Video: 'Dometic WeatherPro Awning' by Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 3:43 video on the "Dometic WeatherPro Awning" from Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:

In this informative RV 101® video Mark Polk with RV Education demonstrates the features and benefits of the WeatherPro Awnings by Dometic. With wind sensor technology and the unique spring arm mechanism that automatically flexes to release accumulating rain from the awning fabric the WeatherPro awning takes the worry out of using your awning. http://www.dometic.com/enus/Americas/...


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"

Michigan Out of Doors TV takes us to the ice caves in the Upper Peninsula



Enjoy this video from Michigan Out of Doors as they take a trip to the ice caves of Upper Peninsula, plus a coyote hunt in southern mid Michigan and a variety segment involving viewers.

Here's what Michigan Out of Doors had to say about its video:
This week we start by chasing coyotes with the big hounds and then go above the bridge to see some amazing ice caves! We end the show with you the viewer with one of our bragging board segments.

Video: 'Dometic Sunchaser Awning' from Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 1:54 video on the "Dometic Sunchaser Awning" from Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
In this RV 101 video Mark Polk with RV Education 101 demonstrates the features and benefits of the Sunchaser patio awning by Dometic. If you are looking for an affordable yet durable patio awning for your RV the Sunchaser patio awning is a great choice. http://www.dometic.com/enus/Americas/...


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"

Some clever RV DIY Mods

This came across my desk the other day and, after I retrieved it from the trash, I noticed that some of their ideas could easily be applied as a RV modification.

And, since we're all about what pain and damage (i.e. "improvements") we can inflict upon our RVs, I decided to share them with you. (compliments of The Family Handyman)

Hidden Toothbrush Organizer – Hate it when the toothbrushes in your medicine cabinet fall out each time you open the door? Cutting notches in the cabinet shelves is a simple solution to this annoying nuisance. All you’ll need is a rotary tool along with a woodcutting bit and sanding drum.

Handy Razor Holder – Keep your razor clean and off of shower surfaces by using PVC pipe and plastic tie straps to craft a simple holder. Cut a 3-in. length of 1-in. PVC pipe with a handsaw. Then, cut two 1/8 in.-wide notches in the pipe. Strap the pipe to your wire shower caddy with the two plastic tie straps hooked in the notches. Drop the razor into the pipe—the blade will catch on the edges of the pipe, keeping the razor off the floor.

Magnetic Toothbrush Holder — Stop leaving your toothbrushes on a wet, messy vanity. Mount neodymium magnets on a Corian mounting strip with Super glue, then glue the strip to the wall with Super Glue or silicone caulk. To mount your toothbrushes, stick a tiny screw or metal washer in the back of standard varieties. Battery-powered toothbrushes have hidden steel parts that stick to magnets. (Note: Neodymium magnets are incredibly strong but break if handled roughly. Order several more than you need. Also do not handle these magnets if you wear a pacemaker or leave them next to your computer.)

PVC Curling Iron Holsters — Say goodbye to messy looking curling irons lying on the vanity or toilet tank. Instead, use hook-and-loop tape to attach 5-in. lengths of 2-in.-diameter PVC pipe to the vanity door to hold them. Do the same with 3-in. pieces of 1-1/2-in. diameter pipe to hold the cords. Just measure your curling irons to see how long your holsters need to be. Remember to let your curling irons cool before you stow them away.

Easy Under-Cabinet Cleanup — Is the floor of your sink cabinet stained and unsightly? Spruce it up with squares of self-adhesive vinyl tile. They’re about a buck a square at home centers and provide an easy-to-wipe surface.

Equal-i-zer Hitch receives Peach Award

Progress Mfg. Inc., maker of the Original Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch, was recognized with a 2014 Peach Award by Stag-Parkway at the distributor’s annual RV conference in Puerto Rico. 

Stag-Parkway seeks partnerships that create mutual success and recognized Equal-i-zer as an exemplary supplier partner.

“We look for business partners that foster mutual growth and success in the market,” stated Martin Street, CEO of Stag-Parkway. “We are extremely fortunate to have wonderful supplier partners and recognizing those companies that exceed our expectations is always a challenge. At the end of the day, we select companies that deliver programs, strategies and products in such a way that you can sell more and sell it more profitably.”

Progress Manufacturing was also recognized in 2012 and 2013, “for exhibiting exceptional customer service, providing superior sales and training support and for being basically really good people to work with,” Street continued.

“This kind of effort and focus gets results,” added Street. “Our three year sales history is evidence of that – 2010 up 15 percent, 2011 up 26 percent, and 2012 up 20 percent. Well, that company’s [Equal-i-zer] sales were up 29 percent in 2013. I’m not sure I need to say much more than I am very pleased to present its third consecutive Peach Award, to Progress Manufacturing.”

Equal-i-zer has been a favorite among trailer owners, dealers and distributors, and has seen record growth over the last three years. Management for the company has focused on keeping and recruiting strong talent, improving systems, engineering the highest-quality products and supporting partners to help manage and leverage the growth.

“We are so honored to receive this award for the third straight year,” stated Rich Elliott, VP of Sales and Marketing. “Stag-Parkway is a very important partner to us, and being honored by Stag is a big win.

“There is no greater compliment than being recognized as ‘basically really good people to work with,’ and we look forward to continuing to provide excellent products, support and customer service to all of our partners,” Elliott added.

Equal-i-zer Hitch is a division of Progress Manufacturing, a Utah company that specializes in the production and manufacturing of sway control hitches, adjustable ball mounts and trailer hitch accessories.

Video: New RV show 'Flippin' RVs' on Great American Country cable channel



There's a new RV show on television, and if the rest of it is as any good as the teaser for the premiere episode, this just might have staying power.

"Flippin’ RVs" is a new television show about the incredible world of vintage and collectible travel trailers. Featuring Justin and Anna Scribner from Flyte Camp Vintage Trailer Restoration in Bend, Oregon, Flippin’ RVs follows our trailer-obsessed husband and wife team around the country as they seek out rare trailers, and then hangs out in their custom shop as they meticulously restore some of these beauties to better-than-new condition. Welcome to the ultimate world of vintage homes on wheels – this is Flippin’ RVs.

The show supposedly airs on Great American Country (GAC) but I couldn't find it anywhere on their website.

Video: Missouri State Parks Youth Corps now accepting 2014 applications




JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A nationally recognized jobs initiative for young adults is returning for its fifth year, Gov. Nixon announced today. State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC), launched by the Governor in 2010, provides Missouri youth with the opportunity to work outdoors improving Missouri’s state parks and historic sites. SPYC employs eligible Missourians between the ages of 17 and 23 at parks, historic sites and natural areas across Missouri, from May 1 through Dec. 31. Applications for the program are now being accepted online at thinkoutside.mo.gov.

“State Parks Youth Corps gives young Missourians the opportunity to gain valuable job skills while making a difference in Missouri’s outdoor areas,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “Since 2010, we’ve been able to undertake a wide variety of meaningful projects and are looking forward to what these young people are sure to accomplish in 2014.”

“We’ve been incredibly pleased with the contributions these young people have made to Missouri’s state parks and historic sites over the past several years,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. “We look forward to continuing this important partnership for the benefit of the participants and the state’s award-winning parks system.”

Since the program began in 2010, SPYC workers have completed more than 550,000 hours in Missouri state parks and historic sites. During 2013, SPYC workers put in more than 70,000 hours, performing a variety of tasks, ranging from routine maintenance work and trail construction to interpretation and stewardship efforts. Examples included treating 365 acres of Long Branch State Park for invasive plant species; repairing and repainting 15 picnic tables, 12 benches, and 60 grills at St. Joe State Park; leading nearly 1,700 tours at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park; and working to build an accessible pathway at Battle of Lexington State Historic Site.

State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC) is administered by Missouri’s Workforce Investment Boards in partnership with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks and the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Workforce Development. In 2013, Missouri State Parks Youth Corps was accepted as a part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).

Video: 'New Trailer Sway Control Product' by Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 2:57 video on "New Trailer Sway Control Product" by Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
RV101.TV - expert help for your RV with Mark Polk of RV Education 101. In this informative RV how to video Mark Polk interviews folks at Tuson RV Brakes about a brand new trailer sway control being introduced in 2014.

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"

Illinois DNR news for March

Camping Reservations:  Now’s the time to make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com using a Visa or MasterCard.   For more information, check the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/camping/camprsvp.htm

2014 Illinois Licenses Reminder:  Outdoors enthusiasts are reminded that Illinois’ new license year begins April 1.  Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses for 2014 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website www.dnr.illinois.gov/online/Pages/default.aspx, or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2014 licenses will be valid through Mar. 31, 2015 unless otherwise noted. When buying a 2014 Illinois hunting, fishing, or sportsman’s license, add a donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation to support youth hunting and fishing programs.  An additional $5.00 donation to the ICF will help recruit the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts. 

Spring Turkey Applications:  Random daily drawings for resident and non-resident hunters for 2014 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey permits began March 10. The link to the online permit application can be found on the IDNR website Spring Turkey page:  http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting.aspx

2014 Spring Youth Wild Turkey Hunt:  Over-the-counter sales of county permits for the Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season began on March 4. The dates for the 2014 Spring Youth Wild Turkey season are March 29-30 in the Southern Zone and April 5-6 in the Northern Zone.  For permit application and other information, check the IDNR website at this link:  www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting

Spring Trout Season Opens April 5:  The 2014 Spring Trout Fishing Season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Sat., April 5. The catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.  Unless exempt,anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. A list of sites for the spring catchable trout program is available on the IDNR website at this link:  http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Pages/IllinoisSpringTroutFishingSeasonOpensApril5.aspx

Please note that an earlier announcement incorrectly included Gebhard Woods State Park as a spring trout location; Gebhard Woods is not open to spring trout fishing. 

Fishing Booklet:  The 2013-2015 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available in PDF format through the IDNR website at:  www.dnr.illinois.gov/fishing.  Regulations in the guide are effective through March 31, 2015. Illinois Free Fishing Days for 2014 are June 6-9.

Hunter and Boating Safety Education:  Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR are posted on the IDNR website, where class schedules are updated frequently. Sign up for a safety course today.  The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety.

Wingshooting Clinics:  IDNR and cooperating co-sponsors will conduct 31 wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois from March through early November this year.  Most clinics are conducted on weekends.  Wingshooting clinics are held on IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs, hunting preserves, and farms. Youth/Women’s wingshooting clinics are about learning to safely shoot a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability.  Boys and girls typically in the 10-15 age group, and women, are eligible to participate.  Hunter wingshooting clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations.  For this year’s wingshooting clinic schedule and more information, check the IDNR website:  http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/wingshootinghome.htm

Hunting and Concealed Carry:  IDNR reminds Illinois Concealed Carry Permit holders that they must comply with current wildlife code laws and regulations while hunting in Illinois. The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement has prepared a fact sheet with common questions and answers to help guide Concealed Carry Permit holders who hunt on or utilize IDNR properties.  The fact sheet is on the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/law3/.

Wildlife Preservation Grant Applications:  Applications are now being accepted through 5 p.m. on April 1 for the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund grant programs, which are administered through the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage.  These programs are funded through a voluntary check-off designation to the Wildlife Preservation Fund on the state income tax form. Each of the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant Program packets for Fiscal Year 2015 includes a program explanation, instructions for completing the application form, and an application form.  The application packet can be found on the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/grants/index.htm.  The packet is also available by request by calling 217-782-2602 or by e-mail at DNR.SPECIALFUNDS@illinois.gov

Becoming an Outdoors Woman:  Registration is now open for the IDNR ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman’ Workshop on June 6-8 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois. ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman’ workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction and experiences in many outdoor-related activities and skills. Class instruction is offered in a fun, non-competitive, and hands-on environment. BOW workshops are very popular, so register early.  The cost of $220 per person includes housing, meals, classes, use of equipment, transportation during the event, and much more. Registration information is online at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow.  

Bird Watching at Emiquon:  Novice and seasoned birders are invited to a morning of bird watching at the Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown on Sat., Mar. 29 from 7-10 a.m.  Binoculars will be available.  A light brunch will be available at the Dickson Mounds Museum after the bird watching.  For more information, phone 309-547-3721.

Memorial Open Water Swim at Lincoln Trail State Park:  Make plans to participate or attend the Geoffrey Keller Memorial Open Water Swim on Sat., June 21 at Lincoln Trail Lake at Lincoln Trail State Park, Marshall, IL.  The inaugural event will be held in honor of the late Geoffrey Keller in support of Malignant Hyperthermia awareness.  For more information, call the Lincoln Trail State Park office at 217-826-2222, or check the website at http://my.mhaus.org/event/id/383007/Geoffrey-Keller-Memorial-Open-Water-Swim-6-21-14.htm
  

Follow the IDNR:  Keep up to date with events and information on outdoor recreation and natural resources in Illinois through IDNR postings on Facebook and Twitter.  Find us at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/about/Pages/SocialNetworking.aspx

Cedar Point to replace Camper's Village campground with cabins





The former campground is giving way to 52 deluxe cabins. The more modern
campground, which will remain, is at the right of the rendering.
Two or three times the last several years we've camped at Cedar Point. The Sandusky, Ohio amusement park - known worldwide for its roller coasters - has two RV campgrounds: Camper's Village, an older one that's less expensive than the more recent one, Lighthouse Point, with modern facilities.

We have always stayed at Camper's Village, which was a series of concentric circles surrounding a much-used bathhouse. Here's my blog post from one of the first times we camped at Cedar Point. The video above is from that post. Take a good look at that video, because apparently that's the campground that's going away.

Cedar Point announced earlier this month that it will be adding 52 new deluxe cabins to its Lighthouse Point resort. These new cabins can accommodate up to 10 people and will feature two full bathrooms, four flat panel televisions, a dorm-size refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, outdoor charcoal grill and picnic table. In addition, all of the cottages, cabins and full hook-up campsites in Lighthouse Point will now offer free wireless internet access. A new registration building will help speed up the check-in process and get guests to their cabins and RV sites quicker than ever before.

Reservations for the new cabins can be made immediately and room nights will be available beginning May 23.

Lighthouse Point is conveniently located along the west bank of the Cedar Point Peninsula and consists of 64 cozy cottages, 40 quaint cabins and 97 luxury RV campsites in addition to the 52 new cabins. Originally opened in 2001, Lighthouse Point nearly doubled in size with a major addition in 2004.  The centerpiece of Lighthouse Point is the historic Cedar Point Lighthouse (circa 1862), which is the oldest existing structure on the Cedar Point Peninsula.

Guests who stay at any Cedar Point Resorts property get the best perks, like $39 one-day admission tickets (a savings of more than $20 off the gate price) and Early Entry – a chance to experience some of the best rides and coasters on the planet a full one hour before the park opens to the general public.

Also, back by popular demand is Cedar Point’s Easy Pay plan which allows overnight visitors to lock-in low pre-season rates while conveniently managing the cost of their stay in four easy installments with no payment due at booking! Packages can be purchased on Cedar Point’s website or by calling 419-627-2106.

Cedar Point opens for the 2014 season on Saturday, May 10. For a complete operating schedule, visit cedarpoint.com.

Five videos on RV Driving Tips & Hints from RV Education 101



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"

Video: National Park tourism in Michigan creates $181.7 million in economic benefit


Author's note: Here's a rather interesting press release that crossed my desk recently. Ironically, I lived in Calumet at the time the NPS created the Keweenaw National Historical Park so I'm, familiar with its attractions. Also, I was born, raised and currently reside, in Monroe County so I'm well aware of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park and what it has to offer. Last summer we had a terrific camping trip to Mackinaw City, where we took a day trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Finally, we have been to Sleeping Bear Dunes several times, seemingly always on a hot summer day when the sand burns our feet.

New report shows visitor spending supports 2,819 jobs in Michigan

A picture of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
I took during our vacation last summer.
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,192,477 visitors to national parks in Michigan spent $181.7 million and supported 2,819 jobs in the state in 2012.

“The national parks of Michigan attract visitors from across the country and around the world and provide premiere historical, cultural, natural, and recreational experiences,” said NPS Midwest Regional Director Michael T. Reynolds. “This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested - and funding generated by national parks has a swift and direct positive impact on local economies in Michigan as well.”

The national parks in Michigan are:

  • Isle Royale National Park, Houghton (16,663 total visitors; $3.477 million in visitor spending)
  • Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet (no additional info available) 
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising (593,587 total visitors; $23.721 million in visitor spending)
  • River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Monroe; (50,667 total visitors; $2.726 million in visitor spending)
  • and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire (1.531 million total visitors; $151.782 million in visitor spending).

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.  The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Michigan and how the National Park Service works with  Michigan communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/MICHIGAN.

Video: 'RV Awning Care & Maintenance Tip' by Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 0:57 video on "RV Awning Care & Maintenance Tip" by Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
RV101.TV - expert help for your RV with Mark Polk of RV Education 101. In this informative RV how to video get a quick tip on cleaning and maintaining your RV awning fabric.

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"

Michigan DNR to reopen a handful of State Forest campgrounds

From michigan.org
Howard Meyerson of the Grand Rapids Press, via MLive.com, recently announced that at least four Michigan State Forest campgrounds will reopen this summer.

That's outstanding news!

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which operates the state forest campgrounds, closed 12 of the rustic facilities in 2009 due to budget constraints.

They also had slated to close 23 others a few years ago, but held off. (I wrote extensively about it in this blog.)

The fact that at least four will reopen is a sign of not only an improving economy, but also the DNR is listening to feedback.

“We’ve had requests from the public to open them,” Anna Sylvester, the DNR’s northern Michigan field operations section chief for Parks and Recreation division, told Meyerson for his article. “They (the four) don’t bring in a lot of money, but they also don’t require a lot of money to run them. We have a population who likes to use them.”

According to Meyerson, the four campgrounds that are slated to reopen include: Muskrat Lake in Oscoda County, Twin Lakes in Cheboygan County, Lake Marjory in Otsego County and Thunder Bay River in Alpena County.

We have never camped at a state forest campground. We might not ever, but there's plenty of people who do use them. Perhaps when we upgrade to a better RV, one more capable of boondocking, we might consider it.

Until then, having those options is not only good for RVers and tent campers, it's also good for the tourism industry in Michigan.

Congratulations Michigan DNR on the terrific news!

Two videos from Cedar Creek, Montana RVs



See why Cedar Creek is The Smart Choice for the Experienced RVer. Includes Cedar Creek 5th Wheels, Silverback 5th Wheels and Cottage Wide Body Destination Trailers.




Unlike heat pumps, the Dimplex Fireplace found in the Montana efficiently delivers heat at any outdoor temperature. Use the campground's electricity rather than your propane and save money. See this demonstration.


Video: 2014 Coachmen Brookstone 50th Anniversary Edition



Enjoy this 4:29 video from Forest River Inc.on the "2104 Brookstone 50th Anniversary Edition"

Here's what Forest River had to say about its video:
From the leader to the great outdoors for 50 years comes the best fifth wheel Coachmen has ever produced, the 2014 Brookstone 50th Anniversary Edition.

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in South Haven to undergo major renovations this spring

The South Haven, Michigan, Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort is undergoing a lot of improvements this year.

Previously known as the South Haven Family Campground, they will be adding 6 new cottages this spring. These cottages will include full bathrooms and full kitchens.

That's not to mention the 40 additional full hook-up sites complete with cable, as well as a brand new retail store, which will house a new laundry area, fitness and business area.

"We're just waiting for the weather to break to start the final phase of the original campground plans," said owner Susan Novotny. "The Ranger Station is already built but we are currently in the process of finishing the inside of the new 1800 sq. ft. retail store. We are really excited about the upper level of the Ranger Station, as this will be able to be rented out for private birthday parties, family reunions, or rallies. The upper level also has a 1000 sq. ft. deck to entertain on, which overlooks the back half of the campground."

With the completion of the 6 new cottages and 40 new full hook-up sites, that will bring the total number to 23 cabin/cottage rentals and 104 of all site types.

"Most of the new cottages will have screened-in porches and some even have fireplaces," said Novotny. "It's exciting and a little intimidating that we are adding more cottages again this year, as well as the full hook-up sites, the brand new store, and doing it all at the same time."

South Haven Jellystone Park currently has 13 basic cabin units and now 10 cottages that include the bathrooms and kitchens.  The 6 newly arriving cottage units will be available around the Memorial Day Holiday.

The South Haven Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort encourages all types of camping at their facility, including tents, pop-ups, RV's, motor homes, cabins and cottages.

Besides the major facility enhancements to the resort, the resort will be adding a lot of new amenities as well.  A basketball ball court will be installed, a gaga pit that is ADA accessible (gaga ball is like kick ball only you use your hands in an octagon shaped court), Twilight Theater which will be for outdoor movies, Hay rides will be offered several times a week,  golf cart rentals will be available and of course daily appearances with Yogi Bear.

Campers can visit the South Haven Jellystone Park website at www.southhavenjellystone.com for more information, or can call 269-637-6153 to make their reservations for the upcoming season.  All the different sites or cabins are booking fast, so don't wait till the last minute to reserve your fun packed stay at South Haven Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, just 5 miles East of Lake Michigan.

Missouri State Parks celebrates 40 years with a photo contest


Attention Shutterbugs and Nature Lovers!

Attention shutterbugs and nature lovers! Help the Missouri Department of Natural Resources celebrate our 40th anniversary by capturing and submitting your winning photograph of Missouri’s outstanding natural resources. In honor of its anniversary, the department is hosting the MissouriDNR40 Photo Contest in 2014.

The MissouriDNR40 Photo Contest will offer you the opportunity to capture your favorite moments in Missouri’s rich natural and cultural resources and share them for all to enjoy. Contest winners will have their winning photographs featured in the Winter 2015 issue of the Missouri Resources magazine, announced on the department’s 40th anniversary website at dnr.mo.gov/40 and displayed throughout the department including the framed photographs displayed in the Lewis and Clark State Office Building in Jefferson City.

Categories include:
With your help, we have been protecting and preserving Missouri’s natural and cultural resources including our air, land and water for 40 years. Help us capture Missouri’s outstanding natural resources by submitting your photos in the following categories.

  • Natural Resources: this category includes photographs of Missouri’s air, landscapes and waterways.
  • Special Places: this category includes photographs taken within one of Missouri’s 87 state parks and historic sites.
  • People and the Environment: this category includes photographs of people enjoying Missouri’s natural and cultural resources.

MissouriDNR40 Photo Contest Rules and Guidelines
This contest is open to amateur photographers. You may submit two photographs per category with a maximum of six total entries. Please, do not submit duplicate photos in multiple categories. A full list of rules and guidelines are available on the department's website at
http://dnr.mo.gov/40/photocontestrules/index.html

Video: 'RV Generator Care & Maintenance' by Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 3:57 video on "RV Generator Care & Maintenance" by Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
RV101.TV - expert help for your RV with Mark Polk of RV Education 101. In this informative RV how to video get some RV generator routine and preventive maintenance tips to help extend the life of your RV or portable generator.

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"

The new F-250: Have a big travel trailer? This is your truck

Author's note: Bryan Laviolette is a former co-worker of mine. What makes us forever connected is we both purchased identical travel trailers (2000 Trail Lite Bantam) within months of each other from the same salesman at General RV. In addition to his regular job with the Michigan Credit Union League, Bryan also writes automotive reviews for area newspapers. Here's his review on the new F-150, the best-selling truck in America for nearly 40 years, and one you see at many RV parks pulling a travel trailer.


How it's rated (1-5 stars, 5 being best)
  • Performance *****
  • Interior ****
  • Handling ****
  • Styling ****
  • Overall ****
Good: Comfortable interior, big truck diesel sounds
Bad: MyFordTouch is getting better, but there’s still more to do
Bottom line: Have a big travel trailer? This is your truck
Base price: $54,030 (including destination)
Price as tested: $64,710
Powertrain: 6.2-liter gasoline V-8, 385 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 405 lb.-ft. torque @ 4,500 rpm or 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8, 400 hp @ 2,800 rpm, 800 lb.-ft. torque @ 1,600 rpm; six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
Curb weight: 7,454 pounds
MPG: NA city, NA highway, 16 observed
Built: Louisville, Kentucky


By Bryan Laviolette

This is the way to travel with friends

Plan to tow something like a fifth-wheel travel trailer? This is the vehicle you want. Not one like it. This exact one. 

Start with the Ford F-250 Super Duty. Bump up to the top trim level, the Platinum (starting at $54,395, including destination; base F-250s start at $31,230). Add in the 6.7-liter diesel ($7,960), fifth-wheel hitch prep package ($370), transmission power take-off provision ($280), dual alternators ($380) and even a heated rear seat ($300) and you have the perfect tow vehicle for a couple to travel in style with a pair of friends. Now that’s a double date.

Spec’d with the 3.55 electronic locking rear differential ($390), this rig could tow up to 14,000 with a hitch or a whopping 16,300 pounds if pulling a fifth wheel. 

It’s a great way to travel. With Ford’s integrated sway control and brake controller, it just doesn’t get any easier to tow the equivalent of a small house. 

Pushing the right pedal makes the truck feel as though it’s being pushed by some otherworldly force. This is a massive truck, but, if requested, it will accelerate like a spry little F-150.

That’s because the 6.7-liter turbodiesel twists 800 pound-feet of torque at just 1,600 rpm. While Ford’s 385-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 is standard, this truck just feels like it should have a diesel. The diesel nearly doubles the gasser’s 405 pound-feet of torque. Emphasize that point: The turbodiesel has nearly double the torque of the gasoline engine.

The Platinum adds other features that make towing a breeze. The power folding mirrors also telescope outward at the touch of a button making it easier to see around a big trailer. The Platinum also comes standard with navigation and MyFordTouch, so finding the campground shouldn’t be a problem.

Hooking up the camper is a piece of cake because the backup camera is perfectly positioned to see the trailer hitch.

Ford has done a great job pumping up the volume of the Super Duty’s styling. Unlike a couple of generations ago, the big truck no longer looks like an oversize F-150. The massive chrome grille surround announces the truck’s presence with authority.

The interior is very comfortable. The massive seats offer plenty of adjustments. The leather smells luscious. The back seat in our CrewCab – the Platinum is only available with the largest cab style – was roomy and comfortable. 

There are a few niggles to complain about inside. Why does such a massive truck have such tiny front footwells? Blame the beefy transmission for requiring that massive center console. Speaking of the center console, why do the front seat passengers need four cupholders? But there’s no place for a cellphone – other than one of the cupholders. 

Ford has improved MyFordTouch, but why can’t the virtual buttons, such as the ones for the seat heaters and heated steering wheel, be bigger? There’s space on the touchscreen to make those buttons bigger. And considering that the seat heat and cool functions can’t be controlled by voice, shouldn’t they have real buttons elsewhere? You’ll find that adjusting the heating and cooling of your seats are the only reason you even touch the screen.

And as nicely styled as the truck’s interior is, fake wood trim just seems wrong. Do buyers of big, expensive trucks really like that stuff?

Outside, the chrome step rails feel a little slippery with snow on them.

The only complaint about the way the truck drives is a little bit of a side step on bumpy pavement in turns. It’s hard to avoid with this truck’s combination of size and stiff suspension, which is necessary to get the extreme towing capacity. The six-speed transmission never gives any sort of hint that it is capable of transmitting all that torque to the drivetrain.

Owners might protest a bit when they have to visit the pump. While trucks of this size are not required to have EPA fuel economy numbers, we saw 16 mpg, mostly spent on freeways. 

Many automakers have removed almost all hint diesel engine sounds, particularly in smaller diesels. But the big 6.7 in the Super Duty seems to flaunt its dieselness. The people who buy giant trucks like this probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

In a world where luxury cars can easily rise above – or double – the price of this truck, the F-250 Super Duty Platinum starts to look like a bargain. And just try hooking up an eight-ton trailer to one of those luxo-yachts. 

Bryan Laviolette is a Detroit-area writer and editor of FastAmphibians.com.

Top 7 uses for RVs (other than camping)

Courtesy of Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds

While camping is the most popular activity to do in an RV, these versatile vehicles are the perfect complement to any sport or hobby.

Sports — Whether your family likes to snowmobile, ski, mountain bike or canoe, there’s room for it in your RV. Toy haulers provide the most space, but your travel trailer or motor home works too!

Tailgating — RVs are the big ticket when it comes to game time, taking tailgating to a whole new level. There is no need to worry about your ice melting, trying to find a clean restroom, or looking for a place to cook your meals. With an RV, everything is right within your reach!

NASCAR — As many avid RVers and auto racing fans know, NASCAR can be best enjoyed with the company of their RVs. With refreshments handy and special parking in camping areas convenient to the track, NASCAR and RV fans are able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Day trips — Take your family on a day trip to a museum, the zoo, area festival, scenic drive, or shopping at the outlet malls. You’ll save money by preparing your own meals and snacks, and there’s plenty of room for souvenirs!

Outdoorsman’s cabin — No more dark nights in a drafty, rustic cabin. After a long day in the woods or fields, return to your thermally controlled RV and relax. Your RV’s kitchen is also ideal for cleaning, preparing and freezing small game and fish.

Guest house — Visit family and friends and stay in the comfort of your own RV. No more long nights on Aunt Edna’s lumpy couch—your RV has a queen size bed, extra space for the kids and much needed privacy. Better yet, use as a guesthouse when friends and family visit you.

Volunteering — Volunteer with your RV and turn it into a soup kitchen on wheels, mobile campaign headquarters or a traveling donation center, collecting items for local charities.

37th Annual MARVAC Flint Camper & RV Show starts tomorrow

When: March 13-16, 2014

Hours: Weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Perani Arena & Event Center, 3501 Lapeer Road, Flint, MI 48503. Located just south of I-69 at the Center Road exit.

Display: All types of new recreation vehicles—over 85 units will be on display; folding campers, motor homes, travel trailers and fifth wheel travel trailers, ranging in price from $4,000 to more than $120,000. Learn about the latest RV features and innovations, and take advantage of low show pricing.

Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on site RV financing and RV rentals make this the complete RV show experience. Consumers can pick up the new 2014 RV & Campsite. This guide to camping and RV dealers in Michigan now includes coupons.

Special discounts: Folding campers from $4,000; trailers from $10,000; motor homes from $46,000. Plus, manufacturer rebates on select RVs.

Admission: Adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $7, senior admission (ages 55 and over) is $6, and children 12 and under get in free. Parking is free!

Coupon: A coupon is available at www.marvac.org, area Big Boy restaurants and VG’s Grocery locations. With this special coupon, all consumers can get $1-off any adult or senior admission any day of the show.

Register to win: Register to win free tickets at www.marvac.org, compliments of Big Boy!

At the show, enter to win event tickets and camping packages for 2014 summer MIS events from the Michigan International Speedway (Winning package includes tickets and camping to an MIS event of your choice).

Show sponsor: Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) a non-profit, state trade association that represents all segments of the recreation vehicle and private campground industries in Michigan.

For more information: Call 517-349-8881 or visit www.marvac.org.

Guest post: Austin Adventures launches new-for-2014 lineup of 13 Hiking Adventures

Author's note: I don't expect I will ever get the chance to hike in Chile or Germany, but maybe the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy this guest post from Austin Adventures.

Avid walkers can explore some of the world’s iconic regions with Austin Adventures that for 2014 has introduced a Hiking Adventures dossier of 13 trips to be enjoyed on foot in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia.

“We’ve always had a day or two of hiking included in our week-long multisport trips but felt it was time to launch a dedicated trip series focused purely on hiking a selection of the world’s most breathtaking trails and paths,” says Dan Austin, Austin Adventures founder and president.  “For us the ultimate hiking trip includes an element of surprise – an off-the-beaten-path picnic spot, a hidden waterfall, a chat with a village farmer. It also includes a variety of trails to choose from, breathtaking views and of course, the opportunity to pause – to take it all in!”

 
Among the new programs are mountain hiking adventures in the Canadian Rockies, Patagonia and Bavaria.

Alberta
Hiking the Canadian Rockies is a trekker’s dream beginning and ending in Calgary. A short shuttle takes guests to Kootenay National Park where home for three nights is Baker Creek Chalet while trekking Stanley and Athabasca glaciers (crampons included) in Jasper National Park. Here Summit Mountain and Sentinel Pass may yield sightings of wolves, elk and big horn sheep. Two nights follow at Banff Royal Canadian Lodge in Banff National Park that offers a hike at 7,500 feet while straddling the Continental Divide. Six day/five night packages are $2,898 per person, double ($780 single) with 2014 departures July 6 and Aug. 24.

Chile
Hiking Patagonia is a flexible itinerary that can span from five to nine days starting at $3,000 per person double ($1,000 single). Guests transfer from the airport in Punta Arenas to Hotel Salto Chico, the region’s only lodge with a privileged location in the center of Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The lodge on the banks of Salto Chico waterfall affords an excellent view of the Paine Massif and two of the three impressive torres, or towers, which give the park its name.  Guests can plan their own outings choosing from 20 different treks along glaciers, lakes and mountainous formations of magma and granite. Another option here is to become a guest gaucho, enjoying some of 14 different rides on horseback. One outing includes sailing along the face of an electric-blue glacier. Dining here introduces guests to the southern king crab and Magellanic lamb with Chilean wines. Departure dates are available upon request.

Germany
Hiking the Bavarian Alps is a seven-day, six-night program from $3,298 per person double ($780 single) that begins and ends in Munich. Departures are May 11, June 8 and Aug. 17. The journey begins in Grainau along Lake Eibsee where a cable car to the top of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 8,724 feet, reveals panoramas of the High Alps of Tyrol. Two nights at Hotel Waxenstein access the twin Alpine villages of Garmisch/Parenkirchen for a woodland walk to the top of Eckbauer peak.  After a transfer to Oberammergau guests enter the world of “Mad” King Ludwig II and Linderhof Castle, followed by Fussen, a magical town of old burgher houses and a stroll through shady forests to Lake Alpsee and Ludwig’s childhood home at Hoenschwangau Castle. Two nights are spent at Hotel Hirsch. Oberstdorf and Lake Freibergsee offer a cable car and chairlift to Nebelhorn peak for splendid views to the Appenzell Alps and as far as the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. From Parkhotel Frank an exhilarating cable car ride places guests in Austria for a descent on footpaths through the Kleinwalsertal Valley and the Breitachklamm Gorge.

About Austin Adventures
For over 40 years Austin Adventures (formerly Austin-Lehman Adventures) has provided adventure vacations, now on six continents, building an international reputation for small group active travel to destinations in The Americas, Europe, Africa and Antarctica. Its specialty is adult adventure (multi-sport), family, biking, hiking and small ship cruising adventures, all focused on history, culture and nature’s gifts.  Small group trips feature exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, Austin Adventures offers customized trip planning and a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
 
Austin Adventures has received Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operator Award (a Top 3 finisher) for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012. In 2011 the company was honored with the Global Vision Award for its Wheels of Change bicycle empowerment initiative.  In September 2013 Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings.
 
For a comprehensive 2014 catalog, call toll-free 1.800.575.1540, or e-mail info@austinadventures.com. To review current trips, schedules and itineraries log onto: http://www.austinadventures.com/. 

Video: 'RV Driving Tip - Setting your Reference Points' by Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 1:50 video on "RV Driving Tip - Setting your Reference Points" by Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
RV101.TV - expert help for your RV with Mark Polk of RV Education 101. In this informative RV safe driving video learn how to set your reference points and keep the RV going on a straight course.

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"

Wisconsin DNR tightens firewood rules to slow wood pests travel

New rules enacted by the Wisconsin Natural Resources for firewood movement onto state lands is will better reduce the risk of introduction of invasive pests and diseases.

"Firewood is the primary way many tree-killing invasive pests and diseases are being moved long distances," said Andrea Diss-Torrance, Department of Natural Resources forest health specialist. "By getting firewood near where you will use it or using certified firewood, everyone can do their part to prevent spread of these pests."

When pests and diseases that can move long distances in firewood become established near or in Wisconsin, the risk of them accidentally reaching our state lands on wood allowed onto state properties increases Firewood regulations have been gradually tightened in past years in response to new information and increasing risk from invasive pests and diseases, such as emerald ash borer, oak wilt and Asian longhorned beetle. This latest restriction will keep the level of risk of long distance introduction of invasive pests to Wisconsin state lands at a lower level.

The changes supported by the board are:

  • reduce the distance from which visitors may bring in firewood from the current 25 miles to 10 miles; and
  • remove the prohibition on out-of-state wood as long as the wood was cut from within 10 miles of the destination state property.


These changes will take effect for the 2014 camping season.

Wood certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as being treated to kill infesting organisms would continue to be accepted onto any state property regardless of the distance of origin.

"As this change is part of a gradual process increasing caution to meet an increasing risk, we anticipate that it will affect only a small number of firewood vendors," says DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "State campground managers are also working to ensure supplies of good, reasonably priced firewood are available from vendors at or near campgrounds."

Homeowners, forest-landowners and others who value Wisconsin forests and the trees in their communities are encouraged to follow the prudent example set by state properties and get their firewood locally or buy certified firewood to prevent accidental introduction of invasive pests and diseases. For more information search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword "firewood."

Live the life of a Victorian-era light keeper at Tawas Point Lighthouse

Tawas Point State Park, along the shores of Lake Huron,
invites vacationers to enjoy the unique experience of
staying in the Tawas Point Lighthouse.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a fresh idea in vacation destinations. The DNR seeks volunteers to spend a week or two between March 1 and Dec. 20 acting as lighthouse keepers for the Tawas Point Lighthouse, located on the grounds of Tawas Point State Park along the shores of Lake Huron in East Tawas.

Volunteer duties include studying the lighthouse’s rich maritime history, leading guests on lighthouse tours and other miscellaneous duties. In exchange for their work contribution, volunteers are able to stay in the newly renovated keeper’s quarters for a cost of $250 per person, per week. The living quarters include two bedrooms, a modern kitchen and bath.

Serving as a lighthouse keeper allows vacationers to enjoy a unique lodging experience with spectacular views, while supporting and preserving a historical landmark.

“I feel blessed to have many memories of folks I met this week,” former keeper Robert Ulrich wrote in the Lighthouse Keeper Journal. “Wonderful program, wonderful facility and wonderful memories.”

The lighthouse keeper program is open to singles and couples 18 years and older. Chuck Allen, supervisor at Tawas Point State Park, suggests that volunteers should be physically able to lead tours through the lighthouse and tower and perform housekeeping duties such as light maintenance or yard work. Applications and detailed information are available at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse.

Dates and prices are effective through 2014. For details, call 989-362-5041 or 989-362-5658.

Tawas Point Lighthouse is one of 11 nationally accredited museums administered by the Michigan Historical Center, an agency within the Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. Located in Tawas Point State Park, off U.S. 23, 2.5 miles southeast of East Tawas, the lighthouse is open for tours from early May to mid-October, every day except Tuesdays.

Guest post: O.A.R.S. introduces new-for-2014 lodge-based Grand Canyon Hiking Adventure

Enjoy this guest post from O.A.R.S., a whitewater rafting vacation company.

Widely recognized for their signature river trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, O.A.R.S. announces a new-for-2014 Grand Canyon Hiking trip that includes a hike from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch on the Colorado River and back. The trip starts at $1,399 per person for four days of guided hiking and three nights of comfortable lodging.

Expert guides will share their knowledge of the area’s natural and human history making the journey as much about learning as it is about logging a few miles in the greatest canyon in the world. On some select departures, Dr. Andre Potochnik, who holds a Ph.D. in geology and has led O.A.R.S. river trips in the Grand Canyon for more than 40 years, will be the featured guide. 2014 departures include: April 10, 25*; May 1*, 12; Sept. 10, 15*, 22; and Oct. 6, 11*, 29 (those guided by Potochnik marked with an asterisk).
 
 
“Every year there’s a pent-up demand for our rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. We’re all but sold out for 2014 and we’re already filling up rapidly for 2015. By developing an intensive hiking experience escorted by some of the best guides in the canyon, we can accommodate active travelers this summer who want to experience the Grand Canyon on foot and hassle-free and in a short 4-day itinerary,” notes Steve Markle, O.A.R.S. (http://www.oars.com/) spokesperson.
 
The per person rate from $1,399 (based on double occupancy, single supplement $200) includes round-trip van transportation from Flagstaff, AZ; experienced hiking guide(s); most meals; overnight at Phantom Ranch; two nights of lodging at the South Rim; and round-trip transport of a duffel by mule between the South Rim and Phantom Ranch.

This epic hiking adventure brings guests into one of the deepest parts of the Grand Canyon with an overnight stay at historic Phantom Ranch. The adventure begins in Walnut Canyon, en route to the South Rim, with a close-up view of 25 unique cliff dwellings. Hiking in Wupatki National Monument features multi-story ruins of red sandstone blocks and mortar.  After gazing into the canyon’s depths from the Desert View Watchtower, a night at the South Rim is the perfect spot to rest before an invigorating hike into the canyon the following day. The South Kaibab Trail, a seven-mile hike into the canyon, reveals panoramic vistas that overwhelm the senses as guests take in the canyon’s grandeur.  Guests here keep an eye out for bighorn sheep and the California condor before arriving at Phantom Ranch by midday. The Bright Angel Trail offers a nine-mile hike out of the canyon, followed by a short stroll along the Rim Trail to Hermit’s Rest before returning to Flagstaff on the final day of this hiking adventure.
 
“I enjoy opening people’s minds to ‘deep time’ as revealed in the rock layers. The Great Unconformity especially makes people feel real small, like not all that important, yet somehow enduring, which is both exhilarating and relieving. Sometimes we think to be more important than we are,” muses Potochnik.

Potochnik started his guiding career with O.A.R.S./Grand Canyon Dories in 1973 and has mastered the art of rowing the delicate dories through one of the most challenging rivers in the West. He’s become a role model and a teacher of the river and in 2001 earned his Ph.D. in Geology focusing on investigations on the origin and evolution of the Colorado River and related rivers along the southern margin of the Colorado Plateau.   Read an interview with Dr. Potochnik at: http://www.oars.com/blog/guide-talk-best-job-world-grand-canyon-dories/
 
Other O.A.R.S. hiking trips include adventures in Yosemite National Park, Crater Lake National Park and on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River plus a lodge-to-lodge Machu Picchu adventure in Peru.
 
For more information, availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit: http://www.oars.com/. The 2013 O.A.R.S. catalog recently received the Gold Medal in the 9th Annual Davey Awards for overall design presented by The International Academy of Visual Arts.

About O.A.R.S.
Some 500,000 guests later, O.A.R.S. has been providing whitewater rafting vacations since 1969. Over the decades the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventure, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines around the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. In 2013, for the seventh consecutive year, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler’s standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category. In 2013 Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, named O.A.R.S. one of the top two outfitters in the world in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program.  

Video: 'RV Maintenance Mishaps & How to Avoid Them' by Mark Polk of RV Education 101



Enjoy this 4:57 video on "RV Maintenance Mishaps & How to Avoid Them" by Mark Polk of RV101.TV and RV Education 101.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
RV101.TV - expert help for your RV with Mark Polk of RV Education 101. In this informative RV how to video Mark Polk points out some common RV owner maintenance mishaps and what you can do to avoid them.

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"

Top 5 RV Essential Items

Recently, Mark Polk of RV Education 101 listed what would be his Top 5 RV Essential Items.

His list included:

  1. RV Electrical Adapters & Extension Cord
  2. RV Sewer Hose Connectors & Adapters
  3. RV Drinking Water Hose & Regular Garden Hose
  4. Digital Line Monitor and/or Surge Guard
  5. RV Water Filtration System

That got me to thinking, what would be the five items in my list? Would it be any different than Mark Polk's list? And if it is different, who am I to presume my list of essential items is any better than Mark's, one of the leading RV experts in the industry?

Well, right or wrong, here's my list:

  1. RV Electrical Extension Cord
  2. Extra RV Drinking Water Hoses
  3. RV Drinking Water Filtration System & Pressure Regulator
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Tool Box (what's in the tool box is a whole other topic!)
That's my list; what's in your list?



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"