CampLand’s Season-Long Game of Camping Fun & Adventure will feature dozens of places to go and things to do.  Here is a small sample:

Camping Michigan State Park

Camp at Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls Park

Camp at Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Score extra points by taking a photo of a family member in their Amazing Camp-Land Race tee shirt with the Falls in the background.

You might even consider a week-long trip around Lake Michigan via the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge!   Michigan’s Upper Penisula has much to offer for campers.




Illinois' Lincoln New Salem Historic Site

Rutledge Tavern at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site.

Camp at Illinois’ Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site.      

Step back  150 years and see Lincoln’s New Salem the way it looked when Abraham Lincoln was a young adult.  See Rutledge Tavern, the General Store where Lincoln worked and many other authentic log buildings.  Visit the Visitor Center Museum.

Score extra points by taking a photo of a family member in their Amazing Camp-Land Race tee shirt in the Blacksmith Shop.




Camp at Indiana Dunes

Beach at Indiana Dunes State Park

Enjoy the Beach at Indiana Dunes State Park.  Camp  at the Indiana Dunes State Park within walking distance of the Beach.  Climb a dune, walk miles of woodland trails, see the Chicago skyline on a clear day.  Score bonus points by climbing a dune OR by visiting the outstanding Dunes Nature Center.  More news is coming soon.  Click the, “Subscribe” , button on the left, so you won’t miss anything.

If you are permanently parked you won’t be able to camp at these Amazing places.  But, you are not forgotten in the Amazing Camp-Land Race.    We have lots of fun things in store for you, your friends,  children and/or grandchildren.  Stay tuned.

The Amazing Camp-Land Race!

Waterfall in Srarved Rock State Park

Visit a waterfall in Starved Rock State Park in Illinois.

Camp-Land’s season-long game of camping fun and adventure will be starting soon!  The game is open to everyone in the Chicagoland-NW Indiana area that loves to go camping —  families, couples, solo campers.  Everyone, young and old.  Whether you camp in a tent, a trailer, a 5th wheel or a motorhome, you are invited to join the fun. 

 There will be prizes for reaching goals throughout the season as well as some competitive winners at the end of the summer.  It’s a little like a camping club that doesn’t have meetings, a little like camping with friends that you may never see, a little like the real TV Amazing Race, but mostly it’s about  discovering new camping places and new ways to enjoy camping.  There will be information and ideas about places to camp close to the Chicago area, as well as some that are farther away.  You can score points by just going camping, cooking your favorite camping recipe, visiting a waterfall, going fishing with your child or grandchild, making a leaf collection or doing dozens of other things that are fun.

Details will be posted here on the Camp-Land RV blog over the next few weeks.  A scoreboard will also be posted here as the game proceeds through the summer.  The Race is scheduled to begin in early May.  Check our blog often for further details.  The fun will soon begin!

Spring Festival of Camping Know-How

Learning about RV camping

Scene from a previous Festival of Camping Know-How



9 AM – 5:30 PM, CDT


* FREE Camping know-how demonstrations and presentations

* 250 RVs open for Browsing  — Manufacturer representatives on hand to answer questions.  (Winnebago, Raven, Apex, Columbus, Gulfstream, A.C.E., Four Winds)

*FREE lunch –  hotdogs, chips and soda


*Enjoy the camaraderie of other campers

SCHEDULE OF PRESENTATIONS  & EVENTS               Doors open at 8:30 AM, CDT

9:00 AM — PREPARING YOUR UNIT FOR CAMPING SEASON   *Appliance preparation  * Dewinterizing systems   (Presented by Camp-Land Tech)

10:00 AM — ENERGY EFFICIENT CAMPING      *LED Lighting   * Solar Panels     (Demonstration by Guest Speaker)

11:00 AM — PROTECTING YOUR RV INVESTMENT    *Extended service policies & what you need to know  (Presented by Guest Speaker)

11:45 AM —  SAFELY TOWING A CAR BEHIND YOUR MOTORHOME   * Tow bars, baseplates & brake systems  (Presented by Guest Speaker}

12:30 PM — FREE LUNCH    *Hot dogs, chips and soda   * A chance to chat with fellow campers

1:30 PM — CAMPFIRE2GO    *Portable campfire fun!  (Demonstration of a novel item)

2:00 PM — WHEN TO PERFORM ROUTINE RV MAINTENANCE  *Roof seams/sealants  *Lubricants  *Bearings/brakes   * Slide-outs

2:30 PM — GO GREEN   *RV Cleaning with environmentally friendly cleaners   (Presented by Guest Speaker from Bio-Kleen)

3:00 PM — ASK-A-TECH   *Q & A Session with RVIA Certified RV techs    * Always our most popular event!   *Bring your questions



Ooey Gooey Goodness…Roasting the Perfect Marshmallow

imagesCAEC5OI1There are so many things to remember to pack when getting ready to camp in your RV, but some of the most essential items for the pure enjoyment of your tastebuds are marshmallows and roasting sticks/forks. I am not talking about any stick you just pick up from the woods, wipe off the dirt and wittle to a point, like I did when I was a kid. No…I am talking about a fancy-dancy roasting fork that telescopes up to 42″ and rotates by the turn of the dial with your fingertips. These forks allow you to create the most beautifully golden roasted marshmallow, perfectly roasted on ALL sides. That’s the key…ALL SIDES.  Let’s talk about how one would go about creating the perfect, most tasty, ooey-gooey marshmallow.

First you must gather all your materials. You will need:

~ A nice campfire with some bright orange embers.

~ The Rolla Roaster telescoping roasting forks, which extends to 42″ and retracts for storage (available in Camp-Land’s Parts Department).

Rolla Roaster Telescoping Fork
The Rolla Roaster Telescoping Fork













~  Your favorite brand of marshmallows

~  Wet wipes (because you are going to get messy!)

Okay, now that you’ve stocked up on these items, it’s time to talk about the procedure. It’s simple, but one wrong move and POOF, your treat could end up in flames! You will have one charred mess on your hands (although some people really enjoy their marshmallows this way).

  1. Ensure you have some hot embers at the base of your beautiful campfire.
  2. Take your Rolla Roaster fork out of the reusable package.
  3. Extend your fork to 42″ by pulling gently outward on the end until it stops. You don’t want to singe your knuckle hairs!
  4. Place one to two marshmallow(s) on the fork.
  5. Hold the fork in the palm of your hand and place index finger and thumb on the rotating dial.
  6. Place the marshmallow end near the fire, keeping it away from open flames and closer to the embers.
  7. Slowly rotate the marshmallows by turning the dial. It will take several rotations of the marshmallow to get it carmelized to the perfect golden color.
  8. Once you have achieved the desired doneness of your treat, pull it back from the fire and allow it to cool approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  9. Pull your marshmallow off with your fingers. Be careful not to touch the metal fork as it will still be hot, hot, hot!
  10. Repeat steps 1 through 9 until you are stuffed!
  11. Clean-up is a breeze with wet wipes for your hands and forks (once cooled).

We hope your next roasting experience is fun and easy. The key is the rotation of the fork, which is made easy by The Rolla Roaster! You may also supplement marshmallows with hot dogs!


Beach Camping on Fort Myers Beach…Yes, Please!

It’s still cold in Indiana and camping on the beach sounds so wonderful! Picture stepping out of your very own camper and walking 5 steps onto the warm sandy beach or dining by campfire and listening to the ocean waves wash ashore.  As many times as I have been to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, I have only passed by the single campground on this beach; sometimes I actually sit in front of it, waiting in line to drive off the island.  During my most recent visit to Florida, I was determined to see just how close you could camp to the beach. Well, it turns out Red Coconut RV Park literally has sites on the beach!Red Coconut Campground in Ft Myers Beach, FL We’re not talking primitive beach camping. Each RV site features full hook-up, basic cable and internet service, a concrete slab to park on and a picnic table. There are also laundry facilities, a bath house, and a recreation hall which has many activities. This is a pet-friendly park, as long as you bring immunization records. For more on camping with your pet, view our previous blog, http://blog.camplandrv.com/traveling-with-pets/. While walking amongst the beachfront sites, I spoke with a woman that has been coming to the Red Coconut for 31 years. She and her husband come for 3 months every year and book their next year’s stay as they leave. Now in her 80’s, she says she can’t handle the exposure to the sun very long each day, but she enjoys the view and the many things to do around the park and Fort Myers Beach. The park has shuffleboard courts, pancake breakfasts and movie nights, to name a few activities.

As for things to do on Fort Myers Beach, there is something for everyone. They have a great website, http://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/, which explains the many things going on in the area. Downtown on Times Square there are street performers, the Pier, restaurants and many shops to catch your eye. Another option is to hit the Farmers Market on a Friday morning to score some fresh fruit, veggies and seafood and take back to your campsite to prepare. If you are unable to have a car while visiting they have that covered too! The Lee Trolley runs the island and beyond for a minimal cost, is easily accessible.

So, it’s safe to say that you do not have to stick to camping and hiking in state parks to enjoy your camper during ‘camping season’.  You can hook up your travel trailer or hop in your motorhome and head some place warm to feel the sand between your toes and listen to waves crashing ashore. If you have never considered camping on the beach before, I hope this has warmed you up a new idea.


ACE Motorhome by Thor Motorcoach

A. C. E. The Pet-Friendly Motorhome

Whether your pet is a dog, a cat or a bird, there is no better way to travel  than in a motorhome.  Motels, hotels and airplanes are just not very pet-friendly.  Motorhomes and campgrounds are.  Plenty of room to move around while you are on the road and plenty of outdoor space for excercise when you get there. Some motorhomes are better for pets than others.  The designers at Thor Motorcoach kept pets in mind when they designed the A. C. E. Class A Motorhome. Details like the hideaway pet food dishes, the pet-friendly passenger-side window that also lets the driver see that little car in the blind spot, and the little drawer in the entry step (the perfect place for a flashlight and a leash).  The A. C. E. has all the comforts you would expect for the human members of the familyand a few that other manufacturers didn’t think of.  Like the electric drop-down extra bed above the driver compartment and the out-of-the-way parking spot for shoes just inside the entry door.

Take a look at this  new motorhome that is creating so much excitement.  Your pet will appreciate your thoughtfulness.


Early Travel trailers, motorhomes.

Trailer Ahoy! 1937 Book about traveling with a travel trail in 1937

I just ran across this 260-page book in an antique shop in Pennsylvania.  I started leafing through it and couldn’t put it down.  It was a story of one family’s discovery of the wonders ot travel by travel trailer, complete with pictures.  The language was “quaint”, the camper pictures looked pretty old and the cars pulling them looked like the ones you usually see in a museum.  “How old was this book, anyway?”  A quick look in the front said it was written by Charles Edgar Nash and published in 1937 !

I had no idea that Travel Trailers were that popular in 1937.  When I got to the part about the Nash family’s short wave radio and the “cheery fire of chestnut wood burning in the iron stove”, I knew I had to have the book to share with other modern-day camping enthusiasts.

A brief excerpt from, “Trailer Ahoy!”  follows.




  1. Cycles of American Travel……………………15
  2. Development of the Trailer……………………57
  3. The Fastest Growing Business in America……69
  4. Why a Trailer………………………………….79
  5. State Trailer Regulations……………………..137
  6. Trailer Camp Grounds………………………..185
  7. Trailer Hints…………………………………. 197
  8. The National Parks……………………………211
  9. Digest of Parks; Opening and Closing Dates…214
  10. Trailer Facilities in Parks and Monuments……242
  11.  The Trailer for the Photographer………………249
  12.  The Trailer for the Scientist……………………257
  13.  The Trailer for the Artist………………………259



TRAILER AHOY                                                                   p. 67



… And then there is the vacationist, from the casual week-ender to the fortunate school-teacher type who is often left to his or her own devices for the entire summer season.  Last, but certainly not least, is the retired farmer, business man or professional man, and the pensioner in every walk of life.  These folks are held by few, if any, ties.  Their lives lie before them to enjoy in any way their pocket books will permit.

Deep down in the heart of every one of us is a desire to travel and see strange new sights, new people, and new places.  “When I can afford it, I am going to California – Mexico – Canada – Florida – Maine”…it matters not where.  This is the standard statement of rich and poor alike.  Money, or lack of it, is not the real deterrent to such dreams, many, or rather most of which, are never realized.  No, more than one individual has amassed enough money, or has a sufficient income through a pension or an annuity to travel for the rest of his or her life, but until the trailer came along they didn’t do it.

In the first place, all arguments and travel advertisements not-with-standing, the life of a traveler is not home life.  From no angle, even the scenic one, is it a bed of roses.  Foods, cooking, water and beds vary so, regardless of attendant expense that the traveler is invariably “glad to get home.”

But the trailer has changed this picture completely.  You take your home with you.  You cook at home.  You sleep every night in your own bed between your own sheets.  You read your own books and magazines.  You listen to your own radio.  And your own loved ones are with you to enjoy every moment along the way.





…. Trailers were shown in every automobile show of any size this year and in every case they literally “stole the show” by the admission of the automobile men themselves.  Interested visitors and prospective purchasers swarmed around the trailers, examining every little detail of their design and construction.  For some this was a first intimate contact with a trailer.  Others were noting the many improvements a year’s development had brought about.  And people of means were as prominent there as the average citizen.  It was a series of  triumphs for the trailer industry with the metal-clad trailers in the lead.

Most of the factory-built trailers on the road today are constructed largely of wood, straight-grained oak and airplane spruce sheathed with plywood all the way from fir to mahogany, or with some form of composition board having high tensile strength and insulating properties.

Tomorrow’s construction is definitely pointing towards all-steel framework and an interior sheathing of aluminum, duralumin, stainless steel or any one of our modern strong, light metals.  Weight and maximum square footage of living room must be constantly borne in mind, and the refinements are bound to work towards all the up-to-date safety and beauty factors…

All the present day factory built trailers are wired for electricity, having connections for 110-volt alternating current and for the 6-8 volt direct current from the automobile battery.  Some feature two distinct circuits, one handling the high voltage and the other the low.  Others use a single circuit and depend upon a change of bulbs and the use of a transformer, which is provided….

Our little family of four took a September trip into Canada, about which we have a few things to say later, but we only had two clear days out of two weeks.  The rest of the time it poured.  The weather outside our trailer was miserable while we were in Quebec.  It was cold and windy and the rain descended in sheets.  Underfoot the ground was as soft and slippery as grease.

Yet in spite of the depressing scene outside, inside a cheery fire of chestnut wood was burning merrily in the iron stove.  The trailer was a warm and comfortable as a New England fireside. My beautiful young wife, Jane, was playing with five month old baby, Julia, and five year old son, Gessner, was looking at an animal book.

I turned on the radio and as there was some static on the broadcast band I tried short wave ….  An aerial was built into the roof of our trailer as standard equipment. We were using this together with a hundred foot portable aerial, which I rigged outside to the nearest tree.  The auxiliary aerial did help, but I found that I could switch it off and still get most of the above stations very clearly….


TRAILER AHOY                                                                            p. 79





…. Is it hard to pull a trailer?  This seems to be the first question that enters everyone’s mind.  The answer is, NO!  The smallest standard automobile built in America can pull the largest factory-built trailer with the greatest of ease.  When we say “pull it”, we mean pull it anywhere an intelligent driver would take a car, through the Rockies, over the Continental Divide, or even up Pikes Peak if there was a reason to do so.

We use the word “trailer” as a comprehensive term, covering the two-wheeled rolling home known as a semi-trailer, which balances on the hitch behind the towing car, and the true trailer, which has four wheels and is completely self-sustaining.

In proof of this assertion our present trailer is four-wheeled, weighs 2,450 pounds unloaded, has two large rooms and a bathroom and is 22 feet long.  We pull it with the most inexpensive V-8 coupe on the market and we have never encountered the hill or mountain, which we could not take quickly, easily and without a moment’s trepidation on the part of the driver.

Only yesterday we stopped a trailerite driving exactly the same make and model car as ours.  He was towing an $8,000 trailer that weighed half a ton more than ours and he had towed it handily from coast to coast and from Maine to Florida.

Modern automobile engines are so powerful…