Category Archives: RVing

The Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve

In this weeks video and blog post we are going back to the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve to do a couple of things we haven’t done before.

We are staying at Monument Lake which is one of the few places this time of the year with any site available. We’re visiting in February at the peak of snowbird season.

In the video and blog post I use Everglades and Big Cypress interchangeably because they are very similar ecosystems. Big Cypress my favorite of the two areas is, as the name suggests a lot more wooded. The first activity we attempt is to walk a short section of the Florida trail. In South Florida, besides alligators, pythons, panthers, great blue herons, and anhingas, the most abundant member of the animal kingdom is the mosquito. The mosquitos are relentless on the Florida trail. I was under the impression that the winter was the non mosquito season. I was obviously greatly misinformed. It has also been an unusually hot and humid winter.

After our epic fail at the Florida Trail, we decide to the next best thing, which is a loop road that goes pretty deep into the Big Cypress National Preserve. This is truly the highlight of the trip, and the highlight of the loop road is the Sweetwater Strand. In the strand, which is like a river crossing the swamp, we can see all kinds of different birds and the heavy vegetation provided by the taller Cypress tress, makes it feel a lot cooler than the rest of the area. We see all kinds of different birds, and plenty of gators, some of them perhaps too close for comfort.

On the next day we visit Shark Valley, which is one of the most popular and famous places on the Everglades National Park. The is a loop trail where you can ride a bicycle and if you are lazy like us, there is also a tram. The tram is noisy and uncomfortable, and very much overdue for an upgrade. There is an observation tower at the far end of the road. The views are fine, but I guess my expectations were so high that I end up a little underwhelmed. We plenty of wildlife as well. The tour is presented by an elderly couple, and it is full of anecdotes and valuable information.

The culinary highlight of the trip is Joanie’s Café, in which the swamp platter which includes gator bites and frog legs is a winner.

Stay tuned for another compilation video coming soon about the 3 or 4 mail things to do in The Everglades National Park, and the Big acupressure National Preserve.

Florida RV Supershow 2017, and the winner is…

The Florida RV Supershow, which happens yearly in mid-January, is arguably the largest RV show in the United States of America, a title it disputes with the Hershey Show in Pennsylvania. If you are in the market for a new RV, this show will have the largest selection available anywhere. You are almost guaranteed to find the model and floor plan you are looking for. If you are not in the market it is also a good place to see what’s new, innovative, or just plain curious or ridiculous. There are also two large pavilions with vendors from cookware manufacturers to RV resorts.

This year I was lucky enough to attend on Industry Day, which is a day not open to the public, so you can explore all the units at leisure without the large crowds of the public days. That being said it was not what I expected. I expected it would be a day where you could speak to manufacturers and dealers, get interviews, and more in depth information, but that was not it at all. Industry Day is nothing more than a dress rehearsal, a soft opening, where everybody is still setting up, nobody really want to talk to you, and they don’t even have prices or information yet. Some of the rigs were even being used as storage for beverages and promotional materials for the next day.

That being said we were able to see a lot of RVs, and cover quite a lot in a relatively short time. We began in the pavilion by the entrance where all the Pleasure Ways, Roadtreks, and other class B’s were. On the other side of the floor They had the Prevost luxury motorhomes, and the Airstreams that we decided to leave for another day.

I have really tried to like these two particular brands of Class B, Roadtrek and Pleasure Way for a while now, particularly Roadtreks, which was recently purchased by German manufacturer Hymer. Even though some of them feature the latest in technology, lithium batteries, under the hood generators, heated floors and massive solar arrays, there is something about the floor plans that we just can’t get over. They feel cramped and uncomfortable, and they all have the same cookie cutter floor plan with a sofa bed in the back, galley and refrigerator on one side, bathroom and closet on the other, and the narrowest possible hallway. Want a table to eat? Most of the time you will have to assemble it, usually hidden in some closet out of the way. We are lazy when it comes to that. We want a permanent table and a permanent bed, because sometimes RV dwellers have different schedules.

There was also a B+ Pleasure Way with a murphy bed and a dry bath that was adequate. The problem with the murphy bed, again, is that everybody in the rig has to go to sleep at the same time. Why those are so popular lately is beyond my comprehension.

Moving right along there was a very nice 4X4 custom sprinter van by Spotsmobile which unfortunately didn’t have a bathroom. I wish more companies would come up with innovative floor plans on 4X4 chassis, so you can boondock in even more remote places.

Our next point of interest was the Hymer booth. Hymer is the largest manufacturer of RV in Europe, and their recent acquisition of Roadtrek, means we might be seeing a lot more of their products trickle to this side of the Atlantic. They were featuring two motorhomes based on the Ram Promaster/Fiat Ducato chassis and two travel trailers. One of the motorhomes we had seen before, the Hymer Aktiv, formerly the Grand Canyon. Measuring a mere 19.5 feet long it is one of the shortest class B motorhomes available. It features a pretty innovative collapsible bed in the back, a wet bath with cassette toilet and fold up sink. It is one of my favorite class B floor plans of late. Of course new for this year there is a slightly longer model with a convertible sofa bed in the back that looks like a direct transplant from a Roadtrek and really felt out of place in an otherwise innovative floorplan. Then there was the Sonne, not available yet in the USA, only 17 feet long with a pop-up shower which also doubled as counter space when in the down position. Both travel trailers had a pop up roof, no holding tanks, and apparently were light enough to be towed with a light SUV or even a car. We love to see innovation from a new comer to the marker who really thinks outside the box.

Our next stop was at the Winnebago booth to pay a visit to our old friend the Winnebago Travato, based on a 21-foot-long Promaster van. That was our favorite RV of 2016, but this time, after spending some time inside, and speaking to other owners, it has fallen a little out of grace in our humble opinion. We have realized we may need something slightly bigger, with more storage, in order to be comfortable.

We also paid a visit to the newer version of our Micro Minnie and then discovered what may be our new favorite motorhome: the Winnebago Trend 23L. At only 24 feet in length the Winnebago Trend may be one of the more complete Class C in the market. Even though it is marketed as a class C it features the more streamlined design and swiveling captain chairs of their B+ cousins.

I could write a short book about all the Class C, travel trailers, fifth wheels, truck campers and big rigs that we saw, but instead I’ll follow up with links to the rest of the videos I published during the week we spent at the Florida RV Supershow.

See you on the road!

Winnebago Micro Minnie 1706FB After Two Years

It is once again that time of the year in which we celebrate our second RVing anniversary, and Minitini the Trailer’s second birthday, belated this time. We signed on the dotted line on August 30th, 2014 and barely a week later in September 5th 2014 we took delivery. Owning this small travel trailer has literally changed our lives. We have discovered so many new places around South Florida and the rest of the State, and the rest of the USA. It has also brought us a step closer to the nomadic lifestyle we want to have in the not so distant future.


I order to accommodate our needs I have made several upgrades over the past two years. I am going to enumerate the most important ones.

 Although we don’t really watch TV all that much, it is good to have ir just in case. We have found decent TV reception virtually everywhere, except for, oddly enough, Marathon, Florida.

  • Oxygenic shower and dispenser

OK, these are two in one but they serve the same purpose: having a nicer shower. If only the water heater would cooperate. The Oxygenic shower provides great water pressure, and the dispenser makes our shower gel, conditioner, and shampoo readily available

  • Power inverters

I know I should have spent the money and bought a good pure sine wave inverter and hardwire it to the electrical system. Instead I have bought a couple of smaller inverters and wired them across the camper and they are great to charge our phone, computer, and camera batteries when off the grid

  • Fantastic Vent

This one has been a life changer. Before having this the RV was way too hot even for a pit stop along the road. We have used it while boondocking and it keeps the camper fresh and cool at night.

  • Solar Panels

It is great to have peace of mind knowing your battery will remain charged using the power of the sun. It has proven indispensable for boondocking more than one night.

  • Knife rack

This one isn’t earth shattering, but it frees up space in the drawers for other stuff

There are many other little things we have done to make our lives easier, such as a mirror on the bathroom door, and a small rack and hooks to hang clothes.

We have many upgrades planned for the future, and this year I intend to make a few of them.

  • Hardwired 3000W pure sine wave inverter
  • 5 gallon or more water heater to replace the on demand one we have now
  • Battery upgrade when our current one dies
  • Dinette replacement for an office style desk

Do you have any upgrade suggestions? We look forward to your comments.

Memphis, Tennessee: Elvis is Alive!

It is running of fumes that we arrive at Memphis, Tennessee; and I’m not talking about old Kia. It is us. It has been an intense whirlwind road trip for almost two weeks now, and we are really ready for a break that won’t come for another two days. I, however, am ecstatic to be staying here right next to the west bank of the Mississippi. I have always been fascinated by this river mainly because of Mark Twain’s stories. I can almost imagine Jim and Huck’s raft coming downstream.


We ignore our fatigue and decide to explore downtown a little bit. We walk along the bank of the river enjoying a spectacular sunset. Then we walk towards historic Beale Street, which is lined up with bars, most of them featuring live music. It is a real shame we are not really in the mood for partying.

On the next day we go to the main tourist attraction in this town: Graceland. This was Elvis Presley’s home all the way from the 1950’s until the time of his death in 1977. Some of the rooms were redecorated for the tour, reflecting different eras in the life of the King of Rock and Roll. There’s also a whole building dedicated to the many awards he received as well as costumes and memorabilia. There is a meditation garden where Elvis, and well as other family members are laid to rest. Across the street there are two main attractions. One of them is the two jet planes Elvis Presley acquired in 1975. The other is the automobile museum, showcasing his extensive car collection.

After the museum we go to one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in Memphis: Central BBQ. While it is a tough comparison, I do believe the one in St. Louis was a little more tasty, but I could have taste bud fatigue at this point so don’t quote me on that.

Our last point of interest in the city is the Memphis Pyramid. It was originally conceived as an sports facility, but something about the dimensions prevented it from becoming an NBA arena. After much financial distress, the property was leased by Bass Pro Shops, where they have built the largest over the top store. The highest freestanding elevator in the United States takes you to the top of the pyramid, where they have a restaurant and an observation deck.

We depart at sunset and spend the night in Tupelo, Mississippi, very close to Elvis Presley’s birthplace. In the morning, we briefly visit the site, and then spend most of the day driving south towards the Florida panhandle.

Homestead, Florida

After a long three month long hiatus we are on the road again. This time we are not traveling very far, just south, to the sHomestead Thumbsouthernmost part of the South Florida metropolitan area which is comprised of the the cities of Homestead and Florida City. Florida City in particular, is considered the gateway to the Florida keys because if its proximity to the island chain.

We spent a weekend visiting the main landmarks and tourist attractions, historic downtown, the Alligator Farm, Robert is Here, Knaus Berry Farm (well not really), Schnebly Winery, Miami Brewing Company, Alabama Jack’s (we sort of), Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo, and the most famous local tourist attraction, The Coral Castle.

After we arrive at the Southern Comfort RV Resort, we decide to visit the Schnebly Winery and its neighbor the Miami Brewing Company. The winery turns out to be a little of a disappointment but the brewery is great. I particularly enjoyed their Torpedo IPA, and the house made sausage sandwich. Then we decide to check out the Cauley Square historic village, which is a picturesque area with restaurants, gardens and quaint shops. Unfortunately we arrive to late and everything was closing down for the day.

In the morning we went to the Alligator Farm which is definitely worth a visit. They have Alligator and Snake shows and many exotic animals on display, but the highlight of the visit is definitely the air boat ride. The we go to Robert Is Hear, a legendary fruit stand for so refreshing tropical fruit smoothies.

A visit to homestead would not be complete without a visit to the Coral Castle, built by Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin as the Rock Gate Park, it was dedicated to his fiancée who left him the day before their wedding. The construction of the place is not without conspiracy theories. It seemed unlikely that five-foot-tall Ed could be able to haul all this heavy coral rock to this location all by himself and then transform them into the mesmerizing rock formations that comprise the castle.

In the evening we head down to Key Largo for dinner at the Gilbert’s Resort with some friends.

All this is available in much more detail in the video below.

Old Florida Scenic Drive

This is the conclusion to our Mount Dora/Orlando trip from back in December. We returned back south down the east coast, exploring a little bit of Ft. Pierce, Jensen Beach, and Stuart.

Click on the image below to watch video.

Old Florida Scenic Drive

Florida Rambler article mentioned and used as reference

We stayed at:
Ft. Pierce KOA

We ate at:
The Original Tiki Bar

Conchy Joe’s Seafood

Action Camera: GoPro Hero 3 White

Additional video camera: LG V10 Android phone

Large Diaphragm Studio Microphone: Audio Technica AT3525

Video edited on Final Cut Pro X

Graphics created in Motion 5

Additional audio and voice over recorded in Pro Tools 11

Original music composed in Logic Pro, performed by Robert Morales

Original soundtrack available at

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Florida RV Supershow 2016 – Class B and B+ Motorhomes

On January 16th and 17th 2016 we visited the Florida RV Supershow, which takes place in Tampa every January. It is allegedly the largest RV show in the United States, although the Hershey Show in Pennsylvania also claims that title. Regardless of who wins, if you want to see a particular brand, model or floor plan this is the show for you.

This year we decided to concentrate in class B and B+ motorhomes although we did visit some of our current trailer’s cousins, and uncles, the other Winnebago travel trailers to see where they are innovating, or not.

The B+ motorhomes, as I explain in the video, are more closely related to the C class than the B. They are built on a cutaway chassis, and our favorite is still the Leisure Travel Vans, by Triple E, particularly the Serenity model. They are made in Canada and they just feel right inside. Yeah, there’s a subjective quality to Rving, which is very much intuition and what feels right. You are in reality buying a home after all, so it has to feel “homy”, whatever that is. We also liked the Phoenix Cruisers, which are sold directly from the factory. The Coach House is another high quality product with a lot of storage for the size but it fell into that subjective category of “just didn’t feel right”.

Enter the pure class B’s. We started with the Roadtreks and Pleasure Way’s. We really wanted to like those, because they are innovating in many ways, mainly battery technology. But one place where they don’t seem to be innovating much is in the floor plans. They all have a sofa bed in the back, some bigger some smaller, but the same concept. On either side there’s the galley, fridge, wet bath, closet, pantry, etcetera, and a very narrow hallway in the middle. In the front, two or four non movable chairs with a removable table. That is most of them in a nut shell.

Enter the Grand Canyon and the Travato, in my opinion the two winners this time around. They are both built on Ram Promaster Van, recently introduced in North America. It is our version of the European motorhome favorite Fiat Ducato. The Grand Canyon by Hymer is a mere 19.5 feet long, which means it will fit into almost any parking space. It does have an expandable dinette in the front, a wet bath with a folding sink and movable toilet which makes it feel larger than it really is and a compressor based refrigerator, which is very small. You sleep transversally on a bed you have to make every day if you want access to some of the storage. It is equipped with a Truma heater, which packs the latest on demand technology.

Then there is the Travato by Winnebago, a little longer than the Hymer at 21 feet, but substantially shorter than most of the other class B’s. The 59G was out favorite floor plan, which comes with a corner bed, collapsible almost like a murphy bed. There is also another floor plan, the 59K, which offers dual twin beds and a rear bath. The Travato feels sporty, agile, and practical, even though it lacks in counter space, but I hope they will address that in the future. The wet bath feels spacious because of its rectangular shape on the rear passenger side corner. And the set up at the front can sit up to 5 people at the dinner table. It also comes with a Truma heater and other innovations such as a power control center. By the way, most of the units I’ve mentioned come with the optional solar panel system, a must if you plan of boondocking like us.

As a conclusion I have come to the epiphany that everything in RVing is a compromise. The B+ may be relative comfortable to live in but you will have to look for that oversized parking or eventually get a second vehicle, which is what we are trying to avoid. The longer traditional B’s, I feel could have more innovative floor plans, but the ones that do have the potential of reaching that fragile balance between comfort and urban practicality.

Enjoy the video. Click on the image below to watch.

Supershow 2016 Thumb

Boondocking in the Everglades

The Everglades National Park is really our backyard here in Miami. Florida, yet we hardly ever visit this internationally known destination. I have decided to explore it a little bit and spend a night at the Long Pine Key Campground. It is a beautiful setting in the middle of a cyprus forest. We attempt to visit the Nike Missile Site, which is a cold war era relic, but apparently the tour got canceled without notice. We also explore the Anhinga Trail, which gives us a glimpse at the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem.

Living The RV Dream Gathering 1

For the past few days we have been at the Horseshoe Cove Carefree Resort in Bradenton, Florida with another 89 RVers, attending the first Living The RV Dream Gathering. The hosts of this event are John and Kathy Huggins, and they have a very popular RVing podcast and website. Here’s a video of the podcast episode that was recorded on Thursday night in front of a live audience.