Accommodating Your Car-Sick Pet on RV Trips

Taking our furry family members on RV trips is second-nature for many campers. But what if Fido has a tricky tummy that doesn’t travel well? There are things you can do on RV camping trips to accommodate your car-sick pet. Let’s look at how seasoned RV travelers get their four-legged friends in great shape for road trips.

Proper Placement for Car-Sick Pets

First of all, they know that where their pets ride in the vehicle can help prevent motion sickness. As with humans with car-sickness issues, the worst place to ride in a vehicle is in the back. Centering your pet’s carrier in the RV or tow vehicle reduces the amount of motion their inner ears must adjust to.

Traveling backward is another trigger for travel-queasy pets. Securing your pet face-forward can also help prevent motion sickness. Besides the inner ear, the eyes have a big impact on motion-related dizziness. Your pet may need to be confined where she can’t look out, if other car-sickness tips don’t help.

Extra Help for Car-Sick Pets

There are numerous products that RV travelers with pets swear by for relieving motion sickness. The first step should always be to talk to your vet about what might be causing your pet to get sick while traveling. Sometimes it’s due to an imbalance in the inner ear. For other pets, it’s anxiety about traveling.

He’ll ask you to describe your pet’s symptoms—is she panting and drooling, refusing to eat, unable to keep food down? Does she lie around the campground after a long trip, without her usual energy?

All those behaviors are important to share with the vet. They’ll help you determine why road trips upset your pup, and come up with a plan that will have him riding happily along on your next excursion.

He may also recommend Dramamine or a similar travel sickness medication. Another prescription medication often used is Cerenia. There are also natural herbal remedies that may help, but always get your vet’s approval first.

Acclimating Pets to RV Travel

Some pet owners who camp with their pets prefer not to use medication. If you’re in that group, you can try acclimating your pet to travel over time. Do some trial runs in your vehicle, traveling short distances and watching to see how they react. If he seems to relax on short rides, try increasing travel time gradually until they’re ready for a trip to the campground.

Other precautions that can help your pet love traveling with you by RV: always make sure there’s enough airflow where your pet is confined. Overheating is dangerous for dogs, especially, and can add to the symptoms of motion sickness. You should also avoid feeding

Travelling with Pets

Travelling with Pets

your animals immediately before starting your journey. Take breaks to allow time outside the vehicle—even humans can get queasy from too many hours on the road.   

Take the time to learn what works to relieve your pet’s travel sickness. A healthy companion for your RV travels can be your long-term reward.

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How to Keep Your RV Insect-Free

Camping in the great outdoors offers so many pleasures—fresh air, beautiful scenery and the chance to be up close and personal with nature. But sometimes nature gets a little too close when creepy, crawly visitors invade our RVs. If you’ve had a close encounter with too many bugs in the camper, it’s time to follow these easy tips for keeping your camper insect-free.

How Do Bugs Invade RVs?

To keep bugs outside on your next camping vacation, you must first know how they creep inside the camper. It may seem obvious—a door left open, a screen not latched, but there are sneakier, and sometimes more destructive, ways for insects to invade your home away from home.

Did you know, for example, that power cords left to drape across the ground can become conduits for ants and other small insects to follow into your RV? The same goes for anything left stacked against the camper.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #1: Create a clear space around the camper, removing firewood, lawn chairs, recreational equipment and anything else that might provide passage into the interior or outside storage spaces of your RV. Keep power cords off the ground if possible.

Here’s another strange fact that camping newbies might not know: the odor that’s added to LP gas to make it detectable is attractive to many insects. Spiders, ants and other creepers will follow the scent and build their nests around propane appliances, in vents and near your LP bottles.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #2: Check everywhere LP gas flows into furnaces or appliances, and all vent areas, for insect infestation on a regular basis. If this becomes a frequent problem area, consider putting those small disc-type ant traps in closets and cabinets around LP-powered devices.

Bugs will also make tracks from the forest floor to your RV interior via cracks or gaps in the camper’s undercarriage.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #3: Seal any place underneath the RV where light shines through from up above. Check around pipes, vents and power conduits and in wheel wells. Ask your RV supply store for a sealer that’s appropriate to the surface where cracks appear.

Let’s talk about some obvious ways you might be inviting bugs to share your camper. Torn screens, doors that don’t latch properly and poorly-fitted window frames are three more ways for insects to invade the RV.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #4: Your regular RV maintenance routine should include checking for and repairing all torn door, window and vent screens, adjusting door latches to allow easy closing, replacing weather stripping and seals around doors and windows and making sure there’s no ‘wobble’ in window frames due to lost hardware or sealant.

Here’s another way RVers might unwittingly invite insect (and rodent) infestation: by leaving food in containers that can be compromised.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #5: Sealing pasta, cereal, baking supplies and other consumables in bug-proof plastic containers is a must-do to prevent unwelcome visitors in your RV kitchen. Make sure you remove all food products from the RV before it goes to winter storage.

Want to know what veteran RVers use to discourage insects from making a home in their campers? Here are some of their easy, organic suggestions for keeping bugs at bay.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #6: Try spraying doorways with a solution of either white vinegar or citrus oil mixed with water. Bugs hate both! You can also sprinkle citrus peel around kitchen corners or in closets, or rub citrus peels on baseboards. Some RVers suggest spritzing peppermint oil solution around cabinets to deter spiders and ants. A popular solution for keeping mice and bugs out of RVs while in storage is to place dryer sheets in all vents and inlets.

If you’re camping long-term in one location, consider purchasing diatomaceous earth, a safe, organic substance that kills spiders, in a perimeter around your camper. You’ll find it at many hardware stores.

The point of going on an RV camping vacation is to take a break from our usual routines. If your fellow campers consistently leave a mess, however, you’ll soon find that bugs have come along for the ride.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #7: Food left in sinks, on counters and in living spaces is an open invitation to insects. Same goes for wet bathing suits, dirty clothes and trash left scattered around the camper. Enlist the family to keep living spaces free of anything that can become a hiding space for creepy crawly invaders. Keeping the camper clean is the number one way to avoid insect infestation while camping.

RV camping is all about enjoying the wonders of nature, but nature doesn’t have to follow us into our RVs. Try these seven tips to keep your camper cozy and bug free on your next camping vacation.

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Why You Should Take an RV on your Next Road Trip to Disney

Whether coming to America for a road trip to a Disney theme park, or heading out from your home base in the States, traveling there by RV makes sense. For lodging and travel, you can’t beat the comfort of a recreational vehicle. Traveling to your Disney destination by RV can also be a special time of family bonding, close enough to connect and roomy enough to prevent sibling squabbles.

Add that to the savings of renting a campsite versus staying in hotels and being able to cook some meals to stay on budget, and you’ll wonder why you’ve ever traveled any other way. Hold on as we share the details you’ll need to plan your next RV road trip to Disney. 

RV Camping to Disney World

One of the many reasons RVers love Disney World in Orlando, Florida is Fort Wilderness, Disney’s beautiful on-site resort and campground. Park among the trees in one of four levels of campsites, depending on your preferred camping style. You’ll be saving plenty to spend on Disney souvenirs, with campsite rental rates below $100 for the most premium amenities.

When you return from a thrilling day at Disney World, the kids won’t want to retire to the camper. Fort Wilderness offers more than seven-hundred wooded acres filled with hiking trails, swimming pools, a lake with boat, canoe and kayak rentals as well as fishing excursions, arcades, outdoor sports courts and many more ways to play back at the campground. This is one place the kids will beg to return to, thanks to the care Disney takes to make your camping experience memorable.

RV Camping Trip to Disneyland

The original Disney theme park, located in Anaheim, is a beloved destination for families traveling to California by RV. The Disneyland park doesn’t have on-site camping, but there’s no reason not to travel there by RV, thanks to several RV parks within a short drive.

Disneyland Castle

Disneyland Castle

Anaheim RV Park is directly across I-5 from Disneyland, offering camping within a shuttle ride or short walk to the park. Anaheim Harbor RV Park is just north of Disneyland, two blocks from I-5. Orangeland RV Park is about fifteen minutes east of the theme park, close to shopping and entertainment districts. One more choice for visitors who hope to enjoy the great outdoors while camping is Canyon RV Park, a thirty-minute drive from Disneyland via CA-91.

These RV parks close to Disneyland offer different levels of amenities, so be sure to check their websites for more information before making reservations. A quick check of hotels within the same proximity to Disneyland will let you know the rates can be hundreds of dollars per night, compared to an average rate of $75 per night for these campgrounds. By the way, if you’re arriving in a motorhome without a towed vehicle, there’s parking available in the ‘oversized vehicle’ lot right on the Disney property.

No matter which Anaheim campground you choose, the convenience and camaraderie of traveling together, having the option of preparing some of your meals and saving money while enjoying the legendary thrills of Disneyland make RV camping your best travel and lodging choice.

Ready to head for Orlando or Anaheim on your next RV camping vacation? We’re here to help with RV rentals! RV camping and Disney…it’s going to be one of your best vacation memories.

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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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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.

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Spring RV Travel in Search of Desert Wildflowers

North American desert landscapes will host lavish displays of color this spring, thanks to heavy winter rains. In parts of California, they’re actually calling 2017 the year of the ‘Super Bloom’.

It’s time to take the RV out of winter hibernation for a trip to the desert in search of wildflowers. We’ve got all the information you’ll need to hike, camp and thoroughly enjoy the desert’s flashiest season.  

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Desert Wildflower Itineraries

According to DesertUSA.com, there are several desert locations in America where wildflowers are either blooming right now (last minute RV road trip, anyone?) or will be in full bloom in the next thirty days.

Some of the best places to enjoy desert wildflowers are on BLM preserves. This year has promised to bring such abundant color that the Bureau of Land Management has set up a special hashtag, #TracktheBloom, and is asking desert visitors to share their wildflower photos on social media sites such as the BLM California Facebook page.

That last-minute location we mentioned, where cacti and other desert plants are showing their best colors this month is Carrizo Plain National Monument in California’s Central Valley. Here’s what you need to know to plan your RV trip:

What’s Blooming? Plenty! Expect to see lupine, delphinium, goldfield, hillside daisies and poppies through April in the immense valley that’s home to Soda Lake.

How to Get There? Carrizo Plain NM can be reached via several major highways. From Van Nuys, drive north on I-5 (four-hour trip.) From Las Vegas, it’s nearly a straight shot west eight hours via I-15, same distance from Phoenix via I-10.

Where to Camp? There are two improved campgrounds within this two-hundred-thousand-acre preserve, if you’re up for primitive camping (vault toilets, no utilities). If you prefer developed campsites, there are dozens of RV campgrounds near Carrizo Plain NM in Bakersfield, Santa Margarita or San Luis Obispo.

Or, you could drive farther south to where Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is also in full bloom through late April.

What’s Blooming? Ocotillos, desert sunflowers, many kinds of blooming cacti and spectacular indigo bush are just a few of the species waiting to delight the eye.

How to Get There? The State Park is two hours northeast of San Diego on Montezuma Valley Road, about an hour-and-a-half southeast of Temecula or a six-hour drive west from Tucson, AZ via I-8.

Where to Camp? Lots of options, but be sure to call ahead, as wildflower season may fill campgrounds. Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Tamarisk Grove Campground, an hour south in Julian, CA are three campgrounds to consider for your RV trip to Anza-Borrego.

We’ll leave you with a trio of other RV road trip ideas to find desert wildflowers. Pick one that sounds fun and get packing!

Have a four-wheel drive towed vehicle? Bounce along the 25-mile Quebradas National Backcountry Byway in southern New Mexico. You’ll find beautiful blooming cacti and desert plants in a rugged, undeveloped setting. Take I-25 south from Albuquerque, follow the Byway signs from Escondida, NM to Escondido Lake and beyond. This is on BLM land, and you can find developed campgrounds nearby in Magdalena, NM.

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is another stunningly scenic landscape that’s especially nice when brittle bush and cactus species are abloom. Find it forty miles north of Las Vegas on I-15 (northern end of Lake Mead), with campsites both primitive and developed within the park, or Las Vegas campgrounds close enough to make it a day trip.

Poppies, lupine and globe mallows dominate the slopes of Picacho Peak State Park in southeast Arizona. Located midway between Phoenix and Tucson off I-10, this wildflower haven is easy to access and features hiking trails surrounding the peak that gives the park its name. There are eighty electric-only campsites within the Park (fill those water tanks before you arrive) as well as a private RV resort near the I-10 park entrance.

What better reason to travel by RV in spring than to seek the desert places abloom with wildflowers? Pick one or more of these amazing desert settings and bring your hiking shoes. You’re going to want to get close to nature when you see what she’s offering this spring!

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