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Near Gagetown, Michigan

Traveling through the Midwest this summer? Have children or grandchildren aboard?  The Thumb Octagon Barn is just the place for a stopover, and it is free.

This “is easily the most unusual barn anywhere in the region. It is the largest timber frame octagon barn in the country at 102 feet across and 70 feet high,” according to Michigan Back Roads Getaways.

The complex is a great place for kids to explore and folks of all ages to enjoy.

Looking to volunteer while you’re RVing? Check out this place.  One fulltime RVer, Rob Hendershot from Oregon, volunteered for a month while he was visiting family nearby.

“I gave tours of the barn,” he said.  “It was great fun and I met hundreds of people from around the country.”  If you can just pitch in for a day, check to see if there is room on a Monday construction crew.

“Every Monday, if conditions permit, there is an adult construction crew that works on many projects throughout the year. Adults wishing to join may contact: Louis Wehrman (989) 648-3480; or Wayne Lenton (989) 658-8283,” according to the website.

RV campgrounds nearby

Looking for a place to camp within about 15 miles, try Campers Haven Family Campground in Bad Ax, Michigan; or the Sebewaing River Campground in Sebewaing, Michigan.

Julianne G. Crane

The post Thumb Octagon Barn in Michigan appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Dorothy’s House in Kansas (dorothyshouse.com)

Dorothy and Toto blew into our hearts from Kansas in the award-winning 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” It was not until 1981 that Dorthy’s House was finally discovered. It is a perfect RV Short Stop for families.

A handful of savvy citizens from Liberal, a small town in southwest Kansas, found a 1907 farm house. Volunteers moved it to the town’s Museum grounds and transformed it into a replica of the house in the film.

Visitors follow a painted Yellow Brick Road through the adjoining ‘Land of Oz.’ The 5,000 square-foot animated exhibit space features a series of dioramas inspired by the film.

Seward County Historical Museum

Save time to visit the Seward County Historical Museum. It “features items that helped to settle the territory during its Wild West heyday. The museum houses a large collection of things that gave the area a more civilized tone, including a beautifully restored ornate antique organ, quilts, and home furnishings.”

To read more about Dorothy’s House click here for details about hours and admission fees.

For RV campgrounds near Liberal, click here.

— Julianne G. Crane

The post Dorothy’s House from “The Wizard of Oz” great family RV Short Stop appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Mount Rainier reflects in a small lake at the top of the Tatoosh Range. (NPS)

Rush right over to your closest National Park or monument on, Saturday, April 20, because it is a *free entrance day as part of National Park Week (April 20-28, 2019). Fee waivers include: entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. Read details here.

BTW: Thousands of National Park Service handbooks, reports and articles are available free online. “What an amazing resource,” says Chuck Woodbury, editor of RVTravel.com.

There will be three more free days this year

Click here for more articles on National Parks.

Julianne G. Crane

Photos: New River Gorge National River, West Virginia; Mount Rainier National Park. (nps.gov)

The post All National Parks free on Saturday, April 20 appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Field of Bluebonnets (Chase A. Fountain, © Texas Parks and Wildlife).

Amazingly wildflowers blanket Texas each Spring. Now through June is the peak of Texas’ spring wildflower season. With more than 5,000 species of native flowering plants, the Lone Star State is known for its breathtaking vistas. Autumn wildflowers bloom September through November.

I have criss-crossed much of Texas searching for  dazzling Bluebonnets (dating back to my college days decades ago at the University of Texas, Austin). One sweet search was with my sister, Nancy Jean Butler in 2008, a few months before she passed.

Texas Hill Country

Wandering the back roads of the Texas Hill Country, a favorite destination is always the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historical Park, between Johnson City and Fredericksburg.

LBJ’s reconstructed childhood home (NPS)

On one trip with my father, James Franklin Grandin, we stood on the front porch of President Johnson’s reconstructed birthplace home imagining the 36th president speeding across the countryside in his white Lincoln convertible.

The Ranch, about 50 miles west of Austin, is a wonderful place to pull off the road for a couple of hours and walk or drive through history. For more information, click on an entry I wrote on RV Short Stops.

On another trip, as RVing Snowbirds, after visiting the Ranch, Jimmy and I camped at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park / Campground, just three miles south of Fredericksburg, TX, on State Highway 16. To read more about the Lady Bird RV Campground, click here for an updated post on the facility.

Gardens (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

Speaking of Lady Bird, a restful place to stop for a while and learn about wildflowers is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a research unit of the University of Texas at Austin. The Center is devoted to the preservation and use of native plants. To read more about the Center, click here for another post I wrote for RV Short Stops.com.

Julianne G. Crane

The post Texas Wildflowers in full bloom – RV Short Stops abound appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park (National Park Service)

March is Women’s History Month and our National Parks are “overflowing with stories of trailblazing women.”

This is a great time for a family trip to one of the National Parks locations that shine light on these All-American stories.

“Many of them shone during the darkest periods of American history,” according to a blog post by National Parks Foundation.

“In times of war, citizens take on greater responsibility and women always rise to the occasion. From the Revolutionary War to modern-day conflicts, discover some of these stories for yourself (and your family) and see which parks keep them alive year-round.”

Read more about “The Service, Sacrifices, and Bravery of Women in Wartime”

Julianne G. Crane

The post Such courage: Honoring ‘Women in Wartime’ during Women’s History Month appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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RVer Jimmy Smith at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park (Julianne G. Crane) We love America’s National Parks.

The National Park Service turns 103 this year and everyone can celebrate by taking advantage of a *free entrance day to all parks on Saturday, April 20. National Park Week, April 20-28, 2019, is USA’s largest observation of national natural and cultural heritage.

“It’s about exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks. It’s all happening in your national parks,” according to the NPS web site.

Be sure to check out National Park Week.org. “There you can share your national park photos, videos, and tips. While you’re there, learn all about the ways you can help support your national parks all year round.”

Try some place new this year. Find your park.
America the Beautiful passes

On none ‘fee free days,’ consider one of the following passes that are available:

  • Annual Pass — Cost: $80, available for everyone.
  • Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military — Current U.S. military members and dependents.
  • Free Annual 4th Grade Pass — Check out the Every Kid in a Park program.
  • Senior Pass — $80 lifetime pass for those age 62 and over. $20 for annual Senior Pass.
  • Free Access Pass —  Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
  • Free Volunteer Pass — For volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program.

“A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.”

– Julianne G. Crane

Photos: (Top) RVer Jimmy Smith at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. (Bottom) Entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. (Julianne G. Crane).

The post National Park Week, April 20-28: Celebrating 103 years of making us happy, preserving our heritage appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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RVer Jimmy Smith at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park (Julianne G. Crane) We love America’s National Parks.

The National Park Service turns 103 this year and everyone can celebrate by taking advantage of a *free entrance day to all parks on Saturday, April 20. National Park Week, April 20-28, 2019, is USA’s largest observation of national natural and cultural heritage.

“It’s about exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks. It’s all happening in your national parks,” according to the NPS web site.

Be sure to check out National Park Week.org. “There you can share your national park photos, videos, and tips. While you’re there, learn all about the ways you can help support your national parks all year round.”

Try some place new this year. Find your park.
America the Beautiful passes

On none ‘fee free days,’ consider one of the following passes that are available:

  • Annual Pass — Cost: $80, available for everyone.
  • Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military — Current U.S. military members and dependents.
  • Free Annual 4th Grade Pass — Check out the Every Kid in a Park program.
  • Senior Pass — $80 lifetime pass for those age 62 and over. $20 for annual Senior Pass.
  • Free Access Pass —  Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
  • Free Volunteer Pass — For volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program.

“A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.”

– Julianne G. Crane

Photos: (Top) RVer Jimmy Smith at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. (Bottom) Entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. (Julianne G. Crane).

The post National Park Week, April 20-28: Celebrating 103 years of making us happy, preserving our heritage appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Looking for ways to entertain youngsters on your next family RV road trip? Here are three fun travel games.

These games can be found easily online or at your local bookstore. Prices may vary according to where games are purchased.

Regal Games Original Travel Bingo Regal Games Travel Bingo.

By Regal Games. $7.99.

  • This durable 4 Pack Assorted 6.75 x 6.5 inch Travel Bingo Cards are perfect for Roadtrips
  • Spot Items from your Travel Bingo card from the Backseat on your Roadtrips
  • Mark the Items with the Fingertip Shutter Windows
Spot It! On the Road by Asmodee ‘Spot It! On the Road

By Asmodee, $16.75

      • Fast paced action game.
      • Includes 55 cards in a tin canister for 2 to 8 players.
      • Bust backseat boredom with Spot it! Play 5 original games plus Travel Bingo in the RV.
      • Each symbol is something you would see on a typical road trip.
      • Helps develop attention, visual perception, fine motor skills.
    ‘Best Ever Backseat Games … Fun games to play while traveling’ Best Ever Backseat Games

    By Michael Rist and Lenne Alfa Rist. Paperback, 130 pages, $9.97.

    This book is a great way to pass time on a trip. “Loaded with over 100 games and trivia, this fun-packed, portable book will turn your long and exhausting trip into the best ride of your life. The games are fun and easy to play for people of all ages. All you need is a great imagination and good sense of humor.”

    To read about four other old fashion road games geared to the younger traveler, click here.

    — Julianne G. Crane

The post Don’t forget to pack along Travel games when RVing with the Kiddies appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Spring RV shows ranging from late March through early May range across North America, from Lafayette, La; to Penticton, B.C. Canada; to Puyallup, Wash.

Kitchener RV Show and Sale
March 22-24
TBD
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Northwest Michigan RV & Camping Show
March 22-24
Grand Traverse County Civic Center
Traverse City, MI

Springfield RV & Camping Show
March 22-24
BOS Convention Center
Springfield, IL

Acadiana RV & Camping Show
March 29-31
Cajun Field
444 Cajundome BLvd
Lafayette, La

Colorado Springs RV & Travel Expo
April 4-6
Colorado Springs Events Center
Colorado Springs, CO

BC Interior RV Show
April 5-7
Penticton Trade & Convention Centre
853 Eckhardt Ave. West
Penticton, B.C. Canada

Vacationland RV & Camping Show
April 6-7
Norway Savings Bank Arena
985 Turner St.
Auburn, Maine

Spring Evergreen RV Show
April 12-14
Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Monroe WA


24th Annual Super Saver RV Show

April 12-14
Century Link – Lee Sports Complex
14400 Ben Pratt Six Mile Cypress Parkway
Ft. Myers, Florida

Spring Hall of Fame RV & Camping Show
May 2-5
RV/MH Hall of Fame
21565 Executive Parkway
Elkhart, Ind.

Puyallup RV Show
May 2-5
Washington State Fair Events Center
110 9th Ave SW
Puyallup, Wash.

For the latest in upcoming RV Shows, go to:RVTravel.com; or Go-RVing.com.

– Julianne G. Crane

The post Spring March-May RV shows, criss-cross North America appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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Savannah’s great parade. (SavannahSaintPatricksDay.com)

There are hundreds of cities across America hosting St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

To read about three southern cities–Savannah, Lexington and New Orleans–that are favorites with RV Snowbirds, click on: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in Sunbelt / RV Short Stops.

2019’s Best U.S.A. Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

“To determine the best cities for celebrating Irish-American heritage, WalletHub.com compared 200 of the largest U.S. cities across 17 key metrics, ranging from Irish pubs and restaurants per capita to lowest price for a three-star hotel on St. Patrick’s Day to weather forecast.”

WalletHub.com created a great St. Patrick’s Day infographic … see below.

– Julianne G. Crane

St. Patrick’s Day By the Numbers. (WalletHub.come)

The post Snowbird St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations appeared first on RV Wheel Life.

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