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Fulltimers Product Giveaway
Posted On 03/02/2011 13:52:57

We hinted that we had something exciting in the works for you and here it is! Andy Baird has given us 1 copy of his book, From Camping to Fulltime and his Eureka 2 CD to giveaway to two lucky RVers. Here's how you enter to win!

Please note: You can do any one of the following options to enter the Giveaway. We're not asking that you complete all 5 steps (though we would love that!). But every step that you complete will count in your favor as an additional entry. The person with the most entries will win one of the prizes.

  • Leave a blog comment (extra point for including a link to your user profile on RVParking.com) on their blog post letting us know you are participating in the Giveaway and leave us with some sort of way to contact you!
  • Follow RVParking.com and Hit the Road JACK on Twitter. Tweet the two of us saying you are participating in our Giveaway! So we know to count this as an Giveaway entry for you.


Official Rules - Entries will be accepted until 9pm PST Sunday, March 6th. Both winners will be chosen by amount of entries and announced in this post on Monday, March 7th. Good luck!

Tags: Giveaway Contest Fulltimers


Family Boondocking in Quartzsite
Posted On 02/21/2011 21:37:35

Since several of you have requested RV destination posts that are written with the family in mind, today we bring you a post about family RVing in Quartzsite by Erin Provost, a mother of three who blogs at Provost Recess. We have many blog posts to come including another post in the RVing with Kids series about the National Parks Jr. Ranger program, reviews of the new Eddie Bauer Airstream from four RV bloggers with Airstreams, a post about RVing in Hot Springs Arkansas and more. Since we've added an RSS feed button to the blog, so it will be easier to keep track of the great things to come.

When the price to park on 500 square feet of asphalt starts rivaling a perfectly decent hotel room it gives one pause. After all, with an RV we bring everything we need with us.

DSC_0068

To us, one of the great joys of RVing is boondocking. A free place to park is a welcome perk. (Think great justification for a dinner out sometime.) So, it is no surprise that we love Quartzsite, Arizona: arguably the boondocking capital of the world.

We have not visited during the main season, we prefer the off-season lack of crowd thing, but if you like flea markets Quartzsite’s reputation is unsurpassed.

There are different areas with different options. Knowing how long you will be staying and what amenities you will need can help you choose what works best for you. We have always been passing through and have planned to be completely self sufficient allowing for more seclusion. Therefore, we have always opted for the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Our last visit we did have a hard time finding a place to dump when we were leaving town. In retrospect, we might opt for paying a $40 fee to one of the gated parks which would give us access to their dump for up to two weeks and still used the BLM camping area.

There are 5 BLM areas; we use the Roadrunner area which is on the 95, 5 miles south of Quartzsite at mile marker 99. It is on the west side of the 95.

When you pull off you enter a web of primitive roads, I uses the term road loosely here, that go in all directions. It can be daunting, at first, and I recommend arriving before sunset. Something we failed to do on our first visit. It turns out my husband finds it easier to avoid cactus, yucca, rocks and deep ruts when he can see.

DSC_0073

Deciding where to park is a big decision. One certainly doesn’t want to park on top of another camper, but people’s space bubbles are all unique. Our loose rule of thumb is we want to be far enough away that we could leave our curtains open and not be observed. We don’t actually do this, but we like to know we could. No one wants to be on the wrong side of a fish bowl.

We find a place to park, not too close to any neighbors, and before we cool the engine the kids are out the door, running in a large circle hooting and hollering. Why? Because they can, and really, how often does this opportunity present itself anymore? Nobody is pulling into a KOA and behaving like this…. well, we certainly don’t allow it so the kids relish this opportunity!

jamie bobby outside

Quartzsite is back to camping basics. Our perfect evening proceeds with dinner, a desert sunset (providing you have followed my prior advice,) a campfire (with your favorite associated activities,) and star-gazing (though not pitch black, compared to any city the stargazing is breathtaking. Our kids now understand why our galaxy is called the Milky Way.)

Board games, good books, long conversations, baking, long intricate games of pretend, there are so many ways to spend time when there is no where to rush off to. These make for the kinds of evenings memories are made of.

Sunrise

Fresh desert air and quiet cool nights make for good sound sleeping which in turn allows for my favorite aspect of Quartzsite; the desert sunrise. My daughter may rival me as the family’s biggest fan and the budding photographer and her trusty assistant were brave enough to be out in robes to capture the magnificent spectacle. Even my sleep-loving husband couldn’t resist the kids’ enthusiasm and braved the morning chill to get their pictures. After I provided the hats, mittens, and warm pumpkin tea of course.

q bobby cactus

I kindly volunteered to stay with our sleepyhead little one (you know, under the down comforter) and take my view from the window. She joined me eventually.

You can get your magic in so many ways and we found a little piece in Quartzsite.

Erin Provost is a wife and mommy to three. After living at the same address for 6 years, longer than she has ever lived at any single address her entire life, she decided it was time for a break, a recess if you will. As gypsies do attract, her crazy husband and kids completely agreed.  They sold everything, fixed up a 1975 Newell and set off. You can follow their adventure at www.provostrecess.blogspot.com.

Tags: Quartzsite Boondocking


Snowmads
Posted On 01/10/2011 17:12:04

snowbird (noun): one who travels to warm climes for the winter

Everyone pays attention to the weather. Some go to the trouble to complain when it's bad. Like birds, some folks even migrate, spending summer wherever they call 'home' and moving south to better weather in winter.

Not many are willing to travel constantly in search of only the finest weather.

I can't help myself. I hate the heat. Um, and the cold.

Being born in Wisconsin, it's not that I can't deal with cold. Twice during my first 10 years we dealt with a temperature of -42F. For those of you keeping score, that's only -41C, since the two scales merge at -40. On any scale, it's cold.

Heat? I've coped with heat. Seven years of the dry heat of Sacramento, reaching 115 some summers, and 110 nearly all of them. But then, that's a dry heat, as everyone seems to love to say. I also endured seven years of Texas heat; days of 110 degrees and, literally, 100% humidity. The air is holding as much moisture as it possibly can; if there were any more moisture it would have to take a rain check. If you don't have air conditioning, you lay around gasping like you're a fish. Which, considering the air's water content, might not be a bad idea.

I've known people who thrived on extreme heat. I've known people who, given the choice, moved from San Diego, California, to northern Wisconsin. (Hi, Mom!)

Not me.

Humans spend an enormous amount of time and money creating living spaces to protect us from extreme weather. During our seven years in Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento, we dealt with months where we were sealed up in the house to prevent the furniture from melting. I've watched folks in colder places huddle by the fire, praying for summer.

Not me.

Those months in the airtight chambers of our house drove Best Beloved and I mad. We love air; space; light; room to move. More specifically, we love fresh air at a temperature fit for breathing. We love light that gently warms, not fiercely scorches.

We like a roof over our head, but otherwise, we'd sorta like living outdoors. We're determined to be where the weather invites rather than punishes.

Some of you will now point out that we used to live in San Diego, and we left. Doesn't southern California have perfect weather all the time?

Well, no; it doesn't. San Diegans all know about 'June gloom'; the marine layer of clouds that hangs like a pall over the coastal plain for the early summer. You can go days without seeing the sun. It doesn't rain; that would damage San Diego's status as a desert. (Note: the largest desert in the world is not the Sahara, as many believe, but the Great Southwestern Desert of the United States; start from the southwest corner and expand, oh, a lot; it's all desert, with less than 10" of rainfall a year, and in some years, no measurable rainfall at all.)

If you average San Diego's temperatures year 'round, it's not bad. But we don't live by averages, we live day by day. Knowing that the humid 87-degree day in August is balanced by the cold wet 53-degree spring day doesn't improve either of them.

No, I want great weather, outdoor weather, writing-in-a-lawn-chair weather all the time.

So, we're nomads.

Best Beloved and I packed up our Little One and our laptops and took to the road, working as unpaid house sitters, staying with friends, working anywhere there's an internet connection. We're not RVers; we're just nomads. We don't take our home with us; we find a new one as often as necessary.

House sitting means we go where someone is taking a vacation. When we first discussed it, folks suggested we'd be getting the worst weather all the time, since vacations tend to be time away from the bad weather. (Some new friends who live in Wisconsin take a week in Hawaii or California every winter just to break the frigid monotony.)

Yes, you might expect that we'd be settling for the worst weather wherever we house sit, while our hosts are off basking in perfection.

That's not how I roll. When I make a plan, I shoot for the moon. I'll settle for landing in the stars, but I don't aim for almost what I want.

I mentioned the heat in Sacramento; August is excruciating. Vancouver, BC, Canada, on the other hand, tends toward 73 degrees, which is not bad at all (and 40 degrees lower than Sacramento.)

Guess where we spent August this year? Three weeks in a gorgeous restored Victorian in a suburb of Vancouver, away from the heat of Sacramento.

We're hoping to spend two months of summer in Albuquerque, up in the foothills. A little warmer than perfect, but certainly not Texas or Sacramento. We'll be spending January and February in Phoenix, Arizona. We are not likely to either overheat or freeze.

We spent a month in Quebec, just east of Montreal, this fall. Glorious fall colors, brisk but beautiful weather. It snowed one night. We threw snow balls. It had the decency to melt away like a happy dream before we had to drive that afternoon, which we did on dry clear roads.

It takes adjusting, and we don't always hit it right. Our latest visit with my Mom was nearly a weather faux pas. The last three days it snowed, and the temperature dropped to preposterous single-digit numbers. Though Sioux Falls, South Dakota was next on our itinerary, we bagged it and headed south to Kansas City. Though the wind blew like a freight train all the way across Kansas to Denver, the sun was warm and pleasant. In the past couple weeks, we've rarely had weather requiring either shorts or heavy jackets. I aim to keep it that way.

I'm writing this in San Diego. The day we arrived, it was 87 degrees. Then it was 73 degrees. Today, it's supposed to be 62 degrees. Tomorrow, it's supposed to rain.

I can't wait to get out of this perfect (on average) weather for someplace, well, less average.


Joel D Canfield is a business author who, with his Best Beloved Sue, trains virtual workers to turn their existing skills into truly portable businesses. When they're done seeing the rest of the world they plan to settle in the west of Ireland, where, like Solla Sollew, the weather is Goldilocks-approved year 'round.

RVParking.com Picks for Locations Mentioned in this Post

Sacramento West/Old Town KOA, West Sacramento CA

"Nice enough park just outside the city limits." Read more.

Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM

"Not a bad place to stay if you don't mind being near the freeway and 8miles from downtown. Management is friendly, sites are level and the facilities are clean (although the hot tub was broken when we visited)." Read more.

Phoenix-Metro RV Park, Phoenix, AZ

"Small park...great customer service...very friendly...nice outdoor pool and hot tub...nice and clean restrooms/showers and laundry facilities." Read more.

Pioneer RV Park, Phoenix, AZ

"With over 500 sites, most are seasonal and/or monthly but they have many that are dedicated to the daily and weekly rentals that are level, long pull through sites for the every size rig. A very accommodating and friendly staff. Nice size laundry facilities and restrooms/showers that are kept very clean. The activity center has something going on all the time and so many things to do, you could never get bored around here." Read more.


Snowbirding in the Southwest Desert
Posted On 01/05/2011 14:35:27

Once a year the Southwest Desert undergoes a magical transformation. The hot, forbidding oven of summer fades away and morphs like a butterfly into a balmy, inviting and almost weather-perfect destination. Endless days of sun, dry air, moderate temperatures and lots of open space make it an irresistible draw for snowbirds and RVers looking to escape the frozen North. With over 55 million acres of gorgeous desert stretching from California to Arizona there’s something for everyone here, from resort-style camping to laid-back parks and alternative “boondocking” (camping on public land without hook-ups).

The “beast” boondocking in Quartzite, AZ (Apr, 2010)

The “beast” boondocking in Quartzite, AZ (Apr, 2010)

In Arizona, Mesa, Quartzsite and Yuma are the big favorites. Yuma is tucked in the far Southwest corner of the State and offers some of Arizona’s warmest weather, averaging in the mid 70’s in winter. It has over 60 RV resorts, several popular boondocking locations (including the gorgeous Imperial Dam which spills into CA) combined with a plethora of outdoor, cultural and community activities. Further North, Quartzsite is an iconic boondocking location which transforms from a dusty desert town of only a few thousand in summer to a teeming mass of hundreds of thousands RVers in winter complete with swap meets, gem shows and crafts. For $180 and a self-sufficient attitude you can stay up to 7-months in the LTVA (Long-term Visitor Area), quite the deal. A step further East the Mesa and Apache Junction areas welcome over 300,000 winter visitors and cater to RVers looking for both good winter weather and city amenities. In-between there are plenty of other beautiful spots from the red rocks of Sedona in the North to the low desert of Fort Mohave in the East.

Moving over to California opens up hundreds of additional RV locations. For resort-style camping snowbirds flock to the popular desert towns of the Coachella Valley including Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Indio, Thousand Palms, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta. Beautifully located in desert valley, surrounded by mountains and bounded by the gorgeous Joshua Tree on one side and ritzy Palm Springs on the other this is a place where you can play a game of golf on a world-class course in the morning, soak in a mineral hot-tub in the afternoon and go out for a night on the town all in the same day. Further West and with a more rural feel, Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley is another popular snowbird location with multiple RV resorts. And finally, for the hard-core boondockers “The Slabs” in Niland (Mojave Desert) is an ex-military base turned free RV parking destination and location of the famous Salvation Mountain.

Overall the southwestern desert is a place of many faces, and snowbirds flock to all of them. Prices in winter can vary anywhere from $700/month in a ritzy RV resort to absolutely free in The Slabs with every possibility in-between and the season stretches from late October until the desert flowers bloom in April. If you like dry, warm weather almost nowhere else compares and with all that space, you can really spread your snowbird wings and fly.

My Picks

Desert Hot Springs

Sam’s Family Spa: This is a quirky little park just a little out of town with the bonus of 4 on-site hot mineral baths. It’s not fancy, but is a great location to explore the area and come homefor a warm soak. Good monthly rates. http://www.samsfamilyspa.com/

What Other Reviewers Say

"It's definately a desert environment (not like Palm Springs, with an absurd display of grass), but Sam's does a really great job with their mineral spring baths and swimming pool area. The central area is beautifully landscaped with palm trees, grassy picnic areas, and a pond stocked with fish and lots of birds." Read more

Borrego Springs

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Club – For those looking for a bit of luxury in the desert this is the place to be. Full amenities, pool, mineral spas and even wine tasting in the cute little desert town of Borrego Springs.. http://www.springsatborrego.com/

Quartzite

Boondocking in BLM land – If you’re looking for the “classic” Quartzite experience join the hundreds of thousands of boondockers that flock to BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land each year. In LVTA (Long-Term Visitor Area) spots such as La Posa and Tyson Wash you can camp for extended periods for a very small fee. On non-LVTA BLM land youcan camp for 14-days at a time for free.
http://www.quartzsitebusinesschamber.com/images/map.pdf

Yuma

Cocopah RV and Golf Resort – For those looking for a first class parkthis is the place to be. Located right next to a golf course with gorgeous views of the mountains and even a 2.5 acre dog-run on site. http://www.cocopahrv.com/

Boondocking in BLM land – For those seeking a more natural and“out there” experience there are several popular BLM sites in Yuma.Imperial Dam and Pilot Knob are both LVTA areas where youcan camp for extended periods for a very small fee.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/recreation/ltvas/pilot_knob.html

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recreation/camping/LTVA/imperial.html

Mesa

Mesa Spirit RV Resort – A long-time favorite with 55+ snowbirds becauseof it’s proximity to town and winter activities. Within 10 mins of everything. http://www.mesaspirit.com/

Other RVParking.com Picks

Arizona

Yuma

Yuma Lakes Resort "The staff was friendly, the facilities were clean and kept, power and utilities were sufficient. No problems, really smooth and pleasant trip for us." Read more.

Mesa

Towerpoint RV Resort - "Activities were abundant and the pools were absolutely great... If we were to ever settle down, which we do not ever plan to, but if we ever did, this would be one of our top choices to settle in." Read more.

Goodyear

Cotton Lane RV Resort - "This may end up being our new park to stay while in the Phoenix area…it is owned by the same owners as the Pioneer RV Park that we usually stay at but this one is located much closer to PIR." Read More.

Bullhead City

Ridgeview RV Resort - "The people were very friendly, both the workers and the guests and it looked as if their rules were enforced, we never seen a dog without a leash and owners were picking up after them."

"The staff is extremely accomodating and very helpful." Read more.

Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu RV Park - "With security everywhere, quiet, dark and very peaceful which made it great for a good nights sleep." Read more.

Phoenix

Phoenix-Metro RV Park - "Small park...great customer service...very friendly...nice outdoor pool and hot tub...nice and clean restrooms/showers and laundry facilities." Read more.

Pioneer RV Park - "With over 500 sites, most are seasonal and/or monthly but they have many that are dedicated to the daily and weekly rentals that are level, long pull through sites for the every size rig. A very accommodating and friendly staff. Nice size laundry facilities and restrooms/showers that are kept very clean. The activity center has something going on all the time and so many things to do, you could never get bored around here." Read more.

Tucson

Beaudry RV Resort -  "Just about the only decent choice in the Tucson area that isn't full of permanent renters, park models or age restricted." Read more.

Agave Gulch FamCamp - "Very clean park, new updated bathrooms, a little street noise in the early morning by the spots backing up to the gate that opens at 5:30am, but not too bad... Activities planned, great gym & indoor lap pool. Sites were level - on rocks, easy hookups, plenty of room not to make you feel too cramped. No cable tv, wifi is good." Read more.

Sedona

Rancho Sedona RV Park - "Kids loved the creek and wild animals. We loved the trees and quiet location." Read more.

Ehrenberg

Colorado River Oasis RV Resort - "Doing our laundry was the best we have done…a lounge area where we were able to watch the Busch Race and I was able to work on a puzzle…time just flew by doing our wash." Read more.

Mohave Valley

Spirit Mountain RV Park "Huge sites…nice and clean restrooms/showers with nice layout with shower door locks…Laundromat was located right on premises…car wash next door with stalls big enough for RV’s" Read more.

Parker

River Island State Park - "It is nestled between the mountains with spectacular views right on the Colorado River and has a very sereneness about it." Read more.

California

Desert Hot Springs

Caliente Springs RV and Golf Resort "I would have given it a 5 if the streets weren't so narrow for back in's." Read more.

South Lake Tahoe

Campground by the Lake - "The spots are pretty large, but there is little distinction between the sites. The bathrooms were well maintained. The onsite hosts were super friendly and helpful." Read more.

Yermo

Barstow/Calico KOA - "The store carried many convenient supplies and souvenirs with a very helpful staff that also offered a free shuttle to Calico Ghost Town." Read more.


nina_and_paulNina Fussing is a blogger, writer of tales, animal lover, outdoor enthusiast and photographer. Together with her hubby they both left stressful jobs in the semiconductor industry for the dream of becoming full-time RVers and leading an alternative life. Join them in their travels with RV tips and tales at http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/.


San Antonio: Home of the Alamo and Spirit of Texas
Posted On 12/30/2010 20:58:53

Today's guest blog post comes from Betty Barnes, who some of you may remember from her great post about HughesNet back in September. Since she is a native Texan who has been attending RV rallies since she was a little girl, she's the perfect person to give an RVing overview of San Antonio.

When you think of San Antonio, Texas, what image comes to you? If you are like so many others, it is the Alamo, a hallowed symbol of Texan independence and spirit. Indeed, the Alamo is on my list of “must-see” places in the area, especially if you are visiting San Antonio for the first time. There are, of course, so many other places of interest and activities for all ages in and around “The River City.” Located in what one might consider as the heart of Texas, San Antonio is a crossroads of Interstates 10 and 35. The River City lies on the border of the Texas Hill Country and is an easy drive to Austin for exploring the capitol of Texas. The summers are typically Texan – hot! The winters can be pleasant, and the area is popular for migrating snowbirds seeking temperate climes during the cold months.

What Would You Like to Do?

Keeping in mind that I am a native Texan and therefore somewhat prejudiced (she says with a grin), some of my favorite spots in San Antonio include:

  • The Alamo: This Texas shrine is located right in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Epitomizing the spirit of independence, honor, bravery and strength that I like to think all native Texans share to this day, the Alamo sees more than 2.5 million visitors annually. Although small by comparison to other historical sites at only 4.2 acres, one can almost feel the spirits of those who defended our state which was at one time its own country.
  • San Antonio River Walk: Descend from the busy streets of downtown into the soothing realm of the River Walk. Stroll along the stones, browse through the shops, stop at a cafe or pub and watch the river taxis cruise as you dine on delicious Mexican food or sip a cool beverage of your choice. Why not even book a ride on a river taxi and soak in the sights and history of downtown San Antonio from a new perspective? Refreshing in the summer, definitely take a jacket with you during the winter months as you explore all that the River Walk has to offer.

riverwalk

  • Casa Rio: Aah . . . Casa Rio! Growing up in Texas, you come to realize that you just cannot get “real” Mexican food once you leave the Lone Star State. Sitting here in South Carolina and talking to you about Casa Rio, well, shall we say it fills me with a longing for all those yummy dishes! Casa Rio opened its doors in 1946 on the River Walk, and my first memories of this renowned eatery are those of a child. My first visit was not in 1946, but it was many years ago. This is “the” place not only for a true meal of the region but to experience River Walk dining at its utmost. Go early for lunch or dinner, as it is very popular!
  • San Antonio Zoo: My first visits to the San Antonio Zoo began in childhood and have continued through my adult years. Naturally, as a kid I gazed in wonder at all the exotic animals and enjoyed the exhibits specifically targeted for young folks. As an adult, I stroll through the extensive grounds with camera at the ready, looking for “the shot.” It is also fun to watch little ones perhaps seeing an elephant for the first time or munching down on a hot with much relish – both the condiment and the enjoyment!

japanese_tea_garden

  • Japanese Tea Garden: Reopened in 2008 after extensive renovation, this oasis is located in Breckenridge Park, a short walk from the San Antonio Zoo.
  • The Mission Trail: Five missions, including the Alamo, make up the Mission Trail. At least one of these missions still serves as an active parish with regular weekly services.

Also of note are SeaWorld, Fiesta Texas and HemisFair Park. HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 World's Fair. (I was lucky enough to experience it as a kid during its heyday) and still attracts visitors with its Tower of the Americas and nearby museums.

Places to Land with Your Rig

Displaying the same diversity of San Antonio activities are one's choices in places to call home with your RV. As we all venture to different destinations with a variety of purposes and a mix of ages in our families, again, there is something for everyone! Below is a sampling:

Greentree Village North: Located at Exit 169 off Interstate 35 on O'Connor Road, this park has a variety of short and long-term residents. We stayed here in 2008 and found it to be a very comfortable location for taking in the sights of the city. Although not immediately downtown, the drive to The River Walk, Alamo and so forth was short, straightforward and easy to navigate. We enjoyed coming home to our campsite after a day of sightseeing and being away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Would we return? You betcha! Read more on RVParking.com.

Admiralty RV Resort: According to their Web site, Admiralty offers shuttle service to Sea World, is located on the public bus system, and is 20 minutes from Fiesta Texas, the River Walk and the Alamo. I have not personally stayed at this park.

Travelers World RV Resort: This park on Roosevelt Avenue in San Antonio lists planned winter activities and location adjacent to a golf course for those of you desiring to tee off. Again, this is not a park I have personally visited.

Whatever your vision of a stay in San Antonio and no matter how much time you have to spend there, I am sure you will find a wealth of opportunities for fun, food and relaxation!

Betty Barnes is a nine-year cancer survivor, Reiki Master/Teacher, cyclist and drum circle facilitator. She and her husband Dave, originally from Scotland, began full-timing in their fifth wheel in June 2010, workamping as they travel the Lower 48. Betty's first RV experience was literally as a babe in arms over 50 years ago. She has camped under canvas, in a pop-up and travel trailers now a fifth wheel. Betty has seen much of Scotland, so now she and Dave are taking the opportunity to experience together the wonder and beauty of her native country. Betty maintains an active blog describing their adventures on the road at Phoenix Once Again. You are also invited to visit her Reiki Web presence here.


Gettysburg: Camping at One of America's Most Profound Historic Sites
Posted On 12/10/2010 18:05:23
This is the first post in a series where we will feature some of our bloggers favorite RV parks in a particular region of the US. Thanks to R.M DeSanti for helping us start this off.

There are several camping resorts that are located minutes from one of America's most profound attractions; historic Gettysburg. Lancaster, PA is approximately an hours drive east on US 30. If you have a hankering for chocolate, or the adventure of a theme park; a tour of Hershey Chocolate World is also only an hours drive away. If rain is in the forecast, a tour of the largest Harley-Davidson manufacturing facility  is in York, PA. Established as an assembly facility in 1973, the York facility covers more than 230 acres and has over 1.5 million square feet under roof. A word of warning; Although it is not posted, no open toed shoes permitted on factory tours. Washington D.C. is also close enough for a day trip.

We managed the Cafe' which offers hot and cold items at Drummer Boy Resort, giving us first hand knowledge of the facility and what it has to offer. The resort offers 400 campsites situated on 95 acres. Several rental units are also available including 12 cabins and 27 cottages with lofts. Many rentals offer luxury accommodations. The camp store has a range of provisions from groceries, RV supplies, and battlefield souvenirs. A large game room offers video and action packed arcade games. There is also a miniature golf range which overlooks one of two swimming pools. A large activity pool displaying a 250 ft water slide is located at the rear of the park.

The park is approximately 1 1/2 miles from the town of Gettysburg and all it has to offer. Although nightly ghost walks are advertised, a tour of the battlefield is a must see. The impact of walking upon 'hallowed ground' is chilling. The Eisenhower Farm , adjacent to the Battlefield is also worth a look see. However, the only way to visit "Ike's" hideaway is on a very affordable tour bus that leaves from the new visitor center in the heart of town.

If you happen to be a collector of stuffed bears, Boyd's Bear Factory is several miles down the road and takes a few hours to see all they have to offer. You can adopt a bear form the Teddy Bear Nursery located on the top floor, or enjoy a home style cooked meal in the dining room. Pamper yourself by ending your tour with one of Boyd's ice cream delights.

My Picks for Gettysburg RV Parks are:


roundtopcg-rvparkingcom

Round Top Campground - 180 Knight Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
"The park was in disrepair when we stayed here. However, that was some time ago. I can say that this park, as well as Drummer Boy Resort a few miles away is owned by Diversified Industries LLC." Read full review here

Artillery Ridge Camping Resort - 610 Taneytown Road Gettysburg, PA 17325
"The park is out of the way from the center of Gettysburg. A rustic park with some narrow, uneven sites." Read full review here
Granite Hill Camping Resort

drummerboycamping-rvparkingcomDrummer Boy Camping Resort - 2030 Fairfield Road, Granite Hill Campground 3340
"
Pricey but nice. Commercial water slide installed in rear of park. 2 miles from downtown Gettysburg." Read full review here

About the Author

After a lifestyle change some years ago, my wife Annie and I decided to purchase an RV and 'hit the road.' We explored alternatives how other full time RVers endured life while traveling. Although I was getting a small pension from New York State as a retired police officer, neither one of us were at full retirement age. Bottom line; if we were going to set out to see this beautiful country, we needed to earn while still keeping up a comfortable quality of life. Over the past ten years, we have never regretted the decision we made. You are welcome to ride along with us at anytime by clicking, Ctrl-click our link below:

http://www.freewebs.com/tworootless/

We are still looking for guest bloggers for this series, particularly those who can review parks in Florida, the Southwest Desert, San Antonio, and Nashville. If you can contribute to any of those articles, please send an email to nicole at rvparking dot com. Stay tuned for another Christmas RV Park event list later in the week.

Tags: Places To See


Why You Should Do Whatever It Takes to Get Your Family on the Road
Posted On 11/29/2010 16:26:37

Today, we are featuring another guest blog post in our RVing with Kids series, this time from Margie Lundy of the Lundy 5. Margie and her family just hit the six month milestone. I'm sure that you will be able to relate to her reasons for RVing. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about Christmas RV park events. Interested in writing for the blog? Check out this page with our list of the types of posts we are looking for.

It's hard to believe we've been on the road for six months already! Some days it feels like we've always been nomads, yet other days it feels like we've just left. We're very comfortable with our traveling life and have seen so much of the country. At the same time though, we now realize just how much more there is to see. We're not worried though. We have plenty of time and desire to see more, and the growing understanding that we'll never be able to see it all.

As we started talking about living on the road fulltime, the main question we heard was "Why?" Of course our answer was simply "Why not?" Now that we're on the road, people we meet along the way just ask "How?" As in how can they do it too? Our answer to that is "However you can!" Whether you save for a short time or simplify for a lifetime, we certainly recommend doing whatever it takes to take your family on the road. Our kids (ages 8, 10, and 10) love fulltiming and we're so thankful for this time together.

In terms of quality time, and certainly quantity time, you can't get much closer as a family than living and traveling in a 400 square foot RV. And despite the close quarters, we rarely feel crowded. We chose an RV with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen table that would seat all five of us, so that our home on wheels would really feel like home. And it does! We love our home and the convenience of taking it anywhere we want to go. We have plenty of room and all the comforts of home, wherever we are.

As for education, the kids (and adults!) are learning first hand about this country's geography, geology, history, and culture. Since we are roadschooling, those subjects as well as math, science, reading, and writing are part of life. My husband Allen and I are now fascinated by things I'm sure we heard in school, but forgot because they didn't seem relevant. Our kids now learn about the Oregon Trail while they are walking on it, about volcanoes while they are climbing them, and about bear and bison while taking pictures of them, instead of looking at pictures in a book.

We spend much of our time exploring our beautiful national parks. We highly recommend their Jr. Ranger program as it combines fun and education. The kids earn badges while learning about each park's features, wildlife, activities, history, and preservation. They glean so much information from helpful park rangers, and currently all three want to be rangers when they're old enough. We all enjoy the exhibits, visitor centers, scenic drives, and trails. Camping in the parks is sometimes very convenient and affordable too. For only $80, we purchased an annual pass to all the parks, and after only a few months it had already paid for itself.

Along the way, we've met so many friendly and interesting people at campgrounds, churches, picnics, parks, gas stations, and on the side of the road. A couple is walking across America, with their pig. A man who's played guitar for 60 years gave us an awesome lesson in musical history. A truck driver took the time to explain the proper technique for climbing up, and more importantly down, mountains to save our brakes. Our kids are very outgoing and love to hear these stories, and tell their own of course. They do look for RVs with bunkhouse windows (a sure sign of kids inside), but they're just as happy finding a retiree with a good story, or a willing ear.

Flexibility and simplicity have now replaced schedules and stress in our life. Our plan is to have no plan and so far, that's worked out very well. We're free to leave early if we're bored, hot, cold, there's no cell coverage, it's raining too often, or certainly if we see snow. Or we might stay longer if we really enjoy a park, meet another family on the road, have super fast wifi, or need to finish a work project. With no calendars to fill or schedules to work around, life moves slowly and peacefully. We simply leave when we're ready and arrive when we get there.
We're fortunate to be able to work on the road. With laptops, air cards, routers, smart phones, and wifi available at most campgrounds, we're able to stay connected and work remotely. It can be challenging working at home with three children (as it was before we left). We've learned to work at night, or when the kids are outside playing or inside reading, or while one of us takes the kids on an adventure leaving the other in peace and quiet.

We have a supportive staff and a wonderful community at Digital Scrapbook Place, which is my workplace, but also my online home. Digital scrapbooking is a fun and meaningful hobby, and it's also very convenient for RVers with little storage space (you just need a laptop)! To meet more of that community, we began an official digital scrapbooking tour. As we travel, we hold laptop crops across the country for Scrap the Map. We always have a great time scrapbooking and chatting with old friends and new. It's wonderful to have such a fun and mobile job!

So we live, learn, play, and work together and love every bit of it. None of us can imagine stopping anytime soon. We love our ever-changing back yard and the anticipation of where we'll go next. Looking back, we have only one regret about leaving everything for our fulltime life on the road: We left our dog behind. So after six months and twenty-one states, and much to the kids' delight, we came back and picked up Jack, who is now RVing with us. It's not as convenient and we may have to skip a few trails, but Jack's family. And as our family motto says, Family Sticks Together.

Margie is traveling the USA fulltime in an RV with her husband and three young children. Owning Digital Scrapbook Place, Inc. allows them to work remotely and hold events all over the country. Learn more about the laptop crops as they Scrap the Map. Follow their family adventures, RVing, roadschooling, and more on Lundy5.com.


Eco-Friendly Tips for RV Living
Posted On 11/03/2010 16:17:47

Today's blog post (http://blog.rvparking.com/2010/11/03/eco-friendly-tips-for-rv-living/) comes from Tara Wagner of the Organic Sister. She provides many ways to be eco-friendly while on the road.

At first glance, eco-friendly tips for RVs may sound like greenwashing. Or at least I would have thought so a year ago.

I'm almost as crunchy as they come. So, the very first thing that came to mind when my husband proposed full-time RVing was our environmental footprint. How could driving thousands of miles across the country with 8 mpg fuel economy be eco-friendly?

Quite easily actually. After calculating our home's energy usage (for space that was hardly used, I might add) and adding our vehicle emissions from our single vehicle commute, I came to see that even an environmentally unfriendly RV still had a smaller impact than the average suburban home.

And with a few eco-friendly tips geared just for our new lifestyle we diminished that footprint even more.

Here's what you can do:

Ditch Disposables

Use cloth napkins and dish towels instead of napkins or paper towels, a stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic bottles, reusable shopping bags when you hit the store, real plates instead of paper plates, etc. It's one of those eco-friendly tips that will save you money, as well as save resources.

Precycle

Precycling is the art of consuming with waste management in mind: buying things with little to no packaging, choosing items with a longer shelf life, etc. It will help you keep down the amount of waste you produce each day.

Recycle

I'll admit, it's a tough one but it's not impossible. Keep one small trash can for recyclables in your RV and sort them into three small bags placed under your RV or in your tow vehicle. Alternately you can keep three small boxes in your shower when it's not in use, or get a three-tier storage cart to keep them sorted. As they get full do a quick Google search for recycling drop-offs in your area or ask local restaurant or grocery store managers if you can use their bins. Some schools will also take them off your hands.

Composting

Composting your fruit and veggie scraps in an RV might seem impossible, but really it just takes some creative eco-friendly tips and a committed spirit. Do you have a dog? Dogs naturally eat raw veggies (avoid grapes and raisins!) and there are even health benefits to not feeding dog food. You can also ask local friends if you can save them your scraps. Some scraps (like onions peels, carrot tops, etc) can be used to make veggie stock. And don't forget to ask RV park owners if they offer compost for their plants or gardens; you may just inspire them. If you’re truly committed, grab a shovel and bury them at minimum of 6-12 inches below the surface.

Alternative Transit

Most RV parks are within walking or biking distance to the best sites. With a little extra time and energy you may find you don’t need your tow vehicle often at all. And don’t forget city transit or carpooling with your temporary neighbors as a viable alternative to starting the car.

Refrigerator Use

Propane and DC energy are much more efficient than AC energy. Whenever possible avoid using the AC settings on your fridge. Also be sure to check the seal: place a small piece of paper or dollar bill between the fridge and the door; if you can pull that paper out your seals need to be replaced. And be sure not to overfill it OR under-fill it. Overfilling it prevents proper air circulation, but a near empty fridge loses more cold air.

Insulation

One of the biggest drawbacks of an RV is the small amounts of insulation, especially in older models, causing loss of heat or cool air. Do what you can to offset this by checking for drafts and checking the seals around doors and windows. You can also use heavier curtains and park in sunnier spots in the winter, and avoid full sun in the summer whenever possible. Also invest in things like a windshield shade, and an insulating reflective vent cover.

Tank Sanitation

Stick to enzyme-based tank cleaners or deodorizers and avoid anything with formaldehyde, which has been linked to several types of cancers. You can also pour an entire box of baking soda and an entire bottle of vinegar into an empty tank, then fill it with clean water and allow it sit or slosh as you drive. A large bag of ice added to the tank may also help dislodge particles from the tank.

Water Conservation

There are plenty of ways to save water. Check out Jim and Rene's post on water conservation on the road. To add to their eco-friendly tips, you can also throw water from your sink on an outdoor plant. And since greywater is completely safe some local ordinances may allow greywater dumping on trees. Never dump your blackwater tank outside though!

Redecorating

If your RV is in need of new paint or flooring, opt for eco-friendly materials with zero-VOCs and renewable resources like bamboo. Other eco-friendly materials include organic cotton, hemp or wool. Buying secondhand or handmade items from small businesses is also a good idea.

Buy Local Food

Find farmers markets, local farms and natural food stores on websites such as LocalHarvest.org or GreenPeople.org. Shop small stores, flea markets, thrift stores and locally-owned RV stores. Avoid the Big Box chains whenever you can and try to support the local economy in each place you visit.

Solar Power

Adding solar panels to our RV has kept us from using our generator. The number of panels and size of your inverter will vary depending on your needs, but even a small array will power most of your needs for most of the year. It's certainly an investment on a home, but for an RV that uses much less energy, it's really is one of the more affordable eco-friendly tips and can save you money down the road.

Diesel Conversions

If you have a diesel engine, you might want to consider converting it to run on waste veggie oil found for free at restaurants around the country. In 7 months and 8,000 miles we spent $200 on fuel and fuel-related expenses and created 75% less emissions than regular diesel. And we used something that could have otherwise gone to waste!

There are dozens more ideas for green living that can easily be applied to RV travel. Check out Sustainable Baby Steps for more eco-friendly tips or share a few of your own in the comments below!

*****

Tara Wagner is a mama, writer and photographer. She blogs at TheOrganicSister.com and operates a new site dedicated to eco-friendly tips and sustainable living, SustainableBabySteps.com.





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