Where Have All the RV Magazines Gone?

It is no secret that with print publications under revenue pressure from digital competitors, magazines have been the hardest hit. Sad to say, but printed RV magazines are dead or dying.

It’s no secret that the magazine industry has been in decline for years. With the rise of digital media, magazines have been struggling to keep up. But does that mean that the magazine industry is dead?

Not quite. While magazines may not be as popular as they once were, there are still many people who enjoy reading them. Here’s a look at the current state of the magazine industry—with a focus on RV magazines—and what the future may hold.

Let’s face it, the internet killed magazines (or at least made them seriously ill). The internet has been both a blessing and a curse for the magazine industry. On the one hand, it’s never been easier to get your magazine in front of potential readers. A few clicks and your favorite publication is yours for the reading.

But on the other hand who needs to buy a magazine when you can find everything online for free? After all, why pay for something when you can get it for free? This attitude has led to declining print sales and advertising revenue for magazines.

Verde Ranch RV Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Let me give a short history of magazines before I come to the future of magazines. Some accounts hold that in Germany, the first publications that resembled magazines of today came out in 1663 or 1664. Similar experiments were taking place in other countries of Europe as well.

Most of these were specialist magazines focusing on literary issues and aimed for a select, highly educated audience. There were of course some periodicals that also focused on the entertaining, the frivolous, and other stuff.

However, the term magazine would not be used until a publication calling itself the Gentleman’s Magazine started printing in 1731 in England. The early magazines were meant only for the wealthy—the cost of publishing them made them unaffordable to others. Later, as technology evolved, costs came down, and magazines reached the middle class. Advertising revenues played a big role in making magazines less expensive for buyers.

Irvins RV Park, Valemount, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It was in the 19th century that magazines actually came into their own because of falling costs and better mass production and distribution. In the U.S. particularly, magazines started flourishing the magazine empires were created. The magazines ranged from pure fluffy entertainment and gossip publications talking about celebrities to serious scientific periodicals as well as business and general news publications.

The problems for magazines started when readers and advertisers moved online. Most magazines reacted by cutting costs, shrinking pages, and employing fewer journalists and also reducing their print orders.

Most of them also created websites but too many followed the lead of newspapers, trying to focus on breaking news in their websites instead of the kind of depth or original content that were actually the strength of magazines. Some of the websites also tried to become aggregators of news. Some tried to come up with listicles that could go viral while others tried catchy videos.

Rivers Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where have all the RV magazines gone?

Remember the days when printed magazines filled your mailbox? Those thick, colorful publications arrived daily—some wanted, some not. Have you noticed recently most printed magazines have gone away, one by one, and the survivors have become pretty skinny. 

Trailer Life Magazine, Motor Home Magazine, and RV Lifestyle Magazine are gone. Family RVing Magazine from FMCA went from monthly to bi-monthly recently due to declining membership and advertising revenue. And a dozen popular regional magazines long ago published their last issues.

As a writer for CSA News (Canadian Snowbird Association) and a former contributor to Newmar Kountry Klub Legacy and Good Sam, I understand firsthand why it has now gone digital-only and will soon give way to other shorter targeted messaging. It’s not that the publishers lost interest, it’s because things changed.

Countryside RV Park, Dillon, Montana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We’ve changed

Digitization changed how we get our information, how long we spend absorbing it, and when we want it. Just like the trends that sealed the fate of newspapers, we don’t sit around the breakfast table or on the porch casually perusing pages of text. We want instant digital media with links to follow if something is interesting.

We want to receive it on our phone, tablet, or laptop. Because of that, readership of most surviving magazines is declining. The economics of printing and mailing changed; the huge machines capable of making coated magazine stock have declined over time and their paper now allotted first to premier long-term publications such as Smithsonian, Time, and National Geographic, to name a few.

The prices of paper for short run RV publications have doubled and tripled. The cost of commercial bulk and periodicals mail has also increased. Advertisers have more economical digital options that deliver their messages to more targeted media.

Online resources compete: RVers get information, reviews, and learn of resources online including blogs, forums, phone apps, social media groups, and websites like RVingwithrex.com.

Hidden Lake RV Park, Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We got older

RVer demographics are changing and as time goes by younger RVers have less interest in traditional print publications. And, of course, RVers don’t have mailboxes meaning that as more and more people travel full time and work remotely printed magazines no longer easily reach them.

Magazine publishing becomes a losing proposition when you have declining readership, higher production costs, and fewer advertisers willing to pay for decreasing exposure. There are a few printed magazines bucking the trend now and will be for a while but going you’ll need to keep your batteries charged if you want to stay informed on RV life and travel.

Worth Pondering…

Every human has four endowments—self awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.

—Stephen Covey

How to Care For Your RV Awning + Maintenance Tips

It’s nowhere near as important as the engine and you probably don’t give it as much thought as your RV interior but your RV awning is still a big part of what makes your RV home

On a nice day, unrolling your awning creates a shaded, breezy respite from the hot sun. It turns the bare space around your parked rig into a welcoming patio area. It essentially creates an outdoor living room and doubles your RV’s living space.

In a campground full of parked RVs, unrolled awnings create a front porch effect where others are welcome to sit and chat for a while and everyone is a friendly neighbor.

Like just about everything else on your RV though, your RV awning requires a little bit of ongoing care and maintenance to keep it functioning properly. None of them are major but you will want to put some thought into how you treat this small but transformative part of your rig. Taking care of your awning is as important as caring for your RV roof. And, it doesn’t take much to keep your RV awning in good condition.

Here are nine tips for regular RV awning maintenance.

RV awnings require care and maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to care for your RV awning

Maintaining and inspecting your awning from season to season keeps it intact and smelling fresh. Stained, mildewed, or torn awnings can lead to more significant problems if left untreated and may require you to replace the entire awning. The following tips can help keep your awning intact and lasting for many seasons!  

1. Wash the awning once or twice a year

Dirt stains, sap, and leaves from trees can leave your awning looking dingy and worn. Mold and mildew can also build up quickly and all of these factors combined can cause unpleasant odors and unsightliness. Routine washing will help to minimize these occurrences.

Most of the time, a light spray with a hose is sufficient to clean dirt and debris off your awning. However, if stains persist, you can use a soft, long-handled brush and some mild soap to scrub them out before rinsing. Be as gentle as possible to avoid removing the protective waterproof coating.

Depending on your volume of usage, regular cleanings may be required more or less frequently. If you are a full-time RVer, you will want to clean your awning at least three or four times per year. If you are a snowbird or part-time RVer a thorough cleaning once or twice a year should suffice.

No matter how often you use your RV awning be sure to clean it with a proper awning cleaner at least once a year. These can be found at most RV supply stores and should be sprayed onto the awning before scrubbing or rinsing. Follow all package instructions for best results.

Keep in mind that a high-quality cleaning product can make the job much easier.

2. Allow time for the awning to dry before storing it

Improper drying practices can be extremely damaging to your awning. These can cause mold and mildew growth as well as fabric dry rot and rust on your awning’s mechanical components.

Be sure to allow your awning to fully dry before you roll it up and store it. In addition, if your awning is left open on a rainy or humid day, it should be allowed to dry for at least three additional days before putting it away. This is especially important for those who use their awning less frequently as it can stay damp on the inside for weeks after you roll it up.

Ensure that your awning is completely dry to prevent unnecessary issues. If you must retract the awning before it’s completely dry, open it back up at your next destination.

Just like putting away a wet tent, rolling up a wet RV awning can lead to mold and all of the problems that go along with it (dry rot, a bad stink, and eventually ruined fabric). Fortunately, if the sun’s out, the drying-out process should not take too long.

RV awnings require care and maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Inspect your awning during each use

Each time you use your awning, you should inspect the fabric for stains, tears, loose threads, pinholes, or excessive wear. 

You should also look at the mechanical pieces to make sure they do not look broken. Watch the awning while it is extending and retracting to ensure it rolls evenly. It is a telltale sign of mechanical damage or an issue if both arms aren’t moving evenly.

4. Roll your awning up when it’s not in use

Although the awning’s main purpose is to provide shade from the sun, constant UV rays can damage your awning over time. When you are not using your awning for shade or heat prevention, roll it up and stow it away to minimize damage from the sun’s strength. This is especially pertinent if you are a full-time RVer who utilizes their awning often or if you take lots of trips during the summer.

5. Repair rips and tears ASAP

Once extended, look closer at the awning fabric from a ladder, rooftop view, or the ground. Most small holes can be repaired with a vinyl patch kit. If you see deterioration or tears, you’ll want to patch it as soon as possible.

A small hole or tear can quickly expand if ignored and it’s easier to patch than you might think. Simply seal the tear with awning repair tape. Using repair tape can extend the life and use of the current awning without having to replace the whole cover.

6. Engage the awning lock

If you have a manual awning, make sure to engage the awning locking mechanism when you travel. It’s usually a lever-like mechanism at the end(s) of your awning. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

By ensuring the awning locking device is engaged before departure you can avoid tears in the fabric or damage to awning mechanical pieces while traveling.

If you have an electric awning, you may or may not have a travel locking mechanism. So, be sure to check your owner’s manual to learn if you need to engage a lock or not.

RV awnings require care and maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Don’t leave your awning open in high winds

Heavy wind or unexpected wind gusts can wreak havoc on your awning. It can even rip the entire awning off the side of your RV. 

Keep an eye on your weather app and the skies. If severe winds or weather is headed your way, retract your awning as necessary. Some RVs have auto-closing awnings when the wind picks up.

On that same note, be mindful whenever you’re leaving your campsite for the day or turning in for the night. The weather may be fine when you’re getting ready to leave but it doesn’t mean it’ll be fine the whole time you’re gone or while you sleep.

I know of campers who have returned to their campsite or woke to a badly damaged awning because it was left open in bad weather.

My best advice is to retract the awning before leaving your campsite and before retiring for the night.

8. Lower one side during the rain

If you leave the awning extended during a rain shower, lower one side of the awning more than the other. This allows the rain to run off instead of pooling on top. Pooling water on top of an awning can tear the fabric or damage the mechanical pieces if it becomes too heavy or submerges items in water. 

This tip doesn’t work for all awning types as some do not allow you to extend the sides differently. But if yours does, this tip will come in handy on rainy days.

RV awnings require care and maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Inspect your awning twice each year

Despite proper maintenance and care your RV awning will wear as it ages. In order to stay ahead of any potential issues you should thoroughly inspect your awning at least twice per year. Follow this basic guide:

Open your awning slowly and pay attention to how it feels. If there is resistance or loud noises, it may need to be inspected by a mechanic.

Once the awning is out, you should check over all the mechanical parts. Start by inspecting the roller tube closely for signs of warping. If it is warped, it will be fairly obvious to you.

Check over the awning arms. Inspect the brackets and poles for missing screws or signs of bending. Look for broken rivets or enlarged holes in the handles. All of these can cause issues in the future if they are not repaired.

Look over the awning end caps, checking closely for signs of damage and broken or missing rivets.

Inspect the mounting hardware and ensure that it is properly secured to the RV.

Thoroughly inspect the awning fabric keeping an eye out for tears or signs of excessive wear. Talk to your RV mechanic about patching holes if they arise.

Roll up your RV, paying close attention to its movement as you put it away. Once again, listen for loud noises, clicking, or other unusual sounds.

Once your awning is away, test the safety locking mechanism. Pull very gently on the awning to see if you can open it while it is locked. If the lock is working properly, the awning should not budge.

RV awnings require care and maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to wash your RV awning

Although there are several ways to wash your awning, the following is the easiest and most thorough way to clean your RV awning. 

After each season, it gets all that weathering soot and stains from our rig’s awning. Always do a reasonable inspection of the awning while cleaning it. That way, you can repair rips and tears right then and there. 

1. Extend the awning

Extend the awning to full length. You want to be sure that it is fully open so that you can clean every part of the awning. That also allows the fabric to dry completely so you do not get mold or mildew issues once it is closed. 

2. Spray the awning with your preferred cleaner

Use a secure step ladder and spray the awning with your desired cleaner. Always refer to your owner’s manual to see if there is a suggested cleaner. 

Let the cleaner saturate for about 10 minutes. That will help loosen hardened dirt and debris on the fabric. It makes your cleaning job a whole lot easier.

3. Scrub with a long-handled brush

Once the cleaner has soaked in, use an RV brush to scrub the awning. Lightly scrub the awning with a long-handled brush and a sponge with the green scrubber side. 

4. Rinse and let the awning air dry

After scrubbing the awning, rinse it thoroughly. Let the awning dry completely. 

Once completely dry, crank it slowly watching for an even and steady closure. Then you are ready for next time.

RV awnings require care and maintenance © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Spray mechanical parts with lubricant

Before closing the awning, spray some lubricant on the mechanical parts. That will help keep the mechanism working smoothly. 

Keep your awning in great shape

It’s true that your awning isn’t as integral to the functionality of your RV as some of its other components but having your RV awning in good working condition can really contribute to your quality of life when you’re on the road. Take good care of it and you’ll not only be rewarded with a great outdoor extension of your living space but you won’t have to spend your road trip money on a new awning.

Worth Pondering…

Until next time, safe RV travels, and I’ll see you on the highway!

10 Reasons Why the Super C Motorhome Is the King of RVs

Super C motorhomes have numerous benefits for travelers with specific needs. Let’s take a closer look at 10 of the reasons for owning one.

What’s so super about a Super C motorhome? Lots of things and I’ll go down the list one by one. Are they sturdy, powerful, and comfortable? Check, check, and check. In fact, they might just be the most versatile style of RVs.

With just a quick look up and down the highway or around the RV parks, you’ll see they’re growing in popularity. I’ll show why they’ve earned the crown as the king (or queen!) of all RVs.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is a Super C motorhome?

As the name implies, a Super C motorhome is a bigger, more rugged version of a Class C motorhome. They can be quite luxurious, too!

A Super C is a souped-up version of a traditional Class C motorhome.

Like the Class C, a Super C motorhome has a distinctive cab-over area in the front that’s usually a sleeping area. And that’s along with a bedroom in the back plus a kitchen, bathroom, separate shower, dinette, and living area. What’s different is the Super C is built on a heavy-duty truck chassis rather than a van chassis so it’s sturdier and can carry heavier loads. 

This opens up possibilities for better-quality furnishings and accessories—and more of them. The Super C has more storage space and more power under the hood. A Super C motorhome is big—typically ranging from around 33 feet to about 45 feet. It’s safe to say that many RV parks can accommodate them, even with a vehicle in tow.

➡ You might consider a Super C a big rig but some RV parks and campgrounds have a different opinion. Before you book a stay, find out What Does Big Rig Friendly Really Mean?

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10 reasons why Super C motorhomes are RV royalty

I’ve already checked quite a few boxes in favor of the Super C motorhome. I’ll expound on those a bit and add a few more to explain why they reign supreme.

1. They have a powerful engine and driveline

A Super C has its engine in the front and it’s usually a diesel (but not always). The engines pack a lot of power, too. These are large displacement engines with lots of horsepower and torque to carry heavy loads and tackle challenging terrain.

Many times Super C motorhomes have a more robust drive than even the biggest class A motorhomes. Like a semi, many of them have two sets of dual rear wheels and sometimes both are powered giving them far more carrying capacity and traction.

2. Safer in a crash

A Super C’s heavy-duty truck chassis will hold up better in a collision. With the engine in front (unlike a diesel pusher) you have more of a protective barrier in a head-on crash. And with a wider wheelbase they’re less likely to overturn.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. They drive like trucks

Super C motorhomes may have more muscle than what you’re used to but it’s probably within your comfort zone. Getting behind the wheel of a Super C is more or less like driving a big pickup truck with a truck camper on the back.

By comparison, there’s a bigger learning curve with the larger, lumbering Class A motorhomes. Driving a Class A is more like driving a bus because you’re positioned on top of the front wheels rather than behind them.

4. Straightforward maintenance

Those truck engines are easy to work on and most mechanics have experience with them. You won’t have to hunt down a specialist when you need to do some repairs. And it may be a while before you do. Heavy-duty truck engines are designed to go for hundreds of thousands of miles with routine maintenance.

5. Ride in comfort

When in transit, the extra weight and width of the Super C motorhome’s heavy-duty chassis give you tons of stability. Combine that with air suspension and you’ve got an exceptionally smooth ride. This is true on open highways as well as bumpy country roads.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Quality interiors

Because Super Cs can carry heavier loads, manufacturers don’t have to compromise by using lightweight materials. Many of these motorhomes have upgraded components and features like solid wood cabinetry, granite countertops, tile flooring, and electric fireplaces.

7. Spacious floorplans 

Those wider wheelbases are often a bit longer, too. A few extra inches here and there can add up to much more living space, even king-sized beds. In addition, some Super C motorhomes have multiple slide-outs so you can stretch out even more.

8. Significant towing capacity

With a Super C, you’ll be able to bring along a second vehicle to use as a daily driver. Or, you may want to tow your boat or other toys you can’t leave behind. Towing capacities of 10,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds are more typical but some models can tow up to 25,000 pounds.

9. Large holding tanks

Bigger tanks mean you can stay in one place longer even off the grid. It’s not unusual for a Super C to have a fresh water capacity of 100 to 150 gallons. Count on 75 gallons or so for black and grey tanks.

10. Increased storage (and cargo carrying capacity)

While Class C motorhomes are notorious for their limited storage space, their super-sized cousins have more room to spare. The roomy basement area is more like what you’d expect to find on a Class A motorhome. You’ll still need to pack wisely but you can definitely carry more things with you.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you need a special driver’s license to drive a Super C?

In most places, you don’t need any kind of special driver’s license to drive a motorhome if you’re doing it for recreational purposes. However, if it’s for business, you should have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

These laws vary from state to state and province to province but most of them don’t have any particular restrictions on RVs that weigh less than 26,000 pounds. Most Super C motorhomes weigh more than that and you might need a special license so check your state or provincial laws.

How much does a Super C motorhome cost?

You can expect to pay $500,000 or more for a brand-new Super C off the lot. And when we say or more, it could be considerably more. The price could rise as high as $775,000 depending on the manufacturer and what kinds of extras it has. On the other hand, you may be able to buy a used one for $150,000 to $200,000.

While we’re talking numbers, you should also consider fuel costs. Unfortunately, many Super C motorhomes get less than 10 mpg.

Pro tip: Some motorhome buyers forget to factor in the cost of the RV lifestyle.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are you considering a Super C motorhome?

As you can see, the Super C motorhome has a lot going for it. They’re spacious, easy to drive, and have high-end features. In fact, you might even feel like you’re riding on a cushion of air thanks to the suspension. 

Super C motorhomes are also powerful, safe, and dependable. And if you have a maintenance issue, they’re usually not difficult to repair.

It’s no wonder we see so many running the roads and settling in for long stays. They may not be the ideal rig for everyone but there are many Super C owners who wouldn’t want any other kind of RV.

Worth Pondering…

No matter where we go in our motorhome, that sense of independence is satisfying. We have our own facilities, from comfortable bed to a fridge full of our favorite foods. We set the thermostat the way we like it and go to bed and get up in our usual routine.

Tourist + Moron = Touron… And National Parks Have A LOT of Them

Invasion of the idiots

Ever see a video of a tourist at a National Park and all you can do is shake your head?

I mean, what is with these folks?

They go into completely wild environments and act like they know what’s going on.

No ma’am, that bull elk will kill you, the bison will hit you like a truck, and that grizzly bear is not a teddy.

It’s funny, annoying, and scary all in one when you see a tourist do some stupid crap trying to get a photo of wildlife. We all know you’re not a professional photographer so please tell me why you’re putting your life on the line for a few photos for the ‘Gram?

It just ain’t worth it, not even a little…

On a typical internet search for all things wildlife, a video surfaced on my feed. The video itself was nothing special but I came across a term I hadn’t seen or heard before, touron.

Don’t be a touron! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s pretty simple… Tourist + Moron = Touron!

Urban Dictionary defines it as “any person who, while on vacation, commits an act of pure stupidity.”

Not only does touron roll oddly smooth off the tongue but it also really is just the perfect description of all the people who ignore the painfully obvious signs of what to do and not do with the wildlife.

However, wherever there is a touron with a cell phone, there’s probably someone else close by capturing the stupidity.

These videos are living proof of the kind of idiots that walk into National Parks on a daily basis. It is not a zoo, there are no cages for a reason, and these animals have the ability to seriously harm you…

The one with a fella trying to scare a mother black bear off is insane. Rule number one is stay away from a mother and her young. You are just asking to get attacked.

Don’t be a touron! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can see a mother bear and her three cubs. The man walks around a vehicle to try and scare a bear. Two big no-no’s! Don’t approach a mother bear or try to scare any bear. That’s a good way to, oh, I don’t know… die?

In this case the man got off lucky. She just bluff charged and slapped at the man as he ran off.

Grade A Touron.

Here is some more helpful information on bear safety: You Come Across a Bear. Your Next Move Is Very Important. Do You Know What To Do?

Once you’re aware of the word touron, it seems to come up everywhere. There’s an entire subreddit dedicated to visitors who hike off trail, get too close to wildlife, and bathe in the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park.

The popular Instagram account @touronsofyellowstone which posts videos and photos of park visitors misbehaving has amassed 486,000 followers while @touronsofnationalparks has 176,000 and dozens more accounts have popped up (there’s @touronsofhawaii, @touronsofthepnw, and @tourons_of_joshuatree just to name a few).

Instagrammer Jackie Boesinger Meredyk (@jaboes) posted video footage of a tourist getting too close to a herd of bison that caused a road blockage near Bridal Veil Falls at Yellowstone National Park.

The video was reposted on @touronsofyellowstone and the caption describes how the person got out of their vehicle about 20 cars back and walked along the mountain road, all while holding an iPad to get a unique picture.

The park’s law enforcement was trying to get the herd moving and they were stunned to see the tourist getting unreasonably close. After calling for the man to follow the park’s rules by standing at least 25 yards away, he retreated.

Don’t be a touron! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The comments section was not impressed.

“Entitled seems fitting,” said one Instagrammer with another adding, “The ranger needs to fine him.”

While getting in the personal space of bison is unwise at the best of times, this bunch featured a couple of calves increasing the risk to anyone who approaches.

“They had their babies with them,” another observed. “He’s lucky he’s still alive.”

The Government of the Northwest Territories advises never to get within a herd of bison or to come between two of the mammals, especially between a mother and calf.

Bison can be unpredictable and charge at any moment and threatening behavior from humans is sure to make this more likely.

Don’t be a touron! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Male bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, according to Yellowstone National Park while females can be as heavy as 1,000 pounds. Being charged by either isn’t likely to end well. The park says bison have harmed more people at the park than any other animal.

There are plenty of other reasons to be respectful of wildlife. Yellowstone has noted that feeding animals in its parks can lead to them getting too familiar with humans and reliant on the food they offer meaning they can become aggressive when trying to get it.

We can observe nature from a distance and still be amazed by what we see. Getting too close can be a recipe for disaster.

These reckless actions by uninformed or careless tourons put themselves, park resources, and others at severe risk of injury or death. Responsible behavior and respecting all park rules and regulations is crucial for safety.

These accounts and numerous news stories reveal that touron activity is often found in national parks and according to the Topical Dictionary of Americanisms, the term is considered “park ranger slang.” Urban Dictionary agrees. “The term has its roots in the resort, park service, and service industries and can easily be dated back at least as far as the mid-1970s,” the entry states.

Don’t be a touron! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The lists could go on and on…

Either way, I’m very happy to have stumbled upon the word Touron, it’s just so perfect.

Friggin’ Tourons….

Here are a few great articles to help you stay safe in national parks:

Worth Pondering…

I love the term touron. It’s a delicious portmanteau.

—Aspen Daily News

Outdoorsy Releases Generations in the Wild: The 2024 U.S. Family RV Travel Report

Teens drop tech and look to faith for meaning during family road trips. Baby Boomers beef up multigenerational camping plans this summer. Economic constraints and appetite for travel push GenZ to search for free campsites. Demand for developed campgrounds booms.

Outdoorsy, a leading outdoor travel and accommodation marketplace recently released Generations in the Wild: The 2024 U.S. Family RV Travel Report. The company’s inaugural independent research explores motivations behind travel, benefits of time on the road, and cultural values restoring human relationships across four generations of RVing American families.

“This independent research was deliberately designed to span not just generations, but to represent Americans from all walks of life who seek the benefits only the outdoors can provide,” said Outdoorsy Co-Founder Jennifer Young. “Resoundingly, every group acknowledged that RV travel provides a powerful way to strengthen family bonds, reconnect with themselves, and draw closer to their faith.”

Spending time in nature at Snow Canyon State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Notably, Outdoorsy’s survey found that today’s always-on work culture is negatively impacting young families on the road—cutting into quality time and reducing enjoyment for GenZ parents in particular. GenZ is most likely to take work on the road with 74 percent saying they work at least sometimes during a trip and 96 percent of those who do reporting that their work hours negatively impact their time with family. By comparison, GenX has a healthier work life balance with only 53 percent reporting that they work during family trips.

“Creating time for a digital detox is closely correlated to better reported trip outcomes, but we found that only one in five families will always take the time to do so,” said Young. “However, we discovered that disconnecting from tech isn’t the only way to reliably improve your summer vacation. Our research showed that parents who involve their children in every aspect of trip planning—from meal planning to destination selection to activity mapping—report improved journeys across almost every metric.”

Families with children who are highly engaged in trip planning report lower stress (+21 percent), an increase in positive attitudes (+12 percent), and increased excitement (+16 percent). Families who engage their children in every aspect of trip planning are also more likely to report strengthened faith after a trip (65 percent vs. 39 percent) and a higher likelihood of tech-free time (66 percent vs. 52 percent).

Spending time in nature hiking Old Baldy Trail, Madera Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Additional key findings from this year’s report include:

  • GenZ: The changing face of RV travel: The youngest generation of RVers are notably different from their peers. They’re the most likely to travel with the majority (65 percent) saying they plan to take at least five RV trips this year. However, this cost-conscious generation is also the most likely (47 percent) to seek out free RV accommodations this year signaling that this cohort especially is feeling the strain of inflation. This group also tends to stay closest to home with an average trip length that is 100 miles less than that of older generations.
  • Developed campgrounds are the most in-demand in 2024: This year, developed campgrounds are in high demand with 83 percent of families preferring their RV campground to be packed with amenities like showers, pools, biking paths, pickleball courts, and more.
  • RV trips reduce tech time and increase spiritual connectedness for teens: Nearly half of all teens (48 percent) report reduced screen time during family RV trips and the vast majority (88 percent) report at least some level of spiritual connectedness with more than half (59 percent) engaging in prayer, reflection (34 percent), and reading sacred texts (21 percent) during family RV trips.
  • Baby Boomers beef up multigenerational camping plans this summer: In their youth, Baby Boomers popularized backcountry camping. However, over time they fell into travel patterns that were less likely to include outdoor experiences. Now that they’re entering their retirement years, they are much more likely to turn to RV trips as an affordable means of travel that can include their children, grandchildren, and extended family. Three fourths (74 percent) of Baby Boomers will include their adult children in their next RV trip and 31 percent will include their grandchildren.
  • Millennials: The experience-first generation: This formidable travel group started the trend of investing in experiences instead of things and their desire to fully lean into family travel shows up in a variety of ways. Seven out of 10 Millennials say RV trips are an important time to disconnect from technology and this generation is less than half as likely to always work while traveling as their GenZ counterparts (11 percent vs. 26 percent) signaling they have a better handle on work/life balance.
  • Nearer, my God, to thee: RVing families tend to be highly religious or spiritual with 96 percent of parents and 88 percent of teens reporting at least some connection to faith or spirituality. 82 percent of religious families report being Christian. And although teens are less likely to say they’re very connected to religion or spirituality, they’re just as involved (and in some cases more involved) as their parents in spiritual pursuits while in nature. 

Since I’m talking the outdoors, here are a few related articles:

Spending time in nature at Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Methodology

The results of the first Outdoorsy U.S. RV Family Travel Report are based on a total of 3,200 surveys completed among a random sample of U.S. families and a corresponding sample of n=400 teens. Within the sample of families, quotas were established for each of the four primary census regions: Northeast (n=800), Midwest (n=800), South (n=800), and West (n=800). Overall, a sample of n=3,200 U.S. families is associated with a margin of error of +/- 1.63 percentage points and a sample of n=400 teens is associated with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points. All surveys were completed only via an outbound solicitation sent to a randomly selected cross-section of families. The sample of respondents was statistically balanced to ensure that the results are in line with overall population figures for age, gender, and ethnicity. Some results may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

Spending time in nature at Roosevelt State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

About Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy transformed access to the outdoors with the launch of its RV and campervan rental marketplace in 2015 and expanded to offer marketplace insurance in 2018. Today, Outdoorsy’s partnership with its hosts has resulted in over 7 million travel days through RV rentals that are available in 4,800 cities across North America. Outdoorsy’s marketplace, insurance, and retreats provide life-changing financial benefits for RV hosts and retreat communities and offer guests the trust and guidance they need to enjoy memorable rustic travel experiences. Outdoorsy’s team is inspired by a mission to restore our relationship with the outdoors and each other by inviting guests to Live Outdoorsy.

Worth Pondering…

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is a society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not Man the less, but Nature more

—Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Go on a Donut Day Adventure on National Donut Day

The first Friday in June—June 7 this year—is National Donut Day

What is round, fried, makes your mouth water and has its own national holiday?

Donuts! The glazed, cream-filled, varied beauties are celebrated each year. While the taste alone is enough to celebrate, National Donut Day actually has a meaningful history rooted in the American spirit.

Today, most people celebrate without understanding the history. The holiday has been commercialized by donut shops nationwide with some serving up everything from free donuts to donut contests.

Keep reading to learn more about National Donut Day and when and how to partake in the festivities.

National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is National Donut Day?

You might be surprised but National Donut Day is a holiday. Its history which we trace below is much more than about the tasty treat.

But today the holiday is celebrated in many creative ways paying homage to the donut. Some donut shops have a special flavor, others, like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ gives everyone a free donut just for showing up.

When is National Donut Day?

National Donut Day falls on the first Friday of June every year. This year, Friday, June 7 is National Donut Day.

There is also a second, but less popularly celebrated National Donut Day. November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Americans convinced the Vietnamese to help them celebrate by giving out donuts in honor of the occasion.

Since then National Donut Day is also celebrated by some on November 5. The celebration is speculated to have originated from that event in Vietnam.

There was no shortage of donuts during November in Vietnam. The 200 female American Red Cross volunteers or Donut Dollies turned out about 20,000 donuts daily for GIs.

National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The history of National Donut Day

With so many food holidays out there, it’s pretty easy to trivialize their significance. But National Donut Day has a filling as rich as the custard of a Boston cream donut.

National Donut Day dates back to World War I. The female volunteers of the Salvation Army cooked donuts for American GIs overseas. The tradition carried on through the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression, the Chicago Salvation Army claimed National Donut Day as an official holiday in order to celebrate the female volunteers who championed the GIs during the war. It became official in 1938.

These female volunteers became known as Donut Dollies. They would each make upwards of 300 donuts a day—by hand.

The female volunteers who made donuts were called dough girls or dough lassies. They continued to serve donuts to GIs during World War II. Throughout various wars like the Vietnam War soldiers continued the tradition of eating donut-like food wherever they were serving.

Prisoner of war Orson Swindle had his soldiers observe the holiday during the Vietnam War by serving them sweet sticky buns. Eventually, bakeries and civilians alike started celebrating every year by eating a rich sweet donut.

National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The importance of National Donut Day

Beyond its historic importance, National Donut Day celebrates one of America’s most beloved treats. Although donuts are actually believed to be from the Netherlands and immigrated to New York with the Dutch. Nevertheless, 56 percent of Americans said they’ve taken donuts to their office.

Because it only comes once (and sometimes twice) a year, it is important for donut shops to seize the opportunity. Many shops celebrate and monetize National Donut Day by preparing marketing campaigns well in advance.

National Donut Day timeline

  • 1809: One of the earliest accounts of donuts are attributed to Dutch settlers that brought them over to New York
  • 1918: The Salvation Army sets up canteens in the frontlines of World War I to provide care and donuts for soldiers
  • 1920: Adolph Levitt, a refugee from Russia designs a gadget to help him keep up with the demand for donuts at his shop
  • 1989: The Simpsons is aired for the first time and the world is introduced to Homer, a true donut lover
National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Donuts by the numbers

  • 10 billion: Number of donuts made in the U.S. each year
  • 10: Number of people living in America with Donut as their surname
  • 13: Number of people who have Donut as their first name
  • 2,480: Boston has one donut shop for every 2,480 people
  • 20: Number of donuts Renée Zellweger ate every day to gain weight for the sequel of Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • 9: Guinness World Record for the most powdered donuts eaten in three minutes
  • 201.02 million: Number of donuts consumed by Americans in 2020
  • 100,000: Number of donuts churned out by Entenmann’s every hour
  • 3,660: Number of donuts it would take to reach the top of the Statue of Liberty
  • 55 million: Number of donuts it would take to get from Long Beach, California to Long Island, New York

Top 10 donut flavors

  • Glazed: 28 percent
  • Boston Cream: 17 percent
  • Chocolate Frosted: 16 percent
  • Jelly Filled: 11 percent
  • Chocolate Cake: 7 percent
  • Maple: 6 percent
  • Blueberry: 5 percent
  • Bear Claw: 4 percent
  • Powdered Sugar: 3 percent
  • Pink Frosted: 3 percent
National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Top 10 favorite donut chains

  • #1: Krispy Kreme: 41 percent
  • #2: Dunkin’ Donuts: 40 percent
  • #3: Shipley Donuts: 4 percent
  • #4: Tim Hortons 3 percent
  • #5: Voodoo Donuts: 3 percent
  • #6: Daylight Donuts: 3 percent
  • #7: Entenmann’s Donuts in my own kitchen: 3 percent
  • #8: Winchell’s Donuts: 2 percent
  • #9: Lamar’s Donuts: 1 percent
  • #10: Honey Dew Donuts: 1 percent

National Donut Day activities

  • Go on a donut adventure: Visit a local donut shop but don’t go for your usual, instead allow yourself to experiment with different flavors
  • Share the love: Pick out a variety of donuts to share with family and friends
  • Fry ‘em up: Making your own donuts can be an exciting experience to share with friends and family

Worth Pondering…

With a doughnut in each hand, anything is possible.

—Jameela Jamil 

National Cheese Day: June 4

National Cheese Day is a delightful celebration that pays homage to one of the world’s most beloved and versatile foods: cheese

June 4 is National Cheese Day. Not to be confused with other popular cheese related holidays like Grilled Cheese Day, Cheesecake Day, or Mac and Cheese Day. This day is in reverence of the queen of all dairy, the big cheese.

History of National Cheese Day

Cheese making is an ancient, some might even say, sacred craft. So ancient it predates recorded history. It is speculated that the magic of cheese making began somewhere around 8000 BC, shortly after the domestication of animals.

Archeological digs have found evidence of cheese around the world including strainers coated in milk-fat molecules in Kuyavia, Poland dated around 5500 BC, murals in Egypt dated at 2000 BC, and an artifact of preserved cheese in Xinjiang, China believed to be more than 3,000 years old. European Imperialism took their styles of cheese through Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and eventually to the Americas.

The most popular cheese of all is mozzarella. This delicious and pizza topping cheese was first created near Naples from the rich milk of water buffalos. At the time, it rarely left its home near Naples as it was made from pasteurized milk and a lack of refrigeration meant it had a very short shelf life. As both cheese technology and refrigeration systems advanced, this delicious cheese left the southern region of Italy and traveling around the world. 

There are two types of mozzarella produced within the United States—low moisture and high moisture. Low moisture mozzarella has a moisture content less than 50 percent while high moisture has a content of over 52 percent. Low moisture is made specifically for transportation and mass production as the lack of moisture gives it a longer shelf life.

Today, cheese dishes can be found on every continent served savory, sweet, melted, deep fried, and even chilled in ice cream. This household staple can still satisfy any craving after thousands of years.

National Cheese Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

President Calvin Coolidge came from a family of cheesemakers

Visitors to the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont can walk the grounds of the 30th President’s homeplace and burial—and even tour his family’s cheese factory. President Coolidge’s father, John, founded the family cheesemaking business in 1890 as a way to monetize extra milk from his dairy farm.

Despite regional success, Plymouth Cheese shuttered amid the Great Depression, a few years after Coolidge’s time in office ended. However, the family business was revived in 1960 when Coolidge’s son restored the factory and resumed cheese production.

After three decades, the family business was sold to the state of Vermont with the guarantee it would remain open and operational. Today’s visitors to the historic site can sample the Coolidge family’s original cheddar recipe first created more than 130 years ago. 

National Cheese Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The world’s hardest cheese can last for up to 20 years

There are countless varieties of cheese found throughout the world from soft goat cheese to the particularly fragrant Limburger. But there’s one type of cheese that has an exceptionally amazing shelf life: chhurpi, a Nepalese cheese that can last up to 20 years. Popularly consumed in remote villages deep in the Himalayas, chhurpi has a smoky flavor and tough consistency; the cheese is so hard it’s typically chewed like gum.

Creating chhurpi starts with milk from yaks, cows, buffaloes, and chauris—an animal that’s a cross between a yak and a cow—which is then fermented for up to a year. Dehydrating the chunks of cheese removes most of its moisture making it safe to eat without refrigeration for up to two decades, a helpful quality in a region where access to fresh foods is somewhat limited.
Whether produced in Nepal or otherwise, all varieties of hard cheese undergo the same process to reach their firm texture and sharp flavor.

Every cheese begins with milk that’s been blended with the bacteria responsible for giving the final product a specific flavor (like Lactococcus lactis used in cheddar, or Streptococcus thermophilus used to make Swiss), and some curds retain more liquid in the shaping and aging process. 

Soft cheeses have more moisture which is why they attract bacteria and spoil easily without made in refrigeration while hard cheeses have drastically less (making them safer to eat without chilling). Cheesemakers are able to achieve this lack of moisture by pressing, heating, or salting newly formed blocks of cheese to draw out as much water as possible. Aging cheese, often for three years or longer further saps its moisture levels and gives hard cheeses that crumbly texture so perfectly paired with crackers—or just enjoyed on its own.

National Cheese Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Cheese Day timeline

  • 1815: First large scale industrial cheese production begins in Switzerland
  • 1851: Jesse Williams, a farmer is credited with being the first to have an assembly-line of cheese production in Rome, New York
  • 1939-1945: Factory made cheese surpasses the production numbers of traditional farm raised cheeses during World War II
  • 1982: The Mozzarella Company was founded in Dallas to bring fresh Mozzarella to America

By the numbers

  • 4: Percentage of all cheese being sold that ends up stolen
  • 1,400 pounds: Weight of a block of cheddar cheese delivered to the White House once by President Andrew Jackson
  • 2: Hours it took for 10,000 visitors to the White House to finish the block of cheddar cheese
  • 17th century: Period in which they started dyeing cheese orange to fool people into thinking it was higher quality
  • 1,000: Estimated number of different French cheeses
  • 1615 BC: Year when the oldest known cheese was discovered in China
  • 10: Pounds of whole milk required to make 1 pound of cheese
  • 25.5: Length (in feet) of the world’s largest cheese slicer, on display in Norway
  • 1,700+: Types of cheese produced in the United States
  • 10 billion: Approximate number of microbes found in a piece of cheese
National Cheese Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Cheese Day activities

  • Charcuterie: Make a spread of some of your favorite cheeses to enjoy solo or with friends. Try working in new and international varieties you’ve never tried before.
  • Take a cooking class: You may be surprised how many cheese themed educational experiences there are. Learn how to make your own cheese at home, the perfect drink and food pairings, or discover a new cheesy dish. With workshops and free online tutorials there are a lot of ways you can learn to enjoy this ancient culinary staple.
  • Cook something: Whether traditional comfort food like mac n cheese, the tangy sweetness of cheesecake, or the contemporary refinement of stuffed pull-apart bread there are countless cheese recipes to try. Why not try a new twist on a family recipe or search the internet for the latest cheese trend. You can start simple with a five ingredient ricotta cheese recipe.
National Cheese Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Facts about cheese that will blow your mind

  • Americans cut the cheese: Contrary to popular assumption the U.S., not Europe, is the largest producer of cheese making up 29 percent of the global market. In order the top producing countries are the United States, Germany, France, and Italy.
  • Don’t forget the stomach: Rennet is curdled milk and complex enzymes found in the fourth stomach of unweaned calves and is often added in the cheese making process as it is considered to make a bolder, richer quality product.
  • Medieval curds: The most popular types of cheeses of today like gouda, cheddar, parmesan, and camembert, all came in vogue during or after the Middle Ages.
  • Cheesy Moon: The long standing myth that the moon is made out of cheese may stem from The Proverbs of John Heywood back in 1546 which stated “the moon is made of a green cheese.” We now understand this to be more metaphoric than literal with green referring to the freshness or un-aged nature of the moon.
National Cheese Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why I love National Cheese Day

  • Expanding our Palate: We love taking our taste buds on new adventures! Today can be about trying so much more than cheese! Wine, beer, meats, veggies, deserts… all of it is up for grabs and we can’t wait.
  • New cultural experiences: As an international food staple, National Cheese Day opens the door to a variety of new cultural experiences. We love being able to explore new dishes, cultures, and traditions.
  • Sharing and bonding: We love breaking cheesy bread and making new memories with the ones we love.

National Cheese Day related holidays

  • January 20: National Cheese Lovers Day
  • February 13: National Cheddar Day
  • April 17: National Cheese Ball Day
  • October 15: National Cheese Curd Day

Worth Pondering…

Cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality.

—Clifton Fadiman

2024 CDC Dog Import Rules Impact RVers Crossing the Border with Dogs

Many RVers camp with their dogs and it has always been pretty easy to take them to Canada or Mexico and back—but not anymore.

Are you and your dog RVing to Alaska this summer? Are you a Canadian who snowbirds with your dog in the U.S. Sunbelt? Or an American RVer who visits Mexico with their dog? A new Dog Import Rule by the Centers for Disease Control is about to make your trip more complicated.

There’s no way around it. If you’re an American, you can’t RV to Alaska without crossing the Canadian border. Thankfully Canada hasn’t changed their rules for taking dogs into Canada. But the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just made the classic RVing bucket list trip a little more complicated for pet parents taking family dogs along for the ride to Alaska.

If your bucket list RV adventure to Alaska starts soon, pay attention. You have a veterinary appointment to make before you hit the Alaska Highway. And if you’re a Canadian snowbird who RVs with dogs in winter or an American who snowbirds in Mexico during winter, at least you have plenty of time to see your vet.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The CDC just announced new rules for all dogs entering the United States.

Starting August 1, 2024, all U.S.-vaccinated dogs entering the United States by land, air, or sea, must:

  • Be at least 6 months of age at time of entry or return to the United States
  • Have an implanted International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip
  • The microchip number must be documented on all required forms and in all accompanying veterinary records
  • Have a CDC Dog Import Form receipt

This form should be filled out online ideally 2-10 days before arrival. It can also be completed right before travel (even in line at the border crossing) if you have internet access. If the information on the form changes before the dog arrives, you must submit a new form and indicate you are making changes to an existing form. All information including port of entry where the dog is arriving must be correct at time of arrival.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This form requires you to upload a clear photograph of the dog showing its face and body. Dogs that will be less than one year of age at time of arrival should have the photograph taken within 10 days before arrival.

The CDC is striving to more rigidly enforce dog importation (including animal rescue efforts) from countries with higher risk of rabies transmission. But what the new CDC ruling will also do is make crossing the U.S. border with dogs more complicated and expensive. It doesn’t just impact the average RVing pet parent. It also impacts recreational dog sports participants and those who wish to adopt dogs from other countries.

Want to see this ruling rescinded?
Sign the Change.org petition, “Revise the CDC’s New Import Requirements for Dogs”.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s different for RVing dogs returning to the United States?

RVing dogs have always needed a rabies vaccination to re-enter the United States. But pet parents with dogs who have been vaccinated in the U.S. will be additionally impacted by two new requirements when crossing the Canadian border and traveling into the U.S.

All dogs must be microchipped. And you must carry documentation of the microchip number. This must have been implanted prior to any required rabies vaccination.

The CDC Dog Import Form is also now required before crossing the border. You can fill it out up to 10 days ahead of crossing. Or, do it online at the CDC website while you’re in line at the border crossing. That’s if you have internet access (some rural border crossing stations favored by RVer lack cellular coverage). The form requires you to upload a full-body photo of your dog too.

And, your veterinarian must complete either a Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form or a USDA endorsed export health certificate. Plus, you must carry a printed copy of either form to present to border agents.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are more rules for dogs returning to the U.S. especially if the dog is coming from a country where rabies is more prevalent. But for the average person going to Alaska with family dogs or the Canadian snowbird headed south in fall, the new CDC rules for RVing with dogs means adding an extra veterinary visit to the trip planning to-do list.

The CDC’s “Requirements for dogs with a current and valid rabies vaccination administered in the United States” has more details.

I agree with others that this is total nonsense (the PG version of what I’m really thinking!) First off, are we having a pandemic of rabies infections running through America? I hadn’t heard of that yet.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Secondly, I know there have been attempts by puppy mills to smuggle litters in as, “oops, they were born while I was visiting my parents” and yes, I don’t want to see that happening but there may also be a legitimate reason why someone is entering the States with a dog under 6 months old.

Lastly, mandatory microchipping??!! REALLY?! And don’t forget, you need ALL the paperwork to go with all of this. Heaven forbid that they have a microchip scanner and confirm that the chip is registered to the person standing in front of them since it seems to be that important. They’ve gone too far with this one. It’s easier for a human to enter the country illegally!

Worth Pondering…

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

―Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

Road Trip Theme Ideas for Your Next RV Adventure

Creating a theme for your RV road trip elevates the fun

If you’ve ever thought road trips were just about long drives and random stops, think again! The open road offers an incredible canvas for themed adventures that cater to every imaginable interest.

Choosing a road trip destination

Many times, the biggest decision that we make when planning a new RV trip is WHERE TO GO. A lot of thought goes into the destinations and on more than a few occasions we have planned out a THEMED road trip. Road trip themes are plentiful and going on a trip that focuses on one main topic is a LOT of fun (The planning process can be ALMOST as enjoyable as the actual trip).

You can put a lot of care and thought into the details of a themed road trip and you can choose themes to match just about any interest or hobby.

Whether you’re a foodie on the hunt for the best diners, a history buff tracing historical trails, or simply someone looking for the road less traveled, themed road trips are your ticket to a more personalized adventure.

The following themes represent the wide variety of interests and inspirations showing how diverse themes can cater to different passions, hobbies, and curiosities. I also include related links to help you start planning.

Perhaps my list will give you some inspiration?

Foodie road trip on the Kolache Trail in central Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan Road Trips Early

The best tip that I have for planning a successful road trip: plan EARLY. By early, I mean AT LEAST 4-6 months ahead.

Popular attractions, campgrounds and RV parks, and other locations fill up quickly. It is best to book the highly sought-after events and locales as soon as possible.

Road trip themes

I had a fun time putting together the (rather) extensive list below. There are a lot of different themes and each one can be broken down and personalized based on individual preference. Most would work well as family road trips, couples trips, friend’s trips, or even solo trips.

The themes are listed in no particular order below:

  • Foodie Road Trip
  • Famous Authors Road Trip
  • Roadside Attractions Road Trip
  • National Parks Road Trip
  • Music Themed Road Trip
  • Movie or TV Show Themed Road Trip
  • Wine Country Road Trip
  • Bourbon Country Road Trip
  • Historical Road Trip
  • Scenic Byways Road Trip
  • Coastal Highway Road Trip
  • Amish Country Road Trip
  • Wildlife and Nature Road Trip
  • Photography Road Trip
  • Adventure Activities Road Trip
  • Sports Road Trip
  • Wildflowers Road Trip
  • Birdwatching Road Trip
  • Exploring the Arts Road Trip
  • Space Themed Road Trip
  • Science and Tech Themed Road Trip
  • Genealogy Road Trip
Blue Bell Ice Cream tour in Brenham, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Foodie Road Trip

Plan a road trip that’s ALL ABOUT FOOD! You can choose the specific concentration for your trip, but here are some suggestions:

  • Eat at iconic restaurants featured in your favorite TV shows or movies.
  • Visit factories that make your favorite foods (especially if they offer tours, for example Blue Bell Ice Cream.
  • Visit orchards during fall pick-your-own season.
  • Check out some popular food trucks! Head to social media and find amazing trucks that have big followings. Put together an itinerary that will take you to several of these trucks. Another option for food trucks is to find a food truck festival.
  • Focus on a geographical location known for certain foods or dishes and see how many different varieties you can try. Examples include: pizza in Chicago, lobster in Maine, crab in Maryland, BBQ and kolaches in Texas, green chile burger in New Mexico, and boudin and crawfish in Louisiana.
  • Go on a road trip and focus on trying specific foods the whole time: pizza, BBQ, seafood, chocolate, ice cream, donuts, sandwiches, burgers, or wings.

Famous Authors Road Trip

Is there a famous author or a book that really moved you as a kid or adult? Plan a road trip around that author’s life or important milestones.

If the book is set in a particular town (real life town, obviously), visit the town.

World’s Largest Roadrunner in Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadside Attractions Road Trip

Roadside attractions are silly, kitschy stops that you can check out as you drive from point A to point B. They are places that are fun to see but you won’t spend an entire day there. There are so many cool roadside attractions across the country. A few examples include:

Gather inspiration for these and other roadside attraction with these resources: 

Arches National Park in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Parks Road Trip

Planning a National Parks Road Trip can be an exciting adventure! With over 60 national parks and countless other National Park Service (NPS) sites in the United States, there are numerous routes and itineraries to explore.

Consider the distance and time you have available as well as your interests and preferences. You can focus on a specific region such as the West Coast, East Coast, or the Southwest, or create a loop that covers multiple regions.

Research the national parks you want to visit and plan your itinerary accordingly. Make sure to allow enough time for each park considering factors like driving distances, park hours, and activities you want to do.

Maybe you’ll plan a trip to Utah’s Mighty Five or expand it to a Grand Circle Tour. Or explore Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains in leaf-peeping season.

No matter which parks you choose, there are incredible vistas and wildlife just waiting for you to take them in. National Parks make great family vacations. The kids love participating in the Junior Ranger programs which offer the youngest travelers an array of activities and the opportunity to earn a ranger badge or pin upon program completion.

Note: National Parks are at the top of the list for destinations that require some pre-planning and booking. A number of parks require advanced reservations and timed entry during the peak travel season.

I have a lot of NPS content on the blog. Check these posts to learn more:

Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Music Themed Road Trips

Whether you love rock ‘n roll, country music, or the sounds of smooth jazz, there are some wonderful options for music themed trips in the US!

Head to Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee and hear incredible country tunes at just about every bar plus visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and Grand Ole Opry. Top off the trip with a tour of Graceland, home of Elvis Presley.

If jazz is your thing, immerse yourself in its roots down in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Love rock ‘n roll? Make a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Movie or TV Themed Road Trip

You can find filming locations for most movie and TV film productions with a little bit of research (simple internet search). Sometimes a whole town is used to film various scenes in the show or movie.

Choose a fave flick or two and head to the town where it was filmed.

By the way, I have a series of posts on movie and film locations:

Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wine Country Road Trip

This road trip is PERFECT for couples or friend groups. Gather up your fellow wine connoisseurs and head out on a road trip to wine country. Your best bet is to visit an area known for its wineries so that you can visit multiple locations during your trip.

Here are some helpful resources:

Buffalo Trace Distillery bourbon tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bourbon Country Road Trip

Explore the rich tradition of America’s Official Native Spirit on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail featuring a number of signature distilleries nestled among beautiful Bluegrass Region scenery.

In 1999, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association formed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to give visitors a firsthand look at the art and science of crafting Bourbon and to educate them about the rich history and proud tradition of Kentucky’s signature spirit.

If you need ideas, check out these blog posts:

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Historical Road Trip

Choose a time period or event in the long past that really interests you and build a road trip around it. There are so many different ideas for things to visit on a historically themed road trip. Choose the historic sites that interest you the most and use that as your starting point.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Early American History
  • Revolutionary War Battlefields
  • Civil War Battlefields
  • Pioneer Life and Travel
  • Native American History

Specific ideas and locations include:

  • Ghost towns
  • Museums
  • Historic parks and sites
  • Presidential libraries
  • Pioneer trails like Lewis & Clark and the Oregon Trail
  • Route 66

Here are some articles to help:

Utah Scenic Byway 12, an All-American Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scenic Byways Road Trip

In This Land is Your Land, Woody Guthrie sang the words, “As I went walking that ribbon of highway / I saw above me that endless skyway.” If Guthrie was singing about some of the most beautiful ribbons of highway in the U. S., there’s a good chance he was talking about one of the country’s scenic byways.

Cutting through prairies, grasslands, mountains, forests, and deserts, many of the scenic byways are not only modes of transport but destinations in themselves. While highways are wide traffic-filled roads connecting major cities, byways tend to be narrower, secondary roads in more rural areas.

The National Scenic Byways Program began in 1991 to promote roads of special aesthetic or cultural significance in one of six topics: archaeological, cultural, natural, historic, recreational, or scenic. Those that meet two or more criteria are designated “All-American Roads.”

I’ve written numerous articles on scenic byways and All-American Roads. Here are a few to help you plan a Scenic Byways Road Trip:

Worth Pondering…

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol

What is Seasonal Camping? Is It for You?

Are you looking for a way to enjoy RVing without the hassles of packing, towing, and setting up? If so, seasonal camping just might be for you.

Do you search for a convenient weekend retreat to spend quality time outdoors? Consider a seasonal getaway or yearly vacation tradition at a campground or RV resort near you. Seasonal camping is a great way to enjoy your favourite destination and activities time and time again.

What is seasonal camping?

A seasonal campsite is just like a regular campsite rather, rented for a long term. As the name suggests a seasonal is generally over the whole camping season which typically runs from the months of April to October in many northern campgrounds. Head south, and you’ll find campgrounds and RV resorts offering seasonal sites on a three-month, six-month, or year-round basis.

Ultimately at any location, seasonal RVers tend to leave their camper right on-site for the extended duration versus routine travel. This gives couples, solo travelers, or camping families an amazing place to retreat to, similar to a second home, getaway cottage, or vacation rental but with their own RV parked on their own piece of paradise.

Some seasonal campers choose a campground close to home while others snag a spot at a favorite destination even if it is a bit of a drive. Your trailer or motorhome will be parked for the season and you can come and go as you please.

Ambassador RV Resort is a popular seasonal park in Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Is seasonal camping for you?

Seasonal camping might appeal to you if:

  • You like to head to the campground at the last minute: If you find yourself deciding to camp on short notice, you may have trouble finding open campsites. Having a seasonal spot means no more making reservations.
  • You dislike the weekend camping hustle: By the time you get off work on Friday, get home, and get hooked up and packed up, you are exhausted when you arrive at the campground. You face the same struggle when you get home on Sunday. Having a seasonal spot means you can load up the essentials and head to the campground with much less hassle.
  • You are paying for off-site storage: If you have a HOA or other reasons for not storing your RV at home, you might find a seasonal campsite that costs only slightly more than paying for storage.
  • You would like to be part of a community: Some campgrounds have a lot of seasonal campers and you may enjoy socializing at the campground (of course, you may discover you don’t like this aspect!).
  • You’d like an affordable vacation home: If you’ve considered getting a vacation home near one of your favorite destinations, a seasonal campsite would give you a similar experience while also allowing the flexibility to take your RV offsite for trips.
Monte Vista RV Resort is a popular seasonal park in Mesa, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why choose seasonal camping? There are many advantages.

  • Camp more often: Seasonal camping allows you to camp more often because you don’t have to worry about searching for and booking a different campsite every time you want an adventure. If your seasonal spot is close to home weekend getaways are even easier.
  • Less stress over packing: With a seasonal campsite your RV and belongings are already set up for you when you arrive after a long workweek. You can spend less time packing and more time enjoying your weekend.
  • Make last minute decisions: If you find yourself deciding to camp on short notice, you may have trouble finding open campsites. Having a seasonal spot means no more making reservations.
  • Meet other campers: You are able to easily meet and make new friends with the other campers at the site. Seasonal camping allows you to be a part of the community at your specific campsite.
  • Save money: This value can vary greatly due to family size, location, and other personal preferences. So, if you plan on camping often, becoming a seasonal camper can save you money.
Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge is a popular seasonal park in Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sounds good? Before you decide seasonal camping is for you, here are some things to consider:

  • Find a place that you love: Consider your favorite campgrounds and decide if you’d be happy to stay there for an entire season.
  • Do your research before committing: Talk to other campers in the park and see if they are having a good experience. If you decide to stay for more than a few days at a time, can you get the supplies you need easily? What is the storage situation? What is the campground’s policy on guests? Are there activities and attractions close by? What about shopping? Location is important!
  • Give it a try first: Rent a spot for a couple of weeks. Leave your RV and see how you like the experience of coming and going. Ask yourself if the drive is too long. Be sure to include a holiday camping weekend to see how much the atmosphere changes.
  • Calculate your costs: Does the cost of a seasonal spot fit your budget? Will it be worth your while in the long run? Understand what is and what is not included (for example, some campgrounds charge extra based on usage for electricity or water on seasonal sites). Find out the exact dates that are included. Some seasonal sites can be rented for the whole year while other parks offer shorter seasons. Find out whether you have to pay the fee upfront or is it there a pay-by-month option. Ask about cancellation fees if you decide the park isn’t for you.
Settlers Point RV Resort is a popular seasonal park in Washington, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tips for finding the perfect seasonal campground

Here are five tips for finding the perfect seasonal campground.

1. Find a place that you love going back to again and again

Lots of campgrounds are just fine for a night or two but how enjoyable is the campground for repeat visits? Think about the location, the amenities, the campsites, and the overall atmosphere as you consider how often you’d like to camp in a particular park.

2. Do your research and ask the right questions

There are a lot of elements to consider when you are looking at a long-term spot. Are other seasonal campers happy with their experience at this park? Will you be surrounded by other seasonal campers or overnighters? Can you get Amazon deliveries? Can you store stuff outside of your RV? Try to think about all of the items that contribute to a great experience and think of things that make the long-term experience different from a short-term stay.

3. Check out the surrounding area

If you are returning to the same campground again and again, chances are you will also be exploring the local area. Does it offer the kinds of activities, restaurants, shops, and amenities you will need and enjoy? As with buying a home, think location, location, location.

4. Do a trial run of weekends

Try out the seasonal camping experience by renting a spot for a couple of weeks. Leave your RV and see how you like the experience of coming and going. You’ll soon figure out how far of a drive works for your situation. Be sure to include a holiday camping weekend to see how much the atmosphere changes.

5. Calculate your costs

Does the cost of a seasonal spot make sense for your budget? Sure, it will cost more but if you get out camping more, the cost could be well worth the experience.  A seasonal sites may cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Make sure you understand what is and what is not included (for example, some campgrounds charge extra based on usage for electricity or water on seasonal sites).

Find out the exact dates that are included. Some seasonal sites can be rented for the whole year, while other parks offer shorter seasons. Ask whether you have to pay the fee upfront, or is it there a pay-by-month option. Also, you may want to check into any cancellation fees if you decide the park isn’t for you.

Worth Pondering…

This is not another place.

It is THE place.

—Charles Bowden