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Top 10 RV Destinations

Answer the call of the open road. The RV road trip is a long-standing American tradition; traveling the nation’s (and our neighbors’) highways and byways and sleeping on the road. Whether it is a grand getaway for a few weeks or a short trip of a few days, settle into one of these Top 10 RV destinations:

1. Madison Arm Resort – West Yellowstone, Montana

RV trip in South Dakota Highlight: Located eight miles from Yellowstone National Park.

The campground itself lies on the shores of Hebgen Lake, home to trout-filled waters. Wildlife in the region is plentiful – day sightings of bison and elk are not uncommon. A trip to Big Sky country wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Yellowstone National Park and there are great Montana maps to help navigate the way. Madison Arm Resort offers a getaway from the often–overcrowded site of Yellowstone itself. Drive along Grand Loop Road, watch Old Faithful and gaze over the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The perfect road trip for couples, families and friends.

2. Tunnel Mountain Campground – Banff National Park, Canada

Highlight: Located at the top of Tunnel Mountain with views of the sprawling countryside.

Huddled at the top of a mountain sits Tunnel Mountain Campground in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Winter adventures and activities abound at this RV resort and campground – or throw on some extra layers and head north to the Rockies and Banff National Park. The area’s powdered slopes will challenge skiers and snowmobilers, and hikers and cyclists will adore the glaciers, mineral hot springs and ice fields. The campground offers trolley service to the cozy town of Banff (a true winter wonderland) as well as food, laundry and a water slide close by.

3. Verde Valley – Cottonwood, Arizona

Highlight: Surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Red Rocks to the north, Mingus Mountains to the west and the Hackberry Mountains to the south.

This 300-acre oasis is located in the high desert of Arizona under the towering southwestern rim of the vast Colorado Plateau. The valley’s main city, Sedona, is blessed with four mild seasons marked by abundant sunshine and clean air.  Characterized by massive red-rock formations, as well as other amazing natural beauties, the area surrounding Sedona is considered to be as beautiful as many national parks. Verde Valley is situated on the Verde River and surrounded by rich geological and cultural history.

4. Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort – Oceano, California

Highlight: Nestled among the dunes of the beautiful Oceano Preserve, offering  breathtaking vistas and trails to the beach.

Pismo Beach Oceano is rich in geographic, archaeological and cultural history. Pacific Dunes Resort offers stunning views in a secluded and quiet – but not remote – location. Guests of the Ranch enjoy nearby off–road recreation, horse rentals and boarding facilities, large BBQ areas and magnificent Pacific Coast sunsets at Pismo Beach area’s most unique RV resort.

5. Boyd’s Key West Campground – Key West, Florida

Highlight: Ocean front campsites, saltwater fishing, on site Tiki Hut and a heated swimming pool.

Travel three hours down Route 1 from Miami to the tropical Florida Keys and find an RV island oasis. Offering oceanfront RV sites, campers will be drawn to the quiet, laid-back style of Boyd’s. Located near Duval Street, travelers can relax with a frothy margarita and enjoy Mallory Square’s sunset celebration, where tightrope walkers, jugglers and fire-eaters provide nightly entertainment.

6. Mt. Hood Village RV Resort – Welches, Oregon

Highlight: Timberline, located in Mt. Hood National Forest, is the only location in the United States to offer year-round skiing and snowboarding.

The Village has come to be known throughout the industry as the premier RV destination in the Northwest. Fun and adventure for all ages can be found within minutes of Mt. Hood Village. A 27-hole golf course, groomed hiking trails, rock climbing, mountain biking, miniature golf, fishing, campgrounds, lakes and streams, and the Alpine Slide are just a few of the activities found in Mt. Hood National Forest in the summertime. Within the Village, guests will find many amenities and activities, including the Huckleberry Festival, Wild Mushroom Festival and Salmon Bake Festival held each year at the resort.

7. Mt. Desert Narrows Camping Resort – Bar Harbor, Maine

Highlight: Lobster dinners, ice cream socials and pancake breakfasts!

The Narrows Campground offers panoramic ocean views and waterfront campsites. As New England’s only National Park, much of the regions most scenic views are found on Mt. Desert Island by driving Acadia National Park’s 27-mile “Park Loop Road.”  Take a hike in Acadia National Park, bike or stroll the carriage roads or go whale watching – the activities at Mt. Desert Narrows are endless. Don’t miss Maine lobster in July and August!

8. O’Connells Yogi Bear RV Resort – Amboy, Illinois

Highlight: The perfect RV trip for All-American families with young children.

Looking to experience a slice of true Americana? Point your wheels toward Northern Illinois, home of some of the finest fishing, hiking, golfing, natural scenic wonders, and wildlife America has to offer. O’Connells Yogi Bear RV Resort is perfectly located just 90 miles west of Chicago and offers heated swimming pools, kiddie pools, spas and beach swimming. With Yogi Bear appearances, Candy Bar Bingo and weekly evening events, it is the ideal escape for family fun.

9. Horse Thief Lake Campground – Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

Highlight: Close proximity to Mt. Rushmore, with excellent views from the resort.

Horse Thief’s central location makes it easy to enjoy the best the Black Hills have to offer: Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and much more. Great location to partake in many activities such as rock climbing, photography, exploring ghost towns, mines and caves, biking, hiking, water sports, fishing and more.

10. Rivers Edge RV Park – Fairbanks, Alaska

Highlight: Located in Fairbanks, the geographic and population hub of Alaska, surrounded by beautiful scenery and in close proximity to all of Northern Alaska’s wonders.

Rivers Edge RV Park is located on the shores of the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska. Acclaimed as one of Alaska’s premier parks, the amenities offered by the park are nearly unparalleled. Rivers Edge offers a free shuttle service to Riverboat Discovery and the Alaska Salmon Bake, among other conveniences. Enjoy travels along the famous Alaska Highway and learn the history of this beautiful state through attractions such as Alaskaland, with fresh Alaskan salmon served up at the Salmon Bakes. Follow the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline on a motor coach excursion or take a paddle wheeler day cruise to capture a glimpse into the state’s past.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Destinations & Campgrounds

 

Excel RV – Comfort for the Road

Excel Distributors is pleased to offer a bounty of informative, insightful and inspiring resources and articles to prepare you for your life on the open road.

From must-see destinations and life-changing trips to camping information, RV shows, events and rallies, Excel is there every step of the way. Browse through the links below and start planning your next RV adventure. See you on the road!

Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook for exclusive information and promotions we release weekly.

Make your next trip better, better sleep, better travel.

exceldistributors.com

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Activities On the Road

 

The Interstate Highway System: A Guide for Drivers

The Interstate Highway system has often times been referred to as the greatest public system that exists. In 1956, President Eisenhower approved the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which has provided a constant stream of construction jobs and an interconnected road system between virtually all of the continental states. The US Interstate government construction funds were allotted through the year 1996. This is the length of time for the construction of all 42, 795 miles of highway to be complete.

The Interstate Highway system has improved the social economics of the US. The system has created and sustained employment for huge number of Americans. It has allowed normal everyday Americans to purchase goods and services through the convenience of the easy to travel roads. The system has opened up the gateway for easy transport of freight carrying goods and services to locations all over the US. This has also in turn caused Americans to become dependent on the system. The highway system has taken the place of rail transportation and this has caused large amounts of congestion and environmental issues.

The numbering configuration for the interstate highways began with the two digit numbers. Here are some key things to remember:

  1. Any interstate with a number 0—10 is considered a two digit number according to this system

  2. Any interstates that end in a 0 or multiples of 5 are major interstate highways that run across the majority of the country.

  3. The even numbered routes are east to west with the highest numbers in the east and the odd number routes are north to south, with higher numbers in the north.

  4. The three digit routes were adopted later and generally form a loop around the main interstates, which are the two digit interstates.

The three most famous interstate highways in the US include the iconic Route 66 or otherwise known as interstate highway 66, US 1, and US Interstate 30 or Lincoln’s Highway. The Adopt a Highway program was introduced to promote the sponsorship of a highway litter removal service to keep the roads clean and free of debris. 

 

Ultimate Guide to Touring all 30 MLB stadiums in an RV

Summer road trips and baseball go together like an RV and the road. If you’ve got at least six weeks where you can travel the open highway, why not hit all 30 major league ballparks, take in the games and bask in the local nightlife while sampling the local cuisine? Start anytime between opening day in April and season’s end in September. Plan your routes, budget and pack the RV for a road trip that will provide a lifetime of memories.

Check Schedules, Buy Tickets
Peruse the major league baseball web site to get up-to-date information on schedules, stadium seating and ticket pricing. Click on each of the 30 baseball icons to go straight to each ballclub’s ticket center and schedules. You can even order from your smart phone and have the ticket delivered straight to your email. Eight clubs currently deliver tickets to your mobile device: the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals. The average ticket price is nearly $27, so when you budget, make sure you round it up to $30 to give you a cushion for sudden price hikes. You can either buy all your tickets ahead of time or buy as you go. It may be risky buying ahead of time as road trips are notorious for unexpected time delays for RV maintenance or extra time in a town that you enjoy. 

Club-By-Club Baseball Ticket Information

Major League Baseball Fields

Plan Your Route

Now that you have your tickets, it’s time to plan your routes to each stadium so you’re not backtracking., wasting gas and precious time. Find ball fields clustered in one area, hit all of those before going on to the next region. Most of the ballparks are on the east coast. They get sparser as you head into the Midwest. Once you hit the west coast you have to decide whether to end in Washington State or Southern California. Either way, prepare to put around 13-14,000 miles on your RV, minimum.

Locations of the 30 MLB Ballparks

Road Trip Planner

National and American League Field Guides

Give Me Your Money

Money seems to fly out of your pocket when you’re on a road trip, especially an extended one like a national baseball RV tour. Careful budgeting is key to making your vacation a safer, less worrisome trip. Over-budget, not under-budget, and you will have a small cushion for emergencies and those unexpected side trips that make RV’ing so memorable. Eating at ballparks is very expensive, unless you get a $1 hotdog at a Phillies game. Gas fluctuates wildly these days. Plan on gas being more expensive near exits no matter what region you’re in. Note that there’s over 5200 miles of toll roads in the United States and prices vary widely.
Gas Buddy: Local Gas Prices and Locations

Road Trip Fuel Cost Calculator

Side Trips
On your off days, unless you want to simply laze around in your RV, take time to explore your locale. This need not cost an arm and a leg if you budget carefully. Walks through pretty parks, window shopping downtown, stopping for some city flavor, and chatting up the locals all make for interesting side trips. Planning for more expensive excursions to museums, planetariums, amusement parks and zoos requires research beforehand to determine pricing and hours. If you’re tired of sleeping in your RV, you might find a hotel with a hot tub or an indoor swimming pool and catch your favorite shows while lounging around in a hotel room for a night or two.

National Tourist Information

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Remembering Where You’ve Been
When you’re planning your trip, run to the store and grab two or three multi-pocket storage folders with at least 30 pockets total. Label each pocket with a ballpark. After you visit each destination, throw the ticket stubs, souvenirs and photos into the pocket for a neatly organized catalogue of where you’ve been. For the computer or mobile device savvy traveler, create a blog or website that you can update with each stadium’s adventures. Don’t forget to keep the pictures of you eating that chili dog that just dripped down your shirt! The more candid your photos are, the more fun the memories.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Destinations & Campgrounds

 

Top 5 RV Must-Haves

The trip is planned and everyone is excited! Well…almost everyone. A cross-country trip in an RV may sound like an adventure for some, but being out of touch with friends can be a major problem, not to mention having to put up with that annoying little brother or sister for hours at a time. For those who may not really want to hang out with the family, here is a list of the top 5 RV must-haves to ignore your family and survive the week without going crazy.

Gaming System

Bring enough games to keep busy for a couple of hours at a time. Make sure to pack the charging cable too. And it is a good idea to bring extras of any small attachments that may go missing. Games are a great way to have some fun while trapped in the RV with the rest of the family. If possible, bring games that annoying siblings might enjoy and let them play once in a while to keep them happy, and out of your way. This is also a great way to make it look like you are spending time with them without actually having to do anything.

iPad or eBook Reader

An eBook reader solves this problem as it will hold hundreds of books. Plus, new ones can be added along the way! Parents love to see kids read and won’t nag as much about playing with the rest of the family when the eBook reader is being used. There are also games available for many of these devices. Some readers, such as the iPad, can be used to connect to the internet. This connection provides access to Netflix as well as social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Keeping in touch when WiFi is available is no problem. As with all the other devices, be sure to bring the charging cord.

Cell Phone

Make sure the phone has an unlimited texting program. This is a great way to keep in touch, but don’t overdo it as parents may take the phone away to encourage teens to talk to the rest of the family. There is also the problem of service. There are many places between major cities where there is no cell service, so have an alternative option ready to keep busy.

Music

Load up some great songs and tune out the rest of the world whenever needed. Most players are small enough to fit into a pocket and bring along for the family hike or whatever else the parents have planned for the day. Don’t turn the music up too loud though. The parents may decide to take it away to preserve long term hearing.

Portable DVD Player

There is nothing worse than having to watch the same movie that the 6 year old wants to watch again and again. This is also a must even if an iPad is brought as wireless and internet access may not be available everywhere. Bring enough movies to watch a different one each day if possible. Make sure the headphones that work for the MP3 player also work in the DVD player so there isn’t a problem with hearing the movie. This is a great way to relax after a hard day of RV fun.

Other Tips

All of these electronic devices are great and will make the trip bearable, but don’t forget the charging attachments. There is nothing worse than losing power three days into the trip and the rechargers are not often interchangeable. Put all of these extra wires into a small bag so they are together and easy to get at. If possible, bring headphones that block out the surrounding noise instead of standard headphones that don’t. Bring a backpack that zips closed to keep all of these important items close and safe from siblings.

These top 5 RV must haves to ignore the family will help make the trip more bearable, but don’t overuse them. Spend some time interacting with the parents and the rest of the family to keep them happy or they may decide to make it an electronics-free ride.

 

RV Across America – A National Park Guide

Summer is the ideal time to plan a sightseeing trip. With increasing gas prices and a tighter family budget, it is important to pack as much fun into a family vacation as possible without breaking the bank. You might be surprised to learn that an RV trip to a National park is an affordable option and a great way to see the amazing natural resources America is proud to preserve.

A National park is a section of land owned by the government. National parks protect the region and ecosystems from most development and make these parks available for recreational use. There is an amazing variety of National parks stretched across America. North to South, from Arcadia National Park in Maine through the Everglades National Park at Florida’s southernmost tip, East to west from the Great Smokey Mountains to the Channel Islands, there is sure to be an adventure waiting to be discovered.

Arcadia National Park

  • Arcadia National Park is home to Cadillac Mountain, which is the first spot to see sunrise in the U.S. at certain times of the year.
  • Native Americans known as “People of the Dawnland” or Wabanaki have lived within the Arcadia Park area of Maine for at least 12 thousand years.
  • Arcadia Park’s 45 miles of historic carriage roads feature 17 stone bridges all with their own unique characteristics. Enjoy seeing as many as you can while traveling the Arcadia’s beautiful carriage roads on bike or enjoying a guided tour in a horse drawn carriage.
  • Enjoy a ranger-led tour to the west side of Mount Dessert Island to see the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

Arches National Park

  • There are over two thousand red sandstone arches within the park ranging in size from three feet to the impressive 290-foot span of the Landscape Arch.
  • The Windows section of the park has a concentration of arches and formations easily seen from the road or a short walk. Formations of interest here include the Balanced Rock, Cove of Caves, Doubled Arch, and the Garden of Eden.
  • Unstable salt deposits are responsible for the bucking and shifting of the upper sandstone layers. This shifting forms the ravines and irregular ridges seen throughout the park.
  • The Fiery Furnace is an area with a series of ridges where many people have become lost. For safety reasons this area is now only explored as part of a ranger-guided group.

Big Bend National Park

  • Due to its remote location, Big Bend National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the U.S.
  • Big Bend offers the advantage of three parks in one with opportunities to explore river, mountain, and desert environments.
  • Several of the more than 175 species of butterflies documented in Big Bend park are only found within the park and west Texas.
  • The middle of Rio Grande is an international border between Texas and Mexico. Getting onto land on the Mexican bank is illegal and can result in jail time.
  • Originally, livestock moved in and out of the mountains along what is now the High Chinos hiking trails.

Biscayne National Park

  • Biscayne Bay accounts for ninety-five percent of this park being water.
  • The Maritime Heritage Trail, known as the Shipwreck Trail, is the only underwater trail in the nation.
  • Beginning in May 2011, range-guided snorkel tours will be available to selected sites along the trail.
  • The mangrove trees within Biscayne National Park are a protected eco-system that supports a vast variety of wildlife and plants.
  • Glass bottom boat tours and snorkeling offer a close up look at coral reefs. Coral is a living creature and an ever-changing part of Biscayne Bay.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  • Black Canyon offers a challenging climb to only the most experienced rock climbers.
  • Located within the park, the Painted Wall is the highest cliff in Colorado. At 2250 feet, the Painted wall is one thousand feet taller than the Empire State building.
  • At one point, the Black Canyon narrows to only 40 feet across the river.
  • The rapids in the Gunnison River are extremely dangerous within Black Canyon. Even the most experienced kayakers attempt the rapids here at their own risks.
  • The total length of the Black Canyon is 53 miles with only 14 miles located within the National Park. The rest of the canyon extends into the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Bryce Canyon is a giant series of amphitheaters carved out by nature on the eastern side of Paunsaugunt Plateau.
  • Wind, ice, water and time worked to form colorful structures called hoodoos in the colorful red, orange, and white rock of the lake and riverbed.
  • Populations of approximately two hundred Utah prairie dogs now make their home in Bryce Canyon National Park. The Utah prairie dog has a range restricted to only the southwestern quarter of Utah and is on the endangered species list.
  • A rare wildflower first discovered at Inspiration Point, the Bryce Canyon Paintbrush is native only to southwestern Utah.

Canyonlands National Park

  • The Green and Colorado Rivers divide Canyonlands National Park into three districts.
  • The Island in the Sky mesa offers panoramic views of one hundred miles or more in all directions.
  • Newspaper Rock in the Needles district of the park is a two hundred square foot rock covered in ancient Indian rock carvings known as petroglyphs. The full meaning of the carvings remains unknown.
  • Horseshoe Canyon at the far end of Bryce Canyon is the site of the Great Gallery. An ancient panel measuring two hundred feet long by fifteen feet wide that contains twenty life-size figures drawn during the Desert Archaic culture nearly ten thousand years ago.

Capitol Reef National Park

  • A series of rock formations resembling buildings in the nation’s capital gives the park the first part of its name. Reef is a term early settlers used to describe an insurmountable barrier or mountain pass.
  • The Waterpocket Fold is a huge wrinkle in the earth that has allowed the elements to expose the colorful layers of sandstone, lime and other rock.
  • Waterpockets are basins formed by water erosion in exposed sandstone layers.
  • Capitol Reef National Park has historic orchids containing over two thousand fruit and nut tree. Visitors can pick fruit and nuts in season for a small fee.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

  • The largest chamber in Carlsbad Cavern is the Big Room, also known as the Hall of Giants.
  • In addition to Carlsbad Cavern, there are at least one hundred smaller caves located within the park.
  • Slaughter Canyon Cave and Spider Cave are open to the public for ranger-guided tours only.
  • The limestone composes so much of Carlsbad Cavern it even holds fossilized plants and animals from a time when this southeastern area of New Mexico was a coastline.
  • Carlsbad Cavern is home to as many as one million Mexican Freetail bats from May through October when they migrate to winter quarters in south Mexico. Thousands of visitors gather to watch the massive swarms of bats exit the cave each evening.

Channel Islands National Park

  • Access to Channel Islands National Park is accessible only by boat trip or commercial flights in small aircrafts.
  • Less than 250 thousand visitors per year visit this group of islands. The control of low impact visitation protects the fragile balance of island ecosystems.
  • Channel Islands National Park includes five islands of the California Channel Islands.
  • The only reptile found on Santa Cruz Island is the endangered island night lizard. Once they establish a territory, they remain within a three-meter area their entire life.
  • The Anacapa Lighthouse, which went into operation in 1932, was the last lighthouse built off the west coast.

Congaree National Park

  • Congaree is the world’s largest area of old-growth floodplain forest remaining anywhere.
  • In 2003, Congaree Swamp National Monument became South Carolina’s only national park.
  • One of the best ways to explore the park is by taking advantage of free ranger-guided canoe tours on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Hikers can take advantage of 20 miles of hiking trails or a 2.5-mile boardwalk loop.
  • Natural lakes within Congaree National Park used to be bends in the Congaree River. These natural-formed lakes are called Oxbows.

Crater Lake National Park

  • Established in May 1902, Crater Lake is the sixth-oldest U.S. National Park.
  • Crater Lake has no streams in or out of it. The lake empties through evaporation and water seeping below the surface. Melting snow and rains are the only way the lake has of refilling yet it remains the third deepest lake in the world.
  • Crater Lake gets an average snowfall per year of over 44 feet!
  • Native American legends tell of the formation of Crater Lake after a battle between two chiefs destroyed Mt. Mazama. In legend, Skell of the Above World destroyed Mt. Mazama home of Llao of the Below World.
  • Crater Lake is not accessible by vehicle. Visitors must hike in from the Rim.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • First known as Virginia Kendall Park, the area later gained some protection as Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in 1974 before becoming the only National Park in Ohio in 2000.
  • Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath trail is the major trail connecting places of interest within the park and intersecting the towpath.
  •  In early September thousands of Monarch butterflies feed in Cuyahoga Valley before continuing their migration to forest in Mexico two thousand miles away.
  • Native Americans called the primary waterway within the park Cuyahoga meaning crooked river.

Denali National Park and Preserve

  • Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, is 20,320 feet high making it the highest mountain in North America.
  • Denali National Park covers over six million acres in the interior of Alaska
  • Both black bears and grizzlies inhabit Denali though most bears seen along the roadways are grizzlies.
  • In the summer of 2005, a park ranger discovered a fossilized footprint of a dinosaur identified as Cretaceous Theropod in Denali National Park.

Dry Tortugas National Park

  • Sea life, coral reefs, and legends of sunken treasures draw 80 thousand visitors a year to Dry Tortugas National Park.
  • Though construction of Fort Jefferson took place over 30 years, construction was never completely finished.
  • There are no natural sources of fresh water available on the Dry Tortugas islands.
  • Tortugas is a name meaning turtles dating back to 1513 when Ponce de León caught 160 sea turtles there. Dry is reference to the lack of fresh water on the islands.

Everglades National Park

  • Everglades National Park protects a fragile ecosystem within the southernmost section of the everglades.
  • The National Park Service within the Everglades has identified nine interdependent and distinct ecosystems.
  • One million visitors a year make their way to the Everglades to visit the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S.
  • The Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee are a few of the many endangered species protected within Everglades National Park.
  • Within the everglades, orchids grow on host trees.

Glacier National Park

  • In 1901, George Bird Grinnell described the area now known as Glacier National park as the ‘Crown of the Continent.’
  • Due to the vast wilderness and beauty found in Glacier National Park, numerous Hollywood movies are filmed here.
  • The Blackfeet tribe gave the ecosystem within Glacier National Park a name meaning ‘Backbone of the World.’
  • Over seven hundred miles of trails within National Glacier Park make it easy to take a hike.
  • Glacier National Park and its sister park, Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada) form the International Peace Park.

Grand Canyon National Park

  • The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the oldest National Parks in the U.S.
  • Most of the five million visitors a year stop along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to view the gorge and surrounding sites.
  • Human artifacts from the Paleo-Indian period nearly 12 thousand years ago have been found in the Grand Canyon.
  • The Desert View Watchtower offers breath taking views of the painted desert as well as the North Rim of the canyon over ten miles away.

Grand Teton National Park

  • While members of the Hayden exposition claimed to have reached the summit of Teton in1872, the first documented summit is credited to John Shive, William Owen, Franklin Spalding, and Frank Petersen in 1898.
  • Today guides follow over 90 routes to the summit.
  • A large fault capable of earthquakes of 7.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale lies at the base of the Teton Range.
  • These earthquakes are responsible for forming the Teton Range.
  • Uinta ground squirrels found in Grand Teton Park are sometimes mistaken for prairie dogs. These animals hibernate up to eight months of the year leaving their burrows in April and returning below ground in July.

Great Basin National Park

  • The Great Basin region lies between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains.
  • Bristlecone pine trees found at Wheeler Peak are five thousand years old.
  • Ranger-guided tours of Lehman Caves provides the opportunity to see the beauty of this marble cave decorated with stalagmites, stalactites, and more than three hundred rare formations.
  • Rocky Mountain big horn sheep make their home in South Snake Range.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

  • Believed to be 12 thousand years old, the dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park are the tallest sand dunes in North America.
  • Soil and sand are blown from the Rio Grande and deposited at the edge of the valley. The dunes continue to grow and change daily.
  • There are no designated trails for hikers in the thirty square mile dune field. Feel free to explore!
  • Hikers have a choice of trail throughout the park that will lead them through grasslands to mountain terrain.
  • American Indian tribes peeled bark from Ponderosa pine for food and medicine. There are still one hundred of these trees standing in the Great Dunes Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • With 850 miles of unpaved road and trails throughout the park, it is no surprise that hiking is the main attraction.
  • Seventy miles of the Appalachian Trail runs through Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
  • Unlike most National Parks, there is no entrance fee to the Great Smokey Mountains.
  • Mount Le Conte is one of the most popular destinations for hikers.
  • Mount Le Conte Lodge, near the summit, is the only private lodge within the park and is only accessible on by hiking in on the trail.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

  • Many of the trails in Guadalupe are open to horseback riding if you bring your own horse and supplies.
  • The Pinery Trail is a short hike to the ruins of Butterfield Overland Mail stage station.
  • Bird watches can look to spot forty species of birds that nest in the McKittrick Canyon.
  • Three species of horned lizards make their home in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. They are the Mountain Short-horned Lizard, Texas Horned Lizard, and the Roundtail Horned Lizard.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

  • Established in 1916 as Hawaii National Park, the name changed in 2000 to reflect the Hawaiian spelling.
  • K?lauea and Mauna Loa are the world’s two most massive volcanoes.
  • K?lauea is traditionally considered home to the Pele. In 1790, a group of warriors, women, and children offering gifts to the goddess who died in a volcanic eruption. Their footprints are still visible in the lava.
  • While K?lauea has been in almost continual eruption since Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984.
  • The two types of Hawaiian lava, Pahoehoe and a`a differ only on the surface. Chemically alike Pahoehoe is smoother where a`a is rough and jagged.

Hot Springs National Park

  • Hot Springs National Park is the only national park located in an urban area.
  • Portions of the national park encompass parts of downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas.
  • Therapeutic Spring baths have been used to treat arthritis and other conditions for hundreds of years.
  • Hot Springs is the oldest of the national parks and the smallest.

Isle Royale National Park

  • Isle Royale is the only place where Moose and wolves coexist without bears.
  • Michigan contains fourteen different wilderness areas, of which
  • Isle Royale National Park is the largest of fourteen different wilderness areas in Michigan.
  • A glacier receding about 10 thousand years ago formed Lake Superior and left Isle Royal separated    from the mainland.

Joshua Tree National Park

  • The prominent numbers of Joshua trees give this park its name.
  • Joshua Tree National Park covers slightly more area than the state of Rhode Island.
  • The San Andreas Fault follows the southern side of Joshua Tree Park and is seen from Keys View.
  • The Sonoran and Mojave deserts meet in Joshua Tree National Park with vegetation and scenes commonly found in both.

Katmai National Park and Preserve

  • Though Katmai was declared a national monument in 1918 to preserve the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, those smokes are now gone leaving an ash field.
  • There remain fourteen active volcanoes in the park, the most recent being Fourpeaked Volcano after being dormant for at least 10 thousand years.
  • Brook Falls is a popular spot for visitors and brown bears during salmon season.
  • Katmai must be accessed via air taxi or boat.

Kenai Fjords National Park

  • Kenai Fjords National Park is one of three National Parks in Alaska that can be reached by car.
  • Fjords are narrow inlets bordered by steep sides or cliffs that are created by the passage of glaciers.
  • There are thirty-eight glaciers in Harding Icefield located within Kenai Fjords National Park.
  • It takes the four hundred to eight hundred annual inches of snow on Harding Icefield thirty to fifty years to compress into glacial ice.

Kings Canyon National Park

  • Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are run jointly by the National Park service.
  • General Grant Grove is home to giant Sequoia trees that continue into Sequoia National Park.
  • The General Grant tree is 1,650 years old and the second largest tree in the world.
  • The park’s namesake Kings Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the U.S. formed by glaciers thousands of years ago.

Kobuk Valley National Park

  • Kobuk Valley is the least visited of all U.S. National parks. In 2007, there were only 847 visitors.
  • Kobuk is 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle and along the caribou migration routes.
  • Onion Portage is a historic landmark where people gathered on the Kobuk River to harvest caribou during the yearly migrations. Native Alaskan residents continue coming to this spot on the river each Fall and harvest caribou where ancestors stood 9000 years ago.
  • Strange but true-Even though the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are located 40 miles above the Arctic Circle, it is not unusual for summer temperatures there to soar to 100 degrees!

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

  • Lake Clark National Park is home to two active volcanoes. (Redoubt and Iliamna)
  • The Dena’ina Athabascan people and their ancestors inhabited the Lake Clark region. They still follow many of the traditional ways for preserving meats and salmon.
  • Prehistoric and historic Dena’ina Athabascan houses are preserved within the park.
  • Though snowmobiles are commonly used to travel around Lake Clark, as recently as the 1960s dog sleds were the usual transportation in the winter.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument were designated in 1907and became the Lassen Volcanic National Park in 1916.
  • Hydrothermal features of burping mud, boiling water pools, and steaming ground caused by underground lava heating water beneath the surface indicated active volcanoes.
  • Bumpass Hell is the largest area of thermal activity in the park. The area can be observed after hiking to a boardwalk observation area.
  • Snow algae looks like a red tinged on top of snow at the park. Researchers are investigating the possibility that this unusual alga may have cancer-fighting potential.

Mammoth Cave National Park

  • There have been no Wooly Mammoth fossils found in this region. The name is descriptive of the mammoth size of the existing cave.
  • Mammoth Caves extensive 390 miles of passageways makes it the longest cave system in the world.
  • In addition to the cave, the park has over seventy miles of backcountry trails open to hikers, biking and horseback.
  • River enthusiasts will enjoy over thirty miles of river fun on the Green and Nolin rivers. 

 Mesa Verde National Park

  • Mesa Verde means green table in the Spanish language.
  • The park preserves the ancient homes of cliff-dwelling people once known by the Navajo name, Anasazi, translated ‘ancient ones’.
  • Kivas are ceremonial rooms used for healing and religious purposes.
  • Some Pueblo people today are descendants of the Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloans) that once made their homes in the cliffs of Mesa Verde.

Mount Rainier National Park

  • Native Americans called the mountain Tahoma or Tacobet. Captain George Vancouver renamed it in 1792 after Rear Admiral Peter Rainier of the British Navy.
  • From alpine meadows filled with wildflowers to icy glaciers and challenging mountain trails this park has it all.
  • Mount Rainer National Park is 97 percent wilderness.
  • Paradise is the most popular spot for visitors to the park. The Welcome Center is here along with breathtaking views of the mountains.

North Cascades National Park

  • Located in the northern portion of the Cascade Range, the park is part of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex that includes the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.
  • Mountains on the west side collect more snow than can melt every year leading to glacier formations.
  • Five Research Natural Areas are located within North Cascades National Park.
  • Four hundred miles of trails provide breath-taking access to the Stephen Mather Wilderness that accounts for 93% of the park.

Olympic National Park

  • Olympic National Park includes four regions. The eastern region includes Pacific coastline with the other three sections include alpine areas, the temperate rainforest, and drier forests to the east.
  • The Ozette Coastal Loop is an easy elevated boardwalk trail offers beautiful views of the beach and coastal forest.
  • Limited trails within the park are wheelchair accessible but be aware that most of the interior of the park is wilderness.
  • The Elwha River restoration project in Olympic National Park will take three to four years and is the second largest restoration project within the National Park System.

Petrified Forest National Park

  • Within the park, at least nine various species of fossilized trees have been identified.
  • The petrified wood within the park is composes almost entirely of quartz.
  • In addition to the petrified trees, there have also been over 200 fossils of other plants and animals discovered in the area.
  • Some of the petroglyphs (ancient stone carvings) within the park served as early calendars tracking seasons or events.

Redwood National Park

  • In 1850, the Redwood Forest covered two million acres.
  • When the Redwood National Park was created in 1968, close to 90% of old growth redwoods had been    cut down.
  • One redwood tree has the ability to produce 10 million seeds.
  • Some redwoods live to be 2 thousand years old.

Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Many visitors come to observe the large wildlife population that includes elk, big horn sheep, mule deer, and moose.
  • Some four hundred prehistoric and six hundred historic archeological sites are located within Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • The Continental Divide natural divides the park into east and west sections.
  • The Ute and Arapaho Indians originally used the Ute Trail, within the Rocky Mountains, as a way through the mountains.

Saguaro National Park

  • Saguaro is a large prickly cactus that is native to the region.
  • The park service takes a census of the Saguaro cactus each year.
  • There are 1.6 million saguaro cacti growing in the Sonoran desert.
  • The endangered Lesser Long-nosed bat lives in the region during migration and the park is also home to the Mexican Spotted owl that is on the threatened species list.

Sequoia National Park

  • Eighty four percent of Sequoia National Park and adjacent Kings Canyon National Park is designated wilderness accessible by foot or horseback.
  • There are no roads crossing the Sierra Nevada within Sequoia National Park.
  • The park has 240 known caves and potentially numerous others.
  • Since 2003 there have been at least 17 new caves discovered.

Shenandoah National Park

  • Skyline drive is a 105-mile scenic route the runs the entire length of the Shenandoah National Park.
  • With over two million visitors each year, the Skyline Drive has been designated a National Scenic Byway.
  • Some over the oldest exposed rock in the park date back more than one billion years.
  • Shenandoah National Park is home to nine major waterfalls.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park honors President Roosevelt’s conservation efforts.
  • President Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is one of three units within the park.
  • Approximately four hundred buffalo make their home in the park. At two thousand pounds, an average male bull is easily the largest mammal in North America.
  • Golden eagles make their nests in cliffs along the Badlands and remain in the park year round.

Virgin Islands National Park

  • Virgin Islands National Park includes nearly sixty percent of the island of St. John in the United States Virgin Islands as well as a small section of neighboring St. Thomas Island.
  • Most visitors to the park come to enjoy the sandy beaches, coral reefs, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
  • The area known as Trunk Bay within Virgin Islands National Park is consistently voted among the top ten beaches worldwide.
  • The underwater snorkel trail at Trunk Bay is beginner friendly for anyone wanting to explore the beauty of snorkeling.

Voyageurs National Park

  • Voyageurs were French-Canadian fur traders who first traveled and traded in the area.
  • Ranger-guided tours of the park in a 26-foot North Canoe are available during summer months.
  • In winter months, the surface of the parks lake freeze up to two feet thick.
  • The four main lakes within the park are Namakan Lake, Sand Point Lake, and Rainy Lake that straddles the border between Canada and the U.S., and Kabetogama Lake.

Wind Cave National Park

  • The Lakota People were the first to speak of what is now called Wind Cave. They considered it a sacred site.
  • Atmospheric pressure changes are responsible for the unique wind flow. If pressure is higher outside, wind enters the cave. With higher pressure inside the cave, wind rushes out.
  • Rare cave formations known as boxwork and frostwork are found inside Wind Cave.
  • Wind Cave is also home to a herd of free-roaming American Bison.

Yosemite National Park

  • Though Yosemite Valley is only a small one percent of the total park, most visitors never venture further than this section.
  • Yosemite Falls is the highest falls in North America and the sixth highest falls in the entire world.
  • Yosemite Falls gets most of its water from snow melts and is often dry by the end of the summer.
  • Seven Native American tribes are descended from people who once lived in the Yosemite area.

Zion National Park

  • Tarantulas are easily among the biggest spiders in the southeast and they make their home in Zion National Park. Since they are nocturnal sighting one of these hairy creatures is rare.
  • Kolob Arch, the largest freestanding arch in Zion National Park and one of the largest in the world is only accessible by hiking into the backcountry.
  • The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel was created to provide a direct route to the Bryce and Grand Canyons from Zion National Park. At the time of its construction, it was the longest tunnel of this kind in the U.S.
  • The park’s long geological history is revealed in the large expanses of bare rock found within rock towers, sandstone canyons and mesas.
 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Destinations & Campgrounds

 

RV USA: A Kid’s Guide to US Symbols & American Landmarks

U.S. symbols, historic landmarks, and all other things quintessentially American inspire patriotism and a sense of pride for our great nation. For a kid, there is no better vacation than a family road trip across the US to experience all that America has to offer. Exploring America is a great way for kids to learn about American history and to put them up close and personal with U.S. symbols and historic landmarks. This is a great way to combine a vacation with a fun and educational experience that puts a lot of emphasis on American history and a sense of our country’s origins. This is also a fantastic family bonding experience, a way to get in touch with American patriotism, and something to see, do, and learn instead of just sitting at home during summer vacation. The following article takes a look at some famous U.S. symbols and American landmarks and might just inspire you to head out on the open road with your family!

American Symbols

While America as a country may only be 235 years old, its majestic and captivating symbols have already gained worldwide status as symbols that stand for freedom and liberty. Some symbols like the bald eagle, the flag and the U.S. national anthem are recognized around the world. The bald eagle does not only look strong with its curved beak and its sharp eyes, but it is also the national bird of the U.S. America’s Founding Fathers were excited about comparing their new country to the Roman Republic, which also used eagle imagery in a significant way. The American Flag has 50 stars that stand for the U.S.’s 50 states, while the Flag’s 13 stripes stand for the 13 colonies that defied the British Crown. The Star-Spangled Banner is the U.S.’s national anthem, and its words come from Francis Scott Key’s 1814 poem that described the bombing of Fort McHenry by the Brits. During a road trip, parents can find no better place than to put kids in direct touch with the Star-Spangled Banner than by taking them to a baseball game.

American People

A big part of America’s history has also been the famous and exceptional Americans who have contributed to making the country’s history rich and memorable. Famous American people have been as integral to the history of America as its famous symbols and landmarks. One of the best places to start with famous Americans is the list of famous presidents, some of whom have had a huge impact on the course of the country and really changed its direction. Abraham Lincoln—whom kids can easily identify by his beard—was the first Republican president, and he is credited (as is the Republican Party) with ending slavery through his leadership in the Civil War. Other famous American people are not necessarily people per se, but more like personifications or symbols of America. In the case of Uncle Sam, for instance, Uncle Sam is not a real person, but is represented in pictures as an old, stern man who personifies the U.S. government; Uncle Sam has been used to recruit for the military.

American Places and Landmark

In a country with a huge surface area like America has (3.79 million square miles), there will be a lot of space for a whole bunch of neat landmarks. Famous and impressive American landmarks appear all over the country and in many states, which makes a road trip the perfect way to see all neat sights. Take Mount Rushmore (actually Mount Rushmore National Memorial), which is found as far north as South Dakota, is not only a world-famous tourist attraction, but it also is an ideal way to combine a history lesson with an impressive sight to see. The mountain features a sculpture of four U.S. presidents carved right into the granite rock face: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. Of course, the most famous landmark has to be the White House, which is located in Washington, D.C., and it is the seat of power for the whole country, if not for the entire free world. Another appealing U.S. landmark to view during a road trip is the famous Golden Gate Bridge out in the West Coast city of San Francisco, which is one of the longest suspension bridges in the U.S. and has been called one of the most photographed bridges on the planet.

 

RV and Camping Skills: Wilderness Survival Tips Every Outdoorsman Should Know

RV and Camping Skills: Wilderness Survival Tips Every Outdoorsman Should Know

Survival skills are known as techniques an individual might rely on in a perilous circumstance, such as in the case of a natural disaster, to save either himself or herself or others. Survival skills are techniques that are intended to furnish the fundamental skills necessary to maintain human life. Some of these factors that maintain human life are habitat, shelter, water, food, the ability to think straight, the ability to navigate properly, the ability to signal for aid, and the ability to prevent any life threatening interactions with poisonous plants and animals. Survival skills are oftentimes fundamental abilities that people have employed for thousands of years. In that way, wilderness survival skills are really nothing but a way to reenact history.

There are a number of reasons to learn and practice wilderness survival skills. It is a common misconception to believe that survival skills are only learned exclusively for survival purposes. Certain people choose to learn wilderness survival skills in order to better appreciate and unite with nature. For instance, some people who learn survival skills may use their knowledge to simply stay outdoors in nature for longer periods of time, where they can flourish in nature longer than a person without these wilderness survival skills.

It is truly important that someone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors is knowledgeable about being able to provide for himself or herself with regards to shelter, water and food. It may be necessary to learn how to build a shelter because some unforeseen emergency may arise that forces a person to spend time longer in the outdoors than normally expected. Similarly, where to find water and food is a necessary concern because situations may turn unpredictable in the wilderness. A person can only last up to five days without water and up to a few weeks without food, provided that they drink water regularly, so he or she has to make sure to know where to find both in the wild.

For safety’s sake, anyone venturing into the outdoors for even short periods of time should know something about survival skills. It is better to be safe rather than sorry. Knowing even something as fundamental as basic first-aid can mean the difference between death and survival. The following will provide a comprehensive resource on essential wilderness survival tips and advice.

Food and Water

Fire Making

Predators

First Aid

Shelter

Navigation

Additional Survival Skills

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

Yellowstone National: Park Your RV


History

The Yellowstone region of North America has a long and illustrious history of human in-habitation before it became a national park. In fact, for approximately 11,000 years before an American would step foot on the land, aboriginal Americans fished, hunted, and called this land home. In 1805, during the Lewis and Clark Expedition, white explorers met the Nez Perce, Crow, and Shoshone tribes, and though they were told of the Yellowstone region to the south, they did not explore it.

The area that would eventually become the park has a literally mythical background. The first white explorer to visit the land, having seen its geothermic properties (geysers, hot springs, and petrified trees) returned home referring to the region as a place of “fire and brimstone,” a claim which most believed was a result of delirium suffered from the expedition and from battles he fought against the Native Americans in the area. Eventually, more reports of (at the time) unbelievable geothermic activity were being relayed east, yet still people considered them myth.

It was not until over sixty years later that a detailed expedition was made during the Cook-Folsom-Peterson Expedition of 1869. By 1871, the area was set aside by Congress as “a pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” and became the first national park in the United States.

Visiting

About 2 million tourists have visited Yellowstone National Park for the past fifty years, making it one of the most frequently visited regions of the country. While the amount and type of business which is allowed into the park is highly regulated, the popularity of the area has made it so that the person looking to be surrounded both by breathtaking scenery and the amenities of home can have his needs met, as well as someone more interested in living off the land. There are nine hotels, and many smaller cabins run by the concessionaires at the park, offering varying degrees of luxury as befits the guest’s budget and tastes.

The park makes it relatively easy to access the various natural and man-made landmarks within the park, though road construction has been an ongoing reality for years. Still, there are over 300 miles of paved road within the park, and though it is best to have your own transportation to use these roads, it is easy to set up a tour with one of the tour companies. If you plan on using the roads for the vast majority of your trip, be prepared for delays, as anything from natural wildlife, to people stopping or slowing to photograph the scenery, to the ongoing road repairs, can cause traffic jams for miles.

Recreation

This region of North America, from the Grand Teton National Park, to surrounding National Forests and north through Yellowstone, features more than 2,000 campsites in all manner of geography. Most are accessible by car and do not require a permit to use, though they can be difficult to reserve. Many others, however, though equally difficult to reserve, are only accessible on foot or horseback and permits are required to camp here. Pet owners are welcome at the park, but the pet must be kept on a leash at all times when outdoors and these visitors must camp near the “front country” campsites. 

Though hunting is allowed during hunting season in the neighboring forests, it is not allowed at any time within the park. Fishing, however, is allowed and encouraged so long as the fisherman has acquired a Yellowstone Park fishing license. Fish cannot be kept and most waters are restricted to fly-fishing as the only means of fishing. The vast majority of waters do not allow boating, but Yellowstone Lake does have a marina.

Yellowstone National Park’s Official Website
Woods and Camping Safety for the Family
Winter RV Camping Safety
Hit the Road! RV Camping Safety Tips
Hiking Safety Guide
How to Choose a Camp
Cole Weather Camping and Hypothermia
What to Bring – Camping Lists
Camping Recipes
Kids and Healthy Lifestyles: How Camps Can Help
Making the Most of Our National Parks
Family Ideas for National Park Visits
History of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park’s Government Website
Yellowstone’s Hot Springs, Geysers, etc.
Montana Virtual Visitor
Yellowstone Park Foundation
Camping at Yellowstone National Park
Backcountry Camping in Yellowstone National Park
Support Your National Parks
What to Do If You Encounter a Bear
Yellowstone Teton Territory – Scenic Drives
Remaking the Fishing in Yellowstone National Park
Protect Yellowstone’s Native Fisheries
Yellowstone Association – Visiting Guide
Yellowstone with Kids – Winter Visits

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Destinations & Campgrounds

 
 
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