HAPPY CAMPERS

One of the best parts of promoting Girl Camping is watching women go from thinking that it looks like a fun thing to do, to actually going on their first campout. I have had the pleasure of mentoring many women in the beginning of their journey before passing them off to someone back in their geographical area for their first official campout.  It’s disappointing not to be there for the fun part but I recently got to experience the excitement of three first time Girl Campers at our annual Kickoff Campout at Turkey Swamp Campground in Jackson, NJ.

The excitement had actually been building for months within our online community. Facebook comments and shares about gear and menus and the potential for bad weather abounded. To manage the excitement of an upcoming camping trip it helps to talk a lot about it. We booked the first weekend the park was open knowing the weather could be unseasonably warm or annoyingly cold! We didn’t care. The winter was too long and part of the fun of camping is dealing with the elements.

 

Making camp with the girls is half the fun. Everyone lends a hand to make it happen. Jean created centerpieces from the downed pine branches from the previous nights windy storm. 

Read More

CHEF SUSIE’S RV PACKING MENU

As a private chef, my husband Doug (an avid bowhunter) and I love the flexibility we have to hit the open road, enjoy the weather, and explore great American destinations with our three dogs in our RV. From my experience, packing right and being well prepared cuts down on shopping while on the road, which allows us to fully enjoy each destination.

We have the packing process down since we have gone on countless RV and camping trips. My list is comprised of all of the on-the-road household items, and Doug takes charge of the big items, safety equipment, toys and pups.

Doug RV

First, Doug gets his list together and stages the items to pack.

Doug’s Packing List:

  • A small generator with extra gas for backup in case we don’t have a hook up while on the road
  • Flashlights – fresh batteries – camping tip – put a little piece of painters or masking tape on the side of the battery with the date of when you last replaced.
  • Matches / Fireplace lighter
  • Charcoal
  • Kindling for fire pit
  • ToolBox kit

First Aid / Cleaning Box:

  • Pain reliever – large container
  • First-Aid kit – we replenish every trip
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Wet wipes
  • Laundry detergent – small container
  • Dishwash Soap
  • Sponge – Multiple

Chef Susie’s Mobile Kitchen Supplies, Equipment and Box:

  • Small hibachi grill
  • 2 cutting boards (one for raw meats)
  • Coolers with plenty of ice.
  • Drinking Water – Three – 5 gallon refillable bottles – we also have our personal refillable water bottles to cut down on waste.
  • Portable folding table
  • 4 folding chairs
  • French Press for our morning breakfasts
  • Saucepan and small saute pan
  • Paella Pan – I love to cook Paella and share with fellow RVers. We know most RVers enjoy their privacy, and so do we. But once in awhile when we are feeling social, this is a great way to break the ice.
  • Utensil Box: a good sharp knife, wooden spoons, slotted spoons and long/short tongs
  • Chef’s Knife Bag: a zester, different spatulas, wine opener, peeler, and small knife sharpener
  • Plastic wine glasses

When planning our meals for the trip I will break them out by meal and cross check for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ingredients. Dry goods and pantry items are organized and packed in labeled bins.

Here is my go-to list for Pantry Items:

  • House Blend Spices – I love to cook with so many different spices, so I create a house-blend that I pre-package at home in reusable re-sealable bags. See video for how to toast spices. I will include the recipe in my next article.
  • General spices include: cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic salt, chipotle powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
  • EVOO also known as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Black beans
  • Diced green chili – small cans
  • Sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder(plastic bags or canisters), just in case I have a top chef challenge on the road
  • Coffee – ground
  • Jars or cans – green and black olives, pepperoncinis, cornichons, chutney, crackers, Italian breadsticks for my fireside charcuterie plate.
  • Corn/Flour Tortillas
  • Popcorn – raw or popped
  • Root vegetable chips, pretzels, and dried vegetables
  • Meal Bars
  • Trail Mix – pre-bagged
  • Jerky – homemade or pre-packed
  • Bubbles (sparkling wine)

Then I pack a ‘Disposable Goods’ Box:

  • Paper plates, bowls, napkins, utensils – I always replenish this box when I return from a trip. I want to grab on go for the next adventure.
  • Campsite garbage bags
  • Industrial trash bags – as a caterer you can never have enough of these on hand
  • Paper towels
  • Window cleaner – you can clean anything with it
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper – pack more that you think you need

Perishable Ingredient Packing List for Cooler:

  • Eggs – depending on where we headed, sometimes we can find farm fresh eggs on the road
  • Cheese – goat, fresh mozzarella, triple cream bleu, and a couple bags of shredded
  • Fresh Herb/root: ginger cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • Fresh Vegetables: carrots, arugula, iceberg lettuce
  • Prepared Rice: Brown or White packaged in meal size servings
  • Bell Peppers – Red and Green
  • Onions – Yellow, Red, and White
  • Protein: Wild game, chicken, or beef

Planning is key. Try to create your cooking needs around easy and fast meal ideas so you can eat and go.

Meal Planning

  • Breakfast
    • Egg Burritos Wraps
    • Muffins – prepared
    • Meal Bars
    • Coffee
  • Snacks am/pm
    • Trail Mix
    • Fireside Charcuterie – includes dried salumi, cheese, and pantry items
    • Root vegetable chips, pretzels
  • Lunch – can’t go wrong with wraps, easy to make and easy to carry when on the hiking or biking trail.
  • Dinner – It’s a little trickier to plan for dinner, as it all depends on what is in the freezer, since Doug is a game hunter. Could be venison steaks or elk for tacos.

We can’t forget about the pooches! So we have a packing bin just for these three: Gunner (10), Angus (9), and the new addition Zeek (4 months). We love our boys and they make our trips so much fun.

Chef Susie

Pooches Box of Essentials:

  • Dry Food for the seniors
  • Dry Food for Zeek
  • Medicine – Prescriptions and shot records
  • Tennis Balls & Toys
  • Treats
  • Beds
  • Kennel Crate
  • Water Bowl
  • Feeding Bowls
  • Collapsible travel water bowl
  • Poop bags 🙂

What a list! And that is just so we can eat and keep the pups safe and comfortable. After all our exploring, our comfy outdoor chairs make each campsite a slice of heaven where we enjoy the scenery and a good book.

17203090_10211489189680986_8721267857373127709_n

Want a print-out of Susie’s full packing menu? Get the full list here.

SPRING TWITTER PARTY

It’s Almost Spring; Let’s Talk RVing! Join Our Twitter Party and Win!

by Stefany Adinaro

Can you feel it, gang?!?! Spring is in the air!

 

With RV season just gearing up, James and I would like to invite you to join us on our upcoming Twitter Party, Thursday April 27th at 9pm EST (6pm Pacific) for some great conversations about hitting the road this spring.

 

We’ll chat about things like trip planning, getting the rig prepped for the road, and we’ll even collectively brainstorm some top bucket-list RV destinations.

 

And Did I Mention Prizes?!?

There will be two prize packs given out over the course of the hour. Each prize pack will include a $25 gift card AND some cool Go RVing swag…just for partying with us! (Prizing is open to U.S. residents only, sorry!)

 

Just What is a Twitter Party?

If you’ve never participated in a Twitter party before, it’s pretty simple and great fun. Think of it like sitting around a campfire and having a conversation with a bunch of friends, only it’s a cyber-campfire, so less pressure!

You’ll log in to your Twitter account at the designated party time. Make sure you’ve already “followed” our Twitter page @TheFitRV. We’ll be tweeting open-ended questions throughout the hour that always begin with “Q1, Q2, Q3… etc.”, and you respond with your own thoughts and suggestions by starting your tweet with “A1, A2, A3…etc.” Plus, you’ll always include the hashtag #GoRVing in your post…that’s super important since it’s the only way we can see your responses.

The key to participating in a Twitter party is following a specific hashtag. Our hashtag for this party is #GoRVing. All party posts will always include this hashtag, even the ones you post. That way, you can easily search the hashtag up in the Twitter search bar (then choose the “Latest” tab) and you’ll be able to see everyone’s responses, not just the hosts’.

The two prize packs are awarded at random, but here’s a key tip: Consider each of your “A” tweets as well as your replies to other partiers as an entry for the prizes. So the more you interact, the better your chances of winning a prize!

Sounds Great! How Do I Join?

To participate and be eligible for prizes, just follow these steps:

  1. Follow The Fit RV and Go RVing on Twitter.
  2. RSVP in the comments below by entering your Twitter handle.
  3. Show up for the party at 9pm EST, which will be hosted on @TheFitRV homepage. Remember to “refresh” frequently during the party so you won’t miss any of the “Q”s!
  4. Respond to our topics by starting your own tweet with “A1, A2, etc” (and also reply to other partiers’ responses) always making sure to use the #GoRVing hashtag in each tweet or reply.
  5. Pay attention to our announcements of winners throughout the hour! If your name comes up, we’ll have you message the Prize Patrol to arrange to collect your prizes.

 

It’s as easy as that. Can’t wait to chat with you at the party, gang! See you there!

RV SURFING THE WEST COAST

An RV trip is always an adventure, but sometimes you need to turn up the adventure even more. This was one of those times and we decided to travel from the Mexican border all the way up the west coast to the Canadian border, surfing along the way on a mega RV surfing trip!

 

 

I’ve heard and read about people doing this trip before, but almost always it’s in a camper van and they’re roughing it. We did it a little differently, heading up this absolutely breathtaking coast, with all the conveniences of home. There’s no way to express some of the memories that are etched into my mind from this RV trip, truly a once in a lifetime experience.

 

The Start – San Diego

 

 

We left Minnesota in December shortly after Ella was born to sunny San Diego. I couldn’t wait to hit the waves! We were staying at a campsite where there was nothing between us and Mexico other than a mountain. My goal was to start surfing right at the Mexican border in Imperial Beach. When we got there, we found that it had rained and it washed a bunch of sewage and toxic waste from Tijuana into the ocean causing them to shut down the beach…

 

Read More

TYBEE ISLAND

It’s hard to beat the charm of a southern coastal town, especially in late February when the northeast is still buttoned up for winter. When I saw an event posted with the Sisters on the Fly for Tybee Island, Georgia, I jumped on the opportunity. Tybee Island, off the coast of northern Georgia, has long been on my hit list and since February is my “slow season” I figured, “why not?” Right off the bat I decided that I would not pull my trailer down there but instead stay in the campgrounds rental cottages. My trailer was still winterized and with so many campgrounds now offering the cabin rental option I decided it was a good time to experience this growing trend in the industry. We booked our cabin at the only campground on the island, Rivers End Campground and RV Park. The spare but comfortable cabins suggest a maximum occupancy of six but unless you are a very close knit group I would say more like four. There was a nice rear bedroom with a double bed and then a set of bunkbeds in what amounted to the hallway. We didn’t mind, we were there to fish, explore Tybee and historic Savannah and catch up with our sister friends.

 

Sweetie Pies was still closed for the season when we were there but locals say the ice cream served there is worth the wait in line to get it.

 

Tybee is a barrier island on the most northern coastal tip of the state of Georgia. It has one of the most beautiful and most photographed lighthouses in the country. The lighthouse is positioned at the mouth of the Savannah River and when the ninety-foot structure was first constructed in 1736, it was the highest structure in the country. Today it is a historically preserved site that sits on five acres and popular tourist attraction. It is one of just a few 18th century lighthouses still in operation. We arrived to see it only thirty minutes before closing but enjoyed every bit of it. I will definitely allow a half a day for this treasure on my next trip.

 

At one time the Tybee Island Lighthouse was the tallest structure in the US.

 

The island became a refuge for the crowded citizens of Savannah at the end of the 19th century and many of the bungalow beach cottages still exist today. Tybee residents apparently like a good parade and there are several each year including the Mardi Gras parade that the Sisters on the Fly participated in this year. Each year the town hosts a Beach Bum parade the weekend before Memorial Day, where those on the floats and those viewing from the road shoot each other with water guns. I am told it is packed! Mark your calendars for the weekend before Memorial Day if you want to partake!

 

Sisters on the Fly Pat Hoke and Carol Thompson all dressed up for the islands Mardi Gras Parade.

 

After exploring the island’s bungalow buildings and gift shops we headed into Savannah for a tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery. This cemetery was the setting for the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and sits on 160 acres of a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. Some of its famous residents are singer and song writer Johnny Mercer and poet Conrad Aiken, but what I found fascinating were the tales of Savannah’s ordinary folks who somehow became immortalized in death. A frequently visited grave is that of little six-year-old, Gracie Watson, the daughter of a hotelier in Savannah who succumbed to pneumonia in the days before antibiotics. Her grave has a beautifully carved sculpture of Gracie by the famous headstone maker of the day, John Waltz. The likeness was said to be so spot on that her parents could not bear to look at it and moved back to New England inspiring town folks to care for poor neglected Gracie. To this day pilgrims visit the cemetery leaving tokens for Gracie. Our guide was part historian, and part storyteller who informed and entertained us on a two hour walking tour that I thoroughly enjoyed. You can tour the cemetery on your own but I highly recommend the guided tour.

 

The Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah had stories to tell. One headstone of a mother said, “she did what she could.” There must be more to that story!

 

Another great guided tour we took in Savannah was on the river boat, the Georgia Queen. The captain took us up and then down the river sharing many points of interest from history as well as modern day. The Savannah River is the fourth largest seaport in the US and it was fascinating to learn the details of how the ships adhere to the tide schedules to get their fare in and out; the role that tug boats play in that operation and what life on the river was like one hundred years ago. We went on the afternoon cruise but there is also a dinner cruise that is highly praised that I will put on my list for next time.

 

 

The Georgia Queen river boat offers two hours tours along the Savannah River with a fascinating narration of the history of this seaport.

 

One of the things I looked forward to the most in anticipating this trip was the opportunity to fish with my friend and fishing mentor Carole. I grew up in a fishing family and belonged to a group called the Young Explorers when I was a kid. My Uncle Bud and Aunt Renee were the group’s leaders and along with my cousins Eddie and Bobby we fished the lakes and rivers in Minnesota. While raising my family the fishing thing got away from me until I joined the Sisters on the Fly and learned to fly fish. One of the best things about owning an RV is that I find myself choosing destinations based on the proximity to great fishing and when I am through fishing I get to go to my home away from home! Carole and I decided to hire a guide for the day to maximize our experience. We were lucky to have gotten the sought after Kai Williams of Awesome Adventures Charters who is a Hilton Head, South Carolina native who grew up on the salt marshes and oyster beds where we planned to fish for red fish. Kai had a 17’ Ranger flat bottomed skiff that allowed us to navigate in the shallows as the tide went out exposing the oyster beds. We spent a great day on the water watching the eagles swoop, red fish jump, and the American Oystercatcher birds secure their dinner. The fish weren’t biting that day but as they say in the fishing world, a bad day fishing beats the best day in the office any day of the week!

 

 

I had a great day on the salt marshes off of Hilton Head fishing on local guide Kai Williams 17′ flat skiff.

 

Part of the fun of belonging to an RV group is the fellowship with others in the RV world and those you meet when traveling. Every time the Sisters on the Fly are at a campground they garner a lot of attention with their festive trailers and love of travel. These ladies have stories to tell because they go places and do things and they take their little homes on wheels with them. The Rivers End Campground hosted the public to a Sisters on the Fly trailer tour with the proceeds going to a local charity. For several hours on Saturday morning the locals poured in from Tybee and Savannah to see the trailers and discover the places you can go when you have an RV.

 

 

The Sister on the Fly trailer tour did not disappoint. Sister Tammy Buchanan has collected everything a well heeled RVer might have owned for her 1970’s era trailer.

 

It’s always great sharing the fun with newbies and RV wannabes but in the end, the best part of any campout is always the quiet time around the campfire at night. It’s the time where we catch up with old friends and get to know new ones and when I am not camping, it’s the part I miss the most.

 

 

New sister Christine DeLong’s 1966 trailer is a page out of history and where we all settled in to enjoy the fire, ocean breezes and star filled sky.