A Perfect Cup of Coffee in Your RV

CoffeeSome people enjoy a superb cup of coffee just as much as wine connoisseurs enjoy fine wine. If you believe life is too short to drink bad coffee, there is no reason to leave your passion behind when you are on the road in your RV. Take along a few essentials and you can enjoy that early morning cup of comfort while you watch the sunrise along a mountain stream, or while you relax around a campfire in the evening. When the brewed aroma of a great coffee combines with the outdoor ambiance of nature, it is a small pleasure well worth a little preparation. Here are some tips for brewing coffee to perfection, whether you are dry camping overnight in a Walmart parking lot in your Class B motorhome, or settled into one of America’s fabulous National Park campgrounds for a week or two in your Airstream trailer.

SELECTING YOUR BREWING METHOD

Depending on your choice of heat source – either the stove in your RV or a campfire, you may choose any of several brewing options. While you are out on the road enjoying new experiences, brewing your coffee in a different way than you might do it at home can add to your discovery experience. Here are a few techniques that make some extraordinary brews.

Italian Style

The Italian stove top espresso maker is a three part pot, usually made of aluminum, consisting of a lower water chamber, a filter basket, and an upper coffee vessel with a handle and a lid. Taking the espresso pot apart, fill the lower unit with cold water to a level just below the brass steam pressure relief valve. With the filter basket inserted into the boiling pot, grind your favorite coffee beans to a powdery consistency and add the coffee to the filter basket, filling it evenly and nearly to the top. Screw the top unit onto the lower boiling pot and place on the stove over medium high heat. As the water in the lower chamber is heated, the steam passes through the coffee and the upper chamber begins to fill, slowly at first, then more rapidly. This type of pot makes only about two large cups of coffee, so it will not take long. The pot spits, sputters and gurgles, telling you that your espresso is ready. Remove from the heat, pour and enjoy a strong, rich, satisfying brew.

French Style

The French press, sometimes called a plunger pot, can be tricky to use, but many coffee connoisseurs prefer this ritualistic way to make an exceptional brew. There is precision involved. The water temperature is critical, the consistency of the coffee grind is essential, and timing adds one more element of complexity to the process. Practice makes perfect, but here are the basic steps:

• Remove the lid and plunger. Put freshly ground coffee, about the consistency of Kosher salt, into the clean pot, about two rounded tablespoons for each eight ounces of water. Most French press pots hold about 32 ounces.
• Boil water in a separate pot and allow the boiling water to cool to between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It is helpful to have a thermometer for this step, but if that device is not available, it takes about 20 to 30 seconds for boiling water at sea level to cool to 200 degrees. At higher elevations, it can take a few seconds more.
• Slowly pour the hot water into the French press pot. Most of the coffee will float. Gently stir for a few seconds and the coffee will settle.
• With the screen retracted, or at the bottom of the lid, place the lid on the press. Wait for three to five minutes after adding the hot water, then slowly, gently push the plunger screen to the bottom of the pot. Allow about 20 seconds, being careful not to push the plunger too fast as this will cause the screen to tilt and coffee grinds can escape.
• Pour coffee slowly to minimize silt and enjoy. If you are not going to serve all of the coffee at once, pour the remainder into a thermos bottle. Do not leave it in the French press as it will continue to brew. Using this method, there will be some grinds in the bottom of your cup, so even if it is good to the last drop, you might have to chew the last drop a little.

Cowboy Style

For more than a hundred years, making coffee on an open campfire in a porcelain pot has been a Western tradition in America. Though the quality of the coffee used by cowboys in the old west was questionable, the method is simple and will produce extraordinary coffee with a bit of attention to detail. Here’s how:

• Fill the porcelain pot with water and place the pot in the campfire coals at the edge of the fire, not over direct flame.
• Allowing the water to come to a boil, remove the pot from the fire. After about a minute, add coarsely ground coffee – at two tablespoons per eight ounces of water – to the pot, stir briefly and replace the pot near the fire, but not directly on the heat source.
• Allow the coffee to brew for three to five minutes. Cowboys say that adding an egg shell to the pot will help the grinds to settle and clarify the coffee. Another hint to reduce muddiness: Place the coffee grinds in a fine cheesecloth pouch before adding to the pot.
• Pour slowly to avoid disturbing coffee grinds at the bottom of the pot. Enjoy!

GREAT COFFEE ANYWHERE ANYTIME

Unless you are camping in a wilderness area miles from civilization, you are not far from a local coffee roaster with fresh beans. Always use freshly roasted beans, grind your coffee immediately before using it, and don’t over brew. If there is no electric power, coffee grinders are available with battery power, or you can take an old fashioned crank grinder with you. If you aren’t sure of the water quality where you are, bring along bottled water. Regardless of your brewing method, remember, “If your coffee tastes like mud today, it was fresh ground yesterday.”

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20 Apps That Airstreamers Will Love

file0001440452984When RV camping or Airstreaming there are several Apps to consider having on your smartphone. Here are some to consider that will enhance your experience:

 
Mirror: Exactly what it’s called is a mirror that is activated off of the front facing lens of your phone’s camera. Mirror even offers a function that will make color corrections and has light filters to allow you to apply makeup or add a gel to your hair in low light settings.

 

Flashlight: How many times have you been camping and had to search around in the dark for a flashlight? (Ok, I had to stop for a minute and raise my own hand) Flashlight even has several effects that include a magnifying lens, an array of light colors and even themed lights such as holiday lights and Halloween lights.

 

First Aid: Includes advice and step-by-step guides on how to deal with a wide range of emergency situations. Of course, the App doesn’t replace getting First Aid training but can be used as a good refresher guide.

 

Tom Tom Navigator: offers a superb navigation system for almost anywhere in the world. You can also use it to take a photo of where you are and text or email it to a friend.

 

Yelp: for find any type of store, restaurant, food, and service available in your area. It will plug in your current location and give you the closest location of anything you’re looking for.

 

Kindle: Why pack a bunch of books that are going to take up space when you can read your Kindle books on your phone? Load up on books before you take off on your trip and you have a portable list of books to read at your fingertips. Check daily and weekly deals they offer on Kindle books.

 

Ebay: Keep track of all your online auctions why you’re away.

 

TheWeatherChannel: Has fast and accurate maps for local radar and severe weather bulletins for storms. They also offer road, satellite and hybrid views.

 

iHandy Level Free: Good for making sure the RV or Airstream is on level ground. This level is fully functional and very accurate once calibrated.

 

Spyglass – A Compass App: Lays a compass image over the image coming from your phone’s video camera which makes navigation easy. It also acts as a regular compass that when your phone is laid flat in the palm of your hand it is laid over Google Earth and locates your position.

 

Camping Manual: Is an excellent tool for those who haven’t camped before as well as experienced campers. It explains how to build a perfect campfire, set up camp and food you should pack. It also suggests destinations and activities.

 

Classic Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner: Helps you find the perfect meal for camping by food type, category and ingredients. It also can also put together an entire meal plan for your entire trip.

 

Cook Outdoors: Weber Grills: Has over 75 recipes that is delivered to your phone weekly as well as 60 guides, cooking tips and techniques.

 

GoSky Watch – Stargazing: Is the perfect tool for learning more about stars and constellations. It even links up with Wikipedia to give more detailed information on the stars and constellations you’re looking at.

 

Survival Guide: Explains survival techniques in difficult situations but can also help you appreciate nature and recreation.
Wild Edibles: Identifies edible plants found in the wild as well as plants that can be used for medicinal purposes.

 

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder: Looking for a place to camp nearby? This App will locate the neared State or National Park from your current location. It also talks about local activities such as boating, hiking, bird watching and more.

 

What Knot to Do: Is by Columbia Sportswear and teaches you step-by-step how to tie over 70 different knots.

 

Trip Journal: Lets you track and document your camping trip as well as share it with friends and family. It has GPS tracking that lets you record and plot your trip and generates a map.

 

Keep Pests Away: Bug Spray – Ultrasonic: Emits a high frequency tone that repels insects.

 

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10 Great Tricks For Solving Problems At The Campsite

Even the most experienced campers occasionally run into surprises. When something unexpected happens at the campsite, it pays to be prepared. Solve any problem with a few simple tricks.

#1: The Fire That Won’t Start

We’ve all been there. To solve this problem, try tossing in some orange peels. The oils are super flammable. No oranges? Vodka works wonders, but stand back.

#2: The Attack of the Mosquitoes

Repel mosquitoes by setting out leftover garlic and onion. If that doesn’t work or you don’t have them on hand, try the Original Listerine. You can also try rubbing the inside of orange peels on your skin to repel them and other insects.

#3: Wasp Problems

For a wasp sting, using an onion or garlic will soothe the bite. You can trap them by putting out a jar with holes that has jam smeared on the lid and some orange juice or soda inside. They’ll be able to fly in, but not out and will eventually drown. To lure them away from the campsite, fill an empty tub with sugar and water.

#4: Keeping Cold Food Cold

Fill an empty gallon milk jug with water and a cup of salt and freeze it. The salt and thick block of ice keeps it colder longer and it won’t melt all over food like ice cubes do.

#5: Keeping Dry Food Dry

If you’re using ice to keep cold foods cold, it’s easy for bread and other foods to get soggy if they’re all stored in the cooler. Place cooling racks used for cookies over the foods that need to stay cool, creating a shelf for your dry goods.

#6: Musty-Smelling Camping Gear

That musty scent tends to linger, but cat litter can help get rid of it. Put some in a cotton bag and add it to the gear to help relieve the scent.

#7: Unfriendly Ants

Does your site have an ants nest? Keep them away from you by surrounding the site with flour that’s mixed with cayenne pepper. Pour it on thickly to keep them away.

#8: Damp Camper or Tent

Charcoal briquettes suck the moisture out of the air. Simply place them in a container and remove them when they’re wet.

#9: Missing Socks

Toss all of your socks into a pillowcase, tie it closed and throw it in the wash. The socks will still get clean, but you’ll go home with all of them.

#10: Raccoons

Raccoons can get into almost anything. Keep them away by spraying ammonia over your trash and tying down the lid or using a collapsible trash can.

These camping tricks can help make for a more restful camping trip. Have fun!

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10 Must-Know Towing Tips

Towing an Airstream or other vehicles presents a number of challenges for drivers. People who are unprepared can encounter many issues while on the road. Some aspects of driving while towing are not intuitive. There are 10 must-know towing tips all drivers should understand. file0002143869723

No Sharp Braking

The weight and momentum of a heavy trailer makes it very dangerous to brake sharply while on the road. Drivers need to brake much more slowly than usual when towing a trailer. This means slowly applying the brakes by pumping the pedal several times until the vehicle stops.

Do Not Steer To Counteract Swaying

The instinct of some drivers who are not used to towing a heavy load is to counteract the swaying of the trailer by turning the vehicle. This is not the correct thing to do. If a trailer is swaying, drivers need to slow the vehicle down without turning until it stops.

Extend and Adjust Side Mirrors

Trailers create blind spots around a vehicle and block any direct rear view. Drivers should extend the side mirrors on the vehicle as far out as possible to compensate for this.

Practice before a Trip

Drivers will want to practice driving while towing before leaving on a long trip. Practicing should involve simple turning, accelerating and breaking in a place with no traffic. This will provide a much better feel of how the vehicle and the trailer will handle.

Leave Extra Space between Vehicles

Drivers should always leave extra space in front of the vehicle while on the road to compensate for longer stopping times. This should include when driving on city streets. Similarly, drivers should always leave extra space to the right and left when passing a slower car.

Drive Slower Than Normal

High speeds can cause a trailer to start swaying uncontrollably on highways. High speeds also make it more difficult to turn and stop. Drivers should keep speeds below the marked limits on highways for maximum safety.

Avoid Driving In Reverse

Drivers should avoid putting the vehicle and the trailer in situations where moving in reverse is necessary. Driving in reverse with a trailer is very difficult and dangerous. Drivers will have an easier time avoiding these situations.

Bring Extra Tools and Repair Supplies

Towing puts more wear on cars than usual. Drivers should bring along extra tools and supplies for repairs. This should include spare tires and an emergency kit. Bringing extra tools and supplies will make handling roadside emergencies easier.

Do Not Make Sharp Turns

Sharp turns will cause trailers to start to sway. Heavy trailers could even drag the leading vehicle off course. All turns need to be gently and gradual. Drivers should avoid routes that include tight turns.

Use Wheel Blocks When Parking On an Incline

If it is necessary to park on an incline, drivers should use wheel blocks or chucks. Even a very slight incline could be enough to cause the trailer to start rolling. Wheel blocks will keep the trailer stable.

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