PREPARE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH HUMBOLDT REDWOODS STATE PARK

Image via Flickr/Miguel Vieira

 

The best way to start your RV adventure through the park is to cruise the Avenue of the Giants. Also known as State Route 254, this 31-mile stretch of scenic road was once part of the Pacific Coast Highway, and most of the drive is within Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It slowly winds its way past some of the oldest and tallest redwoods in the country, making for an incredible scenic drive.

 

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CITY GIRL, COUNTRY BOUND

“The adventure begins the minute you start towing.”

Jane Layman

 

When Jane Layman leaves her office in Manhattan on Friday nights each summer, she heads straight for the New Jersey parking lot where she stores her coveted Airstream. As the shining, towering skyscrapers recede behind her, so does the week’s workload. She will soon be towing her silver bullet to greener pastures, campfires, great camp food, starry, unbroken skies, and friends – lots of friends, with their own shiny Airstreams waiting to circle their wagons. This city girl with five star hotel taste is a study in contrasts. An accomplished professional with thirty years’ experience in clothing design and manufacturing, Jane leaves all the pleasures of the Big Apple behind on weekends and heads out looking for adventure.

Born in Berkeley, California to parents who prized culture, education, and experiences, she found herself on the east coast when her physicist dad, Robert Watson, took a teaching position at Dartmouth University What was supposed to be just a few years at the prestigious university became her whole childhood. It was most likely the phase that planted the road trip bug in her. Each year when the term ended, her parents loaded Jane and her two older siblings in their 1960s Volkswagen Microbus and they headed for their home in California.

 

 

Jane’s dad was a fifth generation Californian whose ranching ancestors had traveled there by wagon train before the Gold Rush. Her mother’s colorful family tree included the Chisholm’s, famed for their well-known cattle trail, as well as “horse thieves and bank robbers.” Spending summers with their aunts, uncles and cousins in California was an annual event but getting there was just as much fun to Jane. The cross-country trip with her parents is what Jane remembers the most. Seeing the country from the VW in those days before ‘in car movies’ and hand held electronic devices left a deep impression on Jane. Her parents were anxious to get to California, and although they didn’t stop long at any one place, there were stops that became part of the annual trek. Seeds were planted for places that someday Jane wanted to stay for more than a few hours.

At age 18 Jane headed off to New York City to attend the acclaimed Parson’s School of Design. She has worked in fashion since graduating and lives on the Upper West Side. When her parents retired they initially returned to California but moved near Jane when her father could no longer drive. He reasoned that if he couldn’t drive he wanted to live in a place where he could have lots of things to do without a car. In 1998 Jane’s parents bought a Ford Explorer and the three of them, along with her parents’ Springer Spaniel, went west on a 10K mile road trip through the US. They traveled a northern route on the way out visiting historic landmarks and staying at hotels and motels along the way. When they hit the west coast they visited Mt. St. Helen’s and then spent time with family and friends in the Bay area before heading home on a southern route and traveling along Old Route 66. When Jane’s dad called her one day to tell her to come straight over after work she expressed concern for his health. Her dad assured her that all was well but he wanted to show her something important. What he had was the “Design Within Reach” catalog featuring the limited edition Airstream designed by Christopher Deam. It was a 16’ Bambi model with a redesigned interior by the well-known minimalist. The modern interior design now matched its iconic exterior, which has only been modified 6 times in the brand’s history. Jane’s dad was thrilled when he saw it and wanted to buy it immediately for more trips, this time without the hotels and motels. Sticker shock threw cold water on that plan, but the bug had bitten deeply and nine months later they bought one of the few remaining models.

 

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GET OUTSIDE AND PLAY

When Sandy Newkirk was growing up as an only child in the New Jersey suburbs, her mother never had to yell at her to “get outside and play.” Her favorite place to be was outside. Whether she was gardening with her mother, playing alone in the backyard or riding her bike with her best friend Francine, she never wanted to come inside unless she absolutely had to. She was on an adventure in her mind the whole time.

 

 

She was traveling her neighborhood and exploring all the things an eight year old can explore in their boundary-filled worlds, but inside she knew that someday she would cut loose and practically “live outside.” In the meantime she had Francine and a very creative imagination. When the weather was too bad to be outside they did all the things that girls growing up in the 1970s did. They had Barbie campers, which they played with on the living room floor using the TV as their “drive in” theatre. The two girls did all the craft fads of their era: woven pot holders on the metal looms, sewing doll clothes and finger knitting but they preferred the outdoors to all other forms of play.

 

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HOW TO PACK A PERFECT PICNIC BASKET

 

 

When lunchtime rolls around during our outdoor adventures, there is nothing more enjoyable than having a picnic. Fresh air, sunshine and good company not only makes for a great time, but the food, for some reason, always tastes divine.

When choosing what to pack for a picnic, I try and choose foods that are simple to eat and that do not require a lot of cutlery. Sometimes I will make sandwiches or wraps and throw in some extra snackables like individually wrapped cheeses as well as nuts that I place into a small jar. But one thing is for certain, if I happen to spy a local market, I will pay a visit to pick up some goodies like fried chicken, potato salad, fresh squeezed lemonade and sweet treats from the pastry counter. Picnic food at its best I say.

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THE WHITE MOUNTAINS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE: A PLAYGROUND FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Many RVers believe vacations fall into two categories: the ones you take with the kids (think Fort Wilderness) and the ones you take without the kids (think Napa Valley). Over the last six years, we learned that the best RV vacations offer the right balance of thrills and relaxation for everyone, and we love discovering destinations that kids, parents, and grandparents can all enjoy equally. The White Mountains of New Hampshire win the blue ribbon in this category.

 

 

Located at the northern end of the Appalachian range, the White Mountains host 48 peaks that rise over 4,000 feet, including Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. The rugged terrain, glacial formations, and rushing waterfalls have beckoned tourists since the early 1800s. Hundreds of years later the tourism industry is still booming, drawing us in with its promise of world-class hiking and kayaking.

 

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