Friday

Experience the Wonders of Southern Utah



Craving an adventure that includes spectacular national parks, breathtaking scenery, and some of the country’s best hiking trails? Sounds like Utah might be the place for you! The state is home to a whopping five national parks, that are often referred to as the “Mighty Five”, and for good reason. These parks are absolutely stunning and are located fairly close together - making them perfect road trip pit stops. Check out what each of these famous destinations has to offer!

Zion National Park - Zion is actually Utah’s first, and most visited, national park. It's known for its red walls of sandstone surrounding the park as well as its jaw-dropping views. Zion is a hiker’s paradise with a large variety of trails ranging from easy family hikes to more difficult options. You won’t want to miss two of Zion’s most popular trails - Angels Landing and The Narrows. Angels Landing is considered one of Zion’s more strenuous hikes, but the views are worth every second. This hike is not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights, considering it has extremely steep and narrow trails. But, if you're looking for a thrilling experience - Angels Landing might be for you. The Narrows is another great option if you want to see and experience the crystal clear water of the Virgin River, which runs right through the center of Zion. Be sure to pack your waterproof shoes while hiking The Narrows - you’ll be actually walking through the river during this hike - a great way to cool off! In Zion, there’s truly something for everyone.

 
Image: Ted Nguyen

Bryce Canyon National Park - Bryce Canyon is home to some of the most beautiful sandstone cliffs years in the making. People come from around the world to see the park’s famous hoodoos, which are tall pillars of rock created by erosion. The hoodoos at Bryce Canyon are pinkish-orange in color and range from 5 to 150 ft. tall, often leaving travelers awestruck as the shadows change their colors throughout the day. While most of the other parks are warmer in summer months, you’ll want to remember to bring a jacket to Bryce Canyon due to the park’s high elevation (8,000 ft.). There’s so much to do at Bryce Canyon from hiking, to horseback riding, to skiing and snowboarding in the winter months - this park is sure to leave you feeling amazed and entertained. 


Image: Visit Utah

Canyonlands National Park - Canyonlands is Utah’s largest national park and has sweeping views as far as the eye can see. This park is the perfect stop for folks looking for the feeling of peacefulness and seclusion. Canyonlands is divided into three distinct districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze (it’s important to note that each district has its own separate park entrance). Islands in the Sky is the most easily accessible district and the panoramic views of miles and miles of canyons are not to be missed. One of the most popular spots at Islands in the Sky is Mesa arch. The trail to Mesa arch is fairly easy while still being breathtaking, making it a great option for beginners or families with small children. 

Image: Utah.com

Capitol Reef National Park - Capitol Reef is one of Utah’s national parks that might be considered a little out of the way for some - but that means fewer crowds to deal with! The park is filled with beautiful cliffs, domes, bridges, and last but not least, rich history. There are a few unique things about Capitol Reef, one being that the park is home to more than 2,500 fruit trees! Visitors are invited to take a walk through the orchards (that were originally planted by Mormon pioneers) and enjoy some freshly picked fruit. Sounds delicious after a long hike! Fremont Petroglyphs are another historical highlight of the park. You can still easily see the etchings from the Fremont people who lived in the area nearly 1,000 years ago. 

Image: Utah.com

Arches National Park - This park is famous for - you guessed it - it’s arches. This national park is home to more than 2,000 stunning natural sandstone arches that you have to see to believe. The most famous and popular arch in the park is Delicate Arch. This particular arch is featured on Utah’s license plate and people come from all over the world to take in its massive beauty. But arches aren’t the only thing you’ll find at this park - there are a variety of stunning geological formations sure to take your breath away. Arches also has tons of hiking trails for all ability levels, making this another a great park for families!

Image: Utah.com

There you have it! Now you can see why Utah has some of the most visited national parks in the United States. So, get packing and don’t forget your camera - your Utah adventure awaits!
Trader Online Web Developer

Tech Tip: Spring RV Exterior Prep



Are you itching to hit the road this spring? March is when many RVers dewinterize their RV, prepping it for the travel season. It’s important to not overlook your RV’s exterior. Here are a few reminders on behalf of FMCA and Gary Bunzer, the “RV Doctor.”

With frigid winter temperatures, chances are you haven’t been venturing outside over the past several months to take a close look at your RV. Now is the time to conduct a thorough inspection before you hit the road. A clean RV will more clearly reveal potential problems than a dirty one. So, unless you used a heavy-duty RV cover during the winter, a detailed washing of the RV is necessary. Begin by removing the protective boxes used to cover the plastic roof vents. Also, remove any tape or foil you applied over exhaust vents, such as at the furnace assembly.

After the coach exterior has been cleaned, begin airing out the unit. Remove the insulating foam inserts that were placed in the windows and roof vents and fully open each window and roof vent. While you are at each window, double-check the weather stripping and the exterior weep holes, ensuring they are still in good shape. If necessary, lubricate the slider tracks on any windows or screens that open.



Perform a complete and detailed inspection of all the roof components, seams, and edges. Now is the time to seal any areas that need attention. Inspect the roof air conditioners for damage incurred during the winter months. Carefully straighten any bent or damaged fins that may be exposed on the condenser coil. Once you get inside the RV, clean or replace the return air filters.

Inspect and operate all compartment bay doors, access doors, access panels, etc. Check the sealant around every window, as well as all components attached to the exterior sides of the RV. Lubricate all mechanical latches and keyed locks. Use a dry lubricant, such as Boeshield T-9. Many RVers use a product like WD-40 to lubricate latches and locks. Products like this should not be considered a lubricant; truly, they are water displacement products that prohibit rust and corrosion.

Operate and lubricate the moving components of all the manually operated awnings. Be sure to consult your RV owner’s manual; awning manufacturer recommendations can vary widely. Use a mild detergent to remove any mold or mildew that may have developed on the awning material since last fall.

Don’t forget to check under the RV and look for anything out of the ordinary, such as darkened areas on the ground that may indicate a leak. Inspect the areas that you made repairs to during the winterizing procedure last fall. You’ll want to make sure those repairs can withstand another season of travel.



Lastly, inspect and lubricate all of your RV’s slide-out mechanisms. Again, be sure to use only a dry lubricant on these mechanisms.

These exterior maintenance steps are a necessary part of readying your RV for the season. Inspecting the RV’s exterior is a step many RVers overlook, but it is an important part of the dewinterization process that should not be forgotten. Take the time now to help prevent potential problems down the road. Safe travels this spring!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with a RV professional.




Trader Online Web Developer

How to Avoid Breaking the Bank on the Road



Some folks have the misconception that affordable RVing isn’t a real possibility - but we are here to prove them wrong! There are tons of simple ways to cut costs while out on the road (just like at home). Check out our 5 tips for RVing on the cheap:

Create a budget - The last thing you want to do while adventuring is plan a budget - but planning ahead can save you some serious cash in the long run. Before creating your RV travel budget, you should consider what you currently spend at home and how those costs might translate while on the road. It’s important to realize that everyone’s needs are different, therefore everyone’s budget is going to look a little different. Once you have a solid budget in place, it’s also a great idea to have some funds tucked away for any maintenance issues or unexpected expenses that might (and often do) pop up while traveling. 

Save on gas - Gas is one big expense that can’t be avoided while RVing - but we’ve found a solution or two to help minimize that cost. First and foremost, it’s crucial to make sure your RV is tuned up and in top running condition to help maximize fuel efficiency. Once you’re out on the road, there are many fuel related apps that can help save you money at the pump. GasBuddy is a popular app that can help you find the least expensive gas along your route - and when filling up an RV, every penny saved helps! It’s also a good idea to consider different types of gas cards that might work for you - we all love a great discount! 

Get your chef on - Food is another major expense when traveling, but meal planning and prepping can be a huge cost saver. Take advantage of your kitchen on wheels and minimize eating out on the road. 9 times out of 10, cooking in your mobile kitchen will be more affordable than eating at a restaurant (no tips required)! If you do want to try the local cuisine during your trip, we suggest doing some preliminary research to see if certain restaurants have any deals or specials available - check to see if kids eat free on Tuesday's or if Groupon has a deal.

Take advantage of free activities - Before spending money on fancy excursions, why not see if there are any free entertainment options along your route or at your destination? The U.S. is filled with so many amazing (FREE) parks, museums, beaches and more. Bank of America offers members who present a debit card and a picture ID on the first full weekend of every month one free general admission to select museums. Purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass is also a great option for people who love exploring our nation’s national parks. For just an $80 annual fee, the pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 Federal Recreation sites across the U.S. 

Consider going off the grid - If you think about it, it’s a no-brainer that RVing saves huge costs on lodging compared to hotel stays. But, it’s still important to consider the cost of where you’re parking your RV every night. Some campgrounds charge upwards of $30-50 per night, so if you’re looking to save a buck try free camping, also known as boondocking. If you’re not familiar with boondocking, it’s essentially camping without any hookups on public land (usually far out in nature, in someone’s driveway, or even in a store parking lot). If you enjoy going “off the grid” or a more primitive camping experience - boondocking might be a great money saving option for you! Check out Boondockers Welcome to find your perfect boondocking location. They are essentially the AirBnB of boondocking and our readers get $5 off the Guest Privileges Subscription using the code RVTRADER5OFF. 

We hope these tips have helped you realize that the RV life doesn't have to be expensive. If you’re willing to make a few budget-friendly changes, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars while out on the road. So, stop worrying about breaking the bank and get out there!
Trader Online Web Developer

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Pets



It’s time to gear up for another adventure, and if you’re anything like us, you couldn’t bear the thought of traveling without your furry friends! Pets have the amazing ability to bring us the comfort of home on the road, but before you load up the whole gang (including Spike) - check out these tips for making your upcoming trip fun, stress-free, and most importantly, safe for your four-legged companions.

Prepare Your Pet - Does your pet do well in new situations and environments? If so, great! If not, going on a year-long adventure right off the bat might not be the best idea -- it’s important to ease pets into the idea of traveling. Starting out with a few smaller scale trips will help minimize the stress your pet might feel on the road. Another way to lessen their anxiety is by bringing items from home that they know and love like their bed or a favorite chew toy. Giving your pet enough time to acclimate and adjust to their new surroundings is crucial, and will make them feel safe and secure during longer trips in the future.

Know What to Pack - While packing for yourself, don’t forget about what your pet will need on your upcoming trip. Before hitting the road, make a checklist of all of the essentials. Here are a few basics we recommend bringing:
  • Plenty of food and drinking water (don’t forget bowls!) 
  • Collar (with ID tags) and leashes 
  • Vaccination/health records 
  • Any pet medications 
  • Bed or crate 
  • Toys and treats 
  • First aid kit 
  • Waste bags 
  • Litter & Litterbox (for the cats!) 
  • Outdoor zip line for your pet (Check it out here)
Do Your Research - Before you’re on your way to a campground, make sure they will actually allow your furry friend on the premises! Make a habit of calling any campgrounds or national parks you might be visiting to double check if they allow pets on their grounds. Once you’re in a pet-friendly park, it’s also important to be courteous to other RVers. This means cleaning up after your pets, never leaving them unattended in outside areas, and making sure your pets are on their best behavior in general. If for some reason you do need to leave your pet inside your RV unattended, make sure you’re mindful of the weather. If it’s a cold day, leave on your heater and if it’s warm, make sure the AC/fans are working properly and keep the blinds closed. It’s always a good idea to leave them fresh water and food so they don’t get antsy waiting for your return. Laws around pets in vehicles change from state to state - so be sure to keep that in mind, and ALWAYS put the safety of your pets first.

Get outside! - Exercise isn’t just important for humans, it’s extremely important for pets to have quality time in the great outdoors (especially during long road trips). Make potty breaks fun for everyone by taking a long walk or playing fetch with your pooch. It’s easy to put the blinders on and only focus on your next destination, but it’s important to enjoy stops along the way with your pets.

Around here, pets are considered a part of the family and we couldn’t imagine packing up the RV without them. So, if you follow these tips, there’s no need to leave them at home!

Trader Online Web Developer