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Themed RV Adventures

Themed-RV-Adventures
By Evanne Schmarder #65409

When my husband, Ray, and I began our RV adventure, our goal was to travel the U.S. and see the sights. While we enjoyed taking it all in, we were delighted to discover that each region had its own special flavor, unique history and in-depth backstory. By accident, in the South we found ourselves enthralled with Civil War sites, checking each one off our list as we made our way from 1861 to 1865.

In the Golden State, we were smitten with California’s Spanish missions and soon discovered these gorgeous, historic landmarks across the southern half of the U.S. from Mission Santa Barbara to Mission San Antonio de Valero (aka the Alamo) to simple signposts where missions once stood in Old Florida. Active full-time traveling friends Stan and Jeanne are on their own mission to visit all 50 U.S. state capitol buildings, a worthy undertaking, indeed.

Being partial to the sea, one of our travel themes continues to be lighthouses. With so many of these distinguished coastal custodians to search out, we have found ourselves on an interesting and educational adventure from sea to shining sea and several bodies of water in between.
Lay of the Land
Lighthouses grace our east and west coasts, the Great Lakes and the Gulf coast on rocky coastlines and river mouths. Their bright beams, flashing at intervals, forming a “characteristic light” or a pattern that identifies each specific light, warn mariners of dangerous conditions. These romantic sentinels were once lived in, loved and cared for by lightkeepers and their families. Today, lighthouses are automated, and maintenance is carried out by members of the Coast Guard’s Aid to Navigation teams.

Lighthouse Lovers Love Maine
The great state of Maine is ideal for your lighthouse-themed RV adventure with an eye-popping 60 silent sentinels to explore. You might begin at the West Quaddy Lighthouse, the red-and-white-striped easternmost light in the U.S., then mosey south on Route 1 toward Acadia National Park, visiting the Bass Harbor Light on Mt. Desert Island. Further down the road, ferry out to Monhegan Island, 11 miles from the mainland, and marvel at the Mohegan Island Light. A little south of Portland stands Maine’s oldest light, Portland Head, completed in 1791 under the presidency of George Washington. Consider wrapping up your Maine lighthouse RV adventure at one of the state’s most photographed lights and southernmost light, Cape Neddick Lighthouse in the charming town of York Beach. This light is sometimes referred to as the Nubble Light because it sits on Nubble Island. Cape Neddick’s lens flashes red every six seconds, helping captains recognize where they are in a storm.

California Lights Call
No doubt about it, California is blessed with over 1,200 miles of fantastic shoreline. With the explosion of the gold rush, it became quickly apparent that navigational aids were needed. Alcatraz Island is home to the West Coast’s first lighthouse, which met its maker in the 1906 earthquake. A new lighthouse was erected in 1909 and can still be seen from the mainland or up close on an Alcatraz Island tour. Further south on U.S. 1, in the small town of Pescadero, stands the Pigeon Point Light, which is also home to a youth hostel. Near Monterey, your lighthouse RV trip may take you to Point Pinos Lighthouse, the oldest continuously lit light on the West Coast. Just north of picturesque Cambria, visit the Piedras Blancas Light, recently renovated though its restored first-order Fresnel lens is on display on Cambria’s Main Street. At the southern end of the state in San Diego sits the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, known as the nation’s tallest light, built on an often fogged-in point, making it relatively ineffective, thus the New Point Loma Lighthouse.

The Great Lakes and Gulf Shores
When I first set eyes upon Lake Superior, it reminded me of an ocean I’d not yet seen. Waters that day were calm and lovely, but the lake can become an enraged body of water swallowing up ships such as the Edmond Fitzgerald. Visit Two Harbors Light near Duluth or the spectacular lights of the Apostle Islands on Superior, the famous Grosse Point Light near Chicago on Lake Michigan (the lake with the most lighthouses), follow the Seaway Lighthouse Trail along Lake Ontario, or plan a trip along Lakes Huron or Erie for more
spectacular lighthouses.

Louisiana, Texas and Florida’s Gulf Coast sport the majority of lighthouses. From Key West, Florida, to Biloxi, Mississippi, to the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse in Madisonville, Louisiana, there are so many opportunities for you to see the light, so to speak. The Carolinas, the Chesapeake Bay, Oregon and Washington have several noteworthy lighthouses for your visiting pleasure, as well, if you get the lighthouse-themed-travel bug.

What’s Your Pleasure?
Perhaps you’d prefer to travel the country searching out wooden roller coasters, knocking off three biggies at Indiana’s Holiday World, home of the Voyage, voted the number one wooden coaster five years running. You may want to follow in the footsteps of pioneers heading west on one of the wild and historic emigrant trails and put yourself in the shoes of the Donner party as they made the fateful decision to take the Hastings Cutoff that summer of 1846. Maybe you’d rather coast along historic Route 66, enjoying the freedom and “kicks” that a cross-country highway delivered adventure seekers of the 1950s. Or do you have a desire to photograph weird and wonderful oversized roadside statues, say Superman in, of course, Metropolis, Illinois? You can do that.

Ready your rig, mark your map and set out on your uniquely-you themed RV adventure. These memories last a lifetime.

Do you have a unique RV travel theme you’d like to share? Drop me a line and tell me all about it.

Evanne is sure she got the wanderlust bug from her grandparents who traveled the U.S. in their city bus conversion in the 1940s as what we now call “work-campers.” In 2000 she and her husband, Ray, set off on their own adventure, affectionately called Operation Sunshine, from hip but rainy Portland, Oregon, in search of a sunny place to settle down. Twelve-plus years later, they’re still roaming the country, sharing interesting destinations and cooking up delicious RV kitchen recipes in their popular RV TV series, RVCookingShow.com. Like so many Escapees, they love to travel and love to eat and have adopted the motto: simple dishes as souvenirs and menus as memory makers. You can reach Evanne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her Website at www.RVCookingShow.com

Watch the RV Cooking Show at www.RVCookingShow.com.
It’s Delicious! Part RV Travel Guide—Part Cooking Class on Wheels.
Twitter.com: RVCookingShow • Facebook: RVCookingShow • Pinterest: RVCookingShow Evanne

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