RVing with Rex: Top Articles of 2023

Ready to dig deep and learn everything there is to know about RVing?

As we approach the New Year, RVingwithrex.com would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. To celebrate the past year, here are the most popular articles from 2023.

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite: Here’s the 2023 QZ Show Schedule

The winter season is go time in Quartzsite. With winter temperatures hovering in the 70s, people flock to Quartzsite from colder climates to relish in the warm weather and fascinating shopping. Thousands of vendors gather during these months to showcase items ranging from rocks, gems, and minerals to jewelry, apparel, home decor, and more.

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Dawn Dish Soap © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why and How to Use Dawn Dish Soap in RV Black Tanks?

Keeping up with RV maintenance and cleaning is just part of RV life! One aspect that is necessary but not very glamorous is emptying and cleaning the black and grey water tanks. This can seem like a complex problem but many products and solutions can help make this a lot easier.

One common remedy involves the use of Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks. It is a detergent and grease cutter that will not harm your tanks and is eco-friendly and biodegradable. It is not corrosive and will not damage your plumbing. It has no phosphates so is a green product that is considered environmentally friendly.

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A filming location in Fort Langley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exploring the Filming Locations of When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart is a popular television series set in the early 20th century Canadian West. The show follows the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a young teacher from a wealthy Eastern family who moves to Coal Valley (now known as Hope Valley) to start her new life.

As viewers follow Elizabeth on her journey, they are also taken on a virtual tour of some of the most beautiful and historic locations found in Canada. From breathtaking mountain views to quaint town squares, the series’s filming locations provide an unforgettable backdrop for the show.

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March 2023 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 18 Recalls Involving 16 RV Manufactures

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced 18 recall notices during March 2023. These recalls involved 16 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (2 recalls), Thor Motor Coach (2 recalls), Jayco (1 recall), Tiffin (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), Roadtrek (1 recall), Airstream (1 recall), Grand Design (1 recall), Par Nado (1 recall), Newmar (1 recall), Newell (1 recall), Eveland’s (1 recall), Kibbi (1 recall), REV (1 recall), Alliance RV (1 recall), and Keystone (1 recall).

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White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Ultimate RV Travel Bucket List: 51 Best Places to Visit in North America

Are you looking for travel bucket list ideas for your next RV trip? Running out of ideas or looking for fresh ones? From epic classics to exciting newcomers, we have selected the 51 most amazing places to visit or things to do in the U.S. and Canada. Of course, there are many more than 51 places worth visiting.

It’s time to pack the RV and discover beautiful and awe-inspiring places across North America. Following are many of our favorite destinations in the US and Canada to satisfy your wanderlust.

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Boondocking at Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite: Here’s the 2024 QZ Show Schedule

Every January something happens that is hard to believe—unless you have seen it.

According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people mostly in RVs converge on this sleepy little desert town located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10 for the rock, gem, and mineral shows plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. This phenomenon started over 40 years ago and is now billed as The Largest Gathering of RVers in the World.

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A superbloom © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2023 Wildflower Season is coming soon. Will it be a Superbloom?

Spring is on the way, bringing one of Arizona’s best features: Wildflowers.

As far as wildflowers are concerned, a lot of things have gone right so far this winter in Arizona. Widespread rains came early and often. The moisture has been well-spaced so there were no extended dry periods. Temperatures have stayed moderate. All those factors matter for how many and what types of flowers are likely to bloom.

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Historic Route 66 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11 Must Watch Films Shot on Route 66

No American road is as iconic as Route 66. Starting in Chicago, Illinois, and snaking cross-country to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 originally consisted of 2,418 miles of highway rich with neon-lit motels, quirky roadside attractions, and stretches of deserted landscape.

With such a wealth of inspiration, it’s no surprise that so many filmmakers have used Route 66 as a backdrop for their films. One of the pivotal scenes in the 1988 film Rain Man takes place at Route 66’s Big 8 Motel in El Reno, Oklahoma. Rain Man went on to win numerous accolades and prizes including four Academy Awards. While not every movie filmed on Route 66 goes home with an Oscar, there are many that are worth a watch.

So pop some corn, get yourself comfy, and binge watch these eleven must-see movies on my list.

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December 2022 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 14 Recalls Involving 9 RV Manufactures

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

NHTSA announced 14 recall notices during December 2022. These recalls involved 9 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Winnebago (3 recalls), Jayco (2 recalls), Airstream (2 recalls), Forest River (1 recall), Entegra (1 recall), Newmar (1 recall), Aluminum Trailer Company (1 recall), Holiday House (1 recall), Chinook (1 recall), and Old School Trailers (1 recall).

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Hoover Dam © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Absolutely Best Road Trips from Las Vegas

So your idea of fun isn’t drinking yard-long margaritas inside a mind-bending, alternate universe? I get it. One of the benefits of enjoying a city in the middle of a vast wilderness is, in fact, that wilderness. When you’re in Las Vegas, you’re not limited to casinos on the Strip. Some of the grandest scenery is just a short drive away. Whether you head to the Valley of Fire, the famous Hoover Dam, or Death Valley, we’ve got where to go and what to do in each. These are the very best day trips from Las Vegas.

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Love’s RV Hookups: Comfortable RV Stays at Truck Stops?

In May of 2021, Love’s Travel Stops introduced Love’s RV Hookups. But what exactly does this mean and what are the pros and cons of using them?

In this post, I’ll sort through the details and give you the scoop from my perspective as well as those of other RVers.

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Worth Pondering…

I close my eyes to old ends. And open my heart to new beginnings.

—Nick Frederickson

15 Bucket List National Historic Landmarks in America (Must-See + Photos)

From sea to shining sea, these are America’s best historic landmarks

What are some bucket list national historic landmarks that you want to see during your lifetime?

I will give you my list of the 15 National Historic Landmarks you’ll want to see in your lifetime. Maybe you’ve already been to a few of these incredible sites. There’s no reason why you can’t go back, however. Or you might want to see some of the ones you haven’t been to yet.

This list includes American landmarks which are managed by the National Park Service as well as others which are not.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

El Tovar © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. El Tovar

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: May 28, 1987

Location: South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Coconino County, Arizona

Description: This celebrated historic hotel located directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon first opened its doors in 1905. El Tovar was one of a chain of hotels and restaurants owned and operated by the Fred Harvey Company in conjunction with the Santa Fe Railway. The hotel was built from local limestone and Oregon pine. It cost $250,000 to build and many considered it the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi River.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Grand Canyon National Park

USS Drum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. USS Drum 

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: January 14, 1986

Location: Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama

Description: The submarine USS Drum (SS-228), a World War II veteran with 12 Battle Stars is credited with sinking 15 ships, a total of 80,580 tons of enemy shipping, the eighth highest of all U.S. submarines in total Japanese tonnage sunk. USS Drum is the oldest American submarine on display in the world.

Read more: Lucky A: USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Woodford Reserve Distillery © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Labrot & Graham’s Old Oscar Pepper Distillery

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: May 16, 2000

Location: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky

Description: Woodford Reserve Distillery is an award-winning distillery that produces a range of whiskeys including limited-edition releases like the Kentucky-only Distillery Series. Established by Elijah Pepper in 1812 the distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Kentucky and is listed as a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. Formerly known as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery and later the Labrot & Graham Distillery, the distillery produces several whiskeys including Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Massachusetts State House © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Massachusetts Statehouse

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: December 19, 1960

Location: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Description: Designed by Charles Bulfinch, the new and current State House has served as the seat of the Massachusetts government since its opening in 1798. Holding the legislative and executive branches, it sits adjacent to the former site of the historic Hancock mansion. 

Read more: Walk the Freedom Trail and Experience over 250 years of History

Santa Fe Plaza © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Santa Fe Plaza

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: December 19, 1960

Location: Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, New Mexico

Description: The Santa Fe Plaza, part of the Santa Fe Historic District is the heart of Santa Fe. It has been the social, political, commercial, and public center of Santa Fe since it was established in 1610 by Don Pedro de Peralta.

Today the Santa Fe Plaza is popular for tourists who are interested in Spanish, Native American, and Mexican cultures. Throughout the Plaza, one can find native jewelry, art, designs, music, and dances. Many annual events are held at the Santa Fe Plaza including Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Spanish Market, the Santa Fe Bandstand, and the Santa Fe Indian Market.

Read more: Santa Fe Never Goes Out of Style

The Breakers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. The Breakers

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: October 12, 1994

Location: Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island

Description: The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue along the Atlantic Ocean. The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer cottages and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in the turn of the century America. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century.

Read more: Newport Cliff Walk: Ocean Views, Mansions and more

Middleton Place © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Middleton Place

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: November 11, 1971

Location: Dorchester County, South Carolina

Description: Middleton Place is a 65-acre, 18th-centuryth -century rice plantation. The plantation is the birthplace of Arthur Middleton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The plantation is now a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens. The Middleton Place House Museum was built in 1755 as the gentlemen’s guest quarters and is the only structure still standing of the original three-building residential complex.

Fort Davis © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Fort Davis

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: December 19, 1960

Location: Jeff Davis County, Texas

Description: Set in the rugged beauty of the Davis Mountains of West Texas, Fort Davis is the best surviving example of an Indian Wars frontier military post and one of the best preserved Buffalo Soldier forts in the Southwest. Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail, and to control activities on the southern stem of the Great Comanche and Mescalero Apache war trails.

Fort Davis is important in understanding the presence of African Americans in the West and the frontier military; the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, all-black regiments established after the Civil War, were stationed at the post. When not chasing renegade bands of Apache or bandits, the soldiers helped build roads and telegraph lines.

Read more: Fort Davis National Historic Site: Frontier Military Post

Skyline Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Skyline Drive

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: October 6, 2008

Location: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Description: The historic 105-mile Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway, traverses Shenandoah National Park, a beautiful, historic national treasure. The mountain-top highway winds its way north-south through Shenandoah’s nearly 200,000 acres along the spine of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. 75 scenic overlooks offer stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east. While you are gazing out at the views, keep a close eye on the road too, as deer, black bear, wild turkey, and a host of other woodland animals call Shenandoah home and regularly cross Skyline Drive in their daily travels.

Read more: Ride the Sky along Skyline Drive

Painted Desert Inn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Painted Desert Inn

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: May 28, 1987

Location: Navajo County, Arizona

Description: In its almost 100 years overlooking the Painted Desert, the inn has undergone many changes. The original building from the early 1920s was made of petrified wood. Today’s adobe facade dates to the 1930s renovation of the Painted Desert Inn.

The national historic landmark functions only as a museum now, with no overnight accommodation and food service. Interior displays highlight the building’s history, Route 66, and Civilian Conservation Corps. There are also restored murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Petrified Forest National Park

Union Oyster House © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Union Oyster House

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: May 5, 2003

Location: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Description: The Union Oyster House located on the Freedom Trail enjoys the unique distinction of being America’s oldest restaurant. This Boston fixture, housed in a building dating back to Pre-Revolutionary days started serving food in 1826 and has continued ever since with the stalls and oyster bar, where Daniel Webster was a constant customer, in their original positions.

Read more: Walk the Freedom Trail and Experience over 250 years of History

Roma Bluffs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Roma Historic District

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: November 4, 1993

Location: Roma, Starr County, Texas

Description: Over two centuries of Texas borderland heritage surrounds the plaza in the historic river town of Roma. The plaza’s surviving structures as well as surrounding buildings trace Roma’s heritage back to its Spanish Colonial roots, providing a visual reminder of the beautiful border architecture once thriving throughout the region. 

Mission San Xavier del Bac © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. San Xavier del Bac Mission

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: October 9, 1960

Location: Pima County, Arizona

Description: Mission San Xavier del Bac is a place both historical and sacred that no visitor to Southern Arizona should miss. San Xavier is one of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the U.S. The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings.

The mission’s white walls and soaring bell tower can be seen for miles around and the site attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year. Plan to spend an hour or two walking the grounds of the mission and exploring the interior. I was awed by the glowing white walls against the deep blue sky—all set off by rugged desert terrain.

Read more: Mission San Xavier del Bac: White Dove of the Desert

Fort Ticonderoga © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Fort Ticonderoga

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: October 9, 1960

Location: Essex County, New York

Description: Fort Ticonderoga, formerly Fort Carillon is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Champlain in northern New York. It was constructed between October 1755 and 1757 during the action in the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War often referred to in the US as the French and Indian War.

The fort was of strategic importance during the 18th-century colonial conflicts between Great Britain and France and again played an important role during the Revolutionary War. The name Ticonderoga comes from the Iroquois word tekontaró:ken meaning “it is at the junction of two waterways”.

Mesilla © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

15. Mesilla Plaza

Date recognized as a National Historic Landmark: July 4, 1961

Location: La Mesilla, Dona Ana County, New Mexico

Description: Mesilla did not become part of the United States until the mid-1850s but its history begins with the end of the Mexican-American War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe. Soon after, the sleepy border town would become one of the most important towns in the West, playing a key role in Western expansion. By the mid-1800s, Mesilla’s population had reached 3,000 making it the largest town and trade center between San Antonio and San Diego and an important stop for both the Butterfield Stage Line and the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Lines.

Read more: La Mesilla: Where History and Culture Become an Experience

Worth Pondering…

The past itself as historical change continues to accelerate has become the most surreal of subjects—making it possible to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.

—Susan Sontag

Summer 2022: 18 Best Things to Do in America

From exploring a hippie paradise to a taste bud tour, RVing with Rex reveals unique and unusual picks for the 18 best things to do in the US this summer. Your US bucket list just got (a lot) longer …

We could all use a break this summer. The last two summer travel seasons have been especially challenging for everyone—travelers, destinations, and small businesses alike. But 2022’s summer could be the biggest one yet for travel within the US and I’m here to help you experience the absolute best of it.

Along Route 66 in Oatman © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The best things to do this summer include many hidden gems and unique experiences. You’ll find plenty of tried-and-true staples too. But, as is my style at RVing with Rex, I tend to embrace under-the-radar spots as well as famous attractions. You’ll likely find things to do that you didn’t even know existed!

Believing the most authentic recommendations derive from personal experiences, the list highlights the places I’ve discovered and explored on one or more occasions. But, no matter where you plan to travel you’re bound to find something unique and fun to do this summer!

Historic Route 66 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Hit All the Roadside Attractions on Arizona Route 66

Location: Oatman to Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Originally running from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 is easily one of the most recognizable and iconic highways in the world. It has endless cultural references and was a popular way for travelers to get from east to west and back for decades. The route has mostly been taken over by the I-40 but the stretch of Route 66 in Arizona is especially exciting and alluring. Dotted with ghost towns, Route 66 iconography, local diners, and one-of-a-kind shops, you’ll be delighted every inch of the way.

Sedona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Admire Breathtaking Red Rock in Sedona

Location: Sedona, Arizona

Due to its distinctive culture, Sedona is truly a place unlike any other. Visitors can navigate remote canyons, rejuvenate at an energy vortex site, and experience the ancient culture of the Sinagua people. Throughout the red rock are multitudes of secluded viewpoints, cliff dwellings, and well-preserved petroglyphs. In downtown Sedona, you’ll find a vibrant art community dense with unique shops and galleries. Hikers and adventurous types will enjoy the various trails in Red Rock State Park and the renowned Pink Jeep off-road adventure tours.

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Hit All Five of Utah’s National Parks

Location: Utah

Plan a road trip to visit “The Mighty 5,” an unforgettable journey through Utah’s colorful Canyon Country. Utah is home to five remarkable National Parks—Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. To see all of them on a road trip, start from Zion if you’re coming from the west or Arches if you’re coming from the east. On this beautiful drive, you’ll pass alien-like rock formations, sheer cliffs, and graceful arches. Note that in the summer, afternoon temperatures can be extremely hot.

Woodstock © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Explore the Hippie Paradise of Woodstock

Location: Woodstock, New York

Located near the Catskill Mountains, this charming town lives up to its iconic namesake. People from all over the world recognize the name “Woodstock” yet most of them associate it with the crazy, free-spirited music festival. Fun fact: the festival wasn’t actually held in Woodstock but rather more than an hour away in Bethel. Though the name is famous, few people are familiar with the actual small town that boasts loads of personality. Somehow, it’s the perfect place to do a million activities or absolutely nothing.

Carlsbad Caverns © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Plunge into the Depths of the Earth at Carlsbad Caverns

Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico

Descend nearly 800 feet below ground into a series of completely dark, breathtaking caves.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is hidden within the remote parts of southeastern New Mexico. More than just a cave, Carlsbad Caverns is a completely immersive experience. Beginning with a several-mile descent from the cave opening, travelers will emerge into massive caverns full of magnificent rock formations, stalactites, stalagmites, and more. The paved decline is steep but accessible for most people. There is also an elevator available to transport visitors as needed.

Chihuly glass © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Observe Stunning Artwork at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Location: Seattle, Washington

At Chihuly Garden and Glass, vibrant colors and organic shapes come together in spectacular visual exhibits. The long-term exhibition features a Garden, theater, eight galleries, and the breathtaking Glasshouse. The impressive glass art was fashioned by the institution’s namesake, Dale Chihuly, a prolific and talented artist.

The Breakers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Explore Historic Mansions along the Newport Cliff Walk

Location: Newport, Rhode Island

Come for the jaw-dropping mansions and stay for the scenic walking tour along the Rhode Island shoreline. Newport is best known for its sailing regattas and historic manors that run along the seaside Cliff Walk. The walk is a National Recreation Trail that spans 3.5 miles with multiple scenic overlooks along the way. Take a tour of The Breakers mansion along the walk and learn how New York’s elite families used to spend their summers. If you watched HBO’s The Gilded Age, then you’re probably planning your trip to visit the historic summer “cottages” already. 

Mississippi Gulf Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Experience Southern Coastal Charm in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Location: Ocean Springs, Mississippi

This quaint, coastal town along the Gulf Coast is the perfect small-town beach getaway. The Mississippi Gulf Coast advertises itself as “The Secret Coast,” and Ocean Springs is a treasure. The quiet town has white sand beaches, a vibrant art scene, and a beautiful downtown area with restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Every fall, Ocean Springs hosts the famed Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival but during the rest of the year, visitors can get a taste of the art scene at multiple galleries and museums in the area. If you’re looking for a summer 2022 beach getaway with a side of history and culture, then Ocean Springs is for you.

Charleston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Wander Cobblestone Streets and Shoreline in Charleston

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

It’s easy to be transported back in time while exploring Charleston, the oldest city in South Carolina. Bordering the cobblestone streets are enormous trees and centuries-old Colonial and Victorian homes. Horse-drawn carriages clop through the moss-draped historic district. You can wade in Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park or through waves on Folly Beach. Over on Wadmalaw Island, Deep Water Vineyards offers six tasting pours and a souvenir glass for just $15. Even better, the top attraction in Charleston is the ambiance, free of charge.  

Mesa Verde National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Travel Back in Time at Mesa Verde National Park

Location: Cortez, Colorado

Marvel at the Mesa Verde National Park cliff dwellings that were once occupied by the Ancestral Pueblo people. Located in southwestern Colorado, this UNESCO World Heritage Site will transport you back in time almost a thousand years. Many archeological sites can be explored independently but Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America, requires a guided tour. Purchasing a ticket is worth it, but be aware that Cliff Palace won’t open to the public until July 1st due to road construction. 

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Experience the Magic of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Location: Virginia and North Carolina

There’s something about being on the Blue Ridge Parkway that instills a sense of calm and puts everything into perspective. The parkway, which is nearly 500 miles long, runs through the Appalachian Mountains and valleys of Virginia and North Carolina. The parkway is perfect for families and outdoor enthusiasts since it’s filled with endless trails, camping, and waterfalls. Drive through the winding roads and see for yourself why these rolling hills and lush greenery make the Blue Ridge Parkway “America’s Favorite Drive.”

Mount St. Helens © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Explore an Active Volcano at Mount Saint Helens

Location: Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington

If you want to explore an active volcano, go to Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument. There are several visitor centers in the area for people who want a deep dive into the mountain’s fascinating geological history. They help tell the story of the eruption in the ’80s that gave Mount St Helens its distinctive crater-shaped top. 

Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. Climb a Mountain 

Location: Mount Lemmon, Catalina Highway/Sky Island Scenic Byway

Mount Lemmon, an oasis in the middle of the desert, is 20 degrees cooler than Tucson on average. Driving up the mountain, the plants slowly change from cactus and shrubs to oak and ponderosa pines. The area offers hiking, camping, and fishing. While you are up there, consider stopping by the Mount Lemmon Cookie Cabin for cookies, pizza, chili, and sandwiches. While you’re at 9,000 feet, check out the Arizona stars at the Mount Lemmon Skycenter.

Guadalupe River State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Tube down the Guadalupe River

Location: Guadalupe River State Park, Texas Hill Country

Tubing down the Guadalupe River is about as Texan as it gets, and this state park welcomes you with four miles of river frontage. Just one hour from San Antonio and two hours from Austin, Guadalupe River State Park is also one of the more popular camping destinations in the state, particularly during the summertime when swimming in its cool waters is extra appealing for families and kids. When you’re not tubing, paddling, or taking a dip, embark on its hiking and biking trails. 

San Antonio River Walk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

15. Escape to San Antonio’s Riverwalk

Location: San Antonio, Texas

A century ago it started as a flood management project, but today San Antonio’s Riverwalk is a flourishing urban waterway and one of the most cherished attractions in Texas. Visitors can drift underneath cypress trees by hopping on board one of the iconic riverboat tours that ply the nearly 15 miles of waterway. The banks of the river come alive all day (and all night) with musical performers, endless shops and boutiques, and numerous dining options. Plan your visit during the week of July 4th to experience the Bud Light Stars, Stripes, & Light exhibition when one thousand American flags will line the banks of the river. 

Madera Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

16. Feel the breeze at Madera Canyon

Location: Madera Canyon, Arizona

With an average high of 102, June 29 has historically been Tucson’s most often hottest day of the year. So says Weatherspark.com. From June through August, Madera Canyon’s average summer high in the low ’90s may still seem warmish but a typical light breeze and the shade from its dozen or so unique Oak species make it nice enough to bust out the cooler and camp chairs and head down I-19.  The coolest low-key adventure there is the Madera Canyon Nature Trail; it’s 5.8 miles out and back with a 921-foot elevation gain, easy for hikers. Take your binoculars because Madera Canyon is rated the third-best birding destination in the US.

Blue Bell ice cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. Take a Taste Bud Tour at Blue Bell Creameries

Location: Brenham, Texas and Sylacauga, Alabama

Learn what all fuss is about at one of the most iconic creameries in America. Can’t decide which flavor is for you? Try them all because, hey, it’s only $1 a scoop! Since 1907, Blue Bell Ice Cream has won a special place in the heart of Texans. Many would say it’s the best ice cream in the US. For anyone caring to dispute that claim, you can’t know until you try it for yourself and there is no better place to do that than straight at the source. See how the scrumptious stuff is made and learn about the history of the iconic brand before treating yourself to a sample at Blue Bell’s ice cream parlor. At just $1 a scoop, it’s one of the best things to do in the US to beat the heat this summer! 

Patagonia State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

18. Refresh and Relax at Patagonia Lake

Location: Patagonia Lake State Park, 400 Patagonia Lake Road, Nogales

Whether it’s an ocean, river, or lake, water is the break everyone needs from the hot Arizona sun. Patagonia Lake State Park is an escape offering shade, water, boating activities, camping, picnic tables, and grills for summer barbecuing. The park has fully equipped cabin reservations available but these sell out fast. If you’re late to the reservation game, check out their boat-in campsites or pick from 105 of their developed campsites.

Worth Pondering…

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

—John Burroughs

Say Goodbye to 2021—forever—with these Travel Ideas

End the year on at least one high note

Another strange year is coming to an end, but by now, hey, strange is normal. Nothing left to do but make the best of it. And despite 2021’s best efforts, December still means twinkling lights, powdery precipitation, and magic of all kinds.

Natural Bridges National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We’ve got national parks to explore, winter road trips, a UFO site, amazing destinations, and new wine destinations for when the festivities get too much. ‘Tis the season for it!

Keep in mind that winter driving requires its own set of precautions: the more majestic the conditions, often the more dangerous the road especially when navigating unfamiliar routes. Stock your ride with a basic winter survival kit containing a flashlight, batteries, blankets, snacks, water, gloves, boots, and a first-aid kit. (Tire chains, an ice scraper, jumper cables, and road flares couldn’t hurt either.)

Related: End 2020 on a High Note with these Travel Ideas

Zion National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Explore a new national park

Just like road-tripping takes on a different sheen in the winter, so too do national parks. Some, like Zion, are more breathable without the crowds. Some, like Death Valley—aka the hottest place on Earth—shine brightest in these cooler temperatures. Everglades not only has thinned-out crowds and pleasant air temps hovering in the 70s but also fewer bugs and lower water levels which make for better bird and reptile viewing.

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Few national parks boast the mythical and mystical quality of Joshua Tree. Massive boulder piles, bleached sand dunes, and Dr. Seussian yucca forests spread across hundreds of square miles of the desert are an otherworldly sight to behold.

Bryce Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And then there are the parks that lean into the frostiness of the season. Mount Rainier in Washington sees upwards of 50 feet of snowfall per year, perfect for winter sports and backcountry snowshoeing and camping. The hoodoos of Utah’s Bryce Canyon become otherworldly when dusted in snow.

Lassen Volcanic National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In Lassen Volcanic the snowpack often lasts more than half the year and recreation opportunities include sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing/snowboarding, and joining a ranger-led snowshoe walk. Denali, in Alaska, is a top-tier destination for the northern lights as is Glacier National Park in Montana. Can you feel it? Winter magic is coming.

Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trails to discovery

The arrival of winter means a reduction of tourists (and traffic) in many popular destinations, so it can be the ideal season to explore America’s open roads. Plus, driving through a sparkly white winter wonderland is the perfect activity to set the mood for the season.

Related: 6 Road Trips for the Holiday Season

Parke County covered bridge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With 31 historic covered bridges, Indiana’s Parke County is known as The Covered Bridge Capital of the World. The vibrant red bridges—many built in the 1800s and still in use—cross rivers and streams contrasting gorgeously with snow-blanketed meadows. 

Skyline Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Blue Ridge Mountains are arguably the prettiest peaks in the eastern United States and Skyline Drive carries travelers right along their crest offering panoramic views over the frosty valleys below. It’s the only public road through Shenandoah National Park but parts of Skyline Drive may close during inclement weather conditions.

Along Alabama Coastal Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Alabama Coastal Scenic Byway connects the people and places in coastal Mobile and Baldwin counties and showcases the rich culture and flavor of Alabama’s Gulf Coast region. You’ll discover beautiful beaches, authentic downtowns, wildlife preserves, historic sites, and the freshest seafood in the state.

UFO Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The truth is out there

Perhaps the most notable UFO crash in American history went down on the night of June 14, 1947. A farmer named Mac Brazel was driving around about 80 miles outside Roswell when he came across a flaming heap of rubber, foil, and sticks. He contacted local authorities who contacted the military who came to the site and publicly declared that a flying saucer had landed in Roswell.

UFO Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The country was whipped up into a frenzy and soon after, the government changed its tune and redesignated the UFO a “weather balloon.”

Related: Road Trips That Will Reinvigorate Your Soul After a Very (Very) Long Year

UFO Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Though Roswell may not have truly been the land of first contact, the town has since leaned into notoriety and become the greatest alien-themed town on the planet. It’s home to the International UFO Museum and Research Center and has a McDonald’s shaped like a UFO. The city hosts an annual UFO Festival that’s become a pilgrimage for self-proclaimed “UFOlogists.” Whether you believe in aliens or not, Roswell is an utterly fantastic, highly kitsch slice of Americana.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bucket list destinations

There are plenty of amazing destinations in our own backyard. To help whet your appetite I’ve rounded up just a few to get you started.

The distinctive Spanish Moss-draped trees, antebellum homes, and horse-drawn carriages help to give a relaxed and comfortable feel. Much of Savannah‘s charm lies in meandering through the Historic District’s lovely shaded squares draped in feathery Spanish moss—all 22 of them.

Sedona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you delight in gazing at towering red rocks or driving through rugged canyons, then go to Sedona. If you admire exquisite art or are captivated by amazing architecture, then go to Sedona. Of all the places to visit in the Southwest, Sedona may be the most beautiful.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monument Valley is one of the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. Eons of wind and rain carved the red-sandstone monoliths into fascinating formations, many of which jut hundreds of feet above the desert floor.

Tabasco Factory © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Avery Island is the home of Louisiana’s iconic hot sauce: Tabasco. See how it’s made during a factory tour, pick up a few souvenirs at the Tabasco Country Store, and tour the island’s Jungle Gardens.

Amador Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Toast to the season in wine country

Do you know what’s also great around the holidays? Wine! But there’s no need to hit Napa or Sonoma Valley in California to taste the sweet nectar of Bacchus; there are actually 250+ American Viticultural Areas in the US—some probably near you—where you can revel in adult grape juice.

Related: The Ultimate RV Travel Bucket List: 51 Best Places to Visit in North America

Amador Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the Sierra foothills, Amador County was once identified almost exclusively with zinfandel. During the past 20 years, vintners have begun producing a diverse array of varieties especially those of Italian and southern French origin. While zinfandel, with over 2,000 acres, remains Amador’s signature variety, the region’s wineries also produce superb examples of Barbera, Sangiovese, sauvignon blanc, and syrah; limited bottlings of pinot grigio, Verdelho, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Aglianico and tempranillo; lovely rosés made from a wide variety of grapes; exceptional dessert wines made from muscat grapes; and port-style wines made from zinfandel and traditional Portuguese varieties.

Tasting room in Old Town Cottonwood © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When it comes to wine country, Arizona doesn’t usually come to mind. But the Verde Valley near Sedona offers the dry climate and access to water that grapes need to thrive. If you’re a lover of vino, consider taking a day to follow the Verde Valley Wine Trail; this self-guided tour takes you to several of the area’s most popular wineries including Alcantara Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards, and Javelina Leap Vineyard as well as numerous tasting rooms of Cottonwood.

Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And north of the border in British Columbia is one of North America’s most overlooked wine regions: the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan is home to nearly 200 wineries and more than 8,600 planted acres. The valley runs north/south for 150 miles following a chain of lakes bordered by low hills and stepped benches. The last ice age glaciers deposited a mix of gravel, silt, and sand; subsequent erosion has created large alluvial fans on which crops are grown.

Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And if you’re the RV sort, the boozy world is your oyster, as there are quite a few wineries, breweries, and distilleries that will let you camp out on their property and partake of their product (no drinking and driving here!).

Stay safe out there and don’t forget to check the air pressure in your RV tires. It’s so important.

Worth Pondering…

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

—Norman Vincent Peale

RV Travel Bucket List: 20 Places to Visit Before You Die

If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you create one

While we’re often daydreaming of beaches in the Maldives and vineyards in Tuscany, there are plenty of amazing destinations in our own backyard. To help you with your bucket list, I’ve rounded up 20 places you have to visit in the United States before you die—in no particular order.

Mission San Jose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Antonio Missions, Texas

Sure, you probably know about The Alamo in San Antonio, but it’s actually one of five Spanish missions found across the city that was established to spread Christianity and act as a refuge for Native Americans. The oldest is Mission Espada which was built in 1690, original frescoes are still visible inside Mission Concepcion, and the largest is Mission San José.

Canyon de Chelly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona

A comparatively little-known canyon, Canyon de Chelly has sandstone walls rising up to 1,000 feet, scenic overlooks, well-preserved Anasazi ruins, and an insight into the present-day life of the Navajo who still inhabit and cultivate the valley floor.

Great Smoky Mountains © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina

Both a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in America. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and water tubing. Fall also offers striking foliage.

Santa Fe © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a charming town with a strong Native American influence. Pueblo-style architecture, a central plaza, and Loretto Chapel give the city a unique feel. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and restaurants serving New Mexican cuisine are additional highlights.

Related: Why NOW is the Best Time to Plan Your Travel Bucket List

Boston Freedom Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boston Freedom Trail, Massachusetts

Boston played a major part in America’s independence and the city’s Freedom Trail passes through 16 historically significant locations. The two-and-a-half-mile trail takes visitors to Boston Common (America’s oldest public park), Paul Revere’s House, and the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned ship).

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite, Arizona

Travel through this dusty outpost between April and November and you might wonder why this wide spot along Interstate 10 is such a popular snowbird destination for RVers. But visit in January and you’ll quickly see why: it morphs into a non-stop social event for RVing snowbirds.

Avery Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Avery Island, Louisiana

Avery Island is the home of Louisiana’s iconic hot sauce: Tabasco. See how it’s made during a factory tour, pick up a few souvenirs at the Tabasco Country Store, and tour the island’s Jungle Gardens.

Joshua Tree © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park is a dreamy destination known for its distinctive-looking and namesake trees, big boulders that are ideal for rock climbing, and stellar stargazing opportunities. Visitors can drive through, hike around and camp, or horseback ride through the varied desert landscape.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Savannah, Georgia

The distinctive Spanish Moss-draped trees, antebellum homes, and horse-drawn carriages help to give a relaxed and comfortable feel. Much of Savannah’s charm lies in meandering through the Historic District’s lovely shaded squares draped in feathery Spanish moss—all 22 of them.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah

Monument Valley is one of the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. Eons of wind and rain carved the red-sandstone monoliths into fascinating formations, many of which jut hundreds of feet above the desert floor.

Related: Bucket List Trip for Your Lifetime: America’s Ultimate National Park Road Trip

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

If you doubt the Appalachians can hold their own with any other mountain range on the continent, travel this 469-mile stretch of road from Rockfish Gap, Virginia, to Swain County in North Carolina.

Mount Rushmore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

This famous landmark depicts four American presidents carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The sculpture features the 60-foot heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Bryce Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon is best known for its concentration of hoodoos. The park was recently designated an International Dark Sky Park due to the great nighttime visibility and many astronomy-related programs on offer.

Charleston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Charleston, South Carolina

The 1670-founded Charleston offers Southern charm with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and historic mansions in its well-preserved Historic District. Boutique shops and traditional Southern comfort food appeal to visitors.

Sedona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sedona, Arizona

If you delight in gazing at towering red rocks or driving through rugged canyons, then go to Sedona. If you admire exquisite art or are captivated by amazing architecture, then go to Sedona. Of all the places to visit in the Southwest, Sedona may be the most beautiful.

Related: The Ultimate RV Travel Bucket List: 51 Best Places to Visit in North America

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arches National Park, Utah

Just outside Moab is Arches National Park, famous for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. The most-photographed is the 52-foot-tall, freestanding Delicate Arch, plus the park has many other striking geological formations.

Okefenokke © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia

The Okefenokee offers so much, one could spend a lifetime and still not see and do everything. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife.

Tombstone © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone invites visitors to walk in the footsteps of the West’s most famous outlaws and good guys, the Clantons and the Earps. During its 1880s heyday, Tombstone, the “Town Too Tough to Die,” boasted 10,000 gunslingers, gamblers, prospectors, and prostitutes.

Newport © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newport, Rhode Island

Nowhere in New England compares to the Gilded-Age splendor of Newport, a coastal town set upon cliffs dotted with some of the most spectacular mansions of the 19th century.

Related: 20 Charming Towns for Your Bucket List

Lassen Volcanic National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Lassen National Park is one of few locations on Earth where you can see all four types of volcanoes—plug dome, shield, cinder, and cone. While Lassen Peak is the most famous, as well as the dominant feature in the park, there are numerous other—literally—hotspots to explore including mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and hot springs.

Worth Pondering…

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

—Goethe

The Ultimate RV Travel Bucket List: 51 Best Places to Visit in North America

Your road map to hidden gems, cherished natural wonders, and iconic monuments across North America

Are you looking for travel bucket list ideas for your next RV trip? Running out of ideas or looking for fresh ones? From epic classics to exciting newcomers, we have selected the 51 most amazing places to visit or things to do in the U.S. and Canada. Of course, there are many more than 51 places worth visiting.

We have traveled by RV in 47 states and four Canadian provinces but barely made a dent (and our list continues to grow longer and longer).

It’s time to pack the RV and discover beautiful and awe-inspiring places across North America. Following are many of our favorite destinations in the US and Canada to satisfy your wanderlust.

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Badlands National Park: South Dakota

With ochre-tinted buttes, graceful spires, and fossil-rich landscapes, Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, entrances visitors with its ethereal vistas.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: North Carolina and Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts outdoorsy types with its sublime mountain scenery and beautiful old-growth forests.

Banff National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Banff National Park: Alberta

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is Canada’s first (and arguably most beautiful) National Park.

Charleston: South Carolina

With its Spanish moss, historic architecture, coastal scenery and graceful antebellum mansions, Charleston oozes Southern charm.

Bryce Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bryce Canyon National Park: Utah

Otherworldly rust-colored hoodoo rock formations are on full display at this popular national park.

Blue Ridge Parkway: North Carolina and Virginia

The nearly 500 miles of blacktop twisting through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks was built for travelers seeking Appalachian overlooks.

Sedona: Arizona

Sedona attracts nature lovers with its desert landscapes, surreal red rocks, and enchanting vortexes, places where the earth’s energy is reportedly amplified.

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree National Park: California

With jaw-dropping desert scenery, prickly Joshua trees, and distinct boulder rock formations, Joshua Tree mesmerizes visitors with its eye-catching landscapes.

Zion National Park: Utah

If your perfect bucket-list includes hitting scenic hiking trails, it’s hard to rival the otherworldly landscapes in Utah’s Zion National Park.

Wells Gray © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wells Gray Country: British Columbia

Wells Gray has something to offer every outdoor interest: lush alpine meadows, birding and wildlife viewing, hiking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and 41 breathtaking waterfalls.

Boston Freedom Trail: Massachusetts

Walk this 2.5-mile path (just follow the red-brick line) that passes 16 historical landmarks from Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church to Bunker Hill and Old Ironside.

Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scenic Byway 12: Utah

The red rock majesty of Utah is on triumphant display on Scenic Byway 12 winding between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks.

Green Mountain Byway: Vermont’s Route 100

The billboard-free Route 100 winds through some of Vermont’s most quintessentially Vermonty villages, with all the cider donuts and country stores that go with them.

Dead Horse Point State Park: Utah

Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point is an iconic peninsula of rock sitting on top of incredible vertical sandstone cliffs.

Tombstone: Arizona

Arguably America’s most infamous Old West town, Tombstone, is the perfect place to see what life was like during the days of the Wild West.

Jekyll Island Club © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jekyll Island Club Resort: Georgia

Follow in the footsteps of visitors like J.P. Morgan and the Pulitzer family as you golf, bike, boat, swim, or trot along on a horse-drawn carriage.

Santa Fe: New Mexico

A city that embraces its natural environment, Santa Fe is a city whose beautiful adobe architecture blends with the high desert landscape.

Remember the Alamo: San Antonio, Texas

Home of the famous 1836 battle, the beautiful 300-year-old former Spanish mission turned fortress is the heart of San Antonio and Texas’ most visited historic landmark.

Okefenokee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge: Georgia

Hop aboard a flat-bottomed boat and keep your eyes peeled for alligators, egrets, and hawks during a tour of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument: Arizona

Canyon de Chelly has sandstone walls rising up to 1,000 feet, scenic overlooks, well-preserved Anasazi ruins, and an insight into the present-day life of the Navajo.

Mesa Verde National Park: Colorado

A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in southwestern Colorado.

Red Rock State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Rocks State Park: Sedona, Arizona

Red Rock State Park is a 286-acre nature preserve and environmental education center with stunning scenery.

Monument Valley: Arizona and Utah

The iconic landscape of Monument Valley symbolizes the American West worldwide with its towering buttes and sweeping skies.

My Old Kentucky Home State Park: Kentucky

My Old Kentucky Home State Park honors the home that was the symbol of Stephen Foster’s endearing song, the stately mansion on the Rowan Estate known as Federal Hill.

Mitchell Corn Palace © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mitchell Corn Palace: South Dakota

The World’s Only Corn Palace is a quirky but cool multi-purpose arena in Mitchell.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument: Washington

The eruption of Mount St. Helens caused a huge landslide to sweep through the Toutle River Valley and remove 1,306 feet from the top of the volcano.

Shiner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shiner: Texas

Shiner, Texas is home to 2,069 people, Friday’s Fried Chicken, and—most famously—the Spoetzal Brewery where every drop of Shiner beer is brewed.

Gulf State Park: Alabama

Gulf State Park’s two miles of beaches greet you with plenty of white sand, surging surf, seagulls, and sea shells, but there is more than sand and surf to sink your toes into.

Icefields Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Icefields Parkway: Alberta

The Icefield Parkway is a 144-mile highway winding along the Continental Divide through soaring rocky mountain peaks, icefields, and vast sweeping valleys.

Cherohala Skyway: North Carolina and Tennessee

Travel the Cherohala Skyway and enjoy panoramic vistas as you wind through the Southern Appalachian high country.

Catalina Highway: Arizona

With a nearly 7,000-foot elevation change in a mere 24 miles, the Catalina Highway is a brilliant ascent with countless curves, numerous vistas, and three major switchbacks.

Myakka River State Park: Florida

Seven miles of paved road wind through shady hammocks, along grassy marshes, and the shore of the Upper Myakka Lake. See wildlife up-close on a 45-minute boat tour.

Natural Bridges National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Natural Bridges National Monument: Utah

These three majestic natural bridges were formed by the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook or hit the trails.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: Arizona

Organ Pipe Cactus is the only place in the U.S. where the organ pipe cactus grows wild.

San Antonio Missions: Texas

The San Antonio Missions are a group of five frontier mission complexes situated along a 7.7-mile stretch of the San Antonio River.

Incline Railway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Incline Railway: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Take the incline railway up a 72.7-percent grade on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. It’s like driving up an insanely pretty wall.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: California

See all four types of volcanoes—cinder cone, composite, shield, and plug dome. Plenty of hydro- and geothermal activity is still found in Lassen Volcanic National Park today.

Okanagan © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okanagan Wine Region: British Columbia

Okanagan wine region is possibly the most scenic wine region in North America and a place where RVers and other normal people can afford to taste wine.

Cedar Breaks National Monument: Utah

At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks looks down into a majestic geologic amphitheater, a three-mile long cirque of eroding limestone, shale, and sandstone.

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park: Alberta

A wide green valley, steep sandstone cliffs, strange rock formations called hoodoos, and rock art—all of these things make Writing-on-Stone a special place.

Lake Powell: Utah and Arizona

Spend a week on Lake Powell boating through slot canyons, anchoring on deserted beaches, and camping under the stars.

Creole Nature Trail: Louisiana

Louisiana’s prairies, marshes and shores teem with wildlife, and a drive along the Creole Nature Trail gives visitors a chance to experience nature’s bounty up close.

Grand Canyon National Park: Arizona

“Grand” doesn’t do this canyon justice. Measuring approximately 277 river miles in length, up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep, this massive chasm is a natural wonder.

Jasper National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jasper National Park: Alberta

The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is the wildest of the mountain parks and contains the world famous Columbia Icefields.

Congaree National Park: South Carolina

Congaree National Park showcases the largest tract of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent.

Black Hills: South Dakota

Driving through this corner of South Dakota takes you through some of the most rugged, distinctive, and beautiful land in America.

Blue Bell © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Bell Ice Cream: Brenham, Texas

Stop by for a scoop of ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlor, view how Blue Bell is made, shop in the Country Store, and learn more Blue Bell Creameries in the Visitor Center.

Colonial Williamsburg: Virginia

A living history museum and two art museums offer something for everyone, from hands-on activities to original 18th-century buildings to a folk-art collection.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Awaken your senses and explore the birthplace of Bourbon as you embark on a self-guided journey to discover the story behind Kentucky’s Bourbon Culture.

Ohio Amish Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ohio Amish Country: Holmes County

Ever wish you could turn the clock back to a time when life was simpler and the wheels turned a little more slowly? Now you can.

Arches National Park: Utah
More than 2,000 sandstone arches dot the 47,000-acre landscape of this national park.

Worth Pondering…

“My favorite thing is to go where I have never been,” wrote photographer Diane Arbus, and so it is with us.

20 Travel Bucket List Destinations

What is on your bucket list?

There are many people who have a bucket list. Sometimes it’s in the form of a vision board or a long list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”.

Are you one of them? Do you keep a bucket list with all the places you would like to visit and things you would like to see and do? 

This list may inspire you to make your own bucket list or add to your existing list. Enjoy!

Saguaros in Saguaro National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Celebrate the desert in Arizona in a surprisingly vertical way

Tall, lanky saguaros are the state symbol. Saguaros grow very slowly. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall. When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3,200-4,800 pounds.

There are countless places to bring your RV in southern Arizona where you can get up close and personal with these amazing beasts.

Along the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Discover the majestic beauty of the Canadian Rockies

If you love the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Montana you’ll absolutely have to tour the Canadian Rockies for stunning scenery filled with turquoise glacial waters and craggy mountain peaks. Be sure to visit Glacier National Park (Canadian version), Banff National Park, and Jasper National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Tour two deserts in one at Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park is a diverse area of sand dunes, dry lakes, flat valleys, rugged mountains, granitic monoliths, and oases. The park is home to two deserts: the Colorado and the Mojave.

Madison Square in Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Walk down the cobblestone streets of Savannah

Steeped in history, antebellum beauty, and architectural treasures, Savannah begs to be explored on foot and by trolley. Much of Savannah’s charm lies in meandering through the Historic District’s lovely shaded squares draped in feathery Spanish moss—all 22.

Zion National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Test your hiking limits at the Zion National Park

Zion is filled with impressive canyons, sheer cliffs, and wide expanses of slick rock. This is the type of place where you can take your hiking ability to the limit and beyond.

Carlsbad Caverns © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Find the beauty down under at Carlsbad Caverns

Have you ever visited a cavern? How about the cavern of all caverns? Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is not just a hole in the ground—it’s a mind-blowing hole in the ground. You will spend hours exploring the depths of this cave and come out full of wonder and awe.

Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Eat your way through the BBQ Capital of Texas

A trip to this flavor-packed smoke town should be on any food lover’s bucket list. Dubbed the “BBQ Capital of Texas,” Lockhart is one of the most legendary barbecue destinations in the world. The Big Three of BBQ are Black’s Barbecue (open since 1932), Kreuz Market (est. 1900), and Smitty’s Market (since 1948). You’ll consume a lot of meat so be sure to stop for breaks.

Organ pipe cactus in Organ Pipe National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Celebrates the life and landscape of the Sonoran Desert at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Extreme temperatures, intense sunlight, and little rainfall characterize this Southwest region. Twenty-six species of cactus live here including the giant saguaro and the park’s namesake. This is the only place in the U. S. where the organ pipe cactus grows wild.

Tabasco Factory © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Tour Tabasco and Jungle Gardens

Avery Island is the home of Louisiana’s iconic hot sauce: Tabasco. See how it’s made during a factory tour, pick up a few souvenirs at the Tabasco Country Store, and tour the island’s Jungle Gardens.

The Okefenokee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Discover a swampy wonderland in the Okefenokee

The Okefenokee is an area of swampland in southern Georgia. It is a maze of watercourses, cypress swamps, and swamp grassland. From the little town of Waycross there are boat trips into the swamp.

Appalachian Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Show off your hiking skills on the Appalachian Trail

Enjoy an abundance of wildlife and plants. With 2,180 miles of trail, there are plenty of entry points.

Cumberland Island National Seashore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Run amongst the wild horses on Cumberland Island.

Take the ferry from St. Marys to Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia and enjoy this quiet, charming island that’s protected by the National Park Service.

Wild Turkey Distillery Tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. Experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

If you love traditional Kentucky bourbon aged in charred oak barrels, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is about as close to heaven as you’re going to get. The trail links distilleries including Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Wild Turkey.

Along Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway near Moab © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Moab

Mountain bike, hike, and climb your way around the stunning red rocks and then go to Moab Brewery for a cold one and some tasty pub fare.

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

15. Tour the Blue Ridge Parkway for 469 miles

A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other: a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachians.

Historic Downtown Yuma © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

16. Winter in the sunniest city on Earth

With nearly 330 days of sunshine a year (4,300 sunny hours), Yuma, Arizona holds the world record for most recorded annual sunshine. All that sun comes at a price in the summertime though, because guess what? Yuma is also the hottest city in the nation. But you sure can’t beat that sunshine in the winter. Ask any snowbird who winters here!

Creole Nature Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. Tour the Louisiana Outback

Life is everywhere along the Creole Nature Trail. Birds, mammals, fish, crabs, and alligators make their home in the four wildlife refuges that can be found along the 180 mile-long byways that make up the Trail.

The Big Tree after Hurricane Harvey © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

18. Discover a natural treasure that weathered a calamitous storm

With a height of 44 feet, circumference of 35 feet, and crown spanning roughly 90 feet, the Big Tree, massive coastal live oak has survived Mother Nature’s fiercest storms including Hurricane Harvey (August 25, 2017) for more than 1,000 years.

Mount Lemmon ski run © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

19. Ski above the Saguaros

Skiing in Arizona? Yep, down south. Tucson’s Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains is home to the southernmost ski runs in the U.S.

Bishops Palace in Galveston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

20. Come to the island

Come to the island to stroll the beach or splash in the waves. Or come to the island to go fishing or look for coastal birds. No matter what brings you here, you’ll find a refuge on Galveston Island. Just an hour from Houston, but an island apart!

Be daring enough to do what your heart desires and the memory of these places will forever hold a special place in your heart. Make your own RV bucket list and go where no one has gone before.

Worth Pondering…

I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list!

Bucket List Trip for Your Lifetime: America’s Ultimate National Park Road Trip

Are you looking for a special bucket list destination? An inspiration for an once-in-a-lifetime trip?

This is part of an ongoing series. In the original feature, I posed the question, Why Do You Travel? Many of us, I suggest, travel for the wrong reasons, putting the ‘where’ ahead of the ‘why’. We have a perfect opportunity to change all that with a new travel paradigm.

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In a follow-up article, Why NOW is the Best Time to Plan Your Travel Bucket List, I explain why you should sit down and map out a multi-year travel plan to make sure you get to see and do all the things that are most important to you.

In today’s article, I present a Once in a Lifetime experiences and destinations for you to consider. Obviously everyone’s dream list will be different and whatever it is that you feel you really want or need to do should be at the top of your list.

Canyonlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The sheer number of choices in the National Park Service is so staggering it can be hard to pick where to go and it only gets more confusing when you add notable state and Native American park options. While there are “only” 62 places with the actual title National Park, the inventory of National Park Service sites is well over 400 including National Historic Sites, National Monuments, National Seashores, and National Recreation Areas. Often there is not much practical difference. Standouts such as Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Organ Pipe National Monument, and Cumberland Island National Seashore are not “national parks” but might as well be.

Natural Bridges National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So where to go? I can only speak from experience but having been to many of the most famous and most visited National Parks including the Grand Canyon, Zion, Great Smoky Mountains, and Sequoia as well as more far flung and varied National Parks from South Carolina to Washington State, I can say that to me, no area of the country has as uniquely beautiful and unusual natural wonder as the red rock canyon country of Southern Utah.

Hovenweep National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But it’s not just a matter of what I consider to be the best-looking nature this region also has a concentration of significant sites that is simply unrivalled anyplace else. Spend a week and you scratch the surface, spend two and you still have to make hard choices. In the span of one road trip you can visit five different mind-blowing National Parks, any of which might be the most amazing scenery and ruins you have ever seen plus several other equally impressive National Park Service sites and state parks.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If that’s not enough, world famous Monument Valley, a Navajo Nation Park, sits on the Utah/Arizona border in close proximity to the others.

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where? Having driven across America numerous times and after visiting many very different National Parks Service sites, my personal favorite is Arches whose Delicate Arch is one of the most iconic and oft photographed natural wonders of the world—but Arches so much more. Arches as an absolute can’t miss!

Capitol Reef National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But as amazing as Arches is, it is relatively small by Southwestern National Parks standards while that is certainly not the case for immense Canyonlands located right next door. Both are very easily accessed from Moab, the world’s most famous mountain biking destination and longtime hub of outdoor activities from river rafting to off-road jeep tours and rock climbing. You could spend several weeks and not run out of things to see and do and places to go.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, in the southeastern part of the state. Travel south and you will hit stunning Natural Bridges National Monument with Arches-like geology, Hovenweep National Monument with impressive Puebloan ruins reminiscent of Mesa Verde National Park and Monument Valley across the Arizona border as well as nearby Navajo National Monument with still more impressive cliff dwellings and rock formations.

Zion National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Or head west and visit Capitol Reef National Park, another jaw-dropping example of the region’s “Canyon country” geology before running into Bears Ear and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Bryce Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Continue to the corner of southwestern Utah and you have another huge critical mass of staggering natural beauty in the form of Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks plus Cedar Breaks National Monument, Snow Canyon State Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and Kodachrome Basin State Park. The names kind of give these away.

Cedar Breaks National Monuments © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In this corner of the state, the biggest town is St. George which has a surprising array of standout golf courses, a bit of a hidden gem for golf fans.

Worth Pondering…

Nothing can exceed the wonderful beauty of Zion…

In the nobility and beauty of the sculptures there is no comparison…

There is an eloquence to their forms which stirs the imagination with a singular power and kindles in the mind a glowing response.

—Clarence E. Dutton, geologist, 1880

Get in your RV and Go! Scenic Drives in America

Are you ready to pack up and hit some of the most scenic drives in America? Then get in your RV and go. These highways and byways are high on our bucket lists.

No mode of travel is more American than the road trip. It’s a national rite of passage. Getting tired of sitting at home? Get in your RV and go for a drive. America offers beautiful and breathtaking scenic drives you can take with the family. Some of the roadside attractions may still be closed because of the pandemic but the vistas are ever-present and beautiful as always.

Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are dozens of travel quotes we could use to preface this list, but we’re going to assume that you already know that traveling isn’t always about where you end up―it is just as much about how you get there. With travel restrictions due to COVID-19, there has never been a better time to take a scenic drive just for the experience.

Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dating back to Model T days, folks have been hitting the wide-open road to explore every nook and cranny of the 3,000 miles that lie from sea to shining sea. From mountain roads with hairpin turns to stunning seaside escapes to good ol’ Americana history, here are six epic road trips to travel this summer.

Historic Route 66 between Kingman and Oatman in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Route 66: Illinois to California

During the 1940s and ’50s, the 2,500-mile stretch of road from Chicago to Santa Monica, California was the American road trip. That changed with the development of the interstate system which rerouted large portions of the highway to larger interstates.

Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Even so, tourists from around the globe still follow the famous path (or at least sections of it) past vintage neon signs, retro roadside motels, multiple national parks including the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon, as well as kitschy Americana stops such as Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Arizona and cool art installations such as Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia and North Carolina

Spanning 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, this stunning parkway winds its way through the forested peaks that belong to some of the oldest mountains in America.

Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The area is lush and green through the spring and summer months, but the road is most spectacular in autumn when the rolling landscape is painted with fiery shades of red, yellow, and orange usually at its crest late-October to mid-November.

Route 89 in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Route 89: Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana

Far less famous than Route 66 but just as gorgeous, Route 89 is sometimes called the National Park to Park Highway. Truly ambitious road warriors can take the road less traveled by starting in Arizona, moving through Utah and up to Wyoming and Montana.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The highway passes 150 towns, cities, and reservations, seven national parks (including the Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yellowstone), and three giant geographic regions (Basin and Range, Colorado Plateau, and the Rockies).

Amish Country Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Amish Country Byway: Ohio

The 72-mile Amish Country Byway boasts views of natural vistas along winding curves and over rolling hills. On a map, routes 39, 62, 515, and 60 form a sort of “eyeglasses” shape throughout Holmes County. That’s fitting, because exploring these four roads is a great way to explore Amish Country.

Amish Country Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Along these roadways, you will be treated to the typical, yet breathtaking sights of Amish Country: teams of huge, blonde Belgians pulling wagons of hay, farmers working in the fields, large white houses, and red barns. In addition, this charming country byway offers visitors a fine selection of Amish country cooking as well as historic sites featuring the history of Amish and German people.  Because of the unique agriculture and culture of Amish Country, you must share the road with Amish buggies, agriculture equipment, and cyclists.

Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scenic Byway 12: Utah

Utah is a place unlike anywhere else in the world! With so many sights to see, Scenic Byway 12 is the perfect road to take you right through the heart of it all. It passes through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Boulder Mountain with gorgeous views at every turn in between.

Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This highway cuts right through the center of the state, making it the ideal route to take when you’re on an RV trip visiting Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks—Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, and Capitol Reef. 

El Camino Real: New Mexico

Historic Mesilla along El Comino Real © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1598, Don Juan de Onate led 500 colonists through the remote and unfamiliar country now known as New Mexico. The route Onate followed became El Camino Real, “the royal road.” 

Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe along along El Comino Real © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The byway begins just north of Las Cruces, in Fort Selden, built in the mid-1800s to protect local settlers and travelers on El Camino Real and continues to cross 90 miles of flat but waterless and dangerous desert, the Jornada del Muerto (“journey of the dead man”) before reaching Socorro. The road then heads north to Albuquerque and Santa Fe reaching its end at San Juan Pueblo, the first capital of New Mexico and the end of Don Juan de Onate’s journey. 

 Worth Pondering…

The journey, and not the destination, is the joy of RVing.

Why NOW is the Best Time to Plan Your Travel Bucket List

Have you been dreaming of destinations that you’d like to be quarantined in?

As we travel again, having had time to consider how much we miss traveling and exploring, will we do anything differently? Will we make better use of our time by ensuring that our travels have a defined goal in mind?

I posed the above question in an earlier post titled, Why Do You Travel? Many of us, I suggest, travel for the wrong reasons, putting the ‘where’ ahead of the ‘why’. We have a perfect opportunity to change all that with a new travel paradigm.

Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A renewed and surging interest in travel suggests that many people (including myself) are starving for travel and as it becomes safe to travel again, many of us will embrace it— and we should. But will we travel better than before?

Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This pandemic is not the first major disruption to travel and besides other outbreaks from SARS and Swine Flu to MERS and Ebola there have been volcanic eruptions, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, and wildfires. But because this is so widespread and long lasting, I for one will emerge with a newfound sense of seizing the moment.

World’s Only Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Life is short enough without one not knowing when the next shoe will drop. A lesson to be learned is that if there are things you want to do in your life, you should put a plan in place and Just Do It.

In terms of travel, this is not a new idea since the pandemic. Each trip we create is by definition unique. What all of our trips share in common is the belief that any journey worth taking should be a rich personal story set within the larger narrative of life itself.

Lady Bird Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In Why Do You Travel? I concluded that in this time of reflection we can make the most of the opportunity to plan our future travels by first asking why rather than where. Because travel is so freely available we tend to rush through this question.

Fort Jackson State Historic Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The bulk of travel that puts the where ahead of the why follows a predictable blueprint that hasn’t changed since the days of the Grand Tour; we visit the Louvre, tour the Pantheon, and ride the London Eye. We do all these things automatically because they’re what you’re meant to do.

Laughlin, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That is why you need to think about what you really want to do and see? Create your own Bucket List and do it in multiple categories that could focus on family trips and personal passions that could include an interest in history, architecture, food and wine. Then plan a realistic timetable to accomplish your goals.

Fountain Hills, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During the pandemic, time is the one thing we have in abundance which makes travel planning even more desirable. This forced break is the optimal time to begin planning those big trips that require considerable research and forethought. We may also see tighter restrictions in place in terms of visitors to some of the most coveted sights which makes advanced planning even more important.

Julian, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This multi-year calendar approach makes a lot of sense for many reasons. Bucket list sporting events such as the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, Daytona 500, Masters Tournament, Rose Bowl Parade, and Superbowl benefit from booking a year out.

Daytona Beach, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition, some trips can be done by just about anyone while others require a modicum of fitness and mobility that may mandate simply not waiting too long. If you want to hike the Appalachian Trail or heli-ski in Rocky Mountains, these should be closer to the front of your list.

Fort Frederica National Monument, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But besides these logistical issues the biggest reason to plan a multi-year bucket list calendar is to ensure you do what you want to do while you’re physically able and in a way you can afford. Since the world is just too big and diverse not to explore, use some of your downtime and emerge from this crisis with a better sense of all the things you want to do and see with the time you have remaining.

Rebecca Ruth Chocolates, Frankfort, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.

—Hilaire Belloc