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| By Kimberly Button ||Sponsored by Woodall's |
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Magnificent to Macabre
Exploring the museums of St. Petersburg
When it’s time for a break from the sun and sand, the city’s myriad art and cultural museums beckon
Situated on a peninsula embraced by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Florida’s claim to fame has always been its sunny weather – an average of 361 days of sunshine each year – and pristine beaches. In fact, two of the area’s beaches have been named “America’s Best Beach” by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, known as “Dr. Beach,” in 2005 and 2008, and second-place honors in 2006 and 2007. So, if you’re searching for sunshine and sand, St. Petersburg should definitely be at the top of your destination list.
With so much national attention focused on the beautiful beaches of the Pinellas Peninsula, home to the city of St. Petersburg and 25 other communities and just 30 minutes from Tampa, it’s easy to lose sight of the world-class arts and cultural activities that are also available to visitors. However, the city’s seven museums are cultural gems not to be missed. From art and aviation to history and scientific mysteries, the city’s museums surprisingly boast a wealth of unique displays seldom seen in many parts of the United States, much less the world.
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| The Well–equipped Doggie RV |
I was on an RVing with dog's forum the other day and I saw someone posted a newbie question about RVing with dogs. The question was, "Can I use my roof-top air conditioner off the batteries while traveling because my dogs get really hot when we are in really high temperatures?" As a seasoned RVer with dogs, cats, and kids, I was taken aback by the question. It made me realize that sometimes it is important to educate new RVers in how to properly deal with dogs and cats in an RV. So, here are a few questions and answers, starting with the air conditioner issue:
Question: "Can I use my roof-top air conditioner off the batteries while traveling because my dogs get really hot when we are in really high temperatures?"
Answer: You need to run your generator when you are using the air conditioner whenever you are not hooked up to electricity. (There are a few people who have tricked out their RV with so much solar power and banks of batteries that they could potentially run the air conditioner off of their batteries, but this is an extreme situation.) In addition, it is always a good idea to run your generator on a full load once a month just to keep it in good shape.
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|Tips for Choosing a Recreation Vehicle |
It's easy to choose a pair of shoes, right? You like the style, you like the color and they fit correctly; it's a no-brainer! But choosing an RV can be one of the most daunting and difficult tasks, especially for novice or uninitiated camping enthusiasts. We list here a few things you want to consider before making that jump into the RVing lifestyle. They just may spare you a few headaches in the future. The learning curve can be shortened drastically by taking these into consideration before you sign on the dotted line.
* Type – RVs come in two basic types, motorized and towable. Motorized RVs include all the motorhomes (Class A, Class B and Class C), while towables are the travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, pop-up camping trailers, hybrids and slide-in pickup campers. You'll have to decide which type you prefer. There are benefits to each RV.
* Budget – RVs cost real money, so be sure to stay within your budget. Used RVs can be purchased at a steep discount.
* Accoutrements – Evaluate your family's needs and wants. How many people will be using the RV? If you're a couple with three or four kids, perhaps that 8-foot pickup camper is not such a good idea.
* How much living space will you need?
* How many beds?
* What can you absolutely not live without in the galley (kitchen)?
* How much storage area do you need to support your camping hobbies?
* How sophisticated does the entertainment center need to be?
* Do you even need an entertainment center?
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| Woodall's 2010 North American Campground Directory |
Woodall's 2010 North American Directory is now available for pre–order! The new edition has over 309,999 changes and NOW includes GPS coordinates and full–color state and province travel maps. Woodall's 2010 North American Campground Directory has everything you need to make your travel planning easier. Place your order before 11/13 and have it in your mailbox before December 31… just in time to plan out your RV and camping destinations for the New Year. Did you also know that you could order TWO DIRECTORIES and pay the shipping cost of just one? Learn more…
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| By Mark Nemeth |
Gosh, it's fall already. I love RVing at this time of year! The campgrounds are no longer filled with the summer crowds, the trees are starting to change, and a campfire in the evening really feels good with the chill in the air. Get out there and enjoy your RV before winter sets in!
If you are planning to be in the Houston, TX, area in November, or if you live nearby, be sure to consider attending RVers' Boot Camp! For the first time, our Boot Camp training program will be offered at Escapees headquarters in Livingston, TX, November 6-8, 2009. The program includes training in RV maintenance and operation, tire and weight safety, fire and life safety, RV driving, and more. For more info, visit the Boot Camp page at www.escapees.com/bootcamp. I hope to see you there!
How often should you repack your wheel bearings on a travel trailer? I am hearing once a year. Is this correct? I can do it myself, but was wondering if there is a video or something that can walk a person through this, as taking it to an RV dealer yearly is rather expensive. Thanks, Nolan
If your trailer is only used a few weekends a year and is never submerged in water (like a boat trailer), you can probably go quite a bit longer than one year before you need to worry too much about repacking the bearings. If you travel extensively, the one-year interval is actually a good idea. Even if the bearings are fine, pulling the hub and drum allows you to inspect the brake components for wear. Repacking bearings is not really all that difficult, but it can be really messy! Basically, you need to raise the wheel off the ground, remove it, and then remove the hub/brake drum assembly to gain access to the bearings. Check out http://www.etrailer.com/tv-repack_trailer_hub_bearings.aspx for a great free video of the process. When reassembling the hub, it is important to properly set the preload on the bearings and then replace the nut retainer and/or cotter pin to keep everything together. You should also adjust and test the brakes after everything is back together. Like any other repair project, if you feel it might be beyond your capabilities, please take it to a service facility and have a qualified tech do the work.
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| Do you have a question for Mark? |
Please submit your question via email to email@example.com
Please remember, material will be edited. Because of the large volume of material and correspondence submitted, individual replies will not be possible, nor can we acknowledge receipt of your material. Selected questions will be answered in future issues of the Woodall's Wisdom newsletter in the Mark, My Words column. The Mark, My Words column also appears in Escapees magazine, a bi–monthly publication of the Escapees RV Club. For more information visit www.escapees.com/magazine
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| Agri–Cover ACCESS TonnoSport Roll–Up Cover |
The company's all-new ACCESS TonnoSport roll-up cover offers the protection and features one needs, but at a lower price point than other roll-up covers. It has a sleek, low profile design, lying half an inch above the truck bed for a seamless finish. The heavy-duty vinyl top equipped with aluminum crossbars, rolls up in seconds for easy full truck bed usage. A trigger latch automatically locks the TonnoSport cover when it's closed. Release the cover with one finger to open. There are also slide locks on both sides for added protection. The cover already comes with everything needed for installation. No drilling is involved, as it comes with adjustable clamps that attach to the bedrail. Basic hand tools are still required, and the company says the installation typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Comes with a three-year warranty. $352. Agri-Cover: 800/233-4655; www.tonnosport.com.
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| Article courtesy of Woodall's Campsite Cookbook |
3 pounds beef for stew
6 tablespoons salad oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup sliced celery
½ cup water
1 10 ½ ounce can condensed beef broth
1 8–ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
6 potatoes, pared and halved
6 carrots, pared and quartered
6 small white onions
1–2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons water
1 tomato, cut in wedges
Preheat Dutch oven over coals. Brown beef in oil, add onion, green pepper, celery and sauté until tender. Add 2 cups water, beef broth, tomato sauce, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Place lid on oven and cover with hot coals. Cook for about 14 hours. Remove lid, add potatoes, carrots and onions. Cover and cook for about 1 more hour. Remove lid, skim off fat. Mix flour with 2 tablespoons water and stir into liquid. Cook 5 more minutes until mixture thickens slightly. Arrange tomato wedges skin side up on top and simmer covered for about 10 minutes more. Serves 4 to 6.
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| A Healthier, Eco-friendly Water Bottle |
Whether in the great outdoors or at a festival at a park, most people have with them a non-disposable water bottle. In fact, they might have a lot of them collected over time at home purchased from big–box stores or outdoor retailers, and can be made of plastic, aluminum or stainless steel. But what many may not know is not all water bottles are made equally. Many contain liners inside with an epoxy resin containing Bisphenol–A (BPA). In scientific studies, BPA is often linked to health issues such as heart disease, cancers and diabetes, to name a few.
The issue of BPA in non–disposable water bottles died down for a while until about a few months ago. Aluminum water bottle makers SIGG and Laken publicly acknowledged that the bottles made and sold by their companies before August 2008 were lined with BPA. In response to this, EcoUsable, makers of "the world's first stainless steel filtered water bottle," launched its "Make the Switch" campaign, encouraging consumers with aluminum water bottles to switch over to EcoUsable's BPA–free water bottles (no liner inside).
EcoUsable was founded in 2007 and offers affordable, planet–friendly, reusable products that are recyclable and health conscious. Its echo2o filtered water bottle provides instantly filtered water from almost any fresh water source. For more information on EcoUsable, visit www.ecousable.com.
To learn more about BPA, and a list of bottles that contain liners with BPA, visit www.treehugger.com/files/2009/08/sigg–bottles–now–bpa–free.php.
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| As a Woodall's or Camping Life reader, you have the chance to win a 2009 Coleman® Cobalt Camping Trailer. Simply click here to enter: www.colemantrailers.com/win |
Coleman® Camping Trailers are your answer to travel convenience, ease of use, affordability and quality. Far and away the easiest folding trailer in the industry to pop up or take down, you'll find it to be simple to move a Coleman camping trailer into any campsite. And, the majority of our folding trailers fit inside standard garages for effortless storage. With 40 years of experience, you have North America's #1 choice in camping trailers behind your camping trailer decision. Visit www.colemantrailers.com or any of our 230–plus dealers for more information. You can also call us at 814/445–9661.
Sign up for your FREE Woodall's membership for more great coupons.
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Keeping a Weather Eye
From the pages of Camping Life Magazine
Forecasting the weather is a combination of art, science and luck – which is why weather reporters always deal in percentages rather than absolutes. Even though the process isn't perfect, it's still wise to listen to the broadcasts and pay attention to the clues about what's coming. At the same time, it's also good to keep a "weather eye" on the sky to look for local or fast–developing atmospheric activity that distant forecasters may not even be aware of.
When planning hiking or camping trips, it is vital to keep track of what's happening weather–wise. Without knowing what the short – and long–term trends are, you might inadvertently travel into the path of a storm. So, along with packing the hot dogs, pop and ice in the cooler; filling the vehicle with fuel and making sure the sleeping bags and tent are aboard, be sure to make tapping into weather information part of your pretrip checklist.
Follow along with RVers and travelers just like you by reading their trip journal. We've selected the best websites of people who have traveled in North America. These travelers have agreed to let us feature their website. Take a look.
About two years ago, my husband and I were returning home to Texas after a short visit with his sister in Arkansas. We decide to go home by way of Shreveport, LA. We drove towards Shreveport on roads we were not familiar with and through towns we had never seen. We were both tired and since it was already dark, we decided to try to boondock somewhere. My husband spied what had once been a gas station and decided to turn around to look for a good place to stop. The words "are you sure that is tall enough?" had barely left my mouth when we heard a crash! The old timed gas station had a roof that was apparently shorter than our vent cover (as well as the AC behind it!).
RV Selling Tip, By RV Search
Tip: Fix Minor Repairs to Get a Higher Sale Price
Take your RV to a qualified RV mechanic to check for any needed repairs. Fixing minor problems can get you a higher sale price. If you've had maintenance work done recently, such as an oil change, mention it in your sales ad so buyers know it doesn't need to be done soon after they buy your rig.
On a quest for the RV of your dreams? Check out the featured RV below or see more listings at rvsearch.com.
2009 Fleetwood Terra LX 36T
Listed price: Was $122,593
Reduced to $94,996
Contact them today to find out more about this RV, or browse their showroom for more great deals.