4 Ways Camping Makes You More Thankful!


Once a year, I’ll gorge until my pants don’t fit, watch football for 10 consecutive hours and eventually fall asleep in an unflattering position on the couch. This has become my Thanksgiving. In reality, it’s a day that was originally entirely devoted to gratitude.  In that spirit, I’d like to mention a few things about camping and the outdoors that we can reflect on and feel grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Here are 4 ways camping makes you more thankful:

  1. We get the opportunity to be in nature – This is really what camping is all about, isn’t it? Nothing is as humbling as the raw beauty of the natural world. Whether it’s the moon over a lake, a snow-capped mountain or a sun-baked beach, nature has the ability to make our problems feel insignificant and allows us to step away from our egotistical lives. Getting out in nature (even for a short time) is incredibly cathartic, and will improve every other aspect of life.
  2. Camping can be a portal into the past – If we’re tent camping (this is certainly not the only way to camp – glamping, we can hearken back to the days of our ancestors. We can step away from modern technology (even if only for a few hours) and live as our forebears did. Instead of being bombarded by ads, with the glowing screens of four different devices fighting for our focus, we sit around a crackling fire like our ancestors. Our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter as we are constantly besieged by technological diversion. While technology is certainly useful (I wouldn’t give it up!), it is good to get away every once and awhile and appreciate tangible and natural reality.
  3. We get to spend time with friends and family in a different setting – This is often the main aspect of Thanksgiving we feel thankful for. Camping is no different. Almost all my favorite memories growing up are of camping with friends and family (even if that involved a cabin). We had large family reunions on Lake Superior in Minnesota, and I will never forget eating way too much walleye, skipping rocks into the sunset and seeing moose in the wild with my grandfather. While we were always close, times like those really fortified the bond between us (and made for great Thanksgiving dinner conversations years later).
  4. Camping allows you to learn about yourself – One of the fascinating things about camping is that no two trips are the same. One time, the weather is perfect. The next, it’s a constant downpour. There are no bugs one day, and the next you’d swear it’s a plague. Camping really shows us how we behave and react to good, bad and unpredictable situations. As the quote says, “Circumstances don’t make a person, they reveal them.” Camping forces you out of your day-to-day situation. It makes you adapt to a variety of situations and therefore improves your life in a myriad of ways.

These are just a few things that camping has done for me. Obviously there are many more, so feel free to leave your comments and/or stories below. Hopefully you have a fantastic Thanksgiving and get the opportunity to reflect on what you’re grateful for this holiday season!



Well, we’ve unfortunately hit that time of year. Camping season is coming to a close, and when the temperature starts regularly dropping below 32°F (0°C), it’s time to winterize. Basically, winterizing entails protecting your RV from freezing temperatures so it’s prepared when the snow melts, the frost thaws and spring flowers start poking out. (Yes, I’m currently listening to The Beatles’ classic “Here Comes the Sun”).Your main goal when winterizing your RV is taking care of the water system. Here is a step-by-step guide so your rig is thoroughly prepared to hibernate through Jack Frost.


Before getting started, make sure you read through your owner’s manual carefully to take any additional recommended steps.

  • Drain all water tanks completely –Take your RV to a waste station and drain all tanks.
  • Drain the water from the hot water heater (DO NOT DO WHILE WATER IS HOT OR UNDER PRESSURE)Small lime deposits may come out. This is normal.
  • Drain the pipes –Turn on all faucets (hot and cold), flush the toilet, and turn on the outside shower.You can also use an air compressor to blow out all the pipes (set to no more than 30psi).
  • Open all low-point drain lines –There will be a hot and cold water line.
  • Once all lines are drained, recap, close and turn off all drains and faucets.
  • Bypass the water heater –This isn’t a must, but will save you gallons of antifreeze. If you don’t have a bypass kit, you can get one installed relatively cheaply.
  • Pump antifreeze through your water lines (RV antifreeze is PINK) –Most newer RVs have a valve attached to the water pump that will allow the pump to draw antifreeze directly from the bottle. Turn on water pump, and starting with the closest faucet, open the hot and cold valves one at a time until you see pink antifreeze, then close. Keep replacing the bottle as needed, don’t let it run dry.
  • Open each faucet until each has antifreeze coming out –Also, keep flushing your toilet until you see antifreeze. Make sure you run antifreeze to the outside shower as well.
  • Turn off the water pump –Open a faucet to release pressure, then close.
  • Pour antifreeze down each drain and into the toilet.
  • Make sure if you have an electric heating element on your water heater, it is turned OFF.
  • Make sure all valves and faucets are CLOSED.
  • If you have other appliances (ice maker, dishwasher, etc.) consult the owner’s manual to winterize


Tires –

You may want to raise your rig on jacks, but at least make sure you’re parked on concrete or pavement so tires do not sink into the ground.

Batteries –

Remove batteries of any type and store in a warm, dry location.

Propane Tanks –

Fill all propane tanks, and store in a sheltered location.

Not inside the RV.

Electrical System –

Turn off the RV’s main circuit breaker. Block the exhaust pipe with steel wool or aluminum to keep out pests.

Food and Drinks –

Remove all food and drinks as some things can burst and become messy (and attract unwanted visitors like rodents and insects in the spring).

Interior –

Clean stove, make sure to thaw freezer completely and dry. Leave all refrigerator doors open.

Exterior –

Close all roof vents, make sure windows and doors are fully sealed. Cover any holes with screening, and cover vents with cardboard to make sure rodents and

insects can’t get in.

Moisture Control –

Get a container of moisture absorbent and place it on a flat surface inside the RV. This will prevent corrosion and mold.

Weather Protection –

This is a given, but try to protect your RV from the elements as best you can by parking in a shelter or getting an RV cover. Obviously, this sounds like a lot of work, but it will be well worth it when you’re ready to make your next excursion to one of our fine resorts in the spring.

As always, be sure to check your owner’s manual for any additional steps, and happy exploring!


Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show

The Black Hills are rich with authentic Cowboy history. This area has touted the name ‘Wild West’ for over a century and if you are looking to have yourself a rootin’ tootin’ old fashioned adventure you have come to the right place. The Fort Hays Chuckwagon is just up the road from Rushmore Shadows resort and is serving up cowboy cuisine and fun family entertainment. Ft Hayes Cowyboyshow

I had the chance to visit the Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show this past week and was eager to see what all the excitement was about. As you drive up the hill and into the parking lot you will feel as if you have driven right into the Wild West of this region’s past. Fort Hays is home to many attractions including the movie set of, “Dances With Wolves.” Here you can visit an old west town, experience rope making, watch a unique penny press, and so much more. A & J Ft. hayes

Enjoy delectable cowboy fare up to three times daily. Choose from a delicious pancake breakfast, cowboy lunch, or a chuckwagon supper.

My husband and I, along with a group of our friends are from the Black Hills but had not had the chance to catch the Cowboy Music Show. So we saddled up for the Chuckwagon Dinner last week. Ft. Hayes Dinner Plate

As you enter the rustic building that houses the dinner and show, the aroma of traditional and delicious cowboy fare fills the air. We grabbed our tin plates and cups and headed through the line to be served by authentic cowboys and cowgirls.

You choose your meat options (BBQ beef or Chicken), then you are encouraged to hold on tight as the server smashes your baked potato down onto your tin plate. “It tastes better that way,” he laughs. As you make your way through the line you’re are given delicious homemade applesauce (my personal favorite), buttermilk biscuits, spice cake, coffee, and the best lemonade I’ve ever had served fresh into your tin cup. Ft. Hayes Emily & Angie

The dinner was delicious and followed by the Cowboy Music Show. We couldn’t keep our eyes off the incredibly talented musicians as they tackled artists from Johnny Cash to Mozart. We cheered for the fiddler as she took on, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and won the competition against herself (Playing both Johnny & the Devil’s parts). The Oompah of the polka made us want to dance, and we laughed as Elvis entered the building. Ft Hayes Oommpah

If you are looking for a fun cowboy adventure for your entire family, you won’t want to miss The Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show. We give it a big, “Yee Haw!”

And, it’s just a few miles up the Road on Hwy 16. Next time you stay at Rushmore Shadows make sure to visit Fort Hays!

Member How To Videos

How To'sHere in Member Services it is our job to help you navigate your MOR membership. From logging in to Coast to Coast and Hopaway Holiday and checking out the MOR website to planning a getaway, we are here to walk you through it all!

Of course, we know that some of you prefer to teach yourselves so that’s where all of the how to videos come in!

Andrea or I will walk you through a click by click play of how to use your membership. You’ll find these how-to videos under the Membership tab on our Midwest Outdoor Resorts website.

We add more often so stay tuned, and as always, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us or shoot us an email for a personal tutorial!

Associate Member Benefits

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.27.42 AM“So, my parents gave me a MOR membership, now what do I do with it?” This is a question that we have been hearing a lot around the Member Services office in past few months. Many parents who have purchased memberships with us wait until the holiday season to gift the member cards to their children. Their kids call in wondering just what all they can do with this nifty little card that their parents gave them. Well, the options are nearly endless!

Camping: Associate members may tent or RV camp for free at any MOR property for up to 14 consecutive days. For camping in the Coast to Coast system, they may use any of their parent’s eight guest weeks to camp at Coast to Coast resorts.

Condos: Associate members may log onto Hopaway Holiday and book under their parent’s account for condos. Check out the Fun Weeks for inexpensive condos in popular places on short notice!

How To VideosCruises: Associate members book cruises the same way they would for condos, they log onto Hopaway Holiday under their parent’s account.

Make sure to check out the Deluxe Travel Services and the Trip Plus coupons while you are logged in, they are two great ways to help save on flights, cars, food, and attractions while you are traveling!

Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions. As always, feel free to call MOR Member Services with any questions and for help navigating your membership! (800.231.4025 ext7850.

MOR Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HalloweenHalloween is easily the most important holiday here at Midwest Outdoor Resorts. We have an absolute blast dressing up, playing games, winning prizes, and being silly. The morning started off with a donut eating contest. It wasn’t as easy as you may think though, these donuts were hanging from strings and you couldn’t use your hands. If any part dropped while you were eating it, you were disqualified.Ernie

We had our friends from Hart Ranch come up the hill to judge the costume contest. There were 5 categories and best overall costume. Julio won best overall costume with his fantastic makeup job.IMG_0820

We’re all busy getting work snuck into all of our fun today but are taking a moment to celebrate a successful season with all of you!  Stay tuned for more #FunwithMORWitch

Snakes, Horses, and Waterslides

Mt. RushmoreThe trip started out at 6 am for a 10 hour drive from River Falls, WI. It was so worth it. Jesse’s favorite part of the trip was Reptile Gardens and Watiki Water Park. Sami’s favorite part of the trip was Rushmore Cave & all the attractions. My favorite part of the trip was making memories with my kids and seeing Mt. Rushmore.goats

The funniest thing that happened? We went to Old MacDonald’s Farm and the tan horse was eating what looked like a big pail of chocolate. He came over to the fence and sneezed all over kids and I. Had to use our shirts to wipe off our glasses! We just about fell over laughing!Horses


Buffalo Dreamers There’s no better way to kick off the summer other than camping!

One of the many things we love about camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota is the variety of cultural activities that occur; this summer we welcomed back

Troy Fairbanks and the Buffalo Dancers. As they make their debut from year to year, we are always learning new and exciting things about the Lakota Sioux traditions.

S'MORES At Rushmore Shadows Resort in Rapid City, SD, Hidden Bluffs Resort in Spring Grove, MN and Soo Line Trail Campground in Onamia, MN we have SMORE” fun that you can ever imagine! Our Activities Directors are out and about rounding up family and friends of all ages to come out and enjoy what the camping experience is all about.

Want to come and experience how much fun we have? No worries just give us a call at 1-800-231-0425 and we would be happy to talk with you about how you and your family can experience SMORE” fun.

Camping With The Kids

Rushmore Shadows KidsWhat do you and your family like to do together while camping? Did you know that we have an abundance of activities to do at each of the Midwest Outdoor Resorts locations? Not only will we keep you busy, we will make your stay one to remember.

At Rushmore Shadows Resort in Rapid City, SD your kids will enjoy

  • Heated swimming pool and hot tub
  • Putts MOR mini golf
  • Bike rentals
  • Sports courts & Equipment
  • Playground & Clubhouse
  • Bonfire & Horseshoe Pits
  • Enclosed dog run (for our furry family members)Rushmore Shadows Pool

At Hidden Bluffs Resort in Spring Grove, MN we’ve got:

  • Heated swimming pool and hot tub
  • Mini golf
  • Bike rentals
  • Volleyball & Basketball courts
  • Playground
  • Trout stream
  • Groomed hiking trails

Soo Line Trail Campground also offers a variety of activities as well:

  • Playground
  • Bike rentals
  • Campfire pits
  • Adjacent to the Soo Line ATV Trail
  • Near Lake Mille Lacs

So what are you waiting for? Give us a call at 1-800-231-0425 and we can set you and your family up with a vacation full of memories.