ANOTHER EPIC JACKSON FAMILY TRIP FROM TENNESSEE TO COLORADO FOR THE GOPRO GAMES

I have always had the desire to travel. I remember the 4 and 1/2 hour, 222.5-mile trip from my childhood house in Woolrich, Pennsylvania, to my parents’ hometown of Leetonia, Ohio, starting in the old Appalachian Mountains and twisting through to the open farms and rolling hills to my grandparents’ house.

As I got older, whitewater kayaking became my primary passion. By the time I was 20, I had moved to Bethesda, Maryland and was training full time with the USA Team in hopes of becoming a team member myself. The kayaking events we competed in took me to Europe and around the mountain areas of the US. I was beginning to see parts of the US and the world I never knew existed and my passion for travel was fueled once again.

At 24 I married my wife Kristine (then 18) and made the USA Team for slalom kayaking and the following year my daughter, Emily, was born. Traveling around the country started getting harder as the long drives in a car were more taxing with a young child and two Dalmatians. Kristine started staying home for more of the training camps and other trips that we enjoyed so much together just a year or two before. I made the Olympic Team in 1992 and did much of my training in Barcelona without my young family.  In 1993, we had our second child, Dane, and I also won my first World Championships. It was becoming increasingly more difficult to keep the family together and truly enjoy the trips that I planned for kayak training, racing, and pleasure.

A good kayaker friend of mine had an RV that he traveled in and recommended that I consider RVing. I hadn’t really thought much about it at the time. However, in 1997, when the kids were 4 and 7 years old, Kristine brought up the RV option as a better way to travel and keep the family together and happy. After a few long discussions about it, we both agreed that it was worth a try. We didn’t dabble, however, we went “all-in”.  We had a yard sale and sold everything we owned over a weekend in October of 1997. We purchased a Type A motorhome and planned on spending a year or two in it to try it out. We realized that we could cut our monthly expenses by about $1,100/month if we lived in an RV and that was precious cash for a full time kayaker. That was the beginning of being spoiled….

 

 

We had no idea how awesome traveling in an RV was going to be. From the moment we pulled out of our suburban neighborhood in Bethesda, we felt free and like we were on an adventure. Life was simple. We had less stuff, less stress, and more freedom than ever before.

 

Read More

RV ADVENTURES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA

 

Not wanting to stray too far from family because of my grandpa’s illness, we decided we would explore southern Indiana. Head south in Indiana and it won’t be long until the flat, open fields give way to rolling hills and lush green forests. It was in one of these forests we found a campground, Paynetown State Recreation Area, along the shores of Lake Monroe. We settled into a large shaded site and set out to explore the campground.

 

Read More

TAKING ON TENNESSEE

 

We are deep into spring with green grass, flowering trees, and mild weather. It’s a perfect time to put the jacks down in the beautiful state of Tennessee.

 

Chattanooga

 

 

Last summer, you told us to visit Chattanooga and we are so glad you did. It’s now one of our favorite cities to visit.

 

Read More

AMERICAS BEST PLACES TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS ON THE ROAD

 

The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time for visiting friends and family, dining on delicious seasonal treats, and attending plenty of celebratory festivals. Whether you’re headed for a sunny escape or adventuring into a winter wonderland, spending the holidays in an RV will create memories the whole family can treasure for a lifetime.

Wondering where to spend the holiday on wheels? Here are some of America’s greatest places to celebrate.

 

 

New Orleans, Louisiana

For a Cajun-style holiday season, head to New Orleans anytime during their monthlong Papa Noel celebration. During the month of December, Magazine Street transforms into a bustling holiday market. And for a real treat, be sure to attend the Bonfires on the Levee, an old Cajun tradition where giant fires are lit along the banks of the Mississippi River to light the way for Papa Noel (Santa) on December 24.

 

 

Nashville, Tennessee

For a distinctly southern take on the holidays, head to Nashville, Tennessee.

At Opryland, you’ll discover over 2 million twinkling lights paired with acres and acres of amazing holiday decorations. Enjoy family fun with ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman, hop out of the RV and onto a horse-drawn carriage, take in a stunning fountain show, take photos with Santa, and more.

Need to get off the road for a bit? The General Jackson Showboat offers spectacular holiday cruises on the Cumberland River.

Christmas, Florida

At one place in Florida, you can celebrate the holidays all year round. In fact, they even named their merry town Christmas. Sure, you might be near sunny downtown Orlando, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the winter fun. The Christmas RV Park has regularly planned holiday activities throughout the month.

Las Vegas, Nevada

It might seem counterintuitive to celebrate the wholesome holidays in Sin City, but Las Vegas has plenty of winter fun for the whole family. Immerse yourself in rich nostalgia at special holiday displays in Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, or visit the mouthwatering presentations at the Ethel M Chocolates factory’s annual cactus lighting. The kids can meet Santa, and parents can experience the best chocolate they’ve ever tasted.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

You’d be hard-pressed to ever find a better town to celebrate the holidays in Pennsylvania than Bethlehem, where they’ve embraced the season in a way few places do. The downtown Christkindlmarkt has time and again been featured as one of the top holiday markets in the entire world. With events like the marshmallow PEEPSFEST, historic tours, and giant gingerbread house exhibits, there’s something fun for the whole family.

Leavenworth, Washington

Spending the holidays in the Pacific Northwest? You won’t want to miss out on a visit to the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, widely considered America’s ultimate holiday destination. During the first three weeks of December, the entire town comes alive with lights. Visitors can catch sleigh rides; meet holiday characters; dine on roasted chestnuts; and take in hundreds of unique shopping opportunities, seasonal theater, and live concerts. As if that weren’t enough, Leavenworth is just minutes away from world-class skiing at Stevens Pass.

Here’s hoping that your holidays are full of cheer, no matter where your wheels take you.