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Add these side trips to your snowbird migration – Part 2

September 20, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our E-mail Digest or RSS Feed. We will then send you the stories that are posted each day in an e-mail digest. We use a service called Feedburner for delivery of these emails. You will receive an e-mail from Feedburner after you subscribe and you must click on that email to activate your subscription. Thanks for visiting and enjoy all the information! RV.Net Blog Admin In last week’s post (Part I) I suggested that instead of making a near non-stop head long rush to your winter home in the Southwestern Desert, you instead take some time to visit some short side trips along the way. This week I follow with the next highlight following Wupatki pueblo that I wrote about. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument From Wupatki, continue on the loop. You will pass Sunset Crater (photos), Lava Flow, and Lenox Crater Trails before arriving at the visitor center, which is two miles before rejoining 89. Lava Flow Trail, a self-guided loop, depicts a variety of volcanic features, while Lenox Crater Trail is a more strenuous climb up the side of a cinder cone, two miles round trip. Sunset volcano erupted in AD 1065 and displays in the visitor center illustrate various volcanic phenomena, such as squeeze ups, where the lava is forced upward through cracks, and hornitos, strange hornlike protuberances. Ranger Stephen Nycz explained some of the geology of the area. “From the visitors building we see the same top layers as in the Grand... Read more



Add these side trips to your snowbird migration – Part 1

September 13, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

Snowbirds descending from the Pacific Northwest, the plains states, or the mid-west into southern Arizona for the winter have several routes to choose from, though most often they take the most direct. Typically, my father, the archetypal planner, plotted out the exact mileage and average driving time to haul his trailer from home in Pennsylvania to San Diego, CA , where he spent the winter near my brother and his family. He knew practically to the minute how long it would take him to make the journey, starting each day at a prescribed time and stopping each evening at a pre-determined campground (always a KOA), and conducted the trip as if it were an organized time/distance rally. It drove my mother nuts but it worked for him. I know that there are still some of you out there who travel like that today, admit it. Get to the destination in the most efficient and timely manner! Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Maybe this year, rather than choosing the most direct or fastest route, try a different way, with side trips and stopovers on the way. (I can see a cold sweat breaking out on your forehead). So it won’t be too debilitating to your efficiency genes, I’ll suggest an easy alternative to start with. Instead of focusing on your destination of Phoenix and its environs, fix your sites on Flagstaff, only a couple of hours driving time to the north. You will pass through some scenic, high country, pine forests before dropping down to the scrub, juniper, and rabbitbrush... Read more



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

September 6, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

“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,... Read more



If HR5204 passes the House our public lands may no longer be free

September 1, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

For those of you who define your RV Lifestyle by the great hiking, fishing, and camping to be found in our national forests and on land managed by the BLM, HR 5204 poses a financial threat and possibly even greater controls over what we can do with our RVs when we go seeking the beauty and solitude of our public lands. The following is a repost of an email alert sent by the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition. I have placed it here, because I believe it is important to get the word out: HR 5204 is written as an amendment to the current law, in the form of line-by-line additions, deletions, and substitutions, which makes it very difficult for the public to understand. (Probably this was the intention.) A detailed analysis of the major provisions of HR 5204 can been seen at this link. August 24, 2014 THE FEE-FREE PRESS DEAR PUBLIC LANDS SUPPORTER , Action is urgently needed to stop a bill introduced in the House, and already rammed through Committee and ready for a floor vote. HR 5204 would authorize the Forest Service and BLM to charge fees for all public lands, for any activity, by any person, any time. Details follow. Please TAKE ACTION NOW! Kitty Benzar Welcome to the future. Pay ahead. STOP THIS BILL HOUSE BILL WOULD ALLOW FEES FOR ALL PUBLIC LAND ACCESS Just before the House adjourned for their August recess, HR 5204 The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014, was introduced by U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) and rammed through the House Resources... Read more



Off the beaten track: Southern Oregon’s South Slough Reserve

August 15, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

Though the sea is enjoyable and invigorating any time of year, fall is a great time to RV along the rocky Pacific coastline. The lure is a direct result of the transition that follows Labor Day, the official end of summer. Traffic no longer impacts Route 1, kids are all back in their schools and humming with activity, summer vacations are but memories until next year, and you can move into the now un-crowded campgrounds, un-bound by the high season necessity of making reservations–the destroyer of spontaneous whims. This is the time of year when Indian summer settles over the coast. The fogs of summer, that form over the cooler offshore waters sucked in by the vacuum cleaner of sizzling inland temperatures, have mostly disappeared. Nippy afternoon winds have decreased to soft zephyrs. This is the time to meander Route l, enjoying the ocean views atop precipitous cliffs, and walking barefoot along cool soft sandy beaches. But don’t forget the occasional side trip that often gets missed by the straight through traveler. One such trip is to South Slough National Estuarine Reserve, the nation’s first protected Estuarine preserve, on Oregon’s south coast near Coos Bay. The Coos River enters the ocean a few miles west of Coos Bay at Charleston, and South Slough stretches out languidly south of town in a shallow, tidal basin of narrow winding channels and gooey mudflats. It is this mud and tidal flow that creates South Slough’s soupy smorgasbord, a mixture of the most primitive... Read more



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... Read more



How to avoid wasting energy while RV boondocking

July 4, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

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... Read more



Getting away from it all: Boondocking tips

June 13, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley Do you always choose a campground because of the availability of hook-ups? If so, you may be missing some of the pleasures of camping and the RV lifestyle experience; enjoyment of nature in the wild, wide open spaces, primitive areas, leaving the crowds behind, quiet, solitude, and no neighbors that are so close that you can hear them sneeze. In dispersed camping areas with undesignated campsites or on open BLM or Forest Service land, you can get as close to or as far away from the action as you like. In Quartzite, for example, you will find clusters of campers around a single group fire pit as well as loners stretched out across the isolated reaches of the desert floor. I am not denigrating hook-up campgrounds. I frequently use destination campgrounds because of the amenities that are not available in government or primitive campgrounds, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, organized activities, laundry rooms, and a Wifi connection. But if you choose a campground because you feel that you cannot exist without hook-ups, the following tips and suggestions may help in encouraging you to try an occasional boondocking trip on some wide-open land or deep into a national forest. The easiest way to start dry camping is in an organized campground with water (though not available as a hook up at your site) and a dump station. Your continuous length of stay before the necessary battery recharging, dumping, and water tank filling is dependent on your RV’s capacities. The... Read more



Is the end near for free camping and boondocking?

June 5, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

I’ve been RVing for over 45 years. My first RV, if you could call it that, was a panel van with a side sliding door. Nothing was built in and a mattress occupied most of the floor of the van. Camping in California state parks back then – none with hookups – cost $6 and you could camp in the national forests (NF) and on BLM land for free. In fact, you could sleep overnight almost anywhere, as long as you didn’t become a squatter and behaved yourself. Times have changed. Now you can’t find even the most primitive of campsites for $6, and free camping, though still an option, is available only at selected NF and BLM locations – a recent change. The Travel Management Rules (TMR) are being implemented that restrict not only on which roads you are permitted to drive your RV but also where you can camp. These camping areas are call Dispersed Camping Areas and are shown on Motor Vehicle Use Maps for each forest. There is a fine if you are caught camping in a non-approved area. Free use of our public lands (which are owned by all of us as part of our national heritage for recreational purposes among other uses) will now, unfortunately, be restricted. But before you raise your muskets and storm the barricades to “take our country back” I can understand the feeling among many forest service and BLM personnel when you look at the situation from their point of view. Though we might not like to admit it, there are many among us RVers who take... Read more



Follow these safe campfire tips for this hot, dry summer

May 11, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley The hot dry days of summer are just around the corner, and if you plan on RVing in one of the areas affected by drought this year, such as California, expect to see campfire restrictions. In most of the National Forests that have been affected, you are required to obtain a fire permit (which is free), have a shovel and bucket (for water) near your campfire, and observe common sense practices on the use of your campfire. Common sense, of course, is often interpreted in different ways by different RVers. But these tips bear mentioning: Build your fire in a prescribed fire pit or container if available. When boondocking or camping where there are no containers, bring your own portable fire pit or build a fire containment circle out of rocks. Rake or scrape all combustible debris, like leaves, twigs, etc. at least 10 feet away from your fire. Do not build a fire if the wind is blowing as embers could blow off into combustible areas Never leave a campfire unattended When you leave your campsite, douse the fire with water and hold your hand above the fire to determine that it is cold, and that no hot spots remain that could flare up When you head into a national forest for camping or boondocking, check in with the Ranger Station or Regional Office for any fire restrictions, closed areas, or existing fires that may be burning in the forest and follow the advise of rangers before choosing a campsite or campground. If a wildfire does flare up near you, don’t wait... Read more



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