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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What To Do When Stormy Weather Hits Your Campground

You’re­ on what you ho­pe­ will be a leisurely RV camping­ trip. It’s a warm summer afternoon.

Following several days of rain, one RVer leaves Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona
Following several days of rain, one RVer leaves Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Suddenly, a few raindrops splat your arms, and before you know it, the sky opens up. Then you hear thunder in the distance. What should you do to ensure your family’s safety?

Stormy weather can happen at any time, anywhere.

What to do when it storms at your campsite is a common question for many campers—especially when they’re camping during the steamy, thunderstorm-prone summer months. Thunderstorms are common throughout the US and Canada, but they occur most frequently during the summer months in the Southeast, Midwest, and Great Plains.

While yo­ur best choice depends on the severity of the storm and your location, being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. Knowing what to do before, during, and following severe weather is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Be Informed

Know the risk in your area for hurricanestornadosthunderstorms, damaging winds, dust storms, blizzards, ice storms, and other severe weather phenomena.

NOAA Weather Radio continuously broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, watches, alerts, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day. It also broadcasts alerts of non-weather emergencies such as national security, natural, environmental, and public safety.

Following several days of rain, a path is cleared across the wah allowing RVers to leave Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Following several days of rain, a path is cleared across the wash allowing RVers to leave Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The average range is 40 miles, depending on topography. The National Weather Service recommends purchasing a radio that has both a battery backup and a tone-alert feature which automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued.

Make a Weather Disaster Plan

Create a weather disaster plan, put an emergency survival kit together, and keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.

Most emergency preparedness plans have several steps in common, such as having a well-stocked first aid kit.

Begin your plan with one or more ways of staying on top of weather forecasts. RVers commonly travel with TV reception, computers, or cell phone Internet access, useful for getting weather reports.

Some communities use sirens as a warning system. Check with your RV campground regarding local siren signals, their storm warning system, and location of nearest tornado shelter.

Build an Emergency Kit

Assemble your emergency survival kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and will NOT have time to search for the supplies you need.

Have an emergency package of basic supplies, and keep them readily accessible in an easy-to-carry kit.

Prepare for a weather disaster by gathering emergency supplies including water, non-perishable food, can opener, first aid kit, medications and medical treatment items, flashlights, cell phone with charger, NOAA Weather Radio, emergency cash, pet supplies, important personal documents and medical information, road maps, emergency blankets, flameless LED candles, emergency tools, emergency contact information including family, friends, and doctors, and a full tank of fuel.

Following several days of rain, a path is cleared across the wash allowing RVers to leave Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Following several days of rain, a path is cleared across the wash allowing RVers to leave Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You personal documents such include copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.

Additional Safety Tips

ALWAYS know the county in which you are located, so that you can get accurate weather information (National Weather Service severe weather warnings are issued based on counties).

DO NOT drive into a flooded area.

30/30 Rule – if the time between lightning strikes and thunder is less than 30 seconds, you need to take shelter.

NEVER try to outrun a tornado in any vehicle; instead, take shelter immediately. When a tornado approaches, anyone in its path should move to a pre-designated shelter—preferably a designated storm shelter or basement. Recreational vehicles and mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

Stay in regular contact with your family or close friends—let them know you are safe.

Worth Pondering…

Safety doesn’t happen by accident.

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Prepare for Stormy Weather with Quick Exit Plan

Given the rash of severe weather that’s been striking the United States and Canada this spring and summer, it would be prudent for all campers and RVers to have a quick exit plan in place regardless of where you travel.

Following heavy rains in the mountains a wash separating the campground from the entrance road at Catalina State Park near Tucson flooded stranding campers for several days. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Following heavy rains in the mountains a wash separating the campground from the entrance road at Catalina State Park near Tucson flooded stranding campers for several days. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Water is a major feature at numerous campgrounds and RV parks. Many state and provincial parks and other public recreation areas are in low-lying areas that are susceptible to flooding during periods of heavy precipitation.

Access to current weather reports and related information—weather radio, mobile wireless phone, satellite radio—will enable campers to be on top of the weather and to take proactive measures in the event of high waters, flood, thunderstorms, or other severe weather conditions.

Be Prepared 

Be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Make sure your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries installed.

Keep the RV and toad or tow vehicle fuel tank, propane tank, and fresh water tank filled.

Maintain the correct air pressure in the RV and toad or tow vehicle tires.

Travel with a wireless mobile phone and charger, GPS navigation system, adequate maps, and a good road atlas.

Following a path cleared by state park staff, RVs were able to leave Catalina State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Following a path cleared by state park staff, RVs were able to leave Catalina State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Always carry a first aid kit in your RV. Whether you buy a ready-made first aid kit or put together your own, be sure to keep it well stocked.

Include items such as adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, sterile gauze pads (dressings) in small and large squares, adhesive tape, antiseptic solutions (such as hydrogen peroxide), antiseptic wipes, antibiotic cream, anti-itch cream, burn cream, throat lozenges, cold pack, thermometer, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, disposable non-latex gloves, and triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make an arm sling.

Don’t forget to include a first-aid manual.

Travel with an adequate supply of prescription medications.

Maintain a well-stocked emergency supply kit that includes extra blankets, non-perishable packaged or canned food items, bottled water, garbage bags, manual can opener, flashlights, spare batteries, extra medication, protective weather apparel, and any other personal items needed for an emergency.

Tools to keep handy include booster (jumper) cables, road flares, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and duct tape.

At the RV Park

Formulate an emergency plan once you arrive at the campground—not when a storm is barreling towards you.

If the weather turns foul, what will you do? Where will you seek shelter? At what point do you consider evacuating the campground?

Does the RV Park have an emergency evacuation plan in case of severe weather? Inquire when you register. If they do not have a plan, devise your own. Where is the nearest storm shelter?

Plan an evacuation route. Make sure you know at least two ways out of your RV site in the event of downed trees, downed electrical lines, or flooding.

Following a path cleared by state park staff, RVs were able to leave Catalina State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Following a path cleared by state park staff, RVs were able to leave Catalina State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When camping during severe weather, park the RV in a sheltered area. Do not camp near power lines or under large trees. Avoid low areas prone to flash flooding. During lightning, it is always safe to be inside the RV.

Retract awnings in high winds and while away from the RV.

In the event you need to evacuate the campground do not drive through standing or running water. Moving water can sweep away your vehicle, and roads covered by standing water are prone to collapse.

Following these easy steps will ensure you’re prepared to protect yourself and your RV.

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

Part 2: Track the Weather

Worth Pondering…

Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not
—Anon

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When Things Go Wrong

Dr. Aram Attarian, professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at North Carolina State University, has spent 35 years collecting accident reports, first-person accounts, and newspaper articles about things gone wrong in outdoor and adventure programs.

Attarian combined more than 50 scenarios involving lightning strikes, wildlife encounters, and lost students, in Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs, a book for use in outdoor leadership and adventure education classes, Medical Xpress reports.

His observations can also help RVers who enjoy hiking, camping, climbing, rafting, and other outdoor activities.

His first recommendation: “Do your homework up front.” This starts with researching the location, checking the long-term weather forecast, and selecting the right equipment for the trip. Following are tips to keep you out of a future edition of Attarian’s book, which is divided into four sections for each major contributing risk factor:

  • Program staff and participants
  • Environmental conditions
  • Equipment
  • Transportation

Program Staff and Participants

“Be prepared, both mentally and physically, for your trip,” Attarian says. If you’re getting ready for a new outdoor activity or a destination trip, start a routine of walking or running a few months ahead.

For two popular activities, backpacking and climbing, “it’s all legs and lungs. You need to have a good attitude as well.”

Mentors, whether experienced family members or professional guides, can help match your skill level to the activity and its risks. The most common outdoor injuries are musculoskeletal, such as sprained ankles or wrenched knees, followed by soft tissue injuries, such as abrasions, contusions and lacerations.

Make sure you carry a first aid kit and a communication device.

“Leave your itinerary with someone, with a day-by-day plan, so that if you’re late showing up, searchers will know where to start,” Attarian says.

Environmental Conditions

Weather, stream, river crossings, and interactions with wildlife are just a few of the biggest environmental concerns.

If a thunderstorm approaches, head from a high- to a low-risk environment by seeking shelter in a building or metal vehicle. If you’re caught in a storm, assume a lightning stance: Put your pack on the ground and crouch on top. Wait half an hour after the storm passes to resume activity. You should also be aware of wildlife in the area. Before your trip, find out if there’s a history of bears in the area and pay attention to park authorities and warning signs.

“If you’re going to an area where encounters between humans and bears are common, such as Glacier, Yellowstone, or Yosemite, take bear bells and pepper/bear spray with you and be bear-aware,” Attarian says.

Equipment

Technology has made outdoor adventures easier and more pleasant with lighter equipment, high-tech materials, and even solar panels to charge your cell phone.

However, communications gear can provide a false sense of security. “We all have cell phones, but they don’t work everywhere,” Attarian says.

Some leaders of large groups carry satellite phones. Another option is personal locator beacons, which work like GPS devices in an emergency. Once activated, the device sends a signal to an overhead satellite, which is passed on to authorities.

While GPS can come in handy, Attarian recommends carrying a map and compass for navigation. “You need to have a plan if your battery dies or the signal is blocked by a heavy tree canopy.”

Transportation

Despite his research on the risks of being outdoors, Attarian remains positive about its benefits. “Some would argue that travel to and from the location is the most dangerous part of any outdoor recreation experience,” he notes.

For additional information on Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs,and order details, click here.

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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Road Trip Planning Tips

If you are going on a road trip vacation, planning is important.

Road trip planning leads a happy campers. (Source:New Zealand Mirror Travel)

Taking the time in advance to plan will help make your vacation enjoyable and stress-free, according to a LoveToKnow news release.

For a family road trip, consider renting an RV, if you do not already own one. You’ll combine transportation and lodging costs. You’ll also cut down the food cost of restaurants as you can use the RV kitchen to prepare meals and snacks.

A good way to save is to research RV parks and campgrounds along the itinerary for the best rates on overnight stops.

Set a Budget

Planning a budget first will help when planning the itinerary and will prevent over-spending. You’ll need to budget for:

  • Fuel
  • RV parks/campgrounds
  • Food
  • Admission fees
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Emergencies

Decide how much you will need to spend in each category. If you need to adjust some categories to make the totals match, do so.

Map a Route

Gather maps and atlases to plan your route. (Source: lovetoknow.com)

Gather maps and atlases to plan your route. While interstates are faster, scenic byways and state routes are usually more interesting. Decide the distance you’ll drive each day and allow extra time. Weather and construction can slow you down.

Check with the state department of transportation for road construction in progress, so you can avoid those areas. You should plan on frequent breaks in the schedule so the drive won’t be so tiring.

Allow Extra Time

Nothing will take the enjoyment out of a road trip quicker than that “rushed” feeling. Be realistic about time constraints; allow plenty of time to enjoy each stop.

Don’t try to see everything in one trip; save something for the next time.

Don’t feel that every moment needs to be planned. Leave ample time for a spontaneous side trip.

Plan for Emergencies

While you hope nothing unforeseen happens, it’s better to be prepared in case it does:

  • Have all car maintenance up to date
  • Understand all campground cancellation requirements
  • Let friends and relatives know your itinerary and how to contact you
  • Take a copy of your vehicle insurance policy with you
  • Pack the names and phone number of the family doctor

For long road trips, plan a variety of activities to keep everyone entertained, such as:

  • Watch movies on DVD
  • Play car games
  • Read books aloud
  • Bring pillows for a comfortable nap

Packing List

The night before leaving on the road trip will be less hectic if you have planned what to pack.

The night before leaving on the road trip will be less hectic if you have planned what to pack. Be careful not to over pack, take only what you need. You can always do laundry on the road. Take snacks, especially healthy ones, to save on fuel stop cravings.

Make a Memorable Road Trip

With some advance preparation, the road trip can be one you will remember for a long time.

Details

LoveToKnow Corp.
LoveToKnow is an online media company that owns and operates a family of web sites dedicated to providing high quality, useful information to internet users.

The internet offers a wealth of information. However, as anybody who has ever searched for a specific topic knows, there are a lot of trivial web sites out there.

LoveToKnow strives to gather the most useful information on the topics you are searching for and provide it in a convenient, easy-to-use format.

Address: 1325 Howard Ave., Suite 307, Burlingame, CA 94010

Website: lovetoknow.com

Worth Pondering…

I hear the highway calling. It’s time for a road trip.

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Avoiding an RV Disaster

Recreational vehicles are an excellent way to discover America. There seems to be no more pleasurable way of touring America than in the comforts of your own RV. The beauty and the convenience of knowing where you are going to sleep, having a place to cook, and not having to pack and unpack your personal things at every stop makes them a road tripper’s best friend.

Recreational vehicles are an excellent way to discover America. Pictured above Newmar Class A Diesel Pusher camped at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Well, that is until something goes wrong. Then, the trip can be frustrating or even a nightmare or deadly. Smart planning often helps the RVer to avoid a disaster as the following three incidents illustrate.

Reliability of GPS questioned

Idaho Falls, Idaho: The dramatic story of a British Columbia couple who made a tragic wrong turn on their trip to Las Vegas offers a startling reminder of the need for road travelers to make plans and preparations before heading out on the road.

The plight of a B. C. couple who went missing in mid-March is raising questions about the reliability of global positioning systems (GPS) in rural areas.

Albert and Rita Chretien were travelling from their home in Penticton, to a trade show in Las Vegas when their 2000 Chevrolet Astro ran into trouble on a logging road in Elko County (Nevada).

Rita Chretien, 56, was rescued Friday (May 6) after spending seven weeks alone in the wilderness. She told investigators she hasn’t seen Albert, 59, since he left with the GPS to try to find a state highway.

Police in Nevada said the Chretiens were likely led astray by their GPS.

Rex Turner, a GPS engineer based in Oklahoma, said there is no denying the benefits of the product when driving in an established city. But he said the farther you get out of town, the less reliable the systems’ maps become.

“Rural routes are worse, turn by turn data really breaks down out in the country,” he said.
Turner said a GPS can’t be 100 per cent reliable because it relies on information that is quickly changing.

Don’t let this happen to you. (Credit: engadget.com)

“Roads are constantly being worked on, neighborhoods are constantly being built and you’re at the mercy of government maps that are quite often old,” he said.

On Monday (May 8), Rita Chretien, who is recovering at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, was upgraded to a regular diet, starting with yogurt and dairy products, the hospital said.

“The medical team is watching her closely, but indicators of her recovery are very good.”

She had survived on a tablespoon of trail mix, a single fish oil pill and one hard candy a day, her son, Raymond Chretien, said Sunday.

She reportedly lost as much as 30 pounds during the 49-day ordeal, and family members and doctors agree she faced the prospect of death had she waited much longer to be found.

How much do you rely on your GPS system? In addition to a GPS device, use up-to-date maps or travel guides which can be marked up with your travel notes. Carrying printed maps will also ensure you have access to road details at all times.

Also, always carry an emergency survival kit in your vehicle.

Fire destroys motorhome

RV fires are one of the largest causes of recreational vehicle loss. (Credit: Mac the Fire Guy)

Glendale, Arizona: After changing batteries on his motorhome and starting the engine, the owner noticed smoke coming from the engine. He tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but it was too intense. By the time firefighters arrived, the $150,000 motorhome was destroyed, a door to the house was charred, a palm tree more than 20 feet away was burning, and the garage door bowed from the heat. The owner was cleaning the vehicle and preparing for an upcoming trip.

RV bursts into flames

Polk City, Florida: A recreational vehicle was destroyed after catching fire in Polk City. The driver said he pulled over to have coffee and smelled smoke, so he got out of the vehicle. Authorities said the engine likely overheated. The RV was destroyed by the flames. At one point, a fireball was seen shooting from the vehicle.

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

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

—Martha Gellman

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