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Recent blog posts
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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The 19th Hole: Swing Into Spring With Golf Discount Book

Spring has finally arrived, and the American Lung Association has a great offer for golfers who want to save money on their rounds: A golf discount book. The ever-popular Golf Tour Book includes discounts on more than 5,000 rounds of golf at nearly 300 facilities in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. In addition, all Tennessee state park courses are included in the program. 

Each participating golf course offers book holders a reduced rate on one or more rounds of golf; some courses permit one round a month; and 69 clubs allow unlimited play. The book also includes driving range and indoor golf discounts. And the really good news, the Golf Tour Books are available for only $25. 

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RV Travel Tales: A Real Old-Time Showboat

For RVers taking in the shows at Branson, Missouri, the Showboat Branson Belle is a step back to the days of paddlewheel showboats traveling America’s rivers. While nineteenth century showboats were typically rectangular, flat-roofed floating structures pulled or pushed along rivers by towboats, modern-day technology permitted designers to create the four-story Showboat Branson Belle as a steam ship. Constructed in its own boat yard on the shores of Table Rock Lake and launched into the pristine waters in August of 1994, the Showboat’s owners claim the ranking of the largest ship on a landlocked lake in the United States. Because the Showboat Branson Belle is a showboat, she spreads a feast for lunch and dinner and entertains guests with music, magic, and dancing.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINEJanice-Martin-plays-upside-down.jpgFor 2014, the Showboat Branson Belle sets sail in March with its popular show Made in the USA, featuring Janice Martin, the world’s only violin-playing aerialist, and the male vocal group, The ShowMen. In a celebration of all-American music, the 2014 show highlights American regional songs and the best of Motown. 2014 is the final year for Made in the USA, so time is limited to take advantage of one of Branson’s premier shows. 

On the Showboat stage, Janice Martin performs on piano and violin, as well as with vocal selections, before soaring overhead in a spellbinding acrobatic aerial act—while playing her violin.Her unique artistry, which has been highlighted in The New York Times, Miami Herald and Washington Post, brings a riveting five-star act to the Branson entertainment scene. 

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The Healthy Traveler:  The Three Things You Need to Stay Fit on the Road

When packing the RV for your next road trip, the last thing you want is any extra stuff taking up space. With space at a premium in most RVs, many of us have to limit our packing lists to just the essentials – plus a few comforts that will make the trip more enjoyable. If you have a fitness routine that you are faithful to at home, you probably would like to take it along to help you stay in the groove while on the road, but it can be a bit difficult trying to cram your treadmill, weight machine or elliptical machine into your RV. 

Fortunately, you do not need a gym filled with equipment to stay healthy on the road. In fact, there are just three things you need to bring to keep exercise high on your priority list when away from home. 

Here they are: 

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The Silver Gypsy:  Desert Springtime

So many RVers visit the southwest during the winter months but they often head out again before the tax deadline and they miss the desert springtime. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_MIN-MEX-POPPIES.JPGWe seldom get rain but it happens occasionally and I am always fascinated with approaching storms.  The raindrops make their staccato dance on the roof, a peaceful sound.  It is close to Easter and the desert has a sense of renewal.  It takes so little water to make a miraculous change.  I knew that within hours, the plants would leaf out and the cacti that slurped up all that water, would bloom.  It is a cloud-covered morning, a rare cool morning, and the air is cleansed and fresh.  It is a morning meant for sitting on my back deck with a giant cup of coffee. 

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Adventures in RVing: It's Spring! Let's Go Camping!

The calendar said the first day of spring was March 20th, so when friends invited us to go camping on the 21st, my wife and I said "why not, it's spring time"! Our friends’ camp site choice was Buck Creek recreation area.  It is relatively close to home, no cost and dog friendly. However, as I thought about the recent low snow levels, that several forest service campgrounds in the same area aren't open until the middle of May and the fact that Buck Creek lies not far from a ski area, gave rise to some concern on my part. Going online and checking the elevation of the area confirmed my fears, as the place we planned to camp was at 2,500 feet. Hmmm, wasn't the snow level at the same elevation just a few days ago? Oh well, our friends were going up several hours in advance of us and if they couldn't get in, they would call us and we could improvise finding somewhere else to camp for the weekend.

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