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With gratitude…

Tuesday, December 05 2023

It was a Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Turkey. Football—A Lions loss…another tradition—not to mention a few flakes falling outside. Best of all, we had a house full of family, laughing, joking, sharing stories and more. It’s easy to see why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.

Somewhere, in between the second helping of stuffing and the fifth showing of “A Christmas Story”, I found the time to reflect on what’s most important this time of year…giving thanks. Here’s what I’m most grateful for…

Family – This is the big one. My family is my life, my purpose, my all. They’re also the most wonderful people I know. I’m truly grateful for them, even on their worst days, which is pretty rare.

Good Health – With each passing year, I seem to be adding more creaks and groans to my repertoire. But thankfully, I can still chase the grand kids around and find enough energy for many of the household choirs. That’s one in the win column.

Work – The old saying goes, if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. More often than not, that applies to me and my situation. I’m fortunate to work with an amazing team. They’re hard-working folks who are easy to get along with. They’re very skilled too. In short, they’re my second family. Now if I could just control the economy, weather, and the ever changing RV industry…

Life & Faith – These two go hand-in-hand. While I take my faith seriously, I try not to take life too seriously. A good sense of humor goes a long way to making any situation at least bearable. I’m fortunate in these respects.

I hope you found plenty to be thankful for this season.

Happy Camping,


Knowing when to let go…

Thursday, October 26 2023

I came across a quote the other day that’s really stuck with me: “The leaves are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.” Yes, it’s a great sentiment about autumn. But it’s more than that. It’s a timely reminder to let the “little stuff” in life go. You know…the often petty but sometimes painful slights that friends or family can inflict. The stuff that nags at us and keeps us from enjoying life more fully. (Yes, I’m on my soap box, but only briefly.)

These thoughts came to me recently, while we were enjoying our annual autumn adventure in Minnesota. My wife and I made the trip to see our son’s family and spend some rare, quality time with them, especially the grand kiddos. This is family time at its finest. Every day is an adventure, filled with smiles, hugs and happiness I wish we could bottle. I can’t imagine not spending time this way.

And yet I know, in the past few years especially, many families and friendships have been strained by personal and even political divides. These hurts can linger if we let them. So why would we? Let ‘em go. Relationships are too precious. And like autumn itself, life’s too short. There are too many amazing adventures to share and experience. Too many wonderful memories to make.

There’s no room for regrets in my rig.

Happy Camping,


Fun & Friendship…it’s what we live for.

Sunday, October 08 2023

It’s official. The 2023 edition of COHO Outing is in the books. This September ritual, which draws friends, family and colleagues to Northern Michigan for an extended weekend of outdoor recreation, was one to remember. We trolled the big lake for salmon and walleye; with many finding their way to the grill and table. We tested our skills on one of Michigan’s premier golf courses, gaining humility or bragging rights for next year. We toured area wineries. Played corn hole. And ate like kings and queens. But mostly—and this is the important part—we connected with those near and dear to us. We laughed. We shared stories. We made memories that will linger for years to come.

As I ponder these past few days, it reminds me of why we need time to really connect with people, now more than ever. We need time with loved ones to share our thoughts, bare our souls, laugh, cry or simply enjoy the silence of the woods together. To me, that’s what the RV lifestyle is all about. It’s why I love it so much. Few things please me more than sitting around a roaring fire with people I love and appreciate, sharing a warmth that goes so much deeper than just the flames. I wouldn’t trade this feeling for all the world.

So, yes, I’ll be working on my short game; confident that the scorecard will tell a different story next year. I may have a new grilled salmon recipe too. But most of all, I’ll be counting the days to next September, anticipating the good times and great memories that await me.

I hope you find the time—however long or short—to reconnect with loved ones in the woods, on the water, or wherever this wonderful RV life leads you.

Happy Camping,


Rent…without regret

Tuesday, August 29 2023

I came to the RV lifestyle quite naturally (pun intended)…I was born into it. I inherited the travel bug from my parents. Of course, it’s no coincidence that my family has owned a business in the RV industry for over 60 years. Not to mention, we live in one of the Midwest’s most popular camping destinations.

So how have so many folks come to love the RV life, with no initial connection to it? In a word: Renting.

According to one industry resource, RV rentals are up 48 percent since 2021. They’re up 150 percent since 2020. And it’s easy to see why. There are several great reasons to rent an RV before committing to ownership. Here are just a few:

  1. Try before you buy – It’s a no-brainer. Renting lets you experience the joy of RV-ing—along with the planning and work that goes with it—before you make that Class A commitment. A few, long-weekend getaways in a rented rig will go a long way in helping you make a well-informed purchase decision.
  2. Learn what you want – If you haven’t spent much time in an RV, renting one will help you discover what you want in one. For example, if you love to cook on the road, you may want a larger, more fully equipped kitchen. If you’re going to spend more time inside the rig and less time outdoors, you should probably opt for a more sizeable living room. You get the idea.
  3. Get familiar with how it works – Driving, parking and hooking up an RV can be intimidating tasks for a novice RV-er. Like anything worthwhile, practice and experience are the answer. Time on the road and in the park will help you become more confident and comfortable. Hopefully.
  4. What kind of RV is right for you? – There are many different sizes and styles of RV; each tailored for certain lifestyles. Are you retired and planning lengthy trips on the road with your significant other? Do you have a young family that will be enjoying weekend adventures closer to home? Consider how you’ll be using your RV and decide accordingly.
  5. Park it or store it? – Most RV’s are big…much bigger than the average driveway or garage will accommodate. Renting an RV will quickly reveal if you can park it at home or may need to consider professional RV storage.

If you’re considering buying an RV, do your homework—especially your “away-from-home” homework—and rent first. You’ll be glad you did. And so will your checkbook.

Happy Camping,


It’s a Scorcher…

Monday, July 31 2023

Looking out my window this afternoon, I saw something strange. Something I hadn’t seen in weeks. Droplets of an unfamiliar liquid were pelting my window and streaking down the glass. Could it be…finally…rain?!

To say it’s been a dry summer would be a massive understatement. I haven’t taken my lawnmower out in weeks. When I did use it, it kicked up dust clouds and bits of straw-like matter.

Living in the north, we’ve actually gotten off easy this summer. The folks in the Southwest have been dealing with three-digit temps on a daily basis. Humidity or not, it’s just plain brutal. With heat like this, who wants to be outside? Well, for one, me! At least occasionally, anyway. I still want to experience the beauty and freedom of summer. So what are my options? Glad you asked…

  1. Park in the shade –Yes, it’s beyond obvious. But are we really thinking about shade when we’re planning our trip? We should be. Review the campground map and identify spots that will provide afternoon shade. Then book early to secure these prime spots.
  2. Create shade – Maximize your shade by keeping your awning down. Use tarps to rig up other shady spots to relax. Be sure to use tree-friendly straps, like wide nylon, to avoid damaging the trees.  
  3. Feel the breeze – If possible, position your rig to make the most of prevailing winds when your windows are open. In the U.S., winds typically move west to east.
  4. Buy a portable fan (or three) – Don’t wait for a sweltering day when there’s a run on fans at your local big box store. By them ahead of time and keep them handy.
  5. Maintain your cooling system – Another no-brainer. Inspect and clean your filters on a regular basis so your system operates efficiently.
  6. Cook Al Fresco – Nothing heats up your rig’s interior faster than a home-cooked meal. When the heat is on, prepare your dinner outside. Try a chilled, no-fuss meal like an herbed chicken pasta salad. Prepare it at home and bring it with you. Easy. Peasy. Better yet (shameless plug alert!) use our Stake & Grill over your campfire. Simply adjust the height of it for the ideal cooking temperature. It makes the most amazing steaks, ribs, burgers….you get the idea.

When the heat is on, you don’t have to head in. Take a few precautions (and lots of water) and you can still enjoy the great outdoors all summer long.

Happy Camping,


A Smoky Summer…

Wednesday, June 28 2023

It’s been a weird summer so far. I got a reminder of that when I stepped outside one recent morning, coffee in hand. I was greeted by a strange sunrise. The sun was just a dim ball of orange hidden in a thick haze. The smell of campfire hung heavy in the air. And we weren’t even camping!

It’s the Canadian wildfires. Our northern neighbors are struggling with one of the worst fire seasons on record. According to Canada’s National Forestry Database, 19.2 million acres have been scorched this year alone. The database has recorded 2,956 wildfires since the beginning of 2023. Apparently, the incredibly dry, windy weather hasn’t helped things either.

Through all the smoky haze, one thing seems clear to me. As outdoor enthusiasts, we have to be smarter about how we use and enjoy our natural resources. For starters, we have to be safety minded.

It’s estimated that 90% of wildfires are caused by us humans. Which means, to a large extent, they’re preventable. (Remember, as kids, Smokey Bear reminded us that only we could prevent forest fires?) Smokey Bear still has some great advice on fire safety right here:

There are other reasons, bigger and more far reaching, to be concerned about forest fires. But we can make a difference in our little neck of the woods…especially if we use common sense.

Build your fire in a designated fire pit.  Keep it under control. Make sure a water source, bucket and shovel are close by. When you put out a fire, make sure it’s out for good. And, of course, clean up all your debris after you’re done.

Let’s enjoy the outdoors as we should—safely and responsibly.

Happy Camping!


Making Memorial Day Memories…

Thursday, June 01 2023

Memorial Day weekend. The official, “unofficial” start of summer. I feel like a kid just before Christmas. I’ve been watching the calendar for weeks—okay, months—in breathless anticipation for that glorious Fri-yay! that begins the long weekend.

We booked our favorite spot many months ago (hint, hint). Our destination is an easy drive from our home base—yes, we’re lucky enough to live where campgrounds are plentiful and beautiful. We’ll be getting an early start on Friday at o’dark thirty. We can’t beat the crowds completely, but getting a head start reduces headache and hassle.

The rig will be packed with all our essentials, starting with all the necessary nourishment. Four, humongous tomahawk steaks will find their way into the cooler. Each procured, and neatly trimmed, by our favorite local butcher (Thanks, Mark!) They’ll be grilled to perfection on Stromberg’s Stake & Grill; a handy item that turns any campfire into an easily adjustable grill. A few burgers and dogs will likely make an appearance, but the steaks are the feature attraction.

Since our campground is just steps from the lake, we’ll definitely enjoy time on the water. The bass and perch are plentiful and very responsive to live bait fished from shore. After watching the sun fade behind the trees, we’ll fire up the, well, fire. We’ll toast the starry sky with raised glass as we listen to the nightly chorus of insects. In the morning, a bracing dip in the chilly water will wash away any cobwebs from the night before.

Like every vacation, time will fly by way too fast. But the shared stories and laughter will linger long after the campfire embers have died. Like any good RVer, we’ll be planning (and dreaming about) our next adventure in no time. Isn’t life great?!

Happy Camping,


Don’t bug me…seriously!

Monday, May 01 2023

Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree on one thing. The temps have definitely been getting toastier. I remember as a kid, it was nothing to walk to school in 6+ inches of snow and think nothing of it. Here in the north, there was constant snow on the ground from November to April (sometimes May.) Not anymore. The past few winters, we’ve had big patches of green in our yard in January and February.

Don’t get me wrong…I love the warm weather. There’s nothing like golfing on a 70-degree day in early April. But there’s a reality to this…bugs love the warm weather too. Just like the temps, their numbers are on the rise. I’m not just talking mosquitos. Ticks, chiggers and other ankle biters are out in force. And if you think their bites are bad, consider the diseases they carry.

All the more reason to take care before you head out for a hike. Follow these simple, tick-prevention tips so you can step safely.

  1. Ticks become active around 45 degrees, so it you think cool weather keeps them dormant, think again. Apply your bug dope just to be safe.
  2. Know where ticks hang out. A tick will climb to the end of a long blade of grass or similar ground cover and wait for a host—that’s you!—to walk by and brush up against it.
  3. Dress appropriately. Eliminate openings where ticks can access skin. Tuck your pants into your boots. Wear long sleeves. Dress in light-colored clothing.
  4. Use bug dope, preferably one with DEET, permethrin or picaridin. Apply liberally and everywhere.
  5. When you’re out of the woods, check yourself…CAREFULLY. Check companions, children and pets too. If you find a tick and it hasn’t attached, don’t panic. Remove it like you would any other little bugger. If it has attached, remove it carefully with a set of fine-tipped tweezers. If you develop a rash or fever, consult your doctor immediately.

One last tip…don’t let the bugs keep you from enjoying the wonders of nature. With a few simple, sensible precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors, worry free and tick-free.

Happy Camping!


Headed Home…to where the heart is.

Thursday, March 30 2023

Africa calls it the Great Migration. At the same time every year, over a million wildebeest begin a 1,200-mile trek across the African plains in search of water and greener grazing lands. They say this great journey is spurred on by the change of seasons and incoming weather. We RV-ers can definitely relate.

It’s March. The warming weather of spring is calling many of us back north. We’ve soaked up all the sun the south could offer. It’s time to go home.

I’m conflicted about this grand migration. On one hand, it’s always great to be home, in a house, in my own bed. Life follows a predictable, but welcome, pattern here. There’s yardwork to do. Mail to go through. Family and friends to reconnect with. It’s all very satisfying.

But then there are things we’ll definitely miss about the sunny south. Reliable golfing weather. Shorts and flip flops. Long, sunrise walks on the beach. And probably most of all, the “fair weather” friends who have shared our months-long escape from the snow and ice.

In the end, we welcome this seasonal sojourn. It’s the “circle” of the RV life. So as you’re packing your rig and clearing the campground, be glad that you can still make the long journey. You’re leaving with memories and traveling in comfort. And, oh yeah, you’re not being chased by lions either.

Safe and happy travels,


Dreaming on a Wintry Day…

Wednesday, March 01 2023

February is a weird month. Only 28 days and yet it can feel like an eternity…especially with the biting wind and driving snow (for those of us crazy enough to tough it out Up North). We start the month hoping a large rodent won’t see its shadow. And, of course, it always does. In the middle of the month, we’re demonstrating our love with help from Hallmark and Godiva. By month’s end—if we’re on our game—we’ve pretty much cemented our plans for our summer sojourns into the Great Wide Open.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting the itch to hit the road earlier and more often in recent years. Maybe it’s the natural progression of time. Or maybe just the increased speed of that passage. Whatever it is, I need to feel those tires rolling under my feet. I need to see the mountains, valleys and even the long stretches of wheat and corn fade behind me. Most importantly, I need to put the everyday craziness in my rear view mirror, if only for a few days.

So here I find myself, tapping away on my keyboard, as the snow whips sideways past my window. My mind wanders, as I peruse gorgeous pics of the places I’ll be in a few short—but not short enough—months. I see me and the grandkids on a wooden dock, bobbers bouncing on the water until they’re suddenly pulled under. I hear the long, lonesome call of the loon as the last rays of the day dip behind the hills. I smell air so clean that my lungs can’t get enough of it.

Ah, summer…soon. Very soon.

Hang in there and Happy Camping


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