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Great Escapes: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” is not entirely accurate when it comes to the animals you’ll see at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. But wolves and cougars and elk sure are, along with moose, bison, birds, beaver, otter, and many other forest and wetland animals. This 725-acre wildlife in Eatonville, Washington doesn’t have a yellow brick road, but following its paved pathways through the woods provides an opportunity to see more than 200 animals native to the Pacific Northwest. When you’re tired of walking, take the narrated tram tour through the free roaming area where bighorn sheep, mountain goats and more graze by the side of the road. There are also several zip lines if you’re feeling adventurous, and miles of unpaved trails for hiking.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Bison.jpgIf you have a favorite Pacific Northwest animal or bird you’d like to see up close, you probably won’t be disappointed. Watch the funny antics of river otters, beaver, raccoon, and more from upper and lower viewing decks. You can even see inside a real beaver den. The big cat area includes bobcats, lynx, and cougar. Both grizzlies and black bears are found at Northwest Trek, as well as small furry forest animals such as the badger, fisher, and wolverine. You’ll likely hear the howling wolves long before you see them, but you may never spot the elusive red fox. Owls, eagles, and turkey vultures also rule the roost here.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Grizzly.jpgEvery visit to Northwest Trek is a little different. Spring and summer are baby season. In the fall, glimpse bull elk locking antlers as they spar over a mate during the “rut” or breeding season. Special events for photographers, bear camp weekends, feeding tours and more allow you to get closer to the animals and learn about environmental conservation. No matter which animals you encounter and no matter the season, you’ll be exclaiming “Oh my!”  Don’t forget your camera.


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IF YOU GO:

11610 Trek Dr East
Eatonville, WA  98328
Phone: (360) 832-6117
http://www.nwtrek.org

Open Daily, 9:30 am - 6 pm. Admission price includes parking (large lots suitable for all sizes of RVs), tram tour and admission to park. Discounts for military and local residents.

Adults (ages 13 - 64)      $19.75
Seniors (ages 65+)      $18.25
Youth (ages 5 - 12)      $12.25     
Tots (ages 3 & 4)      $9.25     
2 and Under          FREE

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Seven Things Every New Full-time RVer Should Know

Do you have the full-time RVing dream? Is hitching up and rolling away for good something you just dream about or are you working hard to hit the road? If you're making plans to ditch the stick house and roam like a gypsy, here are seven things I've learned in seven years on the open road. 

1. There's no perfect campsite. Have you ever watched this amusing scene unfold? You're settled into a campground when a new temporary resident pulls in. They circle the wagons at least five times while slowing down and pointing out different spots, until finally the camper stops at the original one that caught their eye. Save yourself the time and effort; the first campsite you see is probably the best one for you. Don't burn daylight looking for paradise, it's right in front of you! 

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The 19th Hole: Cutter & Buck Introduces 2015 Men’s Golf Collection

Getting a jump on next year’s fashion trends, Cutter & Buck men’s golf collection for spring 2015 will usher in high-performance pieces, top-quality fabrics, and attractive colors that collectively will take on springtime’s unpredictable weather.

“Next spring we’re inviting men to light up the links with bold brights in solids and stripes, plus woven-inspired prints with high-wattage color,” said Jake Rawson, Cutter & Buck’s Global Director of Sales- Golf.  “As always, we have a great mix of lightweight layering and weather protection pieces and, of course, all of our favorite essentials.”

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RV Travel Tales: Traveling the Beartooth Scenic Highway

One late spring day, we traveled from West Yellowstone, Montanta, across Yellowstone National Park to the northeast entrance and the Beartooth Scenic Highway. Yellowstone is awesome, but vast! We drove about 70 miles to get out of the park onto the Beartooth Highway and then, at least, another 70 miles to Red Lodge, Montana. Of course, we stopped to take pictures of wild life and mountains—and streams and trees! Traffic is crazy. If an animal is spotted, everyone stops on both sides of the highway and it’s often a circus—as it was when a Mama bear and two small cubs were foraging close to the road. Some people walked dangerously close. People do not realize that a Mamma Bear, although looking docile, could suddenly turn and charge if she feels her cubs are in danger. The cubs ran up and down trees, but we never got a clear shot at them. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINE-Driving-Beartooth-on-the-Edge.jpgHeralded as one of the most scenic drives in the United States, the Beartooth Highway, a National Scenic Byways All-American Road, climbed a series of steep switchbacks, giving us views of the snow covered Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains and open high alpine plateaus dotted with glacial lakes and forested valleys. On some slopes, the mountain rocks peeked from snow blankets like a caramel colored tapestry veined with black streaks. Beartooth Highway is one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet in elevation, including Granite Peak, Montana’s highest at 12,799 feet. The road itself has the highest elevation of any highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and in Montana (10,350 feet), and is the highest elevation for a highway in the Northern Rockies. I’m not sure if snow ever melts. I’ve been on the highway in late July when snow banks were higher than my head.

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The Healthy Traveler: Choosing Healthy Snacks for Long Road Trips

When you’re heading out on a long trip, you need to make some dining decisions ahead of time. Will you pack a lunch to eat on the road or stop at a restaurant? Whether you’re planning on eating out or while you’re behind the wheel, don’t forget to allow for snacks. Driving can leave you hungry, and grabbing a bag of chips or popcorn at the gas station isn’t good for your heart or your waistline. A better option is to pack some healthy snacks that you can eat while you’re driving or while you’re taking a break at a rest stop.

Trail Mix and Dried Fruit

Choose blends that don’t have any chocolate for a healthier and temperature-stable mix. The great thing about these snacks is that they’re appropriate for any weather, so you won’t have to worry about them melting in the RV while you’re getting gas or checking out the world’s largest skillet. Larger bags tend to be more cost-effective, and you can portion them out in snack-size bags for instant portion control.

Breakfast Bars

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The Silver Gypsy: Mission Trip - Part 1

The Senior Youth Group from Peakland United Methodist Church out of Lynchburg, VA, worked on all aspects of the Dominican Republic Mission Trip Project for nine months or so before leaving.  Six out of the 18 were returns from the Mission Trip in 2012, including my daughter, Tracey Norvelle, and my grandson, Will.  The funds for their flights, on-site mission food, and supplies, were furnished by fundraising, donations, and individuals, plus the church paid a portion of the cost for individuals who were part of it. 

The group was scheduled to fly United Airlines from Raleigh, NC, to Newark, NJ, on June 14, then on to Santiago, Dominican Republic.  United Airlines cancelled the first flight segment.  Frantic calls went out to all the participants the evening of June 13 to immediately meet at the church, with suitcases packed and ready to go.  In four quickly rented vehicles, they left church and drove throughout the night to Newark, NJ.  They landed in Santiago around noon on Saturday and were driven in vans to the Mission’s camp near Luperon, the Dominican Republic.
                                                                                                        

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Adventures in RVing: Boondocking With Gators

While our RV travels currently take place primarily across the western United States, I am constantly adding places to my database that allow boondocking (aka dispersed camping) for that day when my wife and I can expand our horizons.  I recently came across the following on the "RV the South" blog.
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Respect the Baby Alligators When Using One of Louisiana's New, Free, Primitive Campsites

Question: What's the name of the largest wetland in the U.S.? Answer: The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. If 'you'all is not from around heah," then a few intriguing terms might be new to you. Bayous, bald cypress swamps, and of course, one everyone knows, "alligator." 

Now the good folks of Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources would like folks to become more familiar with the basin. To prove it, they've opened up a project that provides free primitive camping sites on state-owned property along the Atchafalaya Basin. 

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Great Escapes: Golden Brewery Tour

Water, hops, barley and yeast are the main ingredients in any beer. But it’s also the processes of steeping, germination, kilning, and brewing that provide the myriad of beers styles we enjoy today. To learn how MillerCoors makes some of the most popular brands on the market, take a FREE brewery tour in Golden, Colorado. The self-paced tour showcases the company’s history, and highlights their malting, brewing and packaging processes. Using a hand-held audio wand, you’ll stop at various numbered “stations” along the tour route to read signs, watch brewery workers, and hear stories. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to sample quite a few beverages in the hospitality lounge, and take home a souvenir from the Coors & Co. gift shop.

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Why Medevac Insurance for Fulltime RVers is Smart

Do you love visiting remote places far away from civilization? Is meandering down a lonely dirt road in search of the perfect camping spot your idea of a good time? If so, then you could be putting your life in jeopardy if you don't carry emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage. Here's why: 

My husband and I also love journeying into the wild, miles from population centers. We never considered that wanderlust is a somewhat risky and potentially financially devastating thing to do – until I had a scary emergency in the outback that made me think about what could happen if one of us needed to catch a ride on a medevac helicopter. 

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The 19th Hole: Featured Golf-RV Resort: The Links of North Dakota

The Links of North Dakota is one of the top golf courses in the country and arguably the top course in the Peace Garden State. The Links of North Dakota presents golfers with an authentic links-style golfing experience on the bluffs overlooking Lake Sakakawea. The course is located in the heart of the area’s Bakken Oil Formation just 28 miles outside of Williston, N.D. and 16 miles from the small town of Ray. It is the area’s only 18 hole championship golf course with bent grass greens, fairways, and tee boxes which allow a true “Links” ground game experience.

Though water doesn’t come into play on this par-72 championship course, 82 sand bunkers do. Wind will almost always factor into your round at The Links.

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