RV Tow Vehicles: What Do You Need to Know?

1:30:00 PM La Mesa RV 2 Comments

An RV allows you to live on the road and take a bit of home with you in your travels. Towing a smaller car with your RV (in RV lingo, this is often called dinghy towing) allows you to have another vehicle available for side trips or errand runs without having to break camp. Bringing another car (again, in RV lingo, a car being towed is also known as a "toad") also gives you a vehicle that is easier to maneuver and has better gas mileage. Towing a car with your RV is an attractive option, but it requires some additional preparation to be effective.

dinghy towing behind a motorhome

Things to Keep in Mind Before Towing

Before you look into how to tow a car, there are several issues you need to consider. Your first need to know how much weight your RV can tow. Some cars will be lighter, and therefore easier to tow. Keep in mind that if you are going to tow a car, you may be towing the weight of a trailer in addition to the weight of a car, as not all cars can be towed directly on the pavement. It’s also a good idea to check with the manufacturer of the car you plan to tow as to how that vehicle can handle being towed. Your local and state authorities may also have rules regarding what you need in a trailer, such as turn and brake signals or reflectors.

After you have researched what you need to have to tow a car, it is also beneficial to consider how to drive with something behind your RV. If you have never towed anything, it’s a good idea to practice driving and backing up before taking a long trip. As you drive, maintaining a safe speed and using mirrors will keep you and other motorists safe.

In choosing options for dingy towing, the most common choices are flatbed trailers, tow bars, and tow dollies. Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making a decision.

Flatbed Trailer

Flatbed trailers carry the car with all four wheels off the ground. With the car completely off the ground, you do not need to add mileage and wear to the towed car. Flatbed trailers also work for multiple kinds of cars, regardless of size or transmission style.

There are some disadvantages to flatbed trailers. The main disadvantage of flatbed trailers is they add even more weight to your RV. The additional weight can slow the RV and lessen gas mileage. The other disadvantage is that a trailer is another large item to maneuver and store.

Tow Bar

Tow bars attach the front of the car and pull the vehicle with all four wheels on the road. Tow bars can be relatively inexpensive and easy to pack. Tow bars also allow you to more easily connect the lights of the RV to the lights of the car, which helps with signaling braking and turning.

Even with the advantages, tow bars have a few disadvantages. Because all four wheels of the car are on the ground, using a tow bar adds mileage and wear to the vehicle. Not all cars can be towed with all four wheels on the ground. Know your limitations, you must check with your vehicles owner manual first!. The biggest disadvantage of using a tow bar is you will not be able to back up the RV, because the tow bar does not allow control over the front wheels of the towed car.

Tow Dolly

A tow dolly combines the stability of a trailer with the lightness of a tow bar. The tow dolly has a sort of mini trailer for the front two wheels of the car, leaving the back two wheels on the road. In a forward-wheel drive car, this setup avoids adding mileage.

The tow dolly comes with several disadvantages. Attaching the tow dolly can be a complicated process. Tow dollies can also be expensive and cumbersome to use. Like trailers, tow dollies may require licensing from your state authorities.

Conclusion

Bringing an additional vehicle on an RV trip expands the kind of activities you can do. Towing a car means that you can access more on your trips. Weighing your options of towing equipment is a good first step to enhancing your RV experience.

While you can mount and install towing equipment to your RV or "toad" vehicle yourself, if you do not have experience, please consider having all towing equipment professionally installed for safety and security reassurance.

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Is It Time to Upgrade Your RV?

2:11:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

To buy a new RV or buy a used RV
There are plenty of reasons you may be considering upgrading your RV. Perhaps you need more (or less) room, your old gas or diesel motorhome is running high on mileage, you want a different floor plan that better suits your lifestyle, or you simply want a change. If your motorhome isn’t running like it used to or you find yourself outgrowing your towable RV, it may be time to consider trading it in. If you’re on the fence as to whether it’s time to make the change, ask yourself a few basic questions:
  • Is your RV costing you an increasing amount of cash in repairs?
  • Do you need more room or additional amenities to support your desired RV experience?
  • Can you afford to make a change?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, trading up your RV may be the next logical step in your RV ownership experience. It can offer you the peace of mind and extra amenities necessary to keep you rolling smoothly along far into the foreseeable future. The next step is to determine whether purchasing a new or used RV is the best option for you. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and drawbacks of both options.

Why Buy a Used RV?

There are benefits to both buying used and buying a new RV. If you purchase a pre-owned RV, you can lean on the experience that other owners have had with that particular model. This includes common mechanical failures to be aware of, how it handles in inclement weather, what type of gas mileage to expect, and how well the value holds up over time.
When buying used, you won’t experience the rapid depreciation expected of a new RV, but at the same time you can’t expect to find all the latest and greatest bells and whistles. But the options that are available to you will undoubtedly be offered at a more humble price. Although new RVs come with the added benefit of warranties, older rigs will undoubtedly have online communities dedicated to do-it-yourself tips and tricks, questions and answers, and general user feedback. This can come in handy when the question you have isn’t covered in the user’s manual.
Class C motorhome RV

Why Buy a New RV?

A new RV may be pricier than a used model, but it comes with a good handful of notable advantages as well. Most new RVs will generally have the latest amenities that make the RV lifestyle that much better and easier for you to live with. There are other reasons for upgrading that you may not have thought of. For example, some campgrounds have rules on the age of your RV, or on specific types of units they will allow. With a newer model, you won’t have to concern yourself with restrictions on yesteryear models.
One of the most beneficial advantages to buying a new RV is, of course, the manufacturer and extended warranties available. These warranties can cover towing and road services, some travel expenses, nationwide protection, and toll free assistance. Nowadays you can even pick up transferable protection that helps preserve the value of your vehicle.
New RVs also mean less wear and tear, less maintenance, and less of a chance that you’ll unexpectedly break down on the road. In addition, you’ll know the history right off the bat. When buying a used motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel, or toy hauler, you have to go off of the previous owner’s records and testimony.
One of the biggest advantages to purchasing a new RV is the opportunity to select an ideal floor plan and the latest and greatest amenities and optional accessories. If you want additional options that go above the standard features offered or just a little bit of extra security knowing the history of your RV, a new rig may be the best option for you.
Upgrading your RV is big decision, but also one that comes with many benefits. Whether you choose to upgrade to a new RV or used model, there are plenty of great options out there to help you get the most out of your time adventuring out on the road. And, if you need help selling your current RV model, solution exist to make that sale as easy as possible.

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The American Midwest: Our Essential Roadside Stops

3:35:00 PM La Mesa RV 1 Comments

Here at La Mesa RV we love road trips. There’s nothing like hitting the open road — and getting to stop on a whim to gawk at the amazing sights you’ll pass. With an agenda that is yours for the making, taking your RV across America offers the ultimate freedom to see attractions you may otherwise miss. And if your dream has always been to take an RV road trip through the open fields and rolling plains of the American Midwest, there’s a lot to see.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 roadside stops from state to state, all of which range from the weird and whimsical to the larger-than-life.

Enchanted Highway – Gladstone, North Dakota

You don’t even need to get out of your RV for this one. The Enchanted Highway is a peculiar 32 mile stretch that boasts the world’s largest collection of scrap metal art. The highway links Gladstone and Regent, two small North Dakota towns. Artist Gary Greff started the project in 1989, and has since been adding to the eclectic collection which includes the “World’s Largest Tin Family,” 40-feet prairie pheasant sculptures, and an intimidatingly large metal grasshopper. Many of the sculptures include their own pull-in picnic spots in case you want to spend a little longer admiring your favorite attraction.

Corn Palace – Mitchell, South Dakota

Not to be outdone by its northern neighbor, roadside South Dakota has an equally quirky claim-to-fame. It’s called the Corn Palace, and yes, the entire Kremlin-style building is covered with bushels of corn, grains, and other farm fixings (don’t worry, there is a concrete structure beneath). The palace pays tribute to the state’s agricultural history, and the exterior corn murals are redesigned each year, meaning each RV road trip will reveal a different artistic harvest.

Jolly Green Giant – Blue Earth, Minnesota

File this one under the larger-than-life category. The 60-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant statue towers along the I-90 and Highway 169. The green giant pays testament to the role Blue Earth’s factories played in canning the Jolly Green Giant’s legumes throughout the 20th century.

The House on the Rock – Spring Green, Wisconsin

The House on the Rock may provide the sensation of visiting multiple places at once. A jumble of architectural rooms, you can stroll through the Victorian era “Streets of Yesterday” and continue to the futuristic “Infinity Room” where brave roadside warriors can walk along the room that juts more than 200 feet out from the edge of the rock. This latter attraction is visible a mile away off Highway 23, so you can’t miss it from the road.

Carhenge – Alliance, Nebraska

A formation of old vehicles arranged along the edge of the Nebraska sandhills casts some odd shadows along the side of Highway 87. Carhenge is this Midwestern state’s answer to England’s stonehenge — only it’s built entirely of 39 grey spray-painted cars. Spoiler alert: no RV’s were included in the creation of Carhenge.

Dorothy’s House & Land of Oz – Liberal, Kansas

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz are most certainly Kansas’ most famous exports. Visit the original farm house that inspired by L. Frank Baum’s classic tale and continue into an animated Land of Oz building where you can take your very own journey to see the wizard himself.

Backyard Roller Coasters – Bruceville, Indiana

Bruceville resident John Ivers has turned his backyard into a do-it-yourself adrenalin junkie’s dreamland. A little off US Highway 150, this attraction is worth the detour so you can experience the two homemade roller coasters Ivers has built using car parts and farm equipment. Visitors are welcomed on the weekends and are encouraged to make appointments first — the attraction is in Ivers’ backyard, after all.

World’s Largest Catsup Bottle – Collinsville, Illinois

If you visited the Jolly Green Giant in Minnesota, you’re already primed for your next giant food attraction. Take a ride down Illinois Route 159 (just off the historic Route 66) where you can stare up at the world’s largest catsup bottle. The attraction clocks in at 170 feet in height and originally served as a water tower for the local catsup bottling plant.

The Heidelberg Project – Detroit, Michigan

The Heidelberg Project has transformed a down-and-out street in Detroit into an incredible outdoor art community. While driving (or walking) along Heidelberg Street, make sure to take lots of snaps at the brilliantly colorful polka-dotted Dotty-Wotty House, the House of Soul covered in old vinyl records, and the Number House which promises to make mathematics look like a blast.

Big Muskie’s Bucket – McConnelsville, Ohio

Just off State Route 78 you’ll be blown away by the size of the bucket that once scraped away at the valley it now overlooks. The giant bucket now pays tribute to the men and women who helped mine coal and eventually reclaim the Ohio valley. Compare your RV to the size of Big Muskie — a historical photo at the local interpretive center shows a high school band playing within the bucket!

Bonus: U.S. Route 66

Known as the Main Street of America, historic Route 66 is arguably the country’s most famous stretch of road. Starting in Chicago, Route 66 runs through a handful of American Midwest states, all of which have erected roadside attractions and created kitschy town sites to welcome tourists along the ultimate American road trip route.

So there you have it – a highlight of just 10 of the many sights you can see while driving through the American Midwest. We’d love to hear where you’ve visited on your RV road trips – leave us a comment with your top tips.

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8 Must-Have Portable Cooking Gadgets For Your RV

12:30:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments


Whether you’re hitting the road on a summer excursion with your family, heading home for the holidays or embarking on a weekend adventure, owning a RV and living the "RV lifestyle" truly does open the door to new sights and discoveries. Most of the time, jumping in the RV is a way for people to experience life and escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. When you’re not on the road, time in the RV is typically spent relaxing and socializing with friends and family. One of the best ways to enjoy your downtime is over an amazing home-cooked meal. No matter where you take your motorhome or towable RV to, there really is nothing better than having the comforts of home travel along with you.
Check out our list of top 8 portable cooking gadgets for your RV:

1. RV Kitchen Tool Set

This tool set for your RV's galley comes with everything you need to make any meal. With seven pieces in total, you get a chef knife, ladle, poultry scissors, spatula, can and bottle opener, grilling fork, cutting board and a handy carrying case for easy stowing in your RV.

2. Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Nothing says good morning better than sitting outside with a hot cup of coffee while you enjoy your surroundings. Similar to a French press where the process involves total immersion and slight pressure, this Aeropress coffee and espresso maker uses a combination of water and air to brew full flavored, grit free, coffee within seconds. As an added plus, this Aeropress is micro-filtered and its chamber is self-cleaning! Typically this brew has a low acidity taste without bitterness.

3. Pressure Cooker

Look no further; a pressure cooker could be the only cooking appliance you will need…ever. Pressure cookers allow for convenient browning that pre-browns meats within the same pot prior to pressure cooking, and some even have a 24-hour delay timer that allows you to program cooking. This gadget is perfect for seamless cooking in your RV and caters to all dishes such as rice, soup, vegetables, meat and fish, and even desserts!

4. Margaritaville Cordless Frozen Concoction Maker

Never again do you need to let a cord stand in the way between your RV, you and your favorite blended drinks! This battery operated Margaritaville Cordless Frozen Concoction Maker is very powerful and when fully charged can blend up to 60 drinks (or 20 pitchers)! It comes pre-programmed with settings to automatically shave ice and blend all your favorite frozen drinks to perfection. It has an 18-volt Ni-Cd rechargeable battery pack and a 36-ounce shatterproof blending jar that's ideal for camping, tailgating, boating, or relaxing under the awning of your RV!

5. Portable Meat Roaster and Smoker

If you plan on fishing or hunting during your travels, do not leave home without this portable meat roaster and smoker. The Char-Broil Big Easy can hold up to a 25 lb turkey for roasting and has 180 square inches of cooking area for grilling. For added flavor, you can use the smoker box area. It is your all-in-one roasting, grilling, and smoking grill!

6. Auto Measure Spice Carousel

Before you start smoking, roasting, and grilling your meals, you might want to spice them up for added flavor. This 12-spice dispenser carousel includes a convenient circle motion to save counter and drawer space in your RV, and has built-in auto measure dials for measuring each ingredient.

7. Portable Ice Maker

Got ice? The last thing you want to do once you park your RV is to drive into town or ask the camp host where you can buy more ice. With this portable ice maker, you can produce up to 26 lbs. of ice daily in as little as 6 minutes! With two sizes of ice to choose from, you will never have to worry about sipping a cold one again.

8. Front of Sink Cutting Board

As many know, when traveling in an RV you don’t have a ton of extra counter space in your kitchen galley. Helpful cooking gadgets, such as this front of sink cutting board, are perfect for preparing fruits, vegetables, and seasoning meats. The overhang feature allows for easy sweeping of food from the front and back of the cutting board. When not in use, the board can easily be stored on its side or laid flat. A bonus benefit is the boards incline feature that allows excess liquid to drain into the sink, which reduces your kitchen mess.
Next time you pull out your road map, pack up your RV and set out on your next roadtripping adventure, make sure you have all the RV cooking supplies you need to make your trip as fun, convenient and as stress free as possible.

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Designing the Perfect Road Trip

11:09:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

Can science design the perfect road trip across the US?

Americans love the open road, especially RVers! Each year, millions of Americans across the country hit the road for both local and far-flung road trips. However, as anyone who's been road tripping in an RV can note, some road trips are better than others!

This infographic helps answer the question, "Is there a way to create an efficient road trip?"

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RV Tip: How to Increase Motorhome Fuel-Efficiency

3:51:00 PM La Mesa RV 1 Comments

RVs are perfect for traveling on the road in total comfort, but because of their size, RVs tend to have low fuel efficiency. From La Mesa RV, here is a slideshow that provides a few tips on how to increase your RV fuel-efficiency.

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5 Ways to Prepare for RV Emergencies on the Road

10:47:00 AM La Mesa RV 18 Comments

A lot can happen when you hit the open road, and there are many online tales of RV owners encountering tornadoes and high waters. Extreme weather and natural disasters are uninvited, but you don’t need to be unprepared. There are plenty of precautionary measures you can take to ensure you, your family, and your RV are prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store.

Create an Emergency Supply Kit

Just as your home wouldn’t do without emergency disaster supplies, neither should your home on the road. Everyone’s emergency supply kit will look slightly different, but here are the essentials you should include:

  • Basic toolkit
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Extra clothing: warm clothes, hats that cover your ears, sturdy boots, and jackets
  • First Aid Kit: include extra prescription medication, water purifying tablets, bandages, and other key supplies
  • Flares or an emergency signal
  • Flashlights: independent from your smartphone flashlight, with extra batteries
  • Food: non-perishable canned items and protein-rich foods. Outdoor stores also sell freeze-dried food–light and small packets that will become energy-sustaining meals when you add boiling water
  • Manual can opener
  • Physical maps of the area: ensure you have an alternative to cell phone and GPS data
  • Playing cards or a board game: not essential, but a good distraction for children during longer periods of being stranded in your RV
  • Shovel and ice scraper
  • Water: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a gallon of water per person and pet for at least three days

The best case scenario is that you will never have to use your emergency supply kit —but just in case, regularly maintain your emergency supply kit and rethink its supplies as your family’s needs change. It is also beneficial to sort these emergency supplies into a smaller go-bag: a lighter pack you can carry with you should the need arise to evacuate your RV.

Watch the Weather Report

In many ways it is easier to avoid natural disasters and extreme weather conditions when you’re living in a mobile vehicle. Still, storms brew quickly and you never know when you may be caught off guard.

While the weather report may be easy to access on the average day through phone data or another source of Internet, you can’t always count on connectivity during extreme situations.

Researching and purchasing a crank radio may make all the difference when you’re looking for the most up-to-date information on an emergency. In addition to the manual hand-cranking, look for radios that can access power through a number of sources, such as solar panels, disposable batteries, and car chargers.

Once you’ve found a radio, turn the dials to the National Weather Network’s “Weather Radio All Hazards” network in order to get the latest warnings and watches 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Be Prepared for All Kinds of Weather

Listening in to discover the kind of weather headed your way is just the start.

Snow Storms

Snow and ice storms are not outside the realm of possibility in many parts of America. Pull over to the side of the road if your RV is suddenly engulfed in white-out conditions. Turn on your emergency flashers and tie a piece of emergency tape or a bright-colored scarf to a front and back point of your vehicle. This will make you more visible to other drivers. Then bunker down — crack open your emergency supply kit if you’re stuck for any length of time, and bundle up to avoid hypothermia. If conditions have gotten really icy, a bag of sand or even cat litter can work wonders for providing the tire traction needed to hit the road again.

Flash Floods

Watch the rain reports and be observant of weather conditions in your immediate area. Flash floods can happen very quickly and can call for quick evacuations. Constantly survey weather conditions if you’re in your RV when a flash flood warning begins. Head the other way if you come across a flooded road — it takes a surprisingly shallow amount of water to sweep a RV off the road.

Not sure if you might be camped in a dangerous area? Look at the surrounding landscape and ask yourself, where is the low spot and where would the water go if a flood were to appear out of nowhere? Then make sure your rig is a fair distance away from that location! No matter how beautiful the area, or how temping it might be, help prevent a dangerous situation by never camping in a dry wash or riverbed! Even if the rain that might trigger a flood is miles away, it can take minutes or hours for a whole river channel to fill with water. If it is raining or rain is in the forecast, don't blow caution to the the wind, pack up and move your rig to higher ground if you are camped in a low area. Take your emergency kit and head to higher ground if you get stranded without the opportunity to move your vehicle.

Lightning

Lightning strikes were responsible for starting more than 30,000 wildfires between 2007-2011. If the National Weather Service is predicting a lightning storm, be safe and bring down your antenna and satellite dish, bring in your awning (especially if it contains metal components) and make sure all chairs and exterior furniture are brought inside. In a severe storm, as a precaution, it's a good idea to disconnect from shore power and store the lines, retract all RV and trailer jacks, turn your generator off, power down your computer and make sure anything vulnerable is unplugged.

Snowmads has compiled a good list of severe weather tips all RV owners should keep in mind.

Know Your Rig

It seems like a no-brainer, but it is imperative that you know your RV well enough to perform basic tasks quickly. As previously mentioned, a disaster will work on its own schedule, not yours. This means you must be prepared to pack up your RV in any weather condition at any time of day. Make sure you can hook your rig up to your truck in the middle of the night, using only a flashlight or cell phone light.

Have the Drill Down Pat

Emergency preparedness is a family affair. Talk through disaster scenarios with your family before they happen, and explain where they can find the emergency supply kit, fire extinguisher, and other essentials. You can also assign tasks to each member of your family–for example one child could be responsible for rounding up a pet you may have on board and another could be given the job of securing all windows and doors. Your family will feel more invested in emergency preparedness measures if they’re briefed ahead of time. Every member of your family should also carry an emergency contact list in their wallet or pocket should something separate you.

Conclusion

Remember that you’re already in a good situation being in an RV — after Hurricane Katrina more than a hundred thousand people in Louisiana turned to personal, newly bought, or government-loaned rigs for temporary shelter. While La Mesa RV hopes you will never be put in an emergency situation, we hope you can sleep a little easier with these suggestions in mind.

18 comments:

RV Tip: How to Keep Your RV Stable

9:03:00 AM La Mesa RV 1 Comments

A good many RV parking sites are less than perfectly level, and that means there’s a good chance that leveling and stabilizing is necessary when settling in. Once you’ve found the perfect place to park that RV, you must then take to the task of getting your RV squared away. Leveling an RV provides the important benefit of preventing you from feeling like you’re sleeping on the side of a sand dune at night, or watching those round fruits bound jovially off of countertops while you’re preparing meals. In addition, RV refrigerators need the stability of level ground to function properly. Without a level RV, you’ll find that perishable food of yours feeling mighty tepid in no time.

Standard rigs often come with leveling ramps or blocks, and a small bubble level to help you determine when the RV is balanced.

Types of Stabilizing Jacks

Many travel trailers and fifth wheels come readily equipped with stabilizer jacks. High-end motorhomes and trailers often come with hydraulic self-leveling systems that manage this on their own, but not all rigs have this convenience. There are a few types of stabilizing jacks on the market, each with their own level of complexity and ease:

  • Stabilizing jack stands: These stands are portable and fairly economical, but require you to duck under your RV and carefully place them every time you set up camp.
  • Permanently mounted hand-crank jacks: These jacks, most commonly of the scissor jack variety, are permanently affixed to your RV’s frame, making is simple to crank them into place when you’re ready to set up camp.
  • Permanently mounted electric jack stands: These jack stands are the easiest and most hands-off (albeit pricier than the manual versions above) and allow you to set them up with the push of a button.
Regardless of the stabilizing jack system you have, it’s always crucially important to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper care of your stabilizing jacks and proper balance of your rig. Stabilizing Your RV Keep in mind that you should never use your stabilizers to level your rig. Stabilizers are meant to secure a level RV in position and were not designed to take the brunt of the stabilizing process into account. Level your rig first, and then take to the task of stabilizing. To stabilize your RV after leveling:
  1. Make sure that your jacks can support the amount of weight you are attempting to stabilize.
  2. It can be helpful to place a piece of wood underneath each jack to ensure each jack has stable footing. This is especially helpful on sandy or rocky ground.
  3. Place or lower your jacks into position.
  4. Extend the jacks until they are in contact with the RV and the ground. If your jacks are manual, hand-crank them a few more times to make sure they are secure.

Using your stabilizer jacks properly and ensuring that they have solid footing and are securely positioned will keep you level during your stay and get a good night’s sleep (and enjoy incident-free cooking). The proper use of stabilizers will make your stationery time in your rig unwavering comfortable for as long as you choose to settle in one spot. When you’re ready to move on, simply reverse the steps, and go along your merry way.

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RV Roadside Oddities (New England Edition)

9:07:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

When you think of areas in the United States that have a large number of roadside oddities, New England might not be up there. Florida in the south, sure, or maybe out west with Nevada and New Mexico – but New England? There’s nothing strange there except for maybe Stephen King’s house, right? Wrong. In fact, aside from some pretty spectacular fall colors, New England is host to a number of fascinating roadside attractions, off-the-beaten-path stops, and general weirdness. If you’re looking for a unique road trip destination in your RV, then New England might have all the oddities you can handle – and then some. Ready to start planning a New England drive that you won’t forget? Put aside foliage season and big-city sightseeing, and take note of some of these roadside and small-town landmarks instead:

Maine

Paul Bunyan Statue – Bangor

Move over Portland (Oregon), If you’re familiar with Stephen King’s seminal novel It, you might remember a giant Paul Bunyan statue coming to life and attacking the protagonists. It’s easy to imagine that King got the idea from Bangor’s own oversized Paul Bunyan, a fiberglass-and-steel figure that stands 35 feet high and weighs 3,700 pounds. Fortunately, there’s no chance it’ll be moving on its own any time soon, not even during hurricane season – as Boston.com says, Paul’s frame was created to withstand winds up to 110 miles per hour. Still, you might want to keep an eye on that over-sized ax.

The Desert of Maine – Freeport

Sand dunes in Freeport sound like a practical joke, but the Desert of Maine is actually a wonder of geology. Travel Squire explains the natural phenomenon: “A glacier slid through the area more than 11,000 years ago, leaving behind a trail of a fine, sand-like substance. This silt was beneath the ground all along, but didn’t rise to the surface until William Tuttle, the landowner, began farming it.” Which means that today, you’re able to roam a very realistic desert landscape in the middle of Maine, complete with metal camels – though you won’t need to worry about dehydration or mirages.

Massachusetts

New England’s Biggest Chair – Gardner

If you thought Canada had the monopoly on oversized roadside objects, think again. In Gardner, Massachusetts, you can hop up on the biggest chair in New England – a 10-ft. wide, 9-ft. deep red chair that can seat a ton of tourists. Boston.com sadly notes that it’s no longer the largest chair in the world – that honor passed to another giant chair in Alabama, which later got dethroned (pun intended) by a 65-ft. chair in Italy – but “Gardner’s is still impressive with its ladder-back slats and reinforced seat.” Visit what’s known as “The Chair City” and take a seat on its landmark – or, if you’re into the creepier side of things, check out Gardner’s famous haunted Victorian mansion and ponder purchasing one of America’s most haunted houses (it’s going cheap!).

Gravity Hill – Greenfield

On Shelburne Road in Greenfield, there’s a strange natural phenomenon known as Gravity Hill. If you drive to the bottom of Gravity Hill and put your vehicle in neutral, it will appear as though you’re rolling up the hill. However, it’s an optical illusion – as an article about Harvard’s gravity hill (yes, there’s another one in the same state) explains, “In fact, this topographical slight of hand is the outcome of the lay of the terrain, the position of trees, and a slight obstruction in the horizon.” So although Greenfield’s Gravity Hill might just be a trick of the eyes, it’s still worth a detour to experience for yourself. (Roadside America reminds us that Gravity Hill is on a public road, so be sure to use hazard flashers and watch out for other curious drivers!)

New Hampshire

Redstone Rocket – Warren

Although the word “rocket” might make you think of Cape Canaveral, the Redstone Rocket in Warren isn’t quite the same as NASA’s vehicle of choice. Instead, it’s a missile – the kind that NASA did, in fact, once use to propel its spaceships into the stratosphere. No one is entirely sure how or why the Redstone Rocket is in a small town in New Hampshire, but according to stories collected on Roadside America, the ballistic missile appeared in Warren in 1971, apparently at the behest of a citizen who succeeded in getting the government to donate it. It now sits upright in the town square as a truly strange attraction.

Rhode Island

The Big Blue Bug – Providence

RV road-trippers with a bug phobia might want to skip this stop in Providence – but for anyone else who wants to see the world’s largest insect statue, hit Interstate 95 and keep an eye out for Big Blue Bug Solutions. Hunkered down on the roof is their namesake, a massive, inexplicably blue termite with the adorably kitschy nickname of “Nibbles Woodaway”. Nibbles has kept watch by the interstate since 1980, and according to the pest control company’s official website, he’s even appeared in the background of numerous TV shows and films. Not too shabby for a giant pest.

Vermont

Queen Connie – Salisbury

Imagine a giant metal gorilla. Now imagine that giant metal gorilla hoisting a VW Bug. This odd mental image comes true in Salisbury, where the much-beloved gorilla – nicknamed Queen Connie – has stood by Route 7 in Vermont since 1987. Travel Squire reports that Queen Connie was created by sculptor TJ Neil, and has become a well-publicized attraction over the years – including appearing in Car and Driver magazine and acting as the site for marriage ceremonies. As Boston.com says, nobody really knows how the VW Bug manages to balance up there on Queen Connie’s over-sized hand, but she’s managed to heft her prize for 28 years now, so she must be doing something right.

Plan a Trip to See These Oddities

The next time you think New England is all picturesque forests and college towns, it’s worth remembering that there’s a lot weirder stuff going on in those states than you might think. To that point, it’s definitely worth taking your motorhome or RV off the beaten path and checking out some of the many roadside oddities that New England has to offer. Whether you’re into supernatural lore, quirky museums, or just garden-variety over-sized objects, you’re sure to have a road trip to remember in New England.

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RV Tips: Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in Your RV

1:18:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

Slideshow on Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in Your RV

Will you be camping in your RV this Thanksgiving? If so, we have a handy slideshow with tips and suggestions on how to get started cooking Thanksgiving in your motorhome or towable RV.

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Luxury RV Resorts

9:07:00 AM La Mesa RV 6 Comments

The RV resorts of today are a far cry from their historical counterparts, with many offering top notch facilities and stellar amenities that can feel just as all-inclusive as a five-star resort. The fees at these resorts will vary, but whether you’re a full-time RVer or simply out on the road for a jaunt across the states, there are plenty of RV resorts to choose from that can have you settling your wheels down into the lap of luxury.

Emerald Desert RV Resort, Palm Desert, California

There’s more to the desert than tortoises and hot breezes, and the Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert is a testament to all that desert living can offer.

Emerald Desert RV resort holds within its boundaries multiple swimming pools, spas, a fitness center, and a tennis and pickleball court for those looking to get in a few good games under the sun throughout the day. For those looking to pull out their clubs and play a few rounds with friends, there are also two putting greens to choose from.

At the end of the day, inhabitants can relax by the fireplace in the on-site sports and entertainment lounge. If you’re hosting a get-together, you can take advantage of the conference hall or one of nine villas that can be rented out for such events.

Zion River Resort and RV Park, Utah

Nearby the beautiful wonders of Zion National Park and the north rim of the Grand Canyon sits an RV park worth its weight in gold. Utah is known for its mining, and in the Zion River Resort and RV Park, the fun of panning is built in with its own mining sluice where you can have fun sifting for gemstones.

This river resort also comes equipped with complimentary hot showers, an off-leash dog park for your furry friends, and a game room with a pool table, television, and microwave for relaxing after a long day out sightseeing.

This resort truly exemplifies an all-in-one facility, providing an on-site store, propane center, gift shop, business center, shuttle to and from the national park, take-out grill, and 24-hour laundry facilities.

Bluewater Key RV Resort, Florida

This resort is ideal for those water-loving patrons looking to soak in the tropical ambiance of the Florida Keys. Situated a mere ten miles away from Key West, the Bluewater Key RV Resort is a laid-back resort that features RV lots which are all privately owned. While the owners are away, these lots are available to rent out for a good, relaxing time in Jimmy Buffett’s backyard.

Every site is unique, but all offer the privacy of tropical plants and shrubberies. These tropical sites offer Tiki huts and picnic tables, and many waterfront sites offer the added luxury of their own decks and docks. At Bluewater Key RV Resort, the living easy.

Bella Terra RV Resort, Alabama

At the Bella Terra RV Resort, indulgence is the name of the game. Designed for those with a taste for decadence, this RV resort does not disappoint. With a laundry list of upscale amenities, the discerning RVer will want for nothing during their stay. Bella Terra offers much more than the average resort, including:

  • Fenced-in dog park
  • Zero-entry, heated infinity-edge pool
  • Jacuzzi and dry sauna
  • Outdoor fire pit and barbecue
  • Catch and release fishing lake
  • Private movie theater
  • Business center and laundry facilities
  • Fitness center
  • Putting green
  • Private bath houses

With ample accoutrements, guests may find it difficult to want to leave once they roll their RVs through the gates of Bella Terra.

LVM Resort, Nevada

Las Vegas is the epitome of lavishness, and what could be better suited to the nomadic Vegas lifestyle than an upscale RV resort. The LVM Resort is 41 acres and 400 sites worth of RV heaven. With a 10,000 square foot clubhouse, swimming pools and whirlpools, massage room, marble showers, exercise equipment, and lighted putting and tennis courses, this desert oasis is sure not to disappoint.

RV parks around the country are stepping up their game as many RV owners begin to desire more time on the road combined with the comforts of home and all the frills of the finest accommodations in the country. When it comes to living in a luxurious motorhome, what more could you ask for?

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RV Life: Workamping

3:23:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

What if you didn’t have to pack up at the end of your weekend camping, and instead could wake up every day to the sounds of the natural world, share a hearty breakfast with your new neighbors, and smell the richness of the great outdoors? Sound too good to be true? With a world ever-more connected to the internet and an increasing number of jobs ideal for those with a nomadic persuasion, working while you’re enjoying the camping or RV lifestyle has become a viable alternative to many people unimpressed with donning "business casual" clothes and commuting to a cubicle every day.

What is Workamping?

A contraction between ‘working’ and ‘camping’, workamping is any work done in exchange for income/goods while living in an RV. Contrary to popular belief, workamping is not reserved for retirees. Workampers come from all ages and backgrounds, and share a common love for either part-time or full-time RV living where they are free to pursue an adventuresome and unencumbered lifestyle, moving about the country at their leisure.

What are the Benefits of Workamping?

If you enjoy the RV lifestyle and dream of taking your life on the road, then workamping is a great way to fund a nomadic way of living. Workampers combine the benefits of road-tripping with the security of income, creating a unique lifestyle that requires some sacrifices, but delivers unbeatable benefits.

With high interest rates, increasing household debt, and a cost of living that many Americans are finding to be irreconcilable, workamping offers a reprieve from the modern pressures of daily life. Many full-time RVers are looking to stretch their retirement savings, while younger workampers are searching for an alternate lifestyle that is not so laden with oppressive debt.

Full-time RVers shed the overbearing requirements of homeownership, and offer themselves the ability to move about at their own discretion, taking advantage of the best of each season across the country and sightseeing along the way. New friends and new experiences await, and nature is never more than one step down from a trusty rig.

Photo by Virginia State Parks | Flickr

What Type of Work Is There for Workampers?

Workampers pick up all types of employment, from seasonal jobs to consistent, full-time positions with large corporations. Some of the more common positions are specially suited to the workamping lifestyle, such as campground and park hosts. Other potential employment includes:

  • Property caretakers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Construction workers
  • Park attendants
  • Theme/amusement park attendants
  • Security guards
  • Hospitality / Resort seasonal help
  • Farm workers
  • Groundskeepers
  • Ranch hands
  • Nature guides
  • Food service workers
  • Delivery drivers
  • House and animal sitters
  • Graphic designers
  • Writers
  • Consultants
  • Sales representatives
  • Customer support specialists

The opportunities are nearly endless. Compensation varies, but many positions such as an RV park hosting provide a free camp site along with a monthly stipend for performing assigned duties. Many workamping positions can be found through park employers, such as Adventureland Park, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Amazon Camperforce, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and any county and state parks departments. And don’t forget to think outside the box. Wherever you find yourself, check with local establishments that might need seasonal workers for food prep, farming and harvesting produce, or retail, to name just a few. Most employers are willing to train workampers, so don’t be shy in reaching out, regardless of whether or not you currently have the experience required.

Workamping is a unique lifestyle that is picking up in America. It provides full time RV campers with an alternate option that is low cost and offers a freedom that is much sought after, but hard to acquire with today’s financial pressures. Whether you simply want to extend your RV trip, or you have decided to transition to a fully nomadic lifestyle, workamping can help you maintain a method of living that is happy, healthy, and full of new adventures.

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RV Travel: Beginners Guide to Bird Watching

11:10:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

Traveling and camping in an RV provides an excellent opportunity to reconnect with nature and get a closer look at those little feathered friends that cheerfully peep in the world around you.

Ask any wildlife photographer, birding requires patience, careful attention, and a zest for learning new and interesting things. Birdwatching can be made into a fun recreational activity for the whole family, and can be a wonderful way to spend a calm afternoon.

Whether you plan to hike around, learn every name, and chase elusive species, or you are simply looking to identify the birds you happen to find on the spot, it can easily become a fast growing favorite pastime.

Start with the Right Equipment

Decide how much you’d like to spend on your burgeoning hobby. In order to spot your beaked buddies, you’ll need some basic tools such as binoculars, a field guide, a checklist, and if you are into photography (and on a budget), a point and shoot camera.

Binoculars

binoculars for beginning birders

As a beginner birder, you likely do not need to purchase the most high-end binoculars, but if you want superior images that are durable, lightweight, waterproof, and have lifetime warranties, then you should consider 7X power or 8X power binoculars that are priced around $250 to $300.

Keep a Diary and a Checklist

A checklist helps you understand which local birds you can expect to see. This way you know which species to keep an eye out for, and how to pinpoint them. Contact the local Audubon Society for a checklist of the common birds found in whichever area of the country your RV brings you to. Oftentimes you can find these checklists available when pulling into a state or national park. Ask the park ranger what resources they have on hand. Keeping a diary as well will help you remember what you have identified, and it’s also a fun way to see how far you’ve come in your explorations.

Get a Field Guide

There are a great multitude of field guides, but any one will do, as long as it covers your particular geographic area. The Petersen’s Field Guide to the Birds, the Stokes guides, the Kaufman guide, and the Audubon Guide to North American Birds are all great field guides to begin with. And keep in mind that technology has brought us quite a ways. With pictures, videos, and audio clips, you can match unfamiliar birds by simply typing identifying features into Google.

If you prefer the old-fashioned printed route, consider picking up a subscription to a birdwatching magazine such as Bird Watcher’s Digest or WildBird.

Know their Habitats

One of the keys to successful birdwatching is knowing where to look. Different birds prefer different habitats, and you’ll find a unique set of species in each habitat you visit along your travels. You may find one species that is entirely absent in a campground, yet ubiquitous in urban areas or in open fields. Once you know each bird’s habitat, you’ll spend less time searching and more time successfully spotting them. Habitat is not limited to location, but also extends to altitude. It’s no use searching for a species near the ground if they prefer to sit atop the highest branch.

As with any hobby, it’s also great to reach out and find like-minded people. Find other beginner birders through Audubon Societies or online forums. You can even join birding trips or meet up with other birders along the road. Talk with others when meeting them as you travel down the road in your motorhome or towable RV. Park rangers, fellow RVers, and societies in different areas of the country will likely be able to point you towards trips, gatherings, or fellow travelers that can share in your enthusiasm for your feathered friends.

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Make Your RV Winter Storage Ready

10:30:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

The realization that RV season is over can be a sad one. With autumn well underway and winter nipping at its heels, it’s time to start thinking about packing up your RV for the season. In RV lingo, this process is known as “winterizing” and it’s the preparation every owner storing an RV in a harsh winter climate should take before the cold sets in.

For those intimidated by the prospect of winterizing their RV, we’ve compiled a few key recommendations you should add to your personal to-do lists in the coming weeks.

Plumbing Precautions

This is often the first thing RV owners have on their pre-winter checklists, and for good reason. Any water left stranded in your pipes, water heater, water tank, or holding tank could freeze and burst when temperatures plummet. This website has some useful tips on how to winterize your RV’s water system.

Engine Care

Caring for your engine is a no brainer. Make sure your radiator has anti-freeze and while you’re at it make sure the oil, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid levels are topped up. A fuel stabilizer that is run through your engine for a few minutes prior to winter will also be beneficial.

Keep out Critters

Make sure the animals preparing for winter hibernation aren’t doing so within your RV. Pesky critters have been known to crawl into the intake and exhaust vents of on-board appliances, setting up a cozy winter homestead. Ensure you seal the roof, outer walls, and underside of your rig to prevent unwanted guests from climbing into vents and air conditioning units.

Watch out for Tire Weight

Your tires will bear the brunt of your RV’s winter hibernation. Tires can develop flat spots under all that weight, which can be a pain when you’re starting up in the spring. Flat tire spots can be avoided by using your RV’s built-in leveling jack while your rig is parked on a paved or concrete surface. If your rig doesn’t have a leveling system, you can use third-party jacks or stacked blocks beneath the axle of each wheel. If neither is an option, be sure to move your RV a one-half tire revolution during the season to better distribute the weight.

Clean is Key

Just as it’s nice to return to a clean home after a vacation, it will be much more pleasant if you can open the doors on a tidy RV come the spring. That means you should make sure all food and drinks have been removed from your RV. Even items perceived as non-perishable can freeze and explode in cold enough climates, so you’re best to also remove those just in case. Once the food is out, give everything a good scrub down. Like all other dirt and grime, messiness gets tougher with time, and your spring self will appreciate your pre-winter cleaning efforts.

Hibernation Home

The place you store your RV over the winter is important. For those with smaller Class B and Class C motor homes, you may be lucky enough to squeeze the vehicle into your home garage. Another option is outdoor storage canopies so you can house your RV on your driveway or front yard (make sure the cover you buy is breathable in order to prevent mildew). There are a number of professional service lots or campgrounds that also offer storage facilities.

A Winter Ready RV

Even the best RV “winterizers” should check their rig regularly throughout the winter months. Catching a small problem when it develops is better than discovering a full-blown problem in the spring! The tips in this blog post are general guidelines, and your specific RV owner’s manual will include more detailed information for your model.

Remember you can always reach out to one of our La Mesa RV service centers in California, Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico to receive a superior level of customer and RV service. Our passionate staff will help you determine how to best care for your rig in the cold months ahead.

List of sources
http://www.reserveamerica.com/outdoors/how-to-winterize-an-rv.htm
http://rvservices.koa.com/rvinformation/rvmaintenance/you-winterized-your-rv-but-did-you-prepare-it-for-storage.asp
http://www.idiotsguides.com/wheels/other-transportation/how-to-winterize-and-store-your-rv/
http://rvservices.koa.com/rvinformation/rvmaintenance/step-by-step-rv-winterizing-checklist.asp
http://www.lamesarv.com/Service
http://experiencelife.lamesarv.com/2015/09/rv-camping-term-dictionary-for-rvers.html

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{Infographic} RVing by the Numbers

11:11:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

Who's Buying RVs?

The current demographic of RV owners is changing and what is clear is that RVing continues to draw the attention of a younger crowd. This new group of "younger" RV owners are between that ages of 35-54 and currently, own more RVs than any other age group!

Itasca, Fleetwood, Tiffin, Roadtrek, Winnebago... from Class A motorhomes to towable travel trailers, look over our "RVing by the Numbers" infographic and learn more about the current demographic of RV owners in the United States.

RVing demographics in the United States

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Four Strange Roads to Drive On

4:38:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

When you’re out roadtripping with your RV, you’re bound to see all kinds of unique, interesting, and just plain weird sights. Roadside attractions may tempt you to new adventures, while strange billboards seem to be made to catch your eye. So it should go without saying that the road you’re driving on probably isn’t the most exciting thing about your trip, right? Wrong. Depending on where you are, you might just come across some of the most interesting roads in North America – and all you have to do is drive on them.

A few of North America’s strange streets that are worth the detour:

Civic Musical Road

Near Lancaster, California, there exists a one-of-a-kind stretch of road: the Musical Road. According to Roadside America, this unique drive – created as part of a Honda TV commercial – has grooves in it that resemble an oversized record, so that when your tires roll over it, you can hear the William Tell Overture. Accounts from those who’ve driven it advise to stay in the left lane and keep near the speed limit in order to get the full effect. If you’re looking to conduct the Musical Road symphony yourself, you can find it on Highway 14 north of Lancaster, at Avenue G between 30th and 40th Streets West. (Note that this isn’t the original location of the Musical Road; apparently the locals were so annoyed by the constant music that the road was actually paved over, but then resurrected in 2008 in a much less populated area.)

The World’s Most Crooked Road

World's Most Crooked Road Lombard St.
Nicolas Karim | Flickr

The state of California is home to another unusual and interesting road, this time with the title of “World’s Most Crooked Road.” Whether or not that claim’s been proven, it’s hard to argue that Lombard Street in San Francisco isn’t one of the world’s most zigzagging roads. On a section of one-way street moving downhill, the road has eight – yes, eight – sharp turns (also known as switchbacks), making for a precarious descent. Amusing Planet explains the street’s crookedness as essential:

“The switchback's design was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles to climb.”
As with many of San Francisco’s steep hills, this one-way block between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets is also hazardous to pedestrians due to its steep incline. While this is not a road suitable for your RV (unless you have a small Class B touring van), if you have a toad (dinghy) vehicle and want to drive down the "World's Most Crooked Road," be sure to observe the 5 mph speed limit – though it’s doubtful you’d be able to drive it any more quickly.

Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange

Viewed from overhead, this Los Angeles interchange looks like a Salvador Dali painting, or an optical illusion at the very least. Instead, this snarl of roads is known as the most complicated interchange in the country. Oddee explains it as "a stack interchange with layers of bridges making a complicated network of roads allowing smooth flow of traffic though both the interstate highways." Oh, and it also allows entry and exit in all directions between the I-105 and the I-110. A 1989 Los Angeles Times article described it as the "biggest, tallest, most costly traffic structure yet built by California Department of Transportation" – but you may recognize it more as the backdrop for the scene in the movie Speed where the bus jumps over a gap in the freeway.

Magnetic Hill


Barney Moss | Flickr

Although it’s classified as a hill and not a road per se, Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, Canada is a strange feat of science that has amazed travelers for decades. It’s simple, yet baffling: Be it a car, truck, or van, any vehicle placed in neutral at the bottom of this Moncton hill will begin to roll upwards. People have even observed that the rivers running alongside Magnetic Hill also seem to flow upwards against the pull of gravity. While some would prefer to preserve the magic and believe that mysterious forces are at play, it’s been debunked as a simple optical illusion created by the rising and descending terrain that surrounds the hill. Still, it’s worth the trip and the admission fee to see if your eyes are truly deceiving you.

Off the Beaten Path

Some people might think that all roads are created equal, and are all likely boring – but the most intrepid road trippers will know better. Whether you go off the beaten path or find a uniquely strange street right in the middle of town, it can be worth it to do a bit of exploring and see what kind of interesting and weird roads await you. After all, sometimes it’s the road you’re traveling on that makes for the most interesting destination.

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The Eccentric RVer’s Guide to Roadside Oddities of the Pacific Northwest

2:30:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

Average Americans become extraordinary when that new or used RV appears in their driveways. RVers just have more of an itch to escape the routine than their surprised neighbors. While some go for new vistas, others use their motorhomes to easily reach music, cultural or athletic events.

If you're looking to get away from the normal, consider getting your rig on the road to the Pacific Northwest. “Keep Portland Weird,” the unofficial slogan of Oregon’s popular city, caught on so thoroughly, it has spread too many tourist attractions in the Pacific Northwest. But, Portland doesn’t own the strangest stuff. Those traveling up or down the northern west coast (Washington, Oregon and Northern California) will find lots to puzzle, perplex and fascinate them here.

Washington

Ape Cave Lava Tube

Mt. Saint Helens National Volcanic Monuments
USFS 8303, Cougar, Washington

The parks department has created an easy path for casual tourists and a harder one for the more adventurous. The paths through this dormant volcano winds you through fascinating lava tubes of other-worldly shapes and sizes. At points, the lava hardened while flowing, leaving natural ripples. At the end of the more rigorous path, you climb a ladder out into the forest and then hike back to your starting spot. Alert: can be damp and muddy in spots.

Octopus Under Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Washington State Route 16 connecting the City of Tacoma with the Kitsap Peninsula over the Tacoma Narrows Straight of Puget Sound.

By Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA

While there’s no official museum to visit, as you cross the double suspension bridge, look down to the murky waters and know that the giant Pacific octopus pinwheels arm over arm across the floor of the Puget Sound. Typically growing up to 15 feet and 110 pounds with an enormous head, the largest octopus ever caught was 30 feet and weighed in at 600 pounds. Reddish brown at rest, the octopus can use its special pigment cells to change colors, even blending in with multi-colored coral and rock patterns. While they normally dine on lobster and clams (yum), they have been spotted wrestling sharks and birds, doing great damage with their beak-like mouths. In the 1960s, when their numbers were more robust, octopuses engaged in wrestling competitions with local men. These contests were even written up in Time magazine.

Bicycle absorbed into fir tree since 1954

Near 20312 Vashon Highway, SW, Vashon Island, Washington


callista1172/Flickr

Leave a bicycle left beside a young fir tree for 60 years and what to you get? A vintage bike carried five feet up a tree trunk now three feet in diameter. With only the front sprocket and rear fender and wheel rim still protruding from the bark, the tree did a consistent job of growing around the bike and eventually raising it from the ground as it reached skyward. While it's interesting to see, other visitors have given it only a three out of five for detour-worthiness.

Oregon

The Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery

4303 Sardine Creek Left Fork Road, Gold Hill, Oregon 97525
Open March through October

Travel to Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery
Aaron Anderer/Flickr

While other tour sites promote the strange goings on in this small building as “nature and physics gone berserk,” we checked into what the Oregonians for Science and Reason had to say.

The attraction lets others say that it’s a spot where brooms stand on end, balls roll uphill and people seem to grow or shrink as they walk away from you. Some explain that a mysterious sphere of "force," half above ground and half under produces theses miracles. Rumors abound that one John Lister studied the science behind the Oregon Vortex for more than 40 years, but burned his notes just before his death! Convenient!

All this said, the site gets 4.3 stars out of 5 on 300+ Facebook reviews and 4.1 stars out of 5 from 66 reviews on Google Plus. If you’re out for a lark anyway, why not stop by. It’s a series of old buildings in a beautiful forest, just what you escaped home for anyway.

The truth of the Vortex, which you’d probably discover within minutes of arrival, is that the “Vortex” is simply a slanting building that lends itself to an array of optical illusions. In the 1890s, the Grey Eagle Mining Company built a gold assay office up the hill from a creek. Intense rain caused a mudslide that carried the building down the embankment and left it tilted against a maple. In the 1930s, entrepreneurs found the building, reinforced it and started selling tickets. It’s been an attraction every since.

Pre-Historic Gardens

36848 US Highway 101
Port Orford, Oregon

Tucked in a valley with a very wet climate, Port Orford is one of the few authentic rainforests in the United States. In 1953, enterprising new-comer E.V. Nelson saw the dripping mosses, giant ferns and towering trees and knew he finally found a place to make his passion for dinosaurs come alive. It took him two years to create the 23 life-size replicas. While he deemed these creatures “scientifically correct,” he took quite a bit of artistic license with the paints, giving a pterodactyl a yellow belly divided by mosaic shapes. Reviewers explain that the pop-art touches he added make the dark forest shimmer with color. Sounds awesome!

Mount Angel Abbey Museum

1 Abbey Drive, St. Benedict, OR

The Mount Abbey monastery for Benedictine monks has been in operation since 1882. In addition to Catholic artifacts like a replica of Jesus crown of thorns, the monks have been gathering the strange artifacts from their farm. These include the world’s largest pig hairball and several smaller versions cut in half, revealing the strange, protective substance that covers the hairball and the furry insides. The monks have also stuffed mutant animals with extra legs and partially absorbed twins. The Mount Angel Abbey's museum has everything for the twisted!

Northern California

Trees of Mystery

15500 US-101, Klamath, CA 95548

Northern California's trees of mystery
Brenna/Flickr

36 miles south of the Oregon Border, the Trees of Mystery make touring the Redwoods convenient and fun. Giant statues of Paul Bunyan and babe the blue ox wave hello at the entrance, and the mile trail through the forest takes you past the breathtaking trees and carvings. Those who do not care to walk can take the Sky Trail gondolas through the tree tops and enjoy the downward view. The End of the Trail museum features artifacts and information about the “First Americans,” namely the Yurok, Karuk, Tolowa and other tribes. It also includes Edward Sheriff Curtis’ photography which chronicled life in the area in the early 1900s. The many native inhabitants permitted him to photograph them because of his respectful attitude and kindness.

Bigfoot Discovery Museum

5479 Highway 9, Felton, CA

Most Americans may have forgotten Bigfoot, but Mike Rugg never did. The 1968 Stanford University graduate has been collecting both evidence and memorabilia since he was a kid in the 1950s. He had a lucrative career in the computer industry until the early 2000s when the tech bubble burst. Deciding he had enough of coding, he opened the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in the early 2000s. Far from a parody, the museum is divide into three sections: Biological Bigfoot (physical and witness evidence of Bigfoot’s continuing existence); Mythical Bigfoot (legends and tales); and Paranormal Bigfoot (catering to those who attribute the creature’s existence to UFOs, and other dimensions).

Throughout the museum, you’ll find newspaper and video accounts, including the famous Patterson/Gimlin video of Bigfoot striding through the forest. The physical evidence includes skull fragments, footprint castings, hair and even scat. In addition to the artifacts, Rugg is always available.

He shares that many of the people who visit pull him aside to tell him they saw or heard or smelled (or all three) Bigfoot, never failing to ask him if they are crazy. He reassures them they are not. His explanation fascinates:

"Fifteen years ago, scientists could just laugh about Bigfoot, because there really wasn't anything they could look at that would even convince them of the plausibility of Bigfoot, really. Until we found out Neanderthals mated with humans. The latest DNA test — just published yesterday — claims what they are is a hybrid cross between a human and a caveman. That is what the Bigfoot is going to turn out to be."

La Mesa RV Finds All the Hidden Gems to Liven Up Your Next Trip

RV owners have endless opportunities to explore every nook and cranny in the United States in comfort. Here at La Mesa RV, we help make sure you find just the type of attraction you’re looking for. The oddities these states offer can sometimes reveal as much about the history and the environment as a museum! While RVers love to see the traditional attractions, we know an eccentric detour can be fun and refreshing, too.

Before you fill up your tanks however, make sure your RV is road ready. We offer smart RV service packages that save you time and money. Have a particular issue you need to discuss? Feel free to call us at 800-496-8778 or contact us here. We want to support you in the RV lifestyle!

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Filmtripping in your RV

3:03:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

A lot of people turn to movies and TV shows as an escape – being able to live vicariously through the characters on the screen, ones who may inhabit strange and distant worlds. But as any TV or film buff knows, those faraway worlds are most often located in our own backyards. These days, a movie or TV show’s past filming locations are easier than ever to find, and that’s where film road-tripping – or “filmtripping” – comes in. It’s when a love of pop culture and a passion for travel collide, and fans of particular TV shows and movies make the pilgrimage to visit the filming locations and the not-so-fictional settings where their favorite characters have lived. Many fans even plan an entire trip around experiencing their beloved shows in real life!

Let’s take a look at a few good examples of filmtripping today, and prepare to get your RV ready – you’re going to want to take a cinematic journey of your own once we’re done.

Top Filmtripping Destinations & Shows

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Baldwin Lake, and The Queen Anne Cottage (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, has an amazing film location history as it was an ideal stand-in for lakes, rivers, swamps and lagoons in early movies. It is the home to movies and TV shows dating all the way back to 1936 with the filming of "Tarzan Escapes" and other original Tarzan movies.

Other famous filming projects include Road to Singapore (1939), Notorious (1945), Miss Robinson Crusoe (1952), Lassie (1965), Mission Impossible (1968), Six Million Dollar Man (1974), Fantasy Island (1977-1982) - ("Ze Plane! Ze Plane!"), Love Boat (1978), Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1984), Lord of the Flies (1990), Bedazzled (2000), The Little Fockers (2010), and so many more!

The Walking Dead

The hit AMC horror show about the world after the zombie apocalypse has just one filming location: the state of Georgia, where the show is also set. (Yes, all of that sweat from the Atlanta heat is genuine.) With such a large fan base and such a singular location, Georgia has become a road trip destination of choice for zombie fanatics. Thrillist has already put together a superb map for a Walking Dead-themed filmtripping experience, listing off prime locations as they appear in the TV show and as they exist in everyday Georgia. While you might not want to go knocking at the door of the CDC (although the CDC building in The Walking Dead was portrayed by an arts centre), you can take an Atlanta Beltline bus tour to the quarry where the survivors initially holed up, or visit the small town of Senoia, which stood in for Woodbury on the show.

X-Files

The truth is out there – and so are numerous filming locations for the popular sci-fi TV show, which is hotter than ever now that long-awaited new episodes are about to land. According to Roadtrippers, X-Files fans will definitely want to head to western Canada to do their best Mulder and Scully impressions – the majority of the show was filmed in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. Filmtrippers of any stripe shouldn’t miss a visit to the Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, as not only does it appear in X-Files as the main hospital location, but also in Supernatural (another long-running TV series filmed primarily in the Vancouver area). If you’d rather stay in the United States, head down to the coast to the Santa Monica pier in California, or visit the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach – which is located in present day, not 1939 like Agent Mulder experienced.

Parks and Recreation

For something a little more light-hearted, take a cue from the devoted fans of this recently-completed TV series and go filmtripping to Pawnee, Indiana. Well, in a manner of speaking, anyway – there actually is no town of Pawnee in the state of Indiana, so your best bet is to head to California to experience the former filming locations for the popular show. Roadtrippers recommends checking out Pasadena to visit Pawnee City Hall (actually Pasadena City Hall), Van Nuys to get whipped cream topped waffles at Four ’N’ 20 Restaurant (which served as the interior of JJ’s Diner), and the Huntington Library & Gardens to experience the elite feeling of rival town Eagleton.

Sex and the City

This is probably one of the original filmtripping destinations, even before the word “filmtripping” was invented. For years now, fans of Carrie Bradshaw and company have been flocking to New York City for a chance to walk in her Manolo Blahniks. There are a ton of lists out there of the best Sex and the City-related locations to check out, but Fodor’s Travel has a fantastic one that lists off the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free!), Pete’s Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, and many more prime spots. And don’t forget to get in line at Magnolia Bakery for one of their famous cupcakes – the bakery and its appearance on the show have been created with starting the cupcake trend.

Although your own personal mileage may vary, for a pop culture fan, there are few greater experiences than immersing oneself in the former filming locations of a favorite TV show or movie. For a brief moment, you can imagine yourself as a character in your beloved fantasy world, and that itself can definitely be worth the trip. Put aside the regular road trip and give filmtripping a try – you might just make some cinematic memories of your own.

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RVing: Is Roadtrek the Brand for You?

11:53:00 AM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

To be or not to be... is a Class B Roadtrek touring van the right fit for you? Read on to find out!

It’s the journey, not the destination. It’s about new experiences over new stuff. Sounds like the RV way. That’s the way Jack Hanemaayer came to create the first Roadtrek motorhome. Set on combining the comfort of a motor home with convenient, nimble driving, in 1974 Hanemaayer took a blowtorch to a van to make it livable. It took him six years to get a model he would release to the public, but by 1980 and after many trips to the “drawing board,” he’d incorporated a sweeping roofline, three-section floor plan and a lowered floor. At last the Roadtrek was born.

Roadtrek: The Number One Best-Selling Class B Motorhome in the Industry for 25 Years!

Rather than moving into model after model, Roadtrek has specialized in the "small motorhome in a van" Class B, with different styles built on Mercedes Sprinter, Chevrolet and Ram ProMaster chassis. Research firm Stat Survey Inc’s 2014 Class B retail motorhome market numbers showed Roadtrek at 35.6% market share overall in North America, outpacing all other brands by a long-shot for the twenty-fifth year in a row.
This focus has allowed Roadtrek to meet the needs of the Class B buyer: convenience, energy costs and comfort. The company has fine-tuned:
  • Engineering: size, maneuverability and stability that makes navigating both towns and narrow mountain roads stress-free.
  • Eco-friendly, high-tech features: these keep the cost of road trips under control (also check out the eco-friendly E-Trek solar-enabled model) while providing all the connectivity that makes work and personal lives manageable.
  • Comfort: plenty of storage to bring fishing, hiking and photography gear, as well as motorized beds and full kitchens.

By listening carefully to buyers and dealers, every year Roadtrek creates touring vans with better features all while staying true to its ultimate values of quality, trust and innovation.
Here at La Mesa RV, we’re proud to carry a line of convenient motorhome RVs that have won numerous awards over the years from industry and camping magazines and associations. Roadtrek has taken:
  • RV Enthusiast’s Gold Award for Class B several years.
  • Motorhome Magazine’s Reader’s Favorite Award for Class B 2013.
  • RV Dealers’ Association’s Quality Circle Award for Class B 2014.
More, we find Roadtrek agents are happy to work with our dealers to fit a custom Class B with every feature the La Mesa RV customer desires. They also scale down a model per specifications without hassle. Finally, they work closely with us to rectify any issue a buyer has with their new unit.
Both La Mesa RV and Roadtrek realize that a motorhome purchase is one of the largest in an American’s life. While it has the potential to bring the greatest adventure of a lifetime, it’s also a large financial and lifestyle commitment. We take our end of the bargain very seriously.

Which Roadtrek Revs Your Engine?

Roadtrek designers and engineers learned long ago that all kinds of travelers and campers appreciate a wide variety of options for their home on the road. The Zion model is built on the Ram ProMaster chassis and is a great entry level model that fits most lifestyles and budgets.
The 190 Popular, built on a top selling Chevrolet chassis, is one of the original Roadtreks and is compact in size, yet roomy, comfortable, and ideal for two people. Roadtrek's 210 Popular is their "widebody" model. Built on a Chevy Express extended van chassis, the 210 has a 155" long wheelbase, which allows for much more space than other models.
Their Adventurous models come in mid-range CS Adventurous and RS Adventurous and the top-of-the-line TS Adventurous all which sleep 4, but can accommodate 7 passengers.

ETrek Class B

Designed for those who love boondocking and free of “shore power” or hookups, the E-Trek model features a 255 watt solar panel that can run the interior electrical system free of propane or a noisy generator. Etrek can take you off the grid longer than almost any other RV. The solar panel even runs the interior air conditioner while you’re going down the road. You can run the DVD, TV and all interior lights just off of solar power.

Find Your Roadtrek RV

Seeing is believing. Stop by one of our many RV store locations that offer Roadtrek Class B's (not all store locations offer Roadtrek) so that you get a better idea what the Roadtrek brand is all about. Our website allows you to search the nearest La Mesa RV store with Roadtrek inventory. We think you’ll be amazed at the high tech and comfort features Roadtrek puts into their rigs these days!
Considering scaling up or down in your RV? We’re happy to provide a fair price for your trade in. Feel free to call us at 800-496-8778 or email us here. We want to help you experience the RV lifestyle!

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4 Ways Athletic Campers Make RVing More Active

2:50:00 PM La Mesa RV 0 Comments

There can be a lot of down time when road tripping in your RV and it's common to find yourself spending a considerable about of time sitting and remaining fairly inactive, but that does not mean you need worry about staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle. Many people purchase RVs solely for athletic and fitness reasons. More and more professional and amateur athletes use RVs to get to their meets and games, and RV manufacturers are developing units and accessories to fit the active lifestyle. RV parks, too, are making fitness-enthusiast First Lady Michelle Obama proud by offering gyms, swimming pools, fitness classes and bike and walking trails. The trend toward living a healthier lifestyle has gotten more Americans thinking about how fitness and RV travel can work well together. Use these tips to optimize your physical fitness while traveling by motorhome.

1. Get Informed by Following RV & Fitness Blogs

Why reinvent the wheel when avid fitness-minded RVers have tried various strategies, parks, marathons, and routines?
A blog (or 10) exists for everything and staying fit and healthy while RVing is one of them. We like The Fit RV because it covers nearly every topic the active RVer could consider: workouts, recipes, fit tips, RV reviews, RV park reviews and more. Bloggers James and Stef explain that while they never really considered the RV lifestyle, they “got tired of standing in long porta-potty lines before bicycling events, and decided we needed our own bathroom."

2. Determine Your Destination by Your Fitness Style

Choosing the campground or boondocking site you’ll venture off to depend on the style of fitness you prefer. Some RVers go to sites that have health and wellness centers that com complete with Olympic sized swimming pools, fitness studios for classes and workout rooms full of equipment. Many RVers enjoy traveling to RV resorts that offer competitive sports, such as golf, lawn bowling and pickelball. Others wouldn’t consider that kind of institutionalized exercise, aiming instead to get as far away from the masses as possible to hike and bike in wooded splendor. The key will be finding the right campground guide to determine whether the trails are more suitable for hiking or biking. Go Camping America lets you search the private parks by the style of recreation you prefer from boating, canoeing and kayaking to biking and running. Reserve America lets you search the federal, state, county and private parks.
Like James and Stef of FitRV, avid hikers, bikers and other athletes may follow well-known races and events in their RVs. The website Active has a searchable database of all running, cycling, swimming, baseball and more sport events in any area you choose. You can also filter by date. They even list the closest mud runs, obstacle races, adventure races, black light races and pet friendly races near you.

3. Take Exercise Equipment that Doesn’t Require Up Much Room

Even those planning to hike and/or bike can optimize their physical rejuvenation by working out while on the road. An elliptical machine strapped to the top of the RV or a heavy set of free weights doesn’t cut it, however. James and Stef of FitRV recommend light-weight, variable resistance bands. Basically bungee cords with handles, resistance bands can be used by yourself or with a partner. Experts agree that they are more versatile and even more effective than free weights. Also consider adding to your outdoor activities. Ankle and wrist weights give runners and kayakers more resistance as they enjoy their sport. Walking sticks turn a regular hike in to a full-body workout.

4. RVs and Accessories Popular with Athletes and Active Travelers

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association's March 2015 “Business Indicators” report cited a Harris Poll which found that 35-44 year-olds were the fastest-growing group of RV owners. In the 1980s, the average American RV owner was 50. Today he or she is 48. That number is falling even more as even younger families insist on reaping the benefits that camping brings. Active adventurers find they have a very close to nature, rigorous experience in the Class B camping van models. Understanding that RV buyers are getting younger, healthier and more active, several manufacturers have created models that appeal to athletes and fitness buffs.
Winnebago stayed on top of the trends as usual. Its 2015 Travato 59G comes with a roof rack that holds two kayaks. The double, over-ladder bike rack on the back is bolted to only one rear door so that you can open the back doors and access the cabin while the bikes stay mounted. The Murphy bed inside moves out of the way to create room for bikes or kayaks for those reluctant to mount these outside.
Roadtrek’s eTrek is one of the most eco-friendly Class B motorhome on the market. Geared toward the outdoor enthusiast, it has plenty of storage for hobby equipment. Most impressive, it’s equipped with a 255-watt solar panel, meaning in the eTrek, you can stay off the grid longer than any other class B. A quick look at RoadTrek’s two-minute video makes it clear the manufacturer aims this model at the avid and active nature-lover. It’s interesting to note that the Class B RVs appeal to those embarking on physically challenging trips.

La Mesa RV Gets Hikers, Bikers, Swimmers to New Hills, Roads and Shores

Matt Rose, director of Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council explains, "You used to think of RVs and think of the cigar-smoking grandpa and the retired couple, but not anymore." RV companies are excited by the prospect of helping the athlete and avid sportsperson get closer to the race, lake or court by choosing a recreational vehicle rather than book hotel reservations.
Consider the benefits of an RV lifestyle with your fitness routines. Stop by one of our store locations and check out your options to get a better feel of where your road or mountain bike, tennis racket or pickleball paddle, yoga mat, or healthy selection of walking or running shoes would go. Feel free to call us toll free at 800.496.8778, or email us for all your RV related questions. We want to help you take your fitness on the open road!

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