New Units- Dutchmen Aspen Trails & Riverside White Water Retros

We are excited to announce that we are now carrying 2015 Dutchmen Aspen Trails units and 2016 Riverside White Water Retros. Be sure to check out our Travel Trailers page to find the perfect unit for your camping or travel needs.

Aspen Trail’s residential-styled furniture and 2-toned walls add warmth, while solid surface counter tops and a queen-sized bed offer a home-like feeling and durability.  Kitchens are versatile, with storage, cabinets, multiple drawers and generous counter space. All main living areas include an overhead skylight, with tall ceilings for more space. Stop by our location in Kennedale, Texas to walk through our new Aspen Trailers and find one that is just right for you!

We also have several Riverside Retro models in our inventory. We have the 166 available, featuring the full queen bed (60 x 80) in a 15′ 11″ travel trailer. We also have the 155XL with the same floorplan as the 155, but without the drop floor. It is 8 inches taller in overall height, allowing room for storage cabinets above the bed. The Retro Jr. has a sink/oven combo upgrade, and the Retro 177 with an island bed is one of the most popular Riverside models.

Be sure to come check them out for yourself, do a walk through, and find the perfect camper or trailer for your next adventure! In the meantime, visit our inventory page to see all of our new units and our units at a reduced price!

 

Traveler Story- 1st Motorhome Trip

My fascination with RV’s and motorhomes came at an early age (7 to be exact). My grandparents frequently traveled around the country (mostly up and down the east coast) for weeks at a time.They came from North Carolina to Texas to visit us, and I remember being so excited to just sit and have a snack in the motorhome “kitchen” while it was parked in our drive way. Tapioca pudding- that was my snack of choice.

One summer, they took me with them from Texas to North Carolina, and this triggers some of my absolute best childhood memories. My grandpa drove while we listened to music from the 1950’s. “Chantilly Lace” still gets stuck in my head sometimes! On long stretches of road, we would watch clouds form and sprinkle the road ahead of us for just a few seconds. We would drive through them, and be back in the sunshine singing all the while.

My grandma always had a map in her hands and a comfortable seat cover made out of wooden beads on her side of the motorhome. She wore her small-framed glasses and her bright pink lipstick that stained her travel coffee mug almost permanently. She was small and stern, but laughed and played a lot. She used to call me “Yeah-but” because every time she asked me to do something, I would reply with, “Yeah, but….” I remember even on this trip, asking all sorts of questions, not getting the answers I was looking for, and responding to her with “Yeah-but”. What patience she must have had!

We stopped at rest stops, and I faithfully carried with me my favorite stuffed animal named “Rainbow”, who accompanied me to every restroom and picnic table at every rest stop we visited from Texas to North Carolina.

During quiet, long-stretches of drive time, I curled up with Rainbow, a blanket, and my word puzzle games. Even at the age of 7, I became a whiz at the word searches and cross word puzzles! I took breaks to color pictures or eat more tapioca pudding, and would fall asleep at the calming hum of the big motor.

I can still remember the smells and the feeling of excitement and adventure I had as a kid. Once we arrived in North Carolina, I knew it was only a couple more weeks until our next adventure, and I could hardly contain myself!

I am so glad I was able to experience road trips at such a young age. Now as an adult, I take my own kids on travel adventures, and they create their own travel memories as we not only go across the country but across borders.

5 National Parks in Texas You Have to Visit

If you are itching to get out and explore this fall, Texas, our home state, is an excellent place to start. We can help you choose your RV or motor home, and send you off to one of these top 5 national park destinations for a time of learning, solitude, relaxation, adventure- what ever you are looking for!

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is an 800,000 square foot playground of river, desert, and mountain. These parks protect the largest area of the Chihuahuan desert along the Mexican border, and offer contrast in weather, wildlife, terrain, and activities. Enjoy hiking, trips down the Rio Grande, horseback riding, site-seeing, bird-watching, history lessons, and more. 

There are plenty of options to meet your lodging needs, including campgrounds and accommodations for camping and RVs. The National Park has 3 developed camping areas, one with full hook ups for RV’s, with the option to explore back roads and more primitive sites for those who prefer more solitude. Outside the parks, there are several privately-operated campground and RV spaces. Some offer the bare-minimum one might need, and others offer full hook-ups and even access to swimming pools. You can check out these other camping and RV accommodations on Big Bend’s website.

Hueco Tanks

East of El Paso, Hueco Tanks is a mecca for rock climbers who climb boulders- low challenging routes without ropes or harnesses. Besides climbing, visitors can enjoy bird-watching, hiking, stargazing, or guided tours.  Water catchments have attracted people for millennia, some even leaving pictographs painted on the rocks. Hueco Tanks boasts the largest number of mask paintings in North America, with more than 200 identified throughout the park.

Due to the rock art’s historical value and fragility, access to Hueco Tanks is restricted.  You must make reservations prior to your trip and are only able to access certain areas with a guide. Of course, you can head out in your camper or RV, as there are plenty of options for travelers. Be sure to check out the Hueco Tanks camping and RV info here.

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock is located west of Austin, and boasts a giant 150-meter high pink dome of granite, the second largest in the United States. It is said that this rock has graced this area for billions of years, which makes it some of the oldest exposed rock on the planet. People have come from miles around to climb its summit for over 10,000 years.  This park is excellent for climbers, hikers, and campers, and you can explore it solo or with a guide.

Campsites at Enchanted Rock are primitive or tent camping. RV’s and campers are not allowed, but don’t let this stop you! The next closest town is Fredericksburg, and there are plenty of RV campsites available there.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Along the Sabinal river in south-central Texas is a forest of bigtooth maples, said to be relics from the cool climate from the last Ice Age. This quiet, wooded area offers hiking, bird-watching, and camping. Fall is a prime time to visit as the leaves change colors, and give a rainbow of vibrant colors that we don’t often see in other places in Texas.

People have been drawn to the Sabinal river and the Lost Maples area for thousands of years, as it is famous for preserving an archaeological artifact known as an atlatl, a tool crafted by the Native Americans in south Texas around 6,000 to 8,000 years ago.

Lost Maples offers primitive campsites and campsites with water and electricity. This park does not offer RV camping, but it is such a beautiful place that you just have to stop by if even for a day. If you plan to stay longer, there are nearby lodges and campsites that you can search on the Texas Outside website.

Padre Island National Seashore

So you thought Texas was all flatland? We have so much more! South of Corpus Christi, Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre. This park protects 70 miles of coastline, a safe habitat for the Kemp’s Ridley turtle and a haven for 380 bird species. Visitors may also enjoy boating and fishing, study the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554 ,or take tours to learn more about Texas history.

Though there is public access and the campgrounds are open year-round, there are some restrictions. Check out the Padre Island Campground Info page to learn more before you plan your trip.

Where else have you visited in Texas? We would love to hear about your trip and where you camped out in the comments below. 

Pre-travel Tips

When planning a trip in your camper or RV, there are so many things to prepare for- where do you start?! We have compiled a small list to get you started. Whether you want to go visit friends or relatives or you want to go explore a new area, here are some ideas on how to have a pleasant journey.

Prior to doing any traveling in your camper or RV with your canine friends, be sure to give their coats a very thorough brushing. This will ensure the interior of you car does not get too hairy. Make sure to pack dog essentials, like water and food bowls, medication, nail clippers, and waste bags for your dog.

When packing your bag for a trip it is important to pack clothing that can be worn multiple days. Pants that can be  unsnapped and worn as shorts and shirts made of breathable material are really helpful. Outdoor clothing is easy to wash and hang up to try as well. See our previous blog post on recommended camping gear.

The Internet is great when you have connection! But once you are outside of a network, you may find that old fashioned maps and compasses are your best friends. Make sure you have them with you at least as backup.

Never underestimate the effects of the weather when you travel. You should always check the weather forecast for your destination. If the weather is not what you expect, it can completely ruin your carefully planned vacation.

When traveling, it is vital that you have all the required visas to pass from country to country. So for anyone traveling north to Canada, be sure you have done your research. You can get this information from the embassy, your travel agent, or online sources.

If you are going to be a frequent visitor to the national parks, it only makes sense to get a yearly pass. The cost is only 50 dollars and good for admission to all national parks for the one year time frame. This is an EXCELLENT investment for those of us traveling by RV and motor home.

What tips would you add to the list?

Download your FREE budget travel eBook here.

 

10 Benefits of Hiking and Camping

Are you interested in taking a trip in your RV or motor home? Hiking and camping are the perfect combination as you blend the fresh sights and sounds of nature, a bit of adventure, exercise, and quality time away from work and distractions.

Although it is nice to know that hiking and camping are the perfect combination, you may be wondering exactly why that is.  If you are, you will find that there are various reasons as to why hiking and camping are the perfect fit for each other and the perfect way to spend your next vacation.

  • Hiking parks, especially large popular ones, often have their own onsite campgrounds.
  • Most public campground parks have at least one or two hiking trials on them.
  • Children of all ages, as well as adults, enjoy both camping and hiking, making it a safe, inclusive activity for all skill levels.
  • The cost of hiking and camping is inexpensive or free.
  • Breathing outside causes a release of serotonin from the extra oxygen. Your body can function with less strain when there’s plenty of oxygen.
  • Free of technology and distraction,  you are free to socialize. Socializing can extend your lifespan and delay memory problems according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health.
  • Time in the sunlight can even out the levels of melatonin in your brain, the chemical that makes you feel tired and can induce feelings of depression. By camping and hiking, you can enjoy better overall moods.
  • You’re soaking in Vitamin D, which allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphorous.
  • Hiking improves cardiovascular health, muscle strength, bone density, sleep quality, and weight control.
  • You need little equipment to get started. Just strap on some shoes and an all natural sun block, and head outside!

Tell us in the comments your favorite benefit to camping or hiking- or both!

 
Download your FREE Budget Travel eBook here.

Recommended Camping Gear

Your RV is shiny, full of gas, and you’re ready to hit the road for a camping adventure?

If this is yours first time taking an extended camping vacation, you may be unsure as to what you should bring along with you. If that is the case, you are definitely not alone. Although a camping vacation can be fun and exciting, it can sometimes be stressful to plan. And if you’re anything like me, you bring a bunch of things you don’t need, and forget about some of the things you will absolutely need!

When it comes to camping, you will find that you need to bring multiple items with you, most of which are categorized by camping gear or camping supplies  In most cases, you will find that camping gear is used to describe pieces of equipment, whereas camping supplies are often used to describe food, health and personal products, etc.

One of the most common pieces of camping gear that you will need to bring with you on your next camping vacation is a tent. Even if you have an RV, the thrill of sleeping outdoors is something you just have to do on each trip! Depending on the number of people in your group,you may even need to bring multiple camping tents with you. If you have yet to purchase a camping tent, you will want try and make sure that you purchase a tent or tents that are strong, sturdy, dependable, and waterproof.

A sleeping bag is another piece of camping gear that you will want to make sure that you bring along with you. Although you may assume that a light sleeping bag is good in the summertime, you may still consider bringing along a heavy style sleeping bag, as the weather can change quickly and drastically.

Other pieces of camping gear and camping supplies are listed below.

In and Around Camp

Tent (with stakes and guylines)
Tent-pole repair sleeve
Sun shade, tarp or screen house
Sleeping bags
Sleeping pads
Air mattresses and pump
Pillows
Multi-tool or knife
Daypacks
Trekking poles
Folding chairs
Folding table
Cots
Mallet or hammer (for tent stakes)
Headlamps (with extra batteries)
Flashlights (with extra batteries, bulbs)
Lanterns (with mantles, if needed)
Lantern fuel or batteries
Water filter or treatment tablets
Bikes
Bike trailers
Fishing gear (and license)

Clothing and Footwear

Chilly nights are possible, come prepared.

Quick-drying pants/shorts
Long-sleeve shirts (for sun, bugs)
Sun-shielding hats
Swimsuits
Bandanas or buffs
Boots or shoes suited to terrain
Socks (synthetic or wool)
Long underwear
Rainwear (jacket and pants)
Clothesline with clips
Water sandals
In-camp sandals or booties

Kitchen

Stove
Windscreen
Fuel
Fuel bottle(s) with fuel funnel
Matches/lighter
Charcoal (with fire starter)
Firewood (plus saw or axe)
Grill rack
Frying pan
Cook pots
Pot grabber
Portable coffee/espresso maker
Hot-cold vacuum bottle
Hand-crank blender
Bottle opener/corkscrew
Can opener
Marshmallow/wiener roasting sticks
Food-storage containers
Resealable storage bags
Trash bags
Coolers
Water bottles
Plates, bowls, mixing bowls
Mugs/cups
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Utensils
Paring knife
Spatula
Whisk
Cutting board or cutting surface
Foil
Egg holder
Biodegradable soap
Pot scrubber/sponge(s)
Collapsible water container(s)

Food

Coffee
Cereal/granola/oatmeal
Eggs (freeze-dried or fresh)
Breakfast bars
Batter mix
Syrup
Butter/margarine
Jelly/jam
Bread/bagels
Soup mixes/bouillon cubes
Prepared or freeze-dried meals
Cooking oil/spray
Salt/pepper
Tea
Milk (powdered or fresh)
Cocoa
Drink mixes
Bottled/canned beverages
Energy food (bars, gels, trail mix)
Fruit (dried and fresh)
Vegetables
Cheese
Crackers/chips
Chocolate/sweets
Marshmallows
Spice kit
Herbs

Personal Items

Toilet paper
Sunscreen
Lip balm
Insect repellent
Hand sanitizer
Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
Mirror
First-aid kit
Prescription medications
Toothbrush, toiletry kit
Brush/comb
Eyeshades; earplugs
Biodegradable soap
Shower water bag

Other Items

Camera
Camcorder
Memory cards/film
Binoculars
Campsite reservation confirmation
Maps
Guidebook
Interpretive field guides (flowers, insects)
Star chart/night-sky identifier
Notebook and pen/pencil
Sketchpad with art supplies
Radio or music player with headphones
Two-way radios
GPS receiver
Cell phone
Travel alarm clock

Fun Stuff

Playing cards
Rolling ice cream maker
Kick-around foot bag
Kites
Geocaching materials (with GPS receivers)
Paddle ball set
Glow sticks
Flying discs
Puzzles (crosswords, etc.)
Board games
Water toys

What else would you add to this list before your big camping adventure?