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Adventures in RVing: Gold Butte Backcountry Byway

"The byway begins 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas and five miles south of Mesquite/Bunkerville on Interstate 15, exit 112. The 62-mile scenic trip offers opportunities to see desert wildlife, red and white sandstone, sinkholes, petroglyphs, the Muddy Mountains and Lake Mead. The historic mining town of Gold Butte, established in 1908, is along the route. The primary extractions from Gold Butte are copper, gold, lead and zinc. The last 19 miles of the byway should only be traveled by high-clearance vehicles. Primitive camping and hiking are available along the byway."  Reading the above Bureau of Land Management description of the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway piqued my interest. "Historic mining town", "red sandstone" and "primitive camping" aka boondocking are key phrases for me, but it wasn't until I saw photos and video of the area, known as Whitney Pockets which lies along the route, that the byway was elevated to the top of the "must do" list. I am here to tell you, if you like boondocking and backroads, this byway has it all. Awesome boondocking sites, backroads to petroglyphs, unique rock formations, historic CCC structures, ghost towns and mining history all combined with scenic desert backdrops! ATVs are welcome too, allowing my wife and I to enjoy another one of our pastimes with all of the above. We spent two days in the area and only scratched the surface, so we will have to return at a future date. Combining boodocking with a host of other favorite activities is the best type of adventure in RVing there is!  You gotta love the RV lifestyle!

 

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Great Escapes: SPAMTOWN U.S.A.

Long before SPAM stood for unwanted blasts of email, it was an acronym for “Special Purpose Army Meat” and was a staple among U.S. soldiers during World War II. Learn everything there is to know-- past and present-- about this famous canned meat at the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota, a.k.a. "SPAMTOWN U.S.A."  The free museum is 16,500 square feet of fun and is filled with SPAM memorabilia, artifacts, vintage advertising, and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the history of SPAM and its creator, the Hormel Foods Corporation.

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Should You Keep Your House When You Go Full-time RVing?

If you're considering full-time RVing as a lifestyle option, one of your biggest decisions will be deciding what to do with your current home. Whether you rent or own, deciding whether or not to hang onto this last symbol of your old life is a difficult decision. 

Renters have a little bit of an easier time letting go, since I think it's a safe bet to assume that most landlords don't allow subletting to another renter. Finding another rental has its own challenges but is infinitely easier than buying a new home. For homeowners, however, deciding which path to take is a momentous decision that's filled with many complicated steps and repercussions no matter what road is taken. 

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The 19th Hole: Improve Your Game with the PureShot Sync Golf Training Aid

Most golfers will go the extra mile to improve their game. One of the seemingly simple but effective training aids on the market is the PureShot Sync Ball. This simple device has gained a great deal of attention over the last several months since the former number one golfer in the world, Martin Kaymer, has been seen using the PureShot Sync Golf Training Aid. 

The PureShot is designed to synchronize the golf swing and add extension in the process. The simplistic design consists of a lanyard and ball with an adjustable cord. Designed for either left or right handed golfers, the PureShot Sync Ball can benefit golfers of all sizes and abilities. Since the PureShot is adjustable, it can also be used by women and juniors. 

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RV Travel Tales: Harriman State Park’s History and Scenic Beauty

b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINEDude-Housing-Harriman-State--Park.jpgOn a sunny autumn day, we visited Idaho’s Harriman State Park, close to Island Park on U.S. Highway 20. The Railroad Ranch—which makes up the 15,000-acre park—was once a summer retreat for shareholders and their families and friends associated with the Oregon Short Line, the railroad that first carried passengers from Ashton, Idaho, to West Yellowstone, Montana. In fact, West Yellowstone formed about 1907 when the train began depositing visitors at the west gate to Yellowstone National Park. Many of the old houses, cabins, and ranch buildings are standing and open for tours during the summer. All were closed on the afternoon we visited, but we felt the peace and serenity the summer visitors must have enjoyed back in the 1920s. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINEAspen-Grove-Railroad-Ranch.jpgThe Railroad Ranch had its beginning in 1902 with the formation of the Island Park Land and Cattle Company and spanned 75 years until its official transfer to public ownership. An impressive piece of ranchland, its natural history dates back over 600,000 years. The Ranch lies on the floor of the ancient Island Park caldera which formed when a massive volcano collapsed, leaving a wide crater-like surface. Over the years the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River carved its course across the caldera floor, creating a rich riparian habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife. Today from the lawns and sidewalks of historic cabins and buildings, we viewed horses grazing in deep grass. A wide sky with white fluffy clouds formed Harriman State Park’s roof. 

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The Healthy Traveler: Eco-Friendly Healthy Cleaning Products for the RV

There is a lot of talk about going green these days and folks from all walks of life are becoming more focused on ways to lower their carbon footprint and save the planet. What many folks don’t necessarily realize is that going green has many health benefits to offer as well. For example, buying organic produce reduces the use of pesticides, while also reducing the amount of chemicals we put in our bodies. That’s a win-win situation for both the planet and our health.

 

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The Silver Gypsy: A National Treasure

This is a story that I wrote.  It was published in 1996.  As you head to the warm country for the winter, stop by this national treasure.  You won’t be disappointed.

Some say it is indescribable.  Others call it magnificent.  To many it is awesome.  Still others describe it as Mother Nature’s theater-in-the-round.  It is Crater Lake National Park, Oregon’s only national park, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. 

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Adventures in RVing: We've Got Cows!

In the movie Twister there is a scene where cows are caught up in a tornado and the character Melissa played by Jami Gertz delivers the line, "we got cows". During a recent stay at Fort Church Hill State Park in Nevada, my wife and I had the same experience.  Not a tornado, but cows!  Upon awakening one morning and stepping out of the RV we were greeted by a bevy of bovines throughout the campground. Now cows are nothing new to us when boondocking on open range BLM land, but cows in a designated campground is a little unusual.

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Great Escapes: Banff Gondola

If you’re looking for a literal highlight the next time you visit Banff, Alberta, Canada, be sure to ride the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Restaurants, gift shops, numerous outdoor observation decks, and an historic weather observatory are all perched at 7,486 feet. In addition to endless vistas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, on a clear day you will be treated to a bird’s eye view of the Banff townsite, Bow River Valley, the Banff Springs Hotel, and numerous lakes. The gondola runs all year.

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Easy RV Bumper Sticker Ghosting Removal

Are you addicted to bumper stickers? The funny thing about bumper stickers is, they usually end up in other places besides your RV bumper! In the world of RVing and passenger cars, there are those who enjoy slapping on decals, and those who think they look sloppy. For people like me who love to proudly display road trip milestones and destinations, be warned that there is a price to pay for all of those adhesive-backed memories: it's a process called “ghosting.” 

We discovered the effects of “ghosting” when it was time to upgrade our rig to a larger unit. Since we wanted to get as much trade-in value as possible, we had to remove all of our bumper stickers and vinyl lettering that promoted our websites. But peeling off those memories wasn't nearly as painful as the end result. 

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