Get Out Your Minnesota RV! It Is Time For Spring!

Little by little, inch by inch, and bloom by bloom, spring will soon be bustin’ out all over! If you’re stuck inside on a rainy or snowy day, it’s the perfect time to plan an Minnesota RV road trip for the whole family. The wildflowers will be blooming in no time!

Minnesota is home to hundreds of native wildflowers, and our state parks and roadsides offer beautiful backdrops to explore and photograph these natural wonders.  Here’s a tip: for the best of the best, start with Wild River, Carley or Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park, and check out upcoming wildflower events in the parks. Each state park offers the perfect setting for maximum RV enjoyment with scenic campsites, hiking trails and more.

Minnesota Wildflowers is also a great place to learn more about where to find your favorites and learn about wildflower preservation. Or, join the Minnesota Wildflowers Facebook page to share your pics and wildflower hunting stories.

For all you amateur shutterbugs longing to get up close and personal with some lowland yellow loosestrife and have the beautiful shots to prove it, try these photo tips from the pros:

  • You’ll get your best photos on a cloudy day.
  • Experiment with using your flash and decide which photos you like best.
  • Don’t be afraid to move in close on your subject.
  • Photograph early or late in the day to avoid harsh shadows.

And most importantly, when you’ve set off in your camper or motorhome, but spot a vista where you just have to pull over and capture a photo, don’t forget these rules:

  • Watch your step.
  • Watch for traffic. It’s easy to get distracted and forget to watch for oncoming traffic when you’re crossing the road or opening your vehicle door.
  • Check the area for insects and snakes before you plop your child or grandchild into the flowers for photos.
  • Don’t trespass on private property.
  • Don’t trample the flowers.

Hooray for spring! Let’s keep our parks and open spaces blooming for years to come!

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 RVers: What Would You Do If You Saw A Bat?

Halloween is coming. And even though we have a blast camping out in the our new Minnesota motorhomes, carving pumpkins and dressing up as ghosts and goblins, it’s also a tough time of year for batty public relations. We thought this would be a great time to set the record straight with a few fun facts about bats from Bat Conservation International:

  • Centuries of myths and misinformation still generate needless fears and threaten bats and their habitats around the world.
  • The more than 1,200 species of bats. They range from the world’s smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny to giant flyig foxes with six-foot wingspans.
  • A single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour, while a pregnant or lactating female bat typically eats the equivalent of her entire body weight in insects each night.
  • Almost a third of the world’s bats feed on the fruit or nectar of plants. In return for their meals, these bats are vital pollinators of countless plants (many of great economic value) and essential seed dispersers with a major role in regenerating rainforests.
  • About 1 percent of bats eat fish, mice, frogs or other small vertebrates.
  • Only three species, all in Latin America, are vampires. They really do feed on blood, although they lap it like kittens rather than sucking it up as horror movies suggest. Even the vampires are useful: an enzyme in their saliva is among the most potent blood-clot dissolvers known and is used to treat human stroke victims.

Minnesota has seven species of bats, and Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release, Inc. says that while some of our bats migrate south for the winter, others hibernate in caves, abandoned mines and buildings.  Two species include the gorgeous silver-haired bat, which lives in forests and has dark fur with silver streaks, and the red bat, which often hangs from its tree roosts by one foot, mimicking an autumn leaf.

This Halloween, help spread the word! Bats are not what you’ve seen in horror movies. Bats are the good guys!

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?