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!

Minnesota RVing Storytelling

Although you may be spending the night in your Pleasureland RV, a big part of the camping experience is the campfire. And storytelling by the campfire is an art form all its own.

First: the campfire. You’ll need four things: tinder, kindling, firewood, and a match.

Tinder lights easily, and can be anything from dried grasses or moss, to lint from your dryer or a packaged fire starter. Kindling provides fuel for the fire, and can include dried twigs or strips of cardboard. Firewood, including split and whole logs, will keep the roaring fire burning.  (Safety reminder: keep a bucket of water handy any time you have a campfire. Stray embers can easily start a forest fire!)

Start by creating a pile of tinder and kindling in the fire pit. You’ll want it piled together loosely enough for air to circulate, but closely enough for the flames to easily spread. Light the tinder with a match or lighter. Then, as the fire grows, add small pieces of firewood until the fire becomes hot enough to burn the larger logs. Add the wood in a star pattern, propping one log on the other to encourage air circulation and keeping the fire going.

Now, you’ve got a roaring campfire and it’s time for a round of storytelling! There’s something about the warm glow of a campfire that brings out our funniest family stories and scariest ghost stories. Who’s the best storyteller in your family?

This month, the Master Storytelling Festival in the Twin Cities features artists from  the Black Storytellers Alliance, and you can find more festivals all over the U.S. on the storytelling festivals page. It’s a great time to hitch up the your St. Cloud RV and go discover a long-lost slice of Americana!

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!

A Wild Animal Safari In Your New RV

If you’re an avid Minnesota RVing traveler, chances are, you spend a fair amount of time watching wildlife along the hiking trails and in the parks you visit. Wildlife can be elusive, but there are several wild animal parks across the U.S. that make it possible for you and your family to get “up close and personal” with exotic creatures.

Perhaps the best-known U.S. parks are the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Both offer guided safari experiences give you firsthand experiences with the amazing creatures that share our planet.  If you would like to stay a little closer to home, you can find a wild animal experience at Minnesota’s Hemker Wildlife Park.

Their 90-minute tours give you a chance to experience a wide variety of wildlife including penguins, pronghorn, reindeer, ostrich, moose and woodland caribou.

Make sure you capture the amazing scenery and wildlife by following these photography hints:

  1. Use a tripod to hold the camera steady.
  2. Zoom in. Portraits of the animals’ faces will give you lots of great material for that scrapbook later. If you have a point and shoot camera, become familiar with your zoom feature in advance. Even better, use your 35mm camera with a long zoom lens.
  3. Disable camera sounds. The beeping of the autofocus or the shutter sounds can startle skittish animals.
  4. Tour the animal park early in the morning or late in the evening. The light is gorgeous and you’ll see even more animals moving about.
  5. Stay safe. The animals in animal parks and zoos are still wild creatures. The National Park Service offers some thoughtful reminders about viewing wildlife.

Have you ever taken your Minnesota Winnebago RV on a safari?

Taking Your Furry Friends On The Road

If you’re taking your pets on new Minnesota RV road trips, you’re probably already savvy about how to plan your trip and care for your pets along the way. But we found a few reminders in Pets America’s Pet First Aid & Disaster Response guide and thought we’d share.

1. Plan ahead. Research Minnesota’s emergency vets along your RV route through the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. You can search for clinics in other states as well. http://www.veccs.org/index.php?option=com_hospitals&Itemid=193&nationid=1&searchword=&rpp=12&stateid=21&action=do_searc

2. Get referrals ahead of time for reliable pet sitters at your destination. http://www.petsitters.org/

3. Make sure your pet wears identification tags at all times. Add a temporary tag with the local number at your campground.

4. Update your microchip contact information. If your pet has a microchip (of course they do!), then call your microchip company to ensure your contact info is up to date.

5. Talk to your vet about motion sickness. If your pet is new to travel, take a short ride to see how your pet reacts, and to find out if they’re prone to motion sickness. If so, talk to your vet about solutions.

6. Never leave your pet in the hot vehicle. Even when it’s a comfortable 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside the vehicle can reach 120 deadly degrees in a matter of minutes.

7. Use a crate or harness to secure your pet inside the vehicle. Pet seats give pets a comfortable place to sit while the harness secures them safely to a seatbelt. This restraint can save a life.

8. Take breaks. Enjoy the journey and take frequent breaks so both you and your pet can… stretch your legs.

For even more tips on pet care, visit Minnesota’s Veterinary Medial Association. (Scroll down to the bottom of the home page to find the pet tips.)  Let’s face it. Not every pet is destined to be a RV road warrior, but for those who are, these tips can make the journey safer so you can enjoy the adventure.

Minnesota RV Travels: Fun Museums

Sometimes, weird can be wonderful. If you’re a seasoned Minnesota RV traveler, you’ve already discovered that prowling the roadsides can be as much fun as getting to that next destination.

In Minnesota, the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices was recently added to the collections at the Science Museum of Minnesota after the passing of the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices’s founder, Bob McCoy. You can check out Bob’s work to expose quackery in all its forms on his website: http://www.museumofquackery.com/. From a device designed to map your personality based on the bumps on your head to an electrical charge to boost your virility, this collection has it all.

While searching for “weird,” we also stumbled across another website called Weird U.S.with listings for weird stops all across the U.S. They’re still working on their page for Minnesota, but they do give readers a chance to contribute their own stories about the best places to explore. Maybe we need to offer a few suggestions!  Are you ready to add a little weird (and wonderful!) to your next road trip in your new Pleasureland RV? What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever visited? Let us know!

Minnesota RV Safety: Propane

Getting ready for a big roadtrip in your motorhome can be full of excitement and fun. In the midst of the packing frenzy, you must remember more than just the toothpaste and towels. Having propane is essential for your new Minnesota RV on the road. It’s also important to have the propane system checked out at least once a year. So whether you’ve had the RV in storage or you call it home, here are a few tips on being prepared when it comes to propane inside of your vehicle.

Why use propane?

Propane has many benefits. As far as fuels go, it is considered to be clean. It’s liquid petroleum gas and there is a lot of it! Its low price and wide availability make it an easy option for everything from cooking to hot baths. Because it’s so easily transportable, motorhomes can use it for many things. While it’s usually quite safe, there are important factors to consider when using it.

Precaution

The most important item that every RV should have is a propane detector. They can be bought at any home improvement store and can be assembled without expertise. Having difficulty with set up? Don’t be afraid to ask for help! If something were to go wrong it could save lives. Be prepared to immediately vacate the premises should the alarm go off. In an emergency, aside from calling 911, turn off the propane valve if possible.

Testing

There are a few tests that a technician can do for the whole system to ensure proper working order. The first is an operating pressure test, which is used to determine pressure amounts to the regulator during use.  Too much on either side of the normal range could create problems. Another good test is the timed drop pressure test. Doing this test will show if there are any leaks which no system should have. Once the leak is pinpointed, you will be good to go! The last is referred to as a lock up test that ensures the regulator is completely shutting. This test avoids pressure contamination which could cause an explosion.

These are great ways to protect your family and your Pleasureland RV. Taking these extra steps will remove any unknowns from the safety of your trip. You will rest easier knowing your propane system is good to go.

Have you had your system tested this year? Feel free to share your propane tips with us in the comments below!

 

Thanks to Gary Motley for contributing

How to Properly Use the Mirrors on Your Minnesota RV

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, your backing up your new or used RV is a lot different than backing up your average passenger vehicle. The second you plop into that driver’s seat, you’ll realized that looking over your shoulder or in your rear-view mirror isn’t going to be much help.

However, if you look to your left and right, you’ll see that your RV has some pretty large side mirrors. When these are properly adjusted, you’ll be able to see from the side of your RV to the back bumper. A lot of RVs also have convex mirrors. They will either be separate or part of the main mirror. You’ll need to adjust the convex mirrors, as well, in order to widen your view along the side of your RV. This will help minimize bilnd spots and expand your view to the rear on both sides to include most of the next lane of traffic.

I know this sounds like an overload of info, but to make your mirror situation as easy as possible, I recommend using a set of extended mirrors like the Tow-N-See Mirror. The great thing about these mirrors is that they move along with your power mirrors so you can adjust your view while sitting in the driver’s seat. Extended mirrors provide the best possible view in my opinion. Not to mention they take mere minutes to install.

Come by and check out these mirrors and get some other RV tips on how to use your mirrors at one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations in Minnesota.  Installation takes just seconds with a twist of the knob, leaving no marks and making it easy to transfer from one vehicle to the next. Tow-N-see…The one that works!

[Source: The Fun Times Guide]