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| By Dave Kelley ||Sponsored by Camping Life Magazine |
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BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is “Texas” in every sense of the word
Every national park has its fans and its unique features. Some, though, are more famous than others. Yellowstone, for example, has Old Faithful. Yosemite has Half Dome and El Capitan. Grand Canyon has “the” canyon. Carlsbad has caverns. About an hour south of Carlsbad’s caverns, though, is one of the national park system’s hidden gems, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, with an El Capitan of its own, as well as Guadalupe Peak, which, at 8749 feet, is the tallest piece of rock in Texas.
What Guadalupe Mountains doesn’t have — when compared to its more famous siblings — are millions of visitors. Even during spring break, when the odds of finding an open campsite in some parks is no better than the odds of winning the lottery, the campgrounds at Guadalupe Mountains are surprisingly open and available. Part of this may be the fact that there are only two campgrounds in the park, and while both of them have tent and RV sites, neither one offers a shower or hookup. Another part of this may be the fact that since it’s sandwiched, in a giant sort of Texas way, between Big Bend and Carlsbad, both of which offer more amenities, and are better known, the maddening crowds tend to miss Guadalupe Mountains.
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| Dog Beds for the RV |
Recent studies reveal the percentage of households owning pets in the United States is greater than 63% and growing. That means that more and more people will be RVing with dogs and cats. So, how do you keep your dog comfortable when you are traveling?
Well, the best way is to get them a great dog bed that they love. But, often, it is hard to find the time to research all of these items prior to buying them. So, I have done your homework for you. Here is a quick overview of a few of the latest dog beds, along with a photo, and some descriptions from each product's website…
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|Winterizing and Storing the RV |
Although many individuals and families enjoy the RVing lifestyle as full–timers, many others appreciate the benefits on a more limited basis, such as during vacations, holidays, weekend getaways or maybe combination trips of business mixed with pleasure. For those who utilize the RV of their choice only part–time, there comes a time when the RV must be stored for a period of non–use. If located in the colder regions of the country, it will also be necessary to protect the RV against the cold by winterizing the coach. Whether the RV will be stored in cold or temperate climates, certain precautions must be taken.
Specific tasks and procedures for each of the major systems and components of the RV must be performed in order to store or winterize the coach effectively. One of the most damaging effects that can happen to an RV, short of abuse, is ill–prepared non-use. To get the most from the RV, following the procedures in this article will ensure the RVer of extended coach life and many more joyful RVing miles. For optimum efficiency, the following strategic and sequential steps are designed to be implemented in the order written so that nothing falls through the cracks.
As a preliminary step to winterizing or storing the coach, completely wash the exterior. Doing so will get the storing preparation off to a good start. A clean coach will reveal items that need to be addressed prior to the spring shakedown.
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| Woodall's 2010 Eastern and Western Campground 2–Directory Set |
Woodall's 2010 Eastern and Western Campground 2–Directory Set is now available for order! For the RVer who tends to travel regionally, this is the perfect combination for you. Planning on staying on the west coast during the winter months? Take the Western edition with you. Going to see the cherry blossoms bloom and tour the Mid–Atlantic region on down through the southern states in the spring? Keep the Eastern edition in your rig. Woodall's unique 2–directory set contains the same great information found in the big North American, just split across the Mississippi River in two convenient books. Order Yours Today!
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| By Mark Nemeth |
Many folks successfully use their RVs in cold weather, but it takes some preparation to stay toasty when it's freezing outside. This month's column addresses some issues surrounding winter camping.
If you are planning to be in Quartzsite in January, or if you live nearby, be sure to consider attending RVers' Boot Camp! 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!
I am spending four months this winter skiing at Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe and Breckenridge, Colorado. Two of the RV resorts include electric in the monthly rental. The RV resort in Colorado charges a monthly rate plus electricity. Is it cheaper to heat my RV (29–foot Winnebago Minnie) using propane or electricity? Tom
Manufacturers of electric resistant heaters generally claim that the input of one kilowatt/hour produces about 3,400 BTUs, assuming 100 percent efficiency. Most electric heaters come fairly close to that. Each gallon of propane contains about 91,700 BTUs of heat energy. A typical RV forced-air furnace is probably only about 75 percent efficient, so a gallon of propane burned in the furnace will produce about 69,000 BTUs of heat. If you are operating a vent–free heater, like a blue–flame heater or a catalytic heater, those approach the 100 percent efficiency level. So let's see… my calculator says it takes about 22 KW of electricity to match the heat output of my forced–air furnace burning a gallon of propane. It would take about 27 KW to match my vent–free heater's output. Armed with those numbers, it's easy to figure out whether electric or propane is cheaper at your location. For instance: If I'm using my furnace and the cost of electricity is $.10/KWH, once the cost of propane reaches about $2.20 a gallon, electric starts to be the better value. In the example above, the break–even point would be about $2.70 a gallon if the vent–free heater was being considered.
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| Do you have a question for Mark? |
Please submit your question via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 & Camping Life's The Navigator eNewsletter 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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| Valley Towing Products Hitch Line for Crossover Vehicles |
The U.S. maker of hitch applications is expanding its offerings to include a hitch line for today's growing market of small SUVs and crossover vehicles. Valley offers Class I, II and III receiver hitches for such vehicles as the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox (Part No. 82540); Ford Edge (Part No. 82162); Honda CR-V (Part No. 82163); Kia Sportage (Part No. 82872); Nissan Rogue (Part No. 66661); and Toyota RAV4 (Part No. 81642), among others.
Valley Custom Fit hitches feature a dual A-Coat/Powder Coat finish. Class I hitches can tow loads up to 2000 pounds gross trailer weight (GTW) and feature a 1 1/4-inch receiver opening — ideal for the smallest trailers used to transport ATVs, jet skis and light cargo. Class II hitches are rated for up to 3500 pounds GTW, have 1 1/4-inch receivers and are suited for towing smaller boats and pop-up campers. Finally, Class III hitches are rated for up to 5000 pounds GTW, contain a 2-inch receiver opening and are suited to tow midsize boats and campers.
The retail price for the Class I hitch — commonly used on crossover vehicles — start at $182. Valley Towing Products: 800/433-3112; www.valley.us.com.
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| Article courtesy of Woodall's Campsite Cookbook |
SWEETS WITH MARSHMALLOWS
1 large can sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
½ cup milk
Mash and season sweet potatoes with butter or margarine and salt. Blend in milk. Place in lightly greased casserole and cover with marshmallows. Bake in galley oven at 350 degrees F until marshmallows are puffed brown.
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| A Toxic-Free Way to Clean Holding Tanks |
As with one's home, a simple way RVers can go pro–environment is by switching over to greener products that help keep the rig in tip–top shape. These environmentally friendly versions of RV cleaning and maintenance agents are just as effective as their chemical–based competitors – not to mention safer for the person who uses the product.
Take, for instance, the majority of products designed for maintaining an RV's holding tanks and all other related plumbing components. While one may think that only the strongest chemicals can solve the problem, that's not the case with the Pure Power line of RV waste digester and odor eliminator products from OP Products, a maker of organic cleaning and maintenance products for RVs, boats, septic–plumbing systems, surfaces and fabrics, as well as a wide range of RV parts and accessories. The company's mission is to manufacture safe and useful products that will not harm the environment or endanger the health or well being of individual users.
OP Products' Pure Power line is made of an advanced solution of 100 percent biodegradable, non–toxic bacteria and enzymes that enhance the naturally occurring bacterial activity in septic systems, dump station facilities and sewage treatment plants. According to the company, using 2 ounces of Pure Power per 40 gallons will keep black and gray tanks clean and odor free, and the formula will even break down household 2–ply toilet paper. OP Products: 800/411–8801; www.opproducts.com.
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| Innovative Class B+ Models Gaining in Popularity |
Phoenix USA RV has emerged as one of the most popular manufacturers in recent months, as the RV market shifts toward smaller and more efficient models. The company's Class B+ models are slightly larger than Class B campers, but include the major amenities typically only found in larger rigs, such as a slideout and a full dry bath with shower. The result is a lightweight, easy–to–maneuver motorhome with a surprisingly spacious interior. Continue Reading
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Avoiding the Bill Chill
From the pages of Camping Life Magazine
I was a young and fresh–faced soldier on maneuvers during winter. The symptoms of hypothermia were classic – after a few hours I began to shiver as my body attempted to overcome the chill by creating its own heat–producing exercise. I became sleepy. I could feel the numbing cold invade my very center. Then the intense shivering died off, and I honestly didn't care much one way or the other about the situation any more.
When my relief arrived, he recognized my symptoms, initiated the proper actions and I lived to tell about it. Many are not so fortunate.
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.
Here is an amusing story about what my wife and I went through during our rookie year of camping.
It was 10 years ago when we were setting the groundwork for the travels we would be making upon our retirement. We bought a 30-foot Glendale travel trailer and set it up in a membership park in our area. Not having a truck at that time, we were dependant on the services of the park to bring it down to our favorite spot on what they called the square. We would come up for the weekend and level it with scissor jacks and wood shims. When we left on Sundays, we would take the shims and jacks off so it could be removed to the storage area at their convenience.
RV Selling Tip, By RV Search
Tip: Make a Window Sheet of Basic Specs
Type up a spec sheet to put in the window of your RV with info like make, model, year, RV type, fuel type, length, miles, color, and engine type. This will answer the most common questions potential buyers will ask about your RV's various features, which saves you time and energy when responding to inquiries.
On a quest for the RV of your dreams? Check out the featured RV below or see more listings at rvsearch.com.
2007 Winnebago Vista 30B
Listed price: Was $63,995
Reduced to $57,850
Contact them today to find out more about this RV, or browse their showroom for more great deals.