We're the Russos: Off the Grid in Mojave Desert, Tiny Beach House on Wheels, & California Road Trip



About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. That first year their rig was a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Seeking more flexibility and freedom, in 2017 they switched to a Hymer Aktiv Class B campervan. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook. You can also help support them via their Patreon site.

Northpointe Shores RV Resort opens along Lake St. Clair's Anchor Bay

Northpointe Shores RV Resort in Ira Twp., Mich., located on Anchor Bay just two miles east of New Baltimore, is now open. According to a release, the great location of Lake St. Clair’s Anchor Bay is "ideal for guests who enjoy RVing and boating, or those who just like being near the lake!"

This brand new, pet-friendly RV resort offers RVers amenities such as paved sites with full hookup, 50-amp service, boat launch and transient wells, bath house, laundry, community campfire ring, picnic tables, free Wi-Fi, not to mention the scenic views of Anchor Bay.

The resort’s location in Ira Twp., along Anchor Bay, puts guests right in the middle of the charming lakefront communities of New Baltimore, Anchorville, Algonac, Fairhaven and Harsens Island. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of lake living. Lake St. Clair, which is 430 square miles in area, offers countless recreational opportunities — boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing and other water sports. The area also offers numerous golf courses, shopping and dining opportunities. The resort is within 45 minutes of Detroit, providing a great home base for day trips to downtown and the surrounding suburbs.

“We are so excited to share this gorgeous hidden gem of a location with RVers,” said Adam Janusch and Wally Evans, owners of Northpointe Shores RV Resort. “We have select sites available for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.”

Northpointe Shores RV Resort welcomes travel trailers, fifth-wheels and all types of motorhomes, less than 15 years old. The resort offers daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal stays. For more information or to make a reservation, call 586-250-2800, or visit Northpointe Shores RV Resort’s website, www.northpointeshoresrvresort.com.

Healthy Camping Ideas at a Michigan RV Park

It is easy to stay fit while enjoying a Pure Michigan summer at a Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) member campground or RV park, according to a release from the Okemos, Mich.-based trade association.

Some easy ways to do so include:

Chop it — While it is illegal in Michigan to move or bring firewood from quarantined areas to a campground due to tree maladies, there is plenty of wood to be found for sale at campgrounds and neighboring areas. Instead of purchasing pre-chopped wood, buy a log and split it yourself and burn an average of 400-500 calories an hour.

Park it —When choosing your spot at a campground, pick a site that requires you to walk a bit further to the camp store, bathroom and shower facilities and trash disposal area. Your fitness tracker will appreciate it.

Outdoor gym — Use a brawny tree branch for pull-ups, a fallen tree branch to do lateral hops and a sturdy stump for step-ups. Do enough reps to get your heart rate up, apply bug repellent and sunscreen and don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Many MARVAC campgrounds offer activies that can help guests work off an extra s’more or two.

At Greenwood Acres, www.greenwoodacrescampground.com, in Jackson, Michigan, visitors can burn more than 200 calories an hour participating in the horseshoe tournaments that go on all summer long; or more than 400 calories an hour swimming laps in their Olympic-size pool. The tennis and basketball courts are also great ways to burn off camp store snacks.

A horseback ride at Double RR Ranch in Belding, Michigan, www.doublerranch.com, will shave off more than 200 calories an hour; while a guest can work off 335 calories on the pickleball court at Sunny Brook RV Park in South Haven, www.sunnybrookrvresort.com.

Of course, there are miles of trails and shoreline to walk along. Walking is considered one of the best exercises for people of all fitness levels and ages, so fill up a backpack with healthy snacks and water and get moving … there are s’mores waiting when you return.

MARVAC is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to the quality of Michigan tourism.

Gear Spotlight: Lightweight Scout Hammock by PAK-IT-LITE

Editor's Note
Recently, I registered with Hubba.com as an "influencer." Basically, an influencer is someone who has built a reasonable following of a select audience demographic via some sort of media outlet. In my case, my audience is RVers, campers and outdoor adventurers and my media outlet is this blog as well as my full-time job as the editor for two trade magazines covering the RV and campground industries.

Heres how it works: I'm given access to products whose manufacturers want publicized via influencers like me. I get to pick and choose which of these products I think might be of use and interest to you. I'll correspond with the product manufacturer to get some more info, then create a posting.

Sometimes I receive product samples to review and sometimes I don't. When I do receive a sample, the postings will be labeled "Gear Review." When I don't receive a sample, the postings will be labeled "Gear Spotlight." I'll always be up front about such things, and I'll always share my honest opinion.

Gear Spotlight: Lightweight Scout Hammock by PAK-IT-LITE
We have a hammock with us when we camp and, whenever there two sturdy trees about 15 feet apart, you can find me asleep in my hammock at the campsite most afternoons.

The Lightweght Scout hammock by PAK-IT-LITE, one of four models by the Georgia-based company, would be a worthy addition to any RVer's collection of cargo. 

The Lightfoot Scout is designed to be a great lightweight summer backpacking hammock or for just hanging out at the campsite, in the back yard, or at the beach or lake. The Lightfoot Scout allows you to lay in a more comfortable, flat position — not the familiar banana shape other hammocks make you lay in. Capacity is 290 pounds. 

While the Lightfoot Scout is the simplest and most basic hammock design made by PAK-IT-LITE, its hammock bed still has the same patented design as the F.O.B, ReconMN and Scout models, and the same wind- and water-resistant taslan nylon body that has the look and feel of cotton. 

Optional Gear Loft
Unlike PAK-IT-LITE’s other hammocks, the Lightfoot Scout does not have a bed liner. Also, while the F.O.B and RecomMN have a fixed ridgeline, the Lightfoot Scout does not. Because of this, PAK-IT-LITE uses an 8-foot “cheater” line that helps hang the hammock in order to achieve the proper sag that mimics the design of the other hammocks.

The optional rain fly is engineered around the design of PAK-IT-LITE hammocks. The rain fly’s patented “peaked” design provides rain protection as you sit or stand at the hammocks doorway. Sidewalls on the fly protect the hammock ends from driving rains. There are no sewn seams directly over the hammock itself and the fly’s peak can be adjusted (with an optional hiking pole) up or down depending on the severity of the weather. With the peak in the full down position, the fly tucks under the hammock and creates a bombproof shell in driving rain. The fly can be set up without the hammock as a shelter for ultra light backpacking.

The Lightfoot Scout hammock from is sold by PAK-IT-LITE for $45. Options include the rain fly, gear loft, support system and support line. Visit PAK-IT-LITE's website for more information.

The Fit RV videos: Folding Bikes, Bike Gurney, & eBikes for RVers


About The Fit RV

Meet Stef & James: Travato-owning outdoor enthusiasts keeping fit and active on the road. Get inspired, be entertained, & find (sometimes) useful RV tips! Follow The Fit RV on their websiteblogFacebook pageTwitter account and on Pinterest.

Love Your RV videos: Disney Cruise Ship, Leaky RV Slide Out Seal, & Winegard ConnecT RV WiFi Extender Review



About Love Your RV
Three and one half years ago Ray and Anne Burr sold their home in Victoria, British Columbia, and bought a brand new fifth wheel trailer. They set off on an amazing one-year journey traveling all around the U.S. and Canada. About three months into it, they knew this was the life for them and became full timers traveling south in the winters and retreating to the north for the summers. They regularly update their blogsite of their travels and adventures.

RV Education 101 videos (Part 2): Suburban RV Water Heater Series



RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

RV Education 101 videos (Part 1): Rear View Camera, Vintage Truck & Travel Trailer Restoration, How To Hitch & Unhitch a 5th Wheel



RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

Funds 'on tap' for Michigan State Parks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced that Labatt USA is pitching in to support Michigan state parks and waterways. Labatt USA will share a portion of the proceeds from sales of its Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light "Great State of Mine" specially marked packages sold this summer through July 30.

Specially marked 15- and 24-can packages of Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light can be found in retailers around Michigan. The packaging features iconic images of Michigan, such as the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, the Mackinac Bridge and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

A portion of the proceeds will help support recycling and clean beach initiatives in Michigan state parks.

“We are anticipating a great partnership with Labatt Blue,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “The donated funds will help us tackle key maintenance on our beaches and expand and make people aware of recycling opportunities in our parks."

The effort is a result of Labatt USA's triple-bottom line approach, which focuses on people, planet and profits with the goal of benefiting the environment and communities where the company sells beer.

"Labatt USA helped raise funds for Flint last year through the sale of our products,” said Ben Juda, vice president of the Labatt USA north division. "This year, we will share a portion of the proceeds from the Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light 'Great State of Mine' packages with Michigan state parks. As a beer company, we want to do our part to improve our environmental footprint while preserving and beautifying our parks for people to enjoy."

The DNR created the "These Goods are Good for Michigan" program to recognize partners who help support Michigan’s state parks, trails and waterways through a revenue-sharing agreement from the sales of merchandise. Through these partnerships, businesses not only are able to support Michigan's great outdoors, but they also can determine how their funds will be spent.

For more information on this partnership or to learn more about how businesses and organizations can get involved with the "These Goods are Good for Michigan" program, contact Maia Turek, DNR resource development specialist, at turekm@michigan.gov or 989-225-8573.

50 Campfires videos (Part 3): How To Properly Cook Over Coals, Spicy Bagel Breakfast, & 3 Fish Foil Packet Recipes,



About 50 Campfires
Ever since Camping Life magazine went away, I'd been searching for a publication that could satisfy my camping/hiking wanderlust. 50 Campfires is pretty much about the best source for camping/hiking – gear, destinations, recipes, tips, etc. – that you'll ever find anywhere. Besides its website that has a ton of great info, 50 Campfires also is on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Vimeo, and Instagram. And its free monthly e-magazine (see below) is gorgeous.

50 Campfires videos (Part 2): Hand Out Gloves, ROVR CampR Cooler, 6 Genius Cooler Hacks, Band-Aid Hacks, & Foil Packet Cooking tips



About 50 Campfires
Ever since Camping Life magazine went away, I'd been searching for a publication that could satisfy my camping/hiking wanderlust. 50 Campfires is pretty much about the best source for camping/hiking – gear, destinations, recipes, tips, etc. – that you'll ever find anywhere. Besides its website that has a ton of great info, 50 Campfires also is on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Vimeo, and Instagram. And its free monthly e-magazine (see below) is gorgeous.

50 Campfires videos (Part 1): Hiking Tips, Ape Cave Hike, Fat Bikes, Zippo Hand Warmer, & 5 Ways To Lighten Your Pack



About 50 Campfires
Ever since Camping Life magazine went away, I'd been searching for a publication that could satisfy my camping/hiking wanderlust. 50 Campfires is pretty much about the best source for camping/hiking – gear, destinations, recipes, tips, etc. – that you'll ever find anywhere. Besides its website that has a ton of great info, 50 Campfires also is on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Vimeo, and Instagram. And its free monthly e-magazine (see below) is gorgeous.

We're the Russos Camper Van Life: Moving Into Our New Home, On the Road Again, & This is Why We Downsized



About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. That first year their rig was a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Seeking more flexibility and freedom, in 2017 they switched to a Hymer Aktiv Class B campervan. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook. You can also help support them via their Patreon site.

Love Your RV videos: NOCO GB150, Travel Trailer Tire Tips, Dog Gadgets, & Stick On DOT Reflective Tape



About Love Your RV
Three and one half years ago Ray and Anne Burr sold their home in Victoria, British Columbia, and bought a brand new fifth wheel trailer. They set off on an amazing one-year journey traveling all around the U.S. and Canada. About three months into it, they knew this was the life for them and became full timers traveling south in the winters and retreating to the north for the summers. They regularly update their blogsite of their travels and adventures.

RV Geeks videos: LevelMatePRO, Roof Leaks, Tough Top Awnings, Pop Rivet Gun, & LEDs



About RV Geeks


The RV Geeks offer RV maintenance, repair & travel tips from “Do-It-Ourselves” full-time RVers. They’ve handled most of their own RV maintenance during more than a decade of exploring North America. While not RV technicians, the RV Geeks are mechanically inclined and have learned a lot about RV systems over the years. They handle most of their own minor service, repair and upgrade work on their 2005 43-foot Newmar Mountain Aire diesel pusher. They also maintained their 2002 39′ Fleetwood Bounder Diesel during their first two years on the road. Visit their website and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Soak Up the Sun at the New Cedar Point Shores Waterpark

Photos courtesy of Cedar Point
Cedar Point's rich history began as a simple bathing beach and bathhouse in 1870. Today, Cedar Point still is the summertime destination for families from all over the world with 70 rides, including 17 roller coasters, a mile-long beach, five hotel properties, beautiful marinas and now, the new Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, opening Saturday, May 27.

Located on Cedar Point's shoreline on Lake Erie, Cedar Point Shores is an 18-acre playground for aqua-lovers of all ages with attractions that provide big thrills, little thrills and the world's best water thrills. Just like guests cooled off in the summer almost 150 years ago, that tradition continues with new ways to beat the heat, eat, relax and have fun.

"This is a unique time in Cedar Point's history. As the park evolves with the latest and greatest attractions, we will never lose sight of how we started," said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. "Cedar Point Shores is a direct nod to our past as it existed on the Lake Erie shoreline. Only today, new and exciting thrills are available right alongside the beach that has, and still continues to bring families together."

Cedar Point Shores is home to 17 water attractions geared for everyone in the family. Thrill-seekers will experience near free-fall on the new Point Plummet, a six-story aqua-drop body slide. Riders first climb into individual capsules at the top of the tower. After an ominous countdown of, "3-2-1," the floor will drop from underneath riders' feet and the journey begins through twists and turns in an enclosed tunnel until the splashdown in the runout below. Non-riders can watch the fear in the faces of their friends on special monitors on the ground with video cameras focused on the launch capsules. 

On the same tower as Point Plummet, Portside Plunge provides thrills of a different kind, five stories above the ground. Riders can experience the slide alone or with a friend on an inner tube as they're sent through an enclosed tunnel, then shot out into the sun over unique airtime hills and into a pool at the end of the ride.

What's known as a legend on Lake Erie is now rising from the shallow pool of Lemmy's Lagoon, an area geared just for the little ones. Kids can splash and play around "Lemmy," the mythical, green Lake Erie monster, as well as sandcastles, geysers, whimsical fish and more.

Just next to Lemmy's Lagoon, Lakeslide Landing is the place where young ones can start their journey to become a big water thrill-seeker. Featuring 12 pint-sized slides, Lakeslide Landing also welcomes its sliders with a shallow pool, making it a great place for parents to interact with their children and cool off at the same time. Expanded shaded areas around Lakeslide Landing and Lemmy's Lagoon provide relaxing spots for parents to decompress and watch all the fun.

Dining at Cedar Point Shores is an experience in and of itself. The centerpiece of the new culinary experiences is Crystal Rock Café, named after the Crystal Rock Castle that once called Cedar Point home in the early 1900's. Crystal Rock Café will serve hand-made pizza, fresh chicken wraps, gourmet salads, seafood and items not found anywhere at Cedar Point.

A brand-new custom ice cream flavor is also on the menu at the new Beaches & Cream. The cold and creamy confection is a refreshing hint of cotton candy, a staple at Cedar Point for a large part of its history. The flavor is made in partnership with Sandusky's own Toft Dairy, creators of the Rougarou mint and chocolate and the Valravn salted caramel ice cream flavors sold inside the park.

Adults can relax with a new custom brew named Shandy Shores, a light and surprising mix of blood orange and mango. Shandy Shores is available at Muffleheads Beach Bar, a swim-up experience right on the waterfront, and at Schooner's Bayside Bar, a completely new hot spot serving not only frosty cold beverages, but snack items as well.

Setting the mood for Cedar Point Shores' resort-like atmosphere is a host of live entertainment, including appearances by Cedar Point's own Toes in the Sand Band and Cedar Point Beach Band. Playing popular favorites that will take guests into the relaxation mindset, both bands will play at select times throughout the summer. In addition, daily activities and games are planned at various locations in the waterpark for guests of all ages.

The new offerings don't stop there. The waterpark will also debut a new entrance with an artfully-crafted welcome sign and giant beach balls, enhanced midway paths with lush landscaping, more shaded areas for guests to relax, updated changing areas, luxury VIP cabanas alongside the Breakwater Bay wave pool and a new merchandise location, Sandals Souvenirs and Sundries.

With more to do than ever before, guests can play their way for multiple days while staying at one of Cedar Point's five hotel properties, including the beautiful beachfront Hotel Breakers, located just steps from Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Waterpark. Other properties include the cottages, cabins and luxury RV sites at Lighthouse Point, Sandcastle Suites Hotel, Cedar Point's Express Hotel and Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark Resort.

A stay at Cedar Point's hotel properties includes free admission to Cedar Point Shores Waterpark (when a one, two or three-day Cedar Point ticket package is purchased), early access to Cedar Point Shores, Early Entry to Cedar Point to ride some of the biggest rides and coasters, discounted admission to Cedar Point and the closest rooms to the world's best destination for thrills.

Guests can also take advantage of a summer of fun at Cedar Point Shores with a Platinum Pass. Benefits include unlimited admission to Cedar Point Shores and Cedar Point, Early Entry, discounts on food and merchandise, exclusive ride nights, access to special passholder events at both parks, free parking and more. The best time to purchase a Platinum Pass is right now, as prices go up on May 30.

For more information on Cedar Point Shores, Cedar Point's hotel accommodations, hours of operation and more, guests can visit cedarpoint.com.

Michigan campgrounds with Memorial Day Weekend availability

The Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds of Michigan (ARVC Michigan) is reporting plenty of availability – for tenters, RVers and cabin/cottage-dwellers – available at privately-owned and operated campgrounds throughout both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas for the upcoming Memorial Weekend. There are nearly two dozen ARVC Michigan member campgrounds reporting availability, including:

Alcona Canoes – Glennie
Phone: 989-735-2973 
Website: www.alconacanoes.com

Bluegill Lake Family Camping Resort – Mecosta
Phone: 231-972-4455 
Website: www.bluegillcamping.com

Campgrounds-R-Us – Owosso
Phone: 989-721-9120 
Website: campgrounds-r-us.com

Cedarville RV Park – Cedarville
Phone: 906-484-3351 
Website: www.cedarvillervpark.com

Coloma/St. Joseph KOA – Benton Harbor
Phone: 269-849-3333 
Website: www.stjosephkoa.com

Crystal Lake Campground – Ludington/Scottville
Phone: 231-757-4510 
Website: www.crystallakecamping.com

Gaylord KOA – Gaylord
Phone: 800-562-4146 
Website: www.gaylordkoa.com

Headwaters Camping & Cabins – Frederic
Phone: 989-705-2066 
Website: www.headcamping.com

Hideaway Campground – Mears – Silver Lake Area
Phone: 231-873-4428 
Website: www.hideawaycampground.com

Holiday Camping Resort - New Era
Phone: 231-861-5220 
Website: www.holidaycamping.com

Irons RV Park and Campground – Irons
Phone: 231-266-2070 
Website: www.ironsrvparkandcampground.com

Insta Launch Campground & Marina – Manistee
Phone: 231-723-3901 
Website: www.instalaunch.com

Kalkaska RV Park & Campground – Kalkaska
Phone: 231-258-9863 
Website: www.kalkaskacampground.com

Kritter’s Northcountry Campground & Cabins – Newberry
Phone: 906-293-8562 
Website: www.northcountrycampground.com

Lakeside Camp Park – Cedar Springs
Phone: 616-723-3901 
Website: www.lakesidecamppark.com

Michigan Oaks Camping Resort – Indian River
Phone: 231-238-8259 
Website: www.michiganoaks.com

Oak Shores Campground – Decatur
Phone: 269-423-7370 
Website: www.oakshorescampground.com

River Country Campground - Evart
Phone: 231-734-3808 
Website: www.campandcanoe.com

Summer Breeze Campground – Iron Mountain
Phone: 906-774-7701 
Website: www.summerbreezecampground.com

Thousand Trails - St. Clair Resort – St. Clair
Phone: 810-329-7129 
Website: www.rvonthego.com/michigan/st-clair-rv-resort/

Whether it be a cabin/cottage or campsite, availability varies from property to property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded to a survey indicating availability, as of May 23, 2017. Availability is subject to change. Reservations are required.

ARVC Michigan represents over 150 member campgrounds with more than 25,000 sites available throughout the state. These privately-owned and operated campgrounds are promoted in an annual Michigan Campground Directory, available at Michigan Welcome Centers, Chambers of Commerce, Convention & Visitor Bureaus, RV Dealers, Libraries and AAA Offices. ARVC Michigan’s mission is to lead in the development of the RV Parks and Campground industry through education, communication and representation. ARVC Michigan is a member of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (arvc). (www.GoCampingAmerica.com).