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RECIPE: Caper Mayo Salmon Burgers with Sesame Sautéed Green Beans

October 3, 2014 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

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Smart Weigh Pro Pocket Food Scale (http://goo.gl/sqGDMp)

by Kristy Michael

“Honey, what’s for dinner?”

How often are you asked that question? Heck, how often do you ask yourself that question?!

If you’re like me, it’s a daily challenge to find something out of the ordinary to cook at meal times. Finding a new and tasty recipe that doesn’t contain a million calories can be the biggest challenge of all. These days we are trying to choose healthy ingredients – and are even weighing the portions with a food scale – but we don’t want to compromise on taste.

So if you’re stuck in a rut and need a healthy way to satisfy your burger-and-fries craving, look no further. This recipe for Caper Mayo Salmon Burgers with Sesame Sautéed Green Beans is it! It sounds fancy and tastes FANTASTIC but is easy to quickly prepare in any basic RV kitchen.

Here's the finished product: Caper Mayo Salmon Burgers and Sesame Sautéed Green Beans!

Here's the finished product: Caper Mayo Salmon Burgers and Sesame Sautéed Green Beans!

Caper Mayo Salmon Burgers with Sesame Sautéed Green Beans

Main Ingredients:

2 whole wheat hamburger buns (I use the fresh ones from the Publix bakery)
2 (4 oz.) Salmon filets (I weigh the portions with our Smart Weigh food scale)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo, but light mayo is fine too)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
A few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil (if you need to measure, I consider a “drizzle” to be about a teaspoon)
1 bunch of fresh arugula
Greek Seasoning (I like Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning)

Side Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Sesame sauteed green beans are a healthy, satisfying alternative to fries.

Sesame sautéed green beans are a healthy, satisfying alternative to fries.

Burger Preparation:

Rinse salmon and pat dry

Place filets on foil lined baking sheet (be sure to spray it with a non-stick cooking spray first!)

Drizzle filets with olive oil, then sprinkle with Greek seasoning

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes (depending on the thickness of your filets)

Wild salmon is our protein of choice, but tuna will work also.

Wild salmon is our protein of choice, but tuna will work also (just skip the Greek seasoning and add sesame seeds instead).

Make your caper mayo by heating a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add capers and let them cook down for a few minutes until you start to see them brown. Remove from pan and mash with fork. Then mix them well into your mayonnaise.

Toast buns and assemble your burger as follows:
bottom bun, caper mayo, salmon filet, arugula, top bun (I like to put the caper mayo on the top bun too!)

Don't forget the caper mayo!

Don't forget the caper mayo!

Side Preparation:

Blanch the green beans (boil the green beans in a pot of salted water for about 4 minutes, then immediately rinse in ice cold water to stop the cooking process).

Spread blanched beans on a paper towel or dish cloth to absorb most of the water.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan and add your blanched green beans and sesame seeds. Allow beans to brown a bit before stirring. Once most of the beans have some browned sautéed spots on them, they’re ready!

These make for a really tasty, crunchy alternative to french fries.

The end result is savory, succulent, and delicious!

The end result is savory, succulent, and delicious!

So that’s it—the whole prep should only take 15 minutes or so.

Super simple and super tasty – that’s my kind of combo!

*NOTE: If you prefer a different type of fish, this recipe also works well with seared tuna. Just skip using the greek seasoning and coat the tuna with sesame seeds instead.

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Vintage Airstream Music Box (Christmas Decoration)

December 15, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

If you like to collect Christmas decorations, you may be interested in this vintage camper music box (http://goo.gl/rKLvOR) that features lights, Christmas music, and a moving train inside. It’s a fun way to celebrate the Christmas spirit and RV travel all together.

It slices! It dices! Actually, it doesn't slice and dice, but it does the next best thing: it lights and plays music, and the train runs around inside. (Click the pic for more info.)

It slices! It dices! Actually, it doesn't slice and dice, but it does the next best thing: it lights and plays music, and the train runs around inside. (Click the pic for more info.)

In college I dated a girl whose mother collected ceramic “Christmas village” decorations. Perhaps you know the decorations I am talking about? Individual items cost somewhere between $10 and $100,000. They are usually hand painted ceramics.

On a white fabric blanket of pseudo snow, my girlfriend’s mother created an old fashioned village winter scene. It consisted of ceramic buildings (with lights), vehicles, and an assortment of villagers engaging in various winter activities like caroling and shoveling snow. To top it all off, there was a plucky model train running through the village.

In the beginning, my girlfriend’s mother’s Christmas village was charming. She set up a few buildings, plugged in some lights, and called it a day. It occupied a side table in the corner of the living room. But over time, what began as a modest little hobby turned into an obsession

In the early days, the Christmas village was a charming community. It even had a Walmart that allowed overnight RV parking.

In the early days, the Christmas village was a charming, friendly community. It even had a Walmart that allowed overnight RV parking.

Every year, at the mother’s direction, the Christmas village grew more complex and elaborate. She added more buildings, and more people. Soon there were farm animals and work vehicles and roadways and trees. More, more, more!

This was not a planned community. It was a shrine to urban sprawl.

Eventually the once humble Christmas village resembled Los Angeles during rush hour. The Christmas village became a vast metropolis, expanding from one corner of the living room to engulf an entire wing of the family’s house.

As the mother’s attention turned to new development, the original downtown area was neglected – marred by graffiti, stray dogs, and drifting vagrants. Every afternoon, a dense blanket of smog drifted across the household. It no longer felt safe.

This is what happened to the Christmas village after a few years of heavy collecting. Clouds of thick smog often drifted from the living room to the kitchen.

This is what happened to the Christmas village after a few years of heavy collecting. Clouds of thick smog often drifted from the living room to the kitchen.

The last time I saw that family’s Christmas village, the mother was promising to revitalize downtown.  She was trying to raise money for a light rail system to connect the suburbs (located in the foyer and kitchen) to the old town area. She pledged to build a domed stadium and a park to bring people back.

Sadly, I don’t know if the lady ever finished her domed stadium. After a dispute over zoning, I broke up with the girl.

And while I personally don’t collect Christmas village items, I can appreciate the utility of owning this little Airstream music box. Not only do you get an impressive vintage RV camper, but inside the camper you get a complete village scene, including train.

BOOM! One item and you’re done. That’s my kind of Christmas decorating.

It's a camper, a Christmas village, a model train, and a music box all in one.

ONE-STOP DECORATING: It's a camper, a Christmas village, a model train, and a music box all in one. If only you could sleep inside it. (Click the pic for more info.)

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RV TOWING: Is the “Value” Antisway Bar Worth a Try?

November 9, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

Last year our old antisway bar got bent (and I don’t mean it developed a drinking problem). So we went shopping for a new antisway bar and discovered the “Value Friction Sway Control” (http://goo.gl/1fiSvP) which is simply a lower priced antisway bar. We decided to give it a try on our rig.

The "value" antisway bar weights over 13 pounds and costs less than half the price of a standard bar. (Click the pic for more info.)

The "value" antisway bar weights over 13 pounds and costs less than half the price of a standard bar. (Click the pic for more info.)

Why bother with an antisway bar? These bars reduce trailer sway and improve handling in adverse towing conditions. For example, when you’re hauling your rig across a wide open stretch of West Texas on a windy day.

The idea is that the antisway bar improves the stability of your rig and therefore increases towing safety. If you are towing a trailer any substantial distance, you really need one of these antisway bars working for you. It’s a cheap form of insurance. In some scenarios, a humble antisway bar may help you avoid a disastrous accident.

Now on to the bar itself. From the word “value,” I was expecting compromises from this bar. So far, after a full season of camping and literally thousands of miles of towing, I have found none. As Buzz Lightyear might say, the value bar has performed to my expectations – and beyond!

The "value" antisway bar appears to be a great, well, VALUE. (Click the pic for more info.)

The "value" antisway bar appears to be a great, well, VALUE. (Click the pic for more info.)

This is a solid, heavy, well constructed piece of gear. The value bar weights 13.2 pounds. The kit comes complete with mounting hardware (should you need it – we did not).

I have found no significant differences between the “value” bar and the heavy duty Reese antisway bar that we owned previously. This new bar has been a perfect fit, which made it easy to mount and use on our trailer’s existing mounting points.

The “value” antisway bar costs about a third the price of the standard Reese bar (http://goo.gl/X4Cu0X). Quite frankly, I can’t see any reason to purchase the more expensive gear. The value bar is a sturdy piece of equipment and it has served us well on the road.

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VIDEO: Snowy Camping in Grand Teton National Park

October 26, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

As visitors to our website (LongLongHoneymoon.com) know, recently my wife and I camped in snowy weather while visiting Grand Teton National Park.

We made a VIDEO about the experience.

Click here to see the video on our site.

Nikon-Grand-Tetons-204LLH

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Gr8LakesCamper: Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the Great Lakes

August 10, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 42 Comments 

Recently ABC-TV’s Good Morning America came out with a list of “The Most Beautiful Places in America.

In alphabetical order, the list included:

Sleeping Bear Dunes image courtesy of traversecity.com

Sleeping Bear Dunes image courtesy of traversecity.com


1. Asheville, North Carolina
2. Aspen, Colorado
3. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
4. Destin, Florida
5. Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
6. Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
7. Newport, Rhode Island
8. Point Reyes, California
9. Sedona, Arizona
10. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Obviously, all of these places are spectacular. Majestic mountains, sweeping vistas, gorgeous sunsets over water – they all very much deserve to be on such a list.

But it got me to thinking: Only one spot from the Great Lakes region? Surely there’s others, right? Where’s Hocking Hills, Ohio … or Door County, Wisconsin … or New River, West Virginia … just to name a few?

Obviously, the Great Lakes/Midwest needs its own list.

I now invite you to submit your nomination for the “Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the Great Lakes.” No rules, no limitations, no prizes, and no handcuffing on what places would be considered in the “Great Lakes/Midwest region.” Include reasons why your nominated place ought to make the list.

I’ll compile all the submissions, research them with the crack Gr8LakesCamper staff (which would be me) and then – perhaps over a beverage or two – put together the list and publish the results here in a future post. Winners will receive tremendous notoriety and a slap on the back.

From the companion blog: I continue to post something new everyday, and some recent ones that might be of interest include the one (with videos) about when my wife and I ran the Warrior Dash, a muddy, ruddy 5K that was “the craziest frickin’ day of our life.” Another good one was the two-part post about our camping trip to Montague, Michigan. The first post talks about how, while en route, one of our camper’s wheels sheared its bolts, came loose and tried to pass us on the highway. The second post reviews our campground, White River RV Park, and some of the area attractions we took in (with videos).

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog, as well as the Gr8LakesCamper YouTube channel.

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Gr8LakesCamper: Michigan Campgrounds with Available Sites this Holiday Weekend

June 30, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 11 Comments 

Wanna hear a good one?

FYI: This is not me nor my wife; pretty sure not my kids either.

FYI: This is not me nor my wife; pretty sure not my kids either.

I’m trying to get a campsite for this coming Fourth of July weekend.

I know, I know … why wait till the last minute?

To make a long story short, we thought we’d be ferrying my sons to some baseball tournaments this weekend. But too late we were told they only have one game on Friday night, so now it’s a scramble to find a campground with an available campsite. And I’m hoping beyond all hope that these campsites are mostly level, somewhat shaded and not at all close to anyone with a case of firecrackers. That, and clean facilities.

I know, I know … you get what you deserve.

Fortunately, the Michigan Chapter of the Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds just issued a list of their member campgrounds who have available campsites this weekend. I’m saved, although now all my lectures to my kids about not waiting till the last minute to do their homework/chores/ etc. have been shot to you know where!

Campgrounds reporting availability for the holiday weekend include:

Beaver Trail Campground, West Branch (989-345-7745) http://beavertrailcampground.com
Cedarville RV Park, Cedarville (906-484-3351) www.cedarvillervpark.com
Clementz’s Northcountry Campground, Newberry (906-293-8562) www.northcountrycampground.com
Coolwater on the Pine, Wellston (231-862-3481) www.coolwatercampground.com We have stayed at this campground and it is okay. It is heavily used by large groups of canoer/campers during the warmer summer weekends, however. Also, most sites are not big rig friendly and, again, be sure to ask for a site away from the rowdy canoer/campers (although there might not be that many this early in the summer).
Cranberry Lake Campground, Marcellus (269-646-3336) www.campcranberrylake.com
Duggans Canoe Livery & Campground, Harrison (989-539-7149) www.dugganscanoes.com
Emmett KOA, Emmett (888-562-5612) http://koa.com/campgrounds/emmett/
Frankenmuth Jellystone Park, Frankenmuth (989-652-6668) www.frankenmuthjellystone.com
Gaylord KOA, Gaylord (800-562-4146) www.gaylordkoa.com
Holiday Camping Resort, New Era (231-861-5220) www.holidaycamping.com
Indian River RV Resort & Campground, Indian River (888-792-2267) www.indianrivercampground.com
Irons RV Park & Campground, Irons (231-266-2070) www.ironsrvparkandcampground.com
Kalkaska RV Park & Campground, Kalkaska (231-258-9863) www.kalkaskacampground.com
Kampvilla RV Park, Bear Lake (800-968-0027) www.kampvilla.com
Lakeview UM Campground, Lakeview (989-352-6896) www.lakeviewcamp.org
Lighthouse Family Camping Resort, Mecosta (231-972-2112) www.lighthousefamilycampingresort.com
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, Mackinaw City (231-436-5584) www.campmackinaw.com
Matson’s Big Manistee River Campground, Manistee (888-556-2424) www.matsonscampground.com
Mio Pine Acres Campground, Mio (989-826-5590) www.miopineacres.com
Moscow Maples RV Park, Moscow (517-688-9853) www.moscowmaples.com
Myers Lake Campground, Byron/Linden (810-266-4511) www.myerslake.org
Snow Lake Kampground, Fenwick (989-248-3224) www.snowlakekampground.com
Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort, Traverse City (231-947-2770) www.TimberRidgeResort.net
Timber Trails RV Park, Decatur (269-423-7311) www.timbertrailsrvpark.com
Troll Landing Campgr./Canoe Livery, West Branch (989-345-7260) www.michcampgrounds.com/trolllanding
Twin Oaks Campground & Cabins, Wellston (877-442-3102) www.twinoakscamping.com We have also stayed here. Wonderful place! Again, heavily used by canoer/campers during the warmer months, so ask for a site away from their group camping areas.
Waterways Campground, Cheboygan (888-882-7066) www.waterwayscampground.com

Type and date(s) of site availability vary by property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded back to a survey indicating availability, as of June 30. Availability subject to change. Reservations are required.

From the companion blog: It’s been a while since I’ve posted at RV.net, so there’s dozens of posts on my companion blog, which I update daily. Some that you might find interesting are: Michigan Legislature names August as Camping & RVing Month; Illinois DNR pumping $12 million into state park improvements; and Summer Festivals and Events in Hocking Hills, a region every RVer needs to visit at one time in their life.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Gr8LakesCamper: Michigan campgrounds with available sites for Memorial Day Weekend

May 25, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 7 Comments 

volleyballtypec-webAttention procrastinators: There are plenty of campsites – for tenters, RVers and cabin-dwellers – available at private campgrounds throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas for the upcoming Memorial holiday weekend.

Courtesy of ARVC-Michigan, here is a list of campgrounds with available campsites for the Memorial Day weekend:

Fine print: Type and date(s) of site availability vary by property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded back to a survey indicating availability, as of May 24, 2011. Availability subject to change. Reservations are required.

From the personal blog: I came across this Mini Surge Dual USB Charging Station that would be perfect for RVers; Wisconsin State Parks, Forest and Recreation Areas will have special events and free admission during a June 5 Open House; and I love Morels smothered in butter as much as the next guy, but hopefully the chef knows what’s a morel and what’s one of these 50 poisonous mushroom varieties.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Gr8LakesCamper: Campsite Ticket Scalpers

April 18, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 506 Comments 

Bridal veil falls, Yosemite National Park

Bridal veil falls, Yosemite National Park

Fellow RVers, I’d like to start a discussion about scalpers – not ticket scalpers, mind you, but campsite scalpers.

I recently came across this news item from The Sacramento Bee, by way of the Associated Press:

Yosemite battling pest problem: Ticket-scalpers
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Yosemite National Park has a pest problem: Ticket scalpers who are selling the limited camping reservations at exorbitant prices.
Spokesman Scott Gediman tells the Sacramento Bee that park officials are becoming more aggressive as they try to curb scalpers.
The nation’s third-most visited park has only 900 reserved campsites available at any given time. They go for $20 a night but scalpers advertising on Craigslist are offering them for $100 or more — sometimes for hundreds of dollars.
They’re also selling permits to climb Half Dome, which the park essentially issues for free.
Gediman says it appears that some scalpers may have devised ways of jumping the reservation queue, possibly through automated computer programs that can instantly snag cancellations.

My only experience with ticket scalpers is at sporting events, where it always seems to be the same guys selling tickets at the same venues, regardless of the game or event taking place. Occasionally I’ll sell or buy an extra ticket, but never more than for face value.

I have no experience with this campsite ticket scalping, and was wondering if anyone else does.

In addition, what are your thoughts on this?

This obviously sounds like its something much bigger than someone selling an unused campsite. And I certainly don’t like that someone can apparently “jump the reservation queue.” That needs to be corrected – fast.

Would you ever buy a campsite from a scalper? Would you pay more than face value for it?

I don’t think I would. For something as big as camping in Yosemite (or any other popular National Park), it would be such a big vacation that planning for it would start months in advance. That planning would include securing our campsite. If, for whatever reason, we don’t get a campsite, then I think we would pick another destination.

But, like I said, I’m curious what others have to say about this.

From the companion blog: Since we’re on the topic of National Parks, I have a post about the 2011 Yellowstone CycleFest, taking place July 23-30 at Yellowstone National Park. In addition to daily road biking, CycleFest will offer a host of exciting activities including trail walking, horseback riding, rafting, mountain biking, canoeing, gondola riding and something called “water cycling.”

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Gr8LakesCamper: Are you ready for a good paddling?

April 3, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 5 Comments 

025After years of being a canoeing expert – and by expert I mean I’ve canoed about four or five times – the last two summers during our annual Camping & Canoeing Extravaganza I switched to kayaking.

A quick aside: Like many, we have an annual trip each summer with a group of family and friends in which we camp, canoe and do our part to stimulate the economy of the local party stores. Ours we call the Camping & Canoeing Extravaganza, and besides my family it also includes my brother-in-law and his family. Our oldest kids also now bring a friend; it’s not too big compared to some groups, but it’s big enough for us. (Click here to read Parts I and II of last year’s monsoon of an Extravaganza.)

As I said, I am a canoeing expert. But the last two years of our Extravaganza, I switched to a kayak.

So now I am a kayaking expert – and by expert I mean I can zig zag from bank to bank with the best of them. (In all honesty, I found the kayak less likely to tip and much easier to steer.)

So it was with collegial eagerness that I was able to rub shoulders with a fellow paddling expert (paddling – that’s what we canoeing/kayaking experts call what we do). And by rub shoulders, I meant I was part of the audience who listened to Doc Fletcher, author of a handful of paddling books on Michigan and Wisconsin rivers. Fletcher was the guest of my local library, and he also happened to be a 1972 graduate of our local high school. So for him it was a homecoming, and for us in the audience it was nice hour-long paddle down some of Doc’s favorite rivers.

Doc’s books include “Weekend Canoeing in Michigan: The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns,” “Michigan Rivers Less Paddled: The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns” and “Canoeing and Kayaking Wisconsin: The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns.” The titles kind of give you an idea that Doc is one of us. He’s not a stuffy, scholarly type. He’s simply a guy who, after retiring from a career selling batteries, pursued his life long love of paddling.

Each chapter of each of his books features a paddling trip down a segment of one river. Chapter information includes: River name; how long the segment is; about long it takes to paddle the segment; skill level; recommended livery and contact information; landmarks; and two maps, one that’s a detail of the river segment and the other to show where the river is located in the state. He also writes about the history of the nearby town and provides a narrative of the paddling trip.

Two other items of information he also includes deserve special mention: what local radio station carries the Detroit Tigers (or Milwaukee Brewers) broadcasts; and what local tavern is worth a visit, especially if it serves Doc’s preferred beverage – Pabst Blue Ribbon. (”You can only be young once, but you can be immature all your life,” he quipped.)

You can probably find Doc’s books at your local library, but they’re also online at Amazon and at Doc’s website.

During Doc’s talk at the library, he took us down four rivers, two in Michigan and two in Wisconsin.

The first river was a 7-mile stretch of the Mecan River in south central Wisconsin – “One of the most enjoyable rivers I ever paddled,’ Doc said. “It’s a spirited river with deceptive quickness. There’s a lot of tight turns, and it was very cool and a lot of fun.”

A second river was the Jordan River in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula – “It’s my favorite 35-minute stretch of any river,” Doc said. “There’s plenty of fast water and it sort of has a dark beauty about it; it takes you through medieval forests.”

A third river was the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River in the western part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – “There’s no other two-hour stretch as exhilarating as this six-mile run,” Doc said, adding it includes seven Class II rapids and the incredible beauty of nearby Bond Falls.

The fourth was the portion of the Milwaukee River that ran through downtown Milwaukee. The urban setting with its architecture and three breweries and five taverns located right on the river were a nice change of pace, Doc said.

I was jealous of Doc and his experiences. His slide show of snapshots he took along each trip showed nothing but smiling faces, beautiful scenery and some great tales that would only grow better with each telling. As I said, Doc seemed like a regular guy, enjoying what he likes to do, and just happens to write books about it in the process. The kind of guy you’d want to go with you on a paddling trip, and the kind of guy who’d happily accept the invitation.

“Paddling is such a good activity because it’s a sport that can be enjoyed by the young and old alike,” Doc said.

And a sport enjoyed by us experts, too.

From the companion blog: I continue to add at least one post per day, usually about travel destinations such as Benzie County, Michigan and Bluffton/Ft. Wayne Indiana KOA’s offering a free night of camping. I even came across a new bungee cord that is said to be a huge improvement on the classic bungee.

However, what you most might be interested in is my post about the Ohio State Parks online reservation system being hacked. I’ve placed a call to InfoSpherix, the third-party vendor which operates Ohio’s state park reservation system, and will update the post as soon as I can.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Gr8LakesCamper: What started us down the RV road

January 25, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 17 Comments 

Brighton 1The following post tells the story of how my family and I got into RVing. I tell this story in the hope you also might care to share what, or who, first got you into RVing.

As for me, my extended family have been RVers for years, and growing up I always envied the tales of their camping trips. Little did I know that the RVing bug had bit me way back then, but it turned out to be an infection itching at me for many, many years before I was able to apply the ointment. It only took about 10 or so years of me whining like a hungry dog every time we passed an RV dealership before my wife finally uttered those three wonderful words … “Oh, all right.”

The first of my family to start us all down the RVing road were my grandparents, Art and Curley Brighton. That’s them in the picture, with two of my uncles sticking their heads out the window of the 1971 25-foot Superior. I love that photo, especially how proud my grandpa looks holding a bucket of KFC!

My grandparents were prolific RVers; they traveled from Alaska to the Panama Canal and all parts in between during their five decades of travel in their various motor homes. Actually, they first started by car-camping, sleeping in the back of their ridiculously huge Town & Country station wagon. Their first motor home was the brand new Superior. They enjoyed that big green motor home for over a dozen years until they bought a new 35-foot Holiday Rambler in 1984. Then in 1987 they bought a 33-foot Foretravel, and finally a 1989 33-foot Foretravel Grand Villa motor home only three years after that. They traveled quite a bit, especially after they both retired from teaching. Often they hooked up with the FMCA-sponsored rallies for months at a time, and later they would say those rallies were among their best RVing memories.

My grandparents have since passed on, but they passed on their love of RVing to several of their eight children and 28 grandchildren (31 great-grandchildren and counting!). My Uncle Art and Aunt Ellen have a 42-foot Monaco Dynasty motor home, my Uncle Tom and Aunt Diane have a 2004 Nomad North Trail fifth wheel, my parents have a 25-foot Keystone Outback travel trailer, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Sharon just bought a 2001 24-foot Trail Lite fifth wheel and my Uncle Ed and Aunt Sandy have a 2003 27-foot Rockwood travel trailer.

My Uncle Art and Aunt Ellen were full-timers for a few years and had previously owned a 40-foot Monaco Windsor and a Southwind before that, but my Uncle Ed and Aunt Sandy hold the record for number of campers owned: They bought the last Foretravel motor home from my grandparents, and their other travel trailers were a 1998 Dutchmen, 1978 28-foot Yellowstone, 1976 25-foot Golden Nugget and a 1984 19-foot Sportsman.

I also have a few cousins who are RVers; Matt and Tracy own a 2005 21-foot Keystone Outback travel trailer, and Jill and Bob were proud owners of a pop-up camper until it was completely destroyed when they were rear-ended a few years back (crumpled like a pile of kindling wood, they said).

Us? We’re the proud owners of a new-to-us 2000 Trail Lite Bantam 23-foot hybrid we bought in 2007. It sleeps all five of us, has tons of storage and has withstood many of my modifications. Plus, it’s paid for!

What do we love about RVing? Probably for many of the same reasons that you and other RVers love about it! Before our RV, we tent-camped a few times, always cursing the trek to the vault toilet in the middle of the night and the cold hard ground every morning. Not so with the RV! We’re off the ground, sleep in (mostly) comfortable beds and the bathroom – like everything else we decide to bring – goes where we go.

I like to think of our camper as a cottage-on-wheels. We can take our cottage most anywhere, and although we have a few favorite campgrounds we always seem to return to, we enjoy discovering new campgrounds in distant locations and all the area has to offer. My favorite thing about camping is sitting around the campfire, a s’more in one hand and a cold beverage in the other, and doing nothing more than relaxing and laughing with family and friends.

So there you have it. My story is not that unusual from other RVers, but it is my story and one I enjoy adding to each and every time we go camping.

Now it’s your turn. How did you get started into RVing?

From the personal blog: It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on RV.net, so there’s a couple of dozen posts on my companion blog you might want to take a look at. Most are travel-related, including a Frank Lloyd Wright tour of eight homes and Wintertime events in Chicago. A few RV-specific posts include a comprehensive list of North American RV shows now through April (complete with links), the planned expansion of Detroit-based General RV dealership and my take on RV Buddies’ recent poll results of what features people want in an RV.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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