Washington State doesn’t have as many state parks on the coast as Oregon and California, but we recently found one in a scenic, remote spot. Grayland Beach State Park is located off Highway 105 along the Pacific Coast and is only a ten-minute drive from Westport and a half-hour from Aberdeen.
A coastal state park with full hookups and smooth paved roads. All photos by Nikki Cleveland (author)
Grayland Beach SP has a wide open sandy beach that you can drive on and a wooded campground that is very RV-friendly. The roads and sites are smoothly paved and large enough for rigs up to 60 feet long.
Some sites have full hookups, some sites are without sewer. (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)
The campground has 55 full hookup sites and 38 sites with partial hookups, including pull-thrus and back-ins, along several loops. They also have 16 yurt rentals, four primitive sites in the woods, four restrooms, and eight coin-operated showers.
There is also a trailer dump station near the campground exit and a camp store in the main office that sells firewood, propane, ice, beverages, and snacks like ice cream.
Yurts also available (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)
Five trailheads around the campground will take you out to the beach. The wide open beach has wind-sculpted dunes and soft sand that you can dig your toes into.
Take the trail to the beach (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)
Head out past the dunes to the shore and watch the seagulls flying overhead and the sun setting over the horizon. During the day this beach is ideal for flying kites, walking your dog, or building sandcastles.
Watch the sunset over the ocean (Photo by Nikki Cleveland)
The state park is open year-round, but the beach can get rainy and cold by winter. You can learn more about the current Washington State Park camping fees here.
For those who have mobility issues, taking a hike down a wooded trail may sound like a distant dream. In Colorado’s Staunton State Park, a newly launched Track Chair Program now allows trail access to those who cannot explore under their own power.
Track chairs can take you off the beaten path (Photo by TC Wait)
Staunton State Park is Colorado’s newest State Park (opening in May 2013) encompassing over 3,800 acres of dramatic mountains, historic cabins, mountain meadows filled with wildflowers, and breath-taking waterfalls.
It lies about 40 miles southwest of Denver in the Elk Creek Valley between 8,000 and 10,000 feet elevation. Staunton boasts an extensive trail system for riding horses, hiking, or biking, areas designated for rock climbing, and ponds for fishing.
Enjoy scenic natural views at Staunton State Park (Photo by TC Wait)
The Staunton family, who donated the initial 1,700-acre parcel of land to become a State Park, have a healing history in the local community dating back to the 1900s. Dr. Rachael Staunton treated everyone from local ranchers to those with tuberculosis and shared healing strategies with Ute tribe members who taught her about using local herbal remedies.
From this history, Staunton State Park now offers the use of donated Track Chairs so that everyone can experience the healing magic of the trails and woods of the area.
In 2017, Staunton State Park initiated its Track Chair Program. Over 150 people participated in the program in its first season. The program relies on donated Track Chairs and volunteers. People can sign up on a first-come basis to use a chair (free of charge) to explore the park in one of the three chairs. The chair units were made available through donations to the Mark Madsen Accessibility Fund, managed by the Friends of Staunton non-profit organization.
The chairs are easy to maneuver and also have controls that the volunteer can use in the event you are not able to on your own or grow tired during your trip. The program volunteer will provide you with instructions on how to operate the chair and travel with you to ensure you have a successful adventure.
Use one of these Track Chairs free of charge at Staunton State Park (Photo by TC Wait)
Mike, one of the program volunteers, is a former LA firefighter whose wife has Multiple Sclerosis. He is enthusiastic about the success of the program and the freedom it allows people to explore or just BE in a natural area.
He says that some of the people he has accompanied in the Track Chair want to go over every rock and bump in the trail, while others want to enjoy getting out to sit in a quiet place and listen to the birds sing.
He has taken people of all ages and abilities out and each person has their own unique and beautiful experience. He says one person got caught in a brief Rocky Mountain rainstorm and laughed about getting soaked while out on a “hike.”
To reserve a Track Chair, you visit the Staunton Track Chair page. You will need to answer the questionnaire to ensure your needs can adequately be met. You will also need to have a caregiver to accompany you on your hike, in addition to the Track Chair program volunteer. A $7.00/car park entry fee is charged to all visitors.
Be sure that you bring with you what you may need to be comfortable during your hike. Water, sun protection, medical supplies, layers for inclement weather, and of course a camera are recommended.
Do you read through RV blogs and websites, dreaming about traveling when your kids leave the house? I’ve got news for you—camping in an RV is something you and your kids can do right now.
The RV lifestyle scares away most families with the idea of being cramped into a small space with impatient children or moody teenagers. Still, those brave enough to try it out often discover what other families have been missing. It’s true, traveling with kids can be hectic…or it can be the chance you need to connect as a family.
Photo by Virginia State Parks/Flickr
Choosing a location
When choosing a location to camp with your family, keep in mind the types of activities your kids are wanting to do. Are they aspiring athletes? Nature fanatics? Do they like to swim or ride bikes? Be sure to choose a campsite with plenty to do. Some of the most kid-friendly campsites are the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, a campground franchise with 85 locations scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Many of these parks offer waterslides, swimming pools, and bounce houses, not to mention character appearances from Yogi and Boo Boo. Some U.S. National Park campgrounds offer Junior Ranger programs, which may appeal to younger children.
Always be aware of how family-friendly your chosen campsite is. While kids are welcome in some parks, others may find them disruptive. Some RV parks even charge a fee for each child. If you are nervous about disturbing your neighbors, boondocking may be a good option for you. Park on legal dispersed camping grounds, where your kids can run around with plenty of space.
Photo by Charlein Gracia/Unsplash
Safety with kids
When driving with kids, safety is the number one priority. Always make sure that everyone is wearing a seatbelt, even when riding in the RV. In some states, seatbelts in RVs are not legally required, but they should always be worn regardless.
Make sure you choose the right size RV for your family. Class C vehicles are safer, but for a family of 6 or more, a Class A RV might be the only option. If little ones need to sleep in overhead bunks, consider bringing along a bedrail. Always keep printed versions of your kids’ medical records with you in case of an emergency.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash
Keeping kids happy on the road
That said, your kids can be safe while still having fun. Rather than letting children roam around the RV while it is in motion, take breaks to get out and stretch at least every 4 hours.
Try not to do a 10-hour drive all in one day. Instead, break up the trip into one-night stops at campsites where kids can swim and play. If you have infants or toddlers, schedule your driving during nap times. Trust me, you’ll be thankful for the lack of screaming.
Although it’s okay to let your kids watch movies in the car, there are quite a few other methods of entertainment that you might want to try first. Try to involve your children in the travel process as much as possible. Pick up some of those old-fashioned paper maps from AAA and show them how to plot out the trip.
Practice reading signs and billboards along the way, and do your best to answer their questions thoughtfully. Play games like car bingo or make a list of all the states you see on license plates. Listen to music as a family and sing along. Car rides don’t have to be a time to tune everyone out.
If you need quiet time, bring travel trays, paper, and crayons for your little artists. It can also be helpful to put together a “goodie bag” and reward good behavior with a new activity each leg of the trip (think play-doh, puzzle books, or magnet dolls). The kids will have fun, and you’ll get some peace and quiet.
Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash
Unplugging from technology
No one wants to go on a family vacation just to sit on their phones all day. Camping trips are about being together without electronic distractions, but if you have teenagers, this can be hard to achieve.
When choosing where to stay, consider a campsite that doesn’t offer WiFi. Better yet, leave electronics at home and plan alternate activities. Even older kids (when coaxed into participating) will enjoy s’mores, campfire sing-alongs, and board games.
Photo by Ben White/Unsplash
No matter how old your kids are, make an effort to spend time with them while camping. Read books about the region in which you’re staying and learn about local wildlife. Bring along outdoor games like croquet or cornhole, and if you have time, make a personalized scavenger hunt to complete together.
If you’re near a lake, take your kids fishing or kayaking. Many National Parks offer family-friendly hikes or geocaching (hunting for small treasures based on GPS coordinates). The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area now offers a refined form of geocaching called ParkCaching.
On rainy days, take the opportunity to teach your kids a new game, like chess or cards. Spend time as a family and make your next trip one you won’t forget.
Photo by Jude Beck/Unsplash
Learning on the road
Kids often learn the most by experiencing things for themselves, so why not take advantage of some fun ways to learn during your family trip? If you choose to camp near a city, visit a zoo or museum.
Point out plants and animals while hiking, and don’t forget to let your kids roam a bit. Encourage kids of all ages to keep travel journals or scrapbooks to document their observations. Let them draw or glue in pictures of the trip. For younger children, this is a great opportunity to practice writing, though you may have to help them spell some words.
Full-time RVers with school-age kids may want to look into roadschooling. Like homeschooling, it allows you to develop lessons for your kids, but with the added bonus of incorporating real-world activities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Traveling is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to be life-long learners.
Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Keeping it clean
When you’re living in a 400 sq. ft. motorhome, your space is bound to get messy; bringing kids along increases the chance by about a million percent. If you don’t want to lose your children under heaps of toys and blankets, it’s important to stay organized.
It can be helpful to give each child his or her own plastic shoebox to fill with whatever toys, papers, pencils, and stuffed animals they wish to bring along. This sets a limit on the number of toys they are allowed. Another way to free up space is to set up a separate “play tent” outside the RV, where you can stuff all toys, games, and books whenever they’re not being played with.
You also want to make sure that you’re not bringing too much of the outdoors in. Before letting your children inside, make sure all shoes are removed and sandy feet are rinsed. A doormat and a small broom are essential for the prevention of a dirty RV. You may want to invest a sack for dirty laundry and a cheap plastic tray for toys or dishes.
Be sure to involve your kids in campsite cleanups; believe it or not, many children enjoy being new given responsibilities. You can even make chore time into a game—try playing “Simon Says” with clearing the table or have competitions to see who can gather the most firewood.
Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash
One of the best parts of a camping trip comes after dark. No trip is complete without a blazing campfire. Use this time to circle up and hold a family sing along with silly camp songs or have a marshmallow-toasting contest.
Kids will love roasting hot dogs on a stick. You can also set aside a special snack to have only during RV trips—your kids will learn to associate this food tradition with family camping and have something to look forward to each time. When putting little ones to bed, maintain the same nighttime routine that you follow at home. Bring along your child’s blanket or pacifier and try to put them to bed around the usual time.
Even after the campfire dies down, nighttime can be a fun time to play with your kids. Reduce stress by buying glow stick bracelets or necklaces; the kids will love it, and you’ll be able..
Cooking while camping can seem like a daunting task. Problems like food storage, time management, and limited counter space can make having home-cooked meals seem impractical. Even with access to electricity, you might be tempted to skip the wholesome meals and head to a fast food restaurant.
On the other hand, it’s important to remain happy and healthy on the road. Preparing ahead of time for what you’re planning to cook can turn a slightly intimidating experience into a simple and efficient one.
Try these simple recipes in your RV or over the campfire. Photo by Dan Edwards
Spice mixes: Rather than packing loads of individual spices, choose from a few versatile combinations. Taco Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, and Pumpkin Pie Spice are some great options.
Canned goods: Reduce cooking time and improve storage by stocking up on canned beans, tomatoes, and fruit. Cans are cheap and easy to stack—just remember to pack a can opener.
Sauces: If possible, mix up your own sauces and dressings from scratch before you begin a trip. Homemade sauces will taste better and can be easily preserved in mason jars.
Dry goods: Be sure to pack staple foods such as rice, pasta, dried fruits, oats, and nuts, especially if you’re planning to cook your own dishes.
Snacks: Try to find healthy, non-perishable snacks like trail mix or beef jerky. It helps to have something you can throw in your backpack for a hike or day at the beach.
Baking mixes: Instead of filling your cupboards with flour, baking soda, sugar, and other baking essentials, use pre-made flour blends. You might be surprised by how much you can make with a box of pancake mix.
Local foods: Try to find fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets or roadside stands. If you’re near a fishing source, plan your meal around freshly-caught trout. Pack non-perishables in your pantry and eat fresh when you can.
Slow cooker/Pressure cooker: Although they consume more electricity than other methods, slow cookers and pressure cookers are convenient for days when you’re short on time. The Instant Pot serves as both, with 9 different settings for cooking meals.
Solar oven: Though it may seem unreliable, a good solar oven can be a worthwhile investment. Even without direct sunlight, some can reach temperatures up to 400° Fahrenheit, allowing you to cook almost anything as well as sanitize your drinking water.
Microwave oven: Though it can take up a lot of your precious counter or cupboard space, a microwave oven offers more convenience than any other cooking method, as it can quickly cook or reheat almost any food.
Aluminum foil: Never underestimate the power of good old aluminum foil. Whether cooking on the stove, in the oven, or over the fire, foil is often a necessity.
Below are some easy recipes to cook in your RV or campsite. Try them out when you’re craving a home-cooked meal, either for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Enjoy the smell of Thanksgiving all year round with this easy-to-make scramble. Using nonperishable stuffing mix, you can have it ready to serve it as a savory breakfast, lunch, or dinner in less than 15 minutes. Cook in a cast-iron skillet over the fire or a camping stove, or use the sauté feature on an Instant Pot.
2. Basic Omelette
Omelettes can be served any time of the day. Photo by Igor Miske/Unsplash
Omelettes are another easy dish that can be served any time of the day. Requiring only a few basic ingredients, you can easily whip it up in a cast iron skillet. Add whatever’s available to you—basil, pine nuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, or cheese.
3. PaniniPaninis can be made on the grill or over the fire. Photo by Shanice Garcia/Unsplash
Spice up your boring sandwiches by throwing them on the grill. Fill your panini with meat, cheese, and condiments of your choice, then brush the outside with butter or olive oil. Wrap the sandwiches in aluminum foil and place on a camping grill with a brick or cast iron skillet on top.
For simple preparation and easy cleanup, cook pasta, meat, and vegetables in the same cast iron skillet, either over the open fire or on a camping stove. Try this recipe for a wholesome spin on macaroni and cheese.
Craving something sweet? Grill seasonal fruit over the fire or grill for a simple and healthy dessert. Serve with vanilla ice cream for a special occasion.
6. Five-Minute Oatmeal
Whip up breakfast for the whole family in just five minutes. Photo from The Typical Mom
Whip up breakfast for the whole family in just five minutes using an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, oatmeal can be made on a camping stove in about 15 minutes.
7. Lasagna CasseroleLasagna casserole, perfect for cold nights. Photo from The Typical Mom
In chilly weather, nothing sounds better than a home-baked, comfort food casserole. Not all RVs are equipped with ovens, so this pressure cooker alternative is a delicious way to go.
8. Foil Pack FajitasWrap your fajitas in foil and cook them in the oven, on a grill, or over the fire. Photo from Kraft
Throw together this easy dinner on a night that you’re in a rush. Wrapped in foil, these fajitas can be cooked in an oven, on a grill, or in the ashes of the campfire. The best part? There are no dishes to wash!
For a refreshing lunch, mix up a quick chicken salad using avocado instead of mayonnaise. Since it lacks condiments, this meal saves room in your fridge and is a bit healthier. Serve on hamburger buns, lettuce, or half of a fresh avocado.
RV Life by Dave Helgeson - Adventures In Rving - 5d ago
Railroads conquered the mountain passes of the west long before highways were constructed. Much engineering was required to construct a rail grade gentle and straight enough to accommodate the locomotives along with the freight and passenger cars they carried.
The railroad over Washington State’s Steven Pass was no exception, requiring extensive tunnels, fills and soaring trestles. The initial line which was opened in 1893, went over the summit of Stevens Pass via a series of switchbacks. To improve the line, the digging of a 2.6-mile long tunnel to eliminate the switchbacks was commenced in August 1897 and completed on December 20th, 1900. While the tunnel improved travel times across the pass, snow slides plagued the line eventually resulting in one of the worst train disasters in history.
Early on the morning of March 1st, two trains, which had become trapped on the pass by snow slides, where caught in a massive avalanche which swept both trains off the tracks into the canyon below killing most of the people on both trains. The final fatality count was 96, which included passengers and railroad employees that had come to help clear the tracks.
Disaster interpretive panel. Photos by Dave Helgeson
To prevent a repeat of this tragic event, extensive snow sheds were built over the rail line while a longer tunnel that would be built at a lower elevation to avoid avalanche prone areas was planned. The new tunnel with an impressive length of 7.8 miles was opened in 1929.
Today the abandoned portion of the old rail line, including the area where the disaster occurred, has been turned into an interpretive trail known as the Iron Goat Trail. The trail offers miles of hiking opportunities from three trailheads including a section suitable for those using a wheelchair. Interpretive panels along the way tell the story of construction challenges and the disaster.
Section of trail
When you go:
As mentioned, there are three areas to access the trail.
Scenic Trailhead just off Highway 2: Easy RV access at N47° 42.680 W121° 09.790
Martin Creek Trailhead: Several miles on a gravel road to reach, use your tow vehicle or dinghy. N47° 43.764 W121° 12.409
Wellington Trailhead: Rough asphalt to get there. N47° 44.834 W121° 07.655
Trail through old snowshed
A great option for enjoying the whole trail is dropping your RV at the Scenic Trailhead and taking your tow vehicle or dinghy to the Wellington Trailhead and starting your hike there, which results in a one way downhill hike.
One of several tunnels
Stevens Pass Ski area offers overnight electric sites for $25 per night. There is also a large place to disperse camp just off Highway 2 on Forest Service Road 6095 between the Scenic and Wellington Trailheads at N47° 43.196 W121° 07.270
Note that the turnoff for this spot is only accessible via eastbound Highway 2. There are also additional places to disperse camp farther up Forest Service Road 6095 but are best scouted out in advance before driving to them with your RV.
Hiking historic rail lines and remembering those that perished on them years ago, a solemn adventure in RVing!
Boondocking, also known as dry camping, dispersed camping, or wild camping, is the art of staying in the wilderness without hookups or designated campsites.
For RVers looking for tranquility, isolation, and a way to reconnect with nature, it is an ideal experience. Boondocking has its difficulties, but if you arrive prepared, you can have the time of your life.
Get away from crowded campgrounds. Photo from Pixabay
Where to camp
Boondocking is legal in many national parks and wildlife refuges, from the Grand Canyon to the bayous of Louisiana. Travelers are allowed to drive through government-designated “dispersed camping areas” and park their vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis. However, you are still required to clean up after yourself and be respectful of the environment.
How to short-term camp without hookups
One of the main aspects of boondocking that scares away travelers is the idea of camping without water, sewer, or electrical hookups. When you’re staying in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a lot of flexibility, but if you’re planning a short-term trip (2-4 days), you shouldn’t have many problems.
Start your trip with a full fresh water tank and empty sewer tanks, and make sure you have enough fuel to last your trip. Stock up on propane and charge your RV battery. If you monitor your water and energy usage, your trip will be a breeze.
How to long-term camp without hookups
If you’re feeling extra ambitious and want to boondock for weeks on end, you need to be more prepared. During long stays without access to dump stations, your gray and black water tanks can become too full. Gray water, though illegal to dump all at once, can be thinly distributed and sprinkled around the camp; just be sure to use eco-friendly biodegradable soaps for showering and dishes.
Under no circumstances can black water be disposed of without a dump station. To prevent your tank from filling up during your stay, you may want to invest in a sewer tote. However unpleasant it may sound, it can give you extra storage when your tank is full. Full-time boondockers may want to switch to a composting toilet, eliminating the black water problem altogether.
As far as electricity, you should consider how often you think you’ll be boondocking. It may be worth investing in a portable solar panel. If solar is not an option for you financially, you can run off of your battery.
Be mindful of your power usage, and choose activities such as hiking or journaling to entertain yourself rather than watching TV. Use LED lights in your RV to conserve electricity. It can be helpful to carry a generator, though you won’t want to disturb the peace by running it all the time. If necessary, you can use it to charge your battery.
Monitor your water usage as well. Take shorter showers and wipe off dishes before rinsing them. You may want to buy jugs of water or purchase a water distiller to avoid emptying your tank. You can also minimize trash by eating fresh food instead of packaged meals.
Boondocking in Oklahoma. Photo by Bethany/Flickr
Nothing ruins what should be a fun camping trip like obnoxious neighbors. Even when you’re parking your RV in a wide open space, there may be other campers nearby.
Canada offers plenty of wide-open spaces with endless spectacular views. One area in British Columbia that offers both of those elements is Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf & RV Park, located in the small farming community of Edgewater.
Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf & RV Park. Photos via Facebook
Set in the picturesque Columbia Valley, the family-owned and operated Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf & RV Park is nestled between the Rocky Mountains and Purcell Mountain range and is a favorite of those who’ve been lucky enough to discover this hidden gem.
For the last 83 years, the Lautrup family has owned the property that now includes the nine-hole golf course and 12 site RV park. In 1994, 40 acres of the Lautrup farmland was converted into a golf course, and it’s been a popular draw ever since.
This bucolic track a few miles from Radium Hot Springs is a par 27 and a short 1,101 yards. A great place to practice your short game, the signature hole at Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 is the 83-yard, par 3, 7th. From an elevated tee box, your eye catches the pond on the right and the steep gully to the left.
Regardless of the outcome, you can’t help but enjoy the view! Walking the course takes about an hour-and-a-half, depending on how many photos you take!
In year’s past, the family owned and operated a small motel on the property. Keeping with that entrepreneurial spirit, current owners George and Jeannette Lautrup added a small RV park in 2015.
Seven of the sites offer full hookups that include 30 amp electrical, water, sewer, fire pits, and picnic tables. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, newly-constructed washrooms with showers, and laundry facilities.
In addition to the golf course and fantastic scenery, Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf & RV Park is also known by the locals as one of the best places to dine. Visitors soon discover that everything is made fresh, including the homemade pies baked daily.
Do you need to lose weight? No, I don’t mean go on a diet or start exercising more. I’m talking about trailer weight—you know, those extra pounds that stack up every time you buy a souvenir or invest in a new DVD player for your RV.
According to the RVSEF, about 60% of travel trailers exceed their maximum weight capacity. A couple extra pounds may seem like a minor problem, but the truth is that excessive trailer weight is responsible for the majority of RV safety issues. Keep reading to find out how to avoid these hazards and make your next trip a safe one.
How to find out if you’re overweight
The first step is to find out if your trailer actually is overweight. Check the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) in your tow car’s manual to determine the maximum weight your vehicle can handle, including itself and its passengers. When you have this number, you need to take your trailer to a weighing station.
The most accurate method is wheel position weighing, which determines how much weight is resting on each of the vehicle’s wheels. This allows you to see if the trailer’s weight is unevenly distributed. Only a few companies offer wheel position weighing, but many of them travel the country. If you’re willing to pay the $75 for an accurate measurement, you can make an appointment online.
A cheaper and more convenient way to get a semi-accurate weight measurement is by using a certified CAT scale, found at many truck stops. These cost about $10 the first time you measure, and only a couple dollars each time afterward. CAT scales take an axle-by-axle reading, which still gives you a good idea of your trailer’s weight. Just make sure you are far below the maximum capacity.
Check the GVWR in your tow car’s manual to determine the maximum weight your vehicle can handle
Dangers of traveling with an overweight trailer
If your trailer’s weight (including all cargo and passengers) does exceed your vehicle’s maximum capacity, driving with the trailer attached is a huge risk. Overweight trailers put more pressure on the wheels and axles than they are designed to handle, which can cause tire blowouts or trailer sway.
Excess weight causes tires to wear more quickly and makes it harder to stop the vehicle. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, you will be liable. Insurance companies will be less likely to help pay for damages. Police officers can also pull you over and give you a hefty fine if they suspect that your trailer is overweight. In other words, traveling with extra weight just isn’t worth the issues that it can cause.
Too much weight can cause problems like trailer sway. Photo by Larry & Teddy Page/Flickr
How to lose weight
“So,” you may be asking, “now what?” The answer is simple—it’s time to lose some weight. Obviously, you can’t throw out large items like your mattress or toilet, but you might be surprised at how much you can downsize by paying attention to the small things in your trailer.
Every time you buy a souvenir, a decoration, or even a storage basket, you add weight to your trailer. These tiny amounts really add up, so consider getting rid of some of the extra stuff. Ask yourself which items you need to keep, and which ones you hardly ever use. This could be clothing, extra bedding, unnecessary dishes, or the camp stove you never cook with. Be frugal with what you decide to buy and keep the weight of your trailer in mind.
Donate extra clothing that you never wear. Photo by Francesca Tirico/Unsplash
Top tips for trailer weight
Fill it up: Keep in mind that water, propane, and fuel add extra weight. Fill all your tanks before weighing for an accurate measurement.
Weigh in advance: Don’t wait until the day you start a long trip to weigh your trailer. Give yourself time to make adjustments and make an appointment at a weighing station if you need to.
Balance your weight: Even if your trailer falls within the weight limits, too much weight on one side can cause a serious accident. Rearrange your things to evenly distribute their weight.
Leave room to grow: Don’t go traveling with a trailer that falls just a pound or two under the weight limit. Leave as much room as possible in case you absolutely have to add something.
Weigh your stuff: When packing your trailer, consider stacking food, clothes, and anything else that you’re bringing in a cardboard box and weighing it on a bathroom scale. This can give you an idea of how many pounds you’re adding.
Overweight trailers may seem like a small problem, but surpassing your vehicle’s maximum capacity can be disastrous. Pay attention to your trailer’s weight and stay safe on the road.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a unique outdoor venue located in Morrison, Colorado (about 15 miles west of Denver). Red Rocks has hosted multitudes of world-class concerts where musicians take advantage of the natural acoustics from the surrounding rock formations.
Red Rocks Amphitheater. Photo by Jasperdo/Flickr
The Beatles, Nat King Cole, U2, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, The Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, John Denver, and more have performed at the venue over the years, making it one of the most well-known venues in the US.
Historic photo of Red Rocks before construction, circa 1930. (Photo via Colorado History Museum)
1. The first concert held at Red Rocks was in 1906, hosted by John Walker, the visionary behind creating Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Pietro Satriano and his 25-piece brass band played the first show. Walker eventually sold the venue to the City of Denver, and work began to build the open area park and amphitheater from Walker’s initial dream. The amphitheater was officially opened in 1941.
2. Surrounding the amphitheater are over 860 acres of open space including hiking and biking trails, the Trading Post, visitor center, and a restaurant called the Ship Rock Grille.
The Red Rocks Trail is a 6-mile loop through the rock formations with access to amazing scenic vistas. Access to the open space park is free and open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The amphitheater is closed to the public during concerts and events.
3. The spectacular red rock formations that make up Red Rocks are from the Fountain Formation, left behind by ancient river deposits.
These sediments were deposited between 340 and 290 million years ago. Many fossils can be found in different beds of the formations including plants, brachiopods, crinoids, and gastropods.
The reddish color is due to oxidized iron minerals, creating a “rust” hue. The rocks were deposited flat, then much later were thrust up into their tilted angles during the uplift that created the present Rocky Mountains. Some of the formations are nearly vertical, while others dip at less dramatic angles.
4. The Trading Post dates back to 1931 and was originally known as the Pueblo. Today the Trading Post sells unique Red Rocks souvenirs and memorabilia.
The views from the Trading Post are amazing. The backyard area can be rented for weddings or summer events.
Exhibits and artifacts encompassing the state’s musical history are open to the public to browse.
6. Following a riot during a 1971 Jethro Tull concert where tear gas had to be used to control the rowdy crowds, Denver Mayor William McNichols banned rock music at the amphitheater.
The ban was lifted five years later by concert promoter Barry Fey.
When not in use, the venue makes for a brisk workout routine.
7. Many people take advantage of the amphitheater during non-event times as a fitness venue.
At an elevation of 6,000 feet, the venue includes two staircases on each side of the seating area, each with about 380 vertical steps to climb.
With the 69 rows of bleacher seats, a serpentine route through the bleachers equates to approximately 3 miles of ascent or descent.
8. During anniversary events commemorating the 9/11 tragedy, firefighters, EMTs, flight crews, and supporters do nine complete rounds of stair climbing to reflect the 110 stories of stairs climbed by emergency crews on September 11, 2001.
9. During the summer, usually on a Monday or Tuesday, Red Rocks features its Film on the Rocks series, showing favorite movies preceded by a live local concert or comedian.
This is a fantastic, affordable, family-friendly way to experience local talent and enjoy a favorite movie.
Although there is no camping within the Red Rocks park area, the park is a short distance from great campgrounds at either Bear Creek Lake Park or near Golden.
Few things are more refreshing than taking a leisurely drive past stunning landscapes and through otherworldly terrain. Take a break from domestic monotony and focus your next RV adventure on one of the USA’s most breathtaking routes.
Even if you think you can’t be tempted into planning a road trip, these 10 scenic drives may just cure your provincialism and inspire you to explore.
1. Route 66
Route 66. Photo by Jakub Gorajek on Unsplash
Also known as the “Mother Road”, Route 66 is one of the oldest and most famous highways in the United States. It trails through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, beginning in the heart of Chicago.
Once an essential passageway to the West, the historical route has inspired various books, movies, and songs. Today, the 2,451-mile drive provides travelers with diverse terrain, unusual landmarks, and nostalgic memories of the Old West.
2. Richardson Highway
Richardson Highway. Photo by Madeleine Deaton on Flickr
Cruise past some of Alaska’s natural wonders along a 360-mile stretch known as the Richardson Highway. Glacial mountains, sprawling canyons, and abundant wildlife line the winding roads from Fairbanks to Valdez.
Before you leave, visit the town of North Pole, where travelers can visit the Santa Claus House any time of the year.
The beauty of Florida’s Overseas Highway lasts for 113 miles, 7 of which pass completely over the Pacific Ocean. Not surprisingly, locals have nicknamed this section the “Seven-Mile Bridge.”
Visit when traffic is minimal and enjoy a tranquil drive to Key West, the southernmost point of the contiguous United States.
4. Hana Highway
Hana Highway. Photo By Ella Emsheimer
Hawaii is known for its scenic beauty, so it’s no surprise that its islands hold some of the most beautiful routes in the United States. Hana Highway, which circles most of the island of Maui, snakes along cliffs’ edges, through rainforests, and past Haleakala volcano, ending in Hana.
The entire trip only takes about 3 hours, so you will have plenty of time to stop and admire the waterfalls or sample some of Maui’s famous roadside banana bread.
5. Highway 100
Vermont’s Highway 100. Photo from Pixabay
Although Vermont’s Highway 100 is gorgeous all year round, it reaches a new level of brilliance once a year. Every October, the once-green trees adopt new color schemes of red, orange, and yellow, blazing like roadside wildfires.
In the spring and summer, the drive still offers rushing streams and covered bridges, passing through charming New England towns. If you decide to travel in the winter, keep in mind that you may get snowed in.
6. Great River Road
Great River Road. Photo from Pixabay
Passing through 10 states and covering a distance of 2,320 miles, the Great River Road is the longest scenic byway in the United States. It follows the Mississippi River through the Old South, past historic plantations, and up north, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota.
The route cuts through the United States and weaves past innumerable landmarks, following the most historically significant trading route in the United States.
The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway winds through Southern Louisiana, past Grecian architecture, swampy cypresses, and twisted oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The dark water and haunting stillness of the bayou make it the perfect setting for a Gothic novel.
Following the marshy river into Louisiana’s French Region, you are likely to encounter Cajun cuisine and locals who still speak an authentic Acadian dialect.
8. Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway. Photo by Thomas Ciszewski on Unsplash
Spanning the entire coast of California is the incredibly photogenic Pacific Coast Highway. Also known as Highway 1, it stretches from the California-Oregon border to the southernmost point of San Diego.
Cruise along coastal bluffs, across Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge, and past seaside redwood forests while taking an unparalleled journey along the West Coast.
9. Newfound Gap Road
Newfound Gap Road. Photo by Phil Varney on Flickr
Newfound Gap Road carves through the Great Smoky Mountains, offering travelers panoramic views of colorful foliage and sierra sunsets.
Start in Asheville, North Carolina and drive through mountain passes into Tennessee. If you visit during the fall, you’ll be plunged into golden forests along the way.
10. Flint Hills National Scenic Byway
Flint Hills National Scenic Byway. Photo by Patrick Emerson on Flickr
The Flint Hills region of Kansas is breathtaking any time of the day. Drive through in the morning if you’re craving emerald foothills and blue skies, or wait until evening to witness some of the best sunsets in the Midwest.
Visiting in the spring is highly recommended, especially if you’re looking for a drive through vivid prairies bursting with wildflowers.