MAGNETIC ATTRACTIONS

fridge magnets 1

Now that we’ve survived Tax Day, I thought I would discuss collections.

Nearly nineteen years ago, during our first nearly-year-long RV trip, Amy and I memorialized the journey by collecting a couple of things almost everywhere we went—postcards and refrigerator magnets. The postcards are now framed in our den, a collage of memories from a single road trip. But the magnet collection took on a life of its own. We still amass them during each road expedition. They join the others, framed (essentially, as you can see by the photo) in our den, too.

Of course, it’s easy to view it as a rather frivolous assortment of magnetic nonsense. I’ve lost count, but we may have upwards of 150 magnets—from places as varied as House on the Rocks (Wisconsin), Pictured Rocks (Michigan) and Rock City (Tennessee). That’s a decent amount of cash spent on souvenirs. But consider this: It’s about the same amount of money as a single airline ticket. And I have scores of memories associated with this framed piece of frivolity. That’s priceless.

In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that our merry magnets constitute a visual representation of the limitless possibilities of a road trip.

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PHOTOS FROM THE ROAD #3

Brent grew up in Santa Maria, CA, which is known for some tasty grilling, notably, Santa Maria Style chicken or tri-tip. Here he is grilling up a little piece of home.

Brent grew up in Santa Maria, CA, which is known for some tasty grilling, notably, Santa Maria Style chicken or tri-tip. Here he is grilling up a little piece of home.

After a long day of exploring, we are always happy to come home to our RV. Doesn't she look pretty in the light shining through the trees? Our home has become our AWAY.

After a long day of exploring, we are always happy to come home to our RV. Doesn’t she look pretty in the light shining through the trees? Our home has become our AWAY.

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FIVE ROAD TRIP IDEAS THAT REALLY SHOWCASE THE SPRING

Now that spring is officially here, America’s travel options really bloom. There are so many amazing places to visit in the RV that it’s hard to know where to start. Here are a few places that really shine in springtime.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad copy

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THE ELITE EIGHT

Butler, OH (2)
Now that the NCAA basketball tournament has reached into finale, I’m going to complete my own version of March Madness—one that I started in my last post with a 64-town tournament featuring the nation’s best community slogans.

Last time, I whittled the 16 town slogans in each geographical bracket down to a terrific two in each. Now it’s time to pick a winner:

First from the East bracket: Spring Lake, Michigan (Where nature smiles for seven miles) vs. Newton Falls, Ohio (The town with zip). Spring Lake manages to squeeze a lot of information—we’re scenic, we cover seven miles—into a six-word phrase. And it’s a happy, rhyming ditty. But I must admit that I’m partial to Newton Falls. I like not only the double meaning, but the inherent risk in embracing it.

From the South bracket: Union Springs, Alabama (Serendipity center of the South) vs. Hico, Texas (Where everybody is somebody). I think I’ll take Union Springs’s alliterative declaration of good fortune over Hico’s good spirit.

So, since the East bracket takes on the South bracket, we have Union Springs against Newton Falls. I’m betting that “the town with zip” offers more zest and less zilch.

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SLOGAN MADNESS

Kanab, UT

Since NCAA basketball’s Final Four is dominating sports news these days, let’s embark on our own version of March Madness. Just like the NCAA Tournament selection committee did a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to make the traditional 64 choices from among hundreds. Hundreds of what, you ask?

Town slogans.

The little boasts of those blips along the roadway, the hey-look-at-me attempts of highway hiccups, the kind of thing that leads Sauk City to call itself the “Cow Chip Capital of Wisconsin” and Coachella, California to describe itself as “City of eternal sunshine.” Neither of those, by the way, made the top 64.

One thing’s for sure: Town slogans are among the myriad surprises that make an RV journey an enlightening excursion.

As the basketball tournament selectors often do, I’ve fudged the geography a bit. I borrowed Ohio and Michigan from the Midwest bracket (which is overflowing with possibilities) and added them to the East. Same with Virginia It finally gets to secede from the South. In this post, I’ll go through each of the four geographic regions one at a time until I choose a top two from each of them. Then, in my next post we’ll focus in on the Elite Eight. It’ll be fun. No betting please.

EAST REGION TOP 16

Livonia, New York: Some bigger, none better
Moscow, Maine: Best town by a dam site
Littleton, New Hampshire: A notch above
Burkeville, Virginia: The little town that could
Spring Lake, Michigan: Where nature smiles for seven miles
Hampton, Virginia: First from the sea, first to the stars
Delmar, Maryland: The little town too big for one state
Linesville, Pennsylvania: Where the ducks walk on the fish
Cherryfield, Maine: Blueberry Capital of the World
Hershey, Pennsylvania: The sweetest place on Earth
Eaton Rapids, Michigan: Welcome to the only Eaton Rapids on Earth
Jim Thorpe,

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Pennsylvania: The Switzerland of America
Newton Falls, Ohio: The town with zip
Gretna, Virginia: Ain’t no big thing, but we’re growing!
Harrison, Michigan: Twenty lakes in twenty minutes
Freeland, Pennsylvania: The most happening place on Earth

EAST REGION TOP FOUR:

Moscow, Maine: Best town by a dam site
Spring Lake, Michigan: Where nature smiles for seven miles
Linesville, Pennsylvania: Where the ducks walk on the fish
Newton Falls, Ohio: The town with zip

EAST REGION TOP TWO:

In a bit of an upset, Moscow’s cleverness and Linesville’s quirkiness get topped by optimism and self-deprecation:

Spring Lake, Michigan: Where nature smiles for seven miles
Newton Falls, Ohio: The town with zip

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