2010 had me on the road for 42 days. Traveling to gain a renewed control over my life and the tragedy that had encompassed the preceding 2 years, One morning I packed up one of the ranch dogs, told my husband of 16 years to let me be by myself for at least a
week before he’d start calling (that lasted 2 days due to obvious concern) and picked one of my 16 trailers, a 2001 Airstream Bambi 19’. Off I went, first for 3 weeks in August to the Sierras, Reno, Quincy, and back around to Red Bluff then home. Then again to Taos to deliver a trailer and visit friends from Scottsdale to Tucson to Flagstaff to Santa Fe. (This time I got my husband a ticket to Albuquerque to drive home with me).
The solo time was much needed. It started in Auburn at my partners ranch. His concern for my mental health was supported by his history as a counselor (mind you a counselor for prison guards is a tough job). I spent 3 days with him and his wife, then another week
with them at the end as we were obligated to fulfill our commitment of attending a vintage event in the area. Ok, so it’s a long haul….it was a long haul…and it was necessary to be prepared, especially in the state of mind I was departing in. I’ve been traveling for the past 14 years for our business, now back to being fondly known as a ‘collection’. I didn’t need anymore things ‘coming up’, so I went off prepared. Being prepared for mishaps on the road is important for everyone, but if you’re a woman… we will at least take a rag and wipe down the grease before we get back into the tow vehicle.
Remember the 8 Basic Items a Woman Needs to Tow on Her Own:
1. Tool Box:
- Rivets/Rivet Gun (I had a part of a panel come off on a trailer I’d just bought)
- Electrical Tape - for frayed wires
- Tester - if your power goes out/re-wiring to the tow vehicle is necessary
- Multi Screwdriver - contains both Phillips and Flat heads
- Duct Tape - amazing what it can do in a pinch
- Wire - to tie up loose pieces under the frame
2. Gloves. Feminine colors won’t have anyone ‘taking them’.
3. Extension Cord - 75’ is as short as I carry. My husband has never run off w/my bright pink one.
4. Floor Jack - Aluminum ones are lighter and much easier to handle, check weight restrictions.
5. Tire/Wheel/Battery Generator, to add air when needed
Tire Iron (older trailers have different lugs sometimes, so be sure on the lug size.)
Also be sure the spare is inflated and ready to use, double check size.
- 4-Heavy wood blocks for under the jack stand (at least 6”x6”) *extra if they split!*
- 4 Chocks (plastic or wood or metal, for a un even ground where you must park)
7. Extra Tow Lights (in the event of a complete power outage at night)
8. Lavender hand wipes, moisturizer, a glass of wine and a book.
Being prepared is easy. We have a complete package w/most of the required tools if you visit us at VintageAluminum @ yahoo.com and request the information. You can also visit our website at VintageAluminum.com. Be safe and have a great time as one of many women trailerites on the open road.
Today's post is from Stephanie Mulac of Mulac Family Marketers. In a few weeks, we will feature an article about Stephanie's favorite Las Vegas RV Park as a follow-up to this article. For those of you looking for places to stay in Vegas, however, there are reviews of Las Vegas RV Parks from other RVParking.com members at the end of this post. Coming up are posts from Wendy of Vintage Aluminum about trailering for women and Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia about useful iPhone apps for RVers.
A lot of people are under the assumption that Las Vegas is no place for kids, so when we told our family and friends recently that we were going to Vegas to celebrate our daughter’s 10th birthday, that got more than a few chuckles and curious looks.
But to the contrary, our many trips to Las Vegas have allowed us to amass quite a few favorite spots that are not only kid friendly, but in fact were conceived just for kids (or the big kid in all of us!).
SKYZONE: Because this particular trip was to celebrate a birthday, we booked a party for 10 at Skyzone Indoor Trampoline Park. Noted as the creators of the world’s first all trampoline, walled playing field, this was the perfect spot for young and old alike – so whether the party is primarily kids or a mixture of adults and children, this is a venue that can be enjoyed by all who are willing to let their hair down and be a kid for a day from tots, to teens and beyond.
Skyzone has both open jump sessions as well as organized, scheduled activities such as 3-D Dodgeball, crosstraining, SkyRobics and SkyRobics4Kids. We had previously visited Skyzone for an open jump, so when thinking about a great birthday spot, I headed to their website to check out what they had to offer. Having booked many a birthday party, I think at $10/guest, Skyzone’s party package may well be one of the best values in Vegas! The package includes an hour of jump time, a private room with festive decorations and lots of balloons, 2 giant pizzas, unlimited soda, color coordinated napkins, plates, cups and plasticware, and an attendant that setups up, cleans up and takes care of everyone in the party from beginning to end. And even though our group on this particular occasion consisted of many teens and adults who were self sufficient, I’ve been on the receiving end of 20 kids at a party and the value of having a cheerful party hostess tending to everyone’s whim is priceless – not to mention the cleanup afterward being handled while mom & dad simply carry gifts to the car!
As a final bonus, the birthday child gets a free t-shirt and 2 free passes to return again, with no expiration. (An important consideration to those of us traveling full-time, of course.) Our day was amazing, and even those of us who discovered new muscles we hadn’t known about in years concluded it was well worth it for this unique birthday celebration.
OLIVIA’S DOLLHOUSE TEAROOM: For a prior birthday we spent in Las Vegas for our youngest daughter, we discovered what I think is the most charming, memorable locale for a little girl to celebrate a birthday that I’ve ever seen. It’s aptly named, Olivia’s Dollhouse after the founder’s daughter who is now grown up and working with them. It all began back in 1994 when Tom and Jeanie Trikilis were searching for party places for their own daughter and finding the options slim. They saw a need in the market, filled it and 17 years later they’ve grown to 9 locations throughoutCalifornia and Las Vegas. The festivities include the opportunity to pick from a room full of 100 gowns to wear as well as from an eclectic array of hats, shoes, tiaras, purses, jewelry and make up. After making their selections, the girls receive updos, makeup, and nail treatments before proceeding onto the next room to present their fashion show for the adults in attendance.
Then, the princess treatment culminates with a catered “tea” party including sweets, finger sandwiches, a heart shaped cake and party
favors--all in a Victorian dollhouse atmosphere. The birthday child gets to sit at the head of a heart shaped table and is instructed to ring a special bell when party treats run low or her honored guests are in need of more pampering.
Even the adults at our party were captivated by the décor as we strolled from room to room marveling over collectibles and one-of-
a-kind items. "They're all full of animation and interactive features," Tom Trikilis explains. These include moving doll houses, animatronic dolls and interactive art that moves and plays an audio track when a child pushes its button.
In addition to princess parties, (and boys are always welcome and catered to equally) Olivia’s Dollhouse also hosts top model/glam parties, baby/bridal showers, or adult teas. No matter what the occasion, a party at this award winning locale will provide memories to last a lifetime.
Free “Family Friendly” Vegas Tourist Attractions:
In addition to celebration spots, we’ve also discovered other excellent options to pass the time while in Las Vegas with the under 21 crowd, such as:
MGM Grand Lion Habitat – Nestled amongst the bells and whistles of the slot machines, the renowned Lion Habitat provides an up close and personal view of these majestic animals as well as educational events throughout the day.
Silverton Casino & Hotel Aquarium - Named the "Best Free Attraction" in Las Vegas, Silverton Casino's saltwater aquarium is large and impressive. The signature 117,000-gallon reef aquarium will transport you to a tropical oasis where you can admire more than 4,000 tropical fish, and three species each of stingrays and sharks. Interactive feeding shows are scheduled daily at 1:30pm, 4:30pm and 7:30pm.
Rio Casino - Masquerade Show in the Sky - This is one of our all time favorite free shows that immediately transports you to Mardi Gras, complete with beads being thrown by the dancers from gondolas that hang from the ceiling and wind their way around a huge circle above the casino floor. In addition, there is a balcony for viewing with pint sized guests, so no worries about getting grief for standing still on the casino floor with the under 21 family members while watching the show. I also highly recommend the $15/person opportunity to be a part of the show and ride in one of the gondolas and get a backstage view of the performers getting ready to wow the crowds. We did this and it was an amazing opportunity, well worth spending a little extra!
And rounding out any trip to Las Vegas, you’ll usually find us stopping by Dancing Waters - Bellagio Casino; The Fremont Street Experience Light Show - Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas; Sirens of TI Pirate Ship Show - Treasure Island Casino; The Volcano outside the Mirage Casino; Ethel M Chocolates Free Chocolate Factory Tour in Henderson, and last but not least, under the “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” sign which now has a convenient pull in location right in front of Mandalay Bay, for photo ops to commemorate your family’s stay.
Stephanie Mulac along with husband Greg and daughters Marina & Morgan are known as the Mulac Family Marketers. They hit the road full-time in April of 2008 along 2 cats and a contagious zest for life. With an established online Internet-based business model that allows them to work from anywhere & set their own schedule, they currently divide their days between roadschooling their daughters, coaching, speaking at events & workshops and enjoying abundant quality time as a family to explore and absorb all that the Universe brings their way. Stephanie thrives on the gratification she gets from teaching others to "monetize their passions" - learn more about their journey at http://www.mulacfamilymarketers.com.
RVParking.com Picks for Las Vegas
Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort - "Great park located close to freeways and the south end of the strip. We have found the east side of the park to be very quiet, family friendly, and plenty of room between RVs."
"Very nice park with many amenities and casino shuttle service." Read more.
Sam's Town RV Park - "Sam’s Town is convenient in that it has a great shuttle with 2 drop off points... The park itself is basically a parking lot, but nice, stays full. We had a somewhat secluded spot off to the back, this was nice just because we had fewer campers around us, a little more room to spread out." Read more.
We hinted that we had something exciting in the works for you and here it is! Andy Baird has given us 1 copy of his book, From Camping to Fulltime and his Eureka 2 CD to giveaway to two lucky RVers. Here's how you enter to win!
Please note: You can do any one of the following options to enter the Giveaway. We're not asking that you complete all 5 steps (though we would love that!). But every step that you complete will count in your favor as an additional entry. The person with the most entries will win one of the prizes.
- Visit the Giveaway post on Hit the Road Jacks blog here
- Leave a blog comment (extra point for including a link to your user profile on RVParking.com) on their blog post letting us know you are participating in the Giveaway and leave us with some sort of way to contact you!
- Follow RVParking.com and Hit the Road JACK on Twitter. Tweet the two of us saying you are participating in our Giveaway! So we know to count this as an Giveaway entry for you.
Official Rules - Entries will be accepted until 9pm PST Sunday, March 6th. Both winners will be chosen by amount of entries and announced in this post on Monday, March 7th. Good luck!
A while back, we took to some of our most trusted RV forums to ask what research our users (that's you!) did before making the transition to Fulltime RVing in preparation for a future post. Some of you replied with the names of books, e-books, and websites that you used for your research. That particular blog post is still coming but we did want to share one recommended website, Travels with Andy in the meantime. Below Andy shares with us his RVing back story and a couple of popular tips from his book, "From Camping to Fulltime" and his CD "Eureka 2 - Bright Ideas for your RV".
Upcoming Contest: We'll be giving away a couple free copies of both Eureka 2 and From Camping to Fulltime in the near future. So make sure to come back on Monday, 2/28 for the upcoming details for how to enter to win!
Eureka! One RVer's Bright Idea
I fell into RVing almost by accident. A friend was looking to upgrade from her small, 15-year-old motorhome to something larger; I had become fascinated by her tales of adventure, and when she mentioned that “Gertie” was for sale, I ended up buying the rig.
Once the initial thrill of having a cozy home away from home had worn off, I began to notice things that could be improved. After leaving my gas cap behind at a filling station, I made a simple wire gas cap holder so I’d have a place to put it while filling up. Then I worked on organizing Gertie’s storage space. I added a few halogen interior lights. It seemed there was always something more to do.
And I took photos, at first mainly to show my friends the enhancements I was making. But pretty soon I realized that I had the makings of a website, which I called “Improving Gertie.” I started getting a lot of compliments on the site. Complete strangers would email me to say things like “You have a well written, interesting site... Any wannabe, newbie or someone wanting fresh ideas (‘RVing 101’) should read ‘Improving Gertie.’ ”
The email that really caught my eye, though, was this one: “Have you thought about getting ‘Improving Gertie’ published in book form? I think it would be a great read, and a help to anyone thinking about RVing.” That set me thinking... and writing. I ended up expanding the “Improving Gertie” website into an electronic book with more than three times the material, covering everything from “home improvements” of all kinds to safety tips. I called it “Eureka! Bright Ideas for Your RV,” and it’s now in its second edition.
What is Eureka?
Over the years I’ve done a lot of tinkering with my rigs, and I’m always looking for ways to make them better—more comfortable, more space-efficient, more home-like. Eureka is a cornucopia of hints, tips, and projects based on my experiences. Everything from how to shower with less than a gallon of water... to plans for making a quilt that turns into a pillow... to ten useful things you can make with coat hanger wire... with more than 800 photos and illustrations showing how to put Eureka’s ideas into practice. But heck, why just talk about it? Here are a few quick examples.
The school of hard knocks
Here's a true story. When I was one year old, I fell down a flight of cast-iron stairs at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and landed on my head. Some of my friends would say that this explains a lot. It may account for the fact that I can't seem to see a shiny silver awning strut until I walk right into it.
Well, I'm not completely stupid. After a few bruises and a lot of embarrassment, I got the bright idea of slitting a couple of foam swim noodles lengthwise and slipping one over each awning strut. Now the struts are not only visible, but padded. No more black eyes!
Another tip: if your dinette table, like mine, has a leg that sticks out, you can cut off six inches or so of the swim noodle and put it on the bottom of the leg, where it'll keep you from stubbing your toes.
A stretchy solution
The small items in my medicine cabinet tended to wind up in a jumbled heap. Here's what I mean:
So I stapled a strip of 1"-wide elastic across that area, and now everything is nice and neat!
The first time I tried this, I put the elastic halfway up the space... but then discovered that it was difficult to remove or replace the items. Keeping it low (about an inch above the shelf) worked much better.
Turn up the pressure!
My old rig’s shower spray was a bit anemic, which made showering less enjoyable, not to mention taking longer. But I came up with a simple fix: plug half the showerhead's holes, and the flow from the remaining holes is twice as strong. I tested the idea first with tape, and it worked... so I laid a bead of epoxy glue around the outer set of holes, giving me a much more vigorous spray at the same water-saving flow rate.
Many RVers use the Travasak “sleep sack”, a sleeping-bag-like pair of comforters with a removable bedsheet insert. It’s nice, but pricey at $150 to $230. I made my own sleep sack from a couple of sleeping bags and a couple of twin-sized bedsheets—an easy job for anyone with access to a sewing machine. Eureka includes my plans for making your own under-$60 sleep sack.
Doorstops in the cupboard?
Yup! In my kitchen cupboards I use doorstops—the kind that resemble tightly coiled springs—mounted upside-down on the cabinet shelves. They keep the stacks of dishes from sliding around, yet still make it easy to pull them out.
There’s more to Eureka than quick tips, of course. Full-length illustrated chapters cover topics such as understanding and troubleshooting your electrical system without being a technical wizard, connecting to the internet while on the road, keeping your refrigerator cool, building a pantry closet, and making the most of your limited storage space (I have lots of tips on that topic!). For example, here’s a link to Eureka’s complete chapter on electronic books and ebook readers—an increasingly popular way to save space and weight while traveling.
The best part of putting together Eureka has been the enthusiastic response from folks who’ve bought it. Comments have ranged from “Wow, what a gold mine!” to “A must for everyone with an RV” to my favorite: “Eureka is the best money I have ever spent.” No matter what kind of RV you own, you can pick up some bright ideas from Eureka. To get an idea of the book’s scope, you can take a look at the complete index or visit the Eureka homepage for more information.
Andy Baird was plodding along at a desk job, convinced that he couldn't afford to retire... until a friend introduced him to RVing, and he learned that as a full-time RVer, he could retire and live comfortably on a fraction of his salary. Since then he’s traveled over much of the US, and has written several books and many articles about his adventures. You can read about his experiences on his “Travels With Andy” website.
Erin Floresca, RV Editor at BellaOnline.com and one of our frequent guest bloggers has written a spotlight article on RVParking.com. Erin asked us some really great questions that we're sure some of you have been secretly wondering about as well. Like "Are you RVers? If so, what kind of rig do you own?" and the ever popular "What city is RVParking based out of? ". We've included a little excerpt from the article below. As always feel free to comment with any questions that you still might have for us and enjoy!
"So, after writing two guest blog posts and contributing a few park reviews, I decided it was time to find out more about the folks behind the site.
RVparking.com was founded by Erik Budde of T2 Media, a company dedicated to building niche online businesses. According to Budde, "Some of our previous businesses include AboutAirportParking.com which offers detailed information on where to park at over one hundred airports. That site has grown very rapidly and handles more than two hundred thousand parking reservations a month." T2 Media also runs TravelwithYourKids.com, a great resource for parents traveling with children.
So just where does the RV lifestyle fit into this picture? Budde’s parents began RVing about five years ago and he’s been on a number of trips with them. "Looking at the resources available for RVers, I felt that the existing tools weren’t nearly as strong as they could be," says Budde. While some of the online resources his parents utilized featured park reviews, the information available on them was limited. Others had plenty of park reviews, but the listings were often incomplete and the sites were hard to navigate. "No one seemed to offer one of the most valuable items—real user photos," says Budde. "Finally, although RVing is inherently mobile, there were almost no mobile solutions."
Continue reading RVParking.com Spotlight article here
The last time my husband and I spent a winter in Florida, we toggled between workamping and sightseeing. After we managed a pumpkin lot in South Florida for a couple of weeks, we spent some downtime lounging around an RV resort near Orlando. Then we headed back south for a month to manage a Christmas tree sales lot and wrapped up our Florida trip with an extended stay on the Gulf Coast. It was a great way to spend the winter because there was so much to see and do. With an abundance of sunshine, palm trees, activities and beautiful beaches, it’s pretty obvious why this state is a favorite among the Snowbird crowd. Whether you choose the Gulf Coast, the East Coast, or anywhere in between, there is no shortage of ideal locations to park your rig.
So, just where do you go once you hit the Sunshine State? It all depends on your RVing style. Looking for a ritzy crowd? You might like an upscale RV resort on the west coast in Naples. Love more of a laid back style? Check out the RV parks situated on the Gulf Coast in Florida’s panhandle. Nature lovers will enjoy one of the 50 glorious Florida State parks that have a campground. One such gem is Sebastian Inlet State Park located on Florida’s east coast about 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach. If wasting away in Margaritaville sounds more your speed, then make a beeline for the Florida Keys. And if entertainment options galore are what you seek, then check out the area surrounding Walt Disney World Resort. One of my favorite Florida RV resorts is located nearby. Encore’s Lake Magic RV Resort in Clermont has super spacious sites, two pools, tennis courts, and a clubhouse; just to name a few of the amenities. It’s proximity to my favorite amusement park seals the deal.
In fact, most of my favorite RV parks can be found within the Encore RV resort family and they are located all over the state of Florida. Their parks are full of amenities and many planned activities as well. Just visit their website, www.rvonthego.com, to find great daily and weekly specials at many of their resorts.
Guest Blogger Erin Lehn Floresca is the RV editor at BellaOnline.com. Visit rv.bellaonline.com for more information.
Miami - Miami Everglades Campground
"This park is great for quite, shade trees, walking, riding bikes, nice people, paved roads, pool and close to everything you need."
"Nice and quiet, friendly, well structured, shady places under trees.. One of the best places I have seen yet." Read more.
Naples - Lake San Marino RV Resort
"We found this park an absolute delight with many very friendly RV'ers. Tons of activities within the park, and a great location to get to shopping, restaurants, beach, etc." Read more.
Key Largo - Kings Kamp
"Beach access and beautiful mornings and evenings on the docks. Very helpful staff. I will stay again." Read more.
Bahia Honda Key - Bahia Honda State Park
"The most uplifting and amazing thing about the entire experience? The kids never complained once and still talk about their awesome camping trip." Read more.
Saint Augustine - Anastasia State Park
"This was a beautiful park: clean and very well maintained... Every site seemed to offer enough privacy and space, and there was a friendly, neighborly vibe. Within 10 minutes from the historic part of town, this park is ideally situated. From what I learned of other options in the area, this is definately the best place to stay."
"There are 2 sections to the park; we stayed in the Coquina loop, which is very shady and has secluded campsites. It is just a short walk to the ocean. There are sites very close to the ocean. The other loop is very open with only palm trees for 'shade'... We loved it here." Read more.
Orlando - Moss Park
"A charming natural oasis; hard to believe you are so close to Orlando's theme park mecca." Read more.
Clermont - Encore Lake Magic RV Resort
"The landscaping in the park is gorgeous, there are many amenities like tennis, swimming pools, clubhouse, etc. Each of the sites is wide and has enough lawn surrounding the sites to give lots of privacy." Read more.
Winter Garden - Winter Garden RV Resort
"The resort is one mile from one of the best bike trails in Florida and some of the best restaurants in the area. Two pools, a small fitness center, and a cypress-lined pond full of water fowl are resort highlights... Safe, friendly, and comfortable." Read more.
Sorrento - Wekiva Falls Resort
"Clean, friendly and the kids loved it!" Read more.
Ocala - Ocala RV Camp Resort
"This RV Park was nice ... Everyone was pleasant ... even the homeless dude that knocked on the door asking for money and stayed for dinner was nice." Read more.
Ocala Sun RV Resort
"Everyone was very friendly and accommodating... The laundry and showers are all newly renovated as is the recreation hall. There is always lots to do from bingo, cards, holiday meals, Saturday night entertainment and pool aerobics." Read more.
Tampa - Bay Bayou RV Resort
"This park was amazingly nice with security, ponds and a large enclosed dog run." Read more.
Arcadia - Riverside RV Resort
"Riverside RV Resort is one of the finest campgrounds for Snowbirds in Florida. The management, winter guests, employees, and activities are outstanding." Read more.
"It is new and all facilities are current and well maintained. Having Marina sites is interesting and the shoreside sites give a great view of the intercoastal waterway. We found this to be a very nice resort. We would go back." Read more.
Fort Myers Beach - Red Coconut RV Resort on the Beach
"Very nice beach front site with very clean washrooms and showers."
"Friendly staff and everything is in good shape. Not the cheapest campground but worth the money, only downside is that Wifi is not free of charge." Read more.
Destin - Destin RV Online
"Great tropical setting with extra large rear patios." Read more.
snowbird (noun): one who travels to warm climates for the winter
Everyone pays attention to the weather. Some go to the trouble to complain when it's bad. Like birds, some folks even migrate, spending summer wherever they call 'home' and moving south to better weather in winter.
Not many are willing to travel constantly in search of only the finest weather.
I can't help myself. I hate the heat. Um, and the cold.
Being born in Wisconsin, it's not that I can't deal with cold. Twice during my first 10 years we dealt with a temperature of -42F. For those of you keeping score, that's only -41C, since the two scales merge at -40. On any scale, it's cold.
Heat? I've coped with heat. Seven years of the dry heat of Sacramento, reaching 115 some summers, and 110 nearly all of them. But then, that's a dry heat, as everyone seems to love to say. I also endured seven years of Texas heat; days of 110 degrees and, literally, 100% humidity. The air is holding as much moisture as it possibly can; if there were any more moisture it would have to take a rain check. If you don't have air conditioning, you lay around gasping like you're a fish. Which, considering the air's water content, might not be a bad idea.
Humans spend an enormous amount of time and money creating living spaces to protect us from extreme weather. During our seven years in Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento, we dealt with months where we were sealed up in the house to prevent the furniture from melting. I've watched folks in colder places huddle by the fire, praying for summer.
Those months in the airtight chambers of our house drove Best Beloved and I mad. We love air; space; light; room to move. More specifically, we love fresh air at a temperature fit for breathing. We love light that gently warms, not fiercely scorches.
We like a roof over our head, but otherwise, we'd sorta like living outdoors. We're determined to be where the weather invites rather than punishes.
Some of you will now point out that we used to live in San Diego, and we left. Doesn't southern California have perfect weather all the time?
Well, no; it doesn't. San Diegans all know about 'June gloom'; the marine layer of clouds that hangs like a pall over the coastal plain for the early summer. You can go days without seeing the sun. It doesn't rain; that would damage San Diego's status as a desert. (Note: the largest desert in the world is not the Sahara, as many believe, but the Great Southwestern Desert of the United States; start from the southwest corner and expand, oh, a lot; it's all desert, with less than 10" of rainfall a year, and in some years, no measurable rainfall at all.)
If you average San Diego's temperatures year 'round, it's not bad. But we don't live by averages, we live day by day. Knowing that the humid 87-degree day in August is balanced by the cold wet 53-degree spring day doesn't improve either of them.
No, I want great weather, outdoor weather, writing-in-a-lawn-chair weather all the time.
So, we're nomads.
Best Beloved and I packed up our Little One and our laptops and took to the road, working as unpaid house sitters, staying with friends, working anywhere there's an internet connection. We're not RVers; we're just nomads. We don't take our home with us; we find a new one as often as necessary.
House sitting means we go where someone is taking a vacation. When we first discussed it, folks suggested we'd be getting the worst weather all the time, since vacations tend to be time away from the bad weather. (Some new friends who live in Wisconsin take a week in Hawaii or California every winter just to break the frigid monotony.)
Yes, you might expect that we'd be settling for the worst weather wherever we house sit, while our hosts are off basking in perfection.
That's not how I roll. When I make a plan, I shoot for the moon. I'll settle for landing in the stars, but I don't aim for almost what I want.
I mentioned the heat in Sacramento; August is excruciating. Vancouver, BC, Canada, on the other hand, tends toward 73 degrees, which is not bad at all (and 40 degrees lower than Sacramento.)
Guess where we spent August this year? Three weeks in a gorgeous restored Victorian in a suburb of Vancouver, away from the heat of Sacramento.
We're hoping to spend two months of summer in Albuquerque, up in the foothills. A little warmer than perfect, but certainly not Texas or Sacramento. We'll be spending January and February in Phoenix, Arizona. We are not likely to either overheat or freeze.
We spent a month in Quebec, just east of Montreal, this fall. Glorious fall colors, brisk but beautiful weather. It snowed one night. We threw snow balls. It had the decency to melt away like a happy dream before we had to drive that afternoon, which we did on dry clear roads.
It takes adjusting, and we don't always hit it right. Our latest visit with my Mom was nearly a weather faux pas. The last three days it snowed, and the temperature dropped to preposterous single-digit numbers. Though Sioux Falls, South Dakota was next on our itinerary, we bagged it and headed south to Kansas City. Though the wind blew like a freight train all the way across Kansas to Denver, the sun was warm and pleasant. In the past couple weeks, we've rarely had weather requiring either shorts or heavy jackets. I aim to keep it that way.
I'm writing this in San Diego. The day we arrived, it was 87 degrees. Then it was 73 degrees. Today, it's supposed to be 62 degrees. Tomorrow, it's supposed to rain.
I can't wait to get out of this perfect (on average) weather for someplace, well, less average.
Joel D Canfield is a business author who, with his Best Beloved Sue, trains virtual workers to turn their existing skills into truly portable businesses. When they're done seeing the rest of the world they plan to settle in the west of Ireland, where, like Solla Sollew, the weather is Goldilocks-approved year 'round.
RVParking.com Picks for Locations Mentioned in this Post
Sacramento West/Old Town KOA, West Sacramento CA
"Nice enough park just outside the city limits." Read more.
Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM
"Not a bad place to stay if you don't mind being near the freeway and 8miles from downtown. Management is friendly, sites are level and the facilities are clean (although the hot tub was broken when we visited)." Read more.
Phoenix-Metro RV Park, Phoenix, AZ
"Small park...great customer service...very friendly...nice outdoor pool and hot tub...nice and clean restrooms/showers and laundry facilities." Read more.
Pioneer RV Park, Phoenix, AZ
"With over 500 sites, most are seasonal and/or monthly but they have many that are dedicated to the daily and weekly rentals that are level, long pull through sites for the every size rig. A very accommodating and friendly staff. Nice size laundry facilities and restrooms/showers that are kept very clean. The activity center has something going on all the time and so many things to do, you could never get bored around here." Read more.
Once a year the Southwest Desert undergoes a magical transformation. The hot, forbidding oven of summer fades away and morphs like a butterfly into a balmy, inviting and almost weather-perfect destination. Endless days of sun, dry air, moderate temperatures and lots of open space make it an irresistible draw for snowbirds and RVers looking to escape the frozen North. With over 55 million acres of gorgeous desert stretching from California to Arizona there’s something for everyone here, from resort-style camping to laid-back parks and alternative “boondocking” (camping on public land without hook-ups).
In Arizona, Mesa, Quartzsite and Yuma are the big favorites. Yuma is tucked in the far Southwest corner of the State and offers some of Arizona’s warmest weather, averaging in the mid 70’s in winter. It has over 60 RV resorts, several popular boondocking locations (including the gorgeous Imperial Dam which spills into CA) combined with a plethora of outdoor, cultural and community activities. Further North, Quartzsite is an iconic boondocking location which transforms from a dusty desert town of only a few thousand in summer to a teeming mass of hundreds of thousands RVers in winter complete with swap meets, gem shows and crafts. For $180 and a self-sufficient attitude you can stay up to 7-months in the LTVA (Long-term Visitor Area), quite the deal. A step further East the Mesa and Apache Junction areas welcome over 300,000 winter visitors and cater to RVers looking for both good winter weather and city amenities. In-between there are plenty of other beautiful spots from the red rocks of Sedona in the North to the low desert of Fort Mohave in the East.
Moving over to California opens up hundreds of additional RV locations. For resort-style camping snowbirds flock to the popular desert towns of the Coachella Valley including Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Indio, Thousand Palms, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta. Beautifully located in desert valley, surrounded by mountains and bounded by the gorgeous Joshua Tree on one side and ritzy Palm Springs on the other this is a place where you can play a game of golf on a world-class course in the morning, soak in a mineral hot-tub in the afternoon and go out for a night on the town all in the same day. Further West and with a more rural feel, Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley is another popular snowbird location with multiple RV resorts. And finally, for the hard-core boondockers “The Slabs” in Niland (Mojave Desert) is an ex-military base turned free RV parking destination and location of the famous Salvation Mountain.
Overall the southwestern desert is a place of many faces, and snowbirds flock to all of them. Prices in winter can vary anywhere from $700/month in a ritzy RV resort to absolutely free in The Slabs with every possibility in-between and the season stretches from late October until the desert flowers bloom in April. If you like dry, warm weather almost nowhere else compares and with all that space, you can really spread your snowbird wings and fly.
Desert Hot Springs
Sam’s Family Spa: This is a quirky little park just a little out of town with the bonus of 4 on-site hot mineral baths. It’s not fancy, but is a great location to explore the area and come homefor a warm soak. Good monthly rates. http://www.samsfamilyspa.com/
What Other Reviewers Say
"It's definately a desert environment (not like Palm Springs, with an absurd display of grass), but Sam's does a really great job with their mineral spring baths and swimming pool area. The central area is beautifully landscaped with palm trees, grassy picnic areas, and a pond stocked with fish and lots of birds." Read more
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Club – For those looking for a bit of luxury in the desert this is the place to be. Full amenities, pool, mineral spas and even wine tasting in the cute little desert town of Borrego Springs.. http://www.springsatborrego.com/
Boondocking in BLM land – If you’re looking for the “classic” Quartzite experience join the hundreds of thousands of boondockers that flock to BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land each year. In LVTA (Long-Term Visitor Area) spots such as La Posa and Tyson Wash you can camp for extended periods for a very small fee. On non-LVTA BLM land youcan camp for 14-days at a time for free.
Cocopah RV and Golf Resort – For those looking for a first class parkthis is the place to be. Located right next to a golf course with gorgeous views of the mountains and even a 2.5 acre dog-run on site. http://www.cocopahrv.com/
Boondocking in BLM land – For those seeking a more natural and“out there” experience there are several popular BLM sites in Yuma.Imperial Dam and Pilot Knob are both LVTA areas where youcan camp for extended periods for a very small fee.
Other RVParking.com Picks
Towerpoint RV Resort - "Activities were abundant and the pools were absolutely great... If we were to ever settle down, which we do not ever plan to, but if we ever did, this would be one of our top choices to settle in." Read more.
Cotton Lane RV Resort - "This may end up being our new park to stay while in the Phoenix area…it is owned by the same owners as the Pioneer RV Park that we usually stay at but this one is located much closer to PIR." Read More.
Ridgeview RV Resort - "The people were very friendly, both the workers and the guests and it looked as if their rules were enforced, we never seen a dog without a leash and owners were picking up after them."
"The staff is extremely accomodating and very helpful." Read more.
Lake Havasu City
Pioneer RV Park - "With over 500 sites, most are seasonal and/or monthly but they have many that are dedicated to the daily and weekly rentals that are level, long pull through sites for the every size rig. A very accommodating and friendly staff. Nice size laundry facilities and restrooms/showers that are kept very clean. The activity center has something going on all the time and so many things to do, you could never get bored around here." Read more.
Agave Gulch FamCamp - "Very clean park, new updated bathrooms, a little street noise in the early morning by the spots backing up to the gate that opens at 5:30am, but not too bad... Activities planned, great gym & indoor lap pool. Sites were level - on rocks, easy hookups, plenty of room not to make you feel too cramped. No cable tv, wifi is good." Read more.
Colorado River Oasis RV Resort - "Doing our laundry was the best we have done…a lounge area where we were able to watch the Busch Race and I was able to work on a puzzle…time just flew by doing our wash." Read more.
Spirit Mountain RV Park "Huge sites…nice and clean restrooms/showers with nice layout with shower door locks…Laundromat was located right on premises…car wash next door with stalls big enough for RV’s" Read more.
Desert Hot Springs
South Lake Tahoe
Campground by the Lake - "The spots are pretty large, but there is little distinction between the sites. The bathrooms were well maintained. The onsite hosts were super friendly and helpful." Read more.
Nina Fussing is a blogger, writer of tales, animal lover, outdoor enthusiast and photographer. Together with her hubby they both left stressful jobs in the semiconductor industry for the dream of becoming full-time RVers and leading an alternative life. Join them in their travels with RV tips and tales at http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/.
Today's guest blog post comes from Betty Barnes, who some of you may remember from her great post about HughesNet back in September. Since she is a native Texan who has been attending RV rallies since she was a little girl, she's the perfect person to give an RVing overview of San Antonio.
When you think of San Antonio, Texas, what image comes to you? If you are like so many others, it is the Alamo, a hallowed symbol of Texan independence and spirit. Indeed, the Alamo is on my list of “must-see” places in the area, especially if you are visiting San Antonio for the first time. There are, of course, so many other places of interest and activities for all ages in and around “The River City.” Located in what one might consider as the heart of Texas, San Antonio is a crossroads of Interstates 10 and 35. The River City lies on the border of the Texas Hill Country and is an easy drive to Austin for exploring the capitol of Texas. The summers are typically Texan – hot! The winters can be pleasant, and the area is popular for migrating snowbirds seeking temperate climes during the cold months.
What Would You Like to Do?
Keeping in mind that I am a native Texan and therefore somewhat prejudiced (she says with a grin), some of my favorite spots in San Antonio include:
- The Alamo: This Texas shrine is located right in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Epitomizing the spirit of independence, honor, bravery and strength that I like to think all native Texans share to this day, the Alamo sees more than 2.5 million visitors annually. Although small by comparison to other historical sites at only 4.2 acres, one can almost feel the spirits of those who defended our state which was at one time its own country.
- San Antonio River Walk: Descend from the busy streets of downtown into the soothing realm of the River Walk. Stroll along the stones, browse through the shops, stop at a cafe or pub and watch the river taxis cruise as you dine on delicious Mexican food or sip a cool beverage of your choice. Why not even book a ride on a river taxi and soak in the sights and history of downtown San Antonio from a new perspective? Refreshing in the summer, definitely take a jacket with you during the winter months as you explore all that the River Walk has to offer.
- Casa Rio: Aah . . . Casa Rio! Growing up in Texas, you come to realize that you just cannot get “real” Mexican food once you leave the Lone Star State. Sitting here in South Carolina and talking to you about Casa Rio, well, shall we say it fills me with a longing for all those yummy dishes! Casa Rio opened its doors in 1946 on the River Walk, and my first memories of this renowned eatery are those of a child. My first visit was not in 1946, but it was many years ago. This is “the” place not only for a true meal of the region but to experience River Walk dining at its utmost. Go early for lunch or dinner, as it is very popular!
- San Antonio Zoo: My first visits to the San Antonio Zoo began in childhood and have continued through my adult years. Naturally, as a kid I gazed in wonder at all the exotic animals and enjoyed the exhibits specifically targeted for young folks. As an adult, I stroll through the extensive grounds with camera at the ready, looking for “the shot.” It is also fun to watch little ones perhaps seeing an elephant for the first time or munching down on a hot with much relish – both the condiment and the enjoyment!
- Japanese Tea Garden: Reopened in 2008 after extensive renovation, this oasis is located in Breckenridge Park, a short walk from the San Antonio Zoo.
- The Mission Trail: Five missions, including the Alamo, make up the Mission Trail. At least one of these missions still serves as an active parish with regular weekly services.
Also of note are SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas and HemisFair Park. HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 World's Fair. (I was lucky enough to experience it as a kid during its heyday) and still attracts visitors with its Tower of the Americas and nearby museums.
Places to Land with Your Rig
Displaying the same diversity of San Antonio activities are one's choices in places to call home with your RV. As we all venture to different destinations with a variety of purposes and a mix of ages in our families, again, there is something for everyone! Below is a sampling:
Greentree Village North: Located at Exit 169 off Interstate 35 on O'Connor Road, this park has a variety of short and long-term residents. We stayed here in 2008 and found it to be a very comfortable location for taking in the sights of the city. Although not immediately downtown, the drive to The River Walk, Alamo and so forth was short, straightforward and easy to navigate. We enjoyed coming home to our campsite after a day of sightseeing and being away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Would we return? You betcha! Read more on RVParking.com.
Admiralty RV Resort: According to their Web site, Admiralty offers shuttle service to Sea World, is located on the public bus system, and is 20 minutes from Fiesta Texas, the River Walk and the Alamo. I have not personally stayed at this park.
Travelers World RV Resort: This park on Roosevelt Avenue in San Antonio lists planned winter activities and location adjacent to a golf course for those of you desiring to tee off. Again, this is not a park I have personally visited.
Whatever your vision of a stay in San Antonio and no matter how much time you have to spend there, I am sure you will find a wealth of opportunities for fun, food and relaxation!
Betty Barnes is a nine-year cancer survivor, Reiki Master/Teacher, cyclist and drum circle facilitator. She and her husband Dave, originally from Scotland, began full-timing in their fifth wheel in June 2010, workamping as they travel the Lower 48. Betty's first RV experience was literally as a babe in arms over 50 years ago. She has camped under canvas, in a pop-up and travel trailers now a fifth wheel. Betty has seen much of Scotland, so now she and Dave are taking the opportunity to experience together the wonder and beauty of her native country. Betty maintains an active blog describing their adventures on the road at Phoenix Once Again. You are also invited to visit her Reiki Web presence here.
This is the first post in a series where we will feature some of our bloggers favorite RV parks in a particular region of the US. Thanks to R.M DeSanti for helping us start this off.
There are several camping resorts that are located minutes from one of America's most profound attractions; historic Gettysburg. Lancaster, PA is approximately an hours drive east on US 30. If you have a hankering for chocolate, or the adventure of a theme park; a tour of Hershey Chocolate World is also only an hours drive away. If rain is in the forecast, a tour of the largest Harley-Davidson manufacturing facility is in York, PA. Established as an assembly facility in 1973, the York facility covers more than 230 acres and has over 1.5 million square feet under roof. A word of warning; Although it is not posted, no open toed shoes permitted on factory tours. Washington D.C. is also close enough for a day trip.
We managed the Cafe' which offers hot and cold items at Drummer Boy Resort, giving us first hand knowledge of the facility and what it has to offer. The resort offers 400 campsites situated on 95 acres. Several rental units are also available including 12 cabins and 27 cottages with lofts. Many rentals offer luxury accommodations. The camp store has a range of provisions from groceries, RV supplies, and battlefield souvenirs. A large game room offers video and action packed arcade games. There is also a miniature golf range which overlooks one of two swimming pools. A large activity pool displaying a 250 ft water slide is located at the rear of the park.
The park is approximately 1 1/2 miles from the town of Gettysburg and all it has to offer. Although nightly ghost walks are advertised, a tour of the battlefield is a must see. The impact of walking upon 'hallowed ground' is chilling. The Eisenhower Farm , adjacent to the Battlefield is also worth a look see. However, the only way to visit "Ike's" hideaway is on a very affordable tour bus that leaves from the new visitor center in the heart of town.
If you happen to be a collector of stuffed bears, Boyd's Bear Factory is several miles down the road and takes a few hours to see all they have to offer. You can adopt a bear form the Teddy Bear Nursery located on the top floor, or enjoy a home style cooked meal in the dining room. Pamper yourself by ending your tour with one of Boyd's ice cream delights.
My Picks for Gettysburg RV Parks are:
Round Top Campground - 180 Knight Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
"The park was in disrepair when we stayed here. However, that was some time ago. I can say that this park, as well as Drummer Boy Resort a few miles away is owned by Diversified Industries LLC." Read full review here
Artillery Ridge Camping Resort - 610 Taneytown Road Gettysburg, PA 17325
"The park is out of the way from the center of Gettysburg. A rustic park with some narrow, uneven sites." Read full review here
Granite Hill Camping Resort
Drummer Boy Camping Resort - 2030 Fairfield Road, Granite Hill Campground 3340
"Pricey but nice. Commercial water slide installed in rear of park. 2 miles from downtown Gettysburg." Read full review here
About the Author
After a lifestyle change some years ago, my wife Annie and I decided to purchase an RV and 'hit the road.' We explored alternatives how other full time RVers endured life while traveling. Although I was getting a small pension from New York State as a retired police officer, neither one of us were at full retirement age. Bottom line; if we were going to set out to see this beautiful country, we needed to earn while still keeping up a comfortable quality of life. Over the past ten years, we have never regretted the decision we made. You are welcome to ride along with us at anytime by clicking, Ctrl-click our link below:
We are still looking for guest bloggers for this series, particularly those who can review parks in Florida, the Southwest Desert, San Antonio, and Nashville. If you can contribute to any of those articles, please send an email to nicole at rvparking dot com. Stay tuned for another Christmas RV Park event list later in the week.