Ten Tips for Staying Alert on RV Road Trips

An RV road trip can be exciting, but it can also lead to disaster if we don’t take steps to stay alert while driving.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, an estimated eighty-three-thousand drowsy driving related crashes occurred in America between 2005 and 2009. In 2014 alone, eight hundred forty-six deaths were caused by drowsy driving!

RV travel can be a safe and enjoyable experience if we know how to stay alert while driving on RV road trips. Use these ten tips to keep your RV between the lines on your next journey.

1. Set a Realistic Schedule: You may be tempted to rush the long drive to arrive at your destination sooner. Setting a realistic schedule for your trip is the first step to staying alert while driving. A sixteen-hour drive may sound doable, but that’s two full work days’ worth of driving! If getting there quickly is a must, see below for ways to stay alert while keeping to your schedule.
2. Get Good Rest Before You Go: If you’re a last-minute packer, you’re probably loading the RV at midnight the night before you leave. It also means you’re missing sleep before driving long distances. Try to get to bed early and get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be alert and refreshed for your drive.
3. Admit Your Limits: This one’s related to tip number one, but it’s a little more personal. It may be hard to admit when you hit the wall of exhaustion, but throwing in the towel instead of ‘toughing it out’ could make the difference between a memorable journey and tragedy.
4. Know Your Warning Signs: Do you know the signs that you’re too tired to drive? For most people, it’s blinking or yawning excessively, having trouble focusing on traffic, an increasing temptation to close your eyes “just for a second” or beginning to swerve to the shoulder or outside your lane of traffic. By the time these signals appear, you may already be in danger of causing an accident.
5. Set a Schedule for Trading Drivers: If more than one person is a licensed driver with experience driving an RV, set a schedule for trading off driving duties. Every two to three hours is a good timeframe.
6. Take a Stretch Break: If you’re the sole driver, exercise executive privilege and take stretch breaks when you need them. You may get some grumbling about stopping too often, but your first responsibility is to get everyone to your destination safely. Roadside rest areas are ideal for getting out of the vehicle, taking in some fresh air and stretching those road-weary muscles. Take a quick inventory before you get back on the road; if you’re still too drowsy, it’s time to stop and rest.
7. Try Caffeine: Caffeine can increase alertness, so drinking coffee, tea or a caffeinated soda can help. Keep in mind that at some point you’ll feel the ‘caffeine crash’ when the effect drops off.
8. Exercise to Increase Alertness: If you’re in a place where it’s safe to move around outside your vehicle, try a few minutes of cardio—jogging in place, jumping jacks, anything to increase blood flow and break the monotony of sitting behind the wheel for hours.
9. Find a Safe Place to Take a Nap: If you’re far from your destination campground and can no longer drive safely, have someone use the All Stays app to find a Walmart or truck stop that allows you to park and sleep a few hours. It could be a life-saving decision.

Driving through Death Valley

Driving through Death Valley

10. Go to Plan B: There comes a time, thanks to weather delays, poor planning, road construction and other obstacles to reaching your destination, that it’s time to change your plans to fit reality. Going to Plan B might mean deciding you’ll slow down your pace and not spend as many days at your destination. It could mean finding a campground to spend the night instead of pushing through.

Maybe it means exploring attractions along the way and stretching out your trip to allow you to drive more rested. It might be disappointing, but deciding to flex your RV vacation rather than driving while exhausted is always the better plan.

RV travel to America’s beautiful places can provide some of life’s best moments. Keep your RV trips safe and sane by using these ten tips for staying alert on the road.

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5 Ways to Keep in Touch with Family & Friends on the Road

Traveling by RV can free us from our daily routines, but being cut off from family and friends doesn’t have to be part of the package. By using today’s technology and some old-school ways to interact, your RV camping trips can include the people most important in your life. Here are our five favorite ways to stay in touch while on the road. 

  1. Start a Travel Blog

Ever read a blog and wonder if you could write one, too? Millions of people share their thoughts, travels and just about anything else you can think of in a ‘weblog’ that others can access. It’s a great way to keep family and friends up-to-date on where you’re traveling and what’s happening along the way.

Setting up and updating a travel blog is simple, thanks to the step-by-step tutorials, photo and video uploading tools and packaged templates available through popular blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger. You’ll even be able to connect your personal travel blog to social media via simple tools. Unless you’re planning to use your blog to promote a business, the no-cost blog options are just fine.

Security tip: social media updates are a wonderful thing, but they can also announce you’re away from home to burglars. Share your blog’s link and travel posts with those you trust and consider sharing them with a wider audience only after you return home.

Social media ideas

Social media ideas

  1. Set Up Group Emails

Like to send occasional updates or important news while on the road, but hate writing the same email many times? Setting up a group of special contacts in your email software allows you to write one message and send it to many people at once. Use the help function to guide you through setting up a group, or ask your favorite tech expert to help before your leave on your trip. By the way, you have the same option for setting up texting groups in most cellphone texting applications.

  1. Go Old School—Write a Letter!

Admit it, you still love seeing a handwritten letter mixed in with that stack of bills. Sending letters while on vacation adds a personal touch and could start a trend among family and friends. Pack stationery and stamps and block out time on your trip to catch up on your correspondence (doesn’t that have a classy ring to it?) Creative tip: buy stamps that relate to your travels. There are ‘forever’ stamps commemorating states, historic sites and national parks, just to name a few ideas.

  1. Send Quick Notes on Postcards

Postcards are the old school equivalent of a text—a quick note meant to keep you connected with the reader. Postcards bought along the way as you travel by RV are a fun, colorful way to let friends and family back home know they’re in your thoughts. Leave a trail as you travel by mailing postcards from major stops, or amuse the folks back home by choosing post offices with memorable postmarks.

  1. Video Chat or Call

Making video calls used to be restricted to folks with specialized equipment, but that’s a thing of the past. Free applications like Skype or Facetime (iPhone users) allow RV travelers with webcams on their devices to both see and hear during calls. There are also apps like Facebook Messenger that allow video chats, and most major cellphone carriers have a setting for video calls that can be turned on and off on some models. Before you leave on your next camping trip, do some homework to determine what’s available for your cellphone, tablet or computer and whether the people you’d like to stay in touch with also need an account.

The road doesn’t have to be a lonely place. Stay connected as much as you’d like while RV camping by taking advantage of these five communication ideas.

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5 Mobile Apps for RV Travel

Mobile Apps for RV Camping

Mobile Apps for RV Camping

Your goal on an RV road trip may be to detach from technology, but be sure to take advantage of the ways it can make RV travel easier. Mobile apps you can download to your tablet or cellphone can be a real help while on the road. We’ve picked five mobile apps for RV travel that we think make planning and enjoying RV camping trips a breeze.

Allstays Camp and RV – $9.99 – Google Play Store and iTunes

The mobile app for this excellent camping tool has an amazing variety of information of use to RVers. From thousands of campground listings in the US and Canada to information on rest stops, where to buy RV supplies and locations that allow free overnight RV parking, Allstays helps keep you informed on the road. The map-based search feature allows you to filter by type of campground (COE, state parks, independent, etc.), as well as letting you search for RV dump stations, low-clearance warnings on your route, RV rental locations and dozens of other necessary aids to RV travel. Search results also drill down to details and contact information, directions, websites and web reviews.

Oh Ranger! – Free – Google Play Store and iTunes

Created by the American Park Network, this app contains searchable listings and details on American national parks and other public lands. You can search by activity, location or map. The database includes state parks and BLM lands, as well as national parks, historic sites and monuments. This app does contain ads, but the information provided is excellent.

PackPoint Travel Packing List – Free or $2.99 for premium app – Android and iOS

Always seem to be missing something when you get to the campground? This app begins by asking where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing and for how long. With that information, plus your gender, it suggests a packing list you can add to or shorten. Items like cell phone chargers will make their way to your luggage and you’ll stop making emergency trips to Walmart at midnight! Premium version allows you to customize packing templates and integrate the lists with Evernote and TripIt.

RoadTrippers – Free – Android and iOS

Like to map your route before you go? This is the ultimate route mapping app, with details on restaurants, attractions, campgrounds and other helpful stops along the way. Save your trips for repeat RV camping journeys and expand your horizons by adding stops you decide to make along the way.

RV Checklist – Free – Android and iOS

Even veteran RV campers appreciate having a checklist to use before leaving home, while setting up camp and when it’s time to pack up. This app provides full-bodied checklists, from lowering the satellite antennae to making sure your pets are in your vehicle. You can also add new checklists, items or categories. Anyone can overlook a crucial detail, and having a checklist to use every time can make the difference between disaster and smooth traveling.

Today’s mobile technology has definite benefits for RV camping fans. Why not try these five mobile apps for RV travel and let us know in the comments how well they’ve worked for you?

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Chasing America’s National Pastime by RV

One of the best reasons we can think of to travel by RV this summer is to watch your favorite teams play baseball. We know our readers love their baseball almost as much as they enjoy RV camping. Some might even have gotten the jump on the regular season by traveling to Arizona or Florida for spring training.

America's Pastime - Baseball

America’s Pastime – Baseball

America’s national pastime inspires loyal fans to travel to stadiums across the country. We thought we’d offer even more inspiration to travel in search of baseball. Take a look at what this National Park Service blog post highlighting baseball’s history reveals.

Did you know, for example, that baseball greats like Stan Musial were known to visit fans at Alcatraz Prison? It’s true, and you can learn more with a trip to Alcatraz Island within Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Or that Hot Springs National Park was once the spring training destination for legendary players like Babe Ruth? Baseball has become so much a part of the American fabric that even our national parks get involved.

RV Travel to Watch Baseball is a Grand Slam

We know you’ll be spending lots of time at the stadium as you indulge the urge to travel with your favorite teams. But when it’s time to call it a night and refuel for the next day’s games, an RV can be your best home base. Being able to cook your own meals after a day buying pricey stadium food might make the difference between heading for home and staying to see one more game.

Relaxing at the campground, rehashing the day’s best plays, could be your kids’ favorite memories from this year’s RV road trip to watch baseball. Unwind in RV comfort, make healthy meals that keep your road trip budget on track and enjoy campground amenities that add an extra layer of fun to your journey. That’s the way to have a grand-slam baseball road trip!

Tools to Help Plan Your Baseball RV Road Trip

Ready to exercise your obsession with baseball by traveling by RV to games? Here’s a list of resources that can help streamline your baseball RV travel.

MLB.com – the official site of Major League Baseball. Start here for team schedules and stadium information.

NCAA.org – the place for all things collegiate baseball.

MiLB.com – for everything you need to know about minor league teams and schedules.

USABaseball.com – governing body for US amateur baseball, including US National Teams.

National Baseball Congress – home of the annual NBC World Series.

Baseball-RoadTrip.com – a handy tool for planning a road trip to watch multiple teams play.

BallParksofBaseball.com – for stadium info and suggested baseball road trip itineraries.

El Monte RV for RV rentals and baseball road trip planning assistance.

Bonus Tips for planning your RV Baseball Tour. (1) Check the stadium website for parking details before you go, especially if you plan to park the RV at the ballpark.      (2) Book your campsites early. Campgrounds near the stadium are likely to fill up on game day. (3) Plan to see some weekday, mid-day games if possible. You may score cheaper tickets than those for high-demand weekend or night games. (4) Find out whether tailgating is allowed at the stadium. If it is, arrive early and add a parking lot party to your game day fun.

We hope these tips and tools help you plan your best RV trip to watch baseball yet. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to follow the team to multiple states or travel to one location for a home-game series. Getting there by RV is a great way to enjoy the journey, relax in comfort at the end of an epic game and get back home without ruining your road trip budget. There’s a ballpark out there waiting to show you a good time!

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Summer in New England is Right Around the Corner

10 Maine destinations to explore by RV

Ocean to mountain, deep campsites to quaint villages. Traveling Maine by RV promises fascinating times. Summer RV camping season in New England is just around the corner.  Start planning!

Here are ten Maine destinations you’ll want to explore by RV, roughly north to south.

  1. Aroostook Valley Trail in far north Maine winds a path from New Sweden at the northern terminus to Presque Isle at the southern end. It’s a 28-mile long gravel, multiuse trail created from a former rail bed. Expect to find deep woods, riverside stretches and brushes with five towns. RV camping can be easily found near the Trail, from dry camping at Aroostook State Park to luxury resorts such as Arndt’s Aroostook River Lodge & Campground.
  1. Maine’s capital city of Augusta beckons history-loving RVers with an eighteenth century wooden fort, a spectacular State House, the impressive Maine State Museum and nearby Waterville Opera House.
  1. Explore the Kennebec-Chaudiere International Heritage Corridor for more than two hundred miles from Bath, Maine to Quebec for the RV adventure of a lifetime. Water trails on two rivers, fascinating small towns and lush North Maine landscapes are just the start of the journey.
  1. Swan Island, on the Kennebec River at Richmond, is a nature lover’s paradise. Bring your kayak and paddle the river, or enjoy miles of hiking trails through pristine forests and meadows in search of the island’s abundant wildlife. Don’t forget to book your ferry ride in advance! 
  1. Bridgton, in the Western Maine’s Lake Region, is popular with RV travelers for its vintage downtown shops, easy access to outdoor recreation and city-run Salmon Point Campground on Long Lake. Fish, paddle, hike or shop—you’ll find wonderful places to do it while camping in Bridgton.
  1. While camping in the Freeport/Durham area, consider a side trip to Bradbury Mountain State Park for a memorable mountain biking experience. Single and double track trails crisscross the mountain and the view is fine, too.
  1. The Desert of Maine in Freeport is where the kids will want to spend your Maine RV camping vacation. Located on the central coast, this forty-acre glacial desert within a forest features tram tours, hiking trails, historic buildings and an on-site RV campground.
  1. Reid State Park, on Georgetown Island, has the distinction of being one of the few places in Maine you’ll find stretches of sand beach and large sand dunes. Plan to camp on the island at Sagadahoc Bay Campground for oceanfront sites and lighthouse views.
  1. Casco Bay, by way of Portland, allows RV travelers to Maine to reach beyond the shore. Once you’ve settled in your campground in nearby Scarborough, Saco or Old Orchard Beach, make your way to Maine State Pier in Portland to go island hopping in the Bay, courtesy of Casco Bay Line ferry service. They also offer a variety of scenic bay cruises.
  1. Southern Maine Lighthouse Tour: Love lighthouses? As you leave the Portland area, you’ll enjoy views of no less than seven historic lighthouses by making stops from Cape Elizabeth to Kittery. Here’s your itinerary, driving south.

    Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Maine

    Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Maine

  • Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth features Portland Head Light (and museum), as well as views of the Ram Island Ledge Light from the park’s rocky beach.
  • Two Lights State Park, down the shoreline in Cape Elizabeth, offers views of privately owned Cape Elizabeth Light.
  • The Pier Road landing in Cape Porpoise is your next stop for views of the Goat Island Lighthouse.
  • Sohier Park in York is a delightful spot to stroll the shoreline and enjoy views of Nubble Light.
  • Fort Foster Park in Kittery is famous for views of both Whaleback Light and Portsmouth Harbor Light.

An RV camping trip to Maine can be a different adventure every time you visit. Pick your next itinerary and be sure to book an RV rental early. The Pine Tree State can’t wait to show you a good time.

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RV Road Trip Etiquette 101

It’s a fact—RV road trips can bring families and friends closer together. Shared vacation experiences can highlight the differences and similarities that keep relationships interesting. But there’s a dark side to vacation travel that needs to be discussed, as well—the road trip that disintegrates until everyone is wondering why they came. What’s the difference? It all comes down to road trip etiquette, the fine art of exercising respect and courtesy while traveling together.

Our tips for traveling sanely with others could be called “RV Road Trip Etiquette 101”. They can make all the difference between the RV trip you’d like to forget and the vacation you’ll always treasure.

It’s a Vacation, Silly!

It’s so easy, especially for those of us who live highly organized lives, to take our vacation planning too far. If you love to plan your trips to the smallest detail, you may have noticed not everyone you travel with is appreciative.

The first lesson of RV Road Trip Etiquette 101 is to remember, “It’s a vacation, silly!” Leave room for spontaneity. Back off organizing every experience and watch for cues from your companions that you’re over the top.

Plan reasonably—book campsites during peak seasons and reserve tickets for popular attractions. There’s nothing wrong with knowing you’ll have a place to rest at the end of a long day of travel. But if the kids are begging for another day at the beach, and you’re determined to march along to a faster beat, step back, take a breath and consider the goal of any RV vacation—to relax.

Plan Something for Everyone

No one likes to be dragged along on someone else’s dream vacation. RV road trip planning etiquette requires us to ask what everyone hopes to do on the trip.

Kids might request quick stops at quirky roadside attractions. Plan the time in your schedule. The spouse who accommodates your need to shop at every mall on your route might be dreaming of time spent on mountain trails. Work-weary friends might enjoy hitting the spas, but you won’t know unless you ask!

What we enjoy doing on vacation can be different for everyone in your RV. By discussing ahead of time what each person’s looking forward to, and allowing time to do it, you’ll cut down on grumbling and maybe even learn to enjoy something new.

Give Each Other Some Space

Here’s the thing about vacation travel, whether it’s spent in airplanes and hotels or on the road in an RV; there’s such a thing as too much time together!

One of the best things we can do for each other to keep vacations relaxing is to allow for time spent alone. Even small children who require our supervision can be allowed to play in uncrowded space. Teens who can’t take another minute cooped up with their siblings will appreciate a time out, too. The closest of friends can begin to grate on each other’s nerves when too long in close quarters.

Skip the assumption that every vacation minute must be spent together. Encouraging fellow travelers to walk, swim, shop, see a movie or otherwise release vacation claustrophobia can go a long way to keeping the peace while traveling.

Traveling together by RV is a wonderful way to strengthen the bonds of friendship, build family memories and rekindle romance. The trick to keeping things friendly and relaxing is practicing basic courtesy. Allow others to indulge their interests. Squelch the need to over-plan. Give each other time off from togetherness. These basic principles are what we call, “RV Road Trip Etiquette 101”, and they’ll go a long way to building pleasant, relaxing vacations.  

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6 Myths You Might Have About Renting an RV

You begin to plan a vacation, and someone brings up the idea of renting a recreational vehicle. Suddenly, your mind goes into RV rental anxiety, based on myths you might be believing about renting an RV.

Before you close the door on an excellent vacation travel option, consider these six common myths about renting RVs, and the facts that can help erase your anxiety.

Myth #1: Renting an RV is Too Expensive!

This is one myth we enjoy exploding, because the fact is, renting and traveling in an RV can be surprisingly economical. Consider this: if you book airline tickets or rental cars instead, that’s just the beginning of your travel expense. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, there are hotel rooms and restaurant meals, as well.

In contrast, renting an RV allows you to take your sleeping quarters on the road. It lets you decide which level of campground amenities suit your budget. You’ll also be taking your RV kitchen along for preparing meals and snacks, yet another budget-friendly bonus while traveling.

One more tip for keeping RV rentals affordable: ask about current rental deals. You may save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of seasonal, one-way or extended trip specials.

Myth #2: It’s Too Hard to Drive an RV!

Here’s how to keep this myth from ruining your vacation dreams—find an RV rental model that you feel comfortable driving. With the range of recreational vehicle models available at many rental locations, it’s possible to rent an RV from the largest Class A ‘bus style’ motorhome to a compact, Class C cabover model. Visit your local RV rental office or sales location to see sizes for yourself, and to learn how well-equipped today’s RVs are for ease of driving.

One more anxiety-buster: RV rental locations usually have instructional videos and detailed RV operation manuals that share tips for safe driving. Ask questions if you aren’t sure how safety features work. Book your RV pickup time early enough to get familiar with your rental vehicle before you hit the road. You’ve got this!

Myth #3: Renting an RV is a Hassle!

You’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how convenient renting an RV can be. Here at El Monte RV Rentals and Sales, we’ve refined the process of picking up and dropping off rental RVs to get you on the road and back home again as quickly as possible.  

From ‘fly-drive’ locations near major airports to detailed RV rental guides online, there’s plenty of help available to help streamline your experience. And don’t forget to take advantage of the wealth of trip planning tips here on Monty’s Musings!

Myth #4: I’ll Never Figure out the RV Hookups!

Facts win once again! Using the videos and instruction manuals available, first-time RV rental customers finding it surprisingly easy to hook up their RVs to electric, water and sewer connections at the campground. We won’t leave you stranded! If anything seems overwhelming, be sure to ask your rental location staff, so you can relax and enjoy your vacation without worry.

Myth #5: RV Rentals are Just for Long Distance Trips

This is definitely mythology, based on the reasons our customers rent recreational vehicles. Some choose to rent an RV for comfortable camping at nearby music festivals. Others have told us they rent an RV for extra housing during the holidays.

Another popular reason to rent an RV is to host special weekends at a local destination—everything from a ‘girls only’ campout at the lake to camping close to swap meets, fairs or fly-ins. Traveling by RV long distance can be memorable, but don’t let that be the only reason you take advantage of convenient, affordable RV rentals.

Myth #6: Rental RVs are ‘Bare Bones’

Guess again! You can choose to camp in luxury on most any rental budget. Generators, microwaves and roomy dinettes are just a few of the convenient features that add comfort to today’s RVs. If you’ve never rented an RV, explore the options available for comfort and convenience, whether you’re renting a Class C with roomy slide-outs or a Class A ‘Luxury Class’ model.

El Monte RV

El Monte RV

Renting an RV can be your best option for budget-friendly, comfortable travel. Don’t let these myths stand in the way of your best vacation yet. Check the facts on RV rentals and then take the plunge. It’s time you learned how renting RVs could enhance your vacation plans.  

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Five Memorable Mountain RV Campgrounds

Follow a winding road to find a mountain campground way back in the forest. Hike wooded trails to the secret places where wildlife abounds. Hike back to share your stories with new friends at the campground. America’s state and national parks in mountain locales provide memorable settings for your RV camping adventures. Pick one from our suggestions, and be sure to let us know what you discover!

Rocky Mountain National Park – Moraine Park Campground – Colorado

You’ll find this mountain RV camping paradise off Hwy 36 near the Beaver Creek entrance of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Elk and deer will greet you as you wake to the splendor of immense Moraine Park and the surrounding Rockies.  

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

This Colorado mountain campground puts you close to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, plus scenic Trail Ridge Road, mountain lakes and waterfalls and the mountain village of Estes Park.

Details: Paved roads into the campground. No hook-ups at campsites, but toilets and drinking water are available. Bring your solar shower bag to use in the designated shower enclosure to save RV water/power. RMNP shuttle takes campers to nearby trailheads. Campground is close to Estes Park and Moraine Park Discovery Center.

Black Rock Mountain State Park – Hickory Cove Campground – Georgia

The Blue Ridge Mountains within Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest are home to wonderfully scenic Black Rock Mountain State Park. Waterfalls, a mountain-top visitor center and scenic vistas surround RV campers who make the trip up this park’s winding roads. Black Rock Lake Trail is popular with hikers of all ages, while two more-strenuous mountain trails lead hikers to unforgettable views.

Details: Winding two-mile drive up to campground. Standard water/electric sites, some 50-amp available, showers, toilets, dump station available in campground. Shaded, gravel camping pads. Close to trails, some ranger-led activities available.

Coolidge State Park Campground – Vermont

Located in Coolidge State Forest, we rate this as a mountain campground thanks to the Green Mountain views that surround it. A small, rustic campground nestled in the forest, it’s close to hiking trails well worth discovering. Throughout the state park you’ll find original stone structures built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, adding to the park’s vintage feel. Bonus—park fees also provide access to nearby Camp Plymouth State Park for boating and swimming.

Details: No hookups, dump station is available. Flush toilets and coin operated hot showers. Nature center should be a stop for all visitors. Easy access to hiking trails.

Painted Rocks State Park Campground-Montana

Where Montana’s Bitterroot Range wraps itself around Painted Rocks Reservoir, you’ll find a valley campground that speaks to the heart of those who love wildlife, remote pine forests and mountain fishing. Two hours south of Missoula, Montana, this small lakeshore campground is the perfect spot for a fishing and camping vacation. Moose, black bear, peregrine falcons and great blue herons call the Bitterroot Valley home, so bring your binoculars and your favorite fishing gear to catch cutthroat trout and whitefish.

Details: No hookups, vault toilets, first come, first served campsites. Motorized fishing boats, kayaks and canoes allowed on reservoir, boat ramp available.

Mount Hood National Forest—Spring Drive RV Campground—Oregon

You’ll find this photogenic spot two hours east of Portland on US-26. Located on the southeast edge of Mount Hood National Forest, Spring Drive Campground combines woodland beauty with RV convenience by offering full hookups for self-contained RVs. Rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking and fishing venues surround the campground, with spectacular views of Mount Hood and other area peaks. Reserve your site before you go, as this is a small, secluded campground popular with hikers and nature photographers.  

Details: Full hookups, no dump station, separate drinking water or toilets available. RVs must be self-contained. Large, private back-in sites in a forest setting.

Why not make it a goal to go RV camping in one of America’s mountain ranges? State and national park campgrounds throughout the country offer scenic campsites, easy access to outdoor recreation and a deeper appreciation for the people who saved these special places for future generations.

Let us help with an RV rental reservation close to home or in a city near your alpine destination. The mountains are calling—isn’t it time you answered?

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

AAA Members-Look Skyward! 2017 Eclipse RV Travel Savings

You may have noticed our earlier discussion about the singular celestial event that’s coming to America in 2017. To refresh your memories, we’ll be enjoying a total solar eclipse over America on August 21, 2017. A special reason we’re highlighting this opportunity for RV travel again is that AAA members can save big when renting an RV to view the solar eclipse.

AAA members always enjoy RV rental discounts through El Monte RV Rental & Sales as part of their active membership. For this year’s total solar eclipse experience, the nationwide auto club is encouraging members to hit the road in an RV to find the optimal eclipse viewing sites.

This article on the 2017 eclipse in AAA’s April member newsletter offers information on where, when and how to view the eclipse. If you aren’t currently a AAA member, this link offers you the opportunity to join so you can take advantage of the RV rental discounts.  

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

Haven’t started making plans to see the moon’s shadow completely block the sun from Earthly viewers? Here are the details you’ll need to plan your 2017 total solar eclipse RV vacation:

When Will the Eclipse Occur?

The shadow of the moon will align to blot out the sun from our view for approximately two minutes at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Pacific Coast near Newport, Oregon. That will be the North American debut of the 2017 solar eclipse. The moon’s shadow will then block the sun from sight in an arc across the US, moving back over the Atlantic off the South Carolina coast at 2:48 pm EDT.

Where Will the Total Eclipse be Visible?

This excellent map of the eclipse trajectory shows the fourteen states (from Oregon to South Carolina) crossed by the “path of totality”. On that path, there’s a sixty-mile band of optimum viewing of the entire eclipse event. Outside that band, you won’t be able to see the total eclipse and will have to settle for partial eclipse memories.

To help you plan your eclipse-viewing RV vacation, here are some of the cities within the path of totality:

Oregon: Newport, Corvallis, Madras, Salem

Idaho: Stanley, McKay, Idaho Falls

Montana: No cities within optimum viewing band, eight miles of remote mountain terrain only

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park, Casper, Thermopolis

Nebraska: Scott’s Bluff, Hastings, Grand Island

Kansas: Troy, Atchison, Leavenworth

Missouri: St. Joseph, Columbia

Illinois: Carbondale, Chester

Kentucky: Bowling Green, Hopkinsville

Tennessee: Nashville, Gallatin, Clarksville

Georgia: Blairsville, Clayton

North Carolina: Andrews, Clingmans Dome area of Great Smoky Mountain NP

South Carolina: Anderson, Orangeburg, Columbia

Why Rent an RV to View the Eclipse?

As any experienced RV traveler can tell you, weather changes occur when you least expect them. Viewing the eclipse in all its glory will require staying ahead of cloud cover or storms. Two planning steps can help you win the race:

  •         Watch local forecasts for the area where you plan to view the eclipse. If heavy cloud cover or storms are predicted, have a Plan B viewing location in mind.
  •         Traveling by RV allows you to change plans quickly. The flexibility to move to a better location as the event approaches may make the difference between awesome eclipse viewing memories and traveling home disappointed.

AAA and El Monte RV Rental & Sales can help you plan the perfect eclipse viewing RV vacation, but you’ll need to act fast. Campgrounds are filling rapidly, so don’t delay any longer making your plans.

Where will you be when the sun goes dark on August 21, 2017?

Posted in Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Kansas RV Camping Vacation, Kentucky RV Camping Vacation, Missouri RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Nebraska RV Camping Vacation, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, South Dakota RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

National Historic Sites to Visit by RV—Birmingham Civil Rights and Freedom Riders Monuments

In a previous post, we mentioned that four new National Historic Sites had been recognized by the National Park Service this year. That earlier post offered RV campers the details for visiting Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland. This week, we’ve got the details on two new historic sites that tell the story of the American Civil Rights Movement. An important lesson in history and excellent RV camping nearby—isn’t it time you took the trip?

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Both RV travel stops in today’s post are in Alabama, at the heart of the American Civil Rights movement. Challenge your fellow campers to read ahead of time about the role Birmingham, Alabama played in the early days of the struggle for racial equality in America.

The new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument isn’t yet fully developed, but there’s plenty to explore when you visit. These sites are currently designated within the Monument:

  • G. Gaston Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other early leaders in the Civil Rights Movement met to plan non-violent protests and other actions to end segregation.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located adjacent to the AG Gaston Motel. This museum and interpretive center can give you the background you’ll need to begin your tour to the other sites that make up the national monument.
  • 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of the horrific bombing in 1963 that killed four young girls and lit the spark for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Bethel Baptist Church, a short drive from the other sites, was bombed three times during the early years of the struggle for racial equality and served as the home of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
  • Kelly Ingram Park, captured in history by photographers at the non-violent protests that were disrupted by violent police action.
  • 4th Avenue District, an historic neighborhood once the site of blacks-only restaurants and shops during the days of segregation. 

Freedom Riders National Monument

Two hours east of Birmingham on I-20 in Anniston, Alabama you’ll find another newly-designated National Historic Site. The Freedom Riders National Monument is dedicated to the integrated group who boarded a bus bound for the Deep South in 1961, intent on testing a court decision that had found segregated transportation unconstitutional.

In Anniston, AL, you’ll find the Greyhound Bus Station where the group was attacked by segregationists, as well as the site six miles down the highway where the bus was stopped and firebombed by a mob.

While visiting these two designated sites within the National Monument, take the time to follow the Anniston Civil Rights Trail, a walking tour that highlights the importance of this small Eastern Alabama town during the Civil Rights Movement.

Birmingham Area RV Camping

Where to camp in this historically rich area? Oak Mountain State Park, just south of Birmingham off I-65, offers Alabama RV travelers a wonderful place to recharge. With both 30-amp water and electric sites and primitive campsites, you can choose your setting while enjoying the numerous amenities this park features. Two recreational lakes with cable skiing and boat rentals, a golf course and miles of hiking and biking trails are just the beginning of the ways you’ll find to unwind while camping in the Birmingham area. If you’re up for a climb, the state park’s Peavine Falls is a photographer’s dream.

Make an RV trip to Alabama to find the roots of the American Civil Rights Movement, and to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Birmingham area campgrounds. We can help with an RV rental, and we hope our posts inspire you to seek out the places that tell the story of our nation’s past.

Posted in Alabama RV Camping Vacation, Historical RV Vacation | Leave a comment