RV Days , Issue #002– RV Places while Westward Bound

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RV Days , Issue #002– RV Places while Westward Bound
July 17, 2005
Here is this month’s issue of RV Days, where we focus on everyday living and having fun on your journey.

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July 17, 2005
Issue #2

In this Issue:

  • Chocolate Town
  • This N’ That
  • RV Capital
  • Good SPAM
  • Gotta Story?

Chocolate Town:

We paid a visit to Hershey PA for a number of reasons. We hadn’t yet been there, it would fit with our overall route westward, and we wanted to use our Thousand Trails membership and stay at their Hershey preserve.

The legacy of Milton S. Hershey is definitely the focal point of “Chocolate town”. but the Hershey area also offers shopping, attractions, scenic countryside and proximity to other popular destinations in southeastern Pennsylvania (Gettysburg, Lancaster, etc.). And for any existing or potential members of 1000 Trails, we give a “thumbs-up” to the Hershey preserve. Read more here.

This N’ That

As we wind our way west, we are reminded of various RVer tips that might come in handy.

Selecting a Site: When you are lucky enough to pull into a park where you can choose your site, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Where is the sun? And what is its path, relative to how the site is oriented? You may want to avoid a site where the sun will be beating down on your patio area, just when you want to be out enjoying the late afternoon and evening. On the other hand, you might want to take advantage of a spectacular sunset view, if you are equipped with an awning shade.
  • Where is the signal? If having satellite TV is important to you, then look for an unobstructed view of the southern sky. Remember that the tradeoff of no trees may mean no shade.
  • Where are the restrooms? Some people want to be near the restrooms and/or showers. Others may want to be far away. If it makes a difference to you, take a look around.
  • Is there sufficient space? Ideally, you will have a site big enough for your tow vehicle and RV. Also consider the width of the site – for instance, when your RV is sitting level, will the picnic table fit or will it be sitting on a slope that renders it pretty useless?

Avoid sharp moves. Specifically, avoid the temptation to pull into a place (shopping center, parking lot, etc.) on impulse. If at all possible, try to look before you leap.

  • For one thing, you want to avoid pulling into a place where you will have no way to get around or get out. This is particularly important for a large motorhome towing a car, where you can’t back up. It’s a real pain if you end up in a position where you can’t move forward, and have to unhook the toad to get you rig out of the way of other vehicles.
  • Another thing to guard against is a move into a lot without checking the grade of the entrance. An unanticipated slope taken a bit too fast and you might end up damaging your back end or undercarriage.
  • Of course you won’t always be able to see what you are getting into ahead of time and will have to take a chance. If you MUST stop and a given place is your only opportunity – well, go slow and keep your fingers crossed. Depending on your specific circumstances, it might be a better option to drive further up the road. If you are in a motorhome with a car in tow, it might be prudent to find a place to detach the toad and use it to scope out the situation.

Buyer beware: Advertised fuel gas prices may be misleading. If you see a great price on the signs, make sure you know if taxes are included or not. Once in a while you will encounter fuel stations that post the price for tax exempt purchases (which applies to some truckers doing interstate traffic). This gets the unknowing driver into the station, and more likely fueled up, before the real price is discovered.

Take the “red roads”: If you can, take your time and take the scenic roads. The term “red roads” generally refers to those routes shown on maps as red lines AND which also have some marking denoting them as scenic routes. For example, our road atlas denotes scenic routes with a series of dots.

Don’t take the “red roads” terminology too literally – not all red roads on a map are scenic, and the scenic roads are not always red. The “red road” concept simply refers to the preference of many RVers to avoid the busy interstates, and instead travel the back roads to see the local communities and landscapes of the country.

More RVer Tips…

RV Capital of the World

This is a designation often given to Elkhart Indiana area. It is home to a multitude of RV manufacturers, dealers, surplus stores, service centers and so on. We recommend taking some factory tours and visiting the RV Museum (we loved it!). It is also an area where you can soak up some Amish/Mennonite culture and visit the Midwest’s largest out door flea market in Shipshewana. If you are doing the northern route across Indiana, the Elkhart area will be right on your way along scenic route 6. It’s a stop worth making.


We aren’t talking about email woes here. This is just a good tip — visit the Hormel Foods SPAM Museum in Austin Minnesota. Even if you hate the “crazy, tasty” treat, never tried it, or never will –- the museum is a class act. Comic touches and fun facts in a very well done exhibit that is sure to make you smile. And it’s FREE! Read more about this quirky spot and other places to RV.

By the way, we are getting a lot of use out of a book called Most Scenic Drives In America. It has snippets on scenic parts of each state with some nice pictures – great for planning travel routes.

Gotta Story?

Have a story to tell? We love being on the road. Great landscapes and sights to see. Just driving down the road makes us happy. The everyday challenges and figuring out solutions to problems keep things even more interesting along the journey. And one of the best parts is meeting people and hearing what they are up to, how they do things, and what they have learned. If you have a story to tell, please send it along for us to post on our site. There are plenty of RVers who would love to hear what’s up with YOUR RV lifestyle. And initial entries will receive a FREE e-cookbook as a thank you! Share your story here.

From Hershey all the way to Sioux Falls, it has been one hot summer! Whether you are enjoying the backyard, taking on a new outdoor activity, or taking off in the RV for vacation, make the most of your summer fun!

RVer’s Notebook Manage costs, keep track of where you have been and what you enjoy. Check out this handy software package to help manage all sorts of RVing things.

RV Videos can often make learning about the world of RVs more interesting and enjoyable. Great way to learn for newbies, and a handy refresher for veteran RVers.

Until next month, hoping you Put a Smile in Every Mile!

Jose and Jill

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