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The Healthy Traveler: Buying Organic Produce on the Road or on a Budget

Organic foods, including produce, dairy and meats, have become a part of any conversation about healthy eating, going green and sustainability. Whether your biggest concerns are your own health, your family’s health, the health and safety of farm workers or the impact our lifestyles have on the planet, there are plenty of reasons to buy organic. 

While it doesn’t take much to convince most health-conscious folks that foods that are grown without man-made pesticides and chemical fertilizers are healthier options, a trip to the organic section in any market will quickly show how some families might find it difficult to justify – or simply afford – purchasing organic foods that are often significantly more expensive than their conventional counterparts. 

The idea that you can pay now by buying higher-priced organic foods or pay later in healthcare costs helps to justify increasing your food budget, but that still doesn’t mean that everyone can afford to buy organic versions of all of the produce, dairy and meat that they purchase. And even those who can afford going all-organic will likely find that organic produce can be difficult to find when on the road, which can create particular challenges for those living an RV lifestyle. 
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The Silver Gypsy: Memorials

In my travels, I have visited many, many, MANY memorials, memorials to the early pioneers, to one early pioneer, to famous people, to presidents, to various eras and roads and definitely to each legendary war and its heroes.  There are monuments to famous homes and shrines and poets and authors, plus tributes to ranges of mountains.   There are marble and stone monuments in local cemeteries representing loved ones.   You get the picture.  We have monuments to places for all kinds of reasons and to the sizes and shapes of countless “things” that are the highest, longest, deepest, lowest, widest, etc, as in monuments to fish, crab, and wind.

b2ap3_thumbnail_SD-MT.-RUSHMORE-549-April-20-2005.jpgWe are all familiar with Mt. Rushmore and Chief Crazyhorse (still unfinished) in SD and NH’s natural monument to the Old Man of the Mountain (crumbled a few years back).  A lesser known one is the statue to Hannah Duston, a colonial MA Puritan and mother of nine who was taken captive by Native Americans in 1697.  Eventually, she made her way back to her family after killing ten of her captives at night.   She was the first woman in the US to be honored with a statue.

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Adventures in RVing: Great Value! Willard Bay State Park in Utah

Those of you that follow this blog know my first choice of campsite is a boondocking site far from the hustle and bustle of an urban area. When boondocking is not an option my next choice of campsites are ones operated by a public entity such as a national park, forest service, state or county park. Public parks tend to have larger sites with better spacing between campsites than you will find at a private RV park. So the next best thing to a free boondocking site is a reasonably priced public campground.

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Great Escapes: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah

A visit to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in southern Utah is a lesson in geography, geology, weather and physics all at the same time. Its location, which is actually a deep notch between the Moquith and Moccasin Mountains, serves as a natural collection area for the fine sands blown off the mountains' steep red cliffs and outcroppings. The wind funneled through the notch is so great that it easily carries these sand grains from the eroding ancient Navajo sandstone. Mixed in with the sand are grains of quartz with a hematite coating, providing the pink-orange color. Once the wind passes into the open valley, its velocity decreases and the sand is deposited, but the wind continues to whip it into ever-changing dunes. This phenomenon is known as the Venturi Affect, named after Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746–1822), an Italian physicist.   

b2ap3_thumbnail_CoralPinkTK300.JPGMost visitors stop at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park while touring Utah’s Grand Circle (Bryce Canyon and Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Parks). Just 12 miles southwest of U.S. Hwy 89 near Kanab, the park is indeed convenient to these more popular attractions, but Coral Pink Sand Dunes is also a unique destination perched at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Photographers and off-road enthusiasts especially appreciate this unique landscape found nowhere else in the United States. The sweeping sandy expanse is 3,730 acres of contrasting color— coral dunes surrounded by red sandstone cliffs, blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and emerald junipers and pinion pines. The dunes are also a massive playground for riding off-highway vehicles! 

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Are You a Full-timer, Part-timer or Snowbird? Does It Matter?

The leaves are turning here in the Colorado Rockies and soon it will be time to close up our cabin and hit the road. Being the cold weather wimp that I am (hey, I was raised in Los Angeles, what can I say?), we'll leave after the first big snow dump, which can be just a foot or sometimes three, usually the week before Halloween. We'll point our rig south on Interstate 25 and get in a rolling conga line with all of thousands of other snowbird RVers from northern climates who fly south for winter. Where our route takes us is anyone's guess but you can bet one thing: we'll be chasing the sun and looking for the warmest weather we can find. 

This is the time of year when RVers of all types and experience levels get crammed into the sunbelt states and it's a great opportunity to see that RVers comprise a huge cross-section of North American citizens. When sitting around the campfire at happy hour, a common topic of discussion is, what exactly is a full-time RVer? 

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The 19th Hole: Pahrump, NV - Great Golf, Plenty of RVing Options

With more than 1,300 RV spaces and two golf courses, Pahrump, Nevada is a great base camp for year round activities. Located about 60 miles west of Las Vegas, Pahrump is a haven for RVers and snowbirds who enjoy the moderate weather and unlimited sunshine. With an elevation of 2,700 feet above sea level, the weather in Pahrump is typically 3-5 degrees cooler than Las Vegas. Even though Pahrump is situated in the high desert, it does experience all four seasons, including fall leaves and an occasional dusting of snow. 

In reality though, outdoor activities are the norm throughout the year in Pahrump, especially golf. Whether you’re a beginner or zero handicapper, the 18-hole par 72 Mountain Falls Golf Course, which measures 7,186 yards from the tips, will challenge and impress you at every hole. Designed by Cal Olson, Mountain Falls opened in 2002 and features lush fairways and water coming into play on nearly half the holes.

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RV Travel Tales: Richard & Reta Averill: Workampers Extraordinaire

From our acquaintance with Richard and Reta Averill and following many of their Workamping experiences, we knew they are Workampers Extraordinaire. Yet, recent personal challenges, followed by Richard’s recognition in the country music field places them a level or two above extraordinary. 

In the dozen or so years the Averills have claimed highways as home turf, their eagerness for new experiences led them to different Workamping situations, including both volunteer stints and paying positions. Their plan for Workamping came from their goal to get to know the people and customs of particular areas of the United States. “The earnings and amenities are a bonus that defrays our living expenses,” Richard says. “But meeting folks, keeping in touch via e-mail, and then meeting again as we travel to another place is the most fulfilling part.” 

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The Healthy Traveler: Home Sweet Road

There is nothing more invigorating than that feeling you get when you are out on the open road, free to roam wherever life may lead. However, as much as we all love traveling, there are times when we all get a little homesick. The answer to satisfying your yearning heart is simple. Make the road as much like home as possible.

One way to make your RV work for you is to decorate with a cozy interior and good lighting. Put in your own unique home-style furniture, and find art that will make your RV comfortable to you. Lay comfy carpet and walk around barefooted. Bring in scents that make your RV smell like a personal haven. Bring along your MP3 player. Find songs that arouse that sense of adventure, but don’t forget the music that brings you a little piece of home. Create a comfortable sleeping situation. We all know that the worst thing to have when you're traveling is an uncomfortable bed. Fix yourself up with some extra padding and pillows, or whatever you need to get a good night's rest. 

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The Silver Gypsy:  Teachers, Our National Treasures

Continuing with my reminiscing of class reunions, way back in the dark ages, 1999, I wrote a column on the visit that two classmates and I had with our 1950s Home Economics teacher, Miss Burman.  I had talked with this lady on the phone.  Her voice at eighty-one, was strong and authoritative.  I just knew she was still fourteen feet tall with a military bearing and her back straight as a rod. 

At sixty-something, Peggy, Shirley and I, were seventeen-something apprehensive.  It was a day I wanted to shine as an exemplary past pupil but three sweaty August hours riding in a hot car did nothing for my confidence.  My pals looked svelte and attractive.  We rang the doorbell.  I was already convinced she would take one look at me and say, “I knew you’d turn out like this.”  When she opened the door, we chorused together, once more teamed against “The Force.”  “Good Morning, Miss Burman.”     

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Adventures in RVing: USFS Topo Maps

Detailed maps are essential for adventurous RVers like you and I. They allow navigation to forgotten ghost towns, unique geological formations, back country lakes and isolated boondocking campsites. There are several privately run websites that provide limited access to topographic maps with the hopes that you will purchase a detailed or custom map from them: Helpful? Yes.  Ideal? No.  

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