AccessCamping & BookYourSite Team Up For Camping Reservations

AccessCamping.com will soon have the ability to process instant online reservations through an agreement with BookYourSite.com, including reservations made through iPhones and other hand-held devices.

bysheaderpic

 

“This is a big deal for the thousands of parks listed on AccessCamping.com,” said Brian Schaeffer, president of Crowley, Texas-based AGS, which hosts AccessCamping.com, in a company news release.

“Parks that choose to offer instant online reservations through AccessCamping.com will be able to have a BookYourSite icon right next to their park listing, which is hot-linked to the park’s website. This will give consumers the ability to either visit the park’s website or go directly to BookYourSite.com to book a reservation at that park.”

The online-reservations capability is possible through a cross-marketing agreement with Niagara Falls, Ontario-based Mission Management Information Systems, which processes online campground reservations through BookYourSite.com. The agreement will also allow access to all of the campground content that is currently provided for each park listed on AccessCamping.com.

“This agreement is going to significantly increase the marketing exposure for parks on both BookYourSite.com and AccessCamping.com,” said Peter Kearns, vice president of Mission Management.

“This will also give us the ability to add quality parks and provide more content through our BookYourSite web portal, iPhone, and Android apps,” Kearns said.

“Each listing on BookYourSite can provide rates, availability, amenity details and now, through this agreement, park maps and guest guide information. Once a park is selected the camper has the option to securely book their reservation online or call the park to book.”

AccessCampingBookYourSite is an online booking website and directory that provides information about campgrounds throughout North America. The site currently hosts over 950 subscribers consisting predominantly of top quality private campgrounds, including parks affiliated with Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts. The app link is http://www.bysres.com.

AccessCamping.com, for its part, lists over a thousand campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts across North America. The website also showcases all of the site map/guest guide information for AGS customers across the continent.

“This is an amazing affiliation between two of the oldest and most well respected brands in the campground industry that have served the needs of campgrounds and campers with integrity for well over nearly 50 years,” said Schaeffer.

Details

AGS Publishing

ags_logo-big-300x122AGS is a leader in print guides and guest directories, promotional products, and park information pages.

AGS is a division of Texas Advertising.

Address: 910 S. Crowley Road, Suite 9-504, Crowley, TX 76036

Phone: (817) 426-9395 or (877) 518-1989 (toll free)

Website: www.agspub.com

Mission Management Information Systems, Inc.

BYS_smallMission Management Information Systems, Inc. is a multi-product software developer/vendor specializing in property management databases and online applications.

Their team designs, develops, enhances, maintains and supports all our products from our head office in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Their products include Campground Manager and BookYourSite.com.

Campground Manager is a reservation/registration and property management systems for RV parks.

BookYourSite.com is an online booking portal that integrates with Campground Manager allowing the camping public to book reservations 24/7.

Address: 8676 Oakwood Dr. Building B, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6S5

Phone: (905) 374-8643 or (800) 547-9147 (toll free)

Websites: www.missionmgmt.com and www.bookyoursite.com

Worth Pondering…

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

—Maya Angelou

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Rand McNally Launches 2013 Best of the Road

The most successful tourism campaign to discover Small Town America is back!

RandMcNally-62265-rm-botr-logo-new-mdOnce again, Rand McNally is searching for the Best Small Towns in America. This year, Rand McNally teams up with two new partners, Good Sam Club and Geocaching.com.

With these new partnerships, the Best of the Road program kicked off this week and is sure to provide excitement, inspiration, and an increase in travelers interested in visiting America’s best small towns, according to a news release.

Winning towns in six categories will receive a FREE custom iPhone App and online travel guide developed by Rand McNally, coverage in the 2015 Road Atlas, billions of media impressions, and thousands of new visitors.

In 2012, with over 700 towns participating and over 1 billion media impressions generated, thousands of road travelers and small town residents encouraged friends, family, and fellow residents to vote for their favorite town in five different categories: Most Beautiful, Most Fun, Most Patriotic, Friendliest, and Best for Food.

“The Best of the Road program put us on the map in a way that no amount of traditional advertising could,” said Kim Huston, President of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, representing Bardstown, Kentucky.

RandMcNally-62265-rm-botr-banner-original“We have received so many national accolades, visits, and notoriety because of Best of the Road. Best of the Road showcased what our community is truly about, and why it should be part of your journey. People are driving 100 miles out of their way to visit with us. Local businesses shared that the recognition of our town as the ‘Most Beautiful’ in 2012 has led to significant increases in revenues, and our residents are even more proud to hail from Bardstown, Kentucky—the Most Beautiful Small Town in America!”

This summer, Best of the Road will again ask America to vote for the small towns that everyone should visit. But this year will be better than ever, with a new category and more online and social media interaction as Best of the Road goes all-virtual! Enhancements to Best of the Road 2013 include:

  • New website featuring a simple path to registration and easy voting features
  • Increased integration with social media
  • New category—Best for Geocaching, sponsored by Geocaching.com

“The addition of two new partners this year brings a great combination of inspiration and trip-planning, and a new way to experience a small town—all via technology,” says Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally.

“Our new digital product offerings for CVBs and DMOs, in addition to our partnerships with Good Sam and Geocaching.com provide tools to optimize the trip experience. Between Good Sam’s online trip planner, where travelers create a road trip and download it to the Good Sam GPS device for navigation, and Geocaching.com, which promotes pre-planned GeoTours within a location to attract the Geocaching community, we’ve combined forces to help destinations showcase the best that their towns have to offer.”

Program Details

Rand McNally 2014 Road AtlasJuly 1 through September 3, 2013, nominations will be accepted, and the competition to capture the most votes in each of the six categories (Most Beautiful, Most Fun, Most Patriotic, Friendliest, Best for Food, and Best for Geocaching) will take place.

Five finalists will be selected in each category by a panel of travel experts based on a number of criteria.

Finalists and winning towns will be featured in Good Sam Club’s Road Trip Planner, a new online tool that helps road-trippers organize and plan their trips and the stops along the way.

Also new this year:  the winning town in each category will receive a FREE custom online travel guide and iPhone app developed by Rand McNally and powered by Best of the Road. Additionally, the winning Best for Geocaching town will receive a FREE GeoTour, courtesy of Geocaching.com. Geocachers from around the world will be able to use the Geocaching smartphone app to learn about the town’s best places via strategically placed geocaches.

Note: Small towns for the Best of the Road program are defined using the 2010 U.S. Census definition of “Places” (Towns, Cities, Villages, CDPs, Municipalities, etc.) and having a population under 150,000.
Details

Rand McNally

Rand McNally logoRand McNally is the most trusted source for maps, directions, and travel content.

Products and services include: Road travel review site bestoftheroad.com, America’s #1 Road Atlas, RVND GPS for RVers, IntelliRoute truck routing software and navigation devices, TPC 7600 and TND 760 mobile fleet management solutions for the transportation industry, and leading geography-based educational resources for the classroom.

Website: randmcnally.com

Best of the Road website: bestoftheroad.com

Good Sam Club

Website: goodsam.com

Geocaching

Website: geocaching.com

Worth Pondering…

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.
—Tom Stoppard

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Chimani Announces 5 New National Parks Mobile Apps

Chimani announces a range of products and new features to enhance national park visitors experiences while in the parks.

ChimaniLogo_tagline1The announcement coincides with the celebration of this year’s National Park Week, which runs from April 22-26.

In honor of each of the five days of National Park Week a new park app will be released for each day. The new Chimani mobile apps include Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, and Bryce Canyon National Park.

These, as well as all other Chimani apps, will be available for free on Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon AppStore starting Monday, April 22—the first day of National Park Week.

Each app delivers constantly updated content, detailed maps, ranger-led event schedules, auto touring points of interest, hiking details, restroom locations, free shuttle bus schedules, and breaking news alerts.

Users can also view sunset and sunrise times for the most memorable scenic overlooks, access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options, and more. Each Chimani app is designed to work without a cell phone signal.

Chimani’s Viewport Augmented Reality Tool
Chimani’s new Viewport tool—a augmented reality viewer available as a $1.99 in-app purchase—allows users to access an entirely new layer of information as part of their park experience.

Chamani_GoogleMkt“Whether it’s the South Rim of the Grand Canyon or Glacier Point in Yosemite, visitors often overlook the richness that surrounds these dramatic viewpoints,” says Kerry Gallivan, CEO/co-founder of Chimani.

“Using Chimani’s Viewport tool, visitors can pan around the scenic outlook and identify points of interest which are often left undiscovered. It is yet another Chimani tool that allows visitors to get the most of their park experience,” says Gallivan.

Cell phone signals are poor and non-existent in most national parks therefore Chimani apps are designed to function without any type of data connection. This ability also applies to the new Chimani augmented reality viewer—visitors can be in the most remote corners of a park and still discover new points of interest.

Crowd-sourced Topographic Maps
Chimani continues its innovation in mobile mapping technology for the outdoors by introducing topographic maps based on data from Openstreetmaps.org—the largest online mapping project in the world. Chimani is now able to produce rich topographic maps which are updated monthly with the most recent data available for park visitors.

“Chimani users are now able to actively contribute to the national park community and help build better geo-spatial data for each of the parks,” says Gallivan.

“A great example of this is Openstreetmaps.org’s user Tomthepom who spent the winter meticulously editing the park data within Grand Canyon. Thanks to Tom, the data found within the Chimani maps is the most detailed and up-to-date available anywhere—digital or print.”

Many visitors don’t realize how often trail data changes so having access to the latest details helps enhance the park experience.

Social-sharing using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology
For the Android versions of the apps, Chimani has introduced a beta feature of a social-sharing tool that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to connect with other Chimani users and share contact information.

chimani1“We modeled this feature after the tradition on the Appalachian Trail of exchanging something with people that you meet on the trail,” says Gallivan.

By touching two Android phones together, the users profile is exchanged using NFC. No cell phone signal is required and when the exchange occurs within a particular park, a unique badge is unlocked between users as a bonus.

Chimani Suite of National Park Apps
The Chimani suite of national park apps include 14 of the most visited national parks in the United States. These include Acadia National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cape Cod National Seashore, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Olympic National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, and the National Parks app—which is a virtual passport tool for all the National Park Service units.

Each of the national park apps delivers constantly updated content, ranger-led event schedules, auto touring points of interest, hiking details, restroom locations, free shuttle bus schedules, and breaking news alerts. Users can also view sunset and sunrise times for the most memorable scenic overlooks, access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options, and much, much more.

The Chimani apps are available for the iPhone, iPad, Amazon Kindle, and Android devices. They can be downloaded directly from Apple’s iTunes App Store, Google Play, and Amazon AppStore (keyword: “chimani”).

Details

Chimani, LLC
Located along the rocky coast of Maine, Chimani has become a leading developer of mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Chimani is comprised of a small group of developers who are passionate about helping people get the most out their outdoor adventures. Founded by Kerry Gallivan in January 2010, Chimani apps have totaled over 450,000 downloads and rank No. 1 in each of the major app marketplaces for individual parks.

Chimani home_iphones_natlparks2012Chimani is short for the Chimanimani Mountains National Park in Zimbabwe.

Phone: (207) 221-0266

Website: chimani.com

Worth Pondering…
The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

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BookYourSite.com Releases App

BookYourSite.com releases the new online RV directory and reservation app for the iPhone and iPad.

book_your_siteCamping enthusiasts can search for campgrounds that best match their personal preferences and make a reservation directly through the app.

The app accesses the BookYourSite online website database to provide information about park facilities, amenities, rates, pictures, directions, and other valuable facts.

“The difference between our app and others is that ours allows you to set your own camping preferences and store your profile on the iPhone or iPad,” said Jim Amadio, president of Mission Management Information Systems and the creator of BookYourSite.

“The app will rank the available parks based on your preferences ensuring an ideal camping spot. Once you’ve made your choice, you have the option to securely book your reservation online directly through the app.”

Campgrounds that subscribe to BookYourSite can provide rates, availability, and amenity details to the app in one of two ways.

BookYourSite integrates with Campground Manager, a front desk property management system, pulling data directly from the park’s database. It can also be configured to work in a stand-alone mode, if an alternate front desk system is used. This enables the app to provide up-to-the-minute pricing and availability for any campground selected.

BookYour Site screenshot
BookYour Site screenshot

“We’ll be spreading the word about the BookYourSite app to RVers and campground owners at upcoming RV shows and state association conferences,” said Peter Kearns, vice president of sales for Mission Management.

“We are providing a convenient seamless way for the camping consumer to book anytime, anywhere. We expect this to translate into additional business for our parks.”

The app is free and is available now through the Apple App store.

Future development plans include increasing the content to include videos and online specials from selected parks.

BookYourSite for Android and other mobile app platforms will also be available soon.

App features include:

  • Detailed park descriptions, pictures, and slide shows available
  • Search by City, State or Province, Park Name, Parks Nearby, and Favorites
  • Sort results by Distance, Alphabetically, Match Percentage, and Bookability
  • Pin point the location of each park found on an interactive map view
  • Lists up to 79 park features, amenities, and accommodation details per park
  • Designate four “must have” amenities that will be predominantly displayed in the park listing for easy viewing
  • Indicates percentage match between personal preferences and park features available
  • Up-to-the-minute rate and availability quotes for all bookable parks directly through the app
  • Make a complete reservation without leaving the app
  • Stores your personal data for quick retrieval during the booking process
  • Keeps a history of all reservations made through the app
  • Displays park membership affiliations, clubs, discounts, payment options, and ratings
  • Email or phone the park directly from the app
  • Links to the park website for even more details
  • Lists nearby attractions and points of interest

The App park listing information is available even without a Wi-Fi connection
Choose between park manager’s directions or use online Apple map directions
Detailed app help available including an easy “How To” video
Works with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

For more information, visit bysres.com.

Details

BookYourSite

BookYourSite is an online campsite booking portal that allows you to locate, evaluate, and book your campsite/cabin/trailer reservations online directly through the app.

Most parks included on BookYourSite integrate with powerful front desk campground software. This enables the app to provide up-to-the-minute pricing and availability from the campground of your choice.

Website: bookyoursite.com

Worth Pondering…

People who enjoy what they are doing invariably do it well.

—Joe Gibbs

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Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone Available

Transform your iPhone or iPod touch into an innovative 3-in-1GPS vehicle navigation solution with the Magellan Premium Car Kit.

Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone
Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone

Santa Clara, California-based Magellan, a leader of innovative GPS devices for vehicles, fitness, outdoor and mobile navigation, announces the availability of Magellan GPS Car Kit to provide motorists with a total solution for safety and convenience when using their iPhone or iPod touch while driving a vehicle.

The new Magellan GPS Car Kit enhances the driver’s navigation experience with a built-in GPS receiver, Bluetooth pairing to deliver a superior hands-free calling experience, in-car charging for iPhones and iPod touch, a powerful noise-cancelling speakerphone, and the ability to enjoy music and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions through the car’s audio system.

The Magellan GPS Car Kit transforms an iPhone (4S, 4, 3GS, 3G) or iPod touch (2nd, 3rd, or 4thgeneration) into an innovative, complete GPS vehicle navigation solution that enables motorists to safely and legally integrate these devices with their vehicle for use while driving.

A powerful, integrated GPS receiver enhances the navigation performance of an iPhone and adds GPS reception to an iPod touch. The Magellan GPS Car Kit works with the Magellan RoadMate App and is also compatible with most GPS navigation apps.

Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone
Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone

“The Magellan GPS Car Kit is much more than a docking system—it gives drivers a unique, total solution for maximizing their iPhone or iPod touch when used in the car or recreational vehicle; and a safe, legal, and effective way to navigate in confidence,” said Stig Pedersen, Associate Vice President of Product Management for Magellan.

The Magellan GPS Car Kit connects via Bluetooth to deliver a superior hands-free calling experience and allows the driver to safely answer calls, reject a call, redial the last number, and activate an iPhone’s voice dialing feature if equipped.

A powerful, amplified speaker with volume control enables the driver to clearly hear calls, music, and voice-guided navigation. An audio line out port enables the GPS Car Kit to connect to a vehicle’s audio system so the driver can listen to their iPhone or iPod touch through the car’s speakers.

The Magellan GPS Car Kit easily accommodates most hard-shell cases or silicon skins for maximum flexibility when docking an iPhone or iPod touch into the GPS Car Kit cradle. Users can quickly and easily secure the GPS Car Kit to their windshield or dashboard and adjust for either portrait or landscape viewing.

Drivers never need to worry about low battery power in their iPhone or iPod touch. The Magellan GPS Car Kit automatically powers and charges the devices while driving.

The Magellan GPS Car Kit is available from MagellanGPS.com, Amazon.com, and other Magellan authorized retail partners for $99.99 (MSRP).

Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone
Magellan GPS Car Kit for iPhone

The Magellan RoadMate App is available for $49.99 (U.S.) and $59.99 (North America) from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.

Details

Magellan

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, MiTAC Digital Corporation, manufacturer of the Magellan brand of portable GPS navigation consumer electronics devices, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MiTAC International Corporation. Recognized as an industry pioneer, Magellan globally markets its award-winning portable navigation devices including the Magellan RoadMate series for autos, RVs, fleet and commercial vehicles, and GIS, the eXplorist PRO for mobile GIS applications and field data collection, the eXplorist outdoor series for hunting, fishing, hiking, and geocaching enthusiasts, Magellan Fitness Switch series of crossover GPS watches, and mobile apps and accessories for smart phones.

Website: magellangps.com

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Worth Pondering… I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks. —Daniel Boone

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MapMuse Announces 2012 Update to State Parks Locator

MapMuse announces a 2012 data update to its State Parks Locator, a popular app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that connects outdoor enthusiasts with state parks across America.

The app now features nearly 3,200 parks that users can locate, learn about, and contact.

“Over 700 million people in the U.S. visit state parks every year,” says MapMuse owner Mike Pilon.

“We’re hoping the State Parks Locator increases that number.”

Built on an interactive map populated with icons representing each park, the app allows user to browse parks near their hometown or search for ones far and wide.

Tapping a park’s icon loads its profile page, which is packed with helpful visitor’s information such as headquarter contact details, history, main attractions, web links, Wikipedia links, and photos.

Once a user finds a park they’d like to visit, they can get instant in-app driving directions there via Google Maps, or call the visitor’s hotline via one-touch dialing for more information.

MapMuse Web Site State Parks Locator

“The goal of the app is to make it as easy as possible for users to get to these parks,” says Pilon.

Customer feedback to the State Parks Locator has been overwhelmingly positive so far, with over half of the submitted reviews on iTunes awarding it a perfect five-star rating. An increase in downloads is anticipated by MapMuse in the coming months as the weather warms and park explorers look for new places to visit.

Certain interactive features have been included in the app to engage the user base, including the abilities to suggest edits to the map (e.g. park openings and closures), and submit photos and reviews of locations visited.

“State Parks Locator is so much more than just a travel guide or a directory,” says Pilon.

“It’s a park review and photo sharing platform too.”

The State Parks Locator is available for download on the iTunes app store for $2.99.

A Droid version is currently in development, with a projected release coming later this summer.

Park explorers without mobile devices can access a free web version of the app on MapMuse’s website, which contains the same parks and data, but with less functionality (e.g. no mobile driving directions, dialing, etc.).

Details

MapMuse

MapMuse Web Site State Parks Locator

Reston, Virginia-based MapMuse, an internet and app development company, is an experienced player in the outdoor resource locator market.

MapMuse has been creating leading edge mapping applications for major corporations since 2004, and also operates MapMuse.com which helps more than 1,000,000 visitors a month find places to live, work, learn, and play.

With the incredible growth of mobile internet services, MapMuse is now an iPhone developer offering extremely easy to use mapping applications on Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

In addition to the State Parks Locator, they’ve developed web maps and mobile apps for National Parks, National Recreation Sites, and National Historic and Nature Areas.

All of these topics can be added to the State Parks Locator map via in-app purchases.

Website: find.mapmuse.com

MapMuse State Parks Locator: find.mapmuse.com/state-parks

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Worth Pondering…
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
—Susan Sontag

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ShopSmart Highlights Best Online Road-Trip Planners & Travel Apps

There are tons of online sites to help you plan your summer getaways this season, and the June 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, highlights some of the best.

There are great road-trip planning websites and must-see travel apps that can help you plot your route, find fun adventures—even on a moment’s notice—and save you money.

“With the right websites and apps, this summer’s vacation planning can be a cinch!” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.

“These tools can help you do everything from plan the perfect road-trip filled with attractions to nab a deal on a hotel room at the last minute.”

Road-Trip Planners

Best for mapping your route: AAA.com

You don’t have to be a member of the travel club to use this site’s helpful trip-planning tools (and TripTik app). Click on the travel tab to get started, then use the TripTiks to plan your adventure, including points of interest, with round-trip directions.

Cool tool: Look under “Member discounts” for hotel and meal deals.

Best for finding attractions: RoadTripAmerica.com

The site is loaded with tips on how to plan a great road trip, find roadside attractions, and budget fuel costs. The map-based trip planner has nine categories of attractions, including natural wonders, parks and recreation, and events, and it can tell you a little about each of them.

Cool tool: The Road Trip Compatibility Quiz analyzes how compatible you are with your trip mates.

Best for locating national parks and scenic byways: US-Parks.com

This site lists all the parks, including scenic, wide-open spaces in the West and historical East Coast attractions. It will alert you if a site has specific restrictions (no campfires, for example), and it will pinpoint nearby hotels and campgrounds.

Cool tool: The road-trip planner offers predetermined routes that allow you to take in several parks and monuments in one trip, depending on the time you have available.

Must-See Travel Apps

Best for helpful features: Booking.com

Prices are fairly standard on this app, but last-minute travelers will appreciate that you can filter results to see, for example, only pet-friendly hotels or those with free parking or an airport shuttle service.

Best for same-day hotel deals: Hotel Tonight

This easy-to-navigate app has lots of same-day hotel deals, and you can’t beat the prices. Deals show up at noon local time for each city on the app. Hotel Tonight categorizes hotels using its own labels: Luxe, Hip, Solid, Basic, and Charming.

Best for researching deals: Kayak

The app, like the website, allows you to search for days and months ahead of your trip. It shows you prices on hotels, flights, cars, tours, and other services all in one place; just be sure to compare prices with those at Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Orbitz. Kayak’s app generally offers the same deals as its site, but the other apps often beat its prices.

Details

Consumers Digest Communications, LLC
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.

Using more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center; the nonprofit organization rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.

Address: 520 Lake Cook Road, Suite 500, Deerfield, IL 60015

Website: consumersdigest.com

ShopSmart magazine

Launched by Consumer Reports in 2006, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products, and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers and through subscription.

Website: shopsmartmag.org

Worth Pondering…
The world is controlled by those who show up.

—George Allen

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: May 11

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

1. MCD to Open Elkhart Office & Warehouse

McKinney, Texas-based MCD Innovations has announced plans to open a regional sales office and warehouse facility in Elkhart, Indiana.

“With the phenomenal growth MCD is experiencing in the RV roller shade market, it is time to locate a facility closer to where most of the RVs are manufactured,” said Senior RV Market Manager Travis Townsley.

For the time being, MCD will continue to manufacture all of its shade products at its plant in McKinney, but the new facility will have capacity to warehouse emergency backup inventory for their OEM customers.

“We believe in making quality products right here in the USA,” said Townsley. “Our

The new Elkhart location will further enhance our position in the heart of the RV manufacturing industry and enable the Company to provide immediate support to the OEM community in meeting their window shade requirements.”

2. Tennessee State Parks Partner with Titans on NFL Play60
Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Titans are partnering in a number of unique ways as part of the NFL Play60 effort, encouraging kids to stay active, eat healthy, and become more physically fit—all while enjoying one of Tennessee’s great 53 state parks.

Tennessee is the first state park system to participate in the NFL Play60 campaign, which features outreach into local schools and communities to engage children with messages and activities that promote outdoor experiences, the natural world, healthy lifestyles and fun.

A highlight of the local NFL Play60 project includes 30 school visits planned throughout the state, pairing T-Rac, the Tennessee Titans award-winning mascot, with Ramble the Raccoon, Tennessee State Parks’ own beloved mascot.

3. Forest River to Build New Toy Hauler Plant

Forest River's XLR Thunderbolt toy hauler

Elkhart, Indiana-based Forest River will soon break ground on a new 100,000-square-foot facility at the company’s 240-acre industrial park on Century Drive in Goshen, Indiana, to house production of its XLR toy hauler lines.

The new facility will produce XLR’s four distinct toy hauler lines: the conventional-built, 102-inch wide body Nitro; laminated lightweight Hyper Light; V-nose designed Viper; and the upscale Thunderbolt.

Forest River currently manufactures motorhomes (Berkshire, Charleston, Forester, Georgetown, Lexington, Sunseeker, and Tsunami), travel trailers and fifth wheels (Cardinal, Cedar Creek, Cherokee, Day Dreamer, Flagstaff, r-pod, Rockwood, Salem, Sandpiper, Shamrock, Sierra, Surveyor, V-Cross, Wildcat, and Wildwood), park models (Kabana, Quailridge, and Summitt), and modular and hud homes (Sterling and Hart Homes).

4. Wasatch Front Parks in Utah to Open Early

Last winter, snowfall on the Wasatch Front in north central Utah piled up and broke records, forcing campgrounds to open later in the season. This year, the area ended up at the other end of the snow gauge and the campgrounds will soon be up and running, KSL-TV, Salt Lake City, reported.

“I just remember trudging through snow,” Carole Majeske said, recalling a walk through Spruces Campground in Big Cottonwood Creek last May. “There were five- to six-foot snowdrifts throughout the campground.”

This year, the National Forest Service recreation manager was treated to a nice spring stroll through the same area, with temperatures in the 70s.

5. Active Network Launches New iPhone Apps

Active Network Inc. has launched two iPhone mobile applications for the ReserveAmerica.com and Recreation.gov outdoor recreation websites. The apps allow users to easily find and reserve campsites at national parks, forests, campgrounds and other recreation facilities, according to a news release.

ReserveAmerica, a media property of Active Network, is the largest provider of online campsite reservations in North America.

Unlike other apps on the market, users can view instant site availability information on RV, tent, cabins, day-use, and other campground sites. The ReserveAmerica app is currently featured on the “Get Outside” section of the iTunes app store.

Have a great weekend.

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

Please Note: As a result of limited interest in “Five Things You Need to Know Today”, I’m planning on suspending this Friday feature at the end of May with Friday, May 25 being the finale. If you wish to weigh in please leave your comment on my Facebook page.

Worth Pondering…

Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent.

—Samuel Jackson

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: February 10

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

1. Even in Nature, There’s an App for That

Even in nature, “there’s an app for that.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced a new mobile app for both iPhones and Androids. The Georgia DNR Pocket RangerMobile Tour Guide uses some of the most advanced GPS smartphone technology to provide outdoor enthusiasts with features to enhance their visits.

Developed by ParksByNature Network, the free app is available by visiting Apple iTunes, Android Market, or StateParkApps.com.

From activity searches and park descriptions, to current weather reports and trail maps, Pocket Ranger has a wide range of benefits. App users can find state parks near them, browse events, apply for boat registration, see campground maps, and more.

Agency leaders also hope that Pocket Ranger will help incite a love of nature in children who typically spend a great deal of time inside with electronics. By using the app, parents can involve the whole family in deciding which state parks to explore during free time.
To learn more about the free app, click here.

2. Determining Proper Tire Pressure

Let's Go RVing to San Antonio. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To determine the correct tire pressures for your motorhome, neither Michelin nor Goodyear recommends using the inflation pressure (psi) imprinted on the tire sidewall. That psi is correct only for carrying the maximum weight, which is also imprinted on the sidewall.

Instead, motorhome owners should consult the RV tire guides provided by the respective tire manufacturer. You will see that these companies do not have a single recommended tire pressure for each size tire. They provide a chart wherein the correct pressure is based on the actual weight supported by the tire.

3. RV|ID System Assists Highway Patrol to Nab Motorhome Thief

A stolen motorhome worth nearly $100,000 was recovered and the thief who took it apprehended in less than two hours because the vehicle was equipped with an inventory monitoring service that allows dealers to monitor inventory in real time, according to a news release.

Let's Go RVing to Quartzsite. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Pleasure-Way Excel motorhome was taken from the dealership in Irvine, California, by a woman identified as 51-year-old Terri Gibson. The Irvine resident had been on a test drive, but when the salesman briefly left the vehicle, Gibson drove away.

After contacting the police, McMahon’s used the RV|ID monitoring system to pinpoint the RV’s precise location as it traveled north through the Mojave Desert at a high rate of speed. This information was communicated to law enforcement in real time enabling the California Highway Patrol to apprehend the surprised thief and recover the RV within two hours of its theft and less than 20 miles from the Nevada state line.

4. Save with Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card

Members of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members across North America, now enjoy a new exclusive money-saving benefit with the Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card.

Good Sam Club members can apply for their Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card which will allow them to save up to $.06 on each gallon of gasoline purchased and $.08 on diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50 percent on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations in the United States.

Member discount is tied to length of time as an active Good Sam Member. The longer the card holder has been active member, the larger the discount.

The RV Plus Card must be used as the method of payment in order to receive the fuel discounts.

To read more, click here.

5. Jasper Park Glacier Walk Approved

Let's Go RVing to Jasper National Park in Canada's Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A controversial multimillion-dollar interpretive glacier boardwalk will go ahead in Alberta’s Jasper National Park, the environment minister said yesterday (February 8).

The proposal by privately owned Brewster Travel Canada received a vigorous environmental assessment, substantial input during open houses, and consultations with aboriginal groups, Peter Kent said in Ottawa.

“Brewster Canada is a model corporation in Canada’s mountain national parks,” he said.

The company’s “Glacier Discovery Walk” consists of a 1312-foot trail with a glass-floored observation deck extending 98 feet into the Sunwapta Valley near Highway 93.

Once finished, the boardwalk is expected to be a large tourist draw and become an “iconic” destination for visitors, Kent said.

Brewster’s plan was criticized as a step toward the privatization of Canada’s national parks.

Parks Canada will retain ownership of the site, but it will be operated by Brewster.

Pardon me while I rant.

To the purists who are about to have a heart attack because of this walkway, take a look at the one that was built in the Grand Canyon. The canyon has not been destroyed, and the planet has not stopped turning. The opposition is basically driven by xenophobia, international activists, and by green socialism which is trying to take us back to agrarian days in the early 19th Century. Get a life!

Have a great weekend.

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

Worth Pondering…

Got a dream, a long-held wish of traveling to a special place you hope to see—someday? If so, you’re like many of us, waiting for mañana; for tomorrow or next month or next year—always waiting for the right time. Question is, will there ever be a time that’s right?

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: December 16

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

1. Minnesota State Park Reservation System Upgrade

The Minnesota state parks reservation system is being upgraded and will be temporarily unavailable December 27-February 29, according to a recent the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) news release.

“This will create a short-term inconvenience,” explained Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails, “but we know our customers will really enjoy the benefits of our new state-of-the-art reservation system.”

The DNR is encouraging people to plan ahead and, if possible, to make their state park camping reservations for 2012, before the current system temporarily shuts down at 8 p.m. December 26. Reservations can also be made by phone at (866) 85PARKS.

Starting March 1, when the new system from US eDirect is expected to be fully operational, it will be easier to plan overnight outings to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas. The new system will feature interactive maps.

Overnight stays at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas totaled 985,374 in 2010, up from 942,381 in 2009 and 863,075 in 2008.

2. Strong Winds Topple Trees in California State Park

Trees knocked down by a windstorm December 1 in the central Sierra Nevada in California will block forest roads and disrupt vacation plans for months to come, according to state and federal forest managers.

At Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Arnold, officials are still assessing how long it will take to reopen the park and how much of the popular North Grove Campground will be back in service by next summer, said Park Superintendent Gary Olson, the Stockton Record-Net reported.

Olson said that 40 to 60 trees fell in the North Grove Campground alone. No one was hurt because it happened when the campground was empty.

The Eldorado National Forest, generally in Amador and El Dorado counties, issued a statement that many forest roads are impassable due to trees toppled by the high wind.

Wind gusts exceeded 130 mph in some high-elevation areas of the Sierra Nevada. Sustained winds were registered near 100 mph.

3. Phone App Available for Pennsylvania State Parks

Apple Inc.’s ubiquitous catchphrase: “There’s an app for that,” can now be applied to Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
According to the special report, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently partnered with the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and ParksByNature Network to offer the Official PA State Parks and Forests Guide—Pocket Ranger, a state parks and forests mobile application for smart phones.
“This mobile app will allow our visitors, while they are on the go, to search for park and forest locations, activities and events, get directions, share photos, and even make a reservation,” DCNR secretary Richard J. Allan said in a prepared statement, quoted in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

4. Arizona State Park Reopens

Oracle State Park in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains was closed two years ago because of deep budget cuts to the park system. But a group called Friends of Oracle State Park is providing enough money to re-open the park part-time next year. Oracle State Park will re-open for three months in spring of 2012, and again for three months in the fall. Weekdays will be reserved for field trips for schoolchildren.

The park is scheduled to reopen to the public on February 4, reports Arizona Public Media.

The park encompasses 4,000 acres of oak woodland and desert grassland.

It and several other state parks closed in October of 2009 after state lawmakers slashed the park system’s operating budget. The other parks have since re-opened on abbreviated schedules.

5. Must-read for Snowbirds

The third edition of “Along Florida’s Expressways” is now available for snowbirds heading south this winter.

Visit Florida, the Sunshine State’s official tourism agency, has endorsed the book and uses it for reference at all of its welcome centers.

The handy guide is produced by Dave and Kathy Hunter, who also turn out the annual “Along 1-75” publication, which is a best seller and must for anyone driving to Florida.

Dozens of helpful tips are provided in the “Along Florida’s Expressways” publication including how snowbirds can save up to 20% on Florida’s highway tolls, and the best pirate museum in the world.

For additional information visit i75online.com

Have a great weekend.

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

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”

Happy travels!

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