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10 Tips for Conserving Data on a Capped Internet Bandwidth Plan

November 23, 2014 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

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As we’ve discussed, we enjoy watching streaming video content in our RV via our Roku box (http://amzn.to/11E4DUX). However, a reader brought to light an unfortunate dilemma that many of us face: Internet bandwidth is often available in limited quantities. Many of us have restrictive data usage plans that cap bandwidth in 5, 15, or 30 GB limits.

We love our Roku 3, but beware streaming video if you have a bandwidth cap. Avoid HD at all costs! (Click the pic to check out the Roku.)

We love our Roku 3, but beware streaming video if you have a bandwidth cap. Avoid HD at all costs! (Click the pic to check out the Roku.)

Bandwidth caps are an unfortunate fact of modern life. You dare not exceed a bandwidth cap, for this gives your friendly neighborhood telecom an excuse to charge you ridiculous sums of money in overage fees. (Remember late fees at video stores? Remember expensive long distance phone calls? Well, now we have Internet data bandwidth cap overage fees to enjoy.)

So let’s quickly outline 10 steps RV campers (and really anyone) can take that will reduce Internet data usage and help avoid “bandwidth cap” overage fees.

10. WATCH VIDEOS IN LOW RESOLUTION
We all like to watch YouTube videos, and videos on other online sites. These videos may have selectable resolution from a low of 144p to a high of 1090P (or even 4k). More resolution requires more data. Therefore, you can save yourself a lot of bandwidth by watching video in the lowest resolution settings. Avoid HD whenever possible.

9. DISABLE AUTOMATIC SOFTWARE UPDATES
No matter what operating software you may be running on your computer of choice, chances are that it wants to automatically update from time to time. This is true with Windows, Android, and Apple products. These auto updates are often large files that consume a lot of your bandwidth in the process (and in our experience, they rarely seem to update much of significance). Turn off these updates to save bandwidth. Only update your software when meaningful changes are available.

8. USE MOBILE INTERNET SITES
Most websites these days have a “mobile” vesion that presents the same basic information but with stripped down graphics and art. It usually loads faster and without a lot of fancy frills. That’s because frills eat bandwidth. These mobile sites can sometimes be frustrating to navigate, but they consume much less bandwidth than their full featured counterparts.

7. INSTALL AND RUN ANTIVIRUS / ANTIMALWARE SOFTWARE
Many computer viruses eat bandwidth for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s because they surreptitiously download and upload data in the background while your computer is running. Effectively, they are stealing your bandwidth. Install a quality antivirus and/or anti-malware program and monitor for viruses regularly. One great free anti-malware program is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

6. HEY! HEY! YOU! YOU! GET OFF OF THE CLOUD!
The buzz these days is the Cloud. No, we’re not talking about the breathing atmosphere in your local cigar shop. We’re talking about the practice of automatically backing up your data on faraway Internet hard drives and servers. The Cloud is a forward thinking idea and it works pretty well as a basic data backup service. Alas, automatically uploading and downloading all of this data can eat up your precious bandwidth. Make sure your Cloud settings are appropriate for minimum bandwidth consumption. Turn off the automatic features.

5. AVOID VIDEO CHAT
Yes, we all love video chat, whether it’s Skype or Facetime or Facebook or whatever. Alas, video chat eats bandwidth because you are constantly uploading and downloading video and audio in every session. Hey, if you must use video chat to see the grandkids, that’s certainly understandable. Just be aware that you are consuming bandwidth in the process. Nothing online comes without a bandwidth cost attached.

4. COMPRESS YOUR PHOTOS BEFORE UPLOADING
One irony of modern digital photography is that cameras generate huge photo files that are rarely ever viewed online in their full native resolution. Even JPG files (which are by definition compressed by the camera) may be 5MB or greater in size. Most people upload their photo files directly to the Internet for sharing. Transferring large photo files to the Internet eats up large chunks of bandwidth. Solution? Compress your photo files first before you upload them to the Internet. If you are not certain how to compress files, look up the topic on YouTube – and don’t forget to watch the video in a low resolution format.

3. AVOID TORRENTS AND ONLINE GAMES
If you really want to conserve bandwidth, forget about large unnecessary downloads via torrent software (which, let’s face it, is often of questionable legality) or online gaming (which means you’d better pay attention to that game your grandson has been playing). Yes, online games can eat up bandwidth faster than Pac Man eats dots and ghosts (or whatever else Pan Man eats).

2. CACHE CONTENT
Make sure your web browsers are set to cache redundant website content so you don’t waste bandwidth downloading the same stuff every time you visit a page.

1. AVOID STREAMING MUSIC (OR STREAM LOW QUALITY)
We all love streaming content from the Internet. Music is an especially enjoyable content to stream. Alas, streaming music eats bandwidth. The constant stream means constant data usage. If you do decide to stream music, be certain to stream the “low quality” stream instead of “high quality.” Odds are that you will not notice much of a difference in casual listening, but you will use much less bandwidth.

We love our Roku 3 streaming box, but we use it primarily with park wifi and other unlimited free Internet hot spots. Whenever you are faced with a capped data plan, you must always consider methods to conserve bandwidth.

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The Restaurant Industry Secret to Delicious Hot Meals

November 8, 2014 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

What’s the secret to a delicious hot meal? It’s a “secret” that’s openly delivered in every quality restaurant. Often this is the difference between an average meal and a great one. With a simple product (http://goo.gl/e1fMlG), we all can enjoy this same “secret” at home or at the RV campsite. Although it’s the key to a hot meal, surprisingly few people seem to realize its importance. Can you guess what we’re talking about here?

The answer is… Read more

Are RVers about to lose their freedom to camp on public lands

October 31, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

Special interests are increasing the pressure on the federal government to turn over to the states public lands that fall within their bouondaries. So far these efforts have failed, as they should. As an RVer and boondocker, I have a particular intererst our public lands and have been an advocate of thier use by RVers for camping and boondocking for many years. Even my nickname, “boondockbob,” comes from my love of camping on the millions of wide open acres of public lands managed by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
But if the special interests that are trying to transfer these public lands out of the American citizens’ hands and into the coffers of opportunistic politicians in the states, imagine what could be the ramifications of what would follow. First, the states would have to start coughing up the money required to manage these lands. The federal wildlife management agencies spent almost $4 billion in 2014 alone to manage just the wildlife refuges. And isn’t the enjoyment of our beaautiful and scenic public lands the very reason why many of us have chosen the RV lifestyle?
Do you think the states, in the current political climate, are going to suggest raising taxes to manage these lands? Of course not. So what will they do? The only possible option is to start leasing or selling the public lands (which are our lands) to the highest bidder, whether it be amusment part developers, hotel chains, mining and exploration companies, or any other organization whose main interest is extracting what they can take from the land and rewarding their shareholders, and not what they can do to preserve the land for its current uses – camping, hiking, boondocking, paddling, hunting, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
That is not what I want to happen to our public lands that we pay taxes on to keep them out of private hands. I don’t want to see locked gates going up across forest service roads and “No Trespassing” signs appearing on all the dirt roads I like to explore and camp on. The states will be forced to sell off the best of our public lands leaving the taxpayers to foot the bill for what is left. And can you be sure where all that money will go when these lands are sold or leased?
There couldn’t be any possible benefit to RVers in turning public lands over to the states, unless you are a major shareholder of the corporations that will come in like the robber barons of the old railroad expansion days and reap the spoils of the taxpayers’ land. But can we do anything about it? We can, but it will take our diligence to watch the manipulations laid on us by those who wish to benefit at our expense. Watch for the legislation they put out and vote against it – loudly. It is your land and you have the right to demand – yes, demand – that it remain out of state politicians’ hands.
Boondocking in Colorado's national forests

Boondocking in Colorado's national forests

Personal and financial interests are increasing the pressure on the federal government to turn over to the states public lands that fall within their boundaries. So far these efforts have failed, as they should. As an RVer and boondocker, I have a particular interest in our public lands and have been an advocate of their use by RVers for camping and boondocking for many years. Even my nickname, “boondockbob,” comes from my love of camping on the millions of wide open acres of public lands managed by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

But if the special interests that are trying to transfer these public lands out of the American citizens’ hands and into the coffers of opportunistic politicians in the states, imagine what could be the ramifications of what would follow. First, the states would have to start coughing up the money required to manage these lands. The federal wildlife management agencies spent almost $4 billion in 2014 alone to manage just the wildlife refuges.

Do you think the states, with the current political climate, are going to suggest raising taxes to manage these lands? Of course not. So what will they do? The only possible option is to start leasing or selling the public lands (which are our lands) to the highest bidder, whether it be amusement part developers, hotel chains, mining and exploration companies, or any other organization whose main interest is extracting what they can take from the land and rewarding their shareholders, and not what they can do to preserve the land for all Americans and for current low-revenue producing uses such as camping, hiking, boondocking, paddling, hunting, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

That is not what I want to happen to our public lands that we pay taxes on to keep them out of private hands. I don’t want to see locked gates going up across forest service roads and “No Trespassing” signs appearing on all the dirt roads I like to explore and camp on. And isn’t the enjoyment of our beaautiful and scenic public lands the very reason why many of us have chosen the RV lifestyle?

That’s not all. The states will be forced to sell off the most attractive of our public lands, those where private parties can extract the most revenue, leaving the taxpayers to foot the bill for what is left. And will you be comfortable with where all that money will go when these lands are sold or leased?

There couldn’t be any possible benefit to RVers in turning public lands over to the states, unless you are a major shareholder of the corporations that will come in like the robber barons of the old railroad expansion days and reap the spoils of the taxpayers’ land. But can we do anything about it? We can, but it will take our diligence to scrutinize the politicians and special interests that will attempt to manipulate us for personal or corporate benefit at our expense. Watch for the legislation they put out and vote against it – loudly. It is your land and you have the right to demand – yes, demand – that it remain out of state politicians’ hands.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (PDF or Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

Also check out my blogs, and your feedback and comments will enhance the discussions:

RV.net

The Good Sam Club blog

Camping and Boondocking on our Public Lands

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What RVers can do to avoid animal/vehicle accidents

October 24, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

“FALL is the season of apples, frost, turning leaves and roadkill” write  Amanda Hardy and Renee Seidler on the New York Times Opinion Pages.  ”A 2008 congressional study found that one in 20 reported motor vehicle collisions is animal-related, and the numbers peak in autumn. Annually, these incidents result in about 26,000 injuries and 200 human deaths. Across the country, collisions with deer — the most common type of animal-related incident — cost more than $8.3 billion per year, including vehicle repair, medical services, towing, law enforcement time and carcass disposal.”
The article also points out that most reported animal related accidents are collisions with large mammals and that the “toll on smaller creatures like squirrels, salamanders and birds goes largely uncounted, but a recent study estimated that as many as 340 million birds are killed by vehicles annually. For 21 species listed by federal authorities as threatened or endangered — including the Canada lynx, the red wolf, the Florida panther, the crested caracara and Florida scrub-jay — road death is a major threat to survival.”
Though most wildlife authorities conclude that reducing such animal/vehicle accidents could be prevented by installing safe corridors over or under roads that lie across migration routes, these solutions are expensive. Though a study shows that the cost can be recouped in about 12 years the original funding can be problematic.
It seems also, that changing animal behavior (teaching them to use tunnels and bridges) is more effective that altering human behavior to take steps to avoid such accidents. But as RVers, we likely already take some steps toward improved animal safety. For instance, since most animal/vehicle accidents happen on “two-lane highways that have relatively low traffic volumes (fewer than 5,000 vehicles per day),” because of the size of RVs, we will be driving slower and giving animals more time to react to our presence.
The article also states that “With greater awareness, motorists can adapt their driving. Research shows that drivers who anticipate danger can halve their reaction time and cut the risk of collision.” So if you are environmentally conscious and enjoy watching wildlife, it would be to everyone’s advantage – especially wildlife – to take extra precautions when driving in areas where wildlife may be present. These precautions would include driving slower (especially at dawn and dusk when animals are most active), being extra alert for animals on the sides of roads, slowing down even more if an animal crosses your path (more may follow), paying attention to wildlife warning signs, and supporting funding for wildlife corridors, bridges, tunnels, warning lights when animals are present, etc.
New York Times illustration by Irene Rinaldi

New York Times illustration by Irene Rinaldi

“FALL is the season of apples, frost, turning leaves and roadkill” write  Amanda Hardy and Renee Seidler on the New York Times Opinion Pages.  ”A 2008 congressional study found that one in 20 reported motor vehicle collisions is animal-related, and the numbers peak in autumn. Annually, these incidents result in about 26,000 injuries and 200 human deaths. Across the country, collisions with deer — the most common type of animal-related incident — cost more than $8.3 billion per year, including vehicle repair, medical services, towing, law enforcement time and carcass disposal.”

The article also points out that most reported animal related accidents are collisions with large mammals and that the “toll on smaller creatures like squirrels, salamanders and birds goes largely uncounted, but a recent study estimated that as many as 340 million birds are killed by vehicles annually. For 21 species listed by federal authorities as threatened or endangered — including the Canada lynx, the red wolf, the Florida panther, the crested caracara and Florida scrub-jay — road death is a major threat to survival.”

Though most wildlife authorities conclude that reducing such animal/vehicle accidents could be prevented by installing safe corridors over or under roads that lie across migration routes, these solutions are expensive. Though a study shows that the cost can be recouped in about 12 years the original funding can be problematic.

It seems also, that changing animal behavior (teaching them to use tunnels and bridges) is more effective that altering human behavior to take steps to avoid such accidents. But as RVers, we likely already take some steps toward improved animal safety. For instance, since most animal/vehicle accidents happen on “two-lane highways that have relatively low traffic volumes (fewer than 5,000 vehicles per day),” because of the size of RVs, we will be driving slower and giving animals more time to react to our presence.

The article also states that “With greater awareness, motorists can adapt their driving. Research shows that drivers who anticipate danger can halve their reaction time and cut the risk of collision.” So if you are environmentally conscious and enjoy watching wildlife, it would be to everyone’s advantage – especially wildlife – to take extra precautions when driving in areas where wildlife may be present.

These precautions would include driving slower (especially at dawn and dusk when animals are most active), being extra alert for animals on the sides of roads, slowing down even more if an animal crosses your path (more may follow), paying attention to wildlife warning signs, avoid driving in wildlife areas at dawn and dusk when possible, and supporting funding for wildlife corridors, bridges, tunnels, warning lights when animals are present, etc. Read the entire NYTimes article here.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (PDF or Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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ON TO THE LA FAIRPLEX — RECALLING THE PAST

October 8, 2014 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

It’s wonderful being retired!  BUT it’s too early in life to stop being productive.  That’s my excuse for not publishing more often on RV.net.  I’ve gotten myself too involved in our newly adopted community in the mountains and my entry into photographic art to sit down and write.  I apologize to the thousands of readers who followed our adventures in Alaska and throughout North America in recent years.

I’m writing now to invite you to come visit us for the big RVIA Show this Friday through next Sunday, October 9-19 [http://www.thebestrvshow.com].  Monique and I will be manning Booth No. F-12 (on the left aisle as you come in the main tent entrance).  If you happen to be there this Friday, the 9th, we’ll be away from the booth for an hour beginning at 4:30 giving a seminar on Tips for RVers.  In our years on the road full-time, we learned a lot that we are ready to pass on to new and veteran RVers.

This is the 62nd edition of the show held annually at the Los Angeles County Fair & Exposition “Fairplex” in Pomona, California.

“The Never-Bored RVers” claim to fame (among readers of rv.net) is my waxing prosaically on what makes RVing such a great way to enhance our lives. Proving to us that getting on the road with an RV is such a wonderful opportunity is our excitement as we pack up the rig and the GMC tow vehicle for this excursion.  That indicates to us that RV travel is something important in our lives.

Let’s take it a step further. Yesterday Monique and I sat in our yard swing, where we gave in to spontaneity instead of hustling to do the dozens of tasks necessaryIn the Stream - 1103 for our week ahead.  Monique asked me, “What was your favorite military campground?”  Of our 484 stops of one or more nights, we spent about 50 in “FamCamps,” the military version of RV parks.  I finally answered, “Whidbey Island, Washington,” which brought on an hour-long reminiscing about our favorite places around North America (plus some places that still make us shudder).

HOW LUCKY WE ARE to have all these memories.  A majority of people spend their lives bouncing between home, the office, restaurants, and the other local places they frequent, but not RVers.  We (you and us) see new things every time we take the rig on the road, even if it’s the routine route from the Northern Tier down to the Sunbelt.  The memories pile up.  For many, practically every place has an adventure associated with it.

And I’m sure AARP would agree that it’s a healthy mind game to sit back and remember those occasions … the goose that laid an egg next to us at Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi; the authentic tribal feast along the Washington State coast; having my golf game delayed because the president had honors on the course; touching the gray whales’ babies in Baja California … What are your memories?

Before signing off so I can take my computer into the trailer, I leave you with my two favorite sayings, which you are welcome to adopt as your own:

To be happy, you must be free.  To be free, you must be brave.”

And the other:  “I’ll be old in 10 years.”

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

Because of the numerous Spam comments on this site, the comments section has been deactivated.  Please email us at neverboredrvers@gmail.com and I will pass along your comments.    Learn about Alaska, the Canadian Atlantic Provinces and much much plus a growing number of travel photos at http://ontopoftheworld.bz.

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Everyone should take an RV trip at least once in their lifetime

September 23, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

motorhome_red_rock_countryLong ago, back when I had a real job, I had a favorite saying when interacting with potential customers. At some point in the beginning of our conversation, I would say, “Everyone should take an RV trip at least once in their lifetime.” You might expect a statement like that coming from the Regional General Manager of a recreational vehicle (RV) rental and sales company. But I fully and completely believed it.

And now – 21 years after retiring and 17 years of traveling and living fulltime in my motorhome – I believe it more than ever.

I’ve been RVing for more than 45 years, beginning with renting a Class C motorhome for a one-week vacation to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with my wife and parents. While operating the RV rental company in Northern California I also managed to slip away for several weekends a year in one of my rentals (one of the best perks of a job I can think of), trying different models and sizes of RVs in the guise of “research.”

My wife and I would take off on a Friday afternoon for the redwood country, or up the coast, or into the national forests, or to the Mojave and Sonora deserts. We stayed in a variety campgrounds ranging from fancy RV resorts – with swimming pools, spas, and organized recreational activities – to primitive no-frills forested campsites surrounded by towering evergreens. My agenda: to evaluate how the RV and all its systems worked, comparing livability of small to large-sized RVs, and how a particular size or floor plan fit my wife’s and my specific needs. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it.

On the RV rental side of the business, I got to meet customers from around the world, discovering their particular reasons for wanting to rent an RV, their preconceptions, and the response from them when they returned their RV after use.

One of the more memorable responses was from a middle-aged English couple that set off to explore the Wild West. Three weeks later they returned all decked out in cowboy hats and boots. When I asked where they had gone, they replied that they hadn’t actually gotten much further than the old west gold mining town of Murphys. They had stopped in a cowboy bar for a drink, made new  friends, and were having such a good time that they stayed there for half their vacation.

In fact, the two most mentioned features of the returning renters were the spectacular scenery of the Western States and the people they met – both in and out of campgrounds. Some new to the RV Lifestyle, however, might be concerned that RVing is too much “roughing it,” foregoing hotel room amenities like room service and on site restaurants, to “sleep in the woods.” To those I respond, you might be surprised – and pleasantly so – after just one RV trip.

And, of course, the easy and smartest way to find out is by renting an RV before considering a purchase. You can see whether you enjoy the life, traveling, sleeping “in the woods,” and what size and type of RV you are comfortable with and that fits your particular needs. One way to take the plunge is by logging in to an online rental company, such as RVShare.com, and search for RVs to rent in your area. Their format is easy to use and you can look at pictures of the various RVs available for rent. Pick one out that fits your needs, and call the owner for further information.

So after 45-plus years of RVing – both in the business and as a fulltime RVer – I have learned a lot about RV travel and I would like to share short list of tips (the long list would be too long to print) of why “everyone should take an RV trip at least once in their lifetime.”

  • Your family can travel the scenic backroads of America together and in comfort
  • See parts of the country you would never see from an airplane
  • Choose your camping style, from amenity-rich RV resorts to primitive woodsy campsites
  • With the RV’s onboard systems you have everything you need for livability: restroom with shower, cooking facilities, refrigerator, generator for electricity (if not connected to campground power sources), a comfortable bed, and holding tanks for sewage, waste water, and drinking water.
  • Spend the night on a desert plateau and watch the sun set in a blaze of glorious colors over a distant mountain range
  • Wake in the morning to the songs of forest birds surrounded by towering Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs
  • Camp next to a mountain stream where you can fish fright from your camp chair
  • Visit RV hotspots like the massive winter gathering of friendly RVers (called snowbirds) in the small desert community of Quartzsite, Arizona
  • Watch NASCAR races in designated RV campsites right along the race course
  • Visit dispersed relatives across the country
  • Meander along the country’s beautiful National Scenic Byways, camping in picturesque campgrounds along the way
  • Bring your bicycle and ride some of the thousands of miles of former railroad lines now maintained as recreation trails by the Rails to Trails organization.
  • Discover the best hiking, paddling, birdwatching, and wine trails, follow the fall turning-of-the-leaves, find music festivals, mountain lakes, large mammal viewing spots, and more
  • Follow your favorite venues or interests, such as touring historic sites, old mines, ghost towns, chili cookoffs, RV rallies, square dance competitions, and our national and state parks

And there is much, much more. Happy Travels. For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (PDF or Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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RVers and bears: Tips on staying safe – for both RVers and bears

September 6, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

“When you are naked, it’s amazing how little courage you have,” writes Tom Stienstra in the San Francisco Chronicle relating to his recent camping trip into the mountains of California. Remembering in the middle of the night that he had left his on-the-road dinner leftovers on the passenger seat in the truck when he set up camp in a remote section of a national forest, he rose about 2:00 AM to remove the leftovers before a bear discovered them and decided to break in for the goodies.
With only a penlight to approached his truck and came face to face with a 250-pound black bear. Before he had time to decide on the correct defence, the bear, appearing more shocked than he was, scampered off crashing through the bushes and brush to disappear in the woods, leaving behind a trail of urine (conceivably more frightened than Stienstra who did not).
The lesson to be learned for campers (that includes RVers) is not only the obvious one of not leaving food out – on the picnic table, littering the campsite, or on the pasenger seat of your truck – but also that the reaction of the bear – frightened and running away – is the natural and normal reaction expected from wild animals.
But that expectation has changed, and for the worst. Except for bears that live in the deeper reaches of forests and mostly out of contact with civilization, most have lost their fear of humans because of the unfortunate way humans view their responsibilities toward wildlife, especially bears, the results off which often end with injury and property damage to humans and death to the bears that have to be euthanized.
The bears of Lake Tahoe, Stienstra points out, have completely lost their fear of humans because of careless handling of food scraps and food wrappers (which carry the scent of food and attract bears as much as the food itself) by tourists, overflowing trash cans, and by local residents feeding them (one case he relates is a woman who places feeding bowls for bears in her back yard – eight bears were seen at one time feeding – and was attacked in August and put in the hospital).
To keep yourself and your campsite intact, ALWAYS contain and dispose properly of all food scraps in designated bear proof containers. A cooler is not bear proof as innumerable acouonts show bears breaking into vehicles to ravage coolers (and the vehicle broken into).
You can learn more about how to safely act and react in bear country and when encountering bears at the Bear Smart website.
http://www.bearsmart.com/becoming-bear-smart/play/bear-encounters
1
Read Stienstra’s article, “The problem with bears is the humans” in its entirerty.

bear_on_beach

By Bob Difley

“When you are naked, it’s amazing how little courage you have,” writes Tom Stienstra in the San Francisco Chronicle relating to his recent camping trip into the mountains of California.

Remembering in the middle of the night that he had left his on-the-road dinner leftovers on the passenger seat in the truck when he set up camp in a remote section of a national forest, he rose about 2:00 AM to remove the leftovers before a bear discovered them and decided to break in for the goodies.

With only a penlight to approached his truck and came face to face with a 250-pound black bear. Before he had time to decide on the correct defence, the bear, appearing more shocked than he was, scampered off crashing through the bushes and brush to disappear in the woods, leaving behind a trail of urine (conceivably more frightened than Stienstra who did not).

The lesson to be learned for campers (that includes RVers) is not only the obvious one of not leaving food out – on the picnic table, littering the campsite, or on the pasenger seat of your truck – but also that the reaction of the bear – frightened and running away – is the natural and normal reaction expected from wild animals.

But that expectation has changed, and for the worst. Except for bears that live in the deeper reaches of forests and mostly out of contact with civilization, most have lost their fear of humans because of the unfortunate way humans view their responsibilities toward wildlife, especially bears, the results off which often end with injury and property damage to humans and death to the bears that have to be euthanized.

The bears of Lake Tahoe, Stienstra points out, have completely lost their fear of humans because of careless handling of food scraps and food wrappers (which carry the scent of food and attract bears as much as the food itself) by tourists, overflowing trash cans, and by local residents feeding them (one case he relates is a woman who places feeding bowls for bears in her back yard – eight bears were seen at one time feeding – and was attacked in August and put in the hospital).

To keep yourself and your campsite intact, ALWAYS contain and dispose properly of all food scraps in designated bear proof containers. A cooler is not bear proof as innumerable acouonts show bears breaking into vehicles to ravage coolers (and the vehicle broken into).

You can learn more about how to safely act and react in bear country and when encountering bears at the Bear Smart website.

Read Tom Stienstra’s entire article, “The problem with bears is the humans.”

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (PDF or Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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OUTSIDE OUR RV AFTER DARK

July 30, 2014 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

It’s dark, very dark.  We’re in a park with very few lights to distract us from appreciating our nighttime surroundings.  We are cradled in silence.  This is what nature camping is all about.

But wait!  As we lay back in our outdoor recliners, letting go of all the cares of the day just passed, we see lights.  We hear sounds.

Tiny lights are overhead, thousands of them, maybe millions, maybe billions, but who’s counting?  We pick out a series of stars that we recognized from National Park ranger talks as being constellations.  We never could envision all the mythical arrangements seen by Romans and Greeks thousands of years ago, but we know the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia.

Like an exercise in finding familiar figures in the clouds or focusing on the spaces between clusters of leaves, we don’t concentrate for very long on the arrangements we know but rather on the twinkling and steady shining specks across the panoply of sky.  Thankfully, our moon is nowhere in sight.

And speaking of clouds, there’s that wispy area – not clouds, but the billions of stars visible in the Milky Way.  That bright unsteady glow in the east is Venus; the faint orange dot is Mars.

Red flashing dots blink far away.  An airplane taking businessmen to tomorrow morning’s meetings.  Grandma en route to her annual visit with the kids.  College students off to see friends or to lounge on blistering sand beaches.  We’re 32,000 feet below them and unconditionally content not to be up there.  (A few seconds of RVing-appreciation time.)

“Do you see it?” I ask.  “Do you mean the satellite?”  “Yes, it’s moving fast” into a misty veil.  “Did you see that one?” Monique asks, “a shooting star over there.”  I missed that one, but when you sit outside in a dark environment long enough, you’re bound to see a few.  I remember when someoneNighttime Skyasked a ranger why there are so many more shooting stars during the summer.  “That’s when you spend more time outside,” he wisely replied.

No lightning flashes tonight.  No lighting bugs west of the Rocky Mountains.  Mostly stars.  Dim glimmers reflect off the backs of erratically flying bats.  That’s an indication that there are insects around, so we’re thankful for their presence.

The hum from the airplane that passed a minute ago finally reaches us.   When we hear that, it makes us aware of other sounds.   Loudest sound tonight is a cricket, which reminds us of the awful blaring chorus of cicadas that surrounded us in Prescott, Arizona, years ago.  Not one of our finest evenings but quite memorable.

From somewhere behind us comes an angry momma bird, perhaps alarmed that a foreigner is approaching her nest.  She can’t stand for that and lets the whole neighborhood know it.

Listening is one of the greatest joys of being outside our rig at night.  We may hear water flowing from a cascading creek in the woods or rippling waves in a lake or the sea.  Rustling sounds in the underbrush is always interesting.  A motorcycle in the distance is acceptable because we know the disturbance will be gone in a few seconds.

It’s getting chilly. Time to fold up the recliners and go in.  We did our thing.  Maybe tomorrow night the next woody campground will be dark and quiet.  Here’s hoping.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All graphics by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

To the Never-Bored RVers

I always think of this scripture in the moments quite and solitude in nature. Be Still And Know That I Am God, you discovered it after a little while you hear the wind rustling the leaves and grass, a cricket, distant howl or hoot. Things you didn’t hear when you first sat down.

Then I don’t know if you remember the old Kung Fu show, the Master asked his student close your eyes and tell me what you hear. The student replies the wind, the sound of dripping water….the master replies do you not hear the grasshopper at your feet. The student opens his eyes to see.  Old man, the student says, why is it that you can hear these things, the master says, young man why is it you do not.

God Bless
Steve and Linda Gregory

Reminded me of a business trip I took 8 years ago using my camper.  Stopped at Mt. Ascutney state park in Vermont for the night (cheapest stay my company ever saw).  The stars were brilliant, and I could walk the park without my flashlight on.
Another campout with my wife up a little further north, we stayed near a lake and heard owls, herons, and other birds calling that night.  My wife was spooked (city gal), but I was intriqued by the multitude of wild life making their presence known.

Allen Schott

Because of the numerous Spam comments on this site, the comments section has been deactivated.  Please email us at neverboredrvers@gmail.com and I will pass along your comments.    Learn about Alaska, the Canadian Atlantic Provinces and much much plus a growing number of travel photos athttp://ontopoftheworld.bz.

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There are many other volunteer positions available to RVers in addition to camp hosting.

July 12, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

8. VOLUNTEERING
There are many other volunteer positions available to RVers in addition to camp hosting
How does volunteering fit into the RV Lifestyle? Camp hosting is not the only form of volunteer position open to RVers. Though there are volunteer positions available to students, retirees, and for seasonal needs, RVers who bring their houses with them are top tier candidates for volunteer positions where local housing may not be available and where there is room for RVers to park their rigs.
Why do businesses and others use volunteers?
Many parks use volunteers for jobs such as trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, wildlife census, habitat rejuvenation, leading hikes and nature walks, collecting camping fees, and many more. These are activities/chores that don’t always get funds included in budgets that have been pared to the bone.
When a park or other agency or business, such as a wildlife refuge, state park, national forest, or wilderness area can get the job done by offering a free campsite as trade without having to pay a fulltime employee or account for it in their expenses, everybody benefits.
Some seasonal positions may even pay a wage, though you won’t get rich on it. The famous Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, uses seasonal RVers to work in their store and even provides an RV park where all the seasonal RVers stay. They have found that RVers are reliable, trustworthy, happy to work short hours or in short temporary jobs, and will often come back year after year.
The huge online retailer, Amazon, also hires seasonal workers in their warehouses for shipping support, though if you aren’t used to working long hours on your feet, you might want to try an easier job.
Where do you find volunteer positions?
Often you can find a volunteer position just by enquiring at the location where you would like to volunteer, making it clear why you want to volunteer at that particular place.
Volunteers that are eager for certain locations will win out over those just wanting a free campsite anywhere they can get one. You never know what might turn up if you just ask—or suggest how you might volunteer. Park managers are often eager to trade out an empty campsite for work that needs to be done.

volunteeringHow does volunteering fit into the RV Lifestyle?

Camp hosting is not the only form of volunteering for RVers. Though volunteer positions are available to students, retirees, and for seasonal needs, RVers who bring their houses with them are top tier candidates for volunteer positions where local housing may not be available and where there is room for RVers to park their rigs.

Why do businesses and others use volunteers?

Many parks use volunteers for jobs such as trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, wildlife census, habitat rejuvenation, leading hikes and nature walks, collecting camping fees, and many more. These are activities/chores that don’t always get funds included in budgets that have been pared to the bone.

When a park or other agency or business, such as a wildlife refuge, state park, national forest, or wilderness area can get the job done by offering a free campsite as trade without having to pay a fulltime employee or account for it in their expenses, everybody benefits.

Some seasonal positions may even pay a wage, though you won’t get rich on it. The famous Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, uses seasonal RVers to work in their store and even provides an RV park where all the seasonal RVers stay. They have found that RVers are reliable, trustworthy, happy to work short hours or in short temporary jobs, and will often come back year after year.

The huge online retailer, Amazon, also hires seasonal workers in their warehouses for shipping support, though if you aren’t used to working long hours on your feet, you might want to try an easier job.

Where do you find volunteer positions?

Often you can find a volunteer position just by inquiring at the location where you would like to volunteer, making it clear why you want to volunteer at that particular place. Volunteers that are eager for certain locations will win out over those just wanting a free campsite anywhere they can get one. You never know what might turn up if you just ask—or suggest how you might volunteer. Park managers are often eager to trade out an empty campsite for work that needs to be done.

Here are some links to help you get a jump on obtaining a volunteer position.

http://www.volunteermatch.org/ Here you can enter the area you want to volunteer in, your interests, and the site will try to match you to a position.

http://www.serve.gov/ This government asks you what interests you and where you would like to volunteer then offers a list of matches.

http://www.volunteer.gov/gov/Another government site that matches volunteers with positions.

http://www.disneyparks.com Volunteer a day of service and get one day admission to Disney parks.

http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/volunteers.htm Forest Service volunteer positions.

http://www.fws.gov/volunteers/volOpps.html Lists opportunities at more than 500 wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, along with how to go about finding positions.

The above article is #8 from my ebook, 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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How to avoid wasting energy while RV boondocking

July 4, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

boondocking_anderson_mesa

By Bob Difley

When you take the ultimate step and decide to be a serious boondocker, you make  modifications to the way you camp and add certain features like installing a sustainable energy source like solar panels, a wind generator, or a fusion nuclear generator [have they invented those yet?] to your RV that you might be hesitant to invest in until you know you like the lifestyle.

How to avoid wasting energy while RV boondocking
When you take the ultimate step and decide to be a serious boondocker, you make  modifications to the way you camp and add certain features like installing a sustainable energy source like solar panels, a wind generator, or a fusion nuclear generator [have they invented those yet?]) to your RV that you might be hesitant to invest in until you know you like the lifestyle.
But in the meantime, you can follow the tips below to reduce your electrical usage – and the amount of time you need to run your noisy generator to recharge your batteries.
Turn off all appliances, lights, radio, TV, and anything else that requires electricity when not in use.
Don’t leave your porch light on (a particular annoyance to me when I am not so fortunate to be able to camp away from neighbors, and he/she leaves the light on, ruining my night vision for seeing night critters and star gazing).
Coordinate your generator running time with the use of power-hungry appliances. For instance, schedule your showers, water heater, use of microwave, coffee grinder, and dishwashing all within a short period of time when you can run your generator to power them, rather than pull juice out of your batteries. This also charges you batteries at the same time.
Time your day to match the sun, rising when it does and going to bed with it also. This cuts your light usage down considerably.
If you read in bed, try using small rechargeable battery powered reading lights. You can recharge the batteries when you hook up next time and you won’t run down your house batteries with your RV’s lights. And you will probably disturb your mate less.
Monitor your house batteries charge with a voltage meter so you don’t run them down too low, which can damage the batteries. Deep cycle batteries are considered fully charged at about  12.6 volts and completely discharged at 10.6 volts. Recharge before they get below 60%, or about 12.0 volts.
In addition to these ways to cut your electric usage, there will be times when you are in an LTVA or other boondocking or dry-camping situation (like a rally or week-end event) where you have close neighbors. Remember that there are all kinds of RVers, some—maybe yourself included—who do not mind the noise of a generator running and don’t even consider that the noise or exhaust fumes may annoy others.
I remedy this, as I’m sure others do, by taking a walk during the time my neighbor will be running his generator. But it would annoy me if I had just settled down in my camp chair with a glass of the bubbly when my neighbor fires up his generator. Be courteous to your neighbor and he will return the courtesy.
Explain to your neighbor that you have to run your generator, and for however long you expect to, and ask when would be a good time when it wouldn’t bother him/her. Maybe you can all coordinate times.
Avoid running your generator past a reasonable hour in the evening when others may be relaxing, sitting outside enjoying the stars and the quiet, or trying to sleep. The same rule holds for the morning before the late risers greet the day.
Learn more about boondocking with my new eBook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands.When you take the ultimate step and decide to become a serious boondocker, you make  modifications to the way you camp and add certain features like installing a sustainable energy source like solar panels, a wind generator, or a fusion nuclear generator [have they invented those yet?] to your RV, features  that you might be hesitant to invest in until you know you like the freedom of the boondocking lifestyle.

But in the meantime, you can follow the tips below to reduce your electrical usage – and the amount of time you need to run your noisy generator to recharge your batteries.

  • Turn off all appliances, lights, radio, TV, and anything else that requires electricity when not in use.
  • Don’t leave your porch light on (a particular annoyance to me when I am not so fortunate to be able to camp away from neighbors, and their porch light ruins my night vision for spotting critters and star gazing).
  • Coordinate your generator running time with the use of power-hungry appliances. For instance, schedule your showers, water heater, microwave, coffee grinder, and dishwashing all within the same period of time when you can run your generator to power them, rather than pull juice out of your batteries, also charging your batteries at the same time.
  • In the summer when days are longer time your day to match the sun, rising when it does and going to bed with it also. This cuts your usage of lights down considerably.
  • If you read in bed, try using small rechargeable battery powered reading lights. You can recharge the batteries when you hook up next time and you won’t run down your house batteries with your RV’s lights. And you will probably disturb your mate less.
  • Monitor your house batteries’ charge with a voltage meter so you don’t run them down too low, which can damage the batteries. Deep cycle batteries are considered fully charged at about  12.6 volts and completely discharged at 10.6 volts. For best results, recharge before they get below 60%, or about 12.0 volts.

In addition to these ways to cut your electric usage, there will be times when you are in an LTVA or other boondocking or dry-camping situation (like a rally or week-end event) where you have close neighbors. Remember that there are all kinds of RVers, some—maybe yourself included—who do not mind the noise of a generator running and don’t even consider that the noise or exhaust fumes may annoy others.

I remedy this by taking a walk during the time my neighbor runs his generator. But it would annoy me if I had just settled down in my camp chair with a glass of the bubbly when my neighbor fires up his generator. Be courteous to your neighbor and he will return the courtesy. For instance, explain to your neighbor that you have to run your generator, and for how long you expect to run it, and ask when would be a good time when it wouldn’t bother him/her. Maybe you can coordinate times with all your neighbors.

Avoid running your generator past a reasonable hour in the evening when others may be relaxing, sitting outside enjoying the stars and the quiet, or trying to sleep. The same rule holds for the morning before the late risers greet the day.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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