May 28, 2014

Festival Puts Winnebago Outdoor Center Stage

Winnebago Industries Inc. gained a high profile stage for its recently introduced Winnebago Outdoor brand, serving as sponsor for last weekend’s Tree Town Music Festival featuring several of country music’s frontliners.
Winnebago Outdoor represents the Forest City, Iowa-based builder’s latest marketing initiative to strengthen its presence in the outdoor lifestyle market through sale of a variety of outdoor gear, clothing and other items. The Tree Town Music Festival was a “litmus test” to determine the viability of future sponsorships, the company told
“The festival was amazing. I think we had 15,000 people there on Saturday and 15,000 people there on Sunday,” Chad Reece, Winnebago’s director of marketing, said about the Tree Town  Music Festival, held May  23-25 at Heritage Park of North Iowa in Forest City, featuring Brad Paisley and Toby Keith.
He said Winnebago Outdoor has committed to sponsoring the 2015 Tree Town Music Festival, which already has Blake Shelton signed on to provide entertainment.
“The festival audience is a huge demographic that runs the gamut, from families with young children, to adults in their 20s and 30s to those folks in their retirement years,” Reece said. “From an RV standpoint, that (demographic) segment was there, but from a brand licensing standpoint it crosses over into even more segments.”
Reece added that Winnebago Outdoor makes sense because the Winnebago brand is all about “travel, adventure and freedom.” The clothing, which features a retro look, and other offerings, including adventure packages, are an extension of the Winnebago brand, he said.
Look for announcements from Winnebago Outdoor throughout the summer, Reece added, as the company looks to expand its outreach.
For more information, visit or
– Submitted by Rick Kessler exclusive to
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May 13, 2014

Tips For Staying Connected While RVing

Whether you're a full-time or part-time RVer, having some kind of connection to the internet while you're out having fun is a real bonus. Between cozy campfires, relaxing hikes and RV happy hours what better way to share the joy than logging in and posting a little teaser pic on Facebook? Or sending a few e-mails to friends? For some of you, having internet might even be a "must-have" especially if you need to work on the road.

Luckily in this day and age there are many ways to stay connected. Which way you choose depends very much on how much internet you need plus where and how often you travel. There are masses of options and the "perfect" solution may well be different for each person, so I'll just cover a few. Here's four easy tips to get you started:

1/ Park WiFi - Anyone who's traveled extensively by RV knows that Park WiFi can be hit or miss. Most private parks offer at least some kind of connectivity, sometimes for free, sometimes for a small fee (e.g. through Tengo). Most of the time it's usable for e-mail and Facebook, but sometimes it's so poor it can become frustrating, especially in the evening when everyone logs on the system. If you travel part-time and don't mind working around this, then using Park WiFi can usually suffice. However, if internet is a "must-have" it's really not reliable as a source.

2/ Hotspot or Tethering On Your Smartphone - If you own a smartphone with a data plan, more than likely your phone will have a feature that allows you to turn on a "hotspot" so that you can share that data plan with your other devices. By turning on this feature, your phone becomes a WiFi source which your computer and other devices can connect to. Not all cell phone providers offer this (e.g. Straight Talk doesn't allow "tethering" as they call it), and some require a fee (e.g. Sprint), so you'll have to call and check with your provider.  But if your phone can do it, it's a great, easy way to get some connectivity without having to buy any additional devices. The other nice thing about this method is that you can turn it off when you don't need it.  (Note/ Hotspot is included for free in all Verizon & AT&T "shared" data plans).

3/ Mobile HotSpot & MiFi's - Another way to get data on the road is to buy a device called a mobile hotspot or MiFi. These little portable devices, often no bigger than a stack of cards, create a WiFi source that you can take anywhere and share between multiple devices (usually between 5-10 devices, depending on which one you get). Almost every major carrier offers something like this, plus a bunch of third-party guys do too. Before you buy, make sure to check that the carrier you're choosing covers the major areas you plan to travel. Verizon has the broadest nationwide coverage, followed by AT&T with the other carriers far behind. Typically you'll have to buy the device followed by a data plan and costs will vary depending on how much data you want and what carrier it's riding on. For light or part-time users, Walmart offers their "Straight Talk WiFi HotSpot" (runs on Verizon 3G) where you can buy buckets of data (e.g. $15 for 1GB) as you need them. Verizon and AT&T offers both contract and pre-paid options with various-sized data buckets, and may make the most sense if you already have a contract with them. For heavy users, Millenicom has one of the best deals around offering a 20GB/mo plan for $89.99 (runs on Verizon).

4/ Free WiFi - If you're just looking for WiFi every now and then, grabbing onto a free signal, say at a Starbucks, or a local library might be just the ticket. For those with smartphones, FreeZone (for Android) and Free WiFi Finder (for iOS) are great little apps to help you find the nearest free WiFi source in your area. On the desktop, WeFi offers a similar database. Even if you don't use this method all the time, it's great to have as a backup.

These are just a few, short ideas covering the easiest and most inexpensive ways to stay on-line while on the road. There are many other options out there including satellite (for those that really need connectivity everywhere) and cell phone signal boosters (which help enhance your signal), but hopefully this list plus some of my extra links below will get you started. Now, go and post that campfire pic, won't you? :)

Other Resources:

  • Checking The Signal - You can't connect if there's no cell phone signal. Coverage? (for iOS) is a great little app which can show you what the signal might be like at your next destination. It has interactive maps for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint. We use it all the time.
  • Boosting Your Signal - This free page written by full-time RVer Jack Mayer has excellent info on cell phone-based boosters. Well worth the read.
  • Covering All The Options - The Mobile Internet Handbook, written by another set of fulltime RV’ers. has detailed info on all the options out there including satellite, HAM, cable, boosting, managing bandwidth and more. If you want deeper info, this is definitely the book to get.

Nina Fussing is a blogger, writer of tales, animal lover, outdoor enthusiast and photographer. Together with her hubby they both left stressful jobs in the semiconductor industry for the dream of becoming full-time RVers and leading an alternative life. Join them in their travels with RV tips and tales at

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New Winnebago Travato 59G

Part of the Winnebago Touring Coach lineup, the Travato 59G is built on the fuel-efficient, gas-powered RAM ProMaster chassis, the #1 motorhome chassis in Europe!

And while this Class B van is less than 21 feet long (more than 3 feet shorter than the Era Winnebago Touring Coach), don't let the compact footprint fool you. This unique new floorplan is full-featured and perfect for an active couple or even a small family!
The Travato features a corner double bed that flips up to accommodate bicycles or other large items, while its split dinette with built-in 3-point seat belts converts into additional sleeping. The Travato also features a powered awning, LED ceiling lights, Ultraleather swivel cab seats and a host of features you won't find in other Class B motorhomes, all at a price point thousands less than the competition -- that is, if it had any competition.

Learn more about this unique new coach here.
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Winnebago's New Products “Out Of This World”

Winnebago recently showcased its 2015 lineup and debuted several all-new products for its dealers. Highlights include:

The eyebrow returns! In the '60's and '70's, there was no mistaking a Winnebago motorhome with the distinctive "eyebrow" design and flying W logo. It was the motorhome that made America fall in love with the RV lifestyle.

Today, Winnebago has blended vintage with a modern twist with in the all-new Brave and Tribute. These are totally modern takes on the legendary design, loaded with today's best features and offered in two versatile floorplans with exciting color schemes, as well as a price to fit the budget of a young, traveling family.
Also debuting were two models that take luxury to the next level: the Winnebago Grand Tour and Ellipse Ultra. These tag-axle coaches feature unique, high-end amenities such as a large skylight with powered shade in the front lounge/cab area, polished porcelain tile flooring, keyless entry, and four full-body paint packages. Multiplex switch panels located throughout the all-electric coach allow you to control exterior and interior lights, hydraulic jacks, MCD power shades, slideout rooms, and more.

In addition, many 2015 products received exterior re-designs, including Vista and Sunstar lines, Via and Reyo lines, and View and Navion 24V and 24G floorplans.  New standard features are included across all product lines, as well as a number of exciting new floorplans. 

Winnebago Towables showed the new Micro Minnie trailer and two new fifth wheels: the Voyage and Latitude.  The Micro Minnie is ready to hit the road at under 3,000 pounds, while the Voyage and Latitude provide exciting new mid-profile and full-profile fifth-wheel choices.  In addition, the Ultralight line has been expanded to six floorplans.

Find more on new models from Winnebago Industries here.
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May 2, 2014

Whispering Hills RV Park Joins Jellystone Park Network

The 45-year-old family owned and operated campground will reopen April 25
as the third Yogi Bears Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Ohio

SHREVE, Ohio, April 2014 — Whispering Hills RV Park has been owned and operated by three generations of the same family since Wayne and Ruth Murray opened the park in 1969.
But after having its own identity for 45 years, the 220-site park will reopen April 25 as the third Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Ohio.
Its time to take the next step,said Curt Murray Jr., grandson of Wayne and Ruth Murray. By being part of the Jellystone Park network, we will be able to significantly increase consumer awareness of our park in Ohio and across the country.
Murray and his brother-in-law, Matt Smith, have already made significant improvements in anticipation of converting Whispering Hills to the Jellystone Park system.
The improvements include replacing the existing swimming pool with a newly designed heated swimming pool with hot tub and spray grounds; doubling the size of the campground office and store; remodeling the cafe into a new arcade and lounge, and transforming an existing building into a climate controlled lounge area with fireplaces, a kitchen, TVs and restrooms.
Future amenities will include a significantly improved free Wi-Fi network, a jumping pillow; a two-mile scenic walking path; mountain bike trails; as well as golf cart and mountain mike rentals.
The 220-site park has long been a popular camping destination because of its natural amenities, which include a 100-acre forest with hiking and mountain bike trails and an 8-acre fishing lake with pedal boat and kayak rentals. The campground currently has nine cabins and five luxury cabins under construction.
The park has a long tradition of having a natural attraction with its setting and the woods and the property itself. The previous manager, Roger Murray, son of Wayne and Ruth Murray, did an excellent job of keeping well maintained grounds and running a clean park with an excellent reputation.
However, as part of the Jellystone Park network, Whispering Hills will significantly expand its offering of organized family activities.
Jellystone Parks are famous for providing fun family activities and themed weekends that include everything from crafts and games to wagon rides, birthday parties with the bears and daily appearances by Yogi Bear.
In addition to activities with Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith, Jellystone Parks offer themed weekend activities, such as a Chocolate Lovers Weekends with candy bar bingo, a chocolate craft and chocolate Slip N Slide; Mardi Gras themed weekends, with parades, cookouts and dances; and the increasingly popular Halloween themed weekends, which include costume and campsite decorating contests and trick or treating activities.

Curt Murray said the changes will help Whispering Hills expand its existing seasonal camper base by attracting young families with children, many of whom will simply camp on weekends or for short periods of time.

“Our goal is to diversify the makeup of the camper and focus on the weekend and the weekly camper, including young couples with families, and provide amenities for the kids,” he said.
For more information about Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Shreve, please visit the parks website at

About Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™Camp-Resorts

Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 81 campgrounds with more than 17,000 campsites and vacation rentals in 32 states and Canada. Its Camp-Resorts are among the best campgrounds in the industry with a quality reputation for being fun, friendly, clean and service-oriented parks.   Additionally, each Jellystone Park is themed with Yogi Bear elements providing instant recognition and consumer appeal.  It is truly a place Where You Camp With Friends.”® Yogi Bears Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems, Inc. (LSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit
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