Funny, it seems the more of this big beautiful country you see the more there is to see. Spend a few minutes enjoying virtual tours of some of my favorite places with these RV Marvels videos.
Click on a show to be taken right to it...or scroll the page and watch them all!
- Gourmet Trash Can Turkey - Yes You Can!
- How's That Tango Made? RV Factory Tour
- I Madonnari's Amazing Art
- Salvation Mountain a Monumental Must-See
- San Francisco Sampler
I had the wonderful opportunity to spend Thanksgiving at a sweet little park in Las Cruces, NM called Sunny Acres RV Park. It was there I met Charlie and became intrigued with his unique method of cooking the Thanksgiving bird. Just as he promised, it was easy and delicious. Take a look for yourself...
Go ahead, break out of the mold and give it a go. No doubt you'll be the talk of the table!
Being the ever-curious, always adventurous RVer - like you - I had a chance to film a tour of the Tango travel trailer factory in Riverside, CA. Join me as we learn "how that Tango's made" during this interesting RV factory tour. Walk the production line, listen in on interviews with key designers and staff, and poke around a couple cool Tango travel trailers with me. It's the next best thing to being there!
Join me as I explore the amazing world of Madonnari and Street Painting. Armed with boxes of chalk and visions of art, sponsored artists gather at festivals all across the United States to prepare and serve up a feast for the eyes.
These short-lived masterpieces are created simply for the love of the art form. Drawn directly on the street and subject to weather, foot traffic, vehicles, etc. when the festival is over, these street painters – or Madonnari as they are called - consider the paintings performance art much like a concert or a play.
Often you’ll find a worthwhile charity or organization affiliated with street painting festivals. For instance, the festival I share with you was in part a fund-raising event for the Children’s Creative Project. Money comes from sponsors purchasing various sized squares ranging from 4x6 for $75 to 12x12 running $500. There was also a kid’s area where a a $6 “canvas” included a box of chalk. Do you remember those sidewalk masterpieces of your youth? The event raises approximately $20,000 for the Project – not too shabby!
The event is free to spectators and usually runs 2 to 3 days. You’ll see the bare bones being constructed on day 1 with the completed paintings by the end of the festival. Log on to http://www.streetpainting.net/ and click on the “festivals” link to see a listing of international and domestic festivals or simply Google the city/town name and street painting. If you find one nearby don’t miss it – it’s something you should experience at least once!
In 1984 Leonard Knight arrived at Slab City - just outside of Niland, CA, a deserted military base where snowbirding RVers come to winter, with a heap of fabric that was intended as a hot air balloon with letters big as day proclaiming God is Love. No matter how he tried, the balloon wouldn’t fly. With plans to leave in one week Leonard still wanted to make some type of small statement. He found half a bag of cement and created a monument – coloring it with paint which he was fortunate enough to come across. One week turned into four years and the monument grew with the help of junk picked up at the local dump. Then disaster struck – the monument crumbled under the weight, heavy on unstable sand. Perhaps you or I would pack our belongings and call it a wonderful experiment but not Leonard. Instead, he saw it as a message from God, was thankful no one was hurt and proceeded to fashion what is known today as Salvation Mountain.
This truly inventive and amazing site, at one time thought to be an environmental hazard, is now famous the world over as a spectacular work of Folk Art. Salvation Mountain and its creator have been featured in Preservation (magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation), National Geographic, several newspapers and books, a sit-down on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings back in 2002, a Discovery Channel special and photos of the mountain reportedly hang in a military mess hall in Baghdad. Senator Barbara Boxer of California even entered Salvation Mountain into the Congressional Record as a National Treasure – something Leonard is very proud of. And if you imagined Leonard out of touch with technology you’d be wrong. Not too long ago Leonard and a local friend created a DVD of the tour he gives visitors and offers a free download on his personal Salvation Mountain website. He also hands out the DVD at the end of the tour. He told me, “The young kids are incredible in helping me get my message out - they burn the DVD and pass it out to their friends. The big churches, well, they’ve written me off. I just want to spread the word around the world - God is Love.”
Whether you subscribe to his message or not, Leonard and his mountain inspire passion and a renewed belief in “anything is possible” and that in itself is a blessing.
If boondocking at Slab City isn't your bag there's a fabulous park just down the road called Fountain of Youth. Call for reservations if you're visiting in the winter (and prepare to be thrilled). I think this park is a 10!!
Situated on 47 square miles of prime real estate, San Francisco has something for everyone. With it's 20+ unique neighborhoods a visitor can spend days exploring international cultures, historic events and locations, art galore, outstanding food and drink, outdoor activities and more. Public transportation is efficient, frequent and cheap. Consider RVing just outside the city, say in Redwood City (a sign entering the town reads: Weather Best by Government Test!), and take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) or the CalTrain in for approximately $16/round trip. Pick up a bus map and for a mere $1.50 you can cross the city to within a block or so of any place desired. Be sure to ask for a transfer that allows you to ride any bus in the system free for 2 and a half more hours.
The Official Visitor Center is located on the lower level of Hallidie Plaza on Market Street near the cable car turntable at Powell and Market. There you'll find brochures, maps, guidebooks, and friendly, knowledgeable information desk staff. You can also purchase Muni Transportation passes and get info on tours, ferry rides, etc. Check out the video and see if you can spot the place where Jimmy Stewart saved Kim Novak in Hitchcock's famous movie Vertigo.
With so much to see and do you'll surely work up an appetite. Poke around North Beach - their Little Italy - and enjoy a fabulous sandwich or meal at most any restaurant. Planning a picnic? Visit Molinari's Deli for an outstanding sub, take in the 'hood with a cappuccino or latte outside Café Greco or Café Trieste or enjoy authentic gelato at one of several purveyors. Chinatown offers delicious dishes. One of my favorite restaurants in Chinatown is one that locals don't really patronize because they don't want to be seen standing in line - House of Nanking. The portions are plentiful, they do not use MSG and every dish is amazing. Head to the Haight for what I think was the best meal I had in the city - Cha Cha Cha - a Caribbean style tapas house. Anything you order will please - and don't forget their signature beverage - house-made sangria.
As a fulltime RVer I've not found a single place in the many years I've been on the road I'd want to hang my hat…until I visited San Francisco, that is.