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Matt

Matt

Monday, 25 June 2018 21:56

Down on the Farm

So, you like to eat, do you?

Fruit juice, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Cream in the coffee. A fresh salad for lunch. For dinner, a juicy steak, maybe, grilled to perfection under the awning outside your RV, along with a baked potato and sweet corn. Ice cream with fresh berries or a Georgia peach sliced overtop for dessert. Peanuts for an evening snack with drinks.

Yeah, I know: I’m feeling hungry, too.

All that delicious food might have been purchased at a supermarket, but it started out on a farm—except for the coffee, there’s a good chance it was a Georgia farm. Lots of planning, work and care—and these days, technology— go into every farm that produces great food. Touring a Georgia farm or two to see how it’s done, and maybe even picking some fruit yourself, will make you appreciate your meal for more than how it tastes.

rv crossing creeks ga peach councilHere are some places in Georgia that invite you to learn firsthand about agriculture:

White Oak Pastures
22775 Highway 27
Bluffton, GA 39824

A five-generation working family farm, White Oak Pastures raises grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas and hogs. It slaughters the animals in one of only two USDA-inspected on-farm abattoirs in the nation. You can dine in the White Oak Pastures farm-to-table restaurant for lunch Monday-Saturday and for diner Friday or Saturday evening. Stay in one of the on-farm cabins. The general store sells handcut meat, seasonal sausages, preserves and pickled items. Tour the farm on foot (wear boots—it’s muddy!) or prearrange a tour on horseback.

White Oak Pastures is a five-hour drive from Blairsville in the state’s south, about three hours south of Atlanta.  

Vidalia Onion Museum

How sweet is this? The Vidalia Onion Museum tells you everything you wanted to know—and maybe more—about the Vidalia onion. The Vidalia onion is exceptionally sweet, partly because it is grown around Vidalia in all or parts of 20 Georgia counties where the soil lacks high sulfur content. This sweet onion was discovered quite by accident during the Great Depression. According to the USDA, you can’t call an onion a Vidalia if it’s grown in California or Pennsylvania or anyplace other than those counties, even if it’s one of the species that becomes a Vidalia onion. These onions are a rarity in that they’re hand-cultivated. You can also pick up some recipes at the museum and some delicious onions almost anywhere you travel around Vidalia from April through the summer.

The Vidalia Onion Museum is about 4 hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville, and about 2½ hours southeast of Atlanta. Admission is free of charge.

Southern Belle Farm
1658 Turner Church Road
McDonough, GA 30252

Fruit doesn’t get any fresher than when it comes right from the farm. Southern Belle Farm grows lots of it: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and 10 varieties of peaches. You can pick your own when each crop is in season or buy pre-picked items, plus jams, honey and other products, at the farm’s Country Market. For the summer, count on blackberries, blueberries and peaches. The farm grows vegetables too. This is a real family experience. In Belle’s Barn you can see chickens, donkeys, cows, calves, goats and horses.

Southern Belle Farm is about 2 hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville. McDonough is about a half-hour southeast of Atlanta.

Photo Credit: White Oak Pastures

Wednesday, 20 June 2018 21:29

Sampling Georgia Brewpubs

Nothing is better with a summer meal than an ice cold craft beer.

Georgia is home to several brewpubs, where you can get good food and beer brewed on the premises. There are enough Georgia brewpubs to put together a really enjoyable tour in summer—or any time of year.

A brewpub serves food and its own beer. Some distribute their beers for sale by retailers and other restaurants; some sell only to onsite customers. Annual output may range from a few hundred to maybe 7,500 barrels a year.

Obviously, you’ll have to drink responsibly and drive the following day to your next destination. To make this trip extra safe, download the Uber app or the Lyft app to your iPhone or Android device so you can get safely ot wherever you’re staying. The apps are free.

Consider these brewpubs for your tour:

Wrecking Bar Brewpub
292 Moreland Avenue, NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

Widely honored in Atlanta and nationwide, the Wrecking Bar Brewpub occupies a late Victorian hybrid building that has been a home, a church, a dance studio and, before its current incarnation, an architectural antiques shop called the Wrecking Bar. The building near Inman Park was designed by architect Willis F. Denny, who designed other key Atlanta structures in the early 20th Century.

The Wrecking Bar menu revolves for food and drink. Brunch, anyone? Try Choco Mountain Imperial Breakfast Stout, with flavors including bittersweet dark chocolate, mocha, dark fruit, oats and wheat, and a half-gallon of Guatemala Antigua cold-press coffee in every barrel. Later, try the truly light Fruit at the Bottom Mango-Pineapple Milkshake IPA. Among the ingredients are lactose and vanilla beans. It’s very smooth.

Recent dinner entrees included Salmon Tagliatelle and slow smoked Aspen Ridge Brisket. The crew will help you pair any entree with a Wrecking Bar brew or other libation.

Cherry Street Brewing Co-op (Rick Tanner’s)
5810 Bond Street
Cumming, GA 30040

Rick Tanner’s Cherry Street Co-Op brewpub was the Grand National Champion of the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship. It won three gold, a silver and two bronze medals. Its location is Vickery Village in Cumming, Forsythe County, about 20 minutes northeast of Atlanta.

Choose from 25 of its brews on tap in the Cherry Street Taproom. There’s a whiskey-tinged brew, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Biere de Garde, and what the pub bills as the “wee heavy” Strong Scotch Nitro, an ale. With dessert, try the unique Coconut Porter. The bar packages some beers for takeout. Dining is informal, featuring Rick Tanner’s Rotisserie Chicken, well-known around Atlanta. Added to that recently are handcut steaks and grilled fish.

Nighttime and weekend entertainment, from live music to trivia competitions and cornhole tournaments, is common.

Reformation Brewery
500 Arnold Mill Way, Suite A
Woodstock, GA 30188

Moderation and balance in all things. That statement is behind the philosophy of Reformation Brewery “to set beer free.” The Woodstock, GA, eatery and brewhouse says it values everyone’s story. The Reformation story began with a homebrew that outgrew the number of guests who could drink it. After five years of home brewing, the brewery was born.

Woodstock is about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta on Highway 5, via I-75 and I-285. Reformation plans to open a new pub at 105 Elm Street in Woodstock in August. The original brewery was a nice gathering spot but had food only on special occasions. Queenie’s, a Southern-style restaurant in Woodstock, will operate the kitchen at the new brewpub.

Patrons will be able to offer opinions on up to 24 unique brews to help guide production decisions. Upstairs will be the Study, with booths, sofas, chairs and a second bar. A gathering hall will have games, a giant screen and space for a singer-songwriter to perform. Reformation will preserve an ancient elm on the grounds, enhancing outdoor events.

Brews include rotating IPAs from Wander North Georgia, the award-winning Cadence Belgian-style dubbel, Haddy Belgian-style white ale, and Stark, a toasted porter. A sampler of canned brews is available for takeout.

Check out detailed list of Georgia brewpubs and breweries.

Monday, 07 May 2018 17:17

Preventing Interior RV Mold & Mildew

The high humidity and heat in Georgia summers can cause an unwanted problem in RVs: interior mold or mildew growth. Mold and mildew can trigger allergic reactions, headaches, irritated eyes, sore throats and nasal congestion.

Prevention is possible, although eliminating all sources of moisture in an RV is not: The shower, sink and cooking will increase moisture levels. You can, however, reduce interior moisture to 50 percent or less.

RV Window Shade, Insulation

RV Crossing Creeks Blog ReflectivDouble-pane insulated windows found on luxury RVs and upgraded lower-cost models do for an RV what they do for a home: prevent condensation on the interior side of the window. They do that with an empty pocket between the outer and inner panes that decreases temperature transfer.

Tinted or reflective panes also help because they reduce interior heat buildup. That’s important because heated air holds more moisture than cooler air.  

You can buy tint and fit it to the inside surface of single-pane RV windows as long as it’s permitted where you license your RV. It usually takes just scissors to trim the flexible plastic sheet, a spray bottle to apply water, and a squeegee to press the wet film onto the window.

More effective against interior heat buildup is window insulation. You can buy custom covers or make them yourself from a roll of insulated Reflectix or similar material. Place these inside or, if the weather is producing extreme, prolonged heat, outside windows when you are parked.

Measure the window and cut the Reflectix larger than the opening. You also can make a pattern out of newspaper sheets. Work in the shade; the silver finish on Reflectix can be painfully bright in sunlight. Place the cutout against the window from the inside and tuck it into place. Trim excess with a utility knife.

RV Dehumidifiers

Reduce humidity inside your RV with a dehumidifier.

motorhome dehumidifier smallThere are three kinds:

  1. Desiccant. Smaller desiccant dehumidifiers typically need no power to operate. They’re good for closets or cabinets but won’t handle the moisture in an entire RV. Silica gel or another moisture-absorbing desiccant pulls water from the air—maybe an ounce or two a day. When the pellets are saturated, they are discarded or recharged by plugging the unit into a wall outlet. Cost: $15-$20.
  2. Thermo-electric. These are great for RVs. The best choice is one that operates on either 110 or 12 volts. With no moving parts, they are quiet. Using the Peltier process, the units heat one side of a circuit board and cool the other, causing condensation to form on the cool side and drip into a plastic tank. These typically remove a pint of water a day, often less. You’ll have to empty the tank every two or three days or attach a hose for continuous draining. Cost: $35-$100.
  3. Condenser. Because they require 110-volt electrical service to operate, condenser dehumidifiers run only off a generator or a campsite dock. These units are noisier but can remove up to 70 pints per day. Compressed coolant in coils results in condensation that drips into a reservoir. You may have to empty daily or connect a hose for continuous drainage. Cost: $175-$200.  

One more thing: Be sure to kill any mold or mildew you find with a cleaning agent containing a disinfectant.

Image Credits: Ivation, Reflectixinc.com

Music festivals in Georgia satisfy nearly any musical taste. Georgia festivals already are underway, with the season picking up steam as the temperatures rise in May and continue through summer.

Venues are easily accessed by driving from Crossing Creeks Luxury RV Resort, with at least one—the Georgia Mountain Fair—only 15 miles and 20 minutes away.

Music genres include jazz, hip hop, rap, indie rock, electronic dance, bluegrass and Gospel. Some music events double up with arts and craft fairs, amusement rides or prayer services.  Many are two- or three-day events, one runs a week and the biggest—the Atlanta Jazz Festival—runs the entire month of May. Costs range from free to several hundred dollars for multi-day events.

Atlanta Jazz Festival

RV Crossing Creeks DianeReeves

The Atlanta Jazz Festival hits the trifecta: It’s huge, it’s critically acclaimed, and it’s free. Billed as 31 Days of Music, it offers performances from rising talents throughout May at venues around the city: the airport, Chattahoochee Hills, Peachtree Center, the Suite Jazz Lounge, and city parks.

The top acts entertain Memorial Day weekend on the Next Gen Stage, Contemporary Stage and the Legends Stage, al in Piedmont Park. The Saturday show closes with an 11 p.m. Late Night Jazz Jam at Park Tavern with the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra. Headliners in 2018 include vocalist Dianne Reeves, Joe Batiste with the Dap Kings, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, The Bad Plus and The Fuller Quartet. It’s a two-hour drive to Piedmont Park. Throughout May; featured acts, May 26-27.

Electronic, Indie, Hip Hop: Shaky Beats Music Festival

What a party! The Shaky Beats Music Festival in Atlanta’s Central Park books nearly 50 acts playing indie rock, electronic music or hip hop. Headliners are Marshmello, Friday; Zedd, Saturday; and Kygo, Sunday. Late shows start at 11 p.m. for attendees 18 and older. Ticket prices are $95 for one day or $179 for three days. The drive is two hours, more or less. May 11-13.

Christian: AtlantaFest

Billing itself as THE Christian Music Festival, AtlantaFest attracts some of the biggest names in Christian entertainment to Six Flags over Georgia. Featured in 2018 are Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey, Michael W. Smith, Mandisa, Phil Wickham and Tedashii, taking turns on the Main Stage on June 14, 15 or 16. The complete schedule includes other entertainment, speakers and worship. No alcohol, tobacco or pets. Tickets start at $51 for one day, to $115 for all three days. Group tickets are $100 for the full festival. Figure on a two-hour drive to Six Flags. June 14-16.  

Country, Gospel: Georgia Mountain Fair

RV Crossing Creeks The Bellamy Brothers wikipedia

The annual Georgia Mountain Fair means country in the country. The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds are just 15 miles from Blairsville in Hiawassee. Headliners include the Bellamy Brothers, Joe Diffie, Malpass Brothers, comic Etta May and British Invasion pop legends Herman’s Hermits. The Sunday Gospel show features The McKameys, The Primitives and The Inspirations. RV campsites start at $26 a day. July 20-28.  

Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival

The Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival in Dallas, GA, is a two-hour drive from Blairsville. The festival runs Friday ($10) and Saturday ($20), but a weekend pass is $25. The Wiseman Brothers are booked for Saturday. This family event allows no smoking, alcohol or pets in the covered concert area. Because of the sheltered vene, the event runs rain or shine. July 13,14.

For more information on schedules, ticketing and parking availability, visit the respective event websites above. Discover more Georgia music events on the music festivals page of Georgia.org.

 

Photo Credits: Wikipedia, Dianareeeves.com, georgiamountainfairgrounds.com

Thursday, 05 April 2018 20:31

Adding Hands-Free Calling to Your RV

If you’re a family where cell phones and vehicles last for years, you may be missing out on the latest tech features and conveniences, including hands-free calling.

But don’t think you have to scrap your older but perfectly maintained Ram, F-150 or Silverado tow vehicle, or an old but trusted dinghy, just to get something as simple as hands-free calling. That would be as wasteful as buying a new cell phone every time the manufacturers bring out a new model—which, as with truck manufacturers, is every year, or close to it.

To be able to safely take a call or make a call while driving should be a priority. In some states, it’s not even legal to take or make a call any other way while on the road. Fumbling with a phone can take your eyes off the road longer than you might think. An AAA analysis of data from the Virginia Tech Transportation Safety Institute indicates that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chance of an accident.

Here are affordable ways to get hands-free calling.

Aftermarket Radio

Rv Pioneer Deh S4000bt

Many aftermarket radios facilitate a wireless connection between the radio and phone. Incoming calls go directly to the radio for two-way conversation if you enable the phone before driving. And you’ll be able to place a call hands-free with voice recognition.

A quality aftermarket radio provides other advantages, too, such as Sirius radio reception (with a paid subscription), better AM/FM reception, and an input for external devices such as an iPod. Bluetooth would mean no physical connection is needed for music or calls. In vast stretches where radio reception is nonexistent, being able to play your favorite music or an audio book can help you to relax and keep you alert.

Make sure the radio you buy is compatible with your year, make and model vehicle. Sometimes inexpensive dashboard fillers are needed; to fit, an aftermarket radio can be too small, but not to bigYou can keep your old speakers if they’re in good shape.

Cost: $150-300 for radio; $0-75 installation; $10 per month and up for Sirius subscription

Cell Phone Interface

As an alternative, you can add an aftermarket device that mimics General Motors’ OnStar and handles your incoming and outgoing cell calls.

A good example is the Hum from Verizon. This small black box clips onto the driver’s sun visor. It’s physically unobtrusive and reasonably attractive.

The Hum and similar devices wirelessly link to all cell phone calls while you’re driving. A microphone picks up your voice and a speaker plays the incoming call. Since Hum’s wireless receiver plugs into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port, it alerts you to potential problems, and it knows when your car breaks down or is in an accident. A service provider will call and ask you if you need assistance. You also can tell it to call 911.

If you use your vehicle for business, it logs your location and mileage. Logging miles just for calculating fuel mileage or maintenance needs is helpful.

Hum has an internal battery that must be recharged every month or so by plugging a cord into your vehicle’s power outlet. If you forget to recharge and your battery runs low, you’ll get an email reminding you to do so.

RV HUM manfacturer

Cost: $80-$100 to buy the device, plus $10 per month service.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018 20:26

Car Show Season Revving Up in Georgia

Nothing turns your head faster and farther than beauty—an old car that’s dressed to the nines. OK, almost nothing. But classic and custom cars do beg for your attention, and thousands—seriously, thousands— will be on display at car shows throughout Georgia during 2018, all an easy drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa in Blairsville.

Car shows begin in earnest in April and May. Many are spring, summer or fall events. One of Georgia’s shows claims that it’s the world’s largest monthly show, running even through the winter.

Car shows in Georgia offer a chance to view a wide variety of vehicles:

  • Classics, which are at least 30 years old and maintained in or restored to original condition, ranging from sports cars to family sedans.
  • Hot rods, which are customized cars built between 1920 and 1948, usually chrome-laden, impeccably finished and powerful.
  • Rat rods, the same age as hot rods and similarly customized for power, but often made to look unfinished or even worn—“ratted out.”
  • Street rods, which are built for reliable cruising, with more power amenities than hot rods, even air conditioning.
  • Muscle cars, which originated in the 1960s with the Pontiac GTO and include pony cars, named after the Ford Mustang.
  • Tuner cars, which are recent and current models, mostly foreign marques, and often Volkswagens and Audis, with power bolstered by electronic tuning and turbochargers.
  • Motorcycles and, occasionally, tractors.

Choose a show that attracts the type of vehicles you love. If you have kids, the tuner car shows, with cars like the ones in the “The Fast and The Furious” movies, might be a good way to hold their interest.

Car shows in Georgia include not only annual displays, but also monthly or even weekly gatherings.

RV 55 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad wikimedia.org

Upcoming Shows

In its 73rd year is the Pine Tree Festival Car Sow at Main Street Market, Swainsboro, on May 5. It’s sponsored by South Georgia Car Shows, whose facebook page lists other automotive showcases in Georgia. Check out Pine Tree on facebook, too. Cars run the gamut, from old through the muscle era to today’s performance cars. Attendance is free.

Events often combine philanthropy and cars. An example is the annual Exchange Club of Wayne County Benefit Car Show on June 9 at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jessup. Sponsored by Wayne County Cruisers, the show helps to fund the Exchange Club’s charities. It features nine judged categories, including trucks, rods, motorcycles and tractors, and awards the top choices of attendees.

Some shows run monthly. Caffeine and Octane (is there a difference?) showcases cars on the first Sunday of every month year round in Dunwoody, north of Atlanta. It bills itself as the world’s largest monthly car show. The shows, which contribute to an NBCSN TV series, are at Perimeter Mall. It’s free—even entering a car is free. It’s also early: 8-11 a.m. On display are classics, muscle cars, modern performance cars, imports, exotics, rare vehicles and motorcycles. There are plenty of places to eat and grab a drink, including morning coffee.

Atlanta has several other shows, including a couple that combine fashion and rolling metal. Check eventbrite.com.

There are too many car shows to list. Just Google car shows Georgia and you’ll find plenty more. If you want to take the motorhome out and really travel, SoutherTravelGuide.net has a Southern states car show list.

By the way, we haven’t found one yet that judges RVs, but you never know.

RV ford rat rod wikimedia

Friday, 09 March 2018 17:21

Affordable RV Security Measures

To protect your valuables when you’re away from your RV, any of several security measures—or a combination—can help without breaking the bank.

At Crossing Creeks RV Resort, you rest easy because the park has security, you know your neighbors, and they know you. But what about when you’re on the road?

Any of the following will enhance RV security:

Security System

The cost of an effective security system has dropped. It’s possible to get a motion detector that automatically alerts a monitoring service, police or you when it detects a break-in. The best systems, when they detect a break-in, place a cell call automatically.

The Tattletale, for instance, sits on a desktop or counter and is battery powered. It has a built-in motion detector and optional exterior detectors. Everything is wireless. It can be set to prevent false alarms from pets.

Price: $400, plus $21-$29 monthly for monitoring.

V4SquareLeftE 1024x1024

Motion-Sensing Exterior Lights

If someone approaches the RV, the infrared-detecting fixture senses the heat given off by the body and lights up. Intruders don’t want to be seen, and sometimes this is enough to discourage them. Installation and connection to the 12-volt electrical system is simple. Some models are battery-powered. Look for one that blinks to warn of a low battery.

Price: $30-$60

Solenoid-Operated Deadbolts

It’s not hard to come up with a key that will open another RV: Manufacturers make only a few unique key cuts and tumblers. That makes locks on an RV more vulnerable than those on your home.

Much stronger than standard RV door latches are solenoid-operated deadbolts. They also are more difficult to override. Solenoid deadbolts need electrical power. Some are hard-wired with contacts on the door and doorframe. Others use batteries, which you would need to replace from the inside yearly. Solenoid locks open either with a keypad on the outside of the door, or by buttons on a pocket fob—perfect when your hands are full of groceries. You set the combination, so the chances that an intruder can steal the code are slight.

You must choose a model that will fit your door.

Price: $150-250

A Dog

Sound corny? Don’t pooh-pooh it. A dog that is protective of its turf and barks at the sound of someone outside the RV actually is quite a deterrent.

He doesn’t have to be big and ferocious, but it helps if he sounds that way. A “Beware of Dog” sign doesn’t hurt. The downside: The interior must be cool enough so that the dog’s health isn’t threatened, and the time you’re away is limited by his bodily demands. Still, a dog is effective. You’ll have to train, feed and groom a dog, but he’ll repay you in companionship, in addition to guard duty.

Price: Variable; adopting cuts your purchase cost.

dog RV security wikimedia

Wheel, Hitch Locks

If you’re worried about your RV itself being stolen, try a wheel lock. A boot type lock prevents the wheel from turning and blocks access to the lug nuts, the same way a boot prevents movement of a parking ticket scofflaw’s vehicle. A hitch lock prevents hooking up to your hitch ball.

mster lock trailer hitch lock 38.95 master lockcoocheer wheel lock manufacturer

Price: $30-$60

Friday, 09 March 2018 17:10

Columbus, GA: Short Drive to History

Columbus, GA, provides a wealth of history and touring opportunities for visitors, and though you might not expect it, excellent whitewater sports on the Chattahoochee River.

The city of about 190,000 lies across the river from Alabama in southwest Georgia. It’s an easy drive of about 3½ hours by Interstate 85 south, or by taking the scenic route over Georgia 515 West.

Columbus, named after the explorer, was a native American trading center, then an industrial center since before the Civil War. The war’s last significant battle, between armies commanded by Union Gen. James H. Wilson and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was fought in and near Columbus. Johnston’s army actually capitulated after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union Gen. U.S. Grant. Among the wounded: chemist John S. Pemberton of Columbus, said to have developed the recipe for Coca-Cola as part of his recuperation.

Columbus is along the fall line, where mountains north and west of the city spill their river waters onto the plains that run from Columbus to the Atlantic Ocean.

Some things to do in Columbus:

Military Museums

Columbus is the home of the Army’s Fort Benning, which trains infantry. It’s only fitting that the city also contains the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, adjacent to the fort entrance. See likenesses of U.S. fighting men and women in uniforms of different eras. “The Final Hundred Yards” depicts infantry warfare from eight battles.

The National Civil War Naval Museum recounts a developmental time for maritime warfare. The Civil War advanced the steamship and introduced ironclads, which were armored ships designed to deflect cannon fire. Many civil war battles were fought in and around river ports, with naval activity launched from rivers, not the Atlantic Ocean. The museum contains remnants of ships rescued from the Columbus River, and re-creations of Union and Confederate ironclads. The Water Witch is a full-size replica of a Union side wheeler captured by the Confederates; it served both sides during the war.

Columbus Riverwalk

The 15-mile Chattahoochee Riverwalk follows the river for much of its length through and adjacent to Columbus. Walk or bike the trail, from the city’s northern limits to the gate of Fort Benning and the National Infantry Museum on the south.

Columbus riverwalk Gary Deloach Wikipedia

Black Heritage Trail

A National Recreation Trail, the Black Heritage Trail of Columbus is a walking tour that connects buildings and other places important to regional black history. The tour includes brick streets laid by slaves. The “Ma” Rainey House was the home of Gertrude Pridgett Rainey, an early-20th century recording artist and “Mother of the Blues.” Spencer High School, originally an all-black high school, was integrated in the 1970s, largely by children of Fort Benning families. Churches, libraries, cemeteries and two theaters also are on the tour. Walk, bike or skate the trail.

Urban Whitewater Sports

Columbia’s 2.5-mile whitewater rafting and kayaking course is the world’s longest urban stretch. If you dare, cross the Chattahoochee round trip between Georgia and Alabama, suspended on the Blue Heron Adventure/Whitewater Express zip line at speeds up to 40 mph.

Columbus whitewater wikipedia

Other Columbus sights: Columbus Museum, Columbus Botanical Garden, Coca Cola Science Center, Heritage Corner.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 17:32

Convenient 12-Volt Power Accessories for Your RV

In an RV, tools often are best if 12-volt powered, since the power circuit of your RV is 12-volt.

Here are a few good ones.

Compact vacuum

RV BD BDH1200FVAV12VRV stanley wet dry

A 12-volt vacuum is a major convenience. Small, lightweight vacs are ideal when storage is at a premium. If you live in your RV only a few weeks a year, you’ll probably use the 12-volt vac to keep things tidy. Rely on a bigger vacuum that works off 110-volt house current and is stored elsewhere for thorough seasonal cleanings.

You can go a couple of different ways: A dry vac, such as the Black & Decker BDH1200FAV, or in case of spills, a compact wet/dry vac, such as the Stanley Wet/Dry 1-gallon 12-Volt Vacuum.

Price:  B&D, about $35; Stanley, about $40.

Compact air compressor

RV Northern Tool Klutch

With the compressor, you can fill a compressed air tank or directly inflate a tire.

A compressor with a good compromise of capabilities, price and size is the Klutch 12-Volt High Volume Air Inflator 52509 from Northern Tool. It has a maximum 120 PSI capacity and 2.1 CFM airflow, both better than only slightly cheaper compressors. The cables with battery clips are 8 feet, and the coiled air hose extends to 16 feet, so you’ll be able to reach just about anywhere you have to. It can fill a tire on a full-size pickup in a minute, and it can run uninterrupted for 15 minutes. In its carrying case, it takes up about 1 cubic foot. Price: About $65.

Rechargeable spotlight

RV Brinkman amazon

If you lose something tiny in the camper at night — an earring, maybe — or you have an emergency outside the camper, a really bright light helps. The Brinkman QBeam 800-2380-W handheld spot is rated at 1 million candlepower. It uses two lithium-ion batteries, so it’s rechargeable, meaning it doesn’t have to be tethered. It can be used while plugged into a 110-volt or 12-volt circuit. The batteries can be recharged while in the unit or while removed.

The plastic casing is tough, and the lens is tempered glass to resist breaking. The light and parts, including charger and cords, store in a vinyl bag.

Price: $69.

ThermoElectric Cooler

cooler

This is great if you have no refrigerator, or if your built-in refrigerator is too small. A 29-quart cooler can store two or three days of food to help keep you on the move without having to stop for restocking. Or it can hold 28 12-ounce cans; that’s a lot of beer and soda if the party ends up at your campsite. It cools to within 40 degrees of the ambient temperature.

The Koolatron Voyager Cooler doesn’t throw off a lot of heat. You can use the well-insulated fridge as a chest or as a vertical unit. The plastic casing cleans easily. It measures less than 18 inches square and weighs 13 pounds.

Price: About $120.

Some things to think about: If your product comes only with a cigarette lighter plug, or only with alligator clips for connection to a car battery, pick up the other type and an extension so you’re ready for any use. An air tank will fill a tire faster, plus it can be used with a compressed air hose to blow things clean, so add a tank if you don’t have one.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 17:24

A Place in Georgia with Snow

Maybe you travel as a family, and the kids are along, or maybe the grandkids are traveling to Crossing Creeks RV Resort to spend some time with you.

If they came down from the North, one of them is bound to say, “I miss snow. It’s winter. There ought to be snow.”

Hmm. Unless you travel out of state and hit a ski resort (there are none left in Georgia), that’s not likely to happen. And if you don’t ski, well ….  

Go to Atlanta. Atlanta? For snow? Well, it’s not far from there.

It’s at Stone Mountain Park, about 16 miles east of the city.

The snow is made by machine, and it gets the job done. Many ski resorts on the edge of snow country make their own snow, especially in warm winters.

And what exactly do you do with manmade snow outside Atlanta?

Go snow tubing.

Tubing That Rocks

Kids love this.

The side of a hill — call it Snow Mountain, please — has lanes created in the snow, so it looks like a giant white sliding board. Starting at the top, tubers park themselves in the doughnut hole of their tubes. And off they go, down the hill — for run after run. A Snow Mountain session is two hours. You can get your own adult pass to go tubing, too. It’s a pretty gentle ride, so don’t be afraid. With the lanes separated, you won’t go bounding into other tubers, and they won’t crash into you. There are even family-sized tubes — rafts, really.

After sunset, the Snow Mountain tubing run turns into Galactic Snow Tubing. It’s along the lines of nighttime laser bowling, or spooky miniature golfing around Halloween — lights, but with snow rather than bowling lanes or putting greens. The colors on the white snow make for quite a show. Remix versions of Top 40 tunes play over the sound system, with the lights keeping time to the music.

You’ll need advance registration.

Your daily pass includes two hours of tubing, so reserve time at 4:30 or later to experience the Galactic light and sound show, which starts at 5:30.

Playing in the Snow

When they’re not tubing, kids can just play in the SnowZone, building snowmen, getting on their back to make snow angels and just plain having fun. Snow Mountain runs Nov. 8 Feb. 25.

Make sure you dress the kids appropriately. If they don’t have snow pants, layer them and get them into something warm and dry as soon as you get back into the RV.  Hats, gloves and boots are all good ideas, especially the gloves.

You can get a variety of passes, some including entertainment and/or a meal, if you plan to be there for the day. There’s also a daytime Christmas exhibit. Holiday packages are available for RVers and must include an arrival or departure date that falls within Dec. 2-3, 8-10 or 15-31, and Jan. 1-3. There’s also an early New Year’s Eve party for kids on Dec. 31 that ends before midnight.

Camping includes full- and partial hookup sites, tent sites, and stationary RV and yurt rentals. Multi-day packages for RVs are available, as are in/out privileges.

Price: $31.95 to $54.95 per person (daily). Holiday RV cost (2-night stay): $159 (includes 2 single-day park passes) to $262 (4 single-day park passes), plus $15 parking fee; additional passes @$25/person. Check for snow park availability. Camp open Christmas Day, but park closed.

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