RV Fitness and Healthy Eating

Standard

While Scamp and Rambler keep me on the run when we’re out adventuring, it can be a little tough keeping in shape on the road (and after my last trip to Georgia, I can use some extra exercise!)

Work Out Inside Your RV

Getting out in the great outdoors is always good exercise, but you know, you can even get a workout INSIDE the RV. Jodie Ginter is an RV enthusiast, who along with John Holod, creates some excellent RV videos. Ginter says she’s logged more than 250,000 miles in her travels.  She offers a video to keep us RVers in shape on the road…and even in the limited space of an RV! What’s cool about Jodie’s video is that you don’t need equipment and it only takes about 25 minutes to get in your workout.

Stock the Galley with Healthy Foods

farmer's market

I love finding the freshest in-season produce at local farmer’s markets!

I also try to keep the kitchen in Max, my Airstream, stocked with some healthy options (when I’m not taking in the festival food!).  AllRecipes.com has some great info on what to stock in your RV so you can always be prepared for cooking on the road.

Find the Freshest Ingredients

When I’m visiting some of the fairs and festivals around the country, one of my favorite things to do is find the farmers markets. Many of them are wrapping up for the summer, but several stay open later in the year to sell their fall crops. Fresh broccoli is one of my favorite veggies and is a fall staple of mine. Some farmers markets will have a bounty of broccoli right through October. I stopped at one on my way back from Georgia and picked up some ingredients for a broccoli salad recipe I found some time ago and thought I would share it with my readers.

Broccoli Bacon Salad

This salad is easy to make on the road or at home…and you can make it as healthy or as decadent as you’d like. It’s one of my favorites for a variety of reasons: it’s tasty, it’s nutritious, and since Scamp and Rambler are not fans of broccoli, there’s no begging for food when I eat this one!

The recipe calls for enough ingredients to make the salad for a whole batch of campers, so adjust accordingly. I went for the healthy (or at least healthier) version.

Ingredients

2 heads of fresh broccoli
1 red onion
¾ cup of raisins
¾ cup of sliced almonds
½ pound of bacon (I opted for turkey bacon)
1 cup of mayonnaise (I chose a lite mayo, or you can be trendy and substitue plain greek yogurt!)
½ cup of sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.

  1. Cook the bacon over medium high heat until it’s crispy. When it’s cool, crumble it up.
  2. Cut the broccoli and red onion into smaller pieces, place in a big bowl and combine it with the bacon, raisins and almonds.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, sugar and vinegar until smooth and stir it into the salad. Let that chill for a while and then serve it up. It’s that easy!

Do you have some good on-the-road recipes? Share them with me, and I’ll pass them along right here on the blog!

Livin’ the Love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Closing Summer with Catfish and Coastline

Standard

Well, it was a toss-up this year for my Labor Day destination.  I thought about staying close to my hometown of Nashville and visit Knoxville’s Boomsday festival, but that would mean leaving Scamp and Rambler behind again .  So, I’m packing them up in Max, the Airstream, for one final summer outing.

I decided to head due south to Kingsland, Georgia for the 30th Annual Labor Day Weekend Catfish Festival. What Tennessee girl doesn’t like catfish?

Catfish Nuggets

Catfish nuggets! Yummy!

The festival started as a one-day small town festival, but now it’s grown to a regional event featuring arts and crafts, a big parade, and tons of southern food! Scamp and Rambler will probably beg me for a bite, but they’ll have to stick to their diets even if I’m not sticking to mine.

After my previous visit to the Georgia coast in January, I knew I had to get back to close out the summer. Sharon and Phil (who I met on my last trip to the Peach State) are set to meet us there.

What’s great about Kingsland (other than all the catfish you could possibly want to eat in a weekend) is that it’s close to the beach and better for my travelling companions since it is also close to wildlife areas and state forests.

My worry with the dogs running in the wooded areas this time of year is all the ticks and fleas (yuck!).  My vet friend Bailey told me most dogs can get them from weeds and high grass, so I thought about getting a flea collar for the guys. She told me some over-the-counter products can work great too, so I think I’m going to give them a try. We’ll see how it goes!

LED Lights from Dometic

Love my new LED lights!

I have a feeling Sharon and Phil will be jealous of Max’s “upgrade.” The new addition is very much 21st century. Dometic has some really cool LED lights  that help me “light up the night” so I can enjoy the cooler autumn evenings that are on the way. They hook right onto my RV’s awning so I can sit outside and read, eat, and play with Scamp and Rambler well after the sun has set. 

I really didn’t know a lot about LED lights, so I did a little research. I learned that LEDs are much more energy efficient than typical “bulbs” and can last thousands of hours longer than regular lights. Sounds good to me!

I’m really looking forward to visiting southern Georgia again and seeing my newfound friends (and now e-mail buddies) Sharon and Phil. It’s amazing how the adventure of RVing can open up a whole new world to us and open up the opportunities to meet people we may have never met if we hadn’t chosen the RV lifestyle. For Scamp and Rambler, they’ll be happy to revisit the sandy beaches and pine-laden state forests in the area…and to fruitlessly search for some festival fare.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

When to Change Your Pet’s RV Lifestyle

Standard

For those of you who read this blog, you’ll remember that last month I gave some suggestions about how best to travel with your pet (in my case, my dogs).  That post prompted an emailed from one of my readers asking about how to deal with a dog’s car sickness.  I’m fortunate that that hasn’t been a problem for me personally – Scamp and Rambler have always tolerated the motion as we drive along.  They’re relatively young, too, which I think helps, but what do I know, I’m not a vet. 

I’ve compared notes with other RV friends and acquaintances who travel with their dogs, and recently I’ve been hearing about a drug called Cerenia®.  I think it comes in tablet form, and from what I’ve heard, it’s worked pretty well for combatting car sickness for a number of dogs.  If your dog is demonstrating car sickness, especially when he or she hasn’t before, I suggest you call your vet first to ask about this drug, but this might be just the ticket.

This whole issue of animal health on the road has given me pause lately to really think about the idea of how long I’ll be traveling with my dogs.  As much as Scamp and Rambler seem to enjoy the experience, I realize that they can’t really tell me how they feel, so it is important for me to keep a close eye on their health and happiness.  We all make decisions for  our pets and hope they’re the right ones.  I mention this because I had a couple of friends recently who had begun to ask themselves about their aging dog and how well he was tolerating the travel.

Joe and Hazel have been retired for about four years and bought their Class C RV so they could enjoy the travel they’d never had time to do when their kids were growing and “life got in the way,” as Hazel put it.  Their dog, Festus, had been a part of the household for about seven years when they started to hit the road to see the country and visit their grown children who had spread all over the map with their families.  They told me that up until recently Festus had tolerated the travel very well, usually riding up front with them, and accompanying them on their adventures.  Sometimes it was difficult to tell who the grandchildren were happier to see, Grampa and Gram (as Joe and Hazel were called) or Festus, who became the immediate center of attention when Joe and Hazel pulled in.

But, as Joe told me, Festus began to be out of sorts more often when traveling and he’d had a couple of times when he’d acted as though he was car sick, once when they had been traveling a mountain road with its switchbacks and frequent turns.  Joe was the first to bring up the subject of whether or not it was time for Festus to “retire from the road,” as he put it, but Hazel didn’t want to talk about it at first. 

Knowing that Joe was right (he usually was), Hazel finally suggested they ask if Festus could spend his “retirement” living with their middle daughter, Cleo, and her husband, Paul.  They were fortunate in the fact that Cleo was a stay-at-home mom and Festus could be around people all day as a play companion to their two girls.  And, of course, they’d be able to see Festus when they visited Cleo and her family.  So, on their last trip, Festus stayed behind when Joe and Hazel pulled out.

Hazel had a hard time leaving Festus but knew they were doing the right thing.  She simply missed her companion.  But, as she told me one night as we sat enjoying the night sounds after a dinner we shared, “We make choices for our pets and it’s important to remember that those decisions not be just about us.  It has to be about them, too.”  For me, hearing this story made me aware that I may face the same questions some day with Scamp and Rambler.  I love having them with me but what’s best for them will always be the priority.  I hope the same will be true for you.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

RVing With Pets: Transporting My Most Precious Cargo

Standard

You may remember that before I traveled to Kentucky for Thunder Over Louisville and stayed around for the chance to see the Kentucky Derby I made the decision  not to take my usual traveling companions, Scamp and Rambler, my dogs.  They instead enjoyed a vacation from me thanks to the kindness of my two favorite Nashville friends, Anne and Chet.  When I got back and pulled in to their place towing Max, my Airstream, and the dogs got a glimpse of their home on the road, it was difficult to contain their enthusiasm.  (I’m not sure who was most excited – the dogs or Anne and Chet.  Scamp and Rambler can be a handful.)  I’m thankful these separations are rare and they make me realize how important my dogs are to me.  They are part of my family.

Traveling DogWhen I was in Kentucky, I told a couple I met at the campground that I had left my dogs behind with friends in Nashville and they asked me about the experience of traveling with Scamp and Rambler.  They said they were considering getting a dog to join them on their travels and wanted to know about my experiences. 

I talked to them for several hours and later I thought I would make it the subject of this blog.  However, it’s such a broad topic I decided to confine this blog entry to things to think about while you’re actually on the road with your dogs.

Keep Your Pet Safe When Your Vehicle is Moving. 

Years ago, I let my dogs sit next to me in my pickup truck while we drove but after reading about some tragic accidents in which pets had been injured, I made the important decision to fit them with restraints.  I use seat belt harnesses for both of my dogs.  I won’t give you a brand name because there are a lot of alternatives for how best to keep your pet safe, including harnesses and plastic or wire travel crates, and it has to be a personal choice for each pet owner.  But I would urge you to research all of the possibilities and pick what’s best for your situation.  Your pet will thank you.

Take Up-To-Date Records.

Make sure you take up-to-date veterinary records for each of your pets, including vaccinations, and license tags, of course. A lot of campgrounds require you to have certificates of things like rabies inoculations.  It’s a good idea, if you plan your trip ahead of time, to learn of veterinary resources where you’re going and emergency numbers.  It’s also a good idea to have a picture of your pet, digital or printed, in your file.

Take plenty of Rest Stops Along the Way.

This is not only for – how shall I say – the “relief of nature” but also for a little exercise.  Every few hours is a good rule of thumb.  Make sure you take plenty of disposal bags and clean up after your pet.  Remember, you love your pets, but many others do not, and you would not want to be thought of as a nuisance.

Stay on Schedule.

Try to keep your pet’s feeding schedule as near to your home timetable as possible.  Routine is important for them even when you’re all on the road.

Pack supplies.

Cleaning supplies are a must, of course, because accidents do happen and car sickness is not a problem confined only to humans.

After covering much of what I’ve written here when talking to the people who had asked me, I perceived a look on their faces of “Uh oh, this sounds like a lot of trouble.”  I would be lying if I didn’t concede that taking a pet – in my case, two dogs – on the road requires a major commitment of time, patience, planning and, yes, expense, but I can tell you quite honestly it’s more than worth it.  Scamp and Rambler are like my children, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences with them as an RVer for anything.  There is nothing quite like taking them on a leash to walk a trail in a wilderness or to sit around after dinner in camp and listen to the night sounds. 

Be awakened just once by a cold nose nudging you in the morning to get out of bed and you will know the joy that I feel when I think about Scamp and Rambler.  They’re more than my pets.  They’re my traveling companions.   

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

My Old Kentucky Home Away From Home

Standard

 The last time I updated this blog I told you that I was planning to attend Thunder Over Louisville, the air show and fireworks event that kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival and that I would give you a review.

 In a word…well, three actually…

 “It…was…unbelievable!”

 All I can say is, if you’ve never been to this, you have to go. The planes fly all day, and there are so many people around, you have no choice but to make friends with your neighbors on the Great Lawn on the shore of the Ohio River.  The air show only ends when it is time to light the fireworks, and believe me, there is a reason they call this event “THUNDER Over Louisville.” They set off so many fireworks at one time that the ground shakes!…and it keeps shaking for a good 40 minutes!

It was one of the most amazingly fun events I’d ever attended…

 … until I went to the Kentucky Derby!

Louisville, Kentucky Derby

Louisville, Kentucky Derby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Here’s how it all came about.  At Thunder Over Louisville, my friends and I met a couple who live on a farm a few miles east of the city.  They’re natives to Louisville and when they discovered I’d be staying for some more of the Kentucky Derby Festival events, they invited me to park my Airstream, Max, on their farm and save myself additional expense at the RV park.  I jumped all over that!

My newfound friends, Judy and Butch, invited me to stay in a spare bedroom at their house but I didn’t want to impose – after all, I was planning to hang around for as much as a week or two to go to more of the Festival events and nothing gets old faster than a house guest.  They were kind enough to let me park Max down by a nice creek they have running through their property a few hundred yards from their house. 

It was wonderful.  Of course, I didn’t have power hook-ups like at the RV park, but it gave me a chance to fire up my new portable generator again.  I’d given it a pretty heavy workout earlier when we were picnicking at the RV park and now I had it all to myself.  I don’t know how I ever lived without such a thing.  And the beauty of it is it’s given me more freedom to accept kind invitations like the one Judy and Butch extended to me.

 But, I’m off the track here.  You want to know how I got to attend the Kentucky Derby.

The day before the race, Judy walked down and told me they had a friend who had a box at Churchill Downs, had invited them and said he had one extra ticket.  Would I like to go with them?  Are you kidding me?!  I’ve always wanted to see the Kentucky Derby in person!

I had a very nice outfit just for such an occasion and Judy completed it for me with what she said was “an absolute essential” for the Derby — a hat.  It was one she had worn a few years before and she said I was welcome to it. 

The other essential is a mint julep.  If you’ve never had one, you owe it to yourself to try it.  I didn’t know this but Kentucky is the only place in the world where bourbon is made and it’s the main ingredient of a mint julep.  I can tell you, the mint julep may look innocent enough but it’s got the kick of a mule, and it’s the perfect libation for a day betting the horses. (It was even more perfect that a horse named I”ll Have Another won the big race!)

The highlight of the day for me was the playing of My Old Kentucky Home prior to the race.  The entire crowd sings it.  I have to tell you, I may hail from Massachusetts originally, but I felt like a Kentuckian. I’ve got to admit the song choked me up a bit.

It was a long, fun-filled day, and I will never forget it.  The next morning, I said goodbye to my gracious hosts and hit the road to retrieve Scamp and Rambler from my friends in Nashville.  I was humming My Old Kentucky Home all the way down I-65.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Let the Fireworks Begin!

Standard

There’s one big event I’ve heard about for years–Thunder Over Louisville.  I’ve never attended, but I’ve decided this is the year for me. 

Thunder Over Louisville

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks!

Thunder Over Louisville is billed as the world’s largest fireworks show and is the official kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival.  The Festival itself spans the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby (always the first Saturday in May) and includes events like a steamboat race and a balloon race. Sounds like my kind of fun!

“Thunder” is more than just a fireworks display, though. It is a day-long Saturday event (April 21 this year) on the banks of the Ohio River with more than half a million people hanging out and watching an air show during the afternoon while they wait for the fireworks to start.  I’ve heard it’s pretty amazing, especially when it gets dark.  A friend of mine who’s been to it says the fireworks are set to music, and they have things like a “waterfall of fire” from one of the bridges.

I’ve seen pictures of Thunder Over Louisville and heard stories about it. I’ve always wanted to see it in person, and now in a few days I’ll be pulling my Airstream, Max, up to Louisville to meet some RV friends of like mind – three couples I’ve known for years – and we’ll attend together.

Unfortunately, having been cautioned by friends who’ve attended, I’m going to have to leave Scamp and Rambler behind in Nashville.  Pets aren’t allowed at the event and they’d be frightened by the noise anyway so my good friends, Anne and Chet, offered to give Scamp and Rambler a vacation at their place for a week or so, depending on how many of the Derby Festival Events I want to attend.  The dogs will no doubt enjoy the change of pace themselves – I mean, everybody needs some time away, right?

We’ve booked adjoining spaces in a nice RV park just south of Louisville and will take two cars into town for the festivities.  We’ll make the RV park our base of operations, so to speak.  I’ve always enjoyed the “group camp” and all it brings with it, especially the division of labor.  You get to share the cooking chores and inevitably you learn some new recipes.  I like the group dynamic, too–card playing after dinner, a few convivial libations, and trading stories. 

One of the other couples who has been to Thunder before says the RV park we’ve booked has a really nice picnic grounds.  It’s somewhat removed from the main RV area and sits under a wonderful stand of shade trees, but it doesn’t have power.  We’ve talked about sharing a few meals there, so I’m looking forward to trying out my latest acquisition, my new Dometic portable generator.  We’re such an electricity-dependent society, aren’t we?  It will be nice to be able to plug in useful appliances (like my blender) when we’re “roughing it” away from the RVs.

I’m really looking forward to Thunder Over Louisville and the rest of the Kentucky Derby Festival.  I’ve always heard those Kentuckians know how to throw a party.  Any place that is the home of thoroughbred horse racing and bourbon knows how to show visitors a good time.  I’ll let you know how it all went in a few weeks.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

A Request For “Rookie” Tips

Standard
Tips for First Time RVers

Follow the signs and follow the rules!

I got the nicest response to my last blog entry from a woman named Debra, and I’m just now taking the time to acknowledge it.  Because of what she asked, I thought it might be nice to share my answer through the blog since it concerns something a lot of people – well, at least the people who like to read my blog! – might wish to know. 

She wrote that she and her husband were going to be renting an RV for the first time this summer and she was looking for some “rookie” tips from an old hand like me.

So here goes…

As I was thinking about what to tell Debra, it occurred to me that there is one overriding theme that seems to be common to every situation and to every interaction you’ll have. It has to do with courtesy. Since most of us RVers tend to stay in campgrounds or RV parks, that’s a good place to start. 

  • The first tip I’d pass along is to learn the campground’s or park’s rules as soon as you get there (or even before, if they have a website). You’ll find they’re usually written to insure you enjoy your stay and to allow others to enjoy theirs. 
  • When you get there, take a look at how others are parked.  Generally, you’ll want to try to orient your RV the same as others
  • Are you pulling in late at night or leaving especially early?  Try to make as little noise as possible or not burn lights too late or too early that may disturb others. 
  • Have a firepot there in the space?  Use it for fire only, not as a makeshift garbage can. 
  • Got pets? (Boy, do I have pets!)  I love my dogs, Scamp and Rambler, but I realize not everyone else likes pets, so I’m always careful to keep them under control

It’s just simple courtesy when you think about it. Try to conduct yourself so that you leave nothing behind but a good memory of your visit for those you get to know on the road. If you are looking for more tips for beginner RVers or for tips for camping on your own like I do, check out RV.com’s RV Lifestyle Tips.

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite memories about being an RVer and the whole idea of treating others as you would like to be treated. 

I was spending the night in a campground in a swamp on the Louisiana-Texas border a few years back when I first started the RV life.  The campground was pretty bare-bones, it was miles to the nearest grocery store and it was the middle of the week.  There were only a few RVs there.  The couple from the next occupied space – about four down from where I was parked- was trying to prepare their dinner.  He was manning the grill, she was in their galley.  A few minutes later, the wife walked over to my Airstream, Max, and, after apologizing for intruding, asked if I had any cumin (the spice) I could spare.  As luck would have it, I had about two teaspoons left in a spice tin and offered it to her.  She protested that she couldn’t take the last of what I had but I insisted, since I wasn’t going to use it anytime soon.  She thanked me repeatedly and went back to their motor home.

About a year later, I was at a campground outside Austin, relaxing in a canvas chair under my awning one evening, when, to my great surprise, the woman I had met the year before in the swamp walked up and, with a big smile, handed me an unopened spice tin of cumin.  Laughing, she said, “I was hoping we’d run into you again some day.”

Do unto others…that’s the one tip I’d pass along as essential.  Keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.