27 Jun

Girl Camper: #90 Trip Planning Part One

On today’s show I am sharing my process for planning the National Parks Tour I am heading out on this summer. If you have ever thought about taking time to visit our National Parks or have wanted to take a loooong road trip to places you’ve been dreaming of, this is the show for you. Where do you start? How far ahead do you have to plan? How do you figure out what route to take? Where is it safe to camp alone? How many hours a day should you plan on driving? I faced all these questions when planning the trip  and I am breaking down the process and giving you some ideas on planning your next great adventure.

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The starting point for my trip planning was choosing the destination. Yellowstone National Park was first pick. Once that was determined I figured out the miles,  2136 miles each way. That’s 32 hours of driving if you are in a car. If you are towing a trailer you can easily add another 6 to that estimate. With that in mind I knew that we needed at least four weeks to make the trip and enjoy it. Each time we added a stop, we went to Google Maps to look at the route and determine how much time it would add to the trip and how much distance was between each of the stops.

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Once the distance and allotted time were nailed down we set about researching what route to take and what we wanted to see along the way. The research started with podcasts of course. RVFTA’s podcast on Yellowstone last year was a great help. There’s also a National Parks Podcast that helped me get the lay of the land in Yellowstone. This helped me to be realistic about how much time things would actually take once inside the park.

Some books that were great planning tools included The Idiots Guide to RV Vacations by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi and Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen.

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Favorite Apps include the National Parks App by Chimani. Within the National Parks app is the ability to download specific parks and gain all kinds of information on parking, hiking, camping, routes within the parks as well as Ranger Programs and the degree of difficulty a certain hike might be. You can also use it for trip planning and to have a map of the park downloaded which doesn’t require Internet.

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This episode also covers reservation making tips and how we chose which campgrounds to stay at.

I promised the recipe for the campfire cookies and here it is! My sweet friend Jodi made these for me and since she is not generally a baker I  knew it was a labor of love. She found the recipe at the Food Network website.

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20 Jun

Girl Camper: #89 Tips for Buying a Used RV

On my show today we are continuing breaking down the obstacles to becoming a Girl Camper and I am sharing my tips on buying a used RV. Not everyone wants to get so deep in right away with a brand new camper and accompanying payment. If you are dipping your toes into the camping world for the first time a previously owned travel trailer may be just the right starting point. I will be talking about why a used trailer might be the best option, the options for where you can buy one and what to ask and look for once you have found it. I am also going to cover some scams to be aware of. It’s all in today’s podcast which if you are not a subscriber,  can be listened to by clicking the arrow at the bottom of the post.

 

Buying a used trailer is a good way to get into the RV world without making a huge investment.

Buying a used trailer allows those entering the RV world to get an idea of what kind of trailer they might like without spending a lot of money. It also allows a first time buyer to try out a model they think will work for them. If it turns out the floor plan or trailer weight or length isn’t just right they can resell without a large loss.

 

Buying from a reputable dealer allows you to purchase a trailer that has been thoroughly inspected and has had any found problems repaired. It is also likely to come with a 30-90 day warranty that you would not get if you bought from a private seller. A dealer has a reputation to protect and wants to have you as a future customer.

Setzer's World of Camping Trailers

Buying from a reputable dealer allows you to get a warranty that a private seller is unlikely to offer. Setzer’s World of Camping in Huntington, West Virginia offers inspections, warranties and help financing used trailers.

RV Trader, the online catalog for RV Sales offers a wide selection and includes dealership ads as well as privately placed ads. The RV Trader search engine makes it easy for you to search for specific models that interest you. Be willing to travel to another state if you have a budget and trailer in mind and are adamant about it.

Social Media, Craigslist and local ads are another resource for used trailers. If you buy from a private citizen be sure to arrange for a trailer inspection. Todd Henson, director of sales and marketing at RV Inspection Connections was my guest on episode 45 of the podcast and discussed in detail what to expect when purchasing an RV inspection and how you can find an inspector near you. Todd’s organization has a network of over 600 inspectors.

On the show I go over a set of questions every buyer should ask a seller including why they are selling, what their maintenance schedule on the trailer was, if they own it and have clear title and if they have an outstanding loan on the trailer? These and other important questions every buyer should ask are covered in detail.

Lastly I discuss tow vehicles and how to make sure that you are purchasing something you are comfortable towing and if you own a tow vehicle that is capable of towing what you are considering buying. Do your due diligence and make sure you research the product, your tow vehicle and come to your own conclusions about towing the new vehicle.

Choosing the right trailer for your adventures requires research, trusted resources and sometimes a bit of good luck.

13 Jun

Girl Camper #88 Road Adventures with Mike Harlan

On this weeks show I welcome returning guest Mike Harlan. Mike is the manager of Airstream Trailers at North Trail RV Center in Fort Meyers, Florida. What most people don’t know about Mike is that he was also instrumental in the founding of Road Adventures which is not just an RV rental company but a full service travel agency that is  making the classic American road trip vacation a possibility for anyone who doesn’t own an RV.

Home base for Mike Harlan, manager of Airstream Division.

If you have long imagined a cross country trip to see the Grand Canyon or the geysers of Yellowstone and don’t own an RV, Road Adventures will not only rent you the RV you are most comfortable with but they will also rent you the tow vehicle you need to pull it.

You don’t have to own an Airstream to take a classic American Road Trip in one!

Through their partnership with AAA they will book all of your sites and plan the vacation for you. Mike is here today to tell us all about this full service program at Haydocy Airstream in Columbus, Ohio.

AAA is a partner in Road Adventures which makes every aspect of a customers vacation enjoyable.

My latest blog for Go RVing is up on their site. I had a great time recently in the Shenandoah National Forest and my blog gives some tips for what to do, where to stay and how to best navigate this beautiful park. Whether you are day tripping it or getting in a few days of hiking, this park has plenty to offer visitors. I am already planning a return trip to complete my hike to Mary’s Rock.

Shenandoah National Park is a great place to vacation as well as day trip!

We camped at the base of the mountain at the Luray KOA which I found to be one of the most scenic and relaxing campgrounds I’ve ever stayed at.

I am gathering gear for my Yellowstone trip and I decided to replace my fly fishing rain coat with the Cabela’s GoreTex jacket. I am so glad I did. Since it has not stopped raining in the northeast I am already getting plenty of use out of it and it has a lot of features I really like starting with the large zippered pockets that hold my uber large IPhone 6 Plus.

It’s true that my producer Stephanie Puglusi and I often think alike so it’s no wonder we bought the same coat in the same color. Hey, we know a good thing when we see it!

When I am traveling for work and pleasure I take lots of pictures and don’t always want to carry my large camera and associated gear. I also don’t want to worry about my phone dropping out of my jacket pocket so I really appreciate the size of the pockets on this coat and the zippers which operate top down for ease of use. The Gore Tex itself is the best part though. My fly fishing rain coat is vinyl lined and quite hot. All rainy days are not cold days too so I often found myself dry on the outside but sweaty in the coat. Being dry and cool is what Gore Tex does that other gear does not. I am happy to be building a wardrobe of active wear that I will get great value out of.  The Cabela’s jacket was $129 and I got thirty percent off for Mother’s Day.

06 Jun

Girl Camper #87: Father’s Day Finds with Jeremy Puglisi

On this weeks show RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast host Jeremy Puglisi is giving us some help trying to choose the best gift for the father, husband or son in your life for Father’s Day. He gives his top choices and personal experiences with the products he suggests. Check the RVFTA site for the products.

My personal favorite was the Rigid 4.5 gallon Pro Pack Wet/Dry vac.

My husband is getting this for Father’s Day. Its small and can be stored in the back of the truck .

The Eastwing 12″ Sportsman Axe was another favorite pick. This one piece axe with leather handle will come in handy for splitting kindling for the fire.

The Eastwing axe is solid steel and will never fall apart.

Tune in to the podcast for the rest of Jeremy’s top picks.