Working On the Road: RVs Built For a Roaming Office

Working On the Road: RVs Built For a Roaming Office

With technological advancements and changes in the way society does business, more and more people are escaping the confines of their cubicles and traveling with full-time jobs. Being able to work remotely is a luxury that is becoming increasingly common, and if you’re one of the many people contemplating working on the road, you might just need the right mobile workspace to inspire you to hit the highway! So check out these RVs built for a roaming office, and start packing your laptop, stapler, and ballpoint pens, because adventure doesn’t wait for retirement and neither should you!

Coachmen Brookstone 395RL

Coachmen Brookstone 395RL - an RV good for working remotely

The corner office doesn’t even compare to the centrally-located office in this luxurious Brookstone 395RL! Inside you’ll find a removable dinette table situated in front of a plush leather sofa to give you an ultra-comfortable desk station. Along the opposing wall you’ll find storage and shelving which will be perfect for housing a printer and displaying work binders. A CD/DVD player lets you complete tasks to the sounds of your favorite musicians, and a flip-down bunk lets you sneak in a catnap when you need a little break from the office. Other great features of this fifth wheel include:

  • A 50” Smart LED TV
  • Cell-phone charging station
  • A wine rack, spice drawer, and trash can storage

Keystone Avalanche 365MB

Keystone Avalanche 365MB - an RV good for working remotely

You’ll never miss a deadline with the awesome mobile office in this Avalanche 365MB! Two access points allow for easy entry and exit into this work space, and a loft built in above allows for cozy sleeping accommodations of any overnight guests that you have. In the office you’ll find a built-in desk which is the perfect surface to set down your laptop and conquer your projects! A sofa in the room is conveniently housed in a slide out to keep the area spacious enough to fit in an office chair at your desk.The sofa can also come in handy when you want to reward yourself with some relaxation after a job well done! Other great features of this fifth wheel include:

  • A cozy fireplace
  • Solid surface countertops
  • A translucent glass shower surround with a seat and massaging shower head

Keystone Bullet 287QBS

Keystone Bullet 287QBS - an RV good for working remotely

Make your boss jealous with the magnificent roaming office located in the very rear of this Bullet 287QBS! An array of cabinetry can house your printer, paper shredder, Wi-Fi router, and whatever other office supplies you need for success. Three bunks are housed in the office so this room doubles as a great guest bedroom, but the real focal point of the space is the dinette table which is perfect for working couples on the road. Seats on opposing sides of the dinette give you both a place to sit down, and a panoramic window alongside the dinette gives you picturesque views to enjoy while you’re on the clock. Other great features of this travel trailer include:

  • A 32” LED TV
  • An awesome outdoor kitchen
  • CD/DVD/Bluetooth stereo with iPod hookup

Jayco Jay Flight 32TSBH

Jayco Jay Flight 32TSBH - an RV good for working remotely

Those cramped cubicles become a thing of the past when you hit the road with the Jay Flight 32TSBH in tow! The spacious office in this travel trailer is achieved with dual slide outs that allow room for the flip-up table located at the center of the rear wall. This table functions perfectly as a desk, but it can also be stowed away for when you want to utilize the room as a sleep space. Three bunks provide flexible sleeping accommodations, and a sofa provides comfy seating as well. Cabinetry and drawers built in around the flip-up table ensure you can easily organize your file folders and presentation material. The office is isolated from the rest of the unit with a sliding pocket door so you can work undisturbed. Other great features of this travel trailer include:

  • A CD/DVD/Bluetooth player with MP3 hookup
  • Two fresh water tanks for a total of 80 gallons
  • An exterior kitchen, complete with a sink, stovetop, and fridge

Forest River Salem 28CKDS

Forest River Salem 28CKDS - an RV good for working remotely

If you want a space to get work done while still being able to enjoy the outdoors, then the rear office in this Salem 28CKDS is for you! With a panoramic window along the rear wall you can type away on your laptop while bright, natural light envelops the room! A bench provides a unique inclusion not found in most RVs, let alone RVs with office dens, and the shelving which surrounds it provides excellent storage space for electronics, paperwork, and other office supplies. When not using this room as a roaming office, it can transform into a splendid guest room, complete with multiple bunk beds and a privacy door. Other great features of this fifth wheel include:

  • An outdoor refrigerator
  • Pass-through storage compartments
  • A residential queen-sized bed with under-bed storage

Heartland Bighorn 3160EL

Heartland Bighorn 3160EL - an RV good for working remotely

Relaxation meets hard work with the lovely layout and convenient features of this Bighorn 3160EL! The entertainment center in the rear has the capabilities of converting into a wonderful office space through the inclusion of a pull-out desk! The desktop provides an ideal computer surface and when you want to switch into relaxation mode, all you have to do is retract the desk and flip on the LED HD TV! The desk is located conveniently close to the kitchen so you can grab a snack quickly and get back to work! Other great features of this fifth wheel include:

  • Over 140-cubic-feet of storage
  • Residential swivel recliners with power massage
  • Solid surface countertops with an elegant pencil nose edge

Are you ready to say goodbye to your boss and hello to the open road? Then box up your office supplies and pick one of these wonderful RVs built for a roaming office! Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Infuse Your Own Woodsy Winter Gin

Cheers! Infuse your own woodsy winter gin.

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about gift giving! If you have a knack for DIY gifts, you’ll want to think ahead, as holidays have a tendency of sneaking up on us! Of course, we all have that one person who leaves us feeling stumped when trying to decide what to get them, but instead of admitting defeat and picking up a gift card, give them what they really want! This tasty drink recipe shows you how you can infuse your own woodsy winter gin that will surely leave its drinkers feeling the warmth of the holiday spirit! Be sure to brew up more than one batch, because you’ll definitely want to keep some of this delicious homemade gin for yourself! Here’s how to infuse!

What You’ll Need:

Infuse your own woodsy winter gin

  • 1 fifth (750 ml.) of good quality unflavored vodka
  • 2 Tbsp. juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 small sprig (three inches or so) of white fir (other types of fir are fine, make sure to properly disinfect before use)
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • Half of a cinnamon stick
  • 1 sage leaf (fresh or dried)
  • 1 allspice berry
  • Small piece of dried orange peel (white part removed)
  • 1 large Mason jar or glass bottle

Directions:

  1. In your Mason jar or glass bottle, soak the juniper berries in the vodka for around 12 hours or overnight. Juniper is what gives gin its classic flavor!
  2. After the preliminary soak, add the rest of the ingredients to the jar or bottle and let them soak for anywhere between a few days to a week, depending on how strong you’d like your infusion!
  3. After soaking the second round of ingredients for 24 hours, taste your concoction to make sure you’re liking the strength of the ingredients! Feel free to add more of any given ingredient to enhance its flavor!
  4. Make sure to shake the jar/bottle at least once a day to mix things up and keep the ingredients infusing nicely.
  5. Once your gin is infused to your liking, strain the liquid through a fine wire strainer. Strain the liquid again through a coffee filter to further remove any remaining sediment.
  6. Store your flavorful gin in an airtight container, such as another Mason jar or glass bottle. If you want to get fancy with it, design your own label and give your tasty infused woodsy winter gin as gifts to the gin lovers in your life!

The great thing about this delicious infused woodsy winter gin is that there is no real set recipe! Juniper berries are what give gin its distinct taste, and coriander, orange peel, and cinnamon are typically included, but play around with the recipe and add other herbs and spices to create a perfectly flavored gin! Use this recipe to craft tasty gin cocktails, or just pour a small serving and enjoy the complex flavors on their own! As always, drink responsibly! Excited to infuse your own gin, or have any other tips or tricks for infusing liquors? Leave us a comment to let us know!

Into The Wild: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Located at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, the Lassen Volcanic National Park is renowned for its active volcanic landscapes, vibrant ecosystems, and fun aquatic opportunities. So whether you’re looking for an enjoyable family vacation destination or an awe-inspiring natural getaway, consider going into the wild, untamed backcountry of California to explore the Lassen Volcanic National Park!

Hydrothermal Areas

Hydrothermal areas in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Most visitors are drawn to the Lassen Volcanic National Park for its unique hydrothermal areas which consist of boiling lakes, roaring fumaroles, hissing steam vents, and bubbling mudpots. These geological wonders are the result of water being heated by molten magma beneath the earth’s surface. Multi-colored soil around these hydrothermal areas are stained by sulphur and other minerals which give them unusual orange, yellow, and green hues. The most colorful of these geothermal sites is known as Sulphur Works, while other prime hydrothermal areas include Boiling Springs Lake, Bumpass Hell, and Terminal Geyser. For your own protection when viewing these areas, make sure to stay on established trails and boardwalks or you’ll risk sustaining an injury from the acidic, boiling pools of water.

Self-Guided Auto Tours

Self-Guided Auto Tours in Lassen Volcanic National Park

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to see the sites within Lassen Volcanic National Park is by driving down the national park highway which spans 30 miles. Along the way there are multiple spots to pull off and take a closer look. In addition to seeing many of the hydrothermal areas within the park, an auto tour will also give you the opportunity to have a picnic beside the scenic waters of North Summit Lake and take stunning panoramic pictures off the Lassen Peak Viewpoint, which is the highest point along the park road.

Visitor Center and Museum

Visitor Center in Lassen Volcanic National Park

An on-site museum, known as Loomis Museum, is located next to Manzanita Lake within the park’s boundaries. The museum is open for viewing during the summer months and inside you’ll find a range of exhibits documenting the eruption cycles and geological changes that have occurred in the park throughout the years. The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is open year round and it offers practical information about how to best explore the park. The visitor center also houses an amphitheater, patio, educational bookstore, and dining area.

Other In-Park Activities

Stargazing opportunities at Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Kayaking and paddle boarding
  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing, 
snowshoeing, and skiing
  • Horseback riding
  • Stargazing

Get a Bite to Eat

Get a Bite to Eat at Lassen Volcanic National Park

After an active afternoon of exploring, you’ll probably work up quite an appetite. Luckily there are three eateries located within the park that offer delicious snacking and dining opportunities.

Lassen Cafe & Gift Shop – This eatery is located inside of the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, and along with handcrafted jewelry, park apparel, and other souvenirs, you’ll also find an array of delicious foods available. Grab a soup and salad, snack on some fresh fruit, and indulge in some soft-serve ice cream or an espresso.

Manzanita Lake Camper Store – If you’re feeling hungry, another option for satisfying your rumbling tummy is to visit the Manzanita Lake Camper Store, located near the northwest entrance of the park. Here you will have access to cold beverages, hot pizzas, and fresh-made deli sandwiches.

Drakesbad Guest Ranch – For a more traditional dining experience, make reservations at this hospitable retreat nestled in a lush mountain valley within the park. The ranch serves full meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some menu items include homemade muffins, baked pasta, and barbecued pork sandwiches. To-go sack lunches are also available.

Make Yourself at Home

Stay the night at Lassen Volcanic National Park

You’ll need more than a day if you really want to unearth everything that the Lassen Volcanic National Park has to offer. So plan your overnight stay by reserving a spot at any one of these RV-friendly campgrounds within the park. Before making your reservations, be aware that no campground within the park offers electric, water, or sewer hookups.

Manzanita Lake Campground – This is the most RV-accessible campground within the park’s boundaries and it offers 101 sites total. Paved, pull-through sites are available and they can accommodate a maximum RV length of 40 feet. Flush toilets and coin-operated showers are located on-site, while a dump station can be found less than a mile away. This campground is within walking distance of the Manzanita Lake which is a popular spot for fishing and swimming, and it also offers great views of the surrounding mountain peaks.

Butte Lake Campground – This 101-site campground can accommodate RVs with a maximum length of 35 feet. No dump station is available within the campground, but you will have access to flush toilets during the summer months and vault toilets during the winter. Planning your stay here will put you in close proximity of the Cinder Cone Volcano which provides awesome hiking opportunities, and you’ll also have access to great swimming and boating opportunities at the nearby Bathtub Lake.

Summit Lake Campgrounds – This campground consist of both north and south sections which offer 94 sites total, with RVs only allowed in the north section. The Summit Lake North Campground can accommodate RVs with a maximum length of 35 feet. Flush toilets and lake access are available here as well.

Lost Creek Group Campground – With only 8 sites total, this small campground is designed for those traveling with a large entourage who all want to camp together in a more secluded atmosphere. The campground can accommodate RVs with a max length of 40 feet. Although only vault toilets are available, you will be in close proximity to access the amenities offered at Manzanita Lake which is less than 4 miles away.

In the Area

Turtle Bay Exploration Park

After you’ve fully explored the park you might be looking for more activities to do within the area. Venture outside of the Lassen Volcanic National Park Boundaries and you’ll find these attractions in nearby towns.

Woodson Bridge Recreational Area – Less than a one-hour drive from the park you’ll find this picturesque nature haven which offers great hiking and boating opportunities, beach access, and potential views of majestic bald eagles which call this area home during the winter months.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park – This attraction is worth the little-over-an-hour drive from the volcanic park. Visit here and you’ll be able to marvel at museum exhibits, stroll through the botanical gardens, and meet some of the park’s animals which include Whisper the Bobcat, Nashi the Raccoon, Digger the Badger, and Mojave the Desert Tortoise. This exploration park is also home to one of the largest sundials in the world.

Gateway Science Museum – If you’re looking for a great educational destination, consider driving just under two hours south to this scholastic museum. Here you’ll find fascinating ice-age skeletons, hands-on science displays, and interactive exhibits which are continually being changed to offer visitors a unique experience during each and every visit.

The Lassen Volcanic National Park is perfect for nature lovers and geology enthusiasts alike, but it’s also a fun family getaway and a scenic destination for solo travelers too. So no matter who you are, if you’re looking for an explosively awesome experience, start planning your trip to the Lassen Volcanic National Park today! Have you ever been here? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment!

Why Kids Need More Nature and Less Technology

Why kids need more of nature and less of technology

Technology is a great thing! It’s afforded us so much, especially when thinking of connecting with one another. From the first telephone that allowed us to call people far away, to social media that allows us to connect with others around the world within seconds, you would think we’re the most “connected” bunch ever. So why does there seem to be such a disconnect these days, especially within the family? Like all good things, technology is great in moderation. But studies overwhelmingly show that kids need more nature and less technology for better overall physical, mental, and social health! Let’s look at the reasons why!

Benefits of Nature

Benefits nature has on kids

First let’s talk about the basic benefits of getting out into nature. This goes far beyond just fresh air. Getting out and connecting with nature can have profound benefits on the physical and mental health of all people, especially kids!

Physical Benefits of Nature

The heart is one of the biggest things affected by spending time outdoors. Just like any muscle, it needs to be exercised to stay strong and healthy. A simple hike can get your heart rate up enough to really work it out! This can lead to lower blood pressure and increased oxygen to your body. Lower blood pressure basically means that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood to your body. This reduces the strain on your heart as well.

Spending time outdoors also will help to reduce the risk of obesity, diseases, and some cancers. The physical exercise helps to increase your metabolism, boost your immune system, and improve tons of bodily functions. This includes better digestive health, reduced inflammation, and better stress management. Spending time outdoors helps you sleep better, resulting in more energy the following day, improved concentration, and much more.

Mental and Emotional Benefits of Nature

Aside from the host of physical benefits your kids will experience by spending more time outdoors, there are emotional and mental benefits as well! While there are direct benefits of exercise itself on mental and emotional health, just being in nature has benefits as well.

Studies have shown that being outside results in improved memory, increased mental energy, better concentration, and higher levels of creativity! These studies also conclude that just being in a green environment (leaves and foliage, not just green the color) helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and overall bad mood. Effects of mental illness can be greatly reduced by just getting out and looking at trees!

The Ill Effects of Technology on Kids

The ill effects technology has on kids

They may be watching educational shows or playing games that help them learn, but too much technology, mostly called “screen time” these days, can have negative affects on your child. Let’s take a look at how this happens!

Screen Addiction

Recent studies show that watching a screen can have the same affect on the brain as taking heroin or cocaine! While it obviously isn’t releasing toxic poison in their blood stream, it is lighting up the frontal cortex of the brain, the same way that these drugs do! Technology arouses the brain and in turn causes the release of added dopamine. This then gives that euphoric feeling that drug addicts get when they use.

Parents are seeing some of the same “signs” in kids with a screen addition as some will see in someone who is using drugs. They become uninterested in things that once made them happy, their entire world revolves around getting their “fix”, and when they can’t have it, their world implodes. What happens when you take the drugs from an addict? They experience withdrawal, become agitated, angry, and even at times physically ill or violent. The same goes when you remove the technology from the kids that have become dependent on feeling this euphoria delivered by the device. They can become depressed, anxious, and at times exhibit what these studies call “psychotic-like features” and completely lose touch with reality.

The best way to keep this from happening is to set limits and ensure they’re getting plenty of time outdoors. Even Steve Jobs, creator of tons of the technological devices our kids are hooked on today, limited screen time for his own children. That should tell you something!

Childhood Obesity

When kids spend all day on the couch staring at a screen, they’re obviously not up and moving around. This lack of physical activity contributes to part of the childhood obesity problem. A proper diet isn’t enough to keep your little one healthy. As stated above, your body needs exercise to keep it running properly. Unfortunately, the jump scares in Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t enough to be considered a cardio workout. Most associations agree that kids need a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour of outdoor physical activity per day and the American Academy of Pediatrics says no more than 1-2 hours of screen time a day in order to keep kids physically healthy.

Education

Much of the technology we have today, even educational games, seem to inhibit creative thinking and hands-on learning. Kids aren’t thinking outside the box because they have a device that tells them what to do, how to do it, and in some cases, does it for them! Not only this, but they have a world of information at their fingertips. As you may know, anyone can have a website. Anyone can claim to be educated, or to have facts. But not all who do actually have what they claim. The kids are then subjected to inaccurate information that can really hinder their ability to learn and even, at times, think for themselves. They may also come in contact with information that you as a parent aren’t yet ready for them to have, such as answers to their Googled questions like “where do babies come from?”

Child Predators

Just as anyone can claim to be educated or have facts, anyone can claim to be whomever they want. Games like Minecraft allow players to talk to other players. There have been a number of instances of child predators using seemingly harmless avenues such as this game to lure kids into dangerous situations.

While we’re not trying to say that all technology is bad, you can clearly see that the benefits of being out in nature outweigh the time spent using technology. Ensuring that kids are getting their nature fix will help to set them up for great physical and emotional wellness down the road. Getting them out camping and away from technology allows them to grow as people, and for you to use that time to grow closer as a family. Which sounds better?

TerryTown's breakdown of why kids need to spend more time outside and less time with technology.

Sustainable Living: Have a Zero-Waste Day

Taking care of our green earth. Sustainable living.

Before “modern civilization,” trash dumps didn’t exist. In fact, neither did trash for the most part. Native Americans lived off the land and gave everything a purpose. Meat from a buffalo became food on their table, and animal bones and hides were used to make tools, shelter, and clothing. While living like this would be a bit extreme for today’s standards, there are ways you can reduce your waste by a little and a lot! In an attempt to enjoy a zero-waste day (that is, no waste for the whole day), follow these steps.

What is Zero Waste?

Avoid the landfill and aim for a zero-waste lifestyle.

Zero Waste is a philosophy that has been widely adopted and a trend that is spreading. As the name would imply, it is a lifestyle that produces zero waste so as not to harm nature. When someone uses a foam cup, waste is created. It doesn’t have the ability to break down and return to the earth. A reusable cup is a much better choice for our earth. It gets used over and over again and no waste is created by its use. While reusable ware is a little more high maintenance than disposable, the benefits to Mother Earth greatly outweigh the minute or two it takes you to wash them.

Packing for Zero Waste

How to pack for zero waste camping.

Living a Zero Waste day takes some planning ahead, whether you want to do it at home or when camping. Think about the things you typically throw in the trash and choose a reusable alternative instead. Here are some great substitutions that will result in living a more sustainable life:

  • Ditch the disposable cups and dishes and bring along reusable ones that can be washed after use.
  • Put the paper towels and napkins up and use hand towels and wash rags instead.
  • Store leftovers in washable containers instead of throwing out perfectly good food.
  • Bring along frozen, homemade meals instead of buying food in packaging that gets thrown out.
  • Bring ice from home instead of buying ice in a bag (which becomes trash).
  • Use cheesecloth instead of coffee filters for your morning cup of Joe.
  • Bring eggs in a cardboard carton instead of foam.

What to Do with Trash

What to do with the trash you do accumulate while camping.

Sometimes trash is inevitable. You eat bananas, you have a peel to throw out. You make coffee, you have grounds to toss. Your morning omelette used 3 eggs, and now you have eggshells to deal with. Luckily these things, and much more, can be disposed of in a way that actually benefits nature. Let’s see how you can dispose of natural trash all on your own!

Burn It

Burning trash

Some things can be tossed into a campfire. Carbon-based items that are easy to burn and won’t give off toxic gasses or leave anything but ash behind are safe for the environment to burn. If you do end up with paper items such as paper towel, cups, or plates, just burn them. But be sure to keep an eye on them in the fire. Since they’re lightweight, they can easily blow out of the fire after lighting and potentially start a new fire somewhere else!

Compost It

Composting waste

Composting waste is a great way to put things back into nature. It turns things we don’t want, like those banana peels and eggshells, into nutritious food for plants! You can build your own little composting bin that you can bring along with you when camping. Then you can either take the compost back home to your garden, or spread it in the woods around you. All you have to do is create the right environment for it! Here’s how to do it!

Supplies:

A bucket with a lid
A drill
A drill bit
A carbon filter about the size of the lid
Glue

Instructions:

Step 1: Drill some holes into the lid of the bucket to allow for airflow.

Drill holes into the lid of a bucket.

Step 2: Cut your carbon filter to fit the inside of the lid.

Cut the carbon filter to fit the lid of the bucket.

Step 3: Glue the filter inside the lid.

Glue the carbon filter inside the lid.

Step 4: Put the compost in the bucket and snap the lid on!

Place the compost lid onto the bucket to have your very own DIY compost bin.

If you’re planning on keeping your compost bucket outside, you may not need a filter, as this is just to contain the smell. How will you know when the contents are fully composted and ready to be dispersed in a garden? The compost is ready to use when it looks like dark soil and you can no longer tell what you put in there. If you can still see chunks of peels or eggshells, it’s not ready. It will also smell like soil when it’s ready. So if there is a decomposing smell, it’s still not ready. Finally, feel it. It will be cool to the touch when it’s done decomposing. When things are decomposing, they heat up, so if it’s warm, give it more time. It can take a while for it to become usable compost, so be patient.

What are some things you do to decrease waste?

How to Host a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast

A family enjoying a Thanksgiving meal.

Turkey day is upon us, but if you’re a vegetarian, you may be looking to take the turkey out of the holiday! With some careful planning, smart substitutions, and some consideration for your guests, you’ll be able to host a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving feast that is sure to leave everyone satisfied!

Etiquette

Make sure to call. Give your guests a heads up about the vegetarian Thanksgiving.

When hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast, it’ll take a lot of preparation for both you and some of your guests before the party even starts! To observe proper etiquette, you’ll want to inform your guests ahead of time that you are preparing a vegetarian meal. This will give meat eaters a heads up that there won’t be any meat offerings that they’d find on a traditional Thanksgiving table!

There can be a certain pressure on you as a host on your choice to serve a vegetarian meal, and how you deal with that is up to you! As a vegetarian or vegan, it’s certain that you’ve been in the exact situation your meat-eating guests will be in right now, with offerings that you may not like or can’t eat, and you may feel pressure to accommodate to their tastes. The key is to be flexible, and do whatever you are comfortable with! If you would like, you can still cook up some meat for your feast, or purchase precooked meats from the store. If you are firm that you will not cook or buy meat, you could always allow guests to bring along a non-vegetarian dish! Again, this is up to you as a host! Just remember to handle the situation with sensitivity while firmly standing by your beliefs!

In the instance where you will offer dishes with meat or meat products, be sure to label these dishes so that true vegetarians don’t accidentally consume meat unknowingly, which can compromise beliefs or cause medical issues! But as a vegetarian host, you are probably already aware and can take preventative measures to ensure that nobody’s palates are violated!

Food

There are several different ways to approach your menu when planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving Day feast! Should you keep things traditional or go off the beaten path? Meat alternatives or vegetable dishes all the way? Here are some things to consider while figuring out the main course!

Traditional Thanksgiving Dishes

Keep it traditional - Thanksgiving dishes a vegetarian can enjoy.

There are actually a few different traditional dishes that you have already seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table that are vegetarian, especially if you still eat dairy and eggs! Green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, vegetable sides, squash, and other classic dishes can be made without straying away from cherished Thanksgiving tastes! Whether you decide to include these dishes or create a unique menu is up to you!

Meat Substitutes

Get creative - Meatless substitutes for vegetarians on Thanksgiving.

If you’re a converted vegetarian who still craves the taste of the hallmark Thanksgiving feast, turkey substitutes can be a great middle ground for you and your meat-eaters! There are plenty of turkey substitutes out there, from soy-based imitations like Tofurky, to DIY seitan turkey, which is made from wheat gluten that yields a tasty alternative! One of the most highly praised substitutions for traditional turkey is the savory stuffed turk’y patties from Gardein that taste just like a Thanksgiving feast rolled into one great bite! If you don’t want to keep things traditional, you can serve a number of great vegetable dishes instead of a turkey alternative, like vegetarian shepherd’s pie or pumpkin pot pie!

Traditional Alternatives

Mix it up a bit - Alternatives to your traditional Thanksgiving dishes for vegetarians.

If you are looking to keep your Thanksgiving feast on the traditional side, there are plenty of ways to easily convert classic recipes into vegetarian-friendly dishes that everyone will surely love! Instead of meat-based gravy, opt for a mushroom gravy or a gravy with a vegetable broth or stock base! Use that vegetable broth and leave out the meat to make vegetarian stuffing! With a bit of thinking and some smart converting, traditional Thanksgiving side dishes can be made vegetarian!

Dessert

Enjoy the sweet stuff - Desserts on Thanksgiving vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can enjoy.

Great news! Thanksgiving desserts are, for the most part, great for vegetarians just they way they are! If you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian (a vegetarian that still eats dairy and eggs), there aren’t a lot of desserts that you’ll have to avoid and plan around for your vegetarian feast! As long as pie crusts or other dessert components don’t use lard or animal fat, most desserts are fair game for Thanksgiving Day feasting, so dig into that pumpkin pie!

No matter what you decide to serve for your tasty vegetarian Thanksgiving feast, it’s sure to be a huge hit! From traditional foods to meatless substitutions and completely vegetarian dishes, you’ll be the ultimate Thanksgiving Day host!

Do you have a favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving dish that’s a big hit? Share it with us in the comments!

Fun Kitchen Craft For The Kids! Make Your Own Camp Oven!

Pizza inside an oven.

Although campfires hold a world of possibilities for cooking while you’re enjoying the great outdoors, there are other great ways of cooking available to you so you can enjoy the tastes of home no matter where you go! Check out this fun tutorial on how to make a neat camp kitchen that will make camp cooking fun and easy! It’s a fun kitchen craft for the kids, as they can help build the oven and prepare their favorite meals and treats! Here’s how to make your own camp oven!

What You’ll Need:

Here's what you'll need to make your own camp oven.

  • Cardboard box
  • Box cutter
  • Aluminum foil
  • Foil tape
  • Wire rack
  • 4 empty cans
  • Small baking tray or disposable aluminum pan
  • Charcoal

Directions:

  1. Choose a cardboard box for your oven. You will want a box that is wider than it is tall, and be sure not to use one that has a lot of adhesives on it or one that is painted. Check local stores to see if they have any available for free!
    Find the box you'd like to craft into a camp oven.
  2. Once you have a box, determine which side you will want facing up, then secure all the seams with foil tape so that the box is totally sealed.
    Use foil tape to seal all edges of your box.
  3. Use your box cutter to create a flap, making cuts along the right and left sides as well as the bottom. (Do not let kids do this step.)
    Cut an opening in the box to create the door of the makeshift camp oven.
  4. Line the inside of the box with aluminum foil. You may use non-toxic glue to help the foil stick, but it’s not necessary.
    Place aluminum foil around the inside of the box.
  5. Use foil tape to secure the corners and bottom edges.
    Tape all edges of box using foil tape.
  6. Line the outside of the box with foil too, then use foil tape to secure the corners and top edges as well so that there are no loose seams in the foil at all.
    Wrap the outside of the box in aluminum foil and finish off with foil tape to secure all edges.
  7. Place sand or small rocks into each of the empty cans in order to weigh them down, then place them in the oven, one in each corner. Next, place the wire rack on top of the cans.
    Fill four cans with sand and rocks and place in each of the corners of the box.
  8. Get the charcoal burning in the fire until they are hot, then move them to a foil lined baking tray or into the aluminum pan.
    Place hot charcoal in the bottom of an aluminum pan.
  9. Place the pan with charcoal into the bottom of the oven, under the wire rack. Make sure that your box is not sitting on grass. Use this oven only on rocks, sand, bricks, and concrete to avoid burning. Keep in mind that one charcoal briquette can produce anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees, so you might have to experiment to find out exactly how many briquettes you’ll need to achieve the required temperature to cook your food.
    Place the charcoal-filled pan below the oven rack.
  10. Prepare your food that you’d like to bake. Nothing is really off limits here! Whether it’s potatoes, a lasagna, a casserole, cookies, brownies, or anything else, this oven does the trick!
  11. Place your prepared dish on top of the wire rack and close the flap of your oven. The flap won’t close well on its own, so place a heavy rock or brick in front of the flap. Be sure to leave about a half inch of the flap open to allow a bit of airflow to keep the charcoal from extinguishing.
    Place food in your make shift camp oven, close the flap and hold shut with a rock, leaving a little space for airflow.
  12. Cook for the required amount of time, making sure not to open your oven up during cook time in order to not release valuable heat needed for cooking.
  13. Once your cook time is up, remove your food, allow it to cool a bit, then enjoy! Always ensure that your food is the correct temperature before consuming!

This DIY camp oven is absolutely perfect for when you’re tent camping, if your RV oven is broken, or if you’re just looking for a fun activity to try with your little campers! This oven is pretty versatile too, as the foil lining is great insulation, so this box can also be used as a cooler if you’re transporting cold goods home from the store, or as a food warmer if you need to keep a dish from cooling off! It’s just the perfect way to keep kids engaged and enjoying the camping experience! Try out these recipes for delicious trout with a side dish of scalloped potatoes for a marvelously complete meal! What foods would you want to bake in your cool DIY camp oven? Leave us a comment with your tasty ideas!

Warm Up Outdoors: Best Hot Chocolate Recipes

Need a warm up? Try these hot chocolate recipes this winter!

Packets of hot chocolate mix are easy and convenient, especially on the go. But if you want really decadent hot chocolate, you make if from scratch! Don’t let this intimidate you! They’re actually really easy to make and well worth the extra few minutes and ingredients! So when it’s time to warm up outdoors, try these best hot chocolate recipes! Your taste buds will thank you!

Mint Hot Chocolate

It's mint to be! Mint hot chocolate

If you like mint chocolate chip ice cream, you’ll love this warm treat? Try this refreshing hot chocolate rendition to get you warmed up and ready for adventure!

Ingredients:

1½ C. heavy cream
1½ C. milk
¼ C. white sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
6 oz. European dark chocolate, chopped
3 drops of peppermint oil
Whipped cream

Directions:

Step 1: In a sauce pan, either on the range or over the campfire, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt. Heat on low until it begins to steam.

Step 2: Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Then stir in the peppermint oil.

Step 3: Pour the hot chocolate into mugs, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!

For an adult version of this, you can replace the peppermint oil with peppermint schnapps.

Caramel Hot Chocolate

Love is caramel. Caramel hot chocolate

Ooooh, chocolate and caramel! What a winning combination! Try it warm in a mug for a tasty winter treat!

Ingredients:

1½ C. whole milk
¾ C. heavy cream
15 oz. milk chocolate (premium milk chocolate is well worth the money)
½ C. caramel sauce

Directions:

Step 1: In a sauce pan over the campfire or stove, combine the milk and cream and heat until simmering.

Step 2: Stir in the chocolate and whisk until it’s melted and smooth.

Step 3: Whisk in the caramel sauce until blended.

Step 4: Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and enjoy!

This is another one that can have an adult spin. Just add caramel schnapps instead of (or in addition to) the caramel sauce.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin spice and everything nice. Pumpkin spice hot chocoloate

Jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon with this warm fall treat! You can even add some espresso to turn it into a latte if you desire!

Ingredients:

3 C. milk

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 tsp. honey

2 tsp. dark cocoa powder

Directions:

Step 1: In a sauce pan, heat the milk until it begins to steam.

Step 2: Add the pumpkin spice, honey, and cocoa and stir until well blended.

Step 3: Pour the hot chocolate into cups and enjoy!

Maybe add some pumpkin spice Kahlúa? We think so!!!!!

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Peanut butter chocolate time! Peanut butter hot chocolate

Imagine melting a peanut butter cup in a warm glass of milk and you have this silky smooth treat! Try this homemade peanut butter hot chocolate the next time you feel a chill coming on!

Ingredients:

3 C. milk
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ C. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Step 1: In a sauce pan, heat the milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar over the fire or stove. Bring it to a simmer.

Step 2: Add the peanut butter and stir until well blended.

Step 3: Divide up the deliciousness into cups and watch the smiles form!

Peanut butter rum anyone?

The possibilities for home-made hot chocolate are endless. Experiment with what you like to make the best mixture! Let us know which one is your favorite!

Simple Guide To Understanding RV Warranties

RV with a warranty on the road with a man giving a thumbs up.

A warranty is, in effect, a written assurance of a product’s integrity and the maker’s recognition of responsibility for the replacement or repair of any defective parts. Warranties can provide peace of mind and, in the event of a mechanical failure, significant cost savings. But understanding the ins and outs of warranties can be hard to follow and downright confusing. To help make this learning process easier, we’ve created a simple guide to understanding RV warranties so you won’t just have the security offered with a warranty, you’ll also have the confidence in knowing you fully understand that warranty too!

Manufacturer Warranty vs. After-Market Warranty

The difference between a manufacturer and extended warranty on your RV.

Some RV makers issue manufacturer warranties for their products. For example, prominent RV industry-leader Jayco offers a two-year limited warranty on all of their products. Manufacturer warranties are pretty straight-forward and, unlike after-market warranties, they are most often included in the cost of your purchase. After-market warranties, or extended warranties, are offered and sold at an added cost either through your RV dealership or a third-party provider. These types of warranties operate much the same as insurance, and with these you can negotiate price, coverage, and duration.

Not Every RV Needs a Warranty

Not every RV needs a warranty.

While it might sound like a no-brainer to opt in for that souped-up extended warranty when the salesman at the dealership is explaining it to you, it might not necessarily be the best decision. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider skipping over an extended warranty plan:

  • You purchase a brand-new RV that comes with a manufacturer warranty – purchasing an extended warranty on top of this will be redundant and it will most likely go unused.
  • You purchase an older, pre-owned RV – typically, if things are going to break, they do so in the first couple of years of being broken in.

If you’re a new RV owner, we recommend the best time to start considering a warranty purchase to be after your manufacturer warranty is up, especially if you feel like your RV still has some breaking in to do.

Reading The Fine Print

Make sure to read the fine print in your warranty contract when purchasing your RV.

It goes without saying that any contract you sign should be read over thoroughly, and warranties are no exception. With extended warranties, providers often attempt to sneak in clauses and conditions toward the bottom to establish hidden loopholes that will get them out of covering your claims. Because of this you’ll want to always make sure you read the fine print carefully. To ensure that your warranty is as strong and as comprehensive as you want it to be, here are some factors to be aware of when choosing a policy:

Exclusionary vs. Inclusionary

Some RV warranties cover a lot at a high dollar, while others cost less but cover very little.

Inclusionary policies are typically cheaper than exclusionary policies, but you better believe that cheaper price comes at a cost. Inclusionary policies only cover specific items listed on your contract, meaning if the part is not explicitly stated, it is not at all covered. Oppositely, exclusionary policies only list the items that are not covered by the policy, which gives you a lot more coverage that is a lot harder for your warranty provider to dispute. Although exclusionary policies are a bit more pricey, when you’re dealing with a product that has a lot of functioning parts, like an RV, they are much more appropriate and useful.

Inquire About Logistics

Don't be afraid to ask questions when purchasing your RV.

Make sure you have an understanding of your warranty’s transfer and cancellation policies. If you later decide to sell your RV you’ll want to know that you can get out of the contract or switch it to your new RV. Similarly, you’ll want to clarify any term limits. For example, if you get a 100,000 mile policy, does the meter start running from the day you purchased the RV or the day you purchased the warranty? Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that you can use any repair center. When you’re traveling around in an RV, you might need to access a repair center far from home, so make sure your policy has you covered nationwide.

Consequential Damage

Make sure you are prepared with a warranty that covers the "Anything can happen" moments.

You’ll want to be certain that consequential damage is included in your warranty policy. Doing so will ensure that your parts are covered, even if the part that initially caused the damage is not. Without consequential damage coverage you will find that your warranty provider has a lot more freedom to deny your claims.

Now that you have a simple guide to understanding RV warranties, give some thought to whether or not purchasing one for your RV is the right move for you. Before making any final purchasing decisions, shop around and always get more than one quote to make comparisons. It can also be a good idea to check on the reputation of your potential provider to make sure they are reliable and fair.

Have you purchased a warranty for your RV before? Share your first-hand tips with our readers who may be considering a warranty purchase by leaving a comment below!

warranty

5 Tastefully Designed RVs for the Mobile Chef

Truck hauling a fifth wheel and a couple making dinner in the kitchen.

When you think of camping, what comes to mind? For me, I think of exploring our national parks, going on whitewater rafting trips through canyons, enjoying cool, crisp evenings by a roaring campfire, and settling into our RV and playing board games at night. Since we take trips that span weeks at a time, I like to plan ahead so I can make some of our favorite meals, such as cheese soufflé, oven-baked BBQ chicken, and everyone’s favorite, strawberry shortcake! Being able to bring the tastes of home on the road with us was important, so when shopping for an RV, we put “gourmet kitchen” right up at the top of our list of must-haves. We did the research, and I want to share with you the top 5 tastefully designed RVs for the mobile chef so you too can enjoy culinary conveniences that yield delightful dishes on the open road!

Heartland Bighorn 3760EL Luxury Fifth Wheel

RV kitchen - Bighorn fifth wheel

Bighorn customers appreciate the finer things in life, and it isn’t exclusive to being at home. They know that it’s possible to live just as nicely on the road as it is at home, so they turn to the line-up of Bighorn fifth wheels for their RVs. When they step inside the Bighorns and find themselves surrounded by Amish-crafted glazed hardwood Sedona cabinetry and fascia, real solid surface countertops with pencil nose edging, and residential resilient flooring, they know they’re home.

It will be easy for your family’s chef to imagine themselves creating culinary magic with the high-end appliances that include an 18 cu. ft. stainless steel refrigerator, a 3-burner cooktop with oven, a 30” over-the-range microwave, and a residential-sized stainless steel sink that features a boutique pullout sprayer and matching solid surface covers. Unlike most RV kitchens, the one in this luxurious 2017 Bighorn 3760EL is spacious, designed for serious culinary fun, and oh-so-functional. At almost 41’ long and featuring a large kitchen-area slide out, this fifth wheel puts meal prep on center stage. Since cooking delicious, healthy meals often requires more than just a saucepan and a few spatulas, this kitchen has built-in storage everywhere you turn. Bring along your favorite pots and pans and tuck them away neatly in the 20”-deep residential-sized drawers that feature deluxe ball-bearing drawer guides for smooth operation. The 24”-deep residential-sized cabinets can accommodate your dishes, glassware, bakeware, and more. And thanks to the large, deep pantry, you can stock up on all the staple items you need for making your famous lasagna, meatloaf, oven-fried potatoes, and chocolate chip cookies. The center island makes it easy to lay out all your ingredients and work your magic without getting flustered or frustrated by trying to cook in a shoebox-sized kitchen. Overhead pendant lighting, recessed LED lighting, and toe kicks are thoughtful, designer touches that emphasize the home-like feel of this magnificent Bighorn fifth wheel kitchen.

For chefs who yearn to take their culinary skills with them on the road, this high-end Bighorn 3760EL fifth wheel is a must-see!

Forest River Cedar Creek Champagne Edition 38EL Fifth Wheel

RV kitchen - Cedar Creek Champagne fifth wheel

The center-island kitchen in this lovely 2017 Cedar Creek Champagne Edition 38EL fifth wheel is truly a sight to behold. Never has cooking been more of a pleasure on the road than with this stunning kitchen! Boasting LG solid surface countertops and gorgeous Maple cabinetry, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your dream kitchen when you tour this model. Within a large kitchen slide out you’ll find a lovely induction cooktop that offers fast heating and superb simmering. For true elegance, this kitchen features a 20 cu. ft. stainless steel French door refrigerator with an inverter, ice-maker, and water dispenser, and a stainless steel 30” microwave. With enough room for your favorite cheeses, meats, and beverages, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy all your favorite indulgences just like you’re at home. Since real homemade cooking takes a fair amount of space, this Cedar Creek Champagne Edition kitchen makes countertop and storage space a priority! The center island with sink covers offers dedicated meal prep space so you never feel cramped or unable to work your culinary craftiness in this 41 ½’-long fifth wheel. The island even accommodates a dishwasher if you want to spoil yourself! Maximum cabinet and drawer space abound in this kitchen with two pantries for all your dry goods, condiments, spices, and other kitchen essentials. And to top it all off, the pièce de résistance of this spectacular kitchen is a built-in wine fridge with storage rack, allowing you to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine with your delicious, homemade dinner for two! Raise your glasses in a toast to your fabulous RVing life!

Keystone Raptor 426TS Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler

RV kitchen - Raptor fifth wheel toy hauler

Because extreme fun goes hand in hand with extreme appetites, this 2017 Keystone Raptor 426TS toy hauler makes a gourmet kitchen one of its best features! After a day of off-roading in the hot summer sun or mountain biking on steep terrain, return home to your Raptor with the peace of mind knowing that you can soon enjoy a hot, homemade meal that will calm your growling belly and help you recharge for more outdoor adventure. This 43’-long Raptor toy hauler is a stand out thanks to the Norcold Polar Max 18 cu. ft. refrigerator that happens to be the largest made-for-RV fridge on the market! Fill it with everyone’s favorite cold beverages, snacks, cheeses, deli meats, fruits and veggies, and steaks so you can create satisfying meals any time of the day. The appliance package mirrors a high-end residential kitchen with a recessed 3-burner range with 22” oven, a 30” stainless steel convection microwave, and a large stainless steel under-mount sink with an upgraded residential pullout faucet. For maximum meal prep space you’ll love the center island that offers dedicated food prepping and dish clean up space thanks to the sink covers. And there’s no need to pick and choose which pots and pans to bring along on your getaway due to lack of storage space. Bring it all and neatly tuck everything away with the abundance of cabinets and drawers that are made of hardwood and feature 100 lb. full-extension ball-bearing drawer guides for smooth operation. Just in case you’re worried that you might feel like you’re roughin’ it in the great outdoors, even after learning of the Raptor’s kitchen luxuries, glance around this awesome kitchen and you’ll see solid surface countertops, shaker-style cabinet doors, LED accent and pendant lighting, and a designer backsplash that might convince you otherwise.

Keystone Alpine 3661FL Luxury Fifth Wheel

RV kitchen - Keystone Alpine fifth wheel

Like every room in this glorious 2017 Keystone Alpine 3661FL fifth wheel, the kitchen goes above and beyond what you’d expect to find in an RV. Amish-quality hardwood cabinetry and fascia greet you when you step inside. Beautiful solid surface countertops gleam in the midday sun and reflect the lovely overhead LED lighting that casts a soft, warm glow. Once again this chef-inspired kitchen features a wonderful center island that houses an extra-deep double-basin stainless steel sink with high-rise faucet and matching covers to instantly create a great food prep area. When it comes time to boil noodles or sauté the catch of the day, turn to the stainless steel range for even, timely cooking of even the most delicate foods. The range also has a flush-mounted solid surface cover to increase usable countertop space when the range isn’t in use. Or if you need to melt butter for dipping or pop a bag of popcorn before a movie, the 30” convection microwave can do the job. For healthy snacking, fill the 12 cu. ft. refrigerator (or upgrade to an 18 cu. ft. if you’d like) with cheeses, fruits, veggies, dips, yogurts, meats, and refreshing summer-time beverages, just like at home. For non-perishables, stock the huge pantry with your favorite chips, pretzels, crackers, granola bars, canned goods, spices, condiments, and more so you can grab a snack and head outside. This classic beauty is finished with a beautiful curio that offers versatile storage. With cabinets below and lovely doors with glass inlay above, this thoughtful addition gives this kitchen the ultimate home-like feel. Featuring a slide out for abundant floor space and being located just steps from the awesome front entertainment room, the kitchen in this 39’-long fifth wheel will be much-loved and well-used!

Forest River Rockwood Windjammer 3029W Travel Trailer

RV kitchen - Forest River Rockwood Windjammer travel trailer

Who says you need to tow a huge fifth wheel into the great outdoors to enjoy gourmet kitchen accommodations!?! Not me! This 2017 Rockwood Windjammer 3029W travel trailer features a peninsula-style kitchen that is both spacious and beautiful. Designed with stunning solid surface Corian countertops for a clean, sleek look, this kitchen is every bit as fancy and accommodating as its fifth wheel counterparts, just on a slightly smaller scale. Cabinets made with solid wood doors and drawer fronts available in two attractive finishes give this kitchen a residential look and feel that compliments the high-end countertops. A huge 22” oven makes it easy for you to bake your family’s favorite casserole or pop in a batch of homemade snicker doodle cookies to tame your sweet tooth. The 3-burner range features a glass cover so you can use this space for food prep or clean up when the stove isn’t in use. Overhead you’ll see a microwave that is perfect for warming up hot chocolate, popping popcorn, or melting cheese on crackers in a hurry. A flush-mount stonecast sink with a high-rise faucet makes dish washing a snap so you can get it done and get outside in the blink of an eye. While a trash can may not seem like an exciting feature, once you go without one you’ll realize how nice it is to actually have one! Having a dedicated trash can keeps wrappers, bags, food, drinks, and debris from cluttering up your RV and giving you a headache! This thoughtful touch not only makes your life easier but it makes sense too! Where the other guys have overlooked this simple convenience, this 35’ Rockwood Windjammer got it right!

Out of our top five RVs designed to impress the designated chef in your traveling family, which one do you like best? Let us know by leaving a comment!