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OUTSIDE OUR RV AFTER DARK

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

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 AdminBy 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... Read more



THE PASTA TORTURE

November 15, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers A warm evening in a wooded campground somewhere in North Dakota, I think.  We were invited by our neighbors, Dan and Terry, to join them around their campfire while we sipped on our BYOL cocktail.  Danny was feeling good … good enough to share a revelation he had the night before: “When I was in the Marines years ago,” Dan began, “I’d come home from a deployment and usually once or twice a week Terry would fix spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  I never really liked that dish … I was sure I told her that early on.  But she still served it.” At that point Dan sat back in his canvas chair, took another swig and continued.  “I retired in ’87 and we’ve been happily married over all these years, but she still makes spaghetti and meatballs at least once a week. “Last time she put it in front of me, I mentioned that I really don’t like spaghetti and meatballs.  I looked up at her sitting across the table and saw the glare in her eyes.  That’s when she confessed, ‘All these years, and you never asked.  Every time I’m mad at you, I fix you spaghetti and meatballs because I know you don’t like it’.” That sounds like a healthy marriage to me. A note to future Alaskan and Canadian Maritimes travelers. I’ve finally gotten all the “experiential” blogs from our trips to these bucket-list lands up on my website:  OnTopOfTheWorld.bz.  Based on comments from readers, I’m sure... Read more



The Tool You Pray You NEVER Need

October 29, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

Everyone needs an escape tool in their vehicle. The original is called the Lifehammer (http://goo.gl/yN8oFB). Now lower cost alternatives such as the generic Emergency Tool (http://goo.gl/7wKW2h) are available for around a five spot. There’s also a more premium one called the Houdini (http://goo.gl/dS4U0H) that has a uniquely clever design. What is an escape tool? It has two functions and one goal. It slices seatbelts and shatters automotive window glass in order to vehicle occupants to safely escape in case of emergency. The Lifehammer is the original escape tool. It comes with its own mounting bracket. (Click the pic for more info.) The most likely emergency situation would be a sinking vehicle. From time to time, we hear reports of vehicles being accidentally driven into large and/or deep bodies of water. This is a terrifying situation that requires quick survival reflexes. When a vehicle plunges into water, its occupants may only have a few precious moments to get out alive. Seatbelts can become stuck (especially those with electronic controls that fail to operate when wet). Similarly, electric windows may not lower once the vehicle is sinking. Here's a rather generic escape tool that may be the best five bucks you ever spend. (Click the pic for more info.) Another emergency situation might be an accident in which the vehicle doors have been rendered useless, and the only means of escape is through a window. An escape tool contains a sharp blade that’s designed... Read more



AUTUMN JOURNAL

October 20, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers I was sitting in Anonymous State Park in the early evening hours yesterday, watching the glow on pines and cedars turn to grey as the sun sank behind a mountain crest.  A slight chill in the air reminded me that being in nature in autumn has a feeling all its of own. I call it “Anonymous,” because my point is not to talk about one specific place, but to encourage RVers to hitch up the tow wagon or climb into the Class A and take off for a natural setting.  I’m not suggesting that you drive six hours to “the perfect spot,” just find a nearby state park or quiet campground where you can be surrounded by nature. As I sat in a comfy chair, I looked and felt – looked at the trees; felt the crisp air.   Then I listened, and this is one of my favorite past-times, reminiscent of when I was with my young children.  “Listen,” I’d say.  “What do you hear?”  “Nothing, Daddy.”  I’d press them a bit further, “Listen again and tell me what you hear.”  “A cricket!” As I sat still, thinking about those days, I listened.  The rapid staccato of “Tat-tat-tat-tat” by a woodpecker hammering against a tree behind me somewhere.  A howl in the distance, maybe a coyote, possibly a hound.  High above a raven flew by — the whooshing of his wings in flight is a highlight of this listening game — while his brethren perching in pine trees scoffed at him loudly for leaving them. ... Read more



Add the nation’s Scenic Byways to your bucket list

October 6, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, in collaboration with other public and private agencies. Since 1992 the National Scenic Byways Program has funded more than three thousand projects for state and nationally designated byway routes in all 50 states. If you haven’t moved exploring the nation’s scenic byways to your bucket list for the areas in which you travel and also for the areas you are headed to, you are missing some of the most exciting parts of what makes up America, and you have the best way to see them–your RV. Many of America’s most scenic drives wind across and through remote public lands managed by the National Forest Service (NF) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Though not receiving the same publicity as our National Parks and Monuments, the National Scenic Byways (NSB) and the especially notable All-American Roads are mostly low-traveled, two-lane roads that showcase the historic, scenic, and cultural treasures that define America. But since they are often remote, it can sometimes be difficult finding private campgrounds with typical amenities and hook-ups. Along the way you may have to cover the whole route in one shot–from an RV resort at one end to one at the other. Unless, of course, you have honed your boondocking skills and are comfortable dry-camping either in primitive (no hook-up) government campgrounds or boondocking in the... Read more



Don’t discard those cans of food squirreled away in your RV as study reveals flaws in food expiration dates

September 20, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley In previous posts I wrote about shelf life of food, and whether the shelf life recommended by manufacturers was valid. As I found out in my research, canned food had a virtually endless shelf life regarding safety, as evidenced by meals canned for the military back in WWII and still edible. By edible, I mean mainly safe to eat, though some–but not all–of the taste may be compromised by the length of time in the can. Bulk foods kept in airtight containers also have a long shelf life. Now the San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington correspondent, Carolyn Lochhead, has written a piece for the Science section of the Chronicle this week titled Masses of food wasted – ‘use by’ dates mislead http://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Masses-of-food-wasted-use-by-dates-mislead-4825974.php?t=7e37c74b78 in which she reports on a study by Harvard University Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The date labeling system is not a system at all,” said NRDC staff scientist Dana Gunders, co-author of the report, the first to assess date labeling laws nationwide. Americans send to the compost pile or landfill 40 percent of the food they purchase–often because “of misleading expiration dates that have nothing to do with safety” the report says. For RVers that are concerned about the food stored in their RVs ready for the quick getawway or as a hedge against natural disasters, the article should provide... Read more



Get lost

August 24, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley In the good ‘ol days, as we oldtimers like to recall, the RV lifestyle was quite different than it is today. When I first started RVing you could camp in state parks in California for $6, forest service campgrounds for  $4–if you had to pay at all. Back then most RVing was limited to smaller RVs, and hook-ups meant electricity and maybe water, with a dump station in the campground. No cable TV hookups or wifi, campsites spaced well apart from each other, quiet time after 10 o’clock that actually was quiet. For entertainment we hiked, swam, paddled, visited historic sites, went fishing, rockhunding, birdwatching, star gazing, and took ranger-led nature walks if we weren’t out boondocking in the outback. It seems today that hook-ups have become a de rigueur part of RVing, including full-service RV resorts that offer continuous activities and programs throughout the day to keep us entertained. But with the addition of all these amenities came increased costs. Back in the day, the concept of spending $100 or more per night (one Palm Springs area RV resort had rates as high as $184/night) was unthinkable–and the amenities now being offered would have been beyond an RVer’s wildest imagination. And that’s OK. The RV Lifestyle need not be defined by how I do it, or how my neighbor does it, but how each individual person enjoys using their RV, whether it’s a pop-up trailer or a 45-foot diesel pusher with a garage for the Ferrari... Read more



Save entertainment expense on the road with local events and attractions

August 3, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley When trying to save a little money on the road, it is not enough to just look at expenditures for campgrounds and eating out. What you spend for entertainment can also mount up, especially when you visit expensive venues like theme parks, high-profile concerts,  and other heavily-promoted events and locations. When traveling keep an eye out for those entertainment and attraction options that do not have big advertising budgets that catch your eye, opportunities like small town and community events like fairs, parades, chili cookoffs, local historic reenactments (photo – Civil War reenactment at Fort McAllister State Historic Park, near Savannah, Georgia) and art shows. Also look for local museums, historic sites, and parks. Scenic locations, trails, wildlife viewing spots, and viewpoints in national and state forests and on other public lands also usually do not have big enough advertising budgets to command your attention if you do not have your curiosity antenna up. The following, Number 18 in the list from my ebook, 111 Ways to get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck, shows how to find low cost or free entertainment wherever you travel–some of which may just turn out to be among the most memorable. 18. Attractions, oddities, the joys of curiosity Many RVers focus on the destination and forget the trip. Think of all the great attractions you pass when you have the blinders on barreling down the interstate. Many of these attractions, whether... Read more



How to find dispersed boondocking campsites on public land

June 14, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley By Bob Difley Just knowing that you can legally boondock almost anywhere on public lands, such as those managed by the forest service and BLM, as I wrote in last week’s post, http://blog.rv.net/2013/06/how-to-camp-free-or-cheap-on-scenic-public-lands-part-2/ does not tell you exactly how to find these “dispersed” campsites (not within the confines of an organized campground). You won’t find any signs saying “Campsite Here” or numbered posts designating campsites.  No hosts in golf carts will lead you to an open site. No, you have to find them for yourself. Since finding dispersed campsites is more difficult than finding campgrounds, it is one of the features that makes boondocking attractive–there won’t be a lot of RVers competing for the same campsite. First, become alert so that you notice when you enter public lands. You will recognize national forests or national recreation areas by their familiar brown signs (photo below).  Seldom, however, will signs identify BLM lands, which mostly lie in the eleven Western states). Much of the  land in the Southwest used by snowbirds in winter is BLM land. Maps are available from visitor centers in states that contain public lands and on the Public Lands website where shaded areas define lands managed by the BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, National and State Forest Services, Fish and Wildlife Service, Indian Reservations, etc.  However, the BLM and some other agencies do not... Read more



HOT, HOT, HOT IN NEW ENGLAND

June 3, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers With almost 500 campsites at Salisbury State Beach Reservation (“a state paaak,” as they say around here), we pictured Sunday morning at the dump station as being a line of rigs as long as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  Our first strategy for avoiding the check-out-dumping-rush-hour was to wait until most campers departed by 11 a.m., but when we didn’t see any packing-up activity by neighbors at 7:30, we decided to make a run for it early.  We were first in line at the dump and out of there 20 minutes later.  Most campers were locals wanting to stretch out their weekend as long as possible. There’s not much to report since the Cape Cod blog a few days ago, but since we’re moving inland into Vermont and New Hampshire, where we won’t have hookups, and since we’ve received some helpful comments from readers, I’ll send this out anyway. Mussels await the return of high tide along the Merrimack River shoreline. Friday, with our trailer parked at Salisbury, we drove a very few miles to tour the New Hampshire coast.  Like most of the shoreline New England villages, the settings for homes are wonderful.  Rhododendrons and wild roses are blooming, so it’s a colorful experience. Two places we found interesting:  Portsmouth Harbor and Hampton Beach.  I’ll let two photos tell those stories. With temperatures in the mid-90s last Friday, swarms of area residents went to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire,... Read more



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