Page 1



ig Bend Country


Big Year: Bird Watching 2013 A True TrailBlazer: Global Noble | Bolivia & Chile On the Road: Dean Karnazes Ask RV Bill




VOL. 35 n ISSUE 1

Horses at Lajitas. Courtesy Brewster County Tourism

JANUARY/FEBRUARY2013 CONTENTS Message from Tom Tech Topics


Who’s in the Kitchen with TrailBlazer



TrailMix 12 Activities & Events


On the Road: Dean Karnazes


News & Notes 18

34 BIG BEND Big Bend National Park in Texas encompasses more than 800,000 acres and is one of the nation’s larger national parks yet hosts a fraction of the visitors compared to Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon. Come see what it’s all about.

Encore Calendar of Events


I Knew I was a TrailBlazer


A True TrailBlazer: Global Noble | Bolivia & Chile


Features: Big Bend Country: Big Adventures in the Lone Star State


Big Year: 40 Bird Watching 2013

Member Deals 46 Advertiser Index 50 Crossword & Sudoku Puzzles


Preserve Services Directory


Marketplace 63 Classified Advertising


Winding Roads 64 On Location 66


Sandhill Crane chick. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ask RV Bill 44

Are you up for a challenge? See how many bird species can you see in one year. Cover: Chisos Mountains JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER



FEATHER? Camping is better with friends!

Receive a $25 American Express Gift Card when your referral purchases a Zone Camping Pass. Your referral also enters you into our 2013 drawing for a chance to win these great prizes.

Grand Prize

7 Night Cruise or Trip to Hawaii ($4,000 value)

Second Prize

Third Prize

4 Nights in either FREE DUES for 2014 Las Vegas, San Francisco (10 winners selected) (up to $499 value) or Orlando ($2,000 value)

Contact Us Today! 1-888-808-8925


Details and qualifications for participation in this promotion may apply and are set forth on page 62 of this magazine.




- I Knew I Was a TrailBlazer, in which we’ll highlight one of our members each month. We’ll get to know a bit more about our true TrailBlazers. Hope you like this new feature!

appy New Year! I hope your 2012 was great and I wish you a very happy 2013!

A New Year always brings new challenges, new opportunities and new trails to blaze. To that end, if you have not already heard, 2013 will bring changes my way as I step down from my responsibilities at Equity LifeStyle Properties and move into a new role with Equity International. My involvement with the company, however, will continue as I will remain a member of the ELS Board of Directors. I have appreciated the opportunity to speak to you each month through this message and in looking back I see several things that ring true and will remain true. I spoke of optionality last year and I believe that we are similar to the old burger commercial – “having it your way.” From the variety of membership products, locations, activities and amenities – you really can have this lifestyle your way. I know bringing the Thousand Trails properties under the ELS umbrella created many changes. One point I hope you all agree with is that TT is a valued brand and that being part of ELS ensures that we will continue to offer the great lifestyle available to you for years to come. ELS’s proven track record over the last 40 years is a testament to our stability, dedication and focus. You are in good hands with ELS and although change is a constant, it is all directed at making things better, reaching new heights and providing all with new opportunities.

In turning the reins over to Marguerite Nader, I am confident that we will continue to think outside the box. You’ll learn more about Marguerite in our March issue, but so you know, she shares our philosophy and passion for the opportunities and product options that we provide our customers. And, I believe that we are poised to take advantage of new opportunities out there and am certain that Marguerite will be blazing that trail along with each of you – I know there’s an exciting future ahead for all. With ELS I’ve had the good fortune of seeing some incredible places and meeting some interesting people in the United States, with Equity International, it’s my chance to see the world. Farewell,

In my first message in April 2011 it included a thought of the month that spoke to treasuring memories. I know I will treasure the memories, as I hope you do, of time spent enjoying this great lifestyle. Speaking of change, we’ve also made some changes to TrailBlazer with the first issue of the new year and I would like to call your attention to our newest feature

Thought Of the Month Carpe Diem!



Mission Statement TrailBlazer provides exclusive news and information for the members and guests of Equity LifeStyle Properties Family of Resorts. Each issue enhances the recreational lifestyle of its readers through a lively mix of camping and travel features, resort profiles and product features.

EDITOR Joan DeAno Rykal

ADVERTISING SALES 877-252-9320 TRAILBLAZER (ISSN 0747-2293) is published monthly except bimonthly Nov./Dec. and Jan./ Feb. by MHCTT Memberships, LP, c/o Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., Two North Riverside Plaza, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606. An annual subscription is $20. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to TRAILBLAZER, 2325 Highway 90, Gautier, MS 39553. Canada Post Publication Mail Agreement 41461526.

TrailBlazer Magazine

Two North Riverside Plaza, Suite 800 Chicago, IL 60606 New Subscriptions 1-877-252-9320

TTN & LTR Reservation Services (From United States and Canada) 1-800-288-7245 • 228-497-3594 April 1 to August 31 Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. September 1 to March 31 Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time 24-hr. STAR Line: 1-800-859-7827 228-497-3594 Member Services 1-800-388-7788 Resort Parks International Reservations 1-800-456-7774 ELS Reservations 1-877-362-6736 PRINTED IN THE USA


Mt. Vernon, WA: Fall colors were spotted on a hiking path within the Mt. Vernon preserve in October 2012. - Dan Hoffman, Bellingham, WA

Now Win $50 EACH Issue!

Pics from the Parks Photo Submissions Do you have a winning photo from your visits to our preserves and resorts? We’d love for you to share it with us and what’s more, your submission will now be entered into our photo contest. Winners will receive a $50 American Express Gift Card. Each issue we will select ONE “winning” photo from the submissions received (all submissions must be received by midnight on the last day of the month.) Winning photo will be posted on the TrailBlazer website as well as in the magazine. Photo submissions should include a brief description, including location of your photo, your name, city and state and sent to: or mail to: Equity LifeStyle Properties, Attn: TrailBlazer Photos Two North Riverside Plaza, Suite 800 Chicago, IL 60606 Emailed photos should be high resolution. Photos are not returnable and become the property of Equity LifeStyle Properties and may be used for publication on company websites and promotional purposes. One winner will be selected EACH month from submissions received. The winner will be announced in a future TrailBlazer issue and on the website.




Gettysburg, PA: It was Ryan’s first time seeing a cow close up. It think it’s safe to say he likes him. - Lisa Fisher, Maple Shade, NJ

San Benito, CA: Bobcat sighting.

- Norman Froggatt, Yuba City, CA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER


▼ ▼



Thousand Trails is offering members the opportunity to win a

$1,000 American Express Gift Card

It’s easy ... pay your 2013 dues on time and camp at your favorite TT Preserve to earn entries into our monthly drawing. There is no limit to how many entries you can earn - so Get Out and Camp! Our winners are Judy Mattus from Centralia, Washington (October) Gary Forsmo from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin (November)

Get Out and

Ca mp

When you pay your annual dues for 2013 in full, you will be entered into our monthly drawing for a $1,000 American Express gift card. There will be one drawing/one winner each month from January through December 2013. In addition, once you pay your dues in full, each time you camp at a Thousand Trails Preserve in 2013, you will receive an additional entry into the drawing. The drawings are limited to persons who are of legal age. The drawings will be held at our corporate office on the 10th day after the end of each month. Winners will be notified by mail or phone. The odds of winning will depend on the number of entries, but are not expected to exceed 1:100,000. Winners are responsible for federal and state taxes on the award. You may also enter the drawings by printing your name, address, day and evening phone numbers, and email address on a 3” x 5” piece of paper and mailing it to the Sponsor in addressed, stamped envelope. You are limited to one mail-in entry which must be postmarked by December 15, 2013. This promotion is sponsored by MHC Thousand Trails Limtied Partnership, Two North Riverside Plaza, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606.

10 8


Tech Topics by Paul and Kerri Elders

▶This month, we’ll take a look at a few options

to help keep your RV’s water tasting sparkling clean throughout your travels. We’ll also help you make sure you’re aware, alert, awake, and ready for adventure each and every time you climb behind the wheel.

Paul and Kerri Elders

Water Filtration and Purification

If you’ve traveled much at all, you know that water quality varies widely across the country. In some areas, the water flowing from the tap tastes as fresh as a pure mountain spring. In others, your palate is immediately overwhelmed by sediments, iron, sulphur, algae bloom, or even overchlorination. As seasoned road warriors, we quickly realize that since we’re exposed to such a wide variety of water supplies in our travels, it pays to watch what we drink. Some RVers resort to buying bottled water, but for many longer-term travelers, an easier solution is to use some type of water filtration system. Luckily, innumerable water filtration options lend themselves beautifully to the RV lifestyle. Some RVs have water filters pre-installed by the manufacturer, but if your model doesn’t, you have LOTS of aftermarket options. You can use a simple in-line water filter that you attach between your water inlet and your water hose each time you hook up to utilities or you can install a permanently mounted under-the-sink filtration unit. Or you can choose to use a faucet filter, a countertop filter, or a water-pitcher type filter. You can even install a full-fledged reverseosmosis system in your RV. Generally speaking, three types of filtering systems are used for treating domestic water: filters, micro filters, and purifiers. Filters improve taste by removing some contaminants from water such as sediments like dirt, sand, and rust particles; some can even remove chemicals like chlorine. Simple filters are usually charcoal-based and are available in a variety of standard inline filters and many water pitcher filtration systems. Micro filters can go a step beyond this simple filtration, removing everything a filter can PLUS smaller particulates and micro-organisms like protozoa and some bacteria such as campylobacter; however, micro filters cannot remove viruses. Micro filtering systems are often twostage filters designed to be permanently installed under the sink.

Water purifiers go a level beyond both filters and micro filters, combining micro filtration with disinfection. Purifiers can effectively remove protozoa, bacteria, and viruses as well as sediments, tastes, and odors. Good examples are the small portable purifiers popular with backcountry hikers and larger reverse-osmosis (RO) systems. RO systems are designed for permanent installation; in an RV, they can be installed under the sink or sometimes in a weatherproof utility bay. In the reverse-osmosis water purification process, water is forced through a membrane, screening out minerals and impurities. These impurities are then reversed and sent down the drain. Reverse osmosis is an extremely effective water filtration method, but its downside is that it generates a large amount of wastewater.

Drowsy Driving

Everybody knows that you never think well when you’re sleepy. Your mind lags, you can’t think clearly, and your reaction time slows to a crawl. It’s not a good time to get behind the wheel, especially not behind the wheel of a massive RV. Occasionally, fatigue is so subtly disguised we don’t even recognize it ourselves until it’s well advanced and moving into the danger zone. Here’s a quick “Top Ten” list we’ve put together to help you see the progression of driver fatigue. Hopefully, you’ll recognize the signs and symptoms in yourself soon enough to pull off the road and get some sleep in your cozy, comfy RV bed. When you wake up, you’ll be up for the challenge, energized by your clearer mind and enlivened with a fresher attitude.

Here’s a rundown of the Top Ten Signs It’s Time to Take a Break for Safety’s Sake: ❶ Feeling restless, impatient, or irritable. ❷ ❸

Remember, RVing is supposed to be FUN. Tailgating Turning the radio up louder and louder or opening a

Continued on page 62




with TrailBlazer?

dutch oven cooking: RIO GRANDE VALLEY STYLE

with Lesley Tennessen


he King Ranch recently held the Ranch Hand Breakfast and I had the pleasure to be invited to cook for this annual event! What a fantastic treat to work on Los Cocineros de Ricardo Chuckwagon. We made the pan de campo, or camp bread, for the event. The King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas is opened to the public so that the cowboy way

of life and the King Ranch way can be experienced. There are exhibits on leather working, chuckwagons, music and the Angel of Goliad Memorial.

Frijole Pie or Mock Pecan Pie

Put your oven onto the ring of coals. Put in the unfilled pie crust (in a pie pan) into the bottom of the oven. Then put in one-half of the filling mixture. Put the lid onto the oven to make a 350-375 degree oven. This way, you won’t be spilling the filling and it won’t slosh about.

Cooking Requirements: 2 12-inch Dutch ovens 350 degrees, 10 coals under in a ring, and 18-20 coals on lid Makes 2 9-inch pies Ingredients: 2 premade pie crusts, refrigerated or frozen 1 15-ounce can of pinto beans, unseasoned (no spices or peppers) to make 1 cup mashed beans 2 cups sugar 4 eggs ¼ cup butter or 1 stick butter 2 tablespoons molasses or dark corn syrup 2 teaspons vanilla ½ teaspoon salt (or no salt if using canned beans) Handful of chopped pecans Cream together sugar and butter. Add in the well beaten eggs, molasses and salt (if needed) Beat in the well mashed beans. Beans should be cooked unseasoned and well done.



So here is a quick view of some true Rio Grande Valley cooking that will give you a good way to use your Dutch ovens for true south Texas taste.

Repeat for the second pie. Cook for 45 minutes until the filling is set. Carefully remove the pie pan from the oven to a rack for cooling.

Pan de Campo Cooking Requirements: 12-inch Dutch oven 425-450 degrees, 10-12 coals under in a ring, 24-25 coals on the lid Ingredients: 4 cups all purpose flour 5 teaspoons baking powder ¾ cup shortening 2 teaspoons salt 1 ½ cups milk Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Then mix in the shortening with fork or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the milk, one-third at a time. The dough will be sticky but keep mixing with your hands. The flour will absorb the milk and will turn into bread dough. Take the bread out of the bowl and knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Shape it into a loaf and let it rest for 10 minutes. After the rest, pinch off grapefruit size balls. Shape those into small round loaves while you work with the rest of the dough. Light up all your charcoal and get it to the point where the briquettes are just getting gray on the edges which allows you to get maximum time out of your coals. You will want to keep a supply of fresh, good coals while you cook. Lightly flour the table or board to roll out the dough. Roll from the middle to the edge, turning a one quarter turn each time. This way you will make a round circle bread. Roll out to about one quarter inch thick. Prick the dough all over (about 8-10 fork pricks). Preheat the Dutch oven for 7-10 minutes by placing the correct amount of coals under and over/on top of the lid.

When the oven is really hot, take the lid off and wipe a light layer of shortening over the bottom of the oven. It will start to lightly smoke. Place your bread into the oven, and give it a little twist to make sure it does not stick. Place the lid back onto the oven. Wait about five minutes and then check your bread. If you get the lid very, very hot, then you will not have to flip the bread to cook the other side. You may want to flip to really cook both sides to a nice golden brown but not dark brown. Too many coals on the bottom will burn the bread. The bread will take about 10 minutes to cook. Take it out of the oven and place on a tray lined with a towel. This will allow you to cook all the bread and still have it warm when you want to eat. You can eat with butter, jelly, honey or molasses for a different taste.

Carne Guisada (Beef Stew) con Nopalito Cooking Requirements: 12-inch Dutch oven sauté with 15-17 coals under oven Serves 8 Ingredients: 3 dried ancho chiles 2 tablespoons corn oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes salt and fresh ground pepper 1 -2 garlic cloves, minced 1 large ripe tomato, cored and diced 1 cup cooked nopales, in 1/2-inch dice (canned may be subbed if you can’t find fresh paddles) . Photos by Cathi McDannel JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER 11 Continued on page 62



Heading to South TexasCOME STAY WITH ENCORE!

ugged landscapes. Rich history. Relaxing resorts.

That’s what you’ll find when you visit the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, not to mention plenty of fun in the sun thanks to Encore RV Resorts’ perfect proximity to South Padre Island. Eight fabulous resorts are clustered in the area and each offers its own special something that sets it apart from all the rest.


If shuffleboard is your game, you do not want to miss a stay at Fun-n-Sun RV Resort, located in San Benito. Boasting the Rio Grande Valley’s only INDOOR shuffleboard courts, the resort will host the annual National Shuffleboard tournament this March 12-14. Get your dancing shoes on if you’re headed to RV Resort, in Harlingen, because they not only have a 15,000 square foot dance hall, but they are the winter home base for some serious dancers. Square dancing, round dancing and line dancing top the list of activities at this very social resort. When they’re not dancing, guests enjoy the other social scene at the resort’s swimming pool. Class is in session at Paradise Park RV Resort, in Harlingen, and those looking to expand their minds can partake in art and computer classes. Plus, there are plenty of fitness classes offered as well, including water aerobics and regular music jam sessions. Whatever your area of interest, you’re sure to find it covered at this resort.





Paradise P a RV Resort rk

For a departure from the standard range of activities, check out Paradise South RV Resort in Mercedes. Paradise South prides itself on their unique activities which include their versions of Street Feud, Bean Bag Baseball, Minute to Win It and the Not So Newly-Wed games. Sound like fun?

ic Winds p o Tr

Down Weslaco way, there are two resorts to choose from and you’d better have your game on. At Southern Comfort RV Resort it’s all about bocce while at the neighboring Country Sunshine RV Resort try your hand at billiards, volleyball, horseshoes or ping pong! Variety is the spice of life at Sunshine RV Resort in Harlingen. Just a sampling of the offerings include hunting excursions, fishing trips, a quilting club, foreign language courses including French and Spanish, and a regularly scheduled Friday night Happy Hour and Fish Fry.

Tropic Winds RV Resort, in Harlingen,

is the place to be if you’re riding the wave of the pickleball trend which is rapidly becoming the most popular sport at this resort. The newly repainted courts are drawing more and more guests to learn about this sport. What else makes these eight great resorts the perfect destination this winter?

Weather: the sub-tropical climate has the

Fun-n-Sun RV Resort

months of January and February featuring average daily highs of 70+ degrees.

Location: South Padre Island, one of the

most popular destinations for those seeking sun and sand, is a short drive from the resorts. South Padre fun includes parasailing, deep sea fishing, sand castle competitions, horseback riding and of course, planting your chair in the sand and simply relaxing!

Music: Check out the Encore RV Resorts

try n u Co shine S un

Calendar of Events on page 23 to see what’s on the schedule for great onsite events. The nowfamous winter concert series has a great lineup this year that includes The Legends of Country Music and a very popular ABBA tribute band. These concerts are not to be missed!

Sweet Deal: Check out the deals for TT members

on page 52. Visit for more information. So, we’ll see you in the sunshine soon, yes? ■ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER





January 9-13 FMCA – Western Area Rally


This rally has something for everyone – RV suppliers, vendors selling everything from pots and pans to braking systems. Held at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, in Indio, just five miles from the preserve. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information call 805.479.4483.

Throughout January and February: Member-generated cards and evening activities.

Lake Minden

January 4-6: Puzzled Presidents: Bring an addition to the Potluck and we’ll puzzle together an evening of great food and fun, including President Mystery Match and Brown Bag Bingo (please bring a prize). Saturday join us for Candy Bar Bingo and the Ice Cream Social. January 11-13: Make a recipe from the “Best of the White House” cookbook and share it Friday night at the “White House” Potluck Social. Saturday includes Ice Cream Social and Candy Bar Bingo. January 18-20: Inauguration Day/Chili and Cornbread Feed. Plus Presidential Trivia, Past Presidents Scavenger Hunt and Truth or Bluff. January 25-27: The Next Four Years: Come share your travel history and future plans at a Traveler’s Coffee. Learn how to record your adventures in a Travel Diary. Plus we’ll play Travel Trivia. February 1-3: Super Bowl Sunday and Hot Dog Feed, plus all the games we can think of. Join us Sunday for an indoor tailgate party and Hot Dog Feed and watch the Super Bowl on the big screen TV. Play Super Bowl Trivia for a Super “Bowl” Prize. February 8-10: Valentine’s Day: Make your sweetie a Valentine’s Day Card gift; bring your favorite potluck covered dish for a Sweetheart Potluck Social and stay for Valentine Bag Bingo. Sign up early for a Valentine’s Day Spaghetti Dinner Social. February 15-17: It’s all in the Cards: Bring your favorite homemade cookies to Cards, Coffee, and Cookies social. On Saturday win a prize if you can build the best card castle. Don’t forget Candy Bar Bingo and The Ice Cream Social. February 22-24: Share your favorite hobby or get a few new ideas at the Hobby Lover’s Hobby Share Coffee, plus Saturday Candy Bar Bingo and the Ice Cream Social.

Lake of the Springs

Throughout January and February: Saturday Baked Potato Social followed by Family Bingo. February 9: Valentine’s Dinner and Dance. Please call (530) 692-3215 for more information.

Palm Springs

January 12: The Remember When Band is back to perform their Oldies but Goodies Show. They play everything from rock-n-roll to classic country. There will be plenty of room on the dance floor, or just come and enjoy the music. January 26: “The Charlie Ferris Show” - a musical stroll through time, featuring smooth, high quality renditions of classic songs of the 50s, 60s, 70s and more. Remember, reminisce, sing along or sit back and enjoy. February 9: Horseshoe Tournament – members gather here for this tournament. February 16: Casino Night Christmas for Kids/Spark of Love program. You don’t have to leave the preserve to play casino games. Many of our local businesses donate prizes for our raffle. It’s a lot of FUN, for a good cause.

January 3-14 Palm Springs International Film Festival Sponsored by the Palm Springs International Film Society, films are shown at various locations in the Palm Springs area. For a complete lineup of movies visit: For information call 800.898.7256. 14


(Events may be subject to change)


February 15-24 Riverside County National Date Festival This fair offers live animals, fantastic food, carnival rides, Monster Truck Show and headliner entertainment. Held at Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, in Indio, just five miles from the preserve. Events hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For information call 800.811.FAIR.

Rancho Oso

Every Weekend: Join the fun and hop on board the famous Rancho Oso hay wagon to take a tour of our beautiful resort! Wagon will drop off passengers at the barn for the barn tour. Don’t forget to call the stables at 805-683-5110 and book your unforgettable horseback ride for ages 8 and over. Of course, your little buckaroos can get their first ride on a big horse, led by one of our friendly wranglers! This is a great “photo-op” for your scrapbook. The winter weather is perfect for hiking, riding, photography, or wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, only a scenic half hour drive away. Don’t want to drive? Let us help you arrange a guided winery tour with a local tour company! Later on Saturday, join us for the Ice Cream Social to make your favorite sundae or hot chocolate! Keep the weekend sweet with our Candy Bar Bingo too! Please note that Stock Dog and Bucking Bull demo will not take place in January - see you in February! Also, Our Stone Lodge Kitchen will offer meals on Saturday and Sunday. Additional meals may be available holiday weekends.

Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market - Ongoing Each week the farmers in the marketplace display a colorful bounty of agricultural products grown right in our backyard. Seasonal diversity is available year round, rain or shine. Music and entertainment enliven the markets while creating a positive ambiance. Come shop, socialize - Certified - the only way to buy! Winter market hours are Tuesday and Saturday 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Held in the 500-600 block of State Street in Santa Barbara. Admission is free. For information call 805.962.5354.

Wilderness Lakes

January 1: Happy New Year! Recreation office hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. January 4: SkyMed presentation. January 5: Casino Night. Come play Blackjack for FREE. Must be 21 to play. January 15: SkyMed presentation. January 19: Dominic’s Karaoke for the whole family. January 16: Movie Night with FREE popcorn. February 1: SkyMed presentation. February 2: Casino Night. Come play Blackjack for FREE.. February 13: Annual 9-Ball Pool Tournament: February 14: Annual 9-Ball Pool Tournament continues. Gift certificates awarded to winners. February 15; Annual Jack & Jill Pool

FLORIDA Three Flags

Throughout January and February: Tuesday night Bingo; Wednesday Donut Social Potluck; Thursday Jammin’ Session; Friday Bingo; Saturday Craft Show and Ice Cream Social; Sunday Church Service. Other activities to be announced. December 31: New Year’s Eve Party includes DJ Steve and some other surprises. January 19: Last Generation. February 3: Super Bowl Party.

OREGON South Jetty

January 26-27 Florence Winter Folk Festival 2013 Florence Winter Folk Festival includes craft demonstrations, art and craft booths, food, jam sessions and workshops. Admission to the artisan fair is free. Held at the Florence Events Center, just 2 miles from the preserve. For information call 541.997.1994.


Colorado River

Throughout January and February: Wednesdays: Ice Cream Social at the AC at 1 p.m. Great social time to meet new people and make friends. Thursdays: Craft class with Maureen at the AC at 1 p.m. Join in to share your talent with others. Saturdays: Morning craft show at the AC. Bring your handmade items or stuff you want to get rid of and set up a table for free. What Happening at Colorado River Meeting at 10:30 a.m. Find out the latest news about the preserve and around the ELS Community. Saturday evening potluck supper at the AC at 5:30 p.m., followed by Bingo with Maureen and Gary. See sign-up sheet at the Ranger office. December 31: Join others and ring in the New Year at the Activity Center. Don’t miss the New Year’s Eve Party Potluck. February 3: Super Bowl Sunday. We will have the game on multiple televisions at the AC and some refreshments will be provided. Feel free to bring your favorite dish to share.

Lake Conroe

January 5: Not So Newly Wed Weekend: Come Play the Newlywed game. January 12: 50s Weekend complete with Rock & Roll and Poodle skirts. January 19: Chocolate & Chocolate Weekend. January 26: Chili Cook-off Weekend. Bring Your Special Chili Recipes. February 2: Super Bowl Weekend. February 9: Valentines Weekend. February 16: Welcome Back Weekend with free hamburgers for members. February 23: Wine & Cheese Weekend features Wine and Cheese Tasting.

February 2 Mark Chestnut Concert Come hear some great country music at the Dosey Doe Coffee


Tournament. Gift certificates awarded to winners. February 16: Annual Singles Pool Tournament: Gift certificates awarded to winners. February 16: Movie night with FREE popcorn. February 17: Annual Doubles Pool Tournament.Gift certificates awarded to winners. February 22: SkyMed presentation. February 22: Annual Doubles Horseshoe Tournament. Gift certificates awarded to winners. February 23: Annual Singles Horseshoe Tournament: Gift certificates awarded to winners. Also, Dominic’s Karaoke for the whole family!

Lake House, Tawakoni just 18 miles from the preserve in Woodlands. Concert

Pleasebegins check atRanger 8 p.m.Station for activities and schedule during the winter months.

Lake Whitney

Throughout January and February: Pickleball players meet at the tennis courts every Saturday at 9 a.m. Line Dancing every Saturday. Don’t miss the Monday Beans and Cornbread and Thursday Baked Potato Potlucks. January 12: We’re planning a Hobo Stew – all members please bring a can of food for this delicious stew and spend time of good fellowship with other members. January 19: Puzzle Weekend – let’s see how many puzzles we can work! February 3: Super Bowl Party – come support your favorite team! February 9: Valentine’s Party: Let’s show that special someone that they are your Valentine! Bring finger foods to share. February 16: Presidents Weekend: See if you can name our presidents and the years they served our country!

Medina Lake

January 5: Game Day! Events include big lawn dice, mini-golf and bean bag baseball. Plus, Ice Cream Social and Minute to Win It games in the evening. January 11: Fish Fry at the Top of the Trail Café (no weenie roast). January 12: Bingo Day and Ice Cream Social! Plus craft sale and kids craft. January 19: Day’s events include kids’ craft, Candy Game, Ice Cream Social and evening movie. Top of the Trail Café will have a BBQ Chicken Dinner. January 26: Events include craft sale and kids’ craft, plus Bean Bag Bingo and Poker night. February 2: Events include Brown Bag Bingo and Blackjack in the evening ( must be 21 to play). February 9: Events include craft sale, shuffleboard and Wacky Golf and an evening TT Talent Show. February 16: How well do you know your loved one? We will find out during our Newlywed Game. Top of the Trail will have a Valentine Buffet and we will end the evening with a Valentine Dance. February 23: Events include craft sale starts and Texas Trivia Game. Top of the Trail will have a BBQ Dinner. We will relax in the evening with a game and Dessert Social. Every Saturday in February we will have a Kids’ Craft and Ice Cream Social Event.


February 3: Soup’r Super Bowl Event. Come watch the big game, share snacks and a bowl of soup.

February 17 45th Annual Birch Bay Marathon And Half Marathon (13.1) (Certified (WA 06002 BL) Boston qualifier) Over 300 run annually in this race which is a full-marathon and a half-marathon and a Boston Marathon qualifier. The course is generally flat to very gently rolling, with the exception of a very short steep climb (10 meters in 200 meters) at the start of Harborview Road, and a long gradual climb (100 meters in 1.5 km) between miles 5 to 6. Most of the course lies on the waterfront, with expansive views over the water towards the mountains of Canada. Held at Birch Bay State Park, just 3 miles from the preserve; race begins at 9 a.m. For information visit

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER Continued on page 64






o say that famed ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes ( is a running trailblazer is truly an understatement. So is saying he enjoys RVing. He obviously loves to run…and RV.

Karnazes is perhaps best known for running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days in 2006. He has also run 350 continuous miles (going without sleep for three nights), run across Death Valley (and the country), run a marathon to the South Pole, and been named as of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” by TIME magazine. We caught up with Karnazes between marathons. Do you travel in your RV for work or pleasure? Both. I have traveled the country extensively, including visiting all 50 US states, in a custom Prevost. This has been while running marathons and also while running across the US from Los Angeles to New York City. The Prevost was both my “support vehicle” and my sleeping quarters and dining facility. My family traveled along with me and the kids were “road schooled” by my mother, who is a retired schoolteacher. I also did a pretty wild RV trip across the Australian Outback; that was quite an adventure! I frequently RV with my parents and my wife and kids in theirs. They currently drive a Winnebago View. It gets cozy with all six of us onboard, but the kids love it! We’re one big, happy Greek family!



Can you tell us a bit about the original “Mothership?” In my New York Times bestselling book, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, I tell the story of my family supporting me in our first RV — a Rialta — during a two-day, 200-mile run from Napa Valley to Santa Cruz in northern California. Since all of my food and supplies were kept inside the RV, it was my life support during the journey. My family and I started affectionately referring to the Rialta as “the Mothership.” People loved that story. Now, when I’m out running at various locations across the country, people always come up to me and say, “I’m hungry, where’s the Mothership?” Do you prefer highways or scenic routes? Scenic routes for sure. We sometimes rely on the highways to get us there, but our preference is always scenic routes. What are your favorite things onboard an RV? It’s funny, with all the technology now in RVs — flat screen TVs, wireless Internet, satellite reception — what I most enjoy is unplugging from all this stuff and having fun with my family and friends. Of course, the pop outs and GPS mapping certainly make things nice. When camping for pleasure, what are a few favorite destinations? We really like exploring the West. Napa Valley and Calistoga are longtime favorites, as are the Mendocino Coast and Shasta. I’m a California native and like the saying goes: “It’s always best in your own backyard.”

Arches National Park and Zion are a couple top choices in Utah. The scenery there is spectacular and the hiking and outdoor activities endless. My family and I are very active and like to discover and explore the surroundings as much as possible. We once did an RV trip on Route 66 and that was fun, too. The history and heritage was well preserved in certain areas and we stopped at some pretty eclectic spots along the way. The local and regional food was amazing! What do you like to do onboard while enroute? The kids like to watch movies or listen to music, while my wife and I just like to talk, something we rarely get to do these days. Do you cook onboard? What’s your favorite meal to make? Are you kidding? I’m Greek, there’s nothing we love to do more than cook and eat! Probably our favorite meal is breakfast. The kids love to make pancakes and eggs. We squeeze fresh orange juice and my specialty is chopping the fruit salad, to which I add, of course, Greek-style yogurt!



on, really There’s no comparis if you lf in the wilderness, can immerse yourse setting stay in a more social so desire, or you can RVing ow your neighbors. where you get to kn ying in le together, while sta tends to bring peop es people. a hotel room separat

Similar to your long distance running, do you prefer long hauls in your RV to get where you are going or do you prefer shorter distances with time to see the sights along the way? I’ve done it both ways and quite enjoy either. I once ran 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days. The drives between states in the western US were quite extensive, while the East Coast was more compact. Last year, I ran from California to New York City — 3,000+ miles in 75 days (averaging 40 to 50 miles a day). My support RV—a custom H-Series Prevost — would leapfrog from start to finish each day, so these were much shorter daily distances traveled than driving from state-to-state in 50 days.

What are your favorite states to run in? There are qualities about each that I enjoy. Certainly, the more scenic states in the west and east have their natural beauty, but the people in the Midwest make up for the less inspirational landscape with their warmth and hospitality. Funny as it sounds, I also like running in the humidity of the South. Being from the West Coast we don’t get much humidity, so it’s still somewhat of a novelty to me. We know childhood obesity is a big concern of yours and that you support Karno Kids and other charitable efforts to help with the epidemic. What do you and your kids do when you are RVing to stay fit? Seeing new places and getting outside and exploring the outdoors is part of what makes RVing so special. More kids need to get outdoors. They naturally love to be active and play outside, but we don’t always provide them with the opportunity to do so. RVing can be the perfect compliment to a healthy, active lifestyle. What’s in store for the future of RVing? The tough economic conditions over the past few years have certainly been challenging, but as a result many people have begun to reevaluate their priorities. The importance of togetherness and spending quality time with family and friends has taken on greater meaning. RVing lends itself to this shift beautifully, and when compared to other vacation and recreational options, RVing can be quite economical. I would encourage the RV industry to look for creative ways to lower the barriers to entry. Once you try RVing you’ll never look back! n

by Lynn Seldon

Photo left: Roadside pit stop and shoe change during a 200-mile run through the Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Dean Karnazes JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER

17 17

News& Notes

Cultus Lake

Birch Bay, WA After much anticipation the Birch Bay Welcome Center is nearing its initial phase of internal completion. Chehalis, WA New pumps and meters have been installed

in the water plant at Chehalis and new washers and dryers have been installed in the laundry room. A Point of Sale system has been added next to the change machine, with which you can pay for your laundry with a credit or debit card, as well as quarters. An Internet connection allows you to check on the status of your laundry from your PC or smart phone. Instructions are posted in the laundry room.

Lake Conroe, TX The Activity Center at Lake Conroe has

been painted and is looking great.

Medina Lake, TX Medina Lake has a new 60-inch flat screen TV in the Activity Center for all to enjoy. Paradise Resort, WA Paradise Resort received a new

floor in the clubhouse and in the adult lodge, as well a new roof on the clubhouse and the upper restroom. The bridge over the creek between the upper and lower ponds was replaced as well as the large boat dock. Some extensive tree trimming will continue in the spring.

Cultus Lake, B.C. Canada The installation of the metal roofs on Restroom 1, 2 and the Ranger Station at Cultus Lake are now complete. Rancho Oso, CA Rancho Oso is getting 3 new rental cottages which will replace 3 of the older rental trailers. Each cottage will have a queen bed in a separate bedroom, living room with sofa sleeper and bunk beds, kitchen with table and chairs and bath. Please note that the spa at Rancho Oso will remain open all year. Ages 12 and over will be allowed with adult supervision. The heated pool will be closed through mid-March 2013. Snowflower, CA Snowflower has completely re-plastered

the swimming pool and replaced the fencing around the pool and, weather permitting, plans to open the pool in the summer of 2013. Also opening this spring is the Country Store which will now house the ranger station for check-ins, rentals and information for current events around and about the area.

South Jetty, OR Electric service has been restored to the A loop sites at South Jetty and they are opening additional full hook-up RV sites. Don’t forget the RV Resource Guide is now available at South Jetty.

New Cabins

Several preserves in California and Oregon will be receiving new rental accomodations. They include: Pacific City, OR Seaside, OR Whalers Rest, OR Morgan Hill, CA Oakzanita, CA Palm Springs, CA



Pio Pico, CA Rancho Oso, CA Russian River, CA Soledad Canyon, CA Wilderness, CA

For more information visit our website at





ELS Calendar 2013

Events (Events may be subject to change)

Bay Indies Venice, FL

Jan 16, 2013 | Jimmy Mazz Concert Jan 26, 2013 | Concert Series - Johnny Rogers Feb 4, 2013 | Anniversary Pool Party Feb 9, 2013 | Concert Series - John Charles Feb 14, 2013 | Valentine Dinner Feb 18, 2013 | Anniversary Casino Night Feb 22, 2013 | Concert Series - Karen Rontowski & Michelle James Feb 28, 2013 | Anniversary King & Queen Dinner/Dance Mar 7, 2013 | EXPO Mar 13, 2013 | EXPO Mar 16, 2013 | Concert Series - The Marlins Mar 21, 2013 | EXPO Mar 22, 2013 | Concert Series - Paul Tanner Mar 26, 2013 | EXPO Apr 10, 2013 | Volunteer Luncheon

Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort Clermont, FL

Jan 10, 2013 | Alex Houston & Jimmy Smith Show Jan 29, 2013 | Granny Nannies Feb 4, 2013 | ELS Golf Tournament & Dinner Feb 14, 2013 | Valentine’s Dance Mar 1, 2013 | Variety Show Mar 1, 2013 | Residents Farewell Lunch Mar 7, 2013 | Volunteer Luncheon Mar 11, 2013 | ELS Golf Tournament & Dinner Mar 15, 2013 | Link Family Show Mar 16, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Dance

Colony Cove Ellenton, FL

Feb 28, 2013 | Health Fair Mar 15, 2013 | Mardi Gras

Coquina Crossing Elkton, FL

Jan 1, 2013 | Polar Bear Jump Jan 17, 2013 | Chinese New Year Party Feb 14, 2013 | Valentine’s Dance Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Dance Apr 26, 2013 | Chorus Spring Concert 20 20


Grand Island Resort Grand Island, FL

Feb 23, 2013 | ELS Fishing Tournament

Gulf View RV Resort Punta Gorda, FL

Jan 5, 2013 | Comedy Show Jan 13, 2013 | Comedy Show Jan 19, 2013 | Jan Dance Feb 2, 2013 | Jim Steel Show Feb 10, 2013 | Cahal Dunne Show Feb 15, 2013 | Valentine’s Dance Feb 23, 2013 | Family Gospel Mar 2, 2013 | Dance Mar 9, 2013 | Sweethearts of Branson/ Denny Yeary Show Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Dance

Harbor Lakes RV Resort Port Charlotte, FL

Jan 5, 2013 | Welcome Back Party Jan 12, 2013 | Poppy Mellon Variety Show Jan 26, 2013 | BBQ Country Night Dinner/Dance Feb 8-9, 2013 | Follies-Resort Talent Show Feb 9, 2013 | Valentine’s Day Dinner/Dance Feb 16, 2013 | Dan Yeary Musical Show Feb 23, 2013 | Sock Hop Dance Mar 16, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Dinner/Dance Mar 31, 2013 | Easter Potluck Dinner Apr 6, 2013 | Year End Dance

Lake Magic RV Resort Clermont, FL

Jan 6, 2013 | Mercy Seat (Gospel) Jan 19, 2013 | Welcome Back Dinner Jan 23, 2012 | Music - Night with Friends Feb 2, 2013 | Beer & Wine Festival Februay 3, 2013 | Football Chili Cook-off Feb 6, 2013 | Gospel Night Feb 15, 2013 | Valentine’s Day Dinner/Dance Feb 26, 2013 | Comedy Night Mar 8, 2013 | Farewell Games Mar 9, 2013 | End of Season Party Mar 12, 2013 | 60s Show Mar 28, 2013 | Gospel Night

Lake Village Nokomis, FL

Jan 10, 2013 | Shuffle Doubles Tournament Jan 14, 2013 | Ladies Lunch Jan 23, 2013 | Bada Bing Catered Dinner Jan 27, 2013 | Lake Village Golf Tournament Jan 30, 2013 | Shuffle Lessons Feb 1, 2013 | Shuffle Pancake Breakfast Feb 7-8, 2013 | Shuffles Doubles Tournament Feb 9, 2013 | Dance Red & White Theme Feb 11, 2013 | Ladies Lunch Feb 14, 2013 | Ladies Bunko Party & Dessert Feb 20, 2013 | Texas Hold’em Tournament Feb 23, 2013 | Spring Bazaar Feb 27, 2013 | Bud Conover Show - Vocalist Mar 3, 2013 | Lake Village Mixed Golf Mar 7, 2013 | Shuffle Turkey Shoot Mar 11, 2013 | Ladies Lunch Mar 16, ,2013 | St. Patty’s Day Dance Mar 20, 2013 | Denny Pezzin Variety Show Mar 31, 2013 | Easter Dinner Apr 1, 2013 | Potluck Dinner Apr 4-5, 2013 | Lake Village Variety Show Apr 8, 2013 | Ladies Luncheon Apr 13, 2013 | Farewell Dance

Mid-Florida Lakes Leesburg, FL

Jan 10, 2013 | Rick Starr & Bud Conover Comedy Concert Series Jan 15, 2013 | Talent Showcase Feb 21, 2013 | The Vandells Rock n Roll Concert Series Mar 7, 2013 | Crystal Gage & Maryellen Hooper Country Concert

Peace River RV Resort Wauchula, FL

Jan 13, 2013 | Jerry Jones Concert Jan 14-18, 2013 | Geek Week with Jim and Chris Guld Jan 26, 2013 | UpTown Country Music and Dance Feb 1, 2013 | Hyssongs Music Feb 9, 2013 | Richard Kiser in Concert

Mar 4-9, 2013 | Back to the 60’s Week Begins! Mar 9, 2013 | UpTown Country Music and Dance Mar 10, 2013 | Mike Thomas Concert Mar 11-15, 2013 | Geek Week with Jim and Chris Guld Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Party Mar 23, 2013 | Hyssongs Music

Pioneer Village RV Resort North Ft. Myers, FL

Jan 24-27, 2013 | Annual Pioneer Days

Royal Coachman RV Resort Nokomis, FL

Jan 18, 2013 | Health Fair Jan 22, 2013 | Patty Waszak Show Feb 14, 2013 | Valentine’s Dance Feb 26, 2013 | Brian Gurl Show Mar 16, 2013 | Classic Car Show Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Dance Mar 19, 2013 | Cahal Dunne Show Mar 30, 2013 | Easter Egg Hunt Apr 2, 2013 | Season’s Last Dance

Southern Palms RV Resort Eustis, FL

Jan 4, 2013 | Pappy Mellon’s Road Show Jan 7, 2013 | ELS Shuffleboard Tournament Jan 12, 2013 | Yard Sale & Open House Jan 17, 2013 | Tampa RV Show Day Trip Jan 23, 2013 | Trey Dees Show (Elvis/Orbison/Motown) Jan 26, 2013 | Chili Cook-off & Western Hoedown Jan 28, 2013 | Canada Potluck Dinner Jan 30, 2013 | Casino Night Feb 2, 2013 | Craft Sale & Flea Market at Sun Hall Feb 2, 2013 | Dance at Sun Hall Feb 3, 2013 | Big Game Football Party Feb 4, 2013 | Pennsylvania State Potluck Feb 6, 2013 | Dollar Dance Feb 11, 2013 | ELS Bocce Tournament Feb 12, 2013 | Deep Sea Fishing Day Trip


Southern Palms RV Resort (cont.) Feb 13, 2013 | Resident Hee Haw Show Feb 16, 2013 | 50th Anniversary Party Feb 16, 2013 | Valentine’s Dance Feb 19, 2013 | Bocce/Spaghetti Dinner Feb 20, 2013 | Woody Wright Show Feb 23, 2013 | Hawaiian Luau Party Feb 27, 2013 | Doin’ ... What Comes Naturally Talent Show Mar 1, 2013 | Strawberry Festival Day Trip Mar 7, 2013 | Style Show Luncheon Mar 9, 2013 | Shuffleboard Banquet Mar 12, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Mar 13, 2013 | Gospel Night Mar 16, 2013 | Sock Hop & Classic Car Show Mar 16, 2013 | Senior Prom Dance at Sun Hall Mar 20, 2013 | Southern Palms Opry Show Mar 23, 2013 | Yard Sale & Open House Mar 27, 2013 | New Tradition Jazz Ensemble Mar 30, 2013 | Carnival Street Party Mar 31, 2013 | Easter Egg Hunt Mar 31, 2013 | Easter Potluck Dinner

Terra Ceia Village RV Resort Palmetto, FL

Jan 1, 2013 | New Year’s Day Dinner Jan 16, 2013 | Welcome Back Dinner Jan 26, 2013 | Snowflake Dance Feb 9, 2013 | Valentine Dinner Feb 23, 2013 | Music by Alan and Grace Mar 9, 2013 | Sock Hop and BBQ Mar 13, 2013 | Craft Fair Mar 15, 2013 | Golf Party Mar 16, 2013 | Thank You Dinner Mar 31, 2013 | Easter Dinner Potluck

Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort Lutz, FL

Jan 4, 2013 | Life Line Screening Jan 8, 2013 | Strawberry Shortcake Jan 18, 2013 | Welcome Back Party with DJ Jan 19, 2013 | Pet Parade Jan 24, 2013 | 3rd Thursday Potluck Dinner Feb 5, 2013 | Strawberry Shortcake Feb 8, 2013 | Traveling Guest Party



Feb 9, 2013 | Saturday Breakfast Feb 12, 2013 | Mardi Gras Dinner Feb 14, 2013 | Valentine’s Dance with DJ Feb 21, 2013 | 3rd Thursday Potluck Dinner Feb 23, 2013 | Choir Concert Mar 2, 2013 | Craft Sale Mar 8, 2013 | Annual Resident’s Appreciation Party Mar 10, 2013 | Memorial Service Mar 22, 2013 | Volunteer Luncheon Mar 31, 2013 | Easter Potluck Dinner Apr 25, 2013 | 3rd Thursday Potluck Dinner

Golden Sun RV Resort Apache Junction, AZ

Jan 22, 2013 | Salsa Making Contest Feb 3, 2013 | Big Game Football Party Feb 6, 2013 | Quilt Show Feb 8, 2013 | “The Platters” Concert Feb 25-27, 2013 | CanadianAmerican Days Mar 9, 2013 | ABBA tribute band Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Party

Monte Vista Village RV Resort Mesa, AZ

Jan 19, 2013 | Residents 50th Anniversary Party Jan 22, 2013 | “56-Rock & Roll” Hits of the 1950s Feb 3, 2013 | Big Game Football Party Feb 12, 2013 | “The Coasters” Concert Feb 13, 2013 | Pasta Dinner Party Feb 22, 2013 | Swing at Supper Club Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Party Mar 18, 2013 | “Magic of Manilow & Midler” Concert Mar 21, 2013 | Senior Prom Mar 29, 2013 | Easter Egg Hunt

Paradise RV Resort Sun City, AZ

Jan 4, 2013 | New Year’s Dance Jan 12, 2013 | Shoppers Paradise Jan 14, 2013 | “Paperback Writer” Beatles Tribute Jan 18, 2013 | Salsa Making Contest

Jan 23, 2013 | “Jay & The Americans” Concert Jan 28, 2013 | “Beyond The Barricades” Concert Feb 4, 2013 | “The Platters” Concert Feb 9, 2013 | Shoppers Paradise Feb 11, 2013 | “The Coasters” Concert Feb 14, 2013 | Dessert Party with John Withhart Feb 18, 2013 | “Buble & Sinatra” Dinner Show Feb 22, 2013 | DJ with Dance Lesson Mar 1, 2013 | Missouri Opry (country music) Mar 4, 2013 | “Magic of Manilow & Midler” Concert Mar 6, 2013 | USO Veterans’ Fundraiser Mar 9, 2013 | Shoppers Paradise Mar 12-14, 2013 | Paradise Choral-Airs Concert Mar 16, 2013 | Residents Arts & Crafts Show Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Party Mar 18, 2013 | “56-Rock & Roll” Hits of the 1950s Mar 22, 2013 | Dance with the Encores Mar 27, 2013 | IIChance Concert

Jan 23, 2013 | AZ Symphonic Winds Feb 3, 2013 | Big Game Football Party Feb 15, 2013 | Patrick Murray Feb 24, 2013 | Quilt Show Mar 13, 2013 | Dave and Daphne (entertainers)

ViewPoint RV, Golf & Tennis Resort

Fun-N-Sun RV Resort

Mesa, AZ

Jan 10, 2013 | Beach Toys Beach Boys Tribute Concert Jan 10, 2013 | The Eagles Tribute Jan 10, 2013 | Country Store Crafts Jan 12, 2013 | Legacy Quartet Concert Jan 18, 2013 | Beach Party Dance Feb 2, 2013 | Piano Man (Billy Joel/Elton John Tribute) Feb 3, 2013 | Big Game Football Party Feb 7, 2013 | The Beach Boys Tribute Feb 21, 2013 | Country Store Crafts Feb 25-27, 2013 | Canadian-American Days Mar 3, 2013 | Quilt Show Mar 7, 2013 | “Paperback Writer” Beatles Tribute Mar 8, 2013 | Sock Hop Mar 14, 2013 | Country Store Crafts Mar 17, 2013 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Party

Voyager RV Resort Tucson, AZ

Jan 2, 2013 | Retro Swing Jan 4, 2013 | Wildcat Jazz Band Jan 9, 2013 | Missouri Opry (country music) Jan 16, 2013 | Bobby Darin Tribute Jan 18, 2013 | Bob Anderson (country)

Yuma Art Center Jan 12, 2013 | “Buble & Sinatra” Show Jan 25, 2013 | “Jay & The Americans” Concert Feb 2, 2013 | “Gold Wing Express” Feb 15, 2013 | “The Coasters” Concert Mar 6, 2013 | “Magic of Manilow & Midler” Concert Mar 23, 2013 | “56-Rock & Roll” Hits of the 1950’s

Country Sunshine RV Resort Weslaco, TX

Mar 13, 2013 | Legends of Country Music

San Benito, TX Feb 28, 2013 | ABBA tribute band Mar 14, 2013 | Legends of Country Music

Lakewood RV Resort Harlingen, TX

Feb 26, 2013 | ABBA tribute band Mar 12, 2013 | Legends of Country Music

Paradise South RV Resort Mercedes, TX

Feb 27, 2013 | ABBA tribute band Mar 15, 2013 | Legends of Country Music

Southern Comfort RV Resort Weslaco, TX

Mar 1, 2013 | ABBA tribute band

Sunshine RV Resort Harlingen, TX

Mar 2, 2013 | ABBA tribute band Mar 16, 2013 | Legends of Country Music





hether you started your camping and RVing adventure at the tender age of 5, or you stumbled into the lifestyle at age 65, each and every one of our Thousand Trails members has a special story about his or her experience with the outdoor lifestyle. We want to hear about them! Starting with this issue, TrailBlazer will regularly highlight a member in our “I Knew I Was TrailBlazer” feature. From funny stories to touching moments, we’re looking to tell the story of our members – when they started and when they realized they were a true “TrailBlazer”. This month, we would like to introduce you to Albion “Shorty” Guptill, a 2 year member whose introduction to the RV lifestyle was virtually an accident. He began as a Zone Camping Pass holder and has since upgraded to Elite.

TB: How long have you been camping and RVing? Who introduced you to it? Tell us how it all began!

AG: This phase of our lives started almost by accident! We needed to transport our son’s motorcycle to Fort Hood and since Grandma wanted to go also, we rented a Class C and headed to Texas. The trip went well and we kind of thought it would be a nice way to vacation in the future. I retired the following summer and we did a pickup/trailer/motorcycle/motel type vacation which was nice but complicated! In January 2010 we went to the big RV Show in Tampa, Fl. As we walked along, my wife Liz said “I think I would like to sell everything and try this lifestyle!” I was somewhat surprised since her idea of roughing it had previously been a Best Western! I, on the other hand, had slept/ stayed in the front of a three horse trailer and horse stalls at county fairs racing horses throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a teen. Not one to argue with my bride, I started doing more serious research. It took us four months of looking and comparing to decide on a fifth wheel/toy hauler! We both ride motorcycles and also felt the need for a regular vehicle. It was not long before we had our first rig and began the steps toward a full time adventure!

TB: How did you first hear about Thousand Trails? AG: We have some neighbors that are Zone Pass holders and they were talking favorably about the deal they got. We went to the Orlando Preserve and



spoke to a sales rep and picked up some information. In January of 2011 we again went to the Tampa Show again and found the TT booth. The area sales manager was there and Liz challenged him with “How much for all four zones, right now today?” We left there as Zone Pass holders and the fun began! Orlando

TB: What is one of your fondest camping memories? How about one of your fondest TT memories?

AG: One of our fondest memories is Thanksgiving

weekend 2010 at a non TT park (Suwanee River Rendezvous) in Mayo, Fl. It was our second trip out and I had a coupon for a free stay. It was just Liz, my dog Friday and me, wandering through the woods and along the river for two days! As for our fondest TT memory, that’s kind of tough as every stay at a

TT preserve creates a new adventure in a different fashion. If I were to pick one I would say the grin on Liz’s face as we canoed down the Peace River at TT Peace River. Liz might say watching the calves play in the pasture at Three Flags in Wildwood, Fl.

well as quite easy to set up with the 4 jack/2 stabilizer Lippert Automatic Leveling system. Also we have three awnings and the ramp gate converts to a patio and the garage to a living room. I must say though that we recently were in a Getaway at Orlando and were pleasantly surprised!

TB: Where have you gone that you wouldn’t have

otherwise, if it hadn’t been for your Thousand Trails membership?

AG: I would have to say Arley, Alabama! Truthfully,

Three Flags

TB: Any funny camping/RVing stories? AG: The look on Liz and Friday’s faces when Friday

flushed a deer on our nature walk at Oaks at Point South was priceless! Also trying to make s’mores for the first time at Peace River in the rain! Friday at Oaks Point South

who has even heard of the place other than locals and maybe folks from Jasper? Hidden Cove was our first long stay (8 days) at a TT preserve. We were still evaluating whether the whole thing was worth it or not and this place convinced us! We enjoyed the preserve as well as the countryside within a days ride to the north and west. Huntsville, Decatur, Florence, Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals even the Shiloh Battleground and Corinth, Miss. The Tennessee River is awesome as well as Lewis Smith Lake!

TB: What is your favorite part about the outdoor lifestyle?

AG: Outdoors! I enjoy walking in the woods and along rivers with my dog just seeing what there is to see. This is also why I like sightseeing on a motorcycle - I feel I am part of the scenery and not just an observer!

TB: Any other camping stories? AG: We have since upgraded to Elite, but when we

you use?

had the Zone Camping Pass I used the system to get up north! Since anything under four days does not count toward your days in/out of the system I planned accordingly. I left Florida with the dog, the bikes and the trailer and headed for Timothy Lake North in the Poconos. Liz was still working so she made arrangements to fly to Newark and friends would bring her to the campground. I stayed at Oaks at Point South overnight then on to Lake Gaston for a night, then two nights at Hershey and on to TLN for a week. We went to a wedding in N.J. on a Friday night and left Saturday a.m. for Chapel Hill, N.C. for a wedding on Sunday. We stayed in a very nice nonTT campground until Wednesday and then returned to Oaks at Point South until Saturday. We had a great time exploring Beaufort and Charleston.

AG: We currently have a 2013 Voltage 3950 Epic

TB: Can you finish this sentence? I knew I was a

TB: What type of camper are you/what equipment do Toy Hauler fifth wheel. We tow with a 2011 F-350 SuperDuty Lariat with 400 hp and 800 ft/lbs of torque. So far it has handled everything I’ve thrown at it along the East Coast. We prefer this combination because we both ride our own motorcycles and when we are stopped for a few days we still have the truck if the weather turns bad! I have had the trailer referred to as the “Hilton on Wheels!” It is quite luxurious inside as

TrailBlazer when...

AG: I realized I love to see what is around the next

corner and over the next mountain! I like to have a place to return to each night but not necessarily the same place each month! ■



Forget Something? It may look like the perfect set up but you can bet you forgot something.


outdoor chairs Campfire

lawn games




party lights

battery operated lanterns

Thanks to that’s not a problem. From chairs to grills to the latest in satellite systems for your RV, you’ll find what you need at

Convenient shipping options, to your home or to over 170 RV resorts and campgrounds across the US.

s’mores maker



Birdwatcher’s Journal with any purchase at Valid through 2/28/13 27


Spotlight |


ith the Academy Awards just around the corner (scheduled this year for Sunday, February 24) you may have movies on the mind. So, if you’re looking for something different to do while visiting some of our preserves, transform your getaway into an “on location” vacation and visit various spots where movies have been filmed. You don’t have to wander through the streets and studios of Hollywood to find the places where a few top blockbusters got their start. In fact, some star studded movies were filmed right in the same town as our preserves! Check out these movie spots while you’re spending time with Thousand Trails:

Grandy Creek

This Boy’s Life (Concrete, WA) – When it comes to kings of the silver screen, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are certainly at the top of most lists. When the two filmed This Boy’s Life together in 1993, both were present in Concrete, WA, home to our very own Grandy Creek preserve. In fact, the large cement silos at Superior Avenue and Highway 20 bearing the words ‘Welcome to Concrete’ were painted on for the filming of This Boy’s Life and still remain there today.

Soledad Canyon

Blood Work (Acton, CA) – Starring Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels and Anjelica Houston, the 2002 crime film follows a retired FBI agent, recovering from a heart transplant. Channel your inner Clint Eastwood and explore the town a bit to really get into the part. Directed by Eastwood, this murder mystery grossed an estimated $26.2 million, and was filmed in the same town as our Soledad Canyon preserve!


Kid Galahad (Idyllwild, CA) – Kid Galahad not only introduced a slew of movie stars to Idyllwild, it also brought a famed hip shaking musician turned actor to town: Elvis Presley. For three weeks in November of 1961, Elvis Presley, Gig Young, Lola Albright and Charles Bronson holed up at Hidden Lodge, located at 25120 Glen Rd. Fifty years after it was first shown in theaters, a local group in Idyllwild organized an outdoor screening of Kid Galahad to bring the community together again, just as the movie did 50 years ago.



Las Vegas

Rain Man (Las Vegas, NV) – In 1989, Rain Man took home four Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman), Best Director (Barry Levinson), Best Writing/Screenplay (Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow) and the coveted Oscar for Best Picture. Perhaps one of the most iconic scenes from the movie was filmed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Allegedly, during the filming of this scene, Hoffman would wander off and play various games at the casino. An individual had to be assigned to watch him after production was halted to look for him.


Glory (Sturbridge, MA) – Featuring Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman, this film follows the Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company and brings to light the prejudices among the ranks. A portion was filmed at Old Sturbridge Village, located at 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road in Sturbridge, Mass. Take a look at where this historical piece was filmed during a visit to Old Sturbridge Village, one of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums.

The Oaks

Forrest Gump (Yemassee, SC) – This 1994 hit taught us that life is like a box of chocolates, because you never know what you’re gonna get. While the movie was filmed in numerous locations across the country, Yemassee was a part of the lineup for this Academy Award winning film. For those of you who are visiting The Oaks, take a drive on over to Bluff Plantation, located at 3547 Combahee Road, and see if you can’t share a bench with someone as friendly as Forrest, Forrest Gump.


The Avengers (Wilmington, OH) – Marvel fans should certainly appreciate the film The Avengers, which brings Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye together to form The Avengers and help save earth from the villain, Loki. A portion of this super hero filled movie was filmed at the DHL facility in Wilmington, Ohio. Take the time to explore some popular spots from the big screen to truly feel the artistic history of the town. Then, when you get a chance, watch some of the movies that were filmed in the locations you visited and see if you can’t point out the places you’ve been as the film is playing – some of them may be trickier than you think. ■ by Annie Colletti JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER




eaving Peru, Noble and Dean entered Bolivia on “a high note at 12,000 feet,” rounding the top of Lake Titicaca and sailing across on a sail ferry which could carry but ONE vehicle for fifty cents per 30 minute trip. They set about getting their bearings in Bolivia with the aid of Marion Parks, Head Mistress of the American School in Oruro, who had worked with Noble’s father in California. “She was instrumental in helping Dean and me understand the nature of the Bolivian people and its government. We learned from Marion that there had been a confrontation with demonstrators on March 2, 1959, and that the American Embassy has been evacuated for safety,” said Noble, noting that this was the first time an American Embassy had ever been evacuated in all of South America. “Unrest was just beginning.”


“We exited Bolivia on a rough road into the ‘top of’ northern Chile. There was no traffic. There was no ‘aduana’ on the Chilean side to check us in so we proceeded west toward the northern coast,” recalls Noble. “Little did we know that we were on a little used contraband road. To us, it looked like most of the other rough, unpaved roads we had grown accustomed to.”

“As we traveled in Bolivia we felt we were a really long way from home. The Altiplano of both Peru and Bolivia are remote. One road. Take it or leave it!” recalls Noble. “Although we could speak Spanish, the natives spoke the language of the Incas and Aymaras. They did not speak Spanish. They spoke Quechua, we did not.”

“We were driving from Bella Vista, Bolivia to Arica, Chile, way up north in Chile,” said Noble. “The high point was 15,748 feet. We stopped to stretch and Dean noticed that the front axle was beginning to crack at the left ball joint. Just a bit…but very noticeable.” The front axle issue slowed their progress down the mountain considerably.

Marion sent them to a tin mine (Bolivia was founded on tin mining and for many years Bolivia was first in tin production). “We took a cold, wet elevator down several thousand feet (remember they were at approximately 13,000 feet) into the mine.

In search of a welder, Noble and Dean walked for two hours down the road into the town of Pachica. “The town had no electricity, but it had inhabitants…all of whom were at a fiesta. From there we hopped a ride in an open Ford 600 stake truck at a cost of a penny per mile, bound for Iquique (the town Chile had won in a war with Peru at the Battle of Iquique in 1879.) We were riding with the farmers, including their chickens, goats and pigs…all very chummy. But we had wheels when ours were broken up in the mountain,” said Noble.

Once out of the tin mines, they found themselves on the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world, at 150 miles long with an elevation of 11,500 feet. “When it rains the road across the Salar disappears for a few days at a time,” said Noble. “And it rained just when we wanted to drive through it to reach the border of Chile. “ Being the troopers that they had proven themselves to be, this “small inconvenience” was not going to stop them. “If I had to get out and walk through the water to find the road and then tell Dean where to drive, I was going to do that. And I did just that!” said Noble.



A stop at Gus Medrano’s Motor Works proved unsuccessful in finding a new front axle but successful in locating a host and hot shower for the pair. Iquique is on the beach, a perfect spot for Dean’s bird watching. So Dean headed to the beach and Noble found

a welder and a way to get the welder the 75 miles back to the Jeep. “We found a taxi for $15 so off we went at 75 mph,” said Noble “It took just 2 hours for the welder to make the repair. The taxi driver waited for me to follow him back down the barren roadway – I don’t think he wanted to go alone. But neither he nor I counted on the fact that the welder torched our rubber brake hose. The Jeep had no brakes!” Noble decided to wait until dawn for better light to enable him to put on a new brake hose. “This job actually requires two people because the brakes need to be bled so I did not bleed the brakes and headed on my way.” The next 40 kilometers the Jeep drove OK with the unbled brakes but remember how the story of this amazing trek has gone so far… Noble lost control of the Jeep because the weld did not hold AND swerved off the rutty road, the axle broke completely and he was back to square one. “It was dark. I went to bed,” he said. At dawn, he removed the 150 pound axle, waited another half day for another truck to stop and bring him back to Iquique and deposit him at Mr. Medrano’s dealership. Luckily, Medrano’s men fixed the axle and it was good as new. The Jeep, meanwhile, was still up in the mountain and left unguarded.

“We became well acquainted over the ten months of training and they invited me to visit them when I was released from active Navy duty,” said Noble. “So here, in June 1959, four years later, I stopped to say hello to my four Navy buddies.” What did Dean do while Noble was visiting with his buddies? He went down to the fishing boats and went out to sea with them to see sea birds. One of the boats’ nets caught a large white bird, a non-zygodactice gooney bird, or an albatross. Unfortunately the bird’s neck was broken so the fishermen gave the bird to Dean. The skull of that bird hung from the Jeep’s ceiling for the remainder of the trip and whenever they would stop to talk to natives worldwide, they all knew the albatross and the skull was looked upon as good luck. Argentina awaits! ■

Noble in a Bolivian tin mine

Via a series of different transportation modes, including a 1926 Studebaker, Noble got back to the Jeep, installed the axle and drove back to pick up Dean. Axle fixed, profuse thank-yous to Mr. Medrano and his father and Noble and Dean were on their way. Except now they realized the Jeep’s differential was beginning to split which meant the tires were at an angle to the road and not perpendicular. Not good…differential had to be fixed. Argentina would have to wait. Just outside the town of Barquito was a copper mine by the name of “The Andes Copper Mining Company.” It was owned by Anaconda Copper of the USA and managed by an Englishman by the name of Ken Woodruff. “Mr. Woodruff was married to a Chilean lady and they took us under their wing,” said Noble. “They provided us a place to sleep (other than the Jeep), did our laundry (which was usually done by jumping in a river!) and fixed our differential in just two days.” A final note about Chile. Four years earlier Noble had become a trainee at the US Naval Flight Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, along with four Chilean officers.



Wintering With RPI in the Oases of the Southwest


he California-Nevada-Arizona desert triangle – from Palm Springs to Laughlin and Lake Havasu to Phoenix – is a cool (or should we say warm?) place to spend your winter vacation. Whether a visiting “sno-bird” or a local, your membership in RPI offers so many great destinations in the area, and those destinations provide such an array of attractions and amenities both onsite and nearby, that it’s easy to find a wonderland to set up camp, stay and play. With gas prices reaching for the sky, well, there’s plenty to be said for deciding on a destination and settling in for the season. The Palm Springs area is a cornucopia of RV resorts – Silent Valley, Cherry Valley, Cathedral Palms, Indian Waters, Desert Pools, Catalina Spa … you could spend your whole season hopscotching this palm tree playground. The region is renowned for golf, dining, art, the Indio Date Festival and the skyway up to Mt. San Jacinto. Just east of Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park with its unique vegetation. Down the way between I-10 and I-40 is the Colorado River, enjoyed by millions of vacationers each year as a major recreational site. Among the tourist Mecca’s along the water are neighbors Bullhead City, AZ and Laughlin, NV. These sister cities offer an interesting contrast, with the former a small, casual western town and the latter a 24-hour entertainment and casino draw. Ridgeview Resort in Bullhead City features panoramic views of the river and casino lights. Down the road apiece in Needles you can stay at Northshore Resort. Both of these spots are close to golf, water recreation and wilderness areas.

One of the best places in Arizona to vacation is Lake Havasu. This, too, is a golfing paradise, a world of water attractions and the distinctive home to London Bridge and its adjacent Olde English Village. Havasu is also home to many festivals and regattas. Colorado River Adventures (CRA) is king of RV resorts hereabouts with quality locations like Lake Havasu and Emerald Cove resorts. Both are all about enjoyment, adventure, relaxation and family activities. Emerald Cove, in particular, features campsites on its private, white-sand beaches and its own triplewide boat launch. Emerald Cove also has a great family-friendly resource called River Rats Kid’s Club that offers a safe, enjoyable environment with pool tables, video games and more, with full supervision. As you delve further into the gorgeous Arizona desert, you will find a remarkable variety of RPI resorts for miles in every direction outside of Phoenix where you can have fun in the sun. Remember, too, that one of the state’s biggest lures for RVers in February is Quartzsite and its annual Gem Festival, which attracts browsers, buyers and people watchers from across the county. It all confirms the abundance of choice that RPI offers, with the amazing bargains that membership delivers to your pocketbook. Whenever and wherever you want to go, being an RPI member simply makes it better. Check out all these resorts and their amenities in the RPI catalog. For information about membership, call (800) 456-7774. Not an RPI Member? Add RPI Basic for Only $79 I Plus for $89 RP or

Call 01-80 635-8498 for information CO, LTR You must be a NA mber or Mid-Atlantic me offer. to qualify for this



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Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation (condo) - Poipu •1 Bedroom Garden, no resort fee plus free parking. •Honeymooners- receive complimentary honeymoon amenity. •5 nights from $920 for up to 4 •Valid 01/08 -12/22/13 Kauai Beach Resort - Lihue •Mountain/Garden View room plus no resort fee. •Honeymooners- receive a bottle of champagne. •Anniversary- complimentary dessert. •4 nights from $616 for 2 •Valid 01/07 - 12/16/13


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Complete your Hawaii package with air and rental car. Call Preferred Access at 800-281-4977 for details. Airfare add-ons available from most major airports. Call Preferred Access for rates. Hotel Spotlights: land only rates, taxes included, blackouts & seasonal surcharges may apply. Space may be limited at these rates and cannot be guaranteed until booked. California CST # 2095270-50 (registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.); Florida # ST 37464; Washington # 602-879-070 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER 33

Big Bend Country



he sprawling section of Texas known as Big Bend Country contains what many think of as classic Lone Star State landscape: sun…desert…deep canyons…and, of course, cacti. Featuring the Chihuahuan Desert, several mountain ranges, the fabled Rio Grande, and lots of Old West attractions and adventures, lucky visitors to this region will enjoy a true Texas experience. Comprising more than 40,000 square miles, the Big Bend region is generally bordered by the Texas Hill Country to the east, the Panhandle Plains to the northeast, New Mexico to the north and west, and the Rio Grande River and Mexico to the south. Interesting larger cities and towns like El Paso, Del Rio, Odessa, Midland, Pecos, Alpine, Marathon and more serve as jumping off points to Big Bend adventures, which are mostly (but not all) south of I-10 and US 90. Named for a deep curve in the Rio Grande, Big Bend Country is a land of striking beauty—vast 34


desert expanses, precipitous canyons, and craggy mountains forested with pine, oak, and juniper, all topped with blue skies and crystal-clear nights.

There are an incredible one million-plus acres of wild terrain in Big Bend Country, including Big Bend National Park—which deserves an extended visit. All of the varied protected lands in the national park and elsewhere make for virtually unlimited opportunities to drive, walk, hike, bike, go horseback riding, paddle, go bird watching, tour the backcountry, camp, and so much more (depending on the location).

For more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande forms the international boundary between Mexico and the United States. Big Bend National Park administers approximately one-quarter of that boundary. Within the twisting miles that define the park’s southern boundary, the river’s southeasterly flow changes abruptly to the northeast and forms the “big bend” of the Rio Grande. “Many people envision barren sand with a cactus or two when they think of ‘desert,’ says Superintendent, William E. Wellman, in the park’s helpful updated guide, The Paisano. “But the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park

contains an astonishing amount of life—and has for millions of years. Because of its unique location along the Rio Grande and the broad range of elevations, soils, and vegetation, Big Bend has an unbelievable amount of plant and animal life.” The plant and animal life Wellman highlights includes more than 1,200 species of plants; about 60 cacti species; 75 species of mammals; 450-plus species of birds; 56 species of reptiles; 11 species of amphibians; 40 species of fish; and about 3,600 species of insects. The park boasts more types of birds, bats, butterflies and cacti than any other national park in the United States. Wildlife sightings might also include javelinas, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, coyotes, and even black bears. Big Bend National Park also marks the northernmost range for many plants and animals, such as the Mexican long-nosed bat. Ranges of typically eastern and western species of plants and animals come together or overlap here. Many species are at the extreme limits of their ranges here. Latin American species, many from the tropics, range this far north, while northern-nesting species often travel this far south in winter. Contrasting elevations create additional, varied micro-climates that further enhance the diversity of plant and animal life and the park’s wealth of natural boundaries. Big Bend National Park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. Few areas exceed the park’s value for the protection and study of geologic and paleontologic resources. Cretaceous and Tertiary fossil organisms exist in variety and abundance. Archeologists have discovered artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old, and historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border at the turn of the century. The park exhibits dramatic weather contrasts as well. Its climate may be characterized as one of extremes. Dry, hot late-spring and early-summer days often exceed 100 degrees JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER


in the lower elevations. Summer months remain very pleasant, however, in the higher and cooler Chisos Mountains. Winters are normally mild throughout the park, but sub-freezing temperatures occasionally occur. Because of the range in altitude from approximately 1,800 feet along the river to 7,800 feet in the Chisos Mountains, a wide variation in moisture and temperature exists throughout the park. These variations contribute to an exceptional diversity in plant and animal habitats. The 118 river miles that form the southern park boundary include the spectacular canyons of Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas. The Rio Grande, meandering through this portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, has cut deep canyons with nearly vertical walls through three uplifts comprised primarily of limestone. Throughout the open desert areas, the highly productive Rio Grande riparian zone includes various plant and animal species and significant cultural resources. The vegetative belt extends into the desert along creeks and arroyos. A river trip is an excellent way to view the spectacular river scenery. Cultural resources in the park range from the Paleo-Indian period 10,500 years ago through the historic period represented by Native American groups, such as the Chisos, Mescalero Apache, and Comanche. Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers also farmed, ranched, and mined in the area. The best times to visit Big Bend are really varied with a visitor’s interests and what they wish to do. Spring is great for 36


desert flowers. Winter is best for desert hikes, thanks to cooler, lower elevation temperatures. Late-August and September can see spectacular mountain flowers and the high country is both pleasant temperature-wise and very low in visitation. The Chisos Mountains are perfect for summer visits. The Chisos Basin area of the park provides a perfect Big Bend introduction, including the transition between the arid desert and cooler mountain elevations and habitats. The area includes a visitor center, campground, lodge, restaurant, store, and miles of hiking trails. In addition, a scenic winding road (not suitable for RVs longer than 24 feet or trailers longer than 20 feet) rises more than 2,000 feet from the desert floor, including views of mountain peaks and the eroded basin area. Further afield, the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive features even more geologic splendor, scenic overlooks, and exhibits. Sotol Vista, Mule Ears Overlook, and Tuff Canyon all provide great views, while history is highlighted at Sam Nail Ranch, Homer Wilson (Blue Creek), and the Castolon Historic Compound (where there’s a seasonal visitor center, store, and nearby Cottonwood Campground). The drive continues to stunning Santa Elena Canyon (where the short canyon hike is highly recommended). Explorers can either return by the same route or take the gravel Old Maverick Road to the western entrance of the park (depending on vehicle and road conditions). Next, situated 20 miles from the Panther Junction visitor center and park headquarters, the Rio Grande Village area is a big-time Big Bend draw for good reason. The drive traverses ancient limestone formations and provides marvelous mountain and river valley vistas. The Village proper

includes a visitor center, campground, store, and picnic area. Just a bit further afield, highlights have to include the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail (wildlife, river and mountain views, and spectacular sunsets); historic Daniels Ranch; the Hot Springs (105-degree riverside hot springs); and Langford Ruins (an old store and more). A quick dive leads to Boquillas Canyon, with a short hike leading to a view of the Rio Grande entering the canyon. The Paisano outlines a variety of other hikes ranging from very easy to quite difficult. Some of the most popular and scenic options include the short Window View trail (the best place to catch a sunset view through the famed Window rock formation); the half-mile Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail with interpretive signs; the half-mile Sam Nail Ranch trail (leading through an old ranch site, with great bird watching possibilities); and the moderate 4.8mile flat and scenic Chimneys desert trail through rock formations of an eroded dike and Native American shelters and rock art. Park rangers offer walks, talks, hikes, and evening programs almost every day of the year. The topics and locations vary, so it’s best to check for current offerings upon arrival at the park. For those on a longer road trip you should note that there are four developed campgrounds in Big Bend National Park. Those who do spend one or more nights (highly recommended) in the park will quickly notice how dark it gets. In fact, the National Park Service has found that Big Bend’s night skies are the darkest found anywhere in the lower 48 states. Of course, the remote location plays a major role—but low output LED

lighting and a reduced light signature infrastructure also play a role in Gold Tier Level Dark Sky Park certification from the International Dark Sky Association. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER


There’s also the Chili Appreciation Society International’s Terlingua International Chili Championship. It’s also held in the fall and also draws crowds and heated competition. Once a mining boom town and ideally situated between the national and state parks, the Terlingua area is also a popular year-round hub for Big Bend Country, including a ghost town, famed Starlight Theatre Restaurant & Bar (great food and live music), and the base camp for Far Flung Outdoor Center.

Further Afield

Big Bend Country offers many more options for exploration. For instance, it’s a great place is the place to learn more about how life was lived on the open frontier and in the Old (and Wild) West. The sometimes hostile conditions led to the need for such sites as Fort Bliss, Fort Davis, and Fort Stockton to protect pioneers and travelers. It’s easy to visit the forts and seek out other monuments to the past that helped shape the frontier (just watch that gas gauge). Numerous other sites and museums throughout the region are dedicated to preserving the heritage and history of life on the frontier. This region hosted its share of gunfights, bank robberies, saloons and boom towns. Langtry features the rustic saloon, courtroom, billiard hall, and opera house of Judge Roy Bean, the “Law West of the Pecos.” There are a number of ranger programs offered in the park, including introductory interpretive tours; hiking tours that highlight the park’s archeology, geology, and nature; mountain bike tours; horseback tours; and 4X4 tours. A number of official operators also feature other outings in the park, including Far Flung Outdoor Center (www., see “Far Flung Adventures”); Angell Expeditions (www.angellexpeditions. com); Big Bend River Tours (www.; Desert Sports (www.desertsportstx. com); and Lajitas Stables (www.

Terlingua’s Chili Championships & More

The Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff first took place back in 1967 in a contest between humorists Wick Fowler and H. Allen Smith. It’s grown into a huge fall happening for chili fans every year. Events include varied cookoffs (from chili to ribs, chicken, brisket, beans, and even black-eyed peas); a Margarita Mix-Off; an Ugly Hat Contest; and lots of music. 38


The region also was home to towns that have faded with time, such as Salt Flat, a small community in Hudspeth County that was the focus of a bloody dispute known as the Salt War in the 1860s and ’70s. Some of the gray-white salt deposits may be seen today from US 62/180.

Visitors can see rolling sand dunes and one of the nation’s largest oak forests at Monahans Sandhills State Park. Another option is to visit Balmorhea State Park for a dip in one of the largest man-made pools in the United States. Bordering New Mexico near Pine Springs, Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, home of the state’s highest point, is well worth a visit. It features one of the state’s most beautiful spots—McKittrick Canyon. El Paso, the largest United States city on the Mexican border, merges the past with the future. Highlights include many historic sites; the Tigua Indian Reservation at Ysleta; performances at the Chamizal National Memorial; a trip on the Wyler Aerial Tramway; and outdoors opportunities just outside the city. This region is also home to unique experiences like viewing the “Marfa Mystery Lights” (first seen in 1883 and still defying explanation), visiting replicas of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Odessa (as well as a 550foot crater), historic Gage Hotel in Marathon, Lake Amistad National Recreation Area in Del Rio, eating a juicy Pecos cantaloupe, hunting precious minerals at Woodward Agate Ranch in Alpine, and celebrating the music of Roy Orbison in his little hometown of Wink. ■

For More Information Big Bend Country and Texas: Visit and to order visitors guides and complete trip planning.

Far Flung Adventures



ild to wild one-stop adventure shopping for Big Bend Country can be found at Terlingua’s Far Flung Outdoor Center ( Since 1976, this wellrespected company has offered a variety of options on and off the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. A wide array of river trips with Far Flung includes half-day floats; full day canyon floats; varied overnight trips; two-, three-, and four-night trips; family adventures; music, gourmet, and wine tasting specialty trips; New Year’s trips; and more. Quite simply there’s a trip for everyone, including rentals and shuttles for those qualified to pursue a river trip on their own. Backcountry 4X4 Jeep tours are also quite popular at Far Flung. The Apache Trail, Camp 360, Closed Canyon, and El Camino del Rio are among the options, as are gourmet lunches and even a “stepon guide” service using your own (appropriate) vehicle. ATV tours provide yet another Far Flung exploration possibility. Far Flung’s Greg Henington and the Wilderness Medicine Institute ( also offer unique wilderness medicine courses that seem ideal for campers. These include two-day Wilderness First Aid and five-day Wilderness Advanced First Aid.

Big Bend National Park: Big Bend Ranch State Park: big-bend-ranch The Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff: Chili Appreciation Society International’s Terlingua International Chili Championship:



the BIG year by Kim Wuchter

Some birdwatchers are content pursuing their hobby from their own backyards. They hang a few bird feeders, keep a pair of binoculars sitting ready at the kitchen window and then just wait to see what lands. Then, there are the serious birders, those who dream of tackling a Big Year, keep a meticulous life list and don’t hesitate to drive 100 miles for a chance at seeing a rare bird.

Colima Warbler (Left and Right)

Photos courtesy Big Bend National Park 40


A Big Year is the ultimate quest for skilled birders. For this informal birding competition bird watchers challenge themselves to see as many bird species as possible within a designated geographic area in one calendar year, from January 1 through December 31. With more than 700 bird species in North America, this can be an expensive and exhausting challenge. Officially, there is no organization that sponsors a Big Year challenge, so there is no big prize money or trophies awarded. But it does bring bragging rights in the birding world. The American Birding Association (aba. org) does recognizes Big Year achievements within North America, which is defined as the continental United States, Canada, Alaska and offshore areas up to 200 miles from the coast or halfway to another country, whichever is less. Bermuda, the Bahamas, Hawaii and Greenland are excluded. The current Big Year record is held by Sandy Komito, who, in 1998, recorded 745 species. Komito’s quest, along with fellow avid birders Al Levantin and Greg Miller, were featured in the movie “The Big Year” in 2011, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. The comedy was based on the book by Mark Obmascik: The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession. Although the movie was not a huge box office success, it did bring attention to birders and the lengths some will go to find rare birds. Instead of a Big Year, most avid birders go for a birding challenge on a smaller scale with different rules, such as

limiting a search to one state or county or to a specific bird refuge. Or, they challenge themselves to a Big Day or Big Month. For example, the New Jersey Audubon Society will host the annual World Series of Birding on May 11, where teams of bird watchers are challenged to count as many species as possible in a 24-hour period. Another variation is to chase only specific types of birds such as only hummingbirds or shore birds. In the end, it’s all about testing your birding skills in a way that’s fun and enjoyable to you. Another self-imposed challenge in the birding world is to create a life list, where you keep a running record of all the species you have identified in your lifetime. This typically includes the date and location of the bird and whether you identified the bird by sight or sound. For some folks, these lists become obsessions. In fact, the British call it twitching, meaning they are twitching with excitement about checking another bird off their list. Those who pursue birding life lists are called twitchers. Tips for Newcomers If you are new to birding, there are a just a few items you need to bring: a good pair of binoculars, waterproof boots and a note pad to jot down descriptions or names of birds. A jacket with extra pockets can help keep your hands free, and a pocket-sized field guide can help identify your feathered finds. Another option is to use a birding app such as BirdsEye, which is available for $19.99. It lets you see images of the birds on your smart phone or tablet, and even listen to bird JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER


calls to help you identify your sightings. The trickiest part for any birder is learning to identify birds, which takes time and practice. So, don’t worry if your subject flies away before you can identify it. Remember, the whole point of birding is to simply enjoy viewing birds in their natural habitats. It’s okay if you don’t figure out the name for every bird. A helpful website is, which offers a real-time, electronic tracking system for birds around the globe. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, this popular online program lets bird watchers share what they have seen and where. In March 2012, ebird participants reported more than 3.1 million bird observations across North America! The site lets you maintain your own personal bird records and you can access maps and graphs showing recorded bird data for areas you plan to visit. A Helping Hand A great way for beginners to get started is to join a guided birding watching field trip. Local Audubon chapters typically arrange several guided trips throughout the year, or you can look for birding festivals. Here are a few examples: • Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls, OR, has added one more day to its winter festival for 2013 to accommodate the growing demand for its field trips. From February 14-17, the festival celebrates the largest concentration of bald eagles in the Lower 48. • In Northeast Ohio, the Biggest Week in American Birding will take flight May 3-12 in the “warbler capital of the world.” Headquartered in Oregon, Ohio, this festival incudes guided bus trips, birding by canoe or boat, birding walks and more. • Dubbed the “bluebird capital of the world,” Wills Point, Texas, honors their feathered friends with its 20th Annual Bluebird Festival, April 27. A highlight is the bus trips along the bluebird trails. Birding Hot Spots let you observe hundreds of species in a few days. Some special places may have huge concentrations of birds for a few weeks each year while other locations are home to very rare birds. Here’s a look at a few Hot Spots across the country where you get started on your own life list. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida One of the premier bird watching hot spots in the country is the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, tucked along

southern Florida on Sanibel Island in the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge is the resting grounds for well over 250 species of migratory birds. Common birds include the American white and brown pelicans, herons, egrets, Roseate spoonbill and wood stork. “Many birders come here to see our reddish egrets. They can be somewhat hard to find, but people have good luck here,” Refuge Ranger Jeff Combs explained. January through March are said to be the best months for birding. Take a walk or drive along four-mile Wildlife Drive, which is open every day of the week except Friday. The best time to view wildlife is during low tide when the birds are feeding on the exposed mud flats. Tarpoon Bay Explorers offer guided tram tours as well as rentals for bicycles, kayaks, canoes and pontoon boats. Starting January 6, rangers lead a variety of guided tours and lectures throughout the week, with something for beginners and advanced birders. Cape May, New Jersey At the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, Cape May has long been renowned as a bird watching haven with several good places to stop along the peninsula. If you want a chance to see the endangered Piping Plovers, head over to the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (known to locals as Cape May Meadows). In roped off protected areas, these sandy colored birds nest on the beach in the spring. There are also good opportunities to see other migrating and resident shorebirds, water fowl, rails and terns, herons and egrets. Another popular birding location is the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area, which welcomes more than a million migrants on their way north and south. This area is known for nesting Yellow-breasted Chat and Blue Grosbeak. At sunrise, bird watchers typically stand on the dike to watch the birds fly in. After dawn, take a walk and look for birds feeding in the fields and along the forest. At Cape May State Park, you’ll want to visit Hawkwatch, which takes place on a raised wooden platform. In the fall eager bird watchers crowd the platform in hopes of spying Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s and red- tailed hawks, Merlins, Peregrines, Northern Harriers, bald eagles, golden eagles and Goshawks. Hawkwatch is staffed from September through November with knowledgeable volunteers who can answer your questions.

Photo left: Releasing captive raised Mississippi Sandhill Cranes onto the wet pine savannah habitat. Photo right: Sandhill Cranes. Photos courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 42


Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Management Area, Michigan The finicky little Kirtland Warbler spends its summers living in a very specific type of forest in the Midwest, mainly the lower peninsula of Michigan, and winters in the Bahamas. The songbird needs young jack pine forests, stands from 5 to 23 years old, which are at least 80 acres in size with several small grassy openings. Restricted from visitors, the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Management Area is managed to promote the bird’s required habitat. The best chance to see Kirtland’s Warbler is during special guided tours conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Audubon Society. Tours run from May 15 through July 4, departing from the town of Grayling on weekdays at 7 a.m. and on weekends and holidays at 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tours are free of charge. Tour goers caravan to a known nesting area and then are led on a hike through the protected forest.

Big Bend National Park, Texas While the Colima Warbler might be common in Mexico, there’s only one place in the U.S. where you can find it. This large, mostly brown and gray warbler with a yellow rump likes to slip across the Texas border into Big Bend National Park from April to September. To reach the best viewing spot requires an 11-mile round trip hike to Boot Canyon in the high Chisos Mountains. If you are lucky you might also see a Lucifer Hummingbird and Gray Vireo along the way.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania Before Hawk Mountain was made a sanctuary, hunters frequented this area for target practice on passing birds. Today, this 2,600-acre sanctuary, west of Allentown, offers safe passage for raptors along the Appalachian Crest and is one of the best sites in North America for viewing hawks, falcons and eagles in the autumn. The sanctuary is open yearround with a full schedule of lectures and workshops. At the famous Northlookout, you’ll find official counters who will announce each bird passing and identify it for visitors.

California Condors, California and Arizona Once near extinction, the California condors are one of the most endangered birds in the world. These massive birds, which are the largest flying bird in the Western Hemisphere, were reduced to only a couple dozen in the wild in the ‘80s. Through a captive breeding program, however, the California condors are being reintroduced into the wild with some success. Today approximately 231 are living in the wild in Southern California, Arizona/Utah and Baja California, Mexico. Some of the best viewing spots can be found at Pinnacle National Monument in California and at Grand Canyon National Park and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. At the Grand Canyon, rangers lead a daily condor talk in the spring, summer and fall.

Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier provides the unique wet pine savanna habitat that the Mississippi sandhill cranes need. Approximately 120 of these endangered birds live at the refuge. The vast majority of the refuge is closed to visitors in order to protect the cranes. Your best chance to see the cranes is November through March, when the park rangers lead guided tours into the protected area. The tours start at 8 a.m. Cranes are very shy, so spotting these tall gray creatures isn’t easy. There are a couple of facilities open year round such as the visitor’s center (open Tuesday through Saturday) and two small nature trails. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas Tucked along the Texas Gulf Coast, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is world renowned for hosting the largest population of endangered whooping cranes each winter. The cranes typically stay from late October to mid-April. The refuge is relatively flat making its 16-miles of paved trails popular for bicyclists. Besides the whooping cranes, which are the tallest birds in North America with adults approaching five feet, the refuge is home to 394 varieties of birds. If you plan to hike any of the wooded trails, be sure to bring plenty of mosquito repellant. The observation tower overlooks marshes where the whooping cranes like to feed. Be sure to look for the Swainson’s and hooded warblers while you are there.

Skagit and Samish Flats, Washington In northwestern Washington, the fields of Skagit Valley turn into a carpet of white from November to March. The rich farmlands attract thousands of Trumpeter and Tundra swans and Snow geese, who like to winter here because of the mild climate and food availability. For the best views, bring your binoculars and walk the two-mile loop trail at the Skagit Wildlife Area or drive through Fir Island and the Skagit flats near La Conner. There is also excellent viewing of raptors include bald eagles, red-tailed and rough legged hawks, peregrine falcon and short-eared owl. The real scene stealer is the Gyrfalcon, however. He is hard to find but is a prized sighting among birders. ■

Starting a list? See page 27 for a deal on a Birdwatcher’s Journal JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER




„ “


... with a rubber roof. My question is, should I be sealing or coating it to extend the life and stop the white streaks from showing up on the sides when it rains. What product do you recommend? Thanks Greg Hazelwood

A: Greg, The average life of an EPDM rubber roof is 1015 years so its time for yours to be recoated. I suggest you use Dicor Rubber Roof Coating System. Dicor is the company that made the material that is currently on your motorhome. The system is two parts; Part 1 is the Cleaner/Activator (part RP-CRP-Q is one quart which will be sufficient for your RV) and Part 2 is the Acrylic Coating (part RP-CRC-1 which is one gallon size which should cover 125 square feet). You will need to calculate how many gallons you will need for the size of your motorhome. Dicor also makes a complete kit that includes masking tape, paint rollers, four gallons of coating and two quarts of activator (part RP-RRK-30) that would also work for your recoating needs as you can not complete this job without properly masking off and prepping your roof. If you do decide to take on this task, please be extra careful up there on the roof! Thanks for your question.





... enjoying our various travels in our RV. One problem we encounter in the various RV parks is the television reception when we hook up to the park’s cable. We never get all the channels listed on their information sheet and typically we only get the lower numbered channels. Any advice would be appreciated. We have a 2007 Fleetwood Terra LX. The TV is digital. Thanks for your help. Donna Solvang, CA

A: Hi, Donna. I don’t think that the issue is in your motorhome. If there were something wrong with your coax cabling and/or connections, the channels you are receiving would be pretty lousy. (Note: Bill later confirmed this suspicion with Donna via email to confirm that the channels she was receiving were clear.) It could be that the parks no longer offer certain channels that are still listed on their lineup. Rather than reprint all of the flyers, they might be a little bit off until they are brought up to date. It is possible that some of those stations have disappeared and those changes have not been noted. Have you considered satellite TV as an option? With current technology, you can buy month-to-month packages or long term plans that meet your specific needs. There are also Satellite “Cubes” that are lightweight, and require no installation and will automatically locate the satellite signals wherever you are camping. Should you decide to go that route, let me know and we can give you more specific information.



... on our 33-foot Itasca Suncruiser, and I am wondering if there are acceptable alternatives to the Michelin tires we currently have on it. We took a month-long cross-country trip last summer and there were major stretches of road that almost jarred the fillings out of our teeth. Since our tire replacement needs will likely be more calendar based than mileage based, I am wondering if there is an alternate brand that may not wear as well, but would offer comparable handling and safety while giving a softer ride? At the same time, given the extreme cost of replacing tires, I would also entertain less expensive tires if I wouldn’t compromise safety. Although the amount of driving we do annually will mean that the age of the tires will probably be more important than wear, we did come back from the last trip with enough wear on the front tires that I feel the need to replace them before leaving next week on a 200-mile round trip if possible (hence the hope that I can get some immediate guidance). Thanks for any suggestions or input you can offer as I ponder my decision the next few days. Thanks very much, Larry Anderson


(Note: due to the urgency of this inquiry, we answered Larry by phone so that he might be able to take a worry free trip but here is our answer to the question as it might help out fellow readers.) Most motorhome manufacturers use tires that they feel are best suited for their units. Michelin certainly makes a good tire! Switching to a cheap tire may cause handling problems as well as a faster wear time. My preference would be to stay with the Michelin tires. The rough ride (that is knocking your fillings out) stems from the tires as well as the suspension on your motorhome. Air ride suspensions tend to be much smoother regardless of the tires. One thing that can help a bit is to lower the amount of air pressure in each tire (your tires are rated at 110 psi max so you may be able to run them at 8085 psi). The best way to find the minimum amount of air pressure you can run is to weigh each individual corner of your motorhome. Look for a tire/air pressure/weight ratio chart on the Internet, as this will give you the exact minimum pressure(s). In doing this, you may loose some fuel mileage, but it will not affect the tire wear. As far as the front tires you currently have that are wearing unevenly, an alignment problem or worn suspension parts would cause that. If you decide not to purchase new tires before this trip have the front end repaired and rotate the front tires to the rear.



... I recently bought a 1996 Safari Trek on a 1995 GM diesel chassis. I need to correspond with some similar owners to get info so that I can update my unit. Thank you. Richard Prevallet


I know of a few Trek Groups but it depends on what area of the country you live in. Try these sites for more direction: and Also, there are several chapters of the FMCA that are devoted to Trek users. We have not participated in any of these, since we have a fifth wheel, but I did ask a buddy of mine that owns a Trek Safari for help in answering your personal inquiry. I hope the info is helpful in attaining the information that you seek. ■

GOT A QUESTION FOR BILL? SEND AN EMAIL TO Bill Gehr The back of our RV reads, “We haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on our list!” After owning and operating Bill’s RV Service in Ventura, CA for 34 years, Bill Gehr and his wife, Jenn, are now living the dream of the full-time RV lifestyle. Bill is a Master RV Technician and has starred in the DVD series The ABC’s of RVs, and RV Today on RFDTV. As a team, Bill and Jenn Gehr are technical contributors for a myriad of RV magazines and travel the USA with their two Boston Bulldogs and are avid cyclists and hikers.






JAN/FEB 2013


Thousand Trails members receive

20% off daily rates, 30% off daily rates for stays of 7 days or more and 10% off the monthly rate at Encore RV resorts and campgrounds. In addition to these standard discounts, we invite you to take advantage of these other great offers.*

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46 46



Texas Deals


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*Subject to availability. Reservations required. Rates based on a standard site. Stays of 30 days or less are subject to $3 per day resort fee. Electric not included for stays of 30 days or longer. Rates do not include taxes. Amenities vary by resort. Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. Rates exclusively for members of Thousand Trails, NACO, Mid-Atlantic, Leisure Time and Outdoor World. Offer not valid on holidays and special events; certain restrictions may apply. Two week maximum stay per resort at discounted rate.















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*Subject to availability. Reservations required. Rates based on a standard site. Stays of 30 days or less are subject to $3 per day resort fee. Electric not included for stays of 30 days or longer. Rates do not include taxes. Amenities vary by resort. Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. Rates exclusively for members of Thousand Trails, NACO, Mid-Atlantic, Leisure Time and Outdoor World. Offer not valid on holidays and special events; certain restrictions may apply. Two week maximum stay per resort at discounted rate.





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*Subject to availability. Reservations required. Rates based on a standard site. Stays of 30 days or less are subject to $3 per day resort fee. Electric not included for stays of 30 days or longer. Rates do not include taxes. Amenities vary by resort. Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. Rates exclusively for members of Thousand Trails, NACO, Mid-Atlantic, Leisure Time and Outdoor World. Offer not valid on holidays and special events; certain restrictions may apply. Two week maximum stay per resort at discounted rate. ** New Florida destinations. Limited Sites Available. All membership rules for “High Use” apply. Maximum 2 week stays. Available to members that currently have Thousand Trails Orlando park access, excluding Zone Camping Pass holders. Sites are available November 1, 2012 - April 1, 2013





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116 Carefree RV Resorts........................61 120 Countryside Interiors.......................63 104 Equity LifeStyle..........................46-49 129 FirstStreet WOW Computer ...........19 159 FirstStreet Jitterbug ........................53 160 FirstStreet Walk-In Tub ..................65 132 GEICO.............................................67 122 Jirah.................................................63 137 Answers on page 64

ACROSS 1 Surety (Lat.) 4 Cubic feet per second (abbr.) 7 Father of Jehoshaphat 10 Stamp-sheet segment 11 Sultry 12 Culmination 14 Wont 16 Melville’s captain 17 Droop 18 Inuit boat 20 Legal gambling (abbr.) 21 Shoshonean 22 Leftside (pref.) 24 Extent 28 Taint 31 Tolstoy heroine 32 Sixth sense 34 Fresh-water duck 35 Act 37 Fr. historical provinces 39 Secretary (abbr.) 41 Evil 42 It. exclamation 44 Perturb 46 Object of worship 49 Hindu garment 51 Abnegate 53 Razor-billed auk 54 Corrode 55 Down (pref.) 56 Mulberry of India 57 Single room occupancy (abbr.) 58 Altar constellation


DOWN 1 Old Texas linear measure 2 Anagram (abbr.) 3 Dry wine 4 Anglican bishop’s garment 5 Central points 6 Plagiarize 7 Amer. Automobile Assn. (abbr.) 8 Sailboat 9 Love (Lat.) 10 Additional postscript (abbr.) 13 Recede 15 Ballet skirt 19 Ketone (pref.) 21 Way 23 Important 24 But (Sp.) 25 Within (pref.) 26 Dropsy 27 Extrasensory perception (abbr.) 29 Roam 30 Eng. cathedral city 33 Allspice 36 Five-franc piece 38 Rom. author 40 WWI battle 42 Television channel 43 FDR’s dog 45 Wither 46 Growl 47 Eight (pref.) 48 Drug Enforcement Admin. (abbr.) 50 Adjective-forming (suf.) 52 Fiddler crab genus


128 SkyMed............................................68 124 Winnebago.........................................2

Answers on page 64



housand Trails has partnered with a number of popular brands to provide you with exclusive members-only savings. Below you will find our latest special offers available to you. Please log into the member section of the Thousand Trails website at to take advantage of these great deals!

Exclusive Hertz Program When you rent with Hertz, you can take advantage of special yearround savings through the Hertz Membership Benefits Program. By using the Thousand Trails discount code, you can save whether you reserve online or by phone.

Exclusive iDine Savings Simply register any credit or debit card and dine at a restaurant on the program. Afterwards, complete a quick dining review about your experience within 30 days. The more you dine, the higher the percentage you can earn, up to 15%! Visit for details and to enroll. 15% off your order of $49 or more. Get all your pet’s food and supplies delivered to your door with’s Auto Ship program. It’s the easiest way to shop for all the top brands of pet food (137 brands and counting!), flea & tick preventatives, treats, toys, cat litter, crates, collars, beds, bowls, pet meds, and so much more (16,000 top-quality pet products in all)! (This coupon is valid on everything in our store, except: vet diet foods, prescription and free shipping items, and gift certificates. One time use per customer. Only one promotion code can be applied per order. Not for use with any loyalty or other reward websites.) Discount Code: BLAZER15

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Preserve Services Directory* | Jan/Feb 2013 PRESERVE SERVICES DIRECTORY - NORTHWEST

NORTHWEST OREGON BEND/SUNRIVER | 541-593-8494 Annual/Extended Stay - We still have some open sites available for annual use. Stop worrying about space available in beautiful Bend/Sunriver with your own site and come and enjoy all we have to offer year-round. From skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the winter to fishing, hiking and festivals in the summer. Please call Bobbie or Julie at the Preserve.

Short-Term Rental - Cabins, cottages and yurts available for rent year-round, call for quote. Special Events - Perfect location for your family reunions, rallies and birthday picnics. Packages are available for renting our winter lodge for that special birthday. The main lodge is available for weddings, banquets and conferences. We also welcome ski clubs and snowmobile clubs. Call Anne or send email to PACIFIC CITY 503-965-6200 (Preserve Office) 503-965-6442 (Ranger Station) Annual/Extended Stay - No longer a need to move your RV offsite for one or more years, plus the flexibility to occupy the unit up to 210 nights without contract use restrictions and then stay longer with reservations. Decorate your preferred site or add a storage shed if desired. Order your new Cavco Cedar Cabin and custom design the interior, select your preferred campsite and schedule delivery. Financing available. Contact Ginny to make an appointment. Short-Term Rental - Off-Season Rental Cabins available for monthly program. Contact Resort Manager for details. Special Events - Awesome coastal weather, beach access, clamming, crabbing, beach-combing, professional and friendly service, campsites, rental units and gazebo. We host parties, club rallies, reunions, weddings and retreats for all group outings. A group consists of 4 or more campsites/rentals or any combination thereof. Contact the preserve for more information. On-Site/Dry Storage - Save on gas and take advantage of our RV storage program. $50 for 4 weeks, $300 for 26 weeks or $550 for 52 weeks. Dry storage space is limited. SEASIDE 503-738-0626 (Preserve Office) 503-738-5292 (Rentals) Annual/Extended Stay - The Oregon Coast! Enjoy your own personal site for your RV. Home base for full-timers, improved landscape options available, personalize your site – add a storage shed and/or deck. You no longer need to move your RV. Call Christopher or Barry at the preserve. Short-Term Rental - Discounted short-term rentals available for two week and monthly stays. Great rates for Monday-Thursday midweek stays. Call for our current specials. Our cabins are available all year long.


Short-Term Rental - Yurts, cabins and trailers available to fit your budget. WHALERS REST 541-867-6078 (Preserve Office) 541-867-3100 (Storage) Annual/Extended Stay - Enjoy the beautiful Oregon Coast on your own personal site at Whalers Rest. Leave your rig year-round and occupy up to 210 days per year. Don’t have an RV or want a “vacation home”? We have former vacation rental trailers available for purchase and placement in the personal site program. Call Denise or Shari at the preserve for more information. Special Events - Beautiful setting on the central Oregon coast, 18 rental units, including two new cabins and a very large garden home. Large meeting area and kitchen facilities. Parties and meetings of all sizes. Call preserve for details. SuperHost not available June 15-Sept. 15. WASHINGTON BIRCH BAY | 360-371-7432 Annual/Extended Stay - Play by the bay longer with stays beyond your membership days and enjoy the sun, not the grays, at Birch Bay. Space may still be available for your Personal Site. Purchase a vacation home, while they last, or bring your own. Monthly stays limited and also available at just $450 month, plus utilities. Come experience the beauty of the true Northwest. Contract Chandra at the preserve. CHEHALIS | 360-262-9489 Annual/Extended Stay - Enjoy your own year-round private site in beautiful Chehalis. There’s no need to move your RV off-site. You can occupy your site for 210 days without reservations and then stay longer with reservations. Contract Brenda Roza for an appointment. Short-Term Rental - We have monthly rentals for 1-4 months for $475 per month, plus utilities. We also have rental cabins and trailers offering daily and weekly rates. Special Events - Perfect venue for your family reunion, church campout, picnic, party, school event or retreat. Rental units, RV sites, picnic areas, catering, day-use activities and amenities can be all yours with our SuperHost program. Our lodge is available off-season for weddings, banquets, parties, retreats, or conferences. Call preserve or send email On-Site/Dry Storage - Storage: $45 per month or $180 for 6 months. Call Ranger Don. GRANDY CREEK | 360-826-3554 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual site available! $2,600, please call the preserve for details.

SOUTH JETTY 541-997-8296 (Preserve Office)

LA CONNER | 360-466-3112 Annual/Extended Stay - Your very own site on our beautiful resort is waiting for you. Spend your free time on the Skagit Bay, walking on the beach, photographing the resident Bald Eagles, and relaxing in our spa. We have limited sites available so hurry. Our Annual Program now has 210-day usage. Please call Nancy or Matthew at the preserve.


*Information subject to change

On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage for $60 per month. Get two free months with our yearly rate of $600.


541-997-8333 (Rentals) Annual/Extended Stay - Extended Stay program now available. Use it any 210 days and store your rig year-round. Contact Preserve Manager for details.

LEAVENWORTH 509-763-2020 | 800-353-1700 Short-Term Rental - A snowmobiler’s paradise, we receive an average of 10 feet of snow annualyl. Just across from our preserve we have access to over 200 miles of snowmobile trails. We have rentals that include a Log House that sleeps 24, a Chalet that sleeps 8, four cabins that sleep 4 to 5 and four lodge rooms that sleep four, plus our RV sites In our Timber View and Lake View areas. LITTLE DIAMOND | 800-994-6654 Special Events - Granite Lodge: Two full kitchens, dining for large groups, sleeps 20+, adjacent RV and tent sites, spa and sauna, satellite TV. Contact preserve for more information. LONG BEACH | 360-642-3091 Annual/Extended Stay - Long Beach is only minutes away from the grand Pacific Ocean, surrounded by gorgeous nature and a rich history of pioneers past. Don’t miss out on your chance to have your own place at the beach. You can have your own personal RV site where your rig can stay year-round and you can occupy your rig for 210 days out of that year for the low price of $2,100! No more hassle storing your rig and just think of all the money you will save on gas. We are also introducing a special 3-month rate during the off-season; stay 3 months for only $350 per month or $425 per month during the off season. Call Kate at the preserve for details. Short-Term Rental - Feel at home in one of our Vacation Trailers or lovely Thousand Trails Cabins both with fully stocked kitchens. Call the preserve for rates or make your reservations online. Special Events - Planning a reunion, wedding, special event or a trip with a bunch of friends and family? Long Beach is the place for you! We have plenty of RV and tent sites as well as cabins and trailers available for rent. We are right off the beach and close to historic downtown Long Beach. For more information, call Kate at the Preserve Office. On-Site/Dry Storage - Save on gas with our dry storage sites. Available year-round at the low price of $50 a month or get two months free when you sign up for a year for only $500. Call the Preserve Office for details. MT. VERNON | 360-724-4811 Annual/Extended Stay - Come enjoy our preserve with beautiful forest settings and views of the mountains where wildlife parade through. Relax in your own personal site now up to 210 days. Walk the trails or relax in the large swimming pool and spa. Please call Kelly King at the preserve to get your site. OCEANA | 360-289-3504 Annual/Extended Stay - New Reduced Prices! Walk down to the beach for some quiet time away from all the hustle and bustle. Park your RV 12 months at Oceana. Stay up to 210 days a year with no time out. For the BEST PRICE on the WA coast for a full hook-up site with 50-amp power call Dale Graham at the preserve. Short-Term Rental - A limited number of sites are available starting at $350 per month, plus elec. for next summer season. Call Dale Graham at the preserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - RV Storage $40 per month without electric (dry) or $50 per month with electric (limited sites with electricity and

may be subject to availability). PARADISE 360-985-2121 (Preserve Office) 360-985-2756 (Ranger Station) Annual/Extended Stay - Save on fuel, extend your stay at Paradise for $550 per month, or consider leaving your rig year-round with an annual lease. Call the preserve for more information.


Short-Term Rental - Leave your RV at home and come stay in our comfortable Panabode Cedar Cabins. Full kitchen, sleeps 6. Call preserve to make reservations. Please call Nancy or Matthew at the preserve.

On-Site/Dry Storage - RV Storage $40 per month without electric (dry) or $50 per month with electric (limited sites with electricity and may be subject to availability). THUNDERBIRD 360-794-4030 (Preserve Office) 360-794-8987 (Ranger Station) Annual/Extended Stay - We are now open year-round and have Annual Sites available. Come stay with us and explore the beautiful state of Washington. We also offer the Extended Stay Program at $575 per month, plus $35 electric fee. If interested, please call the Preserve Office. Short-Term Rental - Four (4) TT Rental Cabins available. For special off-season rates, please call the Preserve Office. On-Site/Dry Storage - RV Storage for $2.50 per day or $75 per month. Call the Preserve Office. BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA CULTUS LAKE | 604-858-3932 Annual/Extended Stay - We have both Standard and Value Annual Personal Sites available. From October 1-March31, each winter season, we offer month to month stays (not to exceed three (3) months at a time). If you are interested, contact Norman or Lisa at the Preserve Office. On-Site/Dry Storage - During the months of October to March each year we offer storage on our non-water sites at a daily, weekly, monthly or six-month rate. Check with the Preserve Office or Ranger Station if you’re interested. SOUTHWEST ARIZONA VERDE VALLEY | 928-634-8158 Annual/Extended Stay - Extend your stay with us for $99 a week plus tax. Extend by the month on a 30-amp for $350 or 50-amp for $425, plus electric. Annual sites start at $2,500 per year. Pick a lease package where you can stay 365 nights-Best Deal. For more information regarding our Extended Stay and Annual Lease programs, contact Scott Woolley at the preserve. Short-Term Rental - 29-foot trailers for $595 per month (includes electric). Cabins $1,000-1,250 per month (includes electric). Weekly housekeeping and linens, TV/VCR, satellite. Pet and non-pet units available. Call the preserve to reserve your unit. Dry Storage - Dry Storage available w/o electric for $50 per month or $425 per year, with electric for $90 per month or $775 per year. Call the preserve for details. CALIFORNIA IDYLLWILD 951-659-4097 (Preserve Office) 951-659-4137 (Ranger Station) 951-659-0698 (Recreation Office) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual lease as low as $2,195 per year (not JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER




including electricity). Keep your trailer/rig or motorhome on a site for 365 days per year! Please contact Preserve Manager for more details.

Rental Trailers and cabins available for short-term stays. For more details please call the preserve.

Short-Term Rental - Stay in the preserve on a month-to-month basis for as low as $575 per month, including water and electricity. We also have rental cabins!! Daily, weekly and by the month. Please contact the Preserve Manager at for more information.

PONDEROSA | 530-642-5830 Annual/Extended Stay - Sign up for our new Annual Site program. Make a site yours for an entire year or up to 3 years! Eliminate storage costs and the hassle of moving your rig. Call Dominic at the preserve.

On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage available for as little as $75 per month or $650 per year. Please contact the Preserve Office for more information on terms and conditions.

Special Events - Plan your next special event with us along the beautiful American River. We can help you host up to 150 guests for your wedding, family reunion, rally, or other special event function. Make your event one to remember – host it at Ponderosa Resort! Call the preserve for more information.

LAKE MINDEN 530-656-2701 (Preserve Office) 530-656-2702 (Special Events) 530-656-2700 (Storage) Annual/Extended Stay - Variety of sites available – 1-3 year leases, sewered and non-sewered sites; utilities not included. Snowbird Program: $425 per month, plus electric, includes one honeywagon dump per week. Call the preserve for more information.

Short-Term Rental - Check out our new reduced rates for our 29 and 30-foot trailers.

MORGAN HILL 408-779-6396 (Preserve Office) 408-779-4932 (SuperHost) Annual/Extended Stay - Call the preserve to get the details on the best prices in the area for full hook-up and partial hook-up sites for stays up to 210 days in a year.

Special Events - Reunions, youth groups, picnics, retreats, meetings. Private Chapel/Pavilion and courtyard available for events. Stay in cozy cabins, covered wagons or our full amenity kitchenette campers. Call the preserve for details.

OAKZANITA 619-445-2835 (Preserve Office) 619-445-2515 (Ranger Station) Annual/Extended Stay - Gas prices got you down? Hate the hassle of setting up and taking down your RV? If you like to escape the hustle and bustle of your life then we have the program for you. You can have your own personal site and you can leave your rig 365 days a year, you can occupy your rig for up to 210 days a year. We offer a limited number of annual sites and due to gas prices they fill up fast. Call Sheila or Cheryl at the preserve for more information. Short-Term Rental - We offer rental cabins you can stay for the night or by the week. Call the preserve for prices. We also have a limited number of horse corrals available by the day or week. Call the preserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage for only $450 per year, $65 per month or $40 per week. Call the Ranger Station for more information. PALM SPRINGS | 760-345-1682 Annual/Extended Stay - Rally groups welcome September through November and April through May. The preserve offers many activities, such as water aerobics, water volleyball, horseshoe pits, pickleball courts and a billiards room. Call the preserve for information. PIO PICO 619-421-0104 Annual/Extended Stay - Are you tired of moving from park to park every 2-3 weeks? Or moving your RV in and out of storage? Get our own personal site and leave your RV there all year long. Contact Dave D. at Preserve Office. Short-Term Rental - Are you going on vacation? We have Vacation 56

RANCHO OSO | 805-683-5686 Annual/Extended Stay - Short-term monthly FHU campsites at $650 per month, plus electric. Annual sites also available at special rates. Call the preserve or send email to

On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage: Quarterly for $120. Call the preserve for information

On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage: $85 per month and $792 per year. Call the preserve for more details.


On-Site/Dry Storage - Call Kathy at the preserve for information.


On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage: $75 per month or $750 per year and save $150. Call the preserve for information. RUSSIAN RIVER 707-894-5321 (Preserve Office) 707-894-5355 (Special Events) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites are still available - only a couple left. Extended Stay $400 per month, plus electric; includes one honeywagon dump per week. For more information call the preserve. SAN BENITO 831-389-4477 (Ranger Station) 831-389-4478 (Special Events) Annual/Extended Stay - Both programs are available at San Benito. We also have Getaway Cabins and other cabins and vacation trailers all for the asking here at San Benito. Give us a call and see when we can fit you in. We also have space available for the public and we have tent sites too. For any questions, contact our Ranger Station. Special Events - If you’re looking for that great place for family gatherings, youth groups, reunions, meetings, retreats, church gatherings or just your very own special event, such as birthdays or anniversaries, contact one of our Host Coordinators at the Special Events office and they can get you on your way. We have whatever you need here at San Benito. SNOWFLOWER | 530-389-8241 Annual/Extended Stay - Have a favorite camping area or site you prefer? Reserve a personal seasonal site anywhere in the preserve for only $388 per month. Seasonal sites available from May through October, weather permitting. Short-Term Rental - Try something new and stay in one of our cabins or yurts! Cabins sleep four maximum and start at $71.20 per night mid-week, plus tax; yurts sleep 4-5 and start at $44 per night midweek, plus tax. Cabins and Yurts are only a short drive to exploring California’s historic Gold Country or gaming and nightlife In Reno, NV.

The yurts have heaters and new mini-fridges for your convenience. Call preserve for information.

SOLEDAD CANYON 661-269-1740 (Preserve Office) 661-269-7038 (Special Events) Special Events - Have your rally, wedding, picnic, retreat or reunion at our beautiful preserve. Catering for up to 3,000 available. Call the preserve for information. On-Site/Dry Storage - On-site storage no longer available. Dry Storage $75 per month or $750 annual. Call the preserve for information. TURTLE BEACH | 209-239-0991 On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage available for $20 per week or $60 per month. WILDERNESS LAKES 951-672-4831 (Preserve Office) 951-672-7804 (Special Events/SuperHost) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available. Fish from the back of your site! No reservations required. You can leave your RV on-site 365 days per year. You may occupy the site 210 days per year. Call Brandie or Dave at the preserve for more information. NEVADA LAS VEGAS 702-451-2719 (Preserve Office) 800-288-7245 (Rentals) 702-451-4647 (Storage) Annual/Extended Stay - Come HOME to your own private site in FUN City. Year-round sites available in four price ranges. Extended Stay monthly sites available from $475 per month. Call preserve for details. Short-Term Rental - Make your cabin and trailer reservations early; high demand in fall, winter and spring. Call the Rental Office for information. MIDWEST/NORTHEAST ILLINOIS PINE COUNTRY 815-547-5517 (Preserve & Marketing Office) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available - rates $2,044. Monthly site rental (RV) - $425 per month. We offer weekly and midweek special rates also. Call preserve for details. Short-Term Rental - Public W/E/S - nightly rate - $43. Tent sites nightly $28. Special Events - Large and small pavilion available for rental - must reserve. Clubhouse space available for rental - must reserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - Yearly storage rates $350. INDIANA INDIAN LAKES 812-934-5496 (Preserve & Marketing Office) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites starting at just $1,200. Please call Charlene. On-Site/Dry Storage - RV storage available starting at $35 per month. Quarterly, semi-annual, and annual rates available. Call Charlene at the preserve.


On-Site/Dry Storage - Storage sites available starting at $8 per day to $75 per month. Call the Ranger Station to check availability.

HORSESHOE LAKES | 765-832-2487 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Lease Sites are $1,500 for lakefront and $1,075 for non-lakefront. Short-Term Rental - We have 126 sites available (122 full hook-up, and 25 50-amp sites - 50-amp sites are $3 per night). Special Events - RV sites, meeting/banquet room, kitchen available for reunions, parties, church groups, weddings, etc. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage available starting at $10 per week up to $300 annually. MAINE MOODY BEACH | 207-646-4586 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites Available: Premium $2882, plus electric fee; Elite $3542, plus electric fee; membership required. Great sites still available. Close to sandy beaches, attractive, Portland ME and Portsmouth NH. Annual Cottages Available: 28’x12’ park models, sleeps 4 adults and 2 children, complete kitchen and bath, supplies. Own your own cottage to come to all season! Annual site fee required. Prices vary - contact manager for more information. Extended Stay Available: $535 per month - April, May, June September, October. Extended Stay available for 1000 per month July and August. Call Country Store for more information. Short-Term Rental - April 15-June 10 and September 5 to closing (Oct. 20). Spring or Fall - Shoulder Seasons, get away for a weekend or a week at Moody Beach. Call Country Store for special or look us up on line at Special Events - Moody Beach Is a great getaway for your group. Rallies and Reunions. Safari Field available. Contact us to book your group or party. On-Site/Dry Storage - $4 per day, $25 per week, $45 per month or $375 per year. Valid insurance and agreement required. MASSACHUSETTS GATEWAY TO CAPE COD | 508-763-5911 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available for $2300. Vacation cottages for sale starting at $2500, plus site fee of $2400. Please call preserve for details. Short-Term Rental - Park Model rentals available starting at $60 per night (some pet units available). Call the preserve for more information and reservations. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage available $46 per month or $360 per year. Call the preserve or inquire at the Trading Post. STURBRIDGE | 508-347-7156 Annual/Extended Stay - Annuals from $1740 to $2666 for lakeside and, new this year, seasonal sites for spring and fall for $500. Short-Term Rental - Nightly and weekly rates, 10 people per site. All you bring is linen and food. Amenities are free. Special Events - We have a beautiful conference center for all occasions nestled in beautiful Sturbridge. On-Site/Dry Storage - Off-site Storage: $20 per week; $45 per month; or $350 per year. MICHIGAN BEAR CAVE | 269-695-3050 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER




Annual/Extended Stay - Limited annual sites still available. Call for rates. Just 90 minutes from Chicago and only 20 minutes to Michigan’s finest beaches. Reserve now and enjoy one of the most stunningly beautiful waterfront camp reserve sites available. Located on the St. Joseph River with boat launch and docks.

Special Events - SuperHost Facility Rental: Family Lodge $400; Pavilion $100. Call preserve for more information.

Short-Term Rental - 1 and 2 bedroom park model rentals for $59 and $69 per night; 2-night minimum stay on weekends and 3-night minimum stay on holiday weekends. Linen rental for additional fee. 2-4 person, fully-equipped tent rentals available. Call for details.

PENNSYLVANIA CIRCLE M | 717-872-4651 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites Available! Starting at $2,350, 210 days of occupancy; space is limited.

ST. CLAIR | 810-329-7129 Annual/Extended Stay - Beautiful sites, concrete pad and patio, paved road, metered 50-amp electric, water and sewer. Stay up to 180 nights and store your rig the rest of the year. $2,000 per year. Similar new sites with gravel pads and roads are only $1,500 per year. Contact Preserve Manager for details.

GETTYSBURG FARM | 717-292-7191 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites available. Call Jeff at the preserve office for information.

NEW JERSEY CHESTNUT LAKE | 609-652-1005 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites starting at $1,599; Monthly Sites from $500. On-Site/Dry Storage - Storage for $25 per week; $50 per month or $400 per year. LAKE & SHORE | 609-624-1494 Annual/Extended Stay - Limited Cottages available so make the call today. SEA PINES Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites available, starting at $2895. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage available for $20 weekly, $50 per month or $400 per year. NEW YORK RONDOUT VALLEY | 845-626-5521 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Special - September 1, 2012-June 3, 2013: $795. Short-Term Rental - September or October Cabin Stay ThursdayMonday for $165; September or October Loft Cabin Thursday-Monday for $220. On-Site/Dry Storage - November-April: $25 per month; AprilOctober $45 per month or $395 for the year, if paid in full. OHIO KENISEE LAKE | 440-576-9030 Annual/Extended Stay - Lakefront and non-lakefront sites available. Please call the preserve for details. Short-Term Rental - Elite site is $475 for a month-to-month and $425 per month for a standard site. Special Events - Rustic Barn, Pool Pavilion available for Family Reunions, Superhosts, and Get-togethers. If interested, please contact Linda Roberts for more information. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage ONLY. Fees: $35 per month; $65 per quarter (yearly) $125 per 6 months; and $235 for one year. WILMINGTON | 937-382-5883 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites now available: $1,250$1,750. Call Amy for more information.




On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage: $15 per week, $35 per month or $150 for six (6) months. Call the Ranger Station.

Special Events - Two pavilions are available for your reunion, company picnic, wedding or party. These creekside pavilions are a popular gathering spot for your special functions. Call Jeff or Mary at the preserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage Rates: $20 weekly, $50 monthly and $300 yearly. Call the preserve or stop by the Trading Post. HERSHEY 717-867-1891 (Preserve Office) 717-867-3967 (Storage) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Sites available at beautiful Hershey Preserve starting at $2,600. Call Kim at the preserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage Rates: $20 weekly, $50 monthly, $200 for six months or $375 per year. Call or stop by the Country Store during regular hours. PA DUTCH COUNTRY | 717-665-2500 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual site available - standard sites for $1825, plus metered electricity. Premium sites for $2200, plus metered electricity. Vacation Cottage site fee for $2100 per year. For more information, please call Joanne or Joan at the preserve. Short-Term Rental - 14 cabins available for rent. Call the preserve for details. Special Events - Don’t worry about the weather – our large building is available for rent. Building will accommodate square dance groups inside; also available for weddings and other events. For more information, please call Joanne or Joan at the preserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - Off-site Storage is available for $3 per day, $60 per month, and $375 per year. For more information, please call Joanne or Joan at the preserve. SCOTRUN | 570-629-0620 Annual/Extended Stay - Scotrun, in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, has annual sites available starting at $1295. Scotrun is central to everything in the Poconos and easy access right off Route 80. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage Only - $400 per year or $50 per month. Contact preserve for details. SOUTHEAST ALABAMA HIDDEN COVE | 205-221-7042 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available - $2,150. For information please call the preserve.

Short-Term Rental - Park Model Rentals $60 and $70 per night. For information, call the preserve.

On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage available for $3 per day or $200 for 6 months. Call preserve for information. FLORIDA ORLANDO 352-394-5531 (Preserve Office) 352-394-7300 (Special Events) Annual/Extended Stay - Sites still available for extended stay and lease options. Leave your rig and not have to move every few weeks. Please call Beth-Ann McCourt for more details or ask for when you arrive at the preserve. PEACE RIVER | 863-735-8888 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available for $2280 per year, plus tax and electric. Extended stay/seasonal sites are also available: November $350; December $375, January $410; February $425; March $410; April $375. Discounts available for three months or more. Seasonal sites are 30-amp with water and electric. price includes one free honey wagon dump per week. Call Lee at the preserve for more details. Short-Term Rental - We have nine rental log cabins available, for nightly or monthly rental. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage $45 per month. Call the preserve for information. THREE FLAGS | 352-748-3870 (Preserve Office) Short-Term Rental - Vacation cottages available for rent. Special Events - We have a large clubhouse that may be rented out for special events. NORTH CAROLINA FOREST LAKE | 336-998-4135 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites are available! Don’t delay in securing yours now and start enjoying the convenience of annual site rental. Contact Preserve Office for current rate. Short-Term Rental - Cabins, cottages and short-term rentals are available. The longer you stay, the better the price! For rates and availability contact Barb Stanze at the Preserve Office. GREEN MOUNTAIN PARK | 828-757-4088 Annual/Extended Stay - Rates are $1,400 to $2,855. Call preserve for details. Short-Term Rental - Vacation cottages for sale at $4,495. On-Site/Dry Storage - Storage available - $2 per day or $365 per year. LAKE GASTON | 252-586-4121 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available. Rates from $1,950. Call the preserve for details. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage available: $20 per week, $45 per month or $325 per year. Storage available for boats and RVs. For

SOUTH CAROLINA CAROLINA LANDING | 864-972-9892 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available starting at $1,300 for current members.


Special Events - Our lakefront Clubhouse and Pavilion are the perfect venues for family reunions, receptions, birthday parties, company events, church picnics, etc. We also have RV sites, tent sites and cabins. For details please call the preserve.

information, please call the preserve.

THE OAKS AT POINT SOUTH | 843-726-5728 Annual/Extended Stay - Come spend the season where it’s sunny at our beautiful spot close to Savannah, Charleston, and right next door to the historic Beaufort by the sea. Our rates are very reasonable $350 per month plus tax and electric. Call the preserve and book now. Easy access to/from I-95. On-Site/Dry Storage - We offer on-site storage at $150 per month, plus electric and taxes. TENNESSEE CHEROKEE LANDING | 731-376-0935 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites available from $1,099 to $1,300 for the season for current members. Extended Stay sites are $300 for current members. Call the preserve to make your reservations. Short-Term Rental - We have campsites and rental cabins available. Call the preserve to make your reservations. NATCHEZ TRACE | 931-796-3212 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual sites still available - $1,020 to $1,380. Short-Term Rental - Mid-week cabin stay special - $99 Monday through Thursday. Limited Availability. Standard Cabins only. Special Events - Rallies Welcome! Large rental hall facilities available. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry: $5 per day/$25 per month. TEXAS BAY LANDING | 940-683-3016 Annual/Extended Stay - Bay Landing is now your personal site for 12 months. *Annual Stay – stay up to 210 days a year with no time out. Limited spaces available. Honey Runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for $10, plus tax. No need to move your rig, we come to you! Contact the Ranger Station before 2 p.m. to put your name on the list. Don’t cut your weekend short with towing and setup. Save on Gas. No pulling! Please call Lynn. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage Only - $45, plus tax ($48.04). COLORADO RIVER | 979-732-8229 Annual/Extended Stay - Annual site leases available for part-time or full-time occupancy. Suitable for RV or park models. Also offering Summer Texan extended stays for members and the public for up to 5 months at market rate, plus metered electricity. For pricing and details about Annual sites or 55+ programs, call Marty or send email at On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage available year-round; fenced secure area. Call the preserve or send email crmgr@equitylifestyle. com. LAKE CONROE 936-856-7888 (Preserve Office) 936-856-3751 (Rental Office) Annual/Extended Stay - Come stay for a maximum of five months at a time on our Texan Program. The cost is $375 per month, plus JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER




electricity. We also have medical stays available. For details contact the Ranger. Our annual program allows you to stay up to 210 days and leave your rig onsite for the entire year. Hidden Cove annual programs are available for 300 days. Contact the Preserve Office for details.

Special Events - Family reunions, company picnics, rallies – we do them all! We have two large outdoor areas available for day use. Campsite and limited cabin rentals are also available. Call Cindy at Special Events.

Short-Term Rental - We have four cabins for rent nightly for two weeks at a time, for $80 for members, plus $10 extra for guests, plus tax, per night. We have nine Getaways for our Getaway members. We also have a Hidden Cove rental, which are owned by members and rented by the week or the month. Check with our Preserve Office for details. All rentals are fully furnished. You just need to bring clothes and food!

On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage $60 per month or $540 per year, plus tax. Call Preserve Office or Storage.

Special Events - SuperHost/pavilion/family center/lake area rental available most weekends for parties and special events. Contact the Ranger Station at the preserve. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage is $35 per month, plus tax. Contact the Ranger Station. We also have short-term storage at $40 per week, plus tax, where you may store your RV and leave electric plugged in while you are out of the preserve. LAKE TAWAKONI | 903-598-2800 Annual/Extended Stay - Standard and Premium sites are available. There are electric charges on both. These sites are for 210 days of usage. Marina and dry storage are available for boats. Short-Term Rental - Two rental cabins available. On-Site/Dry Storage - Monthly Dry Storage cost is $42.70. LAKE TEXOMA 903-523-5835 (Preserve Office) 903-523-4206 (Special Events/Storage) Annual/Extended Stay - Personal Sites available. A year with no time out. *Limited spaces available.* Save on gas, setup, pulling/towing. Please call Nic at the preserve office for information. Don’t delay - sites are rapidly filling up! On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage available for $40 per month. Please call Brynda. LAKE WHITNEY | 254-694-4269 Annual/Extended Stay - Our annual/personal site program allows you to camp up to 210 days a year. There are 4 different price ranges depending on the site type chosen. Call us to find out how to get your personal site at Lake Whitney. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry storage available for $55 per month or $605, plus tax, for the entire year (if paid in full at start of storage). You receive the 13th month free. Don’t wait - limited space. MEDINA LAKE 830-751-2444 (Preserve Office) 830-751-2406 (Special Events/Storage) Annual/Extended Stay - Annual Site program available. Guarantee your personal site for an entire year with sites starting at $1,733. Call preserve for details.




VIRGINIA CHESAPEAKE BAY 804-693-6951 (Resort Office) 804-693-9645 (Special Events) Annual/Extended Stay - Chesapeake Bay is the best place to spend weekends and vacation and our annual sites make it so easy to jump in the car and head to the “rivah”! Contact Lisa in the Resort Office if you would like information on how you can lease a site in 2013. Short-Term Rental - We have 20 fully-furnished rental cabins that sleep 4-6. (18 are lakefront locations). Pet units also available. On-Site/Dry Storage - Field storage available year-round. On-site storage available Nov. 15-May 15. Call Resort Office for details. HARBOR VIEW | 804-224-8164 Annual/Extended Stay - Seasonal sites: $1,075, plus tax and electric, for the season or $350, plus tax and electric, per month. ALL SITES ARE FULL HOOK-UP. Short-Term Rental - Book your stay in our Rental Unit; sleeps 6 with a full kitchen and bath. Pets allowed. Call for rates and details. Special Events - Plan your group event at Harbor View. Airconditioned Recreational Hall and covered Pavilion available for reservation. LYNCHBURG | 434-332-6672 Annual/Extended Stay - Plan to spend the season with us and enjoy all the beauty, festivals and fun that Central Virginia has to offer. Annuals sites are available for $1,200; premium sites are $1,875. Call the preserve for more details. Short-Term Rental - Spend a month or two and enjoy all the wonderful activities and attractions of the area. Our monthly rate is $300, plus electric. Call the preserve for more information and start making your plans today. On-Site/Dry Storage - Dry Storage: $40 per month; $200 for six months $200, $400 for the year. WILLIAMSBURG | 757-566-3021 Annual/Extended Stay - Your best year of camping begins at Williamsburg. Annual on-site program at our beautiful tree-sheltered campground: full hook-up, metered sites begin at $1,750. Vacation Cottage Program offers 28 to 38-foot park models, vinyl or log-sided from $1,499 to $4,999, with a 3-year annual on-site lease. Satellite reception sites still available. Call Gary at the preserve to find out about this month’s TrailBlazer Reader’s Special. On-Site/Dry Storage - Secure and easy access storage for $395 annually with park membership. Call the preserve for more information.




Tech Topics continued from page 9

Who’s in the Kitchen with TrailBlazer continued from page 11

window (your body’s subconscious effort to wake itself up). ❹ Yawning ❺ Wandering or disconnected thoughts (daydreaming). ❻ Zoning out or difficulty remembering the most recent minutes of your drive. ❼ Missing traffic signs or exits. ❽ Trouble maintaining a constant speed. Test yourself by turning off the cruise control periodically while keeping an eye on the speedometer. See if you’re having difficulty naturally maintaining your speed. If so, it’s definitely time to stop driving. ❾ Drifting across lanes or onto the shoulder. ❿ Difficulty keeping eyes open, focusing, or keeping your head up.

If using fresh cactus paddles, trim off the glochids and spines from two paddles of prickly pear cactus. Cut into ½-inch dice and cook in boiling salted water until the color changes to olive green. Drain and set to the side.

Remember that your driving ability, alertness, and reaction time can be affected by a heavy meal, medications, “long haul” trips, undiagnosed sleep apnea, or simply by driving at night when you’d usually be sleeping. Work at knowing your own limits and hone your ability to recognize and admit when you’re just too tired to get behind the wheel. You owe it to yourself, your family, and all the rest of us sharing the road with you. Here’s to safe and happy travels for all; blaze a trail! ■

Cover and simmer lightly for about 30 minutes, or until tender (check towards the end of the cooking time to see if you need more liquid). If meat isn’t tender, you may need to cook for another 15 minutes or so. Add the cooked nopalitos and stir well.Serve while hot with a slice of Pan de Campo. ■

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil; add the chiles and cook for about ten minutes or until fork tender. Drain well and remove the stem. Whirl in a blender and filter through cheesecloth or a mesh strainer to remove seeds; set to the side. Heat the Dutch oven over a bed of coals so that you can saute. Add oil and saute the onion until transparent. Add the meat and brown well, taking care not to scorch the onions. Add the salt, pepper, chile puree, garlic, tomato and about one cup of water.

Paul and Kerri Elders are freelance writers; visit their web site at Terms and Conditions for 2013 Referral Promotion Terms and Conditions: For each Eligible Referral (as defined), you will receive a $25 American Express gift card. In addition, for each Eligible Referral, you will receive one entry in a drawing for the following prizes: (i) Grand Prize is either a trip to Hawaii or a 7 night Caribbean Cruise, valued at $4,000, includes roundtrip coach airfare for two adults from the continental United States to either Hawaii or Florida, and hotel/cruise accommodations for 7 nights; (ii) Second Prize is a trip to either Las Vegas, San Francisco or Orlando, valued at $2,000, that includes roundtrip coach airfare for two adults from the continental United States to either Las Vegas, San Francisco or Orlando and hotel accommodations for 4 nights and (iii) ten (10) Third Prizes waiving payment of the winners’ annual dues for 2014, not to exceed $499 each. The trips do not include taxes, meals, beverages, transfers, gratuities, activities and other personal expenses. The drawing will be held at our corporate offices on January 7, 2014. The winners will be notified by telephone. The odds of winning the drawing depend on the number of entries and are not expected to exceed 1:10,000. For this promotion, an Eligible Referral is a person who (i) purchases a new Zone Park Pass from us between January 1, 2013 and December 14, 2013, and (ii) lists you as the referring member. This offer is only for members in good standing of Thousand Trails and its affiliates. Due to legal restrictions, residents of AZ, FL, NV, NY, PA and TN are not eligible to participate in the drawing and you will not receive an entry in the drawing for purchases made by residents of AZ, NV, PA or TN. We reserve the right to extend, modify, suspend, or terminate this promotion at any time for any reason; however, any rewards earned prior to the suspension or termination of this promotion will be honored. Employees of Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. and its affiliates are not eligible to participate in this promotion. All local, state and federal income taxes are the responsibility of the recipient. Accordingly, we recommend that all participants consult a tax advisor about reporting rewards for tax purposes. We will issue the required 1099 to each participant and to the IRS when the total value of awards you are eligible to receive equal or exceed $600.00 for one year. This advertising is being used for the purpose of soliciting sales of resort campground memberships. This document has been filed with the Department of Licensing, State of Washington, as required by Washington law. Value, quality, or conditions stated and performance on promises are the responsibility of the operator, not the Department. This filing does not mean that the Department has approved the merits or qualifications of any registration, advertising, or any gift, prize, or item of value as part of any promotional plan. This promotion is sponsored by MHC Thousand Trails Limited Partnership, Two North Riverside Plaza, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606 62





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To Advertise in Marketplace Or To Place a Classified Ad email Deadline for March 2013 Issue is January 4, 2013 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | TRAILBLAZER


Fast Facts entries will be entered

Find The Evergreen Tree An evergreen tree is hidden somewhere in this issue. Drop us a postcard telling us where you found it, and if your card is drawn you’ll win a $25 American Express Gift Card!

in our Monthly Drawing to

win a $25 American Express Gift Card! This month’s Fast Facts winner is

Fred & Lynne Obermiller of Budd Lake, NJ

Charlene Kolacki

from Everett, WA found the evergreen tree on page 24 of the October issue. Did you find the tree in this issue? Send your entry (postcards only) to TrailBlazer Evergreen Tree, Two North Riverside Plaza, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606. Postmark deadline is January 31, and remember — the tree could be a different color and size.

Answers - Crossword puzzle can be found on page 50

Chehalis February and March Spring Fever Days at DeGoede Bulb Farm Held at DeGoede Bulb Farm, just 25 minutes from the preserve. For more information visit

La Conner

January 1: Rose Bowl Party in the Family Center. Bring a snack to share. February 3: Super Bowl party in the Family Center. Once again, you bring a snack and we’ll supply chips and dip. February 9: Bring your sweetheart to a romantic weekend in the park. Come make a Valentine’s card for your special someone. Pancake Breakfast on Saturday.



Answers - Sudoku puzzle can be found on page 50

January 12 viaVoice This a cappella quartet focuses primarily upon performing jazz from the first half of the 20th century, and rock from the latter half, drawing from each member’s unique musical background of award-winning experience within barbershop as well as vocal jazz and contemporary a cappella. Held at Maple Hall in La Connor from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For tickets and more information call (360) 466-2665.

Whalers Rest

February 2: Groundhog Day Party! Join us at noon for a fun lunch served in our South Clubhouse. February 14: Happy Heart Day Luncheon served in our South Clubhouse at noon for all members and guests.




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et a jump on cheering for your favorite team by visiting Major League Baseball’s Spring Training. Spring Training is held in both Arizona and Florida. Respectively, the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League offer plenty of baseball from late February through March. Arizona’s Cactus League features 15 of MLB’s teams in and around the Phoenix metro area while Florida’s Grapefruit League is home to the remaining 15 teams on the MLB roster with locations on both coasts as well as near Orlando. Lucky for you, Encore RV Resorts offer the perfect home base (no pun intended) whether you choose to catch either league while Thousand Trails’ Orlando, Peace River and Three Flags resorts are within an hour or less of Orlando area Spring Training stadiums. For a full listing of teams, stadium locations and schedules, visit www. For a complete listing of area resorts, or to make reservations visit









TrailBlazer Magazine - Jan/Feb 2013  

TrailBlazer is the monthly magazine for Thousand Trails campgrounds

TrailBlazer Magazine - Jan/Feb 2013  

TrailBlazer is the monthly magazine for Thousand Trails campgrounds