Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW | Our Favorite RV Adventures! - (Special Report)

2020 is OVER! Hallelujah! Despite the glut of bad luck and gobs of misfortune that plagued us (and everybody else) this year, we must admit we had some wonderful times out in the “Aluminum Falcon!” Join us over on YouTube as we make a run-down of our five favorite RV excursions of the year, and find out why we singled out these five above all the others. Maybe we’ll convince you to check out one or more of these places for yourself!
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Black Friday 2020! Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC - (Outside the Camper)

Whoa!  We finally have a new video up on YouTube!  Black Friday 2020 was a chance for us to avoid the crowded outlet malls and take in a little “old Charleston” flavor.  Since South Carolina Parks was offering free admission the day after Thanksgiving, we jumped at the chance to visit Charles Towne Landing, the site of the first English settlement of the Carolinas.  Take a look as we check out all of the critters in the Animal Forest there, as well as learn about the fascinating archeologic discoveries made here over the last fifty years! 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Mission 022 - Dreher Island State Park in Prosperity, SC (on Lake Murray)

This is the one in which we are finally convinced that a weekend just ain't long enough for a camping trip... 😞  Dreher Island State Park is another little gem in the roster of South Carolina state parks, and was a welcome opportunity to break out of our kinda-sorta local camping "rut" we'd been in for most of the year.  Situated on three small islands in Lake Murray, just above Columbia, SC, the park is a great choice for both RV campers and tent campers.  Come along and see what little bit of fun we were able to find in just a short weekend! 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Three ALL-NEW "Qwik-and-Easy" RV Kitchen Recipes! (Special Report)

Crock Pots, Instant Pots, pressure cookers, slow cookers…  Oh, the culinary adventures we RVers can have with these fantastic little appliances!  If it weren’t for our Instant Pot, we’d be eating a lot more peanut butter sandwiches on our camping trips!  Check out our latest YouTube video, in which we show you (another) three of our favorite “qwik-and-easy” recipes for some pretty hearty dinners.  You can find the recipes we demonstrate down below, too!


Easy Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sliders


Ingredients

3-4 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs)

1 (12 oz) bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce

½ packet ranch seasoning mix (about 2 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp butter

Rolls for serving


Preparation

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the chicken, buffalo sauce, and sprinkle in ranch seasoning mix.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for about 3 hours.  Once chicken is fully cooked, use a couple of forks to shred the meat on a cutting board, then return the chicken to the crockpot with the juices.  Add 2 Tbsp of butter to the crockpot and allow it to melt: stir to combine.  Serve on rolls and drizzle with a little ranch dressing or blue cheese crumbles.



Instant Pot Spaghetti


Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)

¼ cup onion diced

1 tsp. garlic minced

1 jar spaghetti sauce (24 oz.)

2 cups water

8 oz. spaghetti noodles

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp salt (optional), or add to taste

*I do not recommend doubling this recipe.  Make two separate batches if you want more.


Preparation

  1. Put Instant Pot on saute.

  2. Add olive oil, onions, and garlic and cook until onions are softened a bit.

  3. Add ground beef and cook until pink is gone.  Drain grease or leave in, your choice.

  4. Turn Instant Pot to manual, high pressure.

  5. Add jar of spaghetti sauce, water, break noodles into thirds and push noodles into liquid until they are covered, but do not stir (I add the 2 cups of water to the sauce jar and shake it to get any remaining sauce out, before I add the water to the Instant Pot).

  6. Secure lid, close steam valve and set to 10 minutes (if you want more al dente set for a bit less time.

  7. Quick release when it beeps, stir and serve.


Easy Crockpot Potato Soup


Ingredients

1 30-oz bag of frozen diced hash browns

1 32-oz box of chicken broth

1 can of cream of chicken soup (10 oz)

1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz, not fat free)

3 oz bacon bits

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


Preparation

Put the hash browns in the crockpot.  Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until potatoes are tender.  An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes.  Place the cubes in the crockpot.  Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving.  Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in, it’s ready to serve.  Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Pampered Chef "S'mores Dip!"

Howdy, Noob Nation!! Over on our Instagram this morning, we posted a photo of a little treat that Jessie whipped up at out campsite last night.  Well, we had some requests for the recipe, so here you go!  

This "S'mores Dip" is a great, artery-clogging way to get your sugar-fix while sitting beside the campfire, or even while inside your camper!  It's incredibly easy, as it preps in five minutes and cooks in just another ten minutes or so! 

Y'all enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pkg. (12 oz./350 g) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 34 large marshmallows
  • Assorted dippers: graham crackers, cookies, pretzels, fruit, etc.

DIRECTIONS:
  • Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • Divide the chocolate chips between two 5.5" (14-cm) Cast Iron Skillets (1 cup/250 mL of chips in each). 
  • Bake for 3–5 minutes.  
  • Remove from the oven and stir to ensure chips are fully melted.
  • Arrange 15–20 marshmallows on top of the melted chocolate in each skillet.  
  • Bake for 4–6 minutes or until marshmallows are evenly browned.
  • Serve immediately with dippers.

Yield: 6 servings

Cook's Tips: To make on a campfire, place the skillets on top of a campfire grill or grate. The dip is ready to serve when the chocolate is fully melted and the marshmallows puff and become slightly brown.


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Mission 021 (Pt. 2) - SC WATERFALLS | Issaqueena Falls | Station Cove Falls

Our Labor Day weekend trip to Lake Hartwell State Park continues!  Who knew that South Carolina had waterfalls???  We sure wouldn’t have guessed it, but lo and behold, we found a couple!  Come along as we explore Stumphouse Park outside of Walhalla, SC, and see Issaqueena Falls and some local railroad history.  We then scoot over to Oconee Station State Historic Site to see Station Cove Falls, as well as hike the nature trail there and learn a little bit more about South Carolina’s early days. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Mission 021 (Pt. 1) - Lake Hartwell State Park | RV CAMPING | RVing Upstate SC

Labor Day Weekend 2020!  (Yes, we're still making videos!!!)  Our last trip of the summer takes us to Upstate South Carolina, where we camped in Lake Hartwell State Park.  The campground sits along a couple of inlets, with boating access to Lake Hartwell’s 56,000 acres of water.  Join us as we travel up there late on a Friday afternoon, and then spend the next day wandering about the campground and basking in some cooler upstate weather… for a change! 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

UPDATE! Fall/Winter 2020 Travel Plans... or Lack Thereof... 😢

Hey, Happy Campers out there! Smokey here, with an update on our adventuring... or to be more accurate, our likely LACK of adventuring.  The COVID-19 "pandemic" has changed the world more than any of us probably ever imagined it would, and it's certainly affected our travelling plans this entire year.  Beyond that, it has cost me my job, which of course, also puts a very-large crimp on any travelling we might want to do.  I've been out of work for more than four months now, and as several million other job-seekers out there can attest, new opportunities are mighty hard to find these days.  Thankfully, Jessie continues to be gainfully employed and will keep us from having to live in a cardboard box under an overpass... for as long as she can!

Nonetheless, we will try our darndest to continue honoring the philosophy that drives our YouTube channel, that adventure can be found close to home.  We have a weekend at Lake Hartwell State Park booked for next weekend, and while circumstances may prevent us from going, we hope to still make that trip.  With a little luck, we might be able to get in another weekend outing somewhere before Thanksgiving, and we also might whip up a video or two, like a product review or a "How-To," before the year is out.  Who knows?

The two BIG favors we ask of all of you out there in "Noob Nation" are 1) to please keep following us on social media for updates and other tidbits when we have them to share, and 2) support our channel by going through our "Shop" page here on the blog when you shop on Amazon (https://www.livenlearnrv.com/p/store.html).  You can purchase ANYTHING on Amazon from that point, not just camping gear!  As long as you begin your surfing on Amazon from our link, we'll get a tiny commission on anything you may buy, and those pennies really help us keep the channel going.  

Enough gloom-and-doom!  We love hearing from all of you out there and seeing what fun YOU'RE having, so again, please, please keep us a part of your camping/RVing YouTube viewing and social media interaction!  Surely, better days are ahead for all of us, and we can all get back to doing some more-regular Livin' and Learnin'! 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Mission 020 - Petersburg Corps of Engineers Campground

Our tour of Lake Thurmond’s camping spots continues! Petersburg Campground is our first experience at a Corps of Engineers campground, and how nice it turned out to be! Join us as we spend a weekend discovering how well the Army engineers maintain this facility, and seeing more of Thurmond Dam than we ordinarily do. We also take a lovely boat ride around the lake, soaking up some desperately-needed lake breezes! 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Mopeka LP Tank Check Sensors | PRODUCT REVIEW - (Special Report)

You know how it goes - you're camping and realize the furnace won't blow heat or the stove won't fire up. OMG! You're out of propane! How did THAT happen!?!? How could you possibly have known? Well, if you had the Mopeka LP Tank Check Sensor from AP Products, you COULD have known! In this video, we'll give you a quick run-down of the product, how it works and how much you can trust the data it provides.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Mission 019 - Hot, HOT Camping at Elijah Clark State Park

Hot in the Summer! ☀️ Elijah Clark State Park on the Georgia side of Lake Thurmond (thankfully) offers campsites open to larger areas of the lake, allowing the lake breezes to provide a little relief from the sweltering July weather. Of course, jumping INTO the lake also helps beat the heat! Come along on our long weekend trip to this lovely park, where we see a little bit of Revolutionary War history and learn some more about the fantastic camping opportunities here in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Mission 018 - Biking & Boating at Wildwood Park on Clarks Hill Lake

Summer vacation 2020!! Our one and only week-long RV excursion for the year took us over to Wildwood Park, just across the Savannah River from our home base, and we definitely got a week's worth of fun and relaxation while there.  We spent lots of time just chillin', but did get our adrenaline flowing (a little, anyway) with some bicycling on the park's trails. We also took out our inflatable "Banana Boat" kayak for the first time! Take a look for yourself and see just how much fun and sun can be crammed into one week on the shores of Lake Thurmond! 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Wildwood Park | CAMPGROUND REVIEW | Columbia County, GA - (Special Report)

Our tour of close-to-home camping opportunities continues! Wildwood Park, a county-owned and maintained RV campground, sits on the shores of Clarks Hill Lake (Lake Thurmond) just north of Evans, GA. Join us as we do a full review of the park, showing you the variety of campsites available here, along with some other perks and amenities you might find interesting! 


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Mission 017 - Baker Creek State Park | RV CAMPING | Lake Strom Thurmond

Thanks to the COVID-19 scare ruining our (and most everybody's) longer-distance travels this spring, it seems our camping "theme" of 2020 is turning into a tour of they myriad parks and campgrounds in a fifty-mile radius of our house!  In this video, we visit Baker Creek State Park, another of the many RV camping spots up and down the Savannah River. Come along and see what we discovered at this quiet little boating and biking haven on the South Carolina side of Lake Thurmond... not that we had the chance to do either of those things this particular weekend...

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Seasoning a Griddle Top | Suburban/Blackstone griddles | RV COOKING - (Special Report)

Forest River includes a 17-inch Suburban LP griddle with all of its 2020 Mini Lite campers, which means we now have a griddle! Before we could play with this new cooking-toy, we had to "season" the griddle top. In this video, we'll show you the proper method for preparing your griddle top for its first "cook" (whether it's a Suburban or a Blackstone), and how ours turned out!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Mission 016 - BACK TO CAMPING at Mistletoe State Park, Appling, GA!

Mistletoe State Park was our destination for this long-overdue return to RVing! It's a fairly short ride for us, being just outside of Appling, GA, meaning we spent more time camping and less time driving! Take a look as we show you the beautiful countryside on the way there, the gorgeous waterfront campsites on the shores of Lake Thurmond, and the lush almost-rainforest-like hiking trails that meander through the park. We were so happy to be released from "COVID Clamp-Down" that we'd have enjoyed this trip no matter what the park was like, but so much the better that we found it to be a great place to spend a long weekend with the "Aluminum Falcon!" 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

RV UPGRADES! Oxygenics Fury RV shower head installation! - (Special Report)

Looking for something to do during the "Lockdown?" Try changing out the stock shower head in your RV!  Adding an Oxygenics Fury RV shower head is one of quickest and easiest modifications you can make to your camper! (...and let's face it - if it wasn't easy, we'd never attempt it!)  Take a look us as we do the installation and try it out! 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

10-Question RV Quarantine Challenge | 😷 COVID "Clamp-Down" - (Special Report)

The “COVID Clamp-Down” drags on, and it seems another topic of conversation has been making its way around the YouTube RVer community. We were nominated to take part in the Ten-Question RV Quarantine Challenge, so we jumped right in! Join us as we run through the list of questions passed along to us by the Traveling Buckeyes (https://www.youtube.com/TravelingBuckeyes) and hear how we've been managing during this period of... oh, how should be describe it... "enforced solitude...?"

Sunday, April 5, 2020

RV SETUP TUTORIAL | How to Connect to Campsite Water 💦 - (Special Report)

We can't travel, but we can still make videos! While we’re all being victimized by the “COVID Clamp-Down,” we can use this down-time to learn a thing or two about the camping process… right? Take water, for instance. You’re newly-arrived at your campsite - the first thing to do after unhitching is to start hooking up to utilities (assuming you’re not dry-camping, that is). If you’re “glamping,” connecting to water and power is something you’ll want to learn how to do pretty quickly, and in this video, we’ll show you the process we follow and the products we use to get fresh water into the Aluminum Falcon.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

UPDATE! How We're Being Hit by the "COVID Clamp-Down"

Howdy, Happy Campers out there! Jessie here again with an update about what's happening with our travel plans these days.  Let's face it - just about none of us anywhere are camping during these trying times lately, and I imagine that very few of us are happy about it.  One week from today (as I'm writing this), Smokey and I were supposed to be pulling into Fort DeSoto Campground down in St. Petersburg, Florida for our only long trip of the year.  We were oh-so looking forward to taking the new Aluminum Falcon on a lengthy adventure and finding lots of new and exciting things to see and do, and to make lots of video content to show all of you.

Well, so much for that!  You all know that I'm an educator (an elementary school librarian, to be precise), and with schools everywhere shut down for the duration of this health crisis, I've been working extra hard preparing materials and arranging things for our students to engage in some Socially-Distant learning.  Smokey being an administrator in healthcare means he's been working just as hard, if not harder, than usual, with no end in sight.  Even if Florida's governor hadn't closed things down, chances are that neither of us would've been able to justify leaving our jobs in early April to take the trip as planned. 

Certainly, we want everyone everywhere to be healthy and safe, and to not take unnecessary chances.  We're human, though, so we can't help but be disappointed that current circumstances are preventing all of us from living our lives.  Not only do we enjoy the few chances we get to go RV camping, we also enjoy making videos of our experiences to share with you, and we are thrilled beyond description that you seem to enjoy them.  Sadly, there won't be as many of them over the coming weeks, however, and that just kills us!  

We'll try to do a few things on our YouTube channel in April and May to let you know that we're still out here and still wanting to keep you engaged.  Please don't forget about us while, like you probably are, we're all cooped up at home waiting for this crisis to end, and please keep following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, 'cause we'll still be posting there!  We're hoping that our next scheduled trip, to Baker Creek State Park in mid-May, will still happen, and we can get back to doing some Livin' and Learnin'!  Stay healthy, everybody!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Thinking of Buying an RV? 🤔 | ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS!!! - (Special Report)


It’s definitely a major life-decision - should YOU make the investment in a recreational vehicle? Why wouldn't you??? Well, to be fair, there are some decisions in life that definitely should NOT be “impulse” decisions, and deciding whether to purchase an RV certainly fits into that category. In this video, we share the thought process we followed when we first starting kicking around the idea of getting into the RV lifestyle. Take heed of our experience, fellow “noobs!”


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Mission 015 - "Shakedown Cruise" to Hickory Knob State Resort Park

South Carolina's only State Resort Park was our destination for Aluminum Falcon 2.0's "shakedown cruise" over the Valentine's Day weekend. Less than fifty miles from our home, Hickory Knob was a great choice for a quick "run up the road" sort of trip to experience how hitching, towing, setting up and living in the new rig would be. Take a look and see how we spent our shortest RV trip to date (less than twenty-four hours!!) and what we thought of this campground on the shores of Strom Thurmond Lake.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

FINALLY! See the "Aluminum Falcon," version 2.0!!

At long last, we present the Aluminum Falcon 2.0! (Well, to be fair, we've only owned the thing for eight weeks, so give us a break! 🙄) This much earlier-than-expected upgrade is almost surely all the RV we'll ever need... unless we hit the lottery or something! Take a look out our newest home-away-from-home, and see how Forest River is outfitting this "couples coach" model, which sits at the higher end in their Rockwood Mini Lite lineup. Now THIS is Glamping!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Mission 014 (Pt. 2) - "First Day Hike 2020" at Huntington Beach State Park

Happy Sunday to all of you out there in "Noob Nation!" It's New-Video Sunday! In our latest YouTube video, we'll show you how we started the first day of the new year - by heading down to Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC for First Day Hike 2020! Ranger Mike Walker led almost a hundred hikers on a two-mile walk through the sand dunes and salt marshes of the Sandpiper Pond Trail, teaching us lots of things about the delicate environment and the wildlife and plant life that live there. Take a look at our day discovering yet another of South Carolina's terrific state parks! (Oh, and we'll tell you a little more about the NEW Aluminum Falcon...)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Mission 014 (Pt. 1) - Myrtle Beach State Park & Brookgreen Gardens

Christmas vacation!! Well, the week AFTER Christmas, anyway. Off we go to Myrtle Beach State Park, South Carolina's first state park! We were smart enough to make our first visit to this great little island of wilderness in the heart of the Grand Strand during the off-season, so as to increase our chances of having some peace and quiet. We'll also show you the "Night of a Thousand Candles" out at beautiful Brookgreen Gardens, and even leave you hanging about a major life change that happened to us on this trip! Gotta get you to come back for the NEXT video, right...?

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Three "Qwik-and-Easy" RV Kitchen Recipes! (Special Report)

If it rains, you can't grill out (unless you have a big umbrella), and if you know us, then you know rain WILL find us when we're out in our RV! As a result, we've found a few recipes for hearty, rib-stickin' fare than can be easily prepared in even the smallest of RV kitchens. Over on our YouTube channel, you'll find our first "RV Cooking Show," so take a look and you might learn about a few ways you can expand your camping menu. You can find the recipes we demonstrate down below, too!



#1 - Five-Minute Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla

Ingredients:

1 Light Italian Herb Flatout flatbread
2 tablespoons of your favorite pizza sauce
1/3 cup shredded, reduced-fat Italian cheese blend
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
5 slices turkey pepperoni
additional pizza sauce, if desired, for dipping

Directions:

1. Lay flatbread on work surface and spread pizza sauce evenly over entire flatbread.
2. On one half of flatbread, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons cheese and basil. Lay pepperoni slices evenly on top, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly on top of the pepperoni.
3. Fold quesadilla in half, bringing the sauce-only half of the flatbread on top of the side
with toppings.
4. Preheat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook quesadilla, covered, for about 3 minutes on the first side, just until toasty golden-brown.
5. Flip quesadilla over and continue cooking on the second side, covered, for about an additional minute, until cheese is melty and the second side of the flatbread is a light, toasty golden-brown.
6. Remove from heat, cut into wedges, and serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping, if desired.

#2 - Crock Pot Roast Beef

Ingredients:

1 beef roast (3 to 4 pounds)

1 envelope au jus gravy mix (1 ounce)
1 envelope onion soup mix (1 ounce)
1 envelope brown or mushroom gravy mix (1 ounce)
3 cups of water
Assorted vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, etc)

Directions:

1. Place roast in slow cooker. 
2. Combine envelopes of soup and gravy mixes with water in a large bowl. 
3. Pour mixture over roast, add vegetables, then cover.
4. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours until meat and vegetables are tender.

#3 - Lazy Day Crock Pot Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen cheese ravioli (25 oz)
1 lb. of ground beef, browned
3 cans of crushed tomatoes (14 or 15 oz each)
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
4 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon of Garlic Salt
1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:

1. In a large skillet, brown the beef completely and drain off any remaining fat.
2. Stir in all the cans of tomatoes, and seasonings.
3. In a 6-quart Crock Pot, cover the bottom with some of the sauce.
4. Then place a layer of ravioli across the bottom.
5. Then place a layer of the mozzarella cheese.
6. Continue this until all the meat sauce and the ravioli is used (you want to end with the meat sauce on top).
7. Then top with the leftover mozzarella cheese and add the parmesan cheese on top (completely optional).
8. Cook on low for 4 hours.
9. Turn off and let sit for about 15 minutes, then cut and serve with your favorite side salad and crusty garlic bread.