Travel

Edible Plants Along the Trails

 

 

The trails are alive with food! Sometimes, it just takes a keen eye to locate it. Fruits like blackberries and apples are pretty easily identified, while mushrooms, for instance, require more rigorous identification before eating. It is always best to have a field guide for the region you are visiting in order to identify edible plants in the wild and many are available for purchase online or to check out from your local library. When staying at National and Regional Parks, be sure to check in with rangers and campground hosts about collecting edible plants in the wild. Here are a few universal plants in North America that you may come across, and taste, on your next hike.

 

Dandelion –  The humble dandelion can be eaten entirely, from flowers to leaves to roots. Young leaves and flowers can be added to salads or eaten raw, while older leaves and roots taste best boiled.

 

Cattail – This easily identified marsh plant is another plant that can be eaten nearly in its entirety. Young shoots just appearing out of the water are great chopped and steamed like leeks and have a wonderful nutty flavor. Roots are a little fibrous, but can be peeled to the soft, white inner core, chopped, and fried like potatoes. Be careful to inspect the water source where the cattail grows and avoid plants growing in polluted water.

 

 

Wild Onion – If it looks and smells like an onion, it can be eaten like an onion. If it does not smell like an onion, leave it be. Related and smaller garlic and chives can be used in the same way and can add some wonderful flavor to any foraged plant on this list.

 

Purslane – If you are a gardener or tend to your lawn at home, you are probably already familiar with this widely available “weed”. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is a wonderful addition to other mixed greens collected on the trails. Purslane is high in beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids and grows low to the ground like a miniature succulent.

 


Milk Thistle – Milk thistle leaves take a little work to prepare, but the resulting cooked greens are both nutritious and delicious. Use gloves or a bandana to collect the leaves from the plant, cut the spines from the leaves, and boil for an easy meal with other greens, roots, or fruit.

National & Regional Parks Made for Boondocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boondocking is not for everyone. It takes resilience and an open heart to rely completely on yourself and what you have within your RV… no hookups, no wifi, no facilities, and often no other people. Some national and regional parks offer a happy midline between basic amenities and  “roughing it”, and are a great way to see if boondocking is for you. The key is knowing what is available in the surrounding vicinity should you need things like food, water, or additional shelter. Here are several locations to consider trying out this unfettered approach to camping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canyonlands National Park – Utah

Besides being one of the most breathtaking parks you will likely encounter in the United States, Canyonlands consists of miles and miles of back-country camping for both tents and RVs. Nearby Dead Horse Point State Park has simple pull in camp spots with no hookup and no water, but with a nearby visitor center on site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imperial Sand Dunes BLM Land – California

Located in the Southeast corner of California, Imperial Sand Dunes has been a snowbird RV destination for years. You will encounter many other RV enthusiasts here, so plan on being surrounded by many others with their sport ATVs and dirt bikes. There are no hookups or facilities, but overnight camping is permitted and amenities are nearby in Winterhaven, CA and Yuma, AZ.

 

 

Big Cypress National Preserve – Florida

Big Cypress has many “front country” pull in campgrounds with no hookup and no facilities, as well as miles of backcountry preserve. Visitor and welcome centers are limited in the park, but offer enough amenities if you find yourself in a bind.

Wildlife Viewing Tips & Etiquette

 

One of the greatest joys of being on an RV excursion is how it brings us closer to the natural beauty of the world we live in. For some, that means simply going on a hike with a spectacular view as a destination. However, none of us are unfamiliar with the thrill of encountering wildlife along the way. Indeed, some of us camp for no reason other than to see spectacular wildlife in their natural habitat. By following some of these tips, you can make your wildlife viewing excursion even more successful.

 

The general rule of thumb for viewing wildlife is three-fold… be patient, be early, and be quiet. You will want to arrive at your viewing destination in the early morning, in most cases before dawn. Once there, you will need to find a comfortable place to be still and quiet. Don’t forget that wildlife often strive not to be found by predators, meaning they will remain hidden until things are quiet and peaceful. Waiting for that right moment can take a while, sometimes up to an hour. Do not give up! Wildlife viewing in itself can be like an act of meditation.

 

 

Come prepared with field guides so that you are able to identify the wildlife that you encounter, or anticipate natural habitat where specific wildlife might be found. Pay attention to edge spaces in particular, such as where forest gives way to meadow or a stream cuts through a canyon. Using binoculars or a telephoto lens on a camera is a good way to approach these habitats without being noticed by the local fauna.

 

 

Learn to interpret various animal signs, like tracks, markings, or droppings. These can lead you to areas where herd animals like bighorn sheep or bison congregate. Move slowly, quietly, and deliberately while tracking and keep an eye out for viewing areas where you can remain out of sight from approaching animals.

 

 

Many rules of etiquette also apply, like leaving pets at home so as not to ruin other wildlife viewers’ experience. Additionally, leave things that make noise behind, like cell phones and iPods. Some wildlife have such a keen sense of hearing that even headphones with music can scare them off. Respect private property and sensitive habitats, as setting foot in these areas can disrupt the natural habitat of the wildlife you are seeking.

 

 

 

Lastly, be sure to bring a journal to document your excursion and the wildlife you encounter. While a photo can sometimes be captured successfully (be sure your volume is turned off if using a cell phone), a journal entry is always effective for capturing how you felt in the moment.

5 RV Campgrounds for Adventure

Looking for some bucket list adventure destinations that are guaranteed to produce a good time? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best adventures YOU can enjoy on your next camping trip.

Biking the Redwoods – Klamath Camper Corral

This is one of the craziest bike rides in the USA. It’s not one of the most dangerous, although it does shoot you racing down a mountain on a single track trail…

The reason it should be on everyone’s bucket list is that the Last Chance Section of the Coastal Trail puts you in a place where you’re able to pedal through the giant redwoods. It’s not just a chance to bike through the tallest trees in the world, but the entire time you’re either listening or looking down the cliff at the Pacific Ocean crashing below.

There are actually countless adventures that are within a few miles of this campground and you can even walk across the famous 101 freeway to the Drive Thru Tree.

Shark Fishing in the Keys – Fiesta Key RV Resort

Have you ever dreamed of reeling in a shark?

The Fiesta Key RV Resort is a place where you can watch Manatee, Shark, Dolphin and Snorkelers swim past you while you eat at the RV Resort Restaurant.

The big adventure here is the fishing. They have a marina where campers can safely park their boats for an incredible fishing vacation. Chum is legal to attract the sharks so it’s VERY easy to attract them to your boat. The retails store has everything you need to get out and catch the big one and there’s a bass pro shop just down the road.

If you don’t have your own boat there are boat rental and guide services at very reasonable rates.

Surfing on a World Class Beach – Newport Dunes RV Resort

Newport Beach California is full of surfers and models. The Newport Dunes RV Resort is a high end RV Resort that puts you in the heart of Orange County Surf Culture. You’re also in perfect position to take some beautiful day trips up OR down the PCH like Huntington and Laguna Beach.

Located directly on the Newport Bay, you’re minutes from a variety of famous surf breaks. The pier is a popular local spot where you can take lessons, eat at great bars/restaurants and enjoy some people watching.

2 miles down the peninsula (we recommend taking the bike/walking boardwalk path) is Balboa and at the very end is the world famous The Wedge. It’s not uncommon to see 20+ foot waves crushing the people who brave these powerful heavy waves.

Riding in the Desert – Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area

Looking for a place with unlimited potential to find great riding?

The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is a campground where 4 wheelers and dirt bike riders hang out and head out into the dunes from the campground.

There’s a few aspects to why this is such a wonderful place for adventure.

The Riding is top notch AND you’ll often find it to be a group of like minded riders who are camping there. Many of them travel in large groups to increase the fun level even more!

Fishing off the RV Deck – Wilderness Lakes RV Resort

Thousand Trails is a campground membership that is a great solution for Full Timers to enjoy quality RV Resorts at a reasonable rate. One of their campgrounds is the Wilderness Lakes in the Temecula area.

There are countless wineries nearby but the big adventure is if you have a toy hauler you can back it up on top of the water, where they have stocked canals ready for you to reel in the big one.

Many RV Resorts stock their private fishing pond/lakes so their guests increase the ability to catch fish along with not having to have a fishing license. Although you can back up to many campgrounds and fish off the deck the amount of waterfront sites here ensures that even during camping season you’ll be able to get a spot on the water with no reservation.

 

Must haves for RV Parents

Plastic Noodle Cooker

The easiest way to make noodles is a plastic noodle cooker. All you have to do is put the noodles along with some water into it, slap it into the microwave and BAM! Huge time saver for Mom’s preparing meals.

 

Decibel App

Did you know babies are in big danger of hearing damage if they are in an environment with noise over 100 decibels and even 90 decibels if it’s for an extended period of time. Don’t be stuck at an event, restaurant or anywhere with loud music wondering if you’re hurting your kids health when you can just check the app and know for sure.

Baby Monitor

Yep this is a must if you ever want to make it out to the campfire after the kids are put down to bed. It’s the perfect way to relax at the end of a day of exploring around the campground.

Walmart App

Everybody wants a deal and an often stop for many RVers is Walmart. What a lot of people don’t know is that on their app they have a savings checker where it automatically looks at all the things you bought and the cost from their competitors and it price matches it for you automatically. So just by taking this extra step you put money directly into your pocket!

Off road/jogging stroller

Some campgrounds are going to have rough roads, trails and paths. A stroller with big inflated wheels is key when you’re out in many rural campgrounds. A hike in the stroller is also a great way to be able to enjoy time outside with a good chance of the kids falling asleep.

Small size crib

Every possible way to save space in your RV is a good idea. Did you know they make space saving cribs? They are excellent alternatives for RVers to travel with a baby.

Another great option is using a pack and play, although that’s more of a short term solution.

Hiking Backpack

Looking to do a long trek into the wilderness… with your kid? Some areas you have no chance of bringing a stroller and some situations call for a beefy backpack to sling your kid up top.

Dog to clean up the mess

Kids make massive messes with their food. A good ole 4 legged companion does a great job of doing the initial cleanup phase on the back of an RV Deck.

Small size crib

Every possible way to save space in your RV is a good idea. Did you know they make space saving cribs? They are excellent alternatives for RVers to travel with a baby.

Another great option is using a pack and play, although that’s more of a short term solution.

Why Fall is the Best Time to RV

“Chasing the Foliage” is becoming a popular event. In fact, most RVers will tell you autumn is the best time to go camping. The beauty of this season is unrivaled in many parts of the country. But that’s just part of the benefits of RVing in the fall. Before you winterize or head south for the season you might want to schedule one last camping trip for these reasons. – note: all of these photos were taken on Fall RV Trips.

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Easy RV Upgrades

RoadWarrior(3)_preview.jpegDo you have a Honey-do list that seems to keep growing?  Although there might not be a quick fix to all upgrades, there are certainly some that you don’t need to make harder than they have to be. Below is a list of RV upgrades that don’t require you to bust out your toolbox.

 

 

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