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Honoring our Military

Tuesday, May 28 2024

The campfire was dying. I lazily poked at the few remaining embers, trying to spark a flame. Overhead, a canopy of stars shone brightly, almost making up for the lack of a fire. I wondered at the beauty of it all. It was another memorable Memorial Day weekend.

My thoughts wandered, as they often do around a campfire. This outdoor lifestyle is something we choose, willingly and happily. But there are those who must be outside, with no say-so whatsoever. This being Memorial Day weekend, I’m reminded of our military personnel and the many sacrifices they have made throughout our country’s history.

Imagine, for instance, that brutal winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. Washington’s Continental Army was not only fighting the British; they battled the frigid elements, along with a lack of food and clothing. More recently, our armed forces in Vietnam had to deal with monsoon conditions, thick jungle and inhospitable terrain, malarial mosquitoes, and extreme heat. Not to mention, they all faced the real possibility of injury or worse, on a regular basis.

We owe so much to our servicemen and women. Because of their courage and commitment, we enjoy unparalleled freedom. One that allows us to come and go as we please, enjoying the great outdoors, with only the occasional pesky mosquito to bother us.

Thank you to all our amazing military personnel for their service. You truly are the best.

Happy Camping,


Etiquette in the outdoors…

Wednesday, May 01 2024

By all indications, it’s going to be a busier-than-ever camping season. As more campers escape to the woods, there’s something that shouldn’t escape any of us…the need to exercise some etiquette.

We all know “that guy” (or girl). The camper who blares their music late into the night. The one who lets their big dog run freely all over the park. And, yes, the one who leaves cans, bottles and paper strewn around their campsite. It’s annoying. And more than that, it’s rude and it ruins the camping experience for everyone. So, as we all prepare for what looks to be a busy camping season, let’s all remember the rules of park etiquette. Here are my top five (I’m sure you have others.)

  1. Keep your campsite clean – It almost goes without saying…don’t turn your campsite into an eyesore. Pick up after yourself. Throw trash away as soon as it becomes trash. Put cans and bottles into containers. Store your gear when not in use. We come to the outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature. Don’t spoil it.
  2. Observe quiet hours – This is a no-brainer. Or it should be. Enjoy your music but mind the volume, especially after the sun goes down. Enjoy your evening talks by the fire. But refrain from raising your voices. Remember, silence is golden.
  3. Control your pet – You brought a leash. Use it. Keep Rover under control at all times, especially around other people and pets.
  4. Be prepared when using dump station – This one is a pet peeve of mine…people who pull into the dump station without their gloves, black tank hose or connector piece handy.  Be ready so we can all do our business and quickly be on our way.
  5. Respect your neighbor’s space – Don’t be that person who takes shortcuts across your neighbor’s campsite. Give people their space. Wait for an invitation before entering someone’s RV.

Be kind. Be patient. Be respectful. Follow these simple rules and we’ll all enjoy what promises to be a wonderful camping season.

Happy Camping,


Hope springs eternal…especially in Spring

Friday, March 29 2024

Spring is here. Actually, it’s been here since mid-February, when the temps topped out at 70 degrees in our neck of the northern woods. It’s just plain crazy. And it appears the year is just going to get crazier.

It’s an election year and this one’s going to be a doozy. It’s going to be hard to ignore the media feeding frenzy going into November. Fortunately, we have a Class A solution. And hundreds of parks, campgrounds and beautiful distractions to calm, refresh and inspire us.

I was reminded of this when, a few weeks ago, the first crocus pushed its purple head through the snow along our driveway. Its vibrant color stood out from its dingy brown and gray surroundings. In its small way, it reminded me of the singular promise of spring…hope!

It’s important to remember this. We’ll always have the pressures and problems of the “real world” trying to pull our attention away from what really matters. We have to resist. And I find the easiest way to do that is simply to escape. Even if it’s only for a three-day weekend. Clean air and uncrowded surroundings can work wonders on the psyche. And even restore some hope.

I hope you can find time to get out there in the coming weeks and months. You’ll be plenty glad you did.

Happy Camping,


My Favorite Travel Companion…

Monday, February 26 2024

As any seasoned RVer will tell you, the fun and excitement of any adventure is not so much about where you’re headed. It’s more about who you’re sharing the adventure with. I was reminded of this a couple weeks ago after returning from a much-needed getaway with my wife, Janice.

I had just wrapped up one of the busiest work travel seasons. I had been consumed with work for weeks. For a guy working in a business dedicated to leisure travel, even I get a little too tightly wound without a break. That’s when I know I can count on Janice.

She’s been at my side, my trusty co-pilot, for more years than I’ll share here. We’ve been through many adventures, both on the road and on the road of life. Both have had their peaks, valleys, twists and turns. Somehow through it all, we’ve managed to laugh at the little problems, trust each other and work through the bigger issues, and enjoy the scenery wherever life leads us.

With this being February, what with Valentine’s Day and all, it seems appropriate to share my feelings about our time together. I wouldn’t trade these treasured moments for anything.

I hope you have a trusted travel companion that lightens your load on the road of life. And I wish you many years exploring and discovering new adventures together.

Happy Camping!


Problem Solved…

Tuesday, January 30 2024

I’m a tinkerer. I’ll admit it. Ever since I was a kid, I loved taking things apart just to see how they work. I always found great satisfaction in knowing how something worked and what problem it solved. I’m sure it’s a genetic trait. My grandfather and founder of Stromberg Carlson, David Stromberg, used to prowl the plant floor to make sure all our products and processes were working as they should. If he ever found a problem, he rolled up his sleeves and set to fixing it.

This all came to mind at a recent trade show. January is trade show season…a time when I get to meet with our dealers and really talk shop. I’ve known most of them for years and many have become good friends. They’re only too happy to share their thoughts on our products and our industry. In fact, more than a few of our products are the direct result of these conversations. For instance, what RV-er hasn’t dealt with hoses and cords that bunch up and are hard to store? What camper wouldn’t enjoy an adjustable campfire grill for the perfect steak? The list goes on.

Maximizing the camping experience really comes down to convenience and value. And that comes from listening to and learning from our dealers and their customers. If we can make camping easier and more enjoyable at a fair price, we make everybody happy. For over 60 years, that’s always been our goal.

See, problem solved.

Happy Camping,


Enjoying some holiday warmth…

Wednesday, December 27 2023

My office calendar said “December 14”. But one look outside my window told an entirely different story. The grass was a thick, damp mat of brown. The sun was trying to peek through heavy, gray clouds. The temperature was hovering in the mid-40s. In short, winter was nowhere to be found.

Now, I’m the kind of guy who loves a White Christmas…both the movie and the scenery. Nothing puts me in the holiday mood like gently falling flakes outside my window. Add a roaring fire and the aroma of holiday goodies baking in the oven and I’m right there.

But winters are changing. And you can’t always rely on a snow-globe holiday. Fortunately, some things about the season don’t follow the changing weather patterns. Like family, for instance. Come snow, rain, sun or a mixture of all three, I know I’ll be spending quality, holiday time with my loved ones. Long mornings in our PJ’s chatting and drinking coffee. Little ones running around the house, playing with new toys. The rest of the days filled with old movies, football games, and plenty of feasting and laughing. Family togetherness is a holiday tradition that will continue to stand the test of the time, despite what the outdoor thermometer may say.  

I don’t need winter’s chill to enjoy the holiday warmth of family and friends. And while  I’ll miss some of the snowy days of the holiday season, I may miss them less than I might admit…I actually squeezed in a round of golf with friends in mid-December. Talk about an unexpected holiday gift. You certainly won’t hear me complaining about that!

Happy Camping,


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,


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