Gr8LakesCamper: Top 10 Reasons I’d Rather Drive an RV than Fly in a Airplane

December 1, 2010 by Gr8LakesCamper · 14 Comments 

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

As if we RVers needed any more fuel for our pro-RV fire, here’s a “Top 1087756063 Reasons I’d Rather RV than Fly” list. (With my comments thrown in here and there.)

Note: I came across this great list – slightly modified for RVers – from Dave Hunter, author of “Along Interstate-75,” an award-winning book which helps people enjoy driving this major freeway between the Midwest and the Georgia/Florida border.

1. Before you get into your RV, you don’t have to wait in long lines or wait for your seat row to be called for boarding. (Although I’m tempted to try this with the family next time we go camping.)

2. No embarrassing X-ray or pat down. (Tempted to try this, too.)

3. Your luggage always arrives at the same time you do and never costs extra. (Luggage? What’s luggage?)

4. No need to arrive at your RV two hours ahead of departure time – it will wait for you.

5. You can bring as many bottles of water into the RV as you wish.

6. The bathroom in your RV, or the restrooms at roadside rest areas, do not have line-ups in the aisle.

7. The air you breath is “family” — you know how healthy they are. (Granted, this may or may not be a positive.)

8. No need to surrender your favorite knitting needles or other sharp objects.

9. Stiff legs? No need to wait until you arrive — you are 2 feet off the ground and can stop for exercise whenever you want.

10. And there’s no need to rent a car when you arrive – you are already sitting in the vehicle of your choice, with no insurance waivers to sign!

A quick side note: My parents are about to fly to New York City to visit my brother and his family. When pricing airfare, ticket prices were $2,500 each (not including taxes, fees and luggage). They switched their schedule from Wednesday-Sunday to Sunday-Wednesday and the prices dropped to less than $500 each.

Obligatory “About the Author” information:
Since 1992, Dave Hunter (and his wife and travel partner, Kathy) have acquired hundreds of friends and travel industry contacts along the I-75 corridor, who share their “local knowledge” of roadside secrets, local restaurants and ways to save money. “Along Interstate-75″ is published by Mile Oak Publishing, Inc. and is available in bookstores, at AAA in OH, by phone at 800-431-1579, online and at

From the personal blog: I recently posted some great information for traveling to southern Indiana for the holidays, and I continue to add many more regional travel ideas as I come across them.

UPDATE: I have also posted on my personal blog about our recent trip to New York City, where we saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (cross that one off the bucket list) as well as my brother’s Broadway debut! (We drove there, by the way.) Click here to read all about it.

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.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Gr8LakesCamper: Holiday Roads and Traveling with Fido

November 22, 2010 by Gr8LakesCamper · 6 Comments 

Tiny, a 7-pound poodle, peers out the RV door between the legs of one of six Great Danes she lives with in the RV with their owners, John and Sharon Butts of Burlington, Pa. (Associated Press)

Tiny, a 7-pound poodle, peers out the RV door between the legs of one of six Great Danes she lives with in the RV with their owners, John and Sharon Butts of Burlington, Pa. (Associated Press)

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. No doubt, millions will trek to the abodes of family and friends as the holiday season approaches.

Just how many are traveling with Fido this holiday season? In a recent survey of more than 7,000 pet owners worldwide, discovered that 63 percent of pet owners say they travel at least 50 miles with their pets during the holidays.

From a safety perspective, unrestrained pets in autos are responsible for more than 30,000 accidents every year according to the ASPCA.

FIDO Friendly magazine shares a ‘Holiday Road Warrior Survival Guide’ as we take to the highways and byways for holiday gatherings with family and “fur-ends.”

This Thanksgiving were visiting my brother and his family in New Jersey, but we’re leaving our dog, Chewie, behind.

That said, we nearly always bring Chewie with us on our camping trips. And, as more and more of us RVers also travel with our pets, some of the following advice is of good use for us as well. Many of these are simple common sense, but as we all know — and one of my earlier posts about world’s worst campers Elvis and Ozzie illustrated all too well — we have all camped next to people who either lack common sense or the initiative to use it.

Vaccination Records
Keep a copy of all vaccination records. Should an emergency arise once you are on the road, you will have the important information you need. You will also need these records should you ever need to board Fido for the day or overnight if you take in an excursion where your furry companion is not allowed.

Collar and Leash
Remember that taking Fido out of the car for potty breaks must include his collar being secured and him being leashed (don’t forget the poop bags). A foreign territory brings unique smells that are oh so hard to resist, and your little darling can escape before you can say, “Sit, stay.”

With the lives of you and Fido on the line, FIDO Friendly magazine urges us to consider a safety harness for our dogs when traveling. The back seat is the safest place for Fido to avoid air bag deployment in the event of an accident. Acclimate Fido to the harness by allowing him to wear the harness around the house for a few minutes at a time. Graduate to short car trips in the area. Work into longer trips and never scold Fido in the process. He’s getting used to it just as you are. If he could thank you for saving his life, right now he is.

Things to look for in a good safety harness? Strong webbing such as nylon, strong stitching, allow the pet to sit and stand comfortably, and comfort combined with reliability if an accident occurs.

Fido won’t want to get lost, so be sure that he has a current tag with an emergency phone number firmly attached to his collar or harness. Most people travel with a cell phone, making this the perfect number for your dog’s tag.

First Aid Kit
There are a number of dog-specific first aid kits on the market, and if you have the time, you can even put together your own. Some essentials to include are:
• Tweezers to remove ticks
• Styptic powder to stop toenail bleeding
• Eye wash to flush wounds
• Gauze bandage
• Adhesive tape
• Scissors
• Antiseptic moist wipes

Food and Water
Be sure to bring along Fido’s favorite food so as not to upset his stomach. There are great roadworthy foods and treats on the market. If you will be cooking for Fido, make the food ahead of time, and pack it along with your own goodies. Your dog is used to drinking water from your hometown, and when traveling it’s a good idea to bring along as much of Fido’s drinking water as you can, and rely on bottled water as back-up. Nothing puts the damper on holiday spirits or caming trip like an emergency visit to the vet.

Seat Covers and Blankets
We’ve all been there; a camping trip when it rained and our dog’s paws got muddy. Or Fido ran into the lake with the kids, or chased a fish in the stream… you get the picture. Protect your seats with covers and blankets made especially for your type of automobile. Be proactive: Always carry additional towels and wipes to clean off your rambunctious Rover when visiting with family and friends.

Beds and Crate
Don’t leave home without Fido’s favorite blankie or bed. You don’t want him sleeping on the guest bed — or do you? Bring sheets, too, so if your furry companion is accustomed to sleeping on the furniture, he won’t leave any tell-tale signs. If Fido calls his crate his den, then bring it along for a good night sleep during your Thanksgiving trip.

Fun Stuff
Don’t forget the toys! If Fido is a nervous Nelly when away from home, help ease his discomfort by bringing as many toys from home as you can. Familiar smells and chew toys will help calm even the most anxious pet. If Rocky is a Rachmaninoff aficionado, by all means pack his favorite CD for his and your listening pleasure. For the record, Chewie prefers Jimmy Buffett.

Double-Check Hotel Reservations
You are ready to go—but before you back the mini-van out of the driveway, call your hotel to confirm your reservation and that they are expecting Fido. Nothing says bummer like a newly implemented “no pets allowed” policy since you made your reservation.

From the personal blog: I continue to post many items that would make for great getaways during the holidays and winter months, including all that Southern Indiana has to offer, and a great opportunity for women to learn outdoors skills in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during a February DNR clinic.

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.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

RV Cooking Show – Aunt Lucy’s Thanksgiving Stuffing & 3 Hidden Gem National Parks/Monuments

November 18, 2010 by Evanne Schmarder · 14 Comments 

Happy Thanksgiving readers!!

Growing up, this stuffing permeated my holidays. It’s the one we enjoyed when spending time with Aunt Lucy and her brood and, if we couldn’t be together that year, enjoyed at our house. It’s a staple at my Thanksgiving table all these years and miles later and one I’m not willing to compromise on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t. In fact, if it were up to my chile-lovin’ husband, we’d add roasted green chiles to this year’s batch (but not going to happen). Check out my “Additional Tips” on this episode’s webpage for ways to customize this dish or enjoy it like Aunt Lucy makes it. Either way, it’s delicious!

While the stuffing is cooking I’ll take you on a quick tour of something I’m mighty thankful for – three of my favorite lesser known National Parks/Monuments  – and I’ll offer my .02 on what’s not to be missed when visiting the parks. Check it out:

Make our Crockpot Turkey Breast – see the video here.

And don’t forget Mom’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce…yum!

FOR the ADVENTUROUS (or simply curious): Gourmet Trash Can Turkey

From all of us at the RV Cooking Show, we wish you and those you care about a memorable Thanksgiving holiday.


RV Cooking Show

PS – What do you call the Thanksgiving turkey stuffing? Stuffing or ??? Leave a comment…we’d all like to know :>

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

RV Cooking Show – Crockpot Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving

November 21, 2009 by Evanne Schmarder · 4 Comments 

Holiday greetings, friends,  

Poof! All of a sudden we’re coming into the busy, busy winter holiday season so I’ll make this brief. Do the words “RVing” and “turkey” in the same sentence have you shaking your head, thinking “can’t happen”? Well think again! In this episode of the RV Cooking Show host Evanne Schmarder shares her little turkey secret…the crockpot. Moist, tender, and easy. Take a look at Crockpot Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving, we think you’ll agree…it’s delicious!!

We’ve also got some goodies in the Thanksgiving archives:

Try Mom’s Famous Cranberry Sauce…folks in 18 countries over five continents did and gave it a thumbs up.

I’d always been on the lookout for an easy and elegant sweet potato recipe…well, here it is. No video – just a text recipe – but worthy just the same.

Go a bit “rouge” yourself this year with one of our wacky but delish recipes…Trash Can Turkey for the adventurous or double the sauce recipe, use turkey breast instead of chicken, and crockpot a Trailblazer Turkey.

Question: do you track your RV travels? I’ll share my method in this RV Cooking Show episode and have blogged about it around the RV Cooking Show virtual campfire – our blog. Check it out here.

May I take a moment to say that I’ll be counting YOU, our loyal viewers, among my many blessings this year.

Happy thanksgiving to you and yours.

Most sincerely,

Evanne and the RV Cooking Show family

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Moving and Preexisting Conditions.

February 23, 2009 by Gary Smith, Jr. · 5 Comments 

First off, I want to say to my readers (if any of you remember me) that I am sorry I haven’t written anything lately.  Life outside of camping and RV.Net sometimes takes all of your time.  So, let me tell you what has happened to me in real life.  As some of you know, we have been looking for a new house out in the country (we like camping so it should follow we like the country).  We had several near misses and looked at some wonderful and beautiful homes.  It seemed that when we found a nice piece of land, we didn’t like the house and, when we liked the house, the land was less than wonderful.  Still we found several that we liked but could never come to terms.  However late in November that changed, we found a three bedroom farm house on 11 1/2 acres.  We made a very reasonable offer, and, almost to our surprise, it was quickly accepted.  Which was nice because we were having storage and other problems at our old place and wanted to move quickly.  Now I hadn’t purchased property in many years, and found some of the new government rules and regulations to be very, very confusing as well as well as having to play the mortgage percentage game!

But to make a long story short, we started MOVING Thanksgiving weekend, for us it was truly Thanksgiving!  So, that is when we lost our internet connection.  But the following Monday my real problems began.   As some of you know, I hunt, and I was out on the first day of buck season with my daughter.  While walking, I damaged a preexisting injury.  The original injury was a severe muscle tear which damaged the circulation in my lower left leg.  I developed a small venous stasis ulcer 4 years ago when I bruised my ankle area  which took months to heal.  This time the injury was a very small rub/blister to the area where the ulcer had been.  We continued to move and work, and, to be honest, I kind of ignored the small injury.  Which is the wrong thing to do.  By the time Christmas had come and gone, we finally had finished moving and were soon to finally connect back up to the internet.  But then the very small wound had grown to about the size of a dime, and I knew I had to go get help.

The Wound was not healing because it had a underlying infection. So now a month and a half after seeking help and two rounds of antibiotic treatments and wound care, many missed days of work and the original wound growing to about 2 inches across and feeling like something was chewing on my ankle 24 hours a day, I think I can say I have finally turned the corner and it is healing.

Now, what does this have to do with Camping and writing about health and safety for RV.Net?  Simply this; you should never ignore preexisting conditions when planning how to care for yourself, or to ignore small injuries.  Even more, you should never wait to seek treatment for injuries that are not healing.  If this had been the summer, I would have missed most of the camping season!  As it turned out, I have lost some money and had to spend weeks with a very painful injury that immobilized me and I am rehabbing.  But I am back to work full time (and still have a job!).  I also have plans for several articles and even more plans for our new property.  The biggest of which is plans for building a parking area / shelter for our camper.  Hopefully I can continue to share with you for years to come and we can all continue to learn (usually from my mistakes!).

Your Obedient Servant,

Gary Smith, Jr.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2008 by Lynn Difley · 4 Comments 

By Lynn Difley
Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. I think it’s my favorite. The combination of family and food, what could be better? It is far enough away from the commercialism of the other holidays that it can still be enjoyed with a minimum of fuss.

We can enjoy the company of family and friends; delight in the foods prepared with love and regard for the quality of the ingredients. Thanksgiving is a great time to enjoy the fall harvest of foods; farmers markets are still full of greens, peppers, winter squash, and root vegetables. If you are worried about adding on too many pounds this holiday, I have some facts to share, and will leave you to make your own conclusions. Read more

Mom’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

November 24, 2008 by Evanne Schmarder · Comments Off 

Thanksgiving dinner at home (a.k.a. my RV) is my favorite way to celebrate the day. And yep, I cook it all – from soup to nuts – in my rig. You can watch as I prepare this dish, and/or view the printer-friendly recipe on my site here.

P.S. For quite some time I’d been looking for a tasty sweet potato dish that wouldn’t overpower the rest of the meal. I found one and I think it’s a keeper! Here’s a bonus Thanksgiving recipe from the RV Cooking Show picnic table to yours – Really Delicious Sweet Potatoes…mmm!!

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]