Getting Your Kicks on Route 66

Route 66 isn’t what it used to be. In the heyday of the American highway, it was a tradition to take your family along the famous Route 66, stopping for burgers, taking in a movie, staying in a low cost motel, taking photos at the famous landmarks. In fact, the iconic road trip as seen in a lot of American films still uses Route 66 iconography as the travelers pass by picturesque desert landscapes in the Southwest and send those postcards with the big “Welcome, from Albuquerque!” text.

Although Route 66 isn’t as lively as it once was, it’s still worth traveling for the lifelong Minnesota RVer who wants to take in an important part of American road culture, and while you’re making the journey, you’ll want to make a stop in Gallup, New Mexico.

Gallup was one of the thriving capitals of the Route 66 empire, and a drive through the city shows you a wide variety of beautiful sites. The facades of old movie theaters and restaurants and cafes all have a certain ghost-town charm to them, a bittersweet nostalgic feel, as if you can sense the presence of thousands of fellow travelers who’ve been here before.

Gallup is also the home of the world’s most popular Wal-Mart, as it serves as a shopping center for people from more than a hundred miles away in towns like Bluewater and Thoreau where it’s hard to find a big grocery store. This is useful for any RVer who needs to restock on the essentials or take a day to relax in the parking lot.

Gallup also puts you a stone’s throw away from Albuquerque and Santa Fe if you want to enjoy the whole New Mexico experience, and the state is full of great RV parks and camping sites. The real joy of New Mexico, however, is simply driving through the tremendous landscapes. A few hours on the road in N.M. and you’ll feel what it truly means to be an American nomad.

Feast Your Eyes On The 2013 Palomino Pop-up Camper

Sometimes you just don’t need a full sized Class A motorhome when you want to take a quick jaunt to the mountains or your favorite lake. A small and space saving pop-up model can save on fuel while providing a very comfortable place to relax at the end of the day. If you are searching for a camper that doesn’t leave you feeling cramped, consider the 2013 Palomino Pop-up Camper. A plethora of features help this compact camper compete with the most luxurious options from your favorite RV dealership in Minneapolis.

Expansion

Start by considering the dual pop-out bunks. Each provides plenty of space for sleeping, allowing you to accommodate up to four family members in one camper. The bunk areas are equipped with plenty of screened windows to give you a cool breeze on a hot summer night. Heated mats are also installed into each bunk to keep you just as warm during the fall and winter. A small furnace also makes this pop-up camper surprisingly suited for exploration during the cooler half of the year.

Air Flow

The roof vent pops up to capture the air as well. Many campers find that there is no need for air conditioning when dealing with a small space with great ventilation. Keeping the air moving will reduce heat, even when you’re parked in the sun. There’s no challenge to keeping your food and drinks cold either due to the spacious refrigerator.

Staying Safe

This space saving camper has a number of safety features to help families feel confident in their choice when camping. The CO2 detector will warn you if a propane stove or other appliance is leaking as you sleep. The electric brakes are highly responsive and ensure that your camper doesn’t get out of control when you’re traveling down a steep grade or need to make an emergency stop. There’s even a framed support on the roof that is ready to hold your favorite air conditioning equipment so you don’t have to try and balance it in a window or doorway. If you’re interested in a spacious pop-up camper that can handle the rigors of the wilderness, head to PleasureLand RV Center to see the Palomino in person.

Minnesota’s Character Challenge Course for RVers Thirsty for Adventure

Minnesota RVers spend a lot of time with sitting behind the wheel driving. We love the outdoors, but the opportunities for real, tough, physically taxing challenges are few and far between. Staying in shape is important when you’re on the road, and really pushing yourself to the limit can be incredibly rewarding, which is why, if you find yourself in Minnesota, you may want to check out the Character Challenge Course.

What it is

The Character Challenge Course is what you’re probably thinking: a tough outdoor challenge that will push you to the limit and see what you’re really made of. The challenges here are popular team building exercises for families, co-workers and friends just looking for a great way to spend the weekend.

The Challenges

The challenges here aren’t just physical in nature, they also demand real cooperation between the members of your traveling party. Whether that’s just you and your spouse, a group of traveling roomies or a whole family, you’ll be challenged with elevated trust falls, rope swinging, and a wide assortment of outdoor games that are both physically and personally demanding.

The Zipline Finish

The coolest part of the whole C4 challenge course is the zipline finish. The 370 foot zipline finish has you sliding into home, so to speak, providing a great climax to the whole affair. If you’ve never ziplined before, this is the way to do it, soaring through the trees of the Minnesotan wilderness.

If you want to go on a real adventure while you’re traveling through Minnesota, the Character Challenge Course may be just the way to do it. If you sign up in advance, it really doesn’t matter if you’re bringing the whole office or just you and a few friends. Gather your regular traveling buddies or show up with your family and enjoy a challenge course that pushes you to your limits and rewards you with a new understanding of yourself and the people you go through the course with.

RV Recipe: The Perfect French Press Coffee

The RV lifestyle is tough without coffee. If you’re a coffee drinker looking for a way to spice up your favorite beverage, you may want to start by buying a French press to brew your java. You’ll want to get a coffee grinder, as well. You can pick these up for very little money at most grocery stores, kitchenware shops or big box stores. You don’t need anything fancy. Generally speaking, one French press is as good as another.

There are a lot of different ideas out there on how to get the perfect cup of French pressed coffee, but this one seems to get a great tasting brew every time.

1. Start the Water Boiling

Depending on the altitude, the water for one or two cups of coffee should boil on the stovetop rather quickly.

2. Grind the Coffee Beans to a Fine Grain

You don’t quite need it to be powdery, but it should be a very light, fine ground. Think espresso-ground, or about as fine as plain white sugar.

3. Stir

When you put the grinds and the boiling water together in the French press, you’ll want to stir it with a spin for a second to make sure that it mixes well and you’re getting all of the sweet caffeinated goodness out of the beans.

4. Time for Four Minutes

Set your timer for four minutes and…

5. Press and Pour

Press the plunger down and pour a cup into your favorite coffee mug. Mix with sugar and cream if you like.

You can switch this recipe up a little by adding cinnamon to the grinds before you pour in the boiling water so you can get the great taste of cinnamon without the little specks of ground cinnamon floating on top of your cup of coffee.

The better the beans, the better this coffee will taste, but as long as you’re grinding your own instead of using pre-ground coffee grinds, you’ll at least enjoy a fresh, strong taste and aroma.

A Man’s Best Friend and His Motorhome

In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson and his driving partner, Sewall Crocker, completed the first transcontinental drive in an automobile from San Francisco to New York City. This was no mean feat. They drove over roads that weren’t “roads” in any modern sense of the word. With few available maps, it took 63 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes to complete. But Nelson and Crocker also had a very special driving companion. His name was Bud.  A sprightly Staffordshire Terrier clad in handsome road goggles, Bud was their tireless compatriot and friend, making the long, grueling journey even more memorable.

Since that historic road trip, our dogs have crisscrossed America with us. Would we have it any other way? Nope! So let’s blaze some RV trails this spring, and take along our best four-legged friends (the family and two-legged friends can come too). There are some great, pet-friendly RV camping spots and hiking trails waiting to be discovered.

Minnesota’s state parks offer miles and miles of hiking trails, from gentle to challenging to everything in between, so do your research to choose the right paths for you and your dogs. Be sure to read through the state park guidelines on where pets can go and how to manage them. Tip: Start with Jay Cooke State Park or Grand Portage State Park in the North Shore region for the diversity in activities for family and pets.

And, for both you and your pets, don’t forget to pack plenty of water and sunscreen (yes, pets can get sunburned too, and many vets recommend a zinc oxide). Be sure to choose a sunscreen that’s safe for your pets.

Finally, you’ll want a few snacks for whatever hiking, swimming, or camping experience you’re planning. There are pet bakeries throughout Minnesota, like Sunny’s Canine Creations in Saint Paul, and you can find all kinds of goodies when you’re in the neighborhood.  Make some great Minnesota RV travel memories with your best friend this spring!

Exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

If you have been searching for a new place to explore without leaving the state of Minnesota, consider planning a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness after visiting your favorite RV dealership. Minnesota is home to this 1.3 million acre nature preserve that runs along 150 miles of the border with Canada. Explore unspoiled natural beauty with your family and friends without having to see the same old sights or travel far out of the state.

Minnesota RV Destinations

Plenty Of Space

You can roam over the entire area, but there are designated camping areas, especially for RVs. However, there are over 2,000 different camp sites available to give you plenty of options. Set up near the water if you’re traveling with canoes and kayaks, or pull in near the head of your favorite trail. The area was first set aside in 1926, so many areas are very good examples of old growth forest for the area.

Planning Your Trip

Since the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is heavily protected, it’s important to apply for a permit to visit the area a few weeks before your trip. These permits are required for any person traveling in a motorized vehicle through the area. This ensures that visitors don’t go over the quotas and cause undue wear and tear to the environment. Permits for overnight stays start with coverage for two adults, so you can’t simply pay for a single visitor. You will need to give a total number of guests, including children, when making reservations. Last minute guests won’t be able to just jump in and go along with you. However, it’s possible to buy permits the day you arrive by visiting a park ranger’s office if you are traveling between October through April.

The Land Of A Thousand Lakes

The million-odd acres of the BWCAW are riddled with well over one thousand lakes. These bodies of water are connected by creeks, streams and rivers. Take to the water in your favorite canoe or kayak to explore over one thousand connected miles of water trails. If you don’t own any water gear or don’t have space in your RV for haul it along, consider renting your equipment from one of the many outfitters operating in or near the wilderness. There are also 11 full-length hiking trails if you prefer to explore the area by foot.

The BWCAW is located partially on the coast of Lake Superior and is easily accessed through the Superior National Park. Visitors can also take in the sights of International Falls or Thunder Bay while in the area. 

 

A Chocolate Themed Motorhome Trip

With the popularity of road trip food shows such as Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, it makes perfect sense to plan your next Minnesota motorhome road trip around your tastebuds.

Minnesota has some very special chocolate “destinations” on the map. Trek across the state in your RV and discover Mademoiselle Miel, which creates one-of-a-kind artisan chocolates available throughout the Twin Cities. Or, visit Chocolates Plus in Bemidji, which specializes in new and old favorites. Take a spin on the Internet and find tons of delicious options. It’s time to indulge those chocolate cravings!

Don’t forget those roadside attractions. It’s a safe bet that you can find homemade fudge and other wonderful local creations at even the simplest local market or gift shop. Don’t forget that those sweet, local fruits on the roadside always pair well with chocolate.

Once you’re happily ensconced at your campsite, think s’mores. They’re everyone’s favorite and for good reason. Let each family member choose a special extra ingredient, like caramel or peanut butter, to add your own family spin. You can even liven up the occasion with a family storytelling contest or sing-a-long for who gets the honor of the last s’more. You’ll either be in stitches, or sitting in awe of your various talents!

In case you decide to add a chocolate destination to your next cross-country RV adventure trip, don’t miss Ethel M in Henderson, Nevada, Ghirardelli in San Francisco, California or Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Chocolate can give a new twist to seeing America.  Have a sweet trip!

 

Simple Tips For Organizing Every Part Of Your RV

Staying organized in your Minnesota RV requires just a few pieces of specialized equipment. You don’t have to invest in expensive custom storage solutions when you tackle each part of the RV with an organizing plan.

Kitchen and Living Area

  • Use your microwave and oven as extra cabinets when you’re moving. Boxes of cereal or airtight containers full of rice can easily slip into these appliances when they’re not in use.
  • Invest in a big roll of non-stick shelf liners. These liners will keep dishes from slipping out when you’re driving, but they can also be used between plates and bowls to keep a stack from tipping over.
  • Invest in multi-purpose appliances to save space.
  • Hanging wire baskets or suspended shelves under the upper cabinets to hold cookbooks or other relatively flat items.

Bedroom and Bathroom

  • Use the walls of the bathroom and shower stall to expand storage for hair care products and other small items. A plastic shoe hanger with suction cups can hold half a dozen different shampoos and conditioners without cluttering up shelves and countertops.
  • Expand your closet with extra rods or collapsing clothes hangers that allow you to store six or seven items in the space of one. Store any clothing you don’t use at least once a week in a sealed bag in your exterior storage area.
  • Stick with collapsible laundry baskets and hampers. They fold up into a tiny, flat disc when you don’t need them.
  • Cut down on personal items that aren’t useful. If you’re only on a short trip, leave extra blankets or your curling iron at home and focus on your vacation instead. Full-time RV residents can open a small storage unit near their favorite home base to keep heirlooms and other items they can’t carry with them.

Exterior Storage

  • Pack blankets, clothing, and other soft items into large plastic bags and suck out the air with a simple vacuum tool to save space while protecting the items from dirt and insects. Pillows and other puffy items can shrink tremendously when vacuum packed.
  • Divide the storage area into sections with spring-loaded dividers if it’s simply one large compartment. You need to keep your tools for repairing the RV separate from clothing and gifts for your family, unless you want grease and dirt on them.

Many of our models at our Minnesota RV dealership feature extra built-in storage options. Come tour our best models to find one that fits the needs of you and your family when on the road.

An Easter Egg Hunt For The Kids

The Easter Bunny will be hopping by early this year! Easter is Sunday, March 31, and with a little imagination and elbow grease, you can turn your weekend RV camping trip into an impromptu Easter egg hunt.

An easy place to start is with plastic eggs and treats from any local market. You can use the motorhome itself to hide the eggs, because we all know there are plenty of nooks and crannies! Or, if you choose the great outdoors instead, enlist the older kids to find some ingenious places, but make sure there’s something for every age group, including some easy, low hiding spots for the little ones. Think of it as Easter geocaching! Don’t forget to make a map and note the number of eggs you hide. If you want to include the whole family in egg-dyeing fun, this site has easy tricks to make unique dyes and patterns with common ingredients. Who doesn’t love a tie-dyed Easter egg?!

If you don’t want to DIY Easter, you can find lots of fun in our state parks.  Check out Glacial Lakes State Park, which is planning an old fashioned Easter egg hunt and tons of family events. Visit the main page of the Minnesota State Parks website to learn more about great camping spots for your RV, and all kinds of upcoming events. There’s plenty of activity to eggs-cite all your campers!  Happy hunting!

Spending Easter In Your RV

One of the fun parts of the RV lifestyle is being able to spend your holidays on the road, but still enjoying the comforts of home.  You can always just pick up a corned beef sandwich and some beer for a smaller holiday, like St. Patrick’s day, but conducting an Easter Egg Hunt or roasting a whole ham in your RV can be tricky. Here are some ideas to make Easter work even when you’re on the road:

1. Bunnyspotting

A fun way to spend the afternoon, if you have rabbits, hares or bunnies in the area where you’re camping or driving, is to count how many of the long-eared fellows you can spot. You can whip out the digital camera and snap some shots or just have a contest to see who can count the most.

2. Plastic Egg Hunt

The problem with having an egg hunt in your RV is that if you forget one, you wind up with an egg rotting somewhere in your home and having no idea where it is because you hid it really well on purpose. Or you might get an egg rolling around the floor and getting stepped on and mashed into the carpet. A plastic egg hunt is a good alternative. You can get plastic eggs and hide candy and toys in them in your RV and around your campsite.

3. Spring Beer

For the adults, what’s the best part about Spring? Obviously the seasonal beer (well, if you are a beer drinker, that is). There are a lot of great beers and wines that you can only get in the Spring, as well as beers and wines that you can only get locally. Have an afternoon sampling the local pale ales and lagers with a Spring theme while catching a few fish or just taking in the nice Spring air with a brown sugar ham sandwich.

Easter is largely thought of as a children’s holiday, but there’s fun to be had no matter your age. Take the time to enjoy yourself this Easter.