Jun 20, 2019

Explore Grand Teton National Park

The United States is filled with incredible national parks, but few capture the true essence of the wild west as much as Grand Teton National Park located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. Millions of people visit Grand Teton each year for a variety of reasons and the park is considered a fan favorite for many. Its epic beauty alone is worth the trip, but this park offers more than just awe-inspiring views. Grand Teton National Park is filled with a rich history, a variety of terrains, vast wildlife, and activities for all different kinds of travelers, from a family with young children or teenagers to a couple or single individual. We’ll take a deep dive into why this park is a favorite and talk about why you should add Grand Teton to your summer RV bucket list.

So, Why Grand Teton?

That’s a great question. There are 50+ national parks across the United States, so why add Grand Teton to your list? The park itself is stunning, towering over Jackson Hole Valley, Grand Tetons is perfect for hikers, history buffs, or anyone looking for the perfect photo-op. The park is huge (310,000 acres) and diverse, made up of the famous Grand Teton Mountain range, lush valleys, powerful waterfalls, and meadows as far as the eye can see. One of our favorite aspects of the park is that it has activities for every season, whether you’re into hiking or snowshoeing - there’s truly something for everyone. If you’re into water activities, Grand Teton caters to you as well with the Snake River and Jackson Lake to float or fish to your heart's delight. You’ll never be bored at Grand Teton National Park, and if you’re looking for adventure, this park is your ideal destination. 

Image: National Park Service

What to Do While You’re There?
  • Hiking & Biking - Two of the best ways to take in all that Grand Teton National Park has to offer is on foot or by bike. The park is a renown hiking destination with more than 230 miles of trails, so whether you’re an expert hiker or if you prefer a more mellow pace, you’ll find a hike to suit your needs. Check out a few of our favorite hikes:
- Hidden Falls Trail - This trail is a 4.9 loop that features stunning lake views and, you guessed it, an incredible waterfall. This hike is categorized as easy and good for the whole family. You have the option of taking a boat back if you want to shorten your trip. 

- Cascade Canyon Trail - This trail is one of the most popular in Grand Teton and for good reason - the hike is absolutely stunning. Cascade Canyon is a moderate hike that starts near Jenny Lake and ascends steeply towards Lake Solitude. You will also get a great few of Hidden Falls on this trail and if you continue, you will reach Inspiration Point (a viewpoint where you can see Jenny Lake and the Teton Mountain Range). 
- Death Canyon - Don’t let the name scare you, Death Canyon is a beautiful hike that you can complete in a day. The beginning of the hike is the hardest and about 1.2 miles from the trailhead you’ll hit Phelps Lake Overview where the views are breathtaking. 

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to stay hydrated, dress in layers, and bring bear spray (trust us on that one).

Image: National Park Service
  • Water Activities - During the summer months, Grand Teton is an excellent place for boating or floating. The Snake River allows world-class fishing & rafting and Jackson Lake is a great spot for those that sail, canoe, water ski, or windsurf. Speaking of fishing, Snake River is home to a variety of fish like Mackinaw and Whitefish as well as Rainbow, Brown, Lake, and Cutthroat Trout. Anglers take note: the Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroat Trout are indigenous fish to this area, found nowhere else in the world. If your looking to take out a boat, motorboats are permitted at Jenny and Jackson lake (10 horsepower max). If you want to bring a motorboat to the park, you will need to obtain a motorized craft permit for $40.00 at the visitor center. Boat, paddle board and floats are also available for rent. Want to take a quick dip? We suggest visiting String Lake where the water is warm in the summer months and you can picnic along the shore.
Image: National Park Service
  • Wildlife Watching - The park is home to a vast amount of wildlife including bison, bear, elk, bald eagles, and smaller animals like ducks, otters, and a variety of birds. Grand Teton puts safety as a top priority so if you are watching wildlife, they recommend maintaining a distance of at least 25 yards. Sign up for a wildlife tour at the park and experience all of these amazing creatures for yourself.
Image: National Park Service
  • Catch Up on Your History - Humans began visiting the Jackson Hole area around 10,000 years ago - so the grounds in and around Grand Teton are rich with history. We suggest attending a ranger-led program to learn more about the native people, explorers, and homesteaders that once inhabited the park. And don’t miss the following historical attraction:
- Mormon Row is one of the park’s most popular attractions. This line of 6 uniform buildings settled in the 1890s by Mormons from the Salt Lake region can be found in the southeastern corner of the park and is a perfect spot for a photo-op. 

  • Snow Activities - While winter in the Tetons is not for the faint of heart, there are activities that cater to all the snow bunnies out there. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are some of the most popular activities during the winter months.
  • Ranger-Led Programs - A variety of ranger-led programs take place during the summer months (early June through Labor Day weekend) in Grand Teton National Park. During these programs, you have the opportunity to learn about the park’s wildlife, history, and geology. There are also cultural programs as well as hiking and evening activities scheduled.
  • Scenic Driving - If you’re interested in covering a lot of ground in minimal time, we recommend a driving tour of Grand Teton. The park has a 42-mile scenic loop where you can take in its epic beauty and wildlife. Depending on the stops you make along the way, the drive typically takes one to two hours.
What’s Nearby? 

Yellowstone National Park -
Extend your trip - Yellowstone National Park, home to Old Faithful, is just 10 miles south of Grand Teton National Park. If you’re looking to cross two major national parks off of your bucket list, Grand Teton is a great place to start.

Jackson, WY - Jackson is a town located in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley, just 10 minutes from Grand Teton National Park. It includes three widely popular ski areas including Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee Resort, and Snow King Mountain Resort. The town of Jackson also boasts many restaurants and great shopping if you’re looking for a quick break from all things outdoors or in case you forgot some essentials.

When to Visit / Length of Stay - 

The summer months are the most popular visiting times at Grand Teton National Park because of the great weather. But as we mentioned earlier, there are a variety of year-round activities available depending on what you’re into. The foliage is incredible in the fall and views of the snowy peaks of the Teton Mountains are jaw-dropping in the winter. 

We recommend spending a minimum of three days at Grand Teton National park considering there is SO much to do. If you can swing a longer stay we definitely recommend extending your trip, especially if you plan on visiting Yellowstone National Park.

Where to park your RV / Campsites?
There are a variety of RV Campgrounds in Grand Teton, but they do fill up quickly in the summer months so we recommend calling well in advance to secure your site. Check out Grand Teton National Park’s helpful comparison chart to find the perfect site to fit all of your RVing needs.

Image: Grand Teton National Park Serice

If you’re on the hunt for your next great adventure, we think visiting Grand Teton should be at the top of your list. Do you have any insider tips or tricks you would like to share with your fellow RVers? Share your insights in the comments below and we might feature your tip in a future blog post!
Trader Online Web Developer

Your June RV News Fix is Here

Summer is in full swing and if you’re taking a quick break from exploring, kick up your feet and stay awhile. We’ve got a few RV-related stories you won’t want to miss. From new models and floorplans to feel good stories - check out the latest headlines below.

Image: Airstream

Airstream Adds to 2020 Product Line - Airstream has recently released new features and floorplans for their 2020 Globetrotter, Flying Cloud, International Serenity, and Classic travel trailers. The brand we know and love has come out with two layouts for the Globetrotter - a 23 ft. front bed and front bed twin. The Flying Cloud and International Serenity now have an optional rear hatch which allows easy access into the outdoors and is helpful with loading and unloading the unit. This rear hatch was once reserved for special edition models, but the company is expanding this offering to give their customers more flexibility. Read More.

Image: Globe Gazette

Winnebago Food Truck Aids Disadvantaged Children - The Specialty Vehicles Division of Winnebago Industries has created a “food truck” to help children experiencing food insecurity in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. This truck is supported by The Minnesota Vikings Foundation and is named “Vikings Table.” The truck’s mission is to help feed those in need, provide nutrition education, and to allow children to engage with the Vikings NFL sports team. This is the first commercial kitchen created with the Winnebago ‘shell.’ The kitchen can hold up to 10 food preparation professionals and we can’t wait to hear about all the good it will do in the future. Read More.

Image: Coachmen

Coachmen RV introduces the Pursuit 27XPS - Coachmen RV, a division of Forest River, has just released a new floorplan for their Pursuit model that will create a new entry-level Class A price point. This new model is under 30 ft. and the company focused on convenience and easy of operation rather than electronics and gadgets. The new Pursuit includes large storage compartments, a drop down bunk, as well as large windows throughout. The Pursuit 27XPS l comes in at $72,999 and the company is already starting to ship to dealers in North America. We are excited to see this RV out on the road. Read More.

Image: RV Business

The RVers TV Show to Debut on Discovery and PBS - “The RVers” is a new TV series coming to the small screen this fall “dedicated to the lifestyle craze that’s sweeping the world.” The new show will debut on Discovery and PBS starring full-time RVers whose popular YouTube channels have made them celebrities. Creators hope the show will inspire, motivate, and drive people to live their RV dream - and we are right there with them. The show has been filming throughout the US since February and is set to premiere Nov. 23 on Discovery. We will be tuning in! Read More.

There you have it, folks. You’re all caught up on the latest headlines you need to know. Now gas up your RV and hit the road for your next adventure. Let us know if you’re excited for any of the new models we mentioned in the comments below - we love hearing from you!
Trader Online Web Developer

Amazing Reasons to Hit the Road Full Time

Written by: Chelsea Gonzales, Fulltime Families 

There’s nothing quite like an amazing weekend spent camping. Heck, if you can get in a whole week, that’s even better. However, the very best option—and one many people don’t even consider—is to take on RV living.

That’s right! Why not hop in your RV and hit the road full time?

This might seem like a crazy notion, but believe it or not, more and more people are choosing this lifestyle. These are people from all age groups and backgrounds, and while they may be making some sacrifices to live this way, most of them are also having the time of their lives.

Are you considering jumping into full time RVing? Here are 6 amazing reasons why we think you should do exactly that.

#1: Meet New People
While many people worry about leaving their friends and family behind when beginning the full time life, and while this is a completely legitimate concern, many people are also amazed at the new people they meet through their travels.

From chatting with friendly locals and learning all about an area has to offer to building friendships with campground neighbors, there are new relationships to be made around every corner. Of course, the best new friends are the ones who are full timers just like you. A number of those living the RV lifestyle even choose to travel with their full time friends! 

Even if you don’t travel together, always make sure to get the contact info of newfound friends. You never know when your paths may cross again, and you might be surprised how often it happens.

#2: Learn New Things
You learn something new everyday. Never was this phrase more true than it is for an RVer.

Traveling full time in an RV will give you the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day lives of people in all parts of the country. It will allow you to explore national parks, museums, zoos, and historic sites. It will also require you to learn how to fix things for yourself, how to navigate with a map when the GPS loses signal, and how to keep your cool and solve problems in the moment.

All of these things combined will have you learning more than you ever thought possible.

#3: Check Off that Bucket List
As mentioned before, you will definitely be seeing lots of new things as you travel. In fact, if you plan things right, you can use your travels to start checking things off your bucket list.

Don’t have a bucket list? You’ll want to make one before you hit the road. Just don’t count on ever reaching the end of the list, because new things tend to sneak onto it just as fast as the old ones get checked off.

#4: Grow Closer to Your Family
Whether you’ll be traveling with the spouse and kids, with your parents/grandparents, or only with your significant other, you can count on growing pretty close with your family and travel-mate(s).

Some people claim they could never live in the small space an RV offers with their family and stay sane, but the truth of the matter is, once you find your groove, living in a small space becomes easy. Once you reach this easy stage, the tiny living does nothing more than encourage your travel group to grow closer to one another, as it forces you to connect more often and spend more time bonding.

#5: Connect with Nature
In our modern society, far too many people are completely disconnected from nature. Many people will go days without taking notice of the weather, birds, or trees around them, let alone make a conscious effort to get outside and really connect with nature.

This is so unfortunate, considering the amazing effect some quality time spent outdoors can have on the mind, body, and soul.

While traveling and living in an RV certainly doesn’t guarantee more outside time, it definitely does encourage it. After all, you're going to be spending a significant amount of time in campgrounds, which are almost always set in beautiful places and tend to offer outdoor recreation opportunities.

Additionally, if you plan to visit national parks, you might just find yourself turning into something of a hiker!

#6: Save Money
Last but not least, we must mention the financial aspect of RVing. A lot of people assume you have to be rich to travel full time. 

Obviously, having a lot of money is nice, but it certainly isn’t necessary. In fact, some people find that by paying cash for a used rig, making use of campground memberships, using reciprocal programs to save money on sightseeing, and traveling at a slower pace, they are even able to save money over living in a sticks-and-bricks home. 

If you’re looking for an amazing way to live while saving a bit of money, full time RVing absolutely might be an option. That said, you will want to do the math first, and saving money probably shouldn’t be your primary reason for hitting the road.

Trader Online Web Developer

FMCA Tech Tip: What Do I Do If My RV’s Tire Blows Out?

A tire blowout is the worst fear of many RVers. What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Read FMCA’s tips to stay safe on the road.

Understanding Tire Failure
According to Goodyear engineers, obstructions (nails, sharp objects, curbing) are the major causes of tire damage. However, many tire failures are caused by progressive damage.

Each mile your tire rolls down the highway overloaded or underinflated, it may be suffering internal damage that’s not apparent during a casual tire inspection. The day that the tire fails, you may be traveling empty or not moving at all. The tire simply will reach the point where the damage has exceeded its design limits. It may blow out or shed its tread.

Tires do not heal themselves, so if they are damaged due to underinflation, inflating them to the correct pressure may not prevent eventual failure. 

What To Do If Your Tires Fail
If you experience a tire blowout, you better have your seat belt on because it can be a wild and bumpy ride.

Your natural reaction is to apply the brakes, but don’t do it! Michelin Tire Company recommends briefly pushing the accelerator to the floor (if traffic conditions allow) to regain momentum in the direction you are going and then gently taking your foot off the accelerator. Hold the steering wheel firmly and regain control. If you are on an expressway, move into the far right lane as quickly and safely as possible. Allow your vehicle to slow, without applying the brakes, to 10 to 15 MPH before pulling off the road surface.

Watch this video from Michelin, How To Handle An RV Tire Blowout.

And — remember — the #1 tip if you find yourself in the middle of a tire blowout is to remain calm. You can’t predict the future, but you CAN prepare yourself for potential emergencies. Knowledge is power.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at https://join.fmca.com/trader18/.

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 an RV professional.
Trader Online Web Developer

Leveling Your RV Fridge

Written by: Mike Scarpignato, Founder of RVBlogger 

Does My RV Need to Be Level for the Fridge to Work?
We were preparing to go camping one weekend and, as usual, I turned on the RV fridge the night before we were leaving to make sure it nice and cold. However, it didn't get cold. In fact, it actually got warmer!

I was so bummed! I thought my fridge was broken. So, I grabbed the manual to troubleshoot the situation. I checked and rechecked the on-off switch. I made sure the fridge was getting electricity and even made sure the propane was turned on.

But nothing worked, and I feared the worst. I thought my fridge was dead and started thinking about packing a cooler for our weekend trip. 

But then I remembered that an RV fridge should to be level to operate correctly - or in my case operate at all. And my driveway, where the RV was parked, is at a fairly steep slope.

So, I pulled the RV out of the driveway and parked it in the street in front of our house where the road is more level. It wasn't perfectly level, but it was more level than our driveway.
And, sure enough, the fridge began to cool rather quickly! So, it turns out that yes, your RV needs to be level for the refrigerator to work correctly.

Can I Damage the Fridge if My RV is Not Level?
Yes, you can damage your RV fridge if you run it for more then 30 minutes when it is not level. If the refrigerator is operated when it is not level and the vehicle is not moving, liquid ammonia will accumulate in sections of the evaporator tubing. This will slow the circulation of hydrogen and ammonia gas, or in severe cases, completely block it, resulting in a loss of cooling. 

Some RV refrigerators have an automatic shut off if this occurs, but most do not. The fridge just continues to try to cool, and eventually, the cooling unit will heat up, burn out, and fail. And it doesn't matter if the fridge is running on electric or propane. The result will be the same.

How Do I Know if My RV is Level Enough?
The official answer is that every refrigerator has its own specifications, but in general, your RV is considered level if it is within 3 degrees side to side and 6 degrees front to back. So, what does that mean and how do I figure it out? 

What I have found is that your RV should feel like it is level when you walk inside. You can fill a cup with water and place it on your dinette top or, and as long as the water looks pretty close to level, you should be in good shape. 

You can also place a level on the floor of your RV and make sure at least half of the air bubble remains inside the level markers. These are just rules of thumb, but they should work for most RV refrigerators.

Can I Run the Fridge While Driving?
You can run the fridge while you are driving under normal conditions. And you should, especially if you have food in it. Even though the fridge will be out of level at times when you are driving the motion of the RV will allow the cooling gasses to flow within the coils and not overheat the cooling element.

However, if you are driving up or down steep inclines for more than a few minutes, you should actually turn off the fridge until you get to more level terrain. For example, if you are going up or down a 10% slope for more than 10 minutes, you could do some damage to your cooling unit. So, it's best to turn off the fridge under these extreme circumstances.

In summary, your RV refrigerator needs to be as level as possible to operate as efficiently as possible. Just use good common sense and a cup of water on the counter to make sure you are level when parked. And turn off the fridge while you are driving on roads with steep grades of 10% or more for more than 10 minutes. Just remember to turn the fridge back on once you are driving on more level roads!

Trader Online Web Developer