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Adventures in RVing: Yakima Canyon Camping

In the last entry we looked at the free camping opportunities compliments of the Spokane, Washington BLM office. In this entry we will focus on the camping areas located in the scenic Yakima Canyon, which has been designated as a state scenic route and offers excellent wildlife viewing, fishing in a Blue Ribbon trout stream and family river rafting.

The Bureau of Land Management operates four campgrounds in the Yakima River Canyon. All four are located on the east shore of the Yakima River and easily accessed via State Route 821 which runs between Ellensburg and Selah, WA. Due to the easy river access, all four are extremely popular during the summer months, especially during hot spells when the river beckons those looking to cool off tubing the river. Three of the four; Roza, Lmuma Creek and Umtanum, have just 18 campsites between them, so they tend to fill up quickly in season. Your best bet for finding a campsite is at Big Pines with its 41 campsites. It is also the most RV friendly of the four with long paved spaces, some pull thru sites, picnic tables and fire rings. There is also a paved boat ramp for those RVers that bring their water toys with them.

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Great Escapes: Mendenhall Glacier

Any visit to Juneau, Alaska should include a short 12-mile trip northwest of downtown— to see the true blue Mendenhall Glacier. Originally known as Sitaantaagu ("the Glacier Behind the Town") or Aak'wtaaksit ("the Glacier Behind the Little Lake") by the Tlingit Indians, it was renamed in 1892 in honor of Ohio native Thomas Corwin Mendenhall. This noted scientist, who served as Superintendent of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1889 to 1894, was responsible for surveying the boundary between Canada and Alaska. Regardless of this glacier’s official moniker, you’ll call it beautiful, breathtaking, amazing, awe-inspiring, splendid… and the superlatives go on!

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Rolling with the Laundromat Blues

After seven years on the road I can only think of one thing that I really miss about living in a stick house: my own washer and dryer. 

Whenever I set foot in a new laundromat, I wonder if the washers are going to chew up my delicates or if the dryers will light my clothes on fire. And don't get me started about the creepy crud I've encountered in public washing machines, I prefer not to think about it. 

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The 19th Hole: Featured Golf-RV Resort – Royalwood Golf & RV Resort

Located just 50 miles east of Vancouver, B.C., Royalwood Golf & RV Resort in Chilliwack offers some of Canada’s best golf-RV options. The links-style Royalwood Golf Course opened in 1990, and is a par 72 layout designed by Jim McIntyre. Stretching to 6,934 yards from the tips, the course was built as the home of golf for the Fraser Valley.

Set amongst the Coast Mountains to the north and the Fraser Canyon and mountains to the northeast, Royalwood is surrounded by a gorgeous panoramic view of British Columbia’s lower mainland. Wildlife is abundant at the resort as numerous bald eagles and cranes call the Fraser Valley home.

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RV Travel Tales: From Cows in a Barn to the Epic Adventure of Jonah

Glenn Eshelman is a Pennsylvania farmer—a man of the dirt, he describes himself. However, Eshelman is also a creative artist, a man who believes in using the gifts God gave him to bring Bible stories to life in musical productions on stages of his theatres in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, and Branson, Missouri. The productions, built upon Bible heroes such as Noah, Moses, Joseph, Daniel—and “Jonah,” premiering this season in the Sight & Sound Theatre in Branson have been a gradual step-by-step process. “I believe that God has led this ministry show by show, dollar by dollar, and building by building,” Eshelman says. 

Eshelman’s interest in art started in his childhood. His landscape paintings led him to photograph inspirational scenes that were presented to churches, schools and civic organizations across the United States. He and his wife, Shirley, used a single slide projector and screen, along with a turntable and microphone to provide sound—a far cry from the high-tech productions he imagines and molds into reality onstage today. In July 1976, the Sight & Sound Auditorium (later renamed the Living Waters Theatre) opened for the debut performance of “A Land of Our Own.” Live actors were eventually added to the productions, and “Behold the Lamb” debuted in 1987 as the first full-length live stage production at the original Sight & Sound Auditorium located in Pennsylvania. Eshelman says that first theatre required a $100,000 loan. “A huge commitment for Shirley and me,” he adds. “But my philosophy has always been, “This is what God called us to do and we do it. 

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The Healthy Traveler:  10 Benefits of Hydrating with Coconut Water

Coconut water has long been a staple in Southeast Asia, but it was only a few years ago that this healthful liquid became a household name in the United States. While its nutty flavor did not immediately appeal to the masses, the health claims put out by savvy marketers certainly made us perk up our ears and consider giving this new beverage a try. 

Coconut water has been touted as many things, including a potential cure for ailments like high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. It is rumored to also have anti-aging qualities and to be able to cure a hangover. However, most of these claims are largely unsubstantiated at this point, and we probably should not be counting on coconut water as a cancer cure until a few more tests have been conducted. In the meantime, there are plenty of other great reasons to start drinking coconut water right now.
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The Silver Gypsy:  The Desert Critters

We who live in the desert are not only blessed by beautiful flowers, but critters who make their home here.  Sitting on my deck where I look out on to the lovely Saguaro Park, if I sit quietly and just observe, soon something will move, and then something else, then it is almost hard to keep track.  We have many, many quail who trail across my yard or the park.  Scurry is a better word to describe their crossings.  One flies up to the bridge railing or perhaps a high cactus or maybe the shed TV antennae and this leader seems to direct them, “Come on, stay straight, follow me.”  They often travel in families, maybe to a “Potluck” or 401 K run. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_MIN-ROADRUNNER-6170.jpgIn the springtime, this is very evident as two quail will be in front of a lengthy line of quail babies running along so fast to keep up, sort of like golf balls with legs, another similar bunch right behind them.  Unfortunately, the roadrunners pick them off one by one as they follow all in a juicy row.  Not easy to watch, but a part of nature.  The quail continue to peck their way along, as the baby numbers dwindle.  The parents are lucky to have five or six left to grow into adults. 

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Adventures in RVing: Tax Day = Free Camping!

Tax day, April 15th! Did you pay Uncle Sam this year instead of getting a tax refund? My wife and I did. Don't despair! Those of us in the Pacific Northwest can take advantage of free camping courtesy of Uncle Sam!  Think of it as a tax refund paid in campground fees. The Spokane office of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management - a federal agency) operates a number of campgrounds across the state (most on the eastern side). Many are free year around, while others are free in the off season with a nominal fee in the summer (May 15th - September 15th). The camping areas run the gamut from beach front, mountains, sand dunes, historic ranches, lakes, rivers and more. Most sit on large tracts of public land with hiking trails and other areas to ramble. My wife and I recently took advantage of one of the campgrounds during a nice stretch of weather. Even though schools were on spring break, there was still plenty of room to camp.  Camping on Uncle Sam's nickel, one of the better adventures in RVing!

Learn more here. 

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Great Escapes: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

When you think of fossils, you might picture mammoth dinosaur bones. But in Florissant, Colorado, the fossils are much smaller— wasps, butterflies, flowers, and leaves. But what makes Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument particularly noteworthy is the massive quantity of fossils it has yielded, and their age. Over 50,000 museum specimens of over 1,700 species of insects and plants that were alive 34 million years ago (mya) have been recovered here. Among them is the world’s only known fossil record of the tsetse fly, now found only in Equatorial Africa. Fossil insects are far more rare than fossil plants which only adds to the area’s significance. If you’re looking for something big, there are a few impressive petrified tree stumps— one sequoia stump has a circumference of 38 feet!

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The Full-Timing Nomad: The 24-Hour Mexican Holiday

If you are traveling in the Southwestern U.S., why not take a detour to explore Mexico's touristy border towns? Some people will try to convince you that traveling anywhere near the borderlands is dangerous, but now that I've crossed more times than I can count, I can say with confidence that I've been more afraid in some U.S. cities than I ever have in these tourist-friendly stop-overs. 

Many RVers regularly travel to Mexico for affordable dental care and pharmaceutical drugs, and they'll tell you the same thing; if you use common sense and stick to border towns that cater to tourists, crossing into Mexico for the day can be a fun, adventurous experience. Here are some quick tips for a one-day Mexican vacation: 

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