Go Away with StowAway: Four Thanksgiving Road Trip Tips

October 26th, 2015 | Posted by Kate Heinrich Anderson in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier - (Comments Off on Go Away with StowAway: Four Thanksgiving Road Trip Tips)

Thanksgiving Road Trip Tips - StowAway Cargo CarrierDid you know you only have a month to prepare for holiday travel? That’s right – Thanksgiving is only one month away, and most folks know by now that this is the busiest travel time of the year, causing a multitude of travel snags and traffic delays for those who find themselves unprepared.

According to our friends at AAA, over 46 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends in 2014, with the average distance traveled being around 550 miles roundtrip. With nearly 90 percent of Thanksgiving travelers taking to the highways, and gas prices at their lowest in years, you can bet holiday traffic volumes (and headaches) will be at their highest in 2015.

But with a bit of planning and preparation you’ll be on and off the road, enjoying the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, in no time at all. Here are four Thanksgiving road trip tips to ensure smooth sailing as you head out on the highway this holiday season:

  1. Thanksgiving Road Trip Tips - StowAway Cargo Carrier - Gridlock

    Avoid traffic jams by researching alternate routes in advance. Photo credit: Andrew Savulich, New York Daily News

    Plan your trip. We all know most folks travel on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving. If possible, consider traveling on alternate days and leave early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid increased traffic volume on the highways. Also, research alternate routes in advance to dodge traffic jams or accidents that could slow you down. And don’t forget to check the weather forecast a few days before you leave so you’ll know what conditions to prepare for.  *Bonus tip: Although they may be considered outdated due to technology, it never hurts to keep a map in the glove compartment in case of poor internet service along your chosen route.

  2. Vehicle maintenance. Avoid the last minute rush. Have your car and tires inspected in the next week or two (or do it yourself if you’re able), and be sure routine maintenance has been taken care of before you hit the road. Check the oil, belts and hoses, coolant, battery, and wiper fluid. Been hearing a funny noise and you’re not quite sure what it is? Have that checked too! Be sure you have emergency vehicle maintenance supplies on hand, such as a tire jack, lug wrench, tire sealant, jumper cables, tire chains, tow strap and electrical tape – just in case! And lastly, don’t forget to fuel up before you leave town (if you’re able, fill your tank a day or two before your trip to avoid gas station chaos).
  3. Emergency Kit. Make sure you have the basics in case you find yourself in a jam: flashlight/head lamp, battery charger, road flares, first aid kit, pocket knife, water/snacks, blankets, snow shovel, and hand warmers. *Bonus tip: Worried that you won’t have room in your vehicle for all of your family, luggage, and emergency supplies? Consider adding more cargo space with a StowAway Cargo Carrier.
  4. Thanksgiving Road Trip Tips - StowAway Cargo Carrier - Electronics Chargers - Battery Charger

    A battery charger for all of your electronic devices is essential for your Thanksgiving road trip. Photo credit: Andrewlp1991 at en.wikipedia

    The necessities. Don’t forget to pack any prescription medications, and be sure to bring extra in case you get stuck along the way (remember the storm that hit the east coast last year?). It’s also helpful to have extra over the counter medications on hand, like those for head or muscle aches, upset stomach, motion sickness, and heartburn. You’ll also want to remember to bring chargers for your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and any other electronic devices you use to communicate and/or keep the kids entertained on long road trips. And speaking of kids… they’re known to get bored and hungry on long road trips, so be sure you have plenty of snacks, beverages, movies, games, and music to keep them happy along the way.

    *Bonus tip: Back in my day, when electronics didn’t rule the world and cars weren’t equipped with DVD players, TVs, and satellite radio, my sister and I were forced to keep ourselves occupied in the back seat of the car. This included road trip games like I Spy, 20 Questions, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Slug Bug, and Mad Libs. Try turning off the electronic devices this year, and see how much fun you can have without them!

Whatever your destination this holiday season, these four road trip tips and a little advanced planning will help ensure smooth and safe travels so you can enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Top 25 Tailgating Colleges of 2015

October 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Kate Heinrich Anderson in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier - (Comments Off on Top 25 Tailgating Colleges of 2015)

Top 25 Tailgating Schools - StowAway Hitch Grill Station - TailgatervMagazine Collage

Tailgating season is in full swing and football fans across the nation are no doubt enjoying all of the delicious food, friendly faces, and school spirit that accompany this fall weekend tradition. But some fans take tailgating to another level. Painted faces and extravagant costumes, custom made BBQs and smokers to ensure that secret family recipe comes out juuuuuuuuust riiiiiiight, motorhomes, buses, and SUVs with custom paint jobs so everyone knows where their loyalty lies…  we’re talking about some extreme tailgaters, folks!

It’s the unbridled enthusiasm of college football fanatics like these that not only keeps the tailgating tradition alive, but leads to a spot on Tailgater Magazine’s Top 25 Tailgating Schools list for 2015.

  1. University of Oregon (now that’s something to QUACK about!)

    Top 25 Tailgating Schools - StowAway Hitch Grill Station - TailgaterMagazine - University of Oregon - Oregon Ducks

    University of Oregon claimed the #1 spot on Tailgater Magazine’s Top 25 Tailgating Schools list in 2015. Photo credit: Tailgater Magazine

  2. Louisiana State University
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Ole Miss
  5. The Ohio State University
  6. Auburn University
  7. University of Washington
  8. University of Texas
  9. University of Alabama
  10. University of Tennessee
  11. Notre Dame
  12. University of Nebraska
  13. University of Michigan
  14. North Dakota State University

    Top 25 Tailgating Schools - StowAway Hitch Grill Station - TailgaterMagazine - University of Oregon - Oregon Ducks - Grill Fans

    Oregon Duck fans try out their new StowAway Hitch Grill Station

  15. Clemson University
  16. University of Oklahoma
  17. South Carolina
  18. Texas A&M
  19. Michigan State
  20. Arizona State University
  21. University of Southern California
  22. Boise State University
  23. Penn State
  24. Appalachian State University
  25. Harvard-Yale

Did your school make the list? If not, no need to fret. Perhaps a StowAway Hitch Grill Station can ramp up your tailgating game and land your school on the list for 2016!

Join The Migration: Top Five Winter Hotspots for Snowbirds

October 14th, 2015 | Posted by Kate Heinrich Anderson in Bike Racks | Hitch Carriers | HItch Racks | Road Trips | Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Taligating Grill - (Comments Off on Join The Migration: Top Five Winter Hotspots for Snowbirds)

Like Canada geese, snowbirds travel south to warmer climates during cold winter months.

Heading south for the winter?

Along with Canada geese, many retirees begin flocking to warmer climates this time of year to avoid the doldrums that accompany the cold, wet winters in the north. And who can blame them? After all, while it’s snowing and blowing with temperatures below freezing up north, these lucky folks will be wandering about the golf course, basking in the sunny warmth of a balmy 75-degree day.

Once things begin to thaw again in the spring, those who choose to make this yearly trek head north once again to their permanent residence. It’s this yearly migration that sets these fortunate few apart, and earns them the nickname of “snowbird.”

Not to be confused with your average vacationer, snowbirds spend an extended amount of time in the sunny paradise of their choosing. Although not considered residents in their southern homes, snowbirds often become highly involved in their temporary communities — some even find jobs or volunteer for local charities in their home away from home. And while there are many things that set the snowbird apart from the seasonal vacationer, the greatest difference is that this migratory pattern isn’t a one-time deal… it’s a way of life.  Each winter, the snowbird travels south to escape the cold. And each spring, the snowbird returns to their cozy nest in the north. Like clockwork.

Fledgling snowbirds often begin as typical vacationers, traveling to visit friends and family in places like Arizona, Florida, Texas, and New Mexico. When the time is right, these fledglings fly the nest and begin what becomes a lifelong quest to avoid cold and wet weather conditions by taking up temporary residence in warmer climates during winter months. And voila! Just like that, another snowbird is born.

So where do they go exactly? There are no actual data sources capable of providing complete, consistent coverage of temporary migration in the United States because the U.S. Census Bureau only defines permanent residents, not snowbirds, and they are counted at the place where they live and sleep most of the time as opposed to where they are on a specific day when the Census took place. Despite the lack of data, however, there are certain states that see a definite influx of temporary residents (and a boost to their local economy) during the coldest months of the year. These states make up our Top 5 Winter Destinations for Snowbirds:

  1. Florida. With the sunniest winter climate in the eastern U.S. and ample opportunities
    Miami Beach is a popular hot spot for snowbirds. Photo credit: Wikipedia contributor Chensiyuan

    Miami Beach is a popular hot spot for snowbirds. Photo credit: Wikipedia contributor Chensiyuan

    for golf,fishing, shopping, sailing, and easy access to cruise ships, it only makes sense that the Sunshine State should be at the top of the list. Top landing destinations for Florida’s snowbirds are Key West, Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa.

  1. California. For wealthy retirees seeking warm sunshine, world class golf courses, an abundance of tennis courts, country clubs, and high-end shops and restaurants, Southern California is the place to be! From Palm Springs to Palm Desert, the Coachella Valley is a snowbird hotspot that offers the ultimate in resort living.
  1. Texas. Texas has a little something for everyone, and the tropical South Texas climate is particularly irresistible to snowbirds. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, and featuring a bay front promenade, arts and museum district, waterfront restaurants, golf galore, plentiful shopping and beautiful beaches, Corpus Christi is one of the most popular snowbird destinations in Texas. Other hotspots include Galveston, Port Aransas, Rockportand South Padre Island, which is known for its abundance of fishing, boating, bird watching, and shopping opportunities.
  1. Arizona. When snow begins falling in the coldest regions of North America, thousands of snowbirds head to Arizona where daytime winter temperatures average 70 degrees and RV parks cater to the seasonal residents. Quartzsite is one of the most popular and affordable places to take up temporary residence in Arizona. With thousands of acres of low-cost and free public camping areas known as Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs), Quartzite’s population swells from a few hundred full-time residents to several hundred thousand snowbirds each year. Other popular destinations include Tucson, Yuma, Mesa, and Bisbee.
  1. New Mexico. For snowbirds who enjoy warmer weather but still want to participate in outdoor winter activities, Alamogordo just might be the perfect winter destination. With an average 70 degree temperature, snowbirds can spend their days in the lowlands and afternoons skiing or snowshoeing in the mountains. Local attractions include the White Sands National Monument, International Space Hall of Fame, and McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch. Another New Mexico hot spot? Albuquerque. With 300+ days of sunshine and humidity averaging approximately 40%, Albuquerque is one of the most popular Snowbird destinations in the entire Southwest.
Snowbirds tend to lead an active lifestyle, wherever they land.

Snowbirds tend to lead an active lifestyle, wherever they land. Photo credit: http://blog.koa.com/

Now that we know where the flock is headed, how do they get there? Although you might expect a snowbird to fly south for the winter, more adventurous snowbirds often choose to turn their migratory trek into a road trip, traveling along the interstate and back roads so that they can stop off to visit family and friends, state parks, or other tourist attractions along the way. While some drive the family vehicle to a condo or apartment that’s awaiting them in their temporary paradise, others invest in a motorhome or camper, finding an RV park that caters to the snowbird community preferable to a resort or condo complex.

(For those who choose the scenic route, check out the StowAway2 product line. We offer hitch-mounted cargo carriers and a variety of hitch racks to help you transport golf clubs, bicycles, fishing rods, and other toys between your seasonal homes.)

Wherever they go and however they choose to get there, one thing is for certain: each snowbird has their own distinct migratory pattern that, despite its cyclical nature, sets them apart from the rest of the flock.

Will you be joining the migration this year?

Hood to Coast with StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

October 9th, 2015 | Posted by Kate Heinrich Anderson in StowAway HItch Cargo Carrier Features & Options | Teams & Events - (Comments Off on Hood to Coast with StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier)
Hood To Coast - StowAway Cargo Carrier - Hitch Cargo Carrier

This Hood to Coast Relay Team really loves their StowAway2 Hitch Cargo Carrier!

After a summer of record-setting high temperatures in Oregon, a powerful storm blew into the area just in time for the “Mother of All Relays” during the last weekend of August.

During the 34th annual Hood to Coast Relay, which takes participants nearly 200 miles from the base of Mt. Hood to the beaches of Seaside, wind gusts up to 60 mph and heavy rains tested the endurance and fortitude of each runner. Wet, tired, and windblown, participants running the last leg of the race were surprised to find that the finish line had been moved from the sandy coastal beach to the promenade in downtown Seaside as a safety precaution.

Hood to Coast - KOIN 6

This runner doesn’t appear to be bothered by the inclement weather. Photo courtesy of KOIN 6.

Event coordinators were forced to modify the finish party after event canopies, sanicans and chairs set up on the beach were found blown over Saturday morning. Participants were urged to dress warm, wear raingear, and stay alert for downed trees and debris as they made their way from mountain to coast. While some runners seemed to enjoy racing in the wet and stormy weather, others were less enthused. But I think everyone can agree that this was definitely an event they won’t soon forget!

Team members check out the grub in their StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

Team members check out the grub in their StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

Despite heavy winds, rain, and even some hail, the 13,000 participants in this year’s Hood to Coast Race didn’t let the weather dampen their spirits. With over one thousand teams participating this year, runners in the world’s oldest and most popular running relay race surpassed the fundraising goal of $550K, bringing in nearly $562K for cancer research, treatment, and services at Providence Cancer Center to help #finishcancer. Congratulations to all of the 2015 !

StowAway2 had the privilege of sponsoring another team for this year’s race. As you can see, their Hitch Cargo Carrier kept them fed, hydrated, and happy throughout the grueling event.

For more information about this event or to find out how you can participate or volunteer next year, please visit the Hood to Coast website.


5 Life Hacks for Stress-Free Tailgating

October 7th, 2015 | Posted by Pacrec in StowAway in Action | Tailgating | Teams & Events - (Comments Off on 5 Life Hacks for Stress-Free Tailgating)

Tailgating - Life Hacks - StowAway Grill - StowAway Cargo Carrier -5

Tailgating is fun – In fact, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees. After all, 80 percent of the U.S. population tailgates at least once a year, with many across the country participating nearly every weekend. John Sherry, a University of Notre Dame marketing professor and cultural anthropologist who conducted a two-year study of college tailgating, says, “The idea of getting out of your house and feasting and drinking somewhere else is a pretty old tradition. People eat and drink and build up community in the process. It’s one last blowout before we hunker down for winter.”

And a blowout it is! But despite the friendly faces, great food, and enthusiasm of game day, that “blowout” is also really hard work – after all it is a party, and parties don’t throw themselves. It can be stressful, draining, and a bit overwhelming if you’re not prepared.

Avid tailgaters will tell you that the keys to stress-free tailgating are advanced planning, organization, and coordination. To help you make the most of game day and ensure you’re not worn out before the game even starts, we’ve pulled together five great tailgating life hacks to ensure a smooth and enjoyable tailgating experience.

  1. Even the most devoted tailgaters will forget something on occasion. If you don’t already have one, I suggest creating a checklist to be sure nothing is left behind. You can find hundreds of templates online with a simple Google search for “tailgating check list” (here’s a sample from simpletailgating.com). Once you find a list, customize it to meet your specific needs. Not only will it help you pack your rig before heading to the stadium, but you can use it to be sure everything makes it home safely at the end of the day. *Bonus life hack: Laminate your list to protect it from BBQ sauce, beer, rain, or tears (if your team is on a losing streak).
  2. If you’re in charge of the party, take time the week before to plan your menu, shopping list, and job assignments. That’s right – job assignments! While this is a party and should be loads of fun, there’s nothing wrong with recruiting your friends to help out. After all, if they want to eat your food, drink your beer and hang out at your tailgate, they can pitch in too. Assigning friends to help cook, clean, set up, tear down, and monitor beverage, ice and/or condiment levels will help alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy the tailgate experience along with everyone else.

    Tailgating - Life Hacks - StowAway Grill - StowAway Cargo Carrier3

    Keep tailgating essentials organized in a toolbox so you can grab-and-go on game day.

  3. Keep the essentials packed and ready to go. For instance, a toolbox is a convenient way to organize and store smaller items that you know you’ll need at every single tailgate party. Keep utensils (bottle openers, tongs, cutlery, can opener, etc.) in one drawer, while storing first aid supplies (Band-Aids, pain reliever, sunscreen, etc.) or favorite spices and seasonings in another. For larger items, you can use bins (I recommend clear ones so you can see inside easily without having to take the lid off) to store kitchen items such as dishes, aluminum foil, soap, and paper towels, as well as games, blankets, seat cushions, and more. Having the necessities packed and ready to go each weekend will save so much time, you just may have a shot at landing the best parking spot at the stadium!
  4. Bring extra! No matter what it is, bring more than you think you’ll need: ice, beverages, food, chairs, blankets, etc. This will help avoid a flurry of phone calls when you realize you’re almost out of hamburger buns or (gasp!) beer. And since half the fun of tailgating is making new friends, having extra to share with your tailgating neighbors and fellow fans is a bonus!
  1. So how do you get all of this stuff to the stadium?
    Tailgating - Life Hacks - StowAway Cargo Carrier - Oregon Ducks

    Fans of the University of Oregon football team use their StowAway Cargo Carrier for all of their tailgating needs on game day.

    Invest in a StowAway Cargo Carrier, of course! Mounted directly into your vehicle’s trailer hitch, StowAway carriers provide easy, ground-level access to your gear. Quickly and easily organize and transport all of your tailgating essentials, especially those bulky items like canopies, chairs, and even your cornhole boards or ladder golf. With either 12.5 or 16 cubic feet of storage space, a StowAway Cargo Carrier nearly doubles the average SUV’s functional carrying capacity – you’ll wonder how you ever tailgated without it!

Tailgating - Life Hacks - StowAway Grill - Notre Dame

Fans tailgate with the StowAway Hitch Grill Station at a Notre Dame game.

And for those who really want to take their tailgating to the next level, check out the StowAway Hitch Grill Station that features a Cuisinart gas grill. The SwingAway frame pivots and locks at 90° to create a safe, convenient, and easily organized kitchen/grilling space, complete with a jumbo-sized (25.5” x 18.5”) commercial-grade cutting board. And the rack provides ample room for hauling coolers and other gear too.

Yes, tailgating is hard work… But with a little advanced planning and these life hacks, it can also be one of the most enjoyable, stress-free ways to spend a weekend this fall. You’re welcome! :)

5 Crazy (but oh, so practical) Ways Milk Crates Can Carry Your Tailgate to the Next Level

October 10th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Taligating Grill - (Comments Off on 5 Crazy (but oh, so practical) Ways Milk Crates Can Carry Your Tailgate to the Next Level)
Photo Credit: Instructables.com

Photo Credit: Instructables.com

The fabulous, functional milk crate. What could be more handy, less expensive, and endlessly versatile?

I was thinking about tailgating the other day, and all the things I have to stow and organize and haul and set up and cook and serve. Then I have to pack it all up, stow it, and haul it home again.

[Insert light bulb here and enter the plastic milk crate!]

Beyond their use in storage, milk crates are also helpful in serving food and beverages. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and you can typically find them in your team colors. Below are my five favorite ways for milk crates to carry your tailgate to the next level.

1.  Stow & Haul Stuff

Photo Credit: AlwaysInTransit.com

Photo Credit: EverInTransit.com

Organize your kitchen tools, grilling supplies, condiments, paper products and other essentials in inexpensive, plastic milk crates. Put labels on each crate so the same things go back in the crates they came in. If you tailgate often, many of these supplies can stay in their crates, stacked neatly in the garage until your next outing. Just grab and go. When you get to the tailgate, crates can be turned sideways for easy access to all your things.

2. Paper Towel Holder

The folks at the food and travel blog, Ever in Transit, came up with the idea to turn a milk crate into a paper towel holder. How clever is that? Paper towels always seem to be unraveling themselves, blowing away or falling on the ground.

3. Stackable Buffet Line

Photo Credit: Scholastic.com

Photo Credit: Scholastic.com

It occurs to me that if you can use the back of your vehicle – say it’s an SUV, pickup truck, or hatchback of some sort, that you can safely use the vertical space to make more out of your buffet line. Turn the crates on their sides and stack two rows in the back of your rig. Plates, silverware and napkins go to the far left, food in the middle, and condiments on the end. How easy is that?

(Speaking your vehicle’s back-end, check out the Hitch Grill Station that attaches to your hitch receiver and pivots 90 degrees to create an outdoor kitchen space. More details below. )

4. Chairs

With the help of a pillow, milk crates actually make pretty sturdy little chairs. If you don’t need them to help you cook or serve the burgers and dogs, turn them upside down and sit on them while you eat the burgers and dogs. With dog-in-basket-on-bike-familyonbikes.orgsome extra time and attention, you can even turn ordinary mild crates into padded storage seats.

5. Be an Ambassador of Good Cheer

I can think of several things to do with a milk crate on wheels –strapped to a bike or a luggage cart or prefabricated with wheels and handle. You’ve just got yourself a mobile beer keg, a grocery cart, or a throne for the Traveling Tailgate Ambassador of Good Cheer.

Bonus Ideas:

Decorate with Ribbons: The store doesn’t have your team colors? Want to jazz up your look from basic plastic? Here is how to weave ribbons through your milk crate in team colors.

Seat Slip Covers: If you’re the creative, artsy, sewing type, here are directions for creating swanky slip covers for your milk crates.

Trailer hitch tailgate open frame

The Tailgate Grill Station attaches to your trailer hitch, pivots to give you access to the rear of your vehicle, and creates a perfect outdoor grilling space

Hitch Grill Station: One of the very best ways to create a safe, convenient, functional kitchen space at my tailgate is with the Hitch Grill Station.


  • Pivots 90° to the perfect grill station
  • Allows full access to back of vehicle
  • Cuisinart grill with 240 sq. in. surface
  • Large, removable cutting board
  • Rack allows room for cooler & extras
  • 10-year warranty on Frame & Rack

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How Sweet It Is! 5 Terrific Grilled Fruit Recipes That Will Wow the Crowd

September 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Tailgating | Taligating Grill - (Comments Off on How Sweet It Is! 5 Terrific Grilled Fruit Recipes That Will Wow the Crowd)

grilled peaches recipe for hitch grill stationAnyone can throw on some burgers and ribs on the grill. In fact, who doesn’t? But you – griller extraordinaire – you can take grilling to a whole new level with some juicy, ripe fruit. Good thing tailgating season coincides with the peak harvest times for peaches, that’s all I have to say. But you don’t need to stop at peaches, I’ve found some sweet and savory recipes for your tailgating grill that involve cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas, and bourbon-glazed plums for good measure.

Grilled Peaches & Ice Cream

Oh. My. Goodness. Peaches are in season in the Pacific NW right now, and I just had some fresh grilled peaches over vanilla bean ice cream. The combination of flavors is unbelievably seductive. I recommend serving in small bowls … or you just Will. Not. Stop. Total time to prep and cook: 15 minutes. Photo and recipe from FoodNetwork.com

Skewered canteloupe AllRecipesSkewered Cantaloupe

Butter, honey and mint make this recipe pop off the grill and into the hearts of naysayers, who might otherwise scoff at the idea of putting a melon on their manly grill. It cooks quickly, tastes delicious, and makes for great dessert … and conversation. Recipe and photo from AllRecipes.com.

Grilled Pineapple AllRecipesGrilled Pineapple

Toss some slices of pineapple in a bag with honey, melted butter and a dash of hot pepper sauce and salt. The savory ingredients give these yum-yums a little kick and cut the sweetness, so you can serve as a quick-and-easy appetizer before the meat goes on the grill.  Recipe and photo from AllRecipes.com.

Grilled Banana Boats Betty CrockerGrilled Banana Boats

How can you go wrong with bananas, chocolate, marshmallows and Betty Crocker? We used to make these hearty confections in the campfire when I was growing up, and now you can make this family favorite at your tailgate party or campsite grill station. Add chopped pecans for the added crunch that people love. Photo and recipe courtesy of BettyCrocker.com.

Grilled Plums Food NetworkGrilled Fruit with Bourbon Glaze

Whoever invented the concept of combining fruit and liquor is a genius (or a college student). Paula Dean, “the queen of Southern cuisine,” offers this recipe that has a decidedly sophisticated yet indulgent appeal. Add brown sugar, fresh lemon juice and butter to the bourbon, melt and mix it all together, and brush it over ripe plums. If you haven’t died-and-gone-to-heaven yet, plop on some ice cream. Photo and recipe courtesy of FoodNetwork.com.

Follow us on Facebook for more tailgating/camping/road tripping ideas for the grill.

7 Ways to Score Big at Your Next Tailgate Party

September 8th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Tailgating | Taligating Grill - (Comments Off on 7 Ways to Score Big at Your Next Tailgate Party)

Tailgating party buffet table decorationAnyone can wear a logo sweatshirt or a giant foam finger. In fact, who doesn’t?  But in the spirit of competitive sports, why not score some tailgating points with a few unexpected plays? With tailgating season upon us, I scoured the web for fun tailgating ideas, from recipes to games to decorations. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Turn Your Buffet Table into a Football Field Ask the “Hostess with the Mostess” how to decorate for a tailgate party and Jenn Sbranti, founder of the popular party blog, has plenty of ideas. One of my fav’s is the football field table cover. Sbranti explains, “Make a bold statement by covering your main buffet area with inexpensive artificial grass in order to mimic the look of a football field. Artificial turf is available at home stores like Home Depot and Lowes, and they can cut it down to size for you. Dark green felt or fabric will also work as an alternative option. Use white ribbon to add “yard lines”, or paint them on if you’re feeling extra crafty.”

Cake that looks like a fottball2. Bake a Football Shaped Cake Liz Ward, contributor to eHow, promises that cakes shaped and decorated like footballs are easy to make. (One might say “easy as pie” to make. Er … make that “a piece of cake” to make.) “You don’t need special pans or recipes to make football shaped cakes,” writes Ward. “And it doesn’t take a professional cake decorator to get professional results.” Link here to get a recipe for chocolate cake as well as decorating instructions.

3. Make Your Own Cornhole Game Cornhole has become the most popular pastime at tailgating parties, second only to the consumption of food and beverages. You can purchase a custom cornhole game, resplendent with your team colors from companies such as Victory Tailgate. Or you handy folks who have a saw and some sandpaper – and know how to use them – can construct your own. Download free diagrams and instructions to build your own cornhole game set. Learn more about cornhole, what it is and how to play, as well as the official rules from the American Cornhole Association (yes, there is such a thing!). More about playing the hottest new tailgating game here.buffalo chicken cupcakes

4. Serve Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes Touchdown! What’s not to love about this recipe? What started out as something of a joke, turned into a great, crowd-pleasing recipe. Served as an appetizer, the cupcakes – which include hot sauce and blue cheese in the batter – are topped with your favorite chicken wings. They’re sweet, because they are also made with sugar, but not as sugary as say a double- chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles would be. Note: They are only as spicy as you choose to make them. Give them a try and let me know how it goes! Get the recipe here. tailgating cocktail decorated

5. Customize your Cocktails I’ve seen several ways to give your drinks a little extra splash this season, including Astroturf coozies, sweet and simple labels to keep things straight, and – my fav – colorful drinks served in mason jars, dyed with a school color, and topped with a cupcake liner. Turn the back of your car into a cocktail bar

6. Convert the Back of Your Car into a Cocktail Bar Of the 41 tailgating ideas that BuzzFeed dubbed “borderline genius,” the cocktail bar most exemplifies the reason tailgaters can get a bad rap for inebriated guests. That said, it’s a cool idea. With a set of wooden shelves, you can store bottles, mixers, glasses, paper towels, ice bucket, etc. for easy access. (Please drink responsibly.) You could do the same with condiments, plates, cups, bowls, napkins, tongs, silverware, etc. to make your grilling station the most convenient kitchen in the parking lot.

Trailer hitch tailgate open frame

The Tailgate Grill Station attaches to your trailer hitch

7. Set Up a Convenient, 90-Degree Kitchen Space

Speaking of a grilling station … by using a hitch-mounted grill on a pivoting frame, you can create the perfect grilling kitchen for your tailgate party. With complete access to the back of your vehicle – where you’ve stored coolers, condiments and chairs – you’ll be able to reach, grill and serve in your own personal tailgating kitchen. The Tailgate Grill Station includes a Cuisinart Grill (available in 3 colors) that runs on propane, and a jumbo-sized, commercial-grade cutting board. Stow the cutting board on the bottom of the rack and you have plenty of room to haul the cooler on the back of your rig, because the rack supports over 200 pounds.   Decorate-cooler

Extra Point: Decorate Your Cooler

Here’s one more great idea for your tailgate party: Decorate the cooler. Your cooler can be so much more than a place to store cold food and beverages when you paint it with your team spirit. Here’s a tutorial on painting coolers, which gives you the inside tips on making paint stick to plastic.

A little extra effort earns you lots of extra points at your tailgate party. For more tailgating ideas, games and recipes, join us on Facebook.

Wrigley and Meghan travel to competitions with their StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

Wrigley jumped over 26 feet to land the longest jump of the Dock Dogs Regional Championships in August

The farthest dock-jumping Weimaraner in the history of the sport, Wrigley, owned and trained by Meghan Williams, didn’t seem to be a born leaper. He started late in life (4 years of age), never swam before, and had to wear a life jacket to dock-jumping class.

But don’t tell him that. Wrigley just leapt away with two titles at the Dock Dogs North Central Regional Championship in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, August 8-10, 2014.

“It’s not natural for Weimaraners to jump into water,” reports Williams. Given this, and the fact that there are only ten competing across the country, Willams calls Wrigley’s success “astonishing.” At 9½ years of age, for example, Wrigley was the most decorated veteran jumper at the regional championships, with invitations to compete in the World Championships. His average jump is 25 feet; his farthest is nearly 28.

To travel to competitions, Meghan, Wrigley, and their family of four pack themselves into a small Trailblazer. “We wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without our hitch cargo carrier,” says Williams. “We’ve got two children and Wrigley in the back of the car. Everything else goes in the StowAway. It’s incredible.”

‘Everything else’ includes suitcases, chairs, all of Wrigley’s gear – leashes, collars, toys, dog food, and water bucket, plus a 24-pack of water bottles for the family, and more. “It’s amazing how much stuff will fit in there,” says Williams. “Once we put in a double stroller, and they’re huge!”

Meghan and Wrigley after the toss

Meghan has perfected the timing of the toss that enables Wrigley to jump nearly 28 feet

The wife, mother of two, full-time employee, and Wrigley’s trainer/partner, Williams is a busy woman. Add to that, her skill at throwing Wrigley’s toy off the dock is 50% of the team effort that has brought them so much success.

Kudos to Wrigley and Meghan for these amazing results at the Dock Dogs Regional Championships, where they competed in Big Air Elite and Big Air Veteran Divisions:

  • 1st place in Elite Division, earning a World Championship Invitation
  • 1st place in Veteran Division, earning a World Championship Invitation
  • At 9-1/2 years old, Wrigley out jumped every single dog at the competition, with an incredible 26’1″ for the longest jump of the weekend – of all dogs, all ages
  • Re-titled himself into the Super Elite Division (25’+ average) by having countless jumps over 25′ during the weekend competition. (This has only happened a handful of times in the history of the sport)
  • 16th overall world ranking in Big Air (out of 600 dogs)
  • Ranked 2nd in the World for DockDogs Worldwide Veteran Dogs
Wrigley and Meghan travel to regional and national championships with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

Wrigley always travels with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

Where’s Wrigley Going Next?

Wrigley and Meghan’s next event will be September 6-7 in Springfield, Illinois at The Super Retriever Series. They will also be jumping in Carol Stream, Illinois at the Ultimate Air Dogs on September 14. Follow them on their Facebook page, and the StowAway Facebook.

 Congrats Wrigley and Meghan! All of us at StowAway Hitch Cargo Carriers are so proud of you.

Cornhole: How to Play the Hottest New Tailgating Game

September 4th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Tailgating | Taligating Grill | Teams & Events - (Comments Off on Cornhole: How to Play the Hottest New Tailgating Game)
Cornhole tailgating game

Cornhole is the #1 tailgating game in America. Photo courtesy of Victory Tailgate

In the olden days, we used to throw around a football at tailgate parties and call that good for gaming. Not anymore. Tailgaters today require a most diverse and sophisticated “palette of choices”. (As opposed to “palate of choices”, which requires special menus. But more on that – and the best tailgate hitch grill on the market – another day.)

According to the folks at Infographics Mania, who illustrated a national survey, cornhole is the most popular game at tailgate parties these days. (Other than the game of football going on inside the stadium, of course.) Ladder Ball, also known as the – ahem – “balls toss” for reasons that will become apparent once you’ve seen it, comes in second, followed by Beer Pong. Then comes the Washer Toss, in which players attempt to throw large metal washers into a small hole.

Seeing as cornhole is # 1 in the competitive arena of tailgate parking lots, I decided to take a closer look at this phenomenon, which reportedly originated in the Midwest, where reserves of whole kernel corn are available in abundance. The corn goes in a bean bag, which is thrown in the hole on the board. Ergo, “cornhole”. Imagine a group of farmers sitting around one evening, wondering, “What are we going to do with all these extra kernels of corn laying around?” Answer: “I know. Let’s sew them inside little square bags and throw them into a hole on a big board. Like horseshoes, except not.” Thus was the game of cornhole born. (except maybe not.)

At any rate, cornhole is great for the entire family, according to the folks at VictoryTailgate.com. “Cornhole, also known as ‘tailgate toss’, ‘bean bag toss’, ‘baggo’, ‘corn toss’, or just simply ‘bags’ is a lawn game in which players take turns pitching cornhole bags (duck cloth bags filled with whole kernel corn) at a raised wooden platform with a hole in the far end. There are several versions and sizes but the most well-known size is 2 feet wide by 4 feet long with a 6 inch hole centered 9 inches down from the top. The surface sits 12 inches high off the ground in the back and 4 inches high in the front. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point. Play continues until a player reaches the score of 21. The game can be played as either doubles or singles and uses two boards with 8 bags (4 of one color and 4 of another).

“Ok, so why is it fun? It’s fun because the entire family can play. It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 years old or 80 years old. Just about anyone can play. It’s great for parties, special events, tailgating, or just for some fun in the backyard to get your family out of the house every once in a while. It’s easy to learn and can be challenging at any skill level. You and your opponent alternate throwing the 8 bags at the hole, which almost always results in some humorous situations and/or precise throwing strategies at the higher skill levels of play.”

You can even order custom cornhole boards and bags created in your team colors, with logos from all the college football, NBA and major league baseball teams.

Whoever your team is, and whatever your favorite tailgating game might be, we invite you to share it on our Facebook Community Page. Happy tailgating!