Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winthrop Weekend Happenings... 01/23/14

The following information comes to you, thanks to our Fabulous Winthrop Chamber!  See below for some weekend highlights.  Yes, Pine Near RV Park & Campground is open!

We have good cross-country skiing right now.  The MVSTA grooming report gives very accurate updates on the current conditions.  The MVSTA Facebook page and the MVSTA website Photo of the Day show images taken daily on the trails.  If you have any questions about conditions please feel free to call us or even better, call MVSTA at 509-996-3287. They are always up to date.  
We would just call them and call you back 

This Friday is a free ski day on the trails as part of the Methow Valley Nordic Festival.  This includes free rentals, lessons and trailside fun at the Mazama Trailhead from 10am-3pm.  Saturday there is a skate ski race in the Rendezvous. 

Saturday evening you can go to the Nordic Festival Party and dinner at The Barn for the Methow Valley Nordic Team - the very team our, three awesome Olympic Skiers grew up on!

The Party goes from 5:30 pm to 9 pm at the Winthrop Barn.  Dinner tickets are $10 - $16 in advance - available by emailing

Big Hockey Tournament Jan. 24-26
Come be a spectator!  It's fun to watch hockey at an outdoor rink.  By the way, you can sit inside the warm spectating area if you arrive early enough!

Please note that the regular ice rink schedule is modified due to this event.
  • THE ONLY PUBLIC SKATE IS SATURDAY, JANUARY 25 from 12pm-2pm and Sunday, January 26 after 12noon.   The rest of the weekend is dedicated to the tournament and to a couple of public hockey games.  
  • Come down and watch! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stay Warm in the Winter - Really!

8 Tricks To Stay Warm All Winter

8 Tricks To Stay Warm All Winter - from our friends over at 50 Campfires

I hate being cold. Like, I really hate it. So, it’s a good thing that I’ve figured out how to never be cold – ever. I grew up in International Falls, MN and now live in Minneapolis, MN. There’s a big, nasty polar vortex ripping through the state right now and a lot of people are freaking out about it. Not me. My system is dialed in. I know how to stay warm, and I’m going to share my secrets with you. Here are all of things that I swear by (and also the topics I annoy my coworkers with by discussing ad nauseam):

1. Start Stockpiling Merino Wool

In my opinion nothing beats modern merino wool. Five years ago base layers were all polypropylene and you didn’t have many merino options. Today you can get anything you want in merino wool, and in my opinion you should. It’s antibacterial, doesn’t stink, is very durable, and keeps you warm if you get wet. It’s also very breathable, so it’s comfortable across a wide temperature range. It’s not going to be cheap. It took me 2-3 years to get everything I wanted. Head to toe, these were the best deals I’ve found:
Hat and neckwarmer: Smartwool.
Base layer top and bottom: Minus33 all the way. I’ve worn my top base layer almost every day for two winters and it’s showing no signs of wear whatsoever. Their clothing is well made and reasonably priced compared to Icebreaker, Smartwool, etc.
Socks: Smartwool socks are as good as it gets and is money well spent. Be wary of blends. Always look at the percentages. Target actually has an excellent 80% merino unisex wool sock for about $8. It’s an incredible deal. For some reason they only stock them in the women’s dept. If you find them, but as many as you can afford. I’ve been wearing them for several years and they’re holding up well.

2. Flannel Lined Jeans Are A Little Bit Life Changing

I start wearing these in November and don’t take them off until March (no not the same pair). Seriously – it feels like you’re wearing pajamas and no one is the wiser. You’ll never go back. Personally I didn’t want a pair that made it look like I was going to work on a pipline somewhere. A lot of them a too heavy duty for casual wear. I picked up a few pairs from Old Navy $40 each and they’re great. Not too bulky and crazy warm. Women will have a harder time finding them. Cabela’s is a good place to start.

3. Steger Mukluks


My Steger mukluks are hands down the warmest boots I’ve ever owned. Nothing is even a close second. They’re only for really cold weather though. If it’s above freezing and it’s slushy and wet, you don’t want mukluks. I can run around in -10 all day in them and my toes are toasty. With that said, I know that Stegers aren’t for everyone. My advice outside of Stegers is to find a boot with a flexible sole and try them on with thick wool socks. Get a pair that gives you a lot of room in the toe box. If you feet can’t move very much you’re going to get cold. If you can’t afford a sweet new pair of boots right now but you love to be outdoors get some adhesive toe warmers. They’re amazing.

4. Get A Boot Dryer

Think your boots aren’t damp? Wrong. They are. When you wear your boots every day they never fully dry out, and that compromises their ability to keep you warm. I have this little one ($60) and it works great. You’ll use it for shoes, boots, gloves, hats, etc. At least once a week I’ll forget my boots out on the porch in the winter. If you have a boot dryer it’s no big deal. They’ll be toasty warm in 10 minutes (a hair dryer works well in this situation too).

5. Get A Pair of Smartwool Liner Gloves

Smartwool Liner Gloves

Even the best winter gloves/mittens tend to get sweaty after awhile, leaving your hands cold. A pair of thinSmartwool Liner Gloves ends that. You hands will stay dry and warm all day.

6. Stay Hydrated


photo credit:Jean Fortunet

I have a friend who, when asked about staying warm in the winter will just say, “water and wool.” She says that staying hydrated and wearing a lot of wool is your best bet. I agree with her, and if you Google it, you’ll find that you do need to drink more water in the winter. The air is drier and dehydrates us quicker. When you’re dehydrated everything is more difficult, including staying warm and avoiding illness. Pound water in the winter!

7. Get Remote Start For Your Vehicle


Try to find someone that regrets dropping the cash for remote start on their car. You won’t. My wife and I got it for the first time three years ago on our SUV and I can say that I’ll never own another car in my life without it. You can get by with less gear if you have it too, because you’re just running from warm place to warm place.

8. You’d Care A Lot Less What Others Think Of You If You Realized How Seldom They Do – So Wear What You Want


No one is paying attention to me when I’m walking around with every piece of merino wool I own so I wear what keeps me warm. People in really cold climates are generally practical in the winter. However, we all see those people scurrying along in almost nothing complaining about the low temps. When it’s -20 you can’t have it both ways. Personally, I think everyone around you benefits when you’re cozy warm and in a good mood, so I say wear whatever you want and don’t worry about it. Besides, I think Steger Mukluks are pretty sexy.

Bonus Tips!

I asked my friends on facebook how they stayed warm on the coldest days and got some great responses. I’m adding them because I don’t want you to get cold and crabby. No one wants that. Especially you.
  • If I’m doing anything outside I chew on candied ginger and make sure to reward myself with pho afterwards.
  • Carharts and Keens and Smart Wool.
  • Those Heater packs (all day heat), under Armour 4.0 base layer, a hood over your beanie, lots of liquids cause if dehydrated your body works harder to stay warm, and eat a big meal the night before.
  • Well I recently purchased closed cell neoprene (scuba dry wear material ) gloves. They’re incredible . Way back in the eighties my friend and I were skiing in subzero weather with scuba gear under our ski gear. We were the only two people out there.
  • It’s all attitude! The crisp air makes me feel alive, alert and ready to conquer whatever task at hand. Of course I go outside dressed appropriately so I don’t freeze my skin. Layers! And enjoy warm beverages , soup, etc. when inside.
  • I layer myself.. Three deep at minimum!
  • My Ugg gloves were a brilliant purchase 3 years ago. Worth every dollar. Also SmartWool socks. I also wear a Patagonia fleece layer almost 24/7. Have two favs that I alternate. And I never venture out without a scarf. And great hand lotion for liberal applications throughout the day and before bed.
  • Wool!!
  • Bird chirping sounds in the am and crickets in the pm on my coy pond app. And watching movies that take place in the summer.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Found this fantastic article over at  We've added a few thoughts to it.  Hope you find it useful!

Taking a trip in your RV can be a great way to get away from the stresses of everyday life. It is also an ideal way to spend time with friends and family. Let's take a look at some of the best accessories that will help to enhance your next RV getaway:

1.  50-Foot 30-Amp Extension Cord
Most rigs usually come with a standard 25-foot cord. While you will be parked in close proximity to the power source of the campground the vast majority of the time, there will occasionally be a time when you will need a longer cord. You might run into a situation where the power source for your parking space is broken. However, the person next to you has two plugs. Having a long cord in a situation like this will prevent you from having to park your RV extremely close to your neighbor.  

Camco 55197 30 AMP 50' RV PowerGrip Extension Cord

2.  Camper Leveler With Wheel Chock
You do have the option to buy only the chocks. However, it makes no sense to do this when you can buy a chock with a leveler built inside for a reasonable price. They are readily available at retailers everywhere. Make note of the weight cut-off. You will find some that can go all the way up to 5,000 pounds, but there are some models with a lower capacity rating.

Camco 44573 RV Yellow Tri-Leveler

3.  12-Volt Crock Pot (or we like a Rice Cooker to warm up leftovers :)
The microwave, stove and grill are the three most common ways to prepare food during a trip in your RV. A 12-volt crock pot is an excellent way to make some tasty meals that you can't make with the other devices. It can hold up to 1.5 quarts, uses your cigarette lighter for power and can make the food on your trip a little more interesting.

Aroma ARC-914SBD 4-Cup (Uncooked) 8-Cup (Cooked) Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer

4.  Awning for Rain Protection, Privacy and Shade
If your rig is missing an awning, you need to pick one up immediately. You will wonder how you ever got along without one. You will want to find one made from a fabric that is mildew-resistant. They come in many colors, so you are sure to find one that matches your current color scheme. It would be wise not to try the cheap route when buying an awning. Get a custom-made awning that is specifically designed for your particular RV. You can pick one up from a dedicated retailer.

5.  Child Gates
You will put these across stair, kitchen and bathroom entries of RVs containing small children. You can also use them to create a perimeter on the patio for a small child, protect your food and cooler from pets and to corral your pets. The gates made with interlocking panels are ideal because you can change the gating size. You can find these at major retailers and stores that specialize in baby products.

North States Superyard 3 in 1 Metal Gate

6.  Spare Sewer Hose
Abrasive rocks, animal damage and improper storage are just a few of the things that can go wrong with your sewer hose. It is also possible that a fellow camper could damage your hose by driving over it. Having an extra hose with you can be a lifesaver when you really need it. You can pick one up at a store that sells RV parts. Please, do not buy a 'cheap' sewer hose.  It will crack sooner and likely be very difficult to attach.  You will regret it!

Camco 39761 RhinoFLEX 15' RV Sewer Hose Kit with Swivel Fittings

7.  Rear View Trailer Level
This device enables you to take all of the guesswork out of leveling your rig. It can let you know if the trailer is level front and back as well as side to side. You will no longer need a spotter to tell you this. Simply attach it to the front of the trailer. Make sure you can see it in the rearview mirror. It is especially useful for RVs that contain a fifth wheel.

Hopkins 04025 Rear View Level

8.  Gardening and Disposable Gloves
When you're dealing with sewage lines, old water hookups or even mechanical things that require the use of a wrench they help protect your hands, keep them clean and give you extra grip. You may also consider getting some disposable gloves for handling sewer hoses and sewer hook-ups that previously were connected to other campers' sewer tanks. You can get gardening gloves and disposable gloves at Walmart, Home Depot etc.

500 Disposable Gloves

Having the best RV accessories can make your RV trips that much easier and enjoyable.
Brian Hawkins works as part of the internet development team at Dave Arbogast RV Depot in Troy, Ohio, where he writes about the RV industry daily. When he's not covering the RV lifestyle he enjoys camping with his wife and children.

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