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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’re asking yourself whether you should switch the tires on your trailer to radials the next time you replace tires, there are some experts who strongly believe you should: the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association and the National Fire Protection Association.
Don’t think for a minute that the fire protection group cares only about such things as wiring safety, insulation and the type of fire extinguisher your RV carries. It was the NFPA that suggested equipping all new RV trailers with radial tires, and no longer with bias-ply units.
The RVIA, which represents 98 percent of all travel trailer manufacturing, agreed. It has been placing radials on all new trailers manufactured since September 2017 with wheels 13 inches in diameter or bigger.
The switch to radials in RV manufacturing grew from a safety report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It cited tire failure as a major safety concern for RV trailers. All it takes is to see a trailer flip at speed—dragging the tow vehicle down with it—to give you hesitation about using less-stable bias trailer tires. In reacting to the study, the NFPA recommended radial fitments for new trailers and suggested tire maximum weight ratings at least 10 percent greater than the maximum axle rating.
The greater payload ratings are intended help to overcome failures from overloaded trailers and from the stresses created by under- and over-inflation.
The radials-only policy applies to new recreational trailers, and not even to utility and closed cargo trailers, or to boat trailers. But it makes you think, If radials are considered such a safety feature, should I dump my bias plies for radials the next time I get new tires?
You don’t have to. Bias-ply trailer tires will continue to be available at tire and RV dealers. The big question is for how long, especially as manufacturers of cargo and boat trailers begin switching to radials on new units.
Bias tires rated ST will continue to be manufactured. They are perceived to continue as a strong market for contractors, landscapers and even for boaters. But RV dealers may be tempted to stock radials only, since they’ll need them for motorhomes and trailers.
The price difference has shrunk, making radials appear to be a better bargain. And for dealers, it’s a mater of costs: It will cost less to stock radials only than to stock radial ST tires and bias ST tires.
Costs may not be so much higher that the radial switch on older trailers is discouraged. You’ll still have choices in load range, with lower prices for radials with, say, 6-ply ratings than for radials with higher-strength 10-ply ratings, and often from the same manufacturer. That difference will certainly come into play if the tires are for small boat trailers versus 30-foot travel trailers.
Like bias-ply ST tires, radial ST tires have stiffer sidewalls than non-trailer tires to promote stability and reduce sway. Radials are likely to improve fuel economy because they have lower rolling resistance compared with bias tires.
So, it comes down largely to owners of older-model trailers as to how complete the shift to radials will be. Are those owners changing overwhelmingly to radials when their bias ply tires wear out and need replacement? Just a few months after the switch by manufacturers, that’s not yet the case.
But as more dealers stock the radials and the availability of bias plies drops, the switch is likely to become broader and more thorough throughout the travel trailer market.
Pensacola Naval Air Station is host to the National Naval Aviation Museum, the world’s biggest naval flight museum. The museum’s displays ably demonstrate that that since the World Wars, the modern Navy’s place is as much in the air as on and under the sea.
Don’t think that all you’ll do is see a bunch of airplanes in and outside a big building, although you will see plenty—historically important propeller-driven and jet aircraft. Many are restored versions of planes that served combat roles in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Carrier planes, land-based planes, seaplanes—they’re all represented.
If you get there early enough you may catch the Blue Angels aerobatics team in flight during one of the pilots’ practice runs.
Want to take your turn flying a Naval jet? An ultra-realistic flight simulator lets you experience flight without leaving your seat.
Have you ever seen Marine One—the president’s helicopter? One of the former presidential flying taxis is on display. So is a restored version of the World War II fighter plane flown by former President George H.W. Bush, who had been the youngest commissioned combat pilot in the war.
A 300-plus seat giant-screen theater offers movies on flight, carriers, the Marine Corps and spaceflight. (Fee: $8 teens, $9 adults.)
The naval air museum is a day’s drive from Cypress Trail RV Resort. NOTE: Access to visitors who do not have a Department of Defense ID card is through the Naval Air Station Pensacola West Gate off Blue Angel Parkway (1878 S Blue Angel Pkwy).
Some National Naval Aviation Museum highlights:
Here’s where Blue Angels pilots perfect their precision air shows. These days, the Angels are flying F/A-18 Hornets in a four-jet diamond formation and with two solo pilots. You must arrive before 9:30 a.m. to have any hope of seeing a practice run. And the museum warns that practice runs may be canceled at any time. There is no charge to see the flights.
If you don’t see the Blue Angels fly live, see them in the Blue Angels 4D Experience. Special effects are built into the theater, not just shown onscreen, and synchronized to give audience members an immersive experience. You’ll feel like you’re flying in formation—not bad for $7.
Ever wonder what it feels like to do a barrel roll in a fighter jet? To climb almost straight up? To perform high-speed maneuvers? You’ll find out on a museum flight simulator. This high-tech marvel simulates combat flight with six directions of movement, high-definition imagery and surround sound. Your video games can’t begin to rise to this level of entertainment and involvement. (Fee: $20)
No, the USS Gerald Ford’s flight deck will not fit in the museum. But there’s a huge scale model of the carrier—and models of many others—that help you appreciate life aboard these floating cities.
There’s a hulking World War I-era bi-winged seaplane that crossed the Atlantic. Fighters and dive-bombers of World War II carrier fame live on. You’ll also find jet fighters and bombers that flew over Vietnam and Iraq.
Among the aircraft displayed:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you arrive a couple of days early or stay past the festival, here are some other things to do in Mount Dora:
Mold and mildew are two of the worst enemies an RV owner could face. They can cause allergic reactions or even illness. They’re highly persistent and an spread if they’re not eradicated.
Obviously, the best way to ensure that mold and mildew will not recur and spread is to find and eliminate the source of moisture that causes them. With this blog, we’re talking only about how to clean mildew- and mold-infected areas inside and outside your RV.
Perhaps the most important consideration is killing the mold or mildew and removing the stain that they leave without discoloring any part of your RV. The wrong cleaning agent can ruin carpet or upholstery.
Hard surfaces are often the places that mold and mildew show their ugly face. We’re talking high-moisture areas of the RV, especially the bathroom but also the kitchen. Surfaces adjacent to, and including, windows also are prone to mold/mildew growth, as is anyplace where leaking water collects.
If you don’t like using chemicals, try some natural mold/mildew killers, which are less likely than chemical cleaners to damage carpet and fabric: tea tree oil with water; white vinegar and warm water in a 1:1 mixture; or about 2 dozen drops of grapefruit seed extract with 2 cups of warm water. Spray any of them onto the mold/mildew and let the solution work in. The infection will die off within hours (vinegar), a couple of days (tea tree oil) or a few days (grapefruit). Then wash with soap and rinse.
If a stronger remedy is needed, mix one part bleach with four parts water in a spray bottle and shake. Let the solution work against the mildew/mold for about an hour, which should kill it. Wipe, then wash with a household cleaning soap in water and rinse. Caution: You cannot use bleach on fabric or carpet without damaging it. Reserve bleach solutions for hard, impervious surfaces, such as counters, sinks, showers or backsplashes.
Some chemical and commercial cleaners with citrus are available. They will work similarly to the natural solutions. Test for colorfastness in an unseen area before using.
Mold or mildew on the exterior of an RV is not unusual, especially if the RV has been sitting and not regularly washed. If it sits in an area that continually heats and cools, such as a parking space that’s shaded part of the day, it may be more susceptible.
The signs are obvious: Black or dark green growth appears on the surface of the fiberglass or aluminum and spreads. Often it will form in patches where water is frequently present and slow to dry, such as below a drain rail or window.
What you need to do, as inside the RV, is attack it with an agent that kills the culture and wipe it off. A good example is LA’s Totally Awesome. It’s sold in spray bottles and is quite cheap—probably less than $2 a bottle. You can find it at discount stores or online.
How it works is simple: Spray liberally and directly onto the infected area and let it work—less than a minute will do. Wearing disposable gloves, use a clean rag or paper towels to wipe it off. You’ll have to work your cleaning material into cracks and crevices to make sure you get all the mold/mildew.
It’s possible that you’ll remove some oxidized paint and wax as you scrub and wipe the cleaner off. Follow up the mold/mildew removal by washing the area you’ve cleaned with a good automotive cleaning agent and water. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry. Then put on a fresh coat of wax.
Is the mold in your camper toxic? Find out with a toxic mold test kit, about $10, plus a lab analysis fee. Toxic mold may best be removed by a professional wearing a protective mask and clothing.
Image Credits: Prolab
Summer is a great time to sample craft beers from micro breweries in the Clearwater-St. Pete area, and there are quite a few.
OK, honestly, if you like beer, any season is good for a brewery road trip. Many brewers craft some of their beers especially for different seasons, so you’re bound to benefit from a variety of choices if you repeat the trip to one or several of the breweries.
The St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail includes more than 30 microbreweries. The stops, of course, make this tour enjoyable, but you want it to be safe one. Don’t drink and drive. Consider downloading the Uber app or the Lyft app to your iPhone or Android device. The apps are free and will safely get you back to wherever you’re staying. A few places on the tour offer accommodations.
If you study this link, you’ll be able to plan for hitting several of the breweries on one trip. Here are just a few highlights of the 30-plus brewery tour:
Every saloon ought to have a touch of the West, and Two Frogs Brewing Company in Tarpon Springs doesn’t disappoint. It’s set up in a former drugstore to look like an old saloon. You’ll find such Old West touches as cowboy boots and bullhorns. Two Frogs maybe should be called Two Guys: It’s operated by a father-and-son team who are descendants of a brewer. Phosphates and cherry Cokes are no longer the staples at this counter. The tiny brewery specializes in American-style ales.
Two Frogs Brewing Company is about a 2½ hour drive from Cypress Trail RV Resort.
Here’s a microbrewery that operates a brewpub, so you have a choice of plenty to eat while you enjoy whatever beers are on the menu. Beers rotate throughout the year and by season. The LagerHaus Brewery is a family operation, and that family goes back to a 17th century Austrian brewer. The bratwursts, sausages and schnitzels are all made on premises. There’s Austrian-style pasta, too, and pizza, if you’re so inclined. Beers are widely divergent. There are a Belgium Blonde, a tripel, English ales, Wild Berry Bourbon, and for the truly strong of heart, 44 Magnum, with a 22 percent ABV. Typically around 20 brews are on tap.
LagerHaus Brewery and Grill is just over 2 hours from Cypress Trail.
Try this for a change of pace: craft beer and a movie. You can savor a beer with a movie-themed name and actually watch a film. Grindhaus Brew Lab shows classic, cult and B movies on Friday and Saturday nights. Other entertainment is staged, too. There’s a BBQ restaurant attached for those with an appetite for more than beer, and sometimes the Brew Lab offers food. You can buy a four-draft sampler that includes a brewery tour.
Grindhaus Brew Lab is 2 hours north of Cypress Trail.
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.
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 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!
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!
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.
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 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.
Fastening something to an RV wall presents some problems, but none that can’t be overcome.
RV walls typically are hardboard or paneling on studs or insulation. Neither surface holds screws adequately.
Here are some solutions for attaching to an interior RV wall:
Velcro keeps wall-mounted artwork stable and safe. Buy adhesive-backed strips, placing the “hook” strip onto the picture and the “loop” strip on the wall. Velcro should hold moderately sized frames and art in place even over unsettling bumps.
Although strong, this method is temporary. Simply pry off the fastened artwork, then apply an adhesive remover, such as Motsenbocker’s LiftOff, to remove the strips from the wall.
RV wall studs measure only 2x2, or smaller, not 2x4 like home framing. You may be able to attach directly to them. Locate studs with an electronic, battery-operated stud finder, available at hardware stores, home centers and online. Get one that finds not only studs but also electrical wires. A good example is the Zircon StudSensor e50, about $25. You can use this tool at home as well as in the RV.
Once you mark the studs’ location, you can use self-tapping wood screws to fasten a shelf or TV mount directly to them if the mount doesn’t span two studs, attach a strip of wood ¾-inch or thicker onto the studs, then attach the mount to the wood strip. Before attaching, turn the edges the wood with a router and dress it up with stain or paint.
A strong adhesive such a Gorilla Glue will mount light items, as long as you can find a way to hold the object in place until the glue sets. But beware: Removing the object my leave a marred wall, so be sure you won’t want to take it down later.
Pop rivets require, in addition to a drill/driver, a pop rivet tool, about $12 at discount or hardware stores, or home centers. They make a neat, strong, nearly flush bond and require smaller holes than an anchor would. You may need a helper to hold whatever you’re mounting:
As you squeeze, the mandrel’s inner end reshapes the body of the pop rivet assembly into a second flange on the inside of the wall, holding in place the object you’re mounting.
Designed for fastening to hollow doors—also found inside RVs—these anchors are about an inch long, which is shorter than the anchors used to attach to a home wall. The anchors come with machine screws that thread into the anchor. The procedure is simple:
As you tighten, the anchor will draw toward the interior wall, spreading out flat against the back of the interior paneling. That creates a flange considerably wider than the threads on a screw.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If your favorite song is “The V8 Candy Color Sapphire Blues,” here’s good news: Many West Coast Florida car shows are easily reached from Cypress Trail Luxury RV Resort. (Disclaimer: There’s really no such song, but there oughta be.)
If you go to a custom hot rod or street rod show, you’re likely to get the blues only when you think about your first car, or the best car in the neighborhood that some kid down the street was lucky enough to own. Or maybe you’ll just remember everybody crammed into the car with you back in the day
You run into one or another of six kinds of cars at shows:
A few shows also display motorcycles.
Here are just some car showcases:
NSRA Southeast Street Car Nationals. April 6-8, Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa. Cars and trucks 30 years and older. More than 1,400 vehicles on display.
Jaguar Concours d’Elegance. April 15, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Port Charlotte Conference Center. Nothing but Jags, some of the most beautiful carts ever created.
The Villages Special Cruisers. Third Saturday of every month, The Villages, where Lake, Marion and Sumter counties intersect along Routes 301 and 441. Classics, rods, muscle cars.
Dupont Carts & Coffee. Every third Wednesday at the duPont Car Registry headquarters, 3051 Tech Drive, St. Petersburg. Exotic cars and super cars, all in the duPont Registry.
Car shows vary considerably. Lance’s Cruisin’ to the Hop is a series featuring cars and music. Caffeine and Classics enables you to browse some of the most desirable consignment cars around at the Streetside Classics indoor dealership in Tampa. Find those events and many others at FLAcarshows.com. The site’s event calendar lists shows by day and month in a simple click-the-date format.