23 Aug

Girl Camper: Episode 98 Tips for Touring Yellowstone

On this week’s show I’m sharing my tips for camping in and touring Yellowstone National Park.

When camping in Yellowstone you have 12 campgrounds to choose from offering 2000 sites within the park. Seven of them are run by NPS and are offered on a first come, first served basis. They have no hookups but offer fire rings and lush surroundings.

The only campground in the park that offers full hook ups is Fishing Bridge Campground. The campground is conveniently located but not very camp like. There are no fires allowed and the sites are stacked on top of each other without even picnic tables.

 

Touring the park requires patience and a plan. Some of my tips are:

1) Start your day early before most tourists are out. The roads don’t start to get crowded before 10 am and you can see two sights by then without all the people.

2) Ask a Ranger for advice. They know the peak and off peak times to see things, where the animal sightings are and the best hiking trails.  A ranger suggested to me that we travel counter clockwise on the lower Grand Loop because the majority of people travel clockwise.

3) Pack a lunch. You will save time, money and be healthier! The food is concession grade, expensive and you have to wait a long time for it.

4) Wear appropriate shoes. Yellowstone is not a sanitized theme park. The hiking trails are full of sticks, vines and gravel. Flip flops can ruin your day.

5) Keep jackets and rain gear in the car. The weather can change dramatically and very quickly.

6) Allow extra time for animal jams, heavy volume and poor parking. Everything takes longer than you think it will.

7) Follow the rules for staying away from the animals. Photograph them at a safe distance.

27 Jan

Camper College – Tom’s Camperland Style!

For about two years I have been cajoling RV dealerships into hosting what I call “Camper College.” For those that don’t know what a Camper College event is, it’s an opportunity afforded to us by dealerships that “get it” to find out what is involved in owning, operating and towing a travel trailer.

Brad Leach, owner of Toms Camperland in Mesa, Arizona walks a group of RV interested guests through the how’s and why’s of trailer operations.

In all the mail I receive from listeners of the Girl Camper Podcast, the fear most often expressed in them is the fear of towing.  Additionally, there is a lot of concern about the trailer coming detached from the car. At Camper College, dealerships walk would-be Girl Campers through the process of hitching up a trailer. The hands on demonstrations let the attendees  do the whole operation themselves. The dealership also takes everyone on a scaled back version of a trailer walk through showing them where water goes in, comes out and how the trailer gets its “energy.” For those that are new to the RV lifestyle these lessons help demystify trailer ownership and give the confidence needed to make an eventual purchase. It’s the first step into joining the Girl Camping movement with confidence.

Chris Baum, COO of Little Guy Worldwide and I have a great time hosting together even if we do fight over the microphone!

It’s been great to have the support of Little Guy Worldwide who often co-host these events with me. This last event was epic though and we created a bit of a circus by inviting our Camp LIke a Girl Meet Up site members to Take Over Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Arizona. Women from other Meet-ups in the Phoenix area as well as our event partner Sisters on the Fly, all came out to do a Friday night meet and greet with a demonstration and then an all day Saturday Open House. Tom’s is a huge dealership with over 42,000 square feet of covered display space. They were gracious enough to treat us to a great dinner on Friday night which made those traveling directly from work to the event very happy! On Saturday we got to eat the biggest pizza pie I’ve ever seen along with lots of healthy snacks and cookies to keep our energy up as we toured the largest selection of lightweight towables in Arizona.

Maurrie Sussman, co-founder of Sisters on the Fly, tells the would be girl campers about her extraordinary group.

The showroom at Tom’s had plenty of room to gather and talk shop.

The staff at Tom’s Camperland could not have been more gracious and I thank them for sharing their knowledge and for their gracious hospitality. I’d also like to thank Chris Baum of Little Guy Worldwide for coming out to join us. Chris is always cheer leading for us and although he was outnumbered, he held his own! We think he has magic shoes!  A special thanks to Maurrie Sussman the co-founder of Sisters on the Fly, the largest membership based outdoor women’s group in the United States, for coming and sharing fishing stories, towing stories and inspiration with all those new to Girl Camping. My final thank you is to owner Brad Leach for believing in the idea of mentoring and for operating the kind of business that wants customers for life and that is willing to serve those customers before they even make a purchase. When I remarked to Brad during his demonstration that I was told that a power surge protector was an absolute trailer necessity he quickly replied that I must have been at “Camper ‘Junior’ College.”  He was a heck of a good sport and fun to boot!!

There is such a large selection of lightweight towable trailers at Tom’s that each Girl Camper had plenty to think about.