DESTINATIONS PART 1 — Where have you been

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the seriesRVers Choices
Old Faithful in Yellowstone -- right on time

Old Faithful in Yellowstone — right on time

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers*

WHAT ARE RVers FAVORITE DESTINATIONS?  I asked RVers two questions via the Internet.  Responses poured in from more than 200 other travelers.  Question No. 1 was, “What is your favorite RV destination?”, which I’ll talk about today.  PART II is responses to the second question, “Where are you planning to go?”

Topping the immediate itinerary list is Yellowstone National Park.  It’s gratifying to realize that every one of the top responses would be on our list of favorites, although not necessarily in the order of voting.  Meanwhile, some of our favorites – the Ozarks Mountain region of Arkansas, for instance — was rarely mentioned.  Bryce Canyon, the Oregon Coast, the Michigan Upper Peninsula and the route to Alaska through British Columbia are definitely high on our list, but didn’t make the top five.

Music all around in a Mountain View, Ark., "pickin' shed"

Music all around in a Mountain View, Ark., “pickin’ shed”

Why didn’t the Ozarks get the recognition we feel it deserves?  I would attribute it to differences in our likes, dislikes and reasons for traveling in recreational vehicles.  Before we started our first cross-country trip in our get-acquainted-with-RVing 22-footer, I told Monique, “You’re going to love Arkansas.”  … and she did!  As soon as we crossed the state line from Missouri, the beauty of the serrated, thickly forested hills enthralled her.  When we stopped at the usual travel spots on our way to exquisite Blanchard Springs Caverns, she felt the warm reception from everyone she met.  And when we parked in Mountain View, she was swathed by the loving folk music wafting from throughout the town and in the “Pickin’ Shed.”

This August when, on our way westward from the Canadian Maritimes, I complained that I was tired of staring straight ahead at interstate highways.  A jolt of joy surged through me when she asked, “Do you want to take a detour to Mountain View?”   Of the thousand places we’ve been, I think that little happenin’ town is my favorite.

Now to list places that got the highest number of responses in that online survey after

Spectacular scenery at Bryce Canyon

Spectacular scenery at Bryce Canyon

Yellowstone: 2) Bryce Canyon was often mentioned, and it’s definitely among our favorites.  To me it is the brightest gem in the crown of Southern Utah parks, which include Zion, Capitol Reef and Arches.  3) The Oregon Coast is spectacular, but probably not so different than Northern California and Washington State.  Why it was singled out over its neighbors, I suspect, is there are fewer other must-see places competing for the traveler’s interest (Columbia Gorge between Oregon and Washington and the Cascades are worth a few days on its own.)

One of my favorite memories -- the Oregon Coast offers serenity in the fog

One of my favorite memories — the Oregon Coast offers serenity in the fog

4) “Uppies,” as the denizens of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are known, are fiercely loyal to their spit of land among the Great Lakes, and they have a right to be proud.  It’s a different kind of place, a secluded woodland away from it all.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a different kind of place with some unconventional folks

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a different kind of place with some unconventional folks

5)  As for the inland roads up to Alaska through British Columbia and the Yukon by way of

The Alaskan Coastal areas are unforgetable

The Alaskan Coastal areas are unforgetable

Banff and Lake Louise, I vote it as the most beautiful scenery that we’ve seen in North America.  That leads you to ask, “What about Alaska itself?” Alaska is friendly.  The people there are, well, Alaskans, quite a bit more independent, more “I-can-do-anything” types.  When it’s 60degrees below and you have sled dogs to care for, you’ve got to be heartier than us lower-48ers.  There are adventures in Alaska around every curve.

1.Glacier National Park’s Weeping Wall greets motorists on the Road to the Sun – but park your RV and take your tow on this narrow, steep drive.

Glacier National Park’s Weeping Wall greets motorists on the Road to the Sun – but park your RV and take your tow on this narrow, steep drive.

The top pick in the survey, Yellowstone National Park, is what I consider “Nature’s Amusement Park.”  It’s miles of almost unbelievable unique colorful formations, plus bison, elk, moose, bear and other critters rarely seen in such abundance around the contiguous states.  It also has campgrounds with hook-ups, making it more popular than many national parks.

Stay tuned to find out what the RV community named (in my unofficial survey) THE NUMBER ONE PLACE TO TRAVEL IN THEIR RV.

As for the * Asterisk at the top, let me take a moment to explain that Monique is my “Cruel Editor!”  She fixes punctuation and spelling, inserts words that I forget to put in, and scratches out sentences that she finds offensive in one way or another.  Cruel, but I agree with her changes 99% of the time.  She definitely earns having her name included in the creation of my blogs and articles.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

YOUR ADDITIONS TO THE CONVERSATION

This entry is part 12 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

 By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

We’ve been high-tailing it across America diagonally from the Northeast to Southern California, taking in a few sights along the way, like Niagara Falls and Montezuma’s

Montezuma isn't home at the moment

Montezuma isn’t home at the moment

Castle in Arizona.  We’ve done about half-and-half, interstates and hundreds of miles of surprisingly smooth back roads.  I still promise to write more about our travels in the Canadian Maritime Provinces, but for now, here are some comments to recent blogs.

From Mary Jane Cookingham — I was delighted to read you are at the Ozark RV Park.  I spend every September and October there.  The big draw for me is the music.  With all the other wonderful music down on the Square and at the Ozark Folk Center you may not realize you are in a town that is a mecca of mountain dulcimer music.  Go into the Ozark RV Park office in the morning and you will probably meet Jack Giger.  He and his wife, Mary Giger, are the nationally known dulcimer group Red Dog Jam.  If you miss him there, head over to The Dulcimer Shoppe.

Monday is Dulcimer Night at Ozark RV Park. You'll also see autoharps, guitars, mandolins and others joining in the music-making.

Monday is Dulcimer Night at Ozark RV Park. You’ll also see autoharps, guitars, mandolins and others joining in the music-making.

You’ll probably catch Jack there, plus Mary works there.  Judy Klinkhammer, another terrific nationally known dulcimer musician, also works there.  The Dulcimer Shoppe is owned by Jim and Betty Woods and is where McSpadden Dulcimers are built.  Any time you drop by there will probably be people strumming in the dulcimer nook as well as people eager to show you how to play the dulcimer.  Mountain View is the best!

From Ozzie in the Ozarks – Glad to know how much you appreciate God’s Country, Mountain View.  There is more than one Pickin’ Shed in town and lots of other places to hear local musicians.  Visit the city park to see some impressive stone work … And there are quite a few choices of where to park an RV.  Lots to see and do around here.

From Joyce & butterbean Carpenter — We love The Ozarks, too, except for the trails they call highways and the ‘local’ driving habits’; i.e. passing on u-curves, etc.  I wished y’all had bought a place in ‘MUSIC-COUNTRY,’ then we could come to see y’all … You’re right about the folks being friendly and cheerful; they have to work hard for such as they get, but are thankful to God for it

From Dennis Smith – [things to do in Vermont]  Barre, Vermont — Great exhibit on granite quarries.  Can’t remember the name of the cemetery in Barre with beautiful granite carvings. w Burlington-Lake Champlain “6th Great Lake”, only one that flows North!  Maritime Museum. w Shelburne-Shelburne Museum, Huge exhibit includes a reconstructed lighthouse and the last steam driven ferry, The Ticonderoga brought by rail laid from Lake Champlain to the museum.

Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y., accessible by the last cable driven ferry in the U.S.  Montpelier- gold leaf state capitol dome.  Morse Farms, best real Maple Creamies in the U.S.  Lots of stuff that is local folk art. w Barre-Montpelier Rd The Wayside Restaurant.  Piles of food at good prices, and where else has a Salt Pork and Milk Gravy night?

O.K. So I live in Vermont.  If David is a Good Sam member, remind him a Standby Sam may have suggestions!  Dennis Smith, Retired…except from snowboarding, sailing, RVing, SCUBA diving, fishing, and a few other things!

From Laura Lavallee — Hi, I don’t have specific info on COPD.  I have a friend who has the disease and who travels with a breathing machine.  He has increased his battery bank and added an inverter.  They do not boondock very often.  He is ok with short stays without hook-ups.  He carries Oxygen but does not have to use it all the time.  Not sure if this is helpful, hope so.  Here is a link to your subject (http://copdforum.portalone.us/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1380 )

From Mina Greenlee — I read your newsletter where someone asked about traveling with COPD.  My husband was diagnosed with COPD 15 + years ago. Emphysema is the base of his disease. There are many different aspects of COPD. So I can only relate how it affects us and our full-time travel going on 5 years.

Where to start?  I would truly recommend Respiratory therapy before traveling very far.  My husband finally did it after 2 years and it has made a world of difference in the confidence of our travel decisions.  Elevation and air quality plus exertion will define the enjoyment of traveling.

Being informed takes a lot of the unknown away.  My husband has coped with his treatment with inhalers. There was a bit of trial and error, but not much. Breathing treatment machines were not a part of his treatment plans. (He seemed to think he would not need them until it was too late and then the ER room was his only option.  That happened a few times and then he learned how far he could go before he needed to use his course of treatment.)  This last time he was able to qualify for oxygen to be used as needed. So now we travel with portable and a condenser in the trailer. The portable is in the truck.  His first hospital and ambulance ride was in San Jose, Ca.  A pulmonary specialist became his doctor that gave him the best advise.  No steroids if possible. They cause him to be more susceptible to bronchial infections.

One very important thing to remember is to tell any health care person you come in contact with is to tell them immediately you are COPD.  Different treatment of oxygen treatments for first responders.  All this is assuming you will have the correct health info with you.

By the way, Lincare is nationwide and is familiar with RV full-timers or long timers.  Please feel free to write back any questions if needed.

From Ray Shoemake — We are not due to go full timing for another two years but I do know something about COPD. I do not have it, but I do have a lung condition that causes me to cough a lot and have breathing problems. My doctor prescribed Spiriva for my condition since the then current medication, Combivent, depleted the potassium in my blood stream. One of the side effects of Spiriva is Dry Mouth. That might sound relatively benign, but after 3 weeks I had cottonmouth 24 hours a day. I stopped the Spiriva and started taking a Potassium supplement and went back to Combivent. That problem solved. (except after 4 weeks, I am still experiencing dry mouth several times a day.) I hope it stops sometime. Good news is I am drinking a lot more water.

Back to COPD, a close friend of mine has it and has been taking Spiriva for years. He says it works well for him.  Good Luck and keep the news coming.

Thanks for all the comments. I had to add the photo below from last Wednesday, the day I

"Turn Right 100 Feet"

“Turn Right 100 Feet”

was ready to defenestrate Camille [translation: throw our GPS out the window].  She advised us, “Turn right 100 feet,” which would have given us an exciting ride over a cliff.  And a few minutes later, I argued with her when she wouldn’t get us on the road to the out-of-the-way town we programmed.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

 

ENJOYING THE JOURNEY

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the seriesThe Canadian Atlantic Provinces

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

“Turn around.  You could have turned around at that driveway,” demanded Monique.  “I’m going to go three more miles,” I answered.  If we don’t find a campground, I’ll turn around …”  “There’s a brown sign.  Float Camp Recreation Area.  But is there camping?” asked Monique.  I lucked out.  Despite no signs anywhere indicating that this was a campground in Mark Twain National Forest in Southern

The Current River by the Float Camp -- A National Scenic Waterway

The Current River by the Float Camp — A National Scenic Waterway

Missouri, I trusted my instincts (not very reliable, I might add) and proceeded to search for a place to stop for the night.  What made it more tenuous was that, earlier in the day, I had turned off a main highway to see “The World’s Biggest Wind Chime,” which we never found.  As compatible as we are, there was a bit of friction in the air – but that’s understandable after being on the road together exactly five months and having parked for at least one night in 85 different spots!

I left off our most recent entry on this blog site mentioning that there are other places from our caravan trip to the Canadian Maritimes that I want to write about.  That’s still true, but

You don't see this on Interstates. We share the road with Amish, who cling to their heritage

You don’t see this on Interstates. We share the road with Amish, who cling to their heritage

while on the road 7 to 9 hours a day since we left Niagara Falls, New York, we keep recalling additional places worth mentioning.  We are looking for a day of rest, when we can sit back in our recliners and list those places, so I can make sense out of it all.  I will say that we are still smiling when we talk about the Tattoo, the Screech In, the Ugly Stick concerts, Spillars Cove, the north end of Prince Edward Island … oh, so many places we were exposed to over the past two months.

We are now parked in Ozark RV Park and Cabins in Mountain View, Arkansas, one of the very few places we have visited three times.  We love this area so much, we had looked for land or a bungalow here years ago, but, realizing how far we’d be from family, we went on, eventually buying a cabin in the mountains of Southern California.

What’s so special about this place?  The Ozark scenery, for one.  The friendliness of the local folks, for another.  And mostly for the music in this, the Folk Music Capital of the World.  There is music everywhere around here, year-round, including in the “pickin’ sheds” and on the Courthouse Square.  In parks and on the porches of stores and in homespun theaters.

Are we having fun yet?  You betcha! at the Jimmy Driftwood Barn

Are we having fun yet? You betcha! at the Jimmy Driftwood Barn

Sunday night was quiet after a big weekend for bikers, who showed up from miles around, so we took in the by-donation Jimmy Driftwood Barn show.  “Jimmy Driftwood was a prolific folk singer-songwriter who wrote over 6,000 songs. He gained national fame in 1959 when Johnny Horton recorded Driftwood’s song, ‘The Battle of New Orleans’,” to quote the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

This is Americana at its best.  The cast of local musicians with varying degrees of polish sing folk songs and gospel, some from the fine grain of the past, some seemingly made up (with lots of humor) yesterday. The instrumentation makes it all the more enjoyable – for

Cloggin'

Cloggin’

Sunday’s two-hour performance, they strummed on guitars, steel guitars, mandolins, a bass fiddle, autoharps, a washtub bass and more.  Add in harmonicas and a lady who played the snare drum and washboard, and you get the gist of what we listened to.  A few times during the show, several of the musicians/singers entertained with clogging.

There’s lots of music in Mountain View, plus two other main attractions.  It’s the home of Blanchard Springs Caverns National Park, which in our opinion is the most beautiful cave of the dozen we’ve traversed.  Then there’s the Ozark Folk Center immediately next to our campground.  It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays so our timing is bad, but we’ve spent many hours there during past visits.

After hour-after-hour over the last week plying the concrete of interstate highways, where the ripening corn crop on both sides of the road becomes hypnotic, I was excited when Monique routed us back to Arkansas.  We are “journey” travelers as opposed to “destination” people, so I appreciated the chance to tackle the severely winding roads and steep hills of the Ozark Mountains, at least in few-hour intervals.  We are here for two nights, then it’s onward!

Kites a-flying

Kites a-flying somewhere over New York State

One more thing I want to mention.  The electric jack on our trailer that lifts the tongue off the hitch ball on our truck was clucking and chucking, ready to strand us.  We left Niagara Falls with the trepidation that we would have to stay hitched up for the next two weeks, when we spied a Camping World sign on a through-town highway in Hamburg, New York, just southeast of Buffalo.  An hour later we drove away with a new electric lift recommended over the six others by the parts manager (and strangely enough, it was the least expensive).  We give thanks to their efficiency and congenial spirit.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

COMMENTS TO RECENT BLOGS

From Dan and Terry Meehan — First, we would like to compliment you on the quality and usefulness of your blog about your RV travels.  We look forward to it every day.  We should have been off to see the US in our RV by now, but a COPD diagnosis has slowed our plan.  As we get the final pieces in place, we have two topics that we have not been able to find discussed via any of the blogs we have found and are wondering if you can guide us to either:  Can you direct us to someone who is currently traveling with COPD?

BARRY’S RESPONSE – We’ve met people with this breathing problem but never gotten any names or discussed it at any length.  I open the line, via emails, to neverboredrvers@gmail.com , to anyone who can provide information.

Do you know of a mapping, suggested routes, type of site, where we could find some planned routes designed for long-timers who don’t want to deal with weather on any grand scale?

BARRY’S RESPONSE – There is usually plenty of warning before hurricanes arrive, so that shouldn’t be a problem (I lived in New Orleans most of my life, so I am practically an expert).  We’ve hit snow flurries in Austin, Texas, in September and huddled in brick bathrooms when tornados were imminent in the Plains States.  You never know.  Again, we welcome reader input.

Thanks and keep the travel commentaries coming, loved the Puffin pics from yesterday.

From David Palazzolo — I stumbled over your blog on rv.net.  I was wondering and hoping to see if you could give me any information on traveling to the Northeast, specifically Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  I am planning a two-week RV trip with my in-laws (both about 75 years of age).  Would like to see things that are simple but fun.

I have planned to visit Ben and Jerry’s factory, LL Bean, Norman Rockwell museum, and a train ride.  I am trying to make it a trip where my in-laws can roam and enjoy the sites.  I am interested in neat places to take them to eat (mostly Mom and Pop places, or dives that have the best food).

Would you have any info that could help me or guide me in planning this type of travel.  We like to know some things to avoid because it would be a waste of time.  Not so much in a rush, but wanted to make this a trip of a lifetime with my in-laws.  Hope to find a nice fishing spot where my and my father in law could spend a few hours.  Any input will do.  We are coming from the Cincinnati area up to Niagara Falls and then heading east.

BARRY’S REPONSE — Thanks for you note.  I like your planning.  The last blog I wrote before going into Canada was at http://blog.rv.net/2013/06/downeast-mid-coast-and-the-bold-coast/ and I wrote several before then about the areas where you are traveling.  My Internet connection is less than optimal; doing further research at this time is annoying.

We stop at state travel centers when we get there during their open hours.  Monique picks up brochures and asks questions of the staff members.  Often they have interesting suggestions that we take.

We’re currently in Mentor, Ohio, heading west, having spent the past two days at Niagara Falls (the Canadian side is much better than the American side — take the Lewiston Bridge to save time – passports required).  All the places you are planning to visit are good, although L.L.Bean was only an hour attraction.  We mostly avoid the places set up for tourists, opting for some of the less renowned places along the way.  Some are good; for some, we are ready to move on.  You never know, and then again, your interests and the interests of your in-laws may be totally different from ours.  While near Niagara, we stayed at 4-Mile Creek State Park and visited Old Fort Niagara, where we found the confusing history of the colonial era history interesting.  Take the back-road scenic byways.  The scenery is unforgettable.

I wish I could fish during our travels, but paying for a fishing license in every state gets very expensive.  I bought a rod & reel when we went to Canada — the price tag is still on it.

One specific suggestion — Campobello Island near Eastport, Maine, will certainly be of interest to you and your in-laws.  You get there through Lubec, but you need your passports to get there, since it’s in New Brunswick.  (turn off your phone — international rates apply).

Thanks for you note — we’re rushing to get through dinner and into bed for the evening.  It’s been another long day.day.