RV Lifestyles

RV Lifestyles (31)

Friday, 08 November 2019 18:59

11 Ways To Save Fuel When RVing

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Traveling in an RV runs up the fuel bill, whether you’re driving a motorhome or a tow vehicle that’s pulling a trailer or fifth wheel.

Here are some ways to save on fuel:

Be organized. When you go into town for supplies, get everything you’ll need so you don’t have to repeat the trip for one or two small items. If the trip is manageable, and enjoyable, pick up what you need with a bicycle ride instead of a drive.

Drive Smoothly

Constantly laying on and pulling off the accelerator will increase fuel consumption. So will trying to accelerate rapidly when you’re under load. (Why bother? You’re still going to be pretty slow with all that weight.) When cruising, use the speed control, which tends to reduce fuel consumption—except on steep hills.

Take Your Time

Driving at 55 to 60 mph, in addition to being safer, requires considerably less fuel than driving at 70. Studies show a 55 mph drive can save 17 percent in fuel—probably more under load—than a 70 mph drive. On a 40-gallon fill-up, that can put almost $20 in your pocket—enough to buy pizza tonight.

Choose a Level Route

If you have options between a mountainous route and a relatively flat route, skip the mountain views to save fuel.  

Watch the Weather

Driving in snow and rain uses more fuel, in addition to adding risk and fraying nerves. If the forecast is for foul weather, consider delaying your departure by a few hours or a day.

Limit Air-Conditioner Use

Air-conditioning—we’re talking the unit driven by belts off your vehicle’s engine—can rob 5 percent or more of fuel usage. Consider an earlier start to spend time on the road before the midday sun heats things up. It’s better to start early than to drive into evening in search of cooler temperatures. Peak temperatures are often between 5 and 6 p.m.

Keep Your Vehicle’s Engine Tuned

This is especially important for gasoline engines, but just as important on diesels where filters are concerned. Change filters according to the recommendations in the owner’s manual and more frequently if you’re driving through dusty environments. A clean air filter helps an engine breathe easier, and that saves fuel. An engine control module may compensate for horsepower lost to a dirty filter by telling the fuel injection system to spray more fuel into the engine. Replace spark plugs on time and have them properly gapped and torqued into place.

Cut Weight

Get rid of stuff you don’t use. Throw it away or give it away. If you give it to a charity, make sure the organization qualifies for a tax deduction. Ask to see its 501(3)c documentation or its IRS 990 form. Get a receipt showing your name, the charity’s name and the value of your old clothes or castoff grill—or your old RV if you’re not going to get enough at trade-in.

Watch your tank levels. Except for your gasoline or diesel tank, you should be driving on empty. Full tanks can add hundreds of pounds to your RV, and weight reduces mileage. Empty water and waste tanks before hitting the road and refill fresh water tanks when you arrive at your destination. Fill or exchange propane tanks at your destination, too. If you burn firewood, buy at your destination instead of carrying a month’s worth of it.

Properly Distribute Weight

Evenly distributed weight increases not only fuel mileage but also safety. Keeping those tanks empty helps. Aerodynamics are best when a trailer is level, not bowed up or down at the tongue.

Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Under-inflation by just a pound on just one tire can reduce mileage 3 percent, not to mention cause safety hazards. Keep a tire gauge handy and check tire pressure before heading out on the road, adding air where necessary. If you notice a tire consistently not holding pressure, have it checked. Better to pay for a repair or replacement than end up with a flat when you’re boondocking or traveling at speed.

Consider a Wind Deflector

A roof-mounted wind deflector on a tow vehicle can improve aerodynamics. The deflectors send air over the trailer or fifth wheel rather than against its font end. Savings could reach 3 to 5 percent.

Use Regular Gasoline

Unless your owner’s manual calls for it, skip premium fuel. It costs about 15 percent more, and an engine that’s not made to use premium won’t benefit by burning it. You can get engine-cleaning additives with quality regular gas, saving a bundle.

Thursday, 17 October 2019 17:40

Venice Chalk Festival Close to Cypress Trail

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Some of the world’s best chalk artists will turn the sidewalks and walls of Venice Island into a giant art exhibit Nov. 15-18.

The annual fall festival is a sister event to a chalk art show that originated and continues in Sarasota each spring.  The Venice festival is about an hour’s drive from Cypress Trail RV Resort in Fort Myers, making Cypress Trail the perfect spot to camp while enjoying a day or more of sidewalk art, or even participating in preparations, if you choose.

Hundreds of artists will transform paved surfaces at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds with dazzling works of art over four days during this year’s Garden of Wonders Chalk Festival.

There’s a music festival on opening day, and an area where children—and adults—can grab some chalk and put their imagination to the pavement each day of the festival.

3Dimensional Illusions

Chalk may be a 2-dimensional medium, but you’d never know it while looking at 3D pavement art illusions. The chalk renderings look startlingly 3D, seemingly rising up from or diving into the sidewalks, parking lots or walls they transform.

Each 3D illusion takes three to eight days to create. Some stretch 100 feet. The Venice show boasts the biggest single display of 3D illusionist chalk art in one place, according to the show’s promoters.

Kurt Wenner, an innovator in 3D pavement art, will re-create his Megalodon Shark, which appears to be jumping out of a broken pavement surface from water underneath—with a hapless human clamped within its monstrous jaws. The shark, depicting the largest shark known, has been drawn at chalk festivals worldwide.

Wenner also will re-create his 3Dimensional Illusion Environment, which employs perspective geometry that appears to defy the laws of physics. People and objects are visually distorted when they interact with Wenner’s creation—which includes vertical surfaces, all created with chalk. Water even appears to flow uphill in Wenner’s illusion.

Garden of Wonders Maze, Other Attractions

This year’s festival includes the Garden of Wonders maze for humans that pays tribute to natural delights and the human imagination. It’s open each day and is included in the admission fee.

Young and Young at Heart is the daily feature that allows children and adults to try their hand at pavement art in a designated area. The festival will provide participants with chalk. It’s also included in the cost of admission.

The music festival on the opening day requires a separate ticket that admits music festival attendees to the chalk festival and Garden of Wondrs maze, too.

Food trucks will serve an abundant choice of refreshments, for which there will be a separate charge. Tented areas with tables will afford festivalgoers a chance to rest in the shade.

Works in Progress

Some of the artists invited to create chalk art at the show don’t complete their work until the final day, so admission fees rise as the festival progresses. There’s plenty to see each day, and observing the artists at work as their creations take shape is an experience in and of itself.

Children age 12 and under enter free of charge every day. Parking also is free. Tickets are available online. On the final day, veterans are admitted free with an ID.

Here’s a guide to what you’ll see each day you can attend, and the admission costs for that day:

Friday, Nov. 15: Artists are working in their spaces, creating their works. Age 13 and over, $5. Pavement Music Festival, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., $25 (includes admission to the Chalk Festival and maze).

Saturday, Nov. 16: Artwork is half to two-thirds completed. Adults, $10; students, $5.

Sunday, Nov. 17: Artists complete their works throughout the day. Adults, $15; students, $10.

Monday, Nov. 18:  All art work is complete. Adults, $10; students, $5; veterans free with ID.

Advance Participation Opportunities

If you want to be a chalk artist—or at least understand how it’s done—you can pay a fee to work alongside professional artists in the days leading up to the public showings. Tickets are required for a session at any of the experience events. Students may participate free but must fill out an artist’s application.

Participants get a T-shirt, art materials to use during the work, a program, admission to a Nov. 19 after-party, and an unlimited event pass.

Four experiences are available, with three-hour morning and afternoon sessions each day of the experience:

  • Megalodon World Record Restoration Experience, Friday, Nov. 8-through Thursday, Nov. 14. Groups led by 3D innovator Wenner. $75 per session.
  • Garden of Wonder Maze Experience, Monday, Nov. 11, through Wednesday, Nov. 13. Help to paint images on walls of a maze that will be constructed onsite. $45 per session.
  • Oversized Flower Making Experience, Thursday, Nov. 7, through Wednesday, Nov. 14. $25 per session.
  • Illusion Room Backdrop Experience, Tuesday, Nov. 5, through Friday, Nov. 8. Work under Wenner’s direction painting backdrops in his illusion rooms. $50 per session.
Friday, 31 May 2019 18:30

When Your Dog Is Your Co-pilot

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If you take Rover along for the ride when you go RVing, you’re not alone. The RVIA estimates that more than 60 percent of RVers travel with their dog. Why not? Dogs are great company, entertaining and unwaveringly loyal.

But RVing isn’t always conducive to treating your pet responsibly—or lovingly.

Start with RV parks and RV resorts. Not all of them like dogs as much as Cypress Trail does. Here your dog will enjoy either of two leash-free, fenced dog parks—one for small dogs, one for big guys. Each has a doggy wading pool for cooling off. That’s a big deal in sunny Florida. There’s room to play ball, sniff and frolic with other dogs.

Some parks also have trails open to dogs. A few have fenced-in yards at campsites for canine exercise. You can find recommended dog-friendly RV parks online, but it’s a good idea to check online for dog facilities and dog rules at any campsite you plan to visit. If you’re still unsure, just call the park and ask.

Here are other things you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy while RVing:

Help your dog acclimate

Dogs are creatures of habit; a change to their routine can be upsetting. If your dog loves hitting the road in your car, he’ll probably love riding in the motorhome or tow vehicle, too. Don’t transport a dog in a trailer. Before taking him on a long trip, let him ride on a short RV jaunt or two, and spend time in the motorhome or trailer. Give him space of his own—a dog bed or a crate if he spends time in one at home. (Dogs often grow to find their crate a safe, secure place.)

Use a safety harness

Harnesses keep dogs safe. Humans aren’t strong enough to grab a dog and protect it in an emergency stop. A harness distributes the forces generated by a quick stop or crash and keeps the dog from flying into a windshield, the front seat or you. A harness even for a big dog from Kurgo.com costs just $42.

Cool it

You wouldn’t leave your dog locked in a hot car. Don’t leave her in a hot camper, either. When she can’t go with you, set thermostat-controlled roof vents to open and fans to run before temperatures reach 76 degrees. If your van lacks one, install a powered rain-hooded vent that won’t automatically close with precipitation. Make sure she has water.

Choose appropriate flooring

If your dog is a shedder, carpeting might not be as desirable as nonslip vinyl flooring. Think twice about laminate flooring or ceramic tile, which can be slippery.

Find a pet sitter

If you plan extended time away from your dog, look for a reliable pet sitter, just as you would at home, to provide companionship, food, fresh water and exercise. You’ll have to provide a door key or temporary security system password, but if the sitter is reputable, that shouldn’t be a problem. For an extra fee, some sitters will sleep in your RV if that makes you—and your dog—feel better.

Find vet care

Occasionally an RVing dog—even one with up-to-date care—needs unexpected veterinary care. Ask for recommendations at any campground or animal shelter. Search online for veterinary care in the locale you’re visiting. Take your pet’s medical records on a thumb drive for an unfamiliar veterinarian to see.

Stop for exercise

If your dog is accustomed to multiple daily walks, stop more often than you might otherwise to let him walk, sniff and relieve himself. The walk will do you good, too. And don’t forget to clean up.

Photo Credit: Kurgo.com

Tuesday, 27 November 2018 23:13

Downton Abbey Exhibition

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RV downton abbey absfreepic dot comThe RV life is pretty good. You have a great place to live—a comfortable place, with all the amenities you could possibly want. You have plenty of space—enough that, at times, you feel it’s downright palatial. You can pick up and travel whenever you want, wherever you want, so the view is not only great, but continually refreshed. And you gladly entertain at the drop of a hat.

But admit it: it’s not that good. It’s not Downton Abbey good.

But then, what is?

Try this: Downton Abbey, The Exhibition. This traveling exhibition features clothing, room mockups, clips from the PBS TV show running on a loop, and even a hologram of  Mrs. Carson, the housekeeper and the former Mrs. Hughes. It’s appearing in West Palm Beach through April 22, 2019. That’s a lot closer than Highclere Castle, in Newbury, United Kingdom, where much of the show was filmed. Since that’s on the other side of The Pond, West Palm Beach is—shall we say?— far more drivable, even if you don’t have a Rolls.

The Rooms

See Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen—the copper pots and pans, the cutting boards, the wooden bowls, the utensils, the long wooden table.

The dining room is set for dinner, as elegantly as ever. No, you do not have to wear evening clothes. On the wall are the bells summoning the servants.

Relax—but not too much, now—in Mr. Carson’s pantry. Carson, of course, was a bit stiff on the outside but a real M&M, with a soft center. You’ll see Carson’s desk, his bookshelves, the keys behind closed glass and his easy chair.

Then there’s Lady Mary’s bedroom, right down to her brush and mirror, photos in frames and candlesticks. Missing is the body of Kemal Pamuk, the Turkish diplomat who, in hopes of a late-night tryst, perished there. The bed, however, is on full display.

The Clothes

In the kitchen you’ll see mannequins dressed in the servant outfits Mrs. Patmore and Daisy wore. Carson’s room includes replicas of his three-piece suit, replete with watch and chain, and Mrs. Carson’s dress.

There are wedding gowns—one for Mary, two for Edith. And you’ll see Mary’s smart felt hat.

Lord Grantham’s hunting jacket and breeches are there, as are Sybil’s harem pants.
And, of course, there are dresses of the irrepressible dowager countess, Violet.

Tickets and Admission

Event: Downton Abbey Exhibition
Venue: CityPlace, 575 S. Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach, FL
Directions: CityPlace in Palm Beach is about a 2-hour and 15-minute drive from Cypress Trail RV Park. WARNING: Construction is in progress around CityPlace, so give yourself extra time, just as Tom Branson would.
Admission: Touring Downton Abbey sets may make you feel like a million bucks—or pounds, perhaps—but it’s surprisingly affordable. Adult admission is $35 per person; age 65 and older, $33; and visitors 14 and under who are accompanied by a paying adult, free of charge. VIP Tickets, $49, include an audio guide that is picked up upon entry.
Dates: Daily through April 22, 2019
Times: Choose your own entry time for your ticket, every half hour from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. There’s a catch: You must enter within half an hour of your ticket time, so you better move as if Carson were looking over your shoulder. If you miss the window, you will have to wait—on busy days, possibly hours—until crowd flow can accommodate latecomers. VIP ticketholders may enter at any time the day of their scheduled tour.
Duration: Most visitors spend about 90 minutes on the tour, but you may stay as long as you like—well past the giggles thinking about the Turk who died wooing Lady Mary.
Photography: Shoot snapshots to your heart’s content. Video, however, is not allowed.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018 22:41

Upcoming Florida RV Shows To Attend

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Florida RV Supershow

florida rv supershow logo 2018Billed as the country’s best and biggest of its type, the 2019 Florida RV Supershow is coming to the Florida State Fairgrounds on Jan. 16-20. The fairgrounds are in Tampa, not far from Cypress Trail RV Resort.

It’s hard to dispute the size of the Florida RV Supershow. The show fills more than 26 acres at the fairgrounds with motorhomes and trailers of every size and type. There are also hundreds of outdoor and indoor displays of accessories and RV-related products and services.

If the Supershow is too big for your tastes, the smaller and closer Fort Myers RV Show is scheduled a few days later, Jan. 24-27, at the Lee Civic Center.

Getting Around the Supershow

Wear comfortable footwear. You’ll walk miles between and through RVs and displays and go up and down plenty of steps, if only three at a time. Trams are available to help you save your feet and knees.

Visitors with disabilities can rent wheelchairs for $20 a day or electric scooters for $55 a day. Visit the Scootaround.com website for reservations.

What To Do

You won’t be bored at an RV show, especially one as big as the Supershow. Here’s what you can do:

  • Learn. Attend seminars, some sponsored by manufacturers of RVs and accessories, or taught by a recognized expert. You’ll find tips on everything from driving safely to maintenance, and several on extended or full-time RV living.
  • Comparison shop. Thinking about a new awning? A recliner or sofa? A more powerful generator? A foldout grill? Maybe you’re in the market for a new RV or considering a switch from a trailer to a motorhome. Here’s a chance to find many brands and all types in one place. Comparing brands and models is super easy.
  • Dream. OK, so maybe you can’t afford a $350,000 Class A. Maybe you can. Either way, you can walk through any RV on display, from popups to luxury motorhomes, and everything in between: truck campers, Class B’s and C’s, fifth wheels, destination RVs, and luxury motorhomes. If you’re considering the lifestyle and buying your first RV, a show is a great place to start.
  • Get ideas. With so many RVs and accessories to see, you’l see all the latest trends. Gather ideas on how to improve your own RV, both outside and inside.
  • Negotiate a great deal. Dealers bring quite literally tons of merchandise to the show. It costs time and money to take it all back to the dealership. That means bargains abound. It’s not unusual to find $50,000 discounts or more on Class A motorhomes, and tens of thousands off a trailer, a Class C or Class B. Bring your checkbook and the title to your current RV, because dealers often will appraise your RV and close a deal onsite.

florida rv supershow photo

Overnight RV Parking

You can stay overnight in your RV on the grounds—not a bad idea, since your ticket to the show will admit you for two days. RV parking is $14 per day, plus $20 per each overnight stay. Overnight permits must be displayed in a window. Parking passes are available at the gate, cash only.

NO SERVICES are offered, but that shouldn’t be a particular hardship. You’re bound to have plenty of company. It’s an RV show, after all, and quite a few of the more than 73,000 visitors—that’s the 2018 figure—arrive in campers.

The campers Super Rally event is sold out.

For overnight parking, enter off Highway 301, South Parking Gate.

Event: Florida RV Supershow
Venue: Florida State Fairgrounds
4800 US Highway 301 North
Tampa, FL 33610
Cost: $10 per person, includes readmission on a second day; children under 16, free.
Tickets: At the gate.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Parking: $14 per RV, plus $20 per overnight stay; $8 per car.
Directions: The Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa are about a 2-hour drive from Cypress Trail, give or take 15 minutes, depending on your route.

Fort Myers RV Show

If you don’t believe bigger is better, you can opt to wait a few days more and visit the Fort Myers RV Show. It’s practically next door to Cypress Trail, at the Lee Civic Center. About 11,000 people attended last year—no drop in the bucket but only about 14 percent of the attendance at the Supershow.

The Fort Myers show will be staged Jan. 24-27, 2019.

Ticket and camper information were not yet available when we wrote this, but the Fort Myers RV Show website indicates that parking is free. We’ll update information on the show as it becomes available.

Event: Fort Myers RV Show
Venue: Lee Civic Center
11831 Bayshore Road
Fort Myers, FL 33917
Dates:  Jan. 24-27, 2019.
Hours: To be Announced
Cost: To Be Announced
Tickets: To be Announced. Check the show website.
Parking: Free
Directions: The Lee Civic Center is less than 15 minutes from Cypress Trail via Routes 31 and 80, or Routes 78 and 93.

Photo Credits: Florida RV Trade Association

Monday, 22 October 2018 19:10

Winter Is Craft Show Time in Florida

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Craft shows abound in Florida during the winter months.

You’ll find crafts and art of many types—ceramics, blown glass, jewelry, furniture, decorations, paintings, clothes, handbags—and created with varying levels of skill.

Small community shows often charge no fee. Larger juried shows—those that require artisans to apply for a space on the show floor—usually charge admission.

Here are a few that are coming up, some close to Cypress Trail RV Resort, and some a few hours away. Take your pick: There’s plenty to see, buy and treasure.

Sarasota Art & Handmade Home Show

This is the first year under the new name, which was changed from Sarasota Craft Show, the title for nine years. The Sarasota Art & Handmade Home Show is billed as “The Suncoast’s Premiere Indoor Fine Art and Craft Show,” and that’s not difficult for promoter American Art Marketing to justify. Many items on display and for sale are of premium quality and tastefully crafted.

Sarasota is a national show, with artisans from multiple states showcasing their skills. It is a curated or juried show: Not just anybody can participate. Work must be submitted and reviewed for artisans and their work to be accepted. About 120 artisans participate yearly.

The show is open to the general public and charges admission. Attendees are homeowners, interior decorators, and collectors. Don’t let that frighten you; you’ll find desirable items on many price levels.

Exhibits appear outside and mostly inside the air-conditioned Robarts Arena, this year on the last day of November and the first two days of December.

Sarasota Art and Handmade Home Show
Venue: Robarts Arena
Address: 300 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34237
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018
Hours: Friday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost per day: $12, adults; $11, age 65+; $6, students; free, age 10 and under; $13, full weekend pass
Directions: Robarts Arena in Sarasota is a 1¼ to a 1¾ hours’ drive from Cypress Trail RV Resort.

Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival

In its 26th year, the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival is a juried show, accepting only applicants whose crafts meet its standards. All products are made in America, from a number of states.

More than 100 artisans display and sell ceramics, decorative and functional pottery, jewelry, clothing for all ages, hair accessories, paintings, woodworking and more. The craft show is an outdoor event. Displays line Main Street in downtown Dunedin, so there are plenty of places to dine.

Unlike many indoor venues, downtown Dunedin uses the craft show to attract visitors, so there is no admission fee.

In addition to having a vibrant business district, Dunedin has four miles of white-sand beaches that are highly rated.

Dunedin Downtown Craft Festival
Venue: 271 Main St.
Dunedin, FL
Dates: Nov. 17 and 18, 2018
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Directions: Downtown Dunedin is about 2 hours and 10 minutes from Cypress Trail RV Resort.

Christmas Made in the South, Jacksonville

If you’re interested in a craft show that has only Christmas items, consider Christmas Made in the South. This series includes a Thanksgiving weekend event in Jacksonville.

A juried show, Christmas Made in the South invites only crafters and artisans who live and work in Southern states. Juries differ by location, so the Jacksonville show is likely to have a Florida flavor. The Jacksonville show typically has more than 300 artisans.

Crafts, which must be handmade, include ceramics, jewelry, clothing, decorations, ornaments, cane furniture and paintings, among others. The Christmas Made in the South shows involve a lot of give-and-take between crafters and visitors, so they’re a good place to learn new techniques or consider a new craft.  

Venue: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center
Address: 1000 Water St.
Jacksonville, FL 32204
Dates: Nov. 23-25, 2018
Times: Friday, 9 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: $5-10
Directions: The Prime Osborn III Convention Center is just under a five-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort.

Photo credit: artfestival.com

Football, between the pro ranks and the college game, is fast becoming the national pastime. With the arrival of football season, tailgating is a close second. (OK, baseball fans, we’ll make an exception for the World Series.)

Football is everywhere in Florida, known for producing some of the nation’s best players season after season. They come from high schools and colleges throughout the state, where they flaunt their skills on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. Florida has perpetually ranked college teams in the University of Miami, the University of Florida and Florida State. More recent success has come from the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and Florida Atlantic.

Florida also is one of the few states to have multiple pro teams: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  

You might be tailgating outside the stadium, or you might just be enjoying good food and the game outside your RV. Either way, you want to show your team pride. Everybody has a little more fun when the colors are unfurled, and team logos sprout on everything from coolers to grill accessories and tablecloths.  

Here are a few items to make your RV tailgating more enjoyable.

swing tvAdd an Outdoor TV

If you have an older RV and no outdoor TV, consider adding one to a storage cubby. Again, a swing mount will let you open the storage compartment and pivot the TV to where it can be seen. For some resistance to the elements and better daytime viewing, look for an outdoor TV model, such as those from SunBriteTV. Cost: $3,200-$3,900.

Swing Mount for TV

Buccaneers game sold out? No matter. Watch it on TV outside your camper. If you have an exterior TV but it’s stationary, consider adding a swing mount, such as the Crimson AV AU42. It will let you swing a 13- to 42-inch TV away from the mounting point on your RV and swivel it so you and your guests can better see the game. Cost: About $110.

gator coolerBeverage Cooler

You have to quench the thirst of all those Gator fans you’re hosting, so you better have a good cooler for—well, more than Gatorade, please! Load the 54-quart Leigh Country cooler with ice and up to 80 cans or bottles. It’s insulated and has a drain valve, carrying handles and a bottle opener built in. The cooler sports Gator-orange team logos on the lid and front, with Gator blue legs. You can have it shipped by Walmart.com right to your home or to your nearest store for pickup. Cost: $160.

Grilling Mat

If Florida State coach Willie Taggart hasn’t got a new offensive scheme to put the heat on opposing defenses, at least you’ll have a Seminoles team grilling mat to keep your utensils close to the fire. The 26x42-inch mats are non-skid vinyl with the Seminole image and Florida State logo in school colors. Other teams are available, too. From Groupon.com deals.  Cost: $28.

Team Tongs

Grab some University of South Florida tongs for those steaks—from a steer, but never from a bull, please. You can order grill utensils bearing the logos of several teams from teamtailgateshop.com. The tongs have long wood-clad handles so you won’t get burned like some cornerback who’s outrun on a post pattern. Cost: $35.

If you like movies, a drive over to Mount Dora Sept. 7-9 will give you a chance to see a lot of them over three days—and to support the art of filmmaking. Those are the dates for the Central Florida Film Festival, which showcases films made by independent filmmakers. The festival is held annually.

You know who you are, movie fans. You watch your favorite films so many times that you lose count. You complain when Turner Classic Movies isn’t part of your basic cable package. You remember whole pages of script from "The Godfather" —without ever having seen the script.

Now, you might be thinking, why would I want to see a bunch of films made by guys I never heard of?

Well, maybe you’ve heard of Steven Soderbergh of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Erin Brockovich” fame. Or you might know of Darren Aronofsky, who directed “The Wrestler,” which starred Mickey Rourke in the performance of his career. And then there’s Lisa Cholodenko, who directed “The Kids Are All Right” and whose HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteridge” took home eight Emmy Awards.  

All those directors and many others made their debuts at film festivals. Now, admittedly, Central Florida is not Cannes, Sundance or Toronto. But like those older, more celebrated film festivals, CENFLO, as the regional film fest is nicknamed, shares a mission of helping filmmakers get the break they need to succeed.

New Location

CENFLO debuted in 2006 in Ocoee at the West Orange Cinemas. This year, the festival moves to the EPIC Theatres in Mount Dora. The new location is intended to improve the audience experience, with digital surround sound and curved Epic XL screens that measure 65 feet across. Mount Dora is about 3¼ hours’ drive from Cypress Trail RV Resort.

Unlike some other small festivals, CENFLO makes entering the competition a true learning experience for filmmakers. Even films that are rejected for public screening are critiqued when a director requests. That’s just one reason Movie Maker Magazine named CENFLO one of the “Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.”

Fees help to finance networking opportunities for entrants. They get to meet distributors, talk shop, and attend workshops and seminars.

What will you see at CENFLO? The titles aren’t yet announced, but the festival’s history shows that the lineup is likely to include shorts, features and documentaries.

Binge or Nibble

Space is limited, so the festival first seats holders of VIP All Access tickets ($200), then holders of the 3-Day Watcher Passes ($100), Daily Passes ($35) and finally single-movie tickets ($10).  All except the single-movie tickets are available online. Single tickets go on sale at the box office 30 minutes before each screening.

About Ratings

The films screened at CENFLO are not rated. If you take children, you’ll have to read about the films before deciding whether to allow them to watch a film.

More To Do in Mount Dora  

If you arrive a couple of days early or stay past the festival, here are some other things to do in Mount Dora:

  • Modernism Museum. Learn about the modern furniture on display.
  • Lake Eustis. Fish for bass or dine lakeside at any of several restaurants.
  • Museum of Speed. View classic cars and visit a replica 1940s gas station.
  • Antiquing. The city has many antiques shops.
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 20:16

Top RV Blogs to Follow in 2018

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RV Love | Visit Website

Marc and Julie Bennett have been traveling the road since 2014 and RVlove.com is where you can find them. They offer some great resources for anyone that is interested in purchasing their first motorhome and they have a colorful youtube channel that you can follow as well.

Love Your RV | Visit Website

Ray and his wife Anne are fulltime RVers who travel North America in their Cougar 5th wheel. In addition to their blog you can join the 40,000 people who subscribe to their Youtube channel.

The Fit RV | Visit Website

The Fit RV is an RV blog for cyclists and anyone who loves the outdoors. This is run by James and Stefanie, two avid cyclists who travel the country in their highly customized 2016 Winnebago Trivato. They have been on the road and RVing since 2010!

The RV Entrepreneur Podcast & Blog | Visit Website

This is a great podcast to listen to while you are on the road. Their adventure began when they got married in 2014 and decided to travel and work in all 50 states. In addition to the blog and podcast, Heath and Alyssa host an annual RV summit for fulltime RVers, they have written books about RVing and they produced a documentary film about working across America!  

The Crazy Family Adventure | Visit Website

Craig and Bryanna are at the head of this family that is traveling around the country along with their 4 children and two dogs. The Crazy Family Adventure blog is full of guides for traveling throughout the USA. They have been on the road traveling since 2014 and you might be able to spot them in their new Winnebago Micro Minnie 2100BH.

Winnebago Life | Visit Website

This is the official blog for Winnebago. The blog is run by a handful of RVers from the community and you will even find a few of the bloggers who are listed on this page contributing there from time to time. You can expect all topics to be covered and of course there will be lots of content about the Winnebago line of motorhomes. There are several Trivato owners that blog here from the road.

RV Life Magazine | Visit Website

RV Life Magazine was first published in 1984. It is now published solely online but it is part of a large community network and always filled with great content. Look for great travel blogs from cool spots on the road, and frequent industry updates.

Don't Forget the Crossing Creeks and Cypress Trail Blogs!

Are you ready for some music—your kind of music?

It’s a quick trip from Cypress Trails RV Resort & Spa to some big-time Florida music festivals beginning this month. Whatever your musical preference, you’re bound to find a festival that caters to it.

RV Cypress Trail Billy Idol Wikimedia Commons

Among the festivals are those focusing on country, hip hop and rap, dance and house, and punk, and one that combines rock, jazz, oldies and other genres. Headliners include national stars.

Mixed Genres: Sunfest Music and Arts Festival

If you like lots of different types of music, check out the Sunfest Music and Arts Festival in West Palm Beach. The organizers book 50 bands that run the gamut of styles on the festival’s three stages: Fifties rock, R&B, pop, country, reggae, jazz and metal.  Headliners include Billy Idol, Girl Talk, Logic, Nathaniel Rateliff, Incubus, Zedd, Ice Cube, Sublime and DNCE. The art show includes paintings, sculpture, photography and jewelry. Sunday night fireworks end the fest. May 3-6.

Hip Hop, Rap: Rolling Loud

Welcome to Miami. Rolling Loud, a national touring event, rolls into Florida for a three-day show of top hip hop and rap performers in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium and Bayfront Park. Headliners are J. Cole on May 1, Travis Scott in May 12 and Future on May 13. Just some of the additional artists are: Friday, Lil Uzi Vert, N.E.R.D and Young Thug; Saturday, Migos, Wiz Khalifa and Cardi B; and Sunday, Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Juicy J. No camping. May 11-13.

Country 500 at Daytona

That’s not the name of a race, but how’s this sound for a starting field: Toby Keith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Tyler Farr and Randy Houser? The Country 500 music festival at Daytona Beach has two stages. Yes, there’s parking for cars and RVs on the famed Daytona International Raceway infield, where it’s always a party. May 25-27.

Dance/House: Sunset Music Festival

marshmellow dj

House and other dance music fills the bill at Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, at the Raymond James Stadium North Lot. This is a three-day Memorial Day weekend party with entertainment on three stages. Artists include Marshmello, Excision, Illenium, Rezz and other dance music  artists. No camping. May 26, 27.

Punk: Vans Warped Tour

If you or your kids are into punk, you’ll have three Florida dates to choose from for Vans Warped Tour, but you’ll have to wait until August: Tinker Field, Orlando, Aug. 3; MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater, Tampa, Aug. 4; and Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, Aug. 5. This national tour features multiple stages at each Florida show and more than 30 acts, including 3Oh!3, Bowling for Soup and Simple Plan. Aug. 3-5.

Country: Gulf Coast Jam    

Labor Day weekend becomes the last party of the summer—and one of the biggest—at the Gulf Coast Jam in Frank Brown Park, Panama City Beach. Headliners this year are, as usual, some of the biggest names in country: Florida Georgia Line, Friday; Eric Church, Saturday; and Thomas Rhett, Sunday.  Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

The websites for each event include links for tickets and hotel accommodations.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia

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