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National Officers

Camping Today is a publication of the non-profit National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (FCRV). Issue frequency is 12 (monthly) on line at www.fcrv.org. Publisher is Family Campers & RVers, 4904 Transit Rd. Bldg. 2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. National Office Phone #: 716-668-6242, [email protected]. Camping Today is supported through FCRV memberships.  OWNER: National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (non-profit), Bondholders, mortgage, and other security owners holding 1% or more of bonds, mortgages, and other securities: NONE. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed in the last 12 months.

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ArticlesEvent RecapBirthday ShoutoutMilestoneFarewell –  Dear RVEvent Submit

From The President

Happy Holidays, Family Campers and RVers!  Let me take this time to wish each of you a Joyful Holiday Season. May you and your Family be blessed in this Joyful Season. Spread good cheer and bring a blessing to a family near you that is in need. Be that bright spot in someone’s life today, share a smile as there are many that are in need. Go out of the way to brighten someone’s life. My message to each of you is to have a Happy Holiday Season with your Family and Friends.

See you at the next Campfire!
Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President

FCRV Hank Nathan Scholarship – Eligibility 2024

FCRV Hank Nathan Scholarship – Eligibility: 2024

Who Can Apply: Any FCRV member, or their dependent* children planning to enroll, or currently enrolled, in an undergraduate, graduate, or trade school, may apply for an FCRV scholarship. An applicant must be a member for at least 18 full calendar months before application, and in good standing.

*Dependent children of members applying under their parent/guardian’s membership must be a dependent thereof for the year of the scholarship award, and be eligible as an income tax deduction.

How to Apply: Applications for 2023 will be available on Scholarship America’s website @ http://learnmore.scholarsapply.org/ncha/  Applications will only be accepted online at the above address. The application MUST include the FCRV member holder’s name, membership number, postal mailing address, and, most importantly, an email address at which the applicant can be contacted. Pay special attention to the entire website and follow the directions closely as you will only have one opportunity to complete the application. Scholarship America will not contact you to make any corrections. Do not assume that it is the same as last year as it may have been changed.

Applications must include the following:

  1. A current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Transcripts must display student name, school name, grades, and credit hours for each course, and term in which course was taken.
  2. Two online recommendation forms, one from an FCRV member, (can be a trustee, regional director, state director, district director, or any member who is not related). AND, one from a school official, or your immediate supervisor if you are working. Your application will not be complete unless all required materials are submitted electronically, and you will not be considered for a scholarship.

Stipend: Annual Scholarships are awarded carrying a stipend ranging from $250 to $2,000.The Schuh award of $2500 is given to students who study the fields of wildlife or conservation. Part-time, and trade school, students will receive one-half of the granted amount. Scholarships are for one year. Recipients may reapply for a scholarship each year they meet the eligibility requirements.

Selection of Scholarship Recipients: Applicants are scored, and ranked, by Scholarship America who then recommends the ranking to the FCRV Scholarship Board. The Board then confirms the ranking and the award. The

Board of Directors present the awards at, or after, the Annual General Meeting held at that years Campvention,

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Parents, or guardians, must be a member of FCRV for 18 full calendar months or longer.
  2. Applicants must be enrolled, or accepted, into an undergraduate, graduate, or trade school course of study in an accredited two-to-four year college, university, or trade school. Part-time students must carry a minimum of six credits and full-time a minimum of twelve credits.
  3. Applicants currently enrolled in college are given equal consideration with incoming freshmen students.

Scholarship Considerations:

  1. High school graduates will have their class ranking scored by Scholarship America.
  2. College students should have at least a 2.3 grade point average on a 4.0 point scale.
  3. Consideration is taken for maturity, leadership, related activities, and goal of the candidate as related to the objectives of FCRV.
  4. Special consideration is given to applicants majoring in fields related to conservation, ecology, or outdoor activities, although all other fields are considered.
  5. This is a competitive Scholarship therefore the lowest ranked applicant may not receive an award.

NEW FOR 2024:

Applicants receiving an award must submit a full photo of themselves, along with an education bio. These will be posted in Camping Today so that the members who donate to the scholarship fund can see who is getting the FCRV Scholarships. These items must be received after notification by Scholarship America and prior to the award being given to your school. A thank you in Camping Today would be nice.

FCRV National Election

FCRV National Election

There are three positions up for election in March.  President, Vice President Programs, and Recording/Corresponding Officer are the positions elected in 2024.  The  candidates’ bios and platforms will be included in the February issue of “Camping Today”.  Ballots will be distributed after March 15, 2024, to the email on file for your membership. This is a great time to assure your email is correct with the national office. All memberships of FCRV are entitled to one vote. Deadline to vote is April 15, 2024.  If an absentee or mailed ballot is needed it must be requested by January 15, 2024.  A request for an absentee or mailed ballot can be made by phone or email to the national office.  Phone 716.668.6242   Email [email protected].

Welcome New Members

Family Campers & RVers would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest members:

Ward Watson Jamie Watson CO Referred by: Road Runners Chapter
Jerry Iverson Lorene Iverson ND Referred by: Ted Kapp
Peggy Keeny WI No mention of member that signed them up.
Carey Barnes Tamra Barnes KS Referred by: Bill Buggeln
Jessica Smith NY Referred by: Darrin Smith (Father)
Richard Hurley Cindy D’Amato CT Referred by: Susan Haines
Richard Williamson Frances Williamson CO Referred by: Dorothy Clark

Retiree Rally 2024 – Mineola, Texas

Join in on the discussion at the 2024 Retiree Rally Facebook group.
Click the link above or scan the code below.

Registration Info

By Millie Pauwels, Registration Co-Chair

When filling out the registration forms, please print clearly, answer the questions about being a veteran, 1st timer, how you want to receive your confirmation letter, and if you  have special needs. A lot of folks don’t mark these boxes.

Let’s Giddy Up And Go

By George & Karen Reynolds, Rally Coordinators

We are in full swing of our Holiday Season, and we should rejoice in the knowledge that one of the best things we have is OUR FCRV RETIREE RALLY. It allows so much joy in our lives to see each other, to rejoice the past years’ activities together. Let’s really work hard to make this year a Special Get-Together and truly enjoy our friends.

Having said that, LET’S GIDDY UP AND GO to Mineola in 2024.

Many of the Chairs have started their work to make you enjoy this Rally. We have all the entertainment contracted and close to finishing the arrangements for the food venders and the sales vendors. Please make your plans to attend and be entertained together.

The volunteers have started to contact us to help at the rally. Please just email me at [email protected] your name and contact information if you’re interested.

Please look at being with the FCRV Family in March at Mineola HORSING AROUND TOGETHER REGISTRATION FORMS are available at: https://fcrv.org/retiree-rally-2024/ .

Games In Mineola

By Shari & Craig Weber Games Chairs

Giddy up! Gallop into Mineola and “horse around” playing games at the rally.

Cornhole is the featured game this month. It is a game played on two angled boards with a 6-inch hole in each placed 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from either side. The boards are 27 feet apart (older and physically impaired players may throw from 21 feet). Players stand on one side of the board and toss bags filled with corn toward the board opposite them. Points are scored for bags that go in the hole (3 points) and bags that stay on the board (1 point). We will have 10 throws for each player. We will switch ends after 5 throws. All points will accumulate. There will be first and second place awards. Please refer to the rules for play at www.fcrv.org click on Members in the menu bar, then Programs, then Adult Activities, then Cornhole

Since the retirees do not have boards, we ask that you bring boards, we will need several sets. Please make sure they are built as described in Adult Activities. The only way we can play is with your help in ensuring we have boards. If the boards are out at your site, you just might get drop-in players.

Next month we will feature some of the table games.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us. Webers at [email protected].

Retiree Rally WARNING!!!!!!

By Bill & Dianne Buggeln

Watch out for the Sheriff & his Deputies! Court will be held, jail and bonds at the judge’s choice. More to come next month.

Special note – Is the Judge a ‘Hanging Judge?’ ‘Hanging judge’ is a colloquial phrase for a judge who has gained notoriety for handing down punishment by sentencing convicted persons to death by hanging, or otherwise imposing unusually harsh sentences. Intrigued? Join us in Mineola, Texas to discover what the Buggelns have planned!!

Calling all Cowboys and Cowgirls

By Bill & Diane Buggeln, Chairs

A breakfast for the guys and a salad bar for the gals. A Cowboy doesn’t wear a hard hat; his working hat is a Cowboy hat. Western gals wore all sorts of hats. Bring your favorite.

Yee-Haw! Retiree Rally Flea Market

By Richard & Frances Jackson, Flea Market Chairs

Yee-Haw! It’s time to plan for the Retiree Rally Flea Market. Booth space will be provided, including table and chairs. Bring items you want to sell. There is no fee for the booth, and you keep all of the proceeds. So giddy-up, and get items together to bring to the flea market!

Retiree Rally ’24 Arts & Crafts

By Dora Lewis, Chair

We’re all looking forward to another Retiree Rally. All the committees are working hard to make it a great rally. There are many activities being planned. Arts and craft will have three projects. More information to follow about the crafts planned for this year. Make your reservation and join in all the fun.

The Purple Hulls

By Reba Ray, Entertainment Chair

The Purple Hulls singing group will be performing on March 19, 2024 at the Retiree Rally in Mineola, Texas.

They are a Bluegrass and Bluegrass gospel group with a Texas Swing! Talented identical twins Katy Lou & Penny Lea Clark, raised on a working purple hull pea farm near Kilgore, TX., perform across the country and abroad as a 3-piece band, delivering a variety of sounds that most people at first listen confuse with a 5-piece.

The Purple Hulls spent a number of years in Nashville honing their craft, writing for Sony Publishing, touring with various artists as side musicians, and doing session work. Since back in Texas, they have toured extensively with the Quebe Sisters and Asleep at the Wheel and have released four studio projects.


King & Queen Info

By Leon & LaNelle Ishmael, King & Queen Coordinators

Ho,ho, ho Santa just whispered in my ear that there is one of you wanting to run for International Retiree King and Queen but are being shy about it. Come on, step out of that shell. Ask any member of the royal court how much fun it is. January 1 is the deadline to send the application; so, do it now. Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to get your applications!

Round Up Your Doggies Pet Parade

By Donna Powell, Your Roundup Wrangler

Our pet parade will have the following categories: Theme – Round up Your Little Doggies.  Categories will be; Best Talent; Look-Alike Owner/pet; Best Behaved; and Best of Show! So, get your thinking caps on. Let’s have some fun and great showmanship!

There  will  be treats, certificates and prizes for the winners! Also, I’m looking for anyone willing to help with the parade; more hands are definitely welcomed! Round up your pets. Let’s have a great pet parade! Mineola is a great place to camp and visit; meet your friends and make new ones!

Athens, Texas‘ Black-Eyed Pea Capital’ & Home of the Hamburger

By Barb Turner, Publicity Chair

Intrigued? About 50 miles from Mineola, Texas, site of the 52nd FCRV International Retiree Rally to be held in March, 2024, is the city of Athens. As noted in the title, Athens is known as the ‘Black-Eyed Pea Capital’ and is the official Home of the Hamburger!

According to the article “Black-Eyed Peas: An Athens Original” update in The County Line Magazine on Feb 27, 2020, “Everyone knows the tradition that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck, but few may know that they originated in Athens. As the story goes, in 1909 an Athens businessman named J.B. Henry sought a way to help farmers rid the area’s legume crops of weevils by drying them in ovens. Next came the discovery that what was considered livestock feed also appealed to human tastes. Henry was soon dubbed the ‘Black-Eyed Pea King of East Texas. News traveled fast and before too long; Athens was busily supplying black-eyed peas far beyond East Texas. Canning plants opened in the 1930s and ‘40s to meet the demand. By the 1970s, Athens had gained the title of ‘Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World.’ The city hosted a pea festival that continued for many years until demand and production lessened. Area farmers and backyard gardeners still grow the peas and Athenians (and millions of others) still pass the bowl of yummy vegetables at mealtimes — all efforts that harken back to the humble legume’s glory years in Athens.”

Official ‘Home of the Hamburger’? Athens’ history claims that a man known as Uncle Fletcher Davis created the first hamburger in the late 1880’s at a small café on the town square. Who knew?

Athens was established in 1850 as the county seat and was officially incorporated in 1902. “Athens was named by a step-daughter of one of the founding fathers, Dullcette Averiette, who had a vision that Athens would become the cultural center of the county and named Athens in honor of Athens, Greece.”

With this intriguing history, what attractions await you in Athens?

First, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, 5550 FM2495, Athens, combines outdoor education with a production fish hatchery. The center houses a hatchery, laboratory, aquarium, and education center focusing on underwater wildlife in the state’s freshwater streams, ponds and lakes. It serves as home base for the ShareLunker program, which invites anglers to donate trophy-sized largemouth bass for research and breeding purposes. The Toyota ShareLunker Program is one of the most important developments in fisheries management in the last half-century. Anglers who catch largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more can loan or donate the fish to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to be used in a selective breeding program. The program aims to increase the size and number of big bass for anglers to catch.


The round tanks in the Lunker Bunker house the big bass during the spawning season from October through April. Eggs produced by the big females are hatched in the jars immediately below the window, and the fry are kept in the long troughs along the far wall until they are big enough to be stocked in the hatchery ponds outside. There they are reared to stocking size, either 1.5 or 6 inches long. Take a virtual tour by visiting this link – https://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/visit/virtualtour/ 

The East Texas Arboretum, 1601 Patterson Rd, Athens, comprises 100 acres of natural East Texas with nearly 2 miles of trails through the woodlands. “Camouflaged frogs, insects, and even deer often scurry away as you pass. Make your way along winding, spring-fed streams connected by a 115-foot suspension bridge.” Visit the Wofford House Museum on the grounds. The house is the oldest home in Henderson County being built in 1850. It was moved to the arboretum and is now restored and fully furnished, complete with culinary and medicinal gardens. Experience early East Texas when you visit the museum. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g30193-d3361441-Reviews-East_Texas_Arboretum-Athens_Texas.html 

The Athens Scuba Park is your ultimate Scuba Diving and Snorkeling destination! An all-inclusive dive facility that provides sales, service, classes and travel! With 20 + sunken wrecks and 10 diving docks around the lake, explore and enjoy! The park is one of the only dive resorts in the United States that has a full -service dive shop, classroom, training pool and an open water lake all in one location. https://athensscubapark.com/ 

The area is apparently conducive to the growing of grapes. https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=wineries&find_loc=Athens%2C+TX  lists the 10 best wineries in Athens. Check them out and plan your visit.

Do craft breweries interest you? Be sure to visit the Athens Brewing Co. in the heart of downtown Athens at 01 E Tyler St., in an old historic building on the town square. The info says they have 8 brews on-tap. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g30193-d10587482-Reviews-Athens_Brewing_Co-Athens_Texas.html 

Add Athens to your ‘to-do’ list when you are East Texas for the 52nd Retiree Rally in March. Visit the attractions listed above, or just wander downtown historic Athens. Hopefully, we’ll see you in March in Texas! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPKen_lk5h0  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZW6oA78-Fw

Campvention 2024 – Frankfort, New York

Join in on the discussion at the 2024 Campvention Facebook group.
Click the link above or scan the code below.

Attention: Save!

By Barb Turner, Publicity Chair

Reminder: register by December 31 and save $25 on your Campvention 2024 registration!! Instead of a week of fun and fellowship at $350, register at $325! https://fcrv.org/campvention-2024/

Campvention 2024 Update

By Deb Swanson, Campvention Chair

Campvention plans are starting to come together nicely. We have our first band booked and will have more information about them in future issues . Our Anniversary Dinner menu is all planned and is one not to be missed. Our seminar chairman has at least two seminars planned for every day. Our C.A.M.P. chairman has the most beautiful place along the Erie Canal planned for bike riding, canoeing and walking. Our parking chairman is contacting our attendees directly to make sure they have everything they need to make their “home away from home” comfortable.

We want our 75th anniversary celebration to be a family reunion. We want old friendships to be renewed and new friendships to develop. We will have more information coming in the next couple of months including “Know before you go”, a comprehensive list of everything that will be available at Campvention and everything you need to bring to Campvention.

Don’t forget to register before December 31st! Save $25!


From the Campvention team, we wish you a happy holiday season.


By Sue Fromholzer, Dinner Chair

At Campvention 2024 a dinner to celebrate 75 years of NCHA/FCRV will be available. It will consist of jerk pork and chicken, 2 sides, dessert, and a drink for $14.00 a person. Every dinner will be made and packed by our members for takeout. Inside tables and picnic tables will be available for use. You might just want to go back to camp and sit around with friends and family! A limited number of dinners will be available so make sure you sign up and pay at central registration.

FCRV International Band

By Craig Weber, Band Director

For more than forty years the FCRV International Band has performed at Campvention. Made up of volunteers the band members have given some of their Campvention time to practice and play at Campvention. Until the band size became so small, the band marched in the parade along with providing some evening entertainment. It has become more challenging each year to find music for such a small group. There are many loyal band members who consider this a high point of their Campvention experience. Unfortunately, several of the loyal band members will not be coming to New York this year. This will seriously impact the band’s ability to play in New York. If we do not get more volunteers, 2023 will go down as the last performance of the FCRV International Band. This is an urgent call to anyone who does not want to see this program die. This is the time to step up. If you want the band to continue and you play an instrument and are coming to New York in 2024, please e-mail Craig Weber at [email protected].  Let me know what instrument you play and your shirt size. I try to make the music available at the beginning of May to allow you some extra practice time. I hope the band can continue, but I realize times change. Thank you for allowing me to direct the FCRV International Band for the past 20 years.

Campvention Site Decorating Contest

By Shari Weber, Chair

“Camping – Past, Present, and Future” is the theme for the site decorating contest at Campvention 2024 in June. Put your thinking caps on to figure out how to depict the past, present, and/or future of camping. Remember, displays can be created by groups, chapters, families, or individuals. There will be first, second, and third place displays chosen by the judges. Use materials that depict your display the best. Have fun and be creative! There will be a sign-up sheet at central registration, and you will have until noon Wednesday, June 26th. Displays will be judged Wednesday afternoon.

Remember to support our sponsor Crazy Acres Campground. They can be reached by phone at 607-278-5293 or email at [email protected]. Find details about the campground at https://crazyacrescampground.com/.  They are now taking reservations for next year.

RV Tech at Campvention

By Ron Cohee, Commercial Chair

The RV technician, Thomas LaCour, who was on the Campvention 2023 grounds the first weekend will be on the grounds all week at Campvention 2024.

Campvention Parade

By Lynn Tinter, Parade Chair

Campvention 2024’s parade theme is “Past, Present, and Future”. This is the 75th anniversary of FCRV, and we are hoping for a large showing at our national Campvention parade. We are planning on a walking and riding parade; so start planning your entry. We encourage all state, province, teen, youth groups, retirees, chapters and individuals to participate. Historically, the parades went through the town we were camping in, but in recent times we have stayed on the campgrounds. More information will follow in upcoming issues of “Camping Today”.

Explore the Herkimer Diamond Mines

By Barb Turner, Publicity Chair

Campvention site attractions offer new experiences at each location. Campvention 2024 at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort, New York, and like previous campventions, offers a unique experience……mining for Herkimer diamonds within 40 miles of Campvention!

Diamonds? Really? Yes, but they aren’t really ‘diamonds! Herkimer diamonds are actually quartz crystals, being pointed on both ends (doubly terminated)! So, why are they called ‘diamonds’? Typical crystals are terminated, only pointed on one end. The ‘diamond’ determination is due to the clarity and natural facings consisting of 18 total faces (six on each point, six around the center). Real diamonds are expertly ‘cut’ to create the facets.

Why Herkimer? The formation of Herkimer Diamonds in the Herkimer County area of New York began over 500 million years ago when “the limey sediments that accumulated in the salty waters of an ancient sea were gradually compacted under the weight of thousands of feet of seawater, sediment, and rock.” They are only found in the Mohawk Valley where the Mohawk Indians accidentally found the diamond, according to legend.

Wikipedia says: “Herkimer diamonds became widely recognized after workmen discovered them in large quantities while cutting into the Mohawk River Valley dolomite in the late 18th century. Geologists discovered exposed dolomite in Herkimer County outcroppings and began mining there, leading to the ‘Herkimer diamond’ moniker. Double-point quartz crystals may be found in sites around the world, but only those mined in Herkimer County can be given this name.”

Are Herkimer diamonds valuable? “Herkimer diamonds of a low quality can be purchased for as little as $1 per carat,” Daga says. “In contrast, high-quality Herkimer diamonds can cost up to $100 per carat, with certain cuts fetching prices in the thousands.” https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=how+much+are+herkimer+diamonds+worth 

With all of this mind, you might consider mining for your own Herkimer diamonds. At the end of this article, you will find some links to assist you., where to go and what to expect.

In addition, some tips:

Sluice mining offers another exciting mining experience. Purchase a special bag and head to the Sluice Station where you can screen away the debris to discover your very own treasures. This experience is perfect for miners of all ages.

Closed-toe shoes and eye protection are required to enter the mines. Tools over 12 lbs. and powered equipment are not allowed. The mines are subject to closure during unsafe weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, harsh rains, thunderstorms, etc.

Fees includes an all-day prospecting ticket, gem collection bags, and use of a rock hammer. Instruction will be provided prior to entering the mines.

Explore these links. Get excited about a unique experience mining for Herkimer diamonds while attending Campvention 2024 June 23-29, 2024, Herkimer County Fairgrounds, Frankfort, NY!







Picture credits:

Herkimer Diamond photo: By Ra'ike

Herkimer Diamond photo #2 from https://grand-colonial.com/how-much-are-herkimer-diamonds-worth/ 

Personalized garments; drinkware; clings; decals; kitchen & bath items. You can choose from our large graphic collection or use your photos or designs.

For FCRV branded items: https://stores.inksoft.com/fc_rv/shop/home

For other items: https://stores.inksoft.com/marshall_creations16/shop/home

Call or text: 410-533-0038
[email protected]

Dear RV

Do you have questions about your RV, accessories, best practices, etc? Submit them to Dear RV and our staff will attempt to answer them. The answers are based on years of camping experience, but we don’t guarantee that the answers will apply to your specific unit or situation. If someone submits a question and you can add to our answer OR have a better answer, please submit below with information about the original question. Your submission will be reviewed for possible publication in a future Dear RV Q&A. So, send us your questions and we will send you an answer. Remember, all submissions are anonymous.

Us here at Dear RV!

Dear RV December 2023

Dear RV, my sofa in the camper is breaking down. Very uncomfortable to sit for any length of time. Can I replace it? Is it difficult? Expensive? What wisdom can you impart on doing or not doing this? Thanks for now.

Dear Sofa,

It happens with every camper if you’ve had it for any length of time. Yes, it can be replaced. There are several companies out there that have them. Measure carefully. Check the weight. It’s as expensive as you want it to be, and you can find some on sale sometimes. The hardest part is getting the old one out and the new one in. Sometimes the new ones come in pieces which makes it a LOT easier. I have done it in my camper – replaced the jack-bed with 2 theater seats with heat, massage, lumbar support, & adjustable headrest. The cloth very closely matches the camper interior so you can’t tell they weren’t original. Take your time. Find what fits you and your camper. You should be able to enjoy every part of your camping life.

Dear RV, I might have made a mistake in winterizing my camper. I placed it into storage, and after getting home, I think I left my vents open. I have Max covers, but a friend said that I should close it up tight during the winter. Another friend said I have nothing to worry about. What is correct? Do you have any reassuring info for me as I am not able to get into the building until it is time to take it out of storage.

Not Sure what to do!

Well, Not Sure

I have been told both to close up the rig and to maintain air flow. Rest assured that I am going to say that I have Max covers, and I leave a vent open all winter. I am in a snowy area, and we have temperature ups and downs all winter. I find that I do not have moisture problems by leaving the vent open. If your rig is inside a building and you have a max cover as well, I would say you have nothing to worry about having a vent open. I think your rig will be okay.

Thanks for asking and have a restful winter.

Send us your Questions here at Dear RV; we look forward to hearing from you! Happy Camping


(607) 278-5293
263 Beaver Spring Road Davenport, NY 13750
Get Directions – Email the CampgroundReserve Online


Stormy Day

Stormy Day – Stories from the Field: The Adventures of a Wildlife Technician

By Amy Wittmeyer

This past summer, I worked in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of northwestern Wyoming, studying the small common loon population in the area. Winter held on tightly in the spring, and there was still plentiful ice on the lakes in late May. Because of this, we couldn’t get across one of our larger lakes in Yellowstone by boat to check the status of the nests. So, we had to hike around the lake in snowshoes.

When we arrived at the trailhead in the morning, it was sunny and warming up nicely. That was both good and bad. Snowshoeing in warm temperatures is a pain in the butt (and legs, and ankles, and everything else), because the snow softens and becomes “rotten,” thus making it far easier to slip and slide and break through the snowpack, even with snowshoes. To make matters even more complicated, we had been having higher temperatures for about a week, so the snow was melting quickly during the day. This led to lots of snowmelt and flooding on the trails.

We set off and quickly entered a matrix of downed logs, piles of rotten snow several feet deep, and standing water, sometimes as deep as 6-8 inches, surrounding it all. On and off, on and off, the snowshoes became more of a hindrance than a help in trying to navigate the tricky landscape. Helpful for larger, extended patches of snow, they quickly became a pain when trying to hop logs to avoid the standing water. Eventually, no matter how hard we all tried to stay above the water, our boots became wet. Then we came to the river crossing.

At this time of year, any logs that may have been useful to cross the river were flooded over. We prowled the riverbank looking for a way to cross without getting wet, but we were unsuccessful. Eventually, we had to bite the bullet and brave the freezing water. We all took off our snowshoes, boots, and socks, rolled up our pants, and plunged into the frigid water. Woo-hoo that was cold!

After the refreshing dip, we sat on the opposite rocky shore to let our feet dry in the sun for a bit before putting all of our gear back on and resuming the hike. We finally made it to the site on the opposite side of the lake where we could see the wooden raft the loons usually built their nest on. However, as my crew looked through their binoculars to the raft, I was looking up at the clouds. They had been increasing in number and decreasing in brightness. Just across the water on the near horizon, they were unnervingly dark. Then we heard a distant rumble and my crew leader decided it was time to go. We still had a nearly 4-mile hike back around the lake to the truck, and it would take longer than usual to get there due to the increasingly rotten snow and difficult terrain. Not to mention we had a river crossing, which we could not safely cross if we got hit with a lightning storm.

We did our best to hurry, but in Yellowstone, storms form quickly and move with incredible speed. Before long, the storm was directly overhead. Pea-sized hail began to pelt us as we scurried between patches of trees, lightning flashing and thunder cracking with unnerving proximity. We reached the river, but we all agreed not to cross until the storm weakened. After about 20 minutes of quiet and no lightning, we plunged into the water, boots and all. We were all thoroughly drenched by now, so there was no real point in taking the extra time to take our boots and socks off. The snowshoes were similarly abandoned, tied to our packs as we re-entered the matrix of snow, water, and downfall. It simply was not worth all the time to repeatedly take them off and put them on, only to take them off again 100 yards down the trail.

We post-holed through the rotten snow and splashed along the stream that was the flooded trail, trying our best to make light of the situation, laughing at how we all looked and felt like drowned rats and sharing dreams of warm food and drinks for dinner. By the time we made it back to the truck, it was midafternoon and we had a 3-hour drive ahead of us. None of us were in any kind of mood to cook that night, so we unanimously decided to hit up a burger joint on our way back through Jackson. We all piled into the truck and set the heat to blasting, groaning about wet underwear and cold, soggy snacks.

The thought of warm burgers and fries was the only thing that kept our spirits up as we began the long drive back to town. And when we finally stumbled into the bar without a care in the world about how bedraggled we looked, it was with great relief and anticipation that we plopped ourselves into a booth, ready for a hearty, well-deserved dinner.