A Course Called Scotland By Tom Coyne

If you’re looking for a good book to read while relaxing by the pool this summer, you might want to pick up a copy of Tom Coyne’s latest nonfiction book “A Course Called Scotland: Searching the Home of Golf for the Secret to Its Game.”

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This entertaining travel adventure recaps the author’s quest to play all of the links-style golf courses in Scotland, a country in the United Kingdom roughly the size of South Carolina. Near the book’s end, Coyne summarizes his two-month golfing adventure: Total rounds of golf: 111; total yards: 657,450; total holes played: 1,908; Total days golfing: 57; Holes per day: 33.4; Total score: 7,864, or 548 over par.

To call this man a fanatic about the game would be an understatement. He spent a great deal of time chasing a career in golf playing on various mini-tours around the globe but was never good enough to make a living at it. He was, however, good enough to make a living as a writer. He’s written for Golf Magazine, Golf Week, Sports Illustrated, and also published two other books: “Paper Tiger” and “A Course Called Ireland.”

Coyne’s writing is spot on throughout “A Course Called Scotland” as he blends storytelling, humor, history, and insight to describe his experiences. In the chapter on St. Andrews, for example, the author shares:

“You would expect that the home of golf might be only about golf pubs, golf shops, and golf museums. St. Andrews had plenty of those, but it also had culture and history and learning, with golfers blending into packs of undergrads from St. Andrews University as they hustled to and from classes in academic robes. You stay here and feel like you’ve done more than chase a ball around and that your travels are better for it.”

“A Course Called Scotland: Searching the Home of Golf for the Secret to Its Game,” is clearly more than golf course descriptions, it includes insight for travelers, too. The 336-page book is published by Simon & Schuster and is available at all bookstores and online from Amazon.

You may also like Golfing Across The Ponds by Dr. George G. Kitchens



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Casino Resorts In The U.S. With Full Hookup RV Sites

Many casinos are not only RV-friendly but they have their own RV resort with an extensive list of amenities. These are some of the best places to park and try your luck at the slots or table games.

1. Lakeside Casino and RV Park, Nevada

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Lakeside Casino & RV Park, Pahrump, Nevada. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

This casino in Pahrump is a quiet place to stay west of Las Vegas. They have 159 full hookup RV sites that surround a 7-acre man-made lake stocked with bass for fishing.

The lake has a waterfall, dock, boat launch, and sandy beach.  RVers can also use their swimming pool, hot tub, and frisbee golf course.

2. The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park, Oregon

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The Mill Casino RV Park, North Bend, Oregon. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

The Mill Casino overlooks Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast just off the scenic Highway 101. They have a range of RV sites with full hookups including pull-throughs with bayfront views.

The casino provides a free shuttle service up to the casino or into town. RVers can also access their fitness room, pool, showers, laundry, and spa.

3. Quinault Beach Resort & Casino, Washington

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Quinault Casino, Ocean Shores, Washington. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

Quinault Casino only has dry campsites, but they are still the best deal you’ll find on the Washington Coast at only $5 a night ($15 on Friday and Saturday). Guests can stay up to 14 days at a time and use the swimming pool for an additional fee.

They have easy beach access and lots of things to see and do nearby in Ocean Shores. Try your hand at blackjack while you’re at the casino or grab a bite to eat from one of their cafes.

4. Casino Queen RV Park, Illinois

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Casino Queen Hotel & RV Park, East St. Louis, Illinois. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

Casino Queen is conveniently located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis and has unrivaled views of the Gateway Arch. Their RV park includes full hookups and a free shuttle service to the casino.

Make a day trip into the city to see attractions like the Arch and Busch Stadium. You can read more about camping in St. Louis on Do It Yourself RV.

5. Pechanga RV Resort & Casino, California

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Pechanga RV Resort in Southern California. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

Pechanga RV Resort is a short drive from Temecula Valley Wine Country and Old Town where you can find historic 1800s buildings, antique shops, and restaurants. The resort’s 206 full-service sites can accommodate any size RV and include access to their pool and laundry facilities. They also have presidential sites with estate-style fencing and gazebos.

The casino has 24/7 gaming, and restaurants like a steakhouse, oyster and sushi bar, and a pub that serves high-quality BBQ. Play their 18-hole golf course or get a massage at their spa to unwind.

6. Gold Ranch Casino & RV Resort, Nevada

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Gold Ranch Resort, Verdi, Nevada. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

Gold Ranch Casino’s RV resort is west of Reno along the Nevada-California border. They have 105 spacious full hookup RV sites in a peaceful setting surrounded by mountains and trees.

Relax in their heated pool and Jacuzzi before heading up to the casino and restaurants. You can also fuel up at their gas station or grab snacks and beverages from their 24-hour convenience store.

7. Little Creek Casino & Resort, Washington

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Little Creek Casino, near Shelton, Washington. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

Little Creek is only 15 minutes from Olympia and easy to access off Highway 101. They offer full hookup RV sites next door to the casino with access to their laundry room and showers.

They’ve also expanded to include a par-72 championship golf course, spa, and a variety of dining options. Try their buffet for breakfast or the seafood bar for shrimp or oysters.

8. Paragon Casino Resort RV Park, Louisiana

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Paragon Casino Resort, Marksville, Louisiana. (Photo via TripAdvisor)

This casino resort in Central Louisiana has something for everyone in the family. Your kids can enjoy their slides, arts and crafts, and video games while you take the free shuttle up to the casino or play the 18-hole golf course.

They also have a spa, cinema, and a few restaurants to choose from. Their RV park includes over 200 sites with concrete patios and full hookups.

9. Durant / Choctaw Casino KOA, Oklahoma

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Choctaw Casino KOA, Durant, Oklahoma. (Photo via website)

Few KOAs are located right next to casinos; this one in Southern Oklahoma has over 4,000 slot machines and 80 table games.  They also have activities for the kids like a movie theater, laser tag, arcade, and bowling.

Go for a swim in their heated pool or get a workout in their fitness center.  They’re only about a half-hour drive from Lake Texoma, a popular place to cast a line for catfish and smallmouth bass.

10. Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast, Mississippi

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Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (Photo via Facebook)

Hollywood Casino has a hotel and an RV park with full hookup sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Their RV sites include a free shuttle service to their casino and two free wristbands to the pool area, which has a lazy river, hot tub, and a swim-up bar.

The casino has a few restaurants on-site, a marina, and an Arnold Palmer designed golf course.  There are also lots of local shops and restaurants only about 5-10 minutes away in Old Town Bay St. Louis.

You can easily find casinos with campgrounds by planning your trip on RV Trip Wizard



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Top 5 Best Fifth Wheels for Full Time Living

You’ve decided to fulfill your heart’s content by exploring the world and being constantly on the move. Nothing could serve you better on the road than a fifth wheel. They’re spacious, durable, easy to tow, and have state-of-the-art features so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything! For buyers like you, we’ve made our list of the top 5 best fifth wheels for full time RVing. Read on to find out!

What puts an RV on the list: There’s obviously a huge difference between RVing once in a while and RVing full time. To make sure you get the closest feeling of living in a home we’ve hand picked the ones with a good mix of bunkhouse and regular floorplans. We’ve also made sure they have enough 40 feet+ length floorplans since space can be a concern when RVing full time. After a few spec comparisons it all boiled down to the ones which had the best reviews.  Here are the Top 5 Best Fifth Wheels For Full Time Living.

The Top 5 Best Fifth Wheels For Full Time Living:

  1. Coachmen Chaparral Fifth Wheel
  2. Jayco North Point Fifth Wheel
  3. Heartland Sundance Fifth Wheel
  4. Jayco Eagle Fifth Wheel
  5. Forest River Wildcat Fifth Wheel

#1. Coachmen Chaparral Fifth Wheel

Diverse Luxury!

View All Coachmen Chaparral Fifth Wheel Floorplans!

No. of Floorplans Unloaded Weight Sleeps Length
11 9575-12694 lbs 4-11 33-41 feet

Why we recommend the Coachmen Chaparral fifth wheel: There are few fifth wheels which can offer the level of flexibility within 11 floorplans as the Coachmen Chaparral can. If tow weight is an issue for you due to fifth wheels being on the heavier side, the Chaparral 298RLS has got you covered.  This RV weighs 9575 pounds (dry weight) which is actually quite impressive. Of course, if weight isn’t an issue and you’re having a lot of people living in the same RV, the Chaparral 371MBRB spans 41 feet and can house 11 people in it. Like we said, flexibility!

To make it feel just like home, Coachmen has also added numerous storage options and features such as a modern entertainment center made for a 50-55 inch TV, motion sensor lights, USB charging ports, 8 cubic foot refrigerator, 30-inch microwave, 21-inch oven, a ducted furnace. Of course, if you need even more out of your RV, there’s a lot of options that upgrade these features and add new ones. Check out the full list on the RV page for more details!

Key Features:

  • 11 different floor plans available
  • Exterior Back-up camera prep
  • Solid hardwood slide fascia
  • Solid lumber core cabinet stiles
  • Oversized under bed storage
  • Dual pane windows

Virtual Tour:


 

#2. Jayco North Point Fifth Wheel

Truly Heavy Duty!

View All Jayco North Point Fifth Wheel Floorplans!

No. of Floorplans Unloaded Weight Sleeps Length
9 12405-14200 lbs 4-9 38-43 feet

Why we recommend Jayco North Point fifth wheel: Among the bulkier versions of the fifth wheels from Jayco RVs are the North point series which are roughly between 12000 and 14000 pounds heavy. This does mean, however, that this RV is really stable and are quite durable. It can hold 4 to 9 people and span from 38 feet on the North Point 315RLTS to the 43 feet on the North Point 387RDFS.

Whether you’re camping down South where the sun always shines or places where it’s cold, the AC and the insulated underbelly plus furnace should keep your RV running at a comfortable temperature. If you’re thinking of doing a little tailgating along when on the move, there are exterior speakers, outdoor kitchen support with refrigerator and cooktop range, a wide awning and even an option for an outdoor grill. All in all, while the Jayco North point serves more purposes than one, it’s definitely a solid choice if you’re looking at fifth wheels for full-time living.

Key Features:

  • 9 different floor plans available!
  • Wide-stance front landing gear
  • Dual exterior marine-grade speakers
  • Free standing table with 2 dinette chairs and 2 folding chairs
  • One-piece, fiberglass shower with glass doors
  • Oversized folding exterior grab handle

Virtual Tour:


 

#3. Heartland Sundance Fifth Wheel

One of the Cozier Fifth Wheels Out There!

View All Heartland Sundance Fifth Wheel Floorplans!

No. of Floorplans Unloaded Weight Sleeps Length
11 8307-12896 lbs 2-9 30-42 feet

Why we recommend the Heartland Sundance fifth wheel: When it comes to looking for something truly lightweight but spacious, few fifth wheels can offer a dry weight of a mere 8307 pounds and be 30 feet long (view the Sundance 269TS). This itself makes it a perfect camper for couples looking for fifth wheels for full time living as it can only have 2 people. Of course, if you’re interested in the larger ones, floorplans such as the Sundance 3700RLB and the Sundance 3710MB are available as well!

The Sundance is also quite impressive in terms of features. You have at least 3 sideouts in every floorplan, meaning a lot of additional space along with copious amounts of baggage space with a slam latch doors. You also have a dual-ducted air conditioner and a 8 cubic feet refrigerator that can be upgraded to a 15,000 BTU AC and a residential style refrigerator. In a nutshell, the Heartland Sundance is a good choice to consider if you’re RVing full-time.

Key Features:

  • 11 different floor plans available
  • LED interior lighting
  • Tri-fold sofa bed
  • Back-up camera prep
  • Dual ducted AC
  • Painted fiberglass front cap

Virtual Tour:


 

#4. Jayco Eagle Fifth Wheel

The Affordable Family Camper!

View All Jayco Eagle Fifth Wheel Floorplans!

No. of Floorplans Unloaded Weight Sleeps Length
9 10310-12335 lbs 4-7 35-42 feet

Why we recommend the Jayco Eagle fifth wheel: If budget is something you’re also concerned about when choosing between fifth wheels for full-time living, then we highly recommend the Jacyo Eagle. While it’s MSRP is nearly the same as some of the others, it’s actual sale price is lower, and it offers the same amount of features and versatility of a good fifth wheel. For example, the Eagle 293RKDS offers has a very good build, weighing 10310 pounds and being 35 feet and at the same time they also have the Eagle 347BHOK which is 40 feet long and weighs pounds!

Feature-wise you’ll find that the Eagle has a lot of appreciable features. A ‘whisper quiet’ 15,000 BTU Air Conditioner and an electric patio awning with LED. Jayco has also added a ‘luxury package’ to this camper by default which adds a sound bar, frameless windows, handcrafted maple cabinet doors among other things too. If you wish to take it up a notch, there are over a dozen expansions and optimizations available, which truly makes this a best-in-class fifth wheel!

Key Features:

  • 9 different floor plans
  • Electric patio awning with integrated LED lights
  • Frameless windows
  • Exterior marine-grade speakers
  • Rear electric stabilizer jacks
  • Central command center with built-in tank monitoring

Virtual Tour:


 

#5. Forest River Wildcat Fifth Wheel

The Perfectly Stable and Roomy 5er!

View All Forest River Wildcat Fifth Wheel Floorplans!

No. of Floorplans Unloaded Weight Sleeps Length
23 7466-13170 lbs 4-10 31-42 feet

Why we recommend Forest River Wildcat fifth wheel: If you need something even lighter but more spacious than Sundance’s offering then something like the Wildcat 27RL should be right up your alley. It tips the scales at 7466 pounds and has a 31 feet footprint. As with our other choices, there are roomier and heavier options available such as the Wildcat 35WB available too, 23 to be exact. This alone makes the Wildcat worth checking out but it’s features are just as noteworthy too!

The Wildcat also has you covered in the features department, having some pretty impressive offerings ranging from a booth dinette to dual marine-grade outdoor stereo speakers. Of course, all of these are just the ones present in the vanilla version. Those looking to change a few features here and there can consider a myriad of upgrade options available such as a 2nd 13,500 BTU air conditioner and a king size bed!

Key Features:

  • 23 different floor plans available
  • Residential brushed chrome door and drawer hardware
  • Solid hardwood glazed slide-out fascia
  • 15,000 BTU ducted AC
  • 4,600 BTU electric fireplace
  • Residential soundbar with bluetooth

Video Overview:


Check out these similar RV reviews!

Top 5 Best Fifth Wheel RV Brands

Top 5 Best Fifth Wheel RVs with Bunk Beds

– – – – –

Living full-time in an RV, even when its something as spacious and comfortable as a fifth wheel, should be done right. Hopefully our top 5 list here should help you narrow the list of your favorites!

BEFORE you head to a dealer to see these trailers, download your FREE RV Buyers Worksheet for help keeping track of:

  • The feature must-haves that are important to you and your family
  • Which brands or manufacturers you like
  • Budgeting tools including a payment calculator resource
  • Multiple well spaced pages with room for lots of your notes
  • BONUS Resources: Trade-in values, tow vehicle ratings, and finance options

Share with us your favorite fifth wheel travel trailer RV for full-time living in the comments below!



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The Single Biggest Challenge in RV Life

The single biggest challenge in RV Life is unique to every person, but there are some common themes! We’re on a quest to discover these challenges, organize the results and create specific content to help overcome these hurdles.

The recent Vibe Tribe collaborations have inspired us to tap into the collective knowledge of the community to help us all overcome these RV challenges.

Please follow this link and let us know your specific RV Challenges

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We’ve found a few common challenges the RV community experiences. Let us know if the challenges below are big issues for you, too – or if they’re easy to deal with.

Cellular internet connection is a huge component of RV living. Having reliable access allows us to connect with family, have a safety line in case of emergency, and stream endless videos!

BUT, what cost are you willing to pay for connectivity? Do you have multiple carriers? Do you take advantage of free wifi from public businesses?

We use Mobile Internet Resource as our main stop to find the most recent info on cellular plans and boosting devices.

The fear of missing the company of family and friends is another challenge for RVers. This is more of a state of mind issue. You can use tools like Skype to have video calls and you can send postcards from the places you travel. BUT, to be nomadic is to be gone from your previous home.

For us, the important thing is to respect your gut and find balance. If you have a desire to travel, then you should. You should also visit your family if you want to do that. Tapping into your desires – detached from emotions – is important. Yes, it can be sad to say “until next time.” But, don’t breed contempt by not following your own passions.

Automotive failure is never fun – not in sticks & bricks life and not in RV life. We’ve had engine issues in small desert towns, mountain towns and our hometown. The best way we found to make these issues manageable is by having a “break down fund” and by keeping a constant eye on our trucks maintenance.

Is this one of your biggest challenges? 

Is your single biggest challenge one of the three we mentioned above? Do you have a more unique challenge? Share your experience!

Here are some of the responses we’ve received already:

Planning a route and finding places to stay. Too many options and we’re still figuring out our boondocking limits.

Buying the RV to start the life.

Vehicle failure. Nobody likes that.

what compels you to be nomadic

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Best State Park On The Washington Coast For RV Camping

Washington State doesn’t have as many state parks on the coast as Oregon and California, but we recently found one in a scenic, remote spot. Grayland Beach State Park is located off Highway 105 along the Pacific Coast and is only a ten-minute drive from Westport and a half-hour from Aberdeen.

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A coastal state park with full hookups and smooth paved roads. All photos by Nikki Cleveland (author)

Grayland Beach SP has a wide open sandy beach that you can drive on and a wooded campground that is very RV-friendly.  The roads and sites are smoothly paved and large enough for rigs up to 60 feet long.

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Some sites have full hookups, some sites are without sewer. (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)

The campground has 55 full hookup sites and 38 sites with partial hookups, including pull-thrus and back-ins, along several loops.  They also have 16 yurt rentals, four primitive sites in the woods, four restrooms, and eight coin-operated showers.

There is also a trailer dump station near the campground exit and a camp store in the main office that sells firewood, propane, ice, beverages, and snacks like ice cream.

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Yurts also available (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)

Five trailheads around the campground will take you out to the beach.  The wide open beach has wind-sculpted dunes and soft sand that you can dig your toes into.

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Take the trail to the beach (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)

Head out past the dunes to the shore and watch the seagulls flying overhead and the sun setting over the horizon.  During the day this beach is ideal for flying kites, walking your dog, or building sandcastles.

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Watch the sunset over the ocean (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)

The state park is open year-round, but the beach can get rainy and cold by winter. You can learn more about the current Washington State Park camping fees here.

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Van life (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)

The state park is a great home base while you visit all of the attractions nearby in Westport.  During the day, drive north to see Twin Harbors State Park and Westport Light State Park.

You can learn more about camping at Grayland Beach on RV Park Reviews.



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10 TIPS FOR FINDING THE RV MODEL AND FLOOR PLAN

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect RV Model and Floorplan

If you are a first time RV shopper, you might be surprised–and a little overwhelmed–at how many options there are out there! Once you have settled on the type of RV you are looking for (travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome), you’ll still have to decide the size and floorplan that will suit you best.

There’s definitely something for everyone out there, and we want you to find your perfect match. So here are our top 10 tips for finding your perfect RV model.

 

  1. Know Your Numbers.

 

Research your tow capacity and payload capacity if you are purchasing a towable. Don’t take guesses or rely on social media for this information. Use your VIN to get the specs directly from your vehicle manufacturer. If you are buying a motorhome, double and triple check the weight of any vehicle you are planning to tow behind the RV. These are the first specs you should look at when shopping. Believe us, picking out an RV that doesn’t work with your current vehicle situation can be expensive and unsafe.

  1. Count the number of dedicated beds you’ll need.

 

We highly recommend looking for RV floorplans that will provide a dedicated bed for anyone who will be sleeping in the rig most of the time. When shopping for their first RV, some folks think it’s no big deal to make up the dinette or pull out the sleeper sofa every night. We know from experience that this can be a frustration in the long run.

Solo campers or couples who need just one bed will find tons of great options across every RV type. Families with one or two children will be happy to find bunk models in travel trailers and motorhomes. If you are traveling with more than two children, travel trailer and fifth wheels offer many bunkhouse floorplans with 3-4 beds in a separate sleeping area.

If you are looking for a small towable that still offers dedicated beds for everyone in the family, check out the Murphy bed floorplan options. This latest trend has grown pretty popular over the past couple of years, so there are quite a few of these models out there!

 

  1. Decide on a wet bath, dry bath, or no bath.

 

Some shoppers love the idea of having a large, private bathroom no matter where they travel. Other folks are just fine with the idea of using campground comfort stations. This is a pretty important part of the RV experience, so make sure you get what you want in this department.

Many smaller RV options like Class Bs, Small Travel Trailers, and Truck Campers only offer wet baths, bathrooms where there isn’t a separate stall for the shower. Think hard about whether this will be a deal breaker for you.

 

  1. Decide if you’ll want to boondock or camp all four seasons.

 

Another trend in the RV industry is more models that offer four season features like insulated walls and underbellies. If you want to camp year-round, or at least in the cooler shoulder seasons, look for RVs that include these options.

And if you are looking to boondock (dispersed camping in places without hookups), make sure to search for RVs with larger fresh water, gray water, and black tanks. Other attractive features for folks looking to get off the grid are on-board generators and solar prep.

  1. Think about how much time you plan on spending inside the RV.

 

There’s no right way to camp. Some people are shopping for an RV with a clean bathroom and comfortable beds that will keep them warm and cozy at night. Other campers are seeking a smaller version of their sticks and bricks house, with all the creature comforts of home. Will everyone be able to eat a meal, play a board game, or watch a movie? Think about how you want to live in the RV, and make sure the floorplan will support that dream.

  1. How much cooking do you plan on doing in (and out) of the RV?

 

Once again, there is no right answer to the question of cooking in the RV. Some people use their RV kitchens all the time like us, and some people have never even turned on the oven. If the RV kitchen is a major draw for you, look closely at storage, counter space, and refrigerator size. If you love to cook in the open air, check out all the amazing outdoor kitchen options. However, if you don’t cook a lot while RVing, skip the outdoor kitchen to get more interior space and storage.

  1. Will you need to work in the RV?

 

The ability to work remotely leads a lot of people to check out the RV lifestyle. If you have to punch the clock, you might as well do it in a beautiful location, right? So, if you’re planning to work on the road, make sure you choose a floorplan with a spot for you to comfortably set up shop. Many people are using the flexible space in toy haulers to set up mobile offices. Another popular option right now are fifth wheel models with office space in the middle.

  1. Visualize where all the stuff will go!

 

Storage varies drastically in different models and floorplans, so think specifically about the things you want to pack. From the big stuff like bikes, kayaks, and golf carts, to the little stuff like clothes, linens and towels, food, and kitchen supplies…actually imagine where all your stuff might go.

  1. Can you access all the important features in “Travel Mode”?

 

One of the greatest benefits of RV travel for our family is being able to use the bathroom and have a healthy lunch in our RV kitchen while at rest stops. If this is also important to you, make sure you can access everything you will need even with the slides in. Can you access the bathroom, open the refrigerator, and get into the bedroom? Don’t be embarrassed to ask the salesperson to bring in the slides for you to double check!

  1. What extra features are important to you? Every RV is a bit different than the next, and some options will be more important to you than others. That’s why it’s important to have a list of “must haves” vs. “nice to haves” before you even start looking. Here are a few features that may or may not be on your list depending on your RV lifestyle:

 

  1. Large awning
  2. Exterior bathroom entrance
  3. Outdoor shower
  4. Power and automated systems for stability jacks, tongue jack, and levelers
  5. Smart technology and outdoor entertainment

Take your time and have fun with this part of the RV shopping experience. There are so many great RVs out there right now, so make sure to find the perfect one for you.

 

We’ll see you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

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Wheelchair Friendly State Park In Colorado: New Track Chair Program

For those who have mobility issues, taking a hike down a wooded trail may sound like a distant dream. In Colorado’s Staunton State Park, a newly launched Track Chair Program now allows trail access to those who cannot explore under their own power.

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Track chairs can take you off the beaten path (Photo by TC Wait)

Staunton State Park is Colorado’s newest State Park (opening in May 2013) encompassing over 3,800 acres of dramatic mountains, historic cabins, mountain meadows filled with wildflowers, and breath-taking waterfalls.

It lies about 40 miles southwest of Denver in the Elk Creek Valley between 8,000 and 10,000 feet elevation. Staunton boasts an extensive trail system for riding horses, hiking, or biking, areas designated for rock climbing, and ponds for fishing.

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Enjoy scenic natural views at Staunton State Park (Photo by TC Wait)

The Staunton family, who donated the initial 1,700-acre parcel of land to become a State Park, have a healing history in the local community dating back to the 1900s. Dr. Rachael Staunton treated everyone from local ranchers to those with tuberculosis and shared healing strategies with Ute tribe members who taught her about using local herbal remedies.

From this history, Staunton State Park now offers the use of donated Track Chairs so that everyone can experience the healing magic of the trails and woods of the area.

In 2017, Staunton State Park initiated its Track Chair Program. Over 150 people participated in the program in its first season. The program relies on donated Track Chairs and volunteers. People can sign up on a first-come basis to use a chair (free of charge) to explore the park in one of the three chairs. The chair units were made available through donations to the Mark Madsen Accessibility Fund, managed by the Friends of Staunton non-profit organization.

The chairs are easy to maneuver and also have controls that the volunteer can use in the event you are not able to on your own or grow tired during your trip. The program volunteer will provide you with instructions on how to operate the chair and travel with you to ensure you have a successful adventure.

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Use one of these Track Chairs free of charge at Staunton State Park (Photo by TC Wait)

Mike, one of the program volunteers, is a former LA firefighter whose wife has Multiple Sclerosis. He is enthusiastic about the success of the program and the freedom it allows people to explore or just BE in a natural area.

He says that some of the people he has accompanied in the Track Chair want to go over every rock and bump in the trail, while others want to enjoy getting out to sit in a quiet place and listen to the birds sing.

He has taken people of all ages and abilities out and each person has their own unique and beautiful experience. He says one person got caught in a brief Rocky Mountain rainstorm and laughed about getting soaked while out on a “hike.”

To reserve a Track Chair, you visit the Staunton Track Chair page. You will need to answer the questionnaire to ensure your needs can adequately be met. You will also need to have a caregiver to accompany you on your hike, in addition to the Track Chair program volunteer. A $7.00/car park entry fee is charged to all visitors.

Be sure that you bring with you what you may need to be comfortable during your hike. Water, sun protection, medical supplies, layers for inclement weather, and of course a camera are recommended.

See also: Resources For RVers With Mobility Challenges



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7 Videos that Give You the Advantage when Shopping for An RV

Shopping for a new RV can be an overwhelming process. The second you walk into an RV dealer‘s lot or begin your research online, marketing messages that do not help you make a good decision regarding your purchase bombard you. Wading through the needs, wants, and nice-to-have you’s will often leave you spinning your wheels as you try to make an informed purchase of a new or used RV.

All of us are well-versed on what to look for when buying a home, renting an apartment, or purchasing a condo. It is easy because we all have a long history of living in these type of units. We know what to look for, we know what we want, and we know what questions to ask.

  • When shopping for an RV, what questions should you ask?
  • What quality steps should you pay attention to?
  • Where is the value of the unit derived and how can you compare apples to apples?

The California RV Show is an event that takes place every year in October on the West Coast. It is the largest RV Show on the West Coast with over 40,000 people attending this last year (2017). The event is a “manufacturer’s show” which means that the actual manufacturers pay for and provide the inventory. Unlike the smaller shows handled by local dealers, the California RV Show allows buyers to negotiate directly with the manufacturer for prices, speak directly with factory representatives, and shop in a much less pressured environment.

RV shows are a great place to go if you are in the market for an RV or camping trailer. RV shows allow you to compare a wide selection of different models, makes, and floorplans–all in one place. To help you make a more educated choice when shopping for an RV, the California RV show in association with campgroundviews.com created these excellent videos for each of the major types of RV styles to provide information that will help you ask the right questions, compare the right features, and better understand what you were looking at when you explore an RV for yourself.

  1. Tips For Buying A Class A
  2. Tips For Buying A Class C
  3. Tips For Buying A Fifth Wheel
  4. Tips For Buying A Bop Up Or Small Camper
  5. Tips For Buying A Toy Hauler
  6. Tips For Buying C Class B RV
  7. Tips For Buying A Travel Trailer

#1. Tips for Buying the Class A

Class A RVs are the big, beautiful RVs that everyone immediately recognizes for comfort and luxury. Prices range from the $60,000 to over $1M range for these types of units. Learn how to understand the difference and what is right for you in this video:

Tips include:

  1. Understanding the importance of Chassis and Drivetrain
  2. The look (body, paint and features)
  3. Storage amenities and storage
  4. Driving characteristics and handling

Find Class A Motorhomes For Sale

Find Class A Diesel Motorhomes For Sale

#2. Tips for Buying the Class C

Class C is the most recognizable of the drivable RV styles. Set on a van or truck chassis the options, lengths, and features for Class C units make them a great choice for all types of campers. This video teaches you how to weed through the wide selection of features and understand exactly what to look for:

Tips include:

  1. Chassis with camper
  2. What can it tow
  3. Floorplans and features
  4. Fits your style

Find Class C Motorhomes For Sale

#3. Tips for Buying the Fifth Wheel

Fifth wheels are a type of camping trailer that is towed via a hitch mounted in the center of a truck bed. These units tend to be very large, heavy, and filled with great features found in fancy and expensive Class As for a fraction of the price. In this video you will learn the main things to consider when comparing and shopping for the right fifth wheel for you:

Tips include:

  1. Hitch and Suspension
  2. Features storage and designs
  3. Interiors and floorplans
  4. Shop by floorplan

Find Fifth Wheel RVs For Sale

#4. Tips for Buying the Pop Up or Small Camper

Pops ups are often referred to as entry level RVs but recent updates and feature additions make them a great choice for many. Their small footprint, easy to tow nature, and easy to store advantage make great sense for campers who need something simple to get away in every once in a while. This video provides you with key points to consider when shopping for one:

Tips include:

  1. Design and Your Needs
  2. Looks and functionality

Find Expandable Pop Up Campers For Sale

#5. Tips for Buying the Toy Hauler

Toy haulers have reinvented the way people enjoy and experience camping. By providing an easy way to bring along the big toys, these large units can be a great choice for campers looking to explore and adventure at their destination. This video walks you through some of the key decision points you should consider when shopping for a toy hauler:

Tips include:

  1. Luxury and Fun
  2. Cargo and capacities

Find Toy Hauler RVs For Sale

#6. Tips for Buying the Class B RV

Class B is the hottest thing in RVing right now. Manufacturers are designing luxury units in a small footprint that allow you to escape for a road trip in comfort and style. Class B’s are unique in design and features. This video walks you through the key decision sets to consider when shopping for your Class B:

Tips include:

  1. Chassis
  2. Use and features

Find Class B Motorhomes For Sale

Find Class B+ Diesel Motorhomes For Sale

#7. Tips For Buying A Travel Trailer

Travel Trailers are the most widely sold RVs available. They are generally affordable and come in a wide variety of lengths, designs, and options. This video provides you with great insight on what to look for and compare when shopping for your next–or first–travel trailer:

Tips include:

  1. Hitch and bumper pull
  2. Know your needs
  3. Many options available
  4. Affordable price points

Find Travel Trailers For Sale

– – – – –

BEFORE you head to a dealer to see these trailers, download your FREE RV Buyers Worksheet for help keeping track of:

  • The feature must haves that are important to you and your family
  • Which brands or manufacturers you like
  • Budgeting tools including a payment calculator resource
  • Multiple well spaced pages with room for lots of your notes
  • BONUS Resources: Trade-in values, tow vehicle ratings, and finance options

Share with us your favorite video tip in the comments below!



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Tips For Family Travel And Camping & RVing With Kids

Do you read through RV blogs and websites, dreaming about traveling when your kids leave the house? I’ve got news for you—camping in an RV is something you and your kids can do right now.

The RV lifestyle scares away most families with the idea of being cramped into a small space with impatient children or moody teenagers. Still, those brave enough to try it out often discover what other families have been missing. It’s true, traveling with kids can be hectic…or it can be the chance you need to connect as a family.

kids
Photo by Virginia State Parks/Flickr

Choosing a location

When choosing a location to camp with your family, keep in mind the types of activities your kids are wanting to do. Are they aspiring athletes? Nature fanatics? Do they like to swim or ride bikes? Be sure to choose a campsite with plenty to do. Some of the most kid-friendly campsites are the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, a campground franchise with 85 locations scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Many of these parks offer waterslides, swimming pools, and bounce houses, not to mention character appearances from Yogi and Boo Boo. Some U.S. National Park campgrounds offer Junior Ranger programs, which may appeal to younger children.

Always be aware of how family-friendly your chosen campsite is. While kids are welcome in some parks, others may find them disruptive. Some RV parks even charge a fee for each child. If you are nervous about disturbing your neighbors, boondocking may be a good option for you. Park on legal dispersed camping grounds, where your kids can run around with plenty of space.

kids
Photo by Charlein Gracia/Unsplash

Safety with kids

When driving with kids, safety is the number one priority. Always make sure that everyone is wearing a seatbelt, even when riding in the RV. In some states, seatbelts in RVs are not legally required, but they should always be worn regardless.

Make sure you choose the right size RV for your family. Class C vehicles are safer, but for a family of 6 or more, a Class A RV might be the only option. If little ones need to sleep in overhead bunks, consider bringing along a bedrail. Always keep printed versions of your kids’ medical records with you in case of an emergency.

kids
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Keeping kids happy on the road

That said, your kids can be safe while still having fun. Rather than letting children roam around the RV while it is in motion, take breaks to get out and stretch at least every 4 hours.

Try not to do a 10-hour drive all in one day.  Instead, break up the trip into one-night stops at campsites where kids can swim and play. If you have infants or toddlers, schedule your driving during nap times. Trust me, you’ll be thankful for the lack of screaming.

Although it’s okay to let your kids watch movies in the car, there are quite a few other methods of entertainment that you might want to try first. Try to involve your children in the travel process as much as possible. Pick up some of those old-fashioned paper maps from AAA and show them how to plot out the trip.

Practice reading signs and billboards along the way, and do your best to answer their questions thoughtfully. Play games like car bingo or make a list of all the states you see on license plates. Listen to music as a family and sing along. Car rides don’t have to be a time to tune everyone out.

If you need quiet time, bring travel trays, paper, and crayons for your little artists. It can also be helpful to put together a “goodie bag” and reward good behavior with a new activity each leg of the trip (think play-doh, puzzle books, or magnet dolls). The kids will have fun, and you’ll get some peace and quiet.

kids
Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Unplugging from technology

No one wants to go on a family vacation just to sit on their phones all day. Camping trips are about being together without electronic distractions, but if you have teenagers, this can be hard to achieve.

When choosing where to stay, consider a campsite that doesn’t offer WiFi. Better yet, leave electronics at home and plan alternate activities. Even older kids (when coaxed into participating) will enjoy s’mores, campfire sing-alongs, and board games.

kids
Photo by Ben White/Unsplash

Family activities

No matter how old your kids are, make an effort to spend time with them while camping. Read books about the region in which you’re staying and learn about local wildlife. Bring along outdoor games like croquet or cornhole, and if you have time, make a personalized scavenger hunt to complete together.

If you’re near a lake, take your kids fishing or kayaking. Many National Parks offer family-friendly hikes or geocaching (hunting for small treasures based on GPS coordinates). The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area now offers a refined form of geocaching called ParkCaching.

On rainy days, take the opportunity to teach your kids a new game, like chess or cards. Spend time as a family and make your next trip one you won’t forget.

kids
Photo by Jude Beck/Unsplash

Learning on the road

Kids often learn the most by experiencing things for themselves, so why not take advantage of some fun ways to learn during your family trip? If you choose to camp near a city, visit a zoo or museum.

Point out plants and animals while hiking, and don’t forget to let your kids roam a bit. Encourage kids of all ages to keep travel journals or scrapbooks to document their observations. Let them draw or glue in pictures of the trip. For younger children, this is a great opportunity to practice writing, though you may have to help them spell some words.

Full-time RVers with school-age kids may want to look into roadschooling. Like homeschooling, it allows you to develop lessons for your kids, but with the added bonus of incorporating real-world activities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Traveling is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to be life-long learners.

kids
Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Keeping it clean

When you’re living in a 400 sq. ft. motorhome, your space is bound to get messy; bringing kids along increases the chance by about a million percent. If you don’t want to lose your children under heaps of toys and blankets, it’s important to stay organized.

It can be helpful to give each child his or her own plastic shoebox to fill with whatever toys, papers, pencils, and stuffed animals they wish to bring along. This sets a limit on the number of toys they are allowed. Another way to free up space is to set up a separate “play tent” outside the RV, where you can stuff all toys, games, and books whenever they’re not being played with.

You also want to make sure that you’re not bringing too much of the outdoors in. Before letting your children inside, make sure all shoes are removed and sandy feet are rinsed. A doormat and a small broom are essential for the prevention of a dirty RV. You may want to invest a sack for dirty laundry and a cheap plastic tray for toys or dishes.

Be sure to involve your kids in campsite cleanups; believe it or not, many children enjoy being new given responsibilities. You can even make chore time into a game—try playing “Simon Says” with clearing the table or have competitions to see who can gather the most firewood.

kids
Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Nighttime activities

One of the best parts of a camping trip comes after dark. No trip is complete without a blazing campfire. Use this time to circle up and hold a family sing along with silly camp songs or have a marshmallow-toasting contest.

Kids will love roasting hot dogs on a stick. You can also set aside a special snack to have only during RV trips—your kids will learn to associate this food tradition with family camping and have something to look forward to each time. When putting little ones to bed, maintain the same nighttime routine that you follow at home. Bring along your child’s blanket or pacifier and try to put them to bed around the usual time.

Even after the campfire dies down, nighttime can be a fun time to play with your kids. Reduce stress by buying glow stick bracelets or necklaces; the kids will love it, and you’ll be able to see them.

Lay down and gaze at the stars. There are many astronomy apps that can help you identify constellations. Play glow-in-the-dark bowling with your kids by placing glow sticks inside water bottles and setting them up like pins. You may want to watch a movie together under the stars or catch fireflies in a jar. Camping with your kids is the time to relive your childhood, so have fun.

kids
Photo by Michael Aleo/Unsplash

When bringing along the whole family for an RV vacation, be flexible. Things might not go exactly how you want them to, but that’s okay. Remember—every predicament you get yourselves into, though it may seem like a stressful problem at the time, will become a great story to tell when you get back home.

Read more about roadschooling here.



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FIVE MAIN LESSONS FROM FULL-TIME RVING

As our 2-year nomadversary approaches, we have been thinking about all of the lessons we have learned during our time full-time RV living; and boy have we learned some lessons!!!  If you have also transitioned from a sticks and bricks home to living in an RV full-time, I am sure you will relate…

We have been very vulnerable in sharing our lives with our tiny humans in a tiny space in hopes of inspiring you to collect more experiences during your time here on Earth, so here we are again being a total open book with our top lessons learned from full-time RV living!

 

Lesson # 1: It’s Still Life

Just like living in a brick and sticks home, things will happen. We have learned how to just smile and laugh when unexpected things occur.  When we took our RV out for a test run a few weeks before hitting the road full-time, our neighbor (who was also full-timing) told us, “Things will happen, learn how to just go with it!” This was his biggest tip to us. I swear the universe wanted to prep us early because that weekend before going back to our sticks and bricks, one of our landing legs did not want to go up!  

We have learned that kids leave faucets running, rainstorms cause chaos, and sometimes things just stop working, After every “terrible” unannounced situation life has thrown at us, we have been able to laugh about it and learn a lesson from it as well.

Lesson # 2: Slow Down

We learned this very quickly after crossing the country from Florida to California in less than a week (just writing that makes me exhausted) after only being on the road for 2 months!

After talking to many RVers, they have also learned this lesson the hard way because they have experienced getting burned out.  I understand that it is so exciting at first that it’s easy to try to do it all, but trust us, (we learned the hard way) not only is it exhausting, but you do not get to enjoy yourself as much.  

When we learned the art of slowing down, we began to remember our experiences more clearly vs feeling like we had run a marathon and every memory was starting to mesh together. It also allowed us to really explore the area we were visiting including the non-tourist attractions.  

We also learned the art of not driving 10+ hours in a day, the maximum we ever do now is 4 hours and the least we have done has been 25 minutes.  Growing up in NYC, I didn’t realize how much I had been programmed to live my life in a hurry for absolutely no reason and I almost feel guilty that I had kind of rubbed off on my better half without either of us realizing it.  So, I am very grateful for learning this lesson thanks to this lifestyle because our kids are learning the art of slowing down as well (#priceless).

Lesson #3: Collect Experiences 

Coming from an 1,800+ sq. ft sticks and bricks home where I had been conditioned to fill every nook and cranny just because I had the room I quickly realized this was not possible in our lovely house on wheels.  Not only is there not a ton of space, but there are also weight limits in the RV I had to keep in mind.  

We have been determined to make every day memorable vs filling ourselves up with junk we truly don’t need.  Our slogan “Collect Experiences, Not Junk” came to me on a random night as I looked through our recent adventures at the time and realized how joyous my heart was just from thinking back on all of these experiences.  

If it had not been for this lifestyle, I am not sure we would have seen and done as much as we have.  It is one thing seeing videos and reading about it and it’s a whole other story living the experience yourself.  We have definitely collected more experiences in the last 23 months than most people do in 10 years thanks to RVing.  

You can imagine what it’s like to go kayaking in uncharted waters, fish across the country, climb up a 1,300 foot mountain in the rugged Upper Peninsula of Michigan, sit in an actual NASA room, walk through a cave that used to be a copper mine, hike through the Poconos to find a huge hidden waterfall that can only be seen by climbing up the mountain, go swimming in a spring fed pool in the middle of the Rocky Mountains…. but your imagination is nothing like collecting that experience.  Doing this with our children beside us has been life changing because we know in our hearts we are helping them realize the power of collecting experiences simply through living. 

 

Lesson # 4: Research RVs

This lesson right here could have saved us a bit of a headache in the beginning.  We were one of those couples that dove in head first with zero knowledge about RVs!  We ended up picking a fifth wheel (we didn’t even know what that meant) and learned very quickly that the weight was a little too much for our truck at the time.  We had already made the purchase, so we ended up having to purchase a truck that handled the weight and that also fit all of us because our truck at the time was only a 3-seater.  

I even recommend renting the type of RV you are looking for on a site like Outdoorsy because then you can really get a feel for the type of layout and you will meet the owners of the RV and get to ask them questions too!  Quite frankly, if someone had told me this when we first looked at RVs, I would have totally done it! Learn from us: do more research on type, length weight, diesel or gas, etc.

Lesson # 5: Meet Others on the Same Path

In the beginning, it was a pretty lonely journey.  Our friends and family did not really get our lifestyle and they did not understand the landing legs, sewer fun times and all the “funny” lessons we were learning.  We began to connect with more fellow RVers online (thank you Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter) and we quickly found so many “crazy” folks like us! 

We have slowly began meeting each other in real life and collecting experiences with these folks too! It has made the journey that much more memorable to know that there are folks just like us out there escaping the chains of what we were told our entire lives was “normal.”  We love our friends and family, and of course, keep them up to date, but until you live in an RV full-time, you won’t truly understand all the lessons this lifestyle throws at you.  

Thank you so much for reading about our lessons learned!  We are on a mission to inspire you through our actions to collect experiences of your own instead of junk while living a more intentional life.  We would love to hear your thoughts below and any lessons you have learned from living in an RV full-time.

 

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