A Recognition Of RV Women

As we look ahead to Women’s History Month in March, let’s take a moment to reflect on the all the women throughout history who’ve made extraordinary leaps and bounds, advanced the course of our understanding of the world, or simply entertained and amazed us. And maybe the best way to celebrate their accomplishments is to simply thank and honor each of the extraordinary women in our own lives. In the RV community, we’re surrounded by them!

Minnesota’s own pioneering women include: Ann Bancroft, polar explorer and first female to reach both the North and South Poles; authors Louise Erdrich and Laura Ingalls Wilder; screen icon Judy Garland; actress Jessica Lange; and Olympic Gold Medalist Skier Lindsey Vonn, just to name a few.  You can always take the your new motorhome or travel trailer and visit the Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul to discover more about the Women’s Suffrage movement and the extraordinary Minnesotans who made a difference.

Who has inspired you to make a bold move, branch out as a pioneer in your own field, or maybe just pull out the map and plan a daring road trip? Let us know!

A Minnesota RV Bucket List

It’s a brand new year and a wonderful time to imagine taking your Minnesota RV to all those amazing places you haven’t visited yet. You know, your travel bucket list! We think it’s time to dream big.

Frommer’s Guides have been excellent sources for all things travel for decades, and Frommer’s Exploring America by RV could be the kickstart you need for those next bucket list must-sees. This guide will give you all the info you need for that next scenic route, jaunt through the heartland or trek up the Al-Can, all from the vantage point of your RV. If you’re tastes run to the road less traveled, grab Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting. Sounds intriguing, right?

Starting locally, at the top of the list could be the renowned Guthrie Theater, the beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse or the Charles Lindbergh House. Or rediscover our state parks, like St. Croix or Great River Bluffs. Each one offers a unique experience for the whole family. If the spirit of exploration runs through your veins, check out 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, truly the last word in all the high notes of worldwide travel.

From the Grand Canyon to Route 66 to your favorite roadside attraction, what will make your RV travel bucket list?

Take Your Pleasureland RV Out For A Three Day Weekend

Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, “What are you doing for others? –Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the third Monday in January (January 21), our country celebrates Martin Luther King Day honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., clergyman, activist, and civil rights leader. It’s a three-day weekend for many Minnesota RV owners, which makes this a great time to re-discover this inspiring man and his influence on American history.

To celebrate, you could take a RV road trip to view the Martin Luther King National Historic Site and Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Or, you and your family can learn more about Dr. King and his work through one of his books, such as Why We Can’t Wait or A Gift of Love. And of course, the “I Have a Dream” speech has never lost its power, and you can view a video of the speech or read the full text.

If MLK Day inspires you to give back (we see this a lot in our RV community), consider being a part of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. On the MLK Day of Service website, you can click, “find a project” to locate a volunteer opportunity in your community or create your own project [http://mlkday.gov/serve/find.php].

There are also plenty of local opportunities to celebrate, remember and give back:

  •  Get involved with The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s (MPRB) annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and food drive.
  • Watch the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast with keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman and musical performances by Ann Nesby.

Go hook up the your new RV and have a great weekend!

Minnesota RV Resolutions

Welcome to 2013 and all the promise it holds! It’s that time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions, when we vow to stop and smell the roses a little more each day. If you’re feeling the need to reconnect–with yourself, your family or with nature, making a special resolution to travel more in your RV might be just the ticket.

Last week we mentioned the First Day Hike program offered all over the U.S. in our state parks. Whether you and your family jumped in the RV and kicked off January 1 with a hike, our state and national parks are there year-round with adventure, activities and all the diversity of nature.

Maybe you want to expand your horizons with some sport travel like snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing at Afton. Minnesota State Parks have adventures for all seasons and activity level. Check out their Winter Activities Guide to get started.  Or maybe you want to take in the sights at your own speed. You’ve got hundreds of miles of trails waiting for you, from Frontenac to Bear Head Lake, so check out the parks website to find one perfect for whatever trip you have planned. You can explore on foot, horseback, bicycle or snowshoe.

Or maybe it’s a perfect time to take the RV to Yellowstone, or visit one of our national treasures like Ellis Island. The National Park Service urges you to “See Your America” and so do we! From outdoor wonderlands to national monuments to battlefields to historic preservation sites, our parks have it all.

 

Go explore! And we’ll see you on the road!

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?

 

Explore Native American Heritage Month In Your New RV

November is Native American Heritage Month, and it’s a great time for those of us who pack up our new or used RVs and set out to explore this great nation to take an extra moment to appreciate all the ways Native Americans have influenced our shared American experience, whether it’s through food, art, music or crafts.

The President recently issued this proclamation: “This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our Nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe’s identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.”

Whether your next RV road trip takes you across the country or across the state, we found several resources to help us all learn more about the rich, varied, triumphant (although sometimes heartbreaking) history of American Indians.

Where to start:

Nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov

A number of institutions, including The Library of Congress, National Park Service and Smithsonian, have joined forces to create a one-stop info-site for events around the country, online museum exhibits, veterans’ support, audio, video and resources for teachers.

Around the country:

  • The National Park Service has created a special list of park sites called “Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary: Places Reflecting America’s Diverse Cultures” not only for sites of Native American significance but all cultures of the Americas.
  • The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC, is not to be missed.
  • You can also read about Native American Veterans from World War II to Iraq with this collection of personal stories.

In Minnesota:

  • The University of Minnesota, Crookston, will host events November 16 through November 20. Check out their website for more info.
  • Watch the short video “A Day in the Life of Minnesota Tribal Nations”

Did you know?

  • Minnesota is a Siouan Indian word meaning “cloudy water.”
  • The original inhabitants of the area that is Minnesota included: The Dakota Sioux tribe; The Ojibwe tribe.
  • There are eleven federally recognized Indian tribes in Minnesota today, and they comprise the Chippewa, Ojibwe, Sioux and Dakota tribes.

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 Adventures: Hiking

For every Minnesota motorhome on the road, you’ll find at least one strong opinion about what makes a great hike, and where to find the most amazing scenery.  For some of us, fall is prime time for hiking, so we thought we’d share a few lists that highlight some of the best hikes in the U.S.

In its article describing the 10 Best Hiking Spots in the U.S., the Discovery Channel pondered why we hike at all. Ultimately, they wrote, “Vistas and waterfalls, giant redwoods and granite mountain faces aren’t typically visible from the interior of your car. And even when they are, it’s not the same as feeling the earth beneath your feet and standing on the edge of the cliff.”

If you’re traveling the country in your Pleasureland RV, there’s a great hiking spot not far from your destination. USA Today published a list of 51 hikes – one in each state plus the District of Columbia.  Not surprisingly, many of the best hikes are found in the National Parks, and National Geographic created a list of its picks for the 20 best trails.

Minnesota has some spectacular trails of its own, including hikes at Afton State Park where you can climb from the banks of the St. Croix River to a bluff overlooking the river valley.  If the name “Afton” sounds familiar, you may be thinking about the Robert Burns poem, “Afton Waters.” Hikes here could easily have been his inspiration.  There’s an easy, four-mile loop, and you can learn more about Afton State Park and read about 19 other popular Minnesota trails on Trails.com.

Finally, here are a few safety reminders. Before you head out on your hike, be sure someone knows where you’re headed, and when to expect you back. Take a backpack with supplies that make sense for the length of your hike, and the terrain you’ll encounter. Even for a short day hike, you’ll want to take plenty of water, a few snacks, a first aid kit, rain gear, and an extra jacket. The weather can change with little warning and it pays to be prepared.  What’s your favorite hike?

 

National Wildlife Refuge Week

Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the nation’s first wildlife refuge in 1903. Since that time, the National Wildlife Refuge System has grown to include 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts that conserve America’s diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species.

There’s at least one refuge in every state, and the refuges are home to an estimated 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 200 species of fish, which means that the refuges offer countless nature tourism opportunities for RV travelers.

During the week of October 14 – 20, we’re helping Minnesota celebrate National Wildlife Refuge week, and thought we’d share a few events happening across the state. Some of the highlights include special talks hosted by none other than author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (as portrayed by historian Richard Smith at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a photo workshop at the Fergus Falls-Prairie Wetland Learning Center, a photo contest at Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and bird-watching opportunities at most Minnesota refuges.

And, if your Minnesota RV travel plans take you further afield next week, you can visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife site to find a refuge on your route, and search for upcoming events all over the country.

 

 

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?