30 Dec

Girl Camper: Episode 116 Top Picks from 2017

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On this week’s show I am exercising that end of the year nostalgia and sentimentality and reviewing my favorite campgrounds and spots of my 2017 travels. This year I spent over 60 nights in my trailer, traveled over 10K miles and stayed in more than thirty different campgrounds. Along the way there were highs and lows and today I am sharing the highs along with some moments that I will savor for a long time after the year has passed.

FAVORITE CAMPGROUNDS OF 2017

A side stop near the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park

One of my favorite campgrounds I visited this year was the one at Custer State Park. I stayed at the Blue Bell Campground there but it was not just the campground but the whole park that I loved.  I vowed to visit again and stay in one of the five beautiful lodges they have at the beautiful state park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. They have one lodge that is open during the winter and the park can be used for snow shoeing, cross country skiing and the wildlife loops are open to see the animals in winter.

Blue Bell Campground at Custer State Park

Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine is a new campground that was founded by former hoteliers who applied their customer centered hospitality to the campground business. Every inch of the campground is manicured and pristine. The glamping tents are in an enclave that feels like it’s iwn little canvas village. They have a communal fire pit which is lit by an employee each night. The RV sites are level and narrow but quite long. The bathrooms are all brand new and spotlessly clean. Sandy Pines is situated on the salt marshes and a short drive to the beach and town of Kennebunkport. I enjoyed my trip there so much I plan to make it an annual pilgrimage.

The glamping tents at Sandy Pines Campground

The Luray KOA Campground in Luray, Virginia is at the base of the Shenandoah National Park. It’s a quiet little campground with beautiful views, sweeping lawns and VIP sites with large concrete pads, stone fire pits and Adirondack chairs. I particularly enjoyed the ping pong table available on the lawn for guests.

The beautiful views at the Luray KOA made stargazing and sunsets so enjoyable.

FAVORITE PLACES OF 2017

Glacier National Parks Going to the Sun Road was my absolute favorite stop of the year. It’s long been on my list and although I could only spend a few days at Glacier I knew I wanted to make the drive that tops so many tourist lists of must see places. I wrote a blog about it for Go RVing.

Going To The Sun Road

The cowboy town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a quintessential tourist town without the tacky souvenir shops. Its situated around a town square park with arched entrances on all four corners constructed of elk antlers. Every tourist is compelled to stop and take their photo there.  A favorite stop is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where you can literally saddle up to the bar on bar stools with Western Cowboy saddles on them. The town is full of art galleries, restaurants and shops. I loved all the galleries and the Pendleton Shop. In addition to being a great town it is surrounded by the best fly fishing in Wyoming . It’s fifty miles from Teton National Park with river rafting, kayaking, hiking and mountain climbing.

The Jackson Hole Wyoming arches.

Mount Rushmore was a place I felt I had to at least stop at and hit tag.  I had no real burning desire to see it but couldn’t pass it up when I was so nearby. It turned out to be one of my favorite places. I went in the early evening when they put on a beautiful and patriotic evening lighting ceremony. I loved learning more about the men who are carved in stone but also about the construction of the monument.  At the end of the presentation the lights are ceremoniously lit to illuminate the trailblazers memorialized above and all of the tourists stood for the national anthem. After that the veterans in the audience were asked to stand and be acknowledged and thanked for their service. In the current political environment it felt good to be united in respect for those who served.

Mt. Rushmore

19 Dec

Girl Camper: Episode 115 Top Picks from the Louisville Show

On today’s show I am talking bout my top picks from the big RVIA show in Louisville. Each year the RV industry gathers the week after Thanksgiving and all of the manufacturers show off their new products to RV dealers, suppliers and the press.  This is one of the places that RV dealers go to choose the trailers the will be on their showroom floors next spring and the RV industry is changing to meet the demands of the new consumers out there. They are still building Class A buses and large travel trailers and fifth wheels for the empty nesters and families to enjoy but they are also building off road adventure vehicles, compact vans and sleek, smartly designed lightweight travel trailers for a new generation of RVers. Today I am talking  about my favorite new innovators, designers and visionaries making waves in the RV world.

The Tiger Moth by Taxa is an outdoor adventure vehicle that was designed by Garrett Fennley a former engineer from NASA that worked on the International Space Station. He applies the small space solutions for space travel to the Taxa brand models. The Tiger Moth weighs only 900 pounds and can be towed by almost anything on the road. It sits 12″ off the ground and can be used off the grid for 5-7 days at a time. Some of the available options are a two man roof tent, screen room and Thule roof carrier. It retails for between 12K-15K depending on options.

The Luna trailer by Intech is another lightweight trailer making a mark in the RV world. The Luna weighs in at 1800#’s and has an overall length of 14′. The box is 6′ wide with the wheels sitting outside for an overall width of 7′. It has a clamshell kitchen with ample counter space but limited storage. The interior is versatile with movable cushions for visiting, reading, and television watching. The large front window is positioned over a storage bench with a built in table and storage below. There are two beehive doors and large windows with a 40″ television. There are also two nice sized storage compartments in the floor of the trailer.

The final of the three trailers I chose for innovation in design is the No Bo by Forest River. No Bo is short for No Boundries. This trailer has immediate eye appeal. It weighs in at 1570#’s and has a Cargo Carrying Capacity of 2,992 lbs. I also has a fresh water tank capacity of 30 gallons, step up wheel covers for access to the roof racks, two sided awning and a rear side door or optional ramp. The interior provides flexible configurations and the option of a dining table that is hidden in the floor when not in use.

The No Bo trailer by Forest River. (Photo Courtesy of Hi Way Campers)

In other news the Florida RV Show is taking place January 17-21 and I will be there with Chris Baum of Liberty Outdoors and we will be showing off the Max trailer at Como RV in booth #335. All are welcome to stop by and join the fun. Tampa, Florida is a great place to be in January!! Reach out via Facebook Messenger or Instagram to check our schedules or follow along as we show off what’s new at Liberty!!

 

12 Dec

Girl Camper: Episode 114 RV Industry News with Courtney Robey

On this week’s show it is my pleasure to welcome Courtney Robey, Director of Marketing and Communications for Go RVing. Courtney’s job is to find ways to share the RV lifestyle with new audiences. It’s also her job to find that audience and today she is sharing some ways in which the RV industry is meeting the changing demographics of RV buyers.

Myself, Mark Polk, Courtney Robey and Stephanie Puglisi. Mark and Stephanie are industry experts and Go RVing bloggers.

Every year the Go RVing team makes beautiful videos on the RV lifestyle and this one featuring adventure skier Brody Leven is one of my absolute favorites. It makes me want to get a Class B or at least borrow one and hit the road.

The Go RVing website has so many tools that help those new to the RV lifestyle “find their away.” The Find Your Away videos resonate with RVers or RV wannabes of all types. I love to  sit with a cup of tea and my laptop and watch the different ways in which people use their RV’s, the places they travel to and the rigs they choose.

As a woman who loves fly fishing I really appreciated this one!

Take a few minutes to explore the Go RVing website and “find your away.”

TO LISTEN TO TBE PODCAST CLICK ON THE ARROW

 

 

05 Dec

Girl Camper: Episode 113 Towing Tips with Mark Polk

It is always a pleasure to have Mark Polk on the show. Mark and his wife Dawn run the RV Education 101 website, have produced over 350 YouTube videos, and Mark has a widely read blog on Go RVing. He is an industry leader in safety and education and always provides his expertise and experience to seasoned RVers and newcomers alike. I asked Mark to come on the show today to talk about towing.

Mark has helped us before on the show when he discussed the pitfalls buyers of vintage trailers may fall into. We all love the charm but Mark shared his own experience restoring a vintage trailer and created a punch list of things to look for when you look at one. That episode (#9) can be found here and it could save you a lot of time and money.

Mark, myself and Dawn Polk at the recent RVIA Show.

Mark also made a guest appearance helping us to understand tow vehicles and the meaning of all the terms. Axle ratios, tongue weight, GVWR, and torque! It can be confusing and Mark walked through the terms and industry ratings to help us make the right choice when looking at tow vehicles. Episode 61, Talking Tow Vehicles with Mark Polk can be listen to here.

 

Another fan favorite is Mark’s show helping us understand what a weight distribution hitch is and whether we need one or not. I had the feeling I needed one when I went up a size in my trailer and Mark explained how to make that determination and how to decide which one to purchase. Episode #83 with Mark Polk is available here.

Dawn Polk and myself admiring the prototype of the Scotty Sportsman coming out in the spring.

Mark has three guidelines for towing:

Always travel at a safe speed. For Mark that is 60 MPH or under if conditions warrant a slower speed.

Stay Alert. He advocates for knowing what is going on around you and shares his system for monitoring conditions and traffic flow while driving his motorhome or towing a trailer.

Anticipate Driving Situations. When you are alert you will be able to see what is happening and respond appropriately. Mark talks about some of the scenarios in which you can be a good steward of the shared roads by anticipating and reacting accordingly.

Mark with Courtney Robey, Director of Marketing at Go RVing and Stephanie Puglisi from the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast.

Mark also talks in this episode about:

  • use of mirrors
  • trucks passing you
  • knowing what gear to be in
  • Auxiliary braking systems
  • Sudden jerky turns
  • bad weather driving
  • making turns and knowing your pivot point
  • downgrades and upgrades
  • trailer sway

To Access Mark and Dawn’s library of RV Safety and Education materials click here.

To listen to this weeks podcast with Mark Polk click the arrow below.