Spend The Winter In Your Minnesota Motorhome

It’s almost officially winter (December 21), and though the weather outside might be frightful, there are still so many delightful activities to do, and the outdoors is just begging you to take your Pleasureland RV out to play!  From hiking to skiing, to ice fishing to snowmobiling, there’s a winter sport to suit anyone’s fancy or fitness level. You can make a small investment in equipment or simply go out with just the (snow)shoes on your feet.

So before you and your family grab a cup of steaming hot cocoa and gather round a roaring campfire, check out what Minnesota’s state parks and local resorts have to offer in the way of Minnesota RV fun and adventure in the wintry outdoors.

Explore Minnesota informs us that “Minnesota’s cross country ski trails are the envy of much of the nation, as are the state’s 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails. Minnesota is also home to the largest and highest downhill ski area in the Midwest.” You can find a list of Minnesota’s major ski resorts here, whether you like downhill or cross-country. [http://www.minnesota-visitor.com/minnesota-ski-resorts.html]

How about Skijoring? That’s “ski-driving” in Norwegian, and is a form of cross-country skiing that you do with your dog. You can learn more about this growing sport and try it out at the 2,700 acre Baker Park Reserve, on the shores of Lake Independence.  Start planning your RV adventure here in the state parks [http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html], plus get tips for what to pack and wear, and pick out which activities your family can do together, from the favorites to the unusual, like ice climbing, dog sledding, tubing, and so much more.  What are your plans for the winter break?

 

A Minnesota RV Christmas

December brings a wealth of holiday celebrations across all races, religions and cultures. What are your favorite family traditions? Do you celebrate with a special road trip in your Minnesota motorhome or travel trailer? Do you like to explore the traditions of others? However you observe any of the winter holidays, there’s something to delight and inspire everyone!

We probably all have lots of friends celebrating Christmas, as well as Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights (which begins on December 8 this year). Others will also be celebrating Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966, and is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. Kwanzaa honors seven core principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith – and culminates in a feast and gift giving.

The Winter Solstice is a fun one for those of us who spend lots of time camping in our new or used RVs. Solstice has been a significant part of the seasonal and astronomical cycle since Neolithic times (think Stonehenge). On December 21, this year’s winter solstice, think back to how ancient peoples may have viewed the solstice – the long, long night when deep winter began. They celebrated that night with a feast as they hoped for the spring and lighter days ahead.

The solstice fire was the forerunner to today’s Yule logs, so this year, if you and your family are in an especially festive mood, consider lighting a roaring campfire as you  celebrate the winter solstice and borrow a few taste treats from other traditions. You could cook up some special Hanukkah treats, like Potato Latkes (try it in a Dutch oven!), pair them with collard greens to celebrate Kwanzaa, and mix up some Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies for Santa.

We found several festivals, exhibits and performances planned all across Minnesota in December. If you want to get out and about to celebrate all that the holidays have to offer, check out the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul, which will host Kwanzaa Family Day on December 29. Or, head out to one of Minnesota’s State Parks to get close to nature for the solstice. For Christmas celebrations, check out the Explore Minnesota site for tours of lights, teddy bear displays, and mistletoe!

However you choose to celebrate, have fun with your family this holiday season, and let us know if you find any new traditions to add to your festivities!

A Minnesota RV Thanksgiving

The perfect Thanksgiving includes family, a roaring fire, and a yummy feast – preferably at your favorite Minnesota RV campsite, of course!

You bring the family. And for the “feast” part, we’ve found a terrific recipe that should work well when your Thanksgiving gathering happens in the great outdoors. It’s “Thanksgiving in a Dutch Oven,” and this comes to us courtesy of our friends at Kampgrounds of America. This recipe can be the centerpiece of your RV-style Thanksgiving. Or, it’s a great way to use those turkey leftovers in a whole new way.

Thanksgiving in a Dutch oven:

3 pound(s) sliced turkey, shredded

2 cans cut green beans, drained

1 can whole baby carrots

3 large jars turkey gravy

3 boxes cornbread stuffing

1/4 c butter

 

  • Butter the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven. Pour green beans in first. Add carrots on top. Layer the shredded turkey on top of carrots and green beans. Pour gravy over the two layers. Mix cornbread stuffing according to package directions and add on top of the ingredients and press down to cover the layers in Dutch oven. Cut any remaining butter into pats and place on top of stuffing mix.
  • Place over hot coals and shovel some coals on top of the Dutch oven. Allow to cook for 20 – 30 minutes until hot and bubbly and the stuffing has browned on top.
  • Serve with rolls and pumpkin pie for a tasty meal.

We think almost any holiday is better in one of Minnesota’s state parks. To find a park, reserve your RV campsite, and learn more about the activities, visit the  Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  Some of our favorite holiday activities will be finding ways to get rid of all those calories we packed on during that Thanksgiving feast. The Winter Activities Guide offers some great ideas for fun in the snow, from sledding to snowshoeing.

No matter where you spend it, we wish you and your family a fabulous Thanksgiving!

 

Minnesota RVers: Remember To Thank A Veteran

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Image Via Fotolia.com

As we look ahead to Veteran’s Day on Sunday, November 11, let’s consider how best to observe this holiday so that we live up to its true meaning. How might you and your family celebrate Veteran’s Day, not only on the holiday itself, but all year long?  We have an opportunity to honor and support our veterans, both active and civilian, and here are some ways those of us in the RV community can get involved:

Say “Thank You”

Simply thank the veterans in your life and your community, with words or even with a handshake or a hug. We find veterans among our fellow RV campers at almost every stop. Another simple yet profound way to thank our service men and women is through Shutterfly’s Thank the Troops Campaign. Shutterfly’s Facebook App lets you send a free thank you card to service members overseas and in VA hospitals. You can also send a care package to troops, and there are a number of organizations who help make this easy. Google “send a care package to troops” to get a comprehensive list.

Take part in a local Veteran’s Day observance or ceremony

From parades, to moments of silence, to terrific deals especially for vets, there are a ton of fun and meaningful events for the whole family. It’s also a great chance for you to show your spirit with your favorite patriotic clothing or gear for your RV!

 

  • Check out the list of events happening all over the state, from Apple Valley to White Bear
  • Don’t forget about fitness! St. Paul is hosting the second annual 5K to honor military service around beautiful Como Lake on November 11
  • There are special deals from local and national businesses all over the state for vets and their families
  • Vetfriends.com is always a great place to start to find local events and all things military

Support military charities or service organizations that directly support the military

From clothing to educational opportunities to mental health services, there are a wealth of opportunities to help make a difference in the lives of active and civilian military personnel. Reconnect America is a great place to get started and learn more.

To all of Minnesota’s veterans: Thank you!

 

Minnesota RV Pastimes: Stargazing

Stargazing remains one of the favorite camping pastimes for seasoned and new RVers. And in November, if you find a nice dark campground, you’ll have a chance to not only tour the constellations, you’ll have a front-row seat for the Leonid Meteor Showers.  This year, the meteor showers will peak late on November 16 and continue until dawn on November 17.

The famous Leonids radiate from the constellation Leo; and this year, with a waxing crescent moon setting early in the evening, the sky will become a dark stage for the meteors’ spectacular performance.  If you’d like to learn more about the stars before you head out on your Minnesota RV stargazing trip, you might pay a visit to your friendly, neighborhood planetarium.

Part of the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum, the ExploraDome ranks among the top 10 planetariums in the U.S. Programs offer visitors a chance to lay back and take a trip through the cosmos using a high-tech projector. Weekly shows include “Zoom: From Earth to the Edge of the Universe.”

Keep an eye on the sky, and never miss a chance to wish upon a star!

Minnesota RV Hobbies: Bird Watching

Some birders are hard core. They’ll jump on a plane in a heartbeat at the mere hint of an opportunity to check one more bird off their life list. Others are more relaxed, content with the birds of any feather that happen to flock to their own backyard. No matter which type of birder you are, fall is prime time for birding. And when you’re traveling in your Minnesota RV this fall, you can discover even more gorgeous and unusual species, including migratory birds.

If you’re in the mood for motorhome road trip, check out these 8 Great Places suggested by the National Wildlife Federation.  From the Sunrise Coast in Maine to the Sky Islands of Arizona, these are places recommended by some of the top birders in the nation.

And, if you’re looking for an RV excursion a little closer to home, Minnesota is home to a wide variety of birds – from bald eagles to sandhill cranes. One great opportunity for bird watching is the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, which is Minnesota’s first International trail. Located in northwestern Minnesota, the 200-mile-long trail includes 45 sites for bird watching and is home to 275 species of birds. How many will you find in your new Minnesota travel trailer or motorhome?

RV Snowbirds, Consider Spending the Winter In Palm Springs California

It is not too far away. That time when the snow and temperatures start to fall and it’s time to take your Pleasureland RV and head to a warmer climate. How about California? Specifically the Palm Springs Area. It is a meca of fun, relaxation and sunshine!!

Enjoy sunny skies,  desert scenery and beautiful nearby mountain views plus the wonderful climate that the Palm Springs area has to offer.  Just take a look at these average temperatures – lots of 70s and 80s from October through April.

Photo Courtesy of Weather.com

You will find an abundance of world class golf and tennis resorts, great restaurants and shopping. In fact ladies, some of the best Outlet Malls in the country are not far away!

In for some adventure, hiking, rock climbing and more? Visit the Mount San Jacinto State Park or the high desert country at Joshua Tree Desert Park. And don’t miss the chance to experience the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

And there will be plenty to do right where you park your “home away from home”. Just a short distance from Palm Springs and Palm Desert you will find two great options in Desert Hot Springs -the Sky Valley Resort and Caliente Springs.

Sky Valley RV Resorts offer an active adult RV resort lifestyle including sparkling natural hot water spas, swimming pools, an executive golf course,  and plenty of activities and events.

Caliente Springs is a sophisticated 55+ RV Park with large RV sites a nine-hole executive golf course and an 18,000 square foot clubhouse.Plus enjoy daily water based activities, tennis courts and excellent hot springs and mineral pools.

And if you want to get away for the day… or a few, San Diego is just about 125 miles away,  and you can be in LA or Orange County in less than 2 hours. There you can experience so many wonderful things Southern California has to offer.

Photo Courtesy of Sky Valley Resorts

Have fun in California, travel safe and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon at Pleasureland RV!

Check Out This Minnesota Campsite: Bigfoot Resort

 

If you recently purchased a new travel trailer or motor coach at a RV dealership Minnesota, try planning your inaugural trip to a campsite within the state. Visiting Bigfoot Resort in Alexandria gives you a chance to make the most of a short weekend. There’s no need to drive out of state for a fun beach vacation. This full service RV park and camp ground has sites available just off of the shoreline of picturesque Lake Mary. Over 1000 feet of private shore is available to visitors and residents of this camp ground.

Plenty Of Space For The Largest RVs

While this camp ground has cabins and tent camping sites available, RV owners will want to pull into on of the many sites on the property with full electrical and water hook ups. The RV park section is home to quite a few seasonal residents, but there are dozens of spaces available for guests who can only stay for one or two nights. You and your family will make new friendships that could last for years of summer time visits.

All The Amenities

Bigfoot Resort has many more amenities than other RV-friendly parks in Minnesota. This is largely due to their seasonal visitors. A 24 hour laundry center is within just a short walk from your RV camp site, as well as an attached game room. You can also get some exercise during a game of basketball on the paved court. If you would like to host a family reunion or a gathering of your favorite RV driving friends, the meeting room with a full kitchen is the perfect solution. Two pools and the shore of Lake Mary give you plenty of options for safe swimming.

The park office is also well-equipped to help you make the most of your visit. Guests can pick up fishing licenses, bait and souvenirs. Many guests never leave the park because it is full of fun attractions that are free to use. Take your kids to the 18 hole mini-golf course, turn them loose at the lakeside playground or play your favorite outdoor games. Badminton, tennis and volley ball courses are all available. Paved bike paths are complemented by free bike rentals from the office store. Guests can also rent a full-sized pontoon boat for a small fee, or take out the paddle boats for free.

Fishing Frenzy

One of the biggest reasons visitors flock to Lake Mary throughout the year is fishing. You can catch Sunfish, Walleye, Crappie and Bass from the Bigfoot Resort docks. Visit again in the winter to experienced ice fishing while retreating to the warmth and comfort of your RV each night. Look for a model at the RV dealership Minneapolis that can handle winter temperatures if you plan to make ice fishing an annual habit.

The Ten Essentials for the Minnesota RV Hiker

There isn’t much about hiking that has changed in the last few decades (besides new technology like portal GPS systems) which is why I still refer to a list created in the 1930s by a  hiking, climbing, and conservation organization called the Mountaineers. This Seattle-based group came up with a list of the top 10 essentials that every hiker should carry.

Some of you may think that this list may be a little excessive, but you honestly never know what will happen when you venture out away from parked RV. And isn’t it better to be over prepared than under? Yes, I thought you agree. So here it is, Minnesota. The top ten things you’ll should take on all hiking excursions.

Map. A map not only tells you where you are and how far you have to go, it can help you find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident.

Compass. A compass can help you find your way through unfamiliar terrain—especially in bad weather where you can’t see the landmarks.

Available online and in-stores from Pleasureland RV

First aid kit. Prepackaged first aid kits for hikers are available at outfitters. Double your effectiveness with knowledge: Take a basic first aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class, offered by many hiking organizations. Pleasureland RV has the perfect,  functional assortment of 40 first aid items packed in a water-tight, reusable container that you can purchase online for less than $20.

Water and a way to purify it. Without enough water, your body’s muscles and organs simply can’t perform as well: You’ll be susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness. not to mention the abject misery of raging thirst.

Extra Food. Any number of things could keep you out longer than expected: a lengthy detour, getting lost, an injury, difficult terrain. A few ounces of extra food will help keep up energy and morale.

Rain Gear and extra clothing. Because the weatherman is not always right. Especially above treeline, bring along extra layers. Two rules: Avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your skin), and always carry a hat.

Available at the Pleasureland Online RV Parts Store!

 

Firestarter and matches. The warmth of a fire and a hot drink can help prevent an encounter with hypothermia. And fires are a great way to signal for help if you get lost.

Army knife or multi-purpose tool. These enable you to cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, fix broken eyeglasses, and perform a whole host of repairs on malfunctioning gear—not to mention cut cheese and open cans.

Flashlight and extra bulbs. For finding your way in the dark and signaling for help.

Sun screen and sun glasses. Especially above treeline when there is a skin-scorching combination of sun and snow, you’ll need sunglasses to prevent snowblindness, and sunscreen to prevent sunburn

If you’re ready to start working on your 10 essentials pack, head to one of Pleausureland RV’s four locations or visit our online store to get everything you need. Happy hiking, Minnesota RVers!

[Source: GORP]

Know How to Properly Cross Rivers and Streams

Are you planning to do any hiking during this RV season? If so, there are several things you need to be aware of including the dangers of crossing rivers or lakes. Even though water may look still, it could have strong currents. You also never know when shallow waters could drop off.

If you find yourself needing or wanting to cross a stream or river, be sure to remember the following:

  • If you can avoid river wading and especially swimming then do so! If there is a bridge one mile along the river then detour and take the bridge. Safety always comes first!
  • In general, you should try to remain calm when anything happens to you and you end up in the water. Frantic swimming will get you tired quickly. Try to remain calm and float as you assess your situation and try to come up with a solution.
  • Should you be swept away when crossing a river and the river is filled with obstacles like rocks and logs, the safest position is to float on your back with your legs in front of you to absorb any bumps while using your arms to push away obstacles and steer.
  • Should a teammate fall into the water, try using rope or sticks and make an effort to get him/her back to shore. Keep the rope flexible and do not tie it to a tree or other obstacle. A strong current might drag the victim under with no slack to submerge again.

Hiking is a wonderful part of the RV lifestyle, but it an easily go wrong. This is why it’s important to know your surroundings and how to handle potential dangerous situations. Stick around for the top 10 things you need to carry on all of your hiking trips! Happy camping, Minnesota RVers!

[Source: The ABCs of Hiking]