Love Your RV videos: 360 Siphon RV Waste Tank Vent, Waste Master Sewer Hose, RV Remodeling Part III, Sewer Hose Storage, Power Awning Maintenance & RV Power Plug Conversion Kit

About Love Your RV

Three and one half years ago Ray and Anne Burr sold their home in Victoria, British Columbia, and bought a brand new fifth wheel trailer. They set off on an amazing one-year journey traveling all around the U.S. and Canada. About three months into it, they knew this was the life for them and became full timers traveling south in the winters and retreating to the north for the summers. They regularly update their blogsite of their travels and adventures.

#SipAndGlamp Photo Contest: Win a Luxury Camping Trip with Natura Wines & Glamping Hub

Natura Wines, produced by Emiliana Organic Vineyards, the world's leading organic winery, is offering its first ever social media photo contest in collaboration with Glamping Hub. The contest, hosted across Facebook and Instagram*, invites consumers to upload their favorite photo of Natura Wines in nature. The Grand Prize winner will receive a luxury camping - aka "glamping" - experience at a luxury safari tent featured on

Natura, made from 100% organically grown grapes, is a wine inspired by nature and the brand's consumers appreciate a mindful and active lifestyle. "Natura wine drinkers have a respect for all things natural and a love of all things outdoors," says Natura Brand Director, Lauren Marano. "There is a fit and true synergy with Glamping Hub, which is all about unique getaways and adventurous experiences in nature."

Glamping Hub is the world's leading online booking platform offering luxury camping and alternative accommodations to travelers all over the world. The service connects travelers with nature in a whole new way, providing off-the-grid, sustainable, and one-of-a-kind lodging.

"For us, pairing organic wine and luxury camping made perfect sense. Glamping is about the moment, the experience, the beauty of it all," says Glamping Hub's Marketing Manager, Katie Stearns. "Adding organic wine to the agenda simply takes the entire experience to the next level. After a day out enjoying the surroundings, it's natural to want to unwind with a glass of wine as you take in the views."

The partnership between Natura and Glamping Hub is primarily brought to life through the social media photo contest, which runs Aug. 1 to Oct. 10, 2015. Consumers can visit and complete the online entry form to upload a photo of Natura in nature. Alternatively, the contest can be entered on Instagram using #SipAndGlamp and tagging @NaturaWines and @GlampingHub to qualify.

One Grand Prize Winner will receive a two-night experience at a select Glamping Hub location and 10 second prize winners receive a $50 gift certificate toward a Glamping Hub getaway. Judging will be based on (i) adherence to the "Natura in nature" theme; (ii) creativity and originality; and (iii) technicial merit, i.e., clarity and resolution of the photo. Complete rules can be found on the Natura Facebook page.

Additionally, travel and wine lovers can browse the Glamping Hub website to choose from Natura Collection destinations, which are Glamping Hub accommodations that align with the essence of both brands.

Visit Natura's website and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more.

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Instagram Inc. or Facebook Inc. Participants are providing information to Banfi Vintners/Natura and not to Facebook or Instagram.

About Natura

Natura, imported by Banfi Vintners, is the #1 imported organic wine brand and is produced by Emiliana Organic Vineyards, the world's leading organic winery. It is a top 10 brand in the Chilean category, showing incredible momentum and the strongest growth trends amongst top players in the segment. Natura produces a range of well-balanced wines with new world style and sophistication. Certified organic by IMO, produced with 100% organically grown grapes and vegan friendly - a statement of quality and purity.

For more information, visit

About Glamping Hub 

Launched in 2012, Glamping Hub is the world's first online booking platform offering luxury camping and alternative accommodations on all five continents. With more than 7,000 unique glamping rooms in 90 countries, and a vast range of prices and amenities, Glamping Hub connects travelers with nature in a whole new way, providing off-the-grid, sustainable and truly one-of-a-kind lodging and outdoor adventure in some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth.

For more information, please visit

Rollin' On TV video: Itasca Solei, Wildcat Maxx and Kayaks

In this episode (#2015-12), Rollin' on TV takes a look at the Itasca Solei class A motorhome, then from a large class A to a small travel trailer, Jeff Johnston shows us the new WildCat Max. And then they take a look at a popular RV and camping toy … kayaks.

About Rollin' on TV
Now in its fourth year of production, Rollin’ On TV has become a leading RV, lifestyle television program reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For additional information and for times and days the show airs, visit

Showcasing the Michigan DNR: Explorer Guides educate and entertain at Michigan state parks

As the sun sets over Lake Michigan, Mike Latus holds court on the sand of Warren Dunes State Park. He’s an animated one-man show, walking in circles around a small fire pit, talking about voyageurs and Indians, legends and myths, planets and ghosts, while a crowd of more than a hundred – mostly youngsters, but adults, too – listen, some amused, others enthralled.

To Latus, it is a typical weekend night, when the fireside story hour regularly draws a big crowd.

Several hours earlier, he’d led a group of 30 on a hike through the woods, pointing out medicinal plants or unusual trees, answering numerous questions. As soon as his fireside chat is finished, he’s setting up telescopes for visitors to explore the night sky for his regular “Sky Watch” program.

Latus is an Explorer Guide, one of an army of Department of Natural Resources employees who educate and entertain visitors at 43 state parks in Michigan.

Latus, a high school math and science teacher the rest of the year, has enjoyed his summer job for 21 years. He’s considered a rock star by the other program members for his longevity, enthusiasm and ability to wow a crowd.

“This is my summer vacation, it’s my hobby, and I Iive close enough to the park that I’m out here every weekend, even during the winter,” he said. “It’s teaching and being outdoors and connecting with people who are trying to connect to nature.”

Latus is aware of his status among Explore Guides. “I think I’ve gotten a reputation because I just don’t quit,” he said. He puts on 11 scheduled presentations a week, but will rearrange his schedule for church, Scout and school groups or whoever may be coming to the park but can’t make a scheduled event. He presents some programs regularly, others intermittently.

“Certain programs are just made for Warren Dunes,” Latus said. “You’ve got to do dune hikes; you’ve got to do beach hikes. And people have come to depend on the storytelling. We do Sky Watch every Friday and Saturday night and we always get a crowd for that.”

Explorer program coordinator Karen Gourlay says the Explorer Guides are “seasonal naturalists.”

“They work in state parks all over Michigan,” she said. “Their job is to connect the visitors to the resources available in the park. They create their own programs, market their own programs and present their own programs.

“They’re a very creative bunch of employees. I’m always excited to see the programs they develop and their ability to get the visitors excited about natural resources and the parks.”

Many of the Explorer Guides are college students – often natural resources or education majors – who are working summer jobs as they explore potential careers, but they needn’t be.

“Mostly I’m looking for people who are enthusiastic and willing to learn and teach what they learn to others,” Gourlay said. “Having enthusiasm for outdoors is important. The youngest person I’ve had working for me was fresh out of high school. The oldest was 70 years old.”

Explorer Guides attend a weeklong training session at the beginning of the summer, where they learn about the job and share experiences with each other. A full day is devoted to fishing, but employees also learn additional program-creating techniques.

“Hook, Line and Sinker is a huge part of the program,” Gourlay said. “They may know a lot about fishing, but they may not know how to teach fishing.”

Other than that, guides are free to develop their own programs.

“They’re individualized,” Gourlay said. “They figure out the cool factor – what it is that brings people to those parks – and go with that.”

Michelle Schepke, the Explorer Guide at North Higgins Lake State Park, conducts a regular fishing program at nearby Marl Lake every Friday evening. And Saturday afternoon she leads a tour through the CCC Museum. The rest of the week, Schepke, in her second season, presents programs on archery, canoeing, kayaking or any number of subjects.

“I love teaching and I love working with children and families,” said Schepke, a preschool teacher. “I love to see their faces light up when they learn something new or exciting. I always try to have some nature programs – a turtle program or a frog program with a live animal – something unique that will draw people in.

“I love it.”

So does Shelby Brown, in her third year of running programs at Metamora-Hadley State Recreation Area. A student at Central Michigan University, Brown said she started out by presenting well-established programs, but has since developed her own unique presentation.

“Last week I did a Michigander program. I researched a bunch of cool Michigan facts and set it up trivia style,” she said. “People seemed to like that. And I do a program on ‘hoppers’– frogs, rabbits, white-tailed deer – animals that hop.

“It’s a great summer job. I like being outside all day and I’m a people person so I’m with other people all the time. And everyone who comes to my programs is genuinely interested – it’s not like school. They want to be here. It’s awesome.”

Always popular with state park visitors, the Explorer program is becoming even more of a draw. Originally designed to cater to park visitors, the programs are increasingly being regularly attended by local residents. The DNR has expanded outreach to local community centers and libraries to publicize the programs.

“That’s a huge component now of what we do,” Gourlay said.

To help meet demand, Explorer Guides sometimes make presentations at other nearby parks. And some park supervisors send one of their summer workers to the training so they’ll know how to present occasional programs.

For a list of state parks with Explorer programs and scheduled events, visit

The DNR is always looking to expand outreach opportunities and will be hiring more guides next year. The job is perfect for educators or naturalists, but those are not requirements, Gourlay said.

“You can’t be afraid of bugs,” she said. “Or you can be, but you just can’t show it.”

Gone with the Wynns videos: 2016 Bounder, 'Unplanning' Travels, Alaska! & Chicago

About Gone with the Wynns
Jason and Nikki Wynn are a couple of perpetual travelers, RVers and modern day documentarians. Their RV is the home of their discoveries and adventures, all depicting the unscripted tale of the quirky couple who traded in everyday life to satisfy their wear-out-your-shoes sense of adventure. Visit their website.

Top Family Parks by the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide

The Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide recently highlighted Top Family Parks as part of the publisher’s 12 Months of RVing promotion.

These RV parks feature amenities, entertainment and education programs that serve family members of all ages. The parks cultivate an atmosphere that's welcoming for families big and small. Whether showing G-rated movies or conducting educational nature programs, these parks enable families to enjoy long periods of quality time together.

The editors and consultants of the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide chose the list of Family Parks from the annual publication’s database of more than 7,000 private parks.

Top Family RV Parks

Pleasant Harbor RV Resort, Peoria

Anaheim Resort RV Park, Anaheim
Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, Santee

Stateline Campresort & Cabins, East Killingly

Camp Gulf, Destin
Flamingo Lake RV Resort, Jacksonville
Tropical Palms Resort & Campground, Kissimmee
Sun-N-Fun RV Resort, Sarasota

Pine Mountain an RVC Outdoor Destination, Pine Mountain

Ambassador RV Resort, Caldwell

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson

Wagon Wheel RV Resort & Campground, Old Orchard Beach
Saco/Old Orchard Beach KOA, Saco

Cherry Hill Park, College Park

Pinewood Lodge, Plymouth

Myers Lake Campground, Byron
Hidden Ridge RV Resort, Hopkins

Yogi on the Lake, Pelahatchie

Hi-Desert RV, Winnemucca

New Hampshire
Mountain Lake Campground RV Park & Log Cabins, Lancaster
Friendly Beaver Campground, New Boston

New Jersey
Big Timber Lake RV and Camping Resort, Cape May Court House
Driftwood Camping Resort, Clermont

New Mexico
USA RV Park, Gallup

New York
Jellystone Park at Birchwood Acres, Ellenville
Jellystone Park of Western New York, North Java (see video at top)

North Carolina
Yogi In the Smokies, Cherokee
Raleigh Oaks RV Resort & Cottages, Four Oaks

Cross Creek Camping Resort, Columbus (see video above)
Indian Creek RV & Camping Resort, Geneva-On-The-Lake
Evergreen Park RV Resort, Mount Eaton

Campark Resorts, Niagara Falls (see video above)
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, Niagara Falls
Bissell's Hideaway Resort, Pelham
Sherkston Shores, Port Colborne

Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg
Yogi at Shangri-La, Milton
Twin Grove RV Resort & Cottages, Pine Grove
Shenango Valley RV Park, Sharon

South Carolina
The Campground at James Island County Park, Charleston
Lakewood Camping Resort, Myrtle Beach (see video above)

Loretta Lynn's Ranch, Hurricane Mills

Summit Vacation & RV Resort, Canyon Lake
Destiny RV Resorts-Dallas, Denton
Loyd Park/Joe Pool Lake, Grand Prairie
Lonestar Yogi, Waller

Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, Cheriton

Westward Ho RV Resort & Campground, Fond Du Lac
Hidden Valley RV Resort & Campground, Milton (see video above)
Jellystone Park Warrens, Warrens
Sherwood Forest Camping & RV Park, Wisconsin Dells

12 Months of RVing

The 12 Months of RVing lists celebrate the diversity of the RV lifestyle. Regardless of RVing travel preferences, the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide helps consumers find the parks that support their interests.

Parks participating in this program are featured in press releases, enewsletters and blog posts. Each of the parks will have Top Parks badge in their park information page. Click here for a list of all parks included in the 12 Months of RVing.

In addition to in-depth listings of RV parks and campgrounds across North America, the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide features RV lifestyle articles, travel tips, helpful maps and informative itineraries that RVers can use for a journey anywhere in North America.

RV Education 101 videos: Holding Tank Flush Products & Maintenance Accessories from Valterra

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"

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine celebrates 75 Years

Celebrate Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine's 75th anniversary! Learn some of the history behind this award-winning publication.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine has been the source for true stories about the state's woods, waters, prairies, fish, and wildlife for three-quarters of a century. Readers make MCV possible, and this short video will educate people about the history of this publication. People also are invited to email their story to or share via Facebook or Twitter at #MyMCVstory.

Introducing Outdoorsy, A Community-Driven Marketplace for Renting RVs Directly from Local RV Owners

Editor's note: I had the opportunity to talk to one of the co-founders of this company for my work at RVBusiness magazine, and I think they have a terrific business model. Over the years, several readers of this blog have asked me for advice on renting out their RV. After learning about Outdoorsy, I will refer people to this company from now on.

Startup company provides owners and travelers with peace of mind by offering industry’s first-ever $1 million liability insurance policy

Outdoorsy the first community-driven global marketplace for renting RVs directly from local RV owners, today announced the launch of the first-ever community-driven marketplace bridging the gap between the fast-growing demand for rental RVs and the people who supply them. After a successful beta program in California, RV inventory will now be available for rent in all 50 states.

Outdoorsy offers a secure platform that handles all phases of the transaction, including availability calendar, reservations, deposits, cashless payments, while offering 24-hour support to renters and owners. Now anyone can hit the road and enjoy the industry’s first $1 million insurance policy covering both domestic and international travelers.

The RV industry is a massive $32 billion market and growing at a record pace. More than 12% of American households own an RV but the majority will go unused 11.5 months out of the year.  While owners’ investments sit idle in the driveway many carry the burden of loan payments, storage and maintenance costs that can exceed $16,000 annually. Outdoorsy recognized an opportunity to unlock these underutilized assets. The company has created a new platform for RV owners to recoup some or even all of their costs while providing unprecedented access for the 45.6 million Americans who camp each year, but who have been priced out of RV ownership.

RV rentals have traditionally been served by expensive brick & mortar dealerships and brokers. Outdoorsy’s community-driven, global marketplace bypasses those hurdles and connects passionate RV owners with individual renters to make it easy and safe for them to do business with one another.

For renters of RVs, the platform offers a wide range of benefits to travelers, including:

  • Easily search and discover a broad variety of RVs personally cared for by their owners that suit a variety of tastes and needs.
  • Book an RV directly through Outdoorsy without the hassle of having to go through traditional RV rental call centers or manually search through paper directories.
  • Communicate directly with owners who want to share their knowledge and often assist with advice and road trip itineraries.
  • Save money and enjoy more frequent, unique vacations as RVing is a cost-effective way to travel (24-59 percent less expensive than traditional travel).
  • Enjoy secure cashless payments direct-to-bank account with record of receipt.

For owners of RVs, turns their idle asset into a money stream and allows them to realize potentially life-changing financial benefits. RV owners can:

  • Earn up to $86,000 per year renting their RV(s)
  • List their RV for free through a simple step-by-step process
  • Handpick pre-qualified renters through reviewing profiles, ratings and reviews and remain in complete control of who rents
  • Set rates and availability and only accept bookings they are comfortable with
  • Receive secure direct payments made directly into their bank account
  • Enjoy 24/7 customer service
  • Be part of a community of people who want to travel the way they do.

“Over the last few years there has been a resurgence of people looking to reconnect with nature and detach from the constant connectedness of everyday life,” says Jen Young, co-founder of Outdoorsy. “At Outdoorsy, we aren’t just looking to create the next big thing in the sharing economy, we want to create a community of passionate outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to connect and share their experiences with others. With Outdoorsy, users can experience the open road wherever, whenever and however they want. ”

Outdoorsy co-founders Jen Young and Jeff Cavins
Outdoorsy was founded by a team of experienced professionals and travelers: Jeff Cavins, Jennifer Young, Tyler Burnell, and Ryan Quinn. Cavins is a well-known, serial entrepreneur and CEO. Ryan leads front-end development and represents the epitome of a digital nomad working and living from his ‘Vansion’ -- a cool vintage GMC. The company will also add Trevor Stout and Ollie Wagner, a former Apple designer responsible for the original UI and UX design of the iPad. Trevor and Ollie join the team to roll out Outdoorsy’s mobile app experience, coming in the near future.

Anyone that refers a family or friend who lists an RV on Outdoorsy will receive $125 in travel credit on Outdoorsy. RV owners who list on Outdoorsy this year will receive $500 cash for their first completed rental. To list your RV, rent an RV or to find out more please visit:

About Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy is a community-driven global marketplace for renting RVs directly from local RV owners. The company’s mission is to mobilize the 16 million underutilized, idle RVs around the world, empowering owners to realize potentially life-changing financial benefits. For travelers, Outdoorsy means having access to the greatest selection of recreational vehicles and more choices than ever before – ensuring everyone has access, and opportunity to get outdoors.

For more information please visit and come along for the ride on Outdoorsy’s Never Idle journal

Showcasing the Michigan DNR: DNR, Sea Grant team up to highlight Lake St. Clair’s fishery on Discovery cruise

Youngsters aboard a recent Sea Grant Discovery cruise on
Lake St. Clair unwrap frozen fish specimens brought along
by DNR fisheries biologist Mike Thomas. (DNR photos)
Mike Thomas is a fisheries research biologist for the Department of Natural Resources. Most days, you’ll find him at the Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station or on the lake aboard the DNR’s Channel Cat research vessel. But a couple of days a year, Thomas switches gears and becomes a guest lecturer on another boat: the one Michigan Sea Grant charters for its Discovery cruises.

That’s where he was recently as he entertained and educated an audience of 20 people with stories and demonstrations about the fishery in Lake St. Clair.

In his 12th year of partnering with Sea Grant on Discovery cruises, Thomas says it’s a fairly easy way for the DNR to get its message out.

“It’s a unique outreach program, and Sea Grant does all the heavy lifting,” Thomas said. “It’s a relatively low amount of effort for us to be involved in a really cool outreach activity.”

Steve Stewart is outreach coordinator for Sea Grant. Stewart said Sea Grant, which is a federally funded cooperative effort between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, hosts some 20 different themed cruises on Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Detroit River. Some focus on history – shipwrecks or bootlegging, for instance – but the fisheries cruise and a similar wetlands and wildlife cruise, conducted in cooperation with the DNR’s Wildlife Division, are among the most popular.

“The whole idea is to allow people to learn more about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes,” Stewart said. “The DNR has been a great partner throughout the years. We couldn’t do it without the DNR.”

DNR fisheries biologist Mike Thomas
discusses Lake St. Clair perch aboard
a Sea Grant Discovery cruise.
The scheduled cruises are open to the public, though cruises also are held for school groups during spring and fall and Sea Grant can arrange additional cruises for interested groups.

Thomas begins his program with a simple discussion of where the water in Lake St. Clair comes from, and before he’s finished he’s touched on food webs, invasive species and, of course, fishing.

Once the 50-foot converted commercial fishing boat is well up in Anchor Bay from its launch site at Lake St. Clair Metropark, the captain throttles down the engine to idle and the crew drops a camera overboard to view the bottom. Thomas explains the various types of aquatic vegetation visible on the monitor, and when the camera is hoisted back aboard, he removes some of the vegetation hanging on the cable to give the passengers a closer look at it. Then he drops it into an aquarium on board so they can observe, close up, what it looks like in the water.

Then it’s on to fish. Lake St. Clair’s sport fishery is largely comprised of four species: walleye, smallmouth bass, muskellunge and yellow perch, Thomas says. He talks about where on the lake the fish can be found, the types of habitat they prefer, and how the anglers pursue them. But he spends time on other species, too, and that’s a big part of the education portion of the program.

The planned highlight of the trip was a rendezvous with the Chanel Cat, which had been scheduled for a day’s trawling for sturgeon on the lake. But high winds make it impossible for the research vessel to tow nets, so the cruise instead shows a video (made by the U.S. Geological Survey) of scuba divers visiting a man-made spawning reef created for sturgeon. The video shows the giant creatures visiting the reef, undeterred by the presence of divers.

Thomas brought more than a dozen frozen, foil-wrapped fish specimens with him. He hands out rubber gloves to the youngsters and invites them to unwrap and hold up the fish, see if they can guess them, and then describes the significance of the fish to the lake’s ecosystem and how it interacts with other species.

From there, he moves on to mussels, unloading a box full of native specimens to show their relatives size and shapes.

A youngster handles a native silver
lamprey that DNR fisheries biologist Mike
Thomas brought to a Sea Grant Discovery
cruise on Lake St. Clair.
“We had a diverse and abundant collection of mussels in Lake St. Clair, but we’ve lost a lot of them to invasive mussels,” Thomas explains, saying they were once important to the button industry. “Zebra mussels attach to these mussels and it becomes a mass of zebra mussels. When that happens, the native mussels can’t move around. They can’t bury in the bottom over the winter. And they die.”

Thomas directs passengers’ attention to the aquarium – which has masses of zebra mussels and quagga mussels attached to rocks, showing how the invasive mollusks adhere to hard materials. He points out another invasive species in the aquarium that no one can see, until he sticks his hand in and begins moving the mussels and round gobies dart out from their hiding places. The passengers, especially the youngsters, are enthralled.

Also in the tank are a couple of silver lamprey, native parasitic fish that resemble – in shape and habits, though not size – the sea lamprey, which devastated lake trout stocks in the Great Lakes. It’s just one more way to make the point about the problems with invasive species.

As the captain takes the boat toward its mooring, Thomas and Sea Grant’s Stewart unfurl a poster of Great Lakes fishes, point to various specimens, and hold a quick quiz – is it native or not? Most of the passengers had been paying attention during the presentation and know the answers, though one species stymies them: rainbow smelt (which is not native).

“That points out the fact that everything that’s non-native is not necessarily bad,” Thomas said.

Barb Stantiszewski, a retired Shelby Township teacher who said she’d taken a similar cruise many years ago, brought her two nephews aboard. They’d attended the wetlands and wildlife cruise, she said, and liked it so much they came back for the fisheries tour.

Michael Schoenherr, who brought his wife and two sons – 9-year-old Peter and 7-year-old Thomas – for the day, said as an outdoor-oriented family that likes to fish, the cruise was right in their wheelhouse. He said he enjoyed it. And the kids?

“It started out slow,” said the 7-year-old. “But I liked the end.”

As for the DNR’s Thomas, well, he doesn’t plan on trading in his research career for lecturing.

“It’s enjoyable – not as enjoyable as a fish survey – but it’s enjoyable because there are a lot of people here who want to be here, who are interested,” he said. “It’s hands-on, good for the kids, and even the adults ask good questions.

“It’s a good thing,” Thomas said. “A really good thing.”

Michigan Sea Grant is the only organization providing educational cruises in southeastern Michigan that are available to the public, Stewart said. The cruises attract about 1,500 people a year. The cost for most cruises is $20 for adults and $10 for youngsters, but some of the longer cruises cost a little more.

For information on the cruises and other Sea Grant activities, visit To learn more about the DNR’s fisheries research efforts, visit

Just Ahead releases Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park Audio Tour Guides

Just Ahead (, creator of the award-winning smartphone app for road tripping through national parks and scenic highways, has just released in time for late summer and autumn travel its GPS-prompted audio tour guides for narrated drives through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. These separate guides together provide a seamless two-park adventure with the magic of a virtual park ranger along for the ride.

With more than 300 miles of scenic roads that carve a giant figure eight through mountains, meadows and thermal marvels, Yellowstone National Park is the ideal setting for a Just Ahead tour. This is Just Ahead’s most extensive guide to date, with more than 600 narrated stories of the region. Think Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Artist Paint Pots, Norris Geyser Basin and Yellowstone Lake, to name a few. This audio guide explains the planet’s greatest concentration of thermal features—fumaroles, geysers, paint and mud pots, the Yellowstone caldera, and travertine mounds —and explores natural history and man-made lore.  

Users driving through Yellowstone will enjoy timely tips on the best places to see bison, elk, grizzly bears, moose, wolves, pronghorn, beaver, trumpeter swans and raptors. Also included are little-known waterfalls, suggestions for scenic side trips, fly-fishing streams, thermally heated swimming holes, the best places for RV and tent camping; and the park’s fabled lodges: Lake Hotel, Old Faithful Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. See:

The jagged Teton Range, crowned by Grand Teton itself, soars 13,770 feet high, rising above pristine mountain lakes and a vast river valley below.  Grand Teton National Park has 152 miles of paved roads that deliver views of the majestic Tetons, follow the course of the winding Snake River and bisect the sagebrush-dotted valley known as Jackson Hole.  

During the audio tour road trippers will learn about the man who skied down Grand Teton Mountain, about the derring-do of the park’s early mountaineers and the story behind one of the most famous and successful horse rustlers of all time. It also calls out the best places for overnighting -- under a roof or canvas. Park accommodations -- Jackson Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Cabins and Climbers’ Ranch -- are covered in detail. Shutterbugs will appreciate learning about the best vantage points for nature and wildlife photography.

Grand Teton’s not-to-miss sights include Jackson Lake, Willow Flats, Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers, Signal Mountain, Jackson Hole, Timbered Island, Teton Glacier, National Elk Refuge, Blacktail Butte and views of the Cathedral Group and Grand Teton. The lore of a succession of American Indians, cattle ranchers, beaver trappers, horse thieves and early mountaineers brings this country to life. The guide is full of suggestions for the best places for day hiking, river rafting and fishing. See:

As with all Just Ahead guides, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton tours work without an Internet connection or cell phone service. Drivers or passengers simply download it, turn it on and enjoy a richly narrated tour.
Just Ahead utilizes GPS technology to know exactly where drivers are on the road, and delivers stories and maps relevant to their exact location. The groundbreaking app points out not-to-miss features while also helping drivers avoid getting lost by providing suggested directions and telling drivers why they should turn or not, what they should do after a turn and the best direction to take if there are multiple route options.
A satisfied user from California had this to say about the app and tour guide, “LOVE this idea! It's like you went into my brain and pulled out something I never even knew that I wanted but now can't think to live without.”
Just Ahead guides are currently available for the following National Parks: Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Zion & Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands & Arches, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Additional park guides are in production, including Rocky Mountain, Badlands, Black Hills, Petrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde. 
The Just Ahead app is a free download available either through the Apple App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android), and each destination guide is available as an in-app purchase. Guides range from $7.99 to $9.99 and include a free trial and free guide updates.

About Just Ahead

Recently named Best Travel App by the North American Travel Journalists Association and Best App by the editors of Sunset magazine, the Just Ahead mobile app turns a smartphone into a hands-free audio guide to the most beautiful places on earth by delivering professionally written and narrated audio tours to vacationers who want an informed travel experience as they drive.
Just Ahead’s award-winning audio guides work without an Internet connection or phone service and use a smartphone’s GPS to deliver hands-free, customized audio tours based on a vehicle’s location. The guides and built-in maps also provide helpful suggested directions, and offer more points of interest and stories than any other GPS audio travel apps. Ideal for families, Just Ahead’s audio guides help create shared experiences, conversations, and memories that will last a lifetime. The Just Ahead app is a free download, and each destination guide is available as an in-app purchase that includes free guide updates.
For more information, please visit:

Rollin' on TV: Roadmaster's New Spare Tire System & the Winnebago Travato

In this episode (#2015-15), Rollin' on TV visits Roadmaster Inc. and checks out their new spare tire carrier system. Also Jeff Johnston gives us an in-depth look at the Winnebago Travato, and Evanne Schmarder whips up an interesting dish fro Down-Under called "Bircher."

About Rollin' on TV
Now in its fourth year of production, Rollin’ On TV has become a leading RV, lifestyle television program reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For additional information and for times and days the show airs, visit

Minnesota DNR to hold open house on campground plans for Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division will hold an open house, from 5-7 p.m., Sept. 1, at the Tower Civic Center to provide updates on development plans for Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park. The Tower Civic Center is located at 402 Pine Street, in Tower.

DNR staff will be on hand to provide construction updates on the new campground, public water access and water treatment facility, and answer questions about future development plans. The public is invited to participate and provide written comments.

“We are looking forward to sharing our progress to date and hearing feedback from visitors and residents,” said Park Manager Jim Essig. “This is the largest state park development project in the last 30 years, and we want the public to be involved in the development.”

When complete, the park’s main campground will accommodate:

  • 168 people at 33 drive-in campsites, where amenities will include electricity, flush toilets, showers and Wi-Fi, plus a water access site that will connect campers to boating and fishing opportunities on Lake Vermilion.
  • 60 people at two group camps designed for tents and recreational vehicles, with a sanitation building that includes flush toilets and showers.
  • 30 people at a semi-primitive group camp with vault toilets.

Future construction phases, pending funding, will include a lodge, trail system, cabins and nature play areas, as well as additional campsites accessible by hiking, boating and all-terrain vehicles. When fully developed, the park will get an estimated 250,000 visitors annually, bringing an estimated $18.2 million in spending to the region.

In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature authorized Lake Vermilion State Park and set aside $20 million in bonding to purchase, plan and develop it. The purchase agreement for the 3,000-acre property was signed in May 2010, and a master plan for the park was developed with much public input. Because the new park is co-managed with the adjacent Soudan Underground Mine State Park, the legislature changed the name to Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park during the 2014 legislative session.

The park has been open since 2010 for recreation such as hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and geocaching. Interpretive staff have offered occasional programs, including a BioBlitz that involved citizens in the identification of plants, animals and insects at the park.

For more information about the park, including the master plan, see

Equal-i-zer Hitch video: How To Fix Over or Under-adjusted Weight Distribution

I have an Equl-i-zer hitch and would not tow without it. I'm convinced it's saved my bacon at least twice, and probably three times. The first was during a terrible windstorm on our first trip out with the camper. The second was when we lost a wheel (bolts sheared right off). In both cases the camper was kept under complete control. The third time was just this summer when the tongue came detached from the trailer frame. I'm sure the Equal-i-zer helped in that situation, too.

That's why I'm completely enthralled with this video. I want to go double-check my measurements to make sure they're stll good.

Here's what Equal-i-zer had to say about its video:

In this video Equal-i-zer hitch expert Dave Lewis shows you how to correctly set up the weight distribution of your Equal-i-zer hitch.

The first segment deals with a setup that is distributing too much weight, or is over-adjusted.

The second segment corrects a setup where the weight distribution looks under-adjusted. After checking, the weight distribution is good, but the trailer attitude is wrong and the front end of the trailer needs to be raised.

New Towable Shank Gives CURT Bike Racks Towing Capabilities

CURT Manufacturing LLC., a leading manufacturer and marketer of USA-made towing products, has upgraded its hitch-mounted bike racks with a new towable bike rack shank #18008. The towable shank allows for use of a hitch-mounted bike rack, using the vehicle’s trailer hitch, without eliminating the option to tow a trailer.

The CURT towable bike rack shank inserts into any 2” x 2” receiver tube opening and features a 3/4” diameter hole to accept a 1 7/8” or 2” trailer ball. With its integrated bike rack mounting bracket and 2,000-lb. gross trailer weight capacity, the towable shank is able to tow a variety of light-duty trailers while providing secure and convenient bike storage.

The towable shank is available as part of two complete bike rack kits in our hitch-mounted bike rack line: #18031 and #18035. These bike racks offer a max capacity of four bikes and 180 lbs. The towable shank can also be purchased as a standalone item and fits any of our hitch-mounted or premium hitch-mounted bike racks.

To learn more about the CURT towable bike rack shank, visit

Rollin' on TV video: Dub Box, The Nest & the High Camp small camping trailers

In this episode (#2015-14), Rollin' on TV checks out three very different small camping trailers including the Dub Box, The Nest and the High Camp tear drop trailer. Plus Evanne gets a new AquaGO hot water system installed in her trailer and Jeff cooks up a White Bean, Chicken Chili.

About Rollin' on TV
Now in its fourth year of production, Rollin’ On TV has become a leading RV, lifestyle television program reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For additional information and for times and days the show airs, visit

Learn camping basics at Minnesota's Lake Bemidji State Park

Learn to camp or refresh rusty outdoor skills at Lake Bemidji State Park in Bemidji, Minn., by attending a two-night I Can Camp! event from 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, to 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.

These programs, led by experienced instructors from Conservation Corps Minnesota, cover basic camping and outdoor skills, including how to set up a tent, how to build a campfire and camp cooking. All camping equipment is provided (including tents, air mattresses and cook stoves). Participants just bring their own food and bedding (sleeping bags or blankets and pillows).

“If you’d like to create some unforgettable outdoor experiences with your kids but don’t know how to get started, the I Can! skill-building programs are designed for you,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “Minnesota has amazing state parks, trails and water trails, and we want to spark interest in more families to get out and enjoy them.”

One-night programs are $50; two-night programs are $75 (up to six people per tent). A one-day Minnesota State Parks vehicle permit ($5 value) is included.

Reservations are required and can be made online or by phone.
• CLICK: (24 hours a day).
• CALL: 866-857-2757 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, excluding holidays.

I Can Camp! is part of a series of skill-building programs offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. Other programs in the series introduce rock climbing, fishing, paddling, mountain biking and archery to beginners.

The programs are made possible with support from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

For more information about I Can! programs, visit or contact the DNR Information Center at or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rollin' on TV video: Travel-Lite Campers & Fuel Saving Tips

In this episode (#2015-16), Rollin' on TV visits Travel-Lite Campers and learns all about the company and its line of truck campers and travel trailers. Also, Jeff Johnston shows us how to increase fuel economy with one easy step and Evanne Schmarder brews up a cool drink called "Shrub."

About Rollin' on TV
Now in its fourth year of production, Rollin’ On TV has become a leading RV, lifestyle television program reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For additional information and for times and days the show airs, visit

Top 10 Tips for a Smooth Summer Road Trip

We're halfway through the summer travel season and with two months of road tripping behind us, Rand McNally's editors offer these tips to make the most of the rest of the season.

Plan your trip. There often are many sources for planning but use those with which you feel most comfortable. Talk with friends and family for recommendations. Use Rand McNally's Road Atlas (available in print or digital format), or TripMaker® to build your ultimate American road trip. Create and manage full itineraries, and pinpoint interesting places to stop along the way. You also can easily print, email, and even export those trips to some Rand McNally GPS devices.

Load the car strategically. Start with the least essential items, followed by the more gear you'll need to access – including grab-and-go overnight bags. Keep absolute essentials nearby, such as first-aid kits, important medications, tissues, sanitizers, moist wipes, diapers, etc.

Improve fuel economy and save money. Roll down the windows when traveling at lower speeds, and use the air conditioning for highway driving. Hot weather can actually increase fuel economy since your engine warms up to an efficient temperature faster. Warm air also tends to cause less aerodynamic drag than cold air.1

Be road ready. Pack a first-aid kit, plenty of pocket packs of tissues, hand sanitizer, moist wipes, and a travel size spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol. You can use the alcohol to sanitize hands, and clean surfaces. If you have young children, bring the removable plastic potty-chair receptacle in a plastic bag for use in emergency bathroom situations.

Bring a cooler. It's smart – and wise for your budget – to bring a small cooler filled with drinks, fruit and other healthy treats to stay well hydrated and well nourished on the road.

Pack things to keep everyone entertained. The license plate game can only go so far until the inevitable delay looking for the elusive Hawaii plate. Bring car games, print and audio books, and tablets loaded with digital books, games, and movies. The Rand McNally Store offers great products for backseat fun.

Stay connected. Bring a wireless router for mobile Internet access.

Create a customized playlist. Have fun selecting the perfect soundtrack to your road trip. If you don't have time to make your own, NPR has compiled a summer playlist for you.

Pack a separate plastic bin or a box to hold recyclables. If your campground doesn't offer recycling, use an app to help locate recycling centers.

Finally, take time to try new things. Whether it's pulling over for posted scenic overlook, or stopping for lunch in a local diner, make time to explore beyond the official itinerary.

About Rand McNally

Rand McNally is the country's most trusted source for maps, navigation, and travel content. Products and services include: America's #1 Road Atlas; IntelliRoute® truck routing software; TND truck GPS; HD 100 E-Log devices; TPC 7600 and TND 760 mobile fleet management solutions; RVND GPS for RVers; and leading geography-based educational resources for the classroom. Learn more at

Honda Introduces new Realtree EU2000i Camo Portable Generator

At the recent GIE+EXPO trade show, Honda Power Equipment introduced a new EU2000i Camo, a portable generator with innovative inverter technology and a unique Realtree high definition All Purpose Green camouflage exterior. Created especially to blend in with natural surroundings, the Super Quiet Series EU2000i Camo provides portable power on the go for whatever adventure the great outdoors presents.

The lightweight EU2000i Camo generator is both rugged and reliable and features a totally enclosed body that results in noticeably quieter performance to enhance the outdoor experience. Its two-tiered noise dampening system reduces noise to 59 decibels (db) at rated load and 53 db (quieter than normal speech) at one-quarter load. What’s more, this 2000-watt model can simultaneously power a computer, TV, coffee pot, and portable refrigerator.

“Not only is the new Honda EU2000i Camo generator engineered for the ultimate in quality, portability and convenience, its new Realtree high definition All Purpose Green camouflage exterior pattern design allows for seamless blending with just about any landscape,” said Mike Rudolph, assistant vice president, Honda Power Equipment. “No matter where you enjoy the great outdoors, the new Honda EU2000i Camo is at the ready to provide quiet, dependable power.”

Thanks to the use of inherently quiet four-stroke engines and superior technology, all Honda generators boast ultra-low noise levels.  The combination of advanced technology makes any of the generators* ideal choices for home backup, camping and recreation, public events, or any situation where quiet, reliable operation is critical.

The Honda Realtree EU2000i Camo generator will be available nationally through Honda Power Equipment dealers this fall.  Honda generators are characterized by the same clean, fuel-efficient technology that is behind the company's reputation for unparalleled durability, quality and reliability.

Firefighters contain ‘County Road 601’ wildfire 100 percent

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) firefighters – with the help of additional firefighting units – have built a fire line around the entire perimeter of an 80-acre wildfire that broke out in Marquette County’s Humboldt Township Thursday afternoon, July 30.

“We’ve got it 100 percent contained and we’re working 50 to 100 feet in from the edges,” DNR incident commander Pete Glover said Saturday afternoon. “We are making good progress today.”

Crews work from the fire line toward the center of the fire area, with foam and water, to “mop up” remaining hot spots.

DNR crews anticipated being solidly 100 feet in from the edge of the fire line by the end of the day Saturday, Aug. 1. To date:

  • No injuries have been reported.
  • No structures have been damaged.
  • The cause of the blaze remains undetermined and is being investigated by DNR staff.
  • No new hotspots have been found outside the fire line.

The fire was reported at 1:05 p.m. Thursday, burning in an area where crews logged pulpwood last winter. Many piles of cut pulpwood remained on site, creating a good source of fuel for the fire.

By Friday morning, many of those log piles had been consumed by the intense heat of the fire.

Glover said some of the remaining remnants of the piles, still hot, were being busted up Saturday. Overnight, higher relative humidity was then expected to work to help diminish the remaining heat from the burning wood.

National Weather Service forecasters in Negaunee Township predicted a 20-percent chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms Saturday night, with a 70-percent chance of precipitation Sunday.

Forecasters said new rainfall amounts between a tenth and a quarter of an inch were expected, with higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

“Cooler temperatures and greater moisture will have a positive impact on fire weather, at least somewhat lowering concerns,” forecasters said in a briefing.

The chance of showers and thunderstorms in Marquette County drops to 30 percent Sunday night and 20 percent Monday.

Glover said a best-case forecast for firefighters would be moderate amounts of rainfall over the next several days, but those conditions were not expected.

Lightning strikes from thunderstorms also can pose the danger of igniting new wildfires.

Crews from the DNR and Wisconsin firefighters from Mellen and Waupaca remained on the scene Saturday and the Humboldt Township Fire Department continued to shuttle water. Firefighters continued to get water for the fire from the Humboldt Mill, which is located not far from the fire area.

Firefighters from the Republic, Ishpeming and Champion townships’ volunteer fire departments worked on the fire Thursday and Friday, but were no longer on the fire scene Saturday afternoon.

“They are making progress, but ground fire takes a lot of effort to put out and 80 acres is a large area,” said Celeste Chingwa, DNR Upper Peninsula fire protection manager in Marquette. “This fire may burn in fuel pockets below the surface if conditions don’t change, so it will need constant monitoring.”

Glover said work on the fire was expected to stop at about 8 p.m. Saturday. One engine crew would patrol the fire area overnight. Fire crews also monitored the fire Thursday and Friday nights.

Efforts to mop up the fire are expected to continue for several days, depending on the weather.

“It’s not unusual for us to work on a fire for several weeks after it’s been contained,” Glover said.

The fire area is situated about 4 miles northeast of Republic, south of Marquette County Road 601 and southwest of the Black River.

Crews have 80-acre ‘County Road 601’ wildfire in Marquette County 95% contained

Fire crews work on the edge of the fire Thursday. The foliage shows
the green and burned area dividing line. (DNR photos)
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) firefighters and crews from township volunteer fire departments returned to the line around the “County Road 601” wildfire (Marquette County) Friday (July 31) after a morning briefing in Ishpeming Township.

Pete Glover, the DNR’s incident commander on the blaze, said the fire was estimated at 80 acres, after better visibility over the fire and mapping the previous day helped delineate the extent of the burned area.

“The fire held within the containment lines last night,” Glover said. “It didn’t move.”

The fire was 95% contained Friday morning, with the remaining area where fire line needs to be built situated in low ground, with swamp.

Glover said crews would be working Friday to finish containing the fire and then begin the long process of mopping up (using foam to put out individual hot spots), which – depending on the weather – is expected to last for several days.

“We’re going to be working from the perimeter in toward the center of the fire,” Glover said. “Our goal for today is to have 25 feet in from the outer edge 100 percent mopped up.”

No injuries have been reported. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. DNR staff was investigating today.

Firefighters check in Friday morning at the
Michigan DNR office in Ishpeming Township.
Overnight, piles of logs that were on fire at the site were consumed, reducing the heat of the fire Friday.

Thursday evening, the fire was at 70 acres and 60 percent contained. DNR fire crews have experienced some mechanical problems with firefighting equipment, but mechanics were on the scene.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, tower personnel at Sawyer International Airport reported seeing smoke. A short time later, a DNR pilot flew over the scene, which is located about 4 miles northeast of Republic in Humboldt Township.

At that time, the fire had burned about 10 acres in an area where logging had occurred last winter. Loggers had just begun working over the past day or so to test a newly built road for hauling timber off the site.

“The stumps, logging debris and stacked piles of logs made for good fuel for the fire, but made it more difficult for firefighters working to build a containment line around the fire,” Glover said.

At 5 p.m. Thursday the size of the fire had increased to about 30 acres and fire crews tried to keep the blaze within the footprint of the logging operation. High temperatures and strong winds had helped fuel the fire.

Thursday afternoon, the temperature on the fire scene was 76 degrees, with a relative humidity of 36 percent and winds from the west at 16 mph, gusting to 23.

Thursday evening the fire had burned more acreage and reached the trees beyond the logged area. Crews from the Humboldt, Champion, Ishpeming and Republic townships’ volunteer fire departments also were on the scene.

Michigan DNR Gwinn Fire Supervisor Pete Glover briefs
firefighters Friday morning at the DNR office in Ishpeming
Township. Crews returned to the fire line Friday.
Those departments, with the exception of Ishpeming Township, returned Friday.

DNR resource protection section manager Paul Kollmeyer called in firefighters and equipment from Wisconsin to help backfill positions for local DNR firefighters who had been called to the blaze.

The assistance from Wisconsin was provided as part of the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact Agreement.

Friday morning, there were 30 DNR staff on the fire and 16 pieces of DNR equipment assigned to the blaze.

Joe Derocha of the Humboldt Township Fire Department, who was coordinating efforts for Glover between the township fire departments, said there was “outstanding cooperation” between the DNR and the local firefighting crews.

Derocha said the Lundin Mining Corp. had allowed use of the water supply from the Humboldt Mill to aid firefighters in battling the wildfire.

Glover said once the fire had hit a mix of hardwoods and in another area nearby, a spruce and balsam stand, the fire began to slow its spread. Crews then began to gain a better handle on containing the blaze.

“The changing fuel type, that’s what slowed it down the most,” Glover said.

Crews were expected to be taken off the fire around midnight because of the inherent danger of trying to fight the fire in the dark. The blaze would continue to be monitored overnight by firefighters.

David Holli of Holli Forest Products in Ishpeming, Michigan, owned the logs. He estimated the loss of timber was $150,000 at a minimum. He expected to have a better calculation of the loss later today.

DNR officials continue to urge extreme caution with fire as weather is expected to remain conducive to spreading wildfires over the next few days. For safety and prevention tips, visit the DNR website

“Isolated rain showers are possible today resulting in meager amounts of precipitation where it occurs,” Kollmeyer said. “Elevated fire danger is expected to continue until significant rain occurs. The best chance of rain is 50 percent Sunday and Monday.”