as a new state park in north central Texas.

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: Newest State Park In Texas. (Credit: strawntx.com)

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: Newest State Park In Texas. (Credit: strawntx.com)

The newest state park, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, is a little more than an hour west of Fort Worth, in the rolling woodland near the picturesque community of Strawn, population 700.

The new park offers a great diversity of topography, as well as a great variety of plants and wildlife.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department acquired the property for the park in October 2011, using funds from the sale of Eagle Mountain Lake State Park in Fort Worth a few years earlier. Since the sale of that property the Parks & Wildlife Department had been looking for a suitable location within easy driving distance of Fort Worth, and was fortunate that this property became available.

It was acquired with assistance from the Nature Conservancy. The state purchased the property for the price of 7.14 million dollars, or about $2,142 per acre.

Texans have yet to see the new park.

A view from Raptor's Edge in Palo Pinto Mountains State Park

A view from Raptor’s Edge in Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. (Credit: Doualy Xaykaothao/KERA News)

The property is currently completely undeveloped. This site was formerly a ranch owned by the Copeland family, and will need extensive work before it can be formally opened to the public.

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say they need more money to add trails, campsites, and other facilities before they can open the park.

The Palo Pinto park is one of four state parks bought but never opened for the lack of funding. Besides an estimated $30 million to finish all four parks, it also would take about $1.5 million each year to operate them.

The mountains are lined with a dense forest of live oaks, post oaks, blackjack oaks, mesquite, and cedar elms. The trails will draw hikers who currently go to the Hill Country or the Arbuckle Mountains in southwest Oklahoma.

The city of Strawn is also counting on the park, negotiating to locate the front gate just west of town and draw tourists to a region halfway between Fort Worth and Abilene now known mostly for the Thurber ghost town, chicken-fried steak cafes, and landmarks along the old Bankhead Highway cross-country motoring route.

A public hearing on the park last week attracted a big crowd, and locals had lots of questions about the 4,400-acre Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, reports KERA-TV.

John Ferguson is steward of Texas' newest state park, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park near Strawn, Texas

John Ferguson is steward of Texas’ newest state park, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park near Strawn, Texas. (Credit: Doualy Xaykaothao/KERA News)

After hearing two hours of questions from his neighbors and explanations by Texas Parks and Wildlife employees, 74-year-old Shawver Abbott was pretty enthusiastic.

“This might be the greatest thing in the state of Texas here,” Abbott said.

“I don’t have a clue, but it’ll take time. If people think it’s going to happen overnight, I think they’ll be disappointed. But in time, I think, I think it will be good.”

Good, not just for nature lovers and birders, but for the local economy too, says Strawn Mayor Tye Jackson.

“It’s going to force the town to grow,” Jackson said.

“And become maybe a little more modern than it has been.”

Decades ago, Strawn was a booming ranch community, but as in many rural Texas towns, its young people left for jobs in the bigger cities. Jeff Hinkson’s family has been here for a century and a half.

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: Newest State Park In Texas

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park: Newest State Park In Texas (Credit: strawntx.com)

Hinkson, who founded the Strawn Chamber of Commerce, said a park of this size could draw up to 150,000 visitors annually, from Dallas/Fort Worth, Abilene, Brownwood, Wichita Falls, and beyond.

Out at the park itself, John Ferguson is in his element. He’s with the state Parks Division and lives in the park. We get to Raptors Ridge, a migratory route for falcons, hawks, and other birds. The smell of the ridge, the sight of the steep cliffs, the lake and rivers, the moving clouds overwhelm him.

The park won’t be open for a few years, but in the meantime, the public can already enjoy pre-approved star-gazing nights and the occasional chance to ride on a horse on new trails.


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) manages and conserves the natural and cultural resources of Texas and provides hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

From mile-high mountains, canyons, and pine forests, to Hill Country rivers and the legendary Gulf Coast, Texas has over 90 state parks that offer hiking and biking trails, canoeing and kayaking, places to fish, nature centers, and much more.

Website: www.tpwd.state.tx.us

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…
I am humbled by the forces of nature that continuously mold our great state of Texas into a beautiful landscape complete with geological diversity, flora and fauna. It is my goal as a photographer to capture that natural beauty and share it with others.

—Chase A. Fountain

Posted in State Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RV Safety Tips for Summer Travelers

RV travel is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways to vacation and August is prime camping season.

Writing On Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta

Don’t start pulling out the sweaters yet. There’s still a full month of summer to enjoy. Pictured above Writing On Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs this summer heading to our country’s 16,000-plus campgrounds, and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

If you’re planning one last road trip before the summer ends, keep in mind that driving a recreational vehicle is not like driving a typical car or truck.

The added size, weight, and height can significantly affect on the way an RV handles on the road.

Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems. Preparatory activities should occupy your to-do list prior to any RV trip. It’s important to make sure that all of “the little things” are in place and working properly. While it does take time, it’s far better to be prepared than face an unanticipated malfunction that sabotages your road trip.

Before You Leave

Plan your RV route to avoid small streets and one-way roads whenever possible, since maneuvering an RV is easiest on major highways and interstates.

Looking out from Zabriskie Point, you are surrounded by one of Death Valley's forbidding, almost unearthly, desert landscapes.

Looking out from Zabriskie Point, you are surrounded by one of Death Valley’s forbidding, almost unearthly, desert landscapes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep in mind that the height of your RV will mean that certain tunnels, bridges, overpasses, and parking garages will be inaccessible. Look for a road atlas designed for truck drivers or RV drivers to find a listing of routes you should avoid.

If this is your first time driving an RV or you are driving an unfamiliar vehicle, spend some time practicing in an empty parking lot or other open area to get a feel for how the vehicle handles.

Do a complete inspection of your RV before you hit the road to make sure all of the vehicle’s safety equipment is in working order.

Check out the condition of your tires before leaving home… and stay safe!

RV tires are put to a rigorous test during the summer travel season.

Regularly inspect the tires. Check for cracks, worn treads, and correct tire pressure.

Under-inflated tires are more prone to damage and failure. They also affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior. Under-inflated tires are also much more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout, especially at high speeds on an Interstate.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep lamb.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep lamb. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Due to the size of most RVs, it is virtually impossible to really know what’s behind you when you’re backing up. If you don’t already have one, consider adding a rear-view or back-up camera that will provide you with an instant view of the traffic behind you.

A back-up camera is especially useful for those with children or pets. The installation and purchase of a back up camera is comparatively small, and many local RV dealers are able to complete this upgrade quickly than you’d expect.

Passengers in an RV can distract your attention from the road, especially if they are talking, watching television, or listening to music. Make sure that everyone, even young children, understands that the driver of the RV needs to pay attention to the road at all times.

Driving Tips

When driving your RV, remember the following safe driving tips:

The added weight of your vehicle means you’ll need a greater distance to stop. Look at the traffic as far ahead as possible in order to avoid unnecessary stopping and starting within the flow of traffic. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

Look ahead and anticipate traffic conditions. Slow down well before you need to. Instead of slamming on your breaks just before the line, slowly ease off the accelerator, coasting to a stop and thus avoid wasting fuel and wear on the brakes.

When you need to park your RV, have someone directing you into the spot if possible.

When you need to park your RV, have someone directing you into the spot if possible. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When the light changes green, forget that pedal to the metal mindset and, again, ease into it.

In hilly areas, remember that an RV will pick up speed faster than a car or truck on the down slope. Watch your acceleration to avoid creating a safety hazard.

Keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times. On a windy day, it’s common for an RV to rock and sway when traveling down the road.

An RV requires a larger turning radius, so remember that you need to pull out further into the intersection before starting your turn.

When you need to park your RV, have someone directing you into the spot if possible. If you are traveling without another adult, look for a spot where you can pull through so you avoid the need to have to back up the vehicle.

Worth Pondering…
If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.
—Robert Cavett

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

Keep Moving With Mogo Freedom

A revolutionary multifunction trailer, Mogo Freedom is an equipment transporter, a support vehicle, a camper van—whatever you need it to be.

Keep Moving With Mogo Freedom

Keep Moving With Mogo Freedom

Easy to tow, Mogo is a safe, strong, and comfortable trailer that fits into a garage, yet triples its space when used as a camper.

No canvas, no set up time, and no drying time, and it can be towed by ATVs and small cars such as VW Up. It weighs only 770 pounds (350 kg) and features additional 880 pounds (400 kg) of loading capacity. Mogo has enough space for bikes, kites, jet skis, surf boards, and other fun toys.

Mogo Freedom is a perfect companion when pursuing one’s hobbies or visiting festivals.

Yet, Mogo can also serve as spacious shop outlet during an antique show, arts and crafts sale, or during a Christmas market.

Or it can serve as a work horse for a handyman.

And it can even serve as a movie theatre or temporary cinema.

The world’s smallest cinema in front of Ferens Art Gallery in Hull

The world’s smallest cinema in front of Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, 2017 UK City of Culture

From the ancient Japanese tea ceremony to the British tea-cosy, the tea break is a time for reflection or chat.

A time to be interested or switch off. To relax by focusing.

This was the exact effect of short movies that were shown during the 2014 Tea Break Film Festival held last week in Hull.

Mogo Freedom hosted The Tea Break Film Festival in a customized Mogo in its hometown Hull, the UK City of Culture 2017.

With two comfortable seats rescued from demolished UCI Cinema, Mogo became the world’s smallest cinema.

Jay Moy from Make Moving Messages and Mal Williamson from Creator College organized this annual event during the 2014 Yum Food Festival. The Tea Break Film Festival is an interactive event, where the public views and selects the winner of the festival. The submitted movies come from UK and US. They are produced by young and engaging directors.

VW Up towing the Mogo Freedom

VW Up towing the Mogo Freedom

If Cannes has The Palme d’Or, Venice The Leone d’Oro, and Berlin The Goldener Bär—is it not most fitting that Hull has The Tea Pot prize or The Grand Théière sponsored by Mogo Freedom?

The Tea Break Film Festival movies are engaging, drifting, refreshing and restful hence the best way to enjoy them is in an engaging and refreshing Mogo.

Is it possible that Mogo Freedom can support Motability, too? Being mobile and flexible is very important for people with disabilities.

See how at Rehacare International Trade Fair and Congress, September 24-27, 2014 in Düsseldorf.

Mogo Freedom is a refreshingly new way to play. It is as versatile as one’s desires. Mogo is a trailer that fits into a garage, yet triples its space when used as a camper.

Mogo Freedom is applying the most advanced material science technologies to achieve exceptional strength and minimal weight.

Mogo is fully laminated and bonded using Banova balsa wood from renewable resources, preserving the tropical forest.

Keep Moving With Mogo Freedom

Keep Moving With Mogo Freedom

Mogo Freedom specifications include:

Dry Weight: 770 pounds (350 kg)

Maximum Towing Weight: 1,653 pounds (750 kg)

Length: 12 feet 1 inch (370 cm)

Width: 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm)

Height: 6 feet 4 inches (195 cm)

Retractable bed for two

2 windows


Mogo Freedom

Mogo Freedom, revolutionary multifunction trailer, is an equipment transporter, a support vehicle, a campervan—whatever you need it to be.

Mogo Freedom is easy to tow, fits in your garage, and is safe, strong, and comfortable.

Website: www.mogofreedom.com

Worth Pondering…
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.

—Thomas Merton

Posted in RV Lifestyle, RV Manufactures, RV Show | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Budgeting To Purchase An RV

Purchasing a recreational vehicle can be an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming.

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

In spite of rising fuel costs, RV travel is still the most economical and efficient way to vacation with your family this summer. Pictured above Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico, after a day of safe travel. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Purchasing an RV is a more complicated process than buying a car.

You owe it to yourself to become well informed before jumping in. Uninformed RV consumers are likely to make unwise choices financially. Create a budget for buying your RV. Do the numbers. Think about how you will pay and/or finance your RV? Large discretionary purchases can throw even the most disciplined savers off course.

What does it really cost to own a recreational vehicle? I’m talking here real cost and not just the initial purchase price.

When budgeting for the purchase of a recreational vehicle, consider the main costs of owning an RV that go beyond the initial purchase price. Many expenses are rarely considered or even contemplated prior to signing on the dotted line.

You need to think about the financials that are involved in licensing and registration fees, insurance, sales taxes, roadside assistance plan, off-season storage fees, upkeep and general maintenance expenses.

rent an rv

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental Class C motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When budgeting for an RV include the insurance cost in that budget. Doing the research before buying provides a clearer financial perspective of the true cost of the RV.

The insurance jungle can get a bit confusing. Here are some tips on getting the best insurance deal for your RV.

Specialized RV insurance is preferable to auto insurance for your RV. The two are very different. RV insurance covers many more risks specific to an RV that are not included in auto insurance. Some examples are total replacement coverage, personal belongings coverage (e.g. your furniture and appliances), coverage for snowbirds and full-timers.

Also, you have specialized RV claims agents who know RVs, as opposed to auto-adjusters who don’t really understand them.

Compare insurance quotes. Insurance rates are dependent on many variables. Selecting insurance coverage based solely on price is not recommended. Instead, obtain free quotes from multiple companies online, compare their policies, and pick the policy that offers you maximum coverage at the best price.

Factors that affect insurance rates include RV type and model, current value of RV, state or province in which the policy is issued (insurance laws vary), amount of coverage required, primary purpose of the RV, previous RV ownership history, insurance claims history, age, marital status, associations or memberships that offer discounts, and credit score.

EverGreen Introduces 2015 Element

EverGreen Introduces 2015 Element at More Affordable Price Point

So if you are a married homeowner, have a high credit score, low claims history and have previously owned an RV, be sure to tell your agent as you are eligible to receive discounts on your policy.

In addition, you may wish to purchase an extended warranty plan. Extended warranties are not for everyone, but they can be a cost-effective way to safeguard the investment you’ve made in your recreational vehicle.

They can be a waste of money, they can be supremely helpful, and they can also be everything in between. This is a personal choice that should be based on many factors. Ideally, an RV extended warranty should allow you to save time, control your budget, and have less worries while enjoying the open road.

RV Industry Projected To Grow For 6th Consecutive Year © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV Industry Projected To Grow For 6th Consecutive Year © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Knowing what you are able to afford and willing to spend will save you time by narrowing down your choices. An RV lifestyle can be relatively inexpensive or it may require a small fortune. Where you end up depends on your financial abilities and careful planning.

With interest rates still at historic lows, many options are available when buying a new or pre-owned RV. Shop the marketplace for the best rates.

Buying an RV is a major decision. But if you have a sense of adventure, a desire to explore, and a willingness to find your own fun, RVing might be just what you need. Do it!

Worth Pondering…

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted in RV Dealers, RV Lifestyle, RV Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Places To Go In August

This is it: The last full month of summer.

Don’t start pulling out the sweaters yet. There’s still a full month of summer to enjoy.

Before the cool air starts moving in, these three festival hot spots are great for your late summer escape.

Elvis Week 2014

elvisweek_2014_logoAugust is a special time for Elvis Presley fans and the city of Memphis. Each year, thousands of Elvis fans from around the world descend on the hometown of the late performer to celebrate his life, music, movies, and legacy during the annual Elvis Week.

Graceland is front and center for events celebrating the life of the iconic performer. But Elvis’ Memphis home is just the heart of the activities during Elvis Week. Traditional events such as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, musical tours around the city of Memphis, special concerts, fan club gatherings, and much more will occur at Graceland and around the city during Elvis Week.

The highlight of the week is the annual Candlelight Vigil, which takes place the night of August 15. Fans walk up the driveway to Elvis’ gravesite and back down carrying a candle in honor of the King, who died in his home on August 16, 1977.

Elvis Week 2014 kicked off Friday, August 8, with the Hard Rock Last Chance Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. It ends more than a week later on Sunday, August 17, with the Elvis Gospel Celebration.

When: August 8-17, 2014

Cost: Ticket prices vary by event

Website: www.graceland.com

Burning Man 2014_theme_caravansaryBurning Man 2014: Caravansary

One of the most famous art and music festivals in the world, this year’s Burning Man theme is Caravansary. Come find yourself in the dust while donning fabulous costumes, gifting things to strangers and new friends alike, and marveling at some of the most impressive artwork out there.

Burning Man is an annual event and a thriving year-round culture. The event takes place the week leading up to and including Labor Day, in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

The Burning Man organization creates the infrastructure of Black Rock City, wherein attendees (or “participants”) dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, leaving no trace.

As simple as this may seem, trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. To truly understand this event, one must participate.

When: August 25-September 1, 2014

Cost: Tickets run $380

Website: www.burningman.com

43rd Annual Hatch Valley Chili Festival

Hatch Chii Festival header-140218As summer cools down, the Village of Hatch, New Mexico, heats up. Labor Day weekend heralds the annual Hatch Chile Festival, a two-day celebration of the valley’s world-famous crop. The festival attracts over 30,000 visitors from all over the United States, including such notables as the Food Network and the BBC.

Festival goers can sample famed chile recipes, watch the crowning of the chile festival queen, or toss a horseshoe in celebration of this famous crop. The event also features chile ristra contests, artisan and food booths, red chili cook-off, chili eating contests, a carnival, and live entertainment including bands, mariachis, and children’s folklorico.

The Village of Hatch, the “Chile Capital of the Universe”, is located off Interstate 25, between Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences.

The opening of Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, brings the exciting frontier of commercial space travel to the Village. The entrance to Spaceport America is only nine miles south from Hatch, which makes us the Village “New Gateway to Space.”

When: August 30-31, 2014

Cost: $10/vehicle; valid for both days

Website: www.hatchchilefest.com

Worth Pondering…
Much travel is needed before the raw man is ripened.
—Proverb of the Caravan of Dreams

Posted in Road Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Sam Announces Top RV Parks for Golfers for 2014

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory announced its list of Top Parks for Golfers for 2014.

Good Sam 2014-Top Golfing-ShieldGood Sam editors and consultants chose the list of Parks for Golfers from the annual publication’s database of 8,000 private parks.

These RV parks provide challenging, fun-filled golf courses for RVers who seek out great links on their travels.

Some of the RV parks on this list feature golf courses and driving ranges on their property; others are located in regions with several nearby golf courses. In all cases, these parks are up to par when it comes to attracting folks who are always ready to tee off.

Highlights of this list include:

  • Some RV parks attract golfers in part because of their proximity to world-renowned courses. Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell is located just two minutes from the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 New Public Golf Courses in the World.
  • Parks that offer links within the resort include Pueblo El Mirage Golf and RV Resort, which boasts a 72-par course designed by golfing champion Fuzzy Zoeller.
  • RV/Golf travel packages help some of these RV parks attract golfing customers. Mallard Creek Golf Course & RV Resort, for instance, offers packages for stays as long as a month that include unlimited golf on the resort’s course.

Facts about Golfing RV Travelers

By 1900, The Jekyll Island Club (Georgia) membership included the Rockefellers, Morgans, Cranes and Goulds and represented over one-sixth of the world’s wealth.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

By 1900, The Jekyll Island Club (Georgia) membership included the Rockefellers, Morgans, Cranes and Goulds and represented over one-sixth of the world’s wealth. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since 1980, the number of golfers in the United States has grown by 50 percent, with more than 30 million enthusiasts hitting the links.

There are approximately 15,500 golf facilities in the U.S., many of which are in or near or within RV parks.

In 2012, golfers played 490 million rounds on U.S. courses, up 5.7 percent from 2011

Top RV Parks for Golfers

Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell, Fort Mcdowell
Pueblo El Mirage Golf & RV Resort, El Mirage

Emerald Desert RV Resort – Sunland, Palm Desert
Pomo RV Park & Campground, Fort Bragg

Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort, Citra
The Glades RV Resort, La Belle

Signature Motorcoach Resort at Bay Harbor, Bay Harbor

Mark Twain Landing, Monroe City

Fairmont RV Park & Campground, Anaconda

Mallard Creek Golf & RV Resort, Lebanon

Parkview Riverside RV Park, Concan

Winter weather is close to perfect in Palm Springs and the other desert resort cities in the Coachella Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winter weather is close to perfect in Palm Springs and the other desert resort cities in the Coachella Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lake Pleasant RV Park, Bothell

Good Sam RV Travel Guide

A different category of Top Parks will be featured each month in articles released by the Good Sam RV Travel Guide.

In addition to comprehensive listings of RV parks and campgrounds across North America, the 2014 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory features travel itineraries, helpful maps, and informative tips that RVers need for a journey anywhere in North America.

Additional camping and RV Travel information is available on the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory Camping Blog.

Worth Pondering…

Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots—but you have to play the ball where it lies.

—Bobby Jones

Posted in Campgrounds, RV Lifestyle, RV Parks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nappanee: Embrace the Pace

Nappanee’s many shops, beautifully restored murals, and storied architecture can be enjoyed with a leisurely stroll.

The Nappanee water tower reflects the town's heritage. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Nappanee water tower reflects the town’s heritage. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A window to another world, the quiet rhythms of Amish life—more than 3,500 Old Order Amish make their homes here—are revealed along back roads dotted with pristine white farmhouses, grazing cattle, and the eclectic Countryside Shoppes, a collection of rural retailers offering everything from quilts to cabinetry.

The town’s colorful history is preserved at the Nappanee Center. It’s packed with fascinating memorabilia and includes a tribute to the area’s celebrated cartoonists and generations of furniture crafters.

Prior to 1800 Nappanee was home to the Miami and Pottawatomi Indians. In 1830, the first white settlers came to the area and by 1870 there were seven farms and a population of forty providing the nucleus of a growing community.

The major catalyst for growth came with the B&O Railroad in 1874. Three pioneer farmers gave five acres to the Railroad for $1 to build a station along its new route to Chicago. This access to a major transportation route brought more settlers to the town that B&O dubbed “Nappanee.”

The families who populated the area were deeply religious and conservative, founding their community on the values of hard work and integrity.

Acclaimed as Indiana's best meal, the family style Thresher's dinner can be enjoyed at Amish Acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Acclaimed as Indiana’s best meal, the family style Thresher’s dinner can be enjoyed at Amish Acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The B&O has now become CSX, but Nappanee has some ways stayed the Nappanee of the 1880s. The city remains surrounded by many farm families of the Anabaptist religious sects, among them the Amish, Mennonite, and German Baptist.

Many surrounding farms have no electricity, natural gas or telephone lines connecting them to the outside world and horse-drawn buggies the main source of travel. These reminders of the past co-exist side-by-side with a modern American city, boasting a thriving light manufacturing industry focused on recreational vehicles and modular homes, as well as craftsmen who mix old and new in producing fine furniture and other woodwork.

Currently, Nappanee is home to a diverse population of approximately 7,070.

Amish Acres

Experience the restoration of the Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns farmstead, the only Amish farm listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Widow Barbara Stahly and her five sons migrated from Germany to the southwest corner of Elkhart County, in 1839, making them, according to University of Chicago historian James Landing, likely the first Amish settlers in Indiana.

Following a year of meticulous restoration Amish Acres opened to the public in 1970. Enjoy the Award Winning Family Style Threshers Dinner served at your table under the hand-hewn timbers of the Century-Old Restaurant Barn.

Many handmade crafts and locally produced products are featured in Amish Acres’ unique shops. In addition you will find a bakery full of old fashioned breads and cakes, a meat and cheese shop with souse, headcheese, and buffalo meat, and a candy shop as sweet as it gets along with an antique marble soda fountain.

An Amish Acres tradition, Plain and Fancy, now in its 27th season, fills the Round Barn Theatre stage each April through October. This gentle but spirited musical comedy brought the first national attention to the quaint customs, stern morals, and picturesque dress of the Amish. Over 3,000 shows have been performed, and over 300,000 patrons have marveled at Amish Acres nationally recruited cast.

Enjoy a factory tour and watch quality Class A motorhomes come off the assembly line at Newmar Corp. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Enjoy a factory tour and watch quality Class A motorhomes come off the assembly line at Newmar Corp. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Location: Along US 6, 1 mile west of downtown Nappanee

Address: 1600 West Market Street, Nappanee, IN 46550

Phone: (574) 773-4188 or (800) 800-4942 (toll free)

Website: amishacres.com

Please Note: This is Part 6 of a 7-Part series on Amish Country

Worth Pondering…

Don’t hurry, don’t worry, do your best, leave the rest. Bibles that are coming apart usually belong to people who are not. It may be difficult to wait on the Lord, but it is worse to wish you had” Don’t pray when it rains, if you don’t pray when the sun shines. Be like the teakettle; when it’s up to its neck in hot water, it sings. You can tell when you’re on the right track. It’s usually uphill.

—Amish quotes on Faith

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