Summer RV Fun in New York and Virginia – in Motorhome Magazine!

In the last few months we’ve published two feature articles in Motorhome Magazine. In the May, 2017 issue we told the story of our RV adventures in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

New York's Finger Lakes article by Emily and Mark Fagan in Motorhome Magazine May 2017

Motorhome Magazine – May, 2017
Article by: Emily Fagan – Photos by: Emily & Mark Fagan

The long and narrow “finger” shaped lakes in Upstate New York run on a north-south axis and are absolutely beautiful. In the town of Seneca Falls we discovered that boaters can tie up at the docks right behind the town center. What a fun way to travel in this area!

Boating docks at Seneca Falls New York Finger Lakes RV Trip

Boats tie up at the docks on the back side of Seneca Falls.

As we wandered throughout the Finger Lakes we discovered the area is rich with waterfalls. One of the most notable is Taughannock Falls which drops 215 feet down a sheer cliff. People can enjoy these falls from a viewing area right across from them.

Taughannock Falls New York Finger Lakes RV Trip

There’s a thrilling and massive vertical drop at Taughannock Falls

The Finger Lakes are very rural, and we were surprised to see quite a bit of wildlife in New York that wasn’t the urban, human kind. One of the most unusual animals in the region is the White Deer. What a wonderful surprise it was to look out the car window and see one staring at us!

White Deer Finger Lakes New York RV Trip

There are white deer in the Finger Lakes and we were lucky enough to see one.

We were also very surprised to learn that this area has a good sized Amish community. Unlike the Amish communities in other parts of the country that we have seen, this one is not commercialized for tourists at all, and their pretty farms dot the landscape, providing an evocative reminder of what America looked like back when small family farms filled the countryside everywhere.

Amish Farm New York FInger Lakes RV Trip

Amish farms throughout this region give a feeling of what America used to be like years ago.

Hearing the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves as they pulled the Amish buggies around town added a unique twist to the area.

Amish Buggy in New York Finger Lakes on an RV Trip

Four hooves in the air – Amish buggies clip-clop all over the place.

The Amish raise crops and sell them at the Seneca Produce Auction, and we were very fortunate to stop in and witness this unusual event taking place.

Amish farmers Seneca Produce Auction New York Finger Lakes RV Trip

The Amish farmers sell their produce at the Seneca Produce Auction – Fascinating to watch.

I had heard about Watkins Glen many times, but when we went there — on a rainy day — we were blown away by the beauty of the many waterfalls and cascades that fill the park. I was so impressed with the magical images throughout this park that I made it the subject of my May, 2017 “Roads to Adventure” column on the back page of Trailer Life Magazine entitled, Take the Plunge!

Watkins Glen Waterfall New York Finger Lakes RV Trip

Watkins Glen waterfalls were stunning on a rainy day.
It was the focus of my May 2017 Trailer Life column:
Take the Plunge

On our drive between the Finger Lakes of New York and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, we passed lots of beautiful farms.

Classic Virginia Farm on the Blue Ridge Parkway RV Trip

We saw lovely, bucolic scenery on the back roads of the eastern states.

But these are very busy states and the traffic can be crazy. We knew we were getting into the more bustling parts of the eastern states when we started seeing road signs like this:

Beware of Aggressive Drivers

A great reminder for laid back RVers who haven’t driven on roads in the eastern states for a while!

The July, 2017, issue of Motorhome Magazine features our article about some of the highlights we found along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

Virginia Mountain Majesty article by Emily and Mark Fagan in Motorhome Magazine July 2017

Motorhome Magazine – July 2017
Article by Emily Fagan, Photos by Emily & Mark Fagan

One of the most iconic images and most photographed places on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway is the Mabry Mill. The tour of the inside of this century old grist mill was fascinating. We saw how lumber can be milled and grains can be ground by harnessing the power of water flowing over a paddle wheel.

Mabry Mill Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia RV Trip

Beautiful Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed spots on the whole Blue Ridge Parkway. Great for a selfie!

The Blue Ridge Parkway passes through the heart of Bluegrass music country, and we found several venues where we could listen to a lively bluegrass jam for free. One of these was at the Floyd Country store where a huge room was filled to overflowing with musicians playing their hearts out. What fun!

Bluegrass jam at Floyd Country Store Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia RV trip

There are free bluegrass jams everywhere in the Appalachians, and we found a great one at the Floyd Country Store.

In Galax, Virginia, we discovered the New River Trail, a fantastic rails-to-trails path that is beloved by walkers, joggers and bicyclists. It is a long enough trail that we met people who were taking multiple days to bike the whole route, camping at trailside campgrounds along the way.

Biking the New River Trail Galax Virginia RV Trip

The New River Trail is a wonderful rails-to-trails path in Galax, Virginia, and they have an awesome brewpub too!

Fall is the most popular time to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we made our trip in the springtime when the mountain laurel and wild rhododendrons were in bloom. I remember carefully planting and watering several rhododendron bushes in my garden years ago. How cool it was to see enormous rhododendron and azalea bushes filled with flowers growing wild all along the route!

Rhododendrons on Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway RV trip

The wild rhododendrons were beautiful — and we hadn’t known they grew wild in the Appalachians!

Shenandoah National Park is the crown jewel at the northern end of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway, and we did a hike up to Mary’s rock where we could take in the immense verdant views to the distant mountains.

Motorhome Magazine is a terrific magazine for RVers, and we are very proud to be contributors. Although there is tons of information about RVing on the internet, there is a lot to be said for the info provided by a magazine that is professionally edited and produced.

Unlike a blog or video that is home grown, like this one, the editorial staff at magazines like Motorhome and Trailer Life includes quite a few people, and the text is scrutinized and critiqued from many angles.

The discussions I’ve had with editors about my many technical articles in these magazines have been fascinating, and it has been wonderful to hear other points of view before the final stamp of approval has been given to my manuscripts.

When we first started RVing, before we began our RV adventures, we subscribed to every RV magazine we could find, and we learned a lot in the process.

If you are new to RVing, we highly recommend getting a subscription and checking it out. And if you’re already a seasoned RVer, there are lots of tips and tricks and interesting travel destinations featured in each issue that might give you new ideas and inspiration!

Subscribe to Motorhome Magazine here.

Motorhome Magazine posts some of their articles online, although not all of them. The two articles I’ve mentioned in this post can be read at these links, and the third link goes to our other articles that Motorhome has shared online:

Mary's Rock Shenandoah Natioanal Park Virginia

On top of the world at Mary’s Rock in Shenandoah National Park.

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Other recent announcements of our published works:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

“Wild Camping” & RV Boondocking Tips – Escapees Magazine

The winter RV boondocking scene was well underway in Arizona when we flew halfway around the world to explore Thailand for a month. But even though we weren’t a part of the groovy RV gathering in Quartzsite this season, an article of ours offering a few tips we’ve learned about how to boondock in comfort and style appeared in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Escapees Magazine.

Wild Camping in Comfort and Style in Escapees Magazine by Emily Fagan

Escapees Magazine – Jan/Feb 2017 Issue
Article by Emily & Mark Fagan

Whenever we find a gorgeous campsite, we’ve gotta take pics. There’s something very satisfying about seeing our beloved buggy in really picturesque locations!! Writing this post seemed like a great excuse to share some pics from our favorite campsites during our travels in 2016. We don’t get to have views like these every day, but when we do, the cameras come out!

Many years ago, we started our RVing lives by dry camping in public campgrounds in a popup tent trailer. When we moved into our first big trailer to RV full-time nearly ten years ago, we assumed we would be dry camping most of the time.

So, we put a solar power system on our trailer and quickly learned the art of boondocking.

This is a really fun way to travel in an RV if you are into nature and solitude and quiet nights.

It’s not something that appeals to everyone, but we enjoy it immensely and have written about it on this blog:

For us, half the fun of boondocking is finding really great campsites, and that is a treasure hunt we undertake every day (we even caught ourselves pointing out to each other an “ideal boondocking spot” while on a tour in Thailand!!!).

Many people assume that “boondocking” means “roughing it,” but that doesn’t have to be the case. I had to laugh when I invited a new RVer into our rig last summer and, as she followed me up the stairs, she said, “I can’t believe you boondock all the time and you have shaved legs!!” Well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, whether camping in the wilds of nature or staying at the Four Seasons!

If your RV is outfitted well and you are willing to conserve your water and electricity a little bit, boondocking can be very comfortable, and of course, you can shower every day and shave your legs too!

Since we began living in our RV and boondocking every night all those years ago, the term “wild camping” has become popular, although I’m not sure that living in a luxury RV can be considered either “wild” or truly “camping.”

But the term does have a really sexy ring to it, so the Escapees Magazine editors used it in the title of our article. They posted the article on their website and you can read it here:

Wild Camping in Comfort and Style – Escapees Magazine

The Escapees RV Club has always encouraged its members to try boondocking, as it is the way the Club’s founders, Kay and Joe Peterson, liked to camp in their Airstream when they were full-timing as young working adults in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Escapees offers super cheap dry camping sites at most of their RV parks ($5/night for members) and they provide dry camping options at all of their rallies and functions too.

The Advocacy arm of Escapees RV Club also keeps tabs on changes in public land management and goes to bat for RVers when our camping options on public land are threatened in a big way.

Escapees RV Club has many other facets to support and educate RVers, from bootcamp programs for new RVers to rallies offered by various chapters nationwide that bring both inexperienced and seasoned RVers together socially.

On March 19-24, 2017, Escapees will be holding its 57th Escapade rally in Tucson, Arizona. This is a big rally and the schedule is absolutely chock full of informative seminars, social gatherings and fun entertainment.

Before Escapade begins next month, there will also be a 3 day Escapees Bootcamp training program for new RVers, March 16-18.

The schedule of Bootcamp seminars is eye-popping, covering everything from RV systems to Safe Driving to Specifics on Towable RVs to Specifics on Motorhomes to RV Weight and Load Management and Fire Safety.

They’ll also have their professional SmartWeigh Weighmasters available to weigh your RV. Our rig was weighed by a Smartweigh Weighmaster, and it was a very helpful and informative process.

Unlike most truck scales that weigh each axle of the rig individually, this weighing system weighs each wheel. This helps you figure out where the heavy spots are (all on one side or on opposite corners or in one particular corner) and find out whether your rig is limping a bit as it goes down the road.

This 57th Escapade in Tucson will also have a two-day program specifically for kids so parents or grandparents can drop their kids off while they attend seminars.

For folks that love to ham it up and perform, there is also an event called Escapade’s Got Talent where members can entertain their fellow RVers with whatever singing, dancing, music, skits or poetry they’ve got up their sleeve. For cowboy poets, there will also be a Cowboy Poetry contest.

There will be lots of great food too, including a chili cook-off, and on the last day there will be a 90th birthday party for Escapees Club Founder Kay Peterson.

We discovered Escapees RV Club back in 2008 through our love of boondocking when some fellow boondockers outside Death Valley National Park showed us the Days End Directory of boondocking locations and encouraged us to join.

If you are interested in joining, you can call 888-757-2582 or use the link below. If you mention that you heard about Escapees through our website, Roads Less Traveled, they will put a little something in our tip jar. We’ve been recommending Escapees to RVers for years, tip-free, so that is not our motivation at all. We simply believe in the Club and all the work they do to make RVing easier and more fun for everyone.

Join Escapees RV Club

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Things we’ve found helpful for boondocking:

More info about Escapees and Escapade:

For folks that like our photography:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

Our New Column in Trailer Life Magazine – Roads to Adventure!

We are very excited to announce that we are going to be writing and providing photos for a regular column in Trailer Life Magazine!

Trailer Life Magazine January 2017

Our column debuts in the January issue of Trailer Life Magazine.

For many years, the back page of Trailer Life has featured the unique stories and insights of RVer and writer Bill Graves.

Bill’s unusual tales from the less traveled roads of America have been such a delight to readers that we’ve heard people say that the first thing they do with Trailer Life is to flip it over and read Bill’s column on the back page.

I admit that I have done the same thing!

His stories provided a wonderful glimpse of life in America off the beaten path, and he ended each column with a fun tag line: “Welcome to America’s Outback.”

Bill has decided to retire from writing his column, and Trailer Life has asked us and travel writer Lisa Densmore Ballard to take turns luring readers to the back page.

We are thrilled to have been given this honor.

Trailer Life has named the new column “Roads to Adventure,” and we’ve come up with a new and different format for the column that will highlight our love of photography.

Each column will feature a beautiful photograph from a special place we’ve seen in our travels and will include a brief description of our experiences there.

Photography and RV travel Horshoe Bend Arizona

Our “Roads to Adventure” columns will bring you a stunning photo from an enchanting place.

We will be writing this column every other month beginning with the January, 2017, issue. Our first column is about the wonderful sweeping bend in the Colorado River that RVers can see when they make a trek to Horseshoe Bend, Arizona.

Photography at Horseshoe Bend Arizona

Horseshoe Bend is a fantastic place for RVers to do a little photography.

This is a gorgeous spot that is well worth making a detour to see. We wrote in detail about our experience at Horseshoe Bend and shared lots of photos in the following blog post:

Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Arizona – Stunning!

We were utterly smitten when we visited, both by the immense size and scale of the cliffs and by the crazy antics tourists did on out on the hairy edge. We took endless photos, and one of Mark’s finest is the one that Trailer Life chose for our debut column.

Sunset was a wild time at Horseshoe Bend with hoards of people taking selfies and photographers lining up at the edge, tripod to tripod, watching the sun slip away on the horizon. Sunrise, however, was peaceful and still and hauntingly beautiful.

Even though the sun rose at our backs, it was a thrill to watch the shadows disappear down the rock walls under the pink sky in front of us as it climbed higher and higher in the sky.

Sunrise at Horseshoe Bend Arizona

Although famous for its sunsets, our favorite moments at Horseshoe Bend were at sunrise!

We captured many wonderful images at Horseshoe Bend, and one of Mark’s just won the Photo of the Day at Steve’s Digicams a few days ago. This is the fifth photo of his that has been featured on that website.

 Horseshoe Bend Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona – What a place!

Both for seasoned RVers and for those that are new to the hobby, Trailer Life is an informative magazine that offers lots of RV tech tips, overviews of major RV upgrade projects as well as enticing travel destination features.

You can subscribe to the print and digital editions at these links:

We have lots more fun destinations in store for Trailer Life readers from the many places we’ve visited over the years, and we hope that our spot on the back page will be one that readers turn to.

All smiles at Horseshoe Bend Arizona

Look for us on the back page of Trailer Life Magazine!

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Other blog posts from our travels in northeastern Arizona:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

Maine’s Pretty Acadia National Park in Motorhome Magazine!

Last summer we enjoyed a fabulous RV trip to the eastern states, and one of the highlights was Acadia National Park in Maine. We are very proud that the September 2016 issue Motorhome Magazine features our article about this beautiful oceanfront National Park: Maine Course: Acadia National Park Offers Beauty and History Off the Beaten Path.

Motorhome Magazine Acadia National Park Maine Article by Emily Fagan

Motorhome Magazine September 2016 Issue
Article: Emily Fagan, Photos: Emily & Mark Fagan

Acadia National Park was the first Eastern National Park to be established, back in July, 1916. The Park takes up much of Mt. Desert Island on the northern Maine coast. Very close to the Park entrance lies the small, upscale town of Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor Maine

Bar Harbor is a trendy and charming town on Mt. Desert Island near the entrance to Acadia National Park

There are boutiques and tourist shops of all kinds and a pretty waterfront walking path where you can take in the views.

Bar Harbor Maine

Bar Harbor has lots of boutiques and tourist shops.

While Bar Harbor is where the human action is on Mt. Desert Island, the gorgeous scenic drive along Acadia National Park’s craggy coast is where Nature reins supreme.

Pink granite boulders on the Acadia National Park shore

Maine’s coast is all craggy granite boulders that lead to the sea.

The beautiful granite slabs and boulders make for some really fun (and easy) scrambling, and there are a number of sights and hiking trails on this very quiet shoreline.

Acadia National Park Maine

Acadia National Park has a beautiful, rocky shoreline.

Mt. Desert Island is a big island with two main lobes, several small towns and lots of little peninsulas that jut out into the sea. Acadia National Park takes up much of the land, and the whole island is fun to explore. Many spots on the shoreline are wonderful for relaxing and soaking in the view.

Tranquility on the Maine Coast Acadia National Park

Huge granite slabs on the shore are great for kicking back and enjoying the view!

Lobster boats fill many charming harbors in the area, and the Schoodic National Scenic Byway is a gorgeous drive that passes by a few.

Lobster boats on the Maine Coast

Maine lobster is a delicacy, and the small harbors are filled with lobster boats that catch them.

Of course, the lobstermen catch lots of lobsters. There’s nothing like a Maine lobster roll (lobster meat with mayo on a hotdog bun) eaten out on a sunny deck, or an all out Maine lobster dinner complete with a bright red whole lobster on your plate, a bib around your neck, butter melting in a tiny dish over a flame and a nutcracker and pick to get at the tasty morsels inside!

Lobster restaurant Bar Harbor Maine

There are lobster shacks on every corner and lobster restaurants on every pier!

We were floored by the immense lupines that grow wild all over everywhere in the summertime. They range from pale pink to deep purple and they enhance every view in every direction!!

Wild lupines Mt Desert Island Maine

We were stunned by the gorgeous wild lupines growing everywhere.

One of the biggest highlights in Acadia National Park is a trip up Cadillac Mountain. At the top we checked out the view while a seagull checked us out to see if we had any food to spare!

Seagull Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

On Cadillac Mountain we enjoyed the view while a seagull waited for a treat, or maybe a tip!

We were very lucky during our stay in Acadia National Park to be there when a national Model A club was holding a rally.

Model A car climbing Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

A national Model A rally in Acadia National Park — How cool!

There were Model A cars on every road, and we watched them climbing up Cadillac Mountain on roads that were originally built for them.

Model A Car on Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

Cute Model A cars were driving all the roads in Acadia National Park while we were there.

Cyclists had a ball descending from Cadillac Mountain too, and what a view they had as they flew down.

Cyclist rides down Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

Flying down Cadillac Mountain on a bike would be a lot of fun!!

One of the coolest things in Acadia National Park is the Carriage Roads that were built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. These roads were built to give the rich city folks from New York and Boston a place to go for a carriage ride from their vacation estates in Maine at the turn of the century and were closed to motorized cars. Nowadays, they are wonderful for biking.

Acadia National Park Carriage Roads Maine

The Carriage Roads are an ideal place for a leisurely bike ride through the beautiful Maine woods.

Although we heard that John D. Rockefeller, Jr’s son, David Rockefeller, now age 101, can occasionally be spotted enjoying his dad’s carriage roads in his own horse-drawn carriage, the public can walk, ride a bike or ride in a horse-drawn wagon on these roads that wind through the thick and wonderfully fragrant Maine woods on Mt. Desert Island.

Horse-drawn wagon ride Acadia National Park Carriage Roads Maine

The 50 miles of Carriage Roads are unique to Acadia National Park and can be enjoyed many ways!

Besides providing a road system that was free of motor cars, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. wanted all the bridges and tunnels on his roads to have a non-industrial and hand-made flare. Each was built by expert masons and is just beautiful.

Acadia National Park Carriage Roads

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. made sure the bridges and tunnels were finely crafted by hand.

The Carriage Roads zig-zag for 50 miles all over Mt. Desert Island, and near the center of the island they pass by Jordan Pond. This is a haven for kayaks and has a wonderful little restaurant where you can sit on the deck and enjoy the view.

Jordan Pond Acadia National Park Maine

Jordan Pond in the heart of Acadia is a wonderful change of pace from the rugged ocean shoreline

We enjoyed many sunny days during our stay in June, but late spring and early summer also bring a lot of fog to the Maine coast. This can be drippy and miserable, but there is also a special and mysterious beauty that shrouds everything in Maine when the fog rolls in.

Lobser boats in the Maine fog

Fog is common in Maine, and it can make for some very memorable and scenic images.

As a side note, Acadia National Park is just outside of Bangor, Maine, where we had the first of our four major RV repairs that hit us last summer, all in a row: the replacement of our trailer axle. We had it done by an excellent RV repair shop, Harvey RVs in Bangor, Maine, and you can read about what happened here:

5th Wheel Trailer Axle Replacement (a BIG repair job!)

A major RV repair like that is disconcerting, to say the least, but northern Maine was a great place to be stuck for a while because it is so scenic, peaceful and calming!

Calm harbor on the Maine Coast at Acadia National Park

Life is very tranquil in Maine!

Motorhome Magazine is a terrific monthly magazine that covers all things related to RVing, motorhome ownership and maintenance. We are very proud to be contributors this month.

Occasionally, Motorhome posts our articles on their website. Some of our previous articles can be read at this link (this article about Maine is not among them): Motorhome Magazine Articles by Emily & Mark Fagan

For newer RVers looking to learn about the RV lifestyle, learn about motorhomes and get ideas for cool travel destinations, Motorhome is a great resource. And for seasoned RVers who already know the ropes, there are lots of tid-bits to be gleaned from their pages too.

You can subscribe here (please note that the digital subscription price is “$0” but you will be charged when you open the download):

Motorhome Magazine Subscription – Print Edition
Motorhome Magazine Subscription – Digital Edition

A boat leaves the harbor in Maine's Acadia National Park

A classic Maine image!

If you are planning an RV trip to Acadia National Park or elsewhere in Downeast Maine, the blog posts below from our RV travels to the area may get you inspired and help with your travel planning.

More Info for an RV trip to Acadia National Park:

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

National Parks & World Heritage Sites in America, Canada, Mexico & SE Asia

National Park Service

August 25, 1916 – August 25, 2016
Happy 100th Birthday, NPS!

Since we began our full-time travels in our RV in 2007, and during our cruise of Mexico on our sailboat (2010-2013), we’ve made it a point to visit as many National Parks, National Monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout North America as possible.

This page provides an index of links to all of our blog posts from these special places, grouped by country. They appear in reverse chronological order. America’s National Parks are also broken down by state. This page is accessible from the Menus as well.

If there is a particular park you are looking for, use the “Ctrl-F” key (Windows) or “Command-F” key (Mac) to search for it on this page.

Links to the official websites for each of North America’s National Park agencies plus lists of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in each country are given at the bottom of this page.

Google Maps links to the locations of all the parks we’ve visited are at the bottom of this page as well. These are interactive maps that you can zoom in and out of.

You can navigate to each section of this page using these links:

In our travels, we have loved all of the National Parks we have visited, and we were intrigued to learn that Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park ever created in the world. It was established by the US Congress with the Yellowstone Act of March 1, 1872, which was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. Lots more National Parks followed, both in the US and abroad.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service, a bureau in the Department of the Interior, to consolidate the management of Yellowstone and the 35 other National Parks that had been established in the years since 1872.

This year, on August 25, 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Happy 100th Birthday NPS!!

Following is the index of posts from our visits to these wonderful places…

.

 

America’s National Parks and National Monuments

The National Park Service manages not only America’s National Parks but also the National Monuments, National Seashores, National Historic Sites, Battlefields, some of the National Recreation Areas and much much more.

In the summer of 2016, the National Park Service is managing 412 sites that spread out across more than 131 square miles. The sites were visited by over 307 million tourists in 2015, and the NPS had 22,000 employees and 221,000 volunteers.

Here are the ones we’ve visited in our RV travels:

ARIZONA

Sunrise Horseshoe Bend Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

CALIFORNIA

Death Valley National Park California

Death Valley National Park

COLORADO

Mesa Verde National Park Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park

FLORIDA

Gulf Island National Seashore Florida

Gulf Islands National Seashore

IDAHO

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument

MAINE

Ford Model A car drives down Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

Acadia National Park – Cadillac Mountain

MISSISSIPPI

Natchez Trace Parkway Mississippi

Natchez Trace Parkway

MONTANA

Happy camper Glacier National Park Montana

Glacier National Park

NEW MEXICO

White Sands National Monument New Mexico

White Sands National Monument

NORTH CAROLINA

Indian Creek Waterfall Deep Creek Hiking Trail Great Smoky Mountains National Park N. Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Indian Creek Waterfall

OREGON

Crater Lake National Park Oregon

Crater Lake National Park

TEXAS

Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon iin Big Bend Texas

Big Bend National Park – Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande

VIRGINIA

Mabry Mill Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping adventure

Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia – Mabry Mill

UTAH

Turret Arch Arches National Park Utah

Arches National Park – Turret Arch

WYOMING

Mirrored magic in Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park at Dawn

.

 

Canada’s National Parks and World Heritage Sites

In 1911, Canada was the first country in the world to establish a government agency specifically to oversee its National Parks. This agency is Parks Canada.

Parks Canada preserves and protects nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural history and is mandated to commemorate Canada’s history. In 2016, Parks Canada is managing 46 National Parks, 168 National Historic Sites and 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites covering nearly 350,000 square miles of land and water.

We’ve enjoyed the extraordinary beauty of Canada’s National Parks located in the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta as well as the picture postcard perfect town of UNESCO World Heritage Site Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Moraine Lake RV travel Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Banff National Park – Moraine Lake

.

 

Mexico’s National Parks and World Heritage Sites

Many of Mexico’s most thrilling places are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and some are National Parks as well. These sites include expansive grounds of ancient ruins that were built by the Mayans, Zapotecs and other cultures 2,000 years ago as well as historic Spanish Colonial cities that are home to exquisite architecture and cathedrals built by the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Unique natural sites have also been preserved, including some of the islands in the Sea of Cortez as well as habitats on the mainland where migratory monarch butterflies come each year.

If you have never traveled in Mexico, we highly recommend it. The Mexicans have an exuberant and colorful culture that is extraordinarily friendly. Mexico is easily the friendliest place we’ve traveled (besides Maysville, KY…). If you are concerned about safety, we jotted down some notes that are worth pondering at this link: Is Mexico Safe?

Other helpful posts for planning a travel adventure in Mexico are: Spanish Learning Tools and Long Distance Bus Travel in Mexico and Mexican Dentists.

Monte Alban Ancient Zapotec Ruins National Park Oaxaca Mexico

Monte Alban – Oaxaca, Mexico – Step Pyramids Built by the Zapotecs 2,000 Years Ago

.

 

Thailand’s National Parks and World Heritage Sites

Thailand has many stunning National Parks, both in the jungle and on the coasts where the water is turquoise and the reef fish are extraordinary.

Most beautiful waterfall in Thailand Erawan Falls Erawan National Park Kanchanaburi_

Erawan Falls – Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

More info about North America’s National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Map Links for the Locations of America’s National Parks & Monuments We’ve Visited

These maps will give you an idea of where these wonderful sites are in each state, but they are not intended for routing or itinerary purposes. You can only absorb the beauty of so many National Parks at once! Please note that you can zoom in and out of each map too.

Map Links for Canada’s National Parks & World Heritage Sites

Map Link for Mexico’s National Parks & World Heritage Sites

For our European readers, renting an RV is great way to explore America:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

Our 20th Magazine Cover Photo in Coast to Coast + Trailer Life Feature!

We are really proud to announce that we have published our twentieth magazine cover photo! It is showcased on the Summer 2016 issue of Coast to Coast Magazine, and it’s a pretty shot of our buggy at sunset in eastern Oregon.

Coast to Coast RV Magazine Cover Summer 2016

Coast to Coast Magazine – Summer 2016
Photo by: Emily Fagan
Cover story: Exploring Oregon’s Quiet Side

Inside the magazine, our cover story reveals many special hidden gems for RVers that can be found in the northeastern corner of Oregon.

Unlike the cool and dramatic Oregon coast where towering rock cliffs plunge straight down to the crashing Pacific surf below, the eastern part of Oregon is high desert, a parched and hot land where you can still see the wagon wheel ruts from the pioneer wagon trains that traveled west on the Oregon Trail.

Oregon Trail Wagon train ruts

We stood on the original wagon train ruts on the Oregon Trail…Incredible!

A while back we took our RV from Bend, Oregon into eastern Oregon. We visited the new Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and hunted down the wagon wheel ruts that are just a ways outside the museum. Staring down the road that once had pioneer wagons on it as far as the eye could see, we marveled at the differences between the early 1800’s and now, both in modes of travel and in our country.

Farm and prairie in eastern Oregon

Eastern Oregon offers a beautiful glimpse into an earlier era.

In Baker City we were charmed by the historic downtown that is lined with Victorian era buildings, and we loved the quiet and intimate feeling that this small city of 10,000 exudes. What a surprise it was to find out that, unlike other major cities in Oregon and neighboring states that have quadrupled in size in just a few decades, the population in Baker City hasn’t changed since 1940.

Geiser Grand Hotel Baker City Oregon

The beautiful Geiser Grand Hotel was built in Baker City in 1889.

Baker City is also home to the fabulous annual Baker City Cycling Classic Bike Race whose final event takes place in the downtown city streets much like the last stage of the Tour de France. While cyclists fly by at 35 mph, fans drink beer on restaurant patios and cheer the riders on. It’s quite something!

Baker City Cycling Classic Bike Race in Oregon

Cyclists fly past on the downtown streets of Baker City, Oregon

Traveling out into the even more remote reaches of northeastern Oregon, we found the towns became so small that each was home to just a thousand or two thousand people, and they were spaced ten miles or so apart. We arrived in the charming village of Joseph that sits at the base of the beautiful Wallowa Mountains and fell in love with the area.

Main Street and mountains in Joseph Oregon 681

Joseph Oregon’s Main Street

It takes so long to get to Joseph from any major city that everyone who goes there sticks around for a while, and not all that many people go there. There is a wonderful state park for camping right on the edge of beautiful Wallowa Lake, and there are oodles of fun things to do, from visiting a bronze foundry to riding special “bicycles” built for the narrow gauge railway line that runs between Joseph and Enterprise.

Riding the rails with the Joseph Branch Railriders in Oregon

Our friends Katie and Dick check out the rails on a unique “bike.”

We also took a wonderful gondola ride to the peaks of the Wallowas to have lunch with a fabulous view at the Summit Restaurant and enjoy a hike around the top of the mountain.

Hiking the Wallowa Mountains in Joseph Oregon

Hiking into the Wallowa Mountains above Joseph, Oregon

Seeking more mountain views, we hiked the Hurricane Creek trail in nearby Enterprise where we passed meadows of wildflowers in full bloom. Then we visited Hell’s Canyon, both from the overlook on the Oregon side and from the water level on the Idaho side.

Coast to Coast is the membership magazine for Coast Resorts, an RV park membership program with a network of around 400 parks. This is a “high end” RV membership program where you pay a hefty fee up front to buy into a home park and also pay an annual fee for park upkeep. However, as a member, you can stay at the 400 or so elegant member RV parks for just a few dollars a night.

We’ve met several full-time RVers who make the most of these kinds of RV membership programs. One very savvy couple we met last year in Quartzsite excitedly told us they had continued to upgrade their membership and purchase more perks in the program as the years went by, which now gave them some really exceptional long term benefits. As new full-timers in their mid-sixties, they’ll have plenty of time to travel the country in style, using their membership and paying pennies on the dollar for their overnight stays.

Deer at Wallowa Lake in Oregon

“No Trespassing? No Problem!
I’m a card carrying Coast to Coast Member!”

The trick is to do your research first and to negotiate with gusto. These memberships are sold in the same fashion as timeshares, giving you a tour in exchange for a few nights’ stay, but putting you on the hot seat for a few hours before letting you go. However, for the smart and knowledgeable shopper, there are real deals to be had.

On a different but similar note, we are excited to announce that the August 2016 issue of Trailer Life Magazine is featuring our article about a really fun train ride we did in New Hampshire‘s White Mountains aboard the Cog Railway.

Mt Washington Cog Railway Trailer Life Magazine August 2016

Trailer Life Magazine – August, 2016
Feature story by Emily Fagan. Photos by Emily and Mark Fagan

The Cog Railway claws its way straight up Mt. Washington, the northeastern states’ highest mountain peak. It uses a cog wheel installed on the train with teeth on it that link into a special track that lies between the two conventional rails on the ground in much the same way that the teeth on a bicycle cog rotate through the links in a bicycle chain. Completed in 1869, it was the first of its kind in the world, and the story behind its creation and the inventor who conceived of it is quite a tale.

Mt Washington Summit

At the summit of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington
It was an extraordinary climb…aboard the Cog Railway!

Trailer Life Magazine has posted our story on their website and you can read the article at this link:

New Hampshire’s Little Engine that Could!

We have had the good fortune to have published many articles and photos in the pages of Trailer Life Magazine, and a few of them can be read at this link:

Emily & Mark Fagan’s articles and photos in Trailer Life Magazine

Trailer Life is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and they have been publishing some super fun stories about the history of trailer travel and RVing in the magazine and on their website.

We subscribed to Trailer Life within a few months after buying our first popup tent trailer, and we have learned a lot from reading it over the years. There’s a bit of a learning curve when you first start RVing, and a monthly magazine like Trailer Life is a great way to get a general introduction to the hobby.

It offers tech tips and lifestyle ideas and articles describing major upgrades. The beauty of these professionally written articles is that they are critiqued by a team of experienced editors who make sure that every word is something they can stand behind.

If you are new to RVing, I highly recommend subscribing to Trailer Life for a year or more. You’ll catch our articles as they are published, which is nice, but much more importantly, you will gain valuable insights into the entire RV industry. You can subscribe to Trailer Life here:

Subscribe to Trailer Life Magazine

Mt. Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire White Mountains

1875 technology at its finest – What a great ride!
The Cog Railway’s steam train runs once a day, however, bio-diesel trains run all day long.


A little more info on all this:

Our blog posts from Eastern Oregon:

Our eastern Oregon itinerary:

Bend to Baker City to Joseph to Hell’s Canyon

Our blog post on riding the Cog Railway plus its location on the map:

Taking the Cog Railway to the top of Mt. Washington
Location of the Mt. Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

RVing Big Bend Texas – In Trailer Life Magazine!

The February 2016 issue of Trailer Life Magazine features our travel story about RVing at Big Bend National Park in Texas. Big Bend National Park is extremely remote, located about 150 miles due south of I-10, an interstate that runs east-west across Texas for almost 900 miles. This extraordinary National Park offers stunning canyons, wild rock formations, towering pine forested mountains and the iconic Rio Grande, a slow moving river that separates America and Mexico.

Big Bend Texas Trailer Life Magazine

Trailer Life Magazine – February 2016
Article by: Emily Fagan — Photos by: Emily & Mark Fagan

Big Bend National Park is enormous and full of variety. The drive across the width of the park is 45 miles long, and it climbs and descends through large sweeping turns that take you through many different terrains. At the far west end of the park, we found an utterly unique hippy enclave in the small town of Terlingua where the ghosts of a former Mexican mining camp come alive each year on Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, on November 1st.

Big Bend National Park Texas Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park

At the far eastern end of the park we took a “ferry” across the Rio Grande (this is actually just a rowboat ride!) and we crossed the international border to spend a delightful day in the tiny village of Boquillas del Carmen in Mexico.

Dusty streets, colorful buildings, and a friendly local guide who took us on a tour around town all brought back precious memories for us of our nearly four years of traveling throughout Mexico on our cruise. As close to the border as this small town is, it is as authentic in flavor and genuine in soul as any Mexican town we have ever visited.

Big Bend National Park is a hiker’s dream, with short ‘n easy and long ‘n strenuous hikes available in every kind of landscape, from mountains to desert to walking along the Rio Grande.

A hike in Santa Elena Canyon along the cliffs that line the Rio Grande in the southwest corner of the park gave us a beautiful glimpse of this very calm and quiet river, while a hike into the Chisos Mountains in the middle of the park took us through the pines to a window in the rocks that gave us a view of mountains in the distance. Traipsing through the hot desert portion of the park, we climbed a series of switchbacks to find ourselves face to face with a massive balancing rock.

There is something in Big Bend National Park for everyone, and perhaps most intriguing is that the National Park Service operates the entire park as a dry camping campground, which makes it possible to “boondock” within the limits of the park, something no other National Park offers (that we know of).

To see what Big Bend National Park looks like, here are all our blog posts from our RV travels there:

While you are taking your RV to or from Big Bend National Park, a stopover at the phenomenal Caverns of Sonora is an absolute must. This is by far the most beautiful cave system we have ever seen, and there is a small RV park at the Caverns as well:

Caverns of Sonora Texas

The Caverns of Sonora

Here is a Google Maps link to all these places. Boquillas del Carmen is a very short distance from the Rio Grande Village RV Campground in Big Bend National Park:

Trailer Life Magazine is an excellent magazine about all aspects of RVing with towable rigs, and they are celebrating their 75th birthday this year. The first issue was published in 1941, and the editors have written two charming articles about what Trailer Life and the RVers it serves were like in the early days:

Throughout the decades, Trailer Life has inspired campers with creative ideas and stories for fun things to go see and do with a trailer. They have also educated people on what to look for in a trailer, how to match a trailer with a properly sized tow vehicle, and outlined important maintenance procedures and discussed all kinds of other things related to traveling with an RV.

We were avid readers of Trailer Life long before we began making contributions to the magazine, and we highly recommend it to others that are learning about RVing. Subscribe to Trailer Life here!.

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU above.

Escapees Travel Guide 2016 Cover Photo + RV Batteries

Escapees Travel Guide 2016 for RV Travelers

Escapees RV Club 2016 Travel Guide
Photo by: Mark Fagan

The 2016 edition of the Escapees Travel Guide is out, and on the cover is a wonderfully vibrant Arizona sunset photo that Mark took.

The Travel Guide is a handy little book published by the Escapees RV Club for its members, and it lists nearly 1,000 RV parks across the continent (including Canada and Mexico) where Escapees members get discounts of up to 50%. It also provides state maps showing their locations for route planning.

The Escapees website also provides a map of them all here.

In addition, this listing includes the 19 RV parks that are under the Escapees umbrella. One of the neat things about Escapees RV parks — for the budget conscious — is that they always offer a few dry camping campsites in addition to their full hookup sites.

In our experience, these campsites are never full, are sometimes quite spacious, and don’t really need to be reserved in advance. Best of all, they’re just $5 a night for Escapees members.

One of our favorites was “Dry Camp A” at Rainbow’s End in Livingston Texas, which quickly became “Wet Camp A” during our stay due to several days of downpours.

It was roomy and had as much of a woodsy camping feel to it as is possible in an RV park. You can see pics of the campsite here.

The Escapees Travel Guide also lists members who own property and are willing to let other members park their RV on it for a night or more. We were very grateful for this unusual kind of RV parking when we got smoked out by a wildfire in Oregon a few years ago. How heartwarming it was to enjoy the special hospitality of fellow Escapees who let us stay in their yard while we got our wits together.

Escapees offers a ton of services for RVers besides campground discounts, from mail fowarding and domicile assistance to advocacy work on behalf of all RVers to bootcamp instructional programs for new RVers and special RV weighing services. They have an excellent online discussion forum and there are loads of RV rallies and gatherings and RV tours as well.

RV batteries Escapees Magazine January 2016

Escapees Magazine Jan 2016 Feature: RV Batteries
By: Emily and Mark Fagan

When we first started RVing full-time, I couldn’t imagine traveling any other way and was very surprised that Escapees also offered travel tours for its members that did’t involve traveling in an RV.

Yet, now that we’ve been at it a while, I totally understand the desire to mix it up a bit and jump on a plane or a boat to go somewhere once in a while. And why not do that with friends who like to RV too?!

Escapees Magazine

Our favorite benefit of being Escapees members is the very informative Escapees Magazine that arrives in our mailbox every other month. There is a wealth of knowledge shared in its pages, and the topics that are covered touch on every imaginable aspect of life in an RV.

In the January/February 2016 issue of Escapees Magazine there is an article of ours about RV batteries.

We’ve been living on 12 volt battery power for nearly 9 years now, between our boat and our trailer, and we’ve learned a lot about what it is that batteries do, how to install them, how they get charged, what kinds of TLC they like, how and why they fail, and why certain kinds of batteries are better than others.

Our article offers an overview of RV house batteries basics.

There is a ton of info about RV and marine batteries on this website as well, and for a more detailed study of what it is that makes RV batteries tick, the following tutorial pages get into the nitty gritty:

We joined Escapees in our first year of full-timing. If you are thinking about joining Escapees too, visit the Escapees webpage here.

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the top MENU above.

New Mobile Menu for RLT

If you like reading our various blog posts on-the-go on your phone or tablet, we’ve got a new and very much improved menu for you. It’s at the top of the screen in the upper right corner, and it has the same goodies in it as the menu on our desktop layout but in a slightly different configuration.

Roads Less Traveled Mobile Device Menu

A new menu for mobile devices in the upper right corner of the screen

If you’ve never explored the menus on this website before, there is tons of great stuff tucked away in there that you can reach very easily. There are tech tips of all kinds, from solar power to battery charging tips to winter RVing and heating tips to a pictorial of our trailer disc brake conversion and truck engine programmer installation and RV dump station tips and mobile internet tips.

On mobile devices the main menu lists the major topics that this website covers:

Mobile Device Menu Options Closed

The main menu for mobile devices

There are also loads of lifestyle tips for living and working on the road, figuring out the logistics and legalities of a full-time traveling lifestyle and making the leap from convention to adventure. From living off the grid and boondocking to sorting out whether an RV warranty makes sense financially to a detailed analysis of our expenses in the RV lifestyle, this site is a treasure trove of information for anyone contemplating a mobile lifestyle on the road or at sea.

On mobile devices, tap the arrow to the right of each topic to open it up and see more options.

Mobile Device Menu Options Open

Tap the arrows to the right to open each menu topic

Please check out the phone/tablet menu and let us know if anything doesn’t work quite right (we don’t have a mobile device so we haven’t seen it “live” yet). You’ll find all of our travels grouped by destination and can even take a peak at the various rigs we’ve owned and see what our sailboat looked like.

If there’s something you remember seeing on this site but can’t find again, try using the search option in the menus to locate it easily!

As always, a huge thank you to all our loyal readers for coming back here again and again.

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

Our most recent posts:


Full-time RV Tips & More in Motorhome and Trailer Life!

Motorhome Magazine At Home on the Road by Emily Fagan

An article chock full of tips for future full-timers who dream of running off on an RV adventure!
Motorhome Magazine – January 2016

The January 2016 issue of Motorhome Magazine features a fun article we put together about full-time RVing. We love this lifestyle and learn more about it every day, and this article describes some of the things we’ve learned about how to live this way and why it’s such a blast!

The publisher has posted the article online on their web page, so you can read it here:

At Home on the Road

We’ve also written oodles of tips for folks that dream of hitting the road full-time in their rolling home at these links:

Of course, as thrilling as this lifestyle is, it’s not all wine and roses, and least not all day every day (just mostly). There’s work that’s gotta be done too! Mark is very gifted mechanically and he keeps our show on the road with endless tweaks, upgrades, and repairs to the various systems on our RV.

Some of these projects appear on this blog. But many never make it to these pages. Such is the case with the replacement of our King Pin assembly on our fifth wheel trailer last year.

Trailer Life Magazine King Pin Assembly Replacement

Replacing a fifth wheel king pin assembly
Trailer Life Magazine – January 2016

In the January 2016 issue of Trailer Life Magazine, there is a review of several different fifth wheel king pins currently on the market, along with a step-by-step pictorial we put together showing how we upgraded the king pin assembly on our Demco Glide-Ride.

Our fiver had begun to have a bit of a wandering spirit as it traveled behind our truck, and the connection between the fifth wheel and the truck had become quite sloppy. Replacing the king pin assembly did the trick to tighten up the connection and make our buggy more obedient as it rolled along behind us.

Motorhome and Trailer Life are both excellent magazines that cover a wide variety of topics that are near and dear to the hearts of all RVers. Some of the articles that appear in their print edition also get posted to their website, as with the full-time RVing article above. However, most articles (like our king pin assembly pictorial) are available only to subscribers.

For anyone that wants to learn about RVing, a subscription to one of these magazines is a great educational tool. We have been Trailer Life subscribers for eons and find something worthwhile in every issue.

If you love driving your home around, subscribe to Motorhome here.
If you prefer towing your home behind you, subscribe to Trailer Life here.

Subscribe
Never miss a post — it’s free!

A few of the other articles we have written for these magazines can be read at these links:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the top MENU above.