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The Extra Mile

What You Should Know Before You Travel to Canada

October 31, 2013 at 1:23 PM by Sheri Ballard

Canada Flag

If your future includes an RV vacation to Canada, you need to be aware of some factors that could have an impact on your travel.


When you enter Canada, you must have proof of citizenship and identity (A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or Nexus card).  If you don’t have these documents, you can show a Driver’s License (or other government-issued photo ID) and proof of U.S. citizenship (birth or naturalization certificate, or expired U.S. passport).  Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship. 


Beetle-Infected Forests of the West are Resilient

August 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM by Nancy Kendrick

Pine beetleIf you have traveled through the west in the past few years, most likely you have noticed the rusty-colored, dead trees that cover the hillsides – the result of pine beetle infestations.   At a recent Future Forests Summit encouraging news was heard – scientists are confident that these beetle-infected forests throughout the west will regenerate.


National Parks Make Perfect Multi-Generational Vacations

January 9, 2013 at 3:18 PM by Dan Wulfman


Here's a statistic that may surprise you: Grandparents now account for one-third of all leisure travelers.  Wow.  Trip Advisor’s annual family travel survey reported that family travel rose 6 percent in 2011, and 38 percent of families planned multigenerational trips.


Today's grandparents do things differently than our parents and grandparents did.  Not only do many of them have the time and the money to travel with grandkids in tow, they also tend to be more physically fit, they've traveled more extensively.


Park Ranger or Superhero?

August 2, 2012 at 12:10 am by Sheri Ballard

Park rangerNot long ago I read about a ranger from Grand Canyon National Park, Lisa Hendy, who was named the recipient of the 2011 Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award.  This award is the highest honor bestowed on a park ranger, but as I read about this ranger’s skills, I was amazed:  “She's fought structural and wild land fires, provided advanced life support as a paramedic, rappeled over the edge of the canyon to rescue people, performed mountaineering and climbing patrols, carried out law enforcement duties, served on the helicopter crew, performed technical and swift water rescue, searched for lost hikers, plans special events, and monitors archeological sites in the park.”  I thought that this ranger must be going way above and beyond the call of duty, and decided to find out what a park ranger’s job really entails.


A Visit to San Francisco should include a tour of the bay

June 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM by Lisa Carroll

Red and White FleetThe San Francisco Bay is one of the most beautiful locations in the world, and this is a banner year to see them.  The Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 on May 27, marking the day in 1937 when “the bridge that couldn’t be built” officially opened to worldwide acclaim. In addition, San Francisco will welcome the U.S. return of the America’s Cup in 2013, with the first of the qualifying matches in  August. This is the first time the race has taken place in San Francisco, and race officials have taken advantage of the bay’s unique geography so that, for the first time ever, the competition can be seen from land.  




Cody, Wyoming is Mecca for Western History

May 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM by Karen Freeburg

CodyThe city of Cody, Wyoming was founded in 1896 and named for Colonel William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody.  If you plan to pass through there on your way to or from Yellowstone National Park (it is just 50 miles from the east gate), set aside some time to visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  Even if you are not a huge fan of museums, you will be glad you visited.  Admission is good for two consecutive days, and you will soon understand why.


Environmentally Responsible Vendors Make Vacationing Greener

April 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM by Nancy Kendrick

GreenHere at Tracks & Trails, green is good!   Two of our vendors, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, and Aramark Parks & Resorts, are dedicated to environmental protection, and we are pleased to be able to support their business philosophy. 


North Entrance of Yellowstone Will Soon be Less Congested

February 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM by Sheri Ballard

Roosevelt ArchThe National Park Service has begun renovations aimed at relieving traffic congestion and improving safety at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Montana.  That’s good news for our clients who pick their RV up in Billings and travel over the Beartooth Highway to Yellowstone.  This road is used for those visitors traveling to Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley as well.


Don’t Let TWS Ruin Your RV Vacation

January 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM by Ann Proctor

No WifiOne of the challenges of RV travel for families is to put away the electronics and enjoy being in the great outdoors without these distractions.  For some, this is no small task – and not just the kids struggle with this!    One blogger wrote, “As I feared, I went through TWS (technology withdrawal syndrome), a condition which often follows a long bout of NDD (nature deficit disorder).” He continued, “When I wanted to know the current temperature or the forecast, I thought immediately of logging on to the National Weather Service’s online site.  Then, I realized I’d have to figure it out on my own, by going outside and studying the sky.”  


Hoover Dam Bypass is a Vast Improvement for RV Travelers

November 8, 2011 at 3:07 PM by Karen Freeburg

Hoover Dam BypassTravel on U.S. Highway 93 has become much easier with the completion of the four-lane Hoover Dam Bypass, which also has become something of a tourist attraction.  Before the bypass was completed, traffic used the top of Hoover Dam to cross the Colorado River.  It was the major commercial corridor between the states of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, as well as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) route between Mexico and Canada. 


Antelope Island Bison Roundup is a Worthwhile Daytrip

October 26, 2011 at 12:27 PM by Nancy Kendrick

Antelope IslandJust 41 miles north of Salt Lake City lies Antelope Island, the largest of nine islands in the Great Salt Lake.  And with the levels of Great Salt Lake up again, canoeing or kayaking on Utah’s “inland sea” is once again possible.  Saltwater sunbathing at Bridger Bay with its white sandy beaches, pavilions, and showers, is a unique experience. Because the water is several times saltier than the ocean, you float very easily.  Other popular activities include hiking, biking, and horseback riding on more than 36 miles of trails. 


Wind Cave Acquisition Makes RV Trip More Desirable

October 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM by Lisa Carroll

BisonWind Cave National Park has just acquired an additional 5,555 acres of ranchland to add to the 30,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie and pine forest that comprises the park.  The Conservation Fund acquired this property at auction last year and held it until federal funds became available to transfer it to the Park Service.   Located on the southeastern edge of the park, the new acquisition includes a 1,000 year old buffalo jump – a cliff used by Native Americans to drive bison over to their deaths – and a homestead dating back to 1882.  The land also has Native American tipi rings and other cultural sites.  The Lakota consider this a sacred place, and it holds great potential for educating visitors about the indigenous peoples of South Dakota. 


The Best Time to Visit Death Valley by RV is Now!

September 29, 2011 at 12:16 PM by Karen Freeburg

Death ValleyWhile most of the national parks are gearing down this time of year, Death Valley is gearing up for their high season.  The Inn at Furnace Creek opens on October 7 and is offering 20 percent off the regular rate during the week of October 7 through 13.  The Inn closes in mid-May.  Furnace Creek Resort is open year-round, and does have availability in October and November. Campgrounds at lower elevations are open from October through April, with the exception of Furnace Creek, which is open year round.


Explore Lake Powell this Fall

September 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM by Ann Proctor

Lake PowellThe water has risen at Lake Powell to levels not seen since 2001.  June water flows were 176% of normal; July flows were 280% of normal, with lake levels rising close to a foot a day.  The lake reached a point where it was 76% full this summer.  After years of receding water levels, the additional 28 feet of water means new places to explore.  "The higher water levels are opening hundreds of Lake Powell's back canyons to boats, giving visitors access to areas that have not been accessible for 10 years," said David Sloma, vice president of operations for Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas.


New Archaeological Site Acquired by National Park Service

September 13, 2011 at 5:52 PM by Nancy Kendrick

crystalThe Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, with its oddly shaped rock formations of rainbow-colored petrified wood, fossils and petroglyphs left by American Indian tribes, may become the site of many new discoveries in the next few years.   The National Park Service just secured more than 26,000 acres that have remained largely untouched and are very likely to unearth note-worthy scientific treasures.


We’re already gearing up for 2012 RV vacations

August 11, 2011 at 12:43 PM by Sheri Ballard

CanadaIt’s hard to believe but the summer is quickly winding down.  It’s been a busy travel season here at Tracks and Trails, and as we finish sending the last of our clients on their RV trips, our sights are turning to those clients who have already begun planning their 2012 trips.   These clients become 2012 trips for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps they are the type of person who is so organized that they begin planning next year’s trip a year in advance, or because they know the early bird gets the worm and they want to be the first in line for reservations.  Unfortunately, some of them are clients who wanted a 2011 trip but contacted us too late.   This scenario occurs more often than we would like, but if we can’t find availability of RVs and/or campgrounds to make for a spectacular trip, we suggest that it be postponed a year.   


Native American Heritage Days

July 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM by Nancy Kendrick

GC N RimIf you plan to be at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on August 11 or 12, you are invited to attend the 18th annual Native American Heritage Days.  The rich cultural diversity of the Colorado plateau, the Arizona Strip and the Grand Canyon will begin with a nature walk on Thursday, August 11, and end with a special evening program on Friday, August 12.


It’s High Season for RV Vacations

July 14, 2011 at 4:47 PM by Lisa Carroll

RV by lakeHere at the Tracks & Trails office, surveys are beginning to show up in the mail from this year’s clients who have just returned from their RV vacations.  We appreciate the time they have taken to complete these evaluations of our service, and we strive to use their suggestions to continually improve.  We ask how our suppliers are doing as well, and if there are problems, we check into them immediately.


Some of the comments we’ve received have been great, and we’d like to share a few of them:


Unusual Weather Requires RVers to be Prepared

June 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM by Karen Freeburg

RVerIf you’re traveling this summer, be prepared for very unusual weather here in the West.  This past winter’s record snowfalls have delayed opening of roads, parks, and campgrounds.  And if that isn’t enough to worry about, now that the weather is warming up there are worries about rivers flooding.


Camping and Fishing are Kid Friendly

June 8, 2011 at 5:39 PM by Ann Proctor

FishingIn my world, camping and fishing go hand in hand.   I’d have a very hard time setting up camp near a lake or stream without throwing in a line, just to see if there’s any fish biting.  I think it’s in my genes -- my dad was an avid fisherman. 


Add a Glacier Walk to your Canadian RV Vacation

May 16, 2011 at 5:46 PM by Dan Wulfman

Athabasca GlacierIf you are planning to explore Jasper National Park, a visit to the Athabasca Glacier is a “must”.   We visited the region in August 2010, and this was a highlight of our trip.  The landscape of a glacier is unique and one that most people are amazed by when they witness it.   The Columbia Icefield is the largest mass of ice in the Rocky Mountains, with Athabasca being  the most accessible part of the Icefield.   The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic highways in the world, so getting there is an attraction on its own...


Our RV Vacations are Customized For YOU!

May 5, 2011 at 5:49 PM by Dan Wulfman

RV Glee

Tracks and Trails offers our clients truly custom-planned RV vacations.   Our trip consultants work with clients on an individual basis to create a vacation tailored to their unique needs and desires.  Unlike a group tour, where the cost of organizing the trip is shared among many guests, our trip consultants spend time discussing expectations one-on-one before putting together a trip proposal.  Custom travel arrangements can cost from 40% to 200% more than a group tour, but we pride ourselves on working to keep your budget in mind while providing you with a one-of-a-kind vacation...


Celebrate National Park Week and Get Moving!

April 12, 2011 at 5:51 PM by Ann Proctor

National Park Week is April 16-24.  Entrance to any National Park is free the entire week, where the emphasis is on the obvious fact that getting outside is good for your healthFishing.


Tips on Finding Affordable Flights for your RV Vacation

March 30, 2011 at 4:11 PM by Sheri Ballard

AirlinerIf your family plans on flying this year,you may want to try the following strategies to get the best possible prices on airline tickets.  Plan to spend some time searching the internet.  Sites like searches for the best fares, but they do not show every airline on their site (discount airlines like JetBlue or Southwest).  Look at airline web sites and travel sites like Expedia or Travelocity.  This does take some time and patience, but if you’re buying tickets for the entire family, your efforts will pay off by saving a significant amount of money.


All Aboard!

March 24, 2011 at 5:04 PM by Lisa Carroll

Durango Train

 A great way to take in the sights is by climbing aboard a historic steam train, and it is an ideal family outing.  If you are considering a western RV vacation and would like to incorporate a historic train ride in your itinerary, here are a few options: