OSHA 10 Hour Construction Course – Required by 7 States

OSHA (The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has developed a program to promote safety in the construction industry by standardizing a set of requirements known as the OSHA 10 Hour Construction Course. This course has been so broad and successful, that many states require workers to take the OSHA 10 Course before working on publicly funded jobs. This course can be taken online through an OSHA accepted provider.

A summary of the requirements for each state follows:

New York State .

Every worker needs to be certified as having completed an OSHA 10 safety training course on public work projects of $ 250,000 or more. The intent is to require that all employees of public work contractors receive such training "prior to the performing any work on the project."

Proof of completion may include a copy of a course completion card. Online courses from an accredited provider are acceptable.

The requirements went into effect on July 18, 2008.

Nevada

Every worker and supervisor needs to be certified as having completed an OSHA safety course with 60 days of employment at a construction site. Workers need to complete the 10 Hour Construction course.

The statement provides for fines and termination of employment to enforce compliance.

The law went into effect on January 1, 2010.

Additional Requirements for Nevada In addition to the requirement that workers complete the OSHA 10 Hour construction course, supervisors need to complete the OSHA 30 hour course. OSHA cards for Nevada expire after 5 years.

Missouri

Every worker needs to complete the OSHA 10 course with 60 days of employment at a public works construction site. Missouri defines it as a "public works" project even if it is only funded by local or state public funds. There are a few small exceptions for rail crossing and public utility projects.

Online courses are acceptable, from an accredited provider.

The requirements became effective on August 28, 2009.

Massachusetts

All employees to be employed at the worksite needs to complete the OSHA 10 hour construction course before beginning work on the worksite.

Any employee found on a worksite subject to this section without documentation of successful completion of the OSHA 10 hour course will be subject to immediate removal. The Mass. law specifically says "At least 10 hours" so the OSHA 30 hour construction course would also enable the worker to meet these requirements.

Online courses are acceptable, from an accredited provider.

The law went into effect in 2004.

New Hampshire

All on-site employees, working on publicly funded (including state, or local municipality) projects of $ 100,000 or more, must complete the OSHA 10 Hour Construction course prior to beginning work. An employee who has not completed the program will be subject to removal from the worksite after 15 days of being found to be non-compliant.

The New Hampshire law provides for penalties to the employer of up to $ 2,500 and a civil penalty of $ 100 per employee for each day of noncompliance.

Online courses are acceptable, from an accredited provider.

The law went into effect in 2007.

Connecticut

The 10 hour construction course is required for all employees of any public building project paid for in whole or part by state funding, or any of its agencies, where the total cost is over $ 100,000.

Each contractor needs to furnish proof that all employees have taken the OSHA 10 hour construction course within 30 days of being awarded the contract. Employees who have not completed the course are subject to removal from the worksite.

As in all situations, the OSHA 10 hour course completion card or other proof, like a completion certificate is required to show compliance.

The law went into effect in 2007.

Special circumstances for Connecticut . The OSHA 10 hour construction course must be retaken every 5 years. There are some exceptions for the requirement that include site work, roads or bridges, rail lines, parking lots or underground water, sewer or drainage systems including pump houses or other utility systems.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island requires that all workers on municipal and state construction projects with a total project cost of over $ 100,000 complete the OSHA 10 hour construction course. This requirement is for on-site workers, including, construction workers, contractors, project developers, site managers, and / or any other individual (s) working on a jobsite. Law enforcement officers and / or jobsite security are exempt, as are all federal, state and municipal government inspectors. Fines for non compliance are between $ 250 and $ 950, per indemnity, per day.

This requirement began in 2004.

Local and other Municipalities

A large number of smaller government agencies, including, city, county and other municipal agencies have adopted this standard as well. This list grows consistently. Even some state universities have made the OSHA 10 hour construction course a requirement for work at the university. If you are doing work on any government project, check for special requirements they may have.

OSHA 10 Hour Construction Course – State Summary

The OSHA 10 hour construction course is required in the states of New York, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for work on publicly funded projects of varying amounts. Additionally, the states of Nevada and Connecticut require the course to be retaken every 5 years. In all cases, the online version of the OSHA 10 hour construction course meets these requirements and is a fast, efficient way to obtain the training needed.

Fishing Missouri's Forgotten Trout River – The Niangua River

The Niangua River may be the most overlooked trout stream in the state of Missouri. It is widely known across the state as an excellent river for floating and smallmouth bass fishing, but the trout fishery is little known. Most area trout anglers only fish in the Niangua River's tributary, Bennett Spring Branch.

Above Bennett Spring Branch, the Niangua is a typical warm-water fishery. Smallmouth bass fishing is very good, but few trout are present. It is the cooling flows from Bennett Spring that make the river into a true trout stream. For eleven miles, the water is cool enough to hold year-round populations of rainbow and brown trout. Both species are stocked regularly.

The Niangua River is not like other trout streams in the Ozarks. First of all, it just does not look like a trout stream. The river is big, and it usually is not very clear. Also, the water temperature is usually above 70 degrees for most of the summer. With that said, for some unknown reason, the Niangua River does fish well all summer long, even when water temperatures are quite high. It is not uncommon to catch trout when the water temperature is 75 degrees. In other words, it's hard to believe trout do well in the Niangua, but they do.

Rainbow trout are the most common catch in the Niangua. They are stocked every few weeks during the spring, summer, and fall, and a good number also escape from Bennett Spring Branch into the river. They are easy to catch on a Powerbait, worms, small spinners, and spoons. Brown trout are not quite as common, but a good number can be found in the river. They respond better to small crankbaits, nightcrawlers, minnows, and crayfish. Both species of trout can be caught on a variety of flies including Woolly Buggers, Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, and Caddis imitators.

You can access the Niangua River's trout water at three points. The first is the Bennett Spring Access, where Bennett Spring Branch meets the Niangua. This is probably the most popular access point, and fish are always plentiful. The next access point is at Barclay Conservation area. This is a few miles downstream from the Bennett Spring Access. Fishing is very good in this area, especially for brown trout. The final access point is at Prosperine. Trout populations are a bit lower in this area, but you can find some of the largest brown trout in the river both up and downstream of this access. Smallmouth bass are also ample. Fishing regulations on the Niangua allow for all baits, lures, and flies to be used. Four trout may be kept, and there is no minimum length limit on rainbow trout. There is a 15 "length limit on browns. In addition, only one brown may be kept.

No matter where you access it, the Niangua is a great stream. It may not be popular to trout fisherman, the fishing is very good. You'll see lots of floaters, especially in summertime, but fisherman will be few. This river is certainly worth a trip. If you have trouble, you can always drown your sorrows by catching a few stockers over at Bennett Springs.

Fishing the Current River of Missouri's Ozarks

There is no doubt that the Current River is the most diverse stream in Missouri. It begins as a spring creek style trout river, and slowly transforms into one of the best smallmouth bass streams in the nation. Besides these species, there are also populations of Rock Bass, Walleye, and of course Bluegill.

The first twenty miles of the river make up the classic trout water. The river begins where Montauk Spring rises in the streamed of Pigeon Creek. For three miles below this point, the stream is stocked once a day with rainbow trout from March 1 through October 31. The upper part of this stretch which flows through Montauk State Park is managed for flies only. Artificial lures such as marabou jigs and single hooked rooster tail spinners fished on a spinning rod are perfectly legal, along with traditional fly gear. The rest of the river in the park allows all lures and baits. Montauk Spring Branch also flows through the park. The first quarter mile is catch and release only with flies only .Below there, all baits are allowed until it reaches the Current River, and fish may be kept. This area is also stocked daily.

Below Montauk State Park for nine miles, the river is managed for trophy rainbow and brown trout. The trout population varies from year, but you can count on there being between 250 and 700 trout per mile, which is a respectable number. Most are browns, but there are quite a few rainbows as well, including a number of wild trout. This is a great area to float, but there is thundering access at the lower end of Montauk State Park, Tan Vat, Baptist Camp, Parker Hollow, and Cedar Grove. This is a year-round fishery, with the best fishing in the seven miles between Montauk State Park and the Parker Hollow Access. Between Parker Hollow and Cedar Grove there are certainly trout, but wading can be tough, and the fish numbers are not highly high. Artificial lures and flies only are allowed, and there is a restrictive length limit in place.

The eight miles between Cedar Grove and Akers Ferry is managed as a put and take trout fishery. It is heavily stocked with rainbow trout between March and September. In the four miles between Cedar Grove and Welch Spring the best trout fishing will be in the spring and fall, as that is the only time trout are stocked. Below Welch Spring until Akers Ferry, the water is significantly cooler, and trout are stocked all summer long. The best fishing is generally near the mouth of Welch Spring, where trout are stocked extensively. Below Akers Ferry, there are pockets of trout all the way to Pulltite Spring seven further downstream, but numbers drop significantly the further below Akers Ferry you get.

Between Akers Ferry and Round Spring, the fishing is spotty for both smallmouth bass and trout. There are decent rainbow trout numbers in the upper half, and decent smallmouth bass numbers in the lower half, but the fishing will be marginal. Smallmouth bass fishing picks up in earnest at the mouth of Round Spring. Between this point and Doniphan, Missouri lies some of the finest smallmouth water in the state. Fish in the one to three pound range abound, and larger fish are not uncommon at all. Rock Bass and Bluegill can also be found in great numbers. Around Van Buren, walleye enter the scene. This is one of the best stream walleye fisheries in the nation, and big Ozark strain walleyes abound. The next world record could come from the Current River. Jigging, trolling, and live bait fishing are all popular to catch these big walleye.

Every fisherman in Missouri should try fishing the beautiful Current River. Its crystal clear waters are home to some of the best fishing to be found in the United States. Whether you like smallmouth bass, trout, walleye, or just a big stringer of bluegill or suckers, this is a great place to go.

Camping in Missouri’s 8 Wilderness Areas

The eight wilderness areas are spread primarily across the southern part of the Show-Me state. Most, but not all, are south of Interstate 44. Most have hiking trails that will take you into their interior and all emphasize the “Leave No Trace” ethic. First, we will take a quick look at each, and then look at the Leave No Trace “rules.”

1. Bell Mountain Wilderness

Bell Mountain Wilderness is approximately 9000 acres in size. It is located in the St. Francois Mountains which comprise the highest mountains in Missouri. The highest point is 1702 feet at Bell Mountain. Part of the trail system in the Bell Mountain Wilderness is a portion of the Ozark Trail (about one mile total). From there, the trail turns off and heads up Bell Mountain. There is a total of 12 miles of trail, mostly very difficult in nature, and camping must be done at least 100 feet from the trail. Other camping issues will be discussed later.

The closest route to the Wilderness can be found from Potosi, Missouri and is about a 20 mile drive. More precise directions can be found via the USFS website.

2. Devils Backbone Wilderness

Devils Backbone Wilderness Area is just under 7000 acres total. It is located in South central Missouri near West Plains (approximately 15 mile drive). There is approximately 13 miles of trail used by foot and is also open to equestrian traffic. Its name is for the central ridge where most of the trail is located, at its highest point reaching 1020 feet in elevation. The trail system is reasonably doable for the moderately “in-shape” hiker/camper. The North Fork Recreation Area provides a campsite area if the visitor wishes to camp there and simply hike the wilderness area. Otherwise, general wilderness area rules apply. More precise directions as well as maps can be obtained through the USFS.

3. Hercules Glad Wilderness Area

This stunningly beautiful area is located in the deep southern reaches of Missouri. This wilderness is over 12,000 acres in size and may be one of the most beautiful areas in the Midwest. The area can be reached leaving from Bradleyville or Forsyth, and is about 8 miles from each. This wonderful area has over 30 miles of maintained trails, but if one wishes, day or afternoon excursions can be done on short branches of this trail system. It should be noted that many streams are not equipped with bridges and trails range from moderately to very difficult. Again, more information, directions, and maps are available through the USFS.

4. Irish Wilderness

The Irish Wilderness has a lot going for it. It has rich history, it has many water related recreational opportunities (the Eleven Point River), and a great trail system. The Irish Wilderness has over 16,000 designated wilderness acres. There are 3 major trail heads in the wilderness, but one is only accessible after a float in on the Eleven Point River (White Trail head). The Camp Five Pond Trail head is usually accessed leaving out of Doniphan, Missouri, and is about a 35 mile drive. It should be noted that this trail is used extensively by horseback riders. The Brawley Pond Trail head is a ways past the Camp Five Pond Trail head and receives a little less equestrian traffic in our experience.

5. Mingo Wilderness

This area is a little less than 8000 acres and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is a portion of a much larger Mingo Wildlife Refuge and a refuge for many migratory waterfowl. It is a diverse area interspersed with marsh areas as well as typical Ozark geography. It is located in Missouri’s “bootheel” region.

6. Paddy Creek Wilderness Area

Approximately 7000 acres in size, and is in the beautiful Big Piney River area. There is a trail system that is a loop of about 17 miles in total. Markings on this trail are not prominent, so a map, compass, and/or GPS are a must (never rely solely on a GPS unit). The trail begins at the Roby Lake Recreational area. There is also the Paddy Creek Recreational area with 21 single sites. The area is located approximately 20 miles from Roby, Missouri and specific directions and maps are available through the USFS.

7. Piney Creek Wilderness Area

The Piney Creek Wilderness is approximately 8000 acres in size and is about 35 miles from Branson, Missouri. There are over 13 miles of trails in this wilderness area. This wilderness area contains the watershed for Piney Creek and feeds Missouri’s famous Table Rock Lake. More information is available through the USFS.

8. Rockpile Wilderness Area

This is Missouri’s smallest wilderness area (around 4,000 acres) and is mostly surrounded by private property. Despite this, it is a beautiful area. There are no permanent water sources, save some ponds built prior to its designation as wilderness, to trap springwater and provide watering holes for the abundant wildlife. There is only 2 miles of designated trail but some abandoned logging roads from years past. It is named for a pile of granite stone erected by some human inhabitant from years ago. More information can be found through the USFS.

Leave No Trace Ethic

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

These principles are bare minimums for these fragile areas.

10 Reasons to Visit Branson Missouri in 2010

1. New Branson Municipal Airport – Branson has a new regional airport. The Airport offers low-fare flights through AirTran, such as $ 99 flights to & from Atlanta.

2. Table Rock Lake – The lake is a jump away from the new airport & Branson. It is among the cleanest lakes in the nation and a great environment for fun.

3. Affordable Live Entertainment – Branson is within two tanks of gas of half the population of the United States and has over 100 daily live shows with ticket prices well under $ 50. Where else can you get that much entertainment for a better price. Branson features shows like, "The Oak Ridge Boys."

4. Golf – Branson is an avid golfers delight! Affordable top-notch golfing. Branson is home to # 1 public golf course in Missouri (Branson Creek Golf Course) and three other signature golf course. John Daly's Murderrock Golf Course, Payne Stewart Golf Course, & Ledgestone Golf Course.

5. Shopping – Branson has more shopping (per capita) than anywhere else in the nation. The Branson Landing is a waterfront Branson shopping destination with name brand stores and restuarants.

6. Big Cedar Lodge – Is a rustic family fun resort in the beautiful Ozark Mountains just south of Branson. The lodge offers access to Table Rock Lake, horseback riding, fine dining, cabins, & much more. Most people continue to come back and stay at Big Cedar Lodge year after year.

7. Silver Dollar City – Is an extra theme park in Branson. It began as a natural cave tour and expanded into a family retreat as popularity increased. You will find rollar coasters, good food, water rides, shows, unique stores all themed after the Ozarks.

8. Chateau on the Lake – Is a four diamond luxury Branson hotel & convention center. The resort sets over-looking Table Rock Lake, 10 stories high. Enjoy fine dining or take a retreat to the spa area.

9. Restaurants – Branson has over 400 restaurants to choose from covering all your dining needs! You will find many local restaurants and the well-known chains too.

10. Affordable – Being centrally located in the middle of the United States, Branson offers travelers an affordable vacation alternative. The travel is less expensive, and where else do you get so much entertainment and restaurants at such a reasonable price.

There you have it … 10 reasons to visit Branson Missouri in 2010. There are of course more than 10 reasons … but you can figure those out when you visit!

Bicycling – Common Safety Tips For Riding the Lengthy Missouri Katy Rail

Here are seven safety tips for riding the Katy between its 238-mile endpoints, Clinton (west) and Machens (east), MO.

1. Protective head covering . Bicyclists can fall anytime on this kind of trail from soft spots, debris, and distractions.

2. Road traffic at intersections . Bicyclists do not have the right of way where the trail crosses farms roads, back roads, and state routes. Most of these crossings are partially gated on both sides of the road. Narrow gate openings mean busy intersections.

3. Insects, occasional snakes, and animals . Poison ivy, ticks, mosquitoes, and infrequent poisonous spiders or snakes exist along the entire trail corridor. Certain snakes, most of them harmless, lay on the trail motoring during varying hours of the day.

An accidental running over of a poisonous copperhead or timber rattler can be hazardous. The instant recoil from these animals could leave the rider bitten on the ankle or leg as the front wheel passes over it. Also, other animals might not see or hear the rider coming, causing last second avoidance.

4. Repellent or self-protection device . No large wild carnivorous animals exist on the trail. Bobcats, which are fairly small, will avoid humans as do the coyotes, foxes, and deer. However, an occasional stray barking dog or two can be scary at times; otherwise, most of them are friendly and harmless. Also, a stray cow might show up on the trail now and then. An air horn is helpful in these situations.

Additionally, crime is nonexistent on the trail, except for the rare vandalism of remotely parked cars. Although many females have ridden it solo, carrying a protective device (eg, pepper spray) is a good safety practice.

5. Falling branches or rocks . Tree branches from the trail canopies seldom fall on their own because they are trimmed by the rangers stations. But they will fall or weakened during high winds and storms. Most rocks, if and when they fall from the high bluffs between Rocheport and Matson, will land at the inner edge of the trail.

6. High or soft shoulders . The shoulders on the high-side sections of the trail, especially the high ones next to the Missouri River on its eastern two-thirds, are often soft. This condition can lead to a sudden slide or steep embankment tumble.

7. Edge of trail proper . A good rule-of-thumb is to stay on or near the middle of the limestone trail itself as much as possible, except at theaved trailheads or in the populated public areas near the trail. Flat-tire causing thorns and sharp twigs lie there.

Also, entering the rugged remote right-of-ways on each side of the trail corridor, or approaching the turbulent Missouri River can be very dangerous. It means encountering poisonous spiders, scorpions, and snakes, ticks, hornets, chiggers, mosquitoes galore, bats, poison ivy / oak, thorns, spills, falling down steep inclines onto sharp rocks, potential drowning, not to mention being caught trespassing on private property.

In short, use the restrooms at the trailheads or public places as much as possible.

Communities and trailheads having accessible restrooms in season (west to east).

  • Clinton (trailhead)
  • Calhoun (gas station w / convenience store, trailhead at northern end behind hedgerow)
  • Windsor (trailhead, convenience store, restaurant)
  • Green Ridge (trailhead, convenience store, bar-grill-cafe if open)
  • Sedalia (large trailhead)
  • Clifton City (trailhead)
  • Pilot Grove (trailhead, convenience store)
  • Boonville (trailhead, museum, bike shop, casino)
  • New Franklin (trailhead)
  • Rocheport (trailhead, park-side cafe w / bike shop)
  • Huntsdale (nearby country store w / campground)
  • McBaine (trailhead, bar-grill when open)
  • Easly (nearby county store w / campground)
  • Wilton (country store)
  • Hartsburg (trailhead, hotel, cafe, bar-grill)
  • Claysville (weekend cafe)
  • North Jefferson (trailhead)
  • Tebbetts (trailhead, Turner-KT hostel)
  • Mokane (trailhead, daytime market, bar-grill)
  • Steedman (bar-grill / general store when open)
  • Portland (trailhead, park-side campground, bar-grill when open)
  • Bluffton (bike-friendly B & B, park-side campground)
  • Rhineland (park-side cafe)
  • McKittrick (trailhead, convenience store 1/2-mile south on Route 19)
  • Treloar (trailhead, bar-grill when open)
  • Peers (park-side country store)
  • Marthasville (trailhead, gas station, bar-grill 1/2-mile south on Route 94)
  • Dutzow (trailhead, park-side cafe)
  • Augusta (trailhead, winery, cafe)
  • Matson (trailhead)
  • Defiance (park-side bike shop, bar-grills when open)
  • Weldon Spring (trailhead)
  • Greens Bottom (trailhead across road)
  • St Charles (trailhead, depot store, small park w / facilities)
  • Machhens (trailhead)

To learn more about Katy-Trail safely and etiquette, see the following websites.

RV Living: Winter Camping in Winter Weather

When you think of RV living in the winter … do not you picture the snowbirds who travel South in the winter for mild weather RV living?

Well, that's not us – we do things a bit different from the norm – just ask our family!

Our fulltime RV living choice found us on the banks of the Missouri River where we currently work as camphosts at a private campground and are getting ready to spend our third year of winter camping in Missouri where the weather can be balmy one day and brutal the next .

Lots of people think we're crazy … crazy for this lifestyle of fulltime RV living, but even crazier for spending the winter in Missouri when we could be in Arizona or Florida or Texas where the winters are warm and sunny.

Oh well – we're accustomed to raised eyebrows!

We had those same destinations in mind until the campground owner hired us for the year-round job and we fell in love with the beautiful setting on the banks of the Missouri River.

We decided winter camping in the cold and snow would be a new experience to add to our adventurous fulltime RV living journeys.

Maybe it was the challenge to figure out how to comfortably survive RV living in winter that drew us in, or maybe it was the Universe telling us that it was time to change our perception of winter.

(We are big time complainers of snow and cold.)

Actually, it was both!

Little did we realize that our first experience of RV living in winter weather would occur during the BLIZZARD of 2011!

Little did we realize how much our perspective would be tried and tested when the total snowfall for the winter set a new record for our area … 43 inches to be exact!

Our preparations for RV living in winter weather were valuable lessons in survival. Our only winter preparations Previous to this was to keep the snow shovel and ice melt handy by the front door.

We sent hours Googling tips from other RVers. It took some digging to find the right information since most tips for winterizing an RV focused on preparing the RV for winter storage – not RV living IN winter.

We made countless trips to Lowes, Westlakes, and Bass Pro to ask for assistance with our RV living in winter project. (again, the raised eyesbrows from the clerks who tried to help us!)

The most valuable resource of all was found at a local mobile home supplier. It was there the answers to all our questions were answered by knowledgeable people who knew how and what and where and why to protect our truck camper for RV living during winter. Their solutions were practical and simple … they were incredibly enthusiastic about helping the crazy couple who have this notice of RV living in winter weather!

For starters, all of the pipes, inside and outside that I could manage to reach were wrapped in foam pipe insulation. The empty spaces around the pipes and holding tanks were filled with insulation. The inside ceiling vents were covered with plastic to help keep the cold air out. Easy to do – familiar tasks to any homeowner … and especially essential for RV living in areas where bitter cold and snow and ice assault you for several months.

I read several suggestions of covering the windows as well to keep out the cold, but just could not bring myself to block my view, especially since I can look out my window and watch the river – it is my saving grace while holed up inside while the snow flies and the temperatures plummet.

This kind of view is what makes RV living so worthwhile.

We quickly learned that for RV living in winter weather, it was necessary to protect our water supply and the sewer hose from freezing temperatures. With the help of the staff at the mobile home store, we designed a water hose from a small plastic pipe fitted with connections to the campground water pump and our camper. This pipe was wrapped in an electric heat tape, which was then wrapped in foam pipe insulation.

Our flexible sewer hose was inserted into a larger PVC pipe for added insulation. It took a few tweaks to find the right elbows for the pipe, but we did it! Now the outside hoses were protected and we had a protected water supply for our first RV living experience with winter camping!

These fixes worked great to protect our water supply and sewer hose; but, when we unhooked everything to take a road trip, we soon realized how "EXACT" our parking had to be when we returned home. It took several attempts of backing up – pulling in a little closer – backing up – pulling to the right a little more – nope – angle it more to the left … over and over until the pipes lined up just right for reconnecting.

Normally, no big deal to do this – but it was bitterly cold that day. Just another part of the process of learning the art of RV living in winter weather.

As we began our second season of RV living in Missouri's winter, we looked for other solutions that would help us easily and quickly reconnect our hoses. We had to find more flexibility.

Google searching came through again as we searched more ways to survive in winter weather. The next winter, our water hose was wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil, followed by the heat tape, followed by the foam pipe wrap. We also purchased a super heavy duty sewer hose that is able to with frigid temps. Now we had flexibility! No more rigid pipes to reconnect when we arrive back at the campground.

One of the most treasured discoveries in preparation for RV living in winter was the electric radiator heater. These heaters work well as a supplement heat source in small spaces and stay warm without using much electricity. Because natural convection distributes the heat, there's no fan to make noise, making them incredibly quiet. We did not have to run the furnace constantly, never had to worry about running out of propane in the middle of the night and waking up to a cold camper.

With all those fixes in place, the only big problem we encountered for surviving RV living in winter was condensation that built up under our mattress where the cold outside air meets warm bodies. (our bed is over the cab of the pickup)

The solution?

Create an air space between the mattress and the floor of the bed. I headed to Lowes with measurements in hand and asked for help figuring out my crazy idea. Luckily, I was helped by someone who knew exactly what we needed –

boards to use as slats and 1/2 inch foam board to lay on top of the slats and underneath the foam mattress.

Now the air can circulate … and the best part is the foam board added protection from the cold floor of the bed.

I AM a happy camper … RV living in the winter is a piece of cake!

Two years ago, we were stocking up on food and movies and water because the forecast called for a blizzard! We had expected lots of new adventures with RV living and winter camping, but, a blizzard was something we had never experienced! Nineteen inches of snow fell as we were snuggled safely in our camper.

The next day, we were like little kids. We could not wait to get out and tromp around in the deep, deep snow that had drifts several feet deep.

If we had decided to take off that winter and settle into RV living in sunny Florida, we would have missed the magical views of snow covered fields sparkling like fairy dust in the light of a full moon, surrounded by stillness.

If we had headed South for the winter – sure, we could have played on the warm, sandy beaches, but we would have missed sinking up to our thighs in snow – just like we did when we were three years old and three feet tall!

I would have missed that magical January morning when I headed to the river, wrapped in my sub-zero sleeping bag, camera and coffee in hand … and watched the glorious dance of the gulls swooping and swirling with grace and majesty.

Full time RV living is our life and our dream.

It gives us freedom. It also gives us opportunities to make the best of any situation.

What's that saying – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?

Well, for RV living during the winter, when life gives you 19 inches of snow, you get to be a kid again!

Bicyclists – An Inexpensive Self-Managed Hostel on the Missouri Katy Trail

The Turner Katy Trail Shelter is a trail-side hostel located in the small town of Tebbetts, Missouri, 13-miles east of Jefferson City. It's basically a two-story bunkhouse with bathing, sleeping, heating, air-conditioning, refrigerating, and warm-up cooking facilities. Originally, it was a popular sandwich shop which owner owned the property to the Conservation Foundation of Missouri Charitable Trust to be used by youth groups. The conservation renovated the building, and then added the bunk beds and other accommodations (see below). Several church, scouting, and other youth groups do use the Shelter annually, but not often. So, it's open to all trail-users on a first-come first-serve basis when it's not reserved by a group beforehand. For $ 5 a day, a guest will have cheap lodging on a rail-to-trail that's free to the public to start with.

Accommodations

  • Outside bike rack, deck-covered front porch, outside picnic tables, and bright streetlight.
  • Front-door key is kept on a nearby utility pole for easy access.
  • Utilities: electricity, lights, furnace, window air-conditioners, hot water, fans, clock.
  • Double bunks with firm foam mattresses; 11 downstairs, 8 upstairs plus extra floor space.
  • Large wardrobe lockers: kept against the walls between the bunks.
  • Large restroom with dual hand sinks and two enclosed flush toilets.
  • Shower room: two individual stall-showers (separate from the restroom).
  • Kitchen / dining: locker-pantry holding paper and plastic wares, and leftover snack food; electric coffee maker; refrigerator / freezer with ice-cube trays; microwave; single hot plate; large wooden picnic table. Note: the large vehicle-supported groups staying there will cook outside by using their camp stoves or similar gear.
  • Bicycle room with tools: accessible both from the inside and outside. The bicycles can be bought inside there.
  • Notebook-logs for registering-in, or for making comments.
  • Entertainment: two parlor games; ping pong table (upstairs); several magazines, nature-wildlife pamphlets, and various brochures. Local saloon or bar-grill nearby.
  • Small store across the street when open and convenience store one-third-mile west on Route-94: cold / hot snacks and sundries.

The directions for using the shelter are well posted inside together with addressed envelopes for payment. The postage is free if dropped into the outside mailbox two doors down across the street to the east. Its daily fee: $ 5 / each for individuals or drop-by's; $ 20 for groups up to 40 plus $ 1 for each person in the group. It's closed from December 1st to March 1st; that is, the water and furnace are turned off then.

This shelter is a proven asset to the trail. Many users have found protection from rain or wind storms there, often not knowing it existed until someone pointed it out to them. Other users stop there to cool off or to use its facilities with or without staying the night. Cross-country and end-to-end trail riders spend the night there to save a few locking bucks during the busy riding seasons. Still others like to socialize with those stopping or staying there.

The guests themselves and other volunteers clean the Shelter, and do some of the upkeep. They leave things behind for others to use, like, soap bars and a towel or two, and occasional snack food, like, chips, cookies, coffee grounds, and opened packages of hotdogs, luncheon meat, bread / buns, and cheese slices. Basically, the guests must furnish their own bedding, toiletries, towels, food, and chastity / self-protection devices (eg, pepper spray) although not necessary among most guests. Drop-by's are limited to a one-night stay as the weather and other reasons permit it.

Large private groups, who have reserved it beforehand, generally want to keep it for them while taking it. That's especially true if it's a youth group, although bad weather could have been a factor for sharing it with other responsible trail-users then. Otherwise, it's first-come first-served until it's full, which seldom happens.

The shelter's large size augments sharing it in a responsible manner. The guests, often strangers to one another, practice common hostel courtesies, like, changing basic information, looking out for one another, eg, guarding the shower-or-bathroom doors between the sexes, and keeping quiet. Most nighttime guests are tired, and want to rest before the next day's venture. The two floor levels plus an extra small room upstairs offer limited limited privacy as do the separated restroom and showers. Also, the main front door can be double locked from the inside with a chain guard.

The shelter welcomes tax-deductible donations and volunteer work. In addition to cash, it could use the following things over extended periods of use:

  1. spot checks or repairs on the air conditioners, furnace, refrigerator, lights, and other kinds of general upkeep
  2. opaque shower curtains, old towels, old blankets or sleeping bags
  3. shelves for small appliances, books, magazines, radio, TV
  4. more straight chairs
  5. latches on certain inside doors
  6. space heater (for single or small number of occupants during cool weather)
  7. outside hydrant with hose
  8. deep utility sink
  9. clothes dryer
  10. outside staircase to the upper deck

The bicycle room or the restroom / water-heater room each has sufficient space to add a utility sink and small clothes dryer. These two items could help guests coming in from stormy or wet weather by allowing them to wash and dry their clothing and other gear quickly.

Another benefit that often comes with the shelter is a large friendly dog ‚Äč‚Äčthat sleeps on the front porch. He makes great company, and is a dependent night watchman.

Hiking Opportunities in Missouri

Missouri has it all for the hiker. Most of the hiking trails in Missouri are located in mountainous southern part of the state, where the Ozark Mountains offer some of the best scenery anywhere in the nation. But there are trails in other parts of the state, in central and northeast Missouri. Here is a quick run-through of some of the best hiking trails in the state.

The Current River section of the Ozark Trail is a good place to come for someone who is looking for a little bit of everything. This thirty mile trail leads right through the very heart of the Salem Plateau portion of the Ozark Mountains. This trail leads you along several mountains streams, including the Current River and the beautiful Rocky Creek. It also leads you to the top of one of the Ozarks most impressive mountains, Stegall Mountain, where the view is unimpeded for many miles in every direction. Along the way you'll encounter mountain glades, as well as many nice places to stop and swim along the way-a real treat on a hot summer day. This is a mountain trail, so keep in mind the fact that the trail is often steep. This is a reliably strenuous trail, but the beauty of the region through which it leads makes it well worth it. There are trailheads at Owl's Bend Campground on the Current River, the Powder Mill Parking area (also along the Current River), Peck Ranch Conservation area, and along Highway 60.

If you are looking for more of a suburban hiking experience, you certainly do not have to sacrifice much natural beauty around the St.. Louis metro region. It sees that St. George. Louis County has a hiking trail in every nook and cranny where one can be fit. For example, in West St. Louis County, you will find Babler State Park. As with many other St. Louis (and Kansas City as well) parks, this area was at one time not so long ago, way out in the boondocks. Now, the park area is rather surrounded by suburban sprawl, albeit very nice as sprawl goes. However, once you get into the park, you might forget that there is a suburban area surrounding you. There are 6 or 7 miles of trails spread over four trails.

If you are looking for a unique area with some great trails, consider Johnson's Shut-Ins. This area was damaged several years ago due to a dam failure, but is now open for business and as good as ever. Johnson's Shut-Ins offers 6 sections of trail (one an overlapping part of the Ozark Trail) and only one has any section closed for repairs.

So as spring comes upon us, why not start making some plans for hiking in Missouri. It will have you both happier and healthier.

14 Free Things To Do In Branson Missouri (And Still Have Fun!)

In beautiful Branson, Missouri, there are plenty of things to see and do. Even better, there are plenty of FREE things to do in Branson that are fun and interesting for the whole family Branson's great variety of outdoor fun, unique attractions and interesting history make it the perfect place to discover a great vacation! The FREE activities in Branson make it an even better place to visit, no matter what time of year it is!

The rolling Ozark Mountains make Branson a beautiful, scenic outdoor wonderland Therefore, there are several ways to have fun in Branson that involve the great outdoors Branson's three gorgeous lakes provide great opportunities for recreation, both exciting and leisurely

  1. Table Rock Lake Dam : This massive engineering structure was completed in 1958 and created Table Rock Lake. Crowds gather to watch the powerful structure hold back the waters of the White River.
  2. Table Rock Lake : The waters of this outdoor wonderland have become a haven for visitors nationwide Take advantage of water activities such as boating, fishing, water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving, hiking and camping
  3. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery : One of Branson's most popular tourist sites, the fish hatchery is located below Table Rock Dam The center has several beautiful aquariums showcasing Missouri's native fish Families love to walk through the fish hatchery and learn more about the world around them Self-guided and conducted tours are available.
  4. Moonshine Beach : Moonshine Beach is a great place to relax with the family. The sandy beach located on Table Rock Lake allows guests to swim, sun and enjoy beautiful views.
  5. Table Rock State Park : Located on the shores of Table Rock Lake, the park is ideal water activities and is outfitted with a marina, boat rentals, campsites and picnic areas.
  6. Lake Taneycomo : This downtown Branson lake is a fishing enthusiasts dream! Other activities in and around this like include boating, hiking, scuba diving, and picnicking Other FREE outdoor activities in Branson Missouri include incredible scenic views, hiking, camping and wonderful exploration opportunities.
  7. Henning State Forest: This 1,534 acre-park offers spectacular views, nature trails and nature studies There is a naturalist on hand to answer questions and a beautiful scenic lookout area that provides an incredible view of the countryside
  8. Lakeside Wilderness Area: Lakeside provides a great trail that leads to the shores of Lake Taneycomo. A surprising remote area that reveals the gem that is Branson's beautiful outdoor There are more free things to do in Branson Mo too!
  9. Stone Hill Winery: Experience a sparkling tour of wine making on this free tour, which ends with some fine wine tasting Kids receive grape juice.
  10. Photo of the Ozarks : This picturesque campus is complete with lovely landscaping, fountains and walking paths Visitors will also want to experience the Keeter Center Restaurant, the free tours at Edwards Mill and the Ralph Foster Museum, which houses the area's best collection of Ozarks history . (Slight fee for museum admission.)
  11. Shopping in Branson : Branson is a great place to shop and it does not cost a thing to look! Explore the many outlet halls and the new addition to the Branson scene, Branson Landing.
  12. Branson Landing : The Landing has a beautiful boardwalk visitors can stroll while enjoying scenic views and the Lake Taneycomo
  13. Historic Downtown Branson : A small-town, charming glimpse into historic Branson This popular area is filled with shops, restaurants and quaint stores filled with treasures
  14. Free Sunday Shows in Branson : Several Branson theaters open their doors Sunday morning for gospel singing and praising

A vacation in Branson Missouri is an experience of a lifetime. Visit today and discover some of Branson's most enjoyable activities are free, fun and unforgettable!