15 Jun

RVFTA #146 RV Road Trip Tips 2017

It’s that time of year, and many folks are hitting the road for the summer travel season. On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about some ways to stay happy and healthy while getting from point A to point B.

We could all use some fresh ideas to make the journey a little better, so we have compiled tips for staying safe and having a bit more fun, even if you are a prisoner to your kids’ 99th round of 21 Questions.

You might want to throw on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and try to teleport to the next destination, but we want you to know that the journey really can be a great part of the adventure. So here are some fresh ideas for enjoying the ride…

Segment One: Staying Safe

It’s way more fun to talk about trip planning than safety, but the bottom line is that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Take these precautions to make sure you arrive safe and sound at your epic destination…

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02 Sep

RVFTA #104 Road Trip Wrap Up, Part 2

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On this week’s podcast episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are wrapping up our entire summer of travel with the second part of our Road Trip Reflections. We took two major trips this summer, and learned lessons about ourselves, our children, and our traveling styles on each of the trips.

In cased you missed it, you can check out Episode #99: Road Trip Wrap Up, Part 1 here.

Summer Road Trip Wrap Up

For this week’s Road Trip Wrap Up, we separated our reflections into two different segments: one for Jeremy and one for Stephanie. Take a listen as we discuss forgotten items, reading resolutions, deeply wooded campsites, finding wifi, the messy French Press, and trying out new activities. We will also talk about television and sleeping in.

Fair warning: things get a little heated with the last topic of conversation…the dreaded bathroom argument of 2016.

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25 Aug

RVFTA #103 Greetings from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Greetings from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and telling you all about the amazing Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the great state of Michigan.

Voted one of America’s most beautiful places by Good Morning America, this truly is a magical destination that demonstrates why the National Parks might be our country’s greatest idea ever. We will talk about the best drives, hikes, swims, and even shopping in the Sleeping Bear Dunes park.

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This episode goes along with two different Campground of the Week episodes: #41 about Holiday Park in Traverse City and #42 about the Platte River Campground in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Both are amazing places to stay while visiting the region. We cover completely different activities and food options in the different episodes, so be sure to listen to all three if you are planning a visit of your own in the future!

Subcribe to Campground of the Week here…

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29 Jul

RVFTA #99 Summer Road Trip Wrap Up

Summer Road Trip Wrap Up

Special Announcements included in this podcast episode:

Go RVing Facebook Live Event, hosted by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi of RV Family Travel Atlas: Tune in to the Go RVing Facebook page on August 2nd at 3:30 pm Central Time.

New Jersey Festival of Ballooning: Find us at the Progressive RV on Friday, 5-8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5pm.

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are hashing out our recent road trip and dishing on the highs, the lows, the successes, and the lessons learned.

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16 Jun

RVFTA #93 Packing up the RV: Creating Prepacked Kits for Easy Travel

Packing Up the RV_ Tips for Family Travel

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about some of the items we pack for our longer summer trips. From craft kits to rainy day bins to sports buckets, we will dish on our go-to rec items for RV travel. Listen to hear our dos and don’t for creating stocked kits before you hit the road on your family vacation.

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27 May

RVFTA #90: Road Trip Tips!

RVFTA's Road Trip Tips

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31 Jul

RVFTA #46: Reflections from 34 Days on the Road

reflections from 34 days on the road

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are looking back at 34 days on the road. We have never spent that many consecutive nights in our travel trailer, and it was definitely a different experience than a long weekend or one-week vacation.

Four states and seven campgrounds later, we have some thoughts to share. Listen to hear our reflections about campgrounds and family travel. Will RVFTA become a full-time RVing operation? You will have to tune in to find out…

Campground Topics

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Landscaping
  3. Furnishings
  4. Communal Spaces

Family Topics

  1. Chores and Clean Up
  2. Activities and Down Time
  3. Homesickness
  4. Mountains or Sea?

And we are wrapping up our reports from the road by interviewing Running Bear, one of the co-owners of the Jellystone in Marion, North Carolina. They are doing a lot of things right at this campground, and we will talk about the customer service and activities that blew us away.

We are delighted to welcome back Go RVing as our RVFTA sponsor. Listen for a special message from them just a bit later in our show. To find your AWAY head over to Go RVing.

Our epic road trip is over, but maybe yours has just begun. And you are listening to Episode #46: Reflections from 34 Days on the Road.

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05 Jun

RVFTA #38: The Family Road Trip…What’s In It For Mom and Dad?

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about good ole Mom and Dad.

Awhile back we recorded a podcast about how our kids benefit from RV travel. It was called The Family Road Trip: What’s in it for the Kids? This ended up being one of our most popular episodes, and parents regularly write us letters talking about how they relate to the reflections we shared. We all want so badly to raise kind, curious, flexible, and adventurous kids. RVing is such a great way to work towards those goals.

This week we wanted to turn the tables and talk about moms and dads. RVing and family travel doesn’t just benefit the little guys. We have grown as individuals, as parents, and as a couple over the last 5 years of hitching up and heading out to the campground. Listen to hear the list of the ways we think we have changed through our experiences as an RVing family.

We’ve said it before: It’s not always easy, but we do believe it’s worth it.

And we are thrilled to have an interview with the couple who got us thinking about this topic in the first place. David and Veronica James, aka The Gypsynesters, bought an RV and hit the road after the last of their children had flown the nest. Six years later they are still traveling and having the adventures of a lifetime. Their recently released book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All, is hilarious and inspiring.

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We reached out to Veronica and David not only to hear some of their great stories, but also to ask them to share some advice for young parents who are still in the thick of raising kids. Boy, did they deliver. Listen to hear these Gypsynesters talk about remaining a connected and adventurous couple throughout this whole parenting gig.

And we would love to hear from you. How has travel and RVing helped you grow as an individual or a couple? The kids are important, but so are we.

See you at the campground…

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03 Nov

10 Reasons Why RV Vacations Are Better!

You can also listen to our RV Family Travel Atlas podcast: 10 Reasons RV Vacations are Better

A few years ago, a great hotel deal tempted us into booking a weekend getaway with the boys. We had never stayed in a hotel with them, and we were quite worried that everything, including sippy cups and blankies, would hit the fan.

Well, it did. Two nights in a hotel room with our two year olds had us running back to kiss the road our RV traveled on. After yelling don’t touch that three million times and locking ourselves in the bathroom to eat snacks and watch a movie on the laptop after bedtime, we were pining for the camper, the campground, and the campfire.

We have stayed in a few hotels since then, and we always leave grateful that our main form of travel is an RV. Here are our top 10 reasons why we choose RV vacations over any other type of travel.

1savemoretravelless

The RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) reports that RV vacations are 23-59% less expensive for families owning RVs. We have found that we save over 50% on most trips by traveling in our camper. This savings allows us to spend up to 40 nights a year on the road, something we could never do if we were staying in hotels.

2camperssocial

Do you remember all those friends you met while staying in hotels? Yeah, neither do we. But we meet and talk to people from all over the world when we are staying at campgrounds. Over the last year we have met lovely folks from Canada, Wales, California, and Germany. We have been given impromptu floor plan tours by more campground neighbors than we can count.

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When you rent a campsite, you also get room for your kids to roam. We can sit and relax while our boys play soccer or ride their bikes right in front of our site. This sure beats chasing them down a hotel hallway or yelling at them as they press every button in the elevator and set off emergency alarms. Not that we would know about that!

4activities

You don’t have to leave to find activities. They are right there at the campground. Some hotels have pools, but most campgrounds also have playgrounds, volleyball courts, fishing holes, mini-golf courses, crafts, and outdoor movie nights. The campground is not just a place to stay…it can become one of the most memorable parts of your vacation.

5campfire

We have set up mini bars in hotel bathrooms and watched a movie on a laptop with shared earphones while the boys slept. Completely pathetic. At a campground, you put the kids to bed and then hangout around the campfire with food, friends, drinks, and music. What’s the contest?

6familyandfriends

RV vacations make it very easy to travel with family and friends. Our travel trailer sleeps eight comfortably, so we love it when guests come on trips with us. Buddy sites allow two families to camp side-by-side, creating a common area in the middle for meals and playtime. Both families have their own private space and plenty of room to socialize.

7wholefamily

Most campgrounds are dog friendly, and many RVers travel with their four-legged family members. Many places have dog runs and pet playgrounds. There is also, of course, plenty of space for your morning and evening walks.

8ownfood

This saves you money and helps everyone eat healthier. We spend about the same amount of money on groceries whether at home or on the road, and we know our kids are getting a balanced diet—very tricky to accomplish while eating out three meals a day.

9ownbed

Yeah, someone else didn’t sleep in your bed the night before. And the night before that. ‘Nuff said.

10reconnectnature

Campgrounds encourage us to truly enjoy the great outdoors. From morning walks, to picnic table meals, to hide and seek under the stars, an RV vacation brings us closer to nature and closer together. There are tons of studies that point to the rejuvenating effects of time spent outside. Our three happy kids are proof enough for us.

27 Jul

The Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest

The Kancamagus Highway, better known as the Kanc, is a 34.5 mile stretch of road that runs through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. We had heard from some folks that it was a lovely drive, but honestly it wasn’t at the top of our list of things to do while staying near Lincoln. Scenic car rides can be a tricky proposition with three young kids. We can experience heaven on earth if all three decide to fall asleep and let us peacefully gaze out at the magnificent landscape. Or we might endure a nightmare with a screaming baby and whining boys. Roll the dice, toss the coin…you get it.

Luckily the weather encouraged us to take this drive, as it ended up being one of our favorite spots in the White Mountains.

We had just finished a misty hike near Cannon Mountain when the rain started to come down a bit more earnestly. So we picked up this map from the visitor center and took the gamble that our tired boys would conk out for the hour plus car ride. 

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They did. Praise be.

We drove the entire length of the Kanc, starting in Lincoln and ending in Conway. The boys woke up at about the time we turned around, so on the way back we pulled off at various overlooks…

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…and then parked and walked down a few paths to falls and ponds.

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The best part about this highway is that you can experience it on many different levels. If you only drive through, the scenery is still stunning and the quiet remoteness is overwhelmingly peaceful.

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Or you might choose to do what we did and enjoy some of the shorter walks at Lower Falls and the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area.

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However, If you want to explore the area more thoroughly, there are six campgrounds to stay at in the National Forest. There are also day-long hikes that people rave about, such as the one out to Sawyer Pond. That is at the top of our list when we return to the White Mountains.

Finding a place like the Kancamagus Highway is like finding treasure when you are a family traveling with young children. You can enjoy a piece of gold or two now, but you can also imagine all the possibilities for when the kids are a bit older, or for when you are traveling on your own.

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So when the ‘weather’ arrives (and it will) during your trip to New Hampshire, we highly recommend rolling the dice and taking a drive down the Kancamagus Highway. Bring your rain gear. You might not be able to stay in the car for long.

15 Jul

Cape Cod Family Trip Planner: Beaches, Biking, Baseball, and More!

Planning a trip to Cape Cod? We spent a magical week there this summer and can’t wait to return. Here is our list of suggestions for where to stay, what to eat, and how to have tons of family fun.

Where to Stay

 

Atlantic Oaks RV Park

A great campground at a great price with super-clean facilities. Direct access to the Cape Cod Bike Trail.

Where to Eat and Drink

 

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Get in line early for Cape Cod’s best breakfast splurge. The Glazed Old Fashioned? Yum.

Beanstock Roastery

Buy enough for your whole trip. Then buy some more to bring home. We love the Wellfleet Blend and the Bali Blue Moon Organic.

Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar

Try the hot lobster roll. Please. Bring extra cash for ice cream after lunch.

Friendly Fisherman

Let the kids romp on the playground while you enjoy lobster rolls and crab cakes. BYOB.

MoJo'sP-TownSeafood Shack

The town librarian told us this was the quintessential Provincetown lunch. We couldn’t agree more.

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Perfect for lunch after hiking at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Ask for Janine for your waitress. She’ll recommend the Cape Cod Reuben. Order it.

 

Family Fun

First Encounter Beach

This bay beach is perfect for low-tide exploration. Bring the kites and kayaks for a perfect day on the Cape.

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The five dollar entry fee is the best bargain on Cape Cod. Hike around one of the kettle ponds or just settle in at Flax Pond for a family swim.

Cape Cod National Seashore

The visitor centers alone are full of fun activities and educational resources. Our favorite feature was the Nauset in Eastham Bike Trail that brought you within steps of the beach.

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Our boys are still learning to ride bikes and this was a wonderful way for us to embrace this fun family activity. We can’t wait to return without the training wheels.

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife sanctuary

The landscape and trails here are stunningly beautiful. The nature center and educational activities are an added bonus. Make sure you go during low tide so you can enjoy the Boardwalk Trail.

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Who doesn’t love a lighthouse? This one is conveniently located in the National Seashore just north of the popular Coast Guard beach.

Provincetown Public Library

We had to drag our boys out of this library because it was long past lunchtime. It is just simply a beautiful and fun place to spend a few hours.

Baseball League

Nothing beats the crack of a wooden bat. We recommend that you skip the hotdog and buy a cup of clam chowder. Admission is free, but a donation is recommended.

As always, we love to hear from our readers. If you go to Cape Cod, please let us know any other places that you recommend. We can’t wait to add to this list when we return next June!

 

 

14 Apr

Own the Road: 5 Reasons We Arrive with Happy Campers

Vacationing with kids is awesome. Getting to that vacation with everyone’s sanity and goodwill intact can be the really tricky part. The planning and packing and loading is enough to stop most people from venturing onto the open road with their children. And then there is the horror of hours upon hours of are we there yet variations in whine minor.

Getting from point A to point B as a family is never an easy endeavor, but we do believe it is worth the effort. That’s why we have been doing it for the last four years. We kicked off the 5th season of adventures with our Lively Little Campers this week, and I’ve been thinking about what it takes to get out of the house and onto the road with as little drama as possible.

Don’t get too hung up on the whole packing thing. Look, I’m a pretty type-A person. My boys’ napping schedule is typed out and hung up on a family bulletin board. I meal plan and I pay my bills using a spreadsheet. But when it comes to prepping for a trip, I keep it low key. Basically I pack a lot of stuff. I mentally walk through an average day and account for all the things we really use. Then I add in the fun stuff like scooters and bikes. A friend once told me that she packed outfits by the day in ziplock bags. If I tried to do this each time we traveled, you might find me rocking in a corner.  I do laundry, fold it, and put it in a duffel. Done.  I know I should make checklists, but I love my Moleskins and my scribbles. It has worked so far and lets face it—if you forget something, there is probably a store.

 

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Make every trip as exciting as Disney World. No matter where we are going, our boys are out of their minds excited when we leave for a camping trip. We talk it up for weeks in advance, showing them pictures on the internet. By the time we leave, they feel like the luckiest ducks in the world. Today, when we pulled into our campground sweaty and tired, Max kissed me and thanked me for bringing them to the best place on earth. Yes, that is a quote.

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Train your kids for long car rides. I know that they drive you nuts when you drive to Auntie’s house 2 hours away. But if you do long car rides often enough, they really will pull through for you. Our boys have gotten carsick one too many times, so we have stopped using the DVD player. That means we travel up to eight hours a day with nothing but our goodwill and creativity to guide us.  Here it is, people: food, music, game, nap. Repeat. God love my older boys for finally learning the alphabet. A whole new world of car games is at our fingertips.

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Understand the value of the picnic lunch. Do not, under any circumstances, force your children to sit in a restaurant and eat after sitting in a car for hours. We have worked on this for years, sometimes packing sandwiches for lunch and then stopping for dinner. I am proud to report that we just completed a two-day road trip from Jersey to South Carolina without purchasing a single item of food along the way. We could very literally feel the difference.

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Avoid the rest stops. Embrace the visitor centers. Do a bit of research ahead of time to find the visitor centers on your route. Get your gas somewhere else, then stop and let the kids run or kick a ball while you take a bathroom break (in the RV, thank you very much!) and eat your homemade sandwiches. I will say that Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee have centers that pretty much kick butt. I’m talking rocking chairs and sprawling lawns. But it’s not just a southern thing…you can find them all over.

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Make sure there is a payoff. At the end of the day, magic. That’s our rule. We try hard not to break it.

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06 Apr

Campground Sticker Shock? Unpacking the Value of a Cabin

Jeremy and I realized recently that a certain scenario keeps repeating itself. Friends of ours will express interest in coming along with us on a trip. If they are not interested in tent camping, we enthusiastically recommend cabins as a great way to experience a campground without the gear and prep that goes hand in hand with roughing it. Our friends love the idea until we go to make reservations. Then BAM! Sticker shock and retreat.

It turns out that most people assume cabins will be significantly cheaper than a hotel room. The truth is, cabins are not necessarily a cheaper way to travel; they are a different way to travel. Just like there is a wide variety of hotel experiences out there, cabins range from the rustic to the luxurious and are priced accordingly. We have stayed in cabins with nothing but  two beds and a dresser, but we have also stayed in ones with complete kitchens, bathrooms, and separate sleeping areas.

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So the real question is…why would you stay in a cabin when you could just stay in a hotel for the same price? Here are the reasons why we choose a cabin every time we travel without our RV…

1. You are not only getting  a room. You are getting land. Along with your cabin rental comes access to grass and dirt, two things that your kids need to experience after a long day in the car. There is nothing better than relaxing in a zero gravity chair while your kids run around like lunatics in a nearby field or scoot up and down the path in front of you. It sure beats chasing them down a hotel hallway or yelling at them as they press every button in the elevator and set off emergency alarms.

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2. You don’t have to leave to find activities. They are right there at the campground. I know some hotels have pools, but many campgrounds have them in addition to playgrounds and volleyball nets and fishing holes and mini golf courses. I love the fact that when we spend the night in a cabin, that experience turns into a memorable part of the journey, not just a stopover on the way to a destination.

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3. People aren’t above you. People aren’t below you. No one cares more about sleep than parents, and no one makes more noise than kids. This means we get ticked off when people are loud after we put our babies to bed. Then we get stressed out when our cherubs are up screaming at the crack of dawn. In cabins there are no loud TVs on the other side of the wall, no yelling in the hallways. The great outdoors lets every family keep their own brand of crazy to themselves.

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4. You can actually party (visualize air quotes) after the kids go to bed. My husband and I have set up mini bars in hotel bathrooms and watched a movie on a laptop with shared earphones while the boys slept. Completely pathetic. At a campground, you put the kids to bed and then hang out around a campfire with friends, drinks, food, and music. What’s the contest?

5. If you have to clean up puke, cabins have outside hoses and clothes lines. I know…TMI. And that is usually not my style. But it is a really important factor when measuring the value of a cabin vs. hotel room. A few years ago while driving through Virginia, both of my boys got carsick and spewed strawberry smoothie all over the backseat of the Suburu. Luckily we had reservations at a cabin that night. The car seats and covers got hosed down and hung out to dry (along with Max and Theo). I can’t even imagine what we would have done if we were staying at the Comfort Suites.

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Cabins give you more than just a room to stay in; they give you access to an entire campground. If you pick the right place, you will get more out of your stay than most hotels can offer. We used to rent houses down in Cape Hatteras and now we can’t imagine not staying at the KOA when we head down in the summer. We could never find a house rental that would come with pools, hot tubs, bounce pillows, mini golf, train rides, and outdoor movie showings.

So we know we are getting a pretty good deal. Maybe one day we will convince our friends…

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30 Mar

Guest Blog: Is New Zealand the World’s Most Beautiful Country?

John and Cathy are experienced international RV travelers. They have just returned from exploring New Zealand in a rented campervan and have agreed to blog about their adventures for our readers. Here is the next installment…

If heaven has beautiful views, then we certainly saw a preview in New Zealand–where we just completed a trip to celebrate forty years of marriage.  Many people regard New Zealand as the world’s most beautiful country. For Cathy and I, it certainly lived up to these claims.  With only about 4.5 million people living on two islands, lots of land is open and there are few cities.  Mountains, lakes, valleys and rivers abound and meet you at each of the many bends in the road.

A road with Aoraki _ Mount Cook hiding in the clouds

Aoraki / Mount Cook became our favorite view and memory of New Zealand.  This mountain lies on the South Island in an area called the Southern Alps.  The thrill of driving through these two lane mountain roads, with vistas on both sides, looking up at mountains, and looking down at rugged beaches below, certainly will not be forgotten.  The mountain climbs to over 12,000 feet, and seems to be every inch that big, since the valleys that surround it are closer to sea level.

Aoraki _ Mount Cook

Aoraki / Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest peak) looms over the Canterbury region of New Zealand in a national park named for the mountain.  The Aoraki part of the name comes from the indigenous people, the Maori, and their legend of how the mountain was formed.  Cook is the name of the first European to circumnavigate New Zealand.

Aoraki / Mount Cook is snow covered all year round and has several glaciers.  We saw the snow covered peak first as we drove into the Southern Alps along the western highway, SH 6.  Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo reflected the snow cap in their crystal clear water as we drove to our final destination, Christchurch.  All along the middle of the west coast the mountain dominates the landscape.  This mountain is perhaps the most beautiful that we have ever seen because it rises so precipitously.

Reflecting in Lake Matheson

Watching the sunset reflecting in Lake Matheson, with the three peaks that make up Aoraki/Mount Cook changing color from white to pink and finally, as the sun went down, to gray, will be a memory forever engraved in our consciousness–and in the fifty or so photographs that I took that night.

Aoraki _ Mount Cook Sunset

One bit of advice, if you travel to New Zealand, bring an extra memory card to download your photographs. You will probably fill up your first one very quickly.  I did!

 

16 Mar

My Airstream Daydream: I Heart Stephanie But Does She Heart Me?

About a month ago we headed south on the Parkway to destroy some White House subs and attend the Atlantic City RV show.  It was freezing cold outside–so the combo of classic roadfood and indoor motorhome window shopping made for a great day.  We strolled up and down the aisles and checked out some ridiculously sweet Class A’s and Class C’s.

Theo really liked this one.  I still can’t figure out why…

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He also really liked this 40 foot Class A…

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But he was shocked when I told him the price.  The poor kid doesn’t even get an allowance yet…

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While Theo was fascinated by the big rigs I was seduced by the glitzy, glittery glamour of the sensationally silver Airstreams.  So I stepped into one.  And was immediately overwhelmed by a memory from somewhere deep in my camping subconscious.

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Stephanie and I went on our first tent camping trip to Assateague Island about twenty years ago.  We had just started dating.  We had both been there separately, and loved it dearly, but had never been there together.  So we did what most teenagers would have done. We invited all of our friends.  About four of them said yes immediately.  But on the night of departure three of them cancelled.  So that left Stephanie and I heading south on an oh so romantic camping trip…with my buddy Chris riding shotgun.

The trip started out disastrously.  We arrived on a late summer evening to discover that the campground was totally full.  They didn’t take reservations back then.  We were totally bummed.  So we drove around the Ocean City area until we found a campground with an open site.  By the time we found one it was late and we were cranky.  Stephanie was especially cranky.  To make things worse, I had no idea how to set up my new tent.  While Chris and I wrestled with it in the dark, Stephanie paced, cursed, and wondered aloud why I hadn’t practiced opening it at home.  On a more profound level she was probably wondering how she ever ended up camping with two such nincompoops.  Eventually we all fell asleep in the tent with me in the middle.

Sometime after midnight I woke to the sound of Chris’s roaring, cacophonous, coyote-like laughter.  It sounded like he was laughing into a megaphone.  Why?  Because I had rolled over in my sleep and wrapped my arm around him like he was my security blanket, my favorite childhood teddy, and my momma on a stormy night all rolled up into one.  While Chris woke up the entire campground, I rolled over, put my arm around Stephanie, and immediately fell back to sleep.  It had been a long day.

When we woke up the next morning and started packing my Pontiac LeMans we realized that everyone was staring at us.  We also noticed that the campground was a total dump.  We hightailed it out of there and lined up for a campsite back at Assateague–and, thank God, we got one.  While we were setting up our tent again (a bit more quickly this time) I noticed a married couple on the site next to us sitting under the awning of a beautiful, silver, super-sexy Airstream Travel Trailer. They were sipping cocktails and looking so relaxed. So sleek. So happy. Like a Viagra commercial.  And there I was, struggling with my tent again, and getting ready to spend another romantic night with Stephanie–and Chris.

I had a profound realization at that moment.  I already knew that I wanted to spend my life with Stephanie.  But I didn’t know that I wanted to spend my life RVing with her.  I wanted us to be that couple one day.  We would buy an Airstream and see America.

Well, three kids later the Airstream hasn’t happened.  But the RVing has–in spades. You see, Airstreams are not really the best option for campers with kids.  And that’s okay.  I love our Jayco Travel Trailer.  I love Max, Theo, and Wes.  And I love Stephanie.  I have really found my bliss.  As we were checking out that Airstream at the Atlantic City RV Show I asked Stephanie if she remembered that first camping trip with Chris.  She said “yes.”  I asked her if she could picture us traveling the backroads of America one day towing a sweet Airstream like this one?  She said “well, maybe…”  I was completely flummoxed.  Why the heck not?  Because, according to her, and I quote,  “you have to really love each other to travel in an Airstream.”

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Feeling a bit hurt I asked her what she meant.  “There’s not a lot of room in here,” she replied.  I looked around at the relatively cramped quarters of the Airstream and understood her perfectly.

Some marriages are meant for slide outs.  And bunk houses.  And that’s just fine with me.

Onward.

 

 

23 Apr

Inspiration for a Traveling Nation! Monmouth Museum

America Hits the Road:

A Cultural History of the Road Trip

Brought to you by the Monmouth Museum

The Lively Little Campers are long-time fans of the Monmouth Museum and particularly of their kid-centric and kid-terrific Wonder Wing.  The museum is located on the campus of Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft New Jersey, and it is easily accessible with plenty of free parking.  It just makes for a great morning or afternoon with the kids–particularly when the weather is bad..
Two winters ago we found ourselves spending so much time there that we bought a family pass–which we gladly renewed this winter.  So I was pretty pumped when I received a pamphlet for this ridiculously cool looking “Cultural History of the Road Trip” exhibit.  It made me even more excited about our family’s first road trip to the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA scheduled for this mother’s day weekend.
As many of you know, we also have a new lively little camper in the house, and I can’t wait to get him out on the road.  I started Wesley’s RV training while he was still in the womb by talking to him a lot about camping, family travel expectations, and my ambitious plans to show him and his brothers AMERICA and its great National Parks.  Mommy rolled her eyes quite a bit during these impromptu lessons, but I think Wesley took them to heart.  He is just a little over two weeks old but I am just about certain that he is ready for the road.  He is very chill and relaxed and he doesn’t get too worked up about his brothers’ non-stop shenanigans.  I have actually seen him sleep through 15-20 minutes of Max and Theo squeezing his head and dancing around him in circles while screaming his name and promising to buy him a pogo stick.
Wes also seems very happy when we take him outside and my little big man really seems to enjoy the fresh air.  This combination of “The Wes Man’s” indoor calm and outdoor Zen has me feeling very confident about taking him out on the road in a few weeks.  In the meantime “America Hits the Road” looks like the perfect way to kick-start another season of family fun and adventure.  I hope to see you there getting inspired for your next road trip.
Expect a full review of the exhibit in the weeks ahead.
Onward.

09 Apr

Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America’s Main Street

I have always dreamed about driving Route 66 from Illinois to California–and chances are, if you’ve heard Nat “King” Cole croon the famous tune, you probably have too. This heavily mythologized American road trip is somewhere near the top of my bucket list.  It has been hard for me to explain why my imagination was so drawn to Route 66 because I really didn’t know much about it beyond the lyrics to that song–until now.

I picked up Rick Antonson’s Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America’s Main Street a few nights ago and blew through the first half of it very quickly.  Antonson does a masterful job of weaving his journey (shared with his travel buddy Peter) with a compelling history of the road itself.  The narrative has a rhythm and energy that really gets under your skin and makes you want to roll down the windows, crank up the radio, and head out on your own great American road trip.

Route 66 Still Kicks will spark your still winterized wanderlust and keep you well-occupied until the rubber meets the road.  Whether your drive a Class A, a classic Corvette, or a mini-van, “get hip to this timely tip;” reading Antonson’s book may be the next best thing to packing your bags and motoring west–and it may just inspire you to do the real thing.  We all need to cross a few things off of those bucket lists, don’t we?

 

21 May

"Just Me and My RV" New York Times Article

Photo by Andy Isaacson for the New York Times

Today’s travel section in the New York Times is a themed one called “Road Trip.”  The article titled “Just Me and My RV” by Andy Isaacson was definitely worth reading.  He recounts his adventures through Northern California and Oregon with pretty pictures and lovely prose.  Read it here:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/travel/in-a-rented-rv-roaming-western-roads.html

02 Jul

Oh, the Hubris! 16 Days with Toddlers in an RV…

We are packed and ready to depart on our 16-day Northeast Expedition tomorrow morning.Yes I am excited, but there is also a drumbeat of dread that has been thumping in my head for the last couple of days.
How did I let this Maine trip get so out of control?
It was the month of March and it had been a long, cold, difficult winter. The camper sat covered and unused in the driveway. Jeremy was bored and I was busy. So I yessed him to death on everything he proposed without really putting much thought into it. Months later I looked at the itinerary, then looked at him and asked him if he had a screw loose. He looked kind of sheepish like he had been asking himself the same question.
Nevertheless, we are soldiering on. To Brattleboro, Vermont; then to Camden Hills, Maine; then onto Acadia, Maine; then back down to Saco Beach, Maine. I guess eventually we will wind up back at home. Unless I get distracted for a moment and end up in Nova Scotia. Actually, I can think of a lot worse things…