I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

-Louisa May Alcott


Every human harbors dreams of things they wish they could do. Some of those things are actually doable with some applied preparation and perspiration. Running a 5K, taking a bucket list trip, or getting a handle on your finances or health. Some bigger dreams, however, fall into a category with the dreaded, “someday” label.  They get put there because life has obligations and responsibilities that take precedent over dreams. Some dreamers fall into complacency and their dream dies, but some nurture that dream and do things to keep the little flame from going out.  Jea Santovasco (pronounced Gia), a Girl Camper who was born and raised in Brooklyn, fell into the second category. She kept her dream of one day owning a travel trailer and traveling at will alive while making a Herculean effort to raise three children on her own.


The dream of one day owning and traveling in her own “tiny house” on wheels was “on hold” while Jea raised her three children.


At age 39, Jea left a husband whose verbal and emotional abuse turned physical and began to trickle down to their 7 and 8 year old children. With a six week old infant in her arms and her two older children in tow, she left the marriage with nothing but what fit into her car.  Years of unpaid child support left her in the unenviable position of being the sole supporter of her family. She decided she could cry, or she could make it an adventure. She took the attitude that she and her children were on an adventure. Not having anyone to rely on, she worked as a secretary and then a real estate appraiser. When the real estate market crashed and the appraisal industry slowed, she got side jobs driving for Fed Ex and as a medical records clerk. Money was tight, but her children did not feel deprived because she found every opportunity for free fun, like concerts in the park, picnics, and family game nights. Jea recalls that one of the low points was swallowing her pride to ask for “waived fee” educational and entertainment opportunities for her children. Somehow, with gall and guts, she found a way for them to participate in all the sporting activities, from karate and tennis to T-ball and hockey.


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If I had my way I would chase perfect weather across the country, moving my RV as the seasons changed, leaving behind bitter cold or melting heat and humidity.

Right now a house, job, and kids activities keep us stationary, allowing for long weekend getaways and extended trips.

While it seemed like my Midwestern home went from winter to summer, with barely any spring, our rains caught up in June, bringing intense humidity. By early July I was more than ready for our escape ‘Up North’ to Hayward, Wisconsin.



If you’re not familiar with Hayward, it’s a lovely northern Wisconsin resort town nestled in tall pine trees with a gorgeously clear river flowing through it. Only an hour from Lake Superior, the cool lake breezes filter through the forest, creating a perfect summer haven.

Fun At the Campground

Our campground of choice for this trip was Hayward KOA – definitely more resort than campground! Two big selling points for my family were the heated pool and the dog park.

Like many KOAs, Hayward had fun, organized activities for the kids – bike decorating, watermelon eating, wagon rides, movie nights, and even a dance party. The girls would let us know where they were going to be, we would hand them a walkie talkie, tell them to stay together, and off they would go, leaving Doug and I happily sitting by our campfire enjoying the freedom RVing brings.


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Author Darley Newman (center) enjoys roasting s'mores on a recent multigenerational camping trip. Watch Darley's brand-new videos to get inspired for your own RV escape. (Chip Ward)


Why would you choose to go RVing? We may be biased, but we think there’s a lot of great reasons. But we get it – sometimes you need to hear it from someone else in order to really believe it! That’s why we partnered with and Travels with Darley to show you what a real-life family experiences while traveling together in an RV and what they learned in the process! We hope you enjoy.




There are plenty of awesome holidays to celebrate in July (like the 4th of July or National Ice Cream Day), but our favorite name for a celebration has got to be National Take Your Pants for a Walk Day. The holiday, celebrated each year on July 27th, is all about getting out into the great outdoors and enjoying a good walk. It makes for the perfect reason to pack up the RV and head out to explore the hiking trails at these absolutely beautiful National Parks!


Arches National Park


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For the past several summers, we always make sure to reserve some time to RV camp at Sun Lakes Resort. From the moment we drive in, this place screams fun to our boys. There really is so much to do here and I love how family friendly it is. This resort is situated on a small lake perfect for jet skis and watersports. There is a small beach and swim area to let the kids loose. They offer moorage for your own watercraft and the resort rents paddle and row boats. We haven’t tried our luck at fishing off the dock yet, but I often see folks giving it a go. Sun Lakes Resorts also boasts a pool, 18-hole mini golf, and Water Wars. What’s Water Wars? Two opposing sides launch waters balloons at each other! And every year, we have to tell the kids we can’t spend all day (and money) there. You can also enjoy the views from Vic Meyer’s 9-hole golf course. For your convenience, located on the property is a small grocery store and a snack bar offering burgers, shakes, hot dogs, coffee, and more. Have friends that want to join you? Sun Lakes Resort accommodations include the RV Park, cabins, tent camping and more.



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