Tune up and test camp your RV

Is your RV in “move in” condition for your first summer camping trip? Or is it possible that there are a few things you might want to check out before heading out of the ‘hood for your first overnight excursion this spring?

Even if you had it professionally “put to bed” last fall, or if you are skilled at self-winterizing your rig, you still might want to give it a once (or twice) over as you prepare for camping season.

Best case you will be pleasantly surprised at your level of preparedness, second-best case you find and 19666277_xladjust a couple of minor things that prevent a problem. And anything is better than realizing your fluid levels are out of whack or you are missing a fitting or gasket in Camping Paradise (which may quickly start to feel like “the middle of nowhere”)… on a holiday weekend. Of course fellow campers are among the most Samaritan-like of all neighbors and most campgrounds have core repair items, or can help you find them, but really, do you want to start the summer on a scavenger hunt?

Take some time to go over your RV’s manual and test the systems; if it means a trip to the dealer, better sooner than trying to squeeze it in in the last week before Memorial Day. You might even try a vacation in your own backyard, or the local WalMart to give it an all-systems test. OK, maybe just for the afternoon, but do what you can to see what works and what needs a tweak.  And go through the galley, refresh the condiments, cleaning and paper products.  From marshmallow sticks to propane, hook-up attachments to lawn chairs. Whether your camping trip requires a TV remote control or a rock climbing harness, make sure you have your act together.

An RV Checklist

Do you have a checklist for your RV? Before you hit the road either find your checklist or start one.  Whether you put it in your smartphone’s notes or write it in a little notebook, keep track of the things you need to do and the items you need.

Here are a couple of good checklist starting points:

Great Hikes in New Hampshire

Kraft_IMG_20160904_151131(1)Hiking and nature walks top many camper’s vacation “to do” lists, and some folks have an annual hike they do every year – a family ritual. If you’re looking for a new hike, or if you are new to a region, you will be pleasantly surprised by your options throughout New Hampshire.

For each region of New Hampshire, we have identified a full-day hike and options for interesting but shorter hikes and trail walks. Please use this list as a starting point – you will definitely want local maps and detailed trail information before setting out!

 

Monadnock Region: Mount Monadnock, Gap Mountain

In southwest New Hampshire, Mount Monadnock is impossible to ignore. It’s the tallest peak for miles around (that’s essentially the definition of the word “monadnock”) and one of the most climbed mountains in the world.  But be aware, it is a real mountain, make sure you get on the trail before noon, prepare your supplies as if you were hiking in the White Mountains, and remember that you can always return for another attempt at the mountain if today is not the right day to reach the summit.

Gap Mountain provides a “less traveled” trail option in this region. Described as a strenuous hike due to rugged footing, this mountain features two round trip options of 2.4 and 2.6 miles.  The terrain is primarily hardwood forests that are reclaiming land that was farmed from the Colonial era through the end of the 19th century and it boasts stunning views of neighboring Mount Monadnock.

Seacoast: Patuckaway, Blue Job

The New Hampshire seacoast is not known for high peaks; but you may be pleasantly surprised to find some enjoyable and challenging hikes within minutes of the coast.

Patuckaway State Park has numerous trails with the possibility of loops up to 10 miles long.

Blue Job Mountain, in Farmington, is a short but steep climb in the middle of a state forest.  Views from the ocean to Mt. Washington, plus the opportunity to get in a quality hike just over half an hour from the beach make this a popular hiking destination.

Merrimack Valley: Uncanoomuc, Bear Brook State Park

In Goffstown, just west of Manchester and  I-93 lie the Uncanoomuc Mountains, North and South.  While South Uncanoomuc is developed with communication towers and does have driving access to the summit, both peaks are popular with locals who appreciate the mountains in their own backyards.

10,000-acre Bear Brook State Park offers trails for walking, hiking and trail running. You may occasionally find yourself sharing the trail with mountain bikers and horseback riders, but with more than 40 miles of trails there is plenty to go around. With numerous entrances and trail heads, it’s worth taking a look at the map before deciding where to hike.

Lakes Region: Mount Major, Red Hill

Mount Major is a small mountain with a major view.  With easy access via a parking lot off Rt. 11 in Alton, this mountain generally provides a sociable hiking experience. Mount Major is on the southeastern end of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Red Hill, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee also offers fine views to Squam Lake.  More rigorous that Mount Major, Red Hill is also conveniently located for campers on the I-93 side of the Lakes Region.

Dartmouth Lake Sunapee: Kearsarge, Cardigan, and Greenway

Mount Kearsarge boasts access from two state parks. Winslow State Park, in Wilmot, offers two challenging routes which combine for a 2.9 mile round trip loop; and Rollins State Park (Warner) features an auto road that brings visitors to within half a mile of the summit – but it bears noting that this final half mile is rocky granite that demands sturdy footwear.

A moderate trail experience in the Dartmouth Lake Sunapee Region is the in-town Goodwin Park Exercise Trail in Lebanon. Starting at the Storrs Hill Ski Area, this 3-mile path includes exercise stations (optional!).

White Mountains: Mount Washington, Black Cap and Kearsarge North

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern US and hiking goal for many.  It is not to be undertaken lightly or casually; the climate and terrain of Mount Washington are exponentially more challenging than anything else you will find in the Northeast. If you are out for a fun hike, consider trails that give you a great view of Mt Washington!

Crawford Notch and the AMC Highland Center offer a network of trails that are easy to access from both the Mt. Washington Valley as well as the Western White Mountain towns of Lincoln, North Woodstock and Littleton.  A popular hike is Mt. Avalon but it is just one of many that start and finish at the height of land in Crawford Notch.

Black Cap & Kearsarge North are two popular hiking destinations for campers in the Mt. Washington Valley.  Trailheads for both are on Hurricane Mountain Road. Kearsarge North is a challenging 6+ mile round trip hike; the Black Cap trail starts at the peak of Hurricane Mountain Road (closed in winter) with a total distance of just under 2.5 miles.

Great North Woods:

Table Rock is the signature climb in Dixville Notch State Park.  A quick ascent brings the hiker to a small (elevator-sized) rock pinnacle more with a 700-foot drop on three sides.  A short, steep route is accessed from a trailhead at on the Colebrook side of Dixville Notch (approx. 10 miles from Colebrook); a more gradual, slightly longer route starts closer to the (currently closed) Balsams Wilderness Ski Area.

Campfire Foil Packets

Campfire Foil Packets

Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

Prep 30 minutes | Cook 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, or a large zip-top bag, combine the chicken, onion, mushrooms, yellow pepper, red pepper, garlic, and potatoes. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice, then mix well.
  2. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large sheets of aluminum foil. Top each with another sheet of foil, and roll up the edges tightly. Wrap each packet again, securely in another sheet of foil to double wrap.
  3. Cook in the hot coals of a campfire until the chicken is opaque and the potatoes are tender, around 40 minutes.

Recipe from Natural Chef Michelle | allrecipes.com

 

 

 

 

Campfire Steak Kabob Recipe

Steak kabobs on campfire

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs top sirloin steak
  • whole mushrooms
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion
  • Large handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 medium zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 medium sweet pepper (orange, red, or yellow)

Substitute any other vegetables that you like. Bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms hold up best on skewers. 

For the Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 spoonful of minced garlic

Pre-cooking Preparation

  1. Mix together the marinate ingredients and set it aside
  2. Cut the steak into 1 to 2 inch chunks.
  3. Add the steak chunks to the marinade and make sure the marinate evenly coats the steak.
    If you are preparing at home, refrigerate the marinated meat in plastic in a zip-top plastic bag to take with you on your trip.
  4. Wash and cut the onion, zucchini/squash, and pepper into 1 inch chunks; leave the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes whole.
    If you are preparing at home, bag each ingredient separately and refrigerate.

Cooking over the fire or charcoals

  1. Get your fire or charcoal briquets ready. You’ll need some type of grate to cook these on as well (see above).
  2. Take a metal skewer and alternate between the vegetables and meat.
  3. Once the kababs are assembled and the campfire is ready, place the kababs on top of a grate that is about 8 inches above the fire. Cook the kabobs over the heat (no flame if over an open fire) for about 15 minutes. Take one kabob off and check the steak to see if it is done.  If not, put it back on the grate.  One important tip is to realize that most foods do not cook well directly in the flames. This will burn the surface of the food quickly to an unappetizing char, so be sure to hold the kabobs some distance from the flames.
  4. Serve everyone a couple of skewers or remove the kabobs off the skewers and serve.

2017 Camping & RV Shows

The New Hampshire Campground Owners’ Association will have a presence at these upcoming Camping & RV Shows.  If you are planning to attend, stop by and see us!  Be sure to attend the 45th Annual NH Camping & RV Show, March 24-26 in Bedford, NH.

January
Boston RV & Camping Expo, MA, January 13-16
Florida RV Supershow, Tampa, FL, January 17-22
Northeast RV & Camping Show, Hartford, CT, January 20-22

February
Great American Outdoor Show, Harrisburg, PA, February 4-12
Springfield RV & Camping Show, MA, February 17-20
VR Show, Montreal, February 16-19
Worcester RV & Camping Show, MA, February 24-26

March
Rhode Island RV & Camping Show, Providence, RI, March 3-5
Made in NH Expo, Manchester, NH, March 24-26

April
Vacationland RV & Camping Show, Auburn, ME, April 8 -9

Things to Do on Your Next Camping Trip

Camping trips often involve outdoor recreation, such as swimming, tubing, fishing, and hiking, and opportunities to sit back and relax. During these trips, many families and friends have their own traditions, such as a “game night” or “craft day.” There are so many ways to customize your camping experience based on the season, location of your campsite, and the interests of you and your group.

Here are some ideas for your family or group to consider for your next camping trip:

NH camping fun things to doTake a family or group photo: A planned photo that captures the essence of your camping trip will become a treasured keepsake, and may be used as a holiday card or contribution to a family album. As you organize your camping trip, think of the special places and scenes that mean the most to you, your group or family. Should there be a mountain in the background? Or a firepit in the foreground? In many families or groups, one or two members become the de facto photojournalists, and we are all grateful when they capture special moments and scenes. Ideally you will find a helpful fellow-camper to take pictures; but practice using your camera’s timer in the comfort of home — it’s not something you want to learn while everyone wants to eat a s’more or jump in the lake!

Plan to eat locally: One advantage of camping is that you can bring food from home to streamline and save money. On your next trip, consider  adding an “eat like a local” component. Find a farm stand and eat locally grown and sourced food to truly experience local flavor.

Schedule a group class or activity: Go online or talk to the campground owner to learn about about local area classes and guided activities that you can enjoy as a group. These could include rock-climbing, outdoor cooking or family yoga classes, guided nature hikes, and/or dog sled rides.

Keep a camping journal: Have everyone contribute a memory for every day. Little campers can write down some of the things they have seen and found. And, it makes great reading long after the trip is over.

Change up your camping routine: Consider stopping at “that place we always pass,” check out a new view, stay an extra day, or get up an hour earlier to listen as the woods wake up and see the sunrise. Ask everyone in your camping party to list something new to try. Keep it simple and say the experience has to be free if that makes more sense. Who knows? Your next “we always do it this way” tradition may be right around the corner.