Summer is practically at your doorstep, and of the many activities available to you, nothing beats exploring the great outdoors. The United States is filled to the brim with amazing natural wonders preserved by our country’s fantastic National Park Service. Planning a camping trip is simpler than you think, but the busy summer season means you need to put in some work. Here are some tips for planning your summer camping trip.
1. Reserve your spot early.
Your entire camping trip starts with reserving a campground. Ideally, you should make reservations well in advance of your trip. This not only gives you plenty of time to prepare, but also ensures that you do actually get to camp. Campgrounds get busy in the summer, especially around July 4th and Labor Day. Waiting two weeks before your vacation to reserve a campsite will only end in disappointment.
Several popular national parks, including Yellowstone and Yosemite, have recently created first-come, first-serve campsites that you don’t need a reservation for, which may work in your favor as a last resort, but chances are slim. Don’t rely on luck.
2. Consider transportation at the campsite.
If you’re traveling by car, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting around and seeing the sights, but if you’re traveling by RV, you may want to bring an alternate form of travel. Connecting and disconnecting your RV gets irritating quickly, and not all roads within the national park may accommodate such a huge vehicle.
If you’d rather not bring a used car dolly, pack some bikes into your motor home or plan to do a lot of walking. Several national parks, including Glacier and Zion, have developed shuttle systems to get you from your campground to the various attractions in the park and back.
3. Pack warm clothes.
Summer means it’ll be hot all day, right? Think again. As hot as it might get in the day, nights can get chillier than you think. Weather in higher altitudes is fickle at best. It might be a sunny 70 degrees during the day but drop to below 30 at night. Pack warm clothes and plan for sudden thunderstorms.
4. Set up camp properly.
Once you’ve reached your campsite, set up your camp properly. Too many rookie campers throw up their tents wherever they want, leading to an uncomfortable night’s rest.
Find a clear, level spot of land free of branches, rocks, broken glass (and if you do find some–or any trash for that matter–throw it away!), and pine cones. Stay a good ways from the campfire. Pitching your tent under a patch of shade is nice, but you also open yourself up to tree debris falling on your tent. Being woken up by a pine cone hitting your tent isn’t especially pleasant.
Above all, have fun and enjoy nature’s beautiful offerings.
Whether you enjoy surfing or paddle boarding, part of the fun and wonder of getting out on the sea is experiencing the beauty of nature at its best—the waves, the blue sky, and, of course, the wildlife. Ocean life presents a whole new level of respect. Here are some animals you might encounter off the Southern California coast.
1. Bottlenose Dolphins
One of the most common sights to a surfer all year round, dolphins also happen to be one of the friendliest animals you’ll encounter during La Jolla surf lessons. The common bottlenose dolphin lives in temperate waters throughout the world. In the Pacific Ocean, dolphins can be found from Southern California to Chile. They are highly intelligent and quite curious about humans. Pods of dolphins have no problem swimming alongside surfers and getting close enough to poke them with their noses. The only way they might hurt you is if you ran into one with your board, which would probably hurt them more than it would hurt you. As gentle and friendly as they are, remember that dolphins are still wild creatures, so respect them.
Stingrays are common, but most people don’t see them until it’s too late. They account for numerous injuries each year. In La Jolla, lifeguards treated 41 stingray-related injuries during one hot July day. Although stingrays aren’t aggressive on their own, you can’t blame them for getting a little disgruntled when someone steps on them. The initial sting hurts, but what causes real pain is the venom that enters the blood stream.
A sting isn’t fatal, but it can certainly bring a grown man to his knees. The best thing you can do after being stung is stay calm and soak your foot in hot water, which will soothe the wound and draw the venom out. A little swelling after is normal, but if the barb is still in you or if the wound shows signs of infection, see a doctor immediately.
Sharks, particularly white sharks, are found in the coastal surface waters of all major oceans. The largest white sharks are known to have approached or exceeded 20 feet in length and primarily feed on seals and sea lions but also prey on fish, seabirds, and other marine animals.
These apex predators have become a bit of a rarity in Southern California, migrating closer to Baja California and Hawaii. Chances of encountering a shark during your Pacific Beach surf lessons are slim to none. Furthermore, humans are not the preferred prey of sharks, though they are quite curious and may swim near humans to investigate. Pay attention to any shark warnings, and make sure to surf on clear days. Sharks prey by sight and are more likely to mistake you for a tasty seal during murky conditions.
There are so many great ways to get fit and active these days. Of course, many of them can be quite costly. Sports like cycling, tennis, swimming, and dance, all require added expenses, from club memberships to custom cycling jerseys. But running is quite simple. All you need is a good pair of shoes and yourself. Plus, with the extensive health benefits that come of it, running is as popular as ever.
So you have your running clothes all set, but you pull out a pair of sneakers that has seen better days. Good shoes make you a more efficient runner and keep your feet and posture healthy while you’re pounding the pavement, so here are some tips to help you choose the right running shoes.
Considering Foot Size
The most obvious determining factor for the shoes you wear is the size of your feet. Shoe sizes, particularly the lasts, which define the mold and shape of the shoe, aren’t universal and can vary by manufacturer and shoe model, so try the shoes on whenever possible.
Remember that you don’t have to wear a shoe of your gender. The shapes are basically the same. However, most men wear D-width shoes, while most women wear B-width shoes. Men with narrow feet may want to try women’s shoes, while women with wider feet should try men’s shoes.
Specialty running stores may provide custom shoes that form perfectly to your foot shape. It may seem extraneous, but custom running shoes may be the best piece of custom sports apparel you could invest in.
Arches and Motion
The shape of your arch determines the way your foot moves when you run. When you take a step, your heel strikes the ground first. Your heel rolls inward slightly, flattening your arch to cushion the step. Your foot then rolls slightly outward, stiffening to propel your next step.
But not everyone runs the same. You will experience different ranges of that sideways motion with each stride. Pronation describes the initial inward roll after your heel hits the ground. Neutral pronation absorbs impact and relieves pressure on your knees. Neutral pronation is what you want.
Overpronation describes an exaggerated inward roll. This is a fairly common trait that affects many runners, but it also puts them at risk of knee pain and joint injury. Overpronation is caused by flat feet or knock knees. Stability and motion control shoes prevent overpronation.
Supination—or underpronation—is when your foot rolls outward instead of inward. This results in insufficient impact reduction when your foot hits the ground. That could eventually lead to pain and extensive injury in your ankles, knees, and hips. Supination is most common in runners with high arches but can be helped with cushioning and flexibility.
Types of Running Shoes
The three main types of running shoes are:
- Cushioning: These provide extensive shock absorption with minimal arch support. These are optimal for supinators and mild pronators. For off-pavement runs, cushioning shoes are great for neutral runners.
- Motion control: These shoes offer stiffer heels and straighter lasts to counter pronation. Motion control shoes are best suited for overpronators.
- Stability: Stability shoes alleviate basic pronation and are good for neutral runners or those with mild overpronation.
Put some thought into the shoes you run in and you’ll be rewarded for it. Good luck and happy running.
Bikes comprise dozens of parts that come together to keep you going while maximizing the efficiency of each movement. One of the most important parts of a bike are the pedals. If you think your bike isn’t performing properly, you may just need a new set of pedals instead of a full road bike trade-in. Here are some things to consider when choosing pedals.
You have three general pedal types to choose from.
- Flat/platform pedals: You’ll see these on your average mountain or BMX bike. Platform pedals describe any flat pedal without a cage. These typically feature rounded studs on their surface to improve grip and limit injury to your shins and ankles in the event of an accident. Platform pedals are available in disposable plastic units and more expensive units that feature replaceable cartridge bearings and traction pins. The appeal for platform pedals comes in their flexibility: they are compatible with any type of shoe and won’t confine the feet. These are well-suited for newer cyclists, but as you gain experience, you will want to upgrade to a better pedal system.
- Toe cage: Entry-level road bikes are outfitted with standard toe cage pedals. Alternately known as toe straps or toe clips, toe cages feature a full cage that encloses your toes and adjustable straps that you can tighten around your foot. Toe cage pedals are great for beginners. They’re affordable and won’t require cycling shoes. They also increase power in your pedal strokes, allowing you to lend some power to your upstrokes. However, toe cage straps must be adjusted on the fly, while you ride, which means bending over and potentially losing balance.
- Clipless pedals: Clipless pedals come in various shapes but all feature a composite body, spring axles, and a steel pedal. Clipless pedals feature locking mechanisms that keep your foot in place via cleats on your cycling shoes. They’re smaller and lighter than platform pedals, and offer even more control, power, and efficiency than toe cages. Clipless pedals offer the best performance, but you also need shoes specifically designed for the pedals.
Tips for Choosing
Choosing the right pedals depends on your own experience level and the type and amount of riding you plan to do.
Casual riders, the kind who ride to the corner store every now and then, don’t have much need for a clipless system. A toe cage system works well if you have a road bike, but really, a set of platform pedals is perfectly fine.
Road cyclists should definitely ask for a clipless system during a road bike fitting. Clipless pedals offer the most efficient transfer of energy.
Mountain bikers are a bit trickier. As a mountain biker, you need to be able to get out of your pedals quickly when the trails get rough. Clipless pedals help you bunny hop and wheelie over obstacles, but take a lot of trouble to get out of. Toe cages are easier to get out of but will need constant adjusting as you traverse the trails.
Consult the professionals at your local bicycle shop in San Diego if you need help selecting the right pedal system.
Building up a solid morning routine ensures that you start the day off right. No more pressing the snooze button a dozen times before finally getting up. No more rushing to get to work. A good routine is nice and easy, giving your body and mind plenty of time to prepare for the day ahead. Here are five important morning rituals to spice up an otherwise humdrum morning.
Getting in a quick jog or a set of weightlifting and calisthenics jump starts your body and keeps your metabolism up for the rest of the day. Running around your block as soon as you wake up sounds like a horrible idea, but the increased production of endorphins and the first rays of the sun hitting your skin are sure to wake you up better than a cup of coffee.
2. A Shower and a Shave
The best part of a good exercise is the shower after. A good shower not only gets you clean and smelling fresh, but also clears your head and washes away the last remnants of sleepiness. A shower also gets your skin ready for a shave.
The time-honored tradition of many an adult male, shaving is a rite of passage turned awful chore, mainly because of all the nicks and cuts. Although a dull blade has a lot to do with the spots of blood, rushing the process is a big contributor to your razor burn. If you really want to give your shaving routine a boost, learn how to shave with a straight razor. A straight razor not only forces you to slow your roll but turns a shave into a delightful bit of therapy.
3. Your Outfit
Too often, men throw on the first thing they see without any bit of thought. First impressions are everything, and a great outfit that fits well will garner you good attention and enhance your own self-confidence. You don’t have to spend hours trying on different outfits, but with a little consideration, you can find an outfit that looks good, feels comfortable, and matches the day’s weather.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, except that in the modern man’s life, it’s close to nonexistent. Your body needs fuel for the day. Skipping breakfast means your body is running on fumes until lunch, which is much too far. Breakfast keeps your metabolism up, preventing your blood sugar levels from dipping. That dip is what causes you to pig out on unhealthy snacks.
Reading gets the gears in your brain churning again. It doesn’t matter what you read. Read the paper to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world. Read a novel to explore new worlds and enhance your creative juices. Reading is a meditative experience that at once increases your mental faculties and calms your body.
Hopefully with a much improved morning routine, you’ll have no problem waking up and tackling everything that the rest of the day has to offer.
There is only one purchase you can make that is more stressful than buying a new home. When that home is on wheels, of course!
Whether you’re in the market for a new motorhome or used RVs, there are all kinds of places to find the rig that suits you and your family the best. From private sellers to RV dealers, here are some of the most common places people buy their RVs, as well as some helpful info about each place to get you started.
Buying from a private seller has its pros and cons. Generally, if you buy from a private seller, you’ll get a much lower rate than you would from a dealer, since the private seller doesn’t have to play by the same rules of supply and demand.
However, a private seller most likely won’t inspect the rig (or be entirely honest about its condition) before selling it to you. That means you could be paying a great low price, only to end up paying way more in the long run for repairs, maintenance and miscellaneous expenses.
Many used RV buyers grab some great deals at public auctions. But don’t look for RV-only auctions; take a look at your local police auctions or bank repossession auctions for the best stuff. RVs and motorhomes at these types of auctions will often come very cheap and still be in very good condition; they’ve just been reclaimed by the police or the banks because the original owner ran into financial or legal trouble and couldn’t keep the rig any longer.
But you can, and for a great price too.
The dealer is hands-down the best option if you’ve been trying to solve the question, “But what if I want to trade my RV?”
If your rig is in good condition, you may be able to trade it in to offset a sizeable portion of the cost of your new motorhome. This is where research can come in handy: use an online appraisal tool like nadaguides.com to get an objective estimate of the value of your current RV. Use that figure to negotiate with the dealer.
Also keep this in mind: the dealer may give you a higher trade-in value on your old rig if you end up purchasing a more expensive new model. Think about it this way: if you buy a more expensive rig now, it’s value will hold up throughout its lifetime and you’ll get a higher trade-in value for it down the road.
The area of motorhomes most vital to the safety and security of everyone riding inside is where the rubber meets the road. Your tires must be constantly monitored for signs of aging, degradation and weathering to ensure your precious cargo always gets to your next destination.
You don’t have to wait until your next tune-up to give your tires the attention they require. Use this handy guide to learn how to check your tires and keep them spinning flawlessly well past the warranty’s expiration.
Understanding the Lifespan of Tires
It’s important to understand that every tire experiences a completely unique set of instances that can determine how long it will last. This is most obvious when you compare new motorhomes between two separate regions (think the snowy and salty roads of Colorado to the dry and dusty roads of New Mexico), but individual tires on one RV can each experience different elements.
Therefore it is not adequate to simply check one tire on your rig; you must check them all for the following signs of wear.
Treat the Treads
Good tire treads are crucial to the performance of the tires. If your treads are wearing low, you could experience handling issues, especially in inclement weather. Don’t let your treads get thinner than 6/32” deep, or about the length of your pinky fingernail.
Also make sure your treads are wearing evenly; if the outside is wearing faster than the inside, you may need a tire rotation as soon as possible, or it could even mean that your tire balance is off and must be adjusted right away.
Watch the Sidewalls
If you let your RV sit idly for too long, you may see evidence of cracks and erosion on the side of your tires. Believe it or not, this only happens when your tires are idle. The best prevention is to simply use your RV, or at least take it on a few spins around the block every week.
Take note of these signs that it’s time to change the tires: exposed steel, mesh or other materials underneath the rubber; cracks larger than 1/16” deep; buildup of white salty residue (excessive salt exposure can eat through rubber, and it’s common around oceans or where salt is applied to roadways to melt ice).
When it comes to the tire on your new Itasca RV, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Change the tires whenever you feel unsure about their stability, or if you detect any of the signs listed above.
RV insurance is a complicated monster.
Insurance for motorhomes is more complex than your regular car insurance since you spend a considerably larger amount of time in an RV and you cover a much more vast geographic area. Plus, an RV can do much more damage to life and property compared to a much smaller sedan.
Below you’ll find some of the more confusing areas of RV insurance. Read on to find out what they mean and how they’ll affect your premiums. These are the things you’ll have to take into account when choosing an insurance company before purchasing that RV for sale.
Though this isn’t common, many owners of Tiffin motorhomes can claim that their RV is their primary residence. This is generally only true if you spend more time in your rig than you do in a permanent structure, or if your RV is truly the only place you bed down.
In this case, your insurance company can tailor your plan to mimic that of regular homeowner’s insurance. After all, if your RV is parked (and remains parked throughout the year), you don’t need regular auto insurance since your RV isn’t being used as an automobile.
Time on the Road
The more days out of the year that you’re in your RV, the higher the chance will be that you could get into an accident. For that reason, an insurance carrier will charge you higher premiums if you spend 180 days on the road compared to 50 days out of the year.
For seasonal RVers who bought from Arizona RV dealers, you may even be able to get a plan that combines aspects of the homeowner’s insurance with RV insurance to protect your belongings from events that can occur while your parked or out on the road.
This is just like getting a deal for good behavior. If you’re an experienced driver without accidents or moving violations on your record, you’ll be able to pay lower premiums. But if you’ve been in several accidents and have a litany of violations on your driving record, the insurance company will see you as a liability and charge you more money each month to keep you insured.
You’ll also see your premiums rise and fall based on a few other factors: if you tow an automobile, if your rig itself is towed, if there are other drivers, and even if you venture into highly populated regions like New York and New Jersey.
If you are a pilot, you know the joy of flying freely in the sky at your leisure. This is something many people long to do. While being a passenger is a rewarding experience, there is nothing quite like getting behind the wheel of a machine miles in the air. Not having the proper gear on board is an unnecessary risk, however, which is why it is important to perform a pre-flight checklist before you ever leave the runway. There are a few supplies which every private pilot needs to carry, especially if they are flying solo.
To stay safe and ensure your trip is complication-free, take the time to make sure you have what you need. For instance, equipping your aircraft with a portable fuel tank trailer allows you to refuel in an emergency situation. You never want to underestimate your fuel needs, especially if the length of your destination requires more than a full tank. Shop around for aviation fuel storage tanks as these devices are specifically manufactured to carry fuel for planes.
Private Pilot Essentials
- Pilot’s operating handbook: Regardless of how experienced you are or how many flight hours you have logged, a POH is the one item every private pilot needs. This manual offers vital information about flying an aircraft. Any expert knows that responsible pilots fly prepared.
- A GATS jar: This device works in conjunction with the diesel fuel transfer tanks you may have on board. It allows you to safely filter your fuel of potential contaminants that could cause problems with your airplane’s fuel tank. Clogged lines are not worth the risk.
- A quality headset: When in flight, you need to be able to acutely and clearly hear any and all transmissions that could affect your trip. In the event of an emergency, you want to ensure that your communication with an operator is crisp and free of obstructions.
- GPS: Even if your destination is just miles down the road or in an area you are familiar with, a GPS system is a must-have. The key to responsible flying is always preparing for the unexpected. If your aircraft’s electronic navigation system is damaged or rendered unusable, will you be able to safely reach your landing zone?
- Sunglasses: Quality eyewear allows you to clearly see the controls and also keeps your eyes safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Flashlight: This is one item that every pilot needs to have quick access to. If you are going to be flying at night, you will need to be able to adequately see inside the cockpit.
- A quality flight bag: Keeping your items organized in a designated place is essential for a safe trip. Spend the money on a bag that is durable and contains enough pockets and storage space for all your supplies.
When you’re miles in the air, it doesn’t hurt to be too prepared, so pack your supplies and enjoy your flight.
Before you enter a bike shop, you should have a clear idea of your recreational needs and the type of cycle that interests you. Those looking for leisurely treks will require a different unit than those interested in biking for strenuous exercise. If you are in the market for a newer, state-of-the-art cycle or one for a different purpose than your current model, you may want to look into pursuing a road bike trade in for a more cost effective approach. Contact a reputable bicycle shop in San Diego to determine the right bike for you. Here are some tips to find that perfect bike.
- Road bike fitting is an essential service provided by cycle dealerships in order to comfortably fit each rider to his own personalized bike. Rather than trying to adjust the individual to a bike frame or style, it makes much more sense to invest in a unit that is made to suit your personal, unique needs. Let’s face it, if you don’t enjoy being on the bike, you won’t ride it.
- Get educated about the types of bicycles on the market and which bikes are better suited for your own recreational needs. Road bikes are well suited to those cyclists who commute, race professionally, or are looking for a reliable exercise bike. If you love the great outdoors and are looking for the perfect bike for off road use or rough terrain, a mountain bike would better suit your needs. Hybrid bikes can serve both purposes, while cruising bikes are designed more for comfort.
- You should seek assistance from reliable shops that offer a good inventory and a range of quality products. Shop around before you make an informed decision.
- Take a test ride before you buy. It is essential that you feel comfortable and well equipped to take on your ventures from day one.
- Don’t let price be the only deciding factor. A cheaper model may prove disappointing in some vital areas, while an expensive model may not prove to be the best option for you.
- Don’t dismiss used bikes. Reputable dealers will often have used inventory available from quality trade ins. Find out what the current condition of the bike is and what service it may require to determine if it may be a more cost-effective choice.
- Determine if the shop offers free service with purchases, including maintenance, tire air, and tune-ups. Quality shops often provide customers with these desirable perks.
- Plan ahead to include essential items, like riding and safety gear, when you buy. Your purchase will be more enjoyable if necessary costs are spent beforehand as part of the overall budget.
- Look for the best bike sales during the winter months, which is the off-season for biking.
- Brand isn’t everything, but research the bicycle company before you buy. Any warranty is an important deciding factor and will help you avoid high repair and maintenance costs in the future.
Be smart about the bike you choose now and it will last you well into your riding career.