Quotes to Inspire Your New Year’s Resolution

Let these New Year resolution quotes give you thoughts on setting resolutions. May these words of wisdom inspire you to make the coming year the best year yet!

Don’t make resolutions without an action plan. The secret to success is right in your hands.

— J. Allen Shaw

The New Year is a perfect time to make a fresh start. For many people, that means resolving to make new habits and goals in their personal or professional lives. For others, taking care of some long-neglected chores or projects is a great opportunity. Regardless of which camp you fall in, it’s hard not to feel hopeful on New Year’s Eve—a time of celebration and so much promise.

As December comes to a close, we take time to reflect on the past year and take stock of what’s truly important as we head into the next. Maybe we’re looking for the motivation to finally get started on a new project or career. Or hoping to take better care of ourselves in the months ahead. Perhaps we’re looking for a little more excitement in life and need a reminder to keep the door of possibility open. Or, just maybe, we’re content and secure right where we are and hopeful for another happy year.

As we revel in the inspiring nature of the season, read through this selection of quotes to remind yourself that anything is possible. Happy New Year!

Painted Desert, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Begin as you mean to go on.

—Charles H. Spurgeon

What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

—Jane Goodall

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

—Plato

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.
—Octavia E. Butler

Sand Hollow State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented.
—Maya Angelou

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one!
—Dolly Parton

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.
—Brad Paisley

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
—Mary Oliver

A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it.

—Walt Disney

Birding in South Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

—Mary Anne Radmacher

I want to make a New Year’s prayer, not a resolution. I’m praying for courage.

—Susan Sontag

You can get excited about the future. The past won’t mind.
—Hillary DePiano

Without the intense touch of nature, you can never fully freshen yourself! Go for a camping and there both your weary mind and your exhausted body will rise like a morning sun.

—Mehmet Murat Ildan

Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.

—Michael Josephson

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

The new year is the glittering light to brighten the dream-lined pathway of future.

—Munia Khan

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.

—Nido Qubein

Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.

—Robin Sharma

I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you. That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written.

—Juansen Dizon

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

—Edith Lovejoy Pierce

You do not find the happy life. You make it.

—Camilla Eyring Kimball

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.

—Thomas Jefferson

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

—Henry David Thoraeu

15 Foods to Eat for Good Luck in the New Year

Noodles for longevity, cornbread for gold, and fish for success

The holiday season is full of long-standing traditions but our favorites always tend to center around eating. No matter where you’re from many people believe what you do on January 1 can set the tone for the entire year to come.

And there is no better way to ring in the New Year than by eating! While you could overload on chips and dip with champagne, why not eat foods that will supposedly bestow your life with prosperity in the New Year? There are New Year’s resolutions to be made and goals to achieve—we need all the luck we can get once 2024 rolls around.

Luckily (pun intended) there is a sundry of foods that when eaten on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day are said to call forth good fortune in the coming 12 months.

Look to these good luck foods when the clock strikes midnight for good fortune in the year to come.

People from around the world will eat traditional foods as the clock strikes midnight in hopes of bringing a little more luck and good fortune into their lives. As you reflect on the past year and make those resolutions, try these edible traditions from around the world to ring in your luckiest (and tastiest) year yet.

Pomegranates, a good luck food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Pomegranates

Since seeds are associated with fertility and life, eating pomegranates may just be the key to a lively new year. In Greek culture, a pomegranate is placed outside the home and smashed on New Year’s Day. The more seeds that scatter during the initial smash, the luckier the year that lies ahead will be. In Turkish culture, pomegranate seeds are also celebrated for fertility so if you’re attempting to start or grow a family you might want to stock up.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t add extra fruit to your sparkling drink when you toast at midnight or turn it into a delicious treat—like pomegranate pavlova with pistachios and honey—for your guests.

2. Black-eyed peas

If you’re cooking a New Year’s dinner in the South, chances are you’re serving black-eyed peas prepared with pork, celery, and onion. Also known as Hoppin’ John, the traditional dish has been consumed for luck for more than 1,500 years (they got their start as part of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah). These little legumes also pack important nutrients, like fiber and vitamin A, so you can stick to your healthy resolutions, too.

Black-eyed peas simmered into a stew with ham hock and collard greens are known as Hoppin’ John or Carolina Peas and Rice. It’s a traditional meal in the South eaten on New Year’s Day. There are a couple of myths surrounding the luck associated with black-eyed peas. Some say the shape of black-eyed peas which are actually beans represent coins and therefore encourage wealth. Others trace the humble black eyed pea back to Civil War era where the beans are said to have prevented families from starvation. Whatever the reason, black-eyed peas continue to remain a traditional lucky food to have on January 1 throughout much of the South.

3. Leafy greens

Dark leafy greens (collard greens, spinach, kale, etc.) resemble money (plus they are good for you).

Did you know that downing a kale salad is good for more than just your health? Leafy greens, like kale, collard greens, spinach, and romaine lettuce are symbolic of wealth. They’re the same color and crispness of a fresh dollar bill which is why it’s considered lucky to eat leafy greens when seeking monetary gains in the New Year. As the Southern saying goes “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”

4. Cornbread

Any excuse to eat cornbread is OK in my book. In many of the southern states cornbread is considered lucky due to its golden brown color which is said to bring gold and wealth in the upcoming year. So slather on some butter, dig in, and maybe pair it with a bowl of Hoppin’ John for extra luck.

5. Noodles

The longer the noodle, the longer the life! At least, that’s what this ancient superstition says. Traditionally slurped up for Chinese New Year, soba noodles are extra-long and symbolize longevity. Just be careful to not break the noodles on their way from bowl to mouth!

Different types of noodles are consumed across Asia in the New Year and symbolize longevity. In Japan, toshikoshi soba, is a meal composed of buckwheat noodles in a steaming broth of daishi, soy sauce, and mirin. is a common meal to consume on New Year’s Eve; a healthy and simple way to start the New Year off fresh. In Chinese culture, yi mein noodles, the satisfyingly chewy and brightly yellow egg noodles are stir-fried and said to encourage long life. Whatever type of noodles you fancy, slurp them up and you may not be only full but also blessed with a long and fulfilling life.

6. Dumplings

Dumplings are an important part of New Year’s traditions around the world from Chinese 餃子 (jiao zi) to Russian pelmeni. They’re shaped like little money pouches or the coins themselves and are meant to represent prosperity, wealth, and health.

The homemade ones are truly a labor of love so gather some family members and have everyone help with assembly. And don’t worry about getting them perfect-looking—even the wonkiest of the bunch are sure to bring health and wealth in the New Year.

Grapes, a good luck food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Grapes

In Spain and Mexico, it is tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight representing the 12 months within a calendar year. It is believed that the luck you’ll possess each month is dependent on the sweetness of the grapes; if you come across any tart grapes then make sure to prepare yourself for a bumpy month that corresponds with the sour grape you consumed.

8. Ring-shaped cakes

It’s always a good time for cake—especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion like ringing in the New Year. A round, ring-shaped cake in particular is known to represent the full circle of life.

Ring-shaped foods such as the tasty bundt cake are said to be symbolic of the year coming full circle. Try a crowd-pleasing Bundt cake in pumpkin spice or lemon-lime flavor or go for something unexpected like a round-shaped monkey bread.

I will joyously consume cake for any occasion so this whole luck thing just feels like a bonus. Due to their shape (they somewhat resemble coins), they are also thought to bring forth wealth in the New Year. A wide interpretation of this one is acceptable. Even doughnuts, because why not?

In the Netherlands, eating fried doughnut-like pastries called oliebollen is said to be lucky. They usually have a good dusting of powdered sugar on top.

In Greek culture, friends and family gather around for a vasilopita, a zesty orange cake that often has a coin baked inside. Whoever receives the slice with the coin in it gets extra luck for the New Year and usually a gift or prize. So bust out your cake pan and bake yourself some luck for 2022.

Pork, a good luck food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Pork and sauerkraut

If you’re looking to personally advance in the New Year, pork may be a good option for you. Like many other cultures, the Pennsylvania Dutch believes eating pork on New Year’s Day brings good luck because pigs are animals that root forward as they sniff out and eat food and therefore emblematic of progress in the year. After all, we want to move forward, not backward, in the New Year. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage—a symbol of money because it’s leafy and green.

The tradition spans across continents from roasted lechon in the Philippines to marzipan pigs in Northern Europe to pork and sauerkraut dishes served in the U.S. As noted in The Morning Call, eating pork is “part superstition and part tradition like a Pennsylvania Dutch-style insurance policy for the new year.” The fattiness of pork is also related to luxury and wealth so fry up some bacon to start the New Year.

Fish, a good luck food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Fish

If you’re looking for an alternative protein to eat when ringing in the New Year then try fish. It’s alleged that the shimmery scales look like coins and in some Eastern European cultures they are saved and placed in a wallet in hopes of acquiring more wealth. Fish also represent abundance because they swim in large schools. Across myriad cultures fish are consumed in hopes of a year full of success. Whatever the preparation, it can’t hurt to eat an extra serving or two.

In countries like Norway, Germany, Poland, Finland, and Sweden, herring is bountiful thanks to its proximity to the Baltic Sea. So on New Year’s, right at midnight, herring is served to encourage bounty and prosperity in the coming year. The fish’s silver scales are also said to resemble coins, which is a good sign of future fortune.

11. Buttered Bread

In Ireland, it’s said that there are several traditions involving bread on New Year’s, so many that January 1 is known to some as the Day Of Buttered Bread. One entails banging bread against a door frame to chase away bad luck while another invites good luck in by sharing the baking bounty with friends, loved ones, and neighbors.

Which one we’ll be going with?—Irish soda bread with chocolate chips, sourdough, or brioche topped with homemade garlic butter, Tuscan butter, or maple butter.

Oranges, a good luck food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Oranges and tangerines

Oranges and tangerines are typically passed out during Lunar New Year to call forth prosperity so it’s only natural that these citrus fruits have made their way to our Gregorian calendar celebrations as well. The bright color evokes joy and the Chinese word for a mandarin orange, kam, is a homonym for the word gold thus making the mandarin orange an extra lucky piece of fruit.

13. Lentils

Similar to black-eyed peas, lentils are a type of legume that looks like little coins. They’re typically eaten in Italy (and in other countries) on New Year’s to bring luck and good fortune. The red lentil hummus would make a great New Year’s Eve party snack, while the Mediterranean lentil salad would be a refreshing dish on New Year’s Day.

As lentils are soaked in water, they expand in an act that many believe symbolizes prosperity. Wintertime is great for a hearty bowl of pasta, so turn your sights towards a prosperous year with a big pot of our favorite lentil bolognese.

Lentils are eaten across the world for the New Year because the tiny legumes are said to look like little coins that will bring prosperity in the coming year—and we all could use more of those. From Italy to the Czech Republic to Brazil whether prepared in a stew, served with pork, or eaten over rice lentils might help you pad out your bank account in the progressing months.

Lentils are also delicious and good for you. They are also a great pork alternative for vegetarians.

Pretzels, a good luck food © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Pretzels

The breaking of a New Year’s pretzel (or neujahrsbrezel) for luck and prosperity is a long-time German tradition. It can be eaten either at midnight or for breakfast on New Year’s Day. Unlike regular savory pretzels, these are made of sweet enriched dough, sort of like a babka or brioche.

Many Germans ring in the New Year with a big soft pretzel to symbolize good luck, health, and prosperity in the year ahead. According to History.com, children in the 17th century also wore pretzel necklaces on New Year’s.

If you’re a pretzel purist, consider making homemade soft pretzels or cinnamon sugar crunch pretzels or even just go store-bought maybe alongside some homemade pub cheese or funfetti dip? What’s really important is sharing and breaking them with loved ones (the pretzels also represent interconnectedness), so you do you.

15. Fortune Cookies

Kick off the New Year with messages of luck, hope, and prosperity for your friends and family. Slide each personalized message into a handmade cookie (yes, you really can make your fortune cookies at home). If your loved ones have a good sense of humor, consider swapping in a joke or two—starting the New Year off with laughter can’t be a bad thing! If you’re crunched for time, you can pick up a set of pre-made fortune cookies before the evening begins.

What not to eat

Unless you want to tempt fate, you should avoid eating the following foods because they are thought to bring bad luck on New Year’s Day.

Beef and poultry: Think of why we eat pork: Pigs root around, moving forward. Cows eat standing still (which is what will happen to you if you eat beef). Even worse, chickens and turkeys scratch backward. That not what you want in 2023.

Shellfish: Lobsters and crabs swim backward and sideways and (you probably sense a theme here) you want to eat only foods that move you forward. (Most fish swim forward, but skip catfish as they are bottom dwellers).

No white foods: In Chinese culture, all-white foods—eggs, white cheese, tofu—are unlucky on New Year’s Day because white is thought to symbolize death.

Worth Pondering…

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

—Brad Paisley

30 New Year’s Resolutions for RVers in 2023

Set new goals for the open road

New Year, New Me, or so the saying goes! It seems that every year when we change over from the old to the new, people start making New Year’s resolutions.  These resolutions tend to be focused on things like living better, being more organized, or living a healthier life.

When it comes to RVing though, there are a few resolutions that come to mind as staples within the RV lifestyle. Of course, your resolutions will be unique to you and your lifestyle, but there are New Year’s resolutions that I think that every RVer regardless of lifestyle can make when going into this New Year.

Here are 30 New Year’s resolutions for RVers to consider as you start planning for the year ahead.

Water filters should be replaced at least twice yearly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Learn how to perform maintenance tasks on your RV

It’s essential to keep your RV in good working order and that means being able to take care of basic maintenance tasks yourself. Whether checking the dry-cell battery water level (they are your lifeline); inspecting your propane system; inspecting tires for cracks and uneven wear and checking air pressure; changing your water filter; and keeping an RV maintenance log/checklist to keep track of your maintenance checks, repairs, and replacements, resolve to learn the skills you need to keep your RV running smoothly.

2. Plan at least one cross-country road trip in the year

Whether you’re a seasoned RVer or a newbie, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of hitting the open road and exploring new destinations. Start researching routes and must-see attractions with RVing with Rex for your epic adventure now.

Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Spend more time exploring regional and state parks

Many RVers are drawn to the freedom and flexibility of the open road but it’s also important to take the time to explore the natural beauty and history right in your backyard. Resolve to spend more time exploring local and state parks in the coming year and discover all your region has to offer.

Boondocking at Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Try boondocking at least once

Boondocking is camping (often on BLM land) without access to electrical, water, or sewage hookups. It can be a challenging but rewarding way to experience the great outdoors.

Kayaking at Stephen C. Foster State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Learn a new outdoor skill

RVing is the perfect opportunity to try out new outdoor activities and hobbies and there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Learn a new outdoor skill in 2023 whether it’s rock climbing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, or geocaching.

6. Seek out new destinations

While it can be comforting to return to familiar destinations year after year, it’s also important to mix things up and explore new destinations. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.

7. Invest in new gear to enhance uour RVing experience

Whether it’s a new cooking set, a portable generator, or hiking poles, there are always nifty RV-related gadgets to improve your RVing experience. 

Reducing clutter makes for happy RVing © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Reduce clutter

There’s no denying the fact that RVs are tiny places to live. Partly for this reason, clutter builds up quickly. Since nobody wants to live in a cluttered space, it’s best to purge things in your tiny home on wheels at least twice a year or when needed. And I know that it is a much more difficult task than it appears.

And the problem is not just cleaning up the mess. In the words of best-selling author Jordan B. Peterson, “I also want to make it beautiful.” Writing in Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, the famed clinical psychologist continued, “Making something beautiful is difficult but it’s amazingly worthwhile. If you learn to make something in your life truly beautiful—even one thing—then you have established a relationship with beauty.”

9. Take a course to improve your driving skills and safety

RVing can be a lot of fun, but it’s also important to prioritize safety on the road. Brush up on things like backing up, lane changes, and emergency braking.

Drive-in sites at Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Try out different types of campsites

One of the best things about RVing is the variety of campsite options available from beachfront to the mountain to lakeside and pull-through to back-in to pull-in. Make a New Year’s resolution to try out different types of campsites and see which ones you like best.

Quartzsite RV Show, Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Connect with other RVers on the road

RVing can be a solo pursuit but it’s also a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals. You might make some lifelong friends along the way. The ultimate RV gathering happens at the beginning of each year in Arizona at the Quartzite RV Show (January 21-29, 2023.

12. Plan a group RV trip with family or friends

RVing is a great way to bond with loved ones and there’s nothing quite like a group RV trip to bring people together. Organize a caravan and create lasting memories on the road.

13. Set a goal to save money on fuel costs

The cost of fuel can add up quickly while RVing but there are steps you can take to minimize your expenses. Reducing your speed and making sure your tires are properly inflated are two ways to save on fuel.

Glacial Skywalk, Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Set a goal to visit every state

Set a goal to visit every corner of the U.S. and/or Canada. This can be a long-term project but it’s a great way to truly experience all that North America has to offer in an RV.

15. Try new recipes in your RV kitchen

Cooking in your RV kitchen can be a fun and rewarding experience but it’s always nice to have new recipes to try out. Grab a cookbook, research recipes online, and borrow some from fellow travelers. Expand your culinary horizons on the road.

Consider investing in small kitchen appliances such as an Instant Pot, a slow cooker, and an air fryer to make the job of cooking in your RV a cinch.

16. Volunteer your time or skills with a local organization

If you are in a location for an extended period, you may want to participate in volunteer opportunities. Whether it is at a beach clean-up, animal shelter, or a docent at a local park or museum, RVing can be a great way to give back to the communities you visit.

Thousand Trails Lynchburg Preserve, Lynchburg, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. Join a membership club and receive RV park discounts

There are numerous RV membership clubs and associations that provide a various benefits such as camping at a discounted rate and access to exclusive parks. Each has its perks and drawbacks. Is it reasonable to become a member of several RV clubs? It depends on your RVing style, wants, and needs.

Some of these are:

  • Escapees (SKP) RV club
  • Passport America
  • Thousand Trails
  • Good Sam RV Club
  • FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association)
  • Harvest Hosts
  • Boondockers Welcome
  • Hipcamp

18. Become a workcamper to save money on living expenses

If you’re looking for a way to save money on living expenses while RVing, workamping is a great way to see new places and meet new people while also helping to reduce some of your costs.

19. Record your travels through journaling and/or photography

Documenting your travels can be a meaningful way to reflect on your experiences and share them with others. So write, photograph, and record videos of your travels and experiences.

Hiking trails at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

20. Spend more time outdoors

Most people assume that by living in an RV, a person automatically spends a ton of time outside. While this is true for some RVing families, it isn’t always the case. Seeing as how the outdoors can benefit your health, making it a goal to spend more time outside in the New Year is a great idea. 

There are many ways to support this goal. You might choose to invest in a better outdoor setup with things like lounging chairs and outdoor games. Another option is to get set up for hiking and make a point of taking at least one hike in every place you visit. You could also learn a new skill such as kayaking or fishing to encourage yourself to get that fresh air and sunshine that is so good for you. 

Myakka State Park, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

21. Visit more parks

Another fantastic way to get outside more is by visiting the many amazing state and national parks across the country. These parks allow you to soak up the sun while also exploring some seriously beautiful and fascinating places not to mention making some incredible memories that are sure to last for years to come. 

Grab a national park pass and visit as many national parks as you can throughout the year. If you’ll be in a particular state for a while, look into purchasing an annual pass for the state parks there. Of course, you should always ask about junior ranger programs at every park you visit. 

22. Try something NEW, while camping

Relaxing is numero uno but how about spicing up the camping trip with some boating, trail (bike) riding, or go GeoCaching? GeoCaching is fun at any age and can be enjoyed with your friends and family. It’s treasure hunting—and you can use your phone. Wooo, the kids will love this one!

Galt Farmers Market near Lodi, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

23. Support local growers

Nothing beats fresh produce and homemade bread, jams, and jellies. Stop at farmers’ markets along the way. Not only will you be able to enjoy the freshest foods and eat healthier, but you’ll also be supporting local small businesses. 

24. Be present in the moment

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s easy to forget to take time to be present wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, and whoever you’re doing it with. From texting, and scrolling through social media, to even recording and taking pictures during a hike, there’s just so much noise that can get in the way.

Whether you’re all packed up and on your way to your next adventure or sitting by the campfire, make a conscious effort to really enjoy the experience. Breathe in the stillness of the forest, relax and recline by the lake, or engage in quality family time with a rousing night of games and fun! There’s so much to do that’s waiting for you. Make sure you don’t miss it.

La Sal Mountain Scenic Loop Road, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

25. Take the road less traveled

An important resolution for the New Year would be to take things slow and take the road less traveled. Everyone is in a rush to get from one place to the next so they don’t take the time to enjoy the journey. Instead of driving along the interstate, go an alternate route and drive the scenic byways.

Give yourself room to breathe and enjoy the countryside. Eat at that little diner and get that big glass of sweet tea. Take the family and go blueberry picking at the farm down the road or buy the freshest fruits and vegetables at a roadside stand. The best part about traveling in an RV is being able to make memories along the way, so be sure to take full advantage of each trip!

26. Go stargazing

No matter who you are, something is awe-inspiring about looking up at a star-filled night sky. Stargazing is an incredible pastime that is just not possible to do when living in the city. Take some time this year to visit a Dark-Sky Preserve and spend time with family and friends looking up at the stars. There is always something magical happening in the night sky, so be sure you don’t miss it.

Winter camping at Fort Camping, Fort Langley, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

27. Camp every season

Though spring and summer usually take all the glory for camping, there is a lot of fun to be had camping during the fall and winter months as well. Make it a resolution this year to camp in every season so that you can experience the wide variety of camping that the wilderness offers.

Our word of advice though: be sure to properly plan for camping in the cooler weather. The gear you’re going to need will be quite a bit different and you will need to prep things differently than you do for your summer excursions.

Not only will the scenery look different from season to season, but the wildlife will also vary greatly. So don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera to spot all sorts of creatures, regardless of the season.

The Giant Peach (Peachoid) at Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

28, See a classic roadside attraction

No road trip is complete without a stop at a kitschy roadside attraction. Even if you’re not traveling cross-country, there’s likely a piece of forgotten Americana around the bend that could use a visit. Look for the World’s Largest Roadrunner, the World’s Largest Pistachio, Wigwam Motel, or the Giant Peach.

29. Join a hiking group

Looking to meet new people? Hiking (or running or biking) together can be a great way to enjoy the company of others.  

Santa Fe, New Mexico, a bucket list destination © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

30. Finally make it to those bucket-list destinations

Last but not least, I must mention bucket list destinations. We all have that list of places and experiences. Often, we don’t reach these destinations due to commitments, things breaking, or simply because they are out of the way.

This year is the year to reach those must-see locations that you haven’t made it to yet. Plan your travel around them and make them a top priority. Remember, you travel so you can see the country, so make sure you get out there and do it!

Bird watching is a popular pastime with RVers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Embrace new opportunities on the road with New Year’s resolutions for RVers

There are many potential New Year’s resolutions that RVers can consider as they start planning for the coming year. From learning new skills to seeking out new destinations, the possibilities for growth and adventure are endless.

No matter your resolutions, it’s important to have fun and make the most of your RVing experiences. So as you start planning for 2023, remember to be open to new opportunities and embrace the unknown. Happy travels in the coming year!

Worth Pondering…

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.

—Brian Tracy

New Years 2023: Facts, Traditions, and Resolutions for Campers

Celebrating the first day of another year on Earth has been a historical tradition for millennia

New Year brings blessings yet to behold.
—Lailah Gifty Akita

Social, cultural, and religious observances that celebrate the beginning of the New Year are among the oldest and the most universally observed.

The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BC in Mesopotamia where in Babylonia the New Year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the Spring Equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the Autumn Equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians, the year began with the Autumn Equinox (September 21); for the early Greeks, it began with the Winter Solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar, the year began on March 1 but after 153 BC the official date was January 1 which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BC.

Red Rock Scenic Byway Visitor Center, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In early medieval times, most of Christian Europe regarded March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation as the beginning of the New Year although New Year’s Day was observed on December 25 in Anglo-Saxon England. William the Conqueror decreed that the year begins on January 1 but England later joined the rest of Christendom and adopted March 25. The Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church restored January 1 as New Year’s Day and most European countries gradually followed suit: Scotland, in 1660; Germany and Denmark, in about 1700; England, in 1752; and Russia, in 1918.

What are your New Year’s traditions? The aesthetic of New Year’s has typically been gold, champagne, streamers, and glasses that have the year on them but American traditions aren’t that ritualized or historic.

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New Year’s is typically celebrated with a large party starting on New Year’s Eve. People count down the time—sometimes using the ball drop in New York City or elsewhere—until the clocks officially begin the New Year. They often toast with champagne, share a New Year’s kiss at the stroke of midnight, sing the Scottish song Auld Lang Syne and make New Year’s resolutions.

Many people also coordinate the perfect New Year’s makeup and nail looks to ring in the New Year in style. Fireworks, cheers, and songs officially start the first day of the New Year.

Canoeing at Myakka River State Park, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Auld Lang Syne in the English language means old long since or for the sake of old times. In 1788, Robert Burns wrote this poem in the Scots language. However, it was inspired by a Scottish folk song.

Even if you don’t know or understand the lyrics, you’ll still enjoy it with everyone forming a circle, singing, and holding each other’s hands. While Auld Lang Syne is about old friends and memories, it’s also a perfect song to bid farewell to an old year and welcome a new one.

Raccoon State Recreation Area, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Symbolic foods are often part of the festivities. Many Europeans, for example, eat cabbage or other greens to ensure prosperity in the coming year while people in the American South favor black-eyed peas for good luck. Throughout Asia, special foods such as dumplings, noodles, and rice cakes are eaten and elaborate dishes feature ingredients whose names or appearances symbolize long life, happiness, wealth, and good fortune.

What if we mixed it up a little and tried out some new—or should I say—old traditions this year? I’ve done some Googling and found some other kinds of traditions from around the world.

Bernheim Forest and Arboretum, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A popular tradition in Spain includes eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve—that’s one grape at each stroke of the clock at midnight. These grapes represent the 12 months and you have to eat all of them to enjoy a lucky year. Otherwise, the upcoming year might be harsh on you. So, you better chew all of them before the clock stops chiming! Just don’t choke!

In the Netherlands, people eat deep-fried dough to honor the Germanic goddess Perchta the Belly Slitter.

St. Martinsville, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Chinese started the tradition of using pyrotechnics—they invented fireworks—to celebrate the New Year. So it makes sense that while many places use fireworks, Chinese New Year’s displays are some of the biggest and brightest.

In Ecuador they burn scarecrows.

Taking an icy plunge on the first day of the New Year is one way that Russians symbolize starting over with a clean slate.

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

Yellow is said to symbolize love and happiness so to make sure the New Year is full of both, Colombians don a brand-new pair of yellow underwear before heading out to celebrate. And they’re not the only ones. Bolivians also swear by yellow undies and Argentinians wear pinkly unmentionable to ring in the New Year. And in Italy, they wear red underwear. Mamma mia, here we go again!

I’m gonna try as many of these as I can and see if the combined forces of good luck charms from all around the world bring me the most powerful glow-up of my life.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Let’s get to New Year’s Resolution, shall we?

Lose weight. Quit social media. Blah blah blah snoozefest! These are all good goals, don’t get me wrong. But we set the same New Year’s resolutions every single year and then… never really stick to them. So, for 2023, why not shake things up a bit and try creating resolutions of a different variety—and focus on our RV lifestyle? Whether you choose one New Year resolution or all 10, you’ll be better off for it.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Focus on a passion

Influencer Mik Zazon who’s on a mission to “normalize normal bodies,” tells Parade, “… I want to inform readers that resolutions are NOT an invitation to start a diet or a workout plan but a beautiful reminder that a new year can bring new life to our passions.”

Hoover Dam, Arizona/Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Go someplace you’ve never been

Step outside of your comfort zone and do something daring. It’s good for the soul and forces you to learn new things.

3. Don’t buy things you don’t need

Bad habit! We love to spend money even if it’s for no good reason. Don’t need it? Don’t buy it. You likely don’t have the space, anyway.

National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Try something NEW, while camping

Relaxing is numero uno but how about spicing up the camping trip with some boating, trail (bike) riding, or go GeoCaching? GeoCaching is fun at any age and can be enjoyed by yourself or with your friends and family. It’s basically treasure hunting—and you can use your phone. Wooo, the kids will love this one!

5. Keep a journal

The University of Rochester Medical Center says that journaling can help battle anxiety, stress, and depression. Even if you write only a few sentences, you can reap the benefits.

6. Start a new hobby

Do new stuff. Let yourself blossom in 2023.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Travel somewhere without posting about it on social media

“No status updates, no photos… just go on vacation and not tell anyone,” says travel writer Reannon Muth. That might seem silly but in a world where it didn’t happen unless you post about it on Instagram, it can be a challenge to resist the temptation to post that sunset beach photo or that perfect RV site.

8. Travel somewhere with no app

Go on a road trip without using Apple or Google maps. No GPS. Just an old fashioned road map and see where it takes you. You’ll never know what sort of fun and exciting adventure you’ll end up on as a result.

Horseback riding at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Experience a new outdoor activity

From hiking and fishing to horseback riding and mountain biking, there is an endless supply of outdoor activities to choose from when RV camping this year. But why stick to the same old trails or bike paths when you can try a completely new adventure like horseback riding or kayaking? Check out the local outdoor activities offered at the campsite you’re staying at or find a site based on the activities available nearby.

10. Whatever your goals are, write them down

People who write down their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve them. Whatever you want in 2023, commit it to paper.

The only question is, how will you pick just one?

Devonian Botanical Gardens, Edmonton, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Off to purchase some red underwear, a scarecrow, and some black-eyed peas. Happy New Year!

See you in 2023.

Worth Pondering…

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

—Brad Paisley

10 Amazing Places to RV in January 2022

If you’re dreaming of where to travel to experience it all, here are my picks for the best places to RV in January

2022 wishes for you:

  • Good health
  • Good roads
  • Good campsites
  • Spectacular sites
  • Short lines
  • Memorable times with friends

Be grateful for every day we get to spend in an RV

Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

One of the most beloved lines from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is this bit of wisdom, imparted from the wizard Gandalf to the young hobbit Frodo. In the first book, 1954’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo inherits a cursed ring and realizes he must take a frightening journey to destroy it. After confiding to Gandalf that he wishes the task had fallen to someone else, the wizard reminds Frodo that no one gets to dictate what challenges they face. Rather than lamenting unavoidable hardships, time is better spent focusing on the choices within our control and making our time on Earth (or Middle-Earth) meaningful.

Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I love this quote because it reminds us that our life is really only a collection of decisions and life is also limited only by time. Our decisions make us who we are and dictate what we experience.  We are free to choose and indeed many have successfully argued that this FREEDOM TO CHOOSE is truly the only thing we really own. 

Where will you choose to RV in January? This list features familiar names as well as a few lesser-known but equally fascinating locations to visit in January.

Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out my monthly travel recommendations for the best places to travel in November and December. Also, check out my recommendations from January and February 2021.

Sand Hollow State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Rock, Red Sand, and Warm, Blue Water

Located just 15 miles east of St. George, Utah, Sand Hollow State Park offers a wide range of recreation opportunities. With its warm, blue waters and red sandstone landscape, it is a popular park because it has so much to offer. Boat and fish on Sand Hollow Reservoir, explore and ride the dunes of Sand Mountain Recreation Area on an off-highway vehicle, RV, or tent camp in the modern campground.

Sand Hollow State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One popular event seeing increased growth and interest has been the annual Winter 4×4 Jamboree hosted by the DesertRATS (Desert Roads and Trails Society). A premier off-road event that attracts close to 400 vehicles, the jamboree encourages all who enjoy the OHV lifestyle to join in taking advantage of the unique and stellar Utah landscape. The Winter 4×4 Jamboree is a non-competitive trail run event for high clearance 4×4 vehicles. Drivers can choose between over 20 trails, featuring rock climbing obstacles, petroglyph sites, and sand dunes.

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

Sand Hollow State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Groups of participants are led on rated trails by experienced trail leaders and helpers. Trails are rated on a 10-point scale where a rating of 1 would be for graded roads that may be easily traveled by most cars and a rating of 10 is for purpose-built vehicles (buggies) with sophisticated suspensions and drive trains operated by expert drivers. The number of vehicles on each trail is limited to ensure participants have an enjoyable experience.

The upcoming Winter 4×4 Jamboree is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12 to Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Julian © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Apple Pie is King

Julian, California, is a historic mountain town about two hours out of Palm Springs. It came into being during the gold rush in the 1870s. And with it came the apple trees that would cement this town as a destination for pie lovers across the globe. The center of town is just three blocks of restaurants, specialty shops, and a few excellent options for apple pie.

Julian Pie Company © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many visitors come to Julian just for their love of apples and apple pie, the products for which Julian is famous.

A locally owned family business specializing in apple pies and cider donuts, Julian Pie Company has been producing its stellar pies since 1989 and bakes traditional apple pies, plus variations of apple with cherry, boysenberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, or rhubarb.

Mom’s Pies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located on Main Street, Mom’s Pie House is indeed owned by a “mom” who has lived in Julian for over 30 years and has been baking using Julian apples since 1984. A tasty, mouth-watering homemade pie, Mom’s flakey crusts, and not-too-sweet fillings are delicious.

Julian Cafe and Bakery © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An unassuming spot right off the main drag, Apple Alley Bakery turns out a spectacular apple pecan pie with a crunchy crumb topping plus a killer lunch special that includes your choice of a half sandwich and a side of soup or salad and a slice of pie for dessert.

Also noteworthy, Julian Cafe and Bakery’s boysenberry-apple is the perfect mix of sweet and tart and Juliantla Chocolate Boutique covers cinnamon-scented caramelized apples in a flaky crust that’s also completely vegan.

Louisiana hot sauces © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Louisiana

If I could eat in only three states for the rest of my life, Louisiana would be in this select group.

Billy’s Boudin © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More to the point, y’all know the high regard to which I hold the food culture of Cajun Country and the rest of Louisiana (thank you for Tabasco, po’boys, gumbo, crawfish, jambalaya, boudin, and crackling). But there is more to the Cajun appeal than just the food. Between bites of their tasty cuisine, boredom is never a problem in Cajun Country. Nature experiences are abundant on the Bayou Tech Scenic Byway and the Creole Nature Trail, an All-American Road.

Palm Desert © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Palm Springs

Located in the Coachella Valley with the snow-capped peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains for a backdrop, Palm Springs has long been an upscale escape. Whether it’s golf, tennis, polo, taking the sun, hiking, or a trip up the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise.

Related Article: A Dozen Amazing Spots to Visit with your RV during Winter

Palm Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Indian Canyons are one of the most beautiful attractions for any Palm Springs visitor, especially if you love to hike. You can hike Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. Unlike other area trails, most of the trails in the Indian Canyons follow running streams. Native palms and indigenous flora and fauna are abundant.

Tahquitz Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The waterfalls of Tahquitz Canyon are truly astounding, flanked by lush greenery and picturesque wildlife. The crisp water rushing past you tumbles 60 feet from apex to completion.

The beautiful San Jacinto Mountains are the backdrop to Palm Springs. You can visit the top of the San Jacinto Mountain via The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It’s the world’s largest rotating tramcar. It travels up over 2.5 miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon. The weather is about 30 degrees cooler so you can go from warm to cool weather in a 10-minute tram ride.

Coachella Valley Preserve © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

VillageFest rocks Palm Canyon Drive every Thursday with a dazzling array of delightful fare. Winter hours are 6–10 pm. Downtown Palm Springs transforms into a diverse array of artists, artisans, entertainers, and purveyors of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, jewelry, snacks, and sweets. Add all that to the great shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues located along Palm Canyon Drive.

Corpus Christi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

City by the Sea

Situated on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Corpus Christi offers miles of beaches, plenty of fresh seafood and Tex-Mex dining options, and even indoor activities like the Texas State Aquarium in North Beach. The aquarium features 18 exhibits with sea creatures and wildlife that take you from the Caribbean Sea to the jungle and beyond.

USS Lexington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While in North Beach, you can also visit the USS Lexington on Corpus Christi Bay. This aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1943, took part in almost every major operation in the Pacific Theater over 21 months of combat during World War II. While here, you can also take flight as an F-18 pilot in the flight simulator or check out the thrilling feature films at the Joe Jessel 3D Mega Theater.

Padre Island National Seashore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you prefer to spend time outdoors, take a horseback ride along the beach, or go deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Or explore Padre Island, a 70-mile stretch of land protected by the National Park Service for its pristine beaches, calm atmosphere, and space to spread out.

Apache Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Apache Trail

Named after the Apache Indians who once used the route, the Apache Trail (AZ 88) links Apache Junction at the eastern edge of the Greater Phoenix area with Theodore Roosevelt Lake through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest. The scenic byway was designated in 1998 and is approximately 39 miles long, winding in and out of some of the most awe-inspiring country in Arizona—or for that matter, in the West. This partially unpaved road winds past magnificent scenery of twisted igneous mountains with dense forests of saguaro and several deep blue lakes.

Related Article: The Absolutely Most Amazing Winter Road Trips

The road though has been mostly closed since late 2019 because of landslips and other damage associated with the Woodbury Fire. The worst affected is the steepest section just west of Fish Creek; the only part still open to vehicular traffic is the (paved) 18 miles from Apache Junction to Tortilla Flat.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

A visit to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a journey into the heart of the Everglades ecosystem. Discover the rugged beauty of this famed natural area on Corkscrew’s famous boardwalk—a 2.25-mile adventure through pine Flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. These impressive trees, relatives of the redwood, tower 130 feet into the sky and have a girth of 25 feet. Their massive branches are draped with mosses, lichens, bromeliads, and ferns. 

A little blue heron at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located about 30 minutes east of Naples, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, and raptors can be seen throughout the year while the fabulous Painted Bunting is one of many winter visitors. Photo opportunities are available at every turn of the boardwalk trail.

Sky art sculptors © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Sky Art Sculptures of Borrego Springs

Something more than desert wildflowers and the spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert State Park attracts visitors to the Borrego Valley in Southern California. People also come to see the amazing 130 full-sized metal sculptures here—many inspired by creatures that roamed these same desert millions of years ago. The artworks range from prehistoric mammals to historical characters, fanciful dinosaurs, and a 350-foot-long fanciful serpent.

Sky art sculptors © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive through the roads that weave through the area—you’ll see sculptures of wild horses in a nearby field, sabertooth tigers in pursuit, and desert tortoises that seem as if they’re crawling through the brush. The artist, Ricardo Breceda, brought life to his sculptures by capturing each creature in motion. They are so still, yet all you see is movement.

Sky art sculptors © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The late Dennis Avery, landowner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs envisioned the idea of adding free-standing art to his property with original steel welded sculptures created by artist Ricardo Breceda.

Dauphin Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dauphin Island

A narrow, 14-mile-long outdoor playground near the mouth of Mobile Bay, Dauphin Island provides a getaway atmosphere with attractions aimed at the family. The Dauphin Island Park and Campground is a great place to enjoy all the island has to offer. The 155-acre park offers an abundance of exceptional recreation offerings and natural beauty. The campground is uniquely positioned so that guests have access to a secluded beach, public boat launches, Fort Gaines, and Audubon Bird Sanctuary. The campground offers 150 sites with 30/50 amp- electric service and water; 99 sites also offer sewer connections.

Audubon Bird Sanctuary © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Audubon Bird Sanctuary consists of 137 acres of maritime forests, marshes, and dunes, and includes a lake, swamp, and beach. The trail system within the sanctuary has been designated as a National Recreational Trail. The sanctuary is the largest segment of protected forest on the island and the first landfall for neo-tropical migrant birds after their long flight across the Gulf from Central and South America each spring.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Dose of Southern Hospitality

Have you ever heard a Savannah native speak? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. The sweet Southern drawl of the locals should tell you all you need to know about this Spanish-moss draped city. It’s easy-going. It’s classic. And it’s charming.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In many respects, Savannah feels like Charleston, South Carolina. Mouthwatering seafood awaits all across town as do all kinds of butter-loaded, piping hot Southern comforts. Along River Street, you’ll find candy shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of Savannah’s best-kept secrets is all the interesting festivals that happen each year. During January, appreciate all things film and learn a little something too with the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival (January 28-29, 2022).

Related Article: A Dozen Spectacular RV Parks for Winter Camping

You’ll be lulled by the sound of waves hitting the shore on Tybee Island, just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah. Stroll down the popular pier and check out the ocean view from the pavilion, explore the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, and savor freshly-caught seafood prepared with a Southern flair.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

See live alligators while you eat under shade trees at the Crab Shack and learn more about underwater creatures at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Join an eco-kayak tour, nature walk, or sunset cruise to explore this classic coastal town, its marshes, and surrounding waters. River’s End Campground is a fantastic home base for exploring it all and just a few short blocks from the beach.

Worth Pondering…

We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

—Edith Lovejoy Pierce

The Top 10 in 2021

Today, I’m delighted to bring you RVing with Rex’s Best of 2021: a collection of articles about RVing and the RV Lifestyle

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.
—Brad Paisley

Hello, RVing friends! The year has turned over and another 12 months of RVing, photography, hiking, and birding has crept by.

I tried to squeeze in all of the things I didn’t get to do this year into the last remaining days of 2021. Truth be told, we weren’t able to do a lot of things.

We can all agree this was a year like no other, at times feeling like a refugee from reality.

Sonoran Desert near Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Who is pumped for 2022???

(cicadas chirp loudly)

Yeah, that seems to be the general vibe. While a new calendar year typically means exciting new opportunities, a chance for a fresh start, 2022 feels like it could just be another disappointing sequel to 2020 and 2021.

Historic Mesilla, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It makes sense—we’re all beaten down. We’ve socially distanced, worn masks, Zoomed into important events for what seems like an eternity. And each time we made progress toward normalcy a new variant came along and pushed us back into the Twilight Zone.

As each new variant arrived, lockdowns and quarantines returned. We circled back to the same old, same old, expecting different results.

Related: Best of 2020: Top 10 RVing Articles of 2020

I don’t have a feeling next year is going to be different, better.

Farmers Market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some day in the future, this thing will transition into an endemic virus and we can go back to talking about all the things we talked about before COVID, like…yeah, I forget too.

As the year mercifully comes to a close, RVing with Rex celebrates the must-reads that you loved the most over the past 12 months. I’ll start off by doing a sincere thank you so much for reading this year and returning frequently to read my latest articles. Thank you for your continuing support!

The End is almost here!

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This is article # 1,065 since my first post on January 16, 2019. Okay, the end isn’t near, but the end of the year is almost here, and it’s time to think about wrap-ups as 2020 draws to a close. The end of the year is the traditional time for doing a summary and some reflection.

Looking back there were certain events and articles that kindled reader interest.

Related: Top 10 RV Travel Tips of All Time

It’s always fascinating to look back and see what stories enjoyed the most readership and interest that year. The results often confound my expectations.

Myakka River State Park, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I check my readership data for several important reasons. First and foremost, I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what my readers actually want to read. While it’s tempting to assume I know what you want to read—my gut and personal preferences have some definite opinions—but the data is the reality.

This is actually a relief as it gives me a concrete direction on what types of content to focus on going forward. I can’t always provide the content that’s most wanted as I attempt to keep the blog well-rounded and offer something for all RVers—and wannabes—but the readership data is a fantastic guide.

Kentucky Artisan Center, Berea, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVing with Rex would like to wish its readers a safe and happy New Year.

Here are the top 10 most read and most popular RVing with Rex posts of the year, listed in the order of their readership numbers.

The top 10 most popular articles of 2021 were…

Moody Mansion, Galveston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Absolutely Best Road Trips from Houston

Texas lends itself well to adventure

Originally Posted: March 17, 2020

Corpus Christi, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. 10 Amazing Places to RV in January

RV travel allows you to take the comforts of home on the road

Originally Posted: January 4, 2021

Related: Top 10 States with the Best Winter Weather

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. The Real Florida Comes Alive at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

This state park offers many opportunities to observe the Real Florida and its wildlife

Originally Posted: January 13, 2021

Travel trailer at Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. The Pros and Cons of Buying a Travel Trailer

A travel trailer offers the amenities of a home with the portability of a trailer

Originally Posted: August 8, 2020

Camping at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. The Absolutely Best State Park Camping for Snowbirds

If you’re planning on snowbird RVing this winter consider one of these state parks. They all offer warm weather and beautiful views of the Gulf or Technicolor deserts.

Originally Posted: January 5, 2021

Related: Top 10 State Parks to Visit

Truth BBQ, Brennan, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. The Essential Guide to Eating Texas

Everything a foodie should know about the Lone Star State

Originally Posted: January 20, 2021

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. National Monuments Feature Places for Reflection and Hope

From the legacy of ancient peoples to Colonial times

Originally Posted: January 18, 2021

Tiffin motorhome at Jackson Riviera Casino RV Park, Jackson, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. THOR Buys Tiffin Motorhomes: What Happens Next?

THOR Industries Buys Tiffin Motorhomes

Originally Posted: January 16, 2021

Buckhorn Lake RV Park, Kerrville, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Announcing the Absolutely Best Campgrounds and RV Parks for 2021

Explore this guide to find some of the best camping locations across America

Originally Posted: January 3, 2021

And the most popular article of 2020 is…

Grand Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Absolutely Best Road Trip from LA to the Grand Canyon

This road trip goes from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park to Prescott to Williams to the Grand Canyon to Mojave National Preserve and back to LA

Originally Posted: July 26, 2020

A Happy New Year to all my readers. Best wishes for 2022. Find what brings you joy and go there.

Fountain Hills, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

May the months ahead be filled with great RVing experiences! Remember, the journey, and not the destination, is the joy of RVing. Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in an RV.

Happy Trails. Life is an adventure. Enjoy your journey.

Worth Pondering…

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light,

The year is dying in the night.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow,

The year is going, let him go.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Take a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day

First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2022 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and connect with friends

Usher in 2022 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes offered on January 1 at state parks and forests across America.

On New Year’s Day, park rangers across the country are inviting Americans to start 2022 with inspiring First Day Hikes. First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors.

Babcock State Park, West Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

On New Year’s Day, hundreds of free, guided hikes will be organized in all 50 states. Families across America will participate in First Day Hikes, getting their hearts pumping and enjoying the beauty of a state park. Last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country.

America’s State Parks will help capture the collective strength and importance of the great park systems developed in the 50 states. With 10,234 units and more than 759 million visits, America’s State Parks works to enhance the quality of life.

Deadhorse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.

Related: Elevate Your Hiking with Mindfulness

First Day Hikes are led by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers. The distance and rigor vary from park to park but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. People are invited to savor the beauty of the state park’s natural resources with the comfort of an experienced guide so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.

Catalina State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arizona State Parks

Spend the first day of the year in a state park and kick off the year on a healthy note. There are fun activities for all including hikes, tours, boat rides, and even s’mores! Remember to wear the appropriate shoes, bring plenty of water, a camera, and your sense of adventure.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dead Horse Ranch State Park: Meet at the West Lagoon parking lot. The guided 3-mile birding and nature hike will go along the riparian area of the Verde River and around the edges of the lagoons to look for evidence of beaver, otter, waterfowl, and other wildlife found in the park. Enjoy cookies prior to the hike.

Lost Dutchman State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lost Dutchman State Park: Start the year off right with a moderate hike on Treasure Loop Trail. Be ready for rocky terrain with a 500-foot elevation gain over 2.4 miles. Bring your water bottle, sturdy shoes, and cameras. A guiding ranger will answer questions you’ve always wanted to ask about the landscape around you.

Picacho Peak State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Picacho Peak State Park: Hike the Calloway trail up to an overlook below the face of Picacho Peak. This trail is moderately difficult. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring water. Elevation gain will be 300 feet, 1.5 miles round-trip, and roughly 1.5 hours. Meet at Harrington Loop.

Red Rock State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Red Rock State Park: Learn about Sedona’s diverse and beautiful bird species while taking a stroll through this gorgeous park with a veteran bird enthusiast. Bring binoculars to get the most out of the experience. The hike lasts approximately two hours. Meet at the Visitor Center rooftop.

Related: Hiking Arizona

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

California State Parks

More than 40 state parks and over 50 guided hikes will take place across the state in this National-led effort by the First Day Hikes program which encourages individuals and families to experience the beautiful natural and cultural resources found in the outdoors so that they may be inspired to take advantage of these treasures throughout the year.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Starting at the Visitor Center, explore desert plants, crypto-biotic crust, and signs of animals as you walk cross-country to the ½-mile Panorama Overlook Trail. Ascend by switch-backs about 200 feet up the moderate-strenuous trail to a scenic overlook of the Borrego Valley and Fonts Point. At the viewpoint, reflect on your new year with a lighthearted introspection guided by a Park Interpretive Specialist. Walk down the mountain as the sun sets on your first day of 2022.

Stephen C. Foster State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Georgia State Parks

In Georgia’s state parks and historic sites, more than 40 guided treks will encourage friends and families to connect with nature and each other. Outings range from a kid-friendly stroll through Mistletoe State Park’s campground, a hike along the banks of the Suwanee River in Stephen C. Foster State Park, a 3-mile hike through Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon, and even a night hike at Reed Bingham State Park.

Related: Best Hikes for National Hiking Month

Laura S. Walker State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During winter, hikers will notice interesting tree shapes, small streams, and rock outcrops that are normally hidden by summer’s foliage. Many guided hikes are dog-friendly and visitors are welcome to bring picnics to enjoy before or after their adventure. First Day Hikes are listed on GaStateParks.org.

Hunting Island State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

South Carolina State Parks

Kick-off the New Year with fresh air and family-friendly fun on a First Day Hike in South Carolina State Parks. More than 40 ranger-led hikes are scheduled across the state with most parks offering half-mile to 3-mile guided adventures for all ages and skill levels.

Edisto Beach State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

All participating hikers will receive an official First Day Hike sticker.

First Day Hikes will also jumpstart a new initiative in South Carolina State Parks. Beginning January 1, use #StepsInSCStateParks to share your walking, hiking, or other active adventures any time you’re visiting a park. The year-long promotion aims to encourage more visitors to get moving in South Carolina State Parks.

Related: Best Places to Plan a Hiking Trip

Hunting Island State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For the park enthusiasts who want to visit as many parks as they can on January 1, you can squeeze in four hikes by following the First Day Dash schedule:  

  • Start the day at 9:00 a.m. with a hike on the 1.25-mile Interpretive Trail at Lake Warren State Park
  • Head north to the Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site for an easy 1-mile hike on the Battlefield Trail at 11
  • Cruise over to Barnwell State Park for a 1.5-mile hike along the Dogwood Nature Trail at 1:00 pm
  • Finally, finish your day on the 1.5-mile Jungle Trail at Aiken State Park at 3:00 pm
Edisto Beach State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other First Day Hikes include a wildflower walk at Oconee Station State Historic Site, stepping into Revolutionary War history on a walk at the Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, and hunting for fossils and shells during low tide at Edisto Beach State Park.

Other events happening at parks around the state on January 1 include a ranger-guided walk on the beach at Edisto Beach State Park and an easy 1.5-mile ranger-guided hike before along the lagoon at Hunting Island State Park.

Blanco State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Texas State Parks

As New Year’s Eve merriment gives way to New Year’s Day, start 2022 in the great outdoors. Over the years, First Day Hikes have become a tradition at Texas State Parks and across the country.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area: Enchanted Rock hosts three guided summit hikes at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. The park is located at 16710 RR 965 between Llano and Fredericksburg. The two-hour hikes will be led by a park ranger or knowledgeable volunteer. Meet at the gazebo at the start of the Summit Trail.

Guadalupe River State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reservedts

Pedernales Falls State Park: Located east of Johnson City at 2585 Park Road 6026, Pedernales Falls offers two guided hike options. The first is the Pedernales Falls and Beyond hike which starts at 9 a.m. in the Falls Parking Lot. It’s a 2-mile, moderate hike. The half-mile, moderate Twin Falls Nature Trail hike starts at noon from the Twin Falls trailhead. The park is also hosting a First Day Campfire at 3 p.m. at Campsite 68.

Shenandoah River State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Virginia State Parks

Set the tone for a fantastic 2022 with a New Year’s Day hike in one of Virginia’s State Parks. First Day Hikes are a great opportunity to improve one’s physical, mental, and social health, and what better way to start the New Year than by connecting with nature. State parks offer iconic and beautiful outdoor places that support healthy, affordable, physical, and social activities.

Related: How Much Time Should You Spend in Nature?

Shenandoah River State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shenandoah River State Park: Join the Friends of Shenandoah River for a hike celebrating the New Year. Bring your family and leashed pets to Shenandoah River State Park for a hike on the Cottonwood Trail. The Cottonwood trail is about 1.5 miles long with little change in elevation. The loop at the end of the trail is a raised boardwalk but the rest can be muddy in wet weather. The Friends Group will lead the hike and provide light refreshments in the Massanutten Building. The parking fee is waived on January 1.

Conquering a challenging trail on the first day of the year will keep you motivated towards tackling even the toughest goals throughout the year.

Worth Pondering…

In every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks.

—John Muir, Steep Trails, 1918