Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rollin' on TV: BT Cruiser and the Trail Manor



On this week's program (#2016-18), Rollin' On TV reviews the BT Cruiser motorhome by Gulfstream RV, takes a look at the Trail Manor and Evanne Schmarder shows us a tasty new drink.

About Rollin' On TV
In production since 2010, Rollin' On TV has become one of the leading RV lifestyle television programs on the air today, reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For more information, visit www.rollinontv.com.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Door County Lures Fall Visitors with Bumper Crop, Brilliant Colors



Fall travelers will find a cornucopia of attractions in Door County, Wis., this season, including an extraordinarily bountiful apple crop and vibrant fall colors across the scenic 70-mile peninsula. Through October 23, the county will spotlight those attractions with the “So Delicious, So Door County” promotion, a multi-faceted celebration of the county’s natural beauty and rich food scene.

Door County’s orchards and farm markets are particularly compelling this harvest season as apple growers are predicting one of the best crops in years thanks to timely rains and heat this summer. Visitors can pick their own apples at numerous orchards starting the weekend of September 17 or purchase a bundle at local markets. The farm markets and specialty stores also feature a number of locally-made cherry products to sample and purchase from Door County’s 2,500 acres of Montmorency cherry orchards.

Another must-see culinary experience is the Door County Fish Boil. Served by a number of restaurants, this popular meal features locally caught Lake Michigan whitefish and potatoes cooked outdoors in a large kettle of salted water over a roaring wood fire. As the meal is nearing readiness, kerosene is tossed into the fire beneath the pot, catalyzing the flames into a picturesque “boil over” finale. The meal is traditionally finished off with a slice of Door County’s iconic tart cherry pie, made with locally grown cherries. Other visitor opportunities for the culinary traveler include wine sampling at eight different wineries along the Door County Wine Trail; cooking classes; sampling freshly caught smoked fish, locally-made cheese and other produce.

The autumnal appeal of Door County isn’t just limited to foodies, however; both art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the peninsula in September and October. The county not only boasts more than 100 art galleries and studios, but live music performances and award-winning professional theater productions. Hikers, bikers and photographers are drawn to the region’s five state parks, 11 lighthouses and other natural and maritime attractions – all of which are framed by brilliant fall colors. Door County Trolley tours allow visitors to relax and experience the exquisite colors and scenic vistas on a 75 minute tour of the county. Other fall highlights include:
  • Harvest Festival, Sturgeon Bay (September 17)
  • Autumnfest Classic Car Show & Fireworks, Baileys Harbor (September 24-25)
  • Fall Fun Fest & Cider Pressing Party, Washington Island (October 8-9)
  • Pumpkin Patch Festival, Egg Harbor (October 8-9)
  • Sister Bay Fall Festival (October 14-16)
  • Door County Fall 50 Ultra-Marathon, Gills Rock to Sturgeon Bay (October 22)
The Door County Visitor Bureau has compiled a list of additional fall activities for visitors on its website along with weekly fall color updates:http://www.doorcounty.com/autumn. More information on seasonal lodging package specials can be found here:http://www.doorcounty.com/so-delicious-so-door-county-packages.

About Door CountyDoor County is located in the northeast corner of Wisconsin. Surrounded by Lake Michigan, it is one of the top leisure travel destinations in America. Door County features 300 miles of shoreline, 34 named islands, 11 lighthouses and 5 state parks. It is known for its natural beauty, artistic offerings, outdoor recreation and local cuisine and offers scenic seaside experiences in the heart of the Midwest. Travel information and travel planning assistance (including information on available packages), can be found at DoorCounty.com or by calling 1-800-527-3529.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Fit RV videos: Planked Rainbows, Winnebago 4x4 Concept, Bear Defense Products, Sand-Free RVing Products, Totally Awesome Passenger Seat Workout, & RV Propane vs Induction Boil Off



About The Fit RV

Meet Stef & James: Travato-owning outdoor enthusiasts keeping fit and active on the road. Get inspired, be entertained, & find (sometimes) useful RV tips! Follow The Fit RV on their websiteblogFacebook pageTwitter account and on Pinterest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We're the Russos: California Bound, Clay's Park Campground, Canton Ohio, Pre-Departure Checklist,



About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. Their rig is a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Volunteers needed in September at state parks, recreation areas in southwest Michigan

Volunteer stewardship workdays take place
each month at state parks and recreation areas.
Volunteer efforts at these workdays are
critical in helping to protect Michigan's
natural areas. (DNR photo)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced the September schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays at state parks in southwest Michigan, offering plenty of opportunities for area residents to help protect natural areas by removing non-native shrubs like autumn olive, multi-flora rose and Japanese barberry.

No experience is necessary, and training and equipment are provided. These activities are a great way to enjoy time outdoors in the late summer while restoring high-quality, unique ecosystems and learning more about them.

Workday dates, locations (counties) and times include:
The DNR's Volunteer Stewardship Program is a hands-on way for all ages to learn about and protect Michigan's natural resources by collecting native seeds, removing invasive species, conducting plant and animal surveys and more. Other ways to volunteer with the DNR include joining a state park friends group, serving as a campground host or a lightkeeper and many other opportunities.

Watch this brief video to learn more about why these volunteer stewardship efforts are so important to protecting natural areas and ecosystems in Michigan state parks and recreation areas.

All volunteers are asked to register using the form available on the DNR website or via email. Any questions should be directed to Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 orfreih@michigan.gov. Volunteers should bring work gloves, drinking water and appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

Workday details, maps and directions can be found on the DNR website atwww.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and clicking on the Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Win a 30-day Outward Bound Expedition in Big Bend National Park sponsored by Voyageur Outward Bound School



Joining the celebration of the 100th anniversary of our National Parks, Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) is now offering a series of courses for 14 to 30-year olds in Big Bend National Park this fall, winter and spring.

Two Texas residents, age 18 to 30, can win a place on the 30-day Pathfinder Expedition by submitting a 1- to 2-minute video that communicates why they are ready for a life-changing wilderness expedition in Big Bend. Entries must be received by midnight Sept. 30, 2016.

“As with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the Big Bend region is a very special place,” Jack Lee, VOBS Executive Director, said. “We are very excited to return to the region where we have served over 1,500 students in past years and to offer two free spots to Texans, valued at $5,800 per trip.”

Comprised of nearly one million acres of varied landscape, Big Bend National Park boasts the largest protected area of Chihuahuan desert where the altitude ranges from 1,800 to nearly 8,000 feet. The variations in temperature and moisture contribute to exceptional diversity in plant and animal habitats, while its remote location won it the distinction of an international dark-sky park – one of only 10 in the world.

Outward Bound’s Big Bend course offerings include a 72-day Semester Course for 18 to 30 year olds starting September 2016 and March 2017, a 30-day Pathfinders Course for 18 to 30 year olds looking for direction and leadership skills starting October 2016 and January 2017 and a 28-day Intercept Course for struggling teens (14 to 17) beginning November 2016, January and March, 2017. On each course, two highly trained instructors will accompany 10 students.

“A young person’s success in both school and in life is dependent not only on their test scores and knowledge but also on non-cognitive skills like determination, confidence, compassion, collaboration and leadership,” Lee said. “We believe the most effective and inspiring classroom for these crucial skills is nature. Through our outdoor education expedition programs, we help youth and adults from all walks of life discover the strength of their character to overcome obstacles, an ability to lead with integrity and compassion and a determination to serve their communities when they return.”

PATHFINDER COURSE: This 30-day course includes stimulating lessons in teamwork, perseverance and personal development through goal setting in a challenging environment. Designed for 18 to 30 year olds in transition in the workforce or coping with the demands of an established career, this expedition invites participants to push their comfort zones, hone their leadership style and examine their personal goals while learning technical skills in a unique and beautiful desert setting. For course details visit: http://bit.ly/PathfinderBigBend

For additional contest details, visit our Facebook contest page:
http://bit.ly/FacebookBigBendVideoContest

Source: Press Release

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Camping reservations expand at Michigan's Lakeport State Park

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is making it a little easier to camp at Lakeport State Park. Beginning Oct. 7, campers will be able to reserve all 250 campsites and two cabins at the park through the online reservation system for camping dates starting April 7, 2017.

“The DNR now will be allowing all 250 sites to be reserved,” said Mark Sine, supervisor at Lakeport State Park. "This means all 250 sites can be reserved online at www.midnrreservations.com or through the call center at 800-447-2757. The park is making this change as a service to our customers, so that it is easier to get a campsite during the busy weekends. Reservations were previously allowed at both cabins and 90 percent of available campsites."

The cabins were recently renamed from North Mini Cabin to White Pine Cabin and from South Mini Cabin to Cedar Cabin. 

Camping reservations can be booked up to six months in advance at Michigan State Parks. Campers are encouraged to visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757) to check on availability. Remaining camping spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Mark Sine, supervisor at Lakeport State Park at 810-327-6224 or sinem@michigan.gov.

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to state parks and recreation areas. Learn more about how the Recreation Passport gains you access to Michigan state parks and more atwww.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Long, Long Honeymoon videos: Secrets of the Alaska Highway Series & Tire Upgrades



About the Long, Long Honeymoon
After getting married in the Florida Keys, C.S. (Sean) and Kristy Michael spent their wedding night in their newly purchased recreational vehicle — a 25-foot Airstream travel trailer. Instead of jaunting off to honeymoon on a posh Pacific island, the newlyweds hitched up their trusty Ford diesel truck (nicknamed “SEEMORE”) and started exploring America.

Their “long long honeymoon” journey has stretched over 100,000 miles and 49 States, ranging from Key West (the southernmost point in the United States) all the way up to Fairbanks, Alaska. They have camped in every conceivable environment, from scenic national parks to less-than-exotic asphalt parking lots.

A writer and filmmaker, Sean totes his video camera everywhere, relentlessly documenting the experience. And in addition to Sean’s filmmaking equipment, the couple always pack their sense of humor. Their blog explores the lighter side of RV life; or as Kristy says, “the fun stuff!”

Why do they do it? “Because life should be a long long honeymoon…”

You can catch Sean and Kristy’s latest RV adventures (including all of their videos in glorious high-definition) on their website: LongLongHoneymoon.com. When not aboard their Airstream, the newlyweds divide their time between homes in Alabama and Florida. But you can always reach them via email at HoneymoonShow@aol.com.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Michigan Governor approves nearly $28 million in outdoor recreation development and acquisition grants

More opportunities for quality outdoor recreation will be available from $28 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants were recently undersigned by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“No matter where you are in Michigan, you’re never far from a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund-supported project,” said Snyder. “These important grants create better, broader access to public recreation opportunities for individuals and families in every county statewide.”

House Bill 5377, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead and co-sponsored by state Rep. Al Pscholka, approves funding for 70 recreation projects and land purchases recommended by the board last December. It is now Public Act 61 of 2016.

The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions that will further access to public outdoor recreation. This round of grant funding includes support for expanding public access and athletic field enhancement at local parks; making land and water trail connections along existing trail corridors; furthering significant natural resource protection projects, and expanding waterfront and public boating access opportunities. 

This year the board recommended $19.9 million for acquisition grants and $8 million for development grants.

Twenty-one acquisition grants were awarded to local units of government for a total of $15.2 million, while five acquisition grants went to the Department of Natural Resources for projects totaling $4.7 million. The Trust Fund board also recommended $6.5 million in development grants be awarded to 39 local units of government while five DNR projects garnered a total of $1.5 million.

"When a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant is awarded to a local unit of government, that funding brings economic, recreational and quality-of-life benefits to the surrounding community," said DNR Director Bill Moritz. “Projects like these often have a real impact on local businesses, too.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest earned on funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals and can only be used for public outdoor recreation. Over the past 40 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.

The Trust Fund board's recommendations went to the Michigan Legislature for review earlier this year as part of the appropriation process. Once approved by the Legislature, the bill is sent to the governor for his approval and signature.

Descriptions of the development projects and acquisition projects approved by Snyder are available at www.michigan.gov/mnrtf

For more information on the DNR, visitwww.michigan.gov/dnr.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We're the Russos: Champaign Urbana, Is Costco Worth It?, Winnebago Travato 59K, Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails RV Park & Much More



About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. Their rig is a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Michigan DNR set to plunge into water trails across the state

All across this Great Lakes State, there are trails for hikers and bikers, off-road vehicle riders, snowmobilers and equestrians.

For each of these pursuits, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources plays a big role in providing appropriate places for participants in these outdoor recreation activities to enjoy their passions.

Michigan has trails for boaters and paddlers too, but so far, the DNR has not been very involved in these water trails. That’s about to change in a significant way.

The DNR is in the process of developing a policy to include water trails – some overseen by other entities and some yet to be developed – into the state’s trail program.

Water trails range from segments of inland streams to Michigan’s entire Great Lakes shoreline. The policy is designed to help provide some consistency to user expectations of those trails.

"If they (paddlers or boaters) are reading about a water trail, they should know what to expect in terms of access and facilities along the trail and what skill-level is needed for each trail segment, be it along a river, inland lake or one of the Great Lakes,” said Emily Meyerson, the DNR Parks and Recreation Division’s northern Lower Peninsula trails coordinator who is working on the policy.

The Land Information Access Association, a non-profit
community development organization, is working on
developing a water trails manual and has created a
website of water trails located throughout the state.
Developing a state system of water trails is one of the five goals of Michigan‘s Water Strategy, a 30-year plan to protect, manage and enhance Michigan’s wonderful water resources for current and future generations.

Helping lead the charge is the Land Information Access Association, a 25-year-old nonprofit community development organization. The association began a program called Partnerships for Change to work on multi-jurisdictional projects.

Harry Burkholder, the association’s executive director, said the group immediately identified trails as “low-hanging fruit,” and water trails are an obvious corollary to land trails.

“There was no access to information on these water trails,” Burkholder said, “so we got a grant (from the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes) to create a database and website.”

Beginning with a handful of water trails that had been designated by a variety of entities, ranging from county governments and regional planning agencies to watershed groups and paddling clubs, the association now maintains a list and maps of 41 water trails situated throughout Michigan.

As part of its effort to promote water trails, the DNR sponsored an online contest to name Michigan’s favorite water trail.

The Detroit River was chosen as one of the top water trails
in the state in a DNR-sponsored online contest to name
Michigan’s favorite water trail. (DNR photos)

Of the 11 top vote-getters, the Au Sable River – which wasn’t even listed in the association’s database – was chosen by respondents as the top water trail in the state. Other nominees included the Shiawassee River, the Detroit River, the Grand River and Isle Royale National Park.

Burkholder said there are other states that have moved more quickly than Michigan in developing and promoting their water trails.

“Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana had already designated water trails on Lake Michigan before we did,” Burkholder said. “Now you can paddle on a designated Great Lakes water trail all around the state. But how well is that known? The awareness of these things is just not there.”

And that’s part of the impetus for the DNR’s policy: to foster awareness.

“What the heck’s the difference between a paddling route that anyone could take since the Great Lakes were formed to now that there are designated trails?” Burkholder asked. “It’s about broad-based partnerships taking ownership – providing maintenance, access sites, signage and awareness.”

Burkholder said Michigan and water trails are a perfect fit.

Michigan‘s Water Strategy, a 30-year plan to protect,
manage and enhance the state’s water resources, includes
the development of water trails as one its five goals.
“For Michigan, it’s a no-brainer,” Burkholder said. “In these communities, the water resource is already there. We can be the epicenter of this kind of recreation.

“And it does benefit communities – the more we can create trails, it serves as an impetus for development. The state and most communities recognize the place-making and economic-development potential of trails. It’s just about how we can make it better.”

LIAA is currently working on a water trails manual for Michigan. Many of the details are still in discussion. Should there be, for instance, separate motorized and non-motorized trails?

“The Inland Waterway, which goes from Cheboygan along the Indian River to Petoskey, is really one of those trails that has both the paddling perspective and the motorized perspective,” Burkholder said. “They can co-exist, obviously.”

The National Park Service has a program for designating national water trails. Two trails in Michigan, the Blueways of St. Clair (which finished second in the online voting) and the Huron River (fifth), are among the 18 on the federal water trails list.

The Huron River Water Trail is one of the two
trails in Michigan and the 18 trails in the country
designated as national water trails by the
National Park Service. (Photo courtesy of LIAA.)
The National Park Service trails were designated at the first national water trails conference, which was held in Ann Arbor two years ago. That Michigan city was chosen as the conference site because of the grass-roots movement for water trails surrounding the Huron River, Burkholder said.

Barbara Nelson-Jameson, an outdoor recreation planner with the National Park Service, said water trails – just like trails on land – must meet four criteria to be designated.

She said they must be open year-round for at least 10 years, must have the support of the landowners providing access, must meet all environmental and land-use policies and laws along the corridor, and must be maintained.

In addition, the trails are required to adhere to seven best-management practices that address recreation, public information, public support, maintenance, education, conservation and planning.

The Huron River water trail meets the criteria in spades, she said.

“The Huron River Watershed Council had a very comprehensive planning process where they brought all the communities and management agencies together to develop,” Nelson-Jameson said. “They developed public information that is uniform across all the municipalities; the signage is the same in Rockwood as it is in Ann Arbor. And they continue to monitor it. They’ve actually helped communities improve and enhance their launch sites.”

The Huron River Watershed Council also conducts watershed-wide conservation programs, such as water quality monitoring, working with partners, including school or community groups.

“They have a very robust program,” Nelson-Jameson said.

While the DNR is gathering feedback on its draft water trails policy, it has signed on with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and LIAA to sponsor a state conference, scheduled for Sept. 15 in Traverse City.

"Our waterways have been used historically for both transportation and recreation," Meyerson said. “They’re looked at by the public as places to recreate, for paddling, fishing or just being outdoors. There is a lot of interest in water trails all over the state.”

"After the plan is completed, we will explore strategies to not only partner with multiple jurisdictions but seek a stable funding source for the development of water trails across Michigan."


Check out the National Park Service’s water trails list and other information.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

We're the Russos: Wisconsin Dells & Beer Battered Fish Fry, Campground Etiquette, Making New Friends, Winnebago Era 70X, Harvest Hosts


About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. Their rig is a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook.

RV Education 101 videos: Tips for Hot Weather RVing, Batteries, Preparing for your Next RV trip & Much More!




RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rollin' on TV: Thor Gemini, Norcold frig & White bean, beer and chicken chili



On this week's program (#2016-17), Alison Hayes and her daughter Emory set out in their first RV adventure in a new Gemini motorhome from Thor Motor Coach. Also, Evanne Schmarder gets a new Norcold refrigerator installed in her RV. Then Jeff Johnston cooks up his favorite white bean, beer and chicken chili.

About Rollin' On TV
In production since 2010, Rollin' On TV has become one of the leading RV lifestyle television programs on the air today, reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For more information, visit www.rollinontv.com.