Everglades National Park, Florida

Bird-in-the-skyFlorida Everglades

As a nature lover, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in one of the most interesting and diverse areas in the U.S., check out Everglades National Park, located in the southern area of Florida! With countless species of animal and plant life, as well as several fun activities, you won’t want to miss out on this wonderful national park!

The Everglades

Experience-the-beauty-of-South-FloridaEverglades at sunset

The incredible Everglades National Park spans over 1.5 million acres of southern Florida, and is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals that thrive in its many ecosystems! It is the largest tropical wilderness in the U.S., and has a rich historical significance! Upon the population boom at the turn of the 20th century, the Everglades were transformed into farmland, damaging ecosystems and destroying the habitats of wildlife. Luckily, action was taken to help stop the destruction of the Everglades, however it is still a large push, met with vigorous debate, to restore more of the Everglades.

There are two different seasons in the Everglades, the dry and wet seasons. The dry season lasts from November to March, and is the best time to visit the park as the terrain isn’t as wet, and ranger programs and other accommodations are up and running! There are still plenty of areas open in the wet season, which lasts from April to November!

Things To Do

Just-move---hiking-biking-and-kayaking-in-the-Florida-Everglades

There will be no shortage of fun activities to partake in, especially in the dry season! These are just a few of the numerous activities of the Everglades National Park!

Visitor’s Centers

There are five different visitor’s centers located within Everglades National Park near its various entrances, and are helpful and informative on the surrounding Everglades!

Hiking And Biking

Hiking the Everglades is like multitasking, as there is a lot to see along the many hiking trails found here! There are trails of all intensities, including accessible walkways!

Flamingo Trails

There are several trails in this area for walking and biking! Be sure to check out the self-guided boardwalk of West Lake Trail, which takes you through forests of various species of mangrove trees! Eco Pond is another poplar hike, as this pond is a great spot to catch frequent glimpses of different species of birds, as well as the occasional crocodile!

Shark Valley Trails

Shark Valley is a popular area of Everglades National Park with diverse plant and wildlife! Another self-guided boardwalk trail takes you through beautiful hardwood forests! The popular tram road trail takes you along the flat, paved road used for biking, walking, and trams. There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen along the road, and a great observation tower where you can look out over the great landscape!

Pine Island Trails

One of the most popular hikes of Everglades National Park is the awesome Pine Island Trail, where you will get plenty of views of wildlife, especially in the dry season when alligators and anhinga birds are breeding! The Pahayokee Overlook is another great boardwalk trail that provides stunning views!

Canoeing And Kayaking

There are also many canoe and kayak trails throughout Everglades National Park, with trips ranging from hours to days! Equipment rentals and hired guides are available if you would prefer, or set out on your own with your own equipment!

Ranger Programs

These great programs provide a more insightful and hands-on experience to your visit! There are several programs in each area of the park, each designed to help you understand and appreciate the Everglades! From bike rides, guided tours, tram tours, off-trail hiking, and much more, you’ll walk away with a deeper appreciation of this special area!

Camping

Sleep peacefully - camping in the Florida Everglades

There are two great campgrounds within Everglades National Park, as well as backcountry camping! No matter what your needs are, this park has you covered!

Long Pine Key Campground

Located toward the southern region of the park, Long Pine Key Campground is a lovely choice! This seasonal campground is only open November through may, in the height of dry season! It is not unusual to see a fantastic array of wildlife around this quiet campground! There are 108 individual drive-up sites that can accommodate tents and RVs, and are available for $20 a night on a first come, first served basis! There are restrooms, water, and a dump station available, however, there are no hookups or showers at this campground, so prepare your RV accordingly!

Flamingo Campground

This campground is a bit more accommodating as it is open all year, has hookups, and takes reservations! This flat camping area sits just off the Florida Bay, and you’ll be able to enjoy a nice relaxing breeze! There are 234 drive-up campsites, 65 of which are RV sites! A site with hookups will cost $30 a night, while a site without costs only $20. You can make your online reservations here!

Backcountry Camping

If you’re up for some adventure, give backcountry camping a try! Available with a permit, these areas are located throughout the park with a variety of beach and ground sites. These spots can typically be accessed by boat, as they cannot be accessed by car! It is best to go backcountry camping in the winter season, as it is dryer and more comfortable! Check out the National Parks Service website for more information!

A visit to Everglades National Park is well worth your time! It is the perfect place for nature and adventure lovers alike! It is important to celebrate the diverse ecosystems protected here, so plan a trip and appreciate all the natural wonder! Share your favorite Everglades National Parks memories and tips in the comments!

7 Great RVs for Young Families

7 Great RVs for Young Families

There are a lot of different types of RVs out there as well as differing layouts! Different floor plans work for different people depending on their situation. A bunkhouse offers a separate area for the kids and gives them a place they can call their own. We’ve picked out 7 great RVs for young families that offer a place for everyone, and that will adapt with your needs as your children grow!
Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8281WS

Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8281WS

The Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8281WS has a half bath in the bunkhouse so the kids won’t have to try and make their way through the rig in the middle of the night. With a set of bunks (optional jackknife sofa on bottom) they each have their own place to sleep! A large dinette and a 67” hide-a-bed sofa offer more sleeping space yet in the living area. Enjoy a movie or your family’s favorite shows on the living room TV found in the entertainment center. If the kids want to watch cartoons and you want to check out the news, you’ll find your own TV in the master bedroom. The residential Serta mattress upgrade will support you while you sleep all night long. A full bath is found just outside the master bedroom where you can get cleaned up in privacy. No more having to use a campground bathroom again! Take a look at the photos and full details here!

TTRV-Breaker

Zinger ZY32SB

Zinger ZY32SB

With a bunkhouse that can sleep at least 5, the Zinger ZY32SB is the rig for a large family or one who loves to bring along guests. The full bath has an entrance from both the bunkhouse and the outside of the rig so it’s easy to access no matter where the kids are! With a bathtub in the full bath you can soak your little campers when they come back from those outdoor activities filthy! A master bedroom in the front of this rig holds a tranquil area for the parents. You can curl up and drift off to sleep in the queen-sized bed where you’ll wake up refreshed the next day! If the sleeping space in the bunkhouse and master bedroom isn’t enough, both the sofa and the dinette convert into beds so you’ll have even more space! Take a look at this awesome RV here!

TTRV-Breaker

Sandpiper 381RBOK

Sandpiper 381RBOK

The best feature about the Sandpiper 381RBOK is that the kids have their own full bath right in the bunkhouse! This full bath includes a tub so if you have to deal with a toddler or baby, you won’t have to attempt to give them a shower! On one side of the bunkhouse you’ll find a bunk with a trundle underneath (optional tri-fold hide-a-bed) and a bunk overhead, and on the other an entertainment center topped with a bunk. The living area in this rig is a great place for both entertaining and relaxing. A hide-a-bed sofa is found here as well so you’ll have additional sleeping space for guests. Your own master suite with bedroom and bathroom sits at the top of the stairs. The walk in shower with a seat lets you relax while you enjoy the soothing hot water coming from the 10-gallon water heater. When the day is done you can fall into your Serta memory foam mattress to rejuvenate yourself and get back out there the next day completely reenergized. Check out more of the Sandpiper 381RBOK here!

TTRV-Breaker

Wildcat 363RB

Wildcat 363RB

If you want floor space for the kids, the Wildcat 363RB is the way to go! This bunkhouse is massive! It has 3 bunks, drawers, a wardrobe, entertainment center storage, and a full bathroom! This bathroom is also nicely separated to where the bathtub and commode are in one room and the vanity with sink is accessible outside of that room. A 2nd full bath is found on the upper level near the master bedroom so you don’t have to share with the kids! In your master bedroom you will find tons of storage space as well as cabinets prepped for a washer and dryer! The outside kitchen offers a cooktop and even a mini fridge so you don’t have to track in dirt every time you or your little campers want a cold drink! Take a look at some photos and specs here!

TTRV-Breaker

North Point 375BHFS

North Point 375BHFS

The North Point 375BHFS is very customizable with tons of options you can choose throughout. Standard in the bunkhouse you’ll find a set of bunks on one side, and a bunk over game chairs on the other side. You can choose options to replace the game chairs, such as a bunk with a trundle, or a hide-a-bed sofa! A bi-fold hide-a-bed and set of recliners in the living room offer the perfect place to gather and take advantage of the entertainment center that has a TV and a fireplace. The standard booth dinette converts into a bed as well, or you can elect to have a freestanding table and chairs option. In the kitchen you’ll have everything you need to create the perfect meals for your family! The standard refrigerator is an RV fridge but you have the option of a residential fridge if you’d prefer. A full bath is found at the top of the steps just outside the master bedroom and offers linen storage as well as a medicine cabinet. With a walk in closet, a chest of drawers, and shelving, you’ll have a place for everything in the master bedroom. Fall into the cozy queen bed with foam mattress at night for an amazing sleep you won’t believe! Check out everything this rig has to offer here!

TTRV-Breaker

Coachmen Chaparral 390QSMB

Coachmen Chaparral 390QSMB

The Chaparral 390QSMB has one major reason for being on this list, and that is how close the bunkhouse is to the master bedroom. As you have seen with the above bunkhouses, the standard is usually to have the bunkhouse at one end of the rig, and the master bedroom at the other. Some parents prefer to keep the kids closer and that’s where a layout like this comes in. The full bath sits between the master bedroom and bunkhouse to provide easy access from either room and offer a bit of privacy while still keeping the two near one another. In the bunkhouse you’ll find a queen bed on the bottom and a single on top. There’s plenty of storage and a TV mount in case you want to add one in for them! The master bedroom has a queen bed standard or an optional king bed with a soft Serta mattress. Another great feature of this rig for families is the amount of seating in the living room. Many come with only one sofa but the 390QSMB has a set of recliners as well! The couch houses a hide-a-bed so you can have the kids bring along guests or invite grandma and grandpa to stay with you! Check out the photos and more features here!

TTRV-Breaker

Forest River Salem Villa Estate 4102BFK

Forest River Salem Villa Estate 4102BFK

The Forest River Salem Villa Estate 4102BFK isn’t like most bunkhouses! Like the Chaparral it keeps the kids close to the parents but with this rig they’re actually above them in a loft area! A set of stairs leads up above the master bedroom where you’ll find two bunk mats with a nightstand in between. What’s the best part of this set up? No fighting over who gets the top bunk! On the main level you will find your own space in the master bedroom. Here you will be comfortable all night on the plush queen bed with a Serta mattress. In the kitchen you’ll find a 20” freestanding range that has 4 burners and an oven so you can create all the meals your family loves at home! Check out more of this breathtaking travel trailer here!

TTRV-Breaker

No matter what type of rig you’re looking for, we’re here to help you find it at TerryTown RV! We have knowledgeable experts that can help match you up with the perfect rig for your family! Give us a call today and we’ll get you on your way to a lifetime of family memories!

Get Your Sweet N’ Salty Mix! Campfire Cheesy Pineapple Ham Sandwiches

Give your taste buds a tropical experience - Pineapple with sunglasses and lei next to ham sandwich

Experience the tropical taste of Hawaii right at your campsite with the sweet n’ salty stacking of these campfire cheesy pineapple and ham sandwiches! They are so easy to make and they’ll have everyone’s mouths watering right through to the last bite! Taste this ingenious mix of sweet n’ salty for yourself and whip up some of these simple yet delicious sandwiches today!

What You’ll Need

Get the goods - ingredients to make ham and cheese sandwiches with tropical plants and birds

  • Bread buns
  • Ham
  • Pineapple rings
  • Cheddar or Swiss cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Tinfoil

How To Make

The basic science of sandwich construction applies easily to this recipe so you can forget about an intensive and complex meal preparation. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be devouring the magical mix of sweet n’ salty before you know it!

  1. Spread Dijon mustard on one side of your bread bun.
  2. Stack your bun with ham, a pineapple ring, and a slice of cheese.
  3. Put the top piece of bread on your sandwich and wrap it in tinfoil.
  4. Cook your sandwich over a bed of coals or over the campfire using a cooking grate.
  5. Let cook around 20 minutes or until the meat is hot and the cheese is gooey.
  6. Remove from heat, unwrap, and enjoy!

Cooking Variations

Enjoy! Woman eating a sandwich

These sandwiches are so delicious, you won’t just want to reserve them for the campfire! Luckily, there are other ways to cook these scrumptious creations without gathering logs and braving the smoke. You can swap out a potato bun for a sliced piece of bread and make your sandwich in a skillet. You can follow the instructions as is, keeping them in the tinfoil, and heat them up in the oven as well. Feel free to add your own ingredients like bacon or basil leaves!

Pair your sandwiches with a side of campfire scalloped potatoes for a full meal that the whole family will devour! Let us know how you liked the recipe in the comments and share your pictures with us on Instagram!

Why You Should Retire Into an RV

the life of a retiree - travel relaxation and family

There’s no place like home! When you walk through its doors, you feel welcomed, safe, and comfortable. You’re surrounded by your favorite possessions and meaningful memories. But with retirement comes a new phase of life, one of freedom, excitement, and endless possibilities. Retirement is a great time to reexamine what you want to do with your time, which you have a lot more of. It’s a great time to try something new! Recently, more and more retirees have been uprooting themselves and adopting the adventurous lifestyle of RVing. That’s right, they’ve been selling their family homes and moving into much smaller digs on wheels. They’re still surrounded by their favorite things, just fewer of them (a lot fewer!). The allure of the open road has been too great for them to ignore. And after reading these 8 great reasons why you should retire into an RV too, we don’t think you’ll be able to ignore it either!

Escape the Boredom

RV and sun - old men by the relaxing at the lake

We’re all creatures of habit. It’s just a fact. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept that the daily routine you’ve been in for years is what you’re destined to endure forever. After all, you’re retired and now have time to learn new skills, experience new things, and meet new people. Retiring into the RV lifestyle opens your eyes to all the adventures that await you outside of your comfortable bubble. While routine is easy and comforting, it also holds us back from seeing and doing exciting new things! When we step out of our comfort zones, we grow in so many ways and discover that we’re capable of so much more than we ever imagined!

Ditch the Freezing Temps

RV and sun - woman sunbathing by the ocean

If you live in the northern half of the US, you no doubt have to deal with unpleasant winter weather that gets old pretty fast. From freezing rain and sleet in the southern states to snow storms that bury parts of the Midwest and New England for days, there aren’t a lot of places that are free of cold weather. But there are a few! From the deserts of California to the Gulf Coast of Florida, you can escape the winter doldrums and enjoy warm sunshine, outdoor activities, ocean breezes, and poolside drinks. A few destinations that top the list of snowbird destinations are Key West, FL, Phoenix, AZ, Brownsville, TX, and Las Vegas, NV.

See our Beautiful Country

RV and sun - scenery across the United States

It’s easy to become so comfortable in our own little world at home that we don’t venture out beyond our walls of security and experience the beauty that surrounds us every day. Well, if you sell your home and take to the open road in an RV, you have no choice but to see the amazing countryside, landmarks, cities, and historical sights that our country has to offer. Living in an RV almost forces you to adopt a vacation-esque way of life. You’re eternally on vacation … until you’re not. The beauty of RVing is that you can come and go as you please, staying at any one place for as long as you like. If you want to settle into a lovely campsite by the ocean for the winter, you can do that! Or if you want to keep checking places off on your Places-to-See checklist, you can keep moving at a fast pace and fill your memory books with photos and postcards.

Live a Simpler Life

RV and sun - cluttered room

Possessions can weigh you down, literally and figuratively! While it may be difficult initially to decide what can stay and what should go, you’ll feel lighter and freer once you start letting go of possessions that you don’t need anymore. When transitioning from a large home (or even a small home) to an RV, there is definitely some downsizing of stuff that you’ll have to do. You can always put things in storage, but try to only keep items you’ll actually use or things that have sentimental value. Once you go without your many possessions for a length of time, you’ll realize that you never really needed them in the first place. Sure, we all need and want some fun things, like a smoothie maker or a home brewing system, so keep what you want and use it while you RV! We’re pretty confident that you’ll come to like the simpler, less-cluttered RV life!

Be Social

RV and sun - friends around a bonfire

Campgrounds are filled with friendly campers who welcome new guests and RVers freely. The RV lifestyle is by nature an easy-going, relaxed way of living, so it makes sense that most campers are more than happy to meet new people and make new friends. When you leave your home and familiar way of life behind for a new RVing way of life, it can be a little lonely at first. It helps to know that you’re not the only ones feeling this way. In a campground with full-time RVers, it starts to take on a community-like feeling all its own. You’ll find that seasoned full timers are happy to share tips and tricks for new full timers on anything from mail service and RV maintenance to grocery shopping and local attractions. It won’t be long before you’re feeling right at home in your new surroundings.

See Your Grandkids

RV and sun - grandfather and grandson reading a newspaper

If you’re like most retirees, you have kids and grandkids scattered all over the country. And if you’re like most retirees, you don’t get enough grandbaby time! Full-time RVing gives you the freedom and excuse (not that you need one!) to travel around the country and see them! Spend quality time with them and attend their sporting events, musical concerts, dance recitals, plays, and other special events that you might miss if you weren’t able to take to the open road so freely. And they’ll think it’s pretty cool when grandma and grandpa pull up to their house in their big RV. Make sure the bunks or sofas are ready for overnight guests, just in case your grandkids want to spend the night in the RV with you!

Save Money

RV and sun - saving pennies

One of the big draws to retiring and adopting the RV lifestyle is the affordability of it! Life in an RV has many financial benefits! When you either sell (or rent out) your house and take up residence in an RV, you free yourself of a lot of home-related expenses. These include yard maintenance, snow removal, trash service, a home security system, utilities (electricity, heating/cooling), mortgage, property taxes, home improvements/repairs, a homeowners’ association fee, and more. While RV living has its own share of expenses, such as the cost of the RV, campground fees, RV maintenance, and more, RV-related expenses pale in comparison to homeowner expenses.

No Yard Work

RV and sun - Man on lawn mower

Yay, no yard work! Unless you have a green thumb and love tending to your precious dahlias and hydrangeas, you might love the “no yard work” attribute of the RV lifestyle! With no yard comes no yard maintenance, no gardening tools, no lawn mower, no lawn service fees, no annual planting and replanting of flowers, no monthly fertilizing, no critter issues (moles!), and more. Not only will you have a lot of newfound time on your hands that used to be devoted to maintaining your home’s beautiful yard, but you’ll have more money in your wallet since you don’t have a yard to take care of. If you miss the beauty of a yard and flowers, buy a small piece of “fake grass carpet,” or astro turf, for your RV’s patio and some flowers that you can plant in containers. Other than a watering can for the flowers and maybe a broom for your “grass”, you won’t need anything to maintain your RV’s “yard.”

Are you a full-time RVer? What tips and tricks do you have for anyone considering this big step? Let us know in the comments!

Mountain Driving Tips And Cautions

caution sign overlaying image of RV driving up mountains

Mountain driving can be both daunting and rewarding, with great views of pristine mountain ranges and the beautiful landscapes that surround them, such as Yellowstone National Park! However, there are several factors to mountain driving that will alter the way your car performs, as well as the way you will drive when heading up and down mountain roads. Here are some useful mountain driving tips and cautions to consider before heading off on a mountain road trip!

Give Your Car A Total Tune-up

mechanic giving an RV a quick tune up

Making sure that all of your car’s systems are in great working order is the most important precaution you can take before setting out on a mountain drive! Be sure that you have your heating and cooling system, exhaust, windshield wipers, and fluid levels and lines checked thoroughly. It is especially important to have your brake system checked, as properly functioning brakes are important to have on a mountain road! Ask your mechanic about using a higher-quality fuel while on your trip, as it could increase your engine efficiency if it is appropriate for your vehicle. Also be sure to check the tread on your tires to ensure you’ll have optimal handling in any conditions.

Practice Proper Road Etiquette

having road etiquette while driving an RV

Of course normal rules of the road still apply to mountain driving, however there are a few more guidelines that are necessary for safe mountain driving! Although it will be tempting to do and might make you feel more secure, never ride the center line of a mountain road. It can prove dangerous if heading around a corner of a two-way road, especially if an oncoming driver is also riding the line. It can also lead to over-correcting when getting back in your lane, which can cause you to drift into another lane or turn sharply into the side of the road.

It is also good practice to let vehicles heading uphill have the right of way. Going uphill is more difficult for vehicles to handle than going downhill, so it is expected for descending drivers to slow down and get out of the way of ascending drivers. It is also expected that slow drivers should pull off the road if there are three or more vehicles behind them. Of course you will want to slow down and enjoy the scenery, and it is expected from other drivers. However, if more than three cars are behind you, pull off onto the first safe spot you see and let the drivers pass! In some states, it is a ticketable offense to block traffic for more than three cars, so be sure to check and be courteous of other drivers!

Change Gears

shifting gears while driving an RV through the mountains

Your vehicle will not perform the same in higher altitudes as it does in lower ones, as it loses horsepower the higher you go. This is something to take into account on both the ascent and descent! When going uphill, downshift to a lower gear, which will prevent your engine from overworking itself by giving too much power. You will also want to downshift when heading downhill, which will allow the engine to aid in braking, and will prevent your brakes from overheating.

Watch Your Temperatures

temperature gauge in vehicle

The downside of mountain driving is how easy it is to overheat your vehicle’s systems. Trying to power uphill at higher altitudes will cause your engine to overheat. After putting your vehicle into a lower gear, be sure to watch your temperature gauge to ensure that it stays in the safe range. If it starts to overheat, turn off your air conditioning to help lower the temperature. If that doesn’t work, pull over to allow the temp to drop before continuing. Don’t turn off your engine; keep it running! Turn on the heat if you can bear it, as it will help to lower the temp faster.

When going downhill, it is important to avoid riding your brakes to maintain a slower speed. Constant use of the brakes will cause them to overheat and diminish their ability to function correctly. The last place you want your brakes to fail is the downhill slope of a mountain!

Always Be Prepared

woman staying hydrated while on a long drive

It is important to think ahead when you are going to embark on a trip up a mountain! Be sure to bring along plenty of extra water, as dehydration can lead to altitude sickness. You should also pack some snacks, blankets, flashlights, a first aid kit, and other emergency items in case your car breaks down or you become stranded. Always make sure that you have a full gas tank before you start your ascent, as you never know what can happen and you don’t want to run out of gas!

It is also necessary to check the weather forecast for the area prior to setting out. If you are out and the weather turns, be sure to stay vigilant and proceed with caution. Always be sure that your lights are turned on, and be aware of the actions of other drivers. If you anticipate heavy snowfall, be sure to pack an ice scraper, broom, and anything else that could help get you out if you become stuck. If your car stalls in a snow storm, be sure to stay with your car as it will be more visible than a person on the side of the road.

Don’t Overdo It

woman asleep at the wheel

Traveling along mountain roads is much more taxing that driving on flat terrain, so it is important to take frequent breaks. This will help to keep your mind sharp and will keep fatigue from influencing the way you drive. It is recommended to drive no more than 6 hours a day when mountain driving to keep the stress down, so keep that in mind!

Although mountain travel can be challenging, the beautiful views make it an experience well worth having! As long as you follow these mountain driving tips and cautions, you should have a safe and successful journey! Do you have any other tips for safe mountain driving? Share them with us in the comments section!

Rainy Day? Make Indoor S’mores Fondue

Roasting marshmallows over the fire overlaying a happy little girl playing in the rain

S’mores are a staple of every camping trip! They have that gooey, crispy goodness that no other snack can compete with! Sometimes things happen that can hinder your ability to create this delicious treat! Facing a rainy day? Make indoor s’mores fondue to satisfy your campground cravings!

Ingredients

Get the goods ready - graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and sticks

2/3 C. milk
6 Hershey’s chocolate bars, chopped into chunks
Marshmallows
Graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
Saucepan
Fondue pot
Sticks

Instructions

  1. Bring the milk to a boil and then add in the chocolate pieces.
  1. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Then transfer to the fondue pot.
  1. Put the marshmallows on the sticks, dip them in the chocolate, and then roll them in the graham cracker crumbs.

You can play with this recipe a bit too! Try things like different types of chocolate. Semi sweet is great as well. You can even add things like peanut butter, caramel, or put some marshmallow crème in the chocolate and then dip the graham crackers instead. Don’t have a fondue pot? We’ll teach you how to make one with stuff you probably already have!

DIY Fondue Pot

Just DIY it - fondue pot

Fondue pots are pretty neat, but they can get a little pricy. If you don’t have one, and you won’t use it very often, then why buy it when you can throw it together on your own? Here’s what you need!

Supplies

Shallow baking Dish
Tin foil
5 tea light candles
Air bake pizza pan (the kind with holes in it)
Small glass or ceramic casserole dish

Assembly

  1. Line your baking dish with tin foil. Unless you want this to forever be your fondue pot or want to scrape candle wax out of it. The foil will protect your dish from the wax.
  1. Place the tea light candles in the center of the baking dish grouped together and light them.
  1. Top the baking dish with the pizza pan and then set the casserole dish on top in the center. This is your pot where you will put your fondue!

Now all you have to do is whip up that recipe and start dipping!

Driving Tips: Staying Focused On The Road

losing site of the road? tired woman driver with map of United States in the background

When you’re RVing, a great deal of your time is spent on the road, and while traveling can be fun, logging in so many miles can have some unfortunate effects, like exhaustion or distraction. Driving requires your complete attention, but with all the gadgets and gizmos at our disposal, it can be difficult to stay concentrated on the primary task at hand which is getting safely from point A to point B. To help make sure you’re staying focused on the road, review these driving tips and do your part to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and the other vehicles on the road so that everyone can make it to where they want to go!

Start Focusing Before You Start Your Vehicle

getting from point A to point B - woman putting make-up on while driving

The first steps toward staying focused on the road happen before you even get into your vehicle. Make sure you have sent out all of the texts you need to and that you have completed any phone calls you intend to make or anticipate receiving. Don’t attempt to do foolish activities like change your clothes or do your makeup once you’re driving. Get everything set before you take off so that you can keep your hands where they need to be: on the steering wheel. Additionally, you will also want to make sure you’ve mapped out your route and you know where you’re going so that you don’t have to fiddle with the GPS, map, or directions while you drive.

Sufficient Sleep Makes For a Successful Journey

getting from point A to point B - man sleeping soundly

Nothing can derail a journey quite like falling asleep behind the wheel! If you find yourself feeling drowsy, pull off the road and get some rest. Don’t try to power through your fatigue; either switch out drivers or pause for a rest-stop nap. While nothing is better than actual sleep, studies have indicated that caffeine can have a beneficial effect on your ability to drive. So in addition to getting enough sleep, drink coffee as you cruise down the road, or find a caffeine alternative like tea or soda.

Eliminate Your Distractions, Maintain Your Attention

getting from point A to point B - man talking on phone while driving

Being behind the wheel is no time for multi-tasking, yet the boredom can subconsciously cause you to start grabbing for your cellphone or switching through the knobs on your radio. By eliminating the potential for distraction, you reduce the temptation to lose your focus. Turn your phone on silent and put it out of sight. If you must text or call, designate another member in your vehicle to do it for you. If you are driving alone, take advantage of Bluetooth technology so you can do so hands-free. Try to avoid eating, drinking, fiddling with the radio, or any other activities which prevent you from keeping both hands on the wheel.

Keep Your Traveling Companions Under Control

getting from point A to point B - happy kids in the back seat of vehicle

Traveling alone can make focusing difficult, but traveling with others can take it to a whole new level, especially if those travelers are fidgety toddlers or rambunctious pets. If you are RVing with your animals, make sure they are properly contained so that they can’t jump around and cause you to lose focus. When traveling with kids, make sure they have plenty of items to keep them occupied for the trip. If talking amongst passengers is impairing your ability to stay focused, don’t hesitate to request that they keep the conversation to a minimum. Remember, as the driver you have an obligation to protect the passengers in your vehicle, so making this request should be respectfully received by them.

Know That Distractions Affect All Drivers

getting from point A to point B - focused male driver

A 2010 study conducted by the Pew Research Center concluded that close to half of all adults who text message admitted to having sent or received messages while driving. Keep in mind that just because you are concentrated on the task at hand doesn’t mean all the other drivers around you are. Being on the defensive will not only help you to maintain awareness of the surrounding drivers, but it also helps you to perceive and anticipate potential problems and hazards so you can avoid getting caught up in them.

Stay Refreshed And Retain Your Awareness

getting from point A to point B - woman looking in rear view mirror

No matter how hard you focus, long road trips can still have stifling effects on your vision and your mind, but luckily there are some tips and tricks to refocusing your eyes so that you don’t get fixated on one particular spot. Periodically cycle through the various areas that you should be paying attention to. Glance into your rearview mirror, check your side mirrors, and scan the panoramic view out your front windshield. Doing so will help you remain conscious of your surroundings and prevent the sort of tunnel-vision hypnosis that can sometimes happen on long stretches of highway.

Distracted driving is a serious issue that can have disastrous consequences. Don’t put your own life, the lives of your loved ones, or the lives of others on the road at risk. Stay focused while you drive, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and remember that no text message, phone call, or conversation could be more important than safety. Do you have any other driving tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Downsizing Your Belongings for RV Living

Downsizing Your Belongings for RV Living

Downsizing to a smaller space is no easy task, especially when you are facing years of accumulation and collection to wade through. But don’t let the seemingly overwhelming chore of liquidation stop you from enjoying the liberation of RV living! Once you start to purge your household possessions, your separation anxiety will pass and you’ll begin to see your RVing road trip reality approaching on the horizon! The sooner you start downsizing your belongings for RV living, the sooner you’ll be enjoying carefree days free from stress and clutter!

TTRV-Breaker

RV inside

Before Getting Started

Some mental preparation should occur before you start your downsizing venture. Take a good look at your RV and examine the storage space in each one of your ‘rooms’ so that you can be realistic about how much space you have to work with (or how little, depending on which way you look at it). Consider making a list of must-haves so that you can stay organized and on task once you begin. Don’t tackle your house all at once; work space by space throughout your home so that you can make your decisions with regards to how much space is allotted within your RV.

TTRV-Breakerpacking lightly

Let The Cleansing Begin

Getting rid of your belongings can be liberating, but that doesn’t mean it still won’t have its challenges. During your downsizing, you will likely encounter a few areas that will be more difficult to deal with than others. To help you endure as you purge, here are some helpful insights to consider when contemplating what stays and what goes.

Photos & Momentos
Keepsakes, family pictures, and other items of significance can be some of the hardest things to say goodbye to. Though you won’t want to throw these items in the trash, you may want to consider giving heirlooms away to other members of your family who will appreciate them. If possible, pass your keepsakes down to the next generation of your family with the item’s backstory so that the history isn’t lost. When it comes to belongings like photos and momentos, only you can truly determine their sentimentality and value.

Clothes & Shoes
When downsizing, the closet might be one of the most postponed projects, even though it is one area that is likely to need the most work. It can be so easy to accumulate clothing and even easier to justify keeping it, regardless of if you wear it or if it even fits. In reality, we all know everybody wears the same dozen or so outfits over and over, so whatever doesn’t make it into your standard rotation – ditch it! Ask yourself Am I really ever going to wear this? And if something no longer fits or it feels out of style, send it out the door. Don’t pack yourself fourteen pairs of something when four pairs will do just fine. Remember, casual clothes that pair nicely in layers work best.

Kitchen Supplies
In transitioning to an RV, the size of your kitchen will likely take a big hit and you’ll need to adjust to this change accordingly. When it comes to your kitchen, keep it simple. You probably don’t need that bulky bread maker or rice cooker, and you certainly don’t need three different ice cream scoopers. Realistically think about what you actually use in relation to your cooking tendencies. Don’t just pack something in your RV because you want to use it, pack it because you know you’ll use it.

Books, CDs, & DVDs
In the age of technology, what once was tangible can now be electronic, meaning that you don’t need to waste valuable space hauling around paperbacks, CD cases, and stacks of DVDs. Compile these items down into more portable formats. Use a tablet, your phone, or an iPod to store these items on one compact device. You can also scan your paper documents to store them electronically so that you don’t have to bother with designating a file cabinet. Just be sure to keep backup copies of all of your conversions and keep them in a safe spot at a second location.

Decorations
Decorative adornments can transform an RV into a charming home away from home, but the line between decoration and clutter is thin. Decorations can be hard to get rid of because they are an expression of your style, and you don’t want your RV to be a bland cookie-cutter replica of the rest. Just be selective about what decorations you let pass through your RV’s door, and realize that the less ornamented your RV is, the more impactful your selected decorations will be. If any decorations are broken or cracked, they gotta go. Only keep your favorites and be deliberate in your selections.

TTRV-Breaker

gargae sale

Saying Goodbye

Now that you have a clear idea of what you will be keeping and all that you’re going to be saying goodbye to, there are a couple of ways that you can get the clutter out of your sight. The options that require the most effort are typically the options that will reap the biggest reward monetarily. What better way to begin your new RVing quest than with a pocket full of cash from all of your unwanted items? But whether you sell, donate, or throw away, the real reward is having the freedom to live without being restricted by what you own!

Garage Sale
Having a garage sale requires a certain amount of effort, but it is a great way to get rid of your goods in a hurry! By placing your for-sale items in the yard with price stickers, you will draw in crowds who are eager to give your old possessions a brand new life! In addition to the benefits of letting your belongings be repurposed and recycled, you also get the bonus benefit of racking up some cash before your RV adventure begins!

Online Ads
The Internet is a great tool for connecting with potential buyers who are interested in what you have to offer. Online resources like Facebook groups or Craigslist will allow you to post an ad highlighting what you have for sale, and those interested in buying can easily message you for more details. With nothing more than a camera, computer, and keyboard, you can downsize your belongings without having to go through the hassle of hauling everything outside for a garage sale.

Donate
Let’s be real, after the laborious and long struggle of downsizing, the extra effort to get rid of your unwanted items can simply be too much. Donating your belongings is another great way to say goodbye without having to break a sweat. While you won’t get any money in exchange for your goods when you donate, you will get a quick and simple ending to a downsizing ordeal that may have just wiped you clean out of energy!

TTRV-Breaker

The RVing lifestyle really puts into perspective how quickly the things you own can end up owning you. Once you are free from the burden of your belongings, you will quickly grow questionable of how you ever handled having so much stuff in the first place. What can we say, when you live inside the small space of an RV, less is truly more which makes life truly limitless!

Do you have any downsizing tips or tricks you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!

Best RV Parks Located on a Waterfront

Best RV Parks Located on a Waterfront

One of the greatest things about owning an RV is choosing the scenery that sits out your front door! Camping on a waterfront not only offers a gorgeous view, it also opens up a lot of possibilities for camping activities that you won’t have to travel for! Things like boating, fishing, kayaking, and swimming are just some of the activities many love to do when out camping near water. We decided to do a little research and come up with a list of the best RV parks located on a waterfront. There are a ton of lists out there based on oceanfront parks, so we decided to try and populate our lists based on inland lakes and rivers! Check it out!

TTRV-Breaker

River View RV Park Mississippi River

River View RV Park | Mississippi River

On the shore of the Mississippi River located in Vidalia, LA is River View RV Park. While their website leaves something to be desired, the resort is everything you could want! With 193 sites that can accommodate large rigs you should have no problem finding one for you! All sites have water and sewer hookups and you can get electric in 20/30/50 amp! Facilities at this campground include a hot tub and pool that are open year round, a clubhouse, modern restrooms with showers, a laundry room that’s open 24/7, a general store, an LP pumping station, playground for the kids, and the standard picnic tables and fire rings!

TTRV-Breaker

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend | Ohio River

Located in Leavenworth, IN on the Ohio River is Horseshoe Bend. This gated campground offers a secure camping experience where you will enjoy amenities such as full hookups, laundry facilities, a camp store, a boat ramp, and a kids’ playground shaped like a pirate ship! Fishing in the Ohio River is prefect and you’ll be able to produce a great meal for your campsite! Aside from all the fun things you can do right on the river, there are tons of attractions located near Horseshoe Bend. You can check out one of the many caves in the area, taste some amazing wines at some of the local wineries, or try your luck at one of the nearby casinos!

TTRV-Breaker

Hidden Beaches Colorado River

Hidden Beaches | Colorado River

Nestled along the banks of the Colorado River in Blythe, CA is a little gem known as Hidden Beaches! With some riverfront and pull through sites available, this park has gorgeous spots! An on-site country store offers grocery items as well as hot and cold food for anything you may need while you’re there. Laundry facilities, bathrooms, and clean showers make your trip more comfortable and horseshoe pits give you something competitive to do! An on-site boat launch offers access to the Colorado River where you can fish, swim, kayak, and more!

TTRV-Breaker

Lambs Resort Lake Superior

Lambs Resort | Lake Superior

Located on the largest of the Great Lakes in Schroeder, MN is the breathtaking Lambs Resort on Lake Superior! At this campground you’ll find sites right on the lake or some that are nestled in the woods so you can choose the type of experience you want to have! You can choose an RV site that offers water and electrical or one that also has sewer hookups. If you do not get one with sewer hookups, it’s important to know there is no dump station available so you will need to find one afterward. Located in the perfect area you’ll be close to trails for biking and hiking, a few state parks for exploring, plenty of fishing venues including Lake Superior itself, and canoe and kayak rentals!

TTRV-Breaker

Timber Lake Resort Lake Michigan

Timber Lake Resort | Lake Michigan

Not too far from Terry Town RV is Timber Lake Resort! Located right on Lake Michigan, this resort also has their own small lake! Here you will find water and electric on all sites, a dump station, modern restrooms and showers, and laundry facilities. Besides all the beach activities you can partake in, you’ll also have horseshoe pits, shuffleboard, a basketball court, and a playground for the kids! The best part of this resort is how close it is to Silver Lake sand dunes! This is a grown-ups playground where you can get out the dune buggies, ATVs, trucks & jeeps, or get in some sand boarding!

TTRV-Breaker

Bethpage Camp-Resort Chesapeake Bay

Bethpage Camp-Resort | Chesapeake Bay

Sitting on the Chesapeake Bay in Urbanna, VA is Bethpage Camp-Resort. Not only are they located in a beautiful spot, this resort has tons of things to do that you won’t find at a lot of other RV parks. All sites here are full hookup, including cable and Wi-Fi, and there are quite a few to choose from! With over 700 sites you should be able to find the perfect one during your stay! Other great amenities include laundry facilities, a propane station, a dog walk area, and plenty of activities! Rent a bike or a boat, go on a hayride, participate in a cornhole tournament, take a river cruise, shoot down a waterslide in a water park, and much more!

TTRV-Breaker

Park On The Lake Lake Conroe

Park On The Lake | Lake Conroe

Head out to Lake Conroe in Lake Conroe, TX with your family for an amazing adventure at the Park On The Lake! Most of the sites here are right on the water so as long as you book soon enough you should be able to get one! A large pool, a kiddie pool, and a hot tub can all be found at this RV park as well as things like a boat launch, dog run, and a clubhouse! Amenities such as laundry facilities, clean restrooms and showers, and free Wi-Fi are all available.

TTRV-Breaker

Waterfront RV Parks are a great escape where you can enjoy a different dynamic of camping as opposed to just being in the woods. These campgrounds on rivers and lakes are a great alternative to large busy oceanfront parks. Let us know what your favorite waterfront RV park is and why!

Find Out What to do While Visiting the Grand Canyon

long postcard of man overlooking Grand Canyon

Five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. It’s one of the most beautiful sites you will ever see, but can you really spend an entire vacation trip just looking into a giant gorge? Find out what to do while visiting the Grand Canyon so you won’t get bored of just staring at it!

#1 Take a Mule Trip

group taking mule ride up the grand canyon

Book a mule trip of the South or North Rim of the Grand Canyon! Taking out a mule means no walking for you and you’re on an animal that naturally knows how to walk on these trails and steep ridges. You can take a one or three hour trip or even overnight trips depending on where you want to go. One will even take you down into the canyon! There are age and weight limits and you have to book some of these over a year in advance to get on the schedule so visit Canyon Trail Rides’ website to check out North Rim trips and Xanterra’s site for South Rim trips!

#2 Drive the Scenic Drives

girl enjoying a scenic view of the grand canyon

If you want to get out of the sun and heat but still take in some of the sites, you can hop in your car and take a scenic drive. There are two popular drives to take including the Desert View Drive and Hermit Road.

Desert View Drive takes you along 25 miles of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There are plenty of viewpoints to see along the way including Pipe Creek Vista, Yaki Point, Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point, and Navajo Point! There are also some unmarked pullouts, the Tusayan Museum and Ruin Site, and it ends at the Desert View Watchtower!

Hermit Road is traveled by shuttle bus between March 1st and November 30th and is closed to private vehicles during this time. This tour will take you along seven miles of the South Rim from the west end of the Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest and then back. You will see points of interest such as Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powel Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, Pima Point, and Hermits Rest.

#3 Enjoy River Trips

man kayaking the colorado river

Many think of deserts and gorges when they think of the Grand Canyon, forgetting it was carved out by the Colorado River. Enjoy some refreshing fun with a river trip down the United State’s fifth longest river. Whether you want just a relaxing trip down the river or an exhilarating white water experience, you can find both at Colorado River Discovery! They offer kayak trips, motorboat trips, and rafting tours!

#4 Cast your Line

man fishing in the colorado river

Another great plus of the Colorado River is fishing! There are tons of fish that call this river home including some native species and some non native. The native fish include humpback chub, razorback sucker, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and speckled dace. Both the humpback chub and the razorback suckers are endangered so if you catch one of these, be sure to release it back! Non native fish include channel catfish, black bull head, striped bass, walleye, brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. These fish are definitely up for grabs as they would like to get many of them, especially the trout, out of the area as they are threatening the native species that live here. Ensure you get a fishing license before heading out so that you don’t risk a fine from the game and fish department.

#5 Check out Kolb Studio

old image of a man holding a camera

If you’re a photographer or have an interest in photography then you need to check out the Kolb Studio. The Kolb brothers were early photographers in the Grand Canyon and you can check out tons of their work as well as learn about their lives, see the boat that they used to explore the river, and their old cameras!

#6 See the Tusayan Museum and Ruin

sites from the tusayan museum and ruins in the grand canyon

There have been humans inhabiting the Grand Canyon area for around 12,000 years. 4,800 sites have been documented so far that show human life history in the park and this is only five percent of the park that has even been surveyed. The Tusayan Museum and Ruin allows you to take a look at these artifacts and sites to learn about the history that has been documented. The information contained here can only grow as they unearth more and more from throughout the park. This is a history buff’s dream!

#7 Climb the Desert View Watchtower

ancient watch tower in the grand canyon

It’s only 85 steps to a 70ft high 360 degree view of the area! This stone building built in 1932 has stood in the desert as a lookout for visitors. There are windows to look out on the way up and a Native American painting on the ceiling! Plenty of other paintings are found on the way up as well so there’s no way you’ll get bored climbing this tower.

#8 Visit the Yacapai Geology Museum

view of grand canyon from the yacapai geology museum

Learn what makes the Grand Canyon what it is at the Yacapai Geology Museum. Check out artwork and models that show you the rock deposition. There’s even a large topographical map you can check out to see the entire canyon and all its nooks and crannies. Then gaze out the large window of the museum and see the canyon itself! Maybe you can even identify areas and types of rocks you just learned about!

#9 Reach New Heights in a Helicopter Tour

helicopter tour of the grand canyon

With something this big, taking a tour from above has got to be the best way to see it. Not only will you be able to see it from an angle like no other, you can get above areas that you couldn’t otherwise get close to! There are a few different tours to take depending on the area of the canyon you want to see. You can check them out here at GrandCanyon.com!

#10 Step Out Over the Edge on the Skywalk

skywalk viewing of the grand canyon

Imagine safely standing out over the canyon’s ledge and looking down 4,000 feet below you as if you’re standing on air! The Skywalk will give you just that experience! It’s a glass bridge that offers a view like you won’t believe. Don’t let the glass worry you! It’s strong enough to withstand up to 71 million pounds and a magnitude 8 earthquake! That is some strong glass!

# 11 Ride the Railway

railway station at the grand canyon

Once built as a means to transport oar, this railway was built in 1901! The original cars have been restored and you can take a ride and hear stories and legends of the past! Travel 65 miles around the area to learn about the region, native people, climate, wildlife, and plants! One of these trains even runs on recycled vegetable oil that is retrieved from restaurants!

#12 Camping the Canyon

RV camping in the grand canyon

Now that you know there’s a ton to do in the area, you’re probably going to need more than one day! Experiencing the Grand Canyon as a camping trip really wraps up this all-encompassing experience. There are a few campgrounds right in the park so you don’t even have to leave once you get there.

Mather Campground

Mather Campground for RV and Tents in the Grand Canyon

Located in the South Rim is Mather Campground. This campground is in the Grand Canyon Village and welcomes both tent campers and RVers. These grounds are open year round and offer potable water at a fill station, a dump station for RVs, firewood for purchase, and pay showers & laundry facilities. There are no hookups at this campground so be prepared with anything you may need to keep your RV going.

Desert View Campground

Desert View Campground in the Grand Canyon for RV and Tent

Desert View is also located in the South Rim area but is much more secluded than Mather. There are no hookups at this site and there are no fill stations or dump stations either. You will need to stop at the Grand Canyon Village fill and dump site for both. This site does however offer firewood for purchase and has pay showers & laundry facilities.

Trailer Village

Trailer Village for RV camping in the Grand Canyon

This is the only campground in the park that offers full hookups for RVs! Here you will enjoy things like pay showers and laundry, a dump station, potable water, ice, and vending machines. This is a much more modern campground than Desert View and it does not offer sites for tents!

North Rim Campground

People viewing the Grand Canyon from North Rim Campground

This is the only campground in the North Rim and is very secluded! Both tent campers and RVers are welcomed at this campground. There are no hookups but there is a dump station. There is a general store that sells firewood as well as coin showers & laundry facilities.

Make your adventure count when you visit the Grand Canyon! Check out all the attractions this wondrous place has to offer while you’re there! Just be sure to do your research before hand, and make reservations where needed as far in advance as you can. It would be disappointing to miss out due to a high volume of visitors.