Celebrate The Super Bowl In Your New RV

As the San Francisco 49’ers and the Baltimore Ravens make their way to New Orleans on February 3, are you starting to make your Super Bowl XLVII party plans? You’ve probably picked your favorite team, but here are the real questions: are you going to do a little tailgating in your Minnesota RV? And, what are you going to eat?

Super Bowl Sunday will be here before you know it, and these quick and easy delicious recipes can help you plan your RV menu in no time! Do you like your queso hot and spicy and made with no fuss? Just toss the Velveeta and Rotel in a crockpot, add some sautéed chorizo if you’re feeling adventurous, and your sports fans will love it.

Or how about some Dutch-oven nachos? Layer whatever ingredients you prefer, like shredded beef or chicken, cheese, jalapenos and black beans. Use 18 coals (arranged with half on top and half on bottom to reach 375 degrees) and cook for about 15 minutes.

Better have the guacamole handy, too! The Food Network has a recipe for what they describe as “the perfect guacamole.” [http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/perfect-guacamole-recipe2/index.html] Start with a basic recipe and add your own twist.

Of course, there’s still the big game to actually watch in between all the munching, and you’ll want to show your spirit. If you’re a die-hard Vikings fan, shop the NFL cold weather gear and grab an official jersey or hoodie. You can also check out the Vikings season ticket options. It’s never too early to start hoping for a better season next year!

No matter who you’re pulling for, make Super Bowl Sunday a cozy and fun night spent with your RV family and friends!

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?

 

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!

Remember Pearl Harbor Day

If you like exploring American’s history in person, then hitch up your Minnesota RV and hit the road. December 7, 2012 will mark the 71st anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy,” the attack on Pearl Harbor in the early morning hours at the United States naval base in Hawaii so long ago. The attack by Japan resulted in the destruction of 188 U.S. aircraft, the loss of 2,402 Americans and 1,282 wounded. And of course caused the entrance of the United States into World War II.  And while RV trips to Hawaii may not be practical, we can honor the service of those who served in World War II with visits to memorials and museums across the nation. There’s an array of online tools to bring history to life and help you plan your trip.

When you hit the road, you may want to check out the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Founded by historian and author, Stephen Ambrose, the Museum tells the story of the war that literally changed the world. Or if your route crosses through the northeast, then plan to visit the U.S. National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. Flanked by the Washington Monument to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west, this monument is truly a lasting edifice to all those who served in the armed forces and as civilians.

Did you know that more than 326,000 Minnesotans of all races and religions served in the U.S. armed
forces during World War II? And more than 6,000 gave their lives. Learn more and honor that service with a visit to the World War II Memorial at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Americans have an intriguing history. Have a great time exploring it on the road!

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!

 

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 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!