50 of America’s Most Spectacular RV Trips

You might have seen it on a shelf and thought, “I should pick that up.”

The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s the national bestseller, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Sometimes the best adventures are those in your own backyard.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 50 things to do or see in your RV before you die:

Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea includes three major components for visitors: a re-created 19th-century coastal village with historic ships, a working preservation shipyard, and formal exhibit galleries. It consists of more than 60 original historic buildings, most of them rare commercial structures moved to the 37 acres site and meticulously restored. Founded in 1929 Mystic Seaport also boasts four vessels that are designated National Historic Landmarks.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is country music and all that goes with it—glittering rhinestones; cowboy hats; red, white, and blue leather boots; and songs with titles like Thank God I’m a Country Boy and On the Road Again, Country Roads and I Fall to Pieces.

Also known as “Athens of the South,” downtown Nashville is set around magnificent Greek revival architecture. But the Greek revival lost out to country music when radio station WSM began broadcasting the Grand Ole Opry, making Nashville “Music City, USA.” Downtown, the Ryman Auditorium is known as the “Mother Church of Country Music.” And just around the corner is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

New Orleans, Louisiana

When most people think of New Orleans, images of beads and floats and Mardi Gras may come into mind. Others may think of great food, cool jazz, and fabulous architecture.

New Orleans is one of the most visually interesting cities in America and of significant historic importance.

The phrase “Laissez les bon temps rouler”—Let the good times roll—is exemplified by Bourbon Street’s non-stop party atmosphere. But for many visitors to New Orleans, it’s all about the food. Seasonings are the lifeblood of good New Orleans cooking.

Newport, Rhode Island

Driving around Newport you can’t help but gawp at the turn-of-the-20th-century mansions—Italianate palazzi, Tudor-style manors, faux French château, all set in elegant formal landscaping, with imposing gates or walls to keep out hoi polloi (for example, you).

It’s incredible to imagine the sort of wealth that built these homes, even more incredible to realize that these were just these families’ summer houses—offhandedly referred to as mere “cottages”.

If you tire of Newport’s spectacular coastal scenery, awe-inspiring architecture, there’s always shopping in thriving downtown Newport. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park’s true distinction lies in its stunning diversity. Few places on earth have so much of everything: human and natural history, unusual flora and fauna, utter wilderness, and spots for every kind of outdoor recreation.

The park divides neatly into three major areas—the glaciered mountains and high country of the interior; the lush rainforest of the west-facing valleys; and the rugged wilderness coastline. It’s a landscape that renders a quick visit nearly impossible.

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Wright Memorial Bridge is just three miles long, but by the time you’ve crossed it you realize that you’ve arrived in an entirely different place. The bridge spans the Currituck Sound, connecting mainland North Carolina to the 130-mile string of narrow barrier islands known as the Outer Banks.

Along the way are historic sites, quaint villages, a variety of recreational activities, breathtaking views, and acres of unspoiled beauty. Because the waterways and coast along The Outer Banks is in constant motion, its wide variety of climates, wildlife, and landscape are ever changing.

Please Note: This is Part 6 of an 8-part series on 50 Places to RV Before You Die

Worth Pondering…

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

—Mark Twain

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: October 7

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Thank You, Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is listed by the U.S. Patent Office as the inventor on 317 patents. Many of them are the basic concepts that have changed the way we listen to, watch, read and share content. (Credit: apple.com)

We were shocked and saddened by Steve Jobs’ sudden passing Wednesday (October 5) at the young age of 56 due to pancreatic cancer complications. We lost one of the greatest innovators and influencers of our time, and he will be missed.

Steve Jobs has brought so much life and passion into the world that it’s really hard to imagine what it will be like without him. No one has ever put more energy into creating products that people care about.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for all that you’ve done. Not just for creating all those products that we love, but also for sharing your infinite passion with us.

Our hearts go out to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Steve.

2. Early Driver’s License Renewal Option for Snowbirds

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division (DVS) reminds Minnesotans travelling south for the winter to check the expiration date on their driver’s licenses before leaving the state.

Drivers whose licenses expire before May 31, 2012 may renew prior to the expiration date without losing a year on the renewal cycle. The new license will expire four full years from the expiration date on the license, rather than four years from the actual renewal date.

Renewing early ensures that a driver’s license displays a current photo and a current permanent address, and taking care of renewal before leaving of Minnesota gives each driver peace of mind and a valid license in possession while away from home. The early renewal service is also available to identification card holders.

3. Low Speed Vehicle Usage on the Rise

A true senior's RV. (Original source unknown)

Snowbirds flying south for the winter aren’t the only things on the rise this year in Florida. The state’s use of alternative vehicles is burgeoning in a new type of transportation, according to a recent Road Rat Motors news release.

Registered low-speed vehicles in Palm Beach County and Broward Beach County in South Florida increased 19 percent and 31 percent from 2009, respectively, with more than 300 vehicles in these areas. On a state level, there were more than 6,271 golf carts registered in 2010, according to a recent article on SunSentinel.com.

Families are especially taking to purchasing low-speed electric vehicles and street legal golf carts for quick neighborhood errands or taking their kids to school. With the initial savings from the 10 percent tax credit and the long-term savings of fuel costs and wear and tear, it makes sense in this unsteady economy.

4. Leaf peeping in Connecticut

Just in time for fall foliage viewing, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced a brand new Connecticut Fall Foliage website that helps residents and visitors determine “when and where the leaves are changing color and where to view them,” reports Patch.com.

The website features, among other things, an interactive foliage map detailing the intensity of color at specific times, scenic views and hiking locations, and fall foliage driving routes.

This year, the peak dates for fall foliage are from October 7 through November 13.

5. Pennsylvania State Parks Suffers Major Storm Damage

Let's Go RVing to Lackawanna State Park, Pennsylvania. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A one-two punch from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused at least $3 million to $4 million in damages to public infrastructure at state parks and forests, with facilities in Northeast Pennsylvania being particularly hard hit, according to Richard Allan, secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that Promised Land State Park in Pike County and Worlds End State Park in Sullivan County sustained significant damage to roads and bridges, said Ellen Ferretti, deputy DCNR secretary for parks and forests.

“It was like a one-two punch,” she added.

Damage assessments are continuing.

As part of the public disaster assistance under the presidential major disaster declaration, federal aid will cover 75% of the costs to fix park infrastructure, said Allan.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

—Steve Jobs

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